Monday, June 24, 2019

Kids Will Learn and Retain Information While Having Fun This Summer with the New TinkerActive Workbooks from Odd Dot -- For Grades K-3 (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent samples from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Summer slump/slide is a real thing, and research has been done and continues to be done that shows that children can lose between 2-3 months of proficiency, and that can add up as their schooling goes on, and they continue to slide through the summer months.  But, parents can help prevent the summer slide with their kids, not just by having them read, but also do fun activities, including workbooks through the summer break, to help retain knowledge learned during the school year.  This will make returning to school in the fall easier for your kids, as they will still be in the "school mindset" even though you made learning fun through summer reading programs at nearby libraries that offer rewards/incentives for reading, as well as programs and workbooks that offer substance and great content that make learning a fun experience for kids.

This summer, I am giving my girls a little break from our homeschooling. Usually we homeschool year round, and I do a little review over the summer months, before diving into the new school year in early August.  But, the girls asked for the summer to do more camps and programs, as well as read all the books they want to count towards our library's summer reading program.  I told them that they could do this, if they also do a few workbooks over the next couple months.  At first, they rolled their eyes at me when they heard "workbooks" as they thought they were getting a break from learning.  But, I told them that these were not like the workbooks we use in our homeschooling.  Instead, they were workbooks that would have them learning through play.  This idea of "learn through play" intrigued the girls, and they wanted to see the workbooks I was talking about.

I showed the girls the two TinkerActive workbooks I was recently sent from Odd Dot, to review.  I was sent their Grade 2 Math and Science workbooks.  And, even though my girls just wrapped 4th grade, I knew they would still love these workbooks, as they would be fun refreshers in double digit math, counting to 1,000, time and money and so much more.  These workbooks really are jam packed, and I was amazed at what each of the workbooks cover.

TinkerActive Workbooks: 2nd Grade Math

"With TinkerActive Workbooks, learning leaps off the page and into the real world! Each workbook covers essential math and science concepts while encouraging your child to tinker, make, and engineer. All books are aligned to Common Core State Standards."

Here is more about the new TinkerActive Workbooks from Odd Dot, which released back in May, just in time for parents to pick up and share with their kids to prevent summer slide, as well as prepare them for the next grade they will be entering in the fall.

TinkerActive Workbooks: 1st Grade Science

"TinkerActive workbooks are a brand new series that combine curriculum-based exercises with project-based learning, out-of-the-book play, and a tactile reward in the form of a merit badge to be unboxed upon completion. The cast of lovable characters model tinkering, maker, and engineering projects, all of which are proven to help kids learn and retain information while still having fun!

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Play-based learning, project-based learning, and tinkering have proven educational benefits (in addition to being fun) [citation]. Teachers and parents are hungry for quality products in this category [citation] TinkerActive workbooks are designed so that every few minutes kids are doing activities that get them up and away from the books themselves.

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TinkerActive will be starting as a series of workbooks with kindergarten, first, and second grade math and science launching on May 14, 2019 and then kindergarten, first, and second grade English launching on December 31, 2019.

TINKERACTIVE WORKBOOKS | Odd Dot | On sale May 14, 2019
128 pages | 7.5” X 10.75” | $12.99

Discussions are underway about expanding to other products, including everything from flashcards to educational games, toys, kits and beyond! The goal is to make Tinkeractive as recognizable as Highlights magazine and as beloved as Lego.


What I really like about these workbooks is how they have kids learning through play and hands on learning.  Kids will be encouraged to try new things, think outside the box to solve a problem, and think of all the different possibilities to come up with an answer.  Along the way, kids will learn and hone their STEM knowledge and skills, all while having fun learning through play! These workbooks are really a win-win for both kids and parents this summer, and well worth the $12.99 they retail for each.  Once you check out these workbooks in person, you will agree with me that the $12.99 price tag  is a steal for all the amazing educational content that these workbooks cover. 

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I have only checked out the math and science workbooks for grade 2, but was blown away with all the topics covered.  And, the best part next to how kids will learn and review skills (all that align with common-core state standards), is that kids will be rewarded with a secret magnetic merit badge at the end of the book.  Kids will want to collect all the badges, which will make incorporating TinkerActive books into their year-round schooling welcoming for kids. 

My girls really liked the badge, as well as being able to add achievement stickers for the different projects they completed as they worked their way through the two TinkerActive workbooks we were sent from Odd Dot.  They loved displacing their achievement sheet on the fridge, and watching their sheet fill up with stickers, to show how they are progressing through the different skills/projects.  And, then when they reached the end of the book, they were able to "unbox"/pop out the secret merit badge magnet.  What a great reward, in addition to all learning they did along the way, that was fun!

My girls really enjoyed these workbooks, and I hope they come out with higher grade workbooks so that parents with children in 4+ grades can benefit from these well put together educational workbooks.  I can't wait to pick up their Grade 2 English workbook to look at and share with my girls, as well as pick up some workbooks to share with my niece and nephews.  I know they will have the same reaction as my girls with "Oh, not another workbook -- it is summer!"...but, once they flip through the pages of these workbooks and hear my girls rave about them and how much fun they are, I know they will want to dive right in, in order to earn their secret merit badges, too...learning through play, and having fun doing it!

If you are looking for workbooks to share with your kids, and they are in grades K-3, then you will definitely want to check out the new TinkerActive workbooks from Odd Dot.  I can't say enough about them, and I have used countless workbooks over the past 5 years of homeschool...and, these really surpassed summer workbooks I have used in the past for review.  They truly are very well done!


More About TinkerActive Workbooks:

Each workbook starts with interactive and entertaining exercises that cover the essential math, science, and problem-solving skills. Then, apply what you’ve learned with exciting hands-on tinkering, making, and engineering activities that utilize common household materials and encourage kids to learn through play. Packed with curriculum-based exercises designed for all learners (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic), TinkerActive Workbooks offer plenty of practice with at least 8 dynamic pages on each key concept. Plus, the charming and clever citizens of TinkerTown, the MotMots, guide kids through every new concept with cheer and humor.

Vetted by award-winning educators, TinkerActive Workbooks are an excellent supplement to schoolwork or at-home study, and each book is aligned to Common Core State Standards. TinkerActive Workbooks are designed to build your child’s fundamental math and science skills AND inspire them to try new things, discover new skills, and imagine new possibilities—a surefire way to encourage their love of learning.


About the Odd Dot:

Odd Dot is a publisher of nonfiction books with innovative formats for kids of all ages, with lists that range from STEM-oriented workbooks, to board books with wheels, and beyond. Combining fun and delightful artists with expert, knowledgeable, and creative authors allows Odd Dot to make joyful books for curious minds. You can learn more about the imprint’s lists on or by following along on social media @odddotbooks.

About Macmillan:

Macmillan Publishers is a global trade book publishing company with prominent imprints around the world. Macmillan publishes a broad range of award-winning books for children and adults in all categories and formats. U.S. publishers include Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Flatiron Books, Henry Holt & Company, Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Picador, St. Martin’s Press, and Tor Books. In the UK, Australia, India, and South Africa, Macmillan publishes under the Pan Macmillan name. The German company, Holtzbrinck Deutsche Buchverlage, includes among its imprints, S. Fischer, Kiepenheuer and Witsch, Rowohlt, and Droemer Knaur. Macmillan Publishers is a division of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, a large, family-owned media company headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

Disclosure: I was sent samples from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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Toy Story Fans Will Go Crazy When They See Their Name Throughout the Pages of the New Personalized Toy Story 4 Book from In The Book! Makes for a Great Gift, Too! (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Did you make it to the movies this weekend to see the new Toy Story 4 movie?  I ended up taking the girls Friday afternoon, as they couldn't wait until the weekend to see it.  They have been eagerly awaiting the release of this release since they heard about it last year, so to make them wait any longer was just youngest daughter's words to me Friday AM when we woke. :-)  The movie was so good that we ended up seeing it again today with my husband.  He was a little a disappointed that the girls couldn't wait to see it with him, but they were nice enough to not spoil the ending before he saw it. :-)

Prior to the release of Toy Story 4 in theaters on Friday, the girls and I have been enjoying the personalized Toy Story 4 book that I had created for my youngest daughter from the folks at In The Book.  

They offer personalized book for children and even adults, and for all occasions. I have always been a fan of personalized gifts, especially books for my girls.  I have bought from many personalized book companies, but this was the first time with In The Book, and it will definitely not be the last, as I was amazed at not only the quality of the personalized book sent, but also how many books available for personalizing.  I could do all my holiday shopping with this one site, and would know that everyone on my shopping list would love their one-of-a-kind personalized book, made especially for them.


  • Your child’s name appears on the cover
  • Featuring a special message on the title page
  • Upload your child’s picture in one simple click
  • Available in softback or hardback
  • Add a luxury gift box for a thoughtful finishing touch
There is also a  Personalized Toy Story Book Collection with all the Toy Story books in one collector’s edition worth checking out!  I plan to order this for my daughter for her upcoming birthday, as she is already asking for a Toy Story 4 themed birthday.

As I mentioned above, I was sent a personalized copy of the new Toy Story 4 book from In The Book, which they personalized just for Arabella.  Her eyes lit up when she saw her name on the front cover.  And, then she opened the front cover to reveal the special message I had them include:  "Mommy and Daddy love you to the moon and back.  Forever and always!"  Now that she knows how to read, it was nice to see her smile as she read this message out loud, before running over to me to give me a hug and kiss and tell me she loves me more! :-)  

At first my daughter was hesitant to read the book as she didn't want to have the book spoil the ending.  I told her she didn't have to worry as it wouldn't.  Then, I snuggled up on the couch my girls and we read this book.  Just like with the front cover, Bella lit up and smiled every time she saw her name in the book, as if she was apart of the story.  She said it made her feel special, seeing her name in the book, and was so happy that she could read so that she could enjoy this book, which features her, whenever she wants. :-)  

If you have seen the movie trailer for Toy Story 4, you will notice that some of what was included in the trailer is included in the book, so it will not be a surprise.  But, there are some surprises that will get your excited to see the movie, if you haven't already.  We ended up reading this book twice in a row the first time around, as the girls couldn't get enough of it, and then wanted to go back and take in all the detailed illustrations, as they pondered what would happen next when they saw the movie in theaters.  

Prior to seeing the movie on Friday, this personalized Toy Story 4 book became a staple at bedtime for my girls.  They fell in love with Forky, the new character that Bonnie creates in school, and were so happy that Bo Peep was back, and that she reunited with Woody.  Just like with the movie, this book is all about friendship and helping each other, and you can't help but smile when you sit to read this book to your child, and see their eyes light up not only seeing their name appear throughout the pages, but because they love the Toy Story movies and characters so much.  This is definitely one movie you have to see in theaters this summer, and then pick up when it arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray.  My girls are really hoping for a Toy Story 5, but I am content with how this movie ended.  Be warned, if you cry easily at movies, you will want tissues, as you will be tearing up at different parts in the movie, especially the ending. Don't worry, I will not give it away.  All I will say is that the folks at In The Book did an amazing job at capturing many of the stand out scenes from this new movie release, as well as introducing fans of Toy Story to the new character additions to Toy Story 4.  

Once you see this movie, I guarantee this personalized will be a must read at bedtime for your kids/grandkids for some time to come.  So, why not order copies of this book for each of your kids and then surprise them with it before or after you take them to see the movie in theaters.  You will definitely make their day with this unique personalized gift.  And, once they realize that they are apart of the story, it will make for a more enjoyable and personal read.  I could go on and on about how much my girls and I love the personalized Toy Story 4 book that was made for my youngest daughter, Arabella, to enjoy and cherish.  But, instead, why not order a copy for that special Toy Story fan in your life, and see their eyes light up when they see their name on the front cover, and hear you mention their name as you start to read the story to them.  And, if you know someone who is having a Toy Story 4 themed birthday this summer, this would make for the perfect gift to surprise them with.  They would never think that they would make it into a book of their new favorite summer movie. :-)

unicorn soft toy

To learn more about this and other personalized books available, head on over In The Book here  

They even have a save 10% off offer on their website.  Enter "SAVE10" at checkout to save 10% off your order, including this new Toy Story 4 personalized book.  So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the In The Book website to browse their personalized book offering, and order a copy of the Toy Story 4 book today.

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Bolaball Offers Summer Fun Yard Games the Whole Family Will Love Playing, Including Cornhole! (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.


One thing I wanted to do more of this summer was spending time outdoors with the whole family, without our phone or other tech gadgets.  It seems that whenever family and friends come to visit or we get together, everyone is stopping to look down at their phones, or gets caught up in their phone or other electronic devices. While it is great to have all of these advancements in technology, it really does put a damper on things, especially quality time spent with those you love.  So, to kick off summer, we had friends and family over for Father's Day weekend, and set the whole backyard up as a fun outdoor oasis (as my youngest called it). There were kiddie toys for the young children, the play set and climbing toys for the older kids, sprinklers and water toys, and even some fun games for the older kids and adults to enjoy.  One game that took me by surprise and had everyone, both kids adults, playing was cornhole.

Are you familiar with cornhole?  I had heard of it before and seen people playing at work outings, but I never played it myself.  That was until last weekend, and now like my family and friends who were in attendance at our gathering, I am hooked! 

As I looked online for more information about cornhole, as I was was intrigues and wanted to learn more, I was surprised to find that cornhole is really popular.  There are even local cornhole leagues in my area, as well as cornhole tournaments.  Crazy, huh?  Here is more about cornhole, in case you aren't familiar....


(2) targets 24″ x 36″
(8) colored bean bags
Carry bag for easy storage  and transportation
Grip handles for easy handling
Complete rules and instructions


  • Sturdy with scratch-resistant surface
  • Includes 2 targets, heavy-duty travel bag for easy storage and transportation and eight canvas bean bags
  • Easy transport with folding legs and woven handles
  • Optimal surface slide
  • Eight (8) Premium cloth canvas bags with durable all-weather play
  • Great for the beach, tail gating, parties, or just backyard fun!


There are 2 ways to score, throw your bean bags into the hole for 3 points or onto the board for 1 point.  First team to 21 points wins.


The folks at Bolaball made my introduction to cornhole possible, as they sent along their high quality, solid cornhole set, for me to review recently.  

What I loved most about their cornhole set was, next to its durability and great quality, was that it came with a storage bag, to make storing the boards and bean bags easily, as well as allow you to transport it with ease.  

After friends had the opportunity to play cornhole at our house the other day, that is all they talk about whenever we are chatting.  And, they are already asking where they can buy this cornhole set from Bolaball, as well as asking me to bring my cornhole set when I come to visit for a summer BBQ/gathering, so that we can practice more and even have little cornhole tournaments. :-)

My husband was surprised to find that there is even a cornhole league at his work, and that they meet during lunchtime to practice, and then have tournaments with neighboring companies after work.  After having played cornhole last weekend and liking it, he is hoping to get better and join his company's league, as a way to get more exercise, as well as have another stress relieving from a crazy day at the office, knowing that he will be heading outdoors to play a game that he enjoys.

In addition to the cornhole game we were sent, the folks at Bolaball also have a wonderful selection of other outdoor games, that are worth checking out, including a new Giant 4 in a Row game that I showed my girls, and that they want, so that they can play with friends, as well as my husband and I. 


I think that this game, along with the cornhole game will have us be the place to be during the summer months.  Just this weekend, the backyard was filled with neighborhood kids swinging on the swings, and hanging out, waiting for their turn to play cornhole.  :-)  Cornhole is not an adult game that you play at a bar or pub, or at your grandparents house.  Instead, it is turning into a popular outdoor game for all ages.  And, I am happy that I was able to finally try it out, and see why so many people love cornhole.  

Now whenever friends or family ask what are summer must haves, I am quick to tell them to pick up the cornhole set from Bolaball.  Even if you have a small yard, you can still enjoy this game!  And, best of all, when you play this game, you will find yourself forgetting about your phone, or needing to check in with your social channels.  You are too busy having fun and truly connecting and having fun with those in your company.  That is what spending quality time is all about, and what summer should be about.  We only have a few months before the kids return back to school, so why not make the most of it, especially being outdoors enjoying the nice weather, and making fun summer memories as a family.  And, this year, you can say that one of your memories will be learning how to play cornhole and having tournaments with family and friends, thanks to Bolaball and their amazing selection of outdoors games like cornhole, that the whole family will love.  They are made so well, that they will last a long time, making them outdoor games your family will enjoy for years to come.

To learn more about cornhole and other fun outdoor wooden games available from Bolaball, many of which you can purchase through Amazon and other online retailers including Wayfair, Walmart, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond,  , head on over to  . 

This afternoon, I received the  6 Piece Dice Giant Board Game Set I ordered the other day from Wayfair, and can't wait to introduce Yahtzee to the girls, as another fun outdoor game, that will also have them practicing their adding. Who says you can't learn while having fun?! :-)

6 Piece Dice Giant Board Game Set

I can't wait to hear about what game(s) you purchase to enjoy with your family and friends this summer, and for years to come, so be sure to share what you purchased in the comments section below.

More about Bolaball:

Bolaball is a company based on deep family values and strives to provide the highest quality product at an affordable price so everyone can enjoy their games. Bolaball also offers games like whirling bola’s, spinning bean bags, sinking washers, flying discs, and much more. Bolaball provides high quality, solid wood games that your family and ours can enjoy for years to come.

Follow Bolaball on their social channels below:

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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