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    family fun, product reviews

    The Easiset Way to Learn How to Play Chess for Ages 5 – 105: Brainblox Family Fun Chess

    Disclaimer: My family received a free Family Fun Chess set from Brainblox to review and enjoy with our family in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

    If you’re like me and have little to no experience playing the game of chess, you may be wondering how to teach kids to play chess when you don’t even know how to play yourself! Thankfully, Brainblox is here to help! They recently introduced a beautiful Family Fun Chess set to their product line and it’s so great.

    If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me talking about it recently in my Instagram stories.  I also hosted a giveaway in partnership with Brainblox where we gave away one chess set to a lucky winner.

    What is Family Fun Chess?

    It’s a color-coded, FUN, learn-as-you-play game for kids and adults to learn chess!

    When it’s your turn, simply roll the Chess Cube to see which piece to move! The Reference Cards make it easy to learn-as-you-play, while the full-color Instruction Book and videos tell you everything else you need to know.

    The chess set includes:

    • a folding wooden chess board
    • 32 wooden chess pieces
    • 2 reference cards
    • a full color chess book
    • a wooden cube

    Learning how to play chess the “Family Fun” way was very easy to understand for me and my kids.  We found the reference cards to be super useful in helping us all understand how each of the chess pieces are able to move on the board during the game.  I also appreciate the fact that Brainblox included instructions for playing chess the standard way too.  This will come in handy once we’ve fully grasped the rules of chess and are ready to move on to learning how to play standard chess.

    The thing I love most about learning to play chess and teaching my kids to play is all of the benefits associated with understanding the game.

    Here are just a few of the benefits of playing chess:

    • increases concentration and memory
    • helps with paying attention to detail and strategic thinking
    • improves problem-solving and spatial skills
    • exercises both sides of the brain

    Even more importantly, I find learning to play chess alongside my children to be much more meaningful because offers quality time and experiences that we will remember for a lifetime. If you’re sold on learning to play chess with your little ones, you’ll first need to get your family a chess set.  If you can’t already tell, I’d highly recommend the Family Fun Chess set from Brainblox.  It makes a great holiday or anytime of the year gift for ages 5 – 105!

    Not ready to invest in a chess set of your own yet?  You can also look into local chess clubs for kids in your area.  Find out if your child’s school or your local library has a Chess Club. That’s a great place to start, so kids can get basic instruction and have peers to play with.  There are also many online resources and apps available to use too.  You can choose to play against friends, connect with other players at your level, or get live or virtual tutoring.

    Your turn:  Do you or your children know how to play chess?  Are you excited to learn about the Family Fun Chess set from Brainblox?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    literary road trip series, product reviews

    Literary Road Trip Series: Adorablue Travel Tray for Kids + A Giveaway!

    Have you ever wondered how your child can make better use of their downtime while traveling on road trips or running daily errands in the car?  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s okay to just look out the window and watch cars or people pass by.  However, if you’re looking for a travel tray to help keep kids entertained, I’d highly recommend the one made by AdoraBlue.  It’s convenient for kids to eat, draw, watch movies and most importantly it helps keep things organized.

    On one side of the tray, there is a station for kids to eat, play with toys (like the AdoraBlue Scavenger Hunter game) read books, or to watch/play on the iPad/tablet at eye level.  The erasable side is for drawing, writing and creating.  Yes, it’s reversible!

    I love the media tablet holder being secured by a zipped plastic pocket to keep it protected from accidental spills.  We all know how messy life can get with kids, right? I also like how versatile and portable the travel tray is.  You can either use it as a lap desk in the car/stroller, on a plane for various fun activities, or use it indoors sitting on the couch or in a restaurant.  The custom design appeals to boys and girls alike.  It also has easy access to a large storage with zippers and a built-in bumper to keep your space mess-free whether your child is creating a masterpiece or munching on snacks.

    Here are some of the features:

    • Made of a vegan leather surface that is is easy to clean and soft to the touch.
    • It buckles either around the child’s car seat or stroller.
    • It has large mesh storage pockets on the side and a 2 inch wall to stop food, toys, markers or crayons from falling.
    • It is ideal for short and long trips.
    • It’s portable!  It can also be used indoors at home on your couch or in a restaurant.
    • Fits most car seats and boosters.
    • Comfortable, safe and 100% waterproof.
    • Includes cup holders for baby bottles, water bottles or sippy cups
    • Erasable board for drawing and expressing creativity.
    • Contains 3 different stations to play, eat, draw or use the iPad/tablet in a zipped, waterproof casing.

    The best part?  Our friends over at AdoraBlue were gracious enough to sponsor an Instagram giveaway for one (1) travel tray.  In addition, for a limited time, our audience can get 40% off a travel tray as part of a Mother’s Day promotion.  Click here to get a travel tray using the 40% discount (discount applied at checkout).

    Connect with AdoraBlue!

    Website | Instagram | Facebook

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    parenting, product reviews, revolution math, STEM, technology

    Help Your Kids Fall In Love with Math (And Reading Too!) With Revolution Math

    Disclaimer: This post is brought to you in partnership with Revolution Math, an interactive online math and story-based program for kids in grades 2-5. Get your first month of Revolution Math plus a math learning kit for $1 with the code WEEREAD1!

    Education has always been extremely important to me.  When I was a child I used to always say I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.  Well, when I finally “grew up” I changed my mind and decided on the computer field instead.  Perhaps some day I’ll be a college professor and finally have the opportunity to fulfill my dreams of teaching.  For now, I’ll settle as being my children’s first teacher.

    I knew even before I had children that I didn’t want their learning to be left entirely up to the school system.  I make it a point to supplement whatever they are learning in school at home with my own teachings by making it fun.  One way I supplement education at home is by using an awesome interactive online math and story-based curriculum called Revolution Math.  Have you heard of it before?  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard me talk about it in my stories.  Try It Out for 30 Days for JUST $1 (No strings attached – I promise!)

    Math was always my favorite subject in school.  I want my kids to like math or at least do well in it even if they don’t love it as much as I do.  Did you know research suggests that early math skills are a better predictor of academic success than early reading skills?

    What Is Revolution Math?
    Revolution Math is an innovative program designed to help 2nd-5th graders develop their math skills and an overall love of learning. The live, online interface integrates an interactive learning experience with a story-based curriculum and Common Core aligned math games. Students enjoy a small class size of only 4 students, allowing them to build confidence under the instruction of a dedicated teacher.  Check out their brief introductory online videos for more information.

    Our Experience
    My daughter has been using Revolution Math (we pay for this program with our own money) for the past two months.  I can honestly say she is truly enjoying it and most importantly she’s learning advanced math skills for her grade.  While the program is recommended for kids in grades 2-5, they also accept first grade students like my daughter.

    Initially, some of the concepts were a bit difficult for her to grasp (as with learning anything new), but I’ve seen lots of improvement over the past two months.  She is now able to do one, two, three and four digit addition and subtraction problems a lot easier using the concepts learned through the program without any worry or anxiety like she initially had.

    Here are a few of the things my daughter has learned so far:

    • Place value charting to decompose addends for 2-digit + 2-digit addition and 3-digit + 2-digit addition
    • Different ways to represent three-digit numbers
    • Finding patterns
    • “Bundling”, “exchanging” or “carrying” from a lower place value to a higher one

    I’ve loved witnessing the progress and confidence I’ve seen in my daughter over the past two months.  It’s also been great to see her build a relationship with her online teacher (the teacher remains the same each week) and on occasion participate in class with other students.

    Other added benefits are parents receive a weekly update on the math tutoring session which includes cool apps and strategies you can use at home to reinforce learning.  Also, registered subscribers can access additional drills for practice playing the Revolution math game.  Finally, kids earn gems each lesson that can be traded in for kid-friendly prizes from the Revolution Math Rewards store.  Who doesn’t love an incentive?  I know I sure do!  My daughter is currently saving up her gems for a fidget spinner.

    Are you excited yet?  Do you want to help your children fall in LOVE with math (and reading too!)?

    Try It Out for 30 Days for JUST $1 (No strings attached – I promise!)
    You seriously can’t go wrong with this deal – it’s like getting 4 high-quality math classes for just $0.25 cents each if you break it down.  To me, this is a no-brainer to sign up for a 30-day trial especially if you have kids in grades 1-5.  Plus, you get a math learning kit which is yours to keep and doesn’t have to be returned.  Win-win!  I only share brands and products that my family truly uses, values and trusts and Revolution Math has gained our trust over the past two months.

    The learning kit includes several math manipulatives: graph paper, dice, place value number tiles, a protractor and masks to use for the story time portion of the course.  Be sure to use my code ‘WEEREAD1’ to take advantage of this fantastic deal for just $1 and tell them I sent you!

    Your turn: Are you ready to raise a math whiz?  Have you heard of Revolution Math before?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    holiday gift guide series, product reviews

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: MyFamilyBuilders

    When I came across MyFamilyBuilders™ on Instagram I knew I had to feature them in my holiday gift guide!  While my kids haven’t actually tried these blocks yet, I can already tell they’ll spend hours playing with them.  Don’t they look great?

    myfamilybuildersboxset002

    The overall mission of MyFamilyBuilders™ is to help create a world where parents and kids celebrate love and the values shared by all families, regardless of color, creed, sexual orientation or culture.  The folks at MyFamilyBuilders™ wants to improve our world, so we’re starting with children, the toys they play with, and what those toys can teach them.  Through MyFamilyBuilders™ toy set they are creating a world where children and parents are proud of themselves, their families and their communities.

     

    WHAT IS IT?
    MyFamilyBuilders™ toy set contains 48 wooden pieces that snap together with cleverly concealed magnets and a board game with 25 big cards that they’ve designed to empower parents and kids to play, experience and facilitate easy conversations about diversity & tolerance.  With a total of 2048 possible matches per set, kids will have a ton of fun and create a world free of preconceptions.

    THE MyFamilybuilders™ SET INCLUDES
    · 48 handcrafted magnetic wooden blocks
     that come in 12 sizes: 16 adults heads, 16 kids heads, 4 big bodies, 4 small bodies, 4 big legs, 4 small legs; 3 blocks (head, body, and legs) make up a character.
    · 25 big cards to play 5 fun educational games in conjunction with the 48 unique wooden blocks. The 5 games were designed by an education specialist for different age stages ( 3+; 4+; 5+; 6+).

    DETAILS
    Packaging: The MyFamilybuilders™ set comes packaged in a handy box to keep all of the pieces securely in one place for storage.
    Size:
    Total weight is 3.12 lbs.
    Materials: Eco-friendly hardwoods. Safe, non-toxic, water-based paint.
    Safety: This product conforms to most international safety requirements for toys, including regulations in the USA (CPSIA) and Europe (EN71).

    Price: 48-piece set: $69.95 (current sale price), 32-piece set $49.95

    myfamilybuildersboxset

    I think this magnetic wooden block set would be perfect for teaching kids about diversity and respecting differences of other people.  They’d also be great for kids who love to mix and match colors and fashion styles.  Add these to your holiday gift list, but hurry because I hear they are a hot selling item!  Great for ages 1 to 99.

    Connect with MyFamilyBuilders!
    Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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    family fun, giveaways, holiday gift guide series, product reviews

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: Hideaboo Hideouts + An Instagram Giveaway!

    hideaboo-hideoutgiveaway

    5-4-3-2-1 blast off!  The kids absolutely LOVE playing in their new Hideaboo rocket ship hideout!  Created by an award winning teacher, Hideaboo hideouts help spark creativity and allow your kids to play independently or with each other. My kids love pretending they are astronauts in a rocket ship flying to outer space.

    img_3643

    One of the best things about the hideouts is they are totally portable and can be placed in any part of your house or used on the go (as long as your bring your card table along with you).  We currently have our hideout in our living room, but the kids have played with it upstairs in their room too.  It’s perfect for keeping them occupied while I do things like cook dinner or fold the laundry.

    Hideaboo also provides you with FREE access to their printable library.  They’ve created activities, diy costume ideas, an adventure journal and printable puppets for each of their Hideouts! Your purchase comes with a code for free downloads of your printable activities and instructions.  How fun is that?

    Each hideout is made to slide over a card table and it’s super simple to set up and fold away for easy storage.

    Here’s what’s you get:

    • Includes ONE Hideout and ONE storage bag
    • Card table not included
    • Slips over standard card tables, 34″ w x 28″ h
    • Easy to setup and tear down
    • Durable, high quality fabric & machine washable

    These are the current hideouts available:

    • Happy Camper Hideout
    • Enchanted Castle Hideout
    • Underwater Submarine Hideout
    • Outer Space Rocket Hideout
    • Down on the Farm Hideout
    • Lemonade Stand

    The best part?  Our friends over at Hideaboo were gracious enough to sponsor a giveaway!  That’s right, you can choose ANY one of their hideouts if you are the lucky winner!  Pop on over to my Instagram page if you want to enter to win.  Good luck!

    Connect with Hideaboo!

    Website | Instagram | Facebook

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    children's books, giveaways, product reviews

    I’m a Pretty Princess Party Set + A Giveaway!

    I’m always on the lookout for positive, self-esteem boosting products for kids, especially ones targeted for black girls and boys.  My daughter will be turning 4 in September (where does the time go?) and she specifically told me she wants to have a princess themed party.

    Princesses are a loved part of many American girls’ culture, but it’s no secret there is very little representation of different races and cultures.  While I don’t restrict my kids to only play with certain toys or use specific products based on race, it is important for me to expose them to books, toys and products in which they can see themselves being represented.  That’s why I ‘m so excited I came across this adorable princess princess party set from Crystal Swain-Bates.  The party set is perfect for throwing a black princess party, birthday party, baby shower, or sleepover.

    I initially mentioned Crystal on my blog last year when I mentioned her awesome coloring books for black kids in the holiday gift guide that went viral.  Crystal is the author of seven fun black children’s books and the owner of Goldest Karat Publishing, LLC, a boutique publisher aiming to fill the ethnic diversity gap in traditional publishing.

    prettyprincesspartyset

    Are you planning a celebration for your pretty black princess? Tired of all of the blond hair, blue eyed princesses that your daughter can’t relate to? Get this party in a box featuring a beautiful black princess named Makayla from the book I’m a Pretty Princess!

    imaprettyprincess

    This set for 16 contains the following items:  (16)  9 inch plates, (16) 7 inch dessert plates,  (16) 9 inch cups, 16 pink and yellow balloons, 16 cupcake wrappers, and (1) pink tablecloth.  Also available is the “Big Hair Don’t Care” party set which is just as cute!

    bighairdontcarepartyset
    This set for 16 also contains the following items:  (16)  9 inch plates, (16) 7 inch dessert plates,  (16) 9 inch cups, 16 pink and yellow balloons, and 16 napkins.

    Remind your little black and brown girls of their sparkle by throwing them their very own princess party.  Click here to order a party set or browse some of the other amazing items available on the website including: books, coloring books, magnets, t-shirts, tote bags and more!  Use discount code “hereweeread” to get 10% off your purchases.

    Connect with Crystal Swain-Bates!

    Website | Facebook | Instagram

    The Giveaway!
    Our friend Crystal was gracious enough to sponsor this fabulous giveaway for a “Big Hair Don’t Care” party set.  Be sure to enter before the deadline.  Good luck!

    Big Hair Don’t Care Party Set

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    children's literacy, product reviews, subscription boxes

    Petit Mail Story Card Subscription for Kids + Giveaway!

    If you follow my blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about a variety of different subscription boxes and services for both kids and adults.  I love kids’ monthly subscription boxes because they offer unique educational experiences. They can give kids of all ages the chance to learn by doing fun projects, crafts and activities.

    Today I’d like to introduce you to Petit Mail!  Have you heard about these cute subscription story cards yet?  I met Alison, owner of Petit Mail,  last month on Instagram.  I saw a picture of the cards posted on her page and immediately reached out to her.  As a mom of two kids under the age of 4, I’m always on the hunt for different activities to do that incorporate both learning and fun.

    petitmail

    Petit Mail is a monthly story postcard subscription for kids, ideally suited for preschoolers and early readers.  Each month, a story card arrives in a bright, fun envelope, addressed to your child.  Story themes follow the adventures of characters Oliver and Olivia, and encourage imagination, creative play and family connection.  Currently, there are only two characters available, but there are plans to expand the characters to include more diversity.

    Parents and children can read each story card together and use the monthly adventure as inspiration for family time activities. Oliver is putting on a puppet show? You can too. Story topics include science, nature, reading, art and more.

    With so much of our days filled with technology, it’s a wonderful treat to receive paper mail – children LOVE finding envelopes in the mailbox addressed just to them.  (My children are no different.)  Some months include little bonus extras, like stickers or bookmarks and every story card includes a link to additional content for parents with activity tips and suggestions.

    When our story cards came in the mail my kids were happy to see their names printed on the envelopes.  My son received the story card entitled ‘Oliver Loves Reading’ and my daughter received ‘Olivia’s Science Project’.

    The activity on the back of my son’s story card was to go to your local library and have a library scavenger hunt.  We haven’t done this yet, but I’m looking forward to doing it!  My daughter’s activity on her story card was to mix two colors together to make a new color.  We had fun using food coloring to mix blue and red to make purple and blue and yellow to make green.

    Untitled design

    Parents and caregivers might find Petit Mail to be a very affordable gift subscription. Canada and US subscriptions cost just $6 per month (including postage) and international subscriptions are also available.  Subscriptions can be purchased for 3, 6 or 12 months, and make a great non-toy gift for kids.

    Parents can find out more about Petit Mail at: http://petitmail.ca

    Petit Mail Shop: http://www.petitmail.bigcartel.com

    Sign up for the Petit Mail newsletter here!

    Connect with Petit Mail!

    Instagram | Facebook

    Sounds great, is there a discount?
    Yes, there is!  Here Wee Read Subscribers and readers can save $10 off a 1 year (12 month) subscription using code HEREWEEREAD until May 31, 2016!

    How about a giveaway?
    I’m glad you asked!  One (1) lucky winner will win a Petit Mail story card of their choice.  You can choose between the following themes:

    • Oliver Explores Art
    • Olivia’s Pen Pal
    • Oliver Loves Reading
    • Olivia The Superhero
    • Oliver Learns About Fossils
    • Olivia’s Science Project
    • Olivia Builds A Boat

    Enter today!  Giveaway ends Thursday, April 28, 2016.  Good luck!

    Petit Mail Story Card Giveaway

    Disclaimer: I received two complimentary story cards in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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