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 the age of 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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Make Reading Fun for Kids with DIY Book Hook

One day while my three-year-old son played independently with toy cars, I was reading a book that contained over 400 pages. When I reached the end of a chapter, I inserted my bookmark to maintain my place.

My son saw the bookmark and asked me what it was. I told him that bookmarks tell me what section of the book I read previously. It is a timesaver because it prevents me from flipping through the book to find where I stopped reading.

He was amazed that this rectangular-shaped piece of paper could do so much. This was during the time we started reading books like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White which is a chapter book.

Watch the Video below to Learn How to Accelerate Young Readers’ Skills with Art

We read other books in the past that needed a bookmark like 5-minute Bible Stories retold by Mary Batchelor and Penny Boshoff. This book has a compilation of Bible stories for children. For some reason, we didn’t use a bookmark after reading the book. I just flipped through the pages and tried to remember the last story we read. This was not a good use of time.

Once my son became curious about my bookmark, I decided we should make our own. I am not an artsy person and needed some help in making one that would appeal to him. The book, Easy Art Fun! Do-It-Yourself Crafts for Beginning Readers by Jill Hauser, saved the day.

This book showed us how to make a SIMPLE bookmark or book hook that looks like my son. We had a great time creating them! They are used daily after reading time. My son often tells me we should make more bookmarks.

This a great project to do with the child who won’t sit for an entire book. Try reading part of a book and save your place with their look alike book hook.

So Let’s Get Started with Creating!

How to Make the Book Hooks

Materials:

  • Markers
  • Colored Paper or Card Stock Paper
  • Child Safety Scissors

Method:

  • Help your child draw themselves on colored paper with markers.
    • Draw the arms so that they are hanging low.

Here is the result of his drawing.

Here is my drawing.

I gave him a face, hair, socks, and pants.
  • Color the drawing.
  • Cut out the drawing.
  • Cut the arms with slits

  • Hook your drawing to the top of a page.
  • Close the book and hold your place.




Have more fun with this activity by making a variety of book hooks like…

  • Animals
  • Superheros
  • Letters
  • Numbers
  • Cars
  • Dolls
  • Anything you want

Have fun Creating!

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Accelerate Young Readers’ Skills with this Art Project

Art and Literacy

I love projects that inspire kids to be creative and to use their imagination. Art is the number one activity that requires kids to think outside the box and it encourages them to be themselves.

Art is also a great way to make reading fun and appealing to young kids. Children are naturally drawn to art so why not use it to learn other subjects such as reading and literacy? Reading is about interpreting meaning. We love it when kids make something and can interpret their masterpieces to others.

Learn how my three-year-old son has the ability to read on a 3rd grade level. Go to the bottom of this post to access the First Chapter of the ebook, Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play: A Detailed Account with over 130 Games/Activities, Tips, and Resources for FREE!

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

The craft below will provide a fun and educational hands-on experience for kids. It is called The Wake-Up Puppet and can be used while reading a book, pretend play, or whatever else you can imagine. The puppet can be asleep and awake.

My son and I made two puppets and used them while we read numerous books. When it was my turn to read a page, my son’s puppet was sleeping. While my son read, he put his hand in the puppet so it was awake with open eyes.

We also used the puppet in a pretend play scenario with his PJ Masks action figures. Romeo, a villain, put my puppet to sleep with a magic potion. It was my son’s job, as Catboy (a character from PJ Masks), to get my puppet to wake up. He accomplished this by playing his toy drums loudly. We learned the words, snooze and drowsy while doing this activity.

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

So Let’s Get Started!

Wake-Up Puppet

Materials:

  • Child Safety Scissors
  • Colored Paper
  • Glue
  • Paper lunch bag
  • Markers or crayons

Method:

  • Cut and paste closed-eye almond shapes from colored paper.
  • Paste the eye shapes on the bag. (View the picture below)



  • Cut and paste open-eye circular shapes from colored paper.
  • Paste them under the bag flap.
  • Cut a heart-shaped or circular nose from the colored paper.
  • Paste it on the bag.
  • Cut a C-shaped mouth from the colored paper.
  • Paste it on the bag.
  • Decorate the puppet with markers and crayons.
  • Put your hand inside the bag.
  • Close your hand for closed eyes.
  • Open your hand for open eyes.

Remember make this a fun literacy activity by doing the following…

  • Hold the puppet while you are reading to your child.
  • Make another puppet so you and your child can hold them while reading to each other.
  • Do a puppet show about a story you have previously read and change the ending.
  • Create your own story and make puppets of various characters.
  • Do pretend play with the puppet.

Happy Learning!

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100 Children’s Books About Money

I remember at the age of 17 my older brother, Linsey, gave me the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. This book changed my perspective about how I thought about money.

One point that stuck with me was when you are an adult your report card is your credit score. I found this statement fascinating and I made the decision to do two things after that..

  • To strive to have an excellent credit score as an adult
  • To teach my children financial literacy

Although my son is a preschooler, I have introduced him to money through role plays, having him count and earn real money, and reading books. 

I would like all children to be exposed to financial literacy. My contribution is by compiling this list of Children’s Book about Money. 

Sign in to our SOY Resource Library and get access to 10 ACTIVITIES TO BOOST KIDS’ FINANCIAL LITERACY KNOWLEDGE.

 

Learn how my three-year-old son has the ability to read on a 3rd grade level. Go to the bottom of this post to access the First Chapter of the ebook, Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play: A Detailed Account with over 130 Games/Activities, Tips, and Resources for FREE!

Want More Tips? Watch the Video Below for Effective & Fun Study Tips for Kids/Tweens/Teens

Let’s Get Started!

  1. Gabby Invents the Perfect Hair Bow by Erica Swallow/Li Zeng

    • At five years old, Gabby Goodwin can’t stop losing her hair bows everywhere she goes. She and her mother invent a new kind of bow that doesn’t fall out. Read this book to see if their idea works.
  2. Lily Learn about Wants and Needs by Lisa Bullard/Christine Schneider

    • Lily wants a new bike, a new raincoat, and ice cream. But how many of these things does she need? As Lily and her dad drive around town, Lily soon discovers that wants and needs are different things. 
  3. Jason Saves the Environment with Entrepreneurship by Erica Swallow/Li Zeng

    • Problem-solver Jason Li has been on a mission to pay for his own lunch since he started school. He has an idea that helps him achieve his goal and save the planet.
  4. Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids by Gail Karlitz/Debbie Honig

    • This book is a complete guide explaining in kid-friendly terms all about savings accounts, bonds, stocks, and even mutual funds!
  5. Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkin/G. Brian Karas

    • A lemonade stand in winter? Yes, that’s exactly what Pauline and John-John intend to have, selling lemonade and limeade. Children will learn about simple math concepts in a fun way with this book.
  6. Curious About Money by Mary E. Reid

    •  Children will learn how people, money, and history intersect, and what’s current about currency.
  7.  It’s Not Fair!: A Book About Having Enough by Caryn Riverdeneria/Isabel Moñoz

    • Roxy Ramirez has saved up for weeks to buy a chemistry set, and now she’s headed to the toy store to buy it! There’s only one problem. She keeps running into friends who are in trouble, and need her to dip into her savings to help. Will she have enough money left over to buy something for herself?
  8.  The Squirrel Manifesto by Rich Edelman/David Zabocki

    • Just as a squirrel gathers nuts to prepare for the winter—eating some now and storing some for later—kids can learn the value of money by spending some of their allowance now and saving the rest for later using animals as examples.
  9. Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs With  Big Ideas! by Adam Toren/Matthew Toren

    • This book teaches kids about starting, managing, and growing a successful business venture.
  10. What Can You Do With Money? by Jennifer Larson

    • This basic introduction to earning and spending explains how people earn incomes in exhange for their work and skill. It then explains the economic choices people make in saving or spending their income.
  11. The Big Buck Adventure by Shelley Gill/Deborah Tobola/Grace Lin

    • One little girl and one very big dollar set out on a great adventure at the store.
      What will she do with so many choices, and only one buck? Read this book to find out.
  12. Let’s Meet Ms. Money: One Step Towards Financial Literacy by Rich Grant

    • Let’s Meet Ms. Money is a children’s picture book that teaches children about money. Kids will learn what money looks like, how to count it, how and why we use money, and how we earn it.
  13.  Liktoon’s Boat: A Children’s Storybook about money, entrepreneurship, and teamwork

    • This book addresses earnings, savings, addition, subtraction, business, profits, and expenses through the characters’ adventure.
  14. A Million Gold Coins: Teaching Kids about Happiness and Money by Sigal Adler

    • Two farmers are not happy about working so hard for money. However, they may be looking for happiness in the wrong places.
  15. Everything a Kid Needs to Know about Money – Children’s Money and Saving Reference by Baby Professor

    • Teach your kids the basics about finances with this book. There’s no such thing as too early when it comes to these things. Properly seal the deal about money and other possessions by introducing this book.
  16. I Got Bank! What my Granddad Taught Me About Money by Teri Williams

    •  At ten years old, Jazz  Ellington, has over $2,000 in the bank, and his savings keep growing. His granddad taught him to save his allowance and set up a bank account. This book increases financial awareness while sharing the lives of two African-American boys growing up in the city.
  17. Dimes: To Teach Your Child About Money by Rebecca D. Turner/Lacey Braziel

    • This book teaches discipline, delayed gratification, and how good it feels to give to those in need. Dimes can teach your child the habits that will allow them to have a more financially secure and fulfilling life.
  18. Sebastian Creates A Sock Company by Erica Swallow/Li Zeng

    • Five-year-old Sebastian Martinez, with the help of his older brother, turns his love for socks into a business that not only makes wacky socks, but also enables the duo to finally revamp the school dress code. 
  19. Those Shoes by Noah Jones

    • Jeremy wants a pair of the shoes everyone at school is wearing. Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for wants just needs. Read how Jeremy and his grandma navigate through this dilemma.
  20. Money for Puppy by D.L. Madson

    • This is an excellent book about saving money for something you want.
  21. The Wrong Shoes: A Book About Money and Self-Esteem by Caryn Rinadeneira

    • The Wrong Shoes teaches kids about money, hard work, self-esteem, and the real value of the things we own.
  22. The Penny Pot: Counting Coins by Stuart J. Murphy/Lynne Woodcock Cravath

    • This is a great book that shows kids how to count money how it is used, and saving to get what you want.
  23. Lemonade for Sale by Stuart Murphy/Tricia Tusa

    • Four kids and their sidekick, Petey the Parrot, run a lemonade stand. They create a bar graph to track the rise and fall of their lemonade sales.
  24. Sluggers’ Car Wash by Stuart J. Murphy/Barney Saltzberg

    • The 21st Street Sluggers’ shirts are worn-out and dirty. They need new ones, but they have no money. Children will learning to count money and make change.
  25. Arthur’s Pet Business by Marc Brown

    • Arthur starts his own petsitting business to show Mom and Dad that he can be responsible! Between a boa constrictor, an ant farm, and a group of frogs, he’s got his hands full! Can Arthur still prove he is responsible?
  26. One Proud Penny by Sandy Riegel/Serge Bloch

    • This book teaches kids that pennies are worth a lot and how it’s life can be exciting.
  27.  Money Math: Addition and Subtraction by David Adler/Edward Miller

    • Children will get an introduction to American units of money; and how they combine to make a price. They will also learn basic money symbols and the math inherent in shopping.
  28.  The Go-Around Dollar by Barbara Johnston-Adams/Joyce Audy Zarins

    • Children will learn how the dollar is made, the meaning of the symbols that are shown on the front and back of the dollar, and how long the average dollar stays in circulation?
  29. Arthur’s Funny Money by William Hoban

    • Arthur attempts to earn enough money to buy a t-shirt and cap, assisted by his sister Violet. Children will learn simple business concepts by reading this story.
  30. The Original Story of the Piggy Bank: The Beginning of a Legend! by Lance Douglas

    • This book gives background information on the piggy bank. It also contains powerful lessons of discipline, sacrifice and responsibility.
  31. You Wouldn’t Live Without Money by Professor Alex Woolf/David Antram

    • This book uses humorous cartoons  to tell the story of money, from early bartering to the making of metal and paper currencies.
  32. DK Eyewitness Books: Money: Discover the Fascinating  Story of Money from Silver Ingot to Smart Cards by Joe Cribb

    • Children will learn about the earliest forms of money to the banking systems we have today.
  33.  Dollars and Sense: A Kid’s Guide to Using – Not Losing- Money by Elaine Scott/David Clark

    • Dollars & Sense is a basic instruction manual for money that will teach readers about the history of money, the way the American economy works, and how to make important decisions about personal finance.
  34.  Dollars and Sense by Stan Berenstain/Jan Berenstain

    • Papa thinks it’s time to teach Brother and Sister how to budget their money. Children journey with the cubs on their process to understand the value of a dollar.
  35.  A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

    • After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy.
  36. Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock by Sheila Bair/Barry Gott

    • Rock and Brock are twins and their grandpa offers them a plan―for ten straight weeks on Saturday he will give them each one dollar. But there is a catch!  Each buck they save, he’ll match it quick. If they spend it, there’s no extra dough.
  37. When Times are Tough by Yanitzia Canetti/Romont Willy

    • This book follows a family that faces very real economic challenges. They show how they are able to overcome with each other.
  38. The Kids’ Money Book: Earning, Saving, Spending, Investing, Donating by Jamie McGillian

    • This book explains how to create a budget, make money, invest your earnings, and donate to charity. It also teaches kids the difference between needs and wants and getting the most from an allowance.
  39. Once Upon A Dime: A Math Adventure by Nancy Kelly Allen/Adam Doyle

    • This book is about a  farmer discovering  trees that grows different types of money.  This book teaches kids about the value of money
  40. How to Turn $100 to $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest! by Jenna McKenna/Jeannine Glista

    • Children will learn the basics of earning, saving, spending, and investing money.
  41.  Ella Earns Her Own Money by Lisa Bullard/Mike Moran
    • Ella wants a soccer ball, but she doesn’t have enough money to buy one. She decides to earn her own money. Will she earn enough to buy the ball? Read this book to find out!
  42.  Kyle Keeps Track of Cash by Lisa Bullard/Mike Byrne

    • Kyle’s club is going camping and all the kids will sell Cool Candy to earn money for the trip. Kyle needs to find buyers for ten boxes of candy. Can he keep track of his cash and join his friends on the camping trip? Read this book to find out!
  43. What Does It Means to be an Entrepreneur by Rana Diorio/Emma Dryden

    • When Rae witnesses an ice cream and dog mishap, she’s inspired to create a solution to help get dogs clean. Rae draws on her determination and everyone else in her community when she learns what it means to be an entrepreneur.
  44.  A Smart Girl’s Guide: Money: How to Make It, Save It, and Spend It by Nancy Holyoke/Brigette Barrager
    • Children will learn how to not only spend money, but also how to earn it. The quizzes, tips, and helpful quotes from other girls will make learning about money management easy and fun.
  45. The History of Money by Martin Jenkins/Satoshi Kitamura

    • This book teaches children the following questions about money:  When did we start using it? And why? What does money have to do with writing? And how do taxes and interest work?
  46. Curious George Saves his Pennies by H.A. Rey

    • When George decides to save up for a red train in the toy store, he doesn’t realize how long it will take or how hard he’ll have to work for his money. Read this book and find out if he gets the train.
  47.  Piggy Bank Problems by Fran Manuskkin/Tammie Lyon
    • Katie’s dad works at a bank  but she prefers to keep her money in her piggy bank. Read about what happens when she drops her piggy and it breaks?
  48.  Deena’s Lucky Penny by Barbara Derubertis/Cynthia Fisher

    • Deena has a big problem. Her mom’s birthday is coming, but she has no money to buy a present! Find out how she solves the problem by reading this book.
  49. Follow Your Money: Who Gets it, Who Spends it, Where Does it Go? by Kevin Sylvester/Michael Hlinka, Julia Beck

    • Find out what happens to your money after you hand it to the cashier. What happens to that money once it leaves your hands? Who actually pockets it or puts it into the bank? Read this book to answer these questions.
  50.  Currency by Andrew Einspruch
    • The book gives an introduction to currency through the history of money around the world, minting coins and printing paper money.
  51. Feeding Piggy by Kathy Mashburn/Freida Talley

    • Maddy has a piggy bank named Piggy. One morning while feeding Piggy coins for breakfast, Maddy discovers how coins, like people, come in different shapes and sizes.
  52.  A Dollar, A Penny How Much and How by Lerner Publications
    • This humorous book shows young readers how to count and combine pennies, nickels, fives, tens, and more!
  53.  Sophie the Zillonaire by Lara Bergen/Laura Tallardy

    • When Sophie finds fifty dollars on the sidewalk, it gives her a great idea for a new name: Sophie the Zillionaire! In order to keep the name Sophie the Zillionaire, Sophie has to make more money — and fast.
  54. Berenstain Bears Trouble with Money by Stan Berenstain

    • Mama and Papa are worried that Brother and Sister seem to think money grows on trees. The cubs decide to start their very own businesses, from a lemonade stand to a pet-walking service.
  55.  Just Saving Money by Mercer Mayer

    • Little Critter® wants a new skateboard and Dad tells him that he needs to save his own money to buy it! From feeding the dog to selling lemonade, Little Critter learns the value of a dollar.
  56. Lots and Lots of Coins by Margarette S. Reid/True Kelley

    • This book is about a boy spending the day with Dad coin collecting!  He finds out about the value of coins, what people used before coins, and why historical images and people appear on coins.
  57.  A Dollar for Penny by Julie Glass/Joy Allen

    • A young girl sets up a lemonade stand and sells enough cups of refreshment to add up to a dollar.  This story combines the teaching of addition with  childhood entrepreneurship!  
  58. The Young Investor by Katherine Bateman

    • The book explains the concept of money and  how saving works based on the concepts of simple and compound interest. Children then learn where Wall Street is located, what stocks and bonds do, and, the right way to buy or sell a stock, mutual fund, or savings bond.
  59. You can’t buy a Dinosaur with a Dime by Harriet Ziefert

    •  Pete saves his allowance and spends too much of it. He then has second thoughts and starts over. Children will learn how he strategizes over future purchases. 
  60. Not Your Parents’ Money Book: Making, Saving, and  Spending Your Own Money by Jean Chatzsky/Erwin Haya

    • This book will reach kids before bad spending habits can get out of control. With answers and ideas from real kids, this grounded approach to spending and saving will be a welcome change for kids who are inundated by a consumer driven culture.
  61.  Money Math with Sebastian Pig and Friends by Jill Anderson
    • This book introduces children to identifying, counting and comparing money through a farmer’s market trip with Sebastian Pig and Louie.
  62.  Money Madness by David Adler and Edward Miller
    • Children will be provided with a guide to economics and the purpose and value of money with this book.
  63. Coins and Other Currency by Tamra Orr

    • Follow a class of fifth-graders as they figure out the world of finance, including earning, budgeting, and saving to investing and collecting coins from around the world.
  64.  Show Me the Money by David Alder

    • Show Me the Money takes technical terms and breaks it down with easy-to-understand text, diagrams, and illustrations making a formerly dry subject interesting and relevant to kids
  65.  One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent New Cent: All About Money by Bonnie Worth/Aristides Ruiz
    • The Cat in the Hat disqualifies the notion that money grows on trees with the study of money and its history.
  66.  Money, Money Honey Bunny by Marilyn Sadler/Roger Bollem
    • Honey Bunny Funny Bunny has a lot of money. She saves some and spends some on herself and friends. This is a rhyming book about spending and saving, told through the eyes of animals.
  67.  Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis

    • Mr. Chickee, a blind man in the neighborhood, gives 9-year-old Steven a mysterious bill with 15 zeros on it and the image of a familiar face. Could it be a quadrillion dollar bill? Could it be real? Read this book to find out.
  68. Cash, Credit Cards or Checks by Nancy Leewen

    • Children will learn how people pay for the things they buy by writing a check, paying with a debit card, paying with a credit card, and paying with cash withdrawn from an ATM.
  69. Taxes, Taxes!: Where the Money Goes by Nancy Leewen

    • Provides an introduction to taxes, including some of the products and services that citizens may receive including schools, roads, and national defense.
  70. In the Money: A Book About Banking by Nancy Leewen

    • Provides an introduction to banks and banking, including what the workers do, why customers come into banks, and explains what happens to old money.
  71.  The Kids Guide to Money Cent$ by Keltie Thomas/Stephen MacEachern

    • The Money Cent$ gang, three kids with very different money “personalities,” will help teach your child about money.
  72.  All About Money by Erin Roberson
    • This book introduces children to money,  while describing the concepts of earning, saving, and spending.
  73. Money Sense for Kids by Hollis Harman

    • This book answers the following questions about money: How and where is it printed? What do all those long numbers and special letters on currency mean? How are the newly designed bills improvements over the old ones?How can banks afford to pay interest?
  74. The Kids’ Money Book: Earning, Saving, Spending, Investing, Donating by Jamie Kyle McGillian

    •  This books explains how to create a budget, make money, invest your earnings, and donate to charity. 
  75. Money: A Rich History by Jon R. Anderson

    • Children will learn about the history of money with tons of cool facts,  illustrations, and photographs of coins and money from all over the world.
  76. Follow the Money by Loreen Leady

    • George, a newly minted quarter on his way to the bank, has quite a day. He’s about to be traded, spent, lost, found, donated, dropped into a vending machine, washed in a washing machine, and generally passed all around town.
  77. Double Fudge by Judy Blume

    • Fudge is obsessed with money. He’s making his own “Fudge Bucks” and has plans to buy the entire world. However, things get crazy once his family gets involved.
  78. The Big Buck Adventure by Shelley Gill

    • Follow the journey of a girl who tries to decide what she can get with her dollar in a candy shop, toy store, deli, and pet department.
  79.  A Dollar for Penny by Julie Grass/Joy Allen

    • On a summer day, a young girl sets up a lemonade stand and sells enough cups  to add up to a dollar.  This story combines the teaching of addition with a traditional rite of childhood entrepreneurship!  
  80. My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tolowa Mollel/E.B. Lewis

    • Saruni is saving coins for a red and blue bicycle. How happy he will be when he can help his mother carry heavy loads to market on his very own bicycle. How disappointed he is to discover that he hasn’t saved nearly enough!
  81. Isabel’s Car Wash by Sheila Bair/Judy Stead

    • The Nelly Longhair doll is on sale at Murphy’s Toys for ten dollars, but Isabel has only fifty cents. Isabel decides to start a car wash business. Will Isabel  earn enough for the Nelly doll?
  82. Prices, Prices, Prices by David Adler

    • In simple language  and colorful pictures, this book gives an introduction to economics explaining the basic laws of supply and demand.
  83.  Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell/James Ransome
    • This is a story of a man who spends his life struggling, saving, and sacrificing to build and own his own barbershop. Although there were many racial difficulties that stood in his way,  he opens the doors of his new shop  at the age of seventy-nine.
  84. Round and Round the Money Goes: What Money Is and How We Use It by Melvin Berger/Gilda Berger

    • This book explains the development of money from its origins in the barter system to its modern usage as cash, checks, and credit cards.
  85. How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty by Nathan Zimelman/Bill Slavin

    • A second grade class wants to visit the Statue of Liberty. They try to earn money for the trip by collecting paper, running a lemonade stand, sitting babies, walking dogs, and selling candy.
  86.  Benny’s Pennies by Pat Brisson

    • Benny McBride starts his day with five new pennies and is determined to spend them all. His family wants him to buy certain items. Will he be able to fulfill their requests?
  87. If You Made a Million by David Schwartz/Steven Kellogg

    • Have you ever wanted to make a million dollars? Marvelosissimo, the Mathematical Magician, is able to explain how to  earn money, invest it, accrue dividends and interest, and watch savings grow. 
  88. National Geographic Kids Everything Money: A Wealth of Facts, Photos, and Fun by Kathy Furgang

    • Kids will learn about money around the world from a National Geographic expert. This book is packed with fun facts and amazing photographs.
  89. My Pink Piggy Bank by Rozanne Williams

    • The book teaches kids the importance of saving.
  90. The Piggybank Blessing by Stan and Jan Berenstain

    • The Bear cubs like to spend money. Find out if the new piggy bank Mama bought will help teach Brother and Sister about saving money.
  91. The History of Money by Patricia Armentrout

    • This book examines the history of money, including the barter system, early trade in North America, unusual types of money such as huge stone disks and salt bars, and the first paper money.
  92. American Currency by Patricia Armentrout

    • This book introduces kids to the characteristics and values of the different coins and paper money used as currency in the United States.
  93.  A Quarter from the Tooth fairy by Caren Holzman

    • This book uses simple math concepts in an easy-to-read story plus six pages of math activities for parents and children to enjoy together.
  94. Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money by Amy Axelrod/Sharon McGinley-Nally

    • The pigs are very hungry, and there’s no food in the house. Mr. Pig suggests eating out but there is no money! The family goes on a money hunt. Read to see if they find what they are looking for.
  95. The Monster Money Book by Loreen Leedy

    • This book teaches children about  borrowing, saving, and spending money. It  also makes many connections to the real world.
  96.  Jasmine Launches a Startup (Entrepreneurship Books for Kids) by Barhar Karroum/Jesus Vazquez Prada
    • This book will teach children how to start a business, to focus on a specific market, and to take risks.
  97. Kid Start-Up: How YOU Can Become an Entrepreneur by Mark Cuban/Shaan Patel

    • The book will help children how to discover a winning idea, launch their business, and start making money.
  98.  Rachel Turns Her Passion Into Business (Entrepreneur Kid) by Erica Swallow/Li Zeng
    • Teen lacrosse player Rachel Zietz takes an entrepreneurship course and realizes she can blend the worlds of business and fun by creating a lacrosse equipment company. 
  99.  Marvel’s of Money for Kids: Five Fully Illustrated Stories about Money and Financial Decisions for Life by Paul Nourigat

    • This is a book about money in which kids will like to read. There are five stories with conclusions and lessons learned. 
  100.  Why is there money? A Visual and Poetic Journey Through the History of Money by Paul Nourigat

    • This book teaches kids the history of money. It teaches the evolution of money in a simple way.

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Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play – Over 130 Games/Activities and Tips

Your three-year-old son can read on a third grade level? How?

Just this past weekend, I saw my three-year-old son, Cory, reading a book to his Sunday School teacher and a group of kids.  As soon as the teacher saw me, she said “This child can read at three-years-old? How did you do this?” When someone asks me this, my short answer is always by making reading fun, exposure to a variety of books, and playing with words.

Then later that day, I took my son to another child’s home for a birthday party. The kids were having so much fun playing inside and outside. At one point, Cory was  playing with the Leapfrog letter set at the refrigerator and spelling words. He asked the birthday boy’s mother, who is a teacher, for the letter T in order to spell the word gift.  After spelling, the boy’s mom approached me and said “I can’t believe your son spelled gift!” I replied by saying “Yes, he loves to read and spell!” She said “How did you do this?” Again, I gave her my normal answer.


Is your son a genius?

Parents and teachers are usually amazed to know that my son was reading at 21 months. Right now, he can read on a third-grade level. They often say “He is a genius!” I think ALL CHILDREN ARE BORN GENUISES! Cory was born with the same capilibities as every other child. He was just exposed to words and language in a fun way at an early age. In my opinion, any child can do this!

Why did you teach your son to read so early?

It was not my intention to teach Cory to read as a toddler. I didn’t think he would learn the alphabet until the age of three or four. My objective was to expose him to words and language so he wouldn’t be a late communicator. In my experience as a social worker/play therapist, I noticed children who couldn’t speak would resort to hitting or kicking out of frustration. However, once they developed language this behavior would decrease because they could communicate their needs and wants. 

As I started exposing Cory to words through play and reading, I noticed that he liked what I was doing. After reading a book to him as a baby, he would take the book and give it back to me. He wanted me to read it again. I remember my husband read the book, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See ten times in a row to Cory at one time. He enjoyed the interactive activities and games we played, which I used to exposed him to new words daily. He has always loved playing with letters, learning the phonics, and blending sounds. Finally, there came a point were he had a desire to seek meaning from words through reading!

Watch my three-year-old son read the book, Charlotte’s Web. A book for children ages 8 and up.

Why is reading a struggle for some kids?

Reading is boring.

Some kids think reading is boring. Many young children spend their days playing. Then once the child turns five or six-years-old, adults tell the child that they have to sit down, focus, and learn to read. Learning to read can be a frustrating process for some kids. It takes time and concentration because one of the best ways to become a better reader is to read. This can be difficult for the child who is a kinesthetic learner, as most kids are, and loves to be physical and experience what they are learning. 

My Child is not trying hard enough

Sometimes when a child is behind on their appropriate reading level, the teacher will tell the parents. Parents usually get nervous and upset by this information, and these emotions transfer to the child. During home reading sessions, the parents get frustrated with the child because “they are not trying hard enough.” This most often leads kids to having a negative view of reading. They will often tell their parents “I hate reading!” In turn the parents become more upset because their child is behind their classmates and they are unable to motivate the child to read.

Parents don’t know where to start

Teaching a child to read can be an overwhelming task. First, you have to learn the alphabet, phonics, blending sounds, sight words, and the various rules of the English language. Parents may have a child that knows the alphabet and phonics but is having difficulty with teaching them sight words. Flashcards are often used to teach sight words, but again the child thinks this is SO BORING!

Furthermore, if a child is reading a book with a lot of words they are unfamiliar with, they may get irritated and want to do something else. Additionally, how do you explain that the word bat can be an animal and a tool used for baseball? Oh and when you see the letters PH together, you should make the F sound. Also, C can make the short sound like in cat or the long sound like in cell.

My Child won’t sit during reading time.

I have heard many parents complain that their child doesn’t want to sit and read an entire book. As parents are reading, the child may look in space and not pay attention. Or if the child can read, they get distracted by something happening in the background. Sometimes a parent may read the first few pages of a book to a child but the story line is boring which causes their mind to wonder.

My Child is uninterested in reading about the topic.

A big reason why some kids don’t like to read is because they are uninterested in the topic. This often happens when kids have to read school textbooks or remember facts that they have no connection to. The kids are wondering why they have to know this information. Parents and teachers are trying to get their children to retain the information and it is just not happening for the child. This can be a pretty difficult situation to navigate.

Below are questions many parents have about reading…

What age should a child learn to read?

Most kids start learning to read at 6 or 7. Some kids start earlier at the age of 4 or 5. I believe children have the ability to recognize words earlier. My son started recognizing words at nine months. 

One day my son and I were playing in the basement. I asked him to get the book, Brown Bear Brown Bear out of the bin. Out of the 12 books in the bin, he picked the correct title.

My son was able to blend sounds to make words at 21 months. The only reason he did this so early was because he was exposed to it as a baby. However, all children learn at different times and levels. They also learn with various methods. It is important to concentrate on your child’s level and their readiness to learn.

Watch the video below to see my son spelling at 21 months old

How can I help my child learn to read?

There are countless ways to teach kids to read. Kids learn through reading, talking with others, story-telling, workbooks, digital media and technology, learning phonics and sight words, blending sounds, writing, and asking questions. 

I used playful in-depth learning to teach Cory to read. This included fun activities like singing, dancing, playing with blocks, magnetic tiles, Playdoh, drawing, games, role- play, writing stories with paint and sidewalk chalk, going outside to play and reading. It is important to read books that interest your child so they will gain the curiosity to seek meaning from words.

What if my child is not interested in a certain topic?

Children will be interested in reading when there is a connection to what they are learning. I remember in high school disliking my geography class because I felt no connection to other countries. My interest in geography did not come alive until I started to travel internationally while in college. 

Let’s say you want your child to learn about other countries, then observe your child and see what they like and offer a connection. For the child who loves sports, have them read about Sports played in the countries. If your daughter loves princesses, have them read about princesses around the world.

How long should a child read each day?

Children should read at least 20 minutes a day. However, if a parent is doing formal reading lessons then all you need is 15 minutes a day. Outside of the 15 minutes, please know that reading can take place anywhere. Children can read a dinner menu, playground signs, grocery list, captions on their favorite cartoon. 

How do I help my child who is struggling with reading?

First, you must define what struggling means. If you are comparing your child with other kids in the classroom or the national standards of reading and they are below their level, then yes they maybe struggling. However, if you don’t compare them to anyone, you may realize that they just need more time to get the concept. 

When a child needs more time with reading, ensure you are teaching to their learning styles. 

Auditory learners love to learn through hearing. Great activities for them would be to read books based on songs and retelling stories you have read and adding music with DIY instruments like banging the bottom of an oatmeal container. Visual learners use sight to learn. They would enjoy drawing and painting colorful stories and doing word puzzles and games with colorful pictures. Kinesthetic learners love explore the world through touch and movement. Try building model sets based on books and doing a Treasure Word Hunt Game would be fun for them. 

In my opinion, the best way for children to learn to read is through playful in-depth and natural wholesome interaction. It is the best way to create a desire in children to read. 

This is why I have written the ebook, Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play: A Detailed Account With Over 130 Games/Activities, Tips, and Resources.

My goal is to help you expose your child to words and reading in a fun way. This book will take you through a step by step process of how I taught my son to read. It gives you games/activities to do with your child along the way to make reading a process that is fun, natural, and interesting! It will help spark your child’s curiosity in wanting to seek meaning from words which is essentially reading. 

This book provides the following…

  • A detailed account of how I taught my son to read
  • Over 130 Reading Games/Activities and Resources
  • How to expose your child to new words through play
  • The types of books to start your child’s reading journey
  • How to encourage curiosity in your child
  • Child brain development and how to develop faster connections in your baby’s brain
  • How to expose newborn and babies to words through play and bonding
  • How my son was able to recognize words as a baby
  • How to make rereading books fun for you and your child
  • Simple ways to create a literacy rich home
  • The MOST important thing you can do as a parent to encourage reading in your household
  • How songs and dancing assisted in teaching my son to read.
  • How to take full advantage of the FREE Services at your Local library
  • How Physical Activities can boost your child’s reading skills
  • How to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way
  • How to Teach the Phonics, Blending Sounds, and Sight Words in a Fun Way
  • The three basic learning styles in children
  • How to determine your child’s learning style
  • How to expose children to new concepts aligned with their learning style
  • How children with certain learning styles tend to communicate
  • The toys/activities children with certain learning styles tend to favor
  • How to make learning fun and playful for children
  • How to determine the best time to teach your child
  • How to execute Fun In-Depth Learning
  • How to use the body’s senses to teach your child
  • How to combine In-depth learning and learning styles during play
  • How to incorporate digital media in your child’s learning
  • How to teach a child with more than one learning style
  • How to Structure your Day
  • How to progress to teaching your child the phonics
  • How Writing and Art can build a child’s reading skills
  • How to Use Real World Experiences and Field Trips to expose children to language.
  • How to Choose Books your Child will Like to Read.
  • Strategies for When your Child Loses Interest in Reading.
  • Examples of toys we used
  • Examples of books we read through our journey
  • Once your child begins to read, how to continue to build their skills.

Here is What Others are Saying About the Book

“This was a wonderfully detailed account of not only how to teach your child to read, but also how to connect with your child, support your child in a lifetime of loving to learn, and use your time caring for your child in a meaningful, fulfilling way. I am inspired as a mother, and I wish I’d known about this sooner!

I thought it was very well written, and the flow was perfect. The book flowed seamlessly from one chapter to the next, and I felt like it was organized perfectly.”

-Stacey

“This is a wonderful guidebook for parents who want to help their children begin learning at an early age through play. It is an introduction on how to nurture a love of learning and proficiency in reading in children, which in turn will open the door for your child to be exposed to and learn about a variety of topics.  Andrea incorporates several learning styles in order to pave the way for a lifetime of learning.

I look forward to incorporating some of these techniques into playtime with my little learners.”

-Danielle J.

“This book documents the journey of an engaged parent who used creative and fun ways to introduce her son to books. This led to the child’s continuous interest in letters, words, sentences and naturally, reading. If you are willing to invest the time in incorporating the tips in this book with your child, he or she will also develop an interest in books and learn to read during the early stages of brain development. This book is an excellent example of the African Proverb “Each One Teach One.”

-Linsey Mills

This is a great e-book for parents with children ages 0-7! Invest in your child’s future. Reading is the most powerful tool to promote creativity, increase brain power, and it helps your child express themselves better! The best way to teach a child to spell and grammar rules is not through flashcards and worksheets but through reading and play!

This is a digital product only. It is downloadable and you will receive a .pdf file at checkout. You are permitted to print one copy of Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play: A Detailed Account with over 130 Games/Activities, Tips, and Resources for personal use. NO REDISTRIBUTION. T

Click on the Buy Button Below to Invest in Your Child’s Reading Skills! Get the Discount Code at the Bottom of this post.

Not Sure Yet? Then Complete the Form at the Bottom of this Post to Read the First Chapter for Free!

The book is available on Amazon!


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Effective and Fun Study Tips for Kids/Tweens/Teens

One day a group of moms and I were sharing information about our hobbies, jobs, and businesses. I told the group that I just started a YouTube Channel with Fun Accelerated Learning Tips for Kids. One mom asked me to make a video of Study Tips for Tweens/Teens. Excitement was my feeling because I love doing research, telling others what I have learned, and solving problems. My response was “I will work on it!”

Below is what I have experienced and found to be effective study habits and strategies for kids. 

Let’s Get Going!

Want More Tips? Get 3 Tools Every Household Needs to Boost Children’s Academic Success.

How Can I Help my Kid study?

Create conversations

You can assist your child with their school work by being involved in their studies. Ask your child about the topics they are learning about in school. Create conversations during dinner, car trips, or walking the dog about that topic and share what you know. If you don’t know much about the topic, have your kid teach you about the subject. You may also do your own research on the topic and share what you learned. 

Being Involved

Another way to assist your child is to attend parent conferences, open houses, or back-to-school nights. Students usually do better when they are supported in their academic life. As a parent, request meetings with teachers and other staff just to check your child’s progress. These meetings should happen whether your child is doing well or need some extra attention with school work. Open Houses or Back-to-School nights are when parents learn about school programs and polices and other opportunities your child may take advantage of.

Some Basic Necessities

 It is important for parents to provide the basic necessities children need to study such as nutritional meals and sleep. Nutritional meals can help your child focus and increase their attention span. Children need the proper amount of sleep in order to be alert during the day. Parents can help by turning off electronic devices at certain hours and creating time limitations.

Conducive Study Environment

Children should have a conducive studying environment. This includes having  the tempature between 74º and 77º.  It is helpful to place desks or tables away from distractions. Some parents find putting their child’s desk in the corner of their room away from the door and facing the wall helpful. Natural light is the best light to study with; however, if this is not available, ensure there is proper lighting  in your child’s study area.

Another tip is to have a distraction sheet near your child in case they have ideas pop in their head that are not related to school work. The child can write down their thoughts to prevent them from constantly thinking about it during study time. 

What are the habits of Successful Students?

Learning Outside the Classroom

 Two habits of successful students are learning outside the classroom and doing practice exams. Many successful students don’t just read the text book provided by their school, they take the initative to learn about a topic through reading other books, watching educational videos, and through experience. For example, if a child is learning about the American Civil Rights Movement, they may read about civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis, watch a documentary on the movement such as Eyes on the Prize, or visit a history museum. 

Practice Exams

Successful students often do practice exams. A practice exam can be informal when a parent is having an analytical dialogue or asking the child questions about the topic. It can also be formal where the parents create a practice test for their child. Practice tests can also be found in the back of other textbooks on the subject. Sometimes, you can find older editions of textbooks at your local library. 

How Can I Improve my Child’s Interest in Studies?

Children will be interested in their studies when there is a connection to what they are learning. I remember in high school disliking my geography class because I felt no connection to other countries. My interest in geography did not come alive until I started to travel internationally while in college. 

Let’s say your child is taking geography, then observe your child and see what they like and offer a connection. For the child who loves sports, have them research Sports played in the countries they are studying. If your daughter loves fashion, have them research the dress and fashion trends in the countries they are studying. Take it a step further and compare their findings to what happens in their home country. 

Another way to spark interest in studies is to encourage the child to find how it applies to their lives. Another subject I did not like in High School was Physics. However, if I would have done some hands on physics experiments then I would have been more engaged in my studies. For example, a great physics lesson is visiting a playground and studying how the two opposing forces of a seesaw lever and fulcrum (placed in the middle) counterbalance each other, creating a smooth ride through the air. My only exposure in high school to physics was in a book and I did not connect with it.

4 Ways to Improve Study Habits

Chunking information

Chunking is the process of breaking information into smaller pieces so the brain can digest it more easily. As a second grader writing a short story in class, I could not remember how to spell the word together. I got up and asked my teacher and she said three words “to” “get” “her.” From that time on, together has never been a word I have forgotten to spell. 

Chunking can be done in many ways. Kids can group together information by categories. For example, if your child is learning the symbols of the periodic table, they can remember them by groups. First they may learn the Group 1 which are the alkali metals, then move on the Group 2, the alkaline earth metals, and so on. 

Mind mapping

Mind mapping is one of my favorite ways to learn new things. It is an easy way to get information in and out of your brain. With mind maps you can study, take notes, create new ideas and plan projects. It consists of words, colors, lines, and pictures, which coincides with how our brain thinks.

There are 5 steps to Mind Mapping.

  1. Get a blank paper with colored pens, pencils, markers, or crayons.
  2. Draw a picture in the middle of the page that sums up your topic or subject.
  3. Draw thick curved, connected lines coming away from the picture, one of each for the main ideas you have about the topic.
  4. Name each of these ideas and it is helpful to draw pictures of each.
  5. For each of the ideas, draw other connected lines spreading like tree branches.
    • These represent the details.

We remember information better with pictures because it uses both sides of the brain. For example, it is natural for photographs, books and magazines to bring back our memories. If you want to remember all your favorite things, just draw a color coded picture like below.


If you wanted to Mind Map an article, use the basic elements below in your picture.

  1. What?
  2. Where?
  3. When?
  4. Who?
  5. Why?
  6. Conclusion

Creativity

Get creative with how new information is studied especially if it is a subject you are not fond of. If you love making home videos, create a show on the information you are studying and perform it for family and friends. Another idea is to make up questions about the subject and play a trivia game with friends in your class. Have all your friends bring a certain amount of questions for the game. If you like music, write a song about the information and put it to a catchy beat. 

Please note: As you are preparing for your creative way of studying, ensure you understand the material first to pinpoint any area of confusion you have. 

Get creative with how to study information

  1. Create a You Tube video teaching others about the topic.
  2. Create a commercial or role play on the information.

Schedule but with a Catch

It is helpful to set up a daily schedule of when you will study. However, it is important to include fun things like hobbies, time with friends or playing video games, and digital media time. You are more likely to complete tasks when you have playtime and work time on your schedule. This allows you to create in your mind something to look forward to. 

Association

One of the easiest ways to remember information is to associate it with something in which you are familiar. For example, make up a sentence using the letters in the formula to remember the area of a rectangle which is A = lw. The sentence could be Laura and Will had a big baby named Adam. Try to use items that you will remember like name of friends and family.

I hope you have found these tips helpful!!!

Use these studying strategies above to make studying revelent, interesting, and fun!

Happy Learning!

Other Resources

Thomas Frank’s video on How to Study Effectively: 8 Advanced Tips-College Info Geek 


Mind Maps for Kids by Tony Buzan

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5 Reading Games/Activities For Kids

Infants Can Read?          baby smiling

Did you know that children show signs of reading as infants? Reading is all about discovering meaning and this is what your baby did  when they first responded to your smile.

Sometimes discovering meaning can be lost with traditional ISOLATED learning methods such letter sounds and worksheets. Reading should follow the natural way that children learn which is through a variety of experiences and following their interests.

Following Your Child’s Interest

If children are offered reading material that follow their interests, then they will want to seek meaning from words. From this desire, they will learn word recognition and phonics skills.

Children learn best from discoveries they make from exploring the world around them. They gather conclusions from their experimentations and creative play. For example, in water play, they learn about volume, capacity, and the properties of water as they pour it cup to cup.

What You Can Do As a Parent

Your job as the parent is to describe their play and provide them with language.  During water play, use descriptive words such as wet, splash, ripples, warm, and cool.  Then expose them to similar words by reading books dealing with water such Splish, Splash Ducky by Lucy Cousins or Spot Goes to the Swimming Pool by Eric Hill.  This is the beginnings of  you making connections with language and play.

The games/activities provided below will  help you make more connections with words through creative play.

Want to know what Games/Activities, Tips, and Resources were used to get my 3-year-old son to read on a 3rd grade level? Access my e-book, Teach Your Toddler to Read through Play, here. 

Let’s Get Started!

Change the Story

Children should be provided opportunities to apply knowledge from books through imaginative play. Below is a way to stimulate your child’s ability to problem solve, sort information, and develop new ideas through creative-thinking questions. Below is how to do it…

  1. Read a story to your child.
  2. Ensure your child is familiar with the story.
    • You may have to read the story multiple times to your child.
  3. Have your child change the ending.
  4. They may communicate their version of the ending through the following…
    • Drawing a picture
    • Creating a sculpture with Playdoh or Clay
    • Creating a dance
    • Role playing with props
    • Simply telling the story

play doh

Clues from the Story

The following activity will develop your child’s listening skills. It is also great for reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary.

  1. Read a story to your child.
  2. Ensure your child is familiar with the story.
    • You may have to read the story multiple times to your child.
  3. Gather clues from the story you have read. Clues from the story can include…
    • Characters
    • Setting – where the story took place.
    • The conflict or problem in the story.
    • The story’s resolution
    • Basically anything in the story
  4. Let your child guess what you are thinking from the story with the clues you give them.
  5. Use descriptive words to describe your clue such as…
    • “I’m thinking of a humongous animal with a large trunk.”
    • Then let your child give you the answer which is elephant.
  6. Now let your child think of something and give you clues.
  7. Another variation of this game is to have your child get clues by asking you yes/no questions about a mystery item.
    • “Is it large?
    • “Does it make a loud noise”

Treasure Hunt   treasure hunt

This game is great for reading comprehension. It also helps your child learn how print and pictures carry meaning.

  1. Read a story to your child.
  2. Ensure your child is familiar with the story.
    • You may have to read the story multiple times to your child.
  3. Tell your child they are going to do a treasure hunt.
  4. Find one vocabulary word, item, or character from the story.
  5. If you have the item in your home, you may use it for the hunt.
  6. If you don’t have the item, you may draw a picture and briefly describe it on separate piece of paper.
  7. Hide the item in your home.
  8. Leave a series of notes or pictures to help your child find the item.
    • For example, write “Go to the dining room table” or draw a picture of the  dining room table.
    • On the dining room table, have another note ready stating, “Go to your bedroom” or draw the child’s bedroom.
  9. Your child will continue finding and following instructions on notes or drawings until he/she locates the item from the story.
  10. Once your child has found the item, ask them to identify the item and how it fits in the story.

Charades

You will need more than one child for this game. This game is great for reading comprehension and promotes in-depth learning. In-depth learning is when you learn about something in various ways. Charades will allow your child to learn words through physical activities, reading, and application (identifying where it fits in the story)

  1. Read a story to your child.
  2. Ensure your child is familiar with the story.
    • You may have to read it multiple times to your child.
  3. Write vocabulary words or characters from the story on index cards or paper.
  4. Players will take turns picking these cards from a plastic bag and acting them out.
  5. The other players will guess the word.
  6. Once the word is identified, then have the child identify where the word fits in the story.
  7. Another variation of this game is to have the player draw a picture of the word while the other players guess the word.

Spy a Word

  1. Read a story to your child.
  2. Ensure your child is familiar with the story.
    • You may have to read it multiple times to your child.
  3. Omit a word and let your child fill in the blanks.
  4. Let’s say you read a story where a mouse is trying to find cheese.
  5. You say “In the story, the mouse is trying to find……
  6. Let your child say “cheese.”
  7. Keep stating the plot of the story and let your child fill in the blanks.
  8. Another variation of this game is to fill in the blanks with silly words and let your child correct you.
  9. You state  “In the story, the mouse is trying to find a cat to eat him.
  10. Let your child correct you with the word “cheese.”

black father reading to son

Have Fun Reading and Playing!

Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE course on How to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way!

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The Best Toys for Young Boys Who Love to Build and Create

*THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS I RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION, AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU, IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE USING THE LINKS.

The Best Toys for Boys Who Love to Build and Create

I love toys where children can use their imagination to build and create various objects. These types of toys exercise children’s brains by teaching early math skills and spatial awareness.

Below are imaginative toys that my son loves!

These toys occupy his time, provide fun educational opportunities, and bring out his inner engineering skills.

Let’s get started!

 

1. Magnetic Tiles

This is such a versatile STEM toy. My son has built letters, numbers, rocket ships, ferris wheels, towers, and cars with this toy. It has an instruction book to teach you how to build various objects. It is a great way for kids to use their creativity and engineering skills!

 

We built a rocket ship!

 

This is the letter B!

 

 

2. Learning Resources Gears

Gears are a great STEM toy that encourages kids to sort, group, count, construct, design and solve problems. My son has built homes and traps for his action figures with this toy. He also likes to build letters and numbers with the gears and widgets.

 

This is the letter T!

 

This is the letter P!

 

 

3. Legos DUPLO Town Truck & Tracked    Excavator

 

 

This is a great toy for children who love cars, trucks, and construction vehicles. Whenever we pass by a construction site, my son can name all the vehicles because of the books we have read and hands-on learning provided with these Legos. We have also created stories around the characters and vehicles to incorporate literacy. The package says it’s for children ages 2-5 but my 7-year-old cousin played with these and had a great time!

 

Multiples of 3 Lego City!

 

4. Sum Blox

 

This amazing toy taught my son how to add numbers 1-10. The “height of each number corresponds to its value.” For example, the “1-block” is the shortest number and the “10-block” is the tallest number. If you stack the 5-block on top of another 5-block, then they will equal the same height as the 10-block. Your child will learn that 5+5=10 by building creative structures such as walls, towers, bridges, etc. These blocks are a bit pricy but worth it, in my opinion.

5+5=10

 

He created a tower for his cars to go through!

 

5. Wikki Stix

 

My son and I love this simple yet fun toy. It keeps his attention through church services and in waiting rooms. Wikki Stix allows your child to create any object they want. They come in fun colors and require no mess. Boredom is NOT an issue when it comes to this toy.

wikki stix 2
Making a football

 

wikki stix
All done!

6. Flexi Rods

 

This is not exactly a toy but a hair product. I had unused flexi rods in my closet and gave them to my son to play. He played with these for 45 minutes! These rods twist and turn in to various shapes and objects. My son likes to create letters and numbers with them. My pediatrician said it strengthens his hands and is a great fidgeting toy.

 

He built these letters and put them on my computer.

 

7. Automoblox

 

I discovered these during a playdate. Your child can take these cars apart and rebuild them. It teaches kids to problem solve, color recognition, and coordination. When my son and I are racing the cars, sometimes I will take one apart and pretend he is a mechanic. His job is to rebuild the car so we can race again. He loves this game!

corban cars
Building the car!

 

corban car 2
Put the car together with success!

8. Steam Dinosaur Toys

This is a great toy for kids who like dinosaurs. Children can take the dinosaurs apart and rebuild them using kid-sized screwdrivers. It develops hand-eye coordination, puzzle solving skills, and patience. The dinosaurs have wheels on the bottom so you can slide them on the floor and race them.

Triceratops is being taken apart.

 

A race is about to happen between two dinosaurs!

 

9. Snap Circuits Jr.

This toy is recommended for children ages 8 and up; however, my three-year-son and I love building with it. This kit allows you and your child to build working models of a photo sensor, flashing light, and adjustable-volume sirens. Your child should have a basic knowledge of letters, numbers, and putting together puzzles in order to maneuver this toy.  Parental supervision is needed if your child is under 8. I advise you to learn how the circuits work then present it to your child.

 

Starting to build an electric light and switch.

 

Success!

 

He just built the flying saucer!

 

10. Bristol Blocks

My son received this toy for his birthday. He has built cars, airplanes, robots, letters and more with these blocks. They have built his hand strength and eye coordination. He has learned how various geometrical shapes can be connected to make a masterpiece. Our favorite activity is to build something and make up a story around what was created.

He likes building letters! Here is letter E!

Please tell us which toy your children like! All of these are a hit in our household!

Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE course on How to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way!

Also, download our FREE Printable Holiday Card so your children can showcase their artwork to family and friends this Holiday Season!

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