Sunday, December 2, 2018

Helping Children Become Handy

Woodworking is Useful and Builds Strength
“Woodworking gives me something useful to do when I’m feeling puny and it takes my mind off my troubles.”-- Gary McCarthy
 Kids and adults feel “puny” sometimes and a little woodworking can help them feel strong again and regain a great attitude when they work together.
  Anthony Carrino of the renovation show "Cousins Undercover”  suggests very young children can start with toy tools and children age 6 on up with real tools and a kid friendly tool kit.  Grandparents and parents can raid their tools and purchase a tool bag or start kids from scratch.
Starting Early!!

  Craig Stevens carpenter and author suggests starting with a small but real hammer and help kids pound some nails straight into a board or stump and then pull them out.  Help them turn a few screws on a soft pine board or tighten a loose one somewhere.  Look for both flat and Phillips head screwdrivers.
  Also, gift them with a fabric measuring tape that includes fractions and teach them to go around the house measuring furniture. Bubble levels are also fun to use. If you have new smart phone there is a level on your phone. 

  Craig Stevens has written the very popular, ” Woodshop 101 For Kids” He includes 14 woodworking projects for parents and kids to build together. His web site is for school age children and their families.
 Needed Tools 
  Mr. Stevens suggests the following tools for this age: a 12 foot measuring tape with with fractions, a wooden 12- inch ruler with fractions, and 7-10 ounce hammer. 
Have Fun Gathering and Talking About Tools
You can include a hand saw, power drill (with supervision), auger, awl, nail and screw box sets of 1 ¼ and 1 5/8, Phillips and flat head screw drivers, western and Japanese hand saw, coping saw, block plane and rasp.  Add some sand paper (100, 120, 150, and 180), white and wood glue, clamps, combination square, speed square, and child size safety glasses that fit and won’t slip. Children may also like a wood burning kit.
Many Projects 

Bubble Measure Used in Many Projects
 His book and site have information about the science of wood and how -to directions for easy start up projects like picture frames, crayon or pencil holder, art caddy, step stool, marshmallow catapult, and many more. woodworking projects for kids is another good site for ideas.  Other books for teaching and ideas include: ”Easy Carpentry Projects for Children’” by Jerome Leavitt and” Kids’ Building Workshop”  by Craig Robertson. 
   There are also ready -made tool kits and projects from “Kraftic DIY Delux Carpentry Woodworking Kit” by Kraftic and “Active Kyds Tool Kits” for kids 6-13 by Active Kyds. For more project ideas to build relationships between kids and adults see grandparents and Through the Seasons live and podcasts.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Personal Keepsakes Written for Grandkids

Talk and Record the Past with Kids
 “Mom, did you know that after WWII Great Grandpa saw starving little kids searching in garbage cans for food in Germany and he always shared his rations with them?  Their faces bothered him for the rest of his life.”
  “Yes, dear, he had a hard time talking about his experiences.”
  Luckily with help  Great Grandpa wrote down his thoughts and created a family keepsake. Reading the keepsake helps grandkids understand why Grandpa had a soft spot for hungry children.
  Someone must be very disciplined to keep a diary or daily journal, but book companies are making it easier to share the most important life experiences with generations of family to come.
  The journals provide prompts and fill in the blanks for people who don’t like to write.
  However, sometimes people are surprised at how much Grandpa and Grandma will write once they are given a little nudge. Life experiences and childhood memories will come tumbling out.
Retell Experiences; Make a Diary
  Many of the memory books also have space for a few very important family photos, like giving Grandma a bent over backwards smooch similar to the famous WWII photograph of a soldier and a nurse in New York City.
  These memory books pass on family traditions and holiday celebrations like hanging giant holiday balls made from clear plastic cups laced with lights.  They recount favorite stories that would rival the “Little House on the Prairie” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  The keepsake books reveal what life was like similar to the movie “The Christmas Story.”  Real little people actually were stuffed into itchy woolen long underwear and puffy snow suits with soggy mittens tied with too short yarn running through the sleeves from one arm to the other.  People really did touch their tongues to frozen water pumps and light poles needing rescue.
  Memory books often have guided questions for grandparents to recall their scariest moments, the biggest bully on the block who stole their lunch, or the girl with pigtails who actually did have her hair dipped in the inkwell.
Read Books About Journaling
They encourage grandparents to talk about education, love, marriage, family life, religion, military service and unique memories.
  The story of life, retelling experiences, and the wiliness to share hopes and dreams for grandchildren can be recorded this season.
  Here are a few of these books that also make great gifts: “For My Grandchild: A Grandparent’s Gift of Memory” by Lark Crafts; “Memories for My Grandchild” by Suzanne Zenkel; “Grandmother’s Journal: Memories and Keepsakes for My Grandchild” by Blue Streak; “For my Grandchild” by Paige Gilchrist; “Grandfather’s Journal” by Laura Westlake; and “Letters to my Grandchild” by Lea Redmond. For more keepsake ideas see and Through the Seasons live and podcasts, also on Pinterest and Facebook.
Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Kids Learning to Love Math

Simple Activities Done Together Counts
There are some simple math activities that families can do that are really cheap but effective. It is what families think, say, and do that counts, according to researchers. Remember the saying, “Children who are read to, read?” The same is true for math.  When you’re in the kitchen, car, restaurant, or park try these suggestions and see how easy they are to do. Math thinking becomes an enjoyable habit.
 Number Meaning
  Teach young children to make connections between numbers and sets of objects. Point to beans on their plate and ask,” How many beans to you see? Let’s count them.”  Showing children three Cheerios or toy cars when teaching the number three helps them understand what numbers mean better than reciting strings of numbers by memory. 
Make Connections Observe Patterns and Sets
 Shapes and Patterns
  Spot patterns in picture books like dots and lines on a character’s shirt. Build towers of blocks side by side and invite children to make theirs look like yours. Look for rectangles, circles and other shapes on the playground. What shapes are on houses and other buildings? What shapes can you find during a walk in the woods?  Use gestures and words to describe shapes and how they are bigger or smaller than other shapes. Use shapes to draw simple animals and other figures. 
Addition and Subtraction
  Draw a number line on the sidewalk, garage, or basement floor. Then hop on numbers, such as,” Hop to 5,” and now, “Hop to the number that is 1 more.” Piggy bank their money or use to practice adding and subtracting when they want to use money.
Cooking with Fractions
  Use fractions to divide recipe ingredients while helping in the kitchen. “How many half cups make a whole cup? Help children cut pizzas, fruits, and vegetables into halves, fourths and thirds.
Problem Solving
Families Activities Can Teach Math
For families who want to jump into math problem solving there is There is a site that provides fun math problem from time to time to figure out.  Go to bedtimemathproblem.orgThere are problems for wee ones, little kids, and big kids. Here’s a sample. Wee ones can count on fingers: If you rake up 2 bags of leaves and use a leaf blower to pile up 3 more bags of leaves, how many bags of leaves did you clean up? Then when outside raking leaves use the idea to talk about math.  “We raked up two piles of leaves. If we rake up two more, how many piles will we have to jump on?”  The same is true for making snowballs and snowmen. There is also “Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out” part of the Bedtime Math series by Laura Overdeck. Math conversation can be fun!

For more see and Through the Seasons live and podcasts; Pinterest, and Facebook.
Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dice, Tallies and Fine Motor Skills

Teach Fine Motor Skills with a Pair of Dice
Fine motor skill is the coordination of hand muscles so children can print and do other related tasks correctly. Simple fun activities help teach, practice, and refine these skills. All you need are a pair of dice, pencil, paper, and ruler.
Fun with Math
Start with investigating. Help your children study a pair of dice. What do they see?  Count the dots. What numbers are represented by the dots? What shape is a dice? How many sides are there?
    Explain a guessing game you can play. With your help, young children draw a chart using paper, pencil, and ruler. Across the top should be six squares. Help your children write the numerals 1 – 6 and draw a vertical line from the top to the bottom of the paper from each numbered square.
   Explain that tally marks keep track
Play Guessing Games with Dice
 of how many times a number is rolled. Discuss that tally marks are another way of representing numbers and a way of recording an outcome. Ask your children which number they think will be rolled the most. 
  Have your children roll one of the dice. Count the number of dots on the side facing up. Show how to make a tally and have your child make a tally mark under the correct number. Continue doing this for ten rolls. Show how you record five tallies by placing a slanted line over four of them. Talk about how it is easier to see and count which number has the most. After ten rolls, ask children if their guess was correct. Which number did come up the most? Which number came up the least?
Gaining Strength 
  The simple act of rolling dice helps children gain strength in the shoulder, wrist, hands, and fingers. 
Rolling Dice Strengthens Muscles
This control leads to correctly using tools like pencils, crayons, scissors, and other objects. Tally marks are a useful tool for children to keep track as they count and collect data quickly in science, math, and everyday life. Grouping tally marks also reinforces counting by fives. 
  You may want to use the pattern of the dots in the tally squares instead of the numeral itself. This helps your children visually understand a number. For an older child, you may use the numbers up to 12. A child will need to add the faces of both dice to record the correct number. This helps practice addition skills.
   Count with tallies often. When your children understand five tallies, add on more tally marks for counting practice.  “Tally O’Malley”by Stuart J. Murphy and “Tally Cat Keeps Track”by Trudy Harris are great read together books.

  For more see and Through the Seasons live and podcasts.
Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos