Friday, March 6, 2015

Egglo Entertainment Review


Egglo Entertainment Review

We received a package from Egglo Entertainment to review! We reviewed their Easter products last year as well. This year they sent us Egglo Glow in the Dark Easter EggsThe Egg-cellent Easter Adventure bookEgglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls and Egglo Bible Verse Stickers, as well as the The Egglo Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt Event Curriculum, which is a curriculum download. We really like these unique eggs, and actually, the eggs we received last year stayed out all year and were used for a handful of different activities, though most of them were not Easter related.


The Egglo eggs actually glow in the dark! If you plan on using them for a nighttime egg hunt, I absolutely suggest charging them for a couple hours, either by leaving them in direct sunlight or under a bright light. We usually just leave them in a bowl in front of the window, so they are always ready to play with! If you don't charge them, chances are low that their glow will be bright enough for an Easter hunt. They do glow faintly, regardless of being charged or not. 

As a side note, definitely save the box the eggs come in! Last year we recycled it, but I wish we had kept it so we could easily pack them up and store them with the rest of our Easter decorations. This is how we ended up keeping them out all year long. 


While we are not devout followers of Christ, we do respect those who believe in Jesus and learn about the different meanings behind the holidays. This way, when my children are playing with their cousins who attend church, they can talk about the same topics and know what the different stories of Easter are. We teach them about rebirth, why eggs are an important symbol and about the balance of nature. 


Bean really likes the Egglo Adventure book, which is actually decently long. I read on another review that their family and church group found the story to be too long, but we actually enjoyed that it was long. It's almost 40 pages, and at least half of those pages have a full written page. The pictures are either full page or half page. The illustrations are really bright and colorful and the story is engaging. Bean especially enjoys that the children in the story go back in time to explore Ancient Egypt and go on a great journey to learn more about Easter.

Egglo Entertainment Review

The curriculum guide is not needed if you are planning to create your own activities, however if you plan on using these products for a Church group, I would definitely recommend it. It's a great resource that has many ideas and activities. The guide also has many printables that can be used for various activities. There are scroll cut-outs, coloring pages, colored egg cut-outs (we used them for a matching game last year) and small posters (we used them to glue to the front of folders for the kids to collect their papers in). The curriculum guide is worth it just for the printables, because you can use them every Easter and for multiple events. They would be wonderful to bring along to a church event and hand out to the younger kids.
Egglo Entertainment Review

The eggs look really neat when they are charged properly! We mainly use them indoors, so it's essential to make sure they are fully charged so they can be easily seen.

Egglo Entertainment Review

We have found many ways to use our Egglo eggs, from games to learning activities. They are great for nighttime hide-and-seek games, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts (simply dip the eggs in paint and use them as stamps, trace around them to design your own eggs, or create garlands with them - we tied a ribbon inside the egg and closed them then hung them up on the wall, which makes them glow at night!), and many learning activities.

Last year we focused on Easter themed sensory bins, but this year we wanted to create more hands-on learning activities. My kids are a bit beyond color matching activities, but since I have been watching my 1 1/2 year old nephew on weekdays, I created the activity for him.

I used the egg as a stencil to create an egg shape on some pieces of scrap felt. I used three bright spring colors in two shades. Munchkin ended up choosing green, pink and purple.


I traced the egg using a disappearing ink pen, so the ink will fade.


When all the eggs were cut out I let baby Z match the shades.


Once he was familiar with the colors I cut the eggs in half, either zig-zags or a curvy line. This made them them into a slightly more difficult game.


Baby Z wasn't familiar with activities like this before coming to stay with us, so we have been creating lots of opportunities to work on his color recognition, matching and sorting, and fine motor skills. These eggs, even just playing with them, popping them open and then trying to put them back together, is a great way to exercise fingers. He also has several motor problems, so any chance to work on them is amazing for him.

I put one half of each of the eggs inside the eggs. Since he's new to this, we started off with three eggs at a time.


He'd open the eggs and then try to find the matching pieces.



Munchkin, of course, had to play too, since he loves puzzles. But instead of putting them in a whole egg, he just hid a piece under half an egg. You can barely tell what color felt is inside.


He played it like a matching game, so he could only make a match if he lifted up the correct eggs.



The scrolls are pretty durable, however if you are a curious 3 year old boy, you may accidentally pull the paper out (he was trying to see how it was attached). A thin paint brush with a little craft glue will fix that problem. Each scroll has a scripture written on it. They are based on a specific scripture, but you can find the one they based it off of really easily. Older children can use their Bible to match the scriptures and compare them. When we go on scavenger hunts, we put one scroll in each egg. When children find them, they usually stop to open and read them. We typically don't fill the eggs with the scripture stickers... because they are bound to end up on something they're not supposed to. We usually add in a sticker to each folder we create for the church group. The kids can choose how to use them.


Our next activity is based on the Seven Days of Creation. We used seven Egglo Eggs for this activity. We used a small wooden container, paper grass and seven Egglo eggs. We created one activity per day for seven days. We used different materials each day to represent what was created on those days.

On the first day we filled the eggs with a small planet Earth, glow in the dark beads, a mini flashlight, a pocket watch, black felt, water (the egg was taped), and dirt.

On the second day we filled the eggs with rolled up pieces of felt. When they were used on our felt board, they were layers for the atmosphere around our felt planet Earth. We added a layer for space and the ozone layer to make it seven.

On the third day we filled the eggs with soil, dirt, rocks, leaves, bark, sticks and flowers.

On the fourth day we filled the eggs with the planets from our Safari Ltd Solar System, but we excluded the Moon and Earth and kept those on the side.

On the fifth day we created two bins, one after the other. The first contained sea creatures and the second contained birds. Most fit in the eggs, but some were too big. We made it work though. We used creatures from our Safari Ltd ocean toob, coral reef toob and backyard birds toob. They were perfect for this activity!



On the sixth day we filled the eggs with animals first and then people figures. These were randomly chosen from our collection of Safari Ltd animals and people figures. 


We love that people are diverse and come from all walks of life. :) Unfortunately I couldn't get a clear picture of the kids playing, but they loved this activity!


On the seventh day the bin was empty and they were actually pretty disappointed, but I told them that on the seventh day God took a rest. Bean had some questions and I did my best to answer them. Luckily I was raised Christian/Catholic, so most I already knew. She concluded that either it was a marvelous feat or impossible.

Our general opinion of Egglo eggs is that they are unique because they glow in the dark, they feature a cross, which most eggs don't, and they are quite sturdy (like I said, our set has been used all year long and none of them broke, which happens very frequently with regular Easter eggs). On the downside, you are paying much more for a set of 12 eggs, when you can get 48 regular eggs at your local Target for $2. But, if what you are looking for are glow in the dark eggs, then this is a pretty fair price range. We have only used them for nighttime eggs hunts a couple times, but my kids personally prefer daytime egg hunts with brightly colored eggs.

Prices:
Egglo Glow in the Dark Easter Eggs: regular price $ 11.99, currently on sale for $ 9.99
Curriculum Download: regular price $ 14.99, currently on sale for $ 9.99
Adventure Book: regular price $ 12.99, currently on sale for $ 9.99
Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls $ 4.50
Bible Verse Scroll Stickers $ 3.29

Places to find Egglo Entertainment:

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Egglo Entertainment Review

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Egyptian Mythology Small World


We are participating in Suzy Homeschooler's new series The ABCs of Raising Well-Rounded Geeklings! Be sure to check it out, because there are a ton of awesome posts and activities being shared! Today is Letter E and we are sharing our Egyptian Mythology Small World!

We used a round, shallow sensory bin filled with blue glass gems, gold glass gems (amber glass gems will also work, but we only had gold ones on hand) and our Safari Ltd Ancient Egypt TOOB. The golden gems represent the deserts of Egypt and the blue gems are the Nile river. The Safari Ltd figures blend in because most are painted in gold. We also had maps of Egypt that were played on, and they matched the pyramids and sphinx to their locations.


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Munchkin and Bean helped to create the Nile River and made sure it was "bendy," like on the map. Then they poured in the gold gems around the river to create the deserts. They added in the figures after. Four from the set are missing because Munchkin was hoarding them. :) The figures stand up easily, despite the uneven surface, and the hand-painted details are amazing! Munchkin and Bean can name each of them and match them to picture cards. I just wish there were more god and goddess figures! :)


For this small world, the kids decided to take turns. So while Munchkin was playing. mostly scooping and pouring the glass gems and talking to the figures, Bean and I were reading stories about Ancient Egypt and playing a card game that we made. It's a card game that features Egyptian gods and goddesses, landmarks (pyramid, sphinx, temples), pharaohs, burial relics, and hieroglyphs. The game have two matching cards for each picture, which I laminated and cut out. We play it kind of like go fish, in that we ask the other player if they have a certain card and try to make a match. Each match is a point. If your opponent doesn't have the card you ask you, you draw from the main deck. Each player starts with 5 cards and there is no hand limit.

So for today, we just played with the gods and goddesses. Playing the card game worked on picture and word recognition, since under each of the pictures is the name of the god or goddess. I'm actually thinking of making them part of a 3-part card set, for when we aren't playing the game. But for the most part, the card game has been one of the best ways to learn each of the gods name. We even quiz each other to see if we can match the god or goddess based on what they were the patron of. So for instance, Anubis is the God of the Dead. So if Bean was trying to match his card, she might ask, "Do you have the God of the Dead?" Instead of, "Do you have Anubis?"

Once Munchkin was finished, Bean took over and told me all about what the ancient Egyptians were doing. They were building pyramids, carving giant statues, and writing hieroglyphs on the walls. Occasionally while she was playing she would stop to "take notes" in her own made up hieroglyphs. We plan on picking up a couple books on ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs on our next trip to the library.

Bean loves telling her own stories while she plays, but she also loves to hear about the "real" stories. So I often read to her while she plays in her small worlds. Bean loves "huge books with long stories," so I oblige her with our collection of mythology books. She will let me know if she wants to hear about a particular god or event, but mostly we just read them in order. Learning about mythology is a great way to introduce children to other cultures and religions.

Do you teach your children about mythology? What kind of play activities do you set up? Do you read books while they play, or do you let them tell the stories? Let us know in the comments!

You may be interested in these books from Usborne (click on the picture):

    

  





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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dragon Small World


We are participating in Suzy Homeschooler's new series The ABCs of Raising Well-Rounded Geeklings! Be sure to check it out, because there are a ton of awesome posts and activities being shared! Today is Letter D and we are sharing our Dragon Small World!

Since I loved the style of our excavation posts, I decided to write another mini-series of sorts on fantasy themed small worlds. I let Bean choose a sensory bin that we would use for each small world and a handful of supplies, including glass gems, moss, sticks, and toys.

For the Dragon Small World, we used a shallow, round tray, glass gems in blue, green and gold, and a handful of Safari Ltd dragons (check out the Lair of Dragons Collection 1 and Collection 2 toobs). We poured the green glass gems into the sensory bin first, scooped them into corners to form land masses, and then poured blue glass gems into the remaining open areas to form a river.


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Munchkin and Bean eagerly jumped in and started playing. While they played, I read them stories and tales about dragons from our Usborne books (you can find them at the bottom of this post). After a short rest and snack we returned to the sensory bin and worked on storytelling. I asked them what the dragons were named (they had names like Treelo and Lobo). I asked them what type of dragon they were (river, sea, forest, magic), what they loved doing (flooding rivers, collecting gold and treasure, laying eggs), where they lived, etc. They collaborated on many of the ideas, like agreeing on a name or deciding what the dragon was doing. Once they knew who all the dragons were they began telling stories.


Part of the storytelling process, at least for Bean, meant creating a symbol to represent each of the dragons. Below is the river dragon's symbol, a drop of water. She said the gems in the middle of the symbol was their name in the dragon language.


They were adventurous dragons and had collected many bags of gold on their missions. After about a half hour of the story they decided that they needed some glass gems to represent all the gold the dragons were hoarding. At which point I procured a bag of golden glass gems and they poured a bunch into the "heart of the mountain."


Bean really loves hands-on storytelling activities. She loves that she can play and create the story at the same time. Playing often inspires new parts to the story she is telling, like if some of the blue gems spill over the edge of the sensory bin, then those suddenly become a massive wave that gets incorporated into the scene she is describing.


Meanwhile, Munchkin discovered the gem bag! He created his own fine motor activity out of this simple set-up, which I hadn't even intended. But he loved it! He filled it all the way up to the top, commented on how heavy the bag was, and then proceeded to dump it out and start again. :)


It was a wonderful storytelling experience for all of us. I listened eagerly to the story and helped gather any additional materials they needed (like the coconut that is really a deep, dark cave). And while Munchkin lost interest after a while (Lego's are forever calling his name), Bean remained interested for over an hour! She loved that I listened intently to her story and had a lot of fun answering my questions or coming up with her own questions to ask me (she totally quizzed me about my knowledge on Dragon lore, which meant eventually digging out our Dragonology book for more detailed answers). She also noted that we had nothing that served as "dragon eggs," so those will be on my future crafts list.

Activities like this are a great way to work on literacy skills, such as vocabulary and language, self-expression, critical thinking skills, problem solving, and communication, among others!

You may be interested in these books from Usborne (click on the picture):


  







Follow Caitlyn Stock (Suzy Homeschooler)'s board Raising Well-Rounded Geeklings on Pinterest.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Koru Naturals Review


We received Pure Emu Oil and Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner from Koru Naturals to review! These products are simply amazing and really helped our family! We have always tried to stay away from body products that are filled with harmful chemicals, because we all suffer from skin sensitivity and they are better for the environment, so I love that these products are all natural! 

Koru Naturals is a New Zealand company that brings the ancient traditions and natural recipes of the Maori culture to the rest of the world. Koru is the Maori name for a newborn, unfurling fern, which represents new life, growth, strength and peace. Many of their products use Manuka honey, lanolin and oils like rosehip, tea tree, emu and manuka. They use only the best ingredients and their products are certified that there was no animal testing. They believe in only testing their cosmetic products on humans. 

Koru Naturals Review
Emu Oil is a traditional Australian Aboriginal natural oil. The oil is milky white and thin. It spreads really easily and a small amount goes a long way (seriously! use less and see how it goes). The Emu Oil is an incredible moisturizer and penetrates skin and hair. You can use it as a topical moisturizer, it does not clog pores (which many lotions do!) and it's hypoallergenic (great for people who have extremely sensitive skin). You should always use this oil externally and only on unbroken skin. If you put on too much it will feel greasy. So always start off with a small amount (a drop or two) and then work more into it if you need. For example, I only use 1 drop for extremely dry hands or 2-3 drops for long hair (2 drops for long, thin hair and 3 drops for long, thick hair). We used it in the bath once and the directions suggested a teaspoon, but we only used about 5 drops. It also works wonders on dry feet! We added 3 drops to a bucket of hot water (not burning hot, just hot enough to be comfortable) and soaked our feet for about an hour - so relaxing! (If you cover your legs and feet in a thick blanket it will really lock in the heat and completely defrost you on a freezing day!)
My son, who has extremely sensitive skin on his face, was able to use the Emu Oil to help moisturize his skin. Usually we use a comfrey cream or lotion bar to help soothe it (we still use the comfrey cream before bed), but now we start the day off with a drop of Emu Oil rubbed into each cheek. The weather in our area has been really cold this winter and we happen to live in what is now the "snowiest city in America." They're now saying we may break a record for coldest winter in recorded New England history. So the combination of super cold air and extra sensitive skin means that Munchkin's cheeks are usually red, dry and feel like they are burning. The Emu Oil helps to keep his cheeks moisturized for much longer, usually lasting several hours. And on the plus side, it's really difficult for him to wipe off the oil. He doesn't do it purposely, but he uses his sleeve to wipe his mouth while eating (terrible habit, but he always forgets to use his fabric napkin). Which means that if he has any cream or lotion on his face, it eventually gets wiped off throughout the day. The oil is thick enough that it really sticks to his face. Water basically slides right off it. 

The Emu Oil is also great for extremely dry hands, which is a problem I have. I only use a single drop and rub the tops of my hands together. I typically do this before bed, because I don't want the oil to rub off on anything (like my crafts) during the day. The Emu Oil also works amazing on dry scalps, which is an issue Albz has. He uses it about twice a week, usually after a shower. I definitely do not suggest using this oil before you shower, simply because it will prevent you from using shampoo or conditioner and it feels really greasy when it's wet. I usually use it as a leave in conditioner. The directions say to use 2-3 drops and start at the tips and work your way to the scalp, but I usually start from the scalp and work my way down. It's just easier for me that way and I haven't noticed much of a difference. 

Emu Oil is available in a 2 oz, 4 oz, or 8 oz bottle. Prices start at $9.85.

Koru Naturals Review
The Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner combines honey, lavender, chamomile, peppermint and rosehip oil into the perfect blend to improve hair health. The smell of this is shampoo and conditioner is so refreshing! It will really wake you up in the morning. 

I was especially excited to try out the Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner! It has been really hard for me to find shampoo and conditioner that is sensitive enough for my skin. Most just leave my scalp itchy and that drives me crazy. For months I just used raw apple cider vinegar and baking soda. It worked and it was a relief from regular, cheap shampoo. But honestly, I much prefer an herbal blend. Not only does the Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Condition smell great, but it works amazingly well! The scent doesn't set off my allergies and the soap is mild and doesn't cause any irritation.

Munchkin and Bean both love this shampoo and conditioner as well. Bean likes that it is made with honey and smells like "a garden." Munchkin likes the minty smell. Albz has used it a few times and has seen improvement with his dry scalp and dandruff. And the kids have all commented on loving the way their hair smells good after a bath.

Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner can be bought as a set for $14.95 or separately for $5.75 each.

We absolutely loved both of these products and cannot wait to try others from Koru Naturals in the future. The Koolpurrie Restoring Balm would be wonderful on dry hands and feet during the winter, the Pure Lanolin Lip Balm would be perfect for chapped lips and the Pure and Simple New Zealand Lanolin Cream will stay on my list if I ever get pregnant again. Lanolin cream is a must for new mother's! Ok, not a must, but it definitely helps! And not just for mom's, but on babies too. It's very effective in preventing and soothing diaper rash. Nth to mention all the wonderful Manuka honey products! I absolutely suggest checking out Koru Naturals products!


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Koru Naturals Review

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