• The Smart Walnut Archive

    I’m excited for my first grader who will be taking an after-school program all about STEM. If my dad were still alive, I know he’d be equally thrilled over the prospect of grooming a future engineer–and a female one at that. Because so many girl toys from my childhood were designed in pinks and purples, I’m always on the lookout for playthings that speak more to a child’s fascination with learning while having fun than toys that simply coordinate with her wardrobe. GoldieBlox has had girls’ interests at heart right from the beginning. These innovative construction kits combine storytelling with design and creative play: the stuff that imaginative kids crave. Whether it’s designing a parade flat, a spinning wheel or a dunk yank, girls get [&hellip

    Read More...

    It’s not your imagination; the days are getting shorter and there’s less daylight. I don’t know about you, but I miss summer! Until then, experts say it helps to expose yourself to more light, making it the perfect excuse to swap out those incandescent bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient LEDs. If you happen to live in NYC and are in the South Street Seaport area this coming weekend, take your old light bulb over to the Cree Great American Bulb Swap and you’ll receive a New Cree LED Bulb for free. The event takes place on Saturday, November 15 and Sunday, November 16 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m

    Read More...

    Does your kid know his Carter from his Clinton? His Roosevelt from his Reagan? If U.S. history elicits snores and cries of boredom, then it’s time to remind your pint-sized patriot that yes, even these famous men were once kids. In honor of Election Day, we’re giving a shout-out to an awesome middle-grade book that will get kids interested in American presidents faster than you can say ‘Ulysses S. Grant.’ Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood From America’s Presidents gets our vote for entertaining education, as it profiles presidents way back to their (sometimes mischievous) youth. Who knew that Abraham Lincoln grew up with a stepmother who was anything but cruel? Or that Reagan was legally blind as a boy until a pair of glasses [&hellip

    Read More...

    It’s the first rainy day we’ve had in weeks, and somehow, it’s oddly comforting. Staying indoors practically forces me to hunker down, brew a cup of tea and watch the raindrops fall. And yet, when you add kids to that equation, it suddenly becomes a different story. Lucky for us, my 6-year-old had a puppet-making class at our local library this morning that helped save the day. On our way out, we stopped by a table of books featuring kids’ crafts, an ideal way to extend the creative experience back at home. While we perused several noteworthy recommendations, nothing comes close to the recent book I received for review. The Complete Book of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes and Dances for Young Children is teeming [&hellip

    Read More...

    In our house, losing baby teeth means big business…and I’m talking about the Tooth Fairy making sure she has enough funds to satisfy the expectant child! Imagine how much easier life would be if a kid would rather forgo his cash reward and hang onto his lost tooth as his prize. Such is the premise of The Tooth Fairy Wars, a picture book that challenges kids to think outside the mouth, so to speak. The story revolves around a young boy named Nathan who’s determined to keep his missing teeth, no matter what the Tooth Fairy says or does. Page after page, he attempts to outsmart her with a series of seemingly clever antics…but is only met with disdain as she manages to one-up him. [&hellip

    Read More...

    When my husband was a kid, he liked to watch “Inspector Gadget.” He may have thought the adventures alone were cool, but personally, I think he was mesmerized by his watch, which could do just about everything under the sun. If ever we thought those kind of gadgets were a long way off, well, let’s just the say that the future is now. VTech’s Kidizoom Smartwatch is probably the hardest-working timepiece we’ve ever seen. Ever the multitasker, this wristwatch boasts a miniature camera for taking photos and making videos, four games to play on the go, and (our favorite) a voice recorder with five voice changing effects (bet Inspector Gadget would have loved that). Kids will love to dress up their pix with personalized picture [&hellip

    Read More...

    “Tempus fugit,” my grandfather used to say. For those unschooled in Latin, the expression means time flies, with the implication that you’re having fun, of course. I wish I could say this is the case for my 6-year-old, but she’s already crying the boredom blues…and it’s only the second week of summer vacation! When I tell her we’re heading to the beach, she reminds me that we “did that already.” To the library? “I already have enough books.” (Not a phrase I could personally ever relate to.) Well, since this kid has her eye on the clock more than any summer-loving child every should, the least she could do is learn to tell time….and I don’t mean the digital way! Later this month, Maple Landmark [&hellip

    Read More...

    Does your kid love Peg+Cat as much as mine do? My 6-year-old admittedly enjoys it more than her big sister, but they still both relish the opportunity to help Peg complete her mission du jour. Even in real life, we make a big deal about finding ways to make things work, from short-cutting a recipe, to fashioning a replacement part for a craft project. If you’re particularly proud of a recent accomplishment, why not share it with other like-minded parents? PBS Kids is hosting a Peg+Cat Problem Solver of the Week. Each Monday, fans are asked to visit the Peg+Cat Facebook page submit an answer to the question, “What problem did your child solve this week?”, along with their child’s first name, photo and hashtag [&hellip

    Read More...

    In just a few short weeks, I’ll have a kindergartner graduate home for the summer. She’s learned so much this past year, and I can only imagine how much she’ll absorb once first grade starts up. Because our school district has a half-day kindergarten program, we supplemented her education with an enrichment program a few days a week: a great way of extending the learning and enabling her to grasp new concepts not covered by the Common Core. Sure, summer gives us a breather when it come to the frenetic pace of the daily grind, but I like to think my kids can still maintain an education outside of the classroom, even when they’re not hitting the books. If you find yourself looking for ways [&hellip

    Read More...

    My kindergartner has found her latest heroine: PBS Kids’ Peg+Cat. If you’re not already familiar with the precocious preschooler, she and her sidekick kitty are often on the quest to solve the problem du jour–and with a sense of humor intact. Beginning this week, four new episodes will air that feature the dynamic duo on their latest problem-solving adventures. Because Peg+Cat finds creative ways to make math more engaging for its young viewers, you can expect plenty of problem-solving puzzlers in these episodes. Highlights include “The Arch Villain Problem,” during which alter egos Super Peg and Cat Guy must defend the make-belief city of Mathtropolis, and “The Long Line Problem,” one that envisions the joy being first in line (every parent’s dream!). No matter what [&hellip

    Read More...