At the Children’s Desk today, a patron asked me for help finding online games for her daughter that would teach, but still entertain her! In an age where every kid wants to play around online, how can you be sure the sites your kid is visiting are actually safe, and have good content?
In Libraryland, our most comprehensive resource is the American Library Association, and they happen to have an excellent site for just this purpose: Great Websites for Kids!
This site really is a one-stop-shop for valuable kid entertainment and learning! Broken down into categories like Animals, Art, History & Biography, Literature & Language, Mathematics & Computers, Sciences, and Social Sciences it features top-rated educational games and sites that kids will LOVE, and you can rest easy knowing your child is spending quality time online.
It also features a site for parents and teachers, accessible through a tab at the top right-hand side of the page.
So don’t fret- when it comes to spending time online, Great Websites for Kids has you covered!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of playing with your child.
Who says learning can’t be fun?
You may have heard that how important it is to prepare your young child for Kindergarten. However, it doesn’t have to be work. The American Library Association stresses the importance of play as one of their five components to their Every Child Ready to Read program. If you missed my previous posts on talking, reading, writing, and singing you can click on the links to read more.
As you can imagine, play is fun! It is also very important because it encourages creativity and imagination. It gives children an opportunity to express themselves and recreate what they see around them. Dramatic play allows a child to make up stories and become a character they have encountered in a book or replay a typical evening at home. This dramatic play will also reinforce how a story is structured with a beginning, middle, and end.
Little ones can surprise you by taking an object and finding a completely different use than what you had anticipated. This occurred when I did a toddler program. I put out paper towel tubes for the children to look through them. Some children did this. However, I saw many other uses for the tubes such as a bat, an oar, and simply rolling it across the floor. One child even tried to stack them tepee style.
If you are uncertain where to begin in encouraging your child in creative play, stop at the library. There are many activity books, puppets, puzzles, and kits that can be checked out to get you started. In helping your child, you may discover your own creativity start to percolate.
Through play children can learn a lot about language. They start putting words to objects and letting their imaginations fly. By stretching this imagination “muscle” children will be better able to make the leaps and connections necessary when it comes time for school.
So let the play begin!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of writing with your child. (See Christina’s posts on Talking, Reading, and Singing here.)
Writing skills are developed long before a child actually starts writing out words at school. You can help prepare your child for this valuable skill when they are very little with any activity that works with their hand-eye coordination. This might be moving a bead along a string, or a knob along a track. This will help them develop their hand muscles. When a child can hold a pencil, using magnetic boards like those found at the library, can also help develop hand-eye coordination. Since children learn best by using a multisensory approach try using many different types of activities with them like the ones listed below.
Finger painting with pudding on paper is a fun tasty way to show that the movement of the child’s hand creates a pattern. Finger paint inside a sealed gallon bag lets your child play with the paint from the outside by pressing and pushing on the bag to draw shapes and letters. This is fun and educational.
Shaping letters with dough or “writing” in a tray with sand or salt will help children develop hand-eye coordination while working with letter and shape recognition.
When your child can hold a crayon, encourage them to scribble and make marks. Have them “sign” their name on a picture to introduce the concept that what they write means something. Often a child’s name is the first word they learn to write. Showing your child the letters in their name and giving them many opportunities to practice writing those letters will help them make the connection that letters create words.
As they get older, talk to your child about what they drew and write down a caption or write down a story with them.This again will help them make a connection between the spoken word and the printed language.
Skills take time to learn so don’t feel frustrated if they do not seem to be learning as rapidly as you would like. The important thing is that they be fun activities for you both to do and share together.
For more information on Every Child Ready to Read and fun ideas for building lifelong learners, stop by the Moline Public Library Children’s Desk!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of singing with your child. (See Christina’s posts on Talking and Reading here.)
Singing is great. You don’t have to have anything special to sing, it doesn’t cost any money, and you can do it while doing something else. It can calm a child or improve their mood and it is a wonderful way for children to learn language. Just like a nursery rhyme, a song will teach new words, sounds, patterns, rhymes and the rhythm of language. Listening to a song breaks words down into syllables, making it easier for your child to learn them. Adding actions to the tunes can also helpful in developing coordination and strengthen a sense of self and creative expression. Songs can be great tools to help children remember words, stories and concepts. Do you mentally sing a part of the ABC song when you alphabetize something? Songs that you learn as children tend to stick with you.
Don’t worry about how well you sing. Your child does not care. You may be surprised at how well you remember nursery rhymes you were taught as a child. Ask staff in the Children’s Dept. for some CD’s to listen to with your child at home or in the car. Singing in the car makes a car ride go much faster! Attend story times at the library, as many will incorporate songs and action plays along with stories. Check out the internet for action play demonstrations or create your own. Even simple clapping to the rhythm can be will beneficial to help your child hear the different syllables. The most important thing is to have fun – your child will!