Tag Archives: son

5 Reasons Why Computer Games Improved My Son’s Spelling

Spelling Pic

I know what you are thinking! Computer and we limit the children’s time on it, trust me, I’ve been there, I still AM! But my son was reading very complicated books and was really great at understanding and reading them, but when it was time to write answers, to spell, oh no! Even words he had just read, simple day to day words would come out like some foreign language and trust me, they were not in any known dictionary!

Well, Minecraft and Clash of Clans came along and he needed to chat, sometimes, unusual words were involved in the game! He started observing other players and started mastering the most common words and also the harder ones. Let me share a secret – 7, 8 even 9 year olds don’t chat with acronyms or abbreviations, they write things down, full words as a way to communicate with each other. It’s their brain trying to make sense of thinking and typing at the same time, fast enough to ask for resources, for donations, for troops and for their buddy who is playing with them to follow them and attack.

So after my frustration with my son’s literature answers, and observing his progress and maturity in the written language and how it had developed in parallel with his game skills, I have reached the conclusion that games can have a positive impact on your child’s education, as long as they are playing games  that reach and use those skills.

As a linguist, these are my findings, comparing my observation and the data on my son’s homework:

  1.  Games can improve spelling if your child uses chat mode, because the speed and level of concentration will require that they master their spelling to write while they play.
  2. At age 6-8, children are trying to make sense of building sentences, without proper punctuation and connectors, so words need to have full meaning, because most times, two words will convey the meaning of a full 10 word sentence. Well, no better place then games, where speed will require precision and concision, above all.
  3. Children don’t want to sound “not cool”, so sometimes my son would shout across the room, mom, how do you spell? Spelling becomes a must have skill, so the cool older kids playing don’t make fun of you!
  4. My son’s communication skills also were enhanced while playing Minecraft, Clash of Clans and Terraria since he had to master Skype, research mods, glitches and tricks on You Tube, which brought extra hours of reading and learning, prior to playing the game.
  5. His typing skills were also developed, because with no formal typing lessons, he suddenly became a very fast keyboarder.  There is a chat section on Minecraft which has motivated him to learn to type faster and more accurately and sometimes communicate with several players at the same time. 

So more specifically about Minecraft, my favorite, way beyond spelling, when you spawn in Minecraft you are in the middle of nowhere with trees, caves and animals around.  If you are playing in survival mode, you will also see creepers, skeletons, zombies, spiders or endermen that will attack you starting at sundown.  You need to try to survive by cutting down trees and building some type of shelter to protect yourself from the monsters that come out at night.  You also have  hunger bars and if you don’t find food, you will die.

Sounds easy, but trust me it’s not.  You must come up with a strategy for surviving that first night and be quick about it lest you die at the hands of the monsters in the dark or a hungry belly.  I have seen the kids come up with elaborate plans for surviving that first night.  They’ve learned to hunt for food, build shelter, mine coal for torches and make tools from natural resources all within the span of a 10 minute Minecraft “day”. Tough, huh?

I’m impressed so much I have even recommended some parents to use games to help my foreign language students enhance their reading and spelling skills. Check it out on my post on favorite apps!

Just remember, the best way to help your child excel at any subject is to make it fun and help him feel successful. Nothing is more fun then playing video games!

Amazing Surprise = Nintendo 2DS

Nintendo 2DS

DS 2D disclosure

My son was pleasantly surprised two days before Christmas with a Nintendo 2DS, absolutely loved it and of course, wanted to share with you, since most stores now have AMAZING New Year Sales, why not get one NOW?

Basic Features:

  • Dual-Core ARM processor
  • 4GB SD Card included
  • 3.5-inch, 400×240 upper display; 3-inch, 320×240 display
  • 1300mAH battery, good for 3.5 – 5.5 hours 3DS game play
  • MSRP: $129.99

Design:

Nintendo’s design for the 2DS at first appears somewhat different. They’ve taken the trademark two screens of the traditional clamshell DS and 3DS hardware and simply stacked them one on top of the other vertically on a single plane. It’s like a 3DS without a hinge in the middle, and after seeing and touching the thing, my son loved it!

What I actually found was that the Nintendo 2DS has a great design, and fits nicely in the hands. The 2DS feels durable and well-built. It feels, in fact, like the kind of gadget you can probably spill some snacks on without much effect, which makes it a great device, especially for younger children!

The hand positioning in terms of the controls fit my grip perfectly, but your mileage may vary.  The sleep switch ensures you wont’ burn through the battery too quickly in the absence of a clamshell sleep trigger, and the light/durable feeling of the overall package makes it seem like an ideal choice for children or for travelers who just want a game they can pack and know it will not suffer any trip damages.

Click below to watch my son’s review and how excited he was to finally get to try it! He tends to take it with him on trips instead of the other consoles, as in his own words: I just put it in my pocket and go!

 

I highly recommend it, especially if you have a younger child and you are looking for a great durable game option!

When you wish upon a star….my son’s wish

This review of Nintendo 3DS XL and Two Pokemon Games was made possible thanks to Kidzvuz and Nintendo but all opinions are our own.

Well, my son had written a letter to Santa, only 6 items on the list, two of them were a Nintendo 3DS XL and games to go with it, since it was the second year he had asked for that, he looked at me while writing and said: Mom, do you think Santa will bring it?
I answered, you need to wish, really hard! You wish and it will come true!
Needless to say I had plans to go buy the game for Christmas, I even shared that with all my blogger friends!
I received an email last Monday, from Kidzvuz,an amazing website where children upload their own videos about things they like or products they received for review and share their honest opinion! They invited my son to review nothing less than the Nintendo 3DS XL and 2 Pokemon games! I was so excited to be “working” with him and on a video to share about a great product and about something he had asked for so long!

Nintendo 3 DS

We received the Nintendo 3DS XL and the games to be downloaded and he hasn’t put it down since! I had a hard time asking him to put away today and save it for Christmas! We recorded a non scripted video with his opinions and after we finished recording it, he looked at me, sitting by the tree and said: Mom, you were right, when you wish, when you really wish, it happens! I had no idea Santa would find a way of sending the game with your work! But I’m happy he did!

The Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL systems open up a whole new world of eye-popping gameplay possibilities. The stereoscopic 3D display of the upper screen gives objects within the game world a feeling of space and depth that extends far into the back of the screen. It becomes easier to see the position of characters and obstacles in the world, making many game experiences even more intuitive for all types of players.

pokemon x:y

 

In Pokemon X and Y for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, trainers embark on amazing new adventure through the gorgeous Kalos region, where they will find new Pokemon and classic favorites, experience dynamic battles and enjoy new game-play features that enhance their journey through this exciting new world. 

Mega Evolution, Fairy-type Pokemon, PSS (player search system) are among many new features. 

For more information on the games and challenges, please click here.

For a complete review, watch my son’s thoughts and information on details on the Nintendo 3DS XL and the Pokemon X and Y Games. 

Here is my son’s video:

So what are you waiting? If you had any doubts, doubt no more, this is the perfect Holiday Gift!

Disney Infinity – Infinite Possibilities

Disney Infinity Logo 

 disclosure-disney

 

In Disney’s most ambitious video game initiative ever, Disney Infinity introduces an all-new game universe where a spark of imagination unlocks a fantastical world where players have unprecedented freedom and endless opportunity to create stories and play experiences starring the beloved characters from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios’ most popular franchises.

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For the first time, players will place real-world interactive figures – characters, power discs and Play Set pieces – on a device called the “Disney Infinity Base” to activate original, story-driven adventures in the game worlds, also known as “Play Sets,” of “Monsters University,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Incredibles.” In each respective ”Play Set,” players will take on the role of a variety of popular characters including Sulley, the naturally gifted scarer; Captain Jack Sparrow, the sword-wielding double crosser; and Mr. Incredible, one of the world’s greatest crime-fighters, and battle enemies, solve challenging puzzles, overcome obstacles and complete a variety of other unique quests.

I can’t even tell you how excited my son was when the set arrived, he couldn’t wait to open it and play!

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As players advance through each adventure, they will collect characters, vehicles, upgrades, gadgets and more which they can save to a virtual “Toy Box.”  At any time, players can access their personal “Toy Box” and use the items to create one-of-a-kind Disney adventures featuring any combination of characters, environments and items across all franchises. The possibilities are endless and players are only limited by their imaginations.

My son and my husband spent hours enjoying the Toy Box feature! Here are a few screen shots to give you an idea of this amazing feature!

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KEY FEATURES:

  • Unprecedented Creative Play – Featuring a virtual “Toy Box” and a vast open world environment, players can create their own stories and customize their adventures combining characters, environments, gadgets, vehicles and more.  The possibilities are truly infinite as Disney will add new additions from the company’s vast library of entertainment properties.
  • Infinite Storyline Possibilities – Disney prides itself on its storytelling culture and for the first time ever, Disney Infinity will put the story creation into the hands of consumers. Players will be able to create their own adventures in an open-world environment and will give players unprecedented freedom for creative play.
  • Multiple Franchises Across All Platforms Disney Infinity introduces an all-new universe, featuring a toy-inspired art style where multiple Disney franchises and characters can exist and interact in one game and across Xbox360, PS3, Wii, Wii-U, 3DS, PC and online, as well as on smart devices including tablets and mobile phones.
  • Interactive Figures Activate In-Game Adventures and Customizations Disney Infinity will initially introduce a line of 40 collectible interactive figures – characters, Play Set pieces and power discs – that allow players to expand and customize their play experiences. Over time, Disney Infinity will release additional characters and “Play Sets” and this platform will constantly evolve.
    • 17 interactive character figures allow players to experience a variety of their favorite characters in each ”Play Set” and in “Toy Box” play
    • 3 Play Set pieces that add new Disney and Disney•Pixar “Play Set” locations
    • 20 power discs enhance environments, add gadgets and more
  • Co-op Multiplayer Action Disney Infinity supports 2 player co-op play in structured adventures and up to 4 players in “Toy Box” mode.

My husband and son had a blast playing the game. My son is already asking for more characters to join the fun! For more information, check out the website: www.disney.com/Infinity. I can assure you, this will make an amazing holiday gift, for all ages!!!

Watching Disney Interactive Intro

Video game images were provided by Disney. 

Christmas Bucket List – Before My Son Is Too Old!

BB1 bucket

My son and I had a big talk tonight; he was telling me he was homesick at his first sleepover and I assured him it was normal! I confessed I missed him a lot too, but even though it was OK to feel that way, I wanted him to do more of that, since he is an only child and needs to have friends, do play dates and have fun while doing it! He said he did enjoy it, so I told him that was what he should remember about his first sleepover!

Well, our conversation made me realize he is growing up and there is no holding him back! My little boy is becoming a smart, very inquisitive young man and I’d better do some things I’ve been wanting to do with him, before he is way too old for them!

So I created a Bucket List, 10 things I want to do with him this Christmas to make sure they stay in his memory for years to come! Here is my list:

Take him to see Lion King or Radio City Christmas Show

Buy some Brazilian Classics and read to him with a hot cup of cocoa, explaining the history of each story!

Buy gifts, wrap them together and give to a child in need! Would love to bring a foster child for Christmas!

Take a cooking class together, after seeing how much he loved the pie making class.

He loves art, loves drawing, so I want to take him to visit and tour a couple art schools and  give him a month of art classes!

Get him some special Portuguese time with my friend’s mother, once a week, who will not only be teaching him Portuguese but also bringing some grammy warmness to him, since he hasn’t seen my mom in three years!

Give him a new laptop, he’s always owned hand me down ones and complains about how leggy they are!

 Take him to ice skate at the Rockfeller Center, visit the Nintendo and Lego Stores and have dinner at Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square! After all, he loves NY City!!

He loves recording videos and talking about his favorite video games, but his laptop features are not where they should be, so we will be equipping the new laptop with a nice video program, to allow him to record his video tips!

He loves Brazilian Barbecue but we haven’t been to one of those restaurants since May, I want to surprise him on his Christmas break and take him to have lunch at Rodizio Grill or Fogo de Chao!

Tell me, if you made a list, what would you add to it? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Teaching my son to pay it forward

 

 

I have received compensation to purchase some the items, but I’m not being compensated to share my experience and all opinions are my own.

BTS Payitforward event sent us the greatest opportunity of all, get my son involved in sharing supplies and a backpack with a child in need! I jumped at the chance to shop for items together and fill the backpack with things we chose as well as finding a local charity to donate it!

Our Sponsor Campus Book Rentals, provided an amount which covered some of the items and we ensured the backpack and items would meet most needs of a child my son’s age, in 5th grade.

We shopped at local stores, looking for deals at Staples, Walmart and Dollar Days, we bought the backpack at Wallmart!

My son spent 20min choosing the items, as if they were for him! He carefully selected styles and colors and said, this is good, no don’t buy that, carefully selecting items!

BTS1 final

We arrived home and the items filled my office floor, my son helped pack the backpack which was donated the following day at the Kingdom Chamber to Good Seeds a Non Profit Organization which benefits Latin families in Camden, NJ .

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We wanted to thank Book Campus Rentals for providing incentive for families like mine to take the time and effort to payitforward! 

 

Campus Book Rentals is a company that offers students up to 90% off their textbooks! It not only allows students to save money, it helps students make money by providing services for students to rent out their textbooks to other students. Campus Book Rentals has been around since 2007, and continues to help students live a more affordable life. Campus Book Rentals is proud to sponsor such an amazing pay it forward event!

Sharing Healthy Snacks For Kids

 

 

dole logoI am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

 

This project is very dear to my heart because I have been searching for months for an opportunity for my son to volunteer and serve the community, understanding the importance of sharing while knowing other families have needs that are not met and we can help by doing our part! I work with children and witness on a daily basis, families which look for our classes but unfortunately are not able to afford it, while I have not put in place a program for families in need, I saw the opportunity to join the Dole Champions for Kids Campaign, as my first step towards making a difference in my community! We chose Angels of God Clothing Closet, a local non profit which assists children in need, to receive the healthy snacks for kids! Also because it was founded and it is partially run by a teenager who wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, I thought it would be a great example for my son and other families which came in contact with the organization through our campaign!

We went to Walmart immediately to purchase Dole Fruit Bowls and Dole Squish’ems ! My son was very excited to help me find the items, which were displayed  in different areas in the store, he also helped place the items in the car and proudly carried them from the car home! This campaign was his job!

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dole4kids4 shopping fi 

He personally wrote a letter, asking for donations and dropped off around the neighborhood!

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Next we used:

  • My Constant Contact email list for EasyLearn Languages Families
  • My personal email list of friends
  • Dropped off 50 Letters, asking neighbors for donations
  • Facebook event to help people find the information easily in SM:
  • https://www.facebook.com/events/381313678658766/
  • Picture to share on other social media channels, such as : Twitter and Instagram

After sharing our campaign and asking for donations of healthy snacks, I sat in my office and contemplated all those delicious and nutritious items, which soon would be donated to children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them! Sadness became happiness to see so many healthy options!

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We scheduled to drop off the items and my son was very happy to have delivered all the items to Angels of God Clothing Closet! They were thrilled to receive such great snacks and share with the children in their network!

dole4kids delivery 

If you would  like to check Champions and Dole on Facebook and support their efforts:

https://www.facebook.com/ChampionsForKids

https://www.facebook.com/Dole

I wanted to share that it was an amazing experience for both of us, such a great experience that my son and I are already looking for another project to get involved in. If you are interested in something like this, check out: Champions For Kids projects

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champions final

Back To School With Kleenex

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This sponsored post was written by me in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Kleenex, however all opinions are my own.

Back to School is a time to look for deals, to check out the newest styles, find the supplies that my son will think are cool! He’s growing and we now make it a fun time and shop together! He gets to choose his colors and some of the supplies like backpack, lunch bag and pencil box. The picture below reflects some of his choices!

Keeping that in mind, this past week, I went online and checked most stores to find deals and styles that matched my son’s idea of cool supplies! He attends a Private  School, so he wears a uniform and dress shoes – no need to worry about clothing. The parents are required to donate some classroom supplies and I’m happy to be able to contribute to it!

After online “Shop-hopping”, I wanted to share some of our favorites, which pretty much have been a part of his must have list:

Kleenex Back To School

 

With seasonal colds and my son’s allergies, the Kleenex Pocket Tissues have been on the top of our list. My son brings them in his backpack every day! I also purchased 10 boxes of Kleenex Tissues to donate to his classroom. Kleenex Everyday Tissue with Sneeze Shield is definitely a must-have in the classroom!

One more reason to include Kleenex on our list is that I found out Kleenex is supporting the Back to School Season! Kleenex brand, America’s softest tissue, promotes healthy kids and continues its tradition of leadership through innovation.


This year, Kleenex brand and Box Tops for Education are working together to share tips for the Back to School season. Each Box Tops coupon – found on more than 240 participating products – is worth 10 cents for your school, making Box Tops an easy way for your school to earn money for the things they need, like Kleenex Everyday Tissue with Sneeze Shield!

To date, the Kleenex brand has donated $13 million to Box Tops for Education! Isn’t that amazing?

I’ve shared my top items and I would love to know what is on your Back to School List? Share your list and tell us why Kleenex Brands should be included in the classroom.

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A different Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

We usually have a private fiesta at my home during Cinco de Mayo or going to a Hispanic restaurant!  This year, I decided to make our Cinco de Mayo more meaningful, since my son has been every day, resisting to speak Spanish and Portuguese.

I told him we will be celebrating in a different way:

I am a member of my church’s Hispanic Ministry and I offered my time to volunteer for their Cinco de Mayo party which will be this Friday and offered my son’s time on the day of, to attend and help with anything needed!

We are also now speeding our search to support a child in a country who needs comfort and love! He will be writing, sending small items and learning about that child’s struggles, life and culture, which I think, will give him a different perspective on gratitude and compassion!

We will also cook a Hispanic meal together on Sunday and make homemade pinatas!

If celebrating Cinco de Mayo is not a part of your culture or the place where you live, embrace something new this year and follow some of my suggestions to have fun with the children:

  • Click here for the how to do a mini piñata
  • Read stories and explain how it is celebrated by families in other countries and know that NO, it is not the independence of Mexico, let’s get the facts!
  • Make a fun make your own taco meal, where they will fill their taco with fun items, set up on a buffet setting!
  • Music is a great way to have children learn culture, grab La Bamba and other famous hits and dance around the house! Dance away! My son and I love that!
  • There are many cartoons with Cinco de Mayo theme, youtube is a great place for that!

taco buffet

Would love to hear your suggestions! Let us know if you try some of our suggestions!

 

 

My Valentine!

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♥This Year we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day differently, because I have to work until late and mostly because I think my son feels left out when my husband and I go out for dinner and leave him with a sitter. He always says I am his Valentine!!!!

♥When he was little, he used to make homemade cards and wrap old toys and have them ready for me! He grew up, he is 9 now, but he still thinks about mom and decided to take Dad to the mall to get me a gift! He also picked a card, I asked him, not a homemade one? He said no, I chose a special one for you, but he promised to write a few words in Spanish for me, using my Valentine’s Cards for my classes! Can’t wait to see it!

♥As he was growing up, I had the privilege to witness his display of affection through notes. I collected some of them.This one is from when he was 6:

Valentine's note 

 

 

 

 

♥Through songs, he used to make up songs about me being beautiful, and sing around the house, it’s a shame I did not record them!

♥He woke up the other day and said, mom, you should be a model, I smiled, he said yes, you are so beautiful!!! I looked horrible, but he made my day!

♥So this year, instead of going out just with my husband, I planned a whole celebration with him as well! We will make our homemade pizzas, each one will chose their favorite toppings and I pre-cut pepperoni hearts! We will also have a dessert buffet with cupcakes, pretzels and my son’s favorite: chocolate fondue for his strawberries, peanut butter heart cookies and sparkling cider! 

This year We will celebrate together, because, after all, he is also my Valentine!

 

This post is in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Heart of Haiti, for amazing heart shaped and other products visit: Heart of Haiti products and initiative.