Counting with Playing Cards

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Counting is a skill that young children need to master in order to become proficient in addition and subtraction.



Here is a fun activity to practice counting using playing cards and checkers.

First gather your materials.

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Next, create simple rules.

 

Since my twins were playing together, one was red and the other was black. I separated the cards and the checkers into their own decks.

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Then they flipped the cards and chose one. They can use one card to count the number.

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For more advanced fun, have your children count the cards together.

How to Teach Cursive to Kids- CursiveLogic Review

My daughter loves to doodle on anything and likes to practice her fancy writing, that's why I was so excited to review the CursiveLogic program. Since she is in third grade, it is the perfect year to begin teaching her cursive. Most public schools today don’t teach cursive, so I was happy to have this handwriting program.

We received the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive coloring book from CursiveLogic.

Introduction:

The CursiveLogic handwriting program is ten weeks long and includes a workbook and webinar. It’s up to you how you want to pace yourself, but my third grader is currently doing one lesson a week. I like the logical approach to teaching cursive letters, but I also don’t want to overwhelm her.

Getting Started:

The first thing that I did to get started was to watch the included webinar from the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack. The webinar goes over the entire program and how students will learn cursive. I watched the webinar by myself first, so that I could understand the way the program is set-up.

I think that before doing a lesson, you might want to watch the webinar with your child as well so they can understand the terms that are being used.

Workbook:

The workbook lessons are divided into days. This makes it easy to decide how you want to structure the program for your child.

Another benefit of the workbook is that it is for both right and left-handed students. I like how they consider the needs of all children.

The workbook is set up for a multi-sensory approach that uses color, movement, verbal, and auditory cues which is helpful for all learning types.

I really like that it is a shape-based approach that makes it easy to for the learner to grab. Instead of learning one letter at a time, you are taught how to connect letters right from the start. I think that it gives it a more “real world” approach to writing.

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My daughter liked being able to write words immediately, and I think it gives children more confidence to write an entire word, than only practicing letter after letter.

Coloring Book:

We were also lucky enough to try The Art of Cursive coloring book.

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The Art of Cursive coloring book is so much fun! It is designed for an older student or adult as a fun way to practice cursive. I really enjoyed practicing my cursive and coloring at the same time. I would definitely recommend the coloring book for adults as a great way to get some mom time and relax.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the CursiveLogic program! Since children and adults should know how to write cursive, this program teaches in a logical, and easy approach that anyone could understand.

I will definitely continue to use the program since I see how much my daughter’s handwriting has improved.

As a special bonus for readers, CursiveLogic is offering a limited time coupon. Whether you are an adult wanting to better your cursive or have a child learning cursive, then CursiveLogic is for you!

 

Cursive Logic New Edition March 2018 Discount

The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}
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Fun St. Patrick's Day Sight Word Reader

My children love all holidays equally because it's a time for fun and crafts! I always try to throw some learning in, so here's a fun St. Patrick's Day Sight Word Reader.

Scroll down to the bottom to download the free St. Patrick's Day Sight Word Reader.



First, read the sentences with your child. I think that this book can be read for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students.

Cut out the strips. Have your child read the sentences again.

Color the pictures. I like adding a picture to the top of new words to build confidence in young readers by giving them a visual clue.

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Last, staple the book together.

Click HERE to download the printable.


Magic Stix Markers Review + Giveaway

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My children love art and so they were very happy when I was selected to review the Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Wow, I love these fun art activities for kids with markers!

Wow, I love these fun art activities for kids with markers!

These markers are great for so many reasons! Read to learn more & find out how to win your own pack!

Here are a few reasons why we love Magic Stix Washable Markers:

1.  Portable Carrying Case

I can't stand how quickly art supplies get messy! I'm always trying to figure out what to do with their art supplies, so I love the portable carrying case that they come in.

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2. Super Bright Colors

My children and I love the super bright and bold colors. Unlike regular markers, the colors are very vibrant and stand out on the paper.

3. So Many Markers!

Since I have 4 children, it gets hard to share practically anything! We have the 24 pack and since there are so many markers to choose from, everyone gets the color they want which makes art projects fun!

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4. Mess Free Paint

These markers are really mess free paint! I have never seen markers that color like paint.

5. Great Color Selection

There are so many colors in the color wheel to choose from, even gray! My children, especially my twins, love to have specific colors for specific things.

6. No Odor

Why do my children have to smell everything? I have no idea, but I was happy when they told me that the markers had "no smell", so they won't be sniffing them instead of coloring.

7. Bright Colors

I like that these markers are not dull, even after coloring for a long time.

8. Washable

Ok, so this is really my favorite feature. I have no idea why my four year old twins have to get marker on them (and everything else for that matter) as well as the paper.

So what did my children like to do with their new markers? Here are a few fun art activities we did with our markers:

1. Science Drawing

My first grader was reading about frogs in Science, so she decided to draw a frog. I think that it came out pretty good. After drawing, then she wrote a paragraph about what she learned.

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2. Color a Picture

Now that we have these markers, my twins think they don't have to color with anything else. My four-year old son really put the coloring abilities of these markers to the test, and as you can see they color very well!

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3. Patterns

My children love to color "adult coloring books" because of the intricate patterns. These markers are great for adult coloring books due to the brightness and fine tip. I would suggest tearing out the page from the coloring book, since we did notice a slight bleed.

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Some other activities we did with our Magic Stix washable markers were making comic books, using stencils, and writing practice.

Overall, we love the Magic Stix Washable Markers from the The Pencil Grip, Inc. 

These markers will make a great addition to any art supply set!

 

GIVEAWAY

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has graciously offered to giveaway 1 pack of Magic Stix Washable Markers!

Just follow the rules below to enter!

Contest Starts 03/06/18 Ends 03/14/18

    U.S. Residents Only

    Winner Will be Randomly Selected

    Prize will be shipped in 4-6 weeks by The Pencil Grip, Inc.

    Review is my honest opinion & I have not been compensated in any way

 

Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

How to Use The Starfall Home Membership: A Homeschooling Mom Review

I have always used the learning games from the Starfall Education Foundation even when I was a classroom teacher because my students used to love to play games to improve their reading.

 So I was very excited when I was chosen to review the The Starfall Home Membership with my children and see the other materials inside of Starfall.

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Getting Started:

First children can customize their avatar in the “Who Am I” section. My twins love to take turns customizing their person, changing the clothes, and learning about their body parts.

The Starfall Home Membership can be used on the app or on the computer. We mostly used the computer so that the twins could actually share the screen.

Preschool & Kindergarten:

With my four-year-old twins, we focused on the Learn to Read section. This section is broken down by word family, and focuses on a specific skill for each lesson. My twins love the games that are included with each lesson, and I use them as a motivational tool after reading.

First I would read the story with them, then have the story be read to them. There is an ear icon that children can click to listen to the story being read to them. They would then practice reading the story by themselves. Last, they played the word family game and watched the video.

 

Motion Songs

This is probably my twins favorite part of Starfall. They love the Motion Songs that include all of their favorites such as If You’re Happy and You Know It, and Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. They like to follow along with the video while singing and getting exercise. Motion songs are a great way for young children to practice their gross motor skills and learn spatial awareness.

Elementary Students:

Did you know that The Starfall Home Membership also has an elementary section? The elementary area covers first grade and some second grade skills.

The first grade section is aligned with the Common Core state standards which are taught in a majority of the states. Even if you don’t homeschool, it would be great extra practice or review for first graders.

My seven-year old daughter really benefited from the math videos because they are easy to understand and interactive. Since math is her area of improvement, we focused on the math lessons. I like how the program has children interact with the lesson by clicking on the math manipulatives and answer the questions. She enjoyed the math videos that made the concepts easy to understand.

The first grade reading section goes over the different genres such as myths, folktales, poetry and plays. The poems are written by well-known authors, but are illustrated and animated to make them interesting to young children.

Math skills for second grade include multiplication, place value, addition, and subtraction. Once my daughter completes the first grade section, then I will use the second grade section to prepare her for the next school year.

Parent-Teacher Center

There is also a Parent-Teacher Center section inside the Starfall Education Foundation. This area is helpful to learn more about the benefits of the website, as well as resources for your child. There are printables that go along with the lessons, handwriting worksheets, math practice, and more.  

Overall:

My children enjoy using the The Starfall Home Membership. I think that it is a great way to assist learning and struggling readers in a fun and interactive way. The yearly membership is also a great supplement to any homeschool curriculum for young elementary students.

The Starfall Home Membership {Starfall Education Foundation Reviews}
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Write here…

How to Teach Typing For Kids

I’m so happy to share with you my new favorite tool to learn how to type: UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning. I was chosen to review it, with my two oldest children.

Since my 8-year old loves to use the computer, I knew that UltraKey Online Family Subscription would be a good fit for her. UltraKey Online Family Subscription is a teaching and learning tool, suitable for use with children ages 5 and up, so I added my 7-year old on the subscription as well.

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wow, I love this typing program for kids! My daughter has learned how to type quickly!

Getting Started:

The first thing you do after purchasing the subscription is to open your registration link sent by email. After clicking the registration link and you will register your family. This will give you the website link, username and password to set your children up on their computers.

Logging In:

When I first logged in, I was able to use the manager guide. The link is found on the welcome screen. On the welcome screen, the parent is introduced to how the program works so that way you can help your own children. I liked being able to get familiar with the program first so that I could help my 7 & 8 year olds.

The UltraKey Online Family Subscription also provides you with complete control to customize your learning for each individual child. If your child is old enough, they can manage their own goals and settings. Since this was the first time that my girls were learning how to type, I set their goals at the Beginner Level.

After setting my children up, I went through the My Instruction panel. The My Instruction tab allows you to become familiar with how the lessons are set up. I think this is helpful especially if you have younger children who you are assisting with learning to keyboard.

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I also appreciate that you are given a private family domain that no one else has access to, so I used my girls’ first names to make it simple for them to log in.

Now that my 8 year old has almost completed the program, I will change her goals to increase her speed and accuracy. She likes the certificate that is very motivating and makes her want to beat her goal.

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Program Details:

We used the UltraKey Online Family Subscription for about a month now. I think two to three sessions a week for 15-20 minutes is enough for this age range.

My oldest was able to almost finish the program, and my 7-year old definitely needed my support while using the program. For younger children, I recommend sitting with them to make sure they have proper finger placement, as well as to encourage them during the lessons.

Affordable Pricing:

The UltraKey Online Family Subscription is very affordable even for large families. They offer family subscriptions for 3-user, 5-user and 8-user levels, with the attractive pricing of $29.95, $39.95, and $49.95 per year. Families will be able to purchase renewals and continue their use for as many years as they wish. Larger group subscriptions are available with multiple managers, for home school organizations and other consortiums.

Helpful Customer Service:

I love how easy it is to contact the customer service. You can either visit their website Bytes of Learning or visit their new Facebook page.

Overall Conclusion:

My 8 year old: “I love using UltraKey Online! It’s like a game and it’s so much fun. I’m getting better at typing and in only a few weeks I don’t have to look at my fingers anymore.”

My 7 year old: “I like UltraKey Online. I think that it takes some time to get used to, but I know that I’m getting better.”

Personally, I think that UltraKey Online Family Subscription is an easy way to introduce typing to children and adults. As a person who went through keyboarding class, I appreciate learning how to type correctly and your family will love the easy format of this program.

UltraKey {Bytes of Learning Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

5 Free Crafts for Black History Month

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

Are you looking for a fun and creative way to teach Black History Month? I love to do crafts with young students, since it is a physical representation of what children are learning.

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Here are 5 Free Crafts for Black History Month:

Materials Needed:

Cardstock

Scissors

Tissue Paper

Markers

Watercolor Paint

Crayons

Black History Month Activities:

1. Jackie Robinson's Bat

After reading a book about Jackie Robinson, make a bat. All you must do is print out the bat and cut it out. Then have students color it brown, use watercolors, or copy on brown cardstock and cut it out.

2. Ruby Bridges Schoolhouse

Ruby Bridges was a little girl who helped to integrate schools. After learning about her, students can create their own schoolhouse.

 

 

 

3.  Rosa Park’s Bus

Rosa Parks helped to protest segregation on buses. Use the school bus template to have children make their own bus.

Related: 5 Tips to Teach Black History Month

4.  Garret Morgan’s Stoplight

Use tissue paper or cut up construction paper to make a stoplight. This is a great time to talk about street safety and what the colors of the lights mean.

5.  George Washington Carver’s Peanut

Use brown tissue paper, crayons, or markers to make a peanut for Dr. George Washington Carver. Children can also list things that are made from peanuts that they use everyday.

CLICK HERE to download all the crafts.

Hopefully these crafts will make it fun and easy to teach Black History Month.

What else do you plan on doing for Black History Month? Leave a comment below.

5 Tips to Teach Black History Month to Young Children

This post may contain affiliate links.

February is Black History Month and it can be hard to talk to young children about race. Instead I would focus on achievements of African-Americans and not focus on race or the civil rights movement.

Since young children really have no concept about race, I think it is something to be taught later.  The purpose of Black History Month is to honor the accomplishments and contributions that African-Americans have made to society. Community helpers is a recurring theme in Social Studies, so it is easy to tie in to Black History Month.

Here are 5 tips to teach Black History Month to preschool and kindergarten children:

1.  Read Biographies

There are many child-friendly biographies about African-American heroes. Make sure to preview the book before so that you don’t have to explain any words or concepts that your child is not ready to understand.

Here are a few books that I recommend:

 

2. Complete Crafts

For example, you could make a baseball bat for Jackie Robinson or a school for Ruby Bridges. Black History Crafts are a fun way to create a physical object that represents the person that is being studied.

 

 

 

3.  Black History Month Printables

I have created printables for Black History Month that include coloring pages with short biographies, community helper sheets, and paper toppers that can be used for crafts as well. Go here for a few freebies or purchase the complete set here.

 

Related: 5 Free Crafts for Black History Month

 

4. Introduce a new person each day

Use your Social Studies time to introduce a new person each day. Choose a few people to study during the month. Click the link below to download a list of Famous African-Americans.

Free Printable: 20 Famous African-Americans to Know

5. Talk about the message

The message of Black History Month and all the other history months that celebrate people is to teach diversity. Show children that all people are the same, so everyone should be treated fairly and equally.

I like this cute egg experiment that opens a brown egg and a white egg. Children see that it doesn’t matter about the color of the outside, everyone is the same on the inside.

These are just a few tips to teach Black History Month to young children. How do you teach Black History Month? Leave a comment below.

Hands-On Spelling Practice for Preschool

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I'm always looking for independent and fun activities for my preschool twins. This activity is very low prep and is so much fun.

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Materials:

Die-Cut Letters (we used the small ones)

Alphabet Flashcards

Instructions:

1. Punch out the die cut letters- I would recommend you doing it, since they are very easy to tear. We needed 2 packs of letters for my twins, and to make sure that we had enough letters to spell the words.

2. Spread out the letters and have your child (or you) choose 2-3 cards at a time.

3. Show your child how to pick up the letters and spell the word.

4. Have fun!

My twins loved this activity and it kept them entertained for at least 20 minutes. I recommend having your child work on the floor so they have more room to maneuver. Since the picture is on the card, then your child feels as though they are "reading", which is great for building fluency and confidence.

How do you teach your child spelling? Leave a comment below!