For the last 15 years I have done a lot work in sales and a lot of working in marketing and PR. The common ground? Spin. It is all about how something is presented.
For instance, last week, I announced that I was going use this blog to review great specialty toys, including some fun products for teens and tweens. This week, I am saying, “This product is great. You need to buy it for your teen or tween. And you need to keep some in your car. In their backpacks. Maybe put one on the fridge once a week. And a few taped on his or her mirror, to be changed out every couple of days.” And then you may say, “But Kim, this is not a toy. And my teen is going to know it is not a toy. Meaning it is not fun.” And then I will respond back, “It is what crafty moms around the world know- it is all about how you spin it. S + Pin it.” Spin it good. (Can you hear Devo in the background right there?, cause you were supposed to.)
Marie’s Words is one of my favorite new products for teens and tweens for two reasons. 1) They were designed by a teen to fill her own need and 2) they work!
A box containing 550 cards, each with an individual word used on the SAT and in high school and college literature, may not seem like the next best thing to you. If that is the case, than I am guessing your oldest is still in grade school and the day of SAT words seems far, far away. Ha! And to that, I say “Wait! Take heed!” (And for goodness sakes, don’t blink, cause you will find yourself here, where I am now!) Those of us with kids over 15, have kids preparing to take the PSAT, the SAT, the ACT, the SAT 2 Subject Tests and I don’t even know what else. There are AP tests, and HPV shots, and proms, and soooooo much more. What I am trying to say is that it gets extremely hectic. In a very different way than AYSO soccer hectic. Because each thing is now SERIOUS and has a lifetime of CONSEQUENCES. Not to mention that 95% of the time, this kid is extremely cantankerous. It is all very STRESSFUL. And you are hearing stories about how the kid down the street who plays seven varsity sports and has a 6.9 GPA and donated half his liver to his sick relative still didn’t get into OCC. And you are looking at your own kid who, of course, is special but, come on, when you are honest with yourself, you just aren’t sure that he or she is going to get into the million dollar a year college of his or her choice. The situation is completely diabolical. And it turns out that he or she doesn’t even know what that means. And you may want to disavow that child because this is somehow his or her fault. But you can’t because he or she doesn’t know what disavow means either. The ball is in your court. It is up to your discretion when deciding the next step. And it is at that moment that you may wish that you took some small, slow steps way back when the days weren’t so crazed.
Don’t become disheartened. Marie’s Words are here! They were designed by a high school student who was preparing for her own standardized tests. She could not find a product that suited her needs – flashcards that gave her a visual cue of the definitition of the word as a way to commit it to memory. So she made her own. And with the help of her brother who worked on the artwork, she not only learned the vocabulary words that got her into Boston College (Congratulations, Marie!!), she also launched a business with niche product that fits the needs to 10′s of 1000′s of the teenagers currently pulling out their hair trying to cram copious amounts of information into their brains.
Each card has one word, it’s definition, correct pronounciation, synonyms and antonyms, and a sentence structured to SAT standards. The front of the card has an illustation that very effectively helps kids (and adults!) remember the meaning of the word. Not to mention the color makes them stand out from regular flachcard type products. They also have a little hole up in the left hand corner so that one can place them on a ring easily. I love attention to detail like that!
Ok – back to the spin. As adults, you and I might immediately recognize the merit of such a product. And maybe your kid will too. Mine needs a little sugar to help the medicine go down. Like using them in a game with friends – who can memorize the most in carpool on the way to school? Perhaps you are one of those parents who discovered how effective a bribe could be – how bout 30 words a week for a movie ticket, Starbuck’s card, or a not kick in the pants? Make it a family game night – take 20 cards and give each team the chance to read and try to memorize them. Then draw cards and play like charades. The possibilities are endless. Spin, People, Spin!
For those of you with little guys – just remember, if they start learning their vocab words early, it is one less thing on the list, making the whole college application process slightly less vexing. The cards are good for ages K-12 and younger kids have amazed their teachers by learning these word and using them correctly in the classroom.
I have a set to give away. Just leave a comment below by 5:00 pm on Friday the 27th.
For those who don’t win, Marie’s cards can be found at:
It’s a Kid’s Thing! 31182 Via Del Verde, San Juan Capistrano, 949-489-3779
Geppetto’s in Carlsbad, The Forum, 1935 Calle Barcelona, 760-632-1107
The Learning Express, Carlsbad Premium Outlets, Paseo Del Norte # 100, Carlsbad 760-918-9275
$25.99 – $29.99