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

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

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) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Edible Art

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)

Background: 

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables month — a time to think about how you incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes dietary guidelines which describe the importance of a well-balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. Including fruits and vegetables in your meals and/or as snacks is one key part of a healthy diet. Healthy eating habits should be encouraged with children throughout their lives. However, getting children to enjoy vegetables, in particular, can sometimes be a challenge. How about turning it into an edible art project that you can enjoy together as a family? 

Activity Description: Gather assorted vegetables to use as a decorative topping for a flatbread pizza. Arrange the vegetables in fun and interesting patterns on pizza dough that is cooked and enjoyed. 

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Assorted colorful vegetables cut into slices or small pieces (tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, spinach, red or green peppers, etc.)
  • Pizza dough (store-bought roll from refrigerated section or homemade)
  • Mozzarella or other pizza cheese (shredded)
  • Cookie sheet or pizza pan (lightly oiled)
  • Rolling pin and a little flour (may be needed to roll out the dough; otherwise just use fingers or a glass rolled in flour) 
  • Oven 
  • Pizza sauce (store-bought jar or homemade) [optional]
  • Fresh basil [optional]

What should I do? 

  1. Prepare the dough. Roll and cut the pizza dough into one large pizza or a few single serve sizes depending on how many children are involved and the size of your pans. You might find it helpful to use a rolling pin and a little flour on the counter to roll out the dough. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use your fingers. Another option is to roll a glass in some flour and use that in place of a rolling pin. 
  2. Arrange the vegetables. Have the children arrange the vegetables on the dough in any patterns of their choosing. Encourage them to incorporate a variety of vegetables in order to create unique designs on their flatbreads. Tell them to fill their art space (dough) as much as possible. Use this decorating time to engage your child in a conversation about the importance of incorporating many different colored vegetables into a healthy diet.
  3. Precook the vegetables and crust. Cook the flatbread(s) according to dough instructions. The sample flatbreads illustrated on this post were made with Pillsbury® pizza dough, cooked at 400O for about 6-8 minutes. 
  4. Add cheese. Remove the partially cooked flatbread(s) from the oven and have your child carefully arrange a small amount of cheese on the flatbread so as to not cover up the design. Use a minimal amount of cheese. About ¼ cup of cheese was used on the flatbreads pictured (each flatbread used ½ of the Pillsbury® dough). Cook the flatbread for another 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese and get a nicely browned crust.    
  5. Cut and serve the flatbread. Cut the cooked flatbread into small pieces. Top with some chopped fresh basil, if you have it. If desired, heat up some pizza sauce to use as a dipping sauce. 
  6. Other considerations. Consider some of these options as you plan and conduct this activity with your children. 
    • Serve the flatbread as part of a meal that includes fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, mangos, pineapples, melon, etc. Cutting these in small pieces and having your child eat them with a toothpick instead of a fork makes it more fun. 
    • Share the Healthy Eating Plate with your child and reinforce this balance when preparing and serving your meals. Learn more at the USDA’s My Plate website. You’ll find some great suggestions at that site in celebration of the 2021 10-year anniversary of the MyPlate concept graphic that serves as a guide to healthy eating from each of the five food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Take a quiz, download an app, create a healthy food plan, or learn how to post about your experience on social media at this site. 
    • Learn some great strategies about promoting healthy eating with your children through the My Plate, My Wins: Real Solutions from Real Families video (3:27 minutes) published by the USDA. 

Tags: 

  • Art
  • Culinary
  • Fine motor skills
  • Food
  • Health and wellness
  • Parent-led activity

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 06/24/2021

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) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

IMAGINE iT. MAKE iT!

Listen to the story. Get inspired to be a maker!

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Grade Levels: PreK through Grade 3

Age Levels: 

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

Description: Listen to the author of the book, Be A Maker, read and discuss her story. Children use this as inspiration to be a maker at home. 

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Computer & internet connection to listen to read-aloud story
  • Assorted art and craft supplies (e.g., paper, crayons or markers, scissors, glue, tape)
  • Miscellaneous recyclable materials (e.g., cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, bottle caps, old magazines, newspaper)

What should I do? 

  1. Listen to the read-aloud of the storybook, Be a Maker, written by Katey Howes and illustrated by Elizabet Vuković. Children will learn that the world is full of possibilities and there are all kinds of things you can make and do to have fun, be creative, and help others. The author does more than just read the story. She engages the listeners with questions and comments about the illustrations. She calls attention to important points that children should notice. For example, there are hints in the story about something happening in the neighborhood that’s creating some noise, but it’s not revealed until near the end. At one point, the author calls the children’s attention to the picture of the girl with her head tipped to the side and explains that she is hearing something and she wants to figure out what it is. At another point in the story, the girl makes a map to explore and figure out where that noise is coming from. The author asks, “Do you see something on the map that marks where she’s headed?” Later, she asks, “Do you have a good guess about what’s making all the noise in the neighborhood?” These questions and comments do an excellent job of engaging children in the story and helping them to use their imagination and observation skills to think more deeply about the story.  
  2. Talk about the story. Discuss the story and the many things that the child made throughout the book such as a spaceship, telescope, tower, gift, music, lemonade stand — even a new friend. Sometimes making projects can help others, too. You can help your community and make a difference. In the end, you can feel good about the things you made and be proud of your accomplishments.
  3. Present the children with the following problem which is derived from the book itself:

“In a world of possibilities, today, what will you make?”

Look at the materials you have available.

Imagine what you can do with these things to make
something special for yourself or someone else.

  1. Show the children the materials that they can use for this making project. Help them ponder the making projects mentioned in the book and imagine the new possibilities. Pose some questions or comments if the children are struggling with ideas. 
    • How can these materials be changed (e.g., cut, torn, bent, folded, rolled)?
    • What kinds of things do you enjoy? 
    • Think about something that you might need to solve a problem. 
    • What inspired you about the projects in the book? 
  2. Share. The author of the book emphasizes that children should feel proud of what they make and do. Encourage the children to share their work with others and talk about their ideas. Display their projects for others to enjoy, too!

Tags: 

Art

Creative Thinking

Fine Motor Skills

Inventive Thinking

Listening

Parent-Led Activity

Reading

Social-Emotional Learning

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA
Credit:
ConnectionSpot.org on 04/07/2021

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

Recycled Robots

Grade Levels: PreK through 1st Grade

Age Levels: 

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

Description: You will be designing and making your own robot out of recycled materials (soda cans, food cans, water bottles, boxes, etc.). The purpose of this activity is to show children what can be recycled, how recycled materials can be used in a new way, and create an interest in recycling.  

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Assorted recycled materials (soda cans, food cans, water bottles, boxes, bottle caps, etc.) 
  • Glue (glue sticks or school glue) 
  • Tape (duct tape, masking tape, and/or scotch tape)
  • Scissors  
  • Googly eyes (optional)

“Recycle Bottles and Cans AD (HDR)” by kingdesmond1337 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What should I do? 

  1. Ask the child what he/she knows about recycling. Ask questions such as: 1) What does  recycling mean to you?, 2) Where have you seen recycling happening?, 3) What kinds of things get recycled?, and 4) How does recycling help our community?   
  2. Give the child some recycled materials. Collect some recyclable items and share them with the child. It would be helpful to have at least one box and four cans. A wide assortment is best to promote creativity on this project.
  3. Discuss what kinds of items get recycled. Review what goes into a recycling bin in your community. Ask the child about this phrase: “reduce, reuse, recycle.” 
  4. Talk about robots. Explain that robots are machines that people design to do certain jobs or tasks. They are controlled by computers. Discuss robots that the child may have seen on television or in books. 
  5. Design a recycled robot. Ask the child to design and build a robot using recycled materials. Explain that this will just be an image of a robot. It will not be connected to a computer and programmed like a real robot. 
  6. Ask questions. Ask questions about the child’s robot. For example: 1) What’s the robot’s name?, 2) What would you like your robot to be able to do?, and 3) How can you change your robot to make it even better? 
  7. Share the robot. Encourage the child to share the robot with other family members or friends. 
  8. Encourage recycling. Show the child more examples of what can be recycled. Consider going around the house to collect more recyclables. Compliment the child’s creative work and remind him/her that recycling can help protect our community by reducing pollution and helping to save energy. 

Tags: 

Art

Creative Thinking

Inventive Thinking

Engineering

Parent-Led Activity

Developer:

Jessica Jones

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 03/16/2021

Categories
6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Birth-36 months (infant/toddler) PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

St. Patrick’s Day Fun

St. Patrick’s Day is such a fun day to celebrate with children of all ages.  Some of my fondest memories are from when my daughters were preschoolers, as it is such a magical age.  Below are ideas for bringing some extra magic to your home on St. Patrick’s Day.

Book:

How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace describes a leprechaun’s journey through various houses as he encounters leprechaun traps.  Reading this book is a great introduction to the activity below.

Activity:

After reading How to Catch a Leprechaun, have your child make a leprechaun trap. The Big Bins Little Hands blog offers STEM focused ideas for easy-to-make leprechaun traps using materials from around the house (such as LEGOs(R), cotton balls, toilet paper rolls, and pipe cleaners).

Snack:  

Rainbow Fruit Tray

 Photo credit:  CafeMom Studios

This is one of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day snacks to make. It’s easy, it’s healthy, and has been a big hit in my daughters’ classrooms each year.  To make it healthier, you can replace the marshmallows and Rolos (or chocolate gold coins) with little bowls of yogurt dip.  You can also replace the fruits pictured with your children’s favorite fruits (additional colorful fruits include green grapes, raspberries, bananas, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew melon) or introduce your child to less common fruits (e.g. mango, papaya, guava, kiwi)…the options are endless!  See CafeMom Studios’ video for a quick demonstration.   

Grade Levels: PreK through Elementary. 

Age Levels: 

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

Tags: 

Art

STEM

Reading

Creative Thinking

Food

Developer:

Karena Rush

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 03/17/21

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 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
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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: 

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Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 01/18/2021