Clever Ways to Introduce Young Children to Feelings

Clever Ways to Introduce Young Children to Feelings

One of my favorite books to read with my son is When Miles Got Mad by Sam Kurtzman-Counter and Abbie Schiller.  When I heard the authors were releasing a new book, Un Pequeño Libro Sobre Sentimientos/A Little Book About Feelings, I could not wait to read it.

This is an engaging, bilingual work that introduces young children to “emotional literacy.”

The book begins by giving the young reader a simple definition for feelings. It supplements the definition with a storyline involving a dog, big sister bear, baby bear, and mama bear.

Baby bear sees his sister giving the dog a treat and becomes upset because he wants one as well. He begins to cry but then remembers to use his words to identify his feelings. He asks mama for a snack. As a result, mama bear recognizes the baby’s feelings and gives him a snack.

The authors use relatable elephant characters to explain that feelings can range from sadness with aches to happiness with warmness. Children learn that feelings are always changing and this teaches them adaptability and empathy towards others.

The first time I read the book to my three-year-old son, he identified with the elephant characters because it is his favorite animal. The second time, he read the book to me and insisted on having his stuffed elephant sitting next to him.

We like this book because it provides opportunities for interaction and discussions!

Access How to Use Un Pequeño Libro Sobre Sentimientos/A Little Book About Feelings, to Encourage Interaction with Young Children at the bottom of this post!

I was able to discuss with my son that pets have the ability to express their emotions. We pinpointed examples of this through our observations of dogs in the neighborhood. We took it a step further by role playing the emotions of the dogs!

My son and I made predictions, which is an excellent exercise for reading comprehension, of why the elephant character was upset in the book. He thought the elephant’s friend did not want to play. I thought the elephant had a bad day at school. This book is clever because it is written for open interpretation! We agreed that we were both right!

Bonus – A Great Cause

  • 10,000 copies of this book will be donated to children enrolled in Head Start.
  • Bilingual lessons will be created for classrooms and education centers nationwide, based on the themes in the book.

Read this story to explore a range of feelings and to contribute to a great cause!!

Happy Learning!!

Get the password for the library with How to Use Un Pequeño Libro Sobre Sentimientos/A Little Book About Feelings to Encourage Interaction with Young Children by completing this form. Once you press the LEARN HOW NOW button, we will send you an email with the password. Then go to SOY Resource Library and enter the password.

Leadership for Kids – What They Learn When You Allow Them to Lead


Many parents want to raise children who are leaders. A child does not necessarily have to be Class President or Captain of a Sports team to be a leader. Sometimes leadership can be demonstrated in the child who chooses not to engage in gossip. In my opinion, children who are their authentic selves despite what others think are leaders.

I figure one way for a child to be a leader is through practice. It is also helpful when a parent creates a leadership environment within the home.

Check out the 5 Ways to Create a Leadership Environment for Kids at the bottom of this post!

At first, the age of five sounded like a good time to introduce the concept. However, most toddlers, start to show leadership skills around two when they know what they want to play with and explore. My decision was to meet my child where he was and start letting him lead me at the age of two.Of course, this was practiced in safe and controlled environments.

As soon as I take my son outside to play, he is the leader. He chooses whether he wants to walk or ride his scooter or bike. Once we get outside, he can choose to go left toward the blacktop where we play ball, blow bubbles, and do sidewalk chalk. In the right direction, there is a playground, nature trail, and grassy area for play. Wherever he goes I will follow him. He often looks back to ensure that I am behind him and then chuckles to himself.

Another time my son leads is when we play “Marching Band”. My friends gave him a Paw Patrol- Music Set which includes a tambourine, drum, Chinese drum, Clapper, and Castanets. We play the musical instruments to various songs while marching and dancing around the house. Along with choosing the type of music we listen to, my little one is the marching band leader. He may lead me dancing in the basement, kitchen, or living room.

Your children can learn a lot when you let them lead sometimes. Below is what I found…

Confidence and Trust

Letting a child lead gives them confidence because they are experiencing your trust. You are trusting in their ability to lead the way, make decisions, and communicate. As a parent, you give them credibility and are showing respect.  They feel you are buying in to them and their choice of activity. They also feel that they are worthy to be leading you, an adult.

Use of Knowledge

In most cases, in order to led someone, you must have prior knowledge of the subject. In order to lead you on a walk around the neighborhood, a child must be familiar with their surroundings. Once knowledge is established, they can apply it to provide a better experience. For example, if a child is leading you toward a concrete play area, they may bring side walk chalk or  a ball to make playtime fun.

Asking questions

In contrast, some kids may choose to lead even if they don’t have prior knowledge. Leaders who are not knowledgeable about a subject may surround themselves with experts in that field. Part of leadership is knowing when these opportunities arise. Children are excellent at detecting this! You are your child’s expert. You may build Legos with your child and they are leading you in building something that is familiar to them. What happens when they are building something for the first time? They either figure it out or they may ask for your help.

When to Lead

It is important to establish where your children can lead. For example, you probably don’t want your children leading in the grocery store or in an office building. Being a good follower makes a good leader. You child follows you in the grocery store so one day they will independently go themselves or lead someone else while shopping. Being a follower is where the child will gain prior knowledge to guide or mentor others.  Knowing when to lead helps the child with boundaries and to apply a new skill to help someone in the future.

As a parent, be a good follower occasionally. In doing so, your child may discover their interests, purpose, and passions!

Have fun following!

5 Ways to Create a Leadership Environment for Kids

Get the password for the library with 5 Ways to Create a Leadership Environment for Kids here by completing this form. Once you press the GET ACCESS NOW button, we will send you an email with the password. Then go to SOY Resource Library and enter the password.




I am always looking for books that incorporate mathematical concepts in a fun and engaging manner. The book, Find Your Way in Space by Paul Boston, will take your young reader on a space mission using math and mapping skills. This book encourages children to solve a mystery.

The Space Mission is as follows…

The Zeebles’ rockets have crash-landed in Crater Canyon and they are unable to get home. The reader needs to find their way to the crash site by choosing which exits and entrances to follow on each page.


There are five steps to completing the mission…

  1. Choose your transportation
  2. Choose a route
  3. Choose one of three missions to help the Zeebles…
    • Collect Batteries to power up the engine
    • Collect cans of glue to mend the panels
    • Collect space wrenches to fix the rocket’s wings
  4. Use map coordinates to find the location of various objects the Zeebles need.
  5. Use your math skills to help the lost Zeebles find their way home.

Mathematical concepts addressed in this book are counting, addition, shapes, identifying relationships between objects, colors, length, height, map coordinates, and telling time. The concepts are introduced through questions the reader must answer.

For example, one question asks, “My friend lives in Mystic Cabin. Can you tell me where it is?”  The reader must find the coordinates of where the Mystic Cabin is located.

Another question asks, “I work in the triangular building with nine windows. Can you see it?” The reader should find a triangular-shaped building with nine windows.

The questions in the book assist the reader in completing the mission.

My son had a great time with this book. He enjoyed solving the math problems and using the coordinates to locate and collect objects. He was given a taste of how math can be used to help others and to make discoveries.

Read this book and take your child on a mathematical journey!

Happy Learning!



5 SECRET Driving Tips for Teens (and Adults) from a Former CIA Officer


I was watching Sway in the Morning radio show on YouTube one day and saw a former Central Intelligence Agent (CIA) Officer, Jason Hanson, being interviewed. He discussed his life in the CIA and offered safety tips.

His interview was so compelling, I purchased two of his books, Spy Secrets that can Save your Life: A Former CIA Officer Reveals Safety and Survival Techniques to Keep You and Your Family Protected and Survive Like a Spy: Real CIA Operatives Reveal How They Stay Safe in a Dangerous World and How You Can Too.

Jason educates the reader on using survival intelligence at home, during disasters, and while traveling and driving.  He tells you how to escape zip ties and duct tape if you are kidnapped and how to be a human lie detector. His books are filled with entertaining and suspenseful CIA survival stories.

I am always thinking about how children can benefit from the books I read. I thought some of the driving safety tips he gave would be helpful for teens.


Windows Up

The author tells the story of a man who had the windows down in his car while looking at his iPad. When the man took a nap, a teenage boy reaches in and steals his iPad.  Being parked or stopped at a red light can make you susceptible for a carjacking or robbery, especially when you are distracted by gadgets like your phone. Even when a stranger approaches your car to talk to you, keep your windows up. You should talk through the window instead.

Wait to check the damage

When you are in a fender bender, your first inclination is to exit the car and check the damage. However, Jason recommends you turn on your flashers, call the police, and stay inside your car until an officer arrives on the scene. The author gives examples of two people who were robbed, with one of them killed, just for getting out of their car during a fender bender.

Hand Position

I learned in Drivers Ed that the correct hand position was ten and two o’clock. This book says your hand should be at nine and three o’clock to get enough control over the car to properly execute maneuvers. This position helps you to get the most mobility out of your car because it forces you to keep your elbows bent. If there is someone standing in front of your car, you will be able to drive around him/her with this position.

Can you See the Tires?

How close are you to the stopped car in front of you? I learned you should be a car length away from the vehicle in front of you. You should actually be able to see the tires of the vehicle in front of you. Leaving this amount of space helps you to get around that vehicle should you need to get away in case of an emergency.

Driver Adjustments

Most people are sitting too far away from the steering wheel. To ensure you are sitting in the correct driving position, put your arm straight out toward the steering wheel and rest your arm on top of it. The bottom of your wrist should rest on top of the steering wheel. If your fingers are touching the wheel, then you are too far back and you need to move forward. If the steering wheel is touching your forearm then move back until your wrist is what’s resting on it with your arm fully extended.

Bonus Tips: Organizing in your Car and a Safety Tip for Kids

Try not to organize belongings in your car or put items in your purse. You put yourself in a vunerable position when you are handling your GPS or making calls on the cellphone.

Please view our lesson on how to teach kids the Safety tip, Situational Awareness, through an artistic game!

Happy Driving!




science facts

The fascinating facts below came from the book, My Weird School Fast Facts-Space, Humans, and Farts by Dan Gutman. This book contains a lot of fun, humorous, and engaging information for kids. Your child will discover a love of science from reading this book!

Eating Tomatoes used to kill certain people

During the late 1700’s, many people died after eating tomatoes in parts of Europe. It was called the “poison apple.”  Actually, the tomatoes did not kill people. Rich people ate off pewter plates, which were made from lead. Tomatoes are acidic and the lead leaked off the plates into the tomatoes. This caused people to get lead poisoning.


The planet, Mars, has the largest volcano

Olympus Mons on Mars is the biggest volcano in our solar system.  It is three times as tall as Mount Everest. Mount Everest is the Earth’s highest mountain above sea level.


Drinking Water is limited

Earth is covered with 70 percent water. Almost all of Earth’s water is salty in the oceans. We can’t drink it. Only about 3 percent of the water is drinkable fresh water. Most of this drinkable water is frozen in the Arctic and in Antarctica. Therefore, only about 1 percent of the world’s water is available to drink. Don’t waste water because we are not getting anymore!


Silk comes from Worms

Silk comes from worms. A silkworm eats mulberry leaves and lettuce for weeks. Its salivary glands produces “fibrion” which is gooey. Then it spends a cocoon and spends the next 48 hours turning around and around to create silk.


Thunder and Lightning Happen at the Same Time

During a thunderstorm, you will see lightning and then hear thunder seconds later. Thunder and Lighting happen simultaneously. Light travels a million times faster than sound. Lightning reaches your eyes faster.


Kids have more Bones than Adults

Adults have 206 bones and kids have 300. As kids get older, some of their bones fuse together.


Your lungs are different sizes

You have two lungs but they are not the same size. The left lung is divided into two lobes while the right is divided into three.  The left lung is a bit smaller to allow room for your heart.


The Fastest Muscles in your Body

The fastest muscles in your body are in your eyes. They make it possible for you to blink as fast as five times a second. You can blink about fifteen thousand times a day. Blinking cleans your eyes of dust particles and lubricates your eyeballs. Women blink twice as much as men.


No kneecaps for babies

Babies are born without solid kneecaps. Babies’ kneecaps are made out of cartilage and don’t turn into solid bone until the baby is about three years old.


Why do Geese fly in a V?

Flying in a V conserves energy. There is less wind resistance when each bird flies a bit above the bird in front of them. They take turns flying in front so no one gets tired. Flying in a V makes it easier for the birds to communicate with every bird in the group. Jet fighter pilots do the same thing.


Crickets Can Tell the Temperature

Male crickets make a chirping noise by running their wings together. When it is hot outside, they rub their wings faster. You can tell the temperature by counting how fast a cricket chirps. If you count the number of chirps you hear in fifteen seconds and then add thirty-seven to it, the total will be very close to the outside temperature.


Albert Einstein’s Brain was Stolen

Albert Einstein is a German-born physicist who was famous for this theory relativity. He is known as a genius. After he died, his brain was stolen!!! The doctor who examined him took his brain and kept it for 40 years.


Read the book, My Weird School Fast Facts-Space, Humans, and Farts by Dan Gutman, and get more information that will entertain and fulfill your curiosity!


Happy Learning!


Teaching Kids to Differentiate Between Good and Bad Strangers

stranger pic

When my son and I are walking in our neighborhood or to the grocery store, he will say hello to everyone who passes by. He observes me saying hello to our neighbors and chooses to follow in my footsteps. However, as adults, we can mostly discern between who we should be friendly towards.

Therefore, it seemed like a good time to discuss differentiating between good and bad strangers. I wasn’t sure how to start the conversation.

As I was skimming children’s books online, I saw The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers by Stan and Jan Berenstain. God confirmed my decision to teach my son about strangers because I was not actively looking for a book on this subject. I was very thankful for this realization.

In this book, Brother Bear was cautious and wary of strangers. Sister Bear, similar to my son, was “friendly to a fault” and said hello to everyone. Brother intervened and told his sister to stop talking to strangers, but he couldn’t articulate why.

They ask Papa Bear about strangers and he replies by showing Sister Bear a newspaper article of a missing Bear cub and reading a bedtime story about a goose who was eaten by a strange fox. These stories terrify Sister Bear and she could not sleep at night. Like Mama Bear, I was looking for a balanced approach in my explanation about strangers. Although as you read the book, you will see Papa Bear’s approach was somewhat effective as well.

Mama Bear tells Sister that not all strangers are bad, in fact more people are friendly, but there are a few “bad apples.” She uses an excellent hands-on approach with apples as a visual to explain this concept. There is a twist at the end of this story where Sister Bear was not the family member who engaged with a stranger.

There are two more bonuses in this book. Mama Bear explains the difference between tattling and informing an adult of a problem out of love and worry. Additionally, there are rules for dealing with strangers at the end that are helpful to parents talking with their children.

So how can children differentiate between good and bad strangers?

It is hard to differentiate so be careful around strangers in case you encounter a “bad apple.”  Also use COMMON SENSE, “which tells us what do to in situations that are not covered by rules.”

Common Sense can be displayed when children have positive or negative feelings towards strangers. Some small children may not be able to express their feelings but they show it. For example, when my son was younger, he would hug my leg when he felt uncomfortable around a stranger. Encourage children who can express themselves to discuss their reactions and feelings towards select strangers, with your supervision of course.

Read this book with your child to find out the story’s twist and to learn about strangers through the eyes of the Berenstain Bears.

Happy Learning!


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, plan and execute 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!


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.


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!