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!

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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!

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!

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!

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!