Teach Kids to Help with Special Day Preparations: Use a Post It Note Wall

Teach Kids to Help with Special Event Preparations: Use a Post-It Wall
Lainie’s kids choosing tasks from the Post It Wall. *photo credit: Lainie*

My dear friend Lainie is back with another household tip.  This time, she discusses how she gets her kids involved with preparations for a special occasion.  Her tip about Teaching Kids to Clean with Lines has made a huge difference in our house.  I can see her suggestion about a Post It Note Wall being equally effective (especially once both of my boys can read!).… Continue reading

Finding Beauty in the Smallest Things: Hatching a Praying Mantis Egg

Finding Beauty in the Smallest Things: Hatching a Praying Mantis Egg
Our praying mantises, ready to be released into our garden. You can see the large egg case propped up on a small stick inside the jar.

My boys and I have watched several different types of insects move through their life cycles.  In past years, we’ve watched ants make amazing tunnels.  We’ve observed as tiny caterpillars grew large, secreted a chrysalis, and emerged as butterflies. … Continue reading

Letting my Kids Set Things on Fire

Letting my Kids Set Things on Fire
Setting a stick on fire using a parabolic mirror.

This week’s exciting learning experience: setting things on fire using a parabolic mirror.

 

While some parents might gasp – You’re encouraging your kids to set things on fire??!!” – I think it’s a good idea for children to learn about and experiment with fire.

 

After all, fire has been fundamental to the survival and development of humankind. … Continue reading

Teaching Kids to Clean with Lines

Teaching Kids to Clean with Lines
A Line, all ready to be picked up and put away. *Photo Credit: Lainie

 

This post comes from my long-time dear friend, Lainie. Her ideas about practical ways to help a household run smoothly even with small children underfoot (as well as so many other things) have encouraged me over the years. I hope you find the idea she writes about here helpful as well.… Continue reading

9 Things Learned by Climbing Trees

My 6-year-old, high in a Ponderosa Pine.
My 6-year-old climbing high in a tree.

I know that tree climbing can be a controversial practice. I know this mostly because of the dirty looks I receive when I’m sitting at the park and I allow my boys to climb the trees (well, my 6-year-old actually climbs high into trees; the 2-year-old generally hugs the trunk from the ground and yells, “Climb tree!… Continue reading

The Importance of Cooking with Kids

The Importance of Cooking with Kids
My 6-year-old got out most of the supplies for making cookies, and placed them all in front of his little brother’s kitchen platform.

There are many things that I want to teach my children before they leave the house. While the most important of these have to do with character, perspective, and attitude, there are quite a few academic skills and also a good number of life skills that I want to be sure they master.… Continue reading

Get Moving: Play Hopscotch

Get Moving: Play HopscotchThis afternoon my 6-year-old wanted to play hopscotch. So we all headed outside and proceeded to draw a hopscotch course on our patio. Once it was complete, my two boys and I all took turns hopping back and forth up and down the course. We did the course with one foot, with two feet, with all left foot jumps, with all right foot jumps, and even tried jumping through it backwards (though it was hard to avoid the lines that way).… Continue reading

Making Art Teaches Mindfulness and More

Making Art Teaches Mindfulness and More
A batik fox made by my 6-year old

We make a lot of art in our house. I keep a wide array of open-ended supplies available, and my boys have a space that they can work on their own projects (my toddler, with some help; my 6-year-old, mostly independently). While I frequently choose and set up supplies for my toddler, my older son has full creative control over his art experience, and he’ll help himself to whichever supplies will help him to bring his vision to fruition.… Continue reading

Learning through Origami

Learning through OrigamiThe other day, my 6-year-old stumbled upon an origami book on our bookshelf. As he looked through it, the paper balloons intrigued him. He immediately set to work on trying to fold his own. And after a few tries and some help from me in interpreting some of the more complicated portions of the instructions, he was able to fold a paper balloon on his own.… Continue reading

Painting a Self Portrait

Painting a Self Portrait

My 6-year-old decided that he wanted to paint a life-size picture of himself. He also wanted to paint a life-size picture of his brother.

To help him to accomplish this, we took two large pieces of paper from our paper roll, one sized for him and one sized for his brother. I then had him lay down and I traced all around his body, starting with his head and working my way down to his feet.… Continue reading