About a year ago, my son and I went outside and played in the snow. We took our snow sled and joined the other kids in the neighborhood to slide down the hill. Afterwards, we had a fun snow ball fight, made snow angels, and created snow mountains. We had a blast!
A couple days later, the sun melted the snow. We were happy to see the sun but a little disappointed because we could not have fun in the snow. Spring was making itself known in our city.
We didn’t want to let go of the fun we had with snow, so we decided to make our own. My son and I did this activity a little over a year ago and I forgot about it.
It wasn’t until my best friend, Donna, asked me if we had ever made our own snow. I told her “yes” but forgot to share it with others through this blog.
I live in an area where we get snow every year. However, Donna’s children hardly see snow, so this was the perfect activity for them.
About two days later, Donna sent me pictures of her son and daughter making snow. She said this activity kept them busy for two hours!!!!
Making your own snow is a great hands-on activity for kids. I will show you how below. All you need is two ingredients that you most likely have in your home.
Let’s Get Started
White Conditioner (some people use shaving cream as an alternative)
Container or Pan to make and play with snow
Action Figures (optional)
Cookie Cutter (optional)
Start mixing 1/2 cup of conditioner and 3 cups or baking soda.
We did not measure when we did this activity.
We kept adding more baking soda and conditioner until we got the consistency we liked
Make play time more fun by doing pretend play with action figures in the snow
Donna gave her kids cookie cutters to make various shapes in the snow.
Have your kids create artwork in the snow with sticks from outside.
Below are pictures of the fun our kids had making snow!
Jim uses this technique to remember people’s names, speeches, and lists. He also emphasizes thinking and learning like kids because they are the fastest learners. I truly agree with him.
He encouraged his audience to practice the association story technique with another person. I decided to practice with my four-year-old son. He loved every minute of it and said “This is fun!” Below I will tell you how we did it.
Let’s Get Started!
Get 10 Fun Elements Needed to Make Facts Stick by Completing the Form at the End of This Blog Post
I gave my son nine colors to remember in order. The colors were…
I started by telling my son a story that included the colors.
The story went like this…
Mommy and Cory went out to play in the green grass. All of a sudden, they saw a huge orange and beside it was a purple eggplant. Both of these foods together looked like the number ten. Then we looked in the sky and saw a Blue Jay bird flying in the sky. The Blue Jay landed on a large white flower and beside it came a black fly. Then we heard a pink pig running and he happened to be hungry. The pig found and then ate a brown chocolate bar. Afterwards he became thirsty and drank yellow lemonade.
After I told my son this story I asked him to tell me the colors in order.
I encouraged him to use the story to remember the colors.
He was able to name all the colors in order.
He also remembered the colors in reverse order by telling the story backwards.
We were amazed at his ability.
Please note: He is using crayons as a visual for the video; however, he was able to remember the colors without the crayons.
Watch this video of my son remembering the colors…
Watch this video of my son remembering the words backwards.
This technique will also improve your child’s listening skills and focus.
I encourage you to try this activity while you are in waiting rooms, restaurants or even long road trips. My son and I did it during dinner time and had a great time.
Also, use this game to help your child remember important facts for school. Help your child make up a silly story with the facts as characters or items in the setting. This method works great when your child is learning…
The United States
The Presidents of the United States
Elements on the Periodic Table
Any facts your child needs to learn
Here are pointers for your story…
The sillier the story the better.
Ensure to use rich images while telling your story.
If your child can’t think of pictures for a certain word then have them use the “Sound Like” method.
Instead of saying the state, Alabama, use the phrase “Ala Bams on the A.” This will trigger the mind to think of Alabama.
Instead of saying the element (on the periodic table), Actinium, use the phrase Acting Up. This will help trigger the mind to think of Actinium.
Make up your own silly words, and it will help you remember facts faster.
One night after taking a bath, my son suggested an activity/game for the next day called, Letter Hunt. I was intrigued by his suggestion and asked him how to play. Cory said “We will find all the letters in the alphabet in one room.”
The next day, we played the game he suggested and had a blast. We also played two other variations of the game. This activity is great for letter recognition and it allows children to get physical. Play this game even if your child knows their letters.
My son is very familiar with the alphabet but still had fun with this activity. It was raining outside when we played the game and that resulted in perfect timing.
Let’s Get Started
Letter Hunt- Variation 1
Children and adults
Tell your child you will do a letter hunt by going around a room or your home to search for letters.
You may find letters anywhere in your home such as magazines, signs, toys, shoes, books etc.
Keep playing the game until you find letters A-Z
Letter Hunt – Variation 2
Foam Letter or Magnetic letters
You may also use letters you have written on paper
Hide letters A-Z around a room
Have your child(ren) find the letters and put them in a pile.
Letter Hunt – Variation 3
Craft Paper or Poster Board Paper
Foam letters or Magnetic letters
You may also use letters you have written on paper
Draw a chart on craft paper with your name or initial on one column and your child’s name or initial in the another column.
You and your child will get two different letters.
For example, your child will get letter A and you will get letter B.
Have your child hide the letter A in a room without you looking.
You hide the letter B in a room and ensure your child is not looking at where you are hiding it.
Now both of you go find the letters each one of you hid.
For example, you will find the letter A and your child will find the letter B
Whoever finds the letter first wins a point that round.
Have your child record the points on craft paper for each round.
Hopefully, you enjoyed and found value in the first, second, and third videos of the FREE Mini Course: Strategies to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. This includes some of the techniques I used with my son to expose him to words, reading, and reading comprehension in a fun way.
I am excited to share this information with you.
Let me help you take your child’s learning and reading to the next level. Watch the video below and I will show you how with this limited time offer!
Did you know that when your child is learning about shapes they are being introduced to geometry? Shapes are not only important to math but generally in life. A child who can identify shapes will learn how letters and numbers are formed.
For instance, the letter O is basically a circle. Also, shapes can be combined to make various pictures. For example, typically when a child draws a dog they include a horizontal oval for the body, rectangular shapes for the legs and tail, triangles for the ears, and circles for the nose and eyes.
The knowledge of shapes is useful for building, which is an introduction to engineering. My son learned so much about what shapes to use when building certain structures with his magnetic tiles. He learned that rectangles and squares make great bases or foundations for structures. Additionally, he noticed that hexagons resemble circles.
The houses he often creates are made of a cubes and triangular prisms. Furthermore, his towers are made with a combination of hexagons, squares, and triangles. As a result, he is able to use his knowledge of building basic structures to make more sophisticated towers.
My son knew the basic shapes as a one-year-old. If I called out a shape, he was able to point them out in books or choose the correct one and give it to me. This was mainly done through playing with shapes and reading various books on shapes.
Let’s talk about various ways to make learning about shapes fun.
Below are 6+ Fun Activities to Teach Kids Shapes
Create Your Own Shapes
Take Q-Tips, put glue on it, and form them into shapes on paper. Pour glitter on the Q-tip to decorate the shape.
Let your child take food such as grapes or crackers and form them into shapes during snack time.
Build shapes with Legos, Magnetic tiles, sticks from outside or anything your mind can think of.
Make Shapes Disappear
Go outside and make shapes with sidewalk chalk
Call out a certain shape to your child
Give your child a spray bottle with water, a cup of water, or water hose.
Have your child pour or spray the water on the shape you identify to make it disappear.
My son and I love watching educational videos. Many times, after dinner, we dance, sing songs, or just watch videos about shapes on YouTube. Below are some YouTube videos about shapes.
*Please note that digital media should not be the only way your child learns the shapes. It should be a way to supplement what you have previously introduced to your child. In other words, expose your child to shapes first and then use digital media.
Ask your child to create a picture from the shape.
They can create a cat, monster, or anything they want
Next, have your child draw shapes
Then you create a picture from the shape they just draw
Read Multiple Children’s Book about Shapes
My son and I have read many books about shapes before nap and bed time. These books were colorful and included relatable characterers that my son liked. There were some that did not have characters but presented shapes in an engaging manner. Below are a list of seven children’s book about shapes.
One day I got an email from Kiwico.com about DIY science experiments. I saw directions on how to make giant bubbles. I could not wait to show my son, Cory, the bubble activity. Once he saw it, he was excited to get started.
We had all the materials in our home except one item, push pins. We immediately went to the store and purchased the push pins and started to build the wand for the giant bubbles.
If you do this activity once with your child, it will not be your last. So far, we have done the activity three times. The first time, Cory was excited at how big the bubbles were. However, we wanted them to be bigger. So like scientists, we tested and adjusted our approach. The second time was even better than the first.
So let’s get started with how to do this fun activity.
Many parents ask me how my son started writing at such a young age. He wrote his first letter A at 21 months. He could also write the alphabet and numbers 1-100 at the age of 2.5.
Teaching a child to write can be a difficult task, especially if the child does not have a desire to learn. Below I will answer the most frequently asked questions when it comes to handwriting skills and children. You will find creative and enjoyable teaching techniques in my new book, Fun and Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write.
It has over 135 activities, resources and tips for teaching writing with PLAY.
The Book is Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle! Click on the Image Below to Find It.
GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST TO GET THE FIRST CHAPTER AND HALF OF THE SECOND CHAPTER FOR FREE.
Let’s Get Started!
How Can I Help with Writing?
Part of learning to write involves remembering how letters, shapes, and numbers are formed. Most children are taught this through tracing letters, numbers, lines, and shapes repeatedly. Although this is very effective, there are other scientific-proven tricks that can accelerate the learning process and make it fun.
One Fun Scientific Trick to Use When Teaching Your Child to Write
One scientific trick I have used is called Picturing Information. I read about this method in the book, Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying; A Guide for Teens and Kids. Picturing Information makes it much easier to remember. This involves using both the right and left brain strengths into learning. One way to do this is to convert a fact into a picture, so you can remember it more easily. If the picture is strange or unusual, it is easier to remember. Additionally, if the picture involves movement, then it makes the connection stronger.
Let’s use a letter as an example. If your child is learning to write the letter A, you may want to connect it with a picture of a triangle. While tracing or showing them how to write it, tell your child the A is part triangle with a line in the middle. It is important to use what is familiar to your child for the picture. In other words, ensure the child knows what a triangle and line look like. If they don’t know, then use another picture such as stick man legs with a line in the middle.
You may also describe an A as stick man legs with a line in the middle.
When should a child be able to write?
Most experts say that children learn to write between the ages of 3-6. I believe children learn to write before they actually start writing if exposed in the right way. This begins once a parent exposes their child to how letters, numbers, and shapes are formed through reading books, building, doing art, and participating in physical play. When children see letters, shapes, and numbers in books or in the real world often, their brain is taking note of how they are formed. When children start writing they will know letter and number formation which makes it easier to write.
How play can help In teaching your child to write
Building and doing art can help strengthen a child’s hand muscles to prepare them for writing. Building various structures with Legos, magnetic tiles, or Play-Doh helps develop a child’s pincer grasp, which is the coordination of the index finger and thumb to hold an item. This is also a great way to develop fine motor skills. A child is using the pincer grasp when they hold a paint brush, put money in a piggy bank, and learn to button their shirt.
Physical play is a great way to develop a child’s handwriting skills. Children can make letters with their bodies through creative dance. Also, crawling and yoga is a way to strengthen hand muscles which is beneficial for writing.
How can I help my child write faster?
Often I am asked how I got my son to write the alphabet and numbers as a 2-year-old. It wasn’t that he learned to write quickly, I just started earlier. When he was a baby, I read aloud to him various colorful children’s books about shapes, letters, and numbers. Not only was I reading to him, but I would take my finger and outline the shapes, letters, and numbers in the book.
We also built structures often with blocks and Play-doh. We created letters, shapes, and numbers with these toys and more. While creating we discussed our process in structuring each object and how they were formed.
So, if you want your child to write faster, simply start early through PLAY and fun exposure.
Fun and Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write Book
I wrote this book to show parents ways to expose their children to the formation of letters, numbers, and shapes in a fun way. This book will take you through a step by step process of how I taught my son handwriting skills. It gives you games/activities to do with your child along the way to make writing a process that is fun, natural, and stress free for the parent and child.
This is a great tool for parents with children ages 0-7!
This book provides the following and so much more…
Fun scientific techniques in teaching kids handwriting skills.
How to execute fun in-depth learning
How to teach children to write before they actually start writing
How to incorporate digital media in your child’s learning
The stages of writing
How to use PLAY when exposing your child to handwriting
The importance of learning in different settings
How to teach your child to hold writing utensils correctly
What to do when your child does not want to write
Hand strengthening activities that will prepare your child to write
Once your child begins to write, how to continue to build their handwriting skills
Here is What Others are Saying about the Book
This is a fantastic, thoughtful resource for anyone who wants to give their child a head start for school as well as cultivate a love for learning. It gives parents or caregivers who want to spend quality time with their child clear instructions and a wide variety of activities so they can strengthen their bond and create lasting memories with their child while teaching them valuable skills and having fun. An indispensable resource for those with young children! —Stacey K., editor and mother of 4
“This book is a fantastic resource for parents and educators in the midst of teaching their children literacy skills. It provides excellent activities, book references, and resources to teach toddlers how to write, along with educational insights regarding children’s brain development and cognition. I love how Andrea uses fun and creative literacy techniques to instill an early love of learning in young children. As a mom of two toddlers, I am excited to use these engaging techniques with my girls!” —Amber., counselor and mother of 4
This book is a great companion to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. The book contains many activities for different learning styles. It is definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach to learning how to write. Parents and children can bond with each other and have fun while figuring out what works best for them. If your child enjoys nature, STEM, crafts, role-playing, or music, you’ll find something to pique their interests inside the pages. Not only does this book help your child learn to write, Andrea includes scientific insight about brain development to support the value of these child-centered and age-appropriate activities. Once again, Andrea has made learning fun! —Danielle J., Attorney and mother of 2
The Book is Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle! Click on the Image Above to Find It.
Not sure yet? Get a free excerpt of Fun Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write by completing the form below.
Most schools are out for the summer and families are going on road trips! Kids want something fun and engaging to do while riding in the car. Sure, our kids can watch movies in the car. However, the activities below go beyond that. They will exercise your child’s creativity, curiosity, and engage them.
This post is fulfilling my best friend’s request to write an article on Fun Road Trip Activities for Kids and it could not have come at a better time.
All of the activities below have been used to keep my son busy during road trips. I hope you find them helpful!
Let’s get started!
The Association Game involves naming objects or people in the same category. The categories may include the following…
Here’s how to play the Association Game…
Name a category like animals
You may begin by naming an elephant
Your child will name an animal
Keep alternating by naming animals until you both can’t think of anything else to say.
I first discovered the Paint by Sticker Books at Chick-fil-A. This book came with my son’s kids meal. He liked it so much that I ordered one from Amazon. It is great for when your child needs to wait for long periods of time. Below is how it works…
Find the sticker.
Peel the sticker.
Place the sticker.
Then a colorful picture will appear.
Finish the Story
This is a great activity to encourage creativity, literacy, and getting kids to think on their feet.
Begin telling a story.
Then have your child tell the next part of the story.
Next, have another family member add on to the story.
Water Wow books provides mess free painting for kids. It includes reusable pages and a refillable water pen. Your child will see vibrant colors appear at each stroke. My son loves these pads. His favorite themes are Alphabets, Numbers, and Farm Animals. Ensure to fill the pen with water before your trip.
Learning Apps – Pbs Kids
Playing Educational Apps in the Car is a fun and productive activity for kids. Below are some of the apps we like…
My son loves the Doodle Pad. It provides a way for children to do unlimited drawings and writing with its convenient erasable feature. It has kept my son occupied for long periods of time during road trips. Another type of Doodle Pad we use is called the Boogie Board.
Paper and Pen
Bringing paper and washable crayons or markers provides endless activities. Do the following activities and so much more…
I Spy is a wonderful game to play with kids. It helps them learn about new objects and vocabulary. I Spy is a guessing game where multiple people can play. One person will pick an object and provide a hint. The other players will use the hint to guess what object the person has picked. You can get I Spy books from your local library.
Try to find objects with your child. It is better when more people are participating.
Once you and your child find an object, encourage each other to use directional language, like above, below, and beside, to explain how you found it to the other person.
Flexi Rods is a product that women use to make their hair curly. I had some in my closet that I was not using. One day, I decided to give one to my son to bend and twist in order to keep him still during diaper changes. He has bent the rods into letters, numbers, shapes, and still plays with them to this day. Warning: Be careful because there is wire inside flexi rods. Please watch your child at all times.
Threading toys are great to help develop a child’s fine motor skills. Children have to use the pincer grasp to thread beads on the string or to thread the string in a hole. The pincer grasp is what children use once they start writing. It will keep kids busy and focused.
Tangram is a puzzle that comes with seven flat shapes called Tans. A child can put the shapes together to make various images such as animals, other shapes, and people. We have a travel Tangram that we use on road trips and it has helped my son with spatial awareness and problem solving.
Use the shapes to make various numbers and animals
Make abstract art with shapes while you are on a road trip or waiting at the doctor’s office.
Spot the Object
Children don’t have to be in school or at home to learn colors. It can be done anywhere. Try these activities below…
While you are on a road trip, pick an object you will identify such as a rectangle.
Identify with your child the rectangular signs, road markings, and the shape of traffic lights.
Are we there yet?
Has your child ever asked you “Are we there yet” while taking a trip? Use everyday math to answer this question.
There are two ways to do this. One way is with time.
Let’s say your family takes a trip that will last one hour (60 minutes) to get to your destination.
Just before leaving for your trip, show your child the time.
Let’s say you are leaving at 4:00pm.
Tell your child, you will get to your destination when the 4 turns into a 5, which is 5:00pm.
Check in with your child every 10 minutes and do a countdown.
For example, at 4:10pm tell your child you have 50 minutes to go.
At 4:20pm tell your child you have 40 minutes to go.
You can also do this every 15 or 20 minutes if you like.
This helps to decrease the constant asking of “Are we there yet?”
If you stop to use the restroom, explain to your child that this will add time on to the trip.
Another Way to do this is with Landmarks
Let’s say you are driving on the Interstate and you are on Exit 1 but your destination is near Exit 20.
Tell your child when you get to Exit 20, you will be at your destination.
Pinpoint every 2 or 5 exits until you reach the end of your trip.
Have your child identify the Exit Numbers.
For example, ask your child to tell you when you have reached Exit 4 and then Exit 6.
You have just created an important task for your child.
They are helping you navigate and they can sense how long the trip will be.
It is warm outside and kids are going to the beach (where there is salt water) and the pool. Some kids may notice that they float better in salt water than in fresh water. After doing this experiment, your child will know why this occurs. Explore the difference in density between salt water and fresh water with this easy experiment.
Let’s Get Started!
2 Glasses of Water
Place a few ice cubes into one glass of water
Add a few drops of food coloring into the ice water.
Add several tablespoons of salt to the other glass of water and stir so it dissolves.
Add some ice cubes to the salt water glass.
Add food coloring to the salt water and see what happens.
Compare the food coloring in the fresh and salt water.
Why it Works:
Saltwater is denser than fresh water because the sodium chloride is dissolved in it.
Specific amounts of salt water is heavier than the same volume of freshwater.
When salt is dissolved in water, like at the ocean, the salt adds to the mass of the water.
The salt makes the water denser than it would be without the salt.
When salt is dissolved in water, as it is in ocean water, it adds to the mass of the water and makes the water denser than it would be without salt. Because objects float better on a dense surface, they float better on salt water than in fresh water.