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

Teaching Your Child About Anger

Images credit: Pixabay TheDigitalArtist and  Open Clip-Art Vectors

Learning to express and manage anger is an important skill for children. This can be particularly challenging for young children as they often have difficulty expressing themselves due to their emerging language and limited vocabulary.  Below are some excellent resources for teaching children about anger and strategies for calming themselves down when feeling angry.

BOOK:  When Sophie Gets Angry by Molly Bang, is a book about a young child struggling to manage her anger. The analogy of anger being like a volcano can help children put a visual representation to what it feels like inside their bodies when feeling angry. 

SONGS and VIDEOS: PBS has a wonderful Daniel Tiger on Mad Feelings Learning Kit filled with resources for learning about anger and anger management. Daniel Tiger has some great songs and videos about how to manage mad feelings.  In addition, it provides lessons for how to talk to children about their feelings of anger.

Sticks Learns How to Deal with Anger is another short video that provides additional strategies for anger management in a child friendly manner.

Finally, Sesame Street offers a wonderful video and song that teaches children how to belly breathe as a way to calm down when feeling angry. 

We want children to learn that anger is an emotion that we all feel but that it is important to learn strategies for how to express and manage our anger in appropriate ways.

Tags: 

Social-Emotional Development

Grade Levels: Preschool through Primary

Age Levels: 

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

Developer:

Karena Rush

Credit: 

Creative Commons LicenseAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 02/24/2021

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)

Teaching Your Child About Black History

For too long, Black History has been ignored and erased. While studying this important topic shouldn’t be contained to just one month, it does provide us with the opportunity to teach ourselves and our children about the many accomplishments and contributions that African Americans have made. Below are some valuable resources to assist you.  There are too many to review in just one day so we recommend exploring them throughout this month and beyond. 

To learn more about how Carter G. Woodson, also known as the “Father of Black History,” and the founder of  Black History Week (which later was expanded to Black History Month), see This Is How February Became Black History Month.

While Carter Woodson is one important figure, there are many more to explore.  PBS for Kids assures us that it’s never too early to begin Celebrating Black Leaders especially with young children.  Videos about Black leaders can be a great way to introduce these historical figures.  Nefertiti Autsin of PBS also gives suggestions for Teaching Children About Black History by providing a list of books celebrating Black culture and offering suggestions for exploring Black history through art

Black Artist: Jacob Lawrence 

Sangine Corrielus, for Parade Magazine, describes How To Talk To Your Kids About Black History Month—And 25 Ways To Honor It. Specifically, she shares several resources such as a list of activities that you can do with your kids including: 1) visiting a museum (For Virtual Options See: Can’t Travel? These Places Are Bringing Black History to You), 2) writing letters to a favorite historical person (See: Famous African Americans and Important Black Women in American History), or 3) creating an “I have a dream” mobile that depicts what the world would be like without racism, to name a few.  She also shares a great website for the Conscious Kid, an organization that aims to promote healthy racial identity development for children and youth.

Amanda Williams suggests that you Celebrate Black History Month by Educating Your Kids & Yourself. Williams provides several steps to accomplish this by: 1) explaining why Black History is important, 2) reading up on diversity, 3) watching history together, 4) inviting kids to listen to inspiring Black musical artists, 5) teaching kids about Black icons, and 6) exploring additional sites such as: 

The National Museum of African American History & Culture

National Archives

The 1619 Project

African American Museum in Philadelphia

Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum

11 surprising Black History Facts to Teach your Kids

Elizabeth Cecil @ Pixabay

Whether you are celebrating your own heritage or not, it is important for you and your family to have a better understanding of our shared history. In summary, African American history is American history. To learn more, you don’t have to do it all, just start small, and pick an activity or idea that you and your child will enjoy most. 

Tags: 

  • Current events
  • Difficult conversations
  • Race
  • Racism
  • Social studies

Grade Levels: Pre-K through High School

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

  • 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:

Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 02/17/2021

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)

Let’s Invent

Grade Levels: PreK-8 

Age Levels: 

  • PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary) 
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)

Background: 

Did you know that we celebrate National Inventors’ Day in the United States on February 11? This day was chosen because it is Thomas Alva Edison’s birthday and he is one of the greatest inventors of all time. Edison received more than 1,000 patents in his lifetime and many of these inventions made incredible contributions to our lives. He is probably best known for having invented the first incandescent light bulb that was able to glow for at least 13 hours! Prior to his invention, scientists were only able to achieve bulbs that burned for a few minutes. You can learn more about Edison through the Library of Congress or the Thomas Edison National Historical Park

We use inventions every day. Some inventions changed our world while others are just plain fun to use. For example, Lonnie Johnson is a famous inventor today. He invented one of the most popular toys of all time — the super soaker water gun. Inventors come from every cultural identity and background. For some examples, see the websites: Ten African American Inventors Who Changed the World, Asian Inventors, and  Famous Hispanic Inventors Who Changed the World. In addition, women inventors have created groundbreaking innovations and LGBTQ+ inventors, innovators, and scientists have a long history of celebrated contributions to science, technology, and invention. 

“The original Super-Soaker prototype and its inventor, Lonnie Johnson.” by Communicator is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The world is full of inventions and new ones are created every day. Look around your home and you are certain to find a lot of inventions. Some are complex like the refrigerator and computer. But, others are rather simple like VelcroR, buttons, pencils, and Post-ItR notes. 

Activity Description: Practice inventing just like Edison. Explore materials around your home. Modify them. Experiment with them. Be curious. Create something new and useful to meet a want or need. 

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Assorted recyclable or throwaway materials and items (laundry container caps, takeout containers, broken toys, dried out markers, old CDs, empty thread or ribbon spools, packaging materials, etc.) 
  • Miscellaneous materials around your home such as string, rubber bands, paper clips, paper bags, disposable cups, etc.
  • Wrapping paper, construction paper, or cardboard scraps
  • Glue, masking tape, and/or clear tape
  • Coloring utensils (e.g., crayons, markers)
  • Scissors

What should I do? 

  1. Closely observe the materials you have to work with. Think about different ways that these materials can be used or modified to create something new. Can the materials be cut or shaped to change them? Can materials be connected together with glue or tape?  
  2. Play around with the materials to see how they might be combined together in different ways. Ponder how these things can be used for something different than their original purpose. For example, can you turn your materials into one of these useful objects? 
    • Coin sorter
    • Picture holder
    • Jewelry
    • Game or toy
    • Cell phone or book stand
    • Crayon storage
    • Desk or drawer organizer
    • Coasters
    • Bookmark
    • Doll furniture
    • Musical instrument
  3. Explore ideas. There are many websites with ideas for converting throwaway items into useful products. If you can’t come up with ideas yourself, search online for some suggestions such as BabbleDabbleDoReuse This Bag, and BeautyHarmonyLife. Check out the pictures below for some ideas, too. 
  4. Improve your design. Once you’ve created something useful, think about how you can make it even better. Ask someone else for an opinion if you can’t think of ideas yourself. Make changes to your invention until you think it’s the best possible. 
  5. Give your invention a name. Be creative and think about a clever name for your new invention. Then share your invention with friends and family members. 
  6. Use your invention. Put your invention to use. Give it to someone as a gift. Be proud of yourself for being a creative inventor!
Hair accessory storage made from paper towel roll, cardboard food tray, and a scrap of wrapping paper. Spinning tops made with old CDs. A dried out marker is the leg, secured in place with rubber bands. These seed starter cups were made with one-half of a toilet paper roll, cut and folded on one end to close it off. 

Tags: 

  • Art
  • Creative Thinking
  • Curiosity
  • Fine motor skills
  • Inventive Thinking
  • Parent-Led Activity
  • Problem-Solving

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 02/10/2021

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

World Read-Aloud Day

Happy World Read Aloud Day! Today, Wednesday, February 3, 2021, is the twelfth annual World Read Aloud Day. Started in 2010 by LitWorld, World Read aloud day celebrates the power of reading aloud to stimulate your child’s imagination and foster a love for learning. The Connection Spot Team encourages families to read aloud every day with their children, but today is a day to celebrate the incredible power of reading aloud. 

Reading aloud is a significant activity a family can do with their children. It builds essential foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, models expressive reading, and helps children develop a love of reading for pleasure. Even after your child learns how to read, reading aloud to your child and with your child is a fun family activity to take you to another world. Listed below are read aloud resources to help your child develop a lifelong relationship with reading. 

Storyline Online: Storyline Online® streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Each book includes a supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners.

TogetheREAD: A free resource from The Source for Learning provides monthly themes to give you ideas for having fun together as you build stronger readers. TogetheREAD includes suggested questions for you to talk about before, during, and after reading. Also, you’ll find ideas for free or low-cost family activities for everyone.

LitWorld.org: The official site of World Read Aloud Day includes activities and resources for reading aloud. 

Scholastic: View Scholastic’s collection of 100 best read-aloud books. Sort the books by age and visit the Read2MeTonight section for more resources. 

Celebrate World Read Aloud Day with your child by reading a book, or encourage your child to read to you. Share in the comments below your favorite book to read aloud or a book that was read to you. 

Age Levels: 

  • 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)

Tags: 

  • Read-Aloud
  • Reading
  • Listening

Developer:

Kevin Bower

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 02/03/2021

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)

Make Someone’s Day

Create and send pick-me-up cards to people who
need support

Grade Levels: K-12 

Age Levels: 

  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)

Description: Write letters or make homemade cards to send to people in need of support to show that you care. A few links to organizations that provide key information and addresses to send your cards/letters are suggested here. Please note that there are likely other organizations in your local community as well. 

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Paper — any kind, but construction paper and plain white paper are best
  • Coloring utensils such as crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  • Pen or pencil 
  • Envelopes – any kind (business size, letter size, mismatched card envelopes, etc.) 
  • Postage (if necessary)

What should I do? 

  1. Identify an organization that collects letters or cards for people in need of support. Three of these organizations are listed below. However, you can do additional searches online or consider seeking sources in your local community (e.g., nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals). 
  2. Find out what parameters there are for sending cards and letters to this organization for distribution. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by the organization carefully. Some are very specific about what to do and what not to do. For example, you should not be saying things like “Get Well” or “Feel Better Soon” because many patients have chronic or terminal illnesses. It’s also important to omit personal information (e.g., last name, contact information) and avoid using crafty items that easily fall off (e.g., glitter).
  3. Use your artistic and writing skills to create meaningful letters or cards that fit the organization’s focus and that you think will make someone’s day better. Many of the websites provide some examples to help you out. However, use your creativity to create something special that the recipient will appreciate. The pictures shown on this activity are unique card designs created by a student that were sent to some of the organizations listed.
  4. Enclose your cards/letters in an envelope, address the envelope, and mail them. If there is just one piece of paper in the envelope, you can probably put one first-class stamp on the envelope. Otherwise, you will want to take your envelope(s) to the post office so they can be weighed and proper postage applied.
  5. Feel good about helping others. When you make other people happy, you’ll feel better yourself. There are many people struggling with health issues, depression, loneliness, and other life events. You can make a difference by showing that you care through this simple, but important, activity. Consider inviting some friends over to have a letter-writing or card-making get together! 

Tags: 

  • Art
  • Creative Thinking
  • Parent-Led Activity
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Writing

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

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

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Recognizing a Leader 

MLK’s day of recognition was this week. It was made a holiday in 1983 under President Reagan to recognize his leadership during the civil rights movement and honor his life since his assassination in 1968. It is important for children to learn about MLK and his life. This video, titled: The Man Who Changed America  by Scholastic News, described him, his life, and his work (Note: This film is particularly aimed at Grades 3-5).

Martin Luther King , Jr. was a Baptist Minister and social justice advocate. Yet, according to Millner writing for Scholastic News, Kids are Missing a Crucial Piece of History related to MLK. It is important as PBS author, Lindsey Pruett-Hornbaker, shares that we focus on Honoring the True Meaning of Martin Luther King Day.

How to Discuss Hopes and Dreams

His famous words “I have a dream” are reiterated in many schools at this time of year. However, do we talk about them at home? How can we address this pertinent subject with our children? What can we do to recognize the surmountable importance of these words and help the words resonate with them? 

This recognition matters more today than ever before, as we see the ongoing struggle for racial equality.  Murphy  outlines several things you can do with children to celebrate this great man in her blog titled: How to Explain Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Kids Including:

  1. Read a Book (See: PBS for Parents: Books for Martin Luther King Day )
  2. Watch a Film (e.g.,  MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech)
  3. Discuss Hopes and Dreams (See below)
  4. Volunteer (See: Americorps MLK Day )
  5. Do an Art Project (See: Creative Child: Ten Martin Luther King Day Crafts and Fifteen MLK Art Projects Kids Can Do)
  6. Attend an Event in Person or Virtually (See:  The King Center: King Holiday)

As you consider all the ideas discussed here, we hope you can take some time this week to reflect on your own hopes and dreams for a brighter future. 

Grade Levels: K-12 

Age Levels: 

  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)

Tags: 

  • Art, Current Events, Difficult Conversations, Problem-Solving, Race, Racism, Writing

Developer:

Lauren McNeely and Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 01/18/2021

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)

Talking with kids about violence in the Capitol

The attack on Washington, DC has challenged families once again to consider how to discuss a difficult topic with their children. There are many resources and articles out there that can help. 

Key Takeaways from the National Education Association’s article titled Talking to Kids About the Attack on the Capitol include: 

  1. Violence at the U.S. Capitol is an attack on our country and on our democratic institutions.
  2. Most children are aware of more than we realize. 
  3. Continuing that discussion is critically important in this moment.

Caroline Norr, Editor for Common Sense Media, outlines Explaining the News to Our Kids and recommends that you consider the child’s age as a key to how to discuss current events with your child. She also suggests:

  • assure kids that they are safe
  • limit news intake
  • remember your own actions and responses
  • consider taking some positive action to help (if possible)
  • talk, talk, talk with your kids about the situation
  • check-in with your kids, asking questions and listening
  • let kids express themselves

Dr. Neha Chaudhary, double board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, provides Ten Tips for Talking with Kids About the Attack on the U.S. Capitol, including: 1) give your child space to talk, 2) limit media exposure based on the age of your child,3) reassure them they are safe, 4) be transparent and honest, 5) talk about bad actions not bad people, 6) highlight the helpers, 7) name your feelings, 8) keep you own feelings in check, 9) teach healthy coping skills, and 10) use this as a springboard for other tough conversations. 

Dr. Karen Aronian, former New York City teacher, discusses several useful ideas and shares helpful resources in her video titled: How to Talk with Kids About the Assault on the Capitol. Citing reputable sources, some of her suggestions include:

  1. Partner with the schools and teachers.
  2. Help children name their feelings.
  3. Discuss what civil discourse means and model it.
  4. Model what we are going to do to bring it forward.
  5. Be careful with language and actions in the home.
  6. Drawings are a great way for children to process what they are going through.
  7. Don’t make assumptions about what kids know. Ask them broad questions to help you learn what they do know (Child Mind Institute).
  8. Make time to talk, review safety procedures, and maintain a normal routine (National Association for School Psychologists).
  9. Listen and check-in.
  10. Don’t deliver too much information. 
  11. Limit media-don’t have television and radio constantly on play.
  12. Monitor, filter sources and think about what you are sharing with them.
  13. Deliver factual information.
  14. Check-in with kids on a regular basis.

These are but a few of the useful resources out there and one thing we can recommend is to trust yourself and your child to get through this difficult time together. We will work hard to continue to support you and your family, too.

Developer

Beth Powers

Tags

Current Events, Difficult Conversations, Social-Emotional Learning

Ages

Birth – 36 months (Infant-Toddler)

3-5 years (Preschool)

5-6 years (Kindergarten)

6-8 years (Primary)

9-11 years (Elementary)

11-14 years (Middle School)

14-18 years (High School)

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 01/13/2021

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

New Year, New Opportunities

New Years is a time of reflecting on the past year and planning for the new one. Most of us are ready to put last year behind us and have high hopes for the coming year. One way that we can enter the new year in a thoughtful way is to create a resolution or set an intention. 

A resolution is a solid, concrete course of action with a firm, determined outcome. An intention is a course of action that guides your choices and behavior. Deborah Demander Reno states “resolutions are typically rigid and well defined, intentions are flexible and malleable with changing circumstances.” In her blog titled Resolutions and Intentions: Three Simple Steps to Change Your Life, Reno describes simple but profound ways that adults can set their own resolutions and intentions. She also helps us to understand the difference between resolutions and intentions. 

Lexi Walters White describes how to help children set a goal – in other words, a resolution – for the new year. Her post titled How to help your child set a New Years Goal- And Stick with it! describes simple steps to set an effective goal with your child, including 1) making resolutions can help children to positively change their behavior, 2) good resolutions involve making a reasonable and achievable goal, and 3) regular check-ins and progress charts can support kids to stay on track. She suggests an effective resolution using the SMART goal method. 

SSpecific
MMeasurable
AAttainable
RResults-oriented & Relevant
TTime-Bound

For example, a child might say, “I want to be the most popular kid in school.” But a more effective goal would be, “I will make more friends this year twice a month,” or “I will invite a friend over after school.” White also offers suggestions for academic and athletic resolutions. Moreover, she shares that even if your child doesn’t achieve the goal fully, they will be working on self-reflection, self-advocacy, self-awareness, problem-solving, self-control, and self-esteem

Dr. Dustine Rey, an educational psychologist, and parent states: “designing clear intentions for you and as a family can have a powerful impact on motivation, optimism, connection, and self-worth.” Her post titled Designing New Years Intentions with Children includes simple steps to set intentions for a new year as a family. She suggests that you, as a family, first discuss favorite moments as a family such as a dinner time or walking to the school bus. Then you can discuss emotions that are relevant to these moments such as joy or happiness. Next, you set a resolution with your child. For example, we will express what we are grateful for before bedtime, or we will be more kind to each person in our family. Finally, you help your child to draw a picture or create a piece of art that depicts your intentions. Then you can display the artwork in a prominent place in your home to help remind you and your child of your special intention.

Whether you decide to make a resolution or set an intention with your child, both offer great opportunities to start this new year off in a positive way. Happy New Year!

Age(s): 

PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

5-6 yrs (kindergarten)

6 to 8 (Primary)

9 to 11 Years (Elementary)

11 to 14 Years (Middle School)

14-18 years (High School)

Tags: 

Social-Emotional Learning 

Developer:

Beth Powers 

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 01/05/2021

Categories
5-6 yrs (kindergarten) Activities Birth-36 months (infant/toddler)

Indoor Snow Day

Grade Levels: Toddler-Kindergarten 

Age Levels: Birth-36 months (infant/toddler); PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool); 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)

Description:  Winter is coming which means many of us will have our first snow day of the season soon.  While many kids love to play outside in the snow, others prefer the warmth of their home so we are going to share some ways to enjoy the snow without getting cold!  For example, if you have a water table, why not fill it with snow and allow your child to play with the snow inside.  Add toys to create a winter wonderland or make up a plate of small items to make mini snowmen.  Raisins or small candies make great eyes; mini carrots or candy corn can be used for the nose; licorice, Twizzlers, or fruit roll-ups make great scarfs; and celery, pretzel sticks, or twigs from outside can be used for the arms.  You can also paint snow with watercolors! This could even become a science experiment as kids mix the colors to make new colors.  For more details and other activities, visit the Parenting with Principle website that offers 15 snow day crafts and activities to do with your young kids inside or visit the  CBC parents website that offers some additional sensory snow activities. 

If your child doesn’t like the feel of snow, how about making some snowy snacks such as snow cream or maple taffy.  Emmamadeinjapan offers a “how-to” video for making snow cream (or see  Happy Hooligans for written instructions.  Maple taffy is another delicious treat (see CBS kids for a fun demonstration and then visit  Martha Stewart for instructions).

Finally, there is no better activity on a cold winter day than snuggling up to read with your child.  A wonderful classic snow day book is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  Head to your local library to check out this book or watch a beautifully animated version provided by the EJK foundation here.

What materials do I need?

Activities:

  • Indoor snowman:  snow, a cookie sheet to hold the snow, materials for eyes (such as raisins, m&ms), nose (i.e. carrots, candy corn), scarf (yarn, Twizzlers, fruit rollups), arms (celery, twigs, pretzel sticks), or toys from around the house such as Mr. Potato Head parts to use on the snowman
  • Snow paint: snow, paint brushes,  water colors
  • Snow Table:  snow, something to place the snow in such as a sand or water table, a plastic container, a casserole dish, or a cookie sheet, toys for pretend play

Snowy Snacks:

  • Maple taffy: snow, maple syrup
  • Snow cream (ice cream): snow, vanilla, 10 ounces sweetened condensed milk

Tags: 

  • Art
  • Science
  • Creative Thinking
  • Culinary
  • Sensory 

Developer:

Karena Rush

Credit: 

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

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 12/15/2020

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

The Giving Tree

December is often associated with gift-giving and one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is an understanding of the importance of kindness.  There are many types of kindness activities popping up on the web right now such as an acts of kindness advent calendar or a Hanukkah kindness calendar.  

Another way to help children engage in kindness this month is to make a “Giving Tree.” PBS provides simple instructions for making such a tree.  One way to set up this activity is to write out various acts of kindness on paper leaves and put them on a tree (this can be a tree made of paper, twigs in a vase, or a little tree from a craft store).  Then, each day you have your kids pick a leaf off the tree and engage in the act sometime that day.  If you would rather encourage random acts of kindness, you can have the kids do spontaneous acts and write them down on the paper leaf after the act has been completed and put the leaves on the tree.  If you don’t want to cut out leaves, Mommy Snippets provides some creative ideas for other ways to hang the acts of kindness on a tree.  This year, my daughters bought a little $5 tree from a craft store and are writing their acts on plastic ornaments from a dollar store, but in years past we have cut out various shapes (leaves, hearts, flowers) and various “trees” (twigs in a vase, twigs taped to our door, and a paper cut out of a tree).  I find this activity brings happiness to us all.  We hope for the same happiness for your family as you share in the giving of kindness this season.  

Associated Book:  For those of you who would like to read Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” with this activity, there is an animated version on YouTube.

After reading the book, pose questions to your child to connect the book to this activity: “Have you ever done something for someone just to make them happy?”  “What are some things people have done for you to make you happy?”  “What kinds of things can we do for others to make them happy?”  You can direct this question towards family members, teachers, service providers, and even the child.  

Grade Levels: PreK through High School 

Age Levels: 

  • Birth-36 months (infant/toddler)
  • PreK 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)

Tags: 

Art, Social-Emotional Learning

Developer:  Karena Rush

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 12/09/2020