Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Falling in Love with Nature

It’s Fall, my favorite time of year- the crisp air, the changing leaves, walking through pumpkin patches… it is a great time to be outside.  Did you know that research suggests that spending time outside has significant psychological and physical health benefits?  But even more than just being outside, some studies show that spending time in nature has the greatest benefits (See Jill Suttie’s article on Why Trees Can Make you Happier). The Japanese have a term for this: “Shinrin Yoku” which means “taking in the forest” or “forest bathing”.  What’s great about this activity, is that it doesn’t require anything except for you to find a place where you can be surrounded by trees.  Nothing else. It is really that simple!  Spending time in nature and immersing your senses in the surrounding environment can lead to a decrease in stress and an increase in happiness.  It’s such a simple activity that the whole family can enjoy.  If you have active kids, you can take a walk in the woods and search for different colored Fall leaves around you.  For quieter kids (or a solo trip for you), you don’t have to move at all- you can find a quiet spot to sit and take in the beauty around you.  So get out there and reap the health benefits of hanging out with the trees.

Tags: 

Health & Wellness

Social-emotional learning

Grade Levels: Pre-K through High School

Age Levels: Choose from this list. Delete those that do NOT apply. 

  • Birth-36 months (infant/toddler)
  • Pre-K 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)

Developer:

Karena Rush

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 10/28/2020

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

The Importance of Play During Stress

Play is important for children (and adults!) of all ages.  Play helps children develop skills that prepare them for life.  When they play outdoor games, they are often working on their motor skills.  When they play make believe, they are enhancing their imagination and creativity.  When they play with construction sets and blocks, they are working on their problem solving skills and even emerging math skills.  But did you know that play is also important for our social and emotional health?  Engaging in play can reduce stress, allow children to work through difficult experiences, foster friendships, and increase happiness.  This is particularly important during stressful times such as the pandemic.  The International Play Association wrote a great article about the importance of play during times of crisis that talks about the benefits of play and gives parents helpful hints for how to play with their children during these difficult times.  Click here for the article: The Importance of Playing in Crisis.

Tags: 

Art

Creative thinking 

Health & Wellness

Problem-Solving

Social-emotional learning

Grade Levels: Pre-K through High School

Age Levels: Choose from this list. Delete those that do NOT apply. 

  • Birth-36 months (infant/toddler)
  • Pre-K 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)

Developer:

Karena Rush

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 10/28/2020

Categories
5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

I-Spy Game

This video provides easy instructions for engaging in a DIY I-Spy activity using materials you have around the house. You can fill the bottle with various items allowing you to tailor the activity to your child’s interests or learning goals (such as teaching colors or categories). You can make this an activity for the whole family by having older children make the game for their younger siblings.

Grade Level:  Pre-K- 4

Age Level:

  • Pre-K 3-5 years (preschool)
  • 5-6 years (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 years (primary)
  • 9-11 years (elementary)

Tags:  

  • Parent Led
  • Independent Play
  • Sensory Learning

Developer:  Karena Rush 

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 09/30/2020

Categories
Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Homemade Aromatherapy Playdough Recipe

Making aromatherapy playdough can be a soothing activity enjoyed by parents and children.  Using calming essential oils such as lavender paired with the stress relief that comes with squishing playdough, parents and children can enjoy a relaxing activity together. No essential oils?  No problem!  The Stay at Home Educator offers an easy recipe with materials that are likely readily available in your home (or experiment on your own with spices and other fragrant items you have in the house).

For video instructions (with a slightly different recipe) click here:  HGTV 

Grade Level: Pre-K

Tags: Art, Sensory

Developer:  Karena Rush

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 07/02/2020

Categories
5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Rainbow Walk/Scavenger Hunt

Description:  The Rainbow Walk or Scavenger Hunt allows you to get outdoors and work on color identification skills. Bring your child on a walk to search for items that represent each of the colors of the rainbow.  There are many variations of this activity and it can be altered based on your child’s age, interests, or learning objectives.  You might want to start with watching this video that describes how rainbows develop (good for Pre-K) or this video for older children (elementary age).

Below are some of the possible variations of this activity.

  1. For taking a rainbow walk, you can ask the child to identify items for each color of the rainbow.  Such as asking the child to first look for red items, then orange, etc.  Or you could develop a worksheet that has each color listed and then ask the child to place a check in the box every time they find an item for a specific color.  If the child is older, you could ask them to write the item down next to the correct color.

Materials Needed:

  • A piece of paper with the colors listed
  • A pen or pencil
  1. For items that can be brought home: 

Find one item for each color of the rainbow, bring the items home, and have the child order the items based on the colors of the rainbow.  

Materials Needed:

  • Bag to hold the collected items
  1. For items that can’t be brought home: 
    1. Have your child stop and draw a picture of each item in a notebook or on a piece of paper as they go along.

OR

  1. Have your child take a picture of various items. At home,  print the pictures out and have the child place the pictures into the shape of a rainbow.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper and something to write with (pen or pencil)
  • OR Camera (and a computer/printer if you would like to print the pictures out)
  1. Can’t go outside?  
    1. Have your child search your house or apartment for different colored objects

OR

  1. Have your child think of different colored foods and make a rainbow snack (listen to this song by the Swingset Mamas for inspiration)

Materials Needed:

  • Foods that represent different colors of the rainbow such as strawberries, apples, banana, lemons, limes, yellow squash, peppers (red, green and yellow),  celery, carrots, lettuce, blueberries, grapes (green and red), watermelon, cheese, fruit punch, jello, juices (orange, grape, tomato) 
  1. Bringing along older kids (1st grade +)?

You can have your older children do this as a science project.  Once home, they can identify the various flowers, leaves, or other items they have found in nature.

Grade Level:  Pre-K- 4

Age Level:

  • Pre-K 3-5 years (preschool)
  • 5-6 years (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 years (primary)
  • 9-11 years (elementary)

Tags:  

  • Parent Led
  • Color Identification
  • Science

Developer:  Karena Rush 

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 07/02/2020

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Birth-36 months (infant/toddler) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

How to Talk to your child about Covid-19

This is a challenging time for children as they try to navigate the changes in their lives brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Below are some resources that parents may find helpful including a resource designed for parents of children with autism to help their child adjust to changes and new routines.

Articles

If you are interested in reading an article about how to talk to your child or adolescent about COVID-19, click on one of the articles below:

Coronavirus (COVID-19):  How to Talk to Your Child Dr. Jennifer Shroff Pendley with KidsHealth-Nemours (en español

Sesame Street:  Caring for Eachother COVID Resources

Sesame Street and Autism:  Coping with COVID-19: A “For-Now” Normal

Videos

For Parents: You can also watch a series of brief videos on helping children adjust to COVID-19 developed by the Child Mind Institute.  A good place to start is with a video  that discusses how to talk to children about information regarding COVID-19 in a way that is appropriate for their age. 

For Children: Sesame Street is providing useful videos for young children including a video about practicing social distancing and another video about doing a virtual dance party with friends.  

PBS also has helpful videos about COVID for young children Pre K-3rd grade

For elementary school-age children, the BrainPop video that describes COVID-19 can be helpful.

Books
If you would like to read a book to your child about COVID click on one of the books below:
The Unwanted Stranger provided by Pangea Publishing
Or
Together, We Can! by Kerrie RH Farkas