Thursday, October 28, 2021

3 Year Old Halloween School Activities

I had much bigger plans for our Halloween activities, but life kind of got in the way this year. Here is what we ended up doing.

For some fun Halloween playdough I got out some spiders, Halloween table scatter, googly eyes, cookie cutters and some pumpkin spice playdough. The spiders were his favorite, but he also liked pushing some of the critters into the dough to see their imprints.

Archer really enjoyed his Halloween Cuisenaire mats. He both likes finding the pieces and counting them to fill in the blanks at the bottom. Sometimes he does want me to put the pieces into place, though. 
He enjoyed his Witch's Brew activity of counting out spooky ingredients and stirring them together.
We read the book and watched the show of Super Why and the Ghost Who Was Afraid of Halloween
I made a web on the ground with painters tape and tossed on some spiders. I thought he could walk around and try to avoid stepping on the spiders. Instead, he decided they were his spider friends and he made them crawl along the web until they were all together.
I printed this fun pattern activity from 3 Dinosaurs. Usually I struggle to get him to cut and glue, so I'm glad he was interested.

Books, Books, Books!
We have and read a lot of fun Halloween books. Above are some of his favorites from this year (aff links used).

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Five Tips To Support Your Child's Education

 

This is a contributed post. 

Unsplash


Parents understand the value of a great education, and how it’s important to help your kids thrive. Children don’t always enjoy every subject, and so sometimes they’ll need a little bit of encouragement. If you’re looking for tips to support your child’s education, these five areas are the perfect place to start.


1 . Plenty of reading


One of the best ways to support your child’s education is to read to them and have them read to you. Not only is reading the key to improved literacy skills, but it can also help to improve your child’s mental health. Some children naturally take to reading, others need a little boost. Here are a few tips to help you out:


  • Take your child to the library and help them to pick their favorite books.

  • Act out the stories they love to make things more fun.

  • Create a special reading corner with cozy bean bags and cute posters.





2. Educational trips


There are plenty of ways that you can help your child to learn new things. Try taking them on educational trips, whether it’s a children’s museum or to botanical gardens. Look out for kid’s workshops and educational activities, whether it’s arts and crafts days or treasure hunts. If you prefer, simply take your kids to the forest and have fun observing the different insects and animals.


3. Try apps


Most kiddies love playing on apps, you won’t want them to spend all of their time in front of a screen, but half an hour or so won’t hurt. There are so many different educational apps available for all different age groups. Moose Math is a great app for preschoolers, Khan Academy is a top choice for class 1-12 students. If your children need some support with their science topics, try Tappity for some super fun science activities for kids.


4. Creative activities


Some kids excel at academic subjects, while others have more of a creative flair. To support your child’s learning journey, it’s important to pay attention to all of the different subjects. There are so many different creative activities that you can practice with your children at home. You might try acting out a play, or putting on a puppet show? You might try crafts activities, or writing your very own stories. From cooking to making music, there are so many ways to get creative and learn.


5. Chat to their teachers


Being in close communication with your child’s teachers is one of the best ways that you can support them. Ask the teachers where your child excels and where they struggle. Find out if there is anything extra that you can do to support them. 


If you’re a homeschooling parent, it can be useful to get some inspiration from teachers across the web. You might do this by following teaching blogs or listening to education-based podcasts. Many teachers, including Michael DeNobile, create profiles to document their teaching careers.


Helping your child to thrive and grow is all about praise and encouragement. Identify your child’s problem subjects and brainstorm creative ways to make these more fun. There are lots of options to support your child’s educational journey.


Friday, October 15, 2021

Witch's Brew Counting Activity

 

Hands on Halloween Counting and Addition Math Activity for Kindergarten or PreK

Halloween is in the air and I'm a sucker for a theme, so I made this Witch's Brew Counting activity for Archer. I put some "spooky" ingredients on a tray and gave him some recipe cards, a bucket and a spoon. He puts the ingredients in his "cauldron" and then adds up how many there are total. The colorful googly eyes are his favorite!




Monday, October 11, 2021

Why Digital Learning Platforms Work

This is a contributed post.

 

Image Credit


Have you heard about digital learning platforms but remain skeptical because it seems a little far-fetched. That’s understandable; it would be risky to put your child’s future in the hands of the latest gadgets instead of tried and tested methods. However, in this post, you might be convinced otherwise; when you hear about the excellent advantages of digital learning platforms, read on to find out more.   

Lesson planning is easy 

In the past, lesson planning took up the bulk of a teacher’s time, the lessons not only had to be adapted from the curriculum and set out in advance, but the process had to be carried out on a daily or weekly basis. That is no longer the case with e-learning platforms that do everything for you and give you more time for assessments.  

It’s very creative

If you think that e-learning platforms are restrictive, then think again; e-learning platforms are some of the most innovative and creative ways for students to learn and teachers to do their jobs. Moreover, the platforms like ABCmouse are optimised for the digital age with plenty of learning games and opportunities for blending multimedia learning.  

It’s completely automated 

One of the reasons digital learning platforms cut down on lesson preparation time is because so much of it is automated. Not only that, the platform’s automation technology speeds up the marking processes and assessments. All of this allows teachers to spend more time focusing on the work of classroom engagement and learning enhancement.  

There’s maximum freedom 

Personalized learning is very effective, teachers have always known this, but with digital platforms, the personalization of lessons can be even more focused. Math and English lessons, for instance, can be orientated around the learner’s hobbies and interests to make them more engaging. Once again, this frees up more time the teacher can use constructively in the classroom.   

Progress can be tracked 

Everything seems to be tracked these days, and for a good reason. Goal setting and achieving goals is one of the best ways to make progress in all walks of life. Learning is no exception, and digital platforms provide even greater opportunities to track student progress and make adjustments to help them achieve their goals and helping them to excel. 

It’s satisfying for learners 

Digital tools make teaching subject easier, but it also makes learning easier and more effective. Various studies have shown that digital platforms help to engage students better and accelerate their learning with personalization and goal setting. This is good news for both teachers and students since a rewarding experience means more success and better outcomes all around. 

It’s one step ahead

Of course, traditional learning platforms still have their place; who knows where we would be with brick and mortar schools and the efforts of teachers in the local communities. That said, the world is changing at a fast pace, and it isn’t just learning that’s moving on. Nowadays, children need to be fully equipped for the world, and digital learning platforms are one step ahead of the game. 





Friday, October 8, 2021

Halloween Cuisenaire Templates

As part of trying to incorporate hands on math activities, I have been making Cuisenaire Rod Templates. He enjoys matching the rods and then really enjoys counting up each color at the end. These are some fall templates I made.

There are color and black and white versions of five different fall images.




Some other Halloween resources:

Thursday, October 7, 2021

How To Help Your Child Perform Well In School

This is a contributed post.

 

Pexels

Your child is going to have a lot of years of schooling ahead of them. You must be there to support and encourage them along the way so they stay on the right track and can find success and develop confidence in themselves.

Be glad to know that as a parent there are some actions you can take to help your child perform well in school. However, remind yourself that you can do your part but that it’s ultimately up to your child to work hard and achieve the results they desire.

Learn About Their Challenges

You can help your child perform well in school by learning about and addressing their challenges. For instance, maybe they’re shy and have trouble making friends so it distracts them or maybe they find math difficult. It’s all about figuring out what may be holding them back in school and making sure they overcome these obstacles in a healthy manner. Have conversations about school with your child and get them to open up so you can make a plan and find a solution. Give them strategies to help them communicate and navigate these challenges.

Encourage Learning at Home & Outside of School

You can also help your child perform well in school by encouraging learning at home and outside of school. Make it fun by taking advantage of programs and technology that’s out there that focus on learning and development such as ABCmouse. Get them involved in learning new things and into new topics outside of the classroom and create an environment at home that encourages and supports being curious and proactive in this area. There are YouTube channels for almost any topic they might find interesting or challenging. Give them access to educational toys and books. You might also want to set aside time for homework each night and make sure they have a quiet place to study.

Meet with the Teacher

It also never hurts to get more involved with their school and to put yourself out there and meet with the teacher. There may be issues or challenges that they’re observing in the classroom that you’re unaware of at home. You can discuss how the year is going and what else you can do to support your child and help them learn and grow. Ask questions and get to know their learning style and areas for improvement so you can work on these skills or subject matters with your child.

Stay Positive

Most importantly, keep a positive attitude and mindset to help your child perform well in school and improve learning. Be supportive even when they stumble or have trouble and let them know that you’re there to help. Instead of punishing them for a poor grade, you might want to find out more about why it happened or what you can do to get them back on the right track. You can motivate them to do better by encouraging them and staying optimistic about their abilities and future.

Conclusion

Help your child perform well and better in school by applying these tips. You’ll likely soon notice a positive difference in their grades and attitude. Be firm and consistent yet understanding and you’ll be on your way to creating the right environment for your child to excel. 


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

We're Looking At Some Exciting Ways To Inspire Learning

This is a contributed post

While all kids are born natural learners, as they age, sometimes it can be a challenge to  inspire your children to take on a new task or skill. As modern parents, we have access to learning platforms that our parents and grandparents could only dream about, and we’re going to introduce a few of them to you.



Reading


“Children are not things to be molded, but people to be unfolded.” - Jess Lair


Those words are some of the most inspirational we’ve ever read, and they really hit the heart of what it is we’re trying to accomplish here. Generationally, so much of what we thought we understood regarding early childhood development has been either drastically challenged on one end or wholly changed on the other. Now that’s not to say that everything that came before is wrong or bad, but there are some exciting ways that you can embrace childhood learning that takes the groan and moan out of learning at home.


READING UNLOCKS THE MIND; WRITING TELLS EVERYONE ELSE ABOUT IT


We all know that one of the most important (if not the most important) foundational requirement to effective learning is practical reading and comprehension, and this starts with you. If you regularly read as a solo practice and then read to your children (remember those days?), you’ll already begin instilling some solid habitual practice. You might even go so far as to teach your baby to read deliberately.

But to take your child’s love for reading and expression to the next level, you simply have to inspire good writing skills, and it’s (almost) never too early to start. Start with having them dictate stories that you write down for them and they can illustrate. Write short stories about their days and dreams and get them to play with writing games for kids to make this element of learning inherently fun.


MATHEMATICS


OK, so the title of this section can sound a little scary, but it doesn't have to be. There are always hacks to make something that can be pretty challenging for many kids, fun, educational and practical in a way that instills excellent habits before the more significant challenges of “big school” start.


Now, when you hear the words “hands-on learning,” it’s easy for your mind to go to subjects like music, art, or the more creative parts of schooling, but you can just as easily use this method to help teach mathematics. “Hands-on learning” creates vital links between functionality and “muscle memory,” and by using some clever tricks, you can teach your kids the fundamentals of math so that by the time they hit the big leagues, they’ve already developed solid learning habits.


START WITH USING EVERYDAY OBJECTS


We’re all about using resources intelligently, so when teaching your kids basic math and counting, start by using items that they’re likely to see being used in their everyday lives. Coins are great tools for counting games (monitored closely, of course). You could also use Cheerios, toy cars or blocks.


Want to add an educational element to bubbles? An easy and fun way to get your kids playing outside is to carefully blow out one or two bubbles at a time have your kids count them as they try to pop them. This works on multiple levels and also reaches them on a cognitive level.


Invest in an abacus. Yes, really. The mind-body connection between physically counting out numbers while “handling” them is fun, practical. It inspires a little “alone” time for your toddler while you give them fundamental problems to solve.


UP YOUR BAKING SKILLS


Involve your kids in your baking activities, but do it with a plan. Get them to “design” a house or an animal that you’ll bake for them later on, and then they can decorate it once it’s out of the oven. This simple exercise teaches them how to understand spatial reasoning and offers a malleable way to express what makes sense in their imaginations.


Here are a lot of other hands on math ideas



GET CREATIVE, AND YOU MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING TOO


Over time, we’ve learned that as much as we like teaching our kids, we learn just as much from them in return as they have a fresh perspective on life - obviously, most of what they’re experiencing they’re experiencing for the first time. So take the opportunity to indulge your inner child and get creative! It doesn’t have to mean significant investments in the latest gadgets and tools; there’s a “home hack” for just about everything because it’s the learning intention that you’re after, not necessarily the conduit - that can be improvised.


Think sensory play and writing in the sandpit, treasure hunts with numbered clues, and a playroom where all manner of painting and mess is permitted. 


The walls you can clean, but the memories will last a lifetime.






Monday, October 4, 2021

Pre-K Homeschool Monthly Summary: September

 I've posted about some of the themes we have done this fall, but I thought I'd also do a monthly summary post of some of our other school activities (mostly for me to look back on).  Since he goes to preschool two days a week for social interaction and because he is only 3, school is always short, doesn't happen daily, and isn't forced. 

Math

We're using some lessons from Kindergarten Math with Confidence, but only those that fit his current skill level. We're also adding in other activities.

Lots of pattern blocks for those visual/spatial skills.

Some One Less/One More activities

Learning about money. Archer really enjoyed setting up a "store" with his vehicles. I used dry erase notecards for prices. He does great with pennies, but sometimes mixes up the silver coins. 

Miquon Math book with a dry erase sleeve. He liked these activities so much that he insisted on doing more.

Visual discrimination practice 

Spelling

We're working our way through All About Spelling. We definitely keep the lessons short, subdividing them into multiple days. He likes it as long as we don't try to do too much at a time.

Using tokens to divide words into their sounds.
I didn't think he would care, but he actually liked putting the stickers on the letters he knows all the sounds for.
We were supposed to be working on short vowels, but he wanted to spell "spider web" so we took a tangent. E had to jump between the words.

Handwriting

Handwriting has been a little hit or miss. At preschool they're just having him write his name however, so it is a little hard to get him to come back and learn the proper way to form each letter. Some days he loves it and some days he wants nothing to do with it.

I made my own box practice paper for him. I wanted something smaller than the chalkboard but a little bigger than the workbook.
He does occasionally do a workbook page, too.

Music

This is another hit or miss subject. He always love music, Prodigies, his bells and the piano, but sometimes he doesn't want to do them together. He may just watch Prodigies videos without playing anything. He may just play around of the bells or piano, or he might use sheet music to play songs..
This month he fell in love with Hall of the Mountain King and was working on playing it.

Other Activities

Tumbling Class. I'm excited I can finally go in to watch!
Reading lots and lots of books. Usborne Lift the Flap are current favorites (so much so I joined as a consultant to make it easier on my bank account, let me know if you want more info).
Playdough with number candles and cookie cutters.
Playing board games. Dragomino is a new one that he is enjoying.
We attempted some crafting, but he wasn't feeling it. He did like this reusable sticker pad, though.
I picked up some books in Spanish, including this lift flap one. He took a big interest, so I've been trying to run with that.
Reading in Spanish.
Cornstarch and shaving cream made for some fun outdoor sensory play.
Lots of open play.

Reading his brother's Periodic Table book.
We did lots of map activities (check out map theme here)

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