Hello – I have included some fun educational activities. My approach is to present learning in a fun format. Children will be more engaged if they enjoy what they are learning. Preach to a child and they will turn a deaf ear to you – I guarantee that.

Below are some activities that have hidden learning agendas. I equate with the child that loves a particular brand of cereal until he realizes that it is GOOD FOR HIM. :0)

1) Math:  Children are encouraged to preplan a bead arrangement by drawing a sketch by counting and designing color arrangement. color arrangement. This can be adapted to just choosing colors depending on the childs level of development. For young children, or children with motor skill challenges, use larger beads. They can preplan a design for a key chain, necklace, bead drawing, or pencil holder (provide empty soup can to glue beads on for pencil holder) Imagination is the only limit, and accommodation is the key. Large beads for younger children and children with fine motor skill issues, smaller beads for older children.

Always allow the children to choose their bead colors and designs. Children gain independence and a sense of pride from a creation that the “did all by themself”. Remember, coach projects, do not do the project for the child. If a child is experiencing difficulty, guide them, but do not hover. Safe challenges that are successfully achieved give children the positive self efficacy to move up to another skill.

2) Movement and literacy: Vocabulary kickball is a great way to reinforce word comprehension in the kids while having fun. The children can stand in a line while you say a definition. If the chosen child can identify the word associated with the definition, roll the ball to them. If not, it is considered a strike for the team. Modifications can be made for various developmental and cognitive levels. Instead of giving the child a definition, give them a word to define.

For some children, you may hold up an object and ask them to tell you what letter it starts with. For children who struggle with behavioral issues and are just learning the skills for reciprocal behavior you may choose not to count strikes and merely move along in the game. The important point is to always adapt the game so all children feel safe enough to participate.

3) Shape recognition: Provide children with a sponge. Encourage them to take a walk or look around the classroom. Reinforce the point that all objects are actually shapes. i.e. The desk is a square, the art table is a rectangle, The bottom of their thermos is a circle, etc.

Children grasp the concept easier when you have pointed out objects that are present in there live’s everyday. Young children do not have the capability to think in an abstract format,.They are concrete thinkers and learn better through visual prompt.

Upon completing the lesson on shapes, children can dip their sponges in paint and proceed to create a work of art fit for Picasso. :-0) Circle sponges can be used for the son, stars may become part of a painting of a camping trip, ideas are unlimited with the creative minds within the classroom. Encouraging the children to share their sponge shapes with the other children increases their sense of pride and reinforces reciprocal social skills. Kids love to see their shape used on a friends artwork. Again, please encourage children to create their own sponge shape. I always reiterate the importance of remembering that projects are the childs, not ours. There are always adaptations that can be made to make each and every child feel included by their teacher, parents, and peers.

4)Science: The Blue Sky experiment is a blast! This experiment will explain the ultimate children’s question. “Why is the sky blue”? A two liter soda bottle is filled 1/2 way with water. Shine a flashlight on the bottle. Add milk to the bottle. Shine the flashlight on the bottle again The color is now blue!!! Add a little more milk and the color should turn red or orange when you shine the flashlight on the bottle again.

Have fun – I hope you enjoy these ideas. More tomorrow.

Mari N. M.Ed.