Wednesday, August 9, 2017

National Geographic Back to School Must Haves

Each year as kids get older their "must haves" for back to school get more sophisticated.  If this will be you grandchild's first year in middle school, it can be an even bigger leap.  Besides a totally different social scene, older and more kids, there are new subjects to learn, new types of homework projects, changing classes and more teachers.

National Geographic Kids has two products that truly impressed me and can help a middle school child deal with all these new realities and responsibilities.

The National Geographic Kids Weird but True Daily Planner
One of the most important new skills needed when kids get to middle school is organization.  It can be overwhelming and definitely not fun.  Just as the cover says, this planner is filled with 365 days of school, sports, friends and fun.  Each 2 page spread has space for everything you need to know about 4 days - homework, activity schedules, fun and seasonal graphics and some doodle space.

The back has excellent homework help pages with a world atlas, a basic report structure outline, preparing oral report tips, conversion and multiplication tables, and more.

The National Geographic Kids United States Atlas

When I think of an atlas I think of maps only.  But this atlas is so much more.  It provides an excellent learning experience about each state and can be an excellent resource for the all important reports.  The book is organized by region begin with regional maps.  Each state has a 2 page spread featuring a state fact box, pictures, charts and graphs, a detailed map with economy symbols overlaid throughout the map.   I live in New Jersey so I chose NJ to highlight as an example of what you see for each state.

The NJ State Fact Box

There is lots to learn on the series of full United States maps in the front of the book  The back of the book has more US Facts and Figures and an excellent detailed index.  This Atlas can start to be used in middle school and stay on your shelf for many years to come.

I highly recommend these books for kids in middle school.  They are beautiful, high quality and full of information useful for success in school.

Both of these books are reasonably priced and available at Amazon  Click below:

Smurfs: The Lost Village Now on DVD

Okay grandparents –   I know you remember the Smurfs because your kids loved them.  Well guess what – now your grandkids do too.  I saw Smurfs: The Lost Village movie with my grandson in the theater and I really enjoyed it as much as he did.  Now it is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and any combination that works on your home screen.  When my DVD arrived, my 8 year old grandson was ecstatic.

The movie is action packed and has an amazing color palette that will mesmerize you.  It features an all star voice cast with lots of younger cast names you won’t recognize plus Julia Roberts as SmurfWilliow and Mandy Patinkin as Papa Smurf.  I’m sure you recognize them.  Here is a lsit of the voice actors:

The storyline involves Smurfette and her friends slipping into the Forbidden Forest with a mysterious map and having a spectacular race and ordeal to beat the evil wizard Gargemel to the Lost Village.  They do arrive after an unbelieveable journey and there is a big surprise when they get there – I won’t spoil the movie by telling you the surprise.

My grandson wanted to see the movie immediately when the DVD arrived and he has enjoyed it as much as he did in the theater.  This weekend he will get to see it with an audience of at least 5 other kids  and interested adults on a large screen.  The popcorn will make it seem even more like we were at the Movies again.

The DVD versions come with bonus content including new featurettes,  a Meghan Trainor music video and more.

All of these versions should be available everywhere including at Amazon:

Monday, August 7, 2017

The New Weird School Game Review plus Giveaway

All elementary school age kids love the My Weird School books by Dan Gutman.  And they will have a blast with the brand new, first My Weird School Game  - Miss Bernard is a Wild Card. When the game arrived my 8 year old grandson could not wait to play it and we both couldn’t stop laughing as we played. It is fun, funny, and educational - all wrapped up in one package. And... I am so excited to be offering one of the games as a giveaway.  The entry is easy  - see the details at the end of the review.

There are My Weird School teacher character, rhyming, action, adjective and noun cards plus Miss Bernard wild cards.  The wild cards give it that spin with ever changing possibilities.

Each player has his/her own sentence game board. In turn you draw from the deck of cards and try to complete sentences on your individual game board. You can start out easy by just completing sentences or play an advanced version.    Every sentence is hilarious.  The pictures above show one of my grandson’s sentences and one of mine.  Notice the number in the color bar on top.  The cards have different point values but you can play with or without assessing points.  We started out just to see who could complete a sentence first and then we advanced to counting points.

In addition to laughing out loud, the game develops math, reading and strategic thinking skills.  It is a perfect grandparent/grandchild game to play with elementary school age children.  You will be the cool grandparent who knows about the Weird School books if you get this game.

My grandson and I laughed our way through playing game after game.    A picture is worth a thousand words.  Here are a few that tell all about how we enjoyed the game.

My Weird School Game is hot off the presses and it is already winning awards. It just won a 2017 GAME OF THE YEAR award in the Educational Reading Skills Games category by Creative Child Magazine and I bet there are more to come.

At my very last stop at Toy Fair in February when I could barely stand up,  I made a command visit to the All Things Equal, Inc booth and met author Dan Gutman in person.  My daughter had seen on facebook that the game was coming out and she asked me to look for it at Toy Fair.  Here I am with Dan.  I impressed my grandson more with this picture that the one of me with the ghostbusters.  Thanks All Things Equal for providing me with a review copy of the game plus one to giveaway.

This review is solely my own opinion I did not receive any compensation for the review.  I did receive a game in order to conduct the review.

Giveaway Details
It is easy to enter and there are two ways. Both ways count as an entry so you get two entries if you do both.  I need to be able to contact you if you win. If you enter -  email me with your email address at  I will not use your email address for anything except to notify you if you win.  Grandmother’s Honor.

Two ways to win:

Leave a comment here on the blog


Like The Grandma Chronicles facebook page - click here.

You can have two entries by doing both.  Deadline to enter: August 27, 2017 at midnight. This item can be sent to US addresses only. 

This post is listed at

Miss Bernard Is a Wild Card is available at Amazon:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Grandparents Having Fun in Ocean City, NJ

Every summer I look forward to our vacation in Ocean City, NJ with my daughter, her husband and my grandson.  Ocean City is the real Jersey Shore unlike the TV show by that name.  The Jersey Shore is one of best places on earth for families to vacation. We are lucky to live in New Jersey and be able to load up two cars and drive down the parkway to our favorite shore town.  Ocean City is “dry” (no alcoholic beverages allowed) and there are no gambling games on the boardwalk.  It is a true family vacation destination.

What I like most about it, it is the most multigenerational vacation place I know.   Many - not just some - of the families vacationing here include grandparents and we are having a grand time!

Here are a few pictures I took of grandparents with their grandchildren at the beach. I asked permission to publish these pictures and I thank all of you who proudly let me take pictures of you and your grandchildren for my readers to enjoy.

These grandparents and granddaughter are walking hand and hand at the ocean's edge.

This Grandmom was helping out with five granddaughters and had built a castle with 5 sand seats so that she could take a picture of all of them together.  Her little granddaughter explained which Disney characters each of them would be and asked me if I knew why Snow White didn't have fancier shoes.

If there is a big dig and a young child there frequently is a grandfather involved.  Check these out:

 And this happy guy was building a castle with twins!

I was too busy taking pictures of other grandparents and I forgot to get one of me with my grandson.  Here he is collecting shells to decorate our big dig.

Vacationing at Ocean City also involves having a great time on the Boardwalk.  There are the rides, the arcade, miniature golf, waterpark, nightly entertainment and ice cream.  There is so much happening I got in trouble one night for bringing my grandson home so late.

Here I am on the boardwalk with my daughter and grandson:

This is a better picture of Zach with a minion on the boardwalk:

Do you vacation with your grandchildren?  Please leave a comment with your vacation memories.