We all know that a child’s love of learning starts at home. This is especially true when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM). Children are naturally curious engineers, but unfortunately we as parents are left trying to figure out how to support them when it comes to STEM for the long haul. Though the resources below are meant for teachers we believe that parents need to know they exist so that you can help your child stay excited about STEM.
Below you will find quite a few websites, apps and Pinterest boards that are full of really fun activities that you can do right at home to help bridge that gap for you. The resources are for children of all ages. They will also help to help fight off that summer brain drain that children go through during the summer. But more importantly you can get in some serious family quality time with these fun activities.
Updated for 2017… Please share! 🙂


IMG_8528-e1469445552730The culture shock in Japan never ends. This has been confirmed by a good online friend who has lived here for over 20 years. Like me, he is an American and has a family here. There are times when I thought I was losing my mind. Getting hit with a triple dose of life is not easy. I moved to Japan and was still a relatively new wife and mom. My baby was one year old and I had no idea about parenting in Japan. I knew even less about the school system.

Well, in Japan kids go on overnight trips overnight school trips(Otomarihoiku)with their school at 5 years old! I was horrified I tell you. Before I had learned the details of what would be going on, I imagined a not so great situation. Kids running around screaming unsupervised and in potential danger. I imagined the worse basically. My American culture brain was not having it. I said no when my husband presented the permission slip. I said it loudly and swiftly.

My husband is an extremely patient man and he is not very excitable at all. He calmly walked away from my crazy behind and presented me with some facts later on.

Actually, he presented me with a video of previous overnight stay school trips. Oh my goodness, it was a lovely and beautiful experience. It was a chance for the children to fellowship and bond. In small towns friendship is something that is really important as the children grow up and go off to school. Bullying can be a big problem and I think a trip like this might give the children a chance to practice more kindness.

Venturing outside of the daily school environment also gives the children a chance to exercise their judgement and manners. I am not going to pretend like it did not make me nervous as I kissed him goodbye, but I did. As I raise my children I realize there is never going to be a time when I am ready for them to try new things, or be without me.

In Japan the children also walk to school and return home by themselves. I will tell you how horrified I was by that in another post.

Be Well,

Tara Kamiya

Rainy season can be a downer. It rains a good part of the month every June. Clothes that are usually hung to dry in Japan will end up smelling like wet dog if you don’t figure something out.  It’s my fourth time this year and since I know when it’s coming, it seems to be more of a pain. I have developed some activities to keep me busy if I can’t get out. Now that I have three children it can be more challenging to keep them all occupied. Luckily for me, while school is in session there is more time to develop activities that I know they will love once they come home.


  1. Purge. Excellent time to clean out those closets of clothes you don’t wear or can’t wear. Excellent time to throw away garbage that has been sitting in storage or the garage. Excellent time to go through the house and sift out the broken stuff that needs to be thrown out or fixed.
4.Shop. I know this is somewhat contradictory, but let me explain. Often we end up looking for items in the stores as we need them,  as opposed to when they are available. During rainy season and early summer you can find a good assortment of rain gear and summer fun items that you may want to use in the winter months. Pool noodles are a great example. Some people use them as props or preschool items. Just check pinterest and you will be amazed at what you can do with that pool noodle. But you probably should stock up now while they are in the stores.
3.Study. Read, Read, Read. This is a great time to set up the living room like a camp site on the weekends and the whole family just lump around reading, talking, eating snacks and drinking tea. The floor is still the focal point in many Japanese homes and with two little boys looking to fly from the tops of anything that is fine by me.
2.Sleep. Make this a staycation month. Usually there is pressure to do this or that, attend this or that. Take this month to recharge. It is….after all, the half-year mark and rather than bog yourself down with obligations, stay home and sleep. No classes, no parties, no volunteering. Just do you! Rest and recharge, meditate, listen to some good soulful music that will recharge you and get you ready for the countdown to the holidays which seems to start earlier and earlier every year.
And my #1………..
1.Create! This is an awesome time to do your crafting or to start a new hobby that would be perfect indoors. I am going to resolve to crochet up the rest of my yarn this year and not repurchase until it is all gone. This is also where the kids come in big time. When they come home all we do is make stuff. That is their favorite thing to do. Thanks to Pinterest and a strong interest in cooking, we are never at a loss for activities. Last year we made paper pinwheels and banana nut bread. This year we made little books to draw in, origmi and the boys helped to make their own dinner. The youngest is one, and she was content with her toys for the most part.
And when all else fails, just let them play in the mud.Haha!
Looking forward to July, just a few more days and we made it through once again.
Be Well,
Tara Kamiya

If Jesse Williams was not on your radar before the BET awards last night he is now. The actor/activist/teacher accepted the Humanitarian Award at the 2016 BET awards and his speech on Black lives, equal justice, racism and freedom is one of the best speeches ever given on any awards show period. The transcript of his speech is below and a link to his full speech on is underneath that. As Viacom is trying to scrub his speech from the web we must make sure to keep sharing his words. PLEASE SHARE!

“Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that .

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that toEric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander.That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

Thank you-

Jesse Williams –

Full Speech –

It’s Pool season and there is nothing scarier than to think your child can still drown up to 24 hours after they have been out of the pool, lake, ocean etc. A child can be fine when you leave the body of water but can still drown hours later.  Knowing the signs of “Dry drowning” can make all the difference and give you peace of mind as you head out to the pool and other bodies of water that are the main source of entertainment during the summer months. But know that It can happen even in a bath tub or small pool with small amounts of water.
Below is what you need to know from
Chances are you’ve read scary warning stories about “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning” — terms you probably never even knew existed before you became a parent — on social media. The idea that your child could “drown” on dry land is admittedly terrifying, and makes many parents feel helpless. But these rare incidents can be prevented. Get the facts you need to help keep your kids as safe as possible in and out of the water
What is dry drowning?
The terms “dry drowning” and “secondary drowning” (also called submersion injuries) are often used interchangeably — even by some experts — but they’re actually different conditions, says Mark R. Zonfrillo, M.D., MSCE, attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
In dry drowning, someone takes in a small amount of water through his or her nose and/or mouth, and it causes a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up. In secondary drowning, the little bit of water gets into the lungs and causes inflammation or swelling that makes it difficult or impossible for the body to transfer oxygen to carbon dioxide and vice versa. Dry drowning usually happens soon after exiting the water, but with secondary drowning, there can be a delay of up to 24 hours before the person shows signs of distress. Both can cause trouble breathing and, in worst-case scenarios, death.
More important than the difference between the two — Dr. Zonfrillo says they’re both equally dangerous, and in fact, some experts reject the terms altogether, and simply refer to a “spectrum” of drowning — is knowing how to prevent such submersion injuries, and identify when your child is having trouble breathing after a swim.


Is it common?
Rest assured: Dry drowning and secondary drowning incidents, while incredibly scary, are rare, says Dr. Zonfrillo, and account for only about 1 to 2 percent of drowning incidents.
There are no specific stats on how many kids die each year from these types of submersion injuries, but it’s very few, says Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D., a pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. In fact, in 12 years practicing as a pediatrician, she’s only seen one patient who suffered from drowning that happened long after getting out of the pool.
Still, she says, it was a life-threatening scenario, and if you’re going to be spending time at the pool, ocean, or lake this summer, it’s smart to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
How to spot it
The good news is, dry drowning or secondary drowning (submersion injury) doesn’t happen out of nowhere. “You’re going to see warning signs,” says Sarah Denny, M.D. a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Injury, Violence & Poison Prevention, and an attending physician in the Section of Emergency Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
No matter your child’s age, be on the lookout for:
  • Water rescue. “Any child pulled from the pool needs medical attention,” says Dr. Berchelmann. “At the very least, call the pediatrician.”
  • Coughing. Persistent coughing or coughing associated with increased work of breathing needs to be evaluated.
  • Increased “work of breathing.” Rapid shallow breathing, nostril flaring, or where you can see between the child’s ribs or the gap above their collarbone when they breathe, means they’re working harder to breathe than normal, says Dr. Denny. This is a sign that you should seek medical help immediately.
  • Sleepiness. Your kid was just excitedly playing in the pool, and now she’s fatigued? It could mean not enough oxygen is getting into to her blood. Don’t put her to bed until her doctor gives you the go-ahead.
  • Forgetfulness or change in behavior. Similarly, a dip in oxygen level could cause your child to feel sick or woozy.
  • Throwing up. “Vomiting is a sign of stress from the body as a result of the inflammation and sometimes a lack of oxygen, also from persistent coughing and gagging,” explains Dr. Berchelmann.
What to do
Any time you’re concerned about your child and think he could have symptoms of dry or secondary drowning, whether you’re in your backyard pool or on a beach vacation, call the pediatrician right away for advice. Your child’s doctor should be able to talk you through it, says Dr. Berchelmann, and might advise you to go to the ER, a primary care doctor, or a national urgent care center.
But if your child is really struggling to breathe, call 911 and/or head to the emergency room right away. “Necessary treatment may not be available in settings other than the ER,” says Dr. Zonfrillo.
How it’s treated
Treatment for submersion injury depends on the severity of the patient’s symptoms, says Dr. Denny. The doctor will check the child’s vital signs, oxygen level, and work of breathing. Patients with more mild symptoms just need careful observation, in more serious cases, the doctor may also do a chest x-ray or give him oxygen. In cases of respiratory failure, or when a child can no longer breath on their own, extra support is needed — such as intubating or putting the child on a ventilator — but that’s very rare. The goal will be to increase blood flow in the lungs and get the child breathing well again.
How to prevent it
Prevention is the same for dry drowning and secondary drowning as it is for any other kind of drowning:
  • Swim lessons. Kids who are comfortable and skilled at moving around in the water are less likely to go under and take in water. Around age 4 is a good time to start.
  • Supervision. Monitor kids closely in and around the water, and enforce pool safety rules.
  • Water safety measures. Children should wear floatation devices on boats; pools should have four-sided fencing around them; and you should never leave standing water where a child could get into it.
As long as you practice water safety, pay close attention to your kids after swimming, and get them checked out if you notice any signs of trouble breathing, you shouldn’t have to constantly stress about dry drowning or secondary drowning. “I can’t emphasize enough how rare they are,” says Dr. Zonfrillo. Heading into vacation season, that’s welcome news.



It is that time of year again. The kiddos will soon be out of school and ready for a much-needed break. As a parent I know it is hard to keep them interested in reading all summer long but the summer brain drain is a real thing that we just cannot allow to happen. Below are some fun and really creative programs that will help and incentivize your children to read!
We Are Teachers put together this list of free summer reading programs to help keep kids reading and learning all summer long. There is also a free printable list of these programs that you can email to parents or send home in backpacks.
Barnes & Noble Imagination Destination – This program begins May 20, 2015, and runs through September 2. Kids can earn a FREE book after they read eights books and log them on the reading sheet. This is for grades K–5.
Book Adventure – This is a free program offered by Sylvan Learning. Kids in grades K–8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success. Prizes include chocolate bars, temporary tattoos, Highlights magazine and more.
Chuck E. Cheese’s – Earn 10 FREE tokens each time your child reads for two weeks in a row. Complete the form to claim the free tokens. A food purchase is required.
Half Price Books – Kids who read a total of 300 minutes each month can earn $5 Back to School Bucks with the Feed Your Brain program. Parents may read to kids who are still learning.Download a printable reading log. This program runs through July, and the HPB Bookworm Bucks coupons are valid through August 27.
PBS Kids Summer Reading Camp – PBS is teaming up with to offer a Summer Reading Camp. They have everything you need to host 10 fun weeks of reading camp. There is a new theme each week with topics like bugs, heros, music, animals and more!
Pizza Hut Book It! Program – This program has free reading adventure packs for parents to download, read and do activities. There are also recipes for children that tie back to certain books. Schools can win free pizza for participating. Homeschoolers can also enter this program.
Pottery Barn Kids – They offer free story time for kids on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. After kids attend five story times, they get a free gift. Plus, throughout the summer, families are invited to read each book at the weekly story time. Kids receive a free book after they finish reading all of the books on the list.
Public Libraries – Check your local library for more free reading programs with activities and incentives for kids of all ages. Most libraries also have story times and other reading-themed activities.
Scholastic Summer Challenge – Children can log in their reading minutes and earn rewards. Students can participate individually or as part of their school. The school that logs the most minutes reading will get a visit from the author of the Captain Underpants series. This program runs through September 5, 2015.
TD Bank – Kids can read 10 books this summer, then log them on the free summer reading log. Take the completed form in to your nearest TD Bank and get $10 deposited into your new or existing young savers account.
Bonus #11: Six Flags Read to Succeed – K–6 students who complete six hours of non-school-related reading approved by their parents and teachers are eligible for free admission to their nearest theme park. This program will open up again in the fall. I’ll be sure to remind you once it’s open again.
You can find We Are Teachers printable list of programs here. Print it and tuck it into backpacks or save it and email it to parents. You can also give students an end-of-year gift to encourage reading. We found several sets of printable bookmarks you can make. Just print, cut and add a simple yarn tassel.
Where else but in science centers and museums can you have fun in a creative environment, learn problem solving and analytical thinking skills, and explore the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)?
Each year, member science centers and museums of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) welcome over 90 million wide-eyed, inquisitive visitors to be amazed, challenged, educated, and transformed by the hands-on learning experiences they find inside.
You have until June 5th to redeem your free pass to any Museum or science center in your region. Click the link below to learn how to get your free pass and for more information.



Because we know the cost of transportation can prevent children from experiencing science centers and museums firsthand, Frito-Lay and ASTC have partnered to make them even more accessible in communities across the United States. Through a generous donation from Frito-Lay, ASTC has launched a new Fund-A-Bus initiative to help support transportation expenses so that young people have more opportunities to visit science centers and museums.
Visit for more information. 
“Love Letters” is a national campaign to uplift the voices of young people who have an incarcerated parent. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we are asking many of the 2.7 million children in the United States who have at least one parent incarcerated to share letters they have written to their mother and father. During this time, let’s remember our parents behind bars and the devastating human cost of mass incarceration.

Rosario Dawson & Hill Harper Read A Love Letter

Please join us in supporting organizations that keep parents connected to their children:

Hour Children:
In Arm’s Reach:
The Osborne Association:
Essie Justice Group:
The Messages Project:
POPS The Club:

For more videos of young people reading their “love letters,” please visit Hour Children’s YouTube Page:…

Please read Google’s blog about their commitment to racial justice and criminal justice reform:

If you would like to share your “love letter” to your incarcerated parent, please upload to YouTube on your own page and tag it: Love Letters

What a fantastic idea! In a time when so many of our schools don’t have the resources to really give our students what they need when it comes to STEM the Northrop Grumman Foundation just stepped up in a big way. Working in the STEM field for the past 15 years I fully understand how important it is to be able to get this type of support. 
If you’re a teacher, school administrator or just a parent looking for programs that can help your child’s school become more innovative when it comes to STEM then please continue reading because what the Northrop Grumman Foundation is proposing is fantastic! 
The application just opened but will close on June 17th. Good Luck!
From the Northrop Grumman Foundation:
We’re on a mission to get students excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics – better known as STEM.
Why? Because we want today’s students to be a part of tomorrow’s solutions – using STEM to create, design and solve for the needs and demands to come that will make our lives better and easier.
But for that to be possible, students need access to the latest learning tools and technologies and unfortunately, too many of today’s technology labs and science classrooms are not making the grade.
Fab School Labs to the rescue!

After a successful inaugural year for the contest in 2015, the Northrop Grumman Foundation Fab School Labs Contest is back for a second year, making five additional grants of up to $100,000 available to public middle schools for a fabulous school lab makeover.
So if your students are using equipment from their parents’ day and your Bunsen burners could use a boost, then a science, technology, or engineering lab or classroom makeover might be just what your school needs.
Tell us your vision for a dream lab makeover, share a video about your current classroom, and if you are one of up to 25 finalists, invite your local community to vote for your video to help you win. Be creative and get ready to make your dream STEM lab a reality.


Words can not express the devastation I felt when I received that breaking news text that my idol Prince had been found dead in his Minneapolis home. I have been a Prince fan since I was 9 years old and I absolutely loved his music. It wasn’t until I watched Purple Rain that I had an Oprah Winfrey “AHAH” moment.  The movie Purple rain was not allowed in my home as my guardians thought some parts of the movie were to sexual for an 11-year-old so I snuck down the street to my childhood friend Tashia’s house and her mother allowed us to watch the movie.

Don’t laugh you guys I was trying to figure life out and my hair was part of the process. LOL

The Purple Rain movie and album, YES that is what we called them at the time, transformed my tween years. The movie was like watching beautiful magic and it was the first time I swooned and felt butterflies in my stomach for the opposite sex. I watched this super confident man strut on the screen in his high heels and super cool clothes but what struck me the most was his confidence. As a child who secretly studied the arts I could not believe this was the very first time he acted on the big screen. I stumbled out of my girlfriends house not only a super out of control Prince fan but awakened to life.  After that I kept a close eye on my new crush. I watched his every move which was quite difficult as he was such a private person. Social media was not a thing and there for it was hard to get all up in folks business. When I really think about it there was no internet period.
Regardless below are few life lessons that an 11-year-old who was trying hard to come to terms with what life really meant after watching my mother die at 7 and being a victim of sexual abuse since the age of 5. I wanted to disappear as a child until I watched Purple Rain. People who really know me are always shocked that I have come so far after experiencing such tragedy as a child.
None the less below are the 4 life lessons Prince taught me:
It’s Okay To Be Different: As I watched Prince he seemed to effortlessly embrace who he was. The way he dressed, did his hair, his music Prince was unapologetic as to who he was and who he evolved into over the years. Prince made society come into his world he would NOT conform to their standards. My 11-year-old mind understood that his outward appearance was his way of shinning from the inside out and you know what it was not only okay it was damn cool! To top it all off he had full lips so I could finally stop hiding mine.
Use Your Pain To Fuel You: Purple Rain was so full of Prince’s inner pain that there was no way you could not feel it. The fact that this new actor could make this 11-year-old feel his pain was beyond my comprehension. What was brilliant was that I walked away from the movie knowing that I could take my pain and fuel it into something great! So lo and behold I did every creative thing I could get my hands on through school. I played the trumpet, I acted, I danced, I sung on the choir and was such a terrific art student that I was separated from the rest of the class and was given my own art projects. I used my pain to fuel my fire and I still tap into that super power today. Yes, Prince had super powers and he shared his secret sauce with me through the screen as I watched Purple Rain.
Do It Your Way: We all watched Prince battle the music industry for 20 years over his name, his music catalog and his over all creativity.  After I watched Purple Rain I knew he made the movie he wanted to make. I also made the decision in that moment that once I got to the age where I could rid myself of the crazy adults in my life that I was going to live my life my way. No exceptions. There was no way that I was going to endure such turmoil and not find a way to rid myself of it on my terms.
And last but absolutely not least!
How to throw SHADE:


We all must admit that Prince threw the MOST spectacular shade ever! And he was equal opportunity. If he threw shade someone’s way you knew what ever caused it was not gossip it was fact. This little 11-year-old geared up for a lifetime of side eyes and lip curling with snazzy comebacks that were dished out when folks crossed my imaginary line in the sand. After about a year or so I was brilliant at it and used it as a defense mechanism. Trust me NO ONE wanted any part of my Prince inspired shade.
Flash forward 33 years later and these life lessons still fuel me today. In 2014 my husband and I were unknowingly nominated and chosen to be BMe Community Power couple of the year for our work in STEM for the past 18 years. The Prize was an all expensed paid trip to Essence Festival and concert where the headliner was PRINCE! I was in absolute heaven that weekend but what was even more awesome was learning that Prince was behind the scenes as Van Jones silent partner making sure that students were exposed to STEM through Hackathons put on around the country through #YesWeCode.

Ben Evans, Managing Director, BMe ; Trabian Shorts Founder & CEO, BMe and my husband founder of the Urban Youth Racing School, Anthony Martin Essence Fest, New Orleans 2014. L-R


I was honored to judge one of these Hackathons when It came to Philadelphia put on by #YesWeCode, My Brothers Keepers and Kalimah Priforce’s Qeyno Labs. It felt like life had truly come full circle.



MBKHack – My Brother’s Keeper Hackathon – @Qeyno #YesWeCode Photo: Qeyno Labs