One day my son and I went to the Dollar Tree to buy pans for our next science experiment.While we were there, my son found a big bubble wand with a tray, and asked if we could get it. I told him “yes” because it looked like fun.
I thought we could incorporate science into the bubble play by making our own bubble solution. When we got home, he could not wait to try out his new wand. He also suggested that we try other bubble wands as well. We looked around the house and got pipe cleaners, a straw, tape, and paper.
We took the materials and attempted to make bubble pipes with three different materials. They were simple to make and fun to use. We stayed outside for over an hour playing. The various wands we used made the bubble play interesting and engaging. I will show you what we did below.
Before I had children, child development professionals, friends, and families told me boys usually talk later than girls. It became something that I expected. So, when my son Cory was born, my goal was to communicate with him often so he would become familiar with language.
I didn’t want Cory to be a late communicator, because in my work as a play therapist, I noticed children who couldn’t speak would resort to hitting or kicking out of frustration. However, once they developed language, this behavior would decrease because they could communicate their wants and needs.
My son was able to speak in full sentences by nineteen months. This was because he was naturally exposed to language through play and interaction. One way that I exposed him to language was through playing and singing toddler songs.
How and when it was done
I played and sung songs during the night when he woke up as a baby and during car rides. We also heard songs during feedings and diaper changes. When we played Toddler Radio on Pandora, I would pick my son up and dance with him.
Once my son become a toddler, we would play music on Youtube or on the radio and dance to it. Then we would do physical movements to songs like Wheels on the Bus and Head Shoulder Knees and Toes. This helped Cory make a connection with words and their meaning.
You may take it a step further by purchasing or going to the library and getting books that are based on toddler songs. It is an excellent way to expose children to language.
Now that you know the benefit of exposing young children to toddler music, I will give you a list of 60+ songs.
My son was able to recite the numbers 1-10 at 17 months. I remember him sitting in the high chair, waiting for his dinner to cool down, saying the numbers as I held my fingers up.
He did not learn with flashcards. He learned with natural and playful exposure. I wanted to ensure he used three of his senses, which were sight, hearing, and touch, when learning the numbers. It was important for him to see, hear, and touch them. It is possible to incorporate the sense of taste by making number cookies.
I will show you the educational toys for toddlers we used to naturally expose my son to numbers in a fun way. Additionally, there are explanations in how we used each toy or material.
Let’s Get Started!
My son liked these types of puzzles because he was able to touch the numbers.
Whenever he picked up a number, I would identify it.
We would put them in order forwards and backwards.
I also loved to hide them around the room and he would bring them to me.
After he gave me the number, I would identify it until he could do it himself.
“Can we do a science experiment?” This is what my 4-year-old son, Cory, asked me while walking in the grocery store one day. We just passed the aisle with vinegar, which is an item we use for many of our experiments. A week before, we did the Tooth Decay Experiment,which taught my son the importance of brushing his teeth twice a day. He had a lot of fun with this experiment and wanted to have that same feeling again.
So I turned to him and said, “Sure we can do another experiment. Do you know what experiment you want to do?” His reply was, “No, but we can look one up.” We did just that the next day and found the Walking Water Experiment. I was familiar with how to do it without instructions. However, I wanted my son to read the experiment instructions and follow directions. Science experiments are a great way to increase a child’s reading level.
Watch the video below to see how science experiments can increase a child’s reading level.
We looked in our kitchen for the materials needed to do the Walking Water Science Project. We had everything except food coloring. Cory was so excited to do the experiment that he requested we go to the grocery store to get it. When my son is excited to learn something new, I try to act on it as fast as I can. After we got home from the grocery store, we were ready to get started.
This is an amazing experiment to show how water can defy gravity with a capillary action. I will explain this at the end of the post.
Let’s Get Started With This Fun Rainbow Experiment!
At first we only filled the glasses halfway, then we realized it is best to fill them up.
Put a different color of food coloring in each glass.
Stir the food coloring and water in each glass.
Place the glasses so there is an empty glass in between the ones with food coloring.
Fold six paper towels into a skinny rectangular shape.
Insert paper towels into two glasses placed beside each other.
Let this sit for 24 hours and watch what happens.
The empty glasses now had colorful water in them.
The glasses that were once full are now only a quarter full.
The water seeped through the paper towels and put water in the empty glass next to it.
Why this works:
As soon as you place the paper towel in the glasses, you should see that the it starts to absorb some of the water.
Water goes up the paper towel and defies gravity in a process called capillary action.
Paper towels are made of many small fibers that have gaps in between them.
Water gets pulled into these gaps by capillary action.
The water goes up the paper towel and down into the empty glass.
This is how water moves through plants.
Watch the video below to see how we did the experiment in real time. This video comes from my son’s YouTube channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe for fun learning adventures.
I love doing science experiments with my son. One reason is that they help children become better readers. Also, they provide learning that is hands-on and uses the three senses of sight, hearing, and touch (sometimes smelling and tasting as well). They are the best way children can apply what they are learning.
In the past, I have used science experiments to teach my son lessons in hygiene such as the importance of washing his hands. The activity I will show you today is a great complement to that experiment. It is called the Tooth Decay Experiment. This could be your child’s next science fair project (for older kids).
The Tooth Decay Experiment will show your children the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day. Furthermore, it demonstrates what happens to your teeth when you drink certain beverages such as orange juice, tea, and water.
We have fun with all our experiments; even those that don’t work. It gives us opportunities to investigate and solve problems. I tell my son this is what scientist do!
The Tooth Decay Experiment has made my son a “Flossing and Teeth Brushing Advocate!” After you do this activity, it will probably have the same impact on your child. I will show you how to do it.
Let’s Get Started!
Warning: This post contains a lot of pictures.
5 cups (we used paper cups)
5 individual labels that read: Orange Juice, Soda, Water, Tea, and Vinegar
1 cup of orange juice (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of dark soda (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of water (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of tea (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of vinegar (enough to submerge an egg)
Plastic Gloves to protect hands
Goggles to protect hands
Make 5 individual labels that read: Orange Juice, Soda, Water, Tea, and Vinegar
My family and I recently went on a much needed vacation. We visited amusement parks, saw a musical, and became one with nature. There were days where we relaxed and explored the local area. On some relaxed mornings and evenings, my son and I would either play with a toy, read, watch television, go to the pool or playground.
One of our traditions when traveling is to cook so we don’t have to eat out for every meal. This means we go to the grocery store and also purchase household items from a retail store like Wal-Mart. While in Wal-Mart, my son and I picked up one container of Play-Doh. The next morning I saw him playing with it. He looked at me and asked if I wanted to play as well. Of course my answer was, “Sure.”
We began our playtime with making various shapes and objects. Then my son said let’s play a game with the Play-Doh. We put on our thinking caps to make up a Play-Doh game. After conversing and adding on to each other’s ideas, we came up with the Play-Doh Challenges.
These challenges were fun and caused the morning to go by really fast. I will share the challenges with you below.
Let’s Get Started!
Enjoy Our Play-Doh Creations Below!
The first challenge is called Guess What I’m Making.
Guess What I’m Making
Each person takes Play-Doh and makes something with it.
You may either give each other a time limit to make something or simply wait until you all are done creating.
Next guess what the other person made.
You may give clues if the other person is struggling to guess the correct answer.
If the person guesses correctly, they receive a point.
Please note: You don’t have to play with points as it will make the game more competitive.
The next challenge is Name that Category.
Name that Category
Each person takes Play-Doh.
One person names a category.
Creators will have to make something within that category with Play-Doh.
The other creators will guess what you made.
My son named the category “Toys.”
As a result, we both made toys.
The next challenge is Create the Word
Create the Word
I want to give you some background on this game. My son has been learning to write in cursive. He really likes practicing the curves, twists, and turns in cursive writing. If you follow my posts, you will know that we like to do hands-on activities with what we learn. This is one of those activities.
Each person take Play-Doh.
Have each person name a word.
The other player will have to create a word said by the another player.
For example, my son said the word “yell” and I made it with Play-Doh.
I said the word “cat” and he made it with Play-Doh.
If your child is not writing yet, another option is to make letters or numbers with them
This is a great activity for number and alphabet recognition.
It is about a boy named Merlin, aka Big Monty, who loves astronomy and wants to be accepted by a kid named A’Lo Jenkins. Big Monty discovered that the lunch lady in his school, Mrs. Findlehorner, created a monster out of leftover lasagna. This story takes the reader on a journey where Big Monty and his younger sister, Josephine, figure out how to stop Mrs. Findlehorner.
A wonderful feature in this book is it has scientific experiments and activities that kids can do at home. One activity that caught my son’s attention was the Archeologist activity. Archaeologists are scientists who study history by digging up old artifacts and other physical remains. This activity will keep your child busy and exercise their problem solving skills.
I will show you how to do it below.
Let’s Get Started
A few toys such as blocks and hard plastic toys
Little dinosaurs or Legos are good choices
Take a few toys and put them in a bowl
Cover the toys in the bowl with water
Put the bowl in the freezer until they become a block of ice
Tell your child that they will be an archeologist.
Tell them that archaeologist are scientists who study history by digging up old artifacts and physical remains.
Your child’s job is to dig out the fossils, which would be the toys frozen in water.
Remind them to dig out the fossils or toys very carefully without breaking them.
Give your child a spoon, toothpicks, and salt and tell them to get the fossils/toys out of the ice.
THE SALT IS A CHEAT BECAUSE IT WILL HELP THE ICE MELT FASTER.
You may immediately tell your child about the salt or let them figure it out for themselves.
Overall being an archaeologist was fun for my son. There are some changes I would make the next time we do this activity. They are listed below…
About three weeks ago, my family and I went to Orlando, Florida for a fun vacation! We went to Disney Land and Sea World. The tickets included musical shows you can enjoy with your family. One show that was “epic,” in my son’s opinion, was Finding Nemo.
Below is what we saw before the show started.
We wanted to ensure we sat near the front, so we got to the theatre early. My family had to wait about 45 minutes before the show started. I usually keep activities in my backpack in case we have to wait for long periods of time. These activities include crayons, paper, Boogie board, playing cards, coloring books, and activity books. However, I took these items out of my backpack while walking around Disney Land. It was too much for me to carry all day.
I needed to think of games to play without my activity book, paper, and crayons. I wanted to make the time go faster while waiting for the show to start. Therefore, my son and I played four waiting games. We enjoyed playing the games and I wanted to share them with you.
Let’s Get Started
Rock Paper Scissors
You are most likely familiar with this game. The best thing about Rock, Paper, Scissors is all you need is your hands. You need two players for this game. We play this game in a tournament style. Below are the directions and how we played.
Each player uses their hand to represent the three items in the game: Rock, Paper, and Scissors.
The hand signals are as follows…
Rock = Balled Fist
Scissors = holding your pointer and middle finger to the side (similar to making the peace sign with your hands)
Paper = holding all five of your fingers out flat
Each player will say Rock! Paper! Scissors!” and then do one of the three hand signals towards their opponent.
The winner of a round is determined by three simple rules:
Rock wins against scissors.
Scissors wins against paper.
Paper wins against rock.
In our game, the first person to win 10 rounds won the game.
We played this way twice.
My son won one game and I was the victor in the other.
Try this game while you are waiting!
The time will go by faster.
Seek the Alphabet
My son and I love to play Alphabet Hunt Games at home. However, since we were at the Finding Nemo show, we played the Alphabet Seeking Game in the theatre. Below is how we played…
The object of this game to is find letters A-Z in the room where you are located.
The letters could be anywhere in the room like on clothing, books, pictures, magazines etc.
We found letters on our clothing, in the musical’s program, and on the theater’s backdrop
If you can’t find a letter in the room, you may either…
Say a word that starts with a particular letter
Find an object in the room that starts with a particular letter
We could not find the letter X, so my son said “x-ray” and moved on to Y.
Keep finding letters until you reach Z
There is no winner in the game.
The game participants are working together to find all the letters in the alphabet.
In this game, you are identifying words in a certain category in alphabetical order. This game will make you think.
Choose the categories you want to use in the game.
Ideas for categories are…
We chose food as our category.
Take turns saying words in alphabetical order until you get to Z.
The first person may say “A is for Apple
The second player may state ” B is for Banana.”
If a person gets stumped on a letter, the other players can assist them.
Once you have completed one category, choose another one.
This is a great listening game for players. It will help players practice their active listening skills. This game can be played with two or more people.
One player will pick an item in the room.
The same player will give clues to the other person(s) about the item in the room.
The other players’ job is to guess the item based on the clues given.
Once an item has been guessed, then another player will pick an item and give clues to others.
This is how we make waiting for long periods of time fun! It is a great alternative to having kids on a smart phone or tablet.
My family exposed me to money at an early age. As a four-year-old, my older brother Linsey, introduced me to counting money. Linsey is eleven years my senior, so he was my mentor along with being my sibling.
After learning how to write in cursive, my mother gave me the task of filling out checks to pay our household utility bills. After completing the task, my mom would sign the check.
This taught me valuable lessons. As a nine-year-old, I was familiar with how much my family paid for water, electricity, telephone, and cable services. As a result, I was conscious of turning off lights when I left a room and how much water I used when taking a bath. Once I started paying bills on my own, it was second nature to pay them in a timely manner.
This book is available on Amazon. Click the image above to access it.
During the summers of my middle and high school years, Linsey and his wife, Michelle, invited me to stay with them for two to three weeks. During these times, they exposed me to money topics such as the stock market, interest rates, and credit through games and role plays. They also owned and operated a business and it was my job to assist and learn what it took to be an entrepreneur.
Passing It On
When my son, Cory, was fifteen months, he saw a quarter on the table and tossed it in the air. He was amazed at the sound it made once it hit the floor. He seemed interested in the quarter and I decided it was time to show him a piggy bank.
My purpose was to let him touch, feel, and play with coins. Because Cory was fifteen months at this time, I stayed close to him. I did not want him to put the money in his mouth. He carefully took pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters out of the plastic bag and put them in the piggy bank. He was pleased with the clanging sound made as the coins hit the bottom of the piggy bank.
Cory and I have explored various financial literacy topics since his first encounter with the quarter as a fifteen month old. These topics range from money recognition and saving to real estate investing and business. He has been exposed to this topic through games and playful activities. For example, we discussed real estate investing by using Play-Doh, paper, and pencil.
We have also discussed the purpose of car insurance by using his toy cars. My son and I spend a lot of time in the car going to the grocery store, playdates, church, library, etc. Cory was curious about what happens if I hit a car. This led to a discussion about car accidents, police officers, and car insurance while we had a treat at Dunkin Donuts. We went home and defined terms such as liability and collision insurance by playing and crashing toy cars.
Watch the video below to learn how to teach children the financial literacy words, Assets, Liabilities, and Transactions by simply playing Monopoly.
Below are questions many parents have about teaching kids financial literacy…
How do you teach kids about finances?
Exposing children to lessons in finance does not have to be dry and boring. In fact, as adults we deal with money almost on a daily basis. You can include your child in some of those real world experiences, like my parents did, by having them pay for their own item at the store or helping you pay bills.
Another idea is to use your child’s toys to explain financial concepts similar to how we used toy cars to explain car insurance.
With over 30 years of combined experience in teaching financial literacy, Linsey and I have written a book called, Teach Your Child About Money Through Play.There are over 110 games/activities, tips, and resources on how to teach kids financial literacy at an early age. The activities include materials and toys that you already have in your home. They also include fun field trips that create a hands-on approach and a supplement to your child’s learning.
It will help you take the guessing game out of how to expose kids to money topics and concepts.
What is taught in financial literacy?
In the book, Teach Your Child About Money Through Play, we address money topics such as the history of money, various ways people earn it, and how it is used. You will learn fun ways to teach your child about budgeting, basic banking, the difference between liabilities and assets, and debt.
We also teach you how to use items in your home, such as toys and clothing, to introduce your child to real estate investing, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Learn to use household items to create fun scenarios and role plays so your child will have an understanding of these subjects.
If you have a child who has a lot of ideas or has a desire to earn money, starting a business may be appealing to them. You will receive a step-by-step guide on how your child can be an entrepreneur. Even if your child is not interested in business, it is great to expose them to this subject to encourage them to act on their ideas.
How did you decide on these financial literacy topics?
It was important for Linsey and I to teach children the history of money, how it is used, how to earn it, and making it grow. The purpose of this book is for children to have a basic understanding of money since they will manage it in their future. We included games and activities so you will know how to present the information in a relaxed and fun manner.
These financial literacy topics were based on Linsey’s and my teaching experience. I have experience in creating curricula and hiring over 25 teachers to expose kids to real estate investing, the stock market, budgeting, saving, etc. In previous jobs, I helped kids start businesses where they made money.
Linsey is the financial expert in our family and has 27 years experience in financial services and teaching kids about money. He and my parents were my first teachers on financial topics. Linsey is a former bank manager, stock broker, tax strategist, health insurance specialist, licensed in life property and casualty insurance, investor, and recipient of the US Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year.
This why I asked him to co-write the book with me. I trust his judgement especially when it comes to financial topics. He approved the topics and content in the book.
Why is financial literacy important for youth?
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said when you are an adult your report card is your credit score. This statement is very true. This is one reason why teaching kids financial literacy is so important. Once a child becomes an adult, handling money becomes inevitable.
It is best to make this process easier for children by exposing them to money topics while they are young. Teach Your Child About Money Through Play shows parents and teachers how to accomplish this with resources they use daily.
Let’s get our children a financial head start and strive to reduce the number one stress in our society today, money.
The Book’s Mission
Linsey and I have made it our mission to expose children to money topics in a fun way. With over 30 years of combined experience in teaching youth financial literacy, we give you a first-hand view of how to make money a conversation that is fun, natural, and interesting!
This is a great tool for parents and educators of children ages 4-10!
This book provides the following and so much more…
How to use real-world experiences to expose kids to financial literacy
Fun activities to introduce toddlers and preschoolers to money recognition.
How money is used in our society now and in the past.
Various ways that people earn money
Important lessons in budgeting money
The basics of banking
The difference between a liability and asset
Various types of debt and how it is used
How people invest in Real Estate
How people invest in the stock market, bonds, and mutual funds
Starting and operating a business
Kid Business Ideas
The purpose of having insurance
Here is What Others are Saying About the Book
I love that this book gives children an understanding of money and finances. Not only does it delve into ideas that make money, but it teaches the facts of money; its purpose, how to use money as a tool to grow in all areas of our lives and other vehicles that help accumulate financial growth.
I learned so much from this book. One detail that stuck with me was the power of working memory. Did you know that it is more important than IQ? As always, I want to share what I learned with you and its benefits to young children.
Let’s Get Started!
One of best ways to improve working memory is to read. Working memory is one’s ability to process information. This means focusing on the information or making decisions about it. A person with great working memory can manipulate information and reformulate it.
Let’s apply this to children. If a child is in school or participating in an extracurricular activity with a group, working memory can help them inhibit distracting information, like their classmates whispering near them. It will also help them keep track of where they are in a multistep task. Furthermore, children with good working memory can access information, like numbers or words, to complete an assignment. It allows children to hold information in their mind and complete tasks quicker.
Other Ways Working Memory Helps Children
It helps children think fast on their feet.
Take smarter risks
Make smarter judgement calls
Adapt to new situations
Stay motivated to achieve long-term goals
Follow a moral compass like doing the right thing in social situations
Working Memory is Better than IQ
Have you noticed that many people with below average IQ scores became great business men and women, bestselling authors, or innovative inventors? IQ is not the best predictor of lifetime success, especially not in our current times.
Thanks to search engines like Google, we no longer need to rely on knowledge such as facts, dates, and names. These types of facts are associated with IQ. Intelligence today is measured by being able to put those facts together, organize the information, and do something constructive with it. IQ is what you know and working memory memory is what you can do with what you know.
The facts below about working memory versus IQ may be shocking to you…
A good working memory is the best advantage in school and is related to good grades.
Kids with good IQ scores don’t necessarily have good working memories.
An average or even high IQ does not necessarily give children the tools for success in the classroom and beyond.
So let’s see how reading can help children improve working memory
Reading requires working memory because you recall information, anticipate what is coming next, and interpret words and sentences. Challenge your child and boost their working memory by reading more difficult books and stories.
For Children Ages 2 to 5
Read aloud to children and challenge them by reading new stories.
For 2-3 year olds, ask them facts about the story.
This will make them use their working memory to review what they know about the story.
If you read to children at early ages, you’ll be surprised at what they can analyze and make sense of.
Ask your 4 year old to give their opinions on the motivations of the characters.
For example, ask your 4 year old the following question: Why do you think the character ignored their friend?
These types of questions will help your child stretch their speculations.
For 5 year olds, if they can read, ask them to read simple and short stories on their own occasionally.
If the 5 year old cannot read, ask them to picture walk.
Picture walk means to look at the images of the story and predict what it is about.
Bonus Tip: For children ages 6-10, read harder material to them.
In doing this, you will stretch their minds and the easier books they read on their own will seem less difficult.