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!

 

Advertisements

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!

 

Insightful Black History Lesson While Walking with your Kids – Part 3

black family walking

The contributions of black people are everywhere. Please view this interview of Dr. Ben Carson explaining how to give your kids a Black History lesson just by walking down the street.  This video was recorded while Dr. Carson was the Director of Pediatric Surgery at John Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Take this idea further and incorporate other cultural histories on walks with your family, classmates, peers, and co-workers.

Have Fun Learning!

Game/Activity for Kids that Supplement Black History Facts – Part 2

light bulb

My toddler is fascinated with turning the lights on and off when we enter and exit a room. We sometimes go around the house searching for light sources such as the lamp or lights on his toys. Because we have so much fun with light, I decided to teach my son about Lewis Latimer.

Lewis Latimer improved the making of carbon filaments (electric light with a wire filament heated so high that it glows), used in light bulbs to help them last longer. His invention made the light bulb less expensive and made it possible for electric lighting to be put in homes and on the street. Before Mr. Latimer’s improvement, the light bulb only lasted a few days.

One way I help my son understand the importance of Mr. Latimer’s invention is to play the game, Lights Out.

In this game, my son closes his eyes and counts to ten. I then hide one of his toys and my son tries to find it.  After my son searches 15 seconds for the toy, I turn off the lights. The 15 seconds represents the short time light bulbs lasted before Mr. Latimer’s invention.

The fun part of this game is to find the toy before the lights go out. My son loves game! I love it too because it teaches the importance of Mr. Latimer’s invention which is longevity of the light bulb!

Have Fun Learning!

Game/Activity for Kids that Supplement Black History Facts – Part 1

traffic light

When I am driving the car and my toddler is the passenger, he loves to use the traffic light signal to tell me when to go and stop. “Go mommy! Green light!” he says. Since February is Black History month, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to teach my son the contributions of black people.

I began by telling my son about Garrett Morgan and why he invented the three-position traffic light signal.

One day, Mr. Morgan was driving and saw a car accident. The accident happened because the traffic light signal switched back and forth between Stop and Go with no warning of slowing down. Mr. Morgan designed the warning signal, which today is the yellow light. The warning signal gives drivers a chance to slow down before stopping. This has decreased many car accidents.

I decided to supplement the lesson with a fun childhood game called Red Light Green Light.

In this game, one person is chosen to be the traffic cop. The other children stand in a line while the traffic cop has his/her back to them. When the cop says “Green Light” the children try to run to the finish line. When the cop calls “Red Light” he/she turns to face the children and the players have to stop.

I explain to my son that this is how people drove their cars before Mr. Morgan’s invention.

We THEN play Red Light, Green Light, Yellow Light. This game includes Mr. Morgan’s warning signal (yellow light). My son realizes it is much easier to stop if there’s a warning signal.

We also play both games with his toy cars. Instead of running, we race the cars around the house.

Have fun learning!

 

Teaching Kids Market Research on the Go!

BRACELET BIZ

In our “Start ‘Em Up Business” Program, we teach students about Market Research. One form of Market Research is getting people’s opinions about your product. Typically, research is conducted on potential customers who may buy your product in the future.

If you view the “Start ‘Em Up Business” video on our website, you will see students who have created a t-shirt business. One part of the process was to conduct market research at the local library.  We held our class and sold the t-shirts at the library as well. These students made $130 and took home $13 each!

Your after-school program students can do a similar activity. You can enhance this activity by making a field trip out of it.

Take your students on a field trip where there are potential customers. For example, if your youth decide to create a jewelry business, take them places where people dress up like a theater (where plays are performed) or outside a business district.

Below is how to execute this activity:

  1. Have students create a product for the class business.
  2. Based on the product, decide where Market Research should be held.
  3. Prepare Market Research questions such as:
    • What do you like about our product?
    • What do you dislike about our product?
    • Do you have color preferences?
    • How can this product be improved?
    • What would you be willing to pay for this product?
  4. Go on the field trip.
  5. Group students in pairs to conduct research.
  6. Discuss what was found during research.
  7. Adjust the product accordingly.

Note: If you can’t take a field trip, you can always conduct research at your after-school site with teachers, parents, and the nearby community.

Happy researching!