Blog: Bright Ideas

Evaluating Your Kids’ Summer Camp Experience: How To Know If It Was Worth It

Kids go to camp to have fun. Parents, however, are necessarily going to have additional considerations, including safe and supervised physical activity, experiences in nature and unplugged adventures that challenge kids to stretch their skills and grow their competencies. It should be an enriching experience that creates wonderful memories.

When kids come home from camp, they are likely


Managing Back to School Expectations vs Reality: How to Help Your Kids Flourish

Backpack: check. 3-ring binder: check. Pencil case: check. Loose leaf paper: check. By mid-summer, kids may be getting anxious about their return to school. They watch the mail for class assignments and schedules, and imaginations are actively engaged. Some may be looking forward to going back, missing their friends or anticipating a return to familiar structures and routines. Others may be leary


Digital Storytelling Ideas Support 21st Century Learning

Storytelling is one of the oldest occupations and one that has been respected and admired in communities for centuries. Long before words were written and even longer before word processing began, stories were passed down through oral tradition. Through speech and song, information, history and culture were shared and passed from generation to generation. Fast forward to 2018 and the options for


Food Science Experiments for Kids Can Cook Up Creativity and Global Compassion

Data from the World Economic Forum reveals a startling dichotomy between the 2 billion of the world’s people who lack the basic nutrients to live a healthy life and the 3.2 billion expected to be overweight or obese by 2030. This raises serious questions about the food science and technology of our future. And no one is more vulnerable or more poised to impact these issues than the kids of


How Summer Parenting Styles Influence Learning and the Back-to-School Transition

Laissez-faire, helicopter parent, tiger mother: these descriptive names for parenting styles have caught our attention in recent years. Laissez-faire implies a more “hands-off” parenting style that is particularly permissive. Helicopter parents are those who whirl around their kids in an overprotective manner, while tiger mothers are strict and demanding of their kids. Some of these nicknames


Summertime Renewable Energy Activities for Elementary School Students to Inspire Eco-Consciousness

As a 14-year-old boy, William Kamkwamba was forced to withdraw from school in Malawi due to hunger when a prolonged nationwide famine left 70% of the population starving to death. Desperately hungry but still curious, William began to read books from the library. Though not nearly fluent in English, he learned by studying pictures and diagrams that a windmill could be used to irrigate crops. With


Can Video Games Make Kids Smarter? Channeling Gaming and Tech into Life Skills Via Summer Camp

Gamification: it’s a buzzword in education today, referring to the application of game elements to an unrelated field such as sales or learning. No one would deny the draw of games for kids; they provide a powerful and motivating option for learning. By some counts, 97% of kids and teens play at least one hour per day. But can video games really make kids smarter? If so, which ones and how does


Supplementing Transitional Kindergarten Curriculum in the Bay Area With Summer Camp Learning

Transitional kindergarten (TK) expands educational options for pre-K kids in the Bay Area. It provides a developmentally appropriate, modified kindergarten curriculum for kids that miss the birthday cutoff for admission to kindergarten and gives them an extra year to get ready. The goal is to prepare them socially and cognitively for the language, literacy and numeracy learning to come. 

But


Makerspace Challenge Ideas for Middle Schoolers Inspire Summertime Creativity and Collaboration

“My generation had it easy. We got to ‘find’ a job. But [now], more than ever, our kids will have to ‘invent’ a job.” Though we have heard the statistics that two-thirds of today’s children will work in careers that do not yet exist, this quote from Thomas Friedman, journalist and author of The World is Flat, highlights an interesting reality for 21st-century kids. And that is their capacity to


Screen Time Recommendations in Summertime and Alternatives for Getting Kids Active

Kids love their tech. That's no surprise, since so many of us do. Digital media is something we have come to depend on in nearly every aspect of life. It can be a challenge to get kids to put down their devices and get involved in other activities, especially in the summertime when there is more free time. Setting limits is necessary, as is providing alternative activities that are just as