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

Be Kind Reconnect

It’s busy times for families. There are parent conferences underway at schools. It’s the hectic election time and we are bombarded with lots of negative messaging through all media channels. We are in the midst of a beautiful autumn season, but not able to fully enjoy harvest get-togethers due to social distancing guidelines. We thought now would be a good time to reconnect you to one of our activity posts called, Be Kind. This simple activity might be an enjoyable way to spend time together with your children and do something nice for a neighbor, friend, teacher, or relative. With the abundance of fresh apples on these crisp days, it’s also a great way share the harvest with those you care about. Be kind, be safe, and be healthy!

Listen to a Story – Solve a Problem

Grade Level: Pre-K to Grade 1

Description: After listening to a story about kindness, children will talk about the story and then solve a hands-on design problem related to it. Children will use simple at-home materials to create their solution to the problem.

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, glue, tape)
  • Miscellaneous recyclable materials (e.g., colorful shopping bags, cardboard, empty plastic containers, toilet paper tubes)
  • Simple office supplies (e.g., rubber bands, paper clips, stapler)
  • One piece of whole fruit (i.e., apple, orange, banana, kiwi, peach) or vegetable (i.e., tomato, cucumber, zucchini) or flower “gift” per child [see design challenge in step 3]

What should I do?

  1. Listen to the read-aloud of the storybook, Be Kind, written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill. Children will learn how to show kindness to others by seeing the many ways that it is demonstrated in the story.
  2. Talk about the story. Share examples of how kindness can be shown in your family or community. Help the children recognize how they have shown kindness. Can they think of times when someone didn’t show kindness? How did it make them feel?
  3. Present the children with the following problem. Modify it as desired to better connect to your family, friends, or neighbors. Change the gift item to whatever you have available (i.e., apple, orange, banana, kiwi, peach) or some flowers or a vegetable from your garden. If the child is capable of making a decision, offer several options and let him/her pick. For example, “What do you think Mrs. Diaz might like better — an apple or a banana or a flower?”
Making gifts for others is a way to show kindness. I know a friend who really likes apples. She is sick. How can we hang an apple on her doorknob to let her know we care about her?
  1. Provide the children with assorted materials to design their solutions. They should creatively design a new product, not simply use an existing object as is (e.g., put the apple in a shopping bag or a flower in a vase). Encourage them to modify the materials they have to make a special gift. Having to think about how to hang it on a doorknob offers a unique engineering challenge that requires some additional problem-solving.
  2. Pose questions as the children solve the problem. Help them to think through the problem and come up with their best working solution. For example:
    • How can you attach it to the doorknob?
    • What would make the part stronger?
    • Is it the right size for the fruit, vegetable, or flower being used as a gift? Is it too big or too small? How can you fix that?
    • How will she know who put it there?

Deliver the gift to the friend when finished. Try to hang it on his/her doorknob. If it doesn’t work as intended, ask the child to modify the design or consider an alternative place to put it. Discuss how it felt to show kindness to another person.

Categories
PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Peep and the Big Wide World Activities

Visit Peep Family Science to learn about this free at-home science program for families of preschool children. Watch the introductory 3-minute video to see concrete examples of what is available and how it is used. Then download the four free apps to help you work with your children to do hands-on science experiments to explore ramps, colors, sounds, and shadows. PEEP Family Science is available in English and Spanish, too. 

Every app begins with a short parent video to give you tips on how to engage your child in the activities. Each of the four themes (apps) includes a variety of 10-15 minute activities that are easy to do at home with simple materials. More short cartoons intended for young children are included to promote their interest and engagement in each of the topics. For example, here are some of our favorites in each app:

  • Colors App: A Peep of a Different Color (Video) and Color Hunt (Activity)
  • Ramps App: Marble Mover (Video) and Ramps and Turns (Activity)
  • Shadows App: Bringing Spring (Video) and Shadow Puppets (Activity)
  • Sounds App: Chirp, Chirp, Tweet, Tweet, Chirp (Video) and Making Maracas (Activity)

Grade Level: Pre-K

Tags: 

Art

Critical Thinking Skills

Curiosity

Engineering

Listening

Parent Led

Problem-Solving

Science

STEM

Vocabulary

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 07/02/2020

Categories
Activities Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Peep and the Big Wide World

Visit Peep and the Big Wide World to learn about this free at-home science program for families of preschool children. This program is produced by WGBH and 9 Story Entertainment in association with TVOntario. It’s high-quality educational programming for your children. Choose the parent link at the top of the page and you’ll have access to helpful videos and activities related to this program. Be sure to watch the 30-second introductory video called, Encouraging Curiosity. This web site is available in English and Spanish. 

Grade Level: Pre-K

Tags: 

Art

Critical Thinking Skills

Curiosity

Engineering

Listening

Parent Led

Problem-Solving

Science

STEM

Vocabulary

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 07/02/2020

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

Be Kind

Listen to a Story – Solve a Problem

Grade Level: Pre-K to Grade 1

Description: After listening to a story about kindness, children will talk about the story and then solve a hands-on design problem related to it. Children will use simple at-home materials to create their solution to the problem.

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, glue, tape)
  • Miscellaneous recyclable materials (e.g., colorful shopping bags, cardboard, empty plastic containers, toilet paper tubes)
  • Simple office supplies (e.g., rubber bands, paper clips, stapler)
  • One piece of whole fruit (i.e., apple, orange, banana, kiwi, peach) or vegetable (i.e., tomato, cucumber, zucchini) or flower “gift” per child [see design challenge in step 3]

What should I do?

  1. Listen to the read-aloud of the storybook, Be Kind, written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill. Children will learn how to show kindness to others by seeing the many ways that it is demonstrated in the story.
  2. Talk about the story. Share examples of how kindness can be shown in your family or community. Help the children recognize how they have shown kindness. Can they think of times when someone didn’t show kindness? How did it make them feel?
  3. Present the children with the following problem. Modify it as desired to better connect to your family, friends, or neighbors. Change the gift item to whatever you have available (i.e., apple, orange, banana, kiwi, peach) or some flowers or a vegetable from your garden. If the child is capable of making a decision, offer several options and let him/her pick. For example, “What do you think Mrs. Diaz might like better — an apple or a banana or a flower?”

Making gifts for others is a way to show kindness. I know a friend who really likes apples. She is sick. How can we hang an apple on her doorknob to let her know we care about her?
  1. Provide the children with assorted materials to design their solutions. They should creatively design a new product, not simply use an existing object as is (e.g., put the apple in a shopping bag or a flower in a vase). Encourage them to modify the materials they have to make a special gift. Having to think about how to hang it on a doorknob offers a unique engineering challenge that requires some additional problem-solving.
  2. Pose questions as the children solve the problem. Help them to think through the problem and come up with their best working solution. For example:
    • How can you attach it to the doorknob?
    • What would make the part stronger?
    • Is it the right size for the fruit, vegetable, or flower being used as a gift? Is it too big or too small? How can you fix that?
    • How will she know who put it there?

Deliver the gift to the friend when finished. Try to hang it on his/her doorknob. If it doesn’t work as intended, ask the child to modify the design or consider an alternative place to put it. Discuss how it felt to show kindness to another person.