In our household, we have something called “Creative Time.” This is when my son chooses an activity or a game he and I can play. This is my time to follow his lead in whatever creative project he wants to do.
This time, he pulled out his bowling game and said, “Let’s play!”
While playing the game we incorporated addition so my son could practice his math skills. If your child is not doing addition yet, use this game to practice counting and number recognition. Like all games we play, we had a blast!
I have always admired people, young and old, who can play the game of Chess. Throughout my life, I have heard the many benefits of playing this strategic game. Also, people who play Chess seem intelligent to me.
Honestly, I have tried three times to learn chess and failed. It was the time and energy it took to learn the name of the pieces and how they moved. I would read or watch online videos about the game and eventually become bored.
The idea of tackling Chess again came from my mother. One of her gifts for my son’s third Christmas was a Chess game. It was the same cycle again.
I read the book that came with the game she gave my son and I got bored. Additionally, I thought my son was too young to learn the game. However, in the back of my mind, I knew Chess would be a game that he would like because it challenges the brain.
My Bright Idea
My decision was to wait until he got a little older to introduce him to the game.
My future plan was to take him to some type of community program that would teach him how to play Chess. Then, maybe I would learn through him. This was a win-win situation!
It wasn’t until one night while skimming Facebook, I saw an advertisement for Story Time Chess.After seeing the advertisement’s picture of young kids playing chess with their parents, I wanted to learn more. On the website, I saw these words, “A revolutionary new game that lets you teach your child how to play chess as young as the age of 3!”
It is revolutionary because it teaches kids to play through fun stories with colorful diverse characters instead of rules. Each piece has a story about how it moves. Each piece holds a character’s picture from their story which allows children to visually connect it to the chess board and understand how to play.
Another helpful aspect of Story Time Chessis each story is concluded with a mini game that reinforces how the pieces move.
We love it! My four-year-old son and I learned how to play chess within a week and a half of opening the game! He was highly motivated to learn because of the engaging stories and pieces in the game. We currently play almost daily. Sometimes, he wins and other times I am the victor.
Watch the two videos below of my son and I playing chess. The first video is footage of us playing a game. The second one shows my son winning against me in the game of Chess.
Below I will answer frequently asked questions parents have about Chess. It will be through the lens of our experience.
What age can a child learn chess?
The programs that I have researched in my local area start teaching kids chess at the age of seven. However, I have seen kids learn chess as young as five-years-old. My son learned how to play through Story Time Chess as a four-year-old. However, if I’d known about this game earlier, our starting age would have been three.
If your kids love fun engaging stories with colorful characters, they can learn at an early age.
What is the easiest way to play chess?
Of course you know the easiest way for us to play chess was to learn through Story Time Chess. We learned how the pieces moved in this order: king, pawns, knights, rooks, bishops, and queen. There were mini games at the end of each story that gave us a hands-on perspective on how each piece moved.
The best way to learn is be consistent with playing. It is important to learn the basic steps first and then take it a step further by learning various strategies.
We play daily which helps to hone our skills and learn new strategies.
What Chess teaches?
Chess teaches children so many important skills. I will concentrate on three skills below.
Chess teaches kids problem solving skills. During our games, my son spends time concentrating on how to keep his king safe while capturing mine. I can see him thinking about and planning his next move.
It also increases your child’s creatively. There is one piece my son loves to use when capturing my king. When I take that piece away from him, he has to be creative and think outside the box to win the game.
Chess has improved my son’s memory and observation skills. I use a particular strategy to win games against him. One day, I noticed he began to remember my first three moves while playing. He told me what the moves were and asked why I always did that. Then he developed some strategy to counter my moves. Amazing!
This book gives children the history of soap, how it is made and why it works. We learned that before soap was invented, people used urine, incense smoke, clay, sand pumice, and ashes to clean themselves.
The pictures in this book are colorful and appealing to children. It will make your children laugh, say “ewwww”, and become more curious. The authors have included hands-on activities and tips that will further your child’s understanding of soap and its purpose.
One experiment we did involved ingredients you have in your home such as oil, water, and dishwashing liquid. It teaches kids why soap is a better cleaner than water by itself. My son learned that water and oil don’t mix, so washing with water only leaves most of the dirt behind.
I will show you the experiment and other discoveries we made.
Let’s Get Started!
Put cooking oil and water in a jar.
Screw on the lid and shake
The oil and water should separate into layers
Add drops of dishwashing liquid to the jar and shake again
This time it should make a cloudy mixture
Oil and water are no longer separate layers
Compare two jars.
One jar should have oil and water.
The second jar should have a mixture of oil, water, and dishwashing liquid.
Why this Experiment Works and How Germs are Washed Away
Most dirt contains oil.
Oil and water do not mix so washing with water only leaves most dirt behind.
Soap binds to water, dirt, and oil.
The tail of soap molecules attach to oil.
The head of soap sticks to water.
When soapy water mixes with dirt, the soap molecules form tiny clusters called micelles.
When you wash your hands with soap, dirt mixed with oil from your skin is pulled inside the micelles, then rinsed away.
In the experiment, the soap molecules grabbed the oil and water making a cloudy mixture in the jar.
Today I challenged my son to find something creative to do while I cooked dinner. He spent some time blowing up a balloon then watched it fly through the air after releasing it. He played with his cash register and a DIY water gun we made earlier that day.
Next he saw the book, Draw Alphabeasts by Steve Harpster laying on the table. He decided to view it while he ate a snack. This book teaches you step-by-step how to make over 130 monsters, aliens, and robots from letters and numbers.
I checked this book out from the library about a year ago. We enjoyed drawing the characters so much, that I purchased it from Amazon.
This month is October and I thought his book choice was great because Halloween is soon approaching.
My son, Cory, skimmed the book and decided to draw a monster named Zeep starting with the number 4. After drawing, he showed me his picture and I was very impressed.
Cory then asked if I was almost done with cooking. My reply to him was “yes.” He wanted to pick a character for me draw. He chose a character named Freddy Bones, who resembles a skeleton and robot simultaneously. Again, it was the perfect picture for Halloween.
Below is a picture of our drawings, along with the step-by-step instructions we followed from the book. This book is perfect for beginning artists and for those who just want to be creative.
Try these out. There are characters drawn from numbers 1-20 and the alphabet in this book. Buy this book if you want to draw more characters! I highly recommend it!
What do you do on the days when it’s raining or extremely hot or cold outside? You can do fun science experiments! Today my son and I decided to do a bubble experiment; however, there was something different about this one.
We all know that bubbles pop shortly after they are formed. This happens when the water between the soap film surface evaporates. We made bubbles that would NOT pop! It is called the unpoppable bubble!
Kids will be amazed at how difficult it will be to pop a bubble in this experiment. Try this activity for yourself and see your child’s amazement!
Let’s Get Started!
Water (4 parts)
Dish soap (1 part)
Corn Syrup (2 parts)
Food coloring (optional)
Fill a bowl with water
Put a few drops of food coloring in the water.
Put dish soap in the water.
Mix in the corn syrup.
Dip the tip of the pencil in the mixture.
Dip one end of the straw into the mixture and blow into the other end to make bubbles.
Try to pop the bubble with the pencil.
Now try to pop the bubble with your finger.
Watch the video below to see our unpoppable bubble!
Why this experiment works:
Bubbles are made of two basic things: water and air
Adding soap and corn syrup to water helps make the bubbles stronger
Soap and corn syrup molecules squeeze in between water molecules and help the film of water stretch out without breaking.
Bubbles made of just water pop quickly because their watery skins aren’t very stretchy.
When a dry pencil touches a bubble, the water in the bubble’s skin sticks to the pencil and causes it to snap back.
One day my son came home from daycare with DIY Slime. He could not wait to show it off after he greeted me with a kiss and hug. It was in a yellow container and sparkled with glitter.
We decided to take the slime out the container to play with it. It was sticky, slimly, ooey, gooey, and fun to play with. We smashed and constructed it in to various shapes.
About 30 minutes before dinner, we decided to make up an activity called the Slime Time Game. The game is simple and will encourage your child to think on their feet while being creative. This is a great indoor activity for rainy and cold days. Below I will explain how to play.
My son loves science experiments that are messy and incorporate mild explosions. When I saw this experiment, I knew we had to do it. Like many of the science experiments we do, all the ingredients were in our home.
We liked this activity because it was simple and fun. It requires you to use boiled eggs. I used this as an opportunity to expose my son to the science of cooking. While boiling the eggs, we discussed how cooking is transferring energy from a heat source, the stove, to the food. In other words, heat changes food.
One day my son and I were watching the Temperature Investigation episode of Sid the Science Kid cartoon. Cory was two-years-old the first time he watched it. After the episode ended, we decided to do the science experiment showcased on the cartoon. My son learned a lot about thermometers and temperature change during this activity.
Fall is coming soon and our children will witness a drop in temperature. Do this simple experiment at home to help your child learn about temperature changes in nature. I am pretty sure you have all the materials in your kitchen.
The title of this post can be a shock to some people. A toddler reading is an abnormal concept to many humans.
This can be a normal concept for any child who likes to play, explore, and learn. It is not reserved for children who we think are geniuses. All kids are born creative geniuses. We just have to find playful ways to foster their curiosity.
Parents would approach me and ask if he was really reading. Of course I would reply by saying “yes”. Their next question would be, “How is he doing this?”
I could have talked with them for an hour telling them how he learned through toys, singing, dancing, acting, playing outside, and reading.
Below is video of my son at 25 months reading a book to me just before bedtime.
This is why I have created the FREE Mini Course: Strategies to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. It gives you strategies to make reading fun, natural, and stress free for you and your child. This includes some of the techniques I used with my son to expose him to words, reading, and reading comprehension in a fun way.
This training is a four-part series. Below is what you will learn in the first video…
The learning system I used to teach my son to read.
How I address the objections people have about teaching a child to read as a toddler.
The one mistake parents make when reading to their child.
And so much more!
By the end of this video, you will know how to read aloud to your child in a way that creates meaning and connection! This will strengthen your child’s reading comprehension skills faster!
In the second video you will learn about the One Million Gap and How to Beat it!
In the third video, I will reveal the 10 Components Needed to Teach Reading in a Fun Way!
The fourth video reveals how to take your child’s learning and reading to the next level. You will also see my son spelling at 21 months and reading on a third grade level as a three-year-old.
Watch the BONUS video below with fun tips to expose babies and toddlers to words and reading.
Complete the form below to access the FREE Mini Course: Strategies to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play
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.