Last night our grandson Brayden had some subtraction homework to do. He had already finished his writing and sight words and his enthusiasm was beginning to fade. To reinvigorate homework time and make the math fun, his mom brought out the math manipulatives, but these were extra special manipulatives. Emily filled a small paper cup about half full of M+Ms. And as much as kids are attracted to small colorful objects, small colorful chocolate objects are really engaging. She explained that he could use the candy to count out and subtract the numbers, and when the homework was successfully completed, they were his to eat.
Tools & Tips
I recently went through the messy and exhausting process of deep cleaning of my home office. I noticed that my crowded work space was beginning to affect my mental space, so it was time to dig in and declutter. The piles on my desk were overwhelming, my bookshelves overflowing and my filing system completely ineffective. So after considerable time spent sorting, purging and reorganizing, I can say it was worth every bit of the effort. Not only is the space more inviting, the atmosphere itself feels cleaner and I feel there’s room for me and my thoughts now.
As much as a good purging and declutter is for us as adults, it is even more significant for our kids. Young children are in the process of developing internal order and the space around them profoundly affects them externally and internally.
Testing time is here in many US schools. When my kids were young, there was much less emphasis on standardized testing and test results. Now schools devote much of February getting kids prepared for standardized testing that happens in March. In some schools preparation is a review of material they have been learning in the classroom. In others it can mean a whole shift to cover material that they haven’t covered, but will be tested on. With all that’s weighing on test results; from teacher pay to school funding, there can be a tendency to stress. Parents may be stressed on what it means for their child. How might their child be ‘labeled’. Teachers can be stressed. School and district administrators are stressed – again because there’s a lot riding on those test scores.
Here are 10 GREAT Math Apps I found for your little ones to visually practice their math skills!
- Count Up To Ten: This app lets children discover numbers 1 to 10 and learn how to count using some of their favorite animals and characters.
- Number Rack: The Number Rack facilitates the natural development of children’s number sense. Rows of moveable, colored beads encourage learners to think in groups of fives and tens, helping them to explore and discover a variety of addition and subtraction strategies.
- Math is Fun: 4-5: Through 8 fun activities this app teaches kids to recognize numbers, to count, to order numbers, to play with weight, to determine order, and to handle shapes. It is an easy to use child-friendly design and free in the app store!
Remember the times you sat down in class and the teacher said, “Take out a piece of paper. We’re going to have a pop quiz!” Waves of panic flooded your body as you stared at that blank sheet of paper. Even when you were confident about what you learned – there was something about a pop quiz – a test- that could rattle the best of us. Our kids are no different. And they take a lot more tests than we ever did.
Here are some things you can do as parents and grandparents, to help your kids get ready for test time.
Last year I shared a lot about the importance of Preschool Development and helping young kids develop their own internal order. One of the ways we help our children and grandchildren accomplish this is through visual cues that help them move along independently. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from you, our parents and readers, that the Bedtime Chart is quite a hit, and a demand for the Morning Chart has arisen!
This morning I woke up to my usual stream of new ideas and a long “to do’ list, excited to start my day. But as I moved through my morning routine I realized the residue of yesterday’s creative activity was driving me crazy. I paused, looked around and saw that there were literally piles of chaos all over the house. Some of it mine, some my husband and adult kids, some from an energetic grandchild. Now there are days when the momentum of creativity and busyness sweep us along and the piles don’t matter – but there are also days when we all need to stop and tidy up. This is especially important for visual tactile people, who tend to leave signs of their creative thought process all around them, much like Hansel and Gretel’s trail of breadcrumbs.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that the stores we shopped at for holiday gifts have replaced the stocking and wrapping paper with rows and rows of plastic containers. This seems to imply we have so much stuff – we need to buy more stuff – to put our stuff in. The good news is, with all this plastic for sale, its a great time to organize our kids ‘stuff’. When our kids were young, we spent some time before the holidays cleaning out the old to make room for the new. Together we decided what was old, broken and ready for the trash. We reorganized and tidied up the keepers and donated some old toys as seed for the new to come.
Not Really. I’m not even sure what a gamer is. But I do know he found a few games on his IPad this holiday season that have captured his attention and and sparked some interesting conversations.
First let me say, Bill and I own plenty of technology and don’t really understand or know how to use most of it. We have smart phones, IPads, IPods, laptops, and fancy things on our television but barely tap into the depth of their capability. I’m sure the computer in my car could get us to the moon – and back – but I’m still surprised when my car channels the voice of the person on the other end of my phone call. And just who is Siri?
We have a kindergarten boy in the family and he loves building things and making things. His Christmas gifts included a lot of hands on activities and plenty of Lego’s. Brayden loves to build, take apart and rebuild the Lego sets he already has, but the addition of several new pieces have already brought hours and hours of time spent in detailed assembly work. As much as it seems we’re living in Legoland, we’re excited by his passion and interest, knowing it’s reflective of his strong spatial skills. Building these colorful three- dimensional puzzles is also a powerful way to focus his boundless creative energy.