Taking Advantage Of Learning Toys That Offer Educational Benefits For Your Child

As a parent, you might not realize there are learning toys that offer educational benefits for your child because there are so many different types of playtime options on the market today. When you need useful parenting tips about educating your child, there are learning toys that can help your child reach crucial developmental milestones in a shorter amount of time. The most important thing about taking advantage of learning toys is to understand the benefits they can offer children of all ages, when selected properly.

As a parent of two daughters, I have found that the maze of learning products might seem confusing at first, but there are many toys that offer little in the way of education. While you want your child to have fun and be entertained, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of spending your money on toys that enhance your child’s learning development.

As an example, there are parents that give little thought to some of the video games or electronic toys that are on the market. But you can spend the same amount of money on learning toys and games that will give them a competitive advantage, for years to come. With the proper learning toys, your children can have fun and be entertained for hours, while being challenged, intellectually.

There are educational learning systems that incorporate everything a child wants, including electronic, computer-like toys that feature learning games for children of all ages. You can purchase these learning systems affordably and there are a variety of learning videos, games and DVDs that can be utilized by these educational toys. It doesn’t matter what age your child might be, you can gain the upper hand by considering the expert advice of childhood education specialists. It doesn’t cost any more to challenge your child’s mind and teach them skills they will use for many years to come.

Research has proven that learning toys can give your child an educational advantage that will help them exceed in school and in life. When you might not have the time you would like to take care of teaching your child everything there is to know, it is comforting to know you can take advantage of educational learning toys that are fun and entertaining.

VA Education Benefits for Today

United States veterans earn VA education benefits while in service to their country. It is important to know the regulations of the program and to keep abreast of the latest changes to ensure you have adequate funds to complete your education.

New GI Bill

Recent changes in the GI Bill were made to overhaul the outdated Montgomery GI Bill. The Montgomery Bill, though useful, had far outlived its time, and many of the features of that benefit package were not particularly helpful to prior military personnel.

The new GI Bill was previously called the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and it cures some inadequacies of its predecessor by including tuition payments that go right to the school, a book and supply stipend, and a housing allowance. In other words, it gives you more of the tools you need to undertake successfully your education post-military.

The new benefit became effective August 1, 2009, and veterans are eligible to apply at anytime.

Who is Eligible?

Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine service members that are currently on active duty can use their benefits, as well as members in training overseas. Veterans must have a minimum of 90 days service after 9/11/2001 to be eligible for VA education benefits under the new GI Bill. Reserve members and National Guard members must have a minimum of three years active time since 9/11/2001 to be eligible.

Veterans are deemed eligible by percentage of the maximum amount based upon how long the active duty service was. Finding out what those percentages mean in dollars and cents can help with the decision about which degree or training will work best for the individual situation.

Setting Things Up

Check into the different options for training or educational program. Once the decision is narrowed to just a few choices, verify that these programs are approved to accept VA education benefits. Questions like these can typically be answered by the financial aid office in each particular school. Also, if you need help deciding on a program, meet with a counselor and look at the available degree programs.

Filling out an application is easy. The form is called the Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) by completing form 22-1990. If you are eligible as far as length of service and other than a dishonorable discharge, you do not have to have been eligible or have participated in the old bill to qualify for this new package of VA education benefits.

Once you apply, you can also qualify for a monthly housing allowance equivalent to the amount available to an E-5 with dependents. Of course, active duty military students do not get to double dip on housing.

A few other points of good news:

· You also qualify for an annual book and supply stipend of $1,000.

· You do not have to pay tax on your VA education benefits.

· You can apply and start next semester.

· You now have as long as 15 years to take advantage of the new VA education benefits. Time starts counting as of the day of your discharge from active duty.

If you are a veteran and want to use your VA education benefits, make a call or visit the military specialists at a campus of the school you want to attend. Do bring your DD-214 or Certificate, or your Certificate of Eligibility (this is for 22-0557) if you have already applied.

Denise Gabbard is a Professional Writer and SEO and Social Media Consultant. She believes strongly in taking care of our returning veterans, and urges all veterans to get complete information about VA Education Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill Has Great Educational Benefits For Active Duty & Selected Reserve

You’re in the military and decided that you wanted to further your education while servicing your country. Many others from the military workforce choose to do this also. You are definitely not alone. The military helps its labor force follow their individual career path by providing training, experience, and financial assistance.

Most of the militia benefit from the Montgomery G.I. Bill rather they are in active duty or in a selected reserve. It really doesn’t matter if you’re in active duty or in a selected reserve because you receive just about the same benefits. The Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB) provides each group up to 36 hours of educational benefits. Then, you can use those hours to work towards a degree, certificate, on-the-job training, flight training, and other equivalent courses.

The main difference between MGIB-AD and MGIB-SR is the eligibility of the military workforce. The Selected Reserve is for the members of:

o Army Reserve
o Navy Reserve
o Air Force Reserve
o Marine Corps Reserve
o Coast Guard Reserve
o Army National Guard Reserve
o Air National Guard

Yet, those who are on active duty get the option of the $600 Buy-Up Program unlike those using MGIB-SR. Service members can add an additional $600 to the G.I. Bill. In result, they would receive an increase in their monthly benefits. Just by adding $600 to your G.I. Bill you can get a return of up to $5400 worth in additional MGIB benefits.

Each of these benefits helps you financially get through school. It’s made very simple for all military personnel. The hardest part is applying, only because that takes time.

I found a great source that will help you with further information on how to claim your GI Bill Benefits if you are eligible.

The Educational Benefits of an Outdoor Kid’s Playhouse

Among the many benefits of an outdoor kid’s playhouse, that which many parents fail to appreciate is connected to their education. In fact, the educational benefits of an outdoor kid’s playhouse are possibly more important than the social benefits and those connected with their physical development.

Most children would rather play than do schoolwork, particularly the younger children. To take that further, even more would rather play in an outdoor playhouse than do their homework, and you might even hesitate installing an outdoor wooden playhouse for your child just for that reason. However, are you sure you know your kids well enough to make that assumption?

The Outdoor Playhouse Learning Environment

In fact, if you did build or purchase a kid’s playhouse in your backyard, and furnished it with some chairs and table, you might be pleasantly surprised. Your children love being outdoors, and paradoxically probably love even more being inside their own outdoor playhouse. Even though they are inside a playhouse they still look upon it as being outside, if you get the drift, and so how do you think they would react to doing their homework in an environment they love without the stress of being inside when their friends are outside playing?

Statistics show that they will love it. Your kids will love doing their homework in their own kid’s ‘school’ playhouse, and might even play at one being the teacher and the others the pupils while do their homework. Once the schoolwork is over, the playhouse turns into a castle, a doll’s house or a witch’s house. However, the important factor is that for the time needed, it was their own schoolroom and their homework got done. Not rushed, but completed properly!

The school has been taken out of their schooling, so it is a unique way of them doing their homework. They can do it at their own table and chair, they can use the playhouse loft area or even lie on a beanbag by an open window. They can use their imagination as they do in their play, because in a certain way, doing homework in their outdoor playhouse is a form of play.

A Rewarding Experience

You can design a form of rewarding your son or daughter, such as each homework hour could be rewarded with an extra hour playing in the playhouse. Or perhaps two hours of play for each hour of homework? Maybe they can save up the hours earned for a whole day in their outdoor playhouse some weekend. That is one way of teaching your child time management and responsibility.

Nevertheless, even if you don’t apply any reward scheme, your children will love using a kid’s playhouse for their homework. It appears so adult to them, doing their own work in their own small house just like mummy and daddy do, and a kid’s playhouse can provide you with many benefits connected with your children’s development.

Apart from the social benefits in learning how to get along with other children and share tasks, there are the educational benefits. These are not just connected with the fact that the homework actually gets done properly, and not rushed just before teatime or bedtime.

An appreciation of how to use their time properly is a definite benefit, and so is the concept of work bringing rewards. These concepts will help throughout their entire time in education, from junior school, through high school to university or college. If your children can develop from an early age the concepts of the importance of focusing their study during quiet time and of the rewards that such study bring, then they will be a good foundation for their future, and you will have done well as a parent.

It is amazing how varied the benefits of a kid’s outdoor playhouse can be, and by installing a wooden playhouse in your backyard you will not only make your kids love you for it, but will also be laying the foundation for a sound academic future.

Educational Benefits of Juggling and Circus Skills

Please note that the words “juggling” and “circus skills” are interchangeable on this page. The art of throwing objects in the air such as balls, rings and clubs, as well as manipulating objects such as diabolo, devil stick, spinning plates all offer the same benefits for willing pupils!


Improves and Increases:

Mathematic Skills
Physics (newtons Laws etc)
Performance and Drama
Appreciation of the Arts
Techniques of Learning
Imagination and Creativity
Problem Solving

Cognitive Benefits – To succeed in juggling, students must understand a pattern, set targets for their throws and work on the rhythm and timing of their throws.

The evidence for many Educational Benefits can be found in the book: Teaching Elementary Physical Education – by Robert P.Pangrazi.

A great break in the daily routine – During extensive academic work periods (such as daily lunch breaks from work/studies), physically active study (such as juggling) can help students return to their work/studies feeling refreshed and more productive. Kinaesthetic and Physically active learners will love to learn juggling especially! If you introduce juggling breaks/intervals into your regular studies/school day, then you will see these types of learners improve academically!

Appreciation of the Arts – Once you have seen how easy juggling is to learn the basics, then you begin to see how many hundreds of thousands of tricks are out there for you to master. Any time you see someone juggling, you then begin to appreciate the amount of time and effort they will have put into achieving such a routine! If students work on putting together a show at the end of their workshop, they begin getting a small glimpse of what it is like to work in the entertainment industry.

Imagination and Creativity – once you get involved with juggling, you can let your imagination run wild and experiment with the tricks you have learned. You may end up inventing a new trick, or even just a different way of achieving a trick just by imagining different patterns and different routines that may be possible!

Good for your brain – Studies have shown that people who challenge their brains and use them for complex tasks throughout their life have a reduced incidence of alzheimers disease.

Improves Student Behaviour – Schools with juggling programmes tend to report quite satisfactorily that student behaviour has improved amongst the pupils who tend to create the most trouble.

Helps Dyslexia – It has long been thought that juggling can help disabilities such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorders and hyperactivity. This is through the knock-on effect of all the other benefits such as improved concentration, problem solving etc.

Problem Solving – Students learn to break each juggling trick down into its small component parts, learn each of the parts, then learn how to combine each part to form the trick. If they get stuck at any particular point in juggling, they can guarantee that someone more experienced will be able to offer advice to help further.

Juggling Can Boost Brain Power – Learning to juggle can cause changes in the brain, scientists have found. Using brain scans, the researchers showed that in 12 people who had learnt to juggle, certain brain areas had grown. But three months later, during which time people stopped juggling, the brain had gone back to its normal size. To read more on this amazing discovery, please visit the article on the BBC News Website.

I have also written articles about the Social & Physical Benefits of Juggling. Links to all the further research can be found here Benefits of Juggling and Circus Skills

Veterans and Education: Are Our Veterans Getting the Education Benefits They Deserve?

In honor of Veterans Day and those who have served our country, we’d like to take some time to look at the educational benefits available to veterans and the men and women who currently serve. Veterans returning from military service are enrolling in college programs in record numbers, but many of our veterans are finding the college experience far less than favorable. They’ve fought for our country honorably – they shouldn’t have to fight for their education benefits too.

Let’s take a look at the education benefits available and how colleges across the nation are working to improve the services they extend to our veterans all the way from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The implementation of the new GI Bill, renamed the Post-9/11 GI Bill, helps to connect American’s veterans to higher education by significantly expanding the education benefits available to veterans. The new GI Bill helps veterans to earn their degree by paying the full tuition and fees at over 4,000 colleges and providing a monthly living and book and supply stipend.

But many still find that the government’s education programs for service members are inadequate. A loophole in the Bill can often make student loans non-deferrable. Loans can be deferred during times of military service, but when student loans are held by multiple banks, the deferment process can often be undermined. Roy Brown and Eli Williamson, two Army vets, decided to help. Brown and Williamson created Leave No Veteran Behind, a non-profit organization that helps struggling veterans manage their debt and pay off their loans. Loans that veterans take out before entering the service and classes that are interrupted by deployment, for example, are not covered under the GI Bill. The pair recently helped 26-year Air Force veteran Doris Barren, now 51, pay off her entire $5,000 student loan. As they see it, it’s one down, one million to go.

The “culture shock” of reclamation to the civilian world of college campuses is also difficult for veterans, a recent study from the National Survey of Student Engagement found. The transition from military to civilian life is unquestionably hard and the reported lack of support on college campuses can only make the transition more difficult. Of 11,000 veterans surveyed, many reported feeling “disconnected” from the school they attend. The report suggests that college campuses and administration seek out ways of more effectively engaging veterans and providing them with “supportive environments that promote success.” Brian Hawthorne, a student veteran who served twice in Iraq with the Army and is now a graduate student at George Washington University urges educators to understand the differences between veterans and traditional college students, and to provide student veterans with the network of support systems they need.

Many colleges are trying to combat these issues and make the higher education process and experience easier for veterans in hopes that, one day, organizations like Leave No Veteran Behind will be out of work. Colleges have traditionally given honor students and athletes first dibs on classes or “priority registration.” Now, across the nation, student veterans are being given the same opportunity. Prominent ground colleges, like the University of Arizona, are giving veterans the opportunity to register for classes early, ensuring that the classes they want and need to take are available. In 2009, the state of California mandated that all state schools give veterans and current service members priority registration. Additionally, online schools offer veterans a multitude of education opportunities with flexible class scheduling and extensive student services.

A number of corporations are also trying to increase the availability of education benefits for veterans by donating millions of dollars to veteran education programs. Microsoft has given $2 million in cash and $6 million in cutting-edge software to organizations that provide veteran education, skill training and job placement. The money will also be used for services such as career counseling and childcare. An officer in the Navy for nine years, Ross Janson is one veteran who has taken advantage of the Microsoft funding. Janson is taking computer and technology courses at Veterans Inc., one veteran’s organization that received Microsoft funding, to prepare himself for a civilian job in an increasingly tech-driven economy.

Department store super-power Wal-Mart has also contributed, giving $10 million over a five-year period to non-profit organizations that offer veterans job training and higher education or continuing education opportunities. J.C. Penny recently gave $1 million for 5,000 veterans to purchase business clothes for their new civilian workplace. Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, the gaming company which produces popular video games like Call of Duty, was persuaded by the sheer number of unemployed veterans to establish a $1 million foundation to support them. The company recently announced an additional $1 million gift.

Student Veterans of America, a student run organization which helps student veterans transition into college and earn their degree, is one of the countless student-run organizations that many colleges offer to their veterans. There are currently 300 college chapters and Michael Dakduk, the deputy executive director of the organization, hopes that the number of chapters nationwide continues to expand. Through his work, Dudak says what amazes him the most is the number of veterans “succeeding, despite the obstacles.”

So on this Veterans Day, remember that giving back to those who have served and protected our nation through war and strife is the most important thing that we as a nation can do. By continuing to offer veterans educational benefits and increasing these benefits as early and often as possible, we can honorably serve those who have so honorably served us.

Educational Benefits of US Army Service – Beyond the GI Bill

When most people think of education and the Army they immediately think of the GI bill, but veterans and US Army active duty personnel are entitled to more. With choices including the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP), the Post Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Program (VEAP), and the Montgomery GI Bill you will be able to pursue your professional dreams with Army support. Protecting our country is an important job, and the time you give the US Army should not keep you from reaching long-term professional goals. Your Army service can actually become the doorway to an educational future that might not otherwise be in reach.

Respecting Our Army Veterans

The US Army is committed to honoring the service of its dedicated service people and has tools available to guide you step-by-step to the best choice or combination of benefit programs for you. Some of the important determining factors in selecting the right combination are the length of your active service, whether you desire to attend school full or part time, and if you need a housing allowance. Take advantage of the planning tools the Army offers on its easy to navigate site to consider different combinations.

Since the Army made changes in 1984 to the GI Bill, creating the Montgomery GI Bill, benefits available to veterans have only improved and choices expanded. In exchange for active duty US Army personnel forfeiting $100 pay per month for a year to the Montgomery GI program they receive a significantly increased educational benefit for 36 months.

The Army makes this option even more attractive by including a buy-up option. While on active duty US Army service personnel can contribute up to $600 toward their Montgomery Bill. The Army matches this contribution 8 to 1, for every dollar the service person contributes, the Army contributes 8. What investment has a return of this magnitude!

US Army Support

The Army understands the importance of having time to adjust to life outside the service. Reconnecting with family and finding jobs and housing can be a challenging adjustment when leaving. US Army veterans have up to 10 years to use these benefits. There are informal and formal educational opportunities while in the Army that simply can’t be measured.

Training experienced during your Army service would cost you thousands of dollars in the civilian world. When you add to that the significant educational support the US Army offers for its active personnel and veterans and the Army is a choice that simply can’t be beat.

Educational Benefits of Playing With Wooden Puzzles

Wooden Puzzles are an important learning tool that can be used with children to enhance child development. The following are just a few of the many benefits that can be gained when using this incredibly well rounded learning tool.


* capture attention

* motivate participation

* stimulate conversation

* can be challenging without being overwhelming

* encourage success

* encourage independence and self esteem

Puzzles are a Self Correcting Learning Tool
When Children attempt to place a puzzle piece in it’s place it will only fit if it is placed properly in the right space. The act of manipulating each piece, turning it and testing the fit, is the way children learn to problem solve and develop critical thinking.

Language Skills
Puzzles offer children an opportunity to develop many language skills. When a child asks for a certain piece they will often describe what they are looking for. For example, the round piece, the blue bumpy piece, etc. Puzzles are often used when working with Autistic children who have delayed speech ability as a playful tool to encourage speech.

Math Skills
Puzzles teach children several basic math concepts as well. While working with a puzzle children learn to categorize and organize pieces while doing that they are able to classify and label the pieces as well.

Eye-Hand Coordination
Wooden puzzles build eye-hand coordination. The ability to coordinate what the eye sees, the mind wants to do, and what the hands can accomplish takes a lot of practice. Puzzles offer an enjoyable way to practice this skill while encouraging independence.

Fine Motor Ability
Puzzles offer a fun way to develop fine motor ability. Children need to develop strength in the muscles in their fingers so that they can grasp things and hold onto them. This will later give them the ability to hold a pencil.

Social Skills
Wooden Puzzles offer opportunities to expand social skills as well. When children work cooperatively to complete a puzzle they engage in conversation. They develop a plan to solve the puzzle, they take turns and help each other solve problems as they arise.

Developing Persistence
When a child works on a puzzle until completion the child is developing persistence. Once the puzzle is solved the child can feel a sense of accomplishment which boosts his independence and self esteem.

Adaptable and Abstract Thinking
Children use adaptable thinking and deductive reasoning skills when they find different ways to put the pieces together. They gain the ability to think abstractly when they are able to see negative space, like the space where a puzzle piece may fit, and figure out what type of shape would be needed to fill that space.

Spur Imagination and Creativity
Playing with mosaic puzzles encourages imagination and creativity. The colors and shapes of the mosaic pieces serve to stimulate brain cells and encourage prolonged interest when arranging the pieces in endless designs.

In conclusion, wooden puzzles like the ones offered at puzzled1.com are an incredible learning tools. I believe that of all the educational toys, wooden puzzles are the most versatile and well rounded learning tool you can purchase for your child because they offer a host of valuable educational benefits that support child development.

Melissa & Doug Jigsaw Puzzles Have Educational Benefits

Jigsaw puzzles provide educational benefits while allowing a child to enjoy playing. First developed around 1760 by John Spilsbury as a geography aid for British children, they quickly became popular in the educational field. It wasn’t until around 1880 that puzzles became a leisurely pastime. Now, puzzles are used by people of all ages and walks of life. Puzzles are found in nursery schools, day care centers, and nursing homes alike. They have even found their way into rehabilitation centers. They provide a retraining method for those people who have suffered a stroke or brain injury.

Skills that children learn will become a part of their foundation as they grow. Reasoning abilities, thought processing, sequencing, and analytical skills are enhanced through the use of jigsaw puzzles. All puzzles help children develop matching skills as they analyze shapes and color patterns. They also help develop fine motor skills as they manipulate the pieces to connect them together with other pieces.

Some designers look to specifically incorporate skill development into their puzzles. An example is a company called Melissa & Doug, which makes puzzles appealing to children and parents alike. Melissa & Doug launched their first educational puzzle in 1991 and over the years they have continued to expand their product line.

Jigsaw puzzles are perhaps most effective when used as part of an overall curriculum, supplementing lessons from textbooks with hands-on activities which are fun for everyone. Puzzles offer a great way to supplement teaching of a particular topic, such as geography, Bible stories, the solar system, emergency vehicles, horse breeds and trains. There are a great variety of puzzles available which focus on these topics. There are even puzzles geared for toddlers and preschool kids, which can help with teaching lessons such as colors, shapes, numbers, alphabet letters and farm animals. Some of the puzzles for younger kids provide additional learning experiences by making sounds, such as farm animals and emergency vehicles. Others introduce kids to different textures to develop their sensory abilities.

Melissa & Doug offers peg style jigsaw puzzles, in which very young children can match the puzzle piece to the corresponding shape. This simple puzzle helps children develop fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It also helps kids develop cognitive skills as they have to think about matching shapes and positioning each piece to make it fit into the corresponding hole.

Going large can make puzzles even more fun. Giant floor puzzles make a bigger impression on little minds, and bring the action down to their level. Huge selections of educational floor puzzles are available for all age ranges.

As children increase in age, the number of puzzle pieces should also increase. For children ages twelve and up, puzzles with 500 or more pieces will keep them challenged and motivated to solve them. At this level, jigsaw puzzles provide added educational benefits as kids develop persistence and steadfastness in staying with the task until it is completed. As the piece counts increase, so does the degree of difficulty. As a result, kids are motivated to interact with their peers and ‘co-workers’ to solve the puzzle. In the process, they develop better communication skills and learn the value of teamwork and collaboration.

An important key to getting the most benefits from the puzzle is matching the puzzle to a child’s age and abilities. However, jigsaw puzzles provide children of all ages with a sense of accomplishment at the completion of the puzzle.

Mental Health Continuing Education Benefits

Like most healthcare related fields, the field of mental health is ever-changing. Professionals dealing in the field of psychiatry need to stay up to date on the technology, medications, treatments, and behavioral therapies at their disposal. This helps them better serve their patients and their patients’ families. The best way to stay up to date is to pursue mental health continuing education.

In many states, these courses are actually required for those in the field to keep their certification. This is the primary reasons psychiatry professionals pursue further courses after graduating with their main degrees. But maintaining certification is not the only benefit to pursuing further learning. Here are just a few of the other benefits.

Better Understanding of the Field

If you are a professional in the industry, you understand that you can only absorb so much in your pre-career training. Much of what you are taught you will forget before you ever set foot in a hospital, clinic, or other facility to practice your craft. One benefit of mental health continuing education is the fact that it brings ideas back to your mind that you may have forgotten about.

In addition, it also gives you the ability to learn about new treatments as they become available. It may also give you insight into experimental drugs or therapies that might help your patients, allowing you to get your patients in on these trials to gain the benefit before the product fully reaches the market.

A Competitive Edge

Do you work in an area that is highly competitive for your type of job? Do you have a position or clinic you are really looking to work in? Taking extra courses and becoming certified in a new area of your career field can give you that edge over your competition to help you land the spot or position you want. Even if you are not currently facing a lot of competition, you may find that you will somewhere down the road, or you may find that you want to move to a new geographic location at some point that has more competition. Actively pursuing further mental health continuing education will help you improve your position in most scenarios. Even if you are at your own independent clinic, course work can give you a competitive edge by helping you draw new patients.

Offers Flexibility

Programs designed specifically for professionals who are already in their careers provide flexibility in terms of the way courses are offered. You may find online courses offered that allow you to study at your own pace and on your own schedule. You almost certainly will find evening courses to consider. Often credits come in the form of weekend or weeklong conferences that are packed with information. This gives you a break from the clinic environment while also helping you further your understanding of the field.

No matter what your reason, you will find that mental health continuing education benefits both you and your patients. Start looking for interesting courses today, and put yourself on the path to a better understanding of your career field.