Fascinating Facts Human Body Game: A Review from Lakeshore Learning

There are a lot of ways to learn. In my experience as both a classroom teacher and homeschooling mother meaningful learning takes place with tactile and engaging activities. Workbooks and pages have their place, but my girls remember so much more with they are involved with hands-on experiences. Most of the time we get these opportunities at museums and other special events. This time we were blessed to have one of these opportunities right in our living room! 
I’ve been thinking that a human body model might be a nice addition to our homeschool, but none of the ones I’ve seen before are made to be handled by elementary age kids. They would function as display models, but not very well as learning models for kids who are very curious.
This is The Fascinating Facts Human Body Game from Lakeshore Learning and unlike all the other body models I have looked at this one was perfect for my children to handle and take apart as much as they wanted. In addition to the really cool model, this also came with trivia cards with both easy and difficult questions. This is a fun way to explore the body. 
I was surprised at just how large this body model was. It was easy for my girls, ages 10, 8, and 6, to manipulate, take apart, and put back together. The pieces are solid plastic and it would take a lot of effort to break them. This would not be appropriate for young children who put things in their mouth, however, because there are several smaller pieces. 
I really, really liked the question cards. The easy side was perfect for Grace and Beth and they had a fun time seeking out the various anatomical parts. The cards provided statements like, “This is what you use to smell chocolate chip cookies.” Critical thinking skills come into play with this type of analytical questioning and create a more meaningful and deeper learning experience. 
We used the cards and played a game where each one would pick a card and find the part being described. If they didn’t know an answer, it was shown on a diagram on the reverse side of the card. The girls loved taking turns and the only trouble we ran into was I had to prevent them from telling each other the answers! 
In our case there were some really neat personal applications. In December of 2012 I had surgery to remove a tumor from my intestines and in July of 2013 I had a partial thyroidectomy. I’ve tried to explain both of these in terms of anatomy before to my girls, but it wasn’t until I used this body model that the light bulbs went on. This was a neat side blessing which I hadn’t anticipated. 
This is already a favorite in our household and I caught my girls several times playing with this on their own for fun. This would make a superb Christmas gift for any little boy or girl, especially one interested in a medical field. 
I also have some exciting news! The wonderful folks at Lake Shore Learning are offering a 20% off coupon! 
Disclaimer: I received the Fascinating Facts Human Body Game in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Are You Ready? Game Show®: Review

(Awesome coupon alert!!!!! Read through to the bottom to find it!)
I have really enjoyed the opportunity to review for Lakeshore Learning in the past and their most recent product I’ve reviewed does not disappoint! The girls get so excited when they see a Lakeshore Learning box on our front porch. They know it will be filled with fun as well as learning!
The Are You Ready? Game Show® series is a new way to assess grade level readiness without the traditional pencil-to paper bubble tests. What a great change of pace! One question I’m frequently asked by families who aren’t homeschooling is how I know if my children are ready for the next level. This is a new way to check their progress without it being so very boring. 
We reviewed the assessment for 1st graders called, Are You Ready for 2nd Grade? Game Show. At only $30 per level this is an excellent assessment tool for any family. The fun game format makes it much more exciting for the child. Included are 6 separate games to be played at different times. At the end of the last game the parents can input their child’s individual missed questions to gain access to printable activities to work on that specific skills. Other Lakeshore Learning products are also listed which can help with the specific skills. I really appreciate that the company offers free tools to help students achieve in the areas they are lacking. 
Beth has finished 1st grade (yay!!!!) and is busily working on work at the next level. My girls typically work a little ahead grade level so I’m not concerned about their academic progress. Even so it is nice to have assessment tools available for several reasons. It is important for them to know they are doing a great job. Accomplishment feels good and gentle assessments can help that along. It is also nice when I’m questioned about their abilities to be able to say they are at or above grade level and have something to back it up. I know I do not have to answer to anyone, but I don’t mind answering questions when asked respectfully. 
As I expected Beth very much enjoyed playing the games. She earned play money for each correct answer, but incorrect answers really weren’t  big deal. They just went into a side pile. She kept scratch paper handy for math problems although she didn’t need it. Her sisters played the game with her. Rose, the oldest, asked questions and put the cards in the correct or incorrect pile. Grace (the littlest) handed her the money. In reality all three of them enjoyed this and the other two asked if they were going to get a turn!
Everything you need is in the box including the game board, play money, game cards, and assessment paper for parents to record missed items. The only thing I would find more helpful is having a printable version of this record card available especially since I hope to use it again! 
This particular assessment lives up to it’s title of “game show.” What kid wouldn’t enjoy this over a standardized test? We do still of course complete a yearly standardized test as required by our state’s law, but this is a really fun alternative for review or for those who are not required by state law to use standardized testing.

You can check out more by watching the video below…

Now for the coupon code! Lakeshore Learning is offering my readers $10 any Are You Ready? Game Show®!!!!!!! Isn’t that great? 
Expires 7/31/14

Disclaimer: I received Are You Ready for 2nd Grade? Game Show® from Lakeshore Learning in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way. 

STEM Science Station – Magnets from Lakeshore Learning: Review

(Read to the end to find a FABULOUS coupon code!
Hands on, experiential learning are key components of our homeschool. I love to integrate as much hands-on activity as I can and manipulative for learning are huge part of this. Lakeshore Learning has a wonderful array of learning games, toys, and manipulatives to engage eager young learners born with the desire to learn and grow. 
We were blessed to review the STEM Science Station – Magnets from Lakeshore Learning. What fun this has been for my sweet girls! They are so curious by nature. I truly believe we are all created with natural inquisition, but unfortunately it is often crushed at a young age due to circumstances beyond a child’s control. What a blessing I have to help keep this wonder alive and strong in my own girls! 
The girls were itching to get their hands on everything side this wonderful box! The box has a set of cards which you can set in a stand and display while they explore. Each card challenges the child to complete a task and figure out one of the many properties of magnets.
Some challenges teach how magnets can oppose one another while others show their attractions. Students also have to figure out where to positing magnets to create movement and problem solve how to complete each task. 
I like how they were encouraged to explore around the house as well to see where magnets would work. I did make sure they knew to keep them away from certain objects, like computers, but otherwise let them go ahead and explore! Grace was shocked her magnet stuck to the dish washer since she never realized it was magnetic! It didn’t surprise her to find it stuck to the refrigerator though. 
Beth figured out she had to hold her magnet above the little car in order to make it move. I was very pleased she kept trying different ways before she gave up. Sometimes she gets frustrated, but she was quite intrigued to find the answer on her own. 
Rose, ever my over achiever, decided to make up her own experiments. The kitchen was filled with, “Let’s try this guys!” as she led her sisters to further discover more about magnets. I loved how she looked for new ways to use these and did such a good job leading her sisters to discover! 
This is a great explore and play learning tool. I love being able to say, “Let’s go do some science experiments!” and see them run to the table to get started. All of the STEM Science Stations will have this effect on your children. They are made very high quality and your children will easily begin to understand observable science through using them.
(Expires 3/31/14)
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Disclaimer: I received STEM Science Station – Magnets from Lakeshore Learning in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way.