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

Sweet Summertime

A few weeks ago I asked students what they were most excited about for summer. Many said the beach, or the pool, but there were also a majority of students who said camping! Did you know that June is National Camping Month? Take advantage of the warm days and cool nights with family members, friends, and/or your favorite stuffed animals, and spend a night under the stars! Below are some ideas to help kick off that summer fun. 

  1. Get outside! Go for a hike and explore the nature around you. Not sure where to go? Check out your local listings. Things to consider and bring:
    1. Sunblock
    2. Bug spray
    3. Water 
    4. Proper shoes
    5. Healthy snacks that are easy on the go such as Nutri-Grain bars or mixed nuts
  2. Gone fishing? Is there a local stream, lake, or pond near you that you can fish at? Grab a rod and some worms and have your try at fishing. Don’t have a fishing rod? Try making your own fishing rod
  3. Pitch a tent! Set up a tent outside and take some blankets, pillows, and flashlights for a night of fun.
  4. Enjoy a campfire. If you are able to build a campfire, make some smores, and share stories together.
  5. Build a project! If you can’t have a campfire consider making your own Solar Smores Box! This is a great activity for the kids and a way for them to extend their brainpower even after school is out for the summer. 

It doesn’t have to cost you money to have fun in the summer. We hope a few of these ideas enrich your child’s experiences. Happy memory making!

Age Levels: 

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

Tags: 

Environment

Food

Parent-Led Activity

Science

Developer:

Lauren McNeely

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA
Credit:
ConnectionSpot.org on 6/2/2021

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) PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Earth Day is Everyone’s Day

April 22nd is an important day for the planet. This is the day that people all over the world focus on the importance of protecting our planet. Earth Day is a reminder to all of us that we have a responsibility to take care of our precious home and ensure a safe and clean living environment for today and in the future.

Earth Day originated in the United States in 1970 as a way to promote environmental awareness. It has grown every year since then and officially went global in 1990. Today, Earth Day is a worldwide movement that involves more than 1 billion people in 192 countries. 

Earth Day is everyone’s day because everyone lives on Earth.
Every single person in every corner of the world depends on this planet and the resources it provides. We need every individual to understand the challenges and to be empowered to support our Earth home through collective actions that result in positive change. 

engage your family in Earth Day this yeaR & EVERY YEAR.

  1. Visit the EarthDay.org web site. There you can learn more about global efforts to improve our planet. Be sure to check out their Take Action link for suggestions on what you can do at home to help. 
  2. Watch the This is Why We Celebrate Earth Day video (grades 3-12) or the Let’s Celebrate Earth Day video (Pre-K-3rd) for a quick overview of this important event and to get inspired to celebrate Earth Day. 
  3. Pick up trash. Turn a family outing to a local park or a neighborhood walk into a clean-up activity. Show your children how to safely gather trash and discard it properly. 
  4. Examine your home recycling efforts. Teach children what items can be recycled and how to sort and discard them appropriately. Delegate recycling jobs to children and teens who are old enough to take on these responsibilities. 
  5. Do crafts with your children using recycled materials. See Imagine it. Make It!, Recycled Robots, and Let’s Invent for starters. 
  6. Focus on water conservation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a typical family of four in the United States uses about 400 gallons of water in ONE day! Learn more about ways to save water at the EPA’s WaterSense for Kids site. 
  7. Teach your children how they can save energy at home by turning off lights and devices when not in use. Discuss the benefits of turning down the thermostat in winter and wearing an extra layer instead. 
  8. Read a book with your children that focuses on nature or environmental issues. For young children, there are lots of read-aloud books available online such as Earth Day Every Day by Lisa Bullard and We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom. 
  9. Explore programs offered by state parks or nature-focused organizations in your area. Many communities have free or low-cost programs to promote environmental awareness and appreciation. Try searching environmental education programs near me on the web. 
  10. Promote an appreciation for living things and the wonders of our planet by spending time outdoors with your children – young and old. Take a nature hike. Observe insects, trees, or flowers closely. Track how many types of birds you can find together. Start a rock collection. Plant a garden or flower pot. Go on a picnic. Simply enjoy nature!

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

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 04/20/2021

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

STEM at Home

Visit Pitsco STEM@Home to access some free hands-on STEM activities that you can do with children and adolescents at home (grades K-9). There are also links to numerous resources available on their blog to help you and your children better understand the science behind everyday things such as tortilla chips, cheese, and bicycles. If you are looking to purchase STEM-focused kits, this is a good source for that as well. 

Grade Levels: K-9

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: 

Engineering 

Mathematics

Parent-Led Activity

Problem-Solving

Science

STEM

Technology 

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

Cups & Sticks Challenge

A Structural Design Challenge

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?

  1. Assemble the materials on a table or the floor where the child/children can easily work.
  2. Explain the initial 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. 

  1. 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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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?

  1. 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?

Grade Level: Pre-K – 4

Age Level:

PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

5-6 yrs (kindergarten)

6-8 yrs (primary)

9-11 yrs (elementary)

Tags: 

Creative Thinking

Engineering

Independent Activity

Mathematics

Parent-Led Activity

Problem-Solving

Science

STEM

Student Success Skills

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

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

Rainbow Walk/Scavenger Hunt

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.

  1. 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.

Materials Needed:

  • A piece of paper with the colors listed
  • A pen or pencil
  1. 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.  

Materials Needed:

  • Bag to hold the collected items
  1. For items that can’t be brought home: 
    1. Have your child stop and draw a picture of each item in a notebook or on a piece of paper as they go along.

OR

  1. 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.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper and something to write with (pen or pencil)
  • OR Camera (and a computer/printer if you would like to print the pictures out)
  1. Can’t go outside?  
    1. Have your child search your house or apartment for different colored objects

OR

  1. Have your child think of different colored foods and make a rainbow snack (listen to this song by the Swingset Mamas for inspiration)

Materials Needed:

  • 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) 
  1. 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.

Grade Level:  Pre-K- 4

Age Level:

  • Pre-K 3-5 years (preschool)
  • 5-6 years (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 years (primary)
  • 9-11 years (elementary)

Tags:  

  • Parent Led
  • Color Identification
  • Science

Developer:  Karena Rush 

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 07/02/2020

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)

PBS Learning Media

Visit PBS 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.)

Grade Level: Pre-K through Grade 12

Age Level: Ages 3-18

Developer:

Sharon Brusic

Credit: 

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

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 07/02/2020