Goodies from the Twitter Birds Delivery 4


“We heard that Sprite has a little buddy in the primary school who likes science. We thought she would like The Quirkles!” trilled the Twitter Birds.

The Quirkles® are 26 imaginary scientists that help children everyday, all over the world, develop a love and appreciation for science. They offer a fresh new way to integrate literacy and science at school, for educational programs, or at home. Vocabulary builders, two related science experiments, and a character education lesson are also included in each of the 26 alphabet-series books. For a complete introduction and to get to know each Quirkle see the Quirkles website at

Fun and challenging activities for gifted children

After the incident with Caramel in the Cupboard it was really great to get an email from Laura Parsons telling me about her new website Fun and challenging activities for gifted children and her “Games-In- A- Box” project

In her email she told me
I’m excited about my “Games-In- A- Box” project.
I think it would be ideal for country people esp. homeschoolers too
Even when you live in a city it can be hard (& expensive) to find good educational games and puzzles.
I have also written a book entitled “Mindgames” which is almost ready to go.
It is currently ready as an ebook via my website.

Some information about Laura Parsons

About 18 months ago Laura Parsons moved from suburban Melbourne to a small country town of around 400 people in the mid-north of SA, to help care for ageing relatives.
“It was a huge change”, says Laura. “In Balwyn we lived on a main road. The traffic never stopped. In Mallala, if a car goes past, the driver waves to you!”
“It’s much more of a community here. In four years living in Melbourne, we never got to know the neighbours, but here I practically know the whole town already. After running her own retail business (at one stage there were six stores), for the last thirteen years, it was time for a change
For the first time in her life she found she had time on her hands. With little chance of paid employment in such a small country town, especially for a “townie”, she got involved with the local school, where their 12 year old son is enrolled.
This was a big change too. She started by volunteering to publish the school newsletter which comes out fortnightly.

“I have always been interested in the area of gifted children & homeschooling. I am a member of Mensa and was their Gifted Children’s Co-ordinator for some time, as well as SA State sec and editor of the National Journal too.”

So she put a proposal to the Principal and now runs a session of about two hours a week for “gifted” children at the school. This has been running for about a year now. We have had a great time so far and I look forward to each new term.
Finding a varied selection of games and activities that are age specific is a challenge she relishes.

Last week they had a go at debating and also Treasure Hunts and lots of different circle games and activities. They have built bridges with spaghetti and marshmallows and completed 3D jigsaws.Every session is different and Laura has kept a diary of the various activities and games the group has played.

“I have spent many hours scouring the net looking for suitable ideas for activities and have found little of substance. There are plenty of websites out there about identifying giftedness and that kind of information, but hardly any practical information such as games and activities to occupy children, especially those which are not computer based, so I can encourage creativity and imagination.”
She has looked for games and activities which challenge and improve their teamwork skills, hand eye co-ordination, logic and reasoning, vocabulary and public speaking skills, maths, spatial recognition, 3D visualisation and fine and gross motor skills amongst others.
As a result, she has decided to publish her own website and has created her own handbooks of activities and games which are continually being added to.
The handbooks (currently 3) contain hundreds of ideas for fantastic, challenging, fun activities for kids including circle games, role play, written and visual, group games, hunts, construction activities and much more. Available as e-books, they can be adapted for most age groups and would be ideal for anyone who homeschools or runs a playgroup or school holiday program or even for kids’ parties.
As a result of the sessions she has also amassed an amazing range of gizmos, gadgets, games and puzzles.
“It was my husband who suggested the “Games In A Box” concept. We used to run a mail order service with our clothing stores so we have a lot of experience in this area. We send out a selection of 10 items in each games-in-a-box, you get to use them for 2-3 weeks and then return them and if you like, receive another selection. No contracts or up front fees are payable, just pay as you go. It works rather like a toy library, with carefully selected, fun and educational games. Each Games-in-a-Box is unique, so you get a completely new selection each time.
“We wanted to share the collection and make it accessible to families who may not have regular access to libraries and games, let’s face it we are all on a budget too. So for less than the cost of one new board game you can have ten to play and learn with. Costs could also be shared with another family nearby.
So one business idea lead to another, and went from one state to another too.
Happy learning and playing!
Laura Parsons can be contacted at


Sprite Schrödinger’s Cat

Keeping a gifted child occupied can be a real challenge

I have become used to finding crystals of various shape and colour suspended above glasses of solution on the bench and strange objects in the freezer but Sprite’s latest experiment really upset the decorum of the household.
A dreadful caterwauling made me race to Sprite’s room where I found her attempting to stuff Caramel the cat into a tiny cupboard.

She was saying “Go on, in you go, Caramel! You’ll only be in there for an hour and you’ll only die if one atom breaks down and trips the alarm which opens the cyanide bottle and…
… and then we can look and see whether you are dead or not. Because before we look you could be either!”
Caramel was screeching and bracing with all four paws against the sides of the cupboard door.
Sprite had been watching a video about the theoretical Schrödinger’s Cat experiment at—Schrodingers-Cat

“But I’m not hurting her. I wouldn’t dream of hurting her. Nothing bad is really going to happen. I just want her to go into the cupboard”
I’m just pretending” said Sprite. It’s just pretend cyanide and radioactive stuff and just a pretend Geiger counter!”

“I think Caramel would prefer it if you used a pretend cat too!” I said.

Goodies from the Twitter Birds Delivery 3

True to their word the next delivery of goodies from the Twitter Birds was literally Sound Success.
It was news of the website, first newsletter and term 4 programs of Kylie Walker’s Sound Success – Inspiring Clever Kids – Helping extraordinary children reach their potential.
What Sound Success offers to gifted children, their families and teachers:
Identification of gifted children- What is involved?
Understanding Gifted Children- Accepting the whole child
Consultancy and counselling- Helping families understand their children
Child Advocacy Support- Planning and negotiating with education systems
Student Workshops- Fun, challenging activity groups
Parent Support and Training- Helping you parent your gifted children
Teacher Training- Working with your child’s teacher
School Planning Support- Policy and program development

Their logo is an attractive dragonfly. The website explains ‘Dragonfly symbolism crosses and combines with that of the butterfly and change. The Dragonfly symbolises going past self-created illusions that limit our growing and changing.’