As the holidays quickly approach, I wanted to start a list of great educational items that can enhance your child's learning experience. Below is a listing of a few of our favorites. Please feel free to comment and add your own.

1.LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning TabletFor children 4-9 years of age
2. Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 by Elenco Electronics Inc children 8-12 years of age
3. LeapFrog Scribble and WriteFor children 3-5 years of age
4. Melissa & Doug Wooden Hands Counting Peg PuzzleFor children 2-4 years of age
5. Playskool AlphieFor children 3-5 years of age 
We hear that other stores are out of them, but we currently h... on Twitpic
_The handwritten letter is a dying art form, but very little can compare to the joy of holding an envelope in your hand, opening it and reading a note that someone took the time to craft by hand. When thinking of ways to show gratitude to those who matter most in your life, take out a blank sheet of paper or empty note card and resolve to write a heartfelt message. Here are some tips to help you along the way, from start and to finish.

You can write a thank-you note for any occasion, but thank-you notes are especially appropriate when you have received a gift, after a dinner or party or when someone does anything especially thoughtful for you, such as lending you a book or showing you around town. It is best to send the thank you note as close to the date of the kindness as possible. Although it is better late than never, try to send your note within a two-week time frame.

The Basics
Use stationery or a nice, blank note card. Find your favorite pen (be sure to use something that doesn’t smear) and pick out a fun stamp. If your child is writing the note, he or she can moderately decorate the note and envelope. Addressing an envelope is a great way to familiarize your child with addresses and encourage his or her memory of your home address.

The Contents
Start with the salutation, the formality of which depends on who will be receiving the note. “Dear” is a classic opener, but there are many options. Be creative, warm and familiar if you are sending the note to a close friend or loved one. Stick with the traditional “dear” if you are writing to someone less close, such as a co-worker, potential employer or your child’s teacher.

The body of your thank-you note should immediately express your gratitude for the gift or service. Follow up with specifics about your enjoyment and use of the gift or service. Add a personal note if you are familiar with the recipient, such as recent life news. Then wrap up your note with an expression of gratitude and a reference to the future, such as the next time you will see the recipient or good wishes for an upcoming event in the recipient’s life.

However you chose to show gratitude to those that matter in your life, the important thing is to stop and remember to be thankful. By engaging in this simple and rewarding practice, you will set a great example for your children while brightening someone’s day!
_November is a time for reflection and giving thanks. As the holidays approach, we continue our series of helpful articles for parents with a special emphasis on gratitude. Visit our Facebook page to benefit from our weekly parenting column, share your stories and to join the ongoing conversation.

Here are the articles you can look forward to reading on our blog and on Facebook in November:

·         The Art of the Thank-You Note--The handwritten letter is a dying art form. As we encourage our Facebook fans to show gratitude in the month of November, this article will be a guide to writing good letters and thank-you notes. We will outline what makes a good letter and give parents tips on how to teach their children to write and appreciate letters.

·         Rituals of Gratitude--Rituals, such as holiday traditions or weekly outings, provide a foundation for family identity. This article will provide tips for making gratitude and reflection a fun and meaningful family habit.

·         How to Thank a Teacher--There are more ways to thank teachers along with entering them in the Kumon Thank a Teacher Contest. In this article, we’ll offer up ways that parents can support their children’s teachers at various stages: elementary, middle and high school. We will interview teachers and include their tips in the article.

·         Tips from the Study Smart Sweepstakes--This article gathers together the best study tips from the Study Smart Sweepstakes to help keep parents inspired as homework increases and the hectic schedule of the holidays approaches.

Also, thank you to all who entered the “Smart Study Tips” contest. Your study tips have inspired the entire Kumon community.

We also hope to see your participation in the conversations on Facebook and Twitter throughout the month.

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