story · teaching thoughts

Old Friends, New Friends

As your child prepares for the new school year, it is a time to talk about friendships. Many children need reassurance that they will have friends in school. Often we tell them that they will know the children in their class, but that isn’t always true. There will be times they do not know anyone or only someone they didn’t really see as a friend before.

Prepare your child to meet new friends. We need to remind children that even if they have old friends in the class, it is a time to meet new friends too. Time to expand their friendship circle.

Here is a Kid President talking about making new friends.

Help your child brainstorm ways to interact with new friends. What can they say? What can they share? Listen to these children discuss how to make friends.

Remind your child that they need to branch out and meet children who are different than themselves. Helping your child see that the things that make you different are the things that make you special. Show your child the things that make them unique and different.

family activity · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Who is in your circle?

Today we will listen to the story The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague. In this story, a young child draws a circle around their shoes, a place for just one. They then realize that there is more to the world than just one. They create a larger circle for their family a caring circle. But, is that enough? No! The child begins to realize that when you let people into your circle you find friends and others who care. You begin to accept not only people who are the same, but also people who are different.

We all need to step back and look at who we let in our circles. Is your circle small or large? Is there enough room for more, or do you need to expand?

As you begin your next journey in school, it is a great opportunity to expand your circle. Let in someone who is different from you, and appreciate the differences. It can be someone who is younger or older. It can be boys and girls. It can be someone who has hair, eyes and skin that looks different than yours. It can be someone who needs extra support to learn and grow. Or someone who just needs another friend.

Who is in your circle? And, how can you help not only expand your circle of caring, but others as well?

Parents… children need this modeled to them. They need to see you being kind to others. They need to see that you accept people who are the same AND those who are different. They hear your words and see your actions. Do you treat the cashier, the wait staff and others with kindness, acceptance and understanding? Do you speak of children of all races, religions, and abilities as people who are capable of loving, growing and learning? Do you appreciate what makes people different? Your child is our future… model for them a way to live in the world with caring and compassion for all…. different is beautiful. Different is special. Different is what makes the world a wonderful place to live!

math · story

Hummingbirds

I have a hummingbird feeder outside my kitchen window. Have you ever seen a hummingbird? They are really small compared to most other birds. Let’s listen to the story Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird’s Amazing Journey by Robert Burleigh.

Check out this live stream of hummingbirds visiting feeders in CA.

Check out All Things Animal TV’s Hummingbird video for more information about hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds are 3-4 inches in length with a wingspan of only 4-4.5 inches in length. Today let’s do some measuring! Can you find items in your house are that are longer, shorter and the same length as a hummingbird? You can use a ruler or a post-it note which is typically about 3″ square.

art · STEAM · story

Corn

Today let’s learn about another tasty summer crop… corn! Do you like to eat corn on the cob? Here is a story about some squirrels who really like corn on the cob, but their friend the rabbit does not. Let’s listen to Bob & Rob & Corn on the Cob by Todd McQueen.

Have you ever seen a corn field? This video show what it looks like to watch the field grow up from planting the seeds to picking the corn off the stalk.

What is your favorite way to eat corn? Corn the cob, popcorn, corn chowder, corn tortilla, corn chips? Ask your family and friends and make a graph to show the results of your poll.

Draw, paint or tear paper to make a corn cob.

Here are a few fun option for painting corn:

  • paint yellow paint onto bubble wrap and then place the bubble wrap onto your sheet of paper. the bubbles will paint the dots onto your paper
  • put yellow paint into a bowl or shallow dish and paint with your finger or with a q-tip
  • use a Lego Duplo block with yellow paint. put the paint on a paper plate and dip the Duplo’s nubs into the paint and use that to paint.

Cut green or brown paper to be the husk. You could even trace your hands and cut them out as the husk.

art · math · STEAM · story

Watermelon Wishes

Today’s story is Watermelon Wishes by Lisa Moser. Charlie and his grandfather plant some watermelon seeds in the spring. Charlie hopes they grow a wishing watermelon. Grandpap wonders what a wishing watermelon is and what wish Charlie will make. Charlie and Grandpap enjoy summer as they watch the watermelon vine grow and grow. Listen and find out if Charlie and his Grandpap find the wishing watermelon and if Charlie’s wish comes true.

What would you wish for if you had a wishing watermelon? Create a watermelon slice out of paper or draw a watermelon with crayons. Maybe you want to make a playdough watermelon or even one out of Lego bricks. Get creative! Don’t forget to put in the black seeds. Those are the seeds you need to plant a watermelon plant.

For my example, I cut a piece of red paper into a quarter-circle, but you could choose to do a whole circle, oval or a semi-circle… depends on what you want your slice to look like!. Then I cut a green sheet of paper slightly bigger to represent the skin, you could add a white layer too for the watermelon rind. I glued the two together at the top so that I could open them up and write in my wish. Then I drew on the seeds. You could cut pieces of black paper to glue on as the seeds.

If you want to add a bit more science… you could label the parts of the watermelon. Draw the life cycle of a watermelon. Or even plant your own!

Want to add some math? Count the seeds in a slice of watermelon. Estimate how many seeds in all the slices you have or in the whole watermelon. Create a watermelon graph: Do you like to eat watermelon? You could create a chart or graph collecting data to find out who in your family and/or friends likes to eat watermelon. Do more people like watermelon or not?

art · story

August 2nd- Crayons

August 2nd is National Coloring Book Day. Today is a great day to learn about crayons. First, let’s listen to the story The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow, who reads the story on this youtube link. This is the story of Edwin Binney who invented Crayola Crayons.

Ever wonder what you can do with your broken crayons? Here is one option… recycled crayons that are donated to children’s hospitals. Watch here for the video or check out the Crayon Initiative for more information.

Now get out your crayons and have fun! Color in a coloring book. Color on a sheet of paper. Melt your crayons into new crayons. Draw a card. Draw a picture.

Just enjoy the colors of life.

STEAM · story · topic · writing

Sandcastles

Who doesn’t love to build sandcastles? Here are some great sandcastle books

Super Sandcastle Saturday by Stuart J. Murphy (read by Stuart J. Murphy) -this story works on measurement

How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk -this story talks about taking a problem and breaking it down into specific steps

Now let’s watch SciShow Kids explain how to build a perfect sandcastle.

Now, if you live near a place that has sand, go build your own sandcastle.

Don’t have sand nearby? No problem!! Build a castle out of blocks, rocks, Lego blocks, or other items you have at home.

When you finish your castle, measure your castle. You can use standard and/or non-standard forms of measurement. The draw a picture of your castle and include the measurements in your drawing. After, write a story about what is happening in your castle. Who lives there? What adventures occur inside?

art · story

Strawberries

This weekend, my son and I went to pick strawberries. Have you ever gone and picked strawberries? There is nothing sweeter than strawberries picked fresh off the plant.

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Let’s start by listening the Cherokee story The First Strawberries retold by Joseph Bruchac. In the story, the man went out to hunt for food and the woman stayed home and picked flowers. The man returned tired, hungry and upset, so the wife left. The sun offered to help the man and tried to catch the woman’s attention. Many berries were created by the sun, but it was the strawberry that caught her attention. The story ends by saying that the Cherokee people believe that the sweetness of the strawberry is a reminder that respect and friendship are as sweet and ripe as strawberries.

Watch this time lapse of strawberries growing . Draw out a part of the time lapse, or draw out a time line of the growth.

The watch Art for Kids Hub to draw a strawberry.

Create a list of favorite strawberry items.

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STEAM · story · topic · writing

Mushrooms

This morning I went to go check on my garden and there were sooo many mushrooms. There are mushrooms in the grass too. As you can guess we’ve had both rain and heat lately. I decided that it would be a good day for you to get out with your kiddo and learn a bit about mushrooms.

Let’s start with some science about these fun-guys… Fungi: Why Mushrooms are Awesome from SciShow Kids

Here is a fun story, similar to Jan Brett’s the Mitten, Mushroom in the Rain adapted from the Russian of V. Suteyev by Mirra Ginsburg. How many animals can take shelter under the mushroom?

Did you find any mushrooms in your yard? Can you count all of them? How many different types did you find?

Now create a picture. You can create a picture of one of the mushrooms you spied in the yard or the one from the story. What do you think would fit under the mushroom. Be realistic or creative in your answer.

story · teaching thoughts

End of the Day and Social Emotional Learning

As we move into summer, the sun stays longer. It gets harder and harder to settle in each night. So much excitement and fun to remember. This story takes settling for bedtime and turns it into a lullaby based on the memories of the day. A Lullaby of Summer Things by Natalie Ziarnik.

Often times summer means less structure and routines. Children thrive off routines and this is especially evident at bedtime. But, now they stay up a bit later and have a harder time settling down. Instead of throwing routines out the window. Take a bit of time to revamp the bedtime routines.

Think about ways to add in items such as reflecting up on the fun of the day. What fun things did you do that you want to do again? What is something you learned today? What is something that made you smile? What is something you struggled to accomplish? How will you work on that skill tomorrow? What are you looking forward to doing tomorrow?

Taking the time to reflect on the emotions of the day will help your child settle down as well as work on those social emotional skills that are so important to develop. We want children to see growth and progress. Discussing things that went well, things that didn’t go so well and the next steps for both are key.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

Children are growing in all areas of life. One critical area of development is social emotional. As adults we need to guild children in developing healthy social emotional skills. It is the interactions we have with the children as well as the interactions your child views between yourself and other adults that is the guiding light of social emotional growth. Children need positive yet constructive words. They need you to talk about what they are doing that is going well. “I noticed that you worked really hard on your art project today. What did you think about the final result?” Notice I praised the effort and then allowed the child to reflect on the result. Often times adults praise the result and not the effort. And this can backfire if they child was not proud of the the end product, but that is what made their adult happy.

“You have really worked hard this week on learning to swim across the pool. What is your next swimming challenge?” Again the focus is on the work and effort. This allows the child to feel pride in accomplishing a goal and challenges them to set another goal.

“I noticed you were upset when you were trying to pump the swing. It’s ok to get frustrated, I was proud to see you keep trying. What can we do tomorrow to work on this skill?” Again you are focused on the skill, you acknowledged and accepted the emotions and then moved onto what can we do next? The last statement allows the child to ask for help, or not. They may need you to watch and give suggestions. The key is the child is determining the next step.

Remember that empty threats, empty promises and empty praise is not constructive. Children need to be guided to discover the best way to grow. They need to hear what they can do to move forward in their learning. Children learn what they see, they are watching and listening. Children need to see your pride, but they also need to see that they have room to grow in all things. Praise effort. Praise persistence. Offer alternatives. Discuss ideas. LISTEN to what they have to say.