It’s hard to imagine a better way to help children cope with stress, settle their minds, and find their inner peace than to guide them through a yoga experience. Check out Adriene’s Yoga with Kids video. Younger children can engage in a few of the exercises and older children should have no problem completing the full 32-minute program. Parents will enjoy joining in to do it with their children, too.
The nice thing about yoga is that it doesn’t require a lot of extra “stuff.” Just find a quiet space, clear your mind, and grab a towel or mat. Adriene will guide you through the rest.
More Helpful Hints from Beth – A Trained Yoga Instructor: Yoga should never hurt. Although you can get a workout and you can engage in challenging poses, you should make sure that you and your child are doing yoga safely. The most important thing to remember is to breathe! Most teachers recommend that you do yoga without socks or shoes on because bare feet and hands help maintain stability. Also, remember that even a little yoga can do A LOT of good for you and your child. Don’t forget to have fun!
Description: With a few simple materials, children can engage in various structural design activities that will challenge their problem-solving skills, promote persistence, and foster creativity.
What tools and materials do I need?
Lots of paper or plastic cups (all the same size, 3-5 oz. are best)
Lots of sticks (such as craft sticks, popsicle sticks, or coffee stirrers)
1 small block such as a toy block, piece of wood, Lego(R) piece, or small container/lid
Measurement tool (e.g., ruler or length of string or thread)
Small objects that could be placed in a cup to serve as weights (e.g., beads, pieces of candy, paper clips, marbles, pennies)
What should I do?
Assemble the materials on a table or the floor where the child/children can easily work.
Explain theinitial problem.
Design & build a tall, sturdy tower. You can use only the cups and sticks provided. You cannot change the shape or size of the cups and sticks. Cups should not be nested together either.
Pose questions or make comments when the child reaches a stumbling block and cannot seem to move forward. For example:
○ Why do you suppose it keeps falling down?
○ How can you make it more stable?
○ What other stacking pattern can you try?
○ How can you make it even taller?
Measure the height of the tower with a ruler if you have one. If you don’t, use a length of string or thread to assess the height. Compare various solutions and heights.
If the child is still showing interest, increase the challenge.
Design & build the tallest tower you can using only the cups and sticks provided. This time, your tower needs to balance on top of the object provided (i.e., toy block, piece of wood, Lego(R) piece, or small container/lid.) Remember that you cannot change the shape or size of the cups and sticks. Cups should not be nested either.
6. See picture to the left for example. This tower is balancing on a small toy block of wood. You can use any object as a base for the tower to balance upon.
7. Again, use questioning to help encourage the child to be persistent in solving the problem. Point out that most new inventions have many failures before the best solution is found.
8. Try adding weights. Ask the child to put some small objects (e.g., beads, pennies, paper clips) on top of the tower. How many can it hold before it collapses?
Discuss the problem and solutions.
Why was it harder to build the structure when it had to balance on a small object?
Compare how your body feels when you balance on one leg versus two legs. What can you do to keep better balance when you are on one foot? Try applying that idea to your structure.
Which problem was easier to solve and why?
Were the sticks more helpful in one problem than the other? Why?
Why do people think about balance when designing structures?
Description: The Rainbow Walk or Scavenger Hunt allows you to get outdoors and work on color identification skills. Bring your child on a walk to search for items that represent each of the colors of the rainbow. There are many variations of this activity and it can be altered based on your child’s age, interests, or learning objectives. You might want to start with watching this video that describes how rainbows develop (good for Pre-K) or this video for older children (elementary age).
Below are some of the possible variations of this activity.
For taking a rainbow walk, you can ask the child to identify items for each color of the rainbow. Such as asking the child to first look for red items, then orange, etc. Or you could develop a worksheet that has each color listed and then ask the child to place a check in the box every time they find an item for a specific color. If the child is older, you could ask them to write the item down next to the correct color.
A piece of paper with the colors listed
A pen or pencil
For items that can be brought home:
Find one item for each color of the rainbow, bring the items home, and have the child order the items based on the colors of the rainbow.
Bag to hold the collected items
For items that can’t be brought home:
Have your child stop and draw a picture of each item in a notebook or on a piece of paper as they go along.
Have your child take a picture of various items. At home, print the pictures out and have the child place the pictures into the shape of a rainbow.
Paper and something to write with (pen or pencil)
OR Camera (and a computer/printer if you would like to print the pictures out)
Can’t go outside?
Have your child search your house or apartment for different colored objects
Have your child think of different colored foods and make a rainbow snack (listen to this song by the Swingset Mamas for inspiration)
Foods that represent different colors of the rainbow such as strawberries, apples, banana, lemons, limes, yellow squash, peppers (red, green and yellow), celery, carrots, lettuce, blueberries, grapes (green and red), watermelon, cheese, fruit punch, jello, juices (orange, grape, tomato)
Bringing along older kids (1st grade +)?
You can have your older children do this as a science project. Once home, they can identify the various flowers, leaves, or other items they have found in nature.
VisitPBS Learning Media to gain access to abundant resources to support your children from preschool through high school. The site is easily searchable by grade level or subject. You will find amazing videos, interactive lessons, and printable activities on every topic imaginable from social-emotional development, school subjects (i.e., English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies), World Languages, and more. Help your children expand their knowledge and motivate them to learn more through these curated resources available through the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). (NOTE: This review pertains to the web site as a whole, not individual content posted there.)
VisitPeep 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.
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)
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?
Listen to the read-aloudof 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.
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?
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?
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.
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.