Tag: family activities

Patriotic Activities for Kids

Patriotic Activities for Kids

Here in the United States, summer officially arrives on Memorial Day weekend. Now that my girls are older (9 and 6), we will spend part of the weekend talking about the true meaning behind Memorial Day (no, not barbecues and pool openings). Like most countries, America has experienced a lot of loss — from the Revolutionary War to current conflicts. We will probably travel to see the latest version of the Freedom Rock (link) and make a list of patriotic activities to get ready for our Independence Day celebrations.


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If you have young kids, you can start with the basics, The Pledge of Allegiance and The Star Spangled Banner! You can also teach them classic patriotic songs like America the Beautiful, My Country Tis of Thee, and This Land is Your Land.

Our favorite resources for learning about American history and geography:

(Just a reminder that Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.)

School House Rock: America

Stack the States (app)

Liberty Kids

Patriotic Activities for Kids | Celebrate Memorial Day and Independence day with these patriotic songs and resources, fireworks crafts, patriotic sensory bin, and more!

You can also fill your home with fun patriotic books, such as America the Beautiful or Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution!

(Blog post with more recommendations coming soon.)


When it comes to U.S. history for young kids, you have a couple of options. You can tell your kids the traditional tales we learned as kids (George Washington and the cherry tree comes to mind) or start to be a little more truthful about some of the harder details of our country’s past. I think we’re lucky in this way–we get to be lifelong learners along with our kids!

I like to tell my girls that history hasn’t changed, just our understanding of it.     

We can also seek out resources that teach us more about the women and people of color who impacted our nation’s history that we didn’t learn about as kids. (If you have ideas, be sure to leave them in the comments!)  


If you like to do crafts with your kids, there are lots of choices for Memorial Day and Independence Day. Last year, we made wreaths using red, white, and blue fabric with some senior adults at the local retirement community! You can see our ever-growing collection of patriotic craft ideas on my Pinterest board here.

Patriotic Activities for Kids | Celebrate Memorial Day and Independence day with these patriotic songs and resources, fireworks crafts, patriotic sensory bin, and more!

Our girls love sensory play, so be sure to consider a patriotic sensory bin. We like red and blue dyed rice (mixed in with undyed white rice), along with 4th of July “table scatter” found at the craft shop. My girls also enjoyed adding pom poms to the mix along with their favorite sensory bin accessories.   


Patriotic Activities for Kids | Celebrate Memorial Day and Independence day with these patriotic songs and resources, fireworks crafts, patriotic sensory bin, and more!

Don’t forget you can download our FREE red, white, and blue activities here in our Facebook group–no email address or opt-in required!


Summer is a wonderful time to celebrate America’s birthday and learn more about our nation’s history.

Be sure to leave a comment, and let me know which patriotic activities are your family’s favorites!

Letter Recognition Activities for Preschoolers

Letter Recognition Activities for Preschoolers

It’s hard to believe I’ve been involved in education for nearly two decades now. I’ve gone from working one-on-one with struggling students to a classroom teacher, from tutoring small groups to teaching “mommy and me” sign language and early literacy classes. Again and again, I come back to working with preschool and primary grade students (and their parents) because it’s a crucial time to instill a love for learning that lasts a lifetime.

In our Facebook group and in my one-on-one chats with parents, I’ve noticed one skill comes up more often than others: learning letter names and letter sounds.

In my mind, the best early literacy activity is simply reading aloud to our kids. There is no program or app that has a better track record than the powerful connection of a caring adult, a good book, and a willing child.


Click here for our favorite read aloud resources.


However, in my experience both as a teacher and a mom, some skills do need a little extra direct instruction. When it comes to teaching letters to toddlers and preschoolers, I will always recommend hands-on, FUN learning activities.

From an early age, our younger daughter showed us that she preferred choosing her own activities. By rotating her toys and setting out invitations to play every afternoon, she has become confident at directing her own learning.

What is a parent’s role in teaching letter names and letter sounds?

It’s simple, really.

Filling your home with books, stocking your toy closet with open-ended toys, and understanding how your child learns best will go a long way toward early literacy success.

So which books and toys are best for letter recognition?

Read on!

Letter Recognition Activities for Preschoolers | ABC games, learning letter names, learning letter sounds, early literacy, tactile activities, learning through play

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

By nature, most young children are hands-on learners. Our five favorite TACTILE (touch) letter recognition activities are:

Wooden Letter Puzzle

Magnetic Letters

Foam Letters

Letter Stamps

ABC Cookie Cutters

My older daughter (a visual learner) also loved these two-piece letter puzzles and our ABC books:

My younger daughter (an auditory learner) loved this CD and our sign language DVDs/CDs:

Finally, some of our favorite letter recognition activities come out in our seasonal play. Leftover plastic eggs are great for making homemade ABC games!

 


Download our plastic egg activities here.


It is my sincere hope that this post has sparked some ideas for letter recognition activities that you can do at home! If you need MORE ideas, I would love for you to join our Facebook group or schedule a one-on-one chat with me.

 

Join our FREE Facebook group just for parents!

Learning Math at Home in a FUN Way

Learning Math at Home in a FUN Way

We tend to focus a lot on early literacy around here, but I also believe math readiness is just as important for our young children. Whether your child currently loves math or not, we should try to make learning math FUN at home! 

For years, I’ve heard stories (tall tales?) about the battles over math flashcards between my husband and his mom. She would literally chase him around the dining room table, trying to convince him to sit down and practice. To this day, he shudders whenever I say the word “flashcards.”

Learning Math at Home in a Fun Way | math play activities, card games, number sense, hands-on activities, learning through play, place value, learning math for kids, learning styles

Learning Challenges

In all my years of teaching (both as a classroom teacher and as a homeschooling mom), I’ve realized no two children learn the same. Very often, we hold a child responsible for his/her own learning challenges. We might call them inattentive or lazy, rather than look at the curriculum or teaching style.

Over the last two years, I’ve watched my own daughter struggle with mastering her math facts. Her issues mainly stem from a lack of confidence and feeling pressured when being timed. To counteract her negative feelings, we spend a lot of time talking positively about math.

Learning Styles

Equipping our children to deal with math challenges often starts with learning about growth mindset. Discovering a child’s learning style can also help us (and them!) find specific, tailored strategies to attack the problem in a fun, fresh way.

Teaching my daughter (a visual learner) how to quickly draw a picture or make a diagram while solving word problems has made a world of difference. For the longest time, she thought she had to do all the work in her head!  

My other daughter is an auditory learner. She has quickly picked up her math facts, just by listening to her sister practice with me each day. We also listen to a lot of skip-counting songs while we’re in the car.


Want to learn more about learning styles? Click here!


Starting Early

I’ve realized that all children deserve a solid math foundation in the early years. Rather than starting with workbooks at the age of 3 or 4, we can bring in fun math games and activities. Young children often do best learning through play!

Learning Math at Home in a Fun Way | math play activities, card games, number sense, hands-on activities, learning through play, place value, learning math for kids, learning styles

Here are some of my favorite ideas for learning math at home in a fun way!

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

  • Math Games

UNO is a great game for number recognition! You can also use the cards for all kinds of “mix and match” learning activities.

Rack-O is fun for sequencing.

Pass the Pigs is fantastic game to practice adding!

Set is one of our favorite family math games. Everyone can play, from the 6-year-old to the 40-year-old. It’s great for sorting and problem-solving!

  • Math Play Activities

    • Cooking is a great way to learn more about math–both measuring ingredients and talking about fractions. If you are looking for an easy recipe for your kids to create, why not try making homemade playdough? Our favorite recipe calls for mixing dry ingredients together before adding in the hot water, so your children can help in a safe way.
    • Playing store can be a fun way to learn more about money–sorting coins by “type” and counting them by 1s, 5s, 10s, and 25s.
    • Grocery shopping and going to restaurants (or recreating the experience at home in your play kitchen) can introduce the idea of budgets and making change. For older kids, you can talk about percentages in choosing a tip for a server.
  • Math Books

It should come as no surprise that we LOVE math-themed books in our house! Here are some of our favorites:


See our must-have math toys here!


We also make learning math FUN by:

  • celebrating silly holidays like Pi Day
  • polling friends & family on Facebook (favorite color, favorite fruit) and then making a graph with the data
  • playing Todo Math on our iPad
  • creating STEM projects (check out our Pinterest board)

Join us in July for our our parent workshop, Making Math Fun!

Want to learn more about doing math at home?

If you are:

  • the parent of a child ages 2-7
  • passionate about your child’s education
  • committed to making learning at home as FUN as possible, and
  • interested in child development…

then our Making Math Fun workshop is for YOU.

Learn 10 important math skills your children need to know for early math success AND fun ways to practice those skills at home.

This workshop will be part of our July line-up over in our Flourish Family Membership. You can add your email address below for more details, or click here!