Whole Kids Cooking Club at Whole Foods

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We attended the Whole Foods, Whole Kids Cooking club on Friday, “Cooking a Rainbow” was the theme. The goal of the cooking class was to support healthy eating habits by eating from a rainbow. This class was a hands healthy eating course for kids.

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The host had an array of beautiful juliette sliced veggies such as sweet potato, squash, zucchini, finely chopped rainbow broccoli, edamame and a black bean pasta. The younger kids, 3-4, had a great time piling veggies on their plate and the 6+ age group arranged their veggies into beautiful rainbows. All of them were so proud of their creation. They topped their colorful plates with a warm marinara sauce.

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For dessert they were given slices of bananas, they scooped out the middle of the banana filled it with peanut butter and dipped the bottom in chocolate. Both of my girls loved it.

Since the all the kids made such a big plate of veggies, my girls couldn’t even finish even a quarter of what was on the their plate. My husband and I were able to fest on the leftovers later on. Overall, this was a refining moment for all of us, the girls loved the veggies and I found a Black Bean pasta that I can’t wait to incorporate into a dish.

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Our local Whole Foods has kids cooking classes twice a month for the cost of $5.00. They provided an abundance of ingredients (all of which were organic), my girls were able to try (and liked) the black bean pasta and my girls understood the concept of eating from a rainbow. Since the discussion was ripe for the taking, we walked around Whole Foods afterwards and discussed the importance healthy eating habits. I look forward to the next class.

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Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

This is a free global reading program that encourages kids to read all summer long. This addition to my Summer Educational Series, keeps kids reading books and logging their reading minutes (online and on smartphones). They can enter sweepstakes to win prizes and earn digital rewards when they complete weekly reading challenges. This year’s theme is “Reading Under the Stars!” Kids will unlock constellations and learn fun facts about space as they reach reading milestones every week.

Kids 4-14 are the core ages, but if you read to your younger children, you can log reading minutes on their behalf.

You can sign up online at www.scholastic.com/summer .  Although kids can log minutes through any desktop browser,  mobile device (tablets or phones) browser, or through the free Scholastic Reading Timer mobile app on iOS and Android devices, you must register or authenticate via a desktop browser first. The website is completely kid safe as there are COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) laws that Scholastic adheres to. 

Scholastic also offers a lot great ideas through their Scholastic Parents Facebook page. Parents be sure to visit  the content calendar, it provides free daily expert tips and articles, activities, discounts on books, and special Friday giveaways.

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Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

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Google launches “Made with Code” website to get girls coding

If you are the parent of a girl – pay attention to this – Google is spending $50 million dollars to get girls to code. This is a huge statement!

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From googleblog.blogspot.com:

Today, we’re attempting to solve this issue on a much larger scale. Along with Chelsea Clinton, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, National Center for Women & Information Technology, SevenTeen, TechCrunch and more, Google is launching Made with Code, an initiative to inspire girls to code. The program includes:

  • Cool introductory Blockly-based coding projects, like designing a bracelet 3D-printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs and building beats for a music track.
  • Collaborations with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls, Inc. to introduce Made with Code to girls in their networks, encouraging them to complete their first coding experience.
  • A commitment of $50 million to support programs that can help get more females into computer science, like rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy.

We’ve also posted videos about women who are using code in their dream jobs, like Miral, Danielle, Erica and other inspirational girl coders — like Brittany Wenger, who is using code to fight cancer. And, we’ve developed a few steps parents can take at home to get their daughters excited about computer science. Read more about the initiative here.

Nowadays, coding isn’t just a skill useful for working at a tech company; engineering isn’t just for engineers. Interior design. Medicine. Architecture. Music. No matter what a girl dreams of doing, learning how to code will help her get there. Their future — our future — is made with code. Let’s do what we can to make sure that future is as bright as possible.

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National Summer Learning Day – June 20th

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Yesterday marked the beginning of summer for us. It was My 7 year old daughter’s last day of school and she is not happy about it. She asked me “Why can’t the teachers just take the weekend off and start the next school year on Monday?”

I have a huge responsibility here, I need to keep her learning and engaged during the summer. I have listed a few things in my  Summer Educational Series  that she will be taking part in. Celebrating National Summer Learning Day on June 20th that goes right in line with my mission.

Summer Learning Day  is a day to spread awareness about the importance of combating summer learning loss and the need to offer learning opportunities for all students to keep brains engaged in the summer months. Summer learning is for all children, not just those who need to catch up in school. It helps to encourage children to be:

    • Creative and innovative.
    • A chance to use the great outdoors as a classroom.
    • A way to make sure your child is eating healthy and staying active during the summer.
    • A way for older youth to discover a career through job experiences.
    • A step up to the next grade or school level.
    • A tool for helping children and schools perform at their highest level.

This year, hundreds of events, big and small, are slated to celebrate summer learning across the nation. Find Summer Learning Day events close to you, Summer Learning is about bringing together fun activities and learning to provide a safe space for the children of working families.

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As a parent, you can help by turning everyday errands and outings into a learning experience. Download and print out some of the resources below to learn how.

  • Summer Learning Tips for Parents
  • This sheet offers some overall tips on finding a summer program for your child and other low-cost activities that you can do with your child during the summer months.
  • Ideas for Activities at Home
  • This sheet offers fun and easy-to-use ideas on how to turn everyday errands and local outings into learning for your child.
  • Ideas for Older Youth
  • Getting your tween or teen to learn during the summer can be a challenge. This sheet gives you ideas on how you can make it so fun and interactive they won’t even realize they are learning!
  • Ideas for an Active and Healthy Summer
  • This sheet gives ideas on how to keep your child physically active and fit, while eating healthy during the summer months.
  • Getting Teens College and Career Ready During the Summer
  • This sheet offers ideas families can use to work with teens during the summer to give them a start on what comes after high school and beyond.
  • Summer Reading
  • This resource will give you tips on how to keep your child reading all summer long.

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Free LEGO’s for our Future Builder’s

I absolutely loved LEGO’s as a child, as an adult I love to see my children playing with LEGO’s. I know that LEGO’s provide a child with complete freedom that allow their imaginations to soar. They encourage children to give their ideas and predictions a try and their mistakes become masterpieces with endless possibilities.

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As a parent, I love that as the child grows, their building possibilities grow from the same set of LEGO’s. They could potentially use the same blocks for years. Although, I am sure that they will add on to their existing set with some of the new themed sets. One set that I am very pleased to see coming out in August is a limited-edition box set called “Research Institute”, featuring three female scientists.

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LEGO stores hold FREE Monthly Mini Builds

Your local LEGO Store has FREE monthly Mini Model Builds on the first Tuesday of every month.  Your child can learn how to build a mini model and take it home for FREE (I think I already said that but I love FREE). These events are for kids ages 6 to 14.  The next upcoming Mini Model Build is: LEGO Beach Van: Tuesday, July 1 and begins at 5:00 pm until supplies last. 

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June 2014  Mini Build

Lego’s are an important part of your child’s development. Here are some the many benefits of Lego’s from ehow.com

Math and Science Skills

  • Building with Lego bricks fosters spatial reasoning and awareness of proportions and patterns. As a child builds, his or her mind is reasoning about what pieces will work best, how they should be arranged and how big or small the creation should be. The basic Lego bricks also teach fractions and division. From whole to half to quarter, children are learning fractions without even realizing it. Physics and engineering skills are also stealthily being developed. As a child builds a tall building or bridge, he or she is learning to think in three dimensions, balance weight and use supports for these structures.

Child Development

  • The most obvious physical benefit of building with Legos is the development of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are those that require small muscle movements. As a child manipulates the Lego bricks, he is developing the coordination of the small muscles in his fingers and hands. The ability to follow directions is also a benefit of Lego building. Many Lego kits come with step-by-step instructions that a child must follow in order to complete the task.

Thinking Skills

  • As a child builds with Legos, she is using problem solving skills. She has to figure out which blocks work in her building, sometimes using the trial and error method. Planning and organizing are other benefits. Lego building requires the child to have a plan before she builds, even if it is only a basic one. She also must organize his thoughts as well as the Lego pieces in order to bring her idea to life.

Creativity

  • Creativity is, perhaps, the most obvious of the benefits of learning with Legos. Building with blocks fosters a child’s creativity. Children can toss aside the instructional kits and use only the Lego bricks to create anything their minds can imagine. Free, open-ended play encourages children to think outside the box and dream up endless possibilities.

 

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The Benefits of Vacation Bible School

We are less then a week away from Vacation Bible School. We attend and volunteer at the VBS through Calvary Chruch located in Santa Ana.

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Calvary Chruch’s VBS is not affiliated with the church that I attend but I love several things about this VBS:

  • It’s FREE 
  • They never turn a child away
  • They help local children without transportation get to and from VBS
  • They are very organized and loving with the children
  • They teach children about giving back

Our VBS starts the day by meeting in the main church, they sing and pray together then head of to their classes where they have a bible based curriculum and then circulate in the campus and do crafts, play games, have a snack and than meet back up in the main church and end their day by singing to the lord and praying together.

They encourage children to give back by contributing through the “Penny Project”.  The kids bring in their “pennies” to fund a project to benefit the work of a missionary family. The kids will learn all about this family and what their pennies will help build or provide. This year they are helping a missionary family that is in the process of opening a new Transition Home in Balti, Moldova for 10 boys. The home will be provide a safe, loving home for boys who are too old for an orphanage but still need protection, school, and job training. The money our children raise through the “penny Project” will help buy comfortable furniture for the home, so it won’t be just a house, but a home. Now, I don’t know about you but I think it’s very impressive that my little girl come’s home understanding what missionary work is and is searching for pennies to help people she’s never meet .

VBS not only helps our children discover and grow closer to Christ, they also make friends and have memories and values to last a lifetime.

As for me, I love that volunteering at VBS works on my heart to witness the body of Christ at work. I volunteer in the craft room, which is non-stop from the moment you walk in. VBS needs a lot of volunteers to make it possible for kids to attend. Everything from donating snacks to helping with parking, helping with sign in’s each day, leading or assisting in a class room, helping in crafts room, kitchen area or music. There are tons of jobs that aren’t even addressed here. Every job is important and helps change the life of a child.

I know, yet another volunteer job and no money. But these volunteer positions that I take on give me more then money ever could. They give me the opportunity to give back to my community, to help someone, to make a difference and to refine my purpose by serving. I hope that my children see that volunteering within your community is needed and how important it is to give back. Volunteering doesn’t take money just your time and effort. Kids need to be taught how to volunteer. You have to be the example.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15

 

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pictures from last years VBS from OC Register.com

 

 

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Crystal Cove Tide Pools

Every time we come here, I fall more in love with this beautiful spot. Crystal Cove State Park is designated as an Underwater Park and definitely goes under my Summer Educational Series. This place makes it easy to add a learning experience to a family fun day at the beach.
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Nothing is better then nature’s classroom. Stop by art museum, located across from the one restaurant on the beach, and pick up a Sea Life pamphlet (made especially for kids but I love it) It describes how to explore the tidepools and the sea life you find at different tide levels.  All the kids love seeing sea anemones and get so excited by the Shore crabs. You can also read through the Crystal Cove State Park pamphlet with your to give them a some of the history of Crystal Cove.

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I am simply amazed by God’s beautiful creations when I’m here. The pristine beach is surrounded by 80 foot coastal bluffs. It has 3.2 miles of beach and seven separate coves to explore. There’s plenty of room on the beach for sunbathing and picnicking.
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There are volunteer led tidepool walks and every Wednesday throughout the summer, the Education Commons has classes on sea glass jewelry making, historic radio shows, historical games and more. These classes are from 9am-4pm and best of all it’s FREE.
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A great way to teach your kids about serving your community and preserving our beaches is to join in a beach clean-up effort check out Save Our Beach.

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How to Find the Park

The park is located off Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, California with easy access from I-5, 405 and 73. Crystal Cove State Park is located just north of Laguna Beach, California and just south of Corona Del Mar, California. Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1, passes directly by the Park. There is parking both on the ocean side of PCH at Reef Point and Pelican Point as well as inland parking at El Moro Day Use Parking Area by the Ranger Station which can be reached by going inland at School/State Park traffic signal, located next to El Morro School.. A few miles north from Reef Point is the Los Trancos parking area with trolley access to the Historic District.

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Caramelized Banana Pecan Paleo Ice Cream

Here’s a great recipe for you! It’s a Paleo ICE CREAM recipe that has only 4 ingredients. I found this recipe on www.mynaturalfamily.com (a great source for healthy recipes).

We make Banana ice cream a lot in our home. First, it’s natural, no artificial anything. Secondly, we save money but not buying store bought ice cream. Third, we get to use up banana’s and fruit that is getting a little old.

We usually just use bananas and whatever berries we have on hand. This recipe puts a twist on the traditional banana ice cream recipes and is sure to bring out all of the natural sweetness of the fruit.  

The 4 ingredients for this fabulous recipe are:

  •  4 Bananas 

  • 3 T. Grass-fed Butter(salted)

  • ½ C. Coconut Milk(canned), chilled

  • ½ C. Pecans, chopped and toasted

That’s it!!! That’s all that’s need to make healthy, delicious ice cream for your family.  

Some important notes from the blogger are: “the more ripe your bananas are, the sweeter the ice cream will end up being. Also it is important to note that you should be using canned coconut milk and not the coconut milk that is found in the refrigerated cartons. It will affect the creaminess and overall texture of the ice cream”.

For complete recipe & instructions visit www.mynaturalfamily.com. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

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Made at Home Father’s Day Gifts

To my husband, don’t read this post! Ok, since I know you, I know you will continue to read this post. So act surprised when you receive one (or all) of these as your gift.

Here’s a few quick Father’s Day Gifts that the kids can put together at home.

 From www.triedandtrueblog here’s a FREE printable, simply enough for the little’s in your family and enough detail for the older kids to get into this.

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This Fathers Day Mug from www.iheartartsncrafts.com  is another craft that would work for just about any age group.

 

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 From designdininganddiapers.com here’s a simply and cost effective gift with free printables.

 

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Now as for Breakfast, I love this simply Breakfast Eggs and Bacon Pizza from heatherchristo.com. Because I’ll be serving a few people, I’ll  be making two of these along with with a big bowl of fruit and juice. I’ve made breakfast pizza a couple times and they all loved it.

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The Electric Company Summer Learning Program

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I love PBSKids for my girls, they have some great resources. I previously blogged about their SciGirls program. Today, as part of my Summer Educational Series , my focus is on  The Electric Company Summer Learning Program (I will highlight some of the other online programs soon). This is a six-week multimedia program which has a total of 24 sessions, with four 90-minute sessions per week. This program will help me feed my daughters thirst for learning during the summer. 

PBSKids has created a curriculum based off The Electric Company. Each session uses the show to develop children’s vocabulary and core math concepts like: addition, subtraction, pattern recognition, representing and analyzing data, telling time, reading and writing numbers, and measurement. The children watch the same episode twice, so that they are exposed to the same words and concepts two sessions in a row. This enhances the depth of the each learning experience.

Every lesson is written out for you. Just follow their guidelines and your set. You can set this up with another Mom and take turns hosting a session or do this one on one with you child. However you decide to do this, be sure to encourage discussions about what they learned. Also, playing some of their online games helps reinforce their lessons or have them draw a picture to express what they’ve learned. Families are also given a bi-weekly newsletters to update parents on what children have been learning.

 

These are the Features on their program

Key features include:

  • 36 hours of summer learning content
  • YouTube links to over 3 hours of content packaged into 15-minute narratives
  • Online Gaming: 12 levels of The Adventures of Prankster Planet
  • 12 interactive group activities
  • 24 skill-building activity sheets
  • TEC SLP Orientation Training:
    – 90-minute orientation training for staff implementing SLP
    – PowerPoint presentation detailing TEC approach and SLP curriculum specifics
    – Training script to accompany PowerPoint for staff to administer training

 

Here’s the links for the program:

 

Take a look and let me know what you think.

 

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Art Program from the OC Zoo & Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

For my Summer Educational Series, I’m adding an upcoming art/educational program for kids at the O.C. Zoo. Even if you have to drive a bit to get here, it’s completely worth it. You can plan a full day here.

A new Art Program is being offered at the OC Zoo. The OC Zoo has teamed up with Chuck Jones Center for Creativity. On June 27 and August 6 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am., kids ages 9-16 years old will learn to draw an animal with a Chuck Jones Center artist. They’ll also get to meet a zoo animal up close!

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The cost is $10.00 per child (parent observer pays $2.00 zoo admission fee)  and a $3.00 parking fee.  A Chuck Jones center artist will also be inside the zoo after the art program from 12:30pm-2:30pm so general admission zoo visitors have a chance to see the artist drawing and ask questions

Space is limited, class takes place at the OC Zoo which is located inside Irvine Regional Park in Orange. Registration is REQUIRED by calling (714) 973-6846l

Be sure to bring a lunch and spend the day at Irvine Regional Park. You can visit the Nature center, rent a bike, a paddle boat, take a train ride or take a walk along with the lake.

Orange County Zoo

(located inside Irvine Regional Park)

1 Irvine Park Road

Orange, CA 92862

(714) 973-6846
Art Program at OC Zoo
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About Chuck Jones Center for Creativity:

The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity is a non-profit organization founded by the legendary animation creator and director, Chuck Jones. The Center’s vision is to inspire the creative genius within each person that leads to a more joyous and harmonious life and world. The programs of the center provide children with nurturing guidance from the Chuck Jones teaching artists to help discover their own innate creativity.
To learn more about the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and Warner Bros. animation contact them at www.chuckjonescenter.org.
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S’mores Cups Recipe

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picture and recipe from http://www.inkatrinaskitchen.com/

Although I try to keep our foods healthy sometimes you just gotta give in. I’m also in total Girl Scout mode today, so these Fluffy No Bake S’mores Cups from In Katrina’s Kitchen got my attention.

This dessert not only looks scrumptious (or is it just me and my love for S’mores?) but it’s a great prep ahead dessert. Perfect for dinner parties.

Just whip the ingredients together, assemble, let it sit in the fridge 3 hours or overnight and serve. If you have kids with Peanut allergies dessert will work out great. You use Biscoff spread in place of peanut butter (Biscoff spread is made from Biscoff cookies and gives that graham cracker taste). It can be found near the peanut butter in most grocery stores.

S’mores Cups Recipe

YIELD: 8 mini dessert cups

PREP TIME: 15 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 3 hours, or overnight

Fluffy S’mores no-bake mousse cups

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz package of chocolate pudding (powder)
2 Cups powdered sugar
1/2 Cup Biscoff spread or Peanut Butter
8 oz tub of Cool Whip
2-3 Tablespoons milk
marshmallows and graham crackers for garnish and layers

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, pudding powder, milk, and Biscoff spread.
  2. Fold in Cool Whip
  3. Pipe into cups of any size and garnish with graham crackers and marshmallows. Place halved marshmallows in between layers if desired.
  4. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight (will become a firmer consistency)

NOTES:

  • You can also make this in a 9×13 dish layered between graham crackers.
  • Biscoff spread provides a hint of graham cracker taste in the dish. You can substitute peanut butter if you do not have Biscoff.

For complete details visit : Smores Cups Recipe | In Katrina’s Kitchen.

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7th annual National Get Outdoors Day -June 14, 2014

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The 7th annual National Get Outdoors Day is on June 14, 2014. This event encourages healthy, active outdoor lives and embraces our parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and waters. Participating partners will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities.

Get Outside Day event actives will offer a mix of information centers, “active fun” areas, places where guests (especially kids) can use a fishing pole, go geocaching, help pitch a tent and more. Many sites also feature areas that focus on other aspects of healthy living, including sustainability and good nutrition.

The sites will also provide photo opportunities with characters like Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl.

In addition to the days events, participants will be invited to nearby follow-up activities called EchO events occurring throughout the summer, which include introductions to mountain biking and fly-fishing, hikes with rangers to see wildlife, kayaking and rafting and much more.

Find event locations here: National Get Outdoors Day.

Can’t find an even in your area? Don’t let that stop you, here’s a link for Trails.com, enter the name of your City and it’ll locate hiking trails near you. 
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Operation Splash

Summer is here, time to play and have fun in the pool! We need to remember that part of having fun in the pool is staying safe by learning how to swim. This is why I am including Kaiser Permanente’s “Operation Splash” as part of my Summer Educational Series.

Kaiser is partnering with cities throughout Southern California to offer “Operation Splash”, a program designed to encourage exercise and provide free swim lessons for low-income youth and adults, They also offer free junior lifeguard training.

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The following cities/counties have been offered grants: City of San Bernardino Parks, Recreation, City of Riverside Parks, Recreation, Desert Recreation District, Coachella Valley Recreation and Park District, Indio,  North of the River Recreation and Park District, Bakersfield, City of Ventura, Community Services Department, Ventura, Friends of Chula Vista Parks and Recreation and city of Los Angeles.

For Riverside:  

Visit www.riversideca.gov or call 951-826-2000. Registration is on site at participating locations. 

Arlington Park Pool, 3860 Van Buren Blvd.

Hunt Park Pool, 4015 Jackson St.

Islander Pool, 3794 Mount Vernon Ave.

Reid Park Pool, 701 N. Orange St.

Shamel Park Pool, 3650 Arlington Ave.

Sippy Woodhead Pool, 2060 University Ave.

Villegas Park Pool, 3091 Esperanza St.

 

Click here for Operation Splash Locations in Los Angeles

 

For San Bernardino:

 

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Doodle 4 -US winner on Google today

For 7 years now Google  has held a a competition. They invite kids, grades K-12 to draw an invention that would make the world a better place. This year they had more than 100,000 submissions.

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This years winner is  11-year old Audrey Zhang of New York. She is a third time finalist in this competition. Not only is Audrey’s animated drawing headlining the Google page today but she also won a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for her school and on top of that Google.org donated $20,000 in her name to charity: Water toward providing clean water to schools in Bangladesh.

“To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier. It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively transforms the water into clean, safe and sanitary water, when humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life.”
– Audrey Zhang, 11

The Google doodlers team spent a day with Audrey to turn her illustration into a moving animation which is what you see today on the Google page. Google Doodle 4 – 2014 winners

In all there where 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and 5 national age group winners. Click here to take a look at the outstanding national grade group winners.

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Pictures from  https://www.google.com/doodles/doodle-4-google-2014-us-winner

Outstanding job Audrey!!!

 

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