Learning About Careers for Labor Day!

1 Sep

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Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching! Do you have plans for your family? The three-day weekend can be a great time to teach your children about different careers in the community as well as get them thinking about potential career paths for themselves! Here is a fun project you can do together to celebrate the holiday with young children:

The Jobs People Do Project

Materials:

  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Graphics representing different jobs
  • Glue
  • Clothing proper representing different jobs
  • Various proper representing different jobs
  • Magazines
  • Construction paper

What To Do:

  1. Take a survey; ask parents in the community what they do for a living as well as discussing what you do for a living. Make a list of their jobs.
  2. Ask your children what they think each position does or includes and record their responses.
  3. Compare what your children say with what the jobs actually include. Talk a little about each type of job. One great way to do this is by using the Career Book Set. Make sure you don’t make children feel as if they answered incorrectly. Gentle correction is always best.
  4. Continue until you have talked about every job and then make a list of all of the jobs on a piece of poster board.
  5. Make a word/picture graph depicting community jobs. At the top of the graph print: “The Jobs People Do.” Under the heading make two columns, one for Moms and one for Dads. Print each parent’s job in the proper column. Add a small graphic that represents that job next to the printed words.
  6. Break out the dramatic play! Encourage kids to use props to pretend they are working at the different jobs discussed. If you’re in need of props, check out our career selection below:

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  1. Cut out magazine pictures of people working to make a Jobs Collage as a family project.
  2. Work to create a unique and colorful jobs mural on poster board. Title it: “The Jobs People Do” and display it in your home for all to see. You can adapt this mural to do “Jobs I Want To Do” and have children include careers they are interested in.
  3. Wind up your celebration of the jobs people do by visiting a career place of your child’s choice. Libraries, fire stations, and sheriff’s offices are all usually open for the holiday, but it depends on individual hours. So, be sure to check beforehand!

Activity adapted from The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities For Children 3 to 6.

For even more resources to get your children talking about what careers they are interested in, check out these career toys:

Back to School: 5 Questions to Ask Teachers

25 Aug

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Are your kids starting school this week? As your children take off for the classroom, here are five questions you’ll want to ask their teacher to ensure they have a productive school year. After all, it’s always best to know how you can get involved to best supplement children’s learning experience in the home.

1. Is there anything I can tell you about my child that will help you better support them in the classroom?

Helping an educator understand your child’s needs from the start is a great way to equip them for a more meaningful relationship with your child. This can include anything from food allergies to personal strengths and weaknesses. The information exchange will allow for greater inclusivity in the classroom as well as act as an assurance for you that your child is being properly catered to in an active learning environment.

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2. How can I provide the proper homework support?

It is paramount to establish a homework routine at the beginning of the year. Whether it’s checking a homework folder, signing off on a weekly newsletter, or checking a website, keeping up-to-date with your child’s homework requirements and holding them accountable to complete their weekly work load is key to their success in the classroom. Check out of some of our favorite homework resources below:

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3. How should I respond when my child is struggling in the classroom?

As a parent, you know best when your child is struggling in the classroom. Many times, you can feel restless as you try to figure out how best to help. Putting a strategy in place at the beginning of the year is a great way to address problems before they arise. It will also establish an effective line of communication between you and the educator. One tool that can be used to ensure you stay involved throughout the year with your child’s literacy development is TAG You’re It! (Yearlong Parent Engagement Initiative). It’s always proactive to ask your child’s teacher if the classroom has already implemented this program or a program similar to it.

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4. Is there technology needed to support self-directed learning in the home?

Many times, children can start falling behind in the classroom because they don’t have the necessary technological support in the home. Whether you have to take children to a library or invest in a new laptop, providing children with the tools they need to further learning concepts from the classroom is important not only for academic success, but also for fostering digital literacy as young children grow in the 21st century. Here are some of our favorite pieces of technology for the home:

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 5. What academic standards do you use and what do I need to know about them as a parent?

Understanding the agenda and the academic standards of the classroom is key to supporting them at home. It will also help you understand what areas your child may be struggling in so that you can implement strategies to focus on those skills outside of the classroom. Whether it’s phonics or math, we have learning tools to support additional learning in your children to bring them up to speed:

We hope your kids are having a great first week back to school! Let us know what questions you always ask educators during the first week back by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

5 Ways to Calm First Day Jitters

18 Aug

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Just as worried about your child’s first day of school as they are? Calm the jitters by implementing five simple strategies for keeping the whole family calm as children transition back to school. Here are five of our favorite stress busters for first-day jitters:

1. Practice Saying Goodbye

One of the most heart-breaking moments not only for your child but for you as well, is when you wave goodbye. Even if you know it’s not final, it can definitely feel like it to young children! That’s why it is important to practice goodbyes before children go back to school. Whether it’s dropping them off for a play date or taking off for a business trip, be sure to emphasize that goodbyes don’t mean forever and keep consistent by picking them up at a designated time. This fosters trust and a reassurance in your toddler that you are in fact coming back.

2. Hold on to Home

Help your child adjust to change by encouraging them to take something familiar with them to school. This could be something as simple as wearing one of your necklaces, taking a favorite teddy in their backpack, or even keeping a picture of the family in their notebook. Having something familiar to pull out during the school day can go a long way in calming children’s anxiety on the first day of school.

3. Scope Out School Beforehand

Having a first look before the first day of school is a great way to calm kids’ nerves. Giving children a visual of the classroom they will be stepping into allows them to better process the learning environment. Also, going out of your way to meet the teacher beforehand can smooth transitions as young children adapt to a new face and personality.

4. Talk It Out

Many times, children’s fears are a lot bigger in their minds than in reality. You can help them realize this by talking out their fears together. Ask them what they are most worried about and talk about ways they can overcome those fears and steps they can take to prepare for facing new challenges. Children will feel much more at ease when they have a plan for approaching their personal fears.

5. Pack the Perfect Lunch

A lot of children find comfort during lunchtime. Not only is it usually packed in a personal lunch box, but it’s also filled with familiar food they picked out with you. Be sure to include your child’s favorites for the first day of school as well as a note of encouragement that will remind them that you are not far. Sometimes, a little midday reassurance is exactly what a child needs to get through the rest of the day!

Hang in there as you and your children prepare for back-to-school! With a little preparation and establishing the school sleep schedule early, your child’s transition back into the classroom should be a breeze!

Finally, we have a few back-to-resources you don’t want to miss as kids prepare for their return to the classroom:

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Don’t miss our Back-to-School Sale: 20% off one item on orders $75+ through August 31st. Enter code BTSREADY at checkout.

Back-to-School Resources:

Preparing Preschoolers for Back-to-School

11 Aug

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Looking at the calendar and wondering how August snuck up on you? Back-to-school is here and there are a few things you can do to give your preschooler a proper send-off!

Summer Math Review: That’s a Wrap

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Brush up your little one’s math skills before they head back to the classroom. Opportunities for math learning can be found in every day activities like counting down how many days are left until the first day of school to helping you measure ingredients for special recipes! One of the easiest ways to do a quick review and practice with your preschooler is by using the Addition and Subtraction Wrap Ups. These string problems are great for self-correction and repetition!

Alphabet Case Study! Learn Letters with Hot Dots Jr.

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Letter recognition, both uppercase and lowercase, is a big part of preschool! Prepare your child for the classroom with Hot Dots Jr. Alphabet Cards! The double-sided cards are great for visual learners as they learn to match letters and practice sequencing. The Hot Dots Jr. Pen is also an interactive tool for giving guidance as the canine pal cheers for correct answers and redirects children when they answer incorrectly. Letter learning has never been so fun!

Encourage Pre-Writing Skills with Personalized Pencils

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You would be amazed by how much of a difference it makes in how enthused a child is about writing if they have their favorite character on their pencils! Allowing children to pick out their writing utensils is a great way to get them excited for the new school year and all of the writing and coloring that is surely on the way! We have a few colorful suggestions if you’re looking for something creative:

Stress Social Skills by Practicing Kindness and Cooperation! 

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Interestingly enough, a 20-year study recently revealed that young children who are taught social skills like kindness and cooperation early were more likely to obtain higher education and hold full-time jobs. That’s why it’s so important to practice those life skills at home. We have a few tools for doing just that, whether it’s following Shubert through the Shubert Series Value Pack, playing Social Skills or Blunders with the family, or learning about classroom etiquette with I’m Ready for School!

Best of luck as you drop off your little one for the first day of school! For even more back-to-school resources, check out the posts below:

Homeschooling Resources for Parents

4 Aug

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Preparing to get your kids back on a schedule as the school year looms ahead? Whether you are an experienced homeschooling parent or you’re new to homeschooling, we have seven select resources to add to your homeschooling tool kit:

82147Dominoes Jar: 

Dominoes are honestly one of our favorite learning tools for young learners. Not only can you teach toddlers their colors and how to sort accordingly, but they also provide math learning that grows with your child. Teach anything from simple subtraction and addition to fractions depending on your child’s age!

29190Play Doh Rainbow
8-Pack: 

Teaching the smallest of learners? A starter Play Doh set is always a great tool to have on hand! Not only does it provide opportunities for color recognition and sensory play, but it can also be used in art projects. Just browse Pinterest for all the Play Doh inspiration you can ever need!

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Early Learning Flash
Card Set: 

Early literacy is so important in young children, especially as it is proven to be one of the biggest indicators of future success. Flash cards are a great way for visual learners to practice the alphabet, rhyming, and sight words.

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Bananagrams:

Not only is Bananagrams fun to play for a variety of ages, but it also provides vocabulary practice as well as words for young children to begin learning by sight. (Not to mention, it provides spelling practice without needing a pen and paper!)

Blunders Game: 91249b

Teaching children social-emotional skills is just as important as academics when it comes to young learners. Blunders is the perfect board game as it provides fun for the whole family while simultaneously teaching children the do’s and don’ts of social interactions.

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Why not add a greenhouse to your science unit? The Smart Lab Growing! Green House provides the perfect contained ecosystem for children to grow flowers in as they learn about photosynthesis and the different parts of plants. Be sure to check the plant’s progress every day for interactive learning!

Hucklebee A Smart-as-can-Bee
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Hucklebee™ is always a favorite for little learners!. As children interact with clapped hands, laughing, and hugs for the adorable plush bee, this preschool game teaches shapes and colors, counting, and following directions.


We hope you find these learning tools helpful as you prepare your home for the school year! For even more sites to browse for homeschooling support, check out the resources below:

Even More Homeschooling Resources for Parents:

Guide to the Best Homeschooling and Unschooling Resources
10 Best Apps for Homeschooling Parents
4 Favorite Homeschooling Resources
• The Homeschooling Community 

Making Math Fun for Summer!

28 Jul

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Teaching math to your kids isn’t always the easiest, especially if children already have the mindset that math “isn’t fun.” However, with the right toys and a little imagination, math can be as fun as you make it! We have five ways you can incorporate math into everyday learning, so that children will find it fun!

1. Make It a Movie Night!

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Movie nights are always a fun way to spend summer evenings, especially if you have good company and snacks ready to go. Why not add math learning to the mix with Count ‘Em Up Popcorn? This popcorn-themed sorting game will leave kids entertained as they build number sense and recognition. It’s a great way to put restless energy to good use as it keeps little hands busy during the movie!

2. Create a Play Store!

Want a fun way to teach simple addition and subtraction? Create your own play store! Whether it’s your child’s stuffed animals, storybooks, or frequently used household items, allotting price tags to different items and putting your child in charge of the Teaching Cash Register is a great way to teach money sense. Furthermore, it’s a fun dramatic play experience that can lead to fun-filled family interactions!

3. Take Shapes on the Go!

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Taking a road trip for the summer? Put those hours to good use by bringing along shape sorters! The Counting Shape Sorter and the Multishape Sorter (9 Pieces) are both great toys for taking in the car to teach math skills as children roll along! Children will learn colors and shapes all while developing problem-solving skills as they count pieces out onto the appropriate pegs.

4. Encourage Sorting for Nature Finds!

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Sorting is a great skill for toddlers to learn as preschool approaches. Enjoy the season by taking the concept outside! Go on a nature walk with your kids and have them collect small items for sorting. Items can vary from shiny rocks, to acorns, to fallen feathers. Once you’ve finished your nature walk, bring your child’s finds inside, come up with categories, and ask them to sort the items into Sorting Trays. Once finished, ask children to count how many items they have in each category for addition math learning.

 5. Cool Off with Number Fishing!

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Spending your summer days by the pool or lake? Take along the Giant Fishing Set for bonus math learning! Children will build hand-eye coordination as they snag different numbered fish and total their catches! Ask children to sort fish into even and odd numbers or multiples of five for addition math learning.

We hope you’re finding time for math this summer with your kids! What’s your favorite way to make math fun? Let us know by commenting below or sharing on our Facebook page.

Kids Edition: Designing a LEGO® Room

21 Jul

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It’s a fact: kids love LEGOS®. That’s why turning your child’s room into a DIY LEGO® room might be the best idea ever. We have a few tips and tricks you can use with your children to turn their room into a builder’s paradise! Get ready to build:

1. LEGO® Wall

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You can’t have a proper LEGO® room without a design wall! Little builders need a space to let their imaginations run free! If you’re looking for a small space easy for young children to reach, we suggest the Removable LEGO® Wall. Browse our LEGO® DUPLO® selection to get started.

Dreaming a little bigger? Discover how to turn a whole wall into a LEGO® play space here: http://artscrackers.com/2013/06/21/decorating-tips-LEGO® -wall/

2. LEGO® Table

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The next step is a colorful storage and workspace for collaborative play! We have just the thing with the LEGO® Table! All you need are three plastic drawer units on wheels, a 4-foot board (painted your child’s favorite color), a stool, and LEGO® bases to create the perfect building center! Find out how here.

3. LEGO® Character Display

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Does your child love LEGO® characters but struggle with losing them? Put those unique creations on display with the LEGO® Mini-figure Storage Shelves! Start building with ¾ wood, Quick Hold glue, and LEGO® base plates. Find out how here.

Love Star Wars? Check out our LEGO® Star Wars collections including the Imperial Star Destroyer:

143087a4. LEGO® Key Holder

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Is finding the misplaced house key or school lanyard becoming a morning routine for your child? Never lose keys again with the simple but effective LEGO® Key Holder! Make it even more interactive by adding your child’s favorite LEGO® mini-figures: http://imgur.com/WmuA0

5. LEGO® Soap and Hand Sanitizer

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Washing hands becomes fun for kids with creative Soap and Hand Sanitizer! Simply remove labels from clear soap and hand sanitizer and drop in your children’s favorite blocks or mini-figures! (Don’t blame us if your child spends too much time in the bathroom!)

6. LEGO® Chargers

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Need help keeping chargers organized? With the quick addition of LEGO® base plates and your child’s favorite characters, chargers will be easy to find and use for little hands! Find out how here.

Want even more DIY LEGO® inspiration? Check out the creative sites below:

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