Encouraging the Family Literacy Circle with Your Kindergartner’s Play Power

And Now for the Second Part of the Family Literacy Circle’s Kindergarten Series…

Play continues to be a significant part of your child’s growth & development.   Free Play, which is highly recommended by brain & child experts as well as children themselves and  Pretend Play, which is the natural-occurring form  of daily learning, are both important parts influencing the Brain’s wiring for Thinking & Learning skills as well as Creative & Social skills.

Even the toys, or tools, your child chooses to include in his/her play are essential. They influence creativity & imagination everyday.

ACT TWO : Play Power

Free Play, Toys as Tools, and Pretend Play all are important parts of FLC K Play Poweryour 5-year-old’s ability to problem solve, brainstorm & understand her/his immediate world as well as explore & discover new & different ones.

You can encourage how your child participates in & learns from these ongoing  adventures in a variety of ways.

Guidance without too much interference will strengthen in your child’s decision-making abilities, confidence & independence.

Of course, there will be times when issues of safety (and sanity ) have definite boundaries…. I mean, risk-taking has its limits in the REAL world…..

 Yes, Your 5 Year Old Is A BRAINIAC !

Teach a child how to think, not what to think. ~ Sidney Sugarman

Her/his brain is almost the size of an adult’s. It will continue to develop for the next 20 years. And just a “heads-up”…. you’re in for some REAL brain-wave excitement in about  10 years time….

Some these Cognitive, or Thinking & Learning Skills your child may be displaying are:

  • creating more imaginative ways to complete a task
  • asking more analytical questions while weighing the choices
  • understanding & using concepts like: big, bigger & biggest; first, middle & last; yesterday, today & tomorrow; first, then & next; more, less, same; before & after; above & below
  • asking & answering a variety of questions, including “how many”
  • inventing games with simple rules
  • identifying basic colors of blue, yellow, red, green & orange
  • beginning to understand how to sort & classify objects by size, shape or type
  • showing interest in cause & effect

Promoting Your Child’s Brain Growth & Development

Your continued interaction with your child, not only strengthens brain cell connections, but, also, builds skills in language, cognition & socialization as  well as self-help skills. Specifically:

  • Encourage independent problem solving; however make suggestions & decide on solutions together
  • Suggest your child use all 5 senses for more in-depth observations
  • Allow for an  extra “get ready” window to promote independence during time-sensitive preparations 
  • Promote Literacy through drawings, pictures & lots of questions
  • Make sure your child plays OUTSIDE a lot, especially with other children because, yes, s/he is preferring activities that involve others

Free Play and The Brain

When my children become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out. ~ Erma Bombeck

Free Play-Justin Young
Free Play-Justin Young

Whether alone in her/his “hide-away” place or playing with peers, child development and brain experts agree on the significant power of free, unstructured play.

During free play, children express their emotions & feelings, which helps them to identify who they  are.

Unorganized play without lots of rules  promotes the development and growth of creativity, flexibility , and adaptation to future challenges.

Sergio Pellis, a neuroscientist from Alberta, Canada, observed that “the brain rewires itself under the positive stress of play, as children figure out how to navigate the world and each other.”

As part of a peer-play group, children learn to share, resolve conflicts, make decisions, and be assertive.

“If You Play with Me, I’ll Be Your Best Friend….”

Children Play Together-Ed Gregory
Children Play Together-Ed Gregory

Your 5-year-old wonder has moved quite comfortably into the Social stage of play partnered with the Expressive stage of play. S/he enjoys playing with others in his/her age group, seeking and creating opportunities to engage in this type of play.

S/he is interested in exploring new playgrounds, parks and friends’ houses. Community play-spaces can have a positive effect on youngsters, making them feel more connected to their neighborhoods.

Swinging on playground swings & trying out new jungle gyms are especially enjoyable to your 5-year-old. You may notice her/him initiate conversations & play in a familiar way with other children, even though they’ve never met.

Free, physical play is SO important for your child’s development of his/her body awareness. It stimulates growth  as well as strengthens her/his fine & gross motor skills. S/he may bring toys to the play area and invite some peers to play with them. Together, of course !

YAY ! What A FUN Toy !

Creating A Toy-Emma Roorda
Creating A Toy-Emma Roorda

Your child’s toys should  stimulate & engage his/her imagination, communication, collaboration, creativity, and cognition, as well as her/his gross & fine motor skills.

You’ve heard the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. It may have been created while watching children at play. Believe me when I tell you, I have seen & heard children create amazing worlds with little and/ or nothing but their incredible  imaginations, a few pebbles, sticks, leaves, and a pile of dirt……

So, What Are Some Brain~Food Toys ?

Open-ended toys, or play tools can used in many, many ways, depending in your child’s imagination or learning-needs.

Here are a few ideas child development experts suggest for your child’s growth in these areas:

Games

  • board games for pre-readers, like Chutes & Ladders, Connect Four
  • card games, like Uno, Go Fish, Old Maid
  • dominoes
  • memory & match games
  • puzzles with 15-20 pieces

Construction

  • large & small wooden/plastic blocks
  • Duplos
  • Lincoln logs
  • tinker toys

Arts & Crafts

  • play-dough & clays
  • scissors & glue
  • pencils. crayons, washable markers & watercolors
  • drawing & construction papers

Outdoor

  • jump ropes
  • high bouncing ball (utility rubber ball)
  • wagon
  • 3-wheeler
  • bicycle with training wheels

Dramatic & Pretend

  • puppets, dolls, stuffed animals
  • action & animal figures (Play-mobiles)
  • trucks, cars, train sets/race tracks
  • pretend walkie-talkies, phones & cameras
  • dress-up clothes & costumes
  • play tools
  • LARGE cardboard boxes

I know I repeat myself, but at my Home Day School, I observed my children create everything from blocks, rocks & sticks. And there were HUGE crates of toys readily available in their playroom !

Powerful Pretend Play

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination. ~ Albert Einstein

A Castle of the Imagination
A Castle of the Imagination

At the age of 5, your child is becoming more & more project-minded. S/he is planning play scenarios that include buildings, different roles, materials & tools with the drawings to implement them. A script may not be in writing, but the appropriate dialogue is in place…..with assignments  for each person, animal & object.

Not only are your child’s Pretend Play plans “elaborate”, they will be enacted for long periods of time with new (and improved) details added each time.

Feel like your child is ready to try  some new & different Pretend Plays ?  Visit my Resource Library for a Pretend Play website collection: Pretend Play Power : 8 Helpful Websites.

Or click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/8-helpful-pretend-play-websites/

How You Can Contribute to Your Child’s Pretend Play

In The Play Kitchen-Shlomaster
In The Play Kitchen-Shlomaster

During Pretend Play, especially with others, your child is engaging in problem solving and building new understandings about the world , other people & oneself. New ideas are tested, many questions are asked (and some answered), and discoveries through exploration are numerous.

Although your 5-year-old has some definite ideas & plans regarding his/her Pretend Play, you can make some “suggestions” on what s/he might want to include into the setting. Ask questions, like “How will you….., What if the……, When will you….., Where are the……?” to promote details, cause/effect and expansion.

Six (or Seven) Simple Pretend Plays

As children we LOVED to play House, Mommy, Daddy, Baby, Cook, etc. Dressing up in our parents’ old clothes & accessories, including humongous shoes delighted us for hours, days, months, and, yes, years.

You might like to view a collection of 6 Simple Pretend Play ideas in a quick-read, table format, so I cheerfully created one (LOVE those info-tables). I included materials you will find around the house in the attic, basement, recycle bin or closets; at yard sales (gold mines); or neighborhood discount stores.

Six (or Seven) Simple Pretend Play Scenarios & Material Lists

SCENARIO
OR
ENVIRONMENT
LARGE-SIZED ITEMSMEDIUM-SIZED ITEMSSMALL-SIZED ITEMSCLOTHING & LINENS
Housebroom, mop, vacuum. ironing board, lawnmower, rake, washing machine, dryer, clothes baskettrash and/or leaf bags, feather duster, clothesline, cleaning spray bottles, cleaning caddy, phone, storage binsiron, cleaning & yard gloves, clothespins, drinking water bottle, message pad/pencil, small clipboards for listskerchief, cap, cleaning rags, sponges, laundry
Nurserycradle/crib, highchair, baby carrier, stroller, bathing tub, changing tabledolls, cuddly toys, diaper bag. storage binsbottles, rattles, chew toys, tub toys, board booksdoll clothes, diapers, wash & burb cloths, blankets, baby pillow
Kitchenstove/oven, sink, fridge, table, chairs, cabinet/shelves for kitchen stuffpots/pans, dishes,bowls,cups, mixing bowls, colander, dish rack, cookbooks, clipboards, storage bins cooking & eating utensils, food pictures, play fruits & veggies, play canned & boxed foodapron, wash cloths, dish towels, napkins, tablecloth, place-mats
People's Health Clinic
&
Vet's Office/Clinic
table & chairs, pet carriersscale,clipboards, medical bag, patients:dolls,stuffed animals, storage bins medical gloves, medical tools: stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, reflex hammer, bandages, gauze, band-aids, cotton ballslab coat, wash clothes, blankets, towels
Construction Site
wagon, table & chairs, trucks, earth movershardhats,tool box, shovels, clipboards, storage binstools: hammer, saw, screwdrivers, ruler, t-square, measuring tape, nuts, bolts,, screws, nails, vices, paper/pencils, phone, ropes, chains, safety goggleskerchief, boots, vests, work gloves, toolbelt
Restauranttables, chairs, stools, menu board, kitchen-to-server window, cash registerdishes, bowls, cups,vases & flowers, order wheel, trays, bus tub, storage bins eating utensils, play food, salt/pepper shakers, sugar & creamerpackets, ketchup/mustard containers, play money, order tickets/pencils, small clipboard, clothespins, phone, calculator, to-go bagsaprons, table settings: napkins, place-mats, tablecloths

To promote additional Literacy skills in these 6 Pretend Plays,  I created signs, bin labels, hat symbols, forms and lists to accompany each scenario. They are gathered together in a DIY Collection Manual : Prop~Templates for 6 Simple Pretend Plays complete with Construction Instructions as well as Tips & Idea Suggestions. Here’s the link to this product in BLB Shop:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/simple-pretend-plays-proptemplates/

 

I hope you found some useful Play Power tips & strategies  to help you & yours prepare for this eventful step in your family’s lives. Let me hear how you are ….

Any questions &/or comments?  Just fill in the Contact Me form below……(and she’s still talking…..). You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a  FREE subscriber!

Copyright©2018BizzyLizzyBiz

 

Enriching the FLC with your First Grader’s Play & Creative Arts Skills

Welcome to Part Two of The FLC First Grader’s Series

Your 6-year-old’s Learning & Language Skills have been growing exponentially since last year. (See https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/first-graders-learning-language-skills/)

First Grade is encouraging lots of new vocabulary words -seems like everyday a few more are expressed with accuracy- in your serious, yet exuberant learner. S/he loves using them during play.

And, although s/he seems to prefer structured, play-by-the rules activities, free, unstructured play time is just as important, as always, for your child’s healthy growth & development.

PART TWO :  Play & Creative Arts Skills

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. ~ Albert Einstein

Have you noticed your 6-year-old is becoming more aware of  others and prefers playing in groups (with a new best friend everyday)?

Are his/her self-control skills improving?

Is s/he  willing to share and work out problems with others more frequently-withOUT adult supervision- (even though tattling is still an issue)?

Does s/he LOVE showing off her/his talents?

Is his/her Pretend Play becoming more elaborate with the desire to use REAL objects NOT toys-food, clothing, vacuum cleaner ?

Are blocks, Legos, paints, poems & songs in the Top 10 List of her/his favorite things to do?

Lesia Oesterreich, a Human Sciences Specialist at Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, offers a few ideas to continue encouraging the growth & development of your child’s Creative Arts & Play Skills at home:

  • To help promote an understanding of rules: make connections by playing simple table games like cards, dominoes, tic-tac-toe & some board games like Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Qwirkle
  • To show how to work together: solve jigsaw puzzles, plant a garden, make a snack, perform household chores
  • To encourage a sense of accomplishment : provide opportunities to weave, build models, cook, make crafts, practice music, present plays & puppet shows

However, if your child attends a public school without the benefit of daily recess…...

Structured vs Non-Structured Play Time

Although your youngster is becoming quite fond of the predictability of routines both at home, school & after-school activities, child development experts continue to agree on the value of daily, unstructured play time. Click on the link below for a great article on this :

https://habyts.com/screen-time-limits-benefits-unstructured-play/

If you think your child is not  getting some unstructured play time during the school day, you might want to check with the district/state guidelines.

l found it very disappointing that as of March 2018, according to an article written by Irena Schunn for the Capital News Service (“Virginia Makes Play Time A Priority in Elementary Schools”),  only 8 states in the USA REQUIRE elementary schools to provide daily recess (not counting PE).

Speaking of PE, the Council on Physical Education for Children and the National Association for Sport & Physical Education, both agree that PE does NOT have the benefits of good, old-school recess:

Recess allows ” elementary children to practice life skills such as conflict resolution, cooperation, respect for rules, taking turns, sharing, using language to communicate, and problem solving in real situations.”

Oh Yeah-we could all use some recess, I’d say…..

Then, there’s the “hindering of children’s Executive Functioning”……and this is a biggie in your child’s growth & development.

HUH?!?!?

And what is “executive functioning”? Hint…..it may or may not be part of a CEO’s job description…. But, seriously……

The formal definition: “The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.”

Here’s an in-depth explanation with a list of what these functions are and do:

http://www.ldonline.org/article/29122/

Ellen Wexler’s 2014 article, “Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children’s Executive Functioning” was contributed to the site educationweek, with several unsettling findings.

Researchers have found that working to achieve goals  using the self-directed executive function -planning, decision-making, manipulating information, and switching between tasks- develops mostly during childhood.

Too much time spent in structured activities, according to a study by psychologists at the University of Colorado & the University of Denver, interfere with children’s, specifically 6-year-olds, ability to make decisions, work towards goals, and regulate their behaviors.

In other words, children NEED to spend time deciding what they’re going to do with their time.

SOME time is NOT a free-for-all…..EGADS!!!!

And I Do This How????

Unstructured Play-MarkusSpiske
Unstructured Play-MarkusSpiske

I’m NOT advocating dis-enrolling your child from his/her favorite soccer team, dance class, art session, music lesson, or theater group. On the contrary, ONE, not several, of these extracurricular activities is a wonderful opportunity for many reasons (which I will get into later on in this post…You Know IT~).

First of all, the benefits for “free time” are: cultivating independence, encouraging imagination, boosting creativity & strengthening problem solving skills. (K. Ginsburg MD, pediatrician @ the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia)

Instead of turning on the video-sitter, try these non-structured~no rules or guidelines other than safety, of course~ activities:

  • Whatever the weather (within safety reasons): GO OUTSIDE ~ splash in puddles, make snow sculptures,  capture bugs, hike, climb & swing in trees, ride bikes & scooters, construct forts & houses, stir up some stone soup, gather leaves, hop & skip around.
  • Outside Games: Hide & Seek, Swinging Statues, Hopscotch, Simon Says, Scavenger Hunts, Hula Hoop, Jump Rope, Jacks, Tic-Tac-Toe w/ rocks & sticks, Blow Bubbles, Ball Games~catch, 4 square
  • Create & Get Messy: Indoors & Outdoors~ water & mud play (bakery, cafe, sculptures, buildings, roadways), paint, chalk, leaf collages, rock formations
  • But I’M BORED!!!!!! :Time to brainstorm  how not to be without too much adult “interference”……What worked for my mom and me ~ “Find something to do or I will find something for you to do…….”

Of course. there are some Pretend Play scenarios that can be accommodated for Outdoor play, especially if a tent or playhouse is available….

“Pretend I’m A…….. & You’re A……..”

Almost all creativity requires purposeful play. ~ Abraham Maslow

Have you noticed a change in your 6-year-old’s Pretend Play?

OR do you need to get that Pretend Play started? Check out my resource in BLB’s Library for 8 Helpful Websites by clicking on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/8-helpful-pretend-play-websites/

Yes, the scenarios are becoming more involved ~ with engaging others, with creating “plot” layers, with inventing props. You could have a budding playwright, set designer, actor, director and/or screenwriter on your hands.

You might want to set your phone on video……

Although his/her imagination is “running wild”, understanding the difference between real and make-believe is taking hold. Using real objects while doing real activities during “pretend” play is becoming more important.

BLB’s Shop has a colorful PDF product for 6/7 Pretend Plays complete with props, signage,  & templates ready to download & print. Just click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/simple-pretend-plays-proptemplates/

You might, also, want to read the “6 or 7 Simple Pretend Play Scenarios & Materials List” section with an easy-to-use table  of this post: https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/kindergartners-play-power/.

BLB’s  Library has a resource to help you & yours with a more complex approach to Pretend Play. It offers 6 Scenarios involving more characters engaged in more involved activities with performance ideas & tips. Just click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/your-growing-childs-pretend-plays-reality-show/

I’ve, also, created matching Invitation Templates for each Scenario. Just click on this PDF link to download & print:

PretendPlayRealityShows Invites

But, it’s NOT all about Pretend Play at home…..

Continuing Literacy Through Play At Home

Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher & pupil are located in the same individual. ~ Arthur Koestler

Whether you are homeschooling or enhancing your child(ren)’s education at home, there are many ways to include play as a learning strategy.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children states  young learners need to begin their days with time to :

“develop self-regulation; language; cognition; social competence; opportunities to explore the world safely; emotional control; symbolic & problem-solving abilities; emerging skills……play is the engine that drives their learning”

I had planned to include a TON of information regarding this, but, instead, I’ll supply links to the articles I found written by experienced, primary educators. There are many! Here’s a few listed alphabetically by author, not importance:

Sarah Cooley’s http://firstgraderatlast.blogspot.com/2016/08/why-i-am-bringing-play-kitchen-back-to.html

Renée Dinnerstein’s https://www.investigatingchoicetime.com/

Kaplan Early Learning Company’s http://www.kaplanco.com/blog/post/2016/03/08/how-to-incorporate-active-play-into-math-and-literacy.aspx

Andrea Sabean’s https://thekindergartenconnection.com/10-ways-to-incorporate-more-play-in-the-classroom/

Olivia Wahl’s https://medium.com/@heinemann/why-every-kindergarten-and-first-grade-school-day-should-begin-with-inquiry-and-imaginative-play-323f110e64ec

Some Play~Pretend, Free, Open-Ended, Structured, Non-Structured, etal~, though, can be influenced by the imaginations of centuries-old minds~think Fairy Tales….

Can That REALLY Happen in Real~Life???

Come On, Tooth Fairy!-MohamedAbdelgaffar
Come On, Tooth Fairy! MohamedAbdelgaffar

Fairy Tales are indeed alive & well in your 6-year-old’s vivid imagination. Think~ Tooth Fairy visits!

A major experience in a First Grader’s life is the losing of his/her baby teeth, especially those two front teeth. As a first grade teacher, I had to “help” out many of those dangling pearls, mainly for fear the children would swallow them.

One of the best, and most endearing, as well as imaginative, class-books we wrote was entitled, “What the Tooth Fairy Does with My Tooth”. From giving it to babies to crushing it into fairy dust (crushing?! OH NO!), each child had an interesting perspective on what happens to her/his tooth.

Here are a few engaging Tooth Fairy Tales to share with your “toofless~wonder”:

  • Bear’s Loose Tooth by K.Wilson & J. Chapman is a rhyming (YAY) story about a young bear experiencing his first loose tooth while he & his forest friends are eating lunch. He wonders how he will eat without it. The illustrations are soft, yet bright forest colors.
  • Tooth Fairy’s Night by C. Ransom is a Step-Into-Reading book your child will enjoy reading with/to you. The text shares the tooth fairy’s daily evening rituals & travels. The illustrations are colorful & cheerful renderings of her starry nights.
  • Loose Tooth by L.M.Schaefer & S.Wickstrom is a funny,  My First I Can Read book about a young boy trying to get his stubborn, loose tooth to come out (NOOO not the string on a doorknob!!!!). The illustrations are comical in a cartoon-style.

But, on a more serious note about those make-believe tales…..

To Tale or Not To Tale……

Tales of all kinds are part of all cultures~fairy tales, folk tales, tall tales. Many have been verbally handed down to new generations from thousands of years ago. These tales hold within them legends of bravery, trickery, good and evil. Aesop, a Greek storyteller who lived 2600 years ago, engaged his listeners with talking animals that taught life lessons.

I, like millions of other children, was raised with fairy tales told by the Grimm Brothers and/or adapted by Disney (loved the music!). Whether read to me or seen on the big screen, these 1000s-of- year-old tales, full of wonder & magic, engaged my imagination, and, still do.

However, not all children are fans of this genre. My son preferred the whimsy & humor of Dr. Seuss (an absolute FAV of mine) and stories with talking animals.

Child experts agree most fairy tales (except maybe The Three Little Pigs & Goldilocks’s visit to The Three Bears’ cottage) shouldn’t be shared with children under 6-years-old.

What do you think?

The Fairy Tale Debate

It's Raining Rainbow Bubbles-MyungWonSeo
It’s Raining Rainbow Bubbles-MyungWonSeo

Lisa Lipkin, a New York-based storyteller & author of Bringing The Story Home: The Complete Guide to Storytelling for Parents~a very informative read~ shares her Pros & Cons in “The Fairy Tale Debate”:

Yes! Yes! Yes!

  • Fairy tales have resourceful characters, who figure out how to outwit the villains & their dastardly deeds.
  • The “hero” characters make good choices in spite of the odds.
  • The tales show: faithfulness to a belief or character; kindness & patience are rewarded; and teamwork brings success.
  • The imagery in fairy tales is fantastical with enchantments, talking animals, and super-human courage.

NOOOOOOOOO~Too Scary!!!

  • The villains, who are scary & evil, do cruel & heartless things.
  • Sometimes, those villainous deeds~full of greed & spitefulness~go unpunished.
  • There are ominous forests full of secrets, spells & magic.
  • Some of the phrasing in fairy tales is scary & foreboding.
  • Heroes & villains use gratuitous violence.
  • Men & women are stereo-typed~think beautiful, helpless princess needs to be rescued by a handsome, white knight…..

 Goodreads has several parent reviews of Ms. Lipkin’s book.

Here’s the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1904131.Bringing_the_Story_Home

Yes, I Want to Read Fairy Tales to My Child

Harvey Karp MD, a pediatrician & author of the humorous book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, shares a few ideas ( with my two cents) on how to read & anecdote those “questionable” fairy tales:

  • In the beginning of the story, interactively engage all the senses when describing the characters, using the pictures, expressions, questions, & prior knowledge.
  • During the middle of the tale, talk about the “lesson(s)”~there is always a few~ you want to teach and/or have your child realize as part of the lesson.
  • Towards the ending~it’s usually happy~ make sure to include an emphasis on the little helper characters~think the mice in Cinderella~ and use your voice as a tool for understanding the roles of the different characters.
  • Wait a while before introducing stories with children at-risk~think “Hansel & Gretel”, “Bambi” (I got so hysterical, my mom & I had to leave the theater), “Little Red Riding Hood”, etc.

Love Fairy Tales, but want to challenge those stereotypes with your child(ren)? Joanna Parkes shares a great PDF using drama to do just that:

https://ark.ie/downloads/Far_Away_From_Me_Classroom_Activity_Pack.pdf

So….Speaking of “Drama”…..

“All The World’s A Stage…”

Art is the Literacy of the heart. ~ Elliot Eisner

I See An Artist-BekahRussom
I See An Artist-BekahRussom

Expressions of creativity~ ART~ can be recognized in many forms. 

Bringing to life any abstract, imaginative thought with one’s physical being is, to me, a method of art.

Whether using a paintbrush or a cooking utensil, the inventive energy of an artist becomes a reality.

Your youngster will use this energy to explore, discover, and, then, interpret her/his world in a unique & inspired voice. Nurture, nurture, nurture it.

If you’ve got a perfectionist or a reluctant artist in your midst, a good book might help him/her relax into the world of art. I gathered a few reads into a book list available in BLB’s Library. Click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/creative-arts-book-list/

The benefits of encouraging artistic expression are, not only numerous, but also, essential to your child’s healthy growth & development.

10 Benefits of the Creative Arts for Your Child

Lauren Martin offered “10 Reasons Why Arts in Education Is So Important for Kids” in an article she posted in 2014 for learningliftoff.com.

  • Creativity
  • Improved academic performance
  • Motor Skills
  • Confidence
  • Visual Learning
  • Decision Making
  • Perseverence
  • Focus
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability

I’m just  listed them, but you can read the in-depth version by clicking on the link below plus a few other articles explaining the significance of the arts for your child’s growth & development:

   https://www.learningliftoff.com/10-reasons-arts-in-education-important-kids/

 http://folsomcasharttrail.com/the-trail/blog/10-reasons-why-art-and-music-are-critical-for-our-youth

https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/how-the-arts-benefit-your-children-academically-and-behaviorally

However, there are things you can do at home to enrich your child’s life with the Arts.

Art Enrichment At Home

As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight. ~James McNeil Whistler

In all my decades of teaching children, I NEVER met a child who didn’t enjoy creating an expression in art.

Whether visually through painting, drawing, &/or sculpting or performing through dancing, singing, &/or playing an instrument, every child has an artistic  talent.

As a parent, you can strengthen your child’s growth & development by including into your home some of Jay Davidson’s ideas he suggested in his article for the Child Development Institute.

Performance Arts

Listen to My Song-Pezibear
Listen to My Song-Pezibear
  • Act out stories with props & costumes
  • Save old Halloween costumes & your old dress-up clothes, shoes, etc.
  • Listen to music at home & in the car that is not your usual fare.
  • Check out different music from the library.
  • Dance & sing together.

Visual Arts

My Vision on Paper-Zela
My Vision on Paper-Zela
  • Stock an “Art Studio” at home with a variety of tools & materials.
  • Create a scrapbook together of photos, memorabilia, drawings, etc.
  • Look for an Arts Program after school, on weekends, during vacations, and as a camp. Your local community parks & rec center can help with this.

Want more info? PBS Parents has a great Creative Arts article. Just click on the link below:

http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/six/creativearts.html

 

Whew! I hope you found some useful information & ideas for your child’s Play & Creative Arts Skills. Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!

Copyright©2018BizzyLizzyBiz

 

 

Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Celebrations

Upgrading the Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader

Notice how many different activities your Second Grader is curious about exploring, and, maybe, yes, maybe, even, trying ?

Is s/he bringing home lots of celebration ideas ? 100th Day!?!

And you’re ready to jump in ~ ALL in !?!

But you see some hesitation and, then, some reluctance, surprisingly enough, when it wasn’t even your idea….

Uh…it’s not you…

Your seven, soon to be eight year old, may be experiencing a bit of.. ah…gulp.. an identity crisis…(EGADS! ALREADY?!?!)

Seven can be a difficult time for your child’s self-assurance. Not really a baby-baby, but not really a confident eight year old either (think how independent you were in Third Grade).

Unfortunately some Second Graders are already concerned with what their peers think of them and how they “fit in”…..(OMG!!! NOT YET!!!)

Encouraging and engaging your child with a celebration or 20 will help build his/her confidence, self-esteem, and, most importantly, critical & risk-taking skills. I’ve come up with some (ha!) ideas that might help move the process along….

This is Part Two :

Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Celebrations

Where Is My Bright, Confident Child?

Don’t educate your child to become something or someone, educate them to explore and celebrate who they already are. ~ Vince Gowmon

If your seven-year old appears to be a bit shaky at times regarding who s/he is, it may just be a “bad hair”  day….or not.

Second grade can definitely be overwhelming for some children. It seems like the  expectations are either too high or too numerous to fulfill successfully.

All the new content in school may be coming at your child too quickly for him/her to process in a solid way. Learning strategies for reading comprehension, math problem solving, writing elaboration is only the beginning.

And, if that’s not enough…..there’s research and science fair projects…..but I’ll get into that arena in my next post….”Second Grade Research”.

Oh yeah… and the 3000 new vocabulary words s/he is expected to learn, understand, and, maybe even use,  is huge. Some of them are pretty big, too ~ think…..”analyze, transform, reflect, collaborate…” to mention a few…

I did create a product with activities to help your child learn those WOW Words. Just click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/second-grade-wow-words-vocabulary/

My previous Second Grader post is all about your seven year old’s Language & Learning Skills :

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/second-grade-learning-language-skills/

For now, though, let’s talk about how to engage your occasionally “pensive” child with activities to inspire self-assurance sprinkle with some ego-boosters.

You ! Wonderful You !

Celebrating Me!-ZachVessels/unsplash

Celebrating Me ! is a great way to help your child appreciate who s/he is ~ with a little bit of applause on top.

For starters, you can choose a “few” books to share with your child from the 100s  of All About Me books listed on the Good Reads site. Click on the link below:

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/all-about-me

I, also, created a 12-pg PDF All About Me freebie filled with prompt ideas and fill-in shapes to help your child make a Pin-Up Poster, telling the world who s/he is:

This Is Me !

If your Second Grader is interested to know what was going on in the world on the day s/he was born, check out a newsletter PDF template you & yours can fill in:

Our Family News

with a little help from these 2 sites:

https://mybirthday.ninja/

http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/

And As Life Goes On…..

Creating a Memory Book together is a great approach for your child to see how s/he is growing & maturing into a unique person.

Here are some suggestions of what can be included in this visual autobiography:

  • My Family Tree
  • My Friends
  • Things I Enjoy Doing So Far
  • Favorite Vacation So Far
  • Favorite Teacher(s) So Far
  • Best Present Ever!
  • Best Thing I’ve Learned How To Do So Far
  • One of the Most Interesting Things I’ve Discovered So Far
  • Funniest Time
  • Saddest Time
  • Happiest Time
  • Scariest Moment
  • Most Embarrassing Moment
  • My Biggest “Growing Up” Moment…..So Far

And here’s the link to the 25cmx20cm  PDF Memory Book Template pages:

Memory Book Template Cvr & Pgs

Share this experience as special You & Me time or pull out your scrapbook/memories to work on the “hobby” together.

Happiness Is Having A Hobby

Creativity is intelligence having fun. ~ Albert Einstein

“Find something to do or…..” was a very effective catchphrase my mother used as an anti-boredom technique.

There were always colors, papers, scissors & glue to encourage idle hands as well as building tools, pretend play clothes, puppets, etc. Designing paper dolls, paper puzzles, costume additions, etc filled many rainy or too-hot-to-play-outside days.

I usually had my nose in a book ~ historical fiction was/is a fav. I, also, loved to cut out articles & pictures to organize into notebooks ~for future reference, of course.

Garden Walk-PDP

We seldom got bored during outdoor play….. Lots of things to collect & make out there.

Hobbies ~ I have numerous ones ~ are fabulous avenues into who you are explorations & discoveries. Expose your child to the limitless possibilities.

Studies have shown hobbies & collections can benefit your child in many ways. Hobbies can increase focus, time management skills & self-awareness. Collections are great for teaching organization & detail. The website altiusdirectory listed some important ones :

  • help develop motor skills & bilateral coordination
  • encourage self-discipline  & personal accomplishment
  • act as educational tools for critical thinking & cognitive skills
  • build creativity, imagination & guessing skills
  • engage in goal setting, decision-making & problem solving
  • grow into career paths
  • continue to be lifelong interests

Need a few Hobby & Collection ideas ? BLB’s Library has a Resource for you:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/hobbies-collections-promote-creativity-discovery/

Downsides to Hobbies & Collections: cost, space and MESS…. These sites may help with those detractors:

 https://www.familybreakfinder.co.uk/activities/50-hobbies-for-kids/

https://hobbyzeal.com/hobbies-for-kids

https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/hobbies-for-kids-discover-amazing-ideas-for-your-childs-interest/

Oh, and video games,television & web-surfing are not hobbies, though I will watch my favorite shows WHILE doing a hobby.

Smile….You’re on Candid Camera

Turning off Screen Time (while eyes are glued to it) is an invitation to the  creation of a House of Horrors with the sound effects magnified through rock concert-caliper amps…..yes, oh, the HORROR!!!!!

The worst & best consequence I could dole out as a parent was NO SCREEN TIME.  Within a week, I watched my child transform from a , uh, growling meanie to a cheerful, nice person. Seriously….it was kind scary and oh, so enlightening.

PBS & other educational programing-only (I wasn’t a  Monster Mom) – did little to soothe the savage beast……at first….

Current & past studies confirm the negative effects too much screen time has on your child’s growth & development in ALL areas ~ physical, mental & emotional.

Stepping Away from Screen Time

Sand Dig-Counselling

Dr. Michael Gurian, a family therapist, brain scientist & author of the book, Nurture the Nature , offers a few guidelines for how much media is too much:

  • Notice your child’s social behaviors ~ unrealistic screen & virtual relationships? isolation from others? withdrawal from interactions?
  • Gauge your child’s emotional responses ~ increased aggression? progressive stress & fatigue?
  • Measure your child’s cognitive development ~ shortening instead of lengthening attention span? a variety of troubles learning new things?
  • Observe your child’s physical growth ~ weight, coordination, gross motor skills, flexibility, endurance

Another brain scientist, John Medina, suggests negotiations based on “trading for digital time”:

  • Divide screen time into categories, like school work, technology learning, research & (the heavy) recreation.
  • Non-screen activities can buy screen time on the weekends after school work, chores, family time, etc are completed.

Here’s a PDF, usable Alternatives List I  created for you:

80 Screen-Free Activities

FYI ~ The National Parks Service offers an AWESOME Junior Ranger program packed with a variety of interests, like fishing, bats, archaeology, caves, historic preservation and MUCH more. Here’s the link for more info:

 https://www.nps.gov/kids/junior-rangers.htm

And, BTW, cooking together is a WONDERFUL way to engage everyone in a healthy, fun life skill activity. Yes, BLB Shop has a few products to encourage you & yours:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/1000-strawberries-family-cookbook/

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-kitchen-for-family-cooking/your-kids-can-help-when-its-lunch-packin-time/

You can, also, create some screen time filming, and, then, watching a variety of Pretend Play scenarios, explorations, vacations, holiday gatherings ~ you know ~ good ol’ Home Movies !

AND……Action !

Children find everything in nothing. ~ Giacomo Leopardi

Who doesn’t love a good movie !?! Believe me ~ I am a MAJOR fan !

As children, my sisters, friends & I loved to build stages for our variety acts & alternative environments when preparing our role play scenarios. Our parents were always entertained and encouraged sequels.

Your Second Grader’s improved learning & memory skills are encouraging a lot of growth in her/his creativity. Toys without specific instructions & boundaries will engage your child’s imagination & cognitive skills.

Pretend Play is beginning to look & sound like a Reality Show with its detail, dialogue & “sets”.

This downloadable freebie has several Invitation Templates for your child’s Pretend Play scenarios:

PretendPlayRealityShows Invites

BLB Library has a Resource with sites for more Pretend Play explorations:

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/8-helpful-pretend-play-websites/

And, if you have an aspiring artist ~ visual and/or performing artist in your midst, you can, also, check out BLB Library for a Book List Resource:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/creative-arts-book-list/

Or, maybe, you have an aspiring Social Butterfly and/or Party Planner on your hands…. After all, who doesn’t love a PARTY!?!?!

Oh Yeah ! Let’s Partaaay!

Water Fun!-PeterJanzen

Does your child love to go to parties? Is his/her Pretend Play involve making parties (think tea parties, swim parties, sleepovers) & inviting others?

Your Party Planner may have a career plan in her/his future….for now. It may be time to take your Social Director to the next level.

Talking & fantasizing are definitely the beginnings of what is called ~in your seven-year old’s mind~ the pre-planning stages. You can help reality set in with a brainstorming, Q&A session, especially when the Budget enters the equation:

  • Who is the party for & Why?
  • When & Where?
  • Is there a Theme?
  • How Many People will be invited?
  • What Kind of party is it: brunch, lunch, dinner, snacks only, dessert, buffet?
  • What kind of Food & Drinks will be served ?
  • Decorations?
  • Entertainment: games/contests, prizes, music?
  • Clean-up crew?
  • Cost / Budget?

Here’s a pair of PDF templates (Party Organizer & Budget Worksheet) to get you & yours started : Party Planner

And your child is stretching out: neighbors, school & community.

Celebrating Your Child’s Out~of~the~Door Places

CelebrateFriends-YannaZazu

Since Kindergarten you’ve been hearing “My teacher says…” “At school we….” “S/he’s my friend at school…” Your youngster is, hopefully, a proud & eager participant in all things School. Get out your pompoms & join in !

This “School Rocks !” PDF , fill-in-the-blanks,  mini-poster freebie will let you know why your Second Grader is so enamored with her home-away-from-home :

SCHOOL ROCKS !1!

How well does s/he know the neighborhood & community? Has s/he been studying maps at school ? Make one together that starts with your home & branches out to nearby places you visit together, including shops, the library & fire station.

The study of Community Helpers has been part of your child’s classroom since Kindergarten.  This PDF freebie will give you some clues about how familiar  your Second Grader is with his/her town, city, state & country. An interview sheet is included in case s/he wants to find out more about specific community workers : Community Helpers

So, speaking of the USA…..

Celebrating Major USA Holidays

There are 10  Federal, or Public holidays we, as a Nation, celebrate together. They are days to recognition & honor our accomplishments throughout the history  of the USA.

Usually included as a 3-day weekend, many businesses, especially banks, some state & federal offices, the post office & maybe, your child’s school will close to enjoy the long weekend.

Those 10 Federal Holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day ~ January 1
  • Martin Luther King Day ~ third Monday in January
  • Presidents’ Day ~ third Monday in February
  • Memorial Day ~ last Monday in May
  • Independence Day ~ July 4
  • Labor Day ~ first Monday in September
  • Columbus Day ~ second Monday in October
  • Veterans’ Day ~ November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day ~ fourth Thursday in November
  • Christmas ~ December 25

Here’s a 6-page, PDF freebie with Family Activity Ideas for celebrating each of these Holidays plus 5 more including Valentine’s Day, Earth Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, and  Halloween : 15 USA Holidays

We, also, as a Country of many diverse cultures, celebrate the many different countries’ customs & heritages  so many of us brought with us when we arrived to live here.

Celebrating Our Multiculturalism

The future of our world lies in the hands, hearts, and minds of our children. ~ David Decker

Many schools across the USA hold an International Day for families & friends to share their different customs, foods, heritage, clothing, handwork & language.

Some schools celebrate their diverse cultures with an International Night. Families set up tables & booths to showcase their different customs, foods, heritage, clothing, handwork & language as a mini community festival.

I taught on a campus with so many international children, we hung flags from the hallway ceilings, representing each one. We were like a small United Nations !

BLB Shop has a 77-page PDF product ~ USA Multicultural Celebrations ~  with information, book lists,  activities & recipes for you & your family to experience while celebrating our Multicultural Nation. Just click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/15-usa-multicultural-celebrations-books-activities-recipes/

Of course, there are 100s of festivals  across the USA, including 10 Major Global Celebrations. These special days are celebrated by millions of people.

Ten Major Global Celebrations

Swinging-Stocksnap

These ancient Holidays are shared by millions & millions of cultures around the world. Most are based on religious beliefs. However, not all who participate in the festivities are necessarily followers of the religion.

How many of them do you know?

RELIGIONBELIEVERWORLD POPULATIONCOUNTRIES MOST LIVE INMAJOR HOLIDAYS
ChristianityChristianTwo BillionAmericas, Europe & OceaniaEaster & Christmas
IslamMuslimOne BillionNorth Africa, Asia & Middle EastRamadan & Eid al-Fitr
HinduismHindu900 MillionIndiaDiwali & Holi
BuddhismBuddhist350 MillionSouth & Southeast AsiaVesak & Obon
JudaismJew14 MillionUSA, Israel & EuropePassover & Hanukkah

To learn more about these celebrations, check out the Resource in BLB Library : Ten Major Global Celebrations. It includes information on traditions & symbols with a book list for each culture :

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/ten-major-global-celebrations/

And….just one more thought about Celebrations…..

Everyday Celebrations

Carefree-Pexels

Did you know there are days on the calendar for celebrating peanut butter, spaghetti, dragons & daydreamers ? Months & weeks have specials celebrations, too, like Frog Month & Pizza Week. Holiday Insights on the site The Spruce is LOADED with Family Fun Celebration Ideas. Here’s the link:

https://www.thespruce.com/celebrations-4163111

Well, believe it or not, I didn’t mean for this post to be so lengthy….

But, if you’re reading this, Faithful Reader, I hope you discovered some new ways for you & yours to celebrate !

Let me hear how much fun your Family Holidays are !

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