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

Cinco de mayo

¿Qué es Cinco de Mayo? (What is Cinco de Mayo?) 

Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of the Puebla on May 5th, 1862. 

Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in Mexico as much as it is in the United States. However, as the granddaughter of a Mexican American, I am humbled by this holiday. In the United States, we use it to highlight and celebrate the Mexican culture. Parades, dancing, festivals, and my favorite — food — are some of the ways to celebrate this date. A favorite tradition during this holiday is to break open a piñata. There is even a song (in English and Spanish) to go with it! This song is one that will stick with you and is fun for everyone. So take a look into the beautiful and colorful Mexican culture by clicking on the blue link: Cinco de Mayo and its history

A fiesta worthy activity para los niños!

Grade Levels: PreK through Grade 3

Age Levels: 

  • PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (Elementary)

Description: Read/listen to the book The Piñata Story by Lisa and Michel Zajur and Illustrated by Samira Mobayed Murray. Discuss their observations of Mexican culture from the book. Create your own piñata and have fun! 

What Should I Do? 

  1. Listen to the Read Aloud book by one of the authors, Lisa Zajur: The Piñata Story. The author introduces some Spanish words and encourages the children to learn them, too. Practice along with your child.  
  2. Discuss the observations of Mexican culture from the book.
    1. What do the houses look like?
    2. What are the people wearing?
    3. What colors do you notice? 
    4. What are similarities and differences from Mexican culture with your own? 
  3. Make your own piñata! 

Tools and Materials 

Paper Bag Piñata Supplies 

  • Tissue paper or construction paper (12 x 4 inch pieces) 
  • Stapler
  • Candy (optional)
  • Paper lunch bag (5x3x10) or any size will do! 
  • Newspaper pages to shred
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Twine or ribbon
  • Hole punch

**SEE PHOTOS FOR ASSISTANCE 

  1. Shred the newspaper and grab the candy. 
  2. Fill the paper lunch bag with shredded newspaper and candy. Make sure you fill the bag with enough paper and try not to put too much candy in it to make it too heavy. 
  3. To secure the bag closed, fold over the top and tape or staple shut. 
  1. Measure your paper bag and cut the paper into strips that are long enough to wrap around the paper bag. 
  2. Now, cut fringe along the edges of the paper strips every inch or so. Only cut half way. The strips don’t need to be perfect and can be different sizes. 
  3. With the left-over paper, cut approximately 5 more 1-inch strips of each color paper, about 4- 6 inches long. Set these aside.
  1. Starting at the bottom of the bag, use tape to secure each piece of fringed paper around the bag. The first layer should hang over the edge of the bag.
  2. Repeat while overlapping the previous color.
  3. Punch two holes at the top on opposite sides.
  4. Cut a piece of ribbon or twine a few feet long and place it through one hole on your piñata, and knot it. Repeat this for the other side. 
  1.  Using your leftover strips that you set aside from step 6, tape these strips to the bottom of the bag. 
  2.  YOU’RE FINISHED!

Tags: 

History

Art

Reading

Listening

Parent-Led Activity 

Music

Developer:

Lauren McNeely

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA
Credit:
ConnectionSpot.org on 5/5/2021

Categories
5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Spring Equinox

Grade Levels: PreK through Grade 3

Age Levels: 

  • PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)

Description: Learn about the Spring Equinox from the online version of the Farmer’s Almanac.  Listen to the author of the book,  And Then It’s Spring by Julia Fogliano. Discuss how this book relates to what actually happens during the Spring Equinox. Then, make a craft! 

Spring has sprung! 

After a grueling year filled with fear and uncertainty due to COVID 19, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. While the first day of Spring was marked March 20, 2021, it has taken a little while for the flowers to bloom after a colder winter; at least in the northern hemisphere. However, depending on where you live, will depend on your Spring weather! So, what makes this change happen you may ask and how do we explain this to our children? If you were to ask my grandfather, he would swear up and down on the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Don’t panic though, you don’t need to go buy a book. There is an online version to help us explain,; The Spring Equinox . In this edition of The Old Farmers Almanac, you will learn what the word “Equinox” actually translates to, the folklore behind it, and ancient traditions that we still carry out to this day.

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Computer & internet connection to listen to read-aloud story
  • Rocks, Paint, Paint brushes or Painting utensils (get creative! e.g., Q-tips, Cotton Balls, items lying around your house that can act as a paint brush)  

What should I do? 

  1. Click on The Spring Equinox to find out more from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
  2. Listen to the book and then it’s spring by Julie Folgliano and illustrated by Erin Stead.
  3. Discuss the season using questions. 
    1. What happens in Spring?
    2. Why do we call it Spring?
    3. What can we do in the Spring? 
  4. Make a craft! I associate Spring with having fun outdoors; gardening, and watching things come back to life.  For this craft: grab some rocks, paint, paint brushes or painting utensils (get creative! e.g., Q-tips, Cotton Balls, items lying around your house that can act as a paint brush).

Craft: Flower Painted Rocks

Picture courtesy of Crafts by Amanda

Grab any old rock lying around and paint it however you would like! Once dry, leave them around your house as a paperweight or around your community to help bring it to life- just like the flowers in Spring! 

It takes a reminder that flowers only bloom because of the rain and the sun. Let’s hope the rain of COVID 19 is over and we can get back to blossoming. Happy Spring!

Tags: 

Science

Art

Reading

Parent-Led Activity 

Creative Thinking

Developer:

Lauren McNeely

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA
Credit:
ConnectionSpot.org on 04/9/2021

Categories
5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Family Resources

Let’s Talk Money

Finances. As adults, most of us dread this word. Can I get an AMEN?  It brings a whole host of baggage with it; budgeting, spending, savings, debt, checking account, savings account, investments, retirement accounts, and the list could go on and on. 

If I would have learned some basic skills at a young age, some of my decisions and choices about money would have led me down a different path. That is one reason my first career was in finance. Setting yourself up for success is the true key to financial contentment. Notice how I used the word “contentment”. It’s not about becoming rich. It’s about becoming smart with your dollars. So, how do I explain this or help my child start this process early on?

SCENARIO:

You go to the grocery store. Your child wants everything in sight and they don’t understand why 3 boxes of gushers are not going in your cart. You say no for the millionth time. 

A conversation may start like this: I understand that you want things but everything costs money. Money is something that we exchange for the value of something else. Sometimes it is called cash. It is green and we call them bills or coins. Other times, we pay with a card (show them). Most children need to connect words to objects. When we get to the check out, I will give you the card/cash/coins etc. to pay the cashier. 

#1: TALK ABOUT IT! Use financial language (cash, coins, savings accounts, checks) when speaking with your child. Tell them where the money goes when you receive it. It goes to pay the bills, electricity, rent, groceries, etc. Help explain what each word means. Spending cash. The cold hard green stuff. If you don’t have it lying around (I mean who does), draw it, explain it.

#2. Get involved. As pointed out in our scenario, you can be interactive with your child and money. If you go to an ATM, explain that it does not give you an endless supply of money. That money is linked to your personal account.

#3. Guide them. Give some guidance by setting a budget once they obtain money. If you are able, you could set up an allowance. Give room for mistakes! We have all had that impulse buy we later regret. Working with money is a process and takes years to master. 

RESOURCES TO HELP:

Websites, Games & Information on Money 

Make Money Fun for Kids!

Money as You Grow: Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Money doesn’t have to be scary and it won’t solve all of our problems. However, it can be a great contributor to contentment. So talk about it. Be real. And remember money, when managed intentionally, can give us the opportunity to live life to the fullest.

Grade Levels: K-6

Age Levels: 

  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)

Tags: 

  • Social Skills
  • Parent Led Activity 

Developer:

Lauren McNeely

Credit: 

Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 02/09/2021

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)

PBIS World- Managing Child Behavioral Problems

At a loss with your child’s behavior? 

We all see it, or it has happened to you! You are at the grocery store and you look down the aisle. A child is screaming at the top of their lungs. They are grabbing items off the shelves or throwing items in the cart while the adult is frantically picking the items up and trying to correct the behavior without drawing too much attention. Embarrassment, exhaustion, and anxiety is written all over this situation. What do you do?

Don’t worry, we are here to help guide you in the right direction. PBISworld.com is an excellent resource to help get you started with identifying your child’s behaviors and how to address them. While this resource is typically used by educators, parents and caregivers would also find this site to be helpful. This site doesn’t provide hard fast rules to solve your problems. However, PBIS (positive behavior interventions and supports) allows parents, caregivers, and educators to identify, implement, and evaluate responses to a child’s behavior. Interventions are addressed in 3 Tiers. These interventions show different ways to implement and produce behavior changes for your child.  As you move through this site, it guides you, the parent and/or caregiver, through the different levels of these interventions depending on the severity of that behavior.  This site covers a wide variety of behaviors including defiance, negative attitude, sadness/depression, poor coping skills and many more. Remember, while these interventions and strategies are a great place to start, you know your child better than anyone. Evaluate your personal situation and adjust these strategies to fit your culture and child’s temperament. If the intervention doesn’t feel right or you need further assistance by a professional please seek out those options. Check out the get started page PBIS World- Getting Started to help ease your anxiety and get your child back on track to success! 

Tags: 

Social-Emotional Learning, Student Success Skills 

Grade Levels: K-12 

Age Levels: 

  • PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 12-18 (Secondary)

Developer:

Lauren McNeely 

Credit: 

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 10/21/2020

Creative Commons License

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)

Remember Grace

As I began writing this blog post, I am reminded of Grace. If there is anything I need right now it is that!  

As an educator (especially this year), things are more overwhelming than ever. I was on a virtual team meeting call with my school district to review our plans for the beginning of the school year. By the time it ended, almost an hour and a half later, I was crying. What did I get myself into? What is my next step? What will the parents think? What if I can’t do this? 

As parents/guardians/educators or whatever role you are playing in a child’s life right now, you may feel the same way as me. OVERWHELMED. The questions are piling up and anxiety could send you on a trip to the ER if you aren’t careful. 

What I am asking of you, is that you give yourself Grace. This means giving yourself time, patience, and room for mistakes. It means allowing yourself to be imperfect, to cry if you need to, and to take time for yourself.  Take one minute and breathe. You can do this.

We are all only human after all. And as the saying goes, “We are all in this together”.

Developer Lauren McNeely

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 09/16/2020

Categories
Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Toilet Paper Roll Slides

Using toilet paper and paper towel rolls!

Description: Tape the rolls to a wall, floor, or box. You can cut them or make a maze for the balls to fall through. You can also add colors to each tube or to each ball for color matching as shown in the picture to the left.

* This activity requires close supervision. However, this activity is considered kid centered/kid led play.

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Computer & internet connection to listen to read-aloud story
  • Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Paper Towel Rolls
  • Pom Poms OR Cotton Balls, Marbles (*Please note if you use marbles they can be a choking hazard thus requiring adult supervision at all times) 
  • Masking tape, Painter’s tape, Safe tape for your walls or floor 
  • Tongs/Scoops (optional)

What should I do? 

  1. Listen to the read-aloud of the storybook, Oscar and the Cricket written and illustrated by Geoff Waring. Children will learn about moving and rolling .
  2. Talk about the story. What surfaces did the ball roll down the best? Which were faster? Which were slower? Why?
  3. Present the activity to your child. 
  4. Gather your materials.
  5. Set up the activity in a safe location that you can tape on.
  6. Create your tube slides or mazes.
  7. You could also work on color matching by coloring the tubes to match the color of the pompoms and instructing your child to match the colors. For example: “Can you put the blue pom poms down the blue slide? 

Thought-provoking Questions:

  1. Why did the marble move faster than the pom-pom?
  2. If you create a maze: Which slide is faster? Why?
  3. Why do you think the pom-pom got stuck?
  4. How else could you set your slides up? 

Suggested Ages: 3-5 years of age

Tags: 

Fine Motor Skills

Developer:

Lauren McNeely

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 07/02/2020

Categories
Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Building with Bubbles!

Suggested Ages: 3-5 years of age

Description: Bubbles can be used for more than just fun! This science experiment builds on children’s knowledge of trial and error, success and failure, and engineering 101. 

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Soap (Dawn is the best, OR you can make your own bubble solution)
  • Water
  • Straws
  • Bins or flat surface for bubbles 
  • Toys/Cups/Legos/Small objects that can get wet

What should I do? 

  • Gather your materials.
  • Set up the activity in a safe location that can get wet. 
  • Place the water into a bin.
  • Pour in soap.
  • Show children how to build bubbles with the straws by blowing through the straws into the solution. 
  • Use your straw to blow bubbles in the liquid.
  • Place cups in bubble solution. Grow towers. 

Thought provoking Questions:

  • What are you building?
  • Why are you building your tower that way?
  • How can you make your tower taller?