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

Celebrating 4th of July with your family

Grade Levels: PreK through High School

Age Levels: 

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

Here’s How To Explain 4th Of July To Your Kid

For many children who are living in the U.S., July 4th might seem like any other holiday with fireworks, parades, and celebrations. But, this day is significant for us because it is when we celebrate our Nation’s Independence. Explaining this may be difficult to understand, depending on the age of your child. Romper Magazine Online helps parents and caregivers to explain 4th of July to your Kid. Mike Doveton, National Park Ranger at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, provides some great suggestions. Key ideas include:

  1. Start with what’s right and fair. Ask kids to think about what’s fair and not fair in their lives, and then share that the colonists felt that Great Britain were not treating them fairly.  
  2. Describe what the Declaration of Independence is and why it is important
  3. Consider what the term Independence means. For example, Doveton explains that independence doesn’t just mean the freedom to do anything you want, but the freedom of people in a community to decide what is just and right for the community. 

Activities

Better Homes and Gardens shares 9 Easy-to-Make Outdoor 4th of July Games for Kids. These games will help provide fun and healthy activities for families and kids. 

Jacklyn Moran provides 15 Fun and Easy Fourth of July Activities To Do With Kids  for the website Everymom. These include crowns, cookies, and parade sticks. 

Join the Signers of the Declaration of Independence by adding your name to the list of signatories online 

Resource

Alonso, created a free resource titled A Kid’s Guide to 4th of July in Spanish

Tags: 

Art

Creative Thinking

Inventive Thinking

Parent-Led Activity

Developer:

Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

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Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 06/30/2021

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)

Celebrating Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

What is AAPI Heritage month? 

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month – a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans which was established in 1978. AAPI is a rather broad term that includes all of the Asian Continent and Pacific Islands (Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia). 

Why Is It Important?

Not only is this month of celebration important due to the significant contributions of AAPI’s but also due to the hate crimes against AAPI’s in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

engage your family in AAPI Heritage this yeaR & EVERY YEAR.

  1. Visit the  Asian Pacific Heritage website. There you can learn more about Asian Pacific Heritage.
  2. Watch: Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with PBS Kids (You may need to subscribe to this).
  3. Watch Read Alouds: AAPI Read Alouds
  4. Consider the 8 Ways to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month including:
  1. Get out a Globe, or use Google Earth, and explore Asia and the Pacific Islands
  2. Explore AAPI Heritage Sites
  3. See Children’s Books that feature Asian Authors, Artists, and Characters: 9 Books to Asian American Pacific Islander Month; 20 Books for Young Readers To Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month & Year-Round; Celebrating Asian Pacific American History and Culture; and Asian Americans.
  4. Explore AAPI museums and exhibits: a) Asian Art Museum From Home; and Smithsonian Art Museum From Home
  5. Try a variety of healthy AAPI recipes with your kids
  6. Get creative by exploring AAPI art and music with your children 

Grade Levels: 

  • PreK through High School

Age Levels: 

  • 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: 

  • Current events
  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Health and wellness
  • Science
  • Social-emotional learning

Developer:

Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 05/26/2021

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)

Get Caught Reading

When you think about reading, what comes to your mind? For some, reading may bring back memories from their caregiver or teacher reading aloud to them. Others may think about curling up with a good book during a rainy day. Maybe thinking about reading triggers memories or trips to the library or talking about a good book with a friend over coffee.

Since 1999, the Association of American Publishers has established May as Get Caught Reading Month. Whether it’s reading for pleasure or staying up-to-date with the latest news, reading has immeasurable benefits. Reading aloud to children helps them learn how to use language to make sense of the world. Technology has also changed how materials are consumed with a transition to a digital focus. No matter what medium you choose to read, the Connection Spot team wants to encourage our readers to Get Caught Reading!

Share the resources and information below with your friends to listen to books or learn about new books for your child. We also encourage you to share pictures of you reading or your favorite books and stories!

Get Caught Reading – Activities for all ages!

Storyline Online – A fantastic resource that features celebrities reading aloud stories. Each book also has a supplemental curriculum to engage your child beyond the read aloud.

KidLit TV – KidLit TV is the place to discover great children’s books and connect with the people who create them. Explore crafts, book trailers, and more!

Librarian to Librarian – Podcasts about books for kids and teens. 

Milkin’s Book Talks – Listen to book talks to find new books for your child to read or to read with them. 

The Indianapolis Library – 100+ free video read alouds!

Age(s): 

PreK 3-5 Years (Preschool)

5 to 6 Years (Kindergarten)

6 to 8 (Primary)

9 to 11 Years (Elementary)

11 to 14 Years (Middle School)

14-18 years (High School)

Tags: 

Reading

Read-Aloud

English Language Arts

Developer:

Kevin Bower

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 05/12/2021

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

UnderStanding & EXPRESSING Emotions Part 1

As children’s language develops, so does their awareness of emotions they may feel themselves and see in others. However, it can sometimes be hard for kids to express their feelings. Learning to express and manage emotions is an important skill that we call “emotional regulation.”  Research tells us that the ability to regulate our emotions is paired with making friends, better mental health and the ability to deal with stress, so we definitely want to help our kids learn skills that will foster emotional regulation. The first step to emotional regulation is understanding our emotions, so let’s start there (next month we will learn about expressing our emotions in Part 2). Below are some resources for teaching children about the various emotions we may feel.

START HERE: For a good overview of how to help your child learn to express emotions, see this article from Penn State.  

BOOKS are great ways for children to learn about emotions. Below are some of our favorites that cover a variety of emotions:

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

Feelings by Aliki

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss 

Today I feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis

ACTIVITES:

Below are some activities that you can pair with the books above.

Emotional Eggs:  Make faces on plastic easter eggs that express various emotions and talk to your kids about each emotion as you make the eggs.  For example, as you make a sad egg, you can say “How does our face look when we feel sad? Does our face smile or frown? How do we draw a frown?”  See this video for one example that uses markers. The picture below shows another variation of the activity using stickers instead of markers.  

Image by Pixabay Anncapictures

Emotional Charades:  Take turns acting out various emotions while others guess the emotion.  Children’s Play in Action has a short video giving instructions for and describing the value of this game.

VIDEOS:

Inside Out: Guessing the Feelings is a video of short clips from Inside out where you can watch each clip with your child and then guess the feeling being expressed.  At the end of each clip, it will stop and tell you the feeling as well.

PBS Kids Talk About Feelings and Emotions is a video in which children and parents describe feelings and why it’s important to express them. 

Sesame Street: Name that Emotion! Is a fun Sesame Street in which Murray has his friends guess the emotions of contestants.  

Emotions StoryBot Song by Netflix Jr. is a fun song about emotions. 

Next month we will provide additional books and activities about how to handle specific emotions in Part 2 of this Emotion Series. 

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 License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 04/28/2021

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
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)

Celebrating International Women’s Month with Children

International Women’s Day (March 8) “is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.” Thus, it’s not surprising that we not only have an International Women’s Day, but March is also International Women’s Month as one day is just not enough to celebrate all the accomplishments of women.  This celebratory day and month give us the opportunity to remind our children  — regardless of their gender — that women are important and that women deserve to be recognized. Moreover, women deserve equal rights and equal pay for equal work. 

There are many ways that you can celebrate International Women’s Month with your children. Author and activist, Charise Rohm Nulsen, share The Ultimate List of International Women’s Day Activities to Do With Kids. She includes “everything from themed food to activities, books, TV shows, movies, and online resources.” 

Another way to celebrate with our children is to consider and discuss all the ways that women have contributed to our society and our world. One good resource is the PBS Website titled Iconic Women To Celebrate Women’s History Month.

Additional resources can be found on the International Women’s Day Website. As this website asserts, we are all invited to challenge ourselves to forge a gender-equal world, to celebrate the achievements of women, to raise awareness against bias, and to take action for equality.

Tags: 

Current Events

Social Studies

Ages:

3-5 years, Preschool

5-6 years, Kindergarten

6-8 years, Primary 

9-11 years, Elementary

11-14 years, Middle Schools

14-18 years, High School

Developer:

Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA
Credit:
ConnectionSpot.org on 03/24/2021

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

Circle Up: Math Resource Round-Up

As a father of six, we have many birthdays throughout the year. Recently, I was ordering a cake on the phone for a birthday party for one of our children. While on the phone, my daughter asked, “Dad, what’s the formula to find the area of a circle?” I replied, “Pi “r” squared.” I thought I was on hold with the baker, but the baker stated, “No, pies are round, and cakes are square.” 

Mathematicians around the world celebrate March 14 (3.14) as Pi Day. Pi, written as the decimal 3.14, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Click HERE for a video on Pi. The decimal is seemingly endless, and it was calculated to over a trillion digits past the decimal point! Pie is often eaten, and crafts are created to celebrate circles and the endless decimal.

As a math teacher, Isn’t pie every math teacher’s favorite dessert? I enjoy a large scoop of vanilla ice cream with my pie. Did you also know that 3.14% of sailors are pi-rates? This post could go on forever, and it’s time we stop going round in circles. Listed below are resources to reinforce, improve, or enrich your child’s math skills. 

PreK 3-5 Years (Preschool)

  • ABCya – Online math games and activities. 

5 to 6 Years (Kindergarten)

6 to 8 (Primary)

9 to 11 Years (Elementary)

  • Prodigy – A game-based learning app for kids to practice their skills. 

11 to 14 Years (Middle School)

14-18 years (High School)

  • Wolfram Math World – Detailed learned resource to help with homework assignments and studying. 

Age(s): 

PreK 3-5 Years (Preschool)

5 to 6 Years (Kindergarten)

6 to 8 (Primary)

9 to 11 Years (Elementary)

11 to 14 Years (Middle School)

14-18 years (High School)

Tags: 

Math

Problem-Solving

Developer:

Kevin Bower

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 03/10/2021

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
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