Kidbox Offers Style and Convenience for Kids’ Clothing

Kidbox

Clothes shopping with kids can be tricky: Getting them to the store, having them try on various items and finding a few cute, complete outfits is often an exercise in patience. Now, thanks to a new kids’ style delivery service called Kidbox, finding seasonal options for your kids – from toddlers to tweens – just got a lot easier.

Through an ongoing partnership, The Motherhood and Kidbox have asked a group of bloggers to set up profiles for their own kids to try out the service for their summer clothing needs. Blog and social media coverage will be appearing over the next couple of weeks, and a few members of the group have already shared what they love:

It’s not really a subscription – there are no upfront charges.

Kidbox

Photo credit: Melissa, All Things Chic

Jessica at A Parent in America outlined the Kidbox payment process: “Although I entered our payment info, your card will not be charged until you have personally decided which items you would like to keep. You have seven days to decide, and there is free shipping for families both ways. You can keep none of the clothing items, ship them back in the provided package and pay nothing, no problem. Or you can choose to keep one, two, etc. or all. Totally your world.”

It’s a great value for trusted brands.

For name brands including Seven for All Mankind, Lucky, Diesel, Reebok and more, Melissa at All Things Chic was impressed: “The pricing is totally amazing – if you keep the whole box, you pay $98. THAT’S IT! Which is a savings of $183 off list prices and $55 off Kidbox prices! HUGE savings! AND I DIDN’T HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE! SCORE! If you need to swap a size or return something, just put in the enclosed shipping pouch and return for free. Easy peasy.”

It’s tailored for the season, your geographic location, your child’s personality and more.

Image credit: Jessica, A Parent in America (screen shot of Kidbox site)

Image credit: Jessica, A Parent in America (screen shot of Kidbox site)

Parents and kids both have ideas about the types of clothing that will work, from color preferences to hem length to what “winter” means in, say, southern California vs. Wisconsin. Jennifer at Double Duty Mommy noted, “What makes Kidbox different? They ask you questions about your kid! So simple, right? I could not believe how detailed every page was, so I was confident knowing the clothes I trusted Kidbox to send my daughter fit her style and my Mama Bear rules.”

It’s a chance to do good while dressing your kid.

Kidbox is on a mission to clothe kids in need and help parents and kids give back. Jennifer at The Suburban Mom shared, “Kidbox donates a clothing item for every box sold. The coolest part is that you and your child get to decide where that donated item goes. When you decide to keep your entire box, you and your child can choose between sending that clothing item to children in military families, children facing poverty to children living in foster care. It’s a great way to start a conversation with your children about giving back.”

It offers surprise and delight.

Kidbox

Photo credit: Jennifer, Double Duty Mommy

In describing the box her daughter received, Jessica at A Parent in America said, “Not only did it contain crazy-cool clothes, it was packed with presents and goodies for her! She received an activity book, letter stickers, crayons and a ‘surprise egg ball’ that she unwound to reveal three Cracker Jack-style prizes inside.”

For more information or to sign up for a Kidbox shipment, visit the Kidbox website or follow the brand on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. You can also check out the #UnpackHappy hashtag on most social media platforms to see moms’ take on the service.

Top Kidbox photo credit: Jessica, A Parent in America

TM Book Club: New Stacie Billis Cookbook, Make It Easy

Stacie Billis cookbook

It should come as no surprise that The Motherhood team loves to cook, eat, and talk about what’s coming out of our kitchens! Over the past couple years, we’ve shared recipes that we turn to when bringing together family and friends, as well as those that inspire us to eat well, and we’re always looking for fresh ideas to put something new on the table.

So when our friend Stacie over at One Hungry Mama reached out to share the great news that she had compiled all of her tried-and-true recipes into one book, Make It Easy, our team was excited to dig in (quite literally)! With 120 mix-and-match recipes, Make It Easy truly takes the guesswork out of the whole process, from food prep to presentation. Using everything from smart, store-bought shortcuts to cook-from-scratch dishes, the book delivers recipes that will leave your family impressed without leaving you stressed.

Check out some of the recipes we tested in our own kitchens, and read for yourself how the Make It Easy approach worked for us!

One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Stacie Billis Cookbook

The key term here is “one-bowl,” followed closely by “ricotta” and “cake.”

This recipe has a high ratio of convenience to deliciousness, which makes it a winner in our book. As billed, all of the ingredients can be combined in a single bowl, which makes for quick assembly and easy cleanup. The cake itself, baked in a loaf pan, is dense, fine-crumbed and flavored with just the right amount of lemon. It’s perfect for a lighter dessert (served with fruit and whipped cream), an indulgent snack (spread with ricotta and honey), or even a quick breakfast, after being warmed in the toaster oven or microwave.

Buttered Pasta with Ricotta and Peas

Stacie Billis Cookbook

Using the leftover ricotta cheese you’ll have in your fridge after making the above pound cake, you can whip up this simple, tasty dinner.

The best part about this pasta dish (aside from the ricotta) is that the recipe is fairly basic and can accommodate a variety of ingredients. Your kids don’t like peas? No problem, just throw in whatever you have on hand, such as cubed chicken, ground sausage, corn, bell pepper or other meats and veggies they prefer. And for picky eaters, plain buttered noodles with cheese is always a winner.

Corn, Green Chili and Cheddar Strata

Stacie Billis Cookbook

Make-ahead recipes are a blessing when you have a large group of people to feed or a potluck event to squeeze into your schedule – and with a full loaf of French bread and nine eggs incorporated in the recipe, this strata makes plenty for everyone.

You can (and should) assemble the dish the night before baking it, so the prep work is already done. All you have to do is pop it in the oven and serve with a side of sliced avocado, fruit, toast or bacon. It’s savory but not spicy, and it’s substantial enough to offer as a main breakfast or dinner option. The recipe is also quite versatile – you can swap or add any number of ingredients based on personal preference.

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Stacie Billis Cookbook

The most unique thing about this cookbook is that it’s truly a resource versus a standard cookbook. Sure, it’s filled with recipes, but it’s not made of up of just dinner entrees or dessert dishes, but rather, practical, smart and useful kitchen hacks and tricks to truly make things simple and delicious.

While it seems too simple to be an entry in any cookbook, Parmesan Roasted Broccoli was one of the first recipes we dog-eared. Oftentimes it’s the side dishes that leave us in a rut, turning to the same steaming/boiling/raw routine with our veggies. It’s amazing how you can elevate your veggie dish by roasting and dressing it with the right ingredients. This one uses a little lemon, Parmesan, olive oil and seasoning; it will be a staple on the dinner menu.

Avocado Miso Dressing

Stacie Billis Cookbook

This sauce is the answer to the too-ripe avocados sitting on your counter, as well as the too-boring-to-eat salad you brought for lunch and nearly any other dish that needs a little extra flavor. This dressing is truly out of this world.

The ingredients seem simple enough, and you might think you can anticipate what it will taste like. We promise it’s better than anything you’re imagining up as you skim through the list of ingredients. Stacie suggests this as a go-to for salads or seafood, so we topped lightly seared scallops with the bright green dressing for a really light, fresh-tasting dinner.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Stacie Billis Cookbook

Again, this may seem like a too-obvious idea to be included in a cookbook; however, that’s what this book is all about. Stacie encourages you to hone in on really smart food preparation ideas in order to elevate your dishes.

Tossed in a little olive oil and salt, and roasted to perfection, these tomatoes are the perfect addition to made-from-scratch hummus (which she also has a recipe for!), as well as a simple base for tomato sauce to serve over pasta.

Almond Milk

Stacie Billis Cookbook

Another unique aspect of this book is that it offers options for made-from-scratch, as well as store-bought, ingredients. Stacie offers context around why you might choose store-bought for some things, while made-from-scratch is the way to go for others.

While there are likely numerous, delicious almond milk options at your local grocer, if you’re a fan of nut milk, it would serve you well to try making it yourself! Incredibly simple, it’s admittedly satisfying to see it progress from almond to milk. Made-from-scratch almond milk is a “yes!” in our book.

Overall Thoughts on the Cookbook

We sincerely loved exploring this cookbook as a team, although calling it a cookbook seems to undercut all that it offers. Make It Easy is really the Swiss Army Knife of cookbooks; it’s a true resource for the kitchen and offers far more than recipes. Although we loved the several recipes we tried, we appreciate the book even more for the tips and tools it offers the everyday cook.

Simple Actions Make a Difference in the Fight Against Child Hunger in America

Fighting child hunger in America

Since 2013, The Motherhood has been a very proud supporter of the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign by ConAgra, which aims to empower a community of people to take on the fight against child hunger in America, changing the realities of hunger one meal at a time.

This year, YouTube sensation Kid President (aka Robby Novak) partnered with ConAgra to help bring awareness to this critical issue. Working with ConAgra, The Motherhood mobilized our network of bloggers to share Kid President’s video, helping trigger meal donations from ConAgra to Feeding America (with one view, like or share of the video equaling one donation). We were thrilled to hear we surpassed the goal of 100,000 meals in less than one week – amazing!

Kid President helps fight child hunger

Credit: Jon Morgan/AP Images for ConAgra

Over the past several years, in partnership with ConAgra, its agencies, retail partners and celebrity ambassadors, The Motherhood has engaged 136 bloggers as advocates for the Child Hunger Ends Here program, generating more than 1.2 billion overall impressions during that time. By taking simple yet impactful actions themselves, and encouraging their communities to do the same, these bloggers alone have triggered an estimated half a million meal donations!

That group includes a number of bloggers who have lent their voices, support and influence to more than one Child Hunger Ends Here campaign over the years, helping to make a continued impact on the fight against child hunger in America. In their words, here is why the program strikes a chord with them:

Anne, Upstate Ramblings
“Kids love helping others, and it is important to teach them compassion when they are young so it becomes a lifelong habit. My son helps out with a huge food drive run by the scouts every year, but we also make sure to drop off smaller amounts of food every month. Food pantries always need more supplies, and every donation, no matter how small, will be appreciated.”

Getting involved in the fight against child hunger in America

Image credit: Anne, Upstate Ramblings

Crystal, Cinnamon Hollow
“You know the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? Well that saying comes from somewhere. We are a nation that is built to take care of one another. If the children of our future are suffering, guess what? We’re all suffering. It’s not too difficult to reach out and make sure everyone has enough food on their table. Actually, it’s REALLY easy. And all you have to do is shop for your own regular products. ConAgra, Kroger and P&G do the rest.”

Crystal, Simply Being Mommy
“Companies like ConAgra make it easy to help and get involved in the fight against hunger in the United States. I’ve been a huge supporter of the Child Hunger Ends Here program for the last few years and I invite you to be a supporter as well. I can’t think of a better cause to support than hungry children within our own communities.”

getting kids involved in the fight against child hunger in America

Image credit: Crystal, Simply Being Mommy

Donna, Blog By Donna
“It truly is inexcusable to me that here in the United States, the land of the free, the land of the plenty, the land where many of us waste food on a daily basis… we have children hungry. And children who experience even intermittent struggles with hunger may suffer serious, long-term consequences to their health, well-being and educational achievement. What’s more, being hungry robs kids of the promise of childhood – the ability to play, grow and learn. It’s easy for us to help end child hunger. Seriously… EASY! ConAgra Foods is partnering with P&G to build a community of people to make a difference …. this is a cause I will gladly support.”

Jennifer, Double Duty Mommy
“While I was [on the site] I also signed up to make a monthly donation. I feel good about donating because at least my family is helping our community every month even if we can’t always bring food directly into the food banks.”

Volunteers helping the fight against child hunger in America

Credit: Jon Morgan/AP Images for ConAgra

Kathy, A Mom’s Impression
“Ending child hunger is going to take a lot of people taking little steps. One of the easiest steps is helping ConAgra Foods by entering a code to supply a meal for a child. Join me today, and help end this epidemic in America!”

Code entry helps fight child hunger in AmericaLending Support in the Fight Against Child Hunger in America

The Child Hunger Ends Here program has set a goal to donate one million meals to food insecure kids in 2016, and everyone can easily participate by going to their favorite retailer and looking for the red pushpin and code on specially marked packages of ConAgra’s food, like Marie Callender’s® and Hunt’s®. For each eight-digit code entered at www.childhungerendshere.com from January 2016 through January 2017, ConAgra will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, up to one million meals.

To learn more about the issue of child hunger and ways to get involved, visit www.childhungerendshere.com and click on the “How You Can Help” tab.

This post on the fight against child hunger in America is published in proud partnership with Child Hunger Ends Here. All opinions are our own. 

Featured image courtesy of the Child Hunger Ends Here program.

#MeasurementMonday: Collecting Smart Data from Influencer Social Media and Blog Content

Measure social engagement as part of influencer campaigns

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a significant rise in the use of the term “big data.” There are more tools and opportunity than ever before for collecting massive amounts of data online – but our abilities to make sense of and create value with all that data are still lacking. “Paralysis by overanalysis” plagues even the most sophisticated brand marketers.

This #MeasurementMonday, we are tackling the less quantitative side of marketing measurement: smart data and insights.

Smart data insights from social marketing

Before beginning an online campaign, insights collected through research can help shape a well-planned strategy. Social media marketing, especially in collaboration with influencers, can encourage the collection of smart data and insights. When campaigns are crafted in a way that creates authentic content and encourages natural conversation, the results will generally tell a robust story of how consumers responded to the information shared, what stuck out to them, and where they found the most value.

So, how can you cultivate these insights?

Unfortunately, there is not a simple formula for gathering data. Automated marketing tools and influencer marketing platforms do not rise to this level of sophistication in their reporting. In order to gather smart data, methods of data collection and storage must be consistent and timely, even across multiple channels and platforms. That data must then be aggregated into a single format and analyzed for trend recognition. Compiling insights from smart data collected during marketing campaigns requires a human touch, which at times can be tedious, but creates immense value when pulled correctly and presented in a meaningful way.

As a data-driven influencer marketing agency, The Motherhood leads brands in the process of cultivating, distilling and analyzing small data, and couples that with influencer-provided insights as part of our built-in feedback loop, to deliver meaningful ways to inform future strategy.

THREE WAYS TO collect smart data and insights IN YOUR Influencer marketing CAMPAIGN:

1. Allow creative freedom. 

When given creative freedom, influencers generate content that reflects the thoughts of actual consumers. Influencer-generated content is created in ways that make sense to consumers and can teach brands a few things about how to connect with their target audience on a personal level. In the sponsored campaigns facilitated by The Motherhood, we often see an allowance for creative license bear fruit for the client – we advise giving influencers a selection of general themes to help shape their content and then allowing them to write in a way that is most authentic to them and engaging for their readers.

2. Tap niche communities through target influencers.

As influential leaders within their respective communities, bloggers publishing sponsored content can provide brands with a window into consumers’ minds – seeing how consumers react to their products or service offerings on a more personal level. Engagements (likes, shares, comments, etc.) on blog and social media posts are great indicators of factors such as reciprocity and shared value in a particular online community.

3. Facilitate natural conversations around a specific topic.

Influencers’ blog posts, tweets, contests and more can be crafted in a way that encourages feedback and ideas from real-life targeted consumers – so the brand can not only generate awareness of and interest in its products and services, it can gather insights on topics of interest from comments and replies to the online coverage.

At The Motherhood Inc., we focus on gathering smart insights and reporting them in meaningful ways to our clients. We listen closely to what our teams of influencers have to say and the feedback their readers share. Interested in creating an influencer marketing campaign that generates deep insights for your brand or company? We’d love to talk! Email us at contact@themotherhood.com to get started.

Social Media Marketing Measurement Monday

Continue following our #MeasurementMonday series and view past posts here!

 

The Motherhood Welcomes New Baby Luca!

The Motherhood

“The moment a child is born, a mother is also born.”

The Motherhood team celebrated Mother’s Day in one of the most special ways possible, by welcoming the newest addition to our work family… Baby Luca!

Just in time for Mother’s Day, our director of marketing and business development, Serena Mounts, gave birth to her first child, Luca Thomas. We are so thrilled for Serena and her family and wish them congratulations and all the best!

Please join us in sending Serena well wishes as she embarks on this beautiful new journey called motherhood.

 unnamed

We hope you all enjoyed Mother’s Day! Big hugs to all the moms out there (and dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and everyone else helping to raise a child) from the whole team at The Motherhood.

What the Facebook Branded Content Tool Means for Bloggers and Blogger Marketing Networks

facebook branded content tool

Disclaimer: Information shared below represents our findings to date. We will continue to update this post as we learn more.

On April 8, Facebook announced the release of a new tool for branded content on verified pages to create easier collaboration on sponsored posts between pages and brands.

The initial reaction to the announcement was mostly confusion about what exactly these new guidelines meant for brands and bloggers. This was especially the case for social media influencer marketing agencies, including The Motherhood, since we work with a network of “micro influencers” who promote sponsored content on their Facebook pages frequently.

According to Markerly, marketers are seeing higher engagement results with “micro influencers,” meaning those smaller-in-reach pages produce high value for brands through their devoted and active Facebook audience. The problem and source of confusion for many is that their Facebook pages are not eligible to be officially verified, and that verification is what allows access to the branded content tool.

Before we answer what this all means for marketers running influencer campaigns, let’s back up:

What is the Facebook branded content tool?

It’s a new tool integrated into Facebook that allows media outlets and celebrities to tag content that includes a third party, brand, or sponsor. It is currently only available to users who have the blue verification badge.

Branded content can be a post, link, photo or video. Through the new branded content tool, publishers of these posts tag the marketer or sponsor’s page. The marketer who is tagged will get a notification and receive access to insights on that post (such as the number of people who have seen it, click-throughs, etc.). Branded content will be displayed like the image below – notice the ‘”with” and tagging of the brand at the top of the post.

Facebook branded content tool

Do all influencers have to use the Facebook branded content tool?

After multiple conversations with Facebook representatives, our friend Stephanie from A Grande Life received answers to questions we’ve all been asking.

Influencers, bloggers and content creators are permitted to share content on behalf of a brand as long as they have a relationship with them. If a blogger shares a link to a sponsored blog post on his or her own website, that is not considered to violate guidelines, even if that blog post is sponsored or contains affiliate links – because the page is sharing content that they own. FTC guidelines still apply here, however, and disclosure notices should be used.

What is not permitted by Facebook is sharing affiliate links, getting paid to post a brand’s content or asking people to buy directly in a Facebook post. In those cases, the influencer is required to be blue verified and use the Facebook branded content tool.

Stephanie gives an awesome example of this in her post:

You can’t say “This is the best Mac and Cheese in the world. You should go buy it now. Here’s the link.”

You can, however, say, “I made this awesome recipe featuring Kraft Mac and Cheese.” And don’t forget to disclose! 

Get the complete scoop on Stephanie’s blog.

Engaging influencers in campaigns who are not blue verified

This is okay! You are engaging bloggers in a direct relationship with the brand, to promote and own the sponsored content on their respective blogs. When they link to that content from Facebook, they are not in violation of Facebook policy. Pages that are not currently eligible for blue verification can continue to promote sponsored blog content without the branded content tool as long as they continue to abide by FTC guidelines.

Most influencers are currently not able to be blue verified on Facebook. Facebook representatives explained that they are backed up with verification requests and are currently “only accepting verification requests from Pages that represent celebrities, public figures, sports teams, media and entertainment.” We do expect that this Facebook branded content tool and associated policies will become applicable to bloggers in the future.

Best practices for sponsored content on Facebook moving forward:

  • Disclose that the post is sponsored by a brand by using “ad” or “sponsored” in the post.
  • If a post is flagged as not complying with the new branded content policies, Facebook will not penalize the page or delete the post; however, they will give you a warning that the post violated their guidelines.
  • The blue verification and Branded Content Tool will likely take a while to become applicable to bloggers.
  • If you are a brand or company reaching out to influencers to share branded content on their Facebook pages, we highly suggest consulting a marketing agency that has knowledge on the subject and is up-to-date on all policies. You can contact The Motherhood with inquiries at contact@themotherhood.com.

In our research since publishing this post, we have come across interesting articles on the topic which we would also like to share with you:

We are still following the news on the Facebook branded content tool and related topics, and we will be sure to keep our readers updated as the situation evolves — which, as many social media marketers know, is bound to happen! We welcome any feedback.

Updated: May 5, 2016

Celebrate Your Graduate with a Church Hill Classics Custom Diploma Frame

diploma frame

Photo credit: Danielle, Today’s the Best Day

According to a survey recently conducted by The Motherhood, 70 percent of respondents have never framed their college diplomas. After all of the effort put forth, and the time and money grads and their families spend earning that degree, no diploma should end up forgotten about, left in a drawer, or even accidentally destroyed! One solution is to protect and professionally display that achievement in a diploma frame.

This spring, The Motherhood teamed up with Church Hill Classics and a team of 15 amazing bloggers to celebrate their loved ones who are spring 2016 graduates – from husbands to children to nieces and nephews – by giving them the gift of a custom, officially licensed college diploma frame.

diploma frame

Photo credit: Kristin, It’s Free At Last

In their posts, the bloggers shared personal memories of their graduates and their accomplishments, graduation checklist suggestions, information about the importance of preserving diplomas in a high-quality frame and photos of their graduates with their hand-selected frames.

“The Motherhood [bloggers’] reviews, photos and posts are really helpful for us during our peak graduation season, because it gives us easy, visual and relevant content to share through our social channels,” said Church Hill Classics Marketing Manager Jessica Lombard. “The content creation from this program is a big benefit for us!”

To build on the conversation already stemming from the team’s blog and social media coverage, The Motherhood also hosted a Twitter party in early April, where the bloggers and other participants discussed ways to celebrate this season’s graduates and generated buzz around Church Hill Classics frames as graduation gifts.

diploma frame

Photo credit: Sheliza, Mom Files

The blogger team was then re-engaged in late April, just before graduation, to share additional social media posts and discount offers during the key sales period, reminding their followers of the best graduation gift idea – a beautiful custom diploma frame.

Overall, the campaign generated 16 blog posts and more than 1,200 social media posts, resulting in more than 45.5 million total impressions.

The Motherhood Wins at Iris Awards for Work on #HeNamedMeMalala

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 9.43.12 AM

Photo Credit: Iris Awards

At Mom 2.0 Summit’s Iris Awards last Friday night, The Motherhood’s work on behalf of the film He Named Me Malalain partnership with Women Online, Wake Up World Communications, the Malala FundFox Searchlight Pictures and Participant Media, won the Iris Award for Best Sponsored Content.

Winners are chosen by popular vote, and we are thrilled and honored to be recognized.

Iris Awards

Melissa Pezza of The Mommyhood Chronicles, one of the bloggers engaged by The Motherhood to participate in the campaign to spread the word about Malala’s mission and the release of the film, was on hand at the ceremony and saw the live announcement. She told us, “I was very thrilled to be involved in a campaign for an amazing woman who is not only a pioneer but such a believer in education that she lets nothing stand in her way. She is a role model for all women!”

After learning the news of the win, Monica Marino of Marino Bambinos – another of the bloggers The Motherhood engaged for the campaign – said, “Malala is truly a symbol of hope and a pillar for girls’ and women’s rights worldwide. It was an honor to play a small part in amplifying the release of her documentary film He Named Me Malala and I’m grateful to The Motherhood for including me in this incredible campaign. It’s also wonderful to see community recognition for this important work.”

Lori Pace of A Day in Motherhood agreed, saying of the program, “Helping to promote He Named Me Malala was an amazing opportunity, not only for me, but for my daughter as well. Being able to open the discussion of going against the ‘norm’ and staying with your passion no matter what happens is an important one. This campaign promotes all that is good about her story and I am not surprised that it won an Iris Award!”

During the #HeNamedMeMalala campaign in September and October 2015, The Motherhood and our partners worked with nearly 75 blogger ambassadors to share news and information, via blogs and social media, about the Malala Fund’s efforts on behalf of women’s education around the world, along with the release of He Named Me Malala in theaters across the country. We also screened the film in advance for 340 attendees in a dozen different cities. Tweets with #HeNamedMeMalala during that two-month period totaled more than 2,000 and reached 4.5 million users.

Congratulations to our incredible partners, in particular Morra Aarons-Mele of Women Online and Chrysula Winegar of Wake Up World Communications, and all of the bloggers who participated in the #HeNamedMeMalala campaign and share the credit for the Iris Award for Best Sponsored Content!

Blogger Spotlight Series: Muffy, Brown Mamas

Rockin' Mama

The unapologetic truth, saying no to working for free and what brands can do better; Muffy, of Brown Mamas, is sharing it all with The Motherhood this month!

As our featured blogger in May, Muffy delves into some of the greatest challenges when working on brand programs, what inspires her and where she sees the greatest engagement with her content. She also offers great advice for those interested in starting a blog, and shares about one of her favorite programs.

Read more below and give Muffy and the moms at Brown Mamas a shout out at @TheBrownMama.

Brown Mamas

Love what you see?

Check out last month’s spotlight on Penelope of Penelope’s Oasis, as well as our 2015 Blogger Spotlight Series.

How does the Blogger Spotlight Series work?

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top-performing influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to invite as our featured blogger. Stop back June 1 for the next blogger spotlight!

 

STEM Activities for Kids: Five Ways to Get Them Excited this Summer

STEM Activities for Kids: Camp Invention gets kids immersed in STEM through a weeklong adventure that will turn the summer from ordinary to extraordinary.

“One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to.”
— President Barack Obama, February 2013

Today, in an age in which nearly half of all primary breadwinners are women, and women’s labor has expanded the economy by $2 trillion dollars, the fact is that females are still underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.

As Reshma Saujani – an education activist who has the goal of getting one million women in computer science by 2020 – stated in her Ted talk, we must encourage a culture in which girls learn bravery and find a sense of comfort in imperfection. Part of nurturing a girl who can innovate and change the world with her talents is helping her develop the confidence in her skills to show what she can do, without fear of failure.

With summer break approaching, these next few months are a prime time to nurture a sense of creativity, innovation, problem-solving and invention in both girls and boys.

STEM Activities for Kids: Five Ideas for a Summer of Exploration

1. Create a question jar

The first week of summer break, sit down with your child and brainstorm all of the questions that are on their mind.

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Why do lightning bugs glow?
  • How does an airplane fly?
  • How many iPhones do you have to stack end-to-end to reach the moon?

Write each question down on a note card or piece of paper, fold them up and put them in a jar. Each day or week of vacation, have your child draw a question and brainstorm ways to find the answer. Field trips, research, a library visit or science experiments are all great ways to encourage curiosity and discovery.

2. Get growing

Help your child plan and plant a backyard garden. They can research the kinds of seeds that are likely to thrive in your climate, the optimal levels of sun, shade and water necessary to grow, the impact of insects and other animals.

Encourage trial and error! They don’t need to have the greenest thumb on the block the first time around. Have your child keep a journal with notes on the growth and harvest schedule, and at the end of the summer, have them develop a plan for the next season, using the key learnings from their first garden.

3. Host an at-home science fair

STEM activities for kids: host an at-home science far to get kids excitedWhether you tackle the classic egg drop challenge, build a toothpick bridge or research a different problem to solve, work with your child to tackle a feat of engineering. Have your child gather some friends and neighbors to display their creations, explain their thought process and test them out to prove or disprove their theories.

To drive home the importance of trial and error and the iterative process, make the focus of each child’s presentation to share their best “lessons learned,” recognizing that there is a lot to be learned by examining unsuccessful attempts at creating a solution.

4.  Crack the code

One of the amazing benefits of the proliferation of smartphones and tablets is the ability to learn the back-end functions of computing with the touch of the screen. While parents want kids to put down their electronic devices and spend the summer outside, a possible exception to this rule could be for coding apps.

We like this list of eight of the best apps that help kids learn to code, but be sure to research your choices thoroughly to ensure they’re safe, reliable, educational and fun!

5. Sign up for an “epic” summer camp experience

For students entering grades one through six, sign them up for Camp Invention, a weeklong adventure that will turn the summer from ordinary to extraordinary through hands-on problem solving. Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem solving and the spirit of invention.

Camp Invention provides an opportunity for inventive young minds to exercise their creativity and use their imagination in ways they don’t normally get to in the classroom. Campers have so much fun they barely realize they are learning and developing new skills as they build prototypes, take things apart, explore different types of technology and so much more.

This year’s Camp Invention curriculum is called Epic™, inspired by some of our nation’s most brilliant minds, including experienced educators, Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and members of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Campers will construct a DIY solar-powered cricket, design an eco-adventure park, brainstorm product ideas and build original prototypes using real tools and components found in everyday devices, and much more! Learn more about this year’s curriculum by clicking the link.

Camp Invention serves more than 94,000 students every year through nearly 1,400 camps across the nation. For additional information or to find the nearest location for registration, visit www.campinvention.org.

This post about STEM activities for kids is brought to you in partnership with Camp Invention. All opinions are our own. 

Images courtesy of Camp Invention.

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