(847) 485-0000
Find a
Center
 

Success

Error

Blogs

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/best-gifts-for-teacher/homemade-gifts.jpg

Homemade Gifts for Teachers

Many children want to give their teacher a gift for the holidays. While this is a great idea and one that should be encouraged, a “World’s Best Teacher” mug or glass is not always the best choice. Just about every teacher will tell you that they already have several of these. So, what should you give them to show your appreciation for all their hard work? The options may be a little closer to the heart for most.

Gift cards

Starbucks Gift Card

It's hard to go wrong with a gift card. These can be purchased at local grocery stores for just about dollar amount imaginable. And getting one from their favorite stores, coffee shops, or teacher supply outlets will go a long way to show that you care.

Homemade gifts and cards

We have found that many teachers love to receive anything homemade or crafted by their students. Your child’s artwork, a handwritten card, or a crafted Christmas ornament with your child’s name and the year on it are items that teachers can keep year after year to remember their students and all the lives they have touched along the way.

School supplies for all

Another great idea is to get them much-needed school supplies. Many teachers pay for classroom materials like lined paper, pencils, sticky notes, pens, erasers, and much more themselves. So, gifts of this nature are often much needed and will always be appreciated. If you don’t know what to get exactly a gift card to bookstores and teacher supply stores is a great place to start.

Donations in their name

For schools or teachers who aren’t in need of such items for their classrooms, they often suggest giving donations in their name instead. Find out what causes your teacher supports or cares about and donate either time, money, or specific items to that cause using your teacher’s name. This will show your teacher that you care and are willing to help others who may be less fortunate and also gives that teacher an opportunity to be a part of that giving.

Thank you letters or notes

Sometimes the simplest of gifts can be the most precious. The job of a teacher can often be a thankless one that is taken for granted. Writing a letter or short note can be just the thing to brighten their day and make all their hard work this year worth it. A heartfelt “thank you” can say much more even the most expensive gift.

Ask just about any experienced teacher what their favorite gifts over the years have been and they will tell you about ones that came from the heart. The ones that really mean something are ones that were well thought out, painstakingly constructed by little hands, and given out of honor and a heart of appreciation, not from obligation. This year, instead of another coffee mug, give your teacher something that matters a little more.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/christmas-card-day/christmas-card.jpg

Christmas card day

Sending festive Christmas cards of season’s greeting is an age-old tradition amongst millions of families worldwide. We make a list and check it twice, ensuring that no one is forgotten or left out. Whether it’s the classic jingles of Christmas past or modern electronically sent messages, we want to make sure they receive it before Christmas Day.

History of Christmas Card Day

However, this unofficial holiday is not celebrated on this day just make sure you get your cards out to the mailbox on time. On December 9, 1843, Sir Henry Cole of England designed the first commercial Christmas Card. It showed a family raising a toast together. It was produced by J. C. Horsley, who went on to produce many more of Cole and other’s holiday cards. From there, a lithograph firm, Prang and Mayer, started creating and selling Christmas cards by the masses. By 1880, they were producing over five million cards a year.

Many of those first cards are now collector’s items and are sold for thousands of dollars at auctions. The British Museum houses Queen Mary’s early 1900s collection of them. Today, Christmas cards are made in millions of designs and themes. Some are more traditional and include the popular “Merry Christmas” messages with an image of jolly old Saint Nicolas. While others may steer in a more religious direction, quoting bible verses or blessings with wise men standing around a holy child in a manger. Still others, for those who may not celebrate Christmas, are sent wishing season’s greetings and best wishes for a new year.

How to Celebrate Christmas Card Day

Happy Holiday Card

Whatever your preference, today is the day to remember your Christmas card list and work on getting them out to your loved ones. It's always nice to be able to make handmade cards if you have the time. Grab your glue stick, markers, and glitter and get to creating. This can be an amazingly fun activity for your children as well. Maybe start a family tradition of making cards.

If you aren’t that crafty or don’t feel you have the time, there are always pre-made cards to send and even e-cards. These are sent electronically and take hardly any time at all. Plus, you don’t have to worry about missing the mailman or not making it to its recipient on time. However, nothing beats the real thing and this day is the perfect time to get those cards ready and in the mail before the last day of mail service arrives.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/make-a-gift-day/make-a-gift-day.jpg

Make A Gift Day

In case you hadn’t realized, Christmas is almost here. A time spent with family and friends, eating your favorites dishes and exchanging gifts. When it comes to those exchanged gifts, the goal is usually to give something heartfelt, something that will be appreciated, and something that shows the recipient just how much they mean to you. Nothing does this quite like a handmade gift. It's also a great way to maybe save some money or make use of old and/or forgotten items. And then there is always that gift you forgot to get and now have to improvise for.

History of Make A Gift Day

This is an unofficial national holiday, which means that it is pretty much celebrated nationally on the same day every year but no one really knows who came up with the idea or when it came to be and no documentation of it can be found in presidential proclamations or congressional records. However, it makes sense for this holiday to be around this time, as Christmas is just around the corner and the gift-giving season is in full swing.

With that being said, handmade gifts have been a huge success for years, especially before the time of commercialized stores and ready-made products. For hundreds of years, people always made their own gifts, not to mention everything else. If you wanted to give your sister a new dress for Christmas or your brother a new toy, you had to make it yourself. This is a day to bring that back a bit and to get in touch with your creative side, even if you don’t think you have many crafting skills. After all, it’s the thought that counts right?

How to Celebrate

Homemade Gifts

There are so many countless ways to celebrate and enjoy this holiday. The idea is to just get out there and try. It doesn’t matter what you make or create. This is also the perfect opportunity to teach your children about the gift of giving to others and how much a heartfelt, homemade gift can mean. So, get together with your children and make something.

It could be as simple as a handwritten card or letter, a cupcake, or a batch of cookies for their teacher or grandparents. Start small and work your way up. Make a collage using some of their art projects from the past year or a personalized mug with their picture or artwork on it. There are so many options and ideas to choose from and the sky is really the limit. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be the most beautiful creation in the makers’ eyes, the recipient of such a gift will absolutely love it.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/FSPG/FSPG-01.jpg

Finally!! Smart Prescription Glasses that Adjust to Your Vision Automatically

As we grow old, the crystalline lenses in our eyes begin to harden. In result, the objects that are in close range will start to slowly appear blurry, and this is forcing many middle-aged adults and others who have this issue to either glasses around their necks or have themtucked away in their bags. Those who are already suffering from short-sightedness, or myopia, which is a condition where distant objects appear blurred, are the people who will have to depend on spectacles, or even in worst case they switch between two pairs of eyeglasses. However, we have to thank the researchers of Utah, as they are the ones who "finally found a solution which will self-adjust your glasses".

If we go to the details; the team of makers led by computer and electrical engineering professor Carlos Mastrangelo and the doctoral student NazmulHasan, took an exclusive move towards the discovery and making of eyeglass lenses. Instead of going with glass or plastic, they tried to impersonate the eye lens with glycerin, which is a thick colorless liquid, fixed within the two flexible rubber-like membranes. Following it; they then connected the three mechanical actuators to the rear membrane to help it move back and onwards. These changes helped them to change the curvature of the liquid lens; shifting the focal length, or distance betweenconnecting the lens and the eye. While these lenses are housed inside a unique eyeglass border or(frame) containing electronics, they have a rechargeable battery to control and power the actuators.

However, when a wearer looks at an object, a meter is embedded in the frame’s overpass and it instantly measures the coldness from the eye and transmits the information to the actuators that curve the lenses the appropriate amount. These lenses also change focus from one object to another in less than 14 milliseconds, which means that the wearer can see everything around you without taking off the glasses. Alike to all smart devices, the batteries that operate the actuators need to be charged; they can last up to 24 hours.

What do you need to know before you wear them?

The user who prefers or opts to wear these glasses needs to add his/her eyeglass prescription using a special smart phone app, while the information that is conveyed via a Bluetooth connection will automatically calibrate the lenses. However, if in a rare case you have any change in your prescription, then it can also be easily updated in the same manner, which means that one pair of these eyeglasses could last a lifetime.

However, the researchers, who unveiled the prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show which was held in Las Vegas in January 2017, have realized that these smart glasses are not very marketable in their current burdensome state. Carlos; who has set up Sharpeyes LLC to produce these glasses, expects a lighter and more beautiful version to be available within the upcoming years.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/Kite%20Flying%20Day/Kite%20Flying%20Day.jpg

Kite Flying Day

National Kite Flying Day is observed annually on February 8th.Kite Flying Day is marked by kite flying enthusiasts across the country; this festival often has a lot of kites packed into a region of the sky.

There are quite a few internationally recognized and appreciated kite festivals taking place in the US. Amongst them, the well recognized and voted best in the world by Kite Trade Association International, is the Washington State International Kite festival. Let us look at some of the main Kite festivals in the US which are recognized by Top events of the US.

Huntington Beach Kite Party

Huntington Beach Kite Party

Time: Early - Mid March

Place: Huntington Beach, California

The Huntington Beach Kite Party is the ideal event representing the amazing skills of these kite flyers as well as itoffers a separate area where even the general public can fly their own kites apart from the professional flyers. You can see professional kite flyers from all over the US.

Blossom Kite Festival

Blossom Kite Festival

Time: End of March

Place: Washington DC

This event is one of the most popular annual events in Washington DC and regarded as one of the top ten kite festivals in the US. The Blossom Kite Festival features kite flyers from across the US and all over the world competing with their age group in various competitions to show their skills as well as to assist the children from the activity tents who are there to learn on how to make and beautify their own kites.

Kite Fest Louisiane

Kite Fest Louisiane

Time: End March - Early April

Place: West Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Louisiane Kite Fest is famous for showcasing all sorts of kites and it is also well-known for itsfree Kite Fest. This is the only such event in Louisiana and one of the state’s top festivals, that attracts over 10,000 people each year and features kite making, kite designing, indoor kite flying, and night flying with kites decorated with LED lights and fun events in particularto catering the children with candy dropping kites.

Kids and Kites Festival

Kids and Kites Festival

Time: Early May

Place: Montrose Harbor – Chicago, Illinois

This is one of the favorite events for children, where the kids have free kites to fly. This Kite Festival in Chicago is one of the major kite festivals in the US that attracts enthusiasts from more than 100 countries worldwide and entertains a wealth of family-focused leisure, from extraordinary kite demos to flying paper kites to face canvas, crafts of all kinds and demos by balloon artists as well. This is the place where you can see a wide selection of different kinds of kites from; very large kites and sports kites. The organizers give free kits for children to design, decorate and create their own kites.

Great Lakes Kite Festival

Great Lakes Kite Festival

Time: Mid May

Place:Grand Haven, Michigan

The Great lakes kite festival is one of the manyfamous kite festivals in the US, This festival features everything from a night fly on the beach to indoor events. You can see the best kite flyers in teams and individuals with their giant kites and boarding kite competitions, night events with illuminated kites. This is the world's largest outdoor “Kite Store” with the best in new kite soaring gear and more flying activities.

Wildwoods International Kite Festival

Wildwoods International Kite Festival

Time: Late May

Place: Wildwood, New Jersey

This is one of the major kite festivals in the US; which is considered to be the largest kite festival in North America. The Wildwoods International Kite Festival showcases huge kites from all over the world taking part in the night time. You have illuminated kite flying events, kite championship, there will be a kite festival auction and this festival also hosts the kite exhibits and workshops.

San Francisco Family Day Kite Festival

San Francisco Family Day Kite Festival

Time: Early June

Place: San Francisco, California

Alongsidewith the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Family Day Kite Festival is very popular for its free events offering families the chance to make their own kites for free and enjoy kite flying competitions. People enjoy the skills of professional fliers and the acrobatics they do with their kites. Here in this festival prizes are awarded to the funniest and most stunning kites on display.

Rogallo Kite Festival

Rogallo Kite Festival

Time: Early to mid June

Place: Jockey’s Ridge State Park – Nags Head, North Carolina

The Rogallo Kite festival is a popular event since 1982, this Kite Festival offers two days of kite flying to honor Francis Rogallo, who is a NASA scientist and discoverer of the flexible wing. This is a technology of which is used for lots of the stunt kites seen today in various kite events around the USA. The highlights of this kite festival include; opportunities for free kite making, power kite teaching and a wide collection of very different kites such as the 100-foot octopus, an 80-foot scuba diver and a 50-foot fish.

Summer Kite Festival

Summer Kite Festival

Time: Late June

Place: Lincoln City, Oregon

The summer kite festival honors different kite flying themes each year, this is a weekend-long kite festivalthat takes place on the beach in the heart of Lincoln City, Oregon and showcases some of the most multicolored and biggest kites in the world, as well as expert kite flyers who will demonstrate their flying tips. Here you can see experienced flyers and free family-friendly kite-making events, along with the kid’s kite parade, mass ascensions, and more.

Berkeley Kite Festival

Berkeley Kite Festival

Time: End July

Place: Berkeley, California

The Berkeley kite festival is very reputed to feature kites which are bigger than a house and longer than a train. This festival is marked for the world’s largest octopus-like kite and “Giant Creature Kites” which are from New Zealand. The free Berkeley Kite Festival in California also showcases manufacturers‘ and demonstrations thatdemonstrate a wide range of events including the much respected West Coast Kite Championship competition, the famous Japanese-Style Rokkaku Kite Battle for the Skies and team kite dance. There is also contribution for free kite-making and kite flying training. In this festival, you can see food, music, arts and crafts stalls, and an evening dinner cruise on the Empress Hornblower Dining Yacht.

Washington State International Kite Festival

Washington State International Kite Festival

Time: Late August

Place: Long Beach, Washington

The Washington State International Kite Festival is one of the top 10 kite festivals in the US and voted the best kite festivals in the world by Kite Trade Association International, thisweeklong kite festivalhas been popular since 1980. This festival features a competition that has skies ablaze with color, high flying action events and choreographs movements in the sky. Washington’s Kite Festival draws celebrated kite fliers from all around the world, and tens of thousands awed audiences, many of whom participate in the fun with their own kite flying adventures.

The Fall Kite Festival

The Fall Kite Festival

Time: Mid October

Place: Lincoln City, Oregon

The Fall Kite Festival, in Lincoln City, is the original Kite Festival that hascelebratedmore than three decades of fun. You can enjoy demonstrations by expert fliers, kids have an opportunity to make kites, running of the Bolls, raffles, kid's parade, and many more fun activities in the sand. Lincoln City Fall Kite Festival is an authorized event of the American Kite Fliers Association.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/Kwanzaa%20Celebration/Kwanzaa-01.jpg

Kwanzaa Celebration

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States and in other western nations celebrating with African communities.  Every year Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 – January 1st honoring the African custom in African- American Community.  People light a Kinara – which is a candle holder with seven candles and distribute gifts to each other.  It was first celebrated in 1966-67 by its creator Maulana Karenga.

Kwanzaa means “first Fruits”, Karenga said the word Kwanzaa is extracted from the Swahili phrase.  Swahili is a Bantu language and the phrase he denoted is “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits of the harvest".

People celebrate Kwanzaa in their own way but they often include singing and dancing.  Everyone gathers at one place and celebrate this day by telling stories, poetry, playing African drums, and having a large traditional meal.  Given by its creator Maulana Karenga (generally called as Nguza Saba) Karenga mentioned that Nguza Saga or the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the best African practices and thoughts in continual give-and-take with the world.

The Seven Principles

  • Umoja (Unity): To do your best for and to preserve unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination):  To describe and label ourselves, in addition, to producing and voice for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility):  To shape and preserve our community composed and craft our brothers' and sisters' difficulties problems our difficulties and to resolve them collectively.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):  To maintain and construct our own businesses and to attain revenue from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose):  To make vocations collectively the constructing and rising of our community in order to reestablish traditional prominence.
  • Kuumba (Creativity):  Always do whatever you can, in order to make our tradition more gorgeous and valuable.
  • Imani (Faith):  To trust with all our hearts in our parents, our leaders, our teachers, our people,  and the morality and triumph of our struggle.

The symbols of Kwanzaa include mat (Mkeka), Mishumaa Saba (seven candles), a Kinara (candle holder), Muhindi (corn), mazao (crops), a Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors, and Zawadi (gifts).  Other symbols include black, red and green flags (bendera), books and other African artwork which resemble the African culture unity and reinforcement.

How to Observe

Families, who observe Kwanzaa wear African cloths (kente), decorate their houses with African artifacts and fresh fruits,  which represent African tradition and culture.  Parents make their children to participate in the celebration to honor their ancestors.

The ceremony also includes music such as playing drums, performances by various artist, candle-lighting rituals, reading the African pledge and a feast (karamu).

Cultural exhibitions held at the John F. Kennedy Center include the Spirit of Kwanzaa, interpretive dance, songs and poetry and African dance.

Kwanzaa and its Popularity

According to the survey done by the National Retail foundation USA in 2004, it is found that 4.7 million people had planned to celebrate Kwanzaa.  In a 2006 speech Maulana Karenga mentioned 28 million celebrate Kwanzaa.  In 2009 the African-American cultural center had claimed 30 million people celebrated Kwanzaa.

Celebration has also spread across Canada, where their black Canadian population started celebrating Kwanzaa.  Similar celebration is also observed in Brazil.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/hmi/hmi-01.jpg

Homemade Musical Instruments

Some things you may have at home or might usually throw away. But you can make many interesting things with these throw away; and can recycle them to make great musical instruments that really work. After they're made, see what to do with them at bottom of page! Great Fun!!!

Drum Ideas

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Tape or glue
  • Cans - large coffee cans or any size
  • Any decorate paper
  • Crayons to color it up
  • Marker

Procedure to make a Drum

Cut a piece of paper and fit it around a Can with a plastic lid; you can use a large Coffee Can as it will work well or you can use any size of it. You can also use an empty plastic jug or wooden bowl turned upside down or metal pot. Once you fit the paper well you can decorate it using crayons & markers; or first you can make the paper look good with your designs and then fit it around the can using glue or a tape.

Bongo Drum

Cut a paper in two pieces and fit it around two cardboard oatmeal containers with lids. Now follow the same procedure to decorate the containers with a decorated paper or by making it unique with crayons and markers, and then attach the decorated paper around both containers with a tape or gum. Keep them aside to rest till the gum is all set and the containers are ready to use.

Now, set the containers side by side and tie them together using two long pieces of string or yarn. You need to tie one piece of string around the upper section of the container and the other around the lower section; then place a dab of glue under the string in multiple spots to make it hold in place. Now your Bongo drums are ready to play, Play your bongos by tapping on the tops with your fingertips.

Base Drum

This is going to be a very easy task, you just need to turn a cooking pan over and beat on the bottom of it with a wooden spoon.

Belt Drum

Collect a round box, such as a potato chip or an oatmeal box container. Now carefully make two small slits, about 2 inches apart just near the top of the box; and thread the box onto a child's belt or a shortened adult belt. And that way your belt drum is ready.

Once you are ready with your drums, it’s time for you to make drum sticks. Let’s look at simple ideas on how to make drum sticks.

Drum Stick Ideas

The best thing is to use your hands to tap on the drums, or a wooden spoon, a metal spoon, rubber spatula, whisk or a basting brush.

Take two unsharpened pencils with erasers and make drumsticks; or attach an empty thread spool on one end of the pencils and wrap a thick rubber band around one end of each pencil. Now it’s your turn to experiment with the variety of sounds and tones you can make.

Taping Ideas

Gather your friends while doing this activity and make all your friends tap together two wooden dowels. You can also put metal thimbles on each finger and tap them together. Or you can also use two metal or wooden spoons, two walnut shells, or two metal pot lids to tap.

Things to Scrape

Pancake flipper, metal grater, metal sifter or two pieces of sandpaper.

Things to Ring

Keys or set of metal measuring spoons, small set of wind chimes.

Things to Shake

Take a container of toothpicks, a container of nails or tacks or an envelope of flower seeds.

 

Read More