4 Fun Ways to Teach your Child Math Skills

Teaching mathematics can be a challenge for some, especially if this is not a subject that you, as a parent, are overly fond of. However, mastering elementary mathematics is one of those skills that is infinitely invaluable as one goes through life. Of course we want our children to be brilliant, and to be able to master all of their academic ventures, therefore we must come up with fun ways to help and encourage our children to not only want to learn, but to retain what they learn. The most fundamental aspect for a parent to understand is that most children learn best when the lessons are applicable to daily life, and when they have a hands on component to them. This is why advanced mathematics is not a subject typically taught to children that are still in elementary school. The applicability of learning math is the key to engaging your child.

Children learn best by doing. Studies have often shown that when we just hear or read information it is often lost faster than when we actually have a hands on experience. What that means is we, as the parents, have a task ahead, making math fun, useful and hands on.

Math with Manipulatives

Many companies will offer you overly priced manipulatives in the form of plastic blocks, bars, etc. In realit, all you really need is a package of M & M’s, Skittles, some Legos or even Macaroni Shells to get the job done. You can effectively teach addition, subtraction and multiplication and some division using simple household objects. The bonus can also be that when your teaching time is done, there is something sweet!

Applying Math to Everyday

When we help children see the usefulness of mathematics, they are more invested to learn. For example, if your son loves Legos and he gets an allowance of $5 a week you can easily use multiplication for his benefit. Start a graph of sorts with the amount of a Lego set he would love to own. If the value of the set is $50, then you can graph out (through addition or multiplication) how many weeks, days, etc it would take to earn the amount of money required to purchase said item.

Magical Math

Your child already thinks you are amazing, why not show him or her some magician style antics that you create? I am a fan of showing how amazing a parent can be by mystifying a starry eyed child with the concept of volume. Take any child in the early elementary age range and begin showing them different sized and shaped containers, some tall and narrow, others short and fat. Then show them how when filled with the same fluid amount of water, all the containers appear to have different amounts. This works great when you do this exercise ahead and then ask your child which of the containers has the “most” water in it. The starry-eyed situation happens when they are given an opportunity to measure out the water and they learn the concept of volume. Another amazing magic trick here, fill a jar full of rocks and ask your child if it is “full” when they say “yes,” add some sand, when you ask again and they say “yes it is full” add some water.

Edible Kitchen Math

Let’s take math to the next level, simple fractions can be introduced when you ask your child to cook along side of you. Baking a batch of cookies becomes a learning experience when you change things up and ask your child if the 1 cup of butter is the same as 4 of the ¼ cup measures of butter. If they are unsure, allow them to do a quick experiment. Make a recipe, allowing them to do the measurements, and then the next time have them double the recipe and see if they can figure out the measurements. Again, by making mathematical concepts not only applicable but hands on and fun, we are engaging their minds, and in this case their tummies, to want to learn more.

Parenting and education are two areas where creativity is key. When we, as the parents, are able to think outside of the box and get our heads off of just using worksheets and drills to teach concepts, we are more able to engage our children to become partners in learning. Use what you have, think creatively and your child will also be well engaged in the process.

Non Electronic Activities to try when your kids feel bored

Kids today live in a digital world where a lot of things are done electronically. Entertainment, games, reading, and schooling are often done electronically. Sometimes these technological activities hinder creativity and physical activity that kids need to be exposed to. Research shows that our kids have too much “screen time” and that they need more physical activity to keep them from having sedentary lives which can lead to major health problems.

What can a parent do to encourage her children to find some old-fashioned fun, creative, and physical activities away from electronics? These ideas will get your kids off the couches and and begging for more.

First, Set Up Some Rules

You first need to sit down with your kids and set up some rules. Rules can be electronic-free time zones where no one can be on any electronics, including yourself. The rules should also include chores or homework that should be completed before electronics are allowed. Once the kids have done their chores and homework, they will need to spend some time in the electronic-free time zone and can try some of the following activities.

Science activities

There are some really great science activities that are safe and easy for kids to do. Kids love the hands-on activities. Science activities are tons of fun! Easy activities like Magic Milk, Homemade Propeller Car, and Steve Spangler Elephant Toothpaste will surely be big hits, plus they are inexpensive and easy to do with things you can find around the house. Head to the library and find other easy and fun science “experiement” books for kids.

Games Outdoors

Many kids today spend time outdoors doing organized sports, but what about good old-fashioned neighborhood games. Games like kickball, tag, jump rope, hopscotch, Frisbee, hide-and-go-seek, and other games you might have played when you were their age. If they don’t know how to play any of the games, teach them. Play with them at least until they get the hang of it.

Games and Activities Indoors

Indoor games can be just as simple as any board game or card game. You can purchase a deck of cards at the dollar store and teach your kids how to play games like War, Slap Jack, Go Fish, Old Maid and more. If you don’t have the money or the board games, you can always help kids make their own games. Hide-and-go-seek is another great indoor game. Have kids make tents or forts to play in with blankets or sheets.

Easy Crafts

Go online and search “easy crafts for kids.” You’ll find tons of fun ideas for kids to make. Some of my favorites are Buggles, Toothpick Painting, and Star Wars Crafts.You could even make a craft box with craft supplies like glue, glitter, tongue depressors, stickers, and other crafty materials from around your house that your kids could make crafts with whenever they get the craft box out.

To help your kids find fun ideas of ways to stay off the electronics in this digital world, think back to your childhood or your parents childhood and do things that were done then. They might be a little old-fashioned, but your kids will love them and will beg for more.

Add any ideas you might have.

Handling Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry is a very important word in the dictionary of parents who have more than one child and the children do not get along too well. It is a very common feature in many families where one child is more dominant than the other and the other child thinks that he is not loved by his family members as much as his other sibling is. This creates jealousy amongst the siblings. Normally when the siblings compete with one another as to who is better in sports or studies etc. and who is the one who can impress the parents more , there are traces of sibling rivalry . It also starts when there are personality clashes, attention tactics and favourism by the parents. Sibling Rivalry is something which should be handled very meticulously. The children should not get that feeling that the parent is trying to resolve the brewing rivalry. How to stop siblings fighting ?

Prepare for the Birth :

Before the birth of your second child you have to prepare your elder one for it. Make him feel important as an elder brother. Tell him that the baby is being brought for him so that when the baby grows up they could be best of friends. Take him along the journey of your pregnancy. Allow him to feel the baby kicking below the bulge. Tell him how you felt when you were expecting him. Pictures of him as a baby can be shown to him so he knows exactly what to expect of his little sibling.

After Birth:

When you come home from the hospital be sure that you have given the elder one some responsibility of welcoming the little one. Reward him for the work done. See to it that Day one is very comfortable for the elder one. Do not focus only on the baby. This is the age when somebody else can also be with the baby. You as a mother will be required to be with the baby only when you need to feed.

Make Provision for gifts:

When ever there is a newborn in a family, friends and relatives visit . They bring gifts for the baby. There are people who bring gifts for the elder one too. But all do not. This is something that you should handle with care as this is the first step towards rivalry. Bring gifts for the elder one and keep then in reserve so that when friends and relatives lavish the new born with gifts, you can give a gift each time to the older one.

Gift Opening:

Make your elder one responsible for unwrapping the gifts and showing then to his younger sibling. He will happily do that for you. Tell him that he should teach the younger one how to play with the rattles and other play toys when his sibling grows up a little.

Allow Sibling Bonding:

Every morning have a fixed time for your two kids to bond with each other. Let them be with each other under your supervision. Show the elder one how he has to handle his little sibling. He will surely learn fast and soon the bond between them will be unseparable.

Role of Teacher:

As the children grow up give the elder one the feeling that he should teach skills he is good at to the younger one. Make him feel important as an elder brother. The younger one will also look up to him.

Give “ ME “ time:

Give some of your time totally to the elder one. Make him feel that you love him too and want to spend quality time with him. Otherwise he may not voice it but may feel that all the time the focus is the younger one.

Boredom solved:

All the time if you make your elder one do duties for his sibling, he will be bored and may just feel forced to do it as he may not want to hurt you. Parent realization in this matter is very important. Give him some new and interesting activities to do. He will be very happy as now he is your focus. Let him know verbally that you love him very much.

Make both kids Responsible for their behavior:

When the kids grow up make some rules in the house. Each child will be responsible for his own behavior towards others or amongst themselves. SO if one or both of them behaves badly ,give them punishments like they will not have any Television time and will have to go to bed early.

Give them space:

If the children are fighting over unneccesary things, separate them. See that you calm them down. Explain to them later on after they are calm and cool why this fighting was unnecessary. If you do it immediately the fighting may restart and it may also escalate.

Make new games:

If you feel that the kids are fighting over the same toys they you can make a new game for them where both can play with the toy at the same time. This will excite them as well as they will make peace between themselves.

Blame Game:

Do not blame any one child for the fights. It takes two hands to clap so you as a parent should speak to each child separately as discussing the issue together will escalate matters. Try and understand where all this started from. Become a good judge and solve the problem to the satisfaction of both the children. Nobody should feel that you are favouring the other.

Do not compare:

Comparing two children is the worst step a parent can take. Each child is an individual and is unique. So their attitudes, reactions and how they handle things will be different. Give each child time to do thing at their own pace. Just because the other child is faster , do not keep saying it. It will demotivate this child and he may lose the will to do the work told.

Sibling Rivalry certainly creates a lot of stress in the house. But if the parents handle it carefully it will help them to bond better and We as parents should understand that Sibling Rivalry is a way of Love.

Why Unstructured Free Play is good for Kids ?

Free Unstructured Play can be defined as when children play without being directed by their elders. They do just as they want to do. There is no fixed game where they have to adhere to certain rules and regulations. Free play is very essential for the overall growth of children. It helps build up their Physical & Motor skills, Language &Cognitive skills as well as their Social and Emotional skills. There are many benefits of Unstructured Free Play.

No Pressure & Stress

Normally parents are always after the kids to do many things according to their rules. This brings in a lot of stress and burden on them. During Free Play there is no pressure and stress experienced by the kids as there are no rules to be followed and they are free to do as they please.

Decision making Skills

They improve on their decision making skills. They learn to find problems as well as solutions to those problems. Learning to understand right from wrong is very important.

Leadership qualities

When playing in a group, children normally play games where one of them decides what they have to do and everybody does just as he says. This imbibes leadership qualities in the child.

Learn while they play

Children learn concepts without realizing that they are learning something at their own pace and at their own time.

Sense of Independence

They learn to share , negotiate, take independent decisions and resolve conflicts.

Enhance Creativity

Their creative juices flow as never before. If they are left on their own to probably draw and colour or even play with clay without being guided by the teacher or parent, they come up with things wich is beyond the imagination of an adult. Their imagination goes haywire. They love to go into the world of fantasy.

Social & Emotional Skills are Fostered

When playing in a group it fosters social and emotional skills. They learn to await their turn. This encourages them to learn to be patient. Their relation with their peers improves.

Takes them away from the Electronic Gadgets

The advantage of free play is that children are not glued to the electronic world like television, I-pads and Tabs. This is a big advantage as then there is no physical exercise and in turn no physical or motor skill development.

They learn to Initiate

They learn to take initiative. They create stories and activities in the world around them. Children are always ready to spin up stories and they always want to be better than their peers when it comes to telling stories.

Empathy ,Self awareness, Self reliance , Self confidence are all fostered during free play. It also helps to encourage physical activity in older children who do not have any time to play as they are pressured with their studies and different classes they attend. Free play helps in taking away stress, anxiety and depression and and also improves the overall mood of the children. Most children are very happy when they indulge in free play. So as Parents and teachers , we should always encourage free unstructured play.

Why home gardening is good for your kids ?

Children love to dirty their hands. Gardening at home can be a fun way to teach children a lot of things. Gardening helps children to be connected with nature and build up their cognitive skills. It can help children to be involved in designing the home garden, think of which vegetables or herbs they  want to grow, maintain the garden, learn how to harvest and also later talk to their peers as to how they  help their parents with the home gardening .

If there are siblings in the house and the parents give them the opportunity to grow their own home garden and explain to them that this is a team effort and everything planned and executed should be discussed with each other before proceeding, they will definitely abide by the rules. The children will learn to work as a team and this will help them further in their lives as adolescents and adults.

You as a parent should involve the Children to first plan where to have the garden. Then help them with soil preparation, seed sourcing and planting. As the children are going to be looking after the garden see that the garden is in such a place that you can supervise it. Buy the children small sized rakes, spades and gloves. Tell them that they are totally responsible for the growth of the vegetables in the garden. Gardening teaches the children responsibility, teamwork and respect for nature. Home gardening can also foster social development. Trying to do gardening teaches children to take risks. Children show more concern for each other and working in a team is easier for them.

The kids should take turns in putting compost to the plants and watering the plants everyday.  So this gives each of them the responsibility of watering the plants. Every other day fertilizer should be put in. Soon the plants start growing. The kids are working in a team so they are very proud of their team effort.  The children also develop their cognitive skills. They learn about the different vegetables that they can grow in their home garden and their benefits. They can discuss with their other friends and can encourage them to grow home gardens just like they did. The garden will teach the young children gardening skills, composting, water conservation, sharing, and teamwork and most important pride in ownership.

Children learn to grow, and eat fresh & delicious and nutritious vegetables. They get hands on experience in working together .  Great educators say that Senses are the Gateway of knowledge. Kitchen garden kids learn through sensory experiences. These kids have a good self esteem and also they have the qualities of empathy and Altruism. This promotes and encourages team work. These children also experience a sense of  well being and a positive self image. They have a sense of pride in their garden. When they see the fruits of their labour they are thrilled and they have a feeling of accomplishment and empowerment.

Children should be involved in home gardening so that they develop good qualities like team work, self confidence, high self esteem and above all its healthy !

Feeding and Scheduling Tips for Your Toddler

That first year with your baby really goes by in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, you find yourself with a toddler on your hands, one that’s walking, babbling and ready for more food than you realize. So how do you provide proper nourishment and what time should you feed your child? Well, some of that is up to your own personal schedule and you’ll have to figure out what best meets the needs for your family, but here are some helpful tips on how to transition into feeding a toddler.

There is no one perfect schedule

Every family is different so following the schedule your best friend follows to feed her toddler might not work at all for you and your toddler. Other factors that contribute to what will work best for you is if you are still breast or formula feeding, or if you stay at home or work outside the home.

Starting a solid foundation

By the time your child is 11 months, from there on out he should be eating solid foods three times daily. The time you feed him is up to you, but whenever you sit him in his high chair, make sure you’re serving him all different kinds of foods. This ideally should be the things you serve the rest of the family but cut up into very small pieces and in smaller portions. Your child should also be able to feed himself and drink from his own cup. He will take longer to eat his cubes of chicken and potatoes than the rest of the family, but he will be building a solid foundation for healthy eating.

You can (and should) still give breast milk

If your child still nurses from your breast, don’t worry about weaning right away. He will do so in his own time. At one year of age, you can start introducing cow’s milk to your child but be careful not to give too much. Milk tends to fill up their stomachs and will decrease his appetite for other foods that he should be having.

Sleep plays a part too

Now that you’ve got a toddler, he’ll be sleeping a lot less than he was as a baby. As a result, he’ll be hungrier so watch for his hunger cues and be ready with snacks. But remember, he’s still a little guy. Too many snacks will make him too full at meal times.

Kids aren’t always hungry when we are

For many different reasons, your child might not be hungry when you feel it’s time to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. And that’s very normal. Big snacks, random naps and changes in your schedule can all play a part in when your toddler is ready to eat again.

Let it go

Don’t ever try to force a schedule on your child. The pattern will emerge on its own. If your child isn’t hungry right when he wakes up, don’t force him to eat breakfast. Try 30 minutes to an hour later and you just might be surprised how much he gobbles up then.