Thursday, January 23, 2014

50 Questions to Ask Kids {plus free printable}

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My son is growing faster than I can believe.  And it's amazing how his young mind works... I love listening to him explain his thoughts on some of the bigger things in life.  It's interesting how a simple question from me can spark a half hour long conversation about a topic (or various topics).  In the spirit of these conversations, I've created a 50 questions to ask your kids printable to share with you.  You can are use it to start conversations with your kids during dinnertime or snuggle time, or you can ask your kids these questions each year and see how their answers change as they grow. 

 Some of my favorite questions from the printable are:
If you were invisible for a day, what would you do? 
What is the worst smell in the world?
Where do babies come from?
Were there dinosaurs on Noah's ark?
If you could, what two animals would you combine?
If you had a million dollars, what would you spend it on?
Why do people get old?
If your pet could talk, what would it say?
If you had super powers, what would they be?
What's the best thing about being a kid?
Why do people have different color skin?
Who is someone in history that you'd like to be friends with?  Why?
If you could be president for the day, what would you do?
What is something that you don't understand about grownups?
If you had your own country, what would it be called?
If you had to give away all of your toys but one, which one would you keep?
What do you think Heaven is like?
Do you think that telling the truth is always the right thing, even if it hurts someone's feelings?
What's the greatest thing about being you?

I'm still working through this list with Bear.  I'd love to hear what cute, funny, or surprising answers your little ones come up with in response to these questions!






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Sunday, January 19, 2014

my thoughts on parenting... a round-up: {sunday parenting party}

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I've covered a wide variety of parenting topics here on Crayon Freckles in the past few years.  Today, I thought I'd highlight some of my favorites for you to check out in case you missed them.
 
    

     

     
 
     
 
     
 
     
 
 
 Are there any topics I haven't covered that you would like me to?  Let me know what you'd like to read about in the form below!
 

 
 
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Friday, January 17, 2014

writing in the snow {small motor and literacy activity}

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Bear {5 yrs} has developed a thirst for learning to read and write, so i'm trying to offer as many different experiences as i can to further his development.  last year, i used spray snow to create a template on the window for him to practice tracing his letters.  our latest activity was one that he really seemed to enjoy since we don't have any real snow outside right now.  he practiced writing his upper and lower case letter in "snow" {was really flour}. 
 
i poured enough flour onto a baking sheet to create a half inch layer of flour on the pan.  to determine what letter Bear wrote, i set out a small stack of flashcards for him to draw from.  after he chose the card, he identified the letter and wrote it out in the flour.  the nice thing about the consistency of the flour is that if he messed up, a gentle side-to-side shake of the tray smoothed it out so he could start over.
 

every now and then, i would have to stop Bear and help him with the order the letter was written in and the directionality of the lines.  i haven't done this much in the past, because i didn't want to make him feel discouraged or like i was diminishing his efforts.  but he's confident enough now to be able to take constructive comments from me in stride. 
 
 
 
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

snowman poop math {practicing addition and subtraction}

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it's cold here in the Midwest, so it's no surprise that snow is on our minds.  we've gotten a bit so far this season, but not enough for the kiddos to go out and really get to play in it.  this snow deficiency has created an even stronger fascination with it for Bear {5 yrs}.  so, lately, we've been doing quite a few activities based on snow.  our latest was practicing addition and subtraction with snow... or snowman poop to be exact. 
 
yep, you heard me.  snowman poop {aka marshmallows}.  those two words were all it took to tear the little boy away from the Gameboy and bring him right  to our activity table.

in addition to the snowman poop {marshmallows} we also used some of those plastic number refrigerator magnets.  if we had some basic addition and subtraction flashcards, we would've used those instead. {guess what's in my amazon cart now, though?}

at first i set up easier problems like the one below.  he counted out the appropriate amount pieces to correspond with the numbers that were out.  then i had him push them together into a combined group to symbolize the addition of the two numbers.  then he counted how many total he had. then he placed that number magnet at the end of the problem on the table and read it out loud. 


since he's able to count to higher numbers, after he did several problems with small numbers, i started to make them more difficult.  and he chugged right through them.  after a while, we switched to subtraction.  after the marshmallows were laid out under their plastic corresponding numbers, he could complete the problem.  but instead of combining them into a group, he got to eat the amount of snowman poop {marshmallows} that was being subtracted.  of course, these problems were his favorites because he got to consume some sugary goodness. 
 
 
 what are some of your favorite ways to practice math skills with your kiddos or in the classroom?
 
 
 
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

going on an alphabet hunt {exploring first letter sounds in preschool}

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having a kiddo in the house that is learning how to read keeps me on my toes and always on the lookout for an easy preschool activity that teaches reading skills.  since Bear loves a good scavenger hunt, i created a little first letter sounds hunt for him to do around the house this past summer.  (this activity is actually from June when he was 4.5 yrs old)
 
we used the laminated alphabet sheet that i created for our milk caps alphabet activity last year. Bear put it on a clipboard and went around the house trying to find items that started with each letter.  after he found each item he either brought it to me or came and told me about it so i could verify that he'd gotten the right letter.  then he would cross off the appropriate letter with a dry erase marker.  he really got into the activity, right down to going and getting his pith helmet to wear.  after he went through the alphabet once, he wiped off all the marker and did it again.  i think it's safe to say that he loved his almost as much as our letter sounds scavenger hunt from a couple years ago.
 
 
this was a fun activity for Bear to do...not only did he practice his pre-reading skills, but he had fun as well.  he was occupied with it for about 30 minutes.. this is even an activity that we could do on walks, road trips, or as we go around town doing errands.  since his reading skills have developed a bit from the time we did this activity, i think i might revamp it for him to do again.  
 
what are some of your favorite ways to teaching reading skills?
 

 
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Books About Having a New Baby

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as you might remember, we announced that we are having a new little one in our family at the end of spring.  so, we're doing all kinds of prep reading to get Bear {5 yrs} ready for his new little brother/sister.  here are some of the books about having a new baby we've been reading:
 
But I Wanted a Baby Brother!
Oliver is super excited to get a baby brother, so his disappointment is really strong when he ends up with a baby sister instead.  Oliver uses his wits to do whatever it takes to end up with a sister.  soon enough, though, Oliver realizes that the little bundle has a special place in their family... even if she's a girl.  (due to the length of this book, it's better for children that are a little older).
 
Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth!
Sophie Peterman tells it like it is.  she doesn't pull any punches... especially when it comes to exposing the truth behind the gross, not-cuteness of babies.  This book is quite humorous and the author really has captured the voice of a child in the narration.

Lola Reads to Leo
Lola loves books, so it's no surprise that her mom uses them to prepare her for her new little brother.  Once the baby is born, Lola shares her love of reading with her baby brother.
 
Otto Grows Down
Otto is struggling with life with a  new baby sister.  So for his birthday wish, he wishes that she hadn't been born.  His wish comes true with a shocking twist... not only is she gone, but he starts growing younger and younger.  It takes a big realization on Otto's part to stop the clock from ticking backwards and to return life to how it should be. 
 
Will It Be a Baby Brother?
A little boy wonders if his mom will have a little boy or a little girl.  He really hopes that the baby will be a little brother that he can share some of his favorite toys with.  When he finally meets the new addition to his family, he finds out that he has actually gotten the sibling that he wanted all along.
 
If It Weren't for You
Life is different as an only child.  So it's not hard for a young girl to find all the great things that she could do if it weren't for her little sister.  But then she realizes a few reasons why having her little sister around is a good thing.
 
Brand-New Baby Blues
This book follows a little girl as she reminisces about life before her baby brother, comparing and contrasting how great her life used to be and its current melancholy state.  It's tough for her to share her parents, her old clothes, and even her crib with the new little one and she finds herself overwhelmed with anger and sadness.  After thinking a lot, she realizes that there might be a few good things about the new baby... especially that he won't always be a baby!
 
Baby Baby Blah Blah Blah!
The thought of having a new baby in the house is concerning to Emily, so she lists the pros and cons.  Highest on her list is the con of having to hear people talking about the baby all the time.  When she's done, her parents share a pro on their list about another baby who came into their family.  This helps Emily to understand that having a new baby in their house is going to be a good thing.  But there's a surprise ending!
 
The New Baby
Little Critter is a classic children's book character, which is one of the reasons why this book is so great.  In this adventure, Little Critter is faced with trying to figure out how to deal with his baby sister.  She doesn't respond to his words and actions like he expects her too.  Eventually though, he figures out how to relate to her.
 
The books in this series are some of my favorites ever.  This book is a sequel to God Gave Us You, and shows Little Cub asking question after question about the new baby that is coming into their family.  His mom and dad answer the questions so eloquently (as the books in this series do) and put emphasis on the fact that every child has a special place in their family.

What are some ways your prepared your kids for a new sibling?
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.
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