Self-Reflecting Museums For Kids

museum pic

I love going to museums because I receive an up-close experience with history, science, art, etc. Museums with children’s areas are great because kids can play, explore, and learn simultaneously. When I saw the book, Milo’s Museum by Zetta Elliott, I was excited to read about the character’s experience at their local museum. The book’s plot was unexpected but refreshing.

This book is about a girl named Milo who takes a class field trip to the museum with her grandfather as a chaperone. As they were exploring the museum, Milo admired the art but something was missing. When she asked her grandfather about the museum’s purpose, he said they hold objects that are valuable and important to people.

Milo realized that the objects in the museum did not represent her world. She consulted her aunt for guidance and decided to create her own museum using family and childhood photographs, keepsakes, and memorabilia. She also used current items such as her soft ball jersey.

Children will learn vocabulary words such as docent, curator, and museum from this story. They will witness a child taking the initiative to create an idea, planning and executing it. Milo shared her museum exhibit with the community and was so innovative in her approach, her friends wanted to be a part of it.

You will find a guide on how to create your own exhibit in the back of the book. Read this book and have your students or children create their own self reflecting museums like Milo!

Ensure they share it with family, friends, or the community!

Happy Self Reflecting!

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How to Make Mapping Fun for Kids

treasure map

 

One day my friend sent me a picture of her preschooler reading a treasure map while sitting on his  tricycle. He uses the map to lead the way during their outside adventures. I thought this was a great way to incorporate leadership and exploration during playtime.

I wanted my son, also a preschooler, to have a similar experience so I researched children’s books at the library about mapping. I found the book, Treasure Map, by Stuart Murphy. This book is about a group of friends, the Elm Street Kids’ Club, following a treasure map to find a time capsule. The author shows the reader how to follow a map by giving clues that identify landmarks and directions.

For example, Clue #1 says “From Elm Street, walk down First Avenue toward Rocky River. At the next corner, Oak Street, turn left.”

Children are also taught to use cooperation and their problem-solving skills while mapping. The map in this book was created 50 years ago; therefore, some landmarks have changed during that time. For example, what was once a dirt path is now a sidewalk. The children have to decide if the sidewalk will lead them to the treasure.

Other concepts presented in the book are decision-making skills, interpreting symbols, and scales. The author provides teachers and parents activities to supplement learning. Furthermore, he includes other books that address map reading skills.

How we applied it

My neighbor told us about a new playground in our area that is walking distance.  I decided to draw a map  that led to the playground. I used the Waze app to ensure it was drawn correctly. Below is an example of the map we followed.

map

The night before our adventure, my son and I read Treasure Map. After reading each clue in the book, we identified the path to the treasure. Then I showed him the map I created and he became  excited. He wanted to go outside that night to find the playground. I told him we had to wait until the next day, but he insisted that the map stay in his room overnight.

When my son came home from school the next evening, the first thing he grabbed was the map. He identified landmarks, street signs, and led the way with very little assistance from me. Reading the book help hone his navigation skills. We found the playground and felt accomplished! He also guided us back home. The following weekend he took his dad to the same playground and led the way.

Try a similar activity at home or school and go on an adventure!

Happy Mapping!

How Kids and Parents Can Handle Cyberbullying

cyber bullying

In the last blog we discussed  cyberbullying and its impact on children. Today we will learn how to handle it.

Let’s get started!

How to deal with it

Do not respond. If you respond, the bully will believe they have succeeded in upsetting you. They most likely will keep attacking you.

Keep records. Take a screenshot or pictures of what is on your screen. Print messages that you receive online as evidence.

Ask for help. Tell someone you trust like a family member, a teacher, or friend. It is important to get support from someone who cares for you.

Be mindful of what you put online. Everything you post or write online can be seen by others. It could be online forever. Someone could use your content against you in the future.

Never share your passwords with anyone other than your parents.

Share your email address and personal information with only people you trust.

Use privacy settings and blocking features to keep unwanted guests from seeing your content. If you don’t know how to use these settings ask an adult, do an Internet search, or contact your school’s technology specialist.

Use the law. Many cities and states have laws about online bullying. Many laws include the following…

  • A description of cyberbullying behaviors
  • Instructions for reporting and investigating cyberbullying
  • Consequences for those caught cyberbullying

Contact the company.  Companies that provide cell phone or online services can offer assistance with cyberbullying. Customers can call the company and report various acts of bullying. Many social networking sites have a feature where you can alert them of inappropriate messages. The company usually investigates the report and removes any content that breaks its rules.

Be a model. Become part of the solution by posting positive messages on the Internet. Also support those who are being cyberbullied by sharing these tips with them.

Use Technology. There are anti-bullying apps that can be downloaded on your cellphone or tablet. Some apps can send a message to a parent’s phone when their child’s phone receives a message that has bullying words. Spy-tracking software, which can also be installed on your cellphone or tablet, can track where anonymous messages are coming from. This helps the police, company, and or victim figure out who is behind the bullying.

For more information on cyberbullying, please read the following resources …

Digital Safety Smart. Preventing Cyberbullying by Mary Lindeen

Dealing with Cyberbullies by Drew Nelson

 

 

Cyberbullying and Its Impact on Kids

cyberbully pic

I often ponder over issues kids are facing today and cyberbullying appears frequently in my mind. This problem is seen on the news, online, and discussed amongst our youth. I decided to research the topic and found a book, Digital Safety Smarts. Preventing Cyberbullying by Mary Lindeen, which contains an abundance of information. Below are some tips I gathered from this informative book.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is any bullying that happens online. An example is making insulting remarks to another’s email address or social media page.  One can also bully by sending a virus to attack a computer. These types of acts can cause kids to become upset, embarrassed, and afraid to go online.

Other ways kids may experience cyberbullying is to be blocked from an online group. Someone may try to get a child in trouble for something they did not do. Another form of cyberbullying is spreading online rumors about others. This problem affects kids of various interests and backgrounds.

Reasons for Cyberbullying

There are many reasons cyberbullying happens. The person involved in the activity thinks their victim deserves it and wants to teach that person a lesson. Cyberbullying can make a powerless child feel powerful because they control others through technology. Peer pressure may encourage kids to tease others in order to be accepted within a group. Some kids are jokesters and may not realize they are hurting others with their comments.

Why is this important?

Kids who are being cyberbullied have difficulty focusing in school. Their grades may go down or they may drop out of school. My former co-worker’s brother committed suicide because of cyberbullying.

Some victims may become depressed. They don’t trust others and become lonely. Eating and sleeping can become a challenge. It is common for kids to turn to alcohol or drugs to mask their sadness and hopelessness.

There are many ways to deal with and prevent cyberbullying. Next week we will discuss some of these tactics.

Stay tuned!

 

 

Kids and Their Connections to Doctors

doctor book

Many children are exposed to doctors at a young age, due to wellness checks and illnesses. Reading children’s books about physicians with my son helped decrease his anxiety about doctor visits. The book, I Want to Be a Doctor by Laura Driscoll, struck me because of the image of a young girl playing doctor with her younger brother on the cover. This picture reminded me of my younger self, son, and cousins.

This story is about a boy who broke his leg by jumping off the top bunkbed. His family takes him to the emergency room, where his inquisitive older sister takes the reader on a journey to learn about the various doctors helping her brother.  Children will learn about specialized professions such as Radiologists, Orthopedists, Neonatologists and Dentists.

Many children will see themselves represented in this book because it shows male and female doctors who are ethnicity diverse. The author encourages curiosity in children by having each doctor engage the girl in conversation and answer her questions about their role.

I find this book provides a great opportunity to expand your child’s vocabulary. Instead of telling my son he is going to the doctor, I now tell him he will visit the Pediatrician. He was excited about his Dentist appointment because he understood they will take care of his teeth. He often asks me about his next Pediatrician and Dentist visits.

Use this book to teach your child about various types of doctors and their contribution to our society! It is also a great learning tool for kids who want to be doctors in the future!

Happy Learning!

Teaching Kids the Power of Mistakes

brain book

I have been fascinated with child brain development since I became a mom. When I saw the book, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak, PhD, in my local library, I had to read it with my son.

This book uses a diverse group of young characters to educate its reader on the powerful brain. A few concepts addressed in this book are parts of the brain and their functions. We learned that the Amygdala controls your emotions and the Hippocampus helps you store and find memories.  It also teaches that the first 10 years of life is when you train your brain to grow faster.

I was thrilled when we read the fact, “Making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns and grows.” Many children get frustrated when they are learning something new because mistakes are made, which is a part of the process. This book has taught me one way to handle my son’s frustration as he experiences the trial and error process. I am able to remind my son that his brain is growing when there is a misstep. As a result, his frustration usually decreases and his focus on the task increases.

The author encourages the risk of being wrong in order to stretch the brain.

Give your kids a few examples of people who found success through failures…

  • Thomas Edison, a great inventor, failed 10,000 times before developing a commercially viable light bulb.
  • Michael Jordan, a great basketball player, was cut from his varsity basketball team.
  • JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter books, was rejected by 12 publishers.
  • Cathy Hughes, Founder of Radio One, Inc, was rejected by 31 banks before securing a bank loan to buy a radio station.

Read this book and encourage your kids to train the brain and make mistakes!

Happy Learning!

 

Fun Scientific and Beneficial Experiences Provided by Nature for Kids

kidinnature

Last Saturday, my family and I were scheduled to take a day trip to a farm but the forecast called for rain. I decided an alternative trip would be a nature walk near our home. My son was so excited because he could wear his rain boots and splash in puddles! He experienced this and so much more!

While we were walking, I thought about the benefits of being in nature. Here is what I found…

Hands-on Science Lesson

One day, we watched the cartoon, Sid the Science Kid, and learned about the four life cycle stages of a frog. The first stage is the tiny frog eggs laid by a female frog. Then the eggs turn into tadpoles. The tadpoles start to develop front and back legs which is the froglet stage. The last stage is the adult frog, which is when the tail leaves and he is ready to live on land.

During our nature walks, we experienced two stages of this life cycle. We saw masses of tadpoles swimming in a pond.  My husband was able to catch tadpoles with a net and we observed them. My son was brave enough to touch the tadpoles and comment on their slimy skin.

About two weeks later, the tadpoles turned into hopping little frogs. We caught about 8 frogs to examine them for a brief moment before we let them go. It was an amazing sight.

Physical Activity

On our way to the nature trail, we saw squirrels and birds. As soon as my son saw them, he chased the animals and burned off tons of energy. Once we saw puddles, I switched his shoes from sneakers to rain boots and he jumped in the middle of them. His hands sloshed in the water as he examined the colors and depth. On the trail we detected rocks embedded in the ground and we dug them out. My son threw the rocks in the water and watched the circular ripples form. The walk itself was a great physical exercise for the body.

Social

We saw other families with children walking their dogs and runners. We greeted each other and sometimes had mini conversations. My son ran behind some of the runners and wanted us to join him. There were two older boys, riding their bikes, who saw us looking down and wanted to know what we were searching for. We told them we were catching frogs and saw turtles in the pond. They joined us by catching little frogs which allowed us more observational opportunities.

Use of tools

Whenever we go on a nature walk, I take scientific tools to provide a better experience. My son or I will carry kid size binoculars around our necks to observe squirrels and birds in trees. We also use it to watch turtles on branches in the pond. I keep a magnifying glass in my bag to closely view bugs, frogs, rocks, plants, flowers, pinecones, and leaves. As mentioned before, my husband will catch bugs and frogs in a net and put them in a jar for my son to examine. The most important tool, in my opinion, are hands. My son used his hands to touch and feel the treasures he found in nature. He was able to communicate whether the item was smooth, bumpy, slimy, rough, etc.

Cost

Taking a walk outside your home and being exposed to nature is free. Most parks with nature trails are complimentary also.  Take advantage of the natural lessons that God has provided. You can’t beat a day full of adventure at no cost!

I knew our trip was successful when my son said “That was a fun day!”

Happy Exploring!

Teaching Young Kids to Use their Words

miles mad book

The book, When Miles Got Mad by Sam Kurtzman-Counter and Abbie Schiller, is a great book that teaches kids to use their words to express their feelings. It also uses an image, a red monster, to represent anger and rage. The red monster makes a connection to what a child feels when angry feelings overwhelm them.

In this story, Miles is mad at his younger brother for breaking his model airplane. Miles screams at his brother and scares him. The red monster appears and gets bigger as Miles becomes enraged. The red monster talks to Miles and helps him manage his anger. This book addresses other themes such as empathy, self-control, keeping hands to self, and problem solving.

How I applied it…

My child was frustrated because he could not figure out how to maneuver a toy. With each failed attempt, I could see that he was becoming more and more frustrated. I told him I could see the red monster getting bigger. This reminded my son to use his words to ask me for help or to take a break and try again another time.

My son reminded me about the red monster when I was mad as well. I felt my voice rising as I became irritated. When I thought about the red monster, I immediately lowered my tone.

This book is great for kids and adults. Add it to your book collection.

Other ways to apply it….

  1. Have kids create characters for other feelings.
    • For example, a blue bear for sadness and a green snake for jealously.
  2. Have students write their own stories for how to deal with these feelings.
  3. Ensure students include their characters within the story.

Happy Learning!

One Way I Sparked my Son’s Interest in Geography

what on your plate

We live in a very diverse area near people from various countries. I love talking to our neighbors about their culture, food, language, and upbringing. My son loves to eat and always wants to know how food will benefit him. For example, he knows that chicken and eggs will help him build muscle. When I saw the book, What’s On Your Plate? Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart, I thought he would be interested in reading it.

This book highlights countries such as Mexico, Ethiopia, China, and Greece, and gives the reader information on their locations, foods frequently eaten, and recipes. The enticing food pictures in this book will make you hungry.

My son connected with this book instantly. First, he learned that he eats similar foods to people all over the world. Moroccans eat grapes and oranges which are two of his favorite foods. He eats rice, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese like the Italians.

As we were reading the book, we had the globe beside us. We stopped on each page, identified the country, its food, and located it on the globe. I saw my son perk up because he saw these countries were located far away in various continents, yet one similarity was food.

Read this book with your child and learn about food all over the world!

Other ways to make connections with this book…

  • Make the recipes in the book
  • Eat Ethnic foods – Go to an Indian, Ethiopian, or Mexican Restaurant
  • Talk to people from other countries and compare what you have learned in this book.

 

Happy Exploring!

Spark Children’s Interest in Geography at an Early Age

Kids and globe

When I was in high school, I took a Geography class. I did not like this class at all. At the time, I didn’t understand why I had to learn about other countries. I remember studying for this class was difficult because the subject did not interest me.

It wasn’t until I went to college that I wanted to learn about the world outside of the United States.  It was a time that enabled me to interact and live with people from all over the world. My first time on an airplane was during my college years. I went to Dominican Republic for a Community Service Project. After this trip, I traveled to Costa Rica, England, and Ireland for service and study abroad opportunities.  It was these experiences that made me want to go back in time and study Geography again. Through my travel, I developed relationships with people across the world.

So how do you spark a child’s interest in Geography?

YOU MAKE A CONNECTION! Specifically, make a connection that coincides with the child’s interest.

Below are fun ways to create connections between your children/students and the world! You will need a map or globe for the activities below…

For the child who loves animals

My son loves animals. We learn about how and where various animals live around the world. We’ve been able to learn about the continents through his love of animals. Make it fun and search for where the 10 fastest animals in the world live!

For the child who loves sports

You and your child can explore Unusual Sports played around the world.  For example, toe wrestling is played in Britain. In this game, competitors intertwine their toes and try to pin their opponents’ foot down. Find out which continent has the most unusual sports!

For the child who wants to be a Princess

You and the child can meet Princesses from around the world. Search for Princesses in Belgium, Germany, England, Monaco, and Liechtenstein. Have your child choose their favorite princess!

For the child who has friends from other countries or cultures

Locate on a globe or map where your child’s friends and their families were born. Find out about their culture, food, land features, and language. Try cooking the country’s food with your family.

 

Next week’s post will be about how my son and I learned another fun lesson in Geography.

Stay Tuned!