Tag Archives: time

Giving Kids an Extra Hour of Your Day

1 extra hour a day

This summer is flying by and not in the way I imagined. I had hoped for lots of daytrips to the park, pool, local orchard, zoo, beach and friend’s houses. I researched free and low cost activities that would appeal to kids of all ages and even signed up for newsletters from local attractions.

Something happened to my master plan. I started working a job. The work is flexible and I do it from home but it really cuts into prime time during the day. I feel guilty that the sun is shining and I’m sitting in front of a computer and the kids are asking if there is anything to do.

This week I changed things up a little. I gave up an hour to give it back to the kids. I took that hour from my sleep. I love my sleep, it’s something that I hate to give up for anything. I realized that my kids happiness and summer memories relied on it though.

The first morning I get into an elaborate activity with my youngest. We built entire city out of construction paper and crayons, play animals, Matchbox cars and blocks. Truthfully it took way more than an hour to create but then it provided a couple more hours of entertainment as she moved her city around and reorganized streets and built new structures.
The next day was dedicated to my son. He’s an excellent reader but he just doesn’t enjoy it yet. He loves stories and listening to audio books, he’s been listening to Series of Unfortunate Events for over a year, over and over. I started our morning with ME reading out loud a chapter book of his choosing. He choose Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Ugly Truth. We laughed and had some special bonding time over something that we don’t do often enough. I promised him I would read a chapter or two each morning before we get into our regular routines.

These are just small steps but they really made a positive impact on the rest of the day.

Supplies for Your Education Cupboard

Study symbols

Okay, so not everyone has a designated area for their ‘education stuff.’ My Education Cupboard is definitely figurative. But there are a few things that my “figurative cupboard” includes. Why? I want to be prepared for those little teaching moments. Plus, the things in my “cupboard” provide time together and worth-while activities. Here’s a little peak into my cupboard.

Sidewalk Chalk – What child does not like to write on the sidewalk? But the best part is you can play too and use the time to teach your child about animals or words or shapes or numbers.

Binoculars – You don’t need to buy an expensive pair, just something easy for your child to use. Binoculars offer a world just waiting to be discovered. You can go bird-watching together, nature viewing, and sightseeing, and you play games such as “I spy…”

Magnifying Glass – Whenever I think of magnifying glasses I think of children staring at ant hills. But while you can make ant watching educational, there are other great uses for the magnifying glass, such as viewing really small print, looking at all the many almost-invisible lines on a leaf, or looking at the bugs and other things that live on rocks.

Paper, Lots of Paper – What can you not do with paper? You can, of course, write stories, create comic strips, design book covers, make origami, and so much more. No matter the activity, there is something to learn: coordination, creativity, writing. . . .

Crayons/Paint/Markers/Pencils – I would say, “refer to above,” but that feels so formal. Other educational activities you can use the fancy art supplies for might include coloring outlined ABCs; creating posters and signs to put around the house to teach ABCs, numbers, or vocabulary words; or decorating boxes and bags to store school supplies.

Seeds – Why seeds? To plant, of course. Teach your children about plants and how they grow by helping them plant their own flowers or vegetables.

Board Games – Board games teach a lot about collaboration and help children develop critical thinking skills, which is an important skill for school and life in general. Younger children who do not know how to read yet might enjoy games like Don’t Break the Ice, which is a great game for teaching about effects of choices. Older children who can read may enjoy games like Clue, which helps them learn how to think through and solve problems and puzzles.

Maps –There are a lot of things you can teach your child about maps. Teach your child how to read the key or teach them about the different continents, countries, and cities. Children can also make their own maps of the house or the backyard or the neighborhood and use them to create treasure hunts.

Hand Clock – I know. . . . Who uses a hand clock anymore? Believe it or not, they do exist, and it’s a good idea for your kids to learn how to tell time from one. Plus, a hand clock helps them to visually understand how hours and minutes and seconds work together to create time.

Whiteboard – A whiteboard can be a great place to keep track of homework, school, or personal learning goals. It can also be a great tool for writing progressive stories with pictures. Each day the picture and words on a whiteboard change, creating a new adventure. I once used a whiteboard to create a great story about Rapunzel. The story strayed from the original version as it progressed with wolves, airplanes, and explosions. It was great!

Your education cupboard can contain any of these items and more. What is in your  “cupboard”?

Feature image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.