Teaching shapes: pumpkin-style is a fun way to put a Halloween/Fall twist on learning shapes. If you child is old enough have them draw the shapes, but if they are too young you can cut out different shapes and ask them to put them on the pumpkin. If you want to go the more messy, more expensive, injury-inducing, ER visit style you can use real pumpkins and a real knife.
For such a touchy topic, The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, does an excellent job of balancing an appropriate fear with the need to be friendly with people. Lately in the news, around where I live, there has been a number of children saying that a strange man has asked for them to get into his van. These occurrences happened around parks and schools. So when any parent hear’s things like that in the news they do what any sensible logical person does-they panic! Panic might be too calm of a word to describe how I felt. I wanted my sons to run and scream anytime someone so much as looked at them in a creepy way, but after the initial reaction passed, I realized I don’t want my kids to be rude, unfriendly, and anti-social. Some strangers become our best friends. So this book does a fantastic job of training the balance of fear and kindness.
Activity: Give your children scenarios where they encounter strangers and ask them what they would do. Wonder if someone says they have candy (besides Halloween)? Wonder if they tell you they have a puppy? Also review with your kid who trusted adults are: grandparents, relatives, good friends. I saw on the news once that a little girl was picked up by a man in a store when her mom was an aisle away and she kicked and screamed so he put her down and ran away. Teach your child defense maneuvers appropriate for their age. If you have an older child tell them to kick in the you-know-whats since that always seems to work.
When Papa Bear tells the cubs why they should never talk to strangers, Sister
begins to view all strangers as evil until Mama brings some common sense to the
problem. “The Bears’ rules for safe conduct among strangers are listed on the
last pages, including a rule about the privacy of a bear’s body. A good book to
start awareness in young children.”–School Library Journal.
This is a fun way for teaching colors to little ones. I cut out people from felt, and then cut out their accessories out of felt. Use all different colors to dress them. You can make 3 different colored shirts, pants, hats, etc. Ask your child to put the yellow shirt on the man. Ask your child to put the purple dress on the woman. Also a good time to discuss some obvious differences between men and women. Hopefully you are more artistic than me and a better tailor since my clothes don’t fit my people.
How I Became a Pirate is a hilarious children’s book about a boy who was chosen to help the pirates bury their treasure. There is a lot of “Aargh’s” and “Ahoy thar, matey’s” in the book which makes it impossible to read the book normally. I challenge you to read this book without switching to a pirate voice. I fer one thinks it be impossible, matey!
I cut out 10 balls total. Then I cut out stripes and spots. You can put stripes and spots on 2-3 balls, then ask how many balls have stripes and how many have spots. You can also teach same and different. Line 3 balls up and put spots on two of them and leave one without. How many balls have spots? Which ball is different? Which two balls are the same?
There are a number of ways you can teach counting. My sons love balls. Basketballs, baseballs, beach balls. If it is round they want to kick it, hit it, or throw it (actually it doesn’t have to be round for them to want to do those things). So when I teach counting I gear it toward their interests. If you have a daughter you could cut a middle hole in a circle and make bracelets. Then cut different color “beads” out and place them on the bracelets. How many bracelets have blue beads? How many have red?
Hello World: Greetings in 42 Languages Around the Globe! The title is pretty self-explanatory. The book shows how to greet someone in 42 languages. It shows you the greeting and underneath in parentheses it shows how to pronounce it. For example: German- Guten Tag! (GOO-ten TAHG). I think a more helpful book might be one asking where the restroom is or where food is. When they make that one I’ll be memorizing it.
For the Cat: Start with a triangle and fold into three more triangles like the picture to the left. Then turn it over and draw a face.
For those who are more dog lovers like me, here is how you fold the paper for the dog.
For the Dog: Start with an upside bottom triangle and fold the bottom like the picture below. Then fold two triangle ears down toward the folded bottom. Flip over and draw a face.
Grover’s 10 Terrific Ways to Help Our Wonderful World. Now, say that title 5 times in a row, quickly. Yah, I can’t do it either. The title is not the reason I recommend this book. This is great book to teach kids all about caring for the planet. It goes through 10 different things a child can actually do: recycle, plant a tree, etc.
Word of caution: Once your child learns how to better care for the planet they may become a Planet Policeman.
Teaching Patterns: Learning about patterns is a basic skill in math. Once kids see patterns then they begin to see 1 + 1 = 2, and so forth. Math is a pretty black and white subject, but it doesn’t have to be boring. You can use about anything to teach patterns: fruit loops, skittles, M&M’s, etc. Start easy like (blue-green-blue-green) then work up to (blue-blue-green-green), and continue to make it harder.
Tip: Don’t use your child’s favorite cereal or candy or pattern pieces might start to disappear.