4 Fun and Thoughtful Holiday Activities for Kids

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4 holiday activities

It is a great time to do fun and thoughtful holiday activities with kids! I love this season because it is so full of life, joy, and love! It is also a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, spend time with family, and to give thanks for our presence here on earth. What I love most of all about the holidays is GIVING to others!!

Yes, the act of giving makes others feel good but it benefits the giver as well. It boosts “neurochemical drivers of happiness” and helps to normalize levels of serotonin which promotes feelings of comfort and well-being. I wanted my son to give and experience these feelings.

Therefore, we have done the following activities below to share and receive the pleasant feelings of holiday giving!

Paint Rocks and Give as Gifts

Last Christmas, when my son was two years old, I encouraged him to give gifts to family members. We chose to find big rocks in nature and paint them. We packaged them in colorful wrapping paper and gave them away.

My son was so excited that he could give gifts! He asked me 5 consecutive days before Christmas if it was time to give the rocks away. His rocks from last year are currently displayed in my family’s homes and he is proud. This is a simple yet fun project.

Materials Needed

  1. Place Newspaper on table for easy clean-up.
  2. Pour soap and water in plastic container to make soapy water.
  3. Clean rocks with soapy water and toothbrush.
  4. Empty soapy water and put clear water in container to rinse rocks.
  5. You can also run water over rocks to rinse them.
  6. Pour water in cup for cleaning paint brushes of previous color.
  7. Put napkins in paper plate #1 to dry paint brushes.
  8. Pour small sections of various color paints on paper plate # 2.
  9. Place rock on table with newspaper or magazine paper.
  10. Let your child be creative and paint the rock.

 

soapy water and rocks
Washing rocks in soapy water!

 

washing rocks
Rinsing the rocks in water!

 

paint set up
Setting up our supplies!

 

painting rocks
He likes mixing the paint.

 

rocks
Finished product!

 

Count Money and Buy a Gift

When I was young, it was my job to take my parents’ loose coins and put them in a money jar. Every year, about three weeks before Christmas, I would put the pennies in wrappers. Afterwards, we took a trip to the bank to exchange the coins for dollars. I took this money and bought gifts for my mom, dad, and older brother.

There are so many lessons learned within this activity such as: counting, money recognition, sorting and the purpose of banks. Another skill I learned was awareness of others. A child may buy his dad green socks because it is his favorite color or mom a cup because she loves drinking tea in the morning.

Materials Needed

 

  1. Have the child gather loose coins and put into money jar.
  2. Count coins and sort into money wrappers using the Nadex Sort and Wrap Set.
  3. Take coins to the bank or credit union and exchange for cash.
    • If you don’t have enough coins to fill wrappers, then check with your local bank about the loose coin conversion policy.
    • Some banks and credit unions convert coins into cash for customers only.
    • Some grocery stores have coin machines but will charge a fee.
    • Check out this article for more ways to convert coin into cash.                                                                                                                
  1. Brainstorm with child what family members or friends they will purchase gifts for.
  2. Have the child list the person’s interest and favorites.
  3. Make a tentative list of gifts for each member or friend.
  4. Your list may change once you go shopping.
  5. Go shopping.
  6. Help the child the wrap gifts.
  7. Watch their faces light up when family members or friends open their gift!

 

money roll 2
Inputting Coin Wrapper in Nadex Coin and Wrap Set.

 

money roll 3
Inserting the coins

 

money roll
Coin Wrapping is complete!

 

Melissa & Doug Stained Glass Race Car Ornaments 

  • Please note that you can make other items such as hearts and rainbows.

This is a simple project to make with kids. There are two cars in the kit. Kids will enjoy the experience of decorating their cars with colorful stickers. This activity also helps with spatial awareness, creativity, and focusing. This would be a great gift for children to give to  family members.

 

Materials Needed

  1. Follow directions in the Kit for the best results.
car activity 1
Just getting started

 

car activity 2
One car is complete and another left to go!

Create Your Own Christmas Cards Artwork

Instead of buying birthday cards for family members and friends, my son likes to make his own. The personal touch of a handmade card from a child is priceless. The time and effort it takes to create a masterpiece for a loved one fills their soul with joy. The person knows the child took time to make something especially for them. So why not have this same experience during the Holidays?

My son has started to make his Holiday cards already. It is a symbol of appreciation for the person’s role in his life. Your child can create their own masterpiece and present it to family and friends. They can use crayons, stickers, markers, glitter and whatever their minds come up with to decorate this card!

Happy Holidays to You!Here is the Masterpiece I Created for You!

 

holiday card 4
Creating a Masterpiece on the Holiday Card.

 

Finished Product!

 

Complete the Form Below to Download Holiday Card!

Below are details about the card…

  • Downloadable 5 x 7in postcard
  • Child can create artwork in the white rectangular space
  • Ability to type in white rectangular space with computer
  • Plenty of room for child to create artwork
  • Child can deliver or mail postcard to recipient

 

Please print and cut the postcard on 100lb card stock paper for best results.

Before you download, please know:

  • Simply Outrageous Youth Printables are for Personal Use Only
  • You may not modify, re-sell, redistribute, or claim the design as your own.
  • Please do not remove the credits/watermarks.

I hope you try some of the ideas given here. My son and I had fun doing these hands-on projects! A bonus is we learned a lot in the process!

Tell me about your holiday projects. I want to know as I am always learning!

Don’t forget to Sign Up for our FREE Course of How to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way!

Happy Creating and Learning!

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4 Simple and Fun Pumpkin Activities for Kids

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Pumpkin activities

Every fall, I ask myself what are simple, fun, and educational pumpkin activities to do with my son.  We attend fall festivals in our county and get at least 4 pumpkins annually. This year, I was looking for activities that DID NOT require me to purchase more craft supplies from the store. I wanted to use items that we had on hand.

Below is what we did and had a blast!

Paint The Pumpkin

Materials Needed

 

  1. Put Newspapers or cloth on table for easy clean-up
  2. Put water in cup to clean paint brushes.
  3. Put napkins in paper plate #1 to clean and dry paint brushes.
  4. Put small sections of various color paints on paper plate # 2.
  5. Place pumpkin on table with newspaper/magazine paper or cloth.
  6. Let your child be creative and paint the pumpkin.

 

paint set up
This is our set up before starting to paint.

 

Pick, Count, and Cook Pumpkin Seeds

Materials Needed

 

  1. Place pumpkin on cutting board or pan in front of child.
  2. Give the child a spoon and have them scoop out the seeds.
  3. If they are having difficulty using the spoon, have them use their hands.
  4. Instruct child to put seeds in bowl.
  5. Have the child count the seeds while scooping.
  6. Another option is for the child to count the seeds at the end of the activity.
  7. Roast the pumpkin seeds for a great snack!

 

Scooping pumpkin seeds with spoon!

 

Make Pumpkin Soup with Rice

Materials Needed

  1. Follow our Pumpkin Soup with Rice Recipe.
  2. Have fun eating it with your family!

 

Access Our Pumpkin Soup with Rice Recipe

at the bottom of this post!

 

Have a Science Lesson and Learn about Decomposition

Materials Needed (please note this activity came from Sid the Science Kid Season 1 Episode 6 called Mushy Banana)

  1. Once the painted pumpkin has started to decay put it in a large plastic bag or container.
  2. Let the pumpkin decompose until it changes colors.
  3. Put plastic gloves on the child before touching pumpkin.
  4. Stay close to the child to ensure they don’t put the pumpkin in their mouth.
  5. Have the child feel the pumpkin and compare it to a fresh pumpkin.
  6. Have the child take a closer look by using their magnifying glass.
  7. Ask the child the following questions…
  • How is the pumpkin different from the fresh pumpkin?
  • How does it smell?
  • What colors do you see?
  • How does it feel?
  1. Put Pumpkin in the compost when complete.

 

He is analyzing a decayed pumpkin!

 

We cut the pumpkin in quarters and now he examines the decayed flesh.

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Get the password for the library with Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Rice Recipe by completing this form. Once you press the GET ACCESS NOW button, we will send you an email with the password. Then go to SOY Resource Library and enter the password.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Explain Multiplication to a Preschooler Using Pictures

HOW I EXPLAINED MULTIPLICATIONS-2

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Some may ask “Why would you explain multiplication to a preschooler?” I will tell you why. One day my son was playing with a math set that included numbers and symbols such as the plus, minus, equal and division signs. He likes to put the numbers in ascending and descending order. While playing, he held up the X (the multiplication sign) and asked “What is this?”

When my son asks a question, I usually challenge myself to answer it so he can understand. This time, after hearing the question, I was lost for words. I started to tell him that it’s a multiplication sign and he will learn about it once he gets older. Before uttering these words, I thought a picture would be the best way to explain this concept.

*Bonus Tip

Go to the Bottom of this Post to Get Access to A Fun Game, Using Action Figures and Stuffed Animals, That Will Explain Multiplication to Young Kids

 

Here was my process for answering the question, “What is multiplication?”

I cut a big piece of craft paper  and taped it to the wall. Then we found crayons and started our quick lesson.

Please note: In order to use this explanation, ensure your child is familiar with their numbers, counting, and shapes.

With the crayon, I wrote the problem 2×3 =. Then I asked my son to duplicate the problem using the numbers and symbols in his math set. He took the 2, 3, x, and equal sign and made the problem on the floor.

Afterwards, I told him the first number(2), tells us to draw two circles on the paper. The second number (3), tell us how many dots to put in each circle.

Then I instructed him to do the following…

  1. Draw two big circles on the paper.
  2. Put three dots in each circle.
  3. Count all the dots.
  4. You have your answer!

multiplication

Eventually he learned that multiplication is adding a number to itself a certain amount of times. So, 2×3 is the same thing as 3 +3 = 6.

We kept going over various examples, until he was able to create a problem and complete it independently. I also explained that it works inversely. You can draw three circles and put two dots in each to solve the problem. This shows that 2+2+2 = 6.

He was excited to learn something new and I was proud in my ability to explain this concept to my preschooler!

Corban multiplication
My son solving the problem 8×2 =

 

He loves writing on his V-Tech Easel.

 

corban multiplication 2
He is writing the correct answer 16.

When should kids learn multiplication?

Telling a three-year-old how multiplication works may seem too early. However, my child asked a question and I was determined to answer it. Better yet, he understood the concept through art!

Normally, children start learning multiplication in the 2nd or 3rd grades. I remember learning it in the 3rd grade. However, younger children can learn how multiplication works if you explain it to them in a way they understand.

Complete the form below and get started with this fun game.

Have Fun Learning!

Don’t forget to Sign Up for our Free Course on How to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way!

Get the password for the library with A Fun Game, Using Action Figures and Stuffed Animals, That Will Explain Multiplication to Young Kids by completing this form. Once you press the GET ACCESS NOW button, we will send you an email with the password. Then go to SOY Resource Library and enter the password.

 

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How to Teach Alphabet Recognition in a Fun Way!

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HOW TO TEACH ALPHABET RECOGNITION IN A FUN WAY

How to Teach Alphabet Recognition in a Fun Way

Some parents have concerns about teaching their child alphabet recognition. The big question is, “Where do I start with teaching my child the alphabet?” I’ve heard some parents say, “My child will not sit long enough to learn it.” Others are laid back and depend on their child’s teacher to handle this task.

Then I’ve talked to teachers who are able to teach their whole class alphabet recognition with no problem. Other teachers find it difficult to teach when they have many children in their class on different levels. These are the teachers who find it helpful if parents work with their child at home in addition to school.

I understand, as a mother, this can be an overwhelming task because it is one of the first concepts children will learn. As a result of hearing from parents and teachers, I decided to teach my child the alphabet in a fun and relaxing manner.

Many parents have the following questions about learning the alphabet…

When should a child recognize letters of the alphabet?

It is important to look at your local school district’s kindergarten program of studies. Our school district teaches kindergarteners to identify and name the upper-and-lower case letters of the alphabet. If you have a child that needs more time with alphabet recognition, then they may fall behind in class if you don’t work with them at home. I think it is safe for them to know it before starting kindergarten.

My son learned the alphabet at 18 months through play. I didn’t expect him to learn them until the age of three or four. When you teach it through fun learning methods, the child will want to learn more and more about the alphabet.

Should you teach letter names or sounds first?

Many people have different philosophies about whether to teach letter names or sounds first. I did it simultaneously. When my son was an infant, I would sing the Alphabet song to him with the sounds included. We played with soft alphabet blocks and I would identify the letter and the sounds associated with them. I also played songs, with a catchy beat, in the car with letter identification and phonics.

What are the steps to teach phonics?

Using play, songs, and books is a great way to teach phonics. Anytime my son and I read an alphabet book or played with an alphabet toy, we identified the letters and sounds (long and short sounds). Various books, songs, and toys that interest him were chosen to expose my son to the alphabet. I never wanted him to get bored with learning the alphabet using only one method. When a child is exposed to the alphabet and their sounds in various fun ways and methods, the learning becomes inevitable.

Once my son knew all the phonics, I showed him how to use them to sound out words like cat or pot. I also read books to him and played with puzzles and word games that included those same words for diverse repetition. Then I got him magnetic letters and asked him if he could spell words like bag or nut. When I said the words, I would slowly enunciate each letter sound so he could successfully spell it.

How do you teach the alphabet?

Before exposing my child to the alphabet, I did research on how to teach children through wholesome and playful learning. I applied my findings during playtime with my child and found that this teaching method works! Worksheets or flashcards were not used to initially teach my son alphabet recognition. They were incorporated after he knew them.

I used fun learning methods to teach the alphabet. This includes singing, dancing, painting, and using toys such as play doh to form the letters of the alphabet. There are so many ways to make it fun. I want to share with you what I have learned and experienced through a FREE Mini Course on How To Teach Alphabet Recognition in a Fun Way!

You may have a child that knows the alphabet, phonics, and is able to read. This FREE course is also for you. The principles taught in the course can be applied to almost ANY NEW CONCEPT you want your child to learn.

This method was used to teach my son…

  • Basic Social and Hygiene Skills
  • Life Skills
  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Write
  • Read
  • Tell Time
  • The Planets and their functions
  • Alphabet and Numbers in Spanish
  • Addition and Subtraction

I could go on but you get the picture.

This course provides the following…

  • Over 100 Tips, Activities, and Resources
  • Tips for the Child who loses Interest in Learning the Alphabet
  • How to Tailor lessons to your child’s pace
  • How to change your mind set about learning and teaching
  • 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 5 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 to track your child’s progress
  • Daily thought-provoking assignments to hold you accountable

 

HOW DOES THIS MINI-COURSE WORK?

Just sign up for the FREE mini-course with the form at the bottom of this post. You will receive  DAILY emails for 16 days with useful information, tips, tools, and an assignment.

You will receive your first email shortly after joining! Remember, it’s free!

YOU CAN DO THIS! I am here to help and guide you. The daily emails serve as positive reminders to encourage you to take small action steps.

I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you. Please share your progress with me as well!

Have Fun Learning!

 

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Self-Reflecting Museums For Kids

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TEACH KIDS TO MAKE SELF REFLECTING MUSEUMS WITH THIS BOOK

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!

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How to Make Mapping Fun for Kids

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MAKE MAPPING FUN FOR KIDS WITH THIS BOOK

 

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!

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One Way I Sparked my Son’s Interest in Geography

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what on your plate

We live in a very diverse area near people from various countries. I love talking to our neighbors about their culture, food, language, and upbringing. My son loves to eat and always wants to know how food will benefit him. For example, he knows that chicken and eggs will help him build muscle. When I saw the book, What’s On Your Plate? Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart, I thought he would be interested in reading it.

This book highlights countries such as Mexico, Ethiopia, China, and Greece, and gives the reader information on their locations, foods frequently eaten, and recipes. The enticing food pictures in this book will make you hungry.

My son connected with this book instantly. First, he learned that he eats similar foods to people all over the world. Moroccans eat grapes and oranges which are two of his favorite foods. He eats rice, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese like the Italians.

As we were reading the book, we had the globe beside us. We stopped on each page, identified the country, its food, and located it on the globe. I saw my son perk up because he saw these countries were located far away in various continents, yet one similarity was food.

Read this book with your child and learn about food all over the world!

Other ways to make connections with this book…

  • Make the recipes in the book
  • Eat Ethnic foods – Go to an Indian, Ethiopian, or Mexican Restaurant
  • Talk to people from other countries and compare what you have learned in this book.

Happy Exploring!

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Fun Activities that Teach Kids about Indoor Air Pollution

PRACTICALINDOORPOLLUTIONACTIVITIESFOR KIDS-2

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!

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Bringing Fun to Language Arts for Kids!

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BRING FUN TO LANGUAGE ARTS WITH THIS BOOK FOR KIDS

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!

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Little Kids, Big Words – Why Not?

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LITTLE KIDSBIG WORDS, WHY NOT?

One day I was skimming the New Children’s Book list at my local library, and I saw the book, Big Words for Little Geniuses by Susan and James PattersonAt first, I thought this book would be too advanced for my toddler. However, I decided to give it a try.

When I brought the book home, I opened it and saw these words…

“Why should your little genius’s first word be cat when it can be catawampus? Start your child off with an early love of reading with these big words that are wonderfully FUN to say!”

Anytime fun and learning are connected, I get excited! This book is colorful and introduces kids to big words in alphabetical order.

The first word was ARACHIBUTYROPHOBIA!!!! This word means a fear of peanut butter sticking to the top of your mouth.  I became discouraged and thought to myself, “How am I going to teach my son these huge words?”

I decided it was best to learn the words together. My plan was to read the book in small increments and  tackle three words at a time. We used YouTube videos to research and learn the words’ pronunciations. The book provided the word’s definition and vibrant images for further understanding.

It became a great learning and bonding experience for my son and me. He learned how to pronounce all the words in the book. We also try to use the words as we are talking. They are really fun to say.

Watch this video of my son pronouncing the words and reading.

If you work with a group of kids, get this book and try the activity below…

  1. Divide students into groups of four.
  2. Use the first word, which is Arachibutyrophobia, and read the definition and correct pronunciation to students.
  3. Instruct each group to create a comedy show centered around the words.
  4. The comedy show should contain the following…
    • Humor
    • Word’s definition
    • Word’s correct pronunciation
  5. Have students perform the comedy show to the class.
  6. Next week use the B word which is Bibliomania.
  7. If you want to create a challenge, have students incorporate multiple words from this book in their show.

Have fun learning!

Don’t forget to Sign Up for our Free Course on How to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way!

Get the password for the library with Tips and Tools for Accelerated and Fun Learning for kids by completing this form. Once you press the SUBSCRIBE button, we will send you an email with the password. Then go to SOY Resource Library and enter the password.

 

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