What your Toddler/Preschooler Should Know in Case they are Lost

lost boy

Recently I was talking with another mom about preventing our toddlers/preschoolers from getting lost in crowded places. As parents, we like to take our children to festivals, museums, aquariums, amusement parks etc. These places have many people in close proximity of one another and children are at a greater risk of getting lost.

The other mom and I discussed strategies we’ve seen other parents use such as keeping the child in the stroller or using the child leash backpacks. I shared what has worked for me in the past thus far.

Name Tag Stickers

I write, with a bold marker, “If lost, please call my mommy’s cell phone at…”  on a name tag sticker. Then I place the name tag sticker on my son’s back so he won’t take it off.

Some parents make this permanent by writing their phone numbers inside the child’s shoe or shoe string.

Teaching Children Phone numbers

My son also knows the home address and our individual (my husband and I) cell phone numbers. I taught him this information by creating catchy songs and chants. We sing and shout the songs/chants around the house so it is engrained in his brain. I have also written this information on the dry erase board hanging near our dining table. By viewing this information every day, my son can internalize it subconsciously.

Teach Your Child Your Birth Name

If your child is lost, it will be difficult to distinguish his/her voice if multiple children are shouting “Mommy!” Therefore, my husband and I ensured our son knows our birth names. He finds it fascinating that we have names other than mommy and daddy. He also knows how to spell our names just in case someone can’t understand him. Again, we taught him this through songs, repetition, and writing it on our dry erase board.

Child ID Card

Another strategy is to have an ID card made for your child. My son received his first ID card at 2 years old at a festival. The County Sherriff office had a booth set up where they made Child ID cards instantly. The cards contained the child’s age, photo, thumbprint, weight, date of birth, race, gender, hair and eye color, and issue date. On the back, it gives tips on what to do if your child is lost.

The Sheriff Office recommends the card be updated yearly for children two and over. For children two and under, the card should be updated every six months due to changes in appearance as they grow.

If your child is lost, the ID card provides documentation containing the child’s information, arming law enforcement with facts to immediately start a search.

Call your local Sherriff Office to inquire about Child ID cards.

 

Just Teach your Child what to do and Role Pay

Let’s not forget the old fashion way of looking your child in the eye and firmly giving them direction. This includes telling the child to…

  1. Walk beside mommy and daddy
  2. Hold your hand in crowded places
  3. Once you arrive somewhere, identify staff who can help your child
    • Identify something distinct about the staff such as…
      • Similar color uniform
      • Name tag
    • Once you’ve taught your child what to do, role play with them!

Tell us your tips in the comments!

Be safe and have fun!

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Fun Activities that Teach Kids about Indoor Air Pollution

indoor pollution pic

Indoor air pollution can cause sneezing, scratchy throats, headaches, and watery eyes. One solution to this problem is plants, which decreases indoor air pollution within a room. Certain plants make the air healthier to breathe.

I was watching the cartoon, Cyberchase- Indoor Air Pollution Episode, with my son and learned these facts. This cartoon episode features Norm, the Gnome, explaining how new paint and furniture can cause air pollution. View Norm’s explanation in this video. 

We also learned more plants are needed for a larger room. Larger rooms carry more air pollution; therefore, more plants are needed to purify the air. How do you determine the number of plants needed for a room? The cartoon characters counted tiles in a room to answer this question.  Watch this video to see how it’s done. (select How Many Plants Per Room?)

How could you determine the number of plants needed if you don’t have tiles in a room? The answer is estimation. Watch how the characters estimate a room size, using previous knowledge. (select Estimating Room Size).

You can apply this within your classroom or at home.

How we applied this lesson in our home…

  1. Compiled a list of air purifying plants.
    • It is best to compare various lists.
  2. Research how to care for the plants you choose
    • Read books
    • Watch YouTube videos
    • Ask the plant experts at the store where you made your purchase
  3. Used estimation to determine the number of plants needed.
  4. Purchased the plants and materials to care for them.
  5. Care for the plants.

My family and I enjoy caring for the plants and the benefits of air purification. I have experienced a difference of air quality in our home. Try it out!

Happy Indoor Gardening!

Bringing Fun to Language Arts for Kids!

Dictionary book

My son and I recently read the book, The Great Dictionary Caper by Judy Sierra. This is a fun, interactive, and flashy book about parts of speech, literacy, and language arts.

This book addresses topics such as actions verbs, homophones, palindromes, onomatopoeias, contractions, etc.

The Action verb page has various words like somersault, jump, glide and ricochet. Each word is written and drawn to portray their action. For example, the word Ricochet appears to be a character that is rebounding off the edge of the page. The word Jump is a character leaping in the air.

This book has influenced some of the games my son and I play around the house. Below are a few….

Action Verb – Ricochet

Bounce a soft ball off the wall and try to catch it.

 

Onomatopoeia – Bang

Tap a box with your hands and create various rhythms.

 

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious(Yes, this 34-letter word is in the book)

Listen to the song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious by Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews

 

Antonyms – Big and Little

Draw a picture of a big and small animal

 

Try reading this book with your students or children and create activities that bring language arts to life!

Have fun learning!

 

Little Kids, Big Words – Why Not?

geniuses booi

One day I was skimming the New Children’s Book list at my local library, and I saw the book, Big Words for Little Geniuses by Susan and James PattersonAt first, I thought this book would be too advanced for my toddler. However, I decided to give it a try.

When I brought the book home, I opened it and saw these words…

“Why should your little genius’s first word be cat when it can be catawampus? Start your child off with an early love of reading with these big words that are wonderfully FUN to say!”

Anytime fun and learning are connected, I get excited! This book is colorful and introduces kids to big words in alphabetical order.

The first word was ARACHIBUTYROPHOBIA!!!! This word means a fear of peanut butter sticking to the top of your mouth.  I became discouraged and thought to myself, “How am I going to teach my son these huge words?”

I decided it was best to learn the words together. My plan was to read the book in small increments and  tackle three words at a time. We used YouTube videos to research and learn the words’ pronunciations. The book provided the word’s definition and vibrant images for further understanding.

It became a great learning and bonding experience for my son and me. He learned how to pronounce all the words in the book. We also try to use the words as we are talking. They are really fun to say.

Watch this video of my son pronouncing the words and reading.

If you work with a group of kids, get this book (from your local library, online, or bookstore) and try the activity below…

  1. Divide students into groups of four.
  2. Use the first word, which is Arachibutyrophobia, and read the definition and correct pronunciation to students.
  3. Instruct each group to create a comedy show centered around the words.
  4. The comedy show should contain the following…
    • Humor
    • Word’s definition
    • Word’s correct pronunciation
  5. Have students perform the comedy show to the class.
  6. Next week use the B word which is Bibliomania.
  7. If you want to create a challenge, have students incorporate multiple words from this book in their show.

Have fun learning!

Bringing Life to Numbers for Kids

100 days

Every night before bedtime, my son and I read about four books. He loves books about the alphabet and numbers. I wanted to expose my son to the numbers, 1-100, and began searching for books that would fulfill this task. The book called Emily’s First 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells was the answer to my request.

This book is about a bunny named Emily who is starting school. Emily tells the reader about her first 100 days of school through short stories. Below is the short story associated with Emily’s 17th day of school.

“Miss Cribbage reads aloud Dick and the Donkey. I follow along and read seventeen words all by myself. “Wow!” says Miss Cribbage.”

This book keeps my son’s attention. It takes about 25 minutes to complete all the stories from 1 -100. My son likes to stop at certain numbers to make comments or observe the colorful pictures!

This book has encouraged my son to create other stories with numbers. He will take two Munchkin Bath Numbers; for example, six and two, and tell a story about 62. I interact with my son during the stories by adding to the plot.

You can do a similar activity with your students. Below is how to execute it:

  1. Divide students into small groups.
  2. Assign each group a number.
  3. Groups are to create a piece of art that is connected to their assigned number.
    • Song
    • Poem
    • Story
    • Dance
    • Sculpture
    • New Exercise Move
    • Other ideas
  4. Optional: Choose a theme for the stories
  5. Have students choose how they want to present their artwork to the class.
  6. Make this a weekly activity until all numbers from 1-100 are covered.

Have fun creating!

 

Unintentional, But My Toddler Started Reading at 21 Months – Here’s How

corban reading

While I was three months pregnant, I had lunch with a former co-worker, Cyndi. Cyndi just viewed a PBS special where Dr. Ben Carson discussed Brain Health. In this video (at 8:30), Dr. Carson says a baby’s brain continues to develop once he/she is born. The more a baby learns, the more the brain’s dendrites are making connections.

Babies who experience interaction with caregivers through song, cuddling, playing, and talking, develop connections in the brain faster and better. By the time a child is three years old, their brain has reached 90% of its growth.

I thought PLAY would be the best way to interact with my son and boost his brain development. I never imagined this concept would lead to him reading at 21 months!

Please note: I did the activities below with my son as a full-time working mom.

I used In-Depth learning to teach my son. In-Depth learning is being exposed to a concept in various ways. I concentrated on teaching my son through three of the five senses which were sight, touch, and hearing. Dr. Ben Carson addresses In-Depth learning in his book Think Big.

Below are examples of what my son and I did….

SING

I sung constantly to my son. It became something that soothed him. I sung when he woke up in the middle of the night, in the car, while feeding and changing him, etc. Songs helped him learn language. It also helped him learn the alphabet and phonetics. I made up songs about the alphabet, phonetics, and words that began with certain letters.

Read

I love going to the library with my son because of the programs, toys, puzzles, and books. Before leaving the library, I always checked out at least 15 children books. One of the books had to be about the alphabet. There are zillions of books about the ABC’s. My son was able to see the same words I sung in songs within these books.

PLAY, PLAY, PLAY

I enjoyed coming home from work to play with my son. It seemed like a break from sitting and looking at a computer all day. We played with toys such as playdoh and alphabet blocks. Before my son talked, we molded the playdoh into letters. We drew pictures on the storm door with window markers in alphabetical order. For example, we drew an apple for A and banana for B. On our way to the playground in the evenings and weekends, we identified letters on car license plates and signs.

Talk

Talking is a great way to increase a child’s focus. We discussed stories we read in books. We also made up stories about the alphabet, animals, etc. Whenever we were in the grocery store, I identified foods and the letter they started with. I conversed with my son on various topics.

Technology

Once my son could identify letters, I let him watch cartoons that featured the alphabet, phonetics, and words. Leapfrog has a great series of educational cartoons. We also listened to toddler radio and hip-hop educational CDs in the car.

Put it Together

Once my son knew the phonetics, I taught him how to blend letter sounds to read words.  Many words, including site words, were becoming familiar to him through exposure to books, children museums, the library, YouTube videos, cartoons, and anywhere we went. He heard words through our conversations, songs, radio, and television. His brain started making connections and then he started reading. He has also developed a true love of reading.

Similar concepts were also used to teach my son to

  • write
  • count
  • identify colors
  • Spanish words
  • tell time

Happy PLAYFUL In-Depth Learning!

Teaching Kids to Solve Problems

question song

When my son was two years old, he and I read the book, The Question Song by Kaethe Zemach. This book teaches kids to solve everyday problems. My son found it interesting because it contains repetition, rhythm, and rhyming words.

One Scenario in the book reads…

“My train is broken! What are we going to do? My train is broken! What are we going to do?”

“We’ll fix your train and make it strong. Then off you go, chugging along! That’s what we will do!”

The book shows a picture of a little boy holding a wheel that is detached from his train. Then the boy and his mother fix the train with a hammer and nail.

The book also addresses other problems such injuries and selfishness. As a teacher or a parent, you can incorporate these principals at home or in the classroom. Below is an example of the time I applied this concept with my son.

One day, my son spilled milk on his shirt. Instead of cleaning the milk and getting another shirt immediately, the following happened…

ME: What are we going to do?

MY SON: My shirt is wet.

ME:  Should we leave the shirt on?

MY SON: We should take it off. (We took off the shirt.)

ME: What should we do now?

MY SON: (Looks confused)

ME: Let’s go to your room and get another…

MY SON: Shirt!  (We put on the shirt and went to where the milk was spilled.)

ME: We have a problem, there is milk on the floor. What are we going to do?

MY SON:  We will clean it up!

ME: What do we need to clean the milk?

MY SON: A Towel! (We used a towel dampened with water to clean the milk up.)

This helps kids learn to think and solve problems. Next time your child or students have a problem, ask them “What are you going to do?” Allow them to think and solve the problem. The more they practice, the better they will become.

Happy Problem Solving!!!!

Bringing Life to the Alphabet

abc book

 

In the next few posts, we will discuss fun activities for kids based on books.  Activities related to books have many benefits. One benefit is increased comprehension skills because book related activities make the characters come alive. Also, children can use their critical thinking skills to analyze a character’s feelings, dilemmas, and resolutions.

Another benefit of book related activities for children are a connection with self. Many stories contain  problems that need to be solved. Activities can assist children in determining whether they agree with the characters’ decisions or if they would have taken another route. Furthermore, children can apply these situations in their lives because they have evaluated the resolution through books.

Our first book is called Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories For All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers. In this book, each letter has a word and short story related to it. The stories having various themes such as humor, gratefulness, and the art of thinking.  For example, my favorite story is for letter U, which stands for Underground.

In this story, Nigel the monkey wasn’t good at climbing. The other monkeys laughed at him because he needed a ladder to climb the tree. Nigel became upset and moved his ladder UNDERGROUND. Suddenly two events happen: a rain storm and a tall muscular man came to chop down the monkey’s tree. Now all the monkeys want to join Nigel UNDERGROUND and they did not laugh at him anymore.

Have students create stories similar to this book. Below is how they can execute it…

  1. Divide students into small groups.
  2. Assign each group a letter.
  3. Groups are to use a word that begins with their letter.
    • If Group 1 has the letter A, their word can be “Anteater.”
  4. Each group will write a short story about their word.
  5. You can choose a theme such as:
    • Decision- Making
    • Financial Literacy
    • Humor
    • You can also have groups choose their own themes.
  6. Have students choose how they want to present their stories to the class.
  7. Make this a weekly activity until all the alphabet is covered.

Have fun creating!

Fun Educational Activities Inspired by The Black Panther Movie

black panther 2

The movie, Black Panther, was inspirational and insightful. There were so many themes addressed in the movie ranging from race, identity, and dignity to technological advancement, service, and cooperation.

Although my son is too young to see the movie, I was inspired to share the experience with him. Therefore, we did the following interactive activities below…

Literacy

We checked out two Black Panther books from our local library. The books introduced the characters and their roles. It also addressed themes such as good vs bad, courage, hard work, intelligence, instinct, loyalty, etc. One of the books identified vocabulary words and asked the reader to find them within the story. My son became excited when he saw the words in the story!

Application through Playful Literacy

Once my son and I became familiar with the characters, I purchased the action figures. We identified the characters and created stories while playing. In our story, Nakia (Black Panther’s friend), Shuri (Black Panther’s sister), and Okoye (head of armed forces) were kidnapped by Erik Killmonger (villain).  T’Challa (Black Panther) rescues them and saves the day. Killmonger was put in “time out” for kidnapping T’Challa’s friends and family.

Setting and Geography

Black Panther takes place in Wakanda which is a fictitious country in Africa. We looked on a globe and found Africa. My son loves animals so we identified some that live in Africa such as zebras, elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, and tigers. We also talked about African resources like diamonds, sugar, salt, gold, and cobalt. We were able to find diamonds, sugar, salt and gold around the house and by viewing images on the Internet. I SHOWED MY SON A SMART PHONE AND TOLD HIM MOST CONTAIN COBALT, WHICH IS PRODUCED IN CONGO. We ended this lesson by finding Congo on the globe.

Action verbs

We incorporated action verbs within our play. During our story, my son made the action figures flip, jump, run, spin, sleep, and fly in the air. As my son played, I identified the action verb in which he made the characters move. For example, if Okoye and T’Challa hit the pillow and bounced off, I shouted “Whoa look at them ricochet off the pillow!”

Science

In Black Panther books and movie, Shuri is a technological genius of Wakanda. She invented beads that could stop a truck full of kidnappers. She also invented Black Panther’s suit which absorbs attacks during  fights. The gadgets Shuri creates have super abilities to protect Wakanda.

During play, my son and I pretended balls and blocks were gadgets. They were used to save Black Panther’s friends and family from Erik Kilmonger. We also talked about gadgets around the home that keeps us safe such as the security camera, motion sensing lights, and alarm system.

My son enjoyed the activities and continues to find new ways to create more stories with his action figures!

Tell us in the comments how a Superhero has inspired activities in your household and classroom.

Happy Learning!

 

 

 

Field Trip to the Future for Kids

kid scientist

Have you ever asked a kid what they wanted to be when they grow up? A typical answer to this question may be a veterinarian, fireman, doctor, or astronaut. How about asking a kid to share their ideas for new inventions or ways to solve problems? A child may have an idea to make their chores easier by inventing an automatic bathroom cleaner.

When a child answers these questions, why not take a FIELD TRIP TO THE FUTURE! For the child who is interested in animals, schedule a field trip to the zoo and meet a zoologist. Ask your local veterinarian if your child can visit with them for a moment. Another idea is to take a nature walk and make observations about animals.

The child who wants to invent the automatic bathroom cleaner will have to work in smaller steps. They may begin by observing the janitor at their school. Cleaning a bathroom can be a big task, so maybe they can start by creating the automatic toilet cleaner. The next step may be for the child to draw their invention on paper and decide what materials are needed. Afterwards, take the child to a hardware store to decide, view, and purchase materials needed to make a prototype of their idea.

Another way to stimulate a child’s imagination is to visit the local library to read about someone who shares your child’s interest. An Internet search is also very helpful!

The point is to expose your child to real life examples that match their interests! It can be fun and is a way to keep your child’s brain active.

Happy Learning!