There has been some seasons in our life that the best plan of sick-proofing our kids during the winter is literally staying at home, and isolating ourselves from others. We did this a lot when our last child struggled with so many issues due to his immune system being attacked all the time, and knowing that all he needed was time to gain his health, and strengthen his immune system. It didn't take long that I realized that I needed to teach my son how not to spread germs.
How to Teach Kids to Not Spread Germs
Children are perfect carriers of all types of germs. Teaching children, even at a very young age, key things that will keep them from be intentional to not spread germs.
This is taking the conversation about GERMS one more step.
Here are things I had to teach him that has helped a lot, but still needing to be reinforced often because boys need the reminders.
Wash your hands OFTEN. Before you eat or touch food that others will be eating as well. Especially after using the bathroom. When in public, avoid touching things that many people touch, especially if children are touching them before your kids.
Keep your hands OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. This is a hard one to teach, but so important, especially if you go out of the house often. I have even had to teach this same child to NOT lick the handles of carts at stores. Each time I have caught him with his mouth on the cart, he got sick.
Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm. We tend to use our hands to cover our mouth, but the best way to do it is into the bend, because most people will never touch us there, and we don't use that area of our arm to touch other things. This alone will help minimize the spreading of germs.
Don't share drinks. Sharing drinks is one of the fastest ways of having germs spread. Use color coded cups to make it easier for younger children to know which cup is theirs and which isn't. Assigning a color to a child to always be their cup, makes it even easier to remove the sharing cups concern.
Sterilize tooth brushes often. Buying tooth brushes isn't always in the budget, but it is very easy to sterilize tooth brushes when germs are in the house, and especially after a child has been showing signs of becoming sick. All you do is bring a pot of water to boil, and drop the tooth brush in the water for 30-60 minutes. Remove the brush and let cool before using.
The more we educate our children, and demonstrate the same healthy behaviors to not spreading germs the better they will emulate these habits as their own.
Chocolate is everywhere. We are always trying to find new recipes, sampling new products that contain our favorite flavors, and seem to have a favorite chocolate, whether it is dark, milk or white chocolate. I thought it would be fun to create an ultimate book list of chocolate for all of us chocolate lovers, and for all ages to enjoy. I wonder if Charlotte Mason liked chocolate, as much as I do?
The Ultimate Book List of Chocolate
I have been thinking about chocolate a lot these days, especially after writing about The History of Chocolate, and the holiday season of baking. I have to admit, I often times use chocolate as a stress reliever because it seems to relax me, and forces me to slow down because of the way that I tend to eat chocolate.
When my husband and I were first married, he would laugh at the way I would eat a candy bar; literally, nibbling off the chocolate first and exposing all the yumminess of the inside. When we would enjoy Peanut M&M's (one of my favorites), he would put a handful of them in his month at one time, but not me. I would bite one M&M in half, chew that and then remove the peanut, chew that and lastly eat the remaining part of the chocolate.
This post was sponsored by American Heritage® Chocolate.
We all love chocolate, right? Once you learn about the history of chocolate, you may love it even more. Learning about the history of chocolate as currency, medicine, drinks and indulgences in the book, Great Moments in Chocolate History has been a lot of fun and insightful that it would be a perfect way to do a unit study in your homeschool or even a wonderful gift idea for a chocolate lover.
The History of Chocolate
Do you know where chocolate comes from? Most people may think it is the cocoa bean, but it is actually the cacao bean. It is only through a roasting and processing that the cacao bean name is changed to cocoa. I have taken chocolate for granted, and just ‘assumed' that it has always been a part of history, but haven't considered the path it has traveled to become the most loved dessert today. That was until I enjoyed reading the book Great Moments in Chocolate History and learned about its historical start as currency, and how valuable it was as medicine to many cultures (I would LOVE a cupboard full of this medicinal drink) and how it has found its place in the hearts of Americans, and making its place in WWII in the form of M&M's.
Imagine getting your children excited about learning about history though chocolate!
From the Aztec Empire, explores like Christopher Columbus and Cortes, King Philip II, Louis XIV, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Marie Antoinette, Amelia Earhart and many others who are mentioned in this beautifully illustrated book about the history of chocolate could serve as a fun and exciting way to learn about world history with your family in a way that children of all ages could relate with and find interesting from the beginning.
Great Moments in Chocolate History
Mars Chocolate North America, along with partner National Geographic Society, has just released the first of two books Great Moments in Chocolate History, which is full of fun facts that will bring chocolate into names and events like never before. To complete this book, they have added 20 classic recipes from around the world that will be a perfect way to bring math learning, and cooking skills into a true unit study for world history through chocolate and its available for sale anywhere in the world.
American Heritage® Historical Chocolate Drink
Did you know that the chocolate drink was the first way that chocolate was consumed, and not only was it used to better the performance of warriors, but was a popular beverage during the colonial days and even out at sea? American Heritage® Chocolate is an authentic historical line of product, developed from chocolate recipes in the 1750's, it is made with all-natural ingredients and no preservatives. With 63% cacao, it is rich, and delicious, with amazing flavors blended together that include cinnamon, nutmeg, chili pepper, orange, anise and vanilla that will delight your palate.
Your whole family will love this historical drink, while learning about its history as it provides a perfect way to add some hands-on learning to your history of chocolate, and enjoy the flavor and the health benefits that have been recognized for over 500 years.
American Heritage® Historical Chocolate Block
We all use baking chocolate, or powdered chocolate in our recipes, but the American Heritage Historical Chocolate Block is not only easy to use in grating, chunking, shaving or baking but with 63% cacao, it gives such cocoa flavor that your recipes will taste amazing.
You can use this in any of the 20 recipes that are provided in the Great Moments in Chocolate History.
Has your child studied the times of knights, castles and chivalry? The medieval times are one of the most intriguing and captivating times where children can learn about devotion to honor, courtesy, valor, gentleness and gallantry. This is the time period that my 8th grader is currently studying, so when I was asked to review a new product called the Legends of King Arthur and His Court, along with the Lessons of King Arthur and His Court, I was thrilled to do so, while providing our son with one more resource to fill out his year's study of this historical time. I look forward to sharing with you, how these resources have 8 ways to study the medieval times, and just how your homeschool can benefit from them.
8 Ways to Study the Medieval Times
Pumpkin Seed Press has several resources perfect for your homeschooling journey, and training your children up in good character, so when these new resources came along, I was thrilled to see what more I can implement in my own home, and share with my readers for their children.
The Legends of King Arthur and His Court, a revised edition by Shelley Noonan, which was based on the poem Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson, and the Lessons of King Arthur and His Court is a study guide created by a young man, Jacob Noonan during his last year in homeschool and the years to follow. His study of knights and kingdoms, along with the character focus of chivalry lead to the desire to have a resource for other homeschooling family to follow, and enjoy for years to come. Each chapter of the Legends book corresponds with the chapters in the Lesson book.
Here are the 8 ways that this curriculum allows you to study the medieval times, as a family or with just one child at a time:
Use either as an independent reading assignment for older children, or as a read aloud with the whole family, the Legends of King Arthur and His Court will prove to be practically taken verbatim from the poet in which the book was based. Having such a rich text to learn from will prove intriguing to your whole family, as the picture of what the medieval times comes to life through the pages.
Note: Don't skip out on the Introduction of the Legends book, as it displays the chronological development of positions during that time period and will prove foundational for the rest of the reading.
As with all books written from earlier days, the opportunity to learn new vocabulary and enrich the language of the reader, the Lessons book will provide several vocabulary words for each chapter that will allow the reader(s) to grasp the understanding and setting of this book, and of the era of the medieval times.
The assignments include having your child look up the words, record their meanings and use it in sentences correctly.
Narrations may prove difficult with such a change in settings from what your child may prove to be use to in their studies. The study questions provided, along with their answers in the back of the book, allows your children or family to learn how to dig deeper by learning to identify and examine motives, sequence of events, meanings of phrases, and more, as they practice good grammar skills in filling out the consumable study guide.
Students are encourage to review the chapter again to complete the study questions, making it easier for a child learning a new way of processing these assignments.
I love that this aspect is added to the study guide, because it is a necessary skill for adulthood and one that can be overlooked in education.
Assignments include researching legends, customs, weapons and practices of this time period, and from our own experience will be the added ingredients that will ignite a child's curiosity of a time past and will open their mind to retaining interesting details that will capture their attention for this time period.
Due to the different assignments in the study guide, a notebook (3-ring binder) is encouraged to be used to hold the various assignments in one place.
I would encourage you to consider using a Binder Book and allow the creativity of a child to be allowed to add the details of their lessons in a fun and interesting display for years to come. This is how we will be using this curriculum this year!
Each chapter comes with a section where the child is encourage to develop creative writing, reasoning and continue with penmanship skills.
In our homeschooling, we have found that when a subject becomes interesting and we utilize many of the child's senses, we see an improvement in their writing ability. I look forward to seeing our son's writing skills improve, as we dig deep into the worlds of knights and medieval weapons that already have his full interest!
I absolutely love having drawing assignments to capture different aspects of what is being learned given to my son, who has just came into the world of drawing, although we have been journaling for years, he just now is excited about his creations and improving his skills.
Knowing his enjoyment so far in the Medieval times, I know that this addition will be added with joy to his homeschooling lessons.
As I was reviewing this resource, I was thrilled to see such details for two activities that the whole family can do together, and will allow for the practice of all kinds of skills to be worked on including: planning skills, oral presentations, hosting skills, era music, technology and building skills, and so much more!
All the steps that are required for these activities are included, and can easily be divided among several children in your family to work together for a common goal.
Book time has always been an important part of our home routines. All four of our children have had a time when ‘quiet' book time was a required part of the day. This usually became obvious during the two-five years of age when the child seems to go from one thing to the next and I needed a time to refresh. I know how beneficial this time has been for my children, so I wanted to help you learn how to implement book time for toddlers.
How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers
I needed quiet time in my afternoons, especially after my children stopped taking naps. I quickly found that quiet book time was the answer to my own need for some quiet time, and with a few important steps in place, it was easy to implement and my children all came to enjoy it.
Create an area where the child can freely get books, with lots of pictures of animals, letters, numbers and children their age
Set a timer for 5-15 minutes (or less when first starting) and work your way up to 30 minutes – telling the child that when the alarm goes off their book time is done
Praise them for accomplishing the goal of ‘quiet' book time
Ask them what they learned in the book and give them some time to ‘tell' you what they looked at
Be sure to allow your child the opportunity to pick their own books, out of approved ones and be responsible for this time. Children as young as one will quickly learn to give their full attention to their books of their choice until they hear the timer. I always used this time to teach them how to pick up their books and put them where they belonged.
Here is what I did during the ‘quiet' book time:
Showers – oh the joy of a private shower
Dinners or other baking
Read a book myself
Talked with Daddy or a friend
I always found that when my children learned this important part of their day, they demonstrated key things that I contributed to these times. To learn more Why Toddlers Need Book Time, read my post…
Long before we decided to homeschool, we ensured that our first child has plenty of books at her disposal at any time of the day. I'm not sure why I made that conscious effort to secure many different kinds of book all those years ago, but the benefits that I saw made me realize why toddlers need book time, too, and why I stick by it.
Why Toddlers Need Book Time
As I was expecting our first child, all those many years ago, I knew that a bookshelf was going to be a permanent fixture in our home, and I have held to it more than 20 years. I have had the books cleaned off in matter of seconds, and the job of putting them back up again and again, but I knew that these books at my children disposal was very important, long before the proof showed up in the pudding.
When I found out I was expecting our fourth child, almost seven years ago, I headed to yard sales and used sales to replace the board books, and toddler selections for my shelves after I had given them all away to my nieces and nephews.
This is a picture of our youngest when he was just two, and very much loving the ability to have book time any time of the day.
Over these years, I have learned so much about the benefits just by watching my four children fill their days with all kinds of books, and here is what I learned.
Part of Learning
Book are everywhere and for most of their lives will be the source of much of their learning. Teaching toddlers to love books, being read to them and enjoyed on their own at an early age will give them a head start in this part of learning. Giving them books that have alphabets, numbers, colors, shapes, people, animals, flowers, plants and things that they see in their daily lives in and out of the house, will build their knowledge and help with the beginning stages to reading.
Builds Independent Creativity
Books are where ideas comes from, which is really important to building independent creativity in them. The kinds of books that will help with this will have people (children and adults) doing things, like building with blocks, playing with puppets, riding bikes, drawing, fixing cars, cooking dinner, grocery shopping or playing with others. Children learn through the ideas that are displayed before them and when they see something that sparks their imagination, they then can turn that idea into independent creativity by emulating what they see in the books. They already do this with what they hear and see others doing within their home, out of the house and on television.
Creates Motivated Learners
When they gather ideas from books and their creativity beings to flourish, it is then that motivation is created. They will then be inspired to practice new ideas that they have on their own or will begin to be interested in other things because they have found out they exist. I love allowing my children to browse sections of the library to see what sparks new ideas that become the things that motivate them.
It is these reasons why we should incorporate book time into our toddler's days. I would also encourage you to have an area of books that they can use at any time of the day and encourage them to spend a few minutes looking at books of their own. My children have always loved having their own book time.
When a child begins to journey of reading, practice is the most important thing to having success. Once a child starts to learn the wonderful way of blending sounds together to make words, the magic for them has just started and the written language begins to come alive to them, everywhere. That is why I wanted to make my son his own DIY reading lesson cards for learning on the go.
One thing I have learned in these 16 years of pulling together homeschool curriculum for my children is that when you are praying for guidance in your unique child's education, you listen to those little impressions and I'm so glad that I did. He loves it, and is moving through the book with ease, and learning very quickly!
My son loves to write, and practice not only his letters but words he remembers from his reading lessons, or words he tries to sound out on his own. I want to encourage him to keep learning, and to do that at any time, so I wanted to make him some DIY reading lesson cards for learning on the go, like I did for him with the DIY Bible Lesson Cards for Learning on the Go.
These are simple and easy to make.
Using index cards, just nicely write your child's sentences that they are reading in their lessons, being sure to use a black marker, and even marks that they are seeing in their reading lesson, like the line over the ‘e' to let the child know it is a long ‘e' and it says its second sound, or ‘its name'.
Once you are done, laminate the cards. Punch holes in the corner (I like to line them up with a previous one to be sure that the holes match up correctly), and then add it to the ring. You can add more sentences as the reading lessons go on.
You can take these DIY reading lessons cards with you anywhere, allowing your child to practice in the car, in waiting rooms, or even demonstrate his or her learning to a loved one.
Your child will love these lesson cards and will practice their skill again and again, improving their reading speed each time.
There are so many options available to homeschooling your children today, and the online resources are growing all the time. I would love to help you learn how to homeschool with online resources to supplement and teach your children with just what you are needing and know how to locate some great options for your family.
How to Homeschool With Online Resources
I'm sure you have seen a lot of online resources that could be used for homeschooling, but maybe you just aren't sure how to implement them into your curriculum or how to supplement with them to actually use them in different ways. I love to ‘bookmark' or ‘favorite' online resources that I can search through to find exactly what I'm working to include in our homeschooling.
I love using online resources that have games to make learning fun and entertaining, while being educational. From early learning during the preschool years, and even solidifying concepts for elementary grades, online games can be really helpful to those struggling to learn through just books or need a little reinforcement to get faster with the concepts.
I love having one day a week where we focus on adding games to at least one of our subjects to keep our children excited and motivated in their learning.
Worksheets are one of the online resources that are growing in popularity within the homeschooling community. Worksheets from learning to write the alphabet, to word finds, to labeling the body and globe, to a number of ideas to get a child working on a theme or subject and demonstrate what they know.
I use worksheets all the time to supplement many subjects. If my child needs a little extra work on a math fact or quizzing on geography, I love printing out a worksheet and see what they retained, and where I need more focused learning, as the worksheets help me gauge where they are in their progress.
Hands-on learning is one of my favorite ways to teach, and some times it is hard to keep finding new activities to introduce new concepts. I love saving the ideas that I come across, and scrolling through these resources when I need new inspiration and activities to inspire learning with things I have around the house to teach what we are doing in homeschooling.
We do hands-on activities several times a week, so having fresh ideas are really important for me and my children.
With digital products becoming more popular, online resources can also include workbooks with theme learning for all ages and grades. I enjoy using these to supplement our living books, when a subject needs a little more attention, but I don't desire to buy a full curriculum to teach it.
Lessons plans are becoming more and more available online, so bookmarking them when you come across them can really help when you decide to add that topic to your homeschooling. Having someone else pull together the what and how of your homeschool can really eliminate a lot of the behind the scenes work, so you can focus on the actual learning and get more out of each subject.
Kids love to do experiments to see how science actually works. The more you can add this to your homeschooling, the more interested your children will become in the reasons because how, and apply themselves more to their learning because their interest has been perked with an experience.
Having your child participate in science fairs can also be a great way to add science projects, and get your children having fun with experimenting on their own and enjoying writing papers to explain it.
If you have a child, you have daily interrupting, whether it is while you are on the phone, talking to another adult, writing an email or text, talking to another of your children, or deep in thought. It happens to us all. Here are some tips to stop the interrupting while giving your child your attention, and doing it with one easy rule.
Stop the Interrupting While Giving Your Child Your Attention
Child are full of ideas, and exciting things to say. They aren't skilled at holding their thoughts for long, and because of this lack of training, they want to tell someone about it the moment it comes to their mind or they may lose the idea all together. This is the reason behind the constant interrupting that happens in a child's life.
Most of the time, it is the mom that bears the blunt of these interruptions and many times, we as moms, can become unaware of how it can affect the way others feel when you allow these interruptions to be a consistent distraction to a conversation they are trying to have with you.
Many years ago, my husband and I took a parenting class that taught a simple rule that will help children learn how to properly interrupt and in doing so, gets your full attention in a polite way for those you are in a conversation with or giving the opportunity to allow attention to shift to them.
This one simple rule is called ‘the interrupt rule'.
Depending on how consistent you are with implementing the interrupt rule, you can make a world of difference really fast. The thing that I love most about this rule is that it demonstrates how important your child's ideas and thoughts are you to, while respecting others at the same time.
Here is how the interrupt rule works:
A child is taught to ‘interrupt' or ‘get your attention' with their hand, not their mouth.
How this looks is very simple. Your son wants your attention to tell you something that is important to him, but you are listening to a friend talking with you. Your son may not realize he would be interrupting, because you aren't talking, but by learning to use his hand to get your attention, you will become aware he wants or needs you while still respecting you and those you are talking with.
The parent is taught to ‘confirm their desire' by placing your hand over theirs, but this doesn't give them the permission to talk just yet.
If your child has ever repeated “Mom” several times because you didn't respond to them right away, you can turn this gentle gesture of a hand placed on your arm with a repeated ‘hitting' to get your attention. Teaching your child from the beginning that you know they want your attention, and you will give them it as soon as you by just placing your hand on theirs, is all the reassurance they need.
Be sure that your child fully understands that your response to his or her hand isn't the permission to talk, but your assurance to listen in just a moment.
The parent then gives complete attention as quickly as possible by giving eye contact and keep it with their child.
It is so important that you reward your child that has learned to implement the interrupt rule your attention as quickly as you can. The younger they are, their idea or thought is quickly lost, so waiting more than a few seconds can prove too long for them to remember, and will only frustrate them with this method and they will resent using it.
It is really important that use this opportunity to demonstrate how to be polite to others who are speaking, and show them how to use the phrase ‘excuse me', when interrupting another person that you are in conversation with.
Prior to looking your child in the eyes, say “Excuse me for a minute, my son needs my attention.”
Next, look at your child in their eyes, and that is the only thing they need to know that they not only have the permission to interrupt, but now has your full attention. Keep your eyes on them, as you would the person that was just talking, and when he or she is finished speaking, be sure to praise them for their proper use of the ‘interrupt rule'.
You will need to instilling the interrupt rule when it isn't done correctly.
Children will need a lot of practice to do this correctly, so be sure to be patient and allow others to know that you are in the training stages and to have patience with you for any extended interruptions while you are working to create character in your child.
When your child doesn't use the interrupt rule correctly, stop him or her immediately, even though you may be demonstrating an interruption yourself. Then follow through with a need for an apology to the person speaking. “Manual, you interrupted Mrs. Jones. Please apology to her and use your interrupt rule.” At the same time, you will want to take their hand and place it on your arm.
As a courtesy to the other person, allow the child your attention after the apology is done. Prior to giving your attention back to the adult, remind him or her that he needs to use it properly or he will need to practice his self-control for 5 minutes.
Interrupting for an emergency requires one more step.
It didn't take too long for me to see the need for another step to this interrupt rule that we learned, and that was when my attention was needed due to a hurt child, but I didn't know it was that important and required my child to wait nearly a minute for the opportunity for my attention. I felt horrible!
That day, we implemented the emergency interrupting rule, that follows the exact same steps but instead of placing the hand on my arm, they place it on my shoulder and will get my attention the moment they do that.
It works AMAZINGLY!
The interrupting rule works for adults as well!
The way of interrupting works so well that I have used it to interrupt my husband or other adults when I need their attention during a conversation. My older children still use it from time to time, as well.
The American Presidential elections are always a great teaching opportunity, however many times, children aren't taught about the entire election process, as the main focus is usually on the final part of the election process, between one candidate for each party. There is so much more to teach the election process to your kids, and maybe even learn how to be more active in your own decision, as a voting adult.
How to Teach the Election Process to Your Kids
There is so much learning opportunities for your family long before the final stage of the Presidential election begins, and these learning opportunity can also be a great way to teach about the issues that you value most.
Here are some lesson plan ideas that will help you to teach the election process to your kids, while allowing your family to evaluate the candidates and narrow down the one(s) that have your support.
Learn the Vocabulary of the Election Process – The election process can be very confusing, unless your child understand the top vocabulary commonly used during the process. Here are some top vocabulary ideas to get you started: republic, democratic, democracy, candidate, incumbent, nomination, elector, independent, minority, majority, delegate, House of Representative, Congress, caucus, primary, convention, inauguration, poll, precinct and politician.
Identify the Top Issues that Matter to Your Family – Learning about family values and how politicians stand on these issues, can be a great opportunity for your family to learn how to stand up to the values that matter the most to you, and help you identify the best candidates.
Learn What the Different Parties Stand – Identifying what it means to be Republican, Democratic or even Independent, and then deciding where your political beliefs line up with each of these parties to identify what party you will be wanting to win the final stage of the Presidential election.
Identify Where the Candidates Stand on Your Top Issues – This lesson idea is a great way for you to teach about how different thinking can be for others, and why it is important to vote for those who stand on your side of the issues. Each candidate has their own website, and list where they stand on the most popular issues.
Learn about the Primary Process – The primary process is done prior to the actual Presidential race between parties. This process is so important and often times, overlooked be Americans. This process narrows down the candidates to one for each party, and if you aren't aware of the issues, where the candidates stand and how the national party conventions are the first step to the most popular part of the elections.
Watch Debates between Candidates – Debates are done for the opportunity for all candidates to give their own timed response to questions about popular issues today. These debates are very important to the election process, as it will give a person the concepts of not only where a candidate stands on an issue but also be able to read their expression, hear their tone of voice and get a visual feel of how the candidate presents themselves under pressure.
Go on an Election Field Trip – Learning all the facts about the candidates can be more interesting when done on a field trip, where children are engaged and seeing things as real as they really are.
Having a young child in your home means you have toys scattered in every room all day long! It can be a tiresome task to keep on top of the toys, especially if you are the only one picking up the mess. You will love these proven steps to teach your toddler to pick up their toys.
How To Teach Your Toddler To Pick Up Their Toys
This training starts best when a toddler first starts to walk, since they naturally think it is play.
I hand my toddler a toy that he played with and ask him to help me put it back. All that he needs to do is ‘drop' it in the bin. (Hint… this is the stage when babies LOVE to drop things, so it works PERFECTLY to add training to this natural stage of childhood!)
I introduce the Clean Up song to him, as I start training the next stage. All my kids loved this song!
Once the ‘dropping training' is concrete and he knows to drop it in the toy bin when I hand it to him, I begin the ‘get it stage' training. (This stage can last a long time before it is concrete, so be patience and consistent!) How it works is, you tell him to go get his ball and put it away, go get your truck and put it away, etc. Children do not see individual items on the ground, they only see a collection of things. If you don't believe me, as your child to go get something in the middle of a mess. Many times it can be RIGHT AT THEIR FEET and they can't see it. It overwhelms their senses and have a hard time concentrating. It does take some time to train them in this step, but if you continue to train them, you can have a child of the age of 3-4 who can completely pick up their room on their own, IF YOU DO THIS DAILY…. OR BEFORE GETTING SOMETHING ELSE OUT. (I have made these bold for a purpose. As a big mess overwhelms us, it is only fair to train your toddler with small jobs, not waiting until it is such a mess that you don't even want to do it.)
The next step is the freedom step to parents and one worth the work you put into it to get here. At this stage, all you need to say is “It is time to clean up your trucks or your blocks.” Even if they have more than one kind of toy on the ground, the child will be able to scan through the mess of scattered toy and only pick out the trucks, putting them back where the trucks belong. Then they can pick up their blocks, and put them back in the rightful place.
I always have tried to make cleaning fun for my children. Here are some things that I have done to help make it enjoyable for them: they practiced basketball when ‘tossing toys in their bins', we race to see who beats, we time them to see how fast they can do it, we try to beat the clock, we do it to music (my 13 year old still cleans and folds his laundry to music)
This is my little guy when he was a toddler, singing the ‘clean up' song and tossing his toys in the bin.
In the end, the more training that we do when they are young, it will seem like play to them and you will be instilling in them the ability to be independent in their play and cleaning up. You can't go wrong with this training!
Does your child love the mechanics of how things work? They would love to explore robotics in their free afternoon activities, and you will love to watch their imagination and creativity expand, as their knowledge of how things go together and work.
Many children who are natural at math and science are also showing interest in learning how to explore robotics. I have been watching this activity grow within the homeschool community, and have even seen robotic clubs form in our area.
For our family, we love to just provide tools and time, in way of free afternoons, for our children to explore their interest and expose them to others that may become things they really enjoy, like robotics!
The best way to introduce your children to creating robots is to purchase a kit that has instructions of how to put them together, and that have several options for all the pieces.
A word of caution…
If you have younger children, I would highly recommend that you store all the pieces for the kits in one box and have the box stored in a place where they can't reach or that is off limits to them. Having something important to an older child lost because a younger sibling was able to get it and play with it, is often times very discouraging to a budding hobby and can easily lead to resentment if a parent doesn't help to protect what is important to a child.
We learned this lesson the hard way with our son's lego creations that he would spend all afternoon creating, without directions, and his younger brother would take apart before he could get a picture or show his daddy when he returned home.
Here are some kits to get your child started to explore robotics:
As with any of the other free afternoon activities, I would recommend helping the child learn the key parts of robotic, how to take care of the pieces and storage, and then step back and allow them to explore robotics on their own.