We all need mid-year boosts--teachers, parents, and learners!
Celebrate Simple is all about encouraging and equipping parents and families; adding spring in your winter steps!
We have created several winter-themed, inter-related learning resources for your family--all ages preschool to adult. The contents of each resource is related but nothing is duplicated.
Our first FREE winter resource is FREE to subscribers! If you are a current subscriber, you will receive this resource in the next newsletter. If you haven't yet subscribed, please do! We would love for you to have this handy, practical winter-themed unit. The contents are related to all of our NEW winter items listed below. The content of Simple Winter Family Fun includes
- conversation starters for family members of all ages,
- winter-themed book lists for preschool through high school,
- practical ideas for family team building,
- learning activities for Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (different from those included in Math Adventures: Experiencing Math in Snowflakes),
- a four-year plan worksheet for families walking the home education high school journey,
- winter-related spelling words with fun spelling practice ideas, and
- math practice for patterning, counting by fives, and solving word problems.
Our third winter resource is intended to extend the learning in the above units. The snowflake blank book and foam snowflakes are available in the store. The self-adhesive snowflakes can be use for sorting, counting, adding, and multiplication. When littles are finished sorting and counting, the snowflakes can be used to make a counting or addition book.
Finally, we are offering a winter special which includes all of the above resources AND a Magiscope! This sturdy, metal microscope has been a favorite in our home for twenty-two years and comes with a lifetime warranty! Our scope was a Christmas gift to our oldest son from his gandparents!
Whether your winter will be spent outdoors making snow forts or indoors wishing it would snow, refresh the mid-year, winter blahs with some fun new ideas and resources. We would love for your family relationships to grow and for this to be your best winter EVER!
Remember, every moment matters when using what is intentional, real, and relational!
Life is learning. Learning and life go hand-in-hand, everyday!
Learning is the natural outcome of everyday living, especially for little learners. With a few intentional questions here and a purposeful explanation there, preschoolers can learn naturally from walking alongside older siblings and significant adults. Through everyday experiences, preschoolers gain a jump start to mastering foundational cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual life skills. By the time the young learner blows out six candles on the birthday cake, significant progress toward mastery of foundational skills has likely been made.
- Identify colors
- Understand and demonstrate one-to-one correspondence
- Make sets of 1 to 5 objects
- Identify sets of 1 to 5 objects
- Associate a number with a set of objects
- Recognize numerals 1 to 10
- Recognize and draw simple shapes--circle, square, rectangle, and triangle
- Count to 20 orally
- Recognize similarities and differences in objects (Comparison is a foundational pre-number skill.)
- Recognize and identify coins (This is an easy one. I haven't met a little learner who isn't interested in how much money is in his or her piggy bank. Capitalize on this interest by sorting, counting, and identifying.)
- Identify tools of measure (Tools of measure include thermometers, speedometers, scales, Knowing the purpose of each is important to later math skills.)
- Recite the alphabet (Why not sing the alphabet song while jumping up and down.)
- Recognize letters
- Recognize similarities and difference in letter formation
- Recognize similarities and differences in sounds
- Speak in complex sentences
- Hold a book and track from left to right (One of the best natural ways to learn this skill is by modeling others, doing as they do. As you read aloud, trace a finger under the words, working from left to right, top to bottom.)
- Retell a story (This is a foundational skill for reading comprehension and vital for auditory processing.)
- Follow a two-step direction
- Hold a pencil with correct grip
- Write lower and upper case letters (There are so many ways to learn letter formation. Some of our favorites are writing in shaving cream on a bathroom wall while taking a bath, finger painting on easel paper, forming letters in a salt tray, and writing with a stick in the mud.
- Spell first name
- Recognize cause and effect (Offering explanations if every day cause and effect will help your little learner do the same. If we leave the door open, kitty will run out. If we put all the cold groceries together they will help each other stay cold until we get home.)
- Recite phone number and address (This is a safety life skill. While learning this information we explain to our children why they may need it: emergency, calling 911.)
- Name basic colors
- Identify living and non-living
- Identify parts of a plant: roots, stem, leaf, flower, pedal
- Make simple predictions
- Develop observation skills
- Form questions and find solutions
- Order daily activities
- Locate home state on a United States map
- State the significance of and the similarities and differences between people who work in the community: police, firefighters, librarians, grocers, etc.
- Learn left, right, straight, and diagonal (When entering your neighborhood, speak the directions as you drive. For example, we turn right at the stop sign. We will turn left at the corner, and so on. Once you have repeated these directions several times going in and out of the community, ask your child to tell you how to get home using left and right.)
- Identify basic geographical formations: river, mountain, cliff, ocean, and continent
- Draw a person with a recognizable body
- Use utensils properly
- Catch a ball
- Kick a ball
- Use a scissors (Providing a cutting box, old magazines, or newspaper ads for cutting along lines and curves.)
- Identify body parts. (Play Simon Says. Simon says touch your nose. Simon says touch your elbow.)
- Walk a balance beam (Okay, so most of us don't have balance beams in our homes. However, there are curbs and lines to walk. See a line, seize the moment and walk, carefully as a tight rope walker does.)
- Dress and undress
- Personal responsibility (Taking care of oneself and the areas in which he or she works and plays. Tidy up the toy room. Use a tooth brushing chart to encourage consistent care.)
In the early years, our homes provide a place--a haven--where our children can gain a foundation for future cognitive, physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual health.
People were made for relationship. Each of us, no matter the age, has the basic need for relationship--for other people who will care, listen, walk alongside.
Children are no different.
Relationships are essential to a young child's development and academic success.
The family provides the venue for this vitally important relational element to life and learning.
Learning together. Children learn best when learning alongside people who care greatest for them. Learning together might include reading a book snuggled on the couch or retelling a story and talking about the character's choices. Learning together can be writing letter or sending an email thank you to a family member or friend. Learning may also be writing numbers in fresh mud after a rain shower, marveling at minnows as they swim around a pond's edge, or listening to baby robins chirp for mama bird. Skills learned together are remembered.
Work together. Children want to be a contributing part of a community. For small children, this begins in the family, working together to accomplish a task--perhaps emptying a dishwasher or making cookies for a sick friend. Working together sends the message, "We can do this together!" When working together in a family unit children come to understand that members--gifted differently--can contribute to a greater cause. In the family unit, children can be invited to join in, to solve problems together, and help a unified cause. Working together might mean raking leaves, pulling weeds, painting a fence, or planting a garden. Often working together also offers opportunity to build life skills and develop muscle strength. For example, wringing out sponges while washing the car not only results in a sparkly clean car, but builds muscle and motor skills. Children feel empowerment when they can contribute. The family is a perfect environment for contribution.
Play together. Playing together offers natural opportunities to share, to defer to another person, to take turns. Playing with another person, especially one who can model sharing, turn-taking, and deference, invites children to move toward associative and cooperative play. For example, building play dough sculptures together allows for discussion and collaboration--co-laboring to create something new. Bouncing a ball back and forth develops motor skills but also provides opportunity to take turns and share. Some of our favorite play together times include swinging while singing a fun song, working puzzles, and playing board games.
Eat together. Meal time is gathering time, time to talk about the events of the day, to verbalize the goodness in the moments of the day, together. What were the favorite moments? Which moments were the least favorite? Eating together not only provides for face-to-face conversation but also provides real situations for practicing table manners and deference toward other people.
Worship together. Worshiping together grows spiritual bonds. Singing together also allows children to experiment with their voices--highs, lows, louds and softs--or follow a tune and experiment with musical instruments--real or homemade (nothing like pots and pans).
As I reflect on the the early years of our now adult children, I smile. Those days we spent reading aloud, observing the life cycles of butterflies, emptying the dishwasher, building block towers, preparing fraction sandwiches, and serving at church....MATTERED! Those moments of intentional interaction while living and learning together built--block by block--the foundation for the relationship my adult children and I enjoy today.