Category Archives: Early Education

Primrose Schools Suggests Wallet-Friendly Ideas to Bust Summertime Boredom

Guest post: by Dan Gilbert

How do you keep your child occupied during those long summer months without breaking the bank? That’s a question many parents find themselves trying to answer this summer. Luckily, Primrose Schools has some creative solutions to keep your kids mind active. Not only are these solutions aimed at keeping money in your pocket, but also to keep your child from facing those awful summer boredom blues.

A summer with no stimulated activity can lead to what Primrose refers to as the “brain drain” effect. Studies show that without stimulation, children can lose up to 60 percent of what they learned during the school year. To keep this from happening, Primrose Schools suggests to encourage imaginative play and have a plan in place to keep children engaged during the summer months.

“It’s important to keep children’s minds active during the summer, but it doesn’t take an expensive activity or big vacation to capture their attention,” said Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of Education for Primrose. “After all, imagination is free.”

These are some inexpensive ideas to have ready for those summer days when your child cannot seem to find anything else to do:

1.    Beat the Boredom Jar: All you need is a jar, some paper, scissors, glue and markers. Encourage your children to share their own ideas and help you decorate and label a simple jar as the family “Boredom Buster Jar.” Next, write everyone’s ideas down on slips of paper and as a group decide which ones should go in the jar. Anyone in the family can pull any idea out of the jar to fight the summertime boredom blues. This activity should be done in the early days of summer and can last you all through the summer. You may even choose to do a boredom jar after the summer!

2.    Art Treasure Chest: All you’ll need to gather basic art supplies–child safe scissors, glue, markers, tape, and construction paper. Put them in a special box along with empty boxes, scraps of foil and old buttons. Occasionally add a special surprise like chalk, stickers, or stamp pads so there’s always something new for the children to find. Even if you normally have these supplies around the house, it‘s fun for children to know that the Art Treasure Chest is just for them. They’ll probably have some good ideas of other household items that can be recycled to fuel their creative energies. This is another simple activity that can last an entire summer.

3.    Summer Scrapbook: This is something that the whole family can participate in and will last all summer. All you need to do is get a spiral notebook, some markers or crayons, and some glue. Each family member can take turns adding what they this is a special memory. Add pictures, souvenirs and write a short description to go with each. Update as frequently or infrequently as you want! After the summer, everyone can enjoy the memories all over again!

4.    Camping Out: Not all kids may be up for the idea of sleeping outside, so what better way to make them feel safe than sleeping in your back yard! Bring a backpack with a flashlight, some snacks, books and other sorts of activities along with a couple blankets and/or chairs to sit on. Sing, tell stories and have some fun! This is a great way for some family bonding.

5.    Stories Alive: It sounds too simple, but reading is one of the most important ways to keep young minds engaged during the summer. Make it even more exciting by acting out the story! Use costumes and props to make the story come to life.

6.    Family Performances: Break out old clothes or costumes and encourage children to make up characters and create a play to act out. They are the directors, actors, and producers. They can also make musical instruments out of pots/pans, wooden spoons, empty canisters and have a parade; or everyone can play along to your family’s favorite songs. By recording the performances, you will not only be able to watch them back right away for even more entertainment, but you’ll also be capturing a bit of family history everyone will enjoy for years to come.

7.    Fort Building: Children love to build all kinds of structures–from small towns to large towers. Constructing forts or tents is an activity that can keep children focused and problem solving for hours. All the items you needed are found around the house–some chairs, cushions, blankets… and of course adult supervision.

8.    Cookbook Fun: Have you ever shared your favorite cookbook with your children? Take it out and discuss what recipe is your favorite, then ask your child to pick out a recipe he or she would like to try. Cooking can be a fun and easy way to keep math skills fresh.

9.    Listening Game: Lie down in the backyard, in the den or at the park and listen. This is similar to watching the clouds and naming the shapes, and it encourages everyone to slow down and focus on listening. What do you hear? Do you hear what I hear? Can you imitate the sound?

10.  Scavenger Hunt: This is easy. Just make a list of household items, or items found outside around the house. Split into teams, or do it individually. This can even be a fun way to engage the neighbors. Everyone can participate!


There are a couple important things to remember when introducing your child to any type of activity; know that each child is different. Every child has his or her own personality, likes, dislikes, learning capabilities and skills. Instead of ignoring these differences, use them to modify and adapt each activity to fit the needs of your children. Many times, children say they are bored because the activity they were doing was either too simple or too advanced to keep them occupied for long. Activities should be fun and challenge what they know, but should keep in line with the interests and developmental levels of your children.

“Keeping children engaged with open-ended activities that stretch their imaginations during the summer months helps them develop their independence, creativity, and thinking,” said Dr. Zurn. “We want to help parents keep the “brain drain” at bay while their children play.”

So with these tips in mind, sit down with your family and make a plan for an engaging, imaginative and fun summer without any brain draining!

Submitted by Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, they have helped individuals achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® accredited, early child care services and education.  Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Dan has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.


Kids in the Kitchen: Fulfilling Fun

Guest Post by Lisa Shoreland

Cooking with your kids is a great way to build a variety of skills while having tasty, tactile fun in the process. Working off of a recipe, whether from a cookbook, online or even–yes!– on a Wii, helps enhance a child’s reading skills. Ingredient measurement and unit conversion draw math into the mix, and the step-by-step organizational process of cooking improves logical thinking (for added practice, try doubling recipes or cutting them in half). The best part about cooking with your kids is that while children are practicing basic math, language and logic skills, they are being rewarded by their own delicious creations. And what could be better than that? Try these simple, time-tested recipes with your kids and get filled up on both laughter and learning.

1.   Ants on a Log

For children new to the kitchen, start with something basic like ants on a log. Fun and simple to make, these tasty ants are a classic childhood staple. As an added bonus, this recipe is recommended as a healthy “Smart Snack,” comprising several food groups, by the McKinley Health Center.

5 stalks celery
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup raisins

Directions: Cut the celery stalks in half. Spread with peanut butter. Sprinkle with raisins (“ants”). Enjoy!

2.   Mini Pizza

1 split English muffin or Bagel
Pizza sauce
 (approx 1/4 cup)
Pizza cheese (shredded)
Toppings such as mushrooms, pepperoni or broccoli

Directions: Toast your muffin or bagel. Spread pizza sauce evenly on muffin or bagel halves. Sprinkle cheese on top and add your toppings. Put on tray and put into toaster oven set on broil. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

3. Simple, Savory Soup

14 oz package smoked sausage, sliced
1 c thick salsa
1 c BBQ sauce
1 c corn, canned or frozen
15 1/2 oz can kidney beans, drained
3 lb 5 oz can pork and beans, drained
1 medium onion, chopped

In a large pot used for soup or pasta, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Your stew is ready!

Remember to always supervise young children in the kitchen, especially with knives, toasters and ovens. Use your discretion when assigning tasks. Maybe Mom puts things in and takes things out of the oven, or Dad chops vegetables, while the children mix and arrange ingredients. Once simple recipes like the ones above have been mastered, venture into the more precise sciences, like baking (cookies anyone?). And always encourage sampling, tasting and experimentation; cooking should be a fun, enriching and delicious process for all!

Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching radiology scholarships as well as pharmacy scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

2011 ALSC Notable Children’s Recordings — Nominated Titles List

2011 ALSC Notable Children’s Recordings — Nominated Titles

All of us here at are proud and honored to have
Billy Gorilly – Rockin’ the SchoolHouse, Vol.2 included as part of the ALSC Notable Children’s Recordings Nominations Discussion List for 2011.

Educational Music for Kids by Billy GorillyWe’d like to thank and praise all the committee members for their tireless work auditioning countless submissions and compiling the list. We would also like to congratulate all the winners.

We look forward to 2011 being another year filled with educating and engaging children through our recordings and encouraging them to reach their full potential by becoming life-long learners.

We’re also very happy to announce that we’ve added Follett Library Resources/Book Wholesalers Inc. as one of our official distributors.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

Tamara Maellaro

Friendship Tea ~ A Sweet Little Gift

Fall is quickly approaching which means all the holidays will be here soon. And with the holidays comes gift giving. September makes me want to get out my sewing machine, make cards, bake, and all that other crafty stuff. It just makes me feel good.

As I was feeling all crafty and creative I was also writing the Billy Gorilly Family Newsletter (If you like you can view newsletter here). I wanted to include Family Friendly recipes that the kids could help make, and wouldFriendship Tea from Music and Fun for Kids also be perfect for gift giving. As I was thinking, I remembered “Friendship Tea”.  My mother-in-law was the first one to share this recipe with me many years ago. I have fond memories of this special tea. She did not have much money, but she always gave very thoughtful loving gifts. I knew that this gift was from her heart, and her way of showing us how much she cared. I would be reminded of her love over and over until I finished the last bit of tea mix.

This recipe is easy to make and I’ve included a gift tag template

My husband also loves this tea. When I was taking pictures of the finished product my husband asked if he could have some, so I made him a cup of “Iced Friendship Tea” garnished with a slice of lemon. His response was “yum this is really good, can I have some more”. After 2 glasses of tea I did what any good wife would do and reminded him that this does have sugar, so drink accordingly.

Friendship Tea would be a perfect thoughtful little gift for your girlfriends, teacher, hostess, or just about anyone.

You can store the mix in clean recycled glass  jars, or purchase fancy jars. Just make sure the jars have airtight lids. I created gift tags (my gift to you) to adorn the jars, which include instructions on how to make the tea . Tie the tag to the jar with a ribbon and you are set to go.

Ingredients you will need: Print Recipe Card and Gift Tags
Tea Powder
Lemonade mix
Orangeade mix
Cinnamon & Clove
Containers to store mix
Printer for gift tags and recipe card (optional)

Mix ingredients in large bowl, then store in airtight containers. How easy is that!

Kids will have fun stirring the ingredients, learning how to measure, and about sharing with others.

Click Image to get recipe at

Download and Print Recipe and Gift Tag Template

I hope you enjoy making this as much as I do.

Be well,

How To Make A Five-Point Star With 1 Cut

Hello friends,

I found this in my files and I thought it would be perfect to share with you today. I created this how-to awhile ago for a newsletter I sent out.

I show you how to make the star just like they say Betsy Ross did many years ago. This would be a great thing to show the kids. String a bunch of them together and you can make a decoration to hang across the room as you celebrate July 4th.

New! how to make a star video on youtube

Have fun making your Stars!

Click on image to download five-point star instructions. ©2010 BillyGorilly.comClick on image to download the pdf file

★★★★Then make a bunch of Stars ★★★★

I hope everyone has a fun, safe holiday weekend with family and friends.



Aquarium Craft • No Water Needed • Make A Splash — Read

Make A Splash Read aquarium craft

Supplies Needed:
• Print Out
• Scissors — Circle cutter (optional)
• Tape
• Stapler
• Crayons
• Pencil
• 2-8in. paper plates
• Saran Wrap (optional)
• Green Easter Grass (optional)

© aquarium craft

Enjoy Your Aquarium

The template is in .pdf file format and it’s Free.
Get Template Now

If you are interested in a Make A Splash song Billy Gorilly has recorded a Theme Song for this years summer reading program.
Listen Here track #20.
You can also get a free 60 second promotional version here

Hope you enjoy!


Post Slacker

Ok I have a confession to make. I have not been very good lately about posting. I’m sorry. I’ll be getting back on track soon, I hope.

I have been a bit busier with the music I work on and just h© Tamara Maellaro billygorilly.comaven’t had the time. We are getting ready to release Rockin’ the SchoolHouse vol. 2, and that takes prep work. I have lot’s of HTML to write, graphics to design, web pages to upload, and worksheet to create. I could go on but…

I just wanted to send out a little note to my dear friends to let you know I have not forgotten about you. Soon, I will be more attentive and a better blogger.