Tag - teaching

Ways to Encourage Creative Play

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Child’s Play Communications. All opinions are my own honest thoughts.

Whether you have a child who is naturally creative or one who needs some encouragement in that area of play, enriching our child’s imagination is beneficial to them in so many ways.

It helps them to become problem solvers.

It encourages them to be dreamers and share their ideas.

It helps them understand who they are as a person.

It teaches them to be bold and proud of their accomplishments.

Creative play is incredibly rewarding so why wouldn’t we want all these things and more for our children while also letting them be kids and have fun?!?

Just as children can be naturally creative or not, so can the big kids, the adults. If creative play doesn’t come easy to you, that’s ok. The Schleich brand brings inspiration to you with their carefully hand-painted figurines.

When you encounter a brand that was founded over 80 years ago and is sold in more than 50 countries you know it’s a business your family can trust. When we first unboxed the adorable animals we noticed the incredible details right away. There is no doubt these figurines are very high quality as they look like the real animals rather than a cartoon version.

The Schleich Farm World set and Wild Life Starter Set (sold separately) feature easily recognizable animals, not to mention there are so many other sets they offer including a unicorn set, and Marvel comics! Both my girls would be in heaven. I personally love the elephant the most.

Of course you’re thinking my child can play with these animals and make believe, but what else?

Although ideas are endless, here are a few ways we thought would be fun to play with the figurines:

Grouping and Sorting – Using the figurines (and other toys too) group them into different categories.
{The Schleich website has scientific AND fun facts on each figurine/animal.}
  • Group by letter in the word
  • Sort by where the animal might live
  • Sort them by most furry to least furry (or another describing word)
Use them for storytelling starting with one animal and introducing each to the story line until the ending.

Play hide-and-seek or use them for a scavenger hunt. Clues could be things the animal eats or sounds the animal makes.
Ask your child to pick a figuring and draw their own rendition of it. It will be neat to see how they view the animal from their point of view.

 

What other ideas do you have to get creative with your kiddos? Thank you for sharing your ideas for other parents and caregivers.

 

Code Ninjas – Kids Coding Program

With STEM fields continuing to grow, both parents and children alike are looking for effective and fun ways to join the movement.

As a technology savvy family we love that our girls want to learn more about coding. For Christmas Miss A got a coding robot that she loved figuring out how to make move, spin, and turn. We can see both our girls love for figuring out how things work and that not only includes things they can touch but also things in the computer world. It’s pretty inspiring to see their curiosity.

Entrepreneur David Graham created Code Ninjas for Children ages 7-14 to learn how to code in a fun, non-intimidating way — by playing and building their own video games with peers in a social environment.

In addition to coding, children gain skills in robotics, math, logic, and problem solving. The game-based curriculum and welcoming atmosphere enables kids to have fun, while parents see tangible results.

If coding wasn’t fun enough Code Ninjas is taking it one step further. The program is set up in martial arts style with different belt levels for children to work on, a fun belt color bracelet allows them to check-in for their twice-weekly hour-long sessions.

The Greater Charlotte area is now home to two Code Ninjas locations – Fort Mill, SC and Concord, NC. We had the privilege of visiting the NEW Concord location and meeting with owner Anjali Dighe who is one of the most passionate business owners I have met.

Whether it was finding the perfect school for their son, being part of organizations that encouraged growth and development, or how they are adding personal touches to their Code Ninja programs to bring learning to life, it is very clear that the Dighe family values learning no matter what form it takes.

As they open their doors at the Concord location and prepare to open in Ballantyne, Meyers Park, and Chapel Hill, {for starters} there is one thing that shines through, Anjali’s commitment to excellence.

In speaking with her she was excited about the Code Ninjas program that features Scratch programming, Java Script, Roblox, Python and so much more. Seeing the world with a different set of eyes is very important at this Code Ninjas location and their senseis (the name appropriately given to Code Ninjas instructors) who work with students.

One thing I thought was very fascinating and a great touch to the Code Ninjas program is that in the upper levels students learn how to create, develop, and even market their own apps. Kids are not only learning how to code but so many great life skills; perseverance, consistency, business ethics, creativity, and the list goes on.

We are so excited at the opportunities and love that Code Ninjas is giving the community something different and very valuable in this technologically focused world.

If you haven’t checked out Code Ninjas and live in the North Carolina area request more information or come visit codeninjas.com. If you’re not in North Carolina never fear Code Ninjas are quickly popping up across America as we speak – Locations Near YOU!

 

 

Thanks Code Ninjas Concord for letting us visit and play, we can’t wait to come back again soon.

Awesome Non-Fiction Books for Kids

For those of you with kids who love non-fiction you know sometimes it’s a challenge to find books that fit the criteria of being age appropriate, visually appealing and factually fun.

Here are a list of books that check all of those boxes and more!

 

Weird But True! Christmas: 300 Festive Facts to Light Up the Holidays is great for ages 8-12 and perfect for the holidays.

Ready for some totally festive facts? Even Christmas can be weird — it’s true! Did you know that Santa’s reindeer are probably all female? Or that artificial snow can be made from seaweed? Or that “Jingle Bells” was the first Christmas carol sung in space? Every kid will ho ho ho when they unwrap this book that is chocked full of the most random and fascinating facts about their most favorite holiday.

Get your copy here:

 

Ultimate Dinopedia will capture the attention of even the biggest dinosaur fan.

Although these amazing creatures roamed the Earth ages ago, new dinosaur discoveries are still being made today. The new edition includes favorites, like the fierce T-rex and the gentle Brontosaurus, plus audacious new finds, like the Anzu, Kosmoceratops, and Yi. Every dino profile is colorfully illustrated and features descriptions of when they roamed the Earth, how they lived, what they ate, and more. There are more than 600 dinos featured in all, including 10 profiles of recently discovered dinosaurs and new entries in the Dino Dictionary. Reports from paleontologists present the latest news and insights from the field.

Get your copy here:

 

Bet You Didn’t Know: Fascinating, Far-Out, Fun-tastic Facts
This BIG book is packed with gorgeous photos and illustrations and guaranteed to keep kids occupied for hours and hours. It makes a great classroom addition for teachers and homeschooling parents too.

Did you know that the first stop signs were black and white? Or that a litter of kittens is called a kindle? Or that butterflies can see more colors than humans can? Based on a favorite department in Nat Geo Kids magazine, this book is overflowing with fascinating facts, silly stats, and catchy little knowledge nuggets in all kinds of cool categories, from astronomy and sea creatures to revolutions and breakfast. Special features include Extreme Weirdness, Strange Places, Wacky World, and more.

Get your copy here:

 

Great for children ages 7-10, Just Joking Jumbo is the perfect book for your budding comedian. With 1,000 giant jokes and 1,000 funny photos it’s bound to be a hit with any kids who have a funny bone.

Knock-knocks, puns, riddles, tongue-twisters, photos of silly situations and even the craziest info about the history of funny business – it’s all here!

Get your copy here:

 

Hey, Baby! A Collection of Pictures, Poems and Stories from Nature’s Nursery is a book you will want to scoop up and cuddle in your arms if you have a nature loving kiddo.

From National Geography Kids, this collection of stunning photography of wee ones of the wild world will inspire, awe and awww. With dynamic profiles, clever poems, time-tested folktales, amazing rescue stories, and unlikely animal friendships, this book will be a favorite with sleepy little ones, new parents and moms-to-be. Featuring everything from wobbly baby bison to teeny turtles, mini-monkeys to fluffy foxes, this is the perfect keepsake book for the baby animal lover in us all.

Get your copy here:

 

Leave a comment – What are your kids favorite non-fiction books???

Back to School – 10 Reasons to Use Kindle Fire HD Tablet for Independent Reading

Are you in Back to School mode? Miss A has already started 2nd grade and Lil’ C is getting ready to start Pre-K for the first time this week. Though we encourage our girls to read with us and read independently throughout the Summer we often find that schools recommend or require a form of reading throughout the school year, which, being a book-worm, I love. We recently received a Kindle Fire HD from Staples to work on Summer reading lists to challenge our kiddos and keep their brains going through the Summer. We also realized it’s coming in handy for the school year for Independent Reading.

Here are 10 Reasons to Use Kindle Fire for Independent Reading:

10 Reasons to Use Kindle Fire HD Tablet for Independent Reading on MommyB

 

1. Set a time limit for reading/use. While I don’t ever want to stop Miss A from reading, sometimes it’s necessary to move on to our next task or work on another piece of school work. The Kindle Fire allows us to create profiles for each child and set time limits with Kindle FreeTime.

2. Technology encourages reading. While we have our own library and occasionally check physical books out from our local library, often times our girls want “screen-time” aka to play on technology. We have noticed that even though books are often the same on the Kindle Fire, the novelty of having the book in electronic version makes it more appealing, and however we can get our girls excited about reading we’ll take.

3. Easy access to books. Another great thing about the Kindle Fire are no last minute trips to the library and books are never out of stock like bookstores or libraries. We love heading to storytime and the bookstore, but we also enjoy the Kindle Fire’s easy access to a variety of books.

4. Features to personalize their reading experience. Kindle Fire HD offers your child adjustable fonts, line spacing, text-to-speech, built-in reference and dictionary. Students can also add their own notes, highlights, and bookmarks that they can access from their Kindle or any device with the free Kindle app, personalizing their reading experience and making an even more enjoyable experience.

5. Reading incentives made easy. Recently, we decided that we would offer Miss A even more incentives to read {aside from her school work} and give her the opportunity to earn screen-time through reading. The Kindle Fire is an easy way for her to transition from her reading time to her screen-time and has a number of free and paid apps including educational games and fun apps alike.

Miss A Independent Reading with Kindle Fire HD MommyB

 

6. No returns necessary. Have you ever forgotten to return a book by the due date? Kindle Fire allows you to skip the process of returning a book even when you’re just e-borrowing a book.

7. Teach new vocabulary. With some books Kindle Fire can read content with their Text-to-Speech feature. This feature isn’t meant to replace reading for your children, however in some cases it can help your child learn how to pronounce words and read along with books that are above their reading skill.

8. Find a good fit. Sometimes it’s hard to find a book that fits both Miss A’s reading level AND maturity. If you’ve ever been in the same situation you’ll understand that having the option of choosing a new book immediately is a huge relief. I love that Kindle Fire allows us to make that change without having to research, go to the library or store and get a new book, it’s an easy swap.

9. Read on-the-go. Of course you can take a book with you wherever you go, but Kindle Fire HD allows you to take up to 6,000 books* with you, that’s a lot of choices and a lighter load than a bag of books.

10. Shared classroom content. Kindle now allows classrooms/schools to share content using Whispercast. Whispercast allows schools to centrally manage Kindles, provide internet access, control settings, and meet the unique needs of students.

Do your children use Kindle Fire HD for Independent Reading? What are your favorite benefits?

Check out the Kindle Fire HD at Staples.com for more specs and details, protection plans, financing, free ship-to-store, and if you’re not a member already, check out their Rewards Member program for possible discounts. Also

College students – Save up to 80% when you rent and up to 50% when you buy Kindle eTextbooks.

*Kindle Fire HD can hold up to 6,000 books alone or less when you add apps, music, or movies. Wi-fi is needed to upload new books to your Kindle Fire HD.

 

I received a Kindle Fire HD from Staples in order to test out and review the product. I did not receive compensation and any and all opinions expressed in this post are my own honest thoughts. Yours may vary.

What is a University Model® School?

Disclaimer – I do not work for Naums nor have we started schooling at Naums, all information is from the Naums website or information shared from people who have been schooling and my general but limited knowledge of the University Model® school setting.

Lately I’ve had quite a few people ask me what school Miss A will be attending in the Fall and to explain more about how her school works.

Let’s rewind to school last year when Miss A was attending 5-day, traditional private school. DaddyB and I felt that, for a lot of reasons, the school Miss A was attending and a traditional 5-day school weren’t a great fit for Miss A so with the fact that we were open to moving (since we sold our home and re-rented it back ((a story for another day)), that we could really explore all schooling options.

The public school for our neighborhood at that time was not an option for several undesirable reasons, but we looked into other private schools in different areas and counties, did our research on charters and after reviewing all of our options we decided, through much prayer and thought, that the University Model® school seemed to be the best fit for Miss A and our family.

 

What is a University Model® School Answers and information on MommyBKnowsBest

 

What is a University-Model® school?

The University-Model® school (UMS) model is an option for education that is not the traditional 5-day setting. According to NAUMS (National Association of University Model Schools) “the UMS model of education takes the best attributes of home schooling and combines them with the best attributes of traditional, Christian education.” For our family we felt like it would be the best of both worlds, we would have more time to spend with Miss A (and Lil C once she starts Kindergarten), and give more hands-on learning, while focusing on a university style program.

The program at the school we chose (which keep in mind each University-Model® school has the same foundational roots, but can be very different), is strongly grounded in faith and both character and academically driven.

Our school is a private school, not a co-op for homeschoolers or a public/charter school. I believe this is similar to most University-Model® schools, but am not 100% sure if this includes all of the schools.

“The ultimate goal is that of producing wholesome, competent men and women of character who make a positive difference for Christ in the next generation.” Naums.net

 

How is University-Model® school different from traditional public, charter, magnet, or private schooling?

This school system is unique in that it is not a 5-day program. This model gives students a portion of professional full day classroom instruction and a portion of home study days with curriculum provided by the classroom teacher.

For our specific school Miss A will have 3 classroom instruction days and 2 days of home study. For our family it was amazing to think that we will have more days with Miss A than she will be in school (counting weekends Miss A will have 4 days at home and 3 days in school). Curriculum is based on several factors and highly supported with communication between teacher and parent.

Some things we loved specifically about this school and the University Model® are that they are founded on faith, character and academically driven, in our program subjects can be integrated, the school Miss A will be attending has an amazing support system for both mother and father.

Here are a few quotes from parents who have been using the University Model® with their children about what UMS is:

My short short explanation that usually is followed by a conversation is “picture university/college. You don’t go into class every day, but you have work to do every day. My kids go into class three days a week with their professional teacher and then we do work assigned by that teacher at home two days a week: projects, reports, review work, etc…” A Mom Who Tried Homeschooling for a Year and Realized it Wasn’t a Good Fit for Her Family

A combination of professional classroom time with two – 3 days at home using school developed lesson plans. Family and Christianity are also a common tie for all UMS’s.” Susan S.

 

What is a University Model® School Answer on MommyBKnowsBest

 

The biggest reason we chose a University-Model® school

While academics are important to our family we felt that we could have more time with our children and play an even larger role, while cultivating their relationship with God and enriching their character. To us, having healthy and happy children who have the tools to happy and healthy adulthood, were invaluable.

If you are interested in learning more about NAUMS and University-Model® schools please feel free to reach out to me via my contact form or head to NAUMS website Naums.net for more information.

 

Please keep in mind we have not started University-Model® school as of this post publish date and that each school within the model are very different and others may have different opinions or experiences. The above message is to both educate on the University-Model® school and give you one mom’s opinion.  I will update any information in this post as it comes available to me.

 

PBS Kids Martha Speaketh Weeketh

Summer is here and what better time to keep your kids learning in fun and creative ways?!? I’m a HUGE proponent of taking your children outside to learn, visiting museums, making fun crafts, but there also is something to be said about educational television programming too.

My favorite educational channel for kids is PBS KIDS. I know the shows will be wholesome and focused on learning from age appropriate characters and themes.

Beginning June 16 (check local listings), everyone’s favorite talking dog will kick off Martha Speaketh Weeketh with three all-new episodes of MARTHA SPEAKS and a new meaty online game, Martha’s Steaks. During the week, fans can watch their favorite canine linguist speaking in questions, in Polish, and even Elizabethan English!

What a great way to improve your child’s vocabulary and open up the doors to questions they may have about where certain words come from or what words mean. I love when experiences spur my girls on to learn new things.

 

Martha Speaketh Weeketh Teach Vocabulary

 

Some episodes that will be featured are:

Monday, June 16th
Thou Callest Me a Dog & Martha’s Paper Chase

Tuesday, June 17th
Alice Tells a Story & Pirates and Princesses

Wednesday, June 18th
Tomato, You Say & Martha Questions

and some great repeats the rest of the week that you won’t want to miss!

Martha Speaketh Weeketh PBS Kids

 

 

Have you ever asked your child what their favorite word is? I challenge you to ask them, share yours and discover their meaning or where they came from. Happy learning and happy {almost} Summer!

 

Martha Speaks Logo

 

 

This is not a sponsored post, however we did receive Martha Speaks products to help with this review. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are honest and my own words. Your opinions may vary.

Think Beyond Act – Life Lessons for Kids {Guest Post}

author1-250As a single father of three young sons, Adam, Chase and Kyle, I always tried to foster kindness. When one of my sons would be bullied I would call those parents and invite that boy for a sleep over. By Monday, they were BFFs. Problem solved. It’s about separating the pack leader from the herd.

I also encouraged my boys to “Think Beyond the Act” and reinforced this message whenever they would get into trouble; making it a teachable moment. I had a Leave to Beaver mind-set. I would sit them down and discuss why they did what they did. Having a conversation with them and showing them where they went wrong was more educational and informative than punitive.

Helping them evaluate the consequences before they acted, wasn’t always achievable.

My middle child once said to me, 4th grade I believe, “Dad, I thought about what might happen to me but I decided to risk it anyway.” Hey, you have to know I held back the urge to laugh out loud. But at least he was thinking on his own and taking his medicine too. Owning it.

Linking a consequence (or many consequences) to an impulsive act was the message of the day I always conveyed. I attempted to get my boys to think what might happen. The worst possible scenario. Most of us do (or did) things never expecting to get caught. I assured them, they would always be caught. (We live in a small Southern Oregon town and the eyes are upon them.)

Once, I had this same son draw up a Consequences Chart. It was outstanding. revealing that his one lone act of poor decision making, created many consequences. Eventually I think 15 consequences as a result of one minor incident as a high school freshman. His diagram was so good, the school used it to further educate students and has been used widely by other organizations.

As the world evolves into a more connected space, and now that my three sons are grown and out on their own with their own children, I began writing my children’s books, as bedtime stories. I want to continue doing my part to help kids feel warm and cozy and safe at bedtime.

Stevie Tenderheart booksOne mom shared how their daughter, Isabella, 4, who used to sleep in her and her husband’s bed every night, now sleeps in her own bed after reading her Stevie Tenderheart bedtime storybooks. Isabella says she’s a big girl now. Stevie is changing lives, one page at a time.

 

I think SMOG is a beautiful thing. (Stevie’s Messages of Grace)

1. Try a Little Tenderness
2. A Change of Heart Changes Everything
3. Choose Integrity as Your True North & You Will Never Get Lost

By sending out positive messages to children at an early age, it is my hope we can instill a sense of self and confidence along with “integrity” within their hearts and souls. By integrity, I mean, doing the right thing even if no one is looking. I believe once we get children to own this core value, we will have turned the corner with our youth.

Steve Laible, MBA is a retired USAF Captain and Creator/Author of the Stevie Tenderheart Comic Strip and Stevie Tenderheart children’s series of bedtime stories. Check out Stevie Tenderheart’s website here: stevietenderheart.com