Monday, August 31, 2015

Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up- September 1st, 2015

Tots and Me
Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily Reviews, Shelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways on  Tuesday's Giveaway Link Ups. 

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Make sure you stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so.

Featured Giveaways
$15 Babies R Us Gift Card US only Ends 9/14

Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily ReviewsShelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

Super Genius Learning Games from Blue Orange Games {Review and Giveaway}

It is no secret that we love to review educational games. I love being able to have fun while seeing the children learn. Over the last few years, I have had a few opportunities to review products from Blue Orange Games. Blue Orange Games have a wide selection of products ranging from Party Games, to Card Games, Family Games, and Brain Games. We have loved every game we have tried out, so I was thrilled when they reached out to me recently with the offer to try out two of their new Super Genius games. I chose Super Genius Addition and Super Genius First Words to review. I loved the look of the games, as they remind me of the Spot It! games we have reviewed in the past.

Even though the idea is similar to the Spot It! and Spot It! Jr. games, there are some differences. The Spot It! cards are round while the Super Genius cards are rectangular. The educational value of Spot It! is a bit more subtle than Super Genius. Children will develop visual perception and attention skills while honing their reaction time while playing Spot It! and they will do the same with Super Genius. However, the Super Genius games go beyond the learning potential of Spot It! as there are specific educational skills being worked on with each set. 

Like in the Spot It! games, the cards are designed so that there is always one and only one match for each pair of cards. While there are several different games to play, each one has to do with finding that one match between cards. 

Super Genius Addition

Super Genius Addition is for children 7 and up. I figured it would be a great way for the older girls to practice their addition facts. Super Genius Addition contains two kinds of cards, Sum Cards and Equation Cards. There are a total of 42 cards (21 Sum and 21 Equation) that can be played in a variety of ways. Also included in the deck are an addition chart, addition fact cards for 1 through 10, and instruction cards for 6 different games.  

Super Genius First Words

Super Genius First Words is for children 5 and up. I requested this game because I thought it would be a wonderful way for Hannah to practice her reading, plus Harold can match the pictures and the older girls can have fun playing as well. Like the Addition game, First Words contains two kinds of cards. However, First Words has more cards, for a total of 62 cards (31 Picture and 31 Word) which can be used to play the same 6 games in the Addition set. In addition to the instruction cards, two reference cards are included which show all the pictures with their corresponding word.   

The cards in the picture below are the instruction cards for the different games. In addition to the ones shown (Cooperative, Click-Clack, Sardines, Flip-Flap, and Face Off), there is one on the back of one of the cards called "Windshield Wipers."

As you can see, the games come with convenient, sturdy, little boxes. There is no lid to lose as it is designed to be a part of the box. The sturdy lid folds around and the little flap is held to the side of the box with hidden magnets. 

We have enjoyed playing the different games, though I decided to wait for the children to be a little older before we played a couple of them. One of their favorites is Windshield Wipers. In this game, the players are trying to get rid of their cards as fast as possible. Each player gets 8 cards, initially dealt facedown, which are then turned over at the start of play so everyone can see all their cards and their opponents' cards. 

The players try to find a match between one of their cards and one of their opponents. When a match is found, that player puts their card on top of the opponents' card, creating a pile. Play continues until one player runs out of cards. Each time a match is made, if the top card is a part of one of the piles that was made, the entire pile is placed on the opponent's card.

The card pile below is being placed on the middle card as the 17 matches the 7+10. However, you will notice that a match could have been made on each of the other piles as well. I just tell the girls to focus on one pair at a time so they don't get overwhelmed. Sometimes matches are easier to spot because of how the card is arranged.

This game can go quite fast, depending on how well the players know their addition facts. As Amelia is still learning hers, I try to rein Tabitha in and have her give her sister a chance to find matches. This is the same situation with the First Words cards, the older girls will be able to find a match faster than Hannah, so I have to remind them to slow down a bit so she can get a chance.

Another game they really like to play was the Cooperative game. In this game, no one person is the winner. They have to work together to remove pairs while making sure not to isolate any cards, as only pairs can be removed. They win if they are able to remove all the cards.

As they can only remove cards vertically and horizontally in this game, they have to match word to picture (or sum to equation) as this is the way the board is to be set up.

As you can see below, there is only one match, the word mop to the picture of the mop.

I had set up the cards to take the picture for the review, and it wasn't until we were a ways into playing that I realized Hannah (who only just started reading) was reading the words upside down and doing a marvelous job!

In some games you are trying to be the player to get the most cards, and in other games you want to be the one to get rid of all your cards. I LOVE that there are so many different ways to play.  

In Flip-Flap (shown below), each player is dealt the same number of cards and a card is placed facedown in the center of the table. If there are any odd cards out, they are just set aside for this game. The players are to look at only two of their cards at a time and try to find a match with the center card (which is turned face up at the beginning of play). When a match is found, the card is placed on top of the center card, becoming the new card to play off of. Players are to always have 2 cards in their hands and the first one to get rid of all their cards is the winner.

Super Genius is a wonderful way for children to work on their math or reading skills. It is fast paced, which can get frustrating for some children who take longer to find matches. However, I think that gives an incentive to work on their facts and reading skills. I have to say, it definitely takes some thought for children to work out the problems and try to find matches in the addition cards. Once they know the facts, it is easier for them to spy the matching pairs. I love that we can play with just the numbers or just the pictures in some games so the younger children can play (which does make it more like Spot It!, but at least they can feel like they are participating). 

I highly recommend these fun games. In addition to Addition and First Words, Blue Orange Games also created Reading 1 and Reading 2, which focus on sight words, and Multiplication. These different games provide fun learning opportunities for children as young as 5, depending on the game.

 You can learn more about the games at their website.
You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

 One of these great Super Genius Games can be yours!

All you need to do is enter in the Rafflecopter form below. 
There are only 2 simple mandatory entries, with the remainder of the entries being optional. 
Remember, you do not have to do the extra entries, but they will increase your odds of winning. 

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and over. 
The giveaway runs August 31 through September 14, 2015.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

 By entering the giveaway, you understand and agree that your contact information will be shared with the sponsor.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received Super Genius Addition and Super Genius First Words in exchange for my honest review. No further compensation was given. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers. 

School Time Week-in-Review: Week 1- August 17-21, 2015


Week 1

Another school year has started. Well, it started a couple of weeks ago, but I completely forgot to post my week-in-review post last weekend. I realize it has been an awfully long time since I posted a week-in-review post. Last year's posts were almost non-existent. Frankly, I missed recording what we were doing, but I also struggled with finding time to get it typed up into a post. This year, I am going to try to stay more organized, so I can share with you what we have been up to. 

I do share my Littles Learning Link Up post every Tuesday. However, that does not always focus on what we have been doing. I also include round-ups and guest posts during the month. And of course, I only share one craft or activity on the alternate weeks. So, I want to share a bit more in an end-of-the-week post, gathering together what we have been up to. 

This year the two older girls are doing My Father's World Adventures. Tabitha is in 3rd grade, and Amelia is in 2nd grade. The younger children are tagging along a bit with some of the lessons; however, they also have their special time. Hannah is now in Kindergarten and Harold is tagging along with her lessons. We will be starting our letter units this week, and he will be doing letter of the week activities alongside her K activities. 

Here is what our first week of school looked like:

My Father's World Adventures:

We were learning about Vikings, The Pledge of Allegiance, that their names were special, and what science is. They also started lessons in the art book titled, I Can Do All Things


My Father's World Adventures comes with a book called The Story of the U.S.. I read the story "Leif Ericsson and the Vikings" to the children, and then I read it to the older girls again while the younger children were busy elsewhere. These stories are used to help the girls learn to narrate back to the parent, to retell what they remember of the story. So, I read a paragraph at a time, and had the girls alternate with their narrations. Then we worked on a summary together, which I wrote down, and they each copied onto their papers. 

While reading the story, we found the different countries on the map that were important to the story. We discovered where the Vikings were originally from (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark), then we found Greenland, and Iceland (which Eric the Red ruled). We also discovered that Eric's son, Leif Ericsson, took a voyage in the year 1000 to what is now Newfoundland, Canada, and that he was the one who first discovered North America, not Christopher Columbus as some used to think.  

We also made playdough, which I shared about in this week's Littles Learning Link Up post. The playdough was used to make Viking ships.

There were several books about Vikings that were recommended in the Teacher Manual. The one I found the most helpful and informative was:

Life and Times in The Viking World which is a Kingfisher book written and edited by Sheila Clewley, Julie Ferris, and Conrad Mason. We have found some great information about the Viking world in this book, such as transportation, clothing, food and drink, homes, a Viking feast, and much more. Each page has great illustrations with little snippets of information.

In addition, as a part of our social studies lessons, we reviewed the United States map and the World map.

The Pledge of Allegiance:

We have been reciting the Pledge of Allegiance since the older girls were in Kindergarten. It has been a part of our morning routine, along with saying the Pledge to the Bible and singing The B-I-B-L-E. This year we have been able to look into what the words mean, so they can understand better why we recite it. We had a patriotic lunch the second day of school, in honor of learning about the pledge. Later on in the year we will be learning about the U.S. flag. 

Here is our muffin tin lunch:

The flag is buttered bread cut into the shape of a flag with a flag cookie cutter. I then spread strawberry jam for the stripes and placed a blueberry in the corner. The spaghetti and shredded mozzarella represent stripes, while the beets are cut into stars. Then they had red strawberries, white cool whip, and blue blueberries.

Our favorite books were:

I Pledge Allegiance by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez tells the story of the authors' aunt who came to America in the early 1900's and became a citizen later in life. In the story we actually see Libby learning about the pledge while at the same time her great aunt (Lobo) is getting ready to recite it as a part of her citizenship ceremony. 

I pledge allegiance by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson focuses on a couple of words or a phrase of the pledge on each page, and then goes on to explain each to help it come alive for the children. 

Our Names Are Special:

We did a couple of different projects using the children's names and I made them a Name Lunch. I never did write the letter that I was supposed to write telling them about their name. I plan to get to that soon. 

Here are their name posters.

Here are their special Name Lunches.

(Yes, it took a while to spell out their names with mini chocolate chips.)


We will be using the book I Can Do All Things this year for our art lessons. We are beginning with simple drawing lessons, such as drawing straight lines, both horizontal and vertical. The children's favorite lesson was drawing Wally the Worm. Tabitha even drew a "Step Book" for Hannah to follow so she could draw some too. In addition to the worm, she gave her steps for drawing a mouse, a cat, and a spider. 

Tabitha's Step Book, page 1:


One of our books for science is the First Encyclopedia of Science from Usborne. We read about what science is. Then we used the internet links in the book to watch an animated video about the scientific method, after which the girls completed a quick quiz. Then we watched two short videos about two different scientists. There were a whole lot to choose from, and we plan to watch more in the future. 

As you can see, Hannah and Harold joined in with a lot of what we were doing with Adventures. In the morning, we have our Bible time together, and then we head to the table to say the Pledge of Allegiance. We then do calendar and weather. While the children eat a small snack, I read the science or the history passage. Then we do the experiment or craft if there is one for that day. As we don't start school til around 10 or 10:30, this brings us to noon, which means it is time for a show while I make lunch. After lunch the older girls have dishes or computer time, while I work with the younger two on MFW K.

My Father's World Kindergarten

When I did Kindergarten with the older girls, Tabitha was reading very well, and Amelia was already starting to read. So, we didn't quite follow the teacher manual completely. This time around, neither Hannah nor Harold are reading, though Hannah is getting there, having picked up some words here and there. I have decided to follow the teacher manual a lot more closely this time around to make sure she gets everything out of it she should. Harold is just along for the ride. 

The first 2 weeks of Kindergarten focus on the 7 days of creation. They each made a Numbers of Creation Poster, and a Days of Creation Book. We were supposed to make a poster showing things God had made, compared to what man made. However, seeing as we reviewed Bible curriculum back at the beginning of the year, called Sound Words Theology 4 Kids written by Tauna Meyer of Proverbial Homemaker, in which we made a "God Made..." poster, I decided not to do one at this time. 

Here is a look at their work:

Numbers of Creation Poster

We actually finished it during week 2, but I am going to share the finished product here, because we are moving on to our first letter unit this week.

And here they are working on their Days of Creation Books:

We read a few books about creation. The first two used the Biblical text and added illustrations. I enjoyed both versions, though the one by Jane Ray does have pictures of Eve without anything covering her breasts, and Tabitha did pick up on that as we are very strict about modesty around here. The name of that book is The Story of Creation.

I actually enjoyed the illustrations in the second book more. They weren't as "busy" as the illustrations in the book above. This one is titled The First Seven Days: The Story of the Creation from Genesis, and is illustrated by Paul Galdone.

The third book we read about God's creation didn't focus on the days of creation themselves, but on God's creation praising Him. This book is called Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise by Tomie DePaola.

Another book that I would recommend, even though we didn't get to read it, is called The Seven Days of Creation by Leonard Everett Fisher. The text is adapted from the Bible, but isn't the exact wording. The reason I didn't read it is because we had already read the Bible text itself in our lesson time, but I read the first two books above, and I figured they might be getting tired of hearing it over and over. I do plan on reading this other book before I return it to the library though, now that we have had a break from reading it, plus it is a bit shorter as the words are just an adaptation.

The first 2 weeks of Kindergarten are also devoted to reviewing the letters of the alphabet. We used the alphabet chart for a game. I cut out yellow circles to use as markers/tokens. As I called the letter, they covered the corresponding letter on the chart.

We also used their ABC cards to play a matching game. They had to match upper case to lower case. I set all the cards of one case out on the table, and we took turns drawing a card to match. Later, in week two, we played with them in the traditional memory match game way. Harold and Hannah both did a great job, and have shown that they know both the upper case and lower case letters. I also had them tell me the sound the letter made, as they made their match. They both did wonderfully with that as well.

In addition to our My Father's World curriculum, we are supplementing with some review products. 

I am using Memoria Press's First Start Reading with Hannah. We reviewed this back in April and I put it away for the summer. It was her idea to pull it off the shelf the other day, and she did a great job reviewing the pages we had done back then. You can read my review is you would like to read more about it.

For spelling, I am using Horizons 2nd Grade Spelling and Vocabulary with Amelia. My review for this went live a couple of weeks ago. It is another product we are very happy with, and I plan to continuing through the school year.

Tabitha will be using the Institute for Excellence in Writing's Phonetic Zoo for spelling, as soon as it arrives in the mail. My review for this will go live the first week in October. 

Tabitha is learning French with Middlebury Interactive Languages. Sometimes Amelia listens in, but the program can only be used for one student so it is Tabitha's work that is being kept track of. I will be sharing my review at the end of the month (or the first couple of days in October). 

And that is a quick look at our first week of school. Next week I will be sharing our second and third week of Adventures, as I decided to stretch week 2 out for 2 weeks. We are reviewing a great book about Christopher Columbus from YWAM Publishing, and I wanted to make sure we got a chance to really dig into the lessons. Hannah and Harold will be starting their first letter unit: Ss Sun. I can still remember doing this unit a few years ago, and I can't wait to do it again.
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