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

LEADERSHIP FOR KIDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confidence and Trust

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

Use of Knowledge

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

Asking questions

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

When to Lead

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

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

Have fun following!

5 Ways to Create a Leadership Environment for Kids

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TAKE KIDS ON A MATH AND MAPPING ADVENTURE WITH THIS BOOK!

TAKEKIDS ON A MATH AND MAPPINGADVENTUREWITH THIS BOOK!

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

The Space Mission is as follows…

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

 

There are five steps to completing the mission…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Learning!

 

 

Self-Reflecting Museums For Kids

museum pic

I love going to museums because I receive an up-close experience with history, science, art, etc. Museums with children’s areas are great because kids can play, explore, and learn simultaneously. When I saw the book, Milo’s Museum by Zetta Elliott, I was excited to read about the character’s experience at their local museum. The book’s plot was unexpected but refreshing.

This book is about a girl named Milo who takes a class field trip to the museum with her grandfather as a chaperone. As they were exploring the museum, Milo admired the art but something was missing. When she asked her grandfather about the museum’s purpose, he said they hold objects that are valuable and important to people.

Milo realized that the objects in the museum did not represent her world. She consulted her aunt for guidance and decided to create her own museum using family and childhood photographs, keepsakes, and memorabilia. She also used current items such as her soft ball jersey.

Children will learn vocabulary words such as docent, curator, and museum from this story. They will witness a child taking the initiative to create an idea, plan and execute it. Milo shared her museum exhibit with the community and was so innovative in her approach, her friends wanted to be a part of it.

You will find a guide on how to create your own exhibit in the back of the book. Read this book and have your students or children create their own self reflecting museums like Milo!

Ensure they share it with family, friends, or the community!

Happy Self Reflecting!

 

How to Make Mapping Fun for Kids

treasure map

 

One day my friend sent me a picture of her preschooler reading a treasure map while sitting on his  tricycle. He uses the map to lead the way during their outside adventures. I thought this was a great way to incorporate leadership and exploration during playtime.

I wanted my son, also a preschooler, to have a similar experience so I researched children’s books at the library about mapping. I found the book, Treasure Map, by Stuart Murphy. This book is about a group of friends, the Elm Street Kids’ Club, following a treasure map to find a time capsule. The author shows the reader how to follow a map by giving clues that identify landmarks and directions.

For example, Clue #1 says “From Elm Street, walk down First Avenue toward Rocky River. At the next corner, Oak Street, turn left.”

Children are also taught to use cooperation and their problem-solving skills while mapping. The map in this book was created 50 years ago; therefore, some landmarks have changed during that time. For example, what was once a dirt path is now a sidewalk. The children have to decide if the sidewalk will lead them to the treasure.

Other concepts presented in the book are decision-making skills, interpreting symbols, and scales. The author provides teachers and parents activities to supplement learning. Furthermore, he includes other books that address map reading skills.

How we applied it

My neighbor told us about a new playground in our area that is walking distance.  I decided to draw a map  that led to the playground. I used the Waze app to ensure it was drawn correctly. Below is an example of the map we followed.

map

The night before our adventure, my son and I read Treasure Map. After reading each clue in the book, we identified the path to the treasure. Then I showed him the map I created and he became  excited. He wanted to go outside that night to find the playground. I told him we had to wait until the next day, but he insisted that the map stay in his room overnight.

When my son came home from school the next evening, the first thing he grabbed was the map. He identified landmarks, street signs, and led the way with very little assistance from me. Reading the book help hone his navigation skills. We found the playground and felt accomplished! He also guided us back home. The following weekend he took his dad to the same playground and led the way.

Try a similar activity at home or school and go on an adventure!

Happy Mapping!

 

Spark Children’s Interest in Geography at an Early Age

Kids and globe

When I was in high school, I took a Geography class. I did not like this class at all. At the time, I didn’t understand why I had to learn about other countries. I remember studying for this class was difficult because the subject did not interest me.

It wasn’t until I went to college that I wanted to learn about the world outside of the United States.  It was a time that enabled me to interact and live with people from all over the world. My first time on an airplane was during my college years. I went to Dominican Republic for a Community Service Project. After this trip, I traveled to Costa Rica, England, and Ireland for service and study abroad opportunities.  It was these experiences that made me want to go back in time and study Geography again. Through my travel, I developed relationships with people across the world.

So how do you spark a child’s interest in Geography?

YOU MAKE A CONNECTION! Specifically, make a connection that coincides with the child’s interest.

Below are fun ways to create connections between your children/students and the world! You will need a map or globe for the activities below…

For the child who loves animals

My son loves animals. We learn about how and where various animals live around the world. We’ve been able to learn about the continents through his love of animals. Make it fun and search for where the 10 fastest animals in the world live!

For the child who loves sports

You and your child can explore Unusual Sports played around the world.  For example, toe wrestling is played in Britain. In this game, competitors intertwine their toes and try to pin their opponents’ foot down. Find out which continent has the most unusual sports!

For the child who wants to be a Princess

You and the child can meet Princesses from around the world. Search for Princesses in Belgium, Germany, England, Monaco, and Liechtenstein. Have your child choose their favorite princess!

For the child who has friends from other countries or cultures

Locate on a globe or map where your child’s friends and their families were born. Find out about their culture, food, land features, and language. Try cooking the country’s food with your family.

 

Next week’s post will be about how my son and I learned another fun lesson in Geography.

Stay Tuned!

 

Fun Activities that Teach Kids about Indoor Air Pollution

indoor pollution pic

Indoor air pollution can cause sneezing, scratchy throats, headaches, and watery eyes. One solution to this problem is plants, which decreases indoor air pollution within a room. Certain plants make the air healthier to breathe.

I was watching the cartoon, Cyberchase- Indoor Air Pollution Episode, with my son and learned these facts. This cartoon episode features Norm, the Gnome, explaining how new paint and furniture can cause air pollution. View Norm’s explanation in this video. 

We also learned more plants are needed for a larger room. Larger rooms carry more air pollution; therefore, more plants are needed to purify the air. How do you determine the number of plants needed for a room? The cartoon characters counted tiles in a room to answer this question.  Watch this video to see how it’s done. (select How Many Plants Per Room?)

How could you determine the number of plants needed if you don’t have tiles in a room? The answer is estimation. Watch how the characters estimate a room size, using previous knowledge. (select Estimating Room Size).

You can apply this within your classroom or at home.

How we applied this lesson in our home…

  1. Compiled a list of air purifying plants.
    • It is best to compare various lists.
  2. Research how to care for the plants you choose
    • Read books
    • Watch YouTube videos
    • Ask the plant experts at the store where you made your purchase
  3. Used estimation to determine the number of plants needed.
  4. Purchased the plants and materials to care for them.
  5. Care for the plants.

My family and I enjoy caring for the plants and the benefits of air purification. I have experienced a difference of air quality in our home. Try it out!

Happy Indoor Gardening!

 

Bringing Fun to Language Arts for Kids!

Dictionary book

My son and I recently read the book, The Great Dictionary Caper by Judy Sierra. This is a fun, interactive, and flashy book about parts of speech, literacy, and language arts.

This book addresses topics such as actions verbs, homophones, palindromes, onomatopoeias, contractions, etc.

The Action verb page has various words like somersault, jump, glide and ricochet. Each word is written and drawn to portray their action. For example, the word Ricochet appears to be a character that is rebounding off the edge of the page. The word Jump is a character leaping in the air.

This book has influenced some of the games my son and I play around the house. Below are a few….

Action Verb – Ricochet

Bounce a soft ball off the wall and try to catch it.

 

Onomatopoeia – Bang

Tap a box with your hands and create various rhythms.

 

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious(Yes, this 34-letter word is in the book)

Listen to the song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious by Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews

 

Antonyms – Big and Little

Draw a picture of a big and small animal

 

Try reading this book with your students or children and create activities that bring language arts to life!

Have fun learning!

 

 

Bringing Life to Numbers 1-100 for Kids

100 days

Every night before bedtime, my son and I read about four books. He loves books about the alphabet and numbers. I wanted to expose my son to the numbers, 1-100, and began searching for books that would fulfill this task. The book called Emily’s First 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells was the answer to my request.

This book is about a bunny named Emily who is starting school. Emily tells the reader about her first 100 days of school through short stories. Below is the short story associated with Emily’s 17th day of school.

“Miss Cribbage reads aloud Dick and the Donkey. I follow along and read seventeen words all by myself. “Wow!” says Miss Cribbage.”

This book keeps my son’s attention. It takes about 25 minutes to complete all the stories from 1 -100. My son likes to stop at certain numbers to make comments or observe the colorful pictures!

This book has encouraged my son to create other stories with numbers. He will take two Munchkin Bath Numbers; for example, six and two, and tell a story about 62. I interact with my son during the stories by adding to the plot.

You can do a similar activity with your students. Below is how to execute it:

  1. Divide students into small groups.
  2. Assign each group a number.
  3. Groups are to create a piece of art that is connected to their assigned number.
    • Song
    • Poem
    • Story
    • Dance
    • Sculpture
    • New Exercise Move
    • Other ideas
  4. Optional: Choose a theme for the stories
  5. Have students choose how they want to present their artwork to the class.
  6. Make this a weekly activity until all numbers from 1-100 are covered.

Have fun creating!

 

 

Unintentional, But My Toddler Started Reading at 21 Months – Here’s How

corban reading

While I was three months pregnant, I had lunch with a former co-worker, Cyndi. Cyndi just viewed a PBS special where Dr. Ben Carson discussed Brain Health. In this video (at 8:50), Dr. Carson says a baby’s brain continues to develop once he/she is born. The more a baby learns, the more the brain’s dendrites are making connections.

Babies who experience interaction with caregivers through song, cuddling, playing, and talking, develop connections in the brain faster and better. By the time a child is three years old, their brain has reached 90% of its growth.

I thought PLAY would be the best way to interact with my son and boost his brain development. I never imagined this concept would lead to him reading at 21 months!

Please note: I did the activities below with my son as a full-time working mom.

I used in-depth learning to teach my son. In-Depth learning is being exposed to a concept in various ways. I concentrated on teaching my son through three of the five senses which were sight, touch, and hearing. Dr. Ben Carson addresses In-Depth learning in his book Think Big.

*Bonus Tip

Access my list of Fun and Creative Tools Used to     Encourage My Son to Read at the bottom of this post!

Below are examples of what my son and I did….

SING

I sung constantly to my son. It became something that soothed him. I sung when he woke up in the middle of the night, in the car, and while feeding and changing him. Songs taught my son language. They also helped him to learn the alphabet and phonetics. I took it a step further and created songs about words that began with each letter of the alphabet.

Read

I love going to the library with my son because of the programs, toys, puzzles and books. Before leaving the library, I always checked out at least 15 children books. I ensured at least one of the books was about the alphabet. There are zillions of books at the library about the ABC’s. He was able to see the same words I sung in songs within these books.

PLAY, PLAY, PLAY

I enjoyed coming home from work to play with my child. It seemed like a break from sitting and looking at a computer all day. We played with toys such as play doh and alphabet blocks. Before he could talk, we molded the playdoh into letters. We drew pictures on the storm door with window markers in alphabetical order. For example, we drew an apple for A and banana for B. On our way to the playground in the evenings and weekends, we identified letters on car license plates and signs.

Talk

Talking is a great way to increase a child’s focus. We discussed stories we read in books. We also made up stories about the alphabet and various animals. Whenever we were in the grocery store, I identified foods and the letter they started with. It is important to converse with your child on various topics!

Technology

Once my son could identify letters, I let him watch cartoons that featured the alphabet, phonetics, and words. Leapfrog has a great series of educational cartoons. We also listened to toddler radio and hip-hop educational CDs in the car.

Put it Together

Once he knew the phonetics, I taught him how to blend letter sounds to read words.  Many words, including site words, were becoming familiar to him through exposure to books, children museums, YouTube, the library, cartoons, and anywhere we went. He heard words through our conversations, songs, radio, and television. His brain started making connections and then he started reading. He has also developed a true love of reading.

Similar concepts were also used to teach him to

  • write
  • count
  • identify colors
  • Spanish words
  • Tell Time

Happy PLAYFUL In-Depth Learning!

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Teaching Kids to Solve Problems

question song

When my son was two years old, he and I read the book, The Question Song by Kaethe Zemach. This book teaches kids to solve everyday problems. My son found it interesting because it contains repetition, rhythm, and rhyming words.

One Scenario in the book reads…

“My train is broken! What are we going to do? My train is broken! What are we going to do?”

“We’ll fix your train and make it strong. Then off you go, chugging along! That’s what we will do!”

The book shows a picture of a little boy holding a wheel that is detached from his train. Then the boy and his mother fix the train with a hammer and nail.

The book also addresses other problems such injuries and selfishness. As a teacher or a parent, you can incorporate these principals at home or in the classroom. Below is an example of the time I applied this concept with my son.

One day, my son spilled milk on his shirt. Instead of cleaning the milk and getting another shirt immediately, the following happened…

ME: What are we going to do?

MY SON: My shirt is wet.

ME:  Should we leave the shirt on?

MY SON: We should take it off. (We took off the shirt.)

ME: What should we do now?

MY SON: (Looks confused)

ME: Let’s go to your room and get another…

MY SON: Shirt!  (We put on the shirt and went to where the milk was spilled.)

ME: We have a problem, there is milk on the floor. What are we going to do?

MY SON:  We will clean it up!

ME: What do we need to clean the milk?

MY SON: A Towel! (We used a towel dampened with water to clean the milk up.)

This helps kids learn to think and solve problems. Next time your child or students have a problem, ask them “What are you going to do?” Allow them to think and solve the problem. The more they practice, the better they will become.

Happy Problem Solving!!!!