As a former Pre-Kindergarten teacher and now stay-at-home mommy of 2 boys and a sweet baby girl, many people ask me how they can be implementing educational concepts in the lives of their young children at home before they enter school. Instead of trying to come up with a quick list of ideas off the top of my head to answer these questions, I have decided to put all of my lessons into this blog. I, along with so many other parents, want to be purposeful at home with my children and make the most of the time I have with them.
I hope that this blog can help, encourage, and inspire you to work with your kiddos and
get involved in the learning process! The benefits will be endless,
and the moments you share together will be priceless! As Dr. Seuss once said,
"The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go!"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Toddler Thinks: Fine Motor Skills

All three of these lessons promote the development of fine motor skills.  Although it may seem like it's just play, your child will be exercising their fingers, using strong hand and finger muscle movement, and working on hand-eye coordination.

Toddler Think #1: Pipe Cleaners in a Colander
* In this lesson, all you need is a colander and some pipe cleaners.  Demonstrate how to put a pipe cleaner through one of the holes in the colander.  Then let your child continue the process on their own.  Encourage them to hold the bottom of the pipe cleaner, close to the hole, in order to have better success.  They can do this for a long time!

Toddler Think #2: Cotton Balls in a Water Bottle
* Using an empty water bottle, allow your child to place cotton balls or pom pom balls inside, one at a time.  Let them continue until the bottle is full. Empty the bottle and repeat. (It's a little tricky getting them back out of the bottle :))

Toddler Think #3: Clothespin Pick-Up
* Demonstrate to your child how to hold a clothespin and pinch it to open. Then show them how to pick up a cotton ball with it.  Guide their hands to do this first, then let them try on their own.  This lesson is a little more difficult than the others because figuring out how to use a clothespin is hard for little ones.  Give them time, and eventually they will get the hang of it!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thoroughly Thoughtful Thursday: Five Minute Devotionals for Children

Every night before bed, we typically read a story from our Jesus Calling Storybook Bible.  However, we have been through this whole Bible multiple times, and I wanted to find some devotionals to do for the summer nights.  My mom happened to find these amazing devotional books at a book fair and bought them for my son's kindergarten graduation gift.  They are so perfect for my children and discuss topics that every kid needs to learn about.  The authors Pamela Kennedy, Anne Kennedy Brady, and Douglas Kennedy make each story relatable and enjoyable!  I highly recommend these devotionals to do with your family!

Book #1

Book #2

Book #3

Book #4

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Totally Technical Tuesday: National Geographic for Kids Website

The National Geographic Kids website is a great place to learn about our environment and the animals that live around the world.  There are videos, pictures, games, and more to captivate your children's minds and encourage them to discover the world around them.  Here are a few pictures of some of the amazing things we looked at today:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mighty Math Monday: Word Problems

* To understand that math equations can be put in word problem terms
* To use reading skills to read each problem
* To use critical thinking skills to determine the answer to each problem
* To differentiate between addition and subtraction word problems
* To use addition and subtraction skills
* To correlate marks/dots with the numbers to help solve the problem

* Word Problem Printable (from me :))
* crayons or pencils
* paper
* scissors

* Print out the printable above and cut out each word problem.

* Let your child read (or help them read) the first word problem.  I think it's best to start with an addition problem.

* Help them determine if they will be adding the numbers or subtracting them.

* Demonstrate on paper how to solve the problem by using marks (we used dots) and counting them to add them all together.  Then let your child do it on his/her own paper.

* Continue this process with each problem.  Here is an example of what to do for a subtraction problem:

* Here are my son's finished problems:

* I will be adding more problems soon.  Feel free to create your own and make them appropriate for your child's grade level.  For younger kids, use coins or counters instead of writing marks.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thoroughly Thoughtful Thursday: Operation World

About a year ago, I read a book called 10 Who Changed the World with my bible study. It is about 10 incredible missionaries who followed the calling to go and reach the nations for Christ.  During this study, the Lord truly convicted my heart to be more intentional about praying for the nations and teaching my children to do the same.  I decided to make this a daily activity, and here's how I did it:

There is an awesome book called Operation World.  It has every country in the world listed with information about each country and the prayer needs they have.  There is a country to pray for every day of the year. I ordered this book, as well as a globe, and these items are my kitchen table centerpiece, along with a bible, our memory verse book, and our prayer sticks.  This is representative of making Christ, His Word, and His people the center of our lives. 

Each day we look up the country, find it on the globe, read about the ways we can pray for them, and pray.  It's a fantastic way to start your day at breakfast or even as a special activity during dinner.  I long to be on the mission field one day, but for now, the best thing we can do is pray for the hearts of the lost and show our children how to love God's people in this way!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wacky Word Wednesday: Summer Journal

* To use fine motor skills involved with writing and drawing
* To consistently practice writing and drawing skills daily
* To recall events that happened during the day
* To be creative and use imagination to write stories
* To practice writing longer journals and use more details

* spiral notebook or journal
* pencil or pen

* Each day have your child write a journal entry.  This can be a recall of what happened during the day or an original story.  Let them draw a picture to represent their story. This is a great daily exercise to practice writing and help them use their imagination and/or memory skills.  My kids do this every day at school, so it's important to continue during the summer in order to maintain these skills.  I love reading what they write each day!

* For younger children: Let them draw a picture and tell you about it.  Then you can write down what they say.  This is called the Language Experience Approach (LEA).  This helps them recognize that what they say can be written down into words.  They will start to correlate the spoken words with the written words which promotes early reading.

* Extension for older children:  Encourage them to write with more detail, describing each aspect of their story with more adjectives and creative phrases.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Totally Technical Tuesday: Heads Up

This is our favorite game to play right now!!!  Heads Up is a great app that you can download and play as a family!  All you have to do is pick a category and choose one person to guess.  That person holds the phone up to their forehead while the others give them clues to guess what the answer on the phone is.  Tilt the phone forward for a correct guess and tilt it backwards to pass.  There are multiple categories to choose from including "Just for Kids," "Animals Gone Wild," and "Food For Thought" that work really well with young kids.  My husband and I even play with each other with the other categories! 

Although this game was made just to have fun, it truly promotes learning!  Children have to read what is on the phone and use critical thinking skills to quickly think of ways to describe each answer.  It is so fun to hear the different ways my kids share clues and how they relate the answers to books we have read or things they have learned in school.  We love it and hope you will, too! 

Heads Up Download