Spring is here and it brings lots of showers. I have the perfect activity to help your kids understand why rains falls. They will create a rain cloud! This is an easy science experiment for kids at home.
This activity requires household materials. Below is what you will need….
We first saw this easy science experiment for kids at our local science center. This demonstration helped my son, Cory, learn how rain is formed. It is fun and easy to do. This is an activity that you can repeat with easy clean up.
Below is a video my son created to show you how to do this experiment. It comes from his YouTube channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures.It is full of science experiments, learning games, and DIY projects. Please subscribe if you like what you see.
We love to incorporate my son’s toys in his learning. One of his favorite toys is called BEYBLADE. It has energy layers that unleashes a fast spinning top. You can battle with another person to see whose top spins longer. It is a fun toy for kids. Therefore, we thought it would be fun to play a word game for kindergarten using BEYBLADES.
View the bottom of this post for reading gear!
BEYBLADES AND LITERACY
In the game, you got a point for winning the BEYBLADE battle. You also received points for the amount of words you could make. The amount of points gained depended on the number of words you made.
I wanted to give my son, Cory, a challenge. Instead of putting letters together and have him identify words, I gave him random letters and asked him to make words. I participated by making words when he gave me random letters. He did a great job with this game. In fact, he identified some words that I missed when it was my turn.
We helped each other in this game. As a result, we competed against each other but worked as a team simultaneously.
Try this word game for kindergarten with your child. You can actually play it with children of all ages. You will have to adjust the game according to their level.
Below is a video showing you how to play the game. This video comes from my son’s YouTube channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please subscribe if you like what you see.
If you have a child that loves to read, check out the shirts below. Just click on the image. Adult sizes available too!
Below is a video of my son sounding and spelling words at 21 months.
Many people ask me how this was done and the answers are in thebook below, Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. We also have an online course that gives a more detailed account of how he learned to read at an early age.
Click the link below to access the online course.
Click the link below to access to book on Amazon.
Children will become interested in reading when you make it fun. You accomplish this by building their interest in words and stories. This will come naturally by reading a variety of interactive books.
Reading a variety of interactive books exposes children to various vocabulary words, characters, plots, settings, problems, and resolutions. When Cory, my son, was a baby, I always borrowed books about the alphabet, colors, and numbers from the library. This is the main reason he knew these topics at nineteen months and could read at twenty-one months.
I also picked interactive books with colorful pictures. When reading, I would point to the characters and various objects on the page. Pop-up books are great to read to children because they create an element of surprise. It also gives them an appealing visual of what is happening in the book.
Lift-the-flap books are great because your child is anticipating the answer to a question. They are also engaged while reading these books because they are showcasing the answers with lifting the flaps. Cory has always liked to handle books; therefore, I taught him how to turn the pages at nine months. This was another strategy used to get him involved in reading as a baby.
Start your child’s fun reading journey by reading interactive books. I have listed 20 below.
Let’s Get Started – 20 Fun Interactive Books For Kids
Alpha Bugs: A Pop-up Alphabet by David Carter
This book is all about bugs. It is a great resource for practicing sounds.
Birthday Bugs: A Pop-up Party by David Carter
This book celebrates birthday bugs. It has a different bug popping out of the presents.
The Wide-Mouthed Frog (A Pop-Up Book) by Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert
This frog loves finding creatures outdoors and eating them. However, he was stumped when there is another that likes to eat wide-mouthed frogs.
Pop-up Peekabook: Under the Sea by DK
This is a baby book that introduces children to colorful underwater scenes and characters.
Pop-Up Dinosaurs: A Pop-Up Book to Get Your Jaws Into
This rhyming book has facts about dinosaurs. There are five big dinosaur pop-ups that jump from the pages.
The Jungle Book: A Pop-Up Adventure by Matthew Reinhart
This is a great retelling of a classic. Children are exposed to battles of good over evil and the importance of family.
The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas
This sensitive book gently illustrates common emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and calm.
A Pop-Up Book of Nursery Rhymes: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up by Matthew Reinhart
This book is a classic storytelling of Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes.
Brush Your Teeth, Please: A Pop-up Book by Jean Pidgeon
Children will learn proper dental hygiene in a fun way. They will see chimp brushing and a shark flossing!
Pop-Up Peekabook! Things That Go: Pop-Up Surprise Under Every Flap
This interactive book has bold pop-ups that make diggers, trucks, and cars jump from the pages when the flaps are lifted.
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell
Children will try to find the perfect pet with this book. They will lift flaps and see a monkey, lion, and an elephant.
Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
This is a great bedtime book where children will delight in trying to find Spot.
Playtown: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Roger Priddy
Children will learn about busy scenes from around the town. This includes the airport, the hospital, and shops.
Lift-the-Flap Tap Farm by Roger Priddy
In this interactive book, children will learn all about the farm, from animals to crops to farm machines.
What’s in My Truck by Linda Bleck
Children will learn about various trucks making deliveries to different places. They can peek inside these fun trucks and see what’s inside.
First 100 Animals Lift-the-Flap: Over 50 Fun Flaps to Lift and Learn
This book will help babies and toddlers learn all about their first animals. There are over 50 flaps to lift that reveal hidden photographs of animals.
Do Cows Meow? by Salina Yoon
This is a simple and rhythmic book. Kids will happily imitate all kids of animal sounds after reading this book.
Do Crocs Kiss? by Salina Yoon
This book has fun text and colorful illustrations. Children will see lions, tigers, and bears, as well as snappy reptiles and other favorite creatures.
Peek-A-Who? by Nina Laden
This book has colorful pictures and simple rhyming texts. Children will delight in the anticipation of what’s hiding on the next page.
Winnie the Pooh’s Giant Lift-the-Flap Book by A.A. Milne and Ernest Shepard
Winnie-the-Pooh has an adventure involving shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and how to tell time.
My son was first exposed to a simple circuit for kids as a three-year-old. For his birthday, my brother brought him the Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100. I thought this toy was too difficult for my son to grasp. As I was looking at the front cover of the Snap Circuits Jr box, feelings of intimidation came over me.
However, because this toy was for my young son, I was determined to figure out how it works. After reading the directions and doing three of the projects, I started to like this toy. It was a fun puzzle.
That evening I showed my son the circuits and he liked it. He liked the result of flashing lights, space sounds, and fans blowing.
Let’s Get More Exposure
The second time my son built a simple circuit was at our public library. They had a STEM program for kids where they participated in fun scientific projects. My son was a little young for the program but because we knew the librarian, she decided to let him (as long as I helped him).
We made circuits out of coppper wire and graphite. These projects were amazing and fun to do.
Covid-19 Changed Everything
Now that Covid-19 is here, the library is not doing the STEM program anymore. Therefore, my son and I have decided to do STEM projects like creating simple circuits for kids at home. Today we will show you one of those projects.
We called it the Play-Doh Circuit. It is fun and easy to do. The best thing about this activity is you don’t need many materials. While doing this project, your child will be amazed to learn how Play-Doh can create electricity.
From my research, I concluded that doing playful reading and literacy activities with my son would be beneficial to his development. If you have been following my blog, you probably know that my son learned to read at a very early age. This accomplishment was NOT my intention. My intention was to expose him to as many words as I could so he could communicate his wants and needs. I did not want him to be a late communicator.
As a play therapist, I often found that children who were last communicators would resort to hitting or kicking. They were simply frustrated that they could not tell others their desires. This can be frustrating for adults as well. I could only imagine how a child who experiences this feels.
Seeing the Interest
I saw that my son was interested in reading, letters, and language at a young age. Therefore, I started to expose him to the alphabet, phonics, sight words, and blending sounds in a playful manner. He seemed to like how I was interacting with him daily, so I kept introducing him to reading and literacy.
Below is a video presentation I did for my alma mater, Davidson College. It outlines and gives tips on how my son learned to talk, blend sounds, and read at 21 months. There are various videos of my son as a baby showcasing his journey from talking to reading.
The presentation is a little over 50 minutes long. However, it gives a ton of resources and tips on how to stimulate your child’s brain and various methods to develop a love of reading and language. The steps are easy and fun to do with children.
Letter Recognition and words are one of the first concepts children learn when starting school. Letter recognition can be perfected by singing the Alphabet song, reading books, watching educational shows, and by simply playing with letters. Children often become familiar with words by reading, spelling, playing word games, etc.
My son and I have used all the methods mentioned above to get him familiar with letters and words. This time we decided to do something different. We created a fun activity called the Blindfold Alphabet and Word Game.
This game starts out easy with letter recognition but then gets harder with spelling words. The unique part of this game is that you have to identify letters and words with a blindfold.
We had so much fun playing this game. There was a lot of laughter during this activity. This game is a great way to reinforce letter recognition, how letters are formed (which is beneficial for handwriting skills) phonics, and spelling.
My son and I made a video of us playing the Blindfold Alphabet and Word Game. We had a friendly competition. You will see us having fun while learning. Watch the video below to see who won the game. Have your children participate while watching by identifying the letters and words with us.
Before I had children, child development professionals, friends, and families told me boys usually talk later than girls. It became something that I expected. So, when my son Cory was born, my goal was to communicate with him often so he would become familiar with language.
I didn’t want Cory to be a late communicator, because in my work as a 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 wants and needs.
My son was able to speak in full sentences by nineteen months. This was because he was naturally exposed to language through play and interaction. One way that I exposed him to language was through playing and singing toddler songs.
How and when it was done
I played and sung songs during the night when he woke up as a baby and during car rides. We also heard songs during feedings and diaper changes. When we played Toddler Radio on Pandora, I would pick my son up and dance with him.
Once my son become a toddler, we would play music on Youtube or on the radio and dance to it. Then we would do physical movements to songs like Wheels on the Bus and Head Shoulder Knees and Toes. This helped Cory make a connection with words and their meaning.
You may take it a step further by purchasing or going to the library and getting books that are based on toddler songs. It is an excellent way to expose children to language.
Now that you know the benefit of exposing young children to toddler music, I will give you a list of 60+ songs.
I love doing science experiments with my son. One reason is that they help children become better readers. Also, they provide learning that is hands-on and uses the three senses of sight, hearing, and touch (sometimes smelling and tasting as well). They are the best way children can apply what they are learning.
In the past, I have used science experiments to teach my son lessons in hygiene such as the importance of washing his hands. The activity I will show you today is a great complement to that experiment. It is called the Tooth Decay Experiment. This could be your child’s next science fair project (for older kids).
The Tooth Decay Experiment will show your children the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day. Furthermore, it demonstrates what happens to your teeth when you drink certain beverages such as orange juice, tea, and water.
We have fun with all our experiments; even those that don’t work. It gives us opportunities to investigate and solve problems. I tell my son this is what scientist do!
The Tooth Decay Experiment has made my son a “Flossing and Teeth Brushing Advocate!” After you do this activity, it will probably have the same impact on your child. I will show you how to do it.
Let’s Get Started!
Warning: This post contains a lot of pictures.
5 cups (we used paper cups)
5 individual labels that read: Orange Juice, Soda, Water, Tea, and Vinegar
1 cup of orange juice (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of dark soda (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of water (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of tea (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of vinegar (enough to submerge an egg)
Plastic Gloves to protect hands
Goggles to protect hands
Here is a video of my son doing the Tooth Decay Experiment. This video comes from my son’s YouTube Channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe for fun activities.
Make 5 individual labels that read: Orange Juice, Soda, Water, Tea, and Vinegar
My family exposed me to money at an early age. As a four-year-old, my older brother Linsey, introduced me to counting money. Linsey is eleven years my senior, so he was my mentor along with being my sibling.
After learning how to write in cursive, my mother gave me the task of filling out checks to pay our household utility bills. After completing the task, my mom would sign the check.
This taught me valuable lessons. As a nine-year-old, I was familiar with how much my family paid for water, electricity, telephone, and cable services. As a result, I was conscious of turning off lights when I left a room and how much water I used when taking a bath. Once I started paying bills on my own, it was second nature to pay them in a timely manner.
This book is available on Amazon. Click the image above to access it.
During the summers of my middle and high school years, Linsey and his wife, Michelle, invited me to stay with them for two to three weeks. During these times, they exposed me to money topics such as the stock market, interest rates, and credit through games and role plays. They also owned and operated a business and it was my job to assist and learn what it took to be an entrepreneur.
Passing It On
When my son, Cory, was fifteen months, he saw a quarter on the table and tossed it in the air. He was amazed at the sound it made once it hit the floor. He seemed interested in the quarter and I decided it was time to show him a piggy bank.
My purpose was to let him touch, feel, and play with coins. Because Cory was fifteen months at this time, I stayed close to him. I did not want him to put the money in his mouth. He carefully took pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters out of the plastic bag and put them in the piggy bank. He was pleased with the clanging sound made as the coins hit the bottom of the piggy bank.
Cory and I have explored various financial literacy topics since his first encounter with the quarter as a fifteen month old. These topics range from money recognition and saving to real estate investing and business. He has been exposed to this topic through games and playful activities. For example, we discussed real estate investing by using Play-Doh, paper, and pencil.
We have also discussed the purpose of car insurance by using his toy cars. My son and I spend a lot of time in the car going to the grocery store, playdates, church, library, etc. Cory was curious about what happens if I hit a car. This led to a discussion about car accidents, police officers, and car insurance while we had a treat at Dunkin Donuts. We went home and defined terms such as liability and collision insurance by playing and crashing toy cars.
Watch the video below to learn how to teach children the financial literacy words, Assets, Liabilities, and Transactions by simply playing Monopoly.
Below are questions many parents have about teaching kids financial literacy…
How do you teach kids about finances?
Exposing children to lessons in finance does not have to be dry and boring. In fact, as adults we deal with money almost on a daily basis. You can include your child in some of those real world experiences, like my parents did, by having them pay for their own item at the store or helping you pay bills.
Another idea is to use your child’s toys to explain financial concepts similar to how we used toy cars to explain car insurance.
With over 30 years of combined experience in teaching financial literacy, Linsey and I have written a book called, Teach Your Child About Money Through Play.There are over 110 games/activities, tips, and resources on how to teach kids financial literacy at an early age. The activities include materials and toys that you already have in your home. They also include fun field trips that create a hands-on approach and a supplement to your child’s learning.
It will help you take the guessing game out of how to expose kids to money topics and concepts.
What is taught in financial literacy?
In the book, Teach Your Child About Money Through Play, we address money topics such as the history of money, various ways people earn it, and how it is used. You will learn fun ways to teach your child about budgeting, basic banking, the difference between liabilities and assets, and debt.
We also teach you how to use items in your home, such as toys and clothing, to introduce your child to real estate investing, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Learn to use household items to create fun scenarios and role plays so your child will have an understanding of these subjects.
If you have a child who has a lot of ideas or has a desire to earn money, starting a business may be appealing to them. You will receive a step-by-step guide on how your child can be an entrepreneur. Even if your child is not interested in business, it is great to expose them to this subject to encourage them to act on their ideas.
How did you decide on these financial literacy topics?
It was important for Linsey and I to teach children the history of money, how it is used, how to earn it, and making it grow. The purpose of this book is for children to have a basic understanding of money since they will manage it in their future. We included games and activities so you will know how to present the information in a relaxed and fun manner.
These financial literacy topics were based on Linsey’s and my teaching experience. I have experience in creating curricula and hiring over 25 teachers to expose kids to real estate investing, the stock market, budgeting, saving, etc. In previous jobs, I helped kids start businesses where they made money.
Linsey is the financial expert in our family and has 27 years experience in financial services and teaching kids about money. He and my parents were my first teachers on financial topics. Linsey is a former bank manager, stock broker, tax strategist, health insurance specialist, licensed in life property and casualty insurance, investor, and recipient of the US Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year.
This why I asked him to co-write the book with me. I trust his judgement especially when it comes to financial topics. He approved the topics and content in the book.
Why is financial literacy important for youth?
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said when you are an adult your report card is your credit score. This statement is very true. This is one reason why teaching kids financial literacy is so important. Once a child becomes an adult, handling money becomes inevitable.
It is best to make this process easier for children by exposing them to money topics while they are young. Teach Your Child About Money Through Play shows parents and teachers how to accomplish this with resources they use daily.
Let’s get our children a financial head start and strive to reduce the number one stress in our society today, money.
The Book’s Mission
Linsey and I have made it our mission to expose children to money topics in a fun way. With over 30 years of combined experience in teaching youth financial literacy, we give you a first-hand view of how to make money a conversation that is fun, natural, and interesting!
This is a great tool for parents and educators of children ages 4-10!
This book provides the following and so much more…
How to use real-world experiences to expose kids to financial literacy
Fun activities to introduce toddlers and preschoolers to money recognition.
How money is used in our society now and in the past.
Various ways that people earn money
Important lessons in budgeting money
The basics of banking
The difference between a liability and asset
Various types of debt and how it is used
How people invest in Real Estate
How people invest in the stock market, bonds, and mutual funds
Starting and operating a business
Kid Business Ideas
The purpose of having insurance
Here is What Others are Saying About the Book
I love that this book gives children an understanding of money and finances. Not only does it delve into ideas that make money, but it teaches the facts of money; its purpose, how to use money as a tool to grow in all areas of our lives and other vehicles that help accumulate financial growth.
I learned so much from this book. One detail that stuck with me was the power of working memory. Did you know that it is more important than IQ? As always, I want to share what I learned with you and its benefits to young children.
Let’s Get Started!
One of best ways to improve working memory is to read. Working memory is one’s ability to process information. This means focusing on the information or making decisions about it. A person with great working memory can manipulate information and reformulate it.
Let’s apply this to children. If a child is in school or participating in an extracurricular activity with a group, working memory can help them inhibit distracting information, like their classmates whispering near them. It will also help them keep track of where they are in a multistep task. Furthermore, children with good working memory can access information, like numbers or words, to complete an assignment. It allows children to hold information in their mind and complete tasks quicker.
Other Ways Working Memory Helps Children
It helps children think fast on their feet.
Take smarter risks
Make smarter judgement calls
Adapt to new situations
Stay motivated to achieve long-term goals
Follow a moral compass like doing the right thing in social situations
Working Memory is Better than IQ
Have you noticed that many people with below average IQ scores became great business men and women, bestselling authors, or innovative inventors? IQ is not the best predictor of lifetime success, especially not in our current times.
Thanks to search engines like Google, we no longer need to rely on knowledge such as facts, dates, and names. These types of facts are associated with IQ. Intelligence today is measured by being able to put those facts together, organize the information, and do something constructive with it. IQ is what you know and working memory memory is what you can do with what you know.
The facts below about working memory versus IQ may be shocking to you…
A good working memory is the best advantage in school and is related to good grades.
Kids with good IQ scores don’t necessarily have good working memories.
An average or even high IQ does not necessarily give children the tools for success in the classroom and beyond.
So let’s see how reading can help children improve working memory
Reading requires working memory because you recall information, anticipate what is coming next, and interpret words and sentences. Challenge your child and boost their working memory by reading more difficult books and stories.
For Children Ages 2 to 5
Read aloud to children and challenge them by reading new stories.
For 2-3 year olds, ask them facts about the story.
This will make them use their working memory to review what they know about the story.
If you read to children at early ages, you’ll be surprised at what they can analyze and make sense of.
Ask your 4 year old to give their opinions on the motivations of the characters.
For example, ask your 4 year old the following question: Why do you think the character ignored their friend?
These types of questions will help your child stretch their speculations.
For 5 year olds, if they can read, ask them to read simple and short stories on their own occasionally.
If the 5 year old cannot read, ask them to picture walk.
Picture walk means to look at the images of the story and predict what it is about.
Bonus Tip: For children ages 6-10, read harder material to them.
In doing this, you will stretch their minds and the easier books they read on their own will seem less difficult.