10+ Activities that Teach Kids Colors in a Fun Way

Colors is a topic that all kids learn. My son learned his colors around 16 months with a combination of fun activities. I remember spreading out various colored poms poms on the floor and asking him to bring me specific colors. He got them all correct! He learned because I used in-depth fun learning to naturally expose him to it. In-depth learning is exposing your child to new concepts in various ways such as sight, hearing, and touch. The activities below will help you incorporate these types of learning techniques.

Let’s get started with learning colors in a fun way!

Sorting

Sorting is a great way for kids to learn colors. Below are some ways to accomplish this at home.

  • Gather various colored items in your home such as blue, yellow, green, purple, red etc.
  • Help your child to put all items of the same color together.
    • For example put all the red items together.
  • My son, Cory, likes to sort his toy cars and balls.
  • Make a game of it by racing all the green cars, then blue cars, and so on.
  • You can also create a ball race between the various colors.
My son sorted balls and made each Black Panther Action Figure guard them.

Color Day!

Pick a color day in your household.

  • Pick a day where everyone in the family wears the same color clothes.
  • Everyone can wear the same color shirt, pants, or socks.
  • This activity is like St. Patrick’s Day where everyone wears green.
  • However, you will pick a different day of the week to wear a certain color.
  • For example, on Monday everyone wears a blue shirt and then on Tuesday everyone wears a red shirt.
These children are having a Blue Day!

Pick the Color

This activity was actually how I found out my son knew all his colors. This is a fun one for the kids.

  • You may use various colored items such as pom poms, crayons, balls etc.
  • We used poms poms for this activity.
  • Spread them on the floor.
  • Ask your child to bring you various colored items. For example say to your child…
    • “Please give me the blue poms poms”
    • “Please bring the yellow poms poms”
  • Optional: you may alternate roles with your child and have them ask you to bring them certain colored poms poms.

Call It in the Real World

Children don’t have to be in school or at home to learn colors. It can be done anywhere. Try the activities below…

  • While you are outside, pick a color you will identify such as green.
    • Identify with your child green grass, cars, and tree leaves
  • While running errands, identify various colors on signs or advertisements
  • While at the grocery store, identify various colors of fruits and vegetables.

Color Hunt

This activity encourages children to get physical and learn simultaneously.

  • Hide the same color items in one room or all over your home.
  • Have your children find the items you just hid and identify the colors.
  • Optional: You may hide different color items around your home as well.

Digital Media

My son and I love watching educational videos on our television. At times after dinner, we dance, sing songs or just watch videos about colors from YouTube. Below are YouTube videos about colors.

Paint

Being able to use colors to create pictures is a great learning tool for children.

  • Once your child learns certain colors have them paint a picture using that color.
  • You may also create stories using the picture.
    • For example, paint a yellow stick man playing with a blue stick man and write a story about it.
My son’s finger paint art work of the beach.

Make Color Potions

Making potions is a great hands-on activity for kids. Below is how to do it.

  • Make a simple potion by mixing glitter, various food coloring, vinegar, and baking soda.
  • Your child will see bubbles while creating this chemical reaction.
My son making a colorful potion.

Make Slime

  • Mix water, cornstarch and washable paint until it feels like glue.
  • You may use food coloring instead of paint.
  • Let your child play in the slime.
Red Corn Starch Slime

Books with Movement

Before my son knew the colors, I would go to the library weekly and get books about colors. Reading a variety of books about colors helped my son see colors from many perspectives. Don’t just read books, but get physical as well. Once you read about a color in the book, look around the room or your home and try to find that color.

Below are 10 great books to read to your child about colors

Melissa and Doug Sort and Snap Color Match

The Melissa and Doug Sort and Snap Color Match was given to my son as a birthday present. Your child will be able to create various colorful pictures using boards and snap caps. It is an interactive educational tool that is great for color recognition, sorting, and beginning math skills. Cory liked creating the pictures. It is a good way to supplement your child’s exposure to colors.

Cory completed a picture of a caterpillar with colors.

Have fun with these activities!


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Invisible Ink Writing/Drawing Activity

One day, I was looking at the book, Crafty Science by Jane Bull. It has a bunch of STEAM projects for children to create at home. I showed my son the Invisible Ink activity and he said “Let’s do that mommy.” We looked around the house and gathered the materials.

I thought this would be a great drawing and writing activity for my son. He ended up writing numbers. This is a great project to expose your child to literacy and science. If your child is learning how to read, write words that will challenge them to use phonics or sight words. The science in this project is explained at the end of this post.

Let’s Get Started!

Invisible Ink

Materials:

  • Lemon
  • Bowl
  • Paintbrush or Cotton Swabs
  • Paper
  • Iron (for adult use only)
Materials for Invisible Ink Activity.

Method:

Squeeze a lemon into a bowl

Write your secret message on the paper in lemon juice using a paintbrush or cotton swab.

Draw quickly in order to check your work before it dries. It does not have to be as dark as the picture below. My son insisted on going over the numbers numerous times so he could see it.

To get the message, an adult should iron the paper with a hot iron until the message comes through

Warning:

  • This activity may stain your iron with brown spots. This happened to me. I was able to get my iron squeaky clean by following the video below.

Why this activity Works:

  • This works because lemon juice is an acid.
  • When it is put on the paper, the acid destroys some of the paper surface.
  • When you heat it up with the iron, the areas with the message turn brown first.
  • Milk also works with this activity because it is slightly acidic.

Have fun with this simple activity!

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Car Wash Fun for Kids – The Ultimate Learning Activity

My son loves to play, build, and race his toy cars. One day, I asked him if he wanted to have a car wash after seeing this activity on the Internet. I remember looking at this activity and thinking this would be a great idea for a kid who likes cars.

I had several reasons for suggesting the car wash. First, this activity was a fun way to encourage my son to practice his penmanship. The weekend we did the activity, it was raining. I was trying to find something hands-on to do in the house; although, a car wash is really fun when doing it outside on a sunny day. Furthermore, I wanted to incorporate three things that interest my son which are cars, counting, and getting messy.

Our Car Wash incorporated fun and so many aspects of hands-on learning. I thought I would share this activity with you so your kids can have as much fun as my son.

Let’s Get Started

Materials:

  • Big sheet of poster board or white craft paper
  • Toy Cars
  • Markers
  • Painters Tape
  • Towels (3)
  • Wash Cloth
  • Cash Register or Play Money (You may also make your own play money)
  • Two Rectangular Plastic Containers
  • Water
  • Dish Detergent
Some of the materials for the Car Wash

Preparation:

  • Have your child decide the Car Wash Prices.
  • If your child can write, have them write the car wash prices on the poster board or white craft paper.
  • My son decided to give each color car a different price.
  • If your child can’t write, you may create the Car Wash Price Sign for them.
  • You may have your child draw the various colored cars on the sign.
  • I created a template on construction paper to assist my son in organizing the Car Wash prices on the white craft paper.
My son writing the Car Wash Prices using the template I created on pink construction paper.
Continuing to write the prices
Car Wash Price Sign is complete.
  • Tape the Car Wash Prices to a wall where it is visible for customers.
Car Wash Prices taped to the wall.
  • Get the toy cars, cash register, wash cloth, and towels
  • Lay the towels on the floor if you are doing this in your home.
  • If you are outside, then you can skip this step.
  • Fill one rectangular plastic container with dish detergent and water halfway.
  • This is where you will wash the cars
  • Fill the other rectangular plastic container with water.
  • This is where you will rinse the cars.

Now the Car Wash can Begin!

  • Have your child role play the Car Wash owner.
  • You or your child’s siblings and/or friends can play the customers.
  • As a customer, get some play money so you can pay to get your car washed.
  • I started off with $30.00 divided into (10) one dollar bills, (2) five dollar bills, (1) ten dollar bill
My son giving me money to start the Car Wash Activity.
  • Have your child say the following:
  • “Welcome to the Car Wash, how may I help you?
  • You will respond by saying the following…
  • Yes, I would like to have my yellow cars washed please.”
  • Then your child will look at the poster they made to see how much it costs to wash the yellow cars.
  • On our poster, it costs $2.00 to wash the yellow cars.
  • I had three yellow cars, so I gave him $6.00 with (1) five dollar bill and (1) one dollar bill
Exchanging money during the Car Wash Activity
  • Sometimes I gave him more money than the cost of washing the car so he could practice his subtraction skills and give me change.
  • After giving my son the money, he took the cars and washed them.
  • He washed them in the soapy water container and then put them in the container with water to rinse.
  • Next he put them on the towel to dry.
My son washing the cars.
My son rinsing the cars.
  • We kept repeating these steps until all the cars were washed.
  • Another time we did this activity, I was the Car Wash Owner.
  • We have also done this activity where my son was the Cash Wash Owner for the red cars but I was the Cash Wash Owner for the blue cars.
  • In other words, we were alternating roles.
  • Tailor this activity to your child’s ability by doing the following…
    • Have your child wash only one car at a time so they don’t have to do any subtraction or addition.
    • Only give your child one dollar bills so they can practice counting by ones.
    • Make all the car wash prices the same to make things easier.

Subjects Learned in this Activity

Color Recognition

  • Sort the cars by colors.
  • Make different prices for each color car.
  • You may also have a car wash with one color car like the red cars.

Math

  • Adding the costs to wash multiple cars.
  • Subtracting when the customer gives the Car Wash Owner too much money and change is needed.
  • Multiplying the cost when multiple cars with the same price are needed to be washed

Science

  • We had some cars that would float in the water and some that would not
  • We discussed that cars with less density than the water will float.
  • Cars with more density than the water will sink.
  • We reviewed the word buoyancy, which is the ability to float in water.
  • You may discuss the science of soapy water and how it cleans the cars.
    • Soap attaches to dirt and grease and causes it to be pulled off the toy cars and suspended in the water

Writing

  • My son was able to practice his handwriting skills in creating the Car Wash Price Sign.

Customer Service

  • Teach your child the importance of being nice and respectful to their customer.
  • Also ensure your child knows to clean the cars well so the customer is happy.
  • If the customer is happy then they will bring more customers.

Entrepreneurship

  • Explain to your child that Entrepreneurs own businesses and their purpose is to solve problems or make things better.
  • A great business has happy customers who will tell others about their service or product.
  • Take your child to a real Car Wash and show them it is a Real Business.

Have fun with this activity and make this your own!

Happy Learning!

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Celery Experiment – How Plants Get Water

Spring is here and many kids are helping their parents and teachers grow plants and flowers. One of the most important jobs in growing plants is to water them regularly. My son helps my husband water the garden. As a result, by July, we have vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans.

This Celery Experiment is great way to show kids how plants get water from their roots up to the leaves. At the end of the post, I will explain why this experiment works.

Let’s Get Started!

Materials:

  • Glass Jar or Drinking Glass
  • Celery
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Knife
Materials for Celery Experiment

Method:

  • Gather the materials
  • Cut about one inch off the bottom of the celery stalk.
Here I cut about one inch off the bottom of the celery.
  • Fill the drinking glass halfway with water.
  • Put a few drops of food coloring into the drinking glass.
Putting drops of food coloring into glass


My son chose to put red and blue food coloring in the glass.
Mixing the food coloring together
  • Place the celery stalk in the colored water and let it sit over night.
We put the celery in the glass
  • Rip open the celery to see how the color travels throughout the stalk
Food coloring on the celery’s rib.
  • You should see that the food coloring has traveled to the leaves.
The food color traveled to the celery’s leaves

Why it works:

  • When you water a plant, the roots absorb the water from the soil.
  • The tiny tubes in the celery or plant stem, called xylem, draw the water up from the roots like a straw.
  • This process is called Capillary Action.
  • Capillary Action happens when water climbs up the tiny tubes.
  • The water droplets stick to the walls of the tubes and go upward.
  • The water sticks to itself and pulls more water as it climbs up.
  • Capillary Action lets water climb up to the various parts of a plant through the xylem tubes in the stem.

Have fun with this experiment!

Happy Learning!

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4 Games/Activities that Teach Kids Manners

Many parents are successful at teaching their children manners through modeling the behavior or reminding kids to use them. This post brings a fun, hands-on approach to teaching manners. The games/activities below can be a supplement to what you are already teaching your children at home. These are great group activities to play with young kids. I hope you find these helpful!

Let’s get started!



Please and Thank You Game

The following game will teach your child when to say Please and Thank you.

Materials Needed:

  • 3 Stuffed Animals or 3 Action Figures
  • Tape
  • Paper
  • Scissors

  1. Explain to your child that Please should be used with any request such as…
    • When your child wants a drink
    • They should say “May I PLEASE have a drink?”
    • If the child is very young then they can say “Drink, please.”
  2. Explain to your child that Thank you is used when they receive an item, favor, or an act of kindness.
    • For example, children should use it when someone gives them a drink, a gift, or when they have visited someone’s home.
  3. Start the activity by having your child gather their stuffed animals and action figures.
  4. Cut 3 rectangles out of the paper.
  5. Write the word, Doing, on one rectangle and then tape it on the front of one stuffed animal or action figure.
    • The Doing toy’s job is to role play the scenarios with your child.
  6. Write the word, Thank you, on one rectangle and then tape it on the front of one stuffed animal or action figure.
    • The Thank you toy’s job is to say Thank you in the scenario if needed.
  7. Write the word, Please, on one rectangle and then tape it on the front of one stuffed animal or action figure.
    • The Please toy’s job is to say Please in the scenario if needed.
  8. Create four scenarios where the child will have to role play and identify when to use Thank you or Please like the examples below…
    • The Doing Toy just shared his snack with your child. (Answer – say Thank you)
    • The Doing Toy would like a banana. What should the toy say? (Answer – May I please have a banana?) (Another option is Banana please).
    • Your child spilled the Legos on the floor and the Doing Toy helped your child clean up. (Answer – say Thank you)
    • The Doing toy wants to play at the playground. What should the toy say? (Answer – Can you take me to the playground, please?)
  9. Role play the scenarios above (or scenarios you have created) one at a time with the toys and your child.
  10. Below is an example of how the role play should be played. Let use the first scenario as an example..
    • The child and Doing toy should role play the following scenario – The Doing Toy just shared his snack with your child.
    • Now the child should decide if the Thank you toy or Please toy is needed.
    • In this scenario, the child should get the Thank you toy to say Thank you to the Doing toy.
    • If your child is confused about whether to use the Thank you toy or Please toy help them to determine the correct answer.
  11. Repeat steps 9-10 with the scenarios given in number 8. You may also create your own scenarios.
The Manner Animals

Super V!

This activity gives kids a reminder to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze.

Material Needed:

  • The child’s arm
  1. Explain to your child that it is important to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze to prevent the spread of germs.
  2. Germs can cause others to get sick.
  3. The best way to stop the spread of germs is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
  4. If you don’t have time to get a tissue, then use SUPER V!!!
  5. SUPER V is when you cough and sneeze into the inner crease of your elbow.
  6. When do you this, your arm forms the letter V.
  7. Pretend that you are sneezing or coughing and model to your child how to cover their mouth.
    • As you model how to cover your mouth, say SUPER V like it is a superhero!
  8. Have your child practice saying and doing the SUPER V mouth cover position.
  9. Every time your child really coughs or sneeze, say SUPER V!
  10. If your child is not into superheroes then create something else like the PRINCESS SHIELD to help them remember to cover their mouths.
Sick child doing the Super V

Excuse Me Game

This game will teach your child when it is appropriate to say Excuse Me.

Materials Needed:

  • Something that makes a loud noise like a bell, drum, whistle, or kazoo
  • Child’s stuffed animals, action figures, or other toys
  1. Explain to your child that Excuse Me should be used in the following situations
    • To get another person’s attention
    • When you need to get around someone and they are in your pathway.
    • When you have bumped into someone or accidentally stepped on their foot.
    • During an acceptable interruption
      • For example, if mom is talking to someone and the young child needs to go to the bathroom.
    • When you burp or pass gas
  2. After explaining step 1, role play the situations with your child (using yourself and child as the actors for practice).
  3. Next get your child’s toys.
  4. Give your child a loud noise maker of your choice such as a bell, drum, whistle, or kazoo.
  5. Use the child’s toys to role play each scenario in number 1 and scenarios where Excuse Me is not needed such as…
    • You give your child a snack.
    • Your child wants to go outside and play.
  6. After role playing each scenario with the toys, give the child two choices in which to respond…
    • If saying Excuse Me is an appropriate response to the scenario, then the child should use their noise maker and next say Excuse Me.
    • Is Excuse Me is NOT the appropriate response to the scenario, then the child can say NO!
  7. For example, you role play that one action figure burps and your child has a drum.
    • The child should play the drum and then say Excuse Me.
  8. Keep playing the game with various scenarios.

No Interruptions Game

This activity uses the concept of Shaping to teach kids to be patient while parents are talking to others in person or on the phone. Shaping is a technique many counselors use to teach kids new behaviors or skills. It allows you to build a desired behavior in children using small steps. Once the child has mastered a step, then move to the next one. 

Materials:

  • One of the child’s stuffed animal, action figure, or other toy
  • Timer
  • Pretend or toy telephone
  1. Explain to your child that interruption is when they talk while someone else is talking.
  2. Interrupting is considered rude unless it is an acceptable interruption such as…
    • You have to go to the bathroom
    • You or someone is hurt.
  3. Some kids interrupt their parents for attention or they think the conversation topic with the other adult is boring.
  4. Start the No Interruptions Game by getting your child’s toy and the telephone.
  5. Tell your child they can’t talk to you until the timer goes off.
    • If this is a struggle for them, suggest ideas to keep them busy like counting, playing with a toy, or just listening.
  6. Set the timer to 20 seconds.
  7. Pretend you are on the phone while the timer is going.
  8. After the times goes off, tell your child they can talk.
  9. If your child does NOT interrupt you within the 20 second period, then next time increase the time to 30 seconds and so on.
  10. Do this until you get to a desired time like 5 minutes.
  11. If your child talks to you before the timer goes off, then try the activity again with the timer set to a lesser time like 10 seconds and work from there.

I hope you find these activities helpful!

Happy Learning!

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4 Simple Financial Literacy Games/Activities for Kids

April is financial literacy month. I wanted to start the month off by giving you fun and simple financial literacy activities to do with young children.

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said  when you are an adult your report card is your credit score. This is one reason why teaching kids financial literacy is so important. Once a child becomes an adult, handling money becomes inevitable. So, let’s strive to build an early foundation for our children!

Let’s get started with our activities!

Money Recognition

The value of money and how to count it is a basic skill every child should learn. The activities below will teach money recognition in a fun way.

  1. The first step in money recognition is for kids to hold and interact with money.
  2. Have your child put money in a piggy bank.
  3. Another activity is for the child to sort money by pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters, etc.
    • Help your child learn the difference in colors and sizes.
  4. After your child has mastered this, then teach them the monetary value of each coin by doing the following.
    • Repeat step 3 by having the child sort coins, then make a COLORFUL SIGNS with the value of money.
    • Create a sign for each coin and place it near each type of coin. The signs should read the following…
      • Pennies = 1¢
      • Nickles = 5¢
      • Dimes = 10¢
      • Quarters = 25¢
  5. Review the values frequently.
  6. Read books about the value of money such as…
  7. Watch the value of money videos on YouTube.
  8. Then move on to the next activity, Ice Cream Store.
Sorting money




Using a money funnel to sort money


Putting money in coin wrappers.

Ice Cream Store

This is a great activity to reinforce the value of money. It also introduces your child to entrepreneurship.

  1. Create ice cream by using the following suggestions.
    • Make ice cream with Playdoh. An example is shown in the picture below.
    • You may also put various colored balls in cups to make pretend play ice cream.
    • Another option is to purchase an ice cream set like the Melissa & Doug Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter.
  2. Create price tags and put them on the ice cream.
  3. Get pretend play money and give to the customer.
  4. Have your child play the ice cream store owner.
  5. As the customer, start by giving your child the correct amount of money for the ice cream.
  6. Once they become more advanced, give them more than enough money and help them determine the correct change to give you.
  7. This is also a great activity to teach your child about kindness and customer service.
My son giving me change after my ice cream purchase.
Ice Cream Cones made from PlayDoh

Monopoly

Introduce your child to investing in real estate with this game. Use this game to teach your child financial literacy vocabulary such as Assets, Liabilities, and Transaction.

  1. If you have a young child, start off with Monopoly Junior.
    • There are various versions of this game. The tips below can be used with most versions.
  2. Read the directions on how to play the game.
  3. Play the game with your child until they start to understand the concept and do the steps below.
  4. View the video below to learn how to teach your child the words, Assets, Liabilities, and Transactions by playing Monopoly.

Saving

This activity teaches kids how to work towards something they want or would like to purchase in the future.

  1. Explain to your child that saving money means putting money aside.
  2. Most kids like to save for something they want in the future.
  3. Is there a toy your child has been begging you for?
  4. Use this as an opportunity to teach them about saving.
  5. You may create a project around the house that allows them to earn money.
  6. It doesn’t have to be money, you many use a behavior chart so kids can earn awards at the end of the week.
  7. We use the Melissa & Doug Chore Chart.
    • If my son completes his chores at the end of the week, then he earns a privilege of his choice like going for a fun outing or watching television.

Financial Literacy can be taught to children in a fun way on any level.

Have fun with these activities!

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Fun In Teaching Young Kids Real World Math

Life Skills is something that many parents teach their children. It helps them navigate through the real world. Incorporating math in life skill lessons is important because  it helps people, including children, to describe how the world works. 

For example, a child knows that if he/she has one cookie and their sibling has two cookies then there is a difference. If a child has played with a toy for 5 minutes and another child played with it for 15 minutes, they can feel the discrepancy. 

In the examples above, children are using mathematics on deciding how they should feel about certain situations. As adults, let’s encourage and foster their learning by building on their knowledge of using everyday math.

These activities below will show you how to do it in a fun way with your children!

Let Get started!

Everyday Math at the Grocery Store

  1. Take your child with you to the grocery store.
  2. Have the child pick a food item they would like to pay for.
    • It could be their favorite food to eat such as apple sauce.
  3. Give the child more than enough money to pay for the item they choose.
    • Account for taxes
    • If the apple sauce costs $2.00, give them $4.00.
  4. Ensure the child gets the correct change back.
  5. Explain to the child that food costs money.
  6. The extra money added on to the prices is for taxes which helps pay for schools, roads, and parks.
  7. Explain how you got the money by going to work, starting a business, etc.
  8. Repeat this activity and incorporate more food items.
    • Once your child is able, have them calculate their change.
    • They can also calculate how much money is needed to pay for the item.

 Everyday Math in the Kitchen

  1. Find a recipe, such as brownies or cookies, that uses measurements such as teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups (or any measurement you use for cooking).
  2. Have measuring spoons and cups available to represent the teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces and cups.
  3. Have the recipe and ingredients available.
  4. Make the baked goods with the child.
  5. Discuss the difference between 1/2 and a full cup (use the equivalencies below to help with the explanation).
    • Put a 1/2 cup of flour in 1 cup to show that it only fills up 1/2 the cup.
  6. Explain the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons (use the equivalencies below to help with the explanation).
    • Put 3 teaspoons of flour in 1 tablespoon to show that 1 tablespoon is 3 times 1 teaspoon.
  7. Compare other measurements based on the chart below.

Equivalencies chart

  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp.) = 3 teaspoons (tsp.) = 1/2 fluid ounce (fl.oz.) = 1/16 cup
  • 1 cup = 8 fl.oz.
  • 1 pint (pt.) = 2 cups = 16 fl. oz.
  • 1 quart (qt.) = 2 pt. = 4 cups = 32 fl. oz.
  • 1 pound (lb.) = 16 ounces (oz.)


Everyday Math While You Take a Trip

Has your child ever asked you “Are we there yet” while taking a trip? Use everyday math to answer this question.

There are two ways to do this. One way is with time.

  1. Let’s say your family takes a trip that will last one hour (60 minutes) to get to your destination.
  2. Just before leaving for your trip, show your child the time.
    • Let’s say you are leaving at 4:00pm.
  3. Tell your child, you will get to your destination when the 4 turns into a 5, which is 5:00pm.
  4. Check in with your child every 10 minutes and do a countdown.
    • For example, at 4:10pm tell your child you have 50 minutes to go.
    • At 4:20pm tell your child you have 40 minutes to go.
    • You can also do this every 15 or 20 minutes if you like.
  5. This helps to decrease the constant asking of “Are we there yet?”
  6. If you stop to use the restroom, explain to your child that this will add time on to the trip.

Another Way to do this is with Landmarks

  1. Let’s say you are driving on the Interstate and you are on Exit 1 but your destination is near Exit 20.
  2. Tell your child when you get to Exit 20, you will be at your destination.
  3. Pinpoint every 2 or 5 exits until you reach the end of your trip.
  4. Have your child identify the Exit Numbers.
    • For example, ask your child to tell you when you have reached Exit 4 and then Exit 6.
    • You have just created an important task for your child.
    • They are helping you navigate and they can sense how long the trip will be.
    • This is also helping with number recognition!

Everyday Math while at Home

Introduce your child to Mortgage or Rent Payment with this activity.

  1. Explain to your child that your house or apartment costs money.
  2. People who live in an apartment pay Rent to the owner of the building called the Landlord.
  3. People who own their home, usually get a loan from the bank and pay the bank back with Interest.
  4. You can skip steps 2 and 3 if you think this is too advanced for your child.
  5. Your child is going to pay you rent at the first of each month with play money for their bedroom or any other room in your home.
  6. If you want to get technical, calculate how much your child’s room is worth with the formula below.
    • Get a percentage of your child’s room by dividing your child’s room square footage by the apartment or home’s square footage.
    • For example, if your home is 1,200 square feet and your child’s bedroom is 200 square feet, then their bedroom takes up 16 percent of the home.
    • Now calculate how much of the rent your child’s room represents.
    • If your mortgage is $1600 a month, then your child’s rent would be $256 (which is 16% of $1600.
  7. If you don’t want to get too technical, then come up with a simple figure, like $100, that your child can pay you each month for rent.
  8. You can even have them earn play money daily by doing the following…
    • Pay them a certain amount each day for cleaning up or following the rules.
    • This money can be used to pay their rent.


I hope you and your child enjoy these simple activities!

A great resource for similar activities is The Everything Everyday Math Book: From Tipping To Taxes, All the Real-World, Everyday Math Skills You Need by Christopher Monahan

Happy Learning!


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DIY Puffy Paint for Beginning Readers and Writers

My son, like most young kids, loves to do activities that are hands-on. We have tackled a number of building activities from playing with Legos and Magnetic Tiles to Bristol Blocks.

When I realized that we had the opportunity to make our own 3-D paint, I became excited. However, my son had to sign off on the project. When he saw that we could make our own paint from scratch, he was all for it.

I like this activity because we had all the ingredients in the kitchen. Also, it was a great opportunity to practice writing and incorporate literacy in a fun way!

So let’s talk about our exciting scientific art experiment!

How to use this project to increase your child’s reading and writing skills

The project below will provide a fun and educational hands-on experience for kids. It is called the 3-D Puffy Paint Project and can encourage children to practice writing letters and numbers. This activity can be used to create stories and during pretend play. Additionally, constantly squeezing the paint out the bottle is a great hand strengthener to prepare kids for writing.

My son created a story while doing this project. The story was about a monster who played with friends. The monster started playing with one friend and then as time went on, the amount of friends grew exponentially. By the end of the story, the monster played with over 100 friends. We learned the words exponentially, introduce and exhausted, while doing this activity.

I exposed my son to new words by retelling the story. After my son told me the story, I said the following…

Me: So you are telling me that this story is about a monster who played with one friend at the playground. Then he kept meeting more and more friends as the day went on. This means his friends grew exponentially from 1 to over 100. Right?

My Son: Right

Me: As they were playing, he became very tired or exhausted. So how did he meet all those friends?

My Son: He went up to friends and said, “My name is Monster, do you want to play?”

Me: Oh, so the monster introduced himself to the new friends, and then asked them to play.

My son: “Yes, Yes, that’s right!”

Quick Tip: Use the new vocabulary as you are casually talking to your little one so they will internalize the information.

Another way to make this project literacy based is to have your child read the directions on this post while making the puffy paint. Encourage your child to sound out or say words that they know if they are beginning to read. If they can’t read yet, help them to use the pictures in this post to show how to make the paint. Your child will be reading because they are interpreting meaning. Additionally, read the instructions to them while following along with your finger so they see that words are needed in order to make the paint.

Now Let’s Make Paint that is 3-D!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Flour (30 ml)
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt (30 ml)
  • 2 Tablespoons Water (30 ml)
  • Small Bowl
  • Food Coloring
  • Squeeze Bottle
  • Cereal-box cardboard

Method:

  • Mix flour, salt, and water in the bowl.
Measuring the flour, salt, and water with a measuring spoon.

Mixing flour, salt, and water in a bowl.

  • Add two drops of food coloring.
Mixing in blue coloring
  • Pour mixture into the squeeze bottle.
  • Make a few colors by following the first three steps.
  • Squirt lines, curves, dots, and PICTURES on the cardboard.
My son is having fun with the puffy paint.


My son is narrating and illustrating a story about a Monster playing with friends.

Make this a fun literary activity by doing the following…

  • Paint or draw a picture and create a story about the image.
  • Have the child practice writing their name.
  • Have the child practice writing their letters or numbers.
  • Make a wake up puppet and decorate it with puffy paint.
    • Once the paint dries, read a story using the puppet.

Have Fun Learning and Painting!

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Make Writing Fun for Kids with Household Ingredients

Writing letters and numbers is a skill that many parents and teachers ensure their children possess. My son wrote his first letter, A, at 21 months. He revealed it to me through abstract artwork that left me in shock.

This made me realize that the artwork he created previously such as finger painting art and scribbling, set a precedent for his writing skills.

Now he is four-years-old and his writing has improved tremendously. However, I like to find ways to make writing appealing and fun for him. One way to do this is through making our household, when possible, our writing canvas. This means writing in the tub with bath time crayons or writing on our screen door with window markers.

Today I will show you how we used household ingredients to write and create art. The project is called Pan Frescoes. Frescoes is painting with watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling.

In this project, we make our wet plaster with cornstarch and water! Instead of painting on a wall or ceiling, we will do it in a pan. You may also choose to do this outside on concrete. Just remember to rinse it with a water hose when done.

Let’s Get Started!

Materials:

Method:

  • Mix together the cornstarch and water with your hands in the tray.
2 Cups of Cornstarch
  • The mixture will resemble glue or slime.
  • Give your child time to play with the mixture.
Playing with the mixture.
  • After your child has played with the mixture, have them flattened it out in the tray.
  • Let the mixture sit for 5 or 10 minutes before you begin painting on it.
  • While the mixture is sitting, get the plate and food coloring.
  • Have your child put drops of food coloring on a plate or in individual cups.
My son putting food coloring drops on a plate.
  • Use the paintbrushes to write letters and numbers or to create art.
  • Watch the video below of my son creating art.

Let’s have more fun! Here is the science behind why this works.

  • The cornstarch and water mixture acts more like a solid than a liquid.
  • The food coloring, which is a water-based pigment, is absorbed into the cornstarch mixture.
  • The food coloring doesn’t travel far since the cornstarch mixture is so thick.
  • This is why you can do artwork on the mixture.

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Teach your Child to Write Through Play

I am a big proponent of parents interacting and playing with their children. This is the secret of how I taught my son to write at two-years-old.

The method, In-depth learning, is what I used to teach him how to read and write.
Before I give you the details, let’s answer some basic questions first.

Go to the Bottom of this Post to Access 5 Ways to Create a Desire in Children to Write

 

 

How do I encourage my child to write?

One good way to encourage your child to write is to make it fun and purposeful for kids. Build a writing activity around your child’s interest. For example, if your child likes cars then have them construct letters in sand or mud with their toy vehicles. You can also create a road with tape in the form of letters. Then have your child follow the path with the cars. If you have a child that likes dolls or stuffed animals, then help them do a role play as a teacher teaching their dolls how to write.

Below are 5 more ways to encourage kids to write…

  1. Get a pen pal for your child to write to frequently.
  2. Help the child write a story about a topic of their choice.
  3. Have the child write with their favorite toy (explained above).
  4. Encourage the child to write with their fingers through finger paint or making letters in sand.
  5. Writing well wishes to family members…
    •  Creating and drawing Birthday, Christmas, or Get Well Cards to Family and Friends.

How do I teach my child to write his name?

My son learned to write his name at the age of two. He first learned by seeing me write his name repeatedly during long car rides, church services, outside with sidewalk chalk and at the bottom of his art projects. He loved to trace his name with crayons after I wrote it. After seeing it done multiple times, I let him independently write the first letter of his name, then the second letter and so on.

When should a child start writing?

Children first learn to write once they have the strength to hold a crayon and scribble which is around 15 months. According to Zerotothree.org  there are five stages of writing. The first stage, at 15 months – 2.5 years old, is when the child is doing random scribbling. Controlled scribbling is the second stage at 2 to 3 years old, when the child makes circles and vertical, curved, and horizontal lines. The third stage is lines and patterns, at 2.5 to 3.5 years old. Drawing pictures of objects or people is the fourth stage. In the fifth stage, children are using letters and numbers to write on their own.

My son’s brain starting processing the concept of writing around 13 months when he repeatedly observed me writing the alphabet and numbers. He was not able to physically write yet, but his brain recorded the loops, lines, and curves I made when I wrote. He wrote his first letter, A, at 21 months.

 

So, how did you teach your son to write at two-years- old?

There were many forms of playful methods used to teach my son to write. We still use some of the same methods and more to improve this writing skills. Below is what we did.

Play-Doh

Play-Doh is a favorite toy in our household. I used it to mold the alphabet before my son could talk. Constantly observing how letters are formed trained his brain to understand how they are MADE. Once he started talking, he would identify a letter and it was my job to make the letters. He gained a taste of leadership because he had control of what letter I wrote. Eventually, he combined the two skills and was able to identify the letter and shape them simultaneously with Play-Doh.

Form letters with various toys and objects

Play-Doh needed its own category because we used it frequently. However, we formed letters and numbers with other toys. We collected rocks and used them to shape letters and numbers in order. Legos and Magnetic Tiles were used to build the alphabet and create silly stories. The numbers we constructed using Gears were created by widgets, connectors and interlocking bases and were accessorized by the colorful gears and crank. We formed letters and numbers with poms and made them disappear by blowing on them.

My son played at a Legos table and created the numbers 1 – 10.

 

The letter B made from Magnetic Tiles.

Writing in different settings

In order to keep my son’s attention during road trips, church services or appointments, I would write letters and familiar words like his name and favorite animals. I also drew various shapes so eventually he would connect them to the construction of letters and numbers. For example, the letter A is part triangle with a line in the middle and O is an oval.

He observed me writing with various colors on the doodle pad, outside with sidewalk chalk, on the window with window markers, on notebook paper, on craft paper taped to the wall and floor. While I was writing, he would scribble and make abstract art. Then one day, he wrote the letter A!

We were driving to an Amusement Park and my son wrote “So Fun” on his Doodle Pad because he was excited!

Observing the alphabet and letters in nature and the outside world

There are many objects in our world that have similar shapes to letters and numbers. One time we walked outside and saw three small sticks that were shaped like the letter P. The poles holding the swing set up at the playground looks like the letter A. The legs of a portable table in our home is shaped like a X. The ability to identify letters and numbers in nature gives the brain a plan of action needed to form them. 

How do you teach a child to hold a pencil correctly?

My daycare provider helped me with this tremendously. She had my son write and draw with broken crayons because it encourages the correct grasp. After she told me this, I researched and found this article on why this is true. Mama OT says this naturally encourages them to “pinch” the crayon between their thumb and index finger, moving them into a more mature and skilled grasp pattern. The reason is simple — it’s hard to use a cylindrical or digital pronate grasp on a short crayon.

Broken crayons encourages children to pinch it between their thumb and index finger. As a result, he now holds the writing utensil correctly.

Another method is to use the alligator trick. Tell your child to hold their dominant hand like an alligator’s mouth. Have the child open and close the alligator’s mouth like they want to eat something. Then help the child hold the pencil like their hand or alligator mouth is closed on the pencil. The last step is to have your child bend their fingers a bit to grab the pencil. 

Put it all together

My son was able to write independently at two-years-old. He loves writing his own thank you notes and birthday cards to family and friends. We are still improving his writing skills through play and fun activities. We have found that opportunities to write are endless and with this fun journey we will continue to move forward.

My son writing a note to his Uncle Linsey saying “I love you.”

 

My son writing and drawing with window markers.

Happy Writing!

 

 

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