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Classroom Content Math Montessori Extras Parenting Science Sensorial Teaching

20 STEM Activities perfect for your child and home

By Anitra

 

This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

 

Are you intrigued how the latest ideas are being created?  How Elon Musk, Owner of Tesla Inc. came up with the fully electric vehicle and the world’s first fully electric semi-truck?  Ever wonder how a 3-D printer was made?  I know I am curious and downright fascinated by the inventions that have taken over our world in recent years.  Without showing my age, I remember being in high school and the technological innovations that were all the rage were the world wide web, DVD’s, and the Prius; the first mass-produced hybrid was introduced!! Isn’t that crazy?!

With everything we do being so technologically based, it is no wonder that STEM is becoming one of the fastest growing educational programs out there.  All the newest advances, all the newest ideas and all the newest breakthroughs are science, engineering and technologically based.

 

In order to keep up with the technology of the world, it is important to introduce these types of activities, skills, and thinking to children.  STEM has slowly made its way into the mainstream public school system, but has had a place in private schools, Charter Schools and alternative schools around the country.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the goal of STEM is to provide opportunities for the youth to thrive “where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know and have the skills and knowledge to solve tough problems, gather & evaluate evidence, and make sense of information”.

Children must be exposed to situations in which they can learn, develop and use the skills necessary to compete in our ever changing world.  I have compiled a list of 20 STEM activities that you can incorporate in your classroom or home to give them exposure to these objectives.  The activities are geared for children three years of age and older.  Due to small parts/objects, these activities are not intended for use with children under three years of age.

**Important note: an item search from any of the links will take you to the desired product**

Item descriptions courtesy of discountschoolsupply.com.  Used with permission.

 

20 STEM Activities for your child and home

 

1. Exploring Circuitry Light Blocks

Item #LSTAX

Explore circuitry and creativity through illuminating open-ended play! Using LED technology, each block lights up when connected to the base or another lit block. A glowing introduction to engineering and STEM.

 

2. Primary Science Color Mixer

Item #COLMIX

Let’s mix some color up and experiment!

 

3. Tornado Tube

 

Item #TORN

Tornado Tube employs hydraulic principles to create the vortex of a tornado within a bottle. Connect 2 empty plastic soft drink bottles together, fill one of the bottles 2/3 full with water, turn it over, spin, and watch the tornado appear.

 

4. Rainforest Cloud Biome Kit

Item #RAINFST

Grow your own tropical rainforest in this unique planter! Rain swirls on top of containers help regulate where water falls to maintain the best conditions for your plants to flourish.

 

5. Solar Building Windmill

Item #SUNMILL

Easy build-it-yourself windmill powered by the sun!

 

6. Brilliant Builders

Item #STRAW

Make structures big enough to sit in or as small as a shoe box.

 

7. Blue Sands Alive

Item #COLSABL

A soothing sensory experience

 

8. Snappy Sticks Building Set

Item #SNAPSTIX

Imaginative open-ended hands-on fun!

 

9. How Long Is It? Measuring Tape

Item #BIGM

This oversized measuring tape is scaled in inches and centimeters. With a large carrying handle, rewind knob with a clicking action, and a 36″ tape, young children will find it easy to manipulate and learn the skill of measuring.

 

10. Platform Scale

 

Item #SCALE

See and compare weights and measurements. Easy to read and accurate with metric and standard English display. Scale measures liquids and solids in the removable pan.

 

11. Height and Depth Measuring Blocks

Item #DEPTH

A unique way to learn about both height and depth!

 

12. STEM Exploring Engineering Set

Item #STEMSY

STEM learning made simple! Introduce and explore all 6 simple machines as you make amazing discoveries, design solutions for real-world problems and conduct your own investigations.

 

13. Hydroponics Lab

Item #H2OGROW

Investigate the hidden magic of plant roots!

 

14. Botany Lab Experimental Greenhouse

Item #BOTANY

Students learn about plants and seeds by conducting experiments in a specially-designed botanical laboratory with greenhouse domes.

 

15. STEM Force and Motion Discovery Set

Item #FORCE

Design engineering challenges with this exclusive STEM set! Discover science concepts while predicting, measuring, collecting and comparing data.

 

16. Classroom Measurement Set

Item #MEASURE

Children can practice customary capacities, liquid measurement and metric conversions with this set.

 

17. Smartcar Logic Puzzle

Item #SMARTCAR

Challenge kids to build a car with 5 different blocks in this unique logic game!

 

18. Number Tower

Item #NUMTOWER

Select a number block then stack the cubes, counting each as you go – it’s fun to learn about numbers! 22 pieces total, numerous ways to use, self explanatory with lines indicating cube spaces on the back of each number block.

 

19. Jenga

Item #JENGA

The original wood block stacking game!

 

20. Root-Vue Farm

Item #ROOT

Watch carrots, radishes and onions take form before your eyes through a sturdy, styrofoam surround with break-proof acrylic viewing window. Complete instructions plus tested experiments.

 

STEM Related Books

 

1.Our Physical World Books-5Titles

Item #EBOOKS

The perfect introduction to physical science. Easy to understand explanations of how basic physical principles of science relate to our world.  Titles in set include: All About Matter, Electricity All Around, Learning About Rocks, A Look at Magnets and Soil Basics

 

2. Science Vocabulary Books-4 Titles

Item #NATWORLD

Explore nature from the smallest insects to the tallest trees!  Includes these titles: Learning About Animals, Learning About Trees, Learning About Insects, Learning About Plants

 

3. Weather Watchers Books-6 Titles

Item #TWISTER

Young readers fascinated by the changing skies can focus on different types of weather and its causes.  Titles Included: Clouds, Lightning, Rain, Snow, Sunshine, Thunder, Wind

 

4. How Do You Measure? 4 Titles

Item #MEABKS

Learn about measuring units and picking the right tools.  Titles Included: How Do You Measure Weight?, How Do You Measure Liquids?, How Do You Measure Time?, How Do You Measure Length and Distance?

 

These activities and books are meant to be an introduction to STEM education.  Giving children the opportunity to engage in hands on learning is important and imperative to the future of science, technology, engineering, and math.

 

I have found a few new activities from this post that I will be incorporating into my classroom.  I hope that you are able to find and add some of these interesting, fun, exciting activities to your environment as well!

 

Enjoy!

 

Anitra

 

 

Themed Activities

Top 20 Halloween Books for Young Children

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

The theme in my classroom for the next two weeks will be everything pumpkin and Halloween related.  We will cover the pumpkin life cycle, the parts of a pumpkin, discuss Halloween, and do many art projects related to the theme.  I have so much information, art projects, and books to share with them that I feel that spreading it out over two weeks is a great way to cover it all.  I really enjoy teaching themes that are two weeks in length, because I know that I have some great information to present to them!!!  If you’re interested and intrigued to see more about our two week Pumpkins and Halloween theme, please check out daily updates on Instagram and Twitter.

 

With such an extensive theme with a lot to talk about and cover, I thought that it would be great if I shared a list of my Top 20 Halloween Books for Young Children.  A theme wouldn’t be complete without a great collection of books.  If you know me or if you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am an avid collector of books!  I personally own and have read each book on the list and a few have actually become my favorites over the years!  I chose books that are humorous, silly, and have great stories and illustrations.  This collection of books is great for any classroom, homeschool, or your child’s home library!

 

Top 20 Halloween Books for Young Children

 

 

1.

If You’re Spooky and You Know It

If You’re Spooky and You Know It is a Halloween-themed twist on a classic.  It has witches, skeletons, werewolves,mummies vampires, and Frankenstein clapping their hands, nodding their heads,stomping their feet, jumping up and down, honking their nose and dancing all around!

 

2. Five Little Pumpkins

Five Little Pumpkins is an interactive finger play song/riddle where children can join along and count with each pumpkin.  It is fun, engaging, and has easy to remember text.

 

3. Ghost in the House

Ghost in the House is about a ghost in a house that creeps along and meets other friends.  This book includes counting and repetitive text, with a fun and exciting ending!

 

4. Happy Halloween, Stinky Face

Happy Halloween Stinky Face is about a boy who is curious and filled with questions about Trick or Treating.  His Mama has all the right answers for his questions, and reassures him he will have a fun night!

 

5. The Night Before Halloween

The Night Before Halloween is a Halloween twist on another classic.  This book talks about the preparations of the haunted house before Halloween night, and discusses the fun the children have on Halloween night!

 

6. Even Monsters Need Haircuts

Even Monsters Need Haircuts is about a boy who after hours, cuts the hair of the monsters and ghouls in his father’s barbershop.  It’s a normal night of cutting hair until an unexpected visitor comes to the shop.

7. This is the House That Monsters Built

This is the House That Monsters Built is a remake on the classic, The House that Jack Built; with a vampire, a ghost, a mummy, a witch, a black cat, a black widow, bats, and Frankenstein.

 

8. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything is about a little old lady who takes a walk through the forest and encounters some interesting ‘characters” along the way and declares that she is not afraid of anything.

 

9. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever is about two mice who grow a pumpkin for the town pumpkin contest.  They are quite surprised when it is one of the biggest pumpkins the town people have ever seen!

 

10. Pumpkin Eye

Pumpkin Eye describes the sights and sounds on the streets on Halloween night.  It has fun, rhyming text, that captures your attention.

 

11. Crankenstein

Crankenstein is about a boy who is cranky, irritated, or angry but just not on Halloween, but always!  A very fun, silly book that will surely make you laugh!

 

12. Five Little Ghosts

Five Little Ghosts go on an adventure to find somewhere to play and have tons of fun.  It has great, rhyming text and a fun story.

 

13. Skeleton Meets the Mummy

Skeleton Meets the Mummy follows Sammy the Skeleton on a trip through the dark woods before he goes trick or treating.  He finds that someone, or something is following him!

 

14. Pumpkin Party

 Pumpkin Party is a fun, rhyming book about the fun of a pumpkin party!

 

15. The Littlest Mummy

The Littlest Mummy is about a family of mummies.  Mae, the youngest and littlest mummy was too little to be scary, wear srappings, or dance at the bash.  But, she was not too little to make a friend!

 

16. The Haunted Ghoul Bus

A boy accidentally boards The Haunted Ghoul Bus one day, and had no idea of what his time on the ghoul bus would bring!

 

17. The Ghosts Go Haunting

The Ghouls Go Haunting is a great Halloween twist on the classic, The Ants Go Marching.  It is fun, spooky, and a silly Halloween story!

 

18. The 13 Nights of Halloween

The 13 Nights of Halloween is a twist on another classic, The 12 Days of Christmas.  It is equally as catchy, fun, and easy to sing along with!

 

19. 10 Busy Brooms

10 Busy Brooms is a great witch counting book with fun, silly text and great illustrations!

 

20. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!

The old lady is back at it again!  But this time with a Halloween theme.  There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat is just as silly, hilarious, and crazy as all the other books in this series!

 

I hope you enjoyed my list of Halloween books.  I’m sure that many of them will become your favorites for many Halloweens to come!

 

Anitra

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Product Reviews

BOB Books: Sight Words Boxed Sets

By Anitra

One or more of the products mentioned in this post were provided to facilitate a review.  This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

 

If you know me, you know that I am a strong supporter of BOB Books for young readers.  BOB Books Sets one to five are the normal go to books I use in my classroom for all children when introducing reading.  They are great stories, increase gradually in difficulty, and provide just enough of a challenge for beginning readers.

 

I faithfully use the first five sets of BOB Books, and am excited that there are even more BOB Books for them to read! For more information on how to first introduce your child to BOB Books, please check out that post here. BOB Books are readers that provide beginning readers to successfully sound out words phonetically, be introduced to and learn sight words, and practice blends, vowel pairs, long vowels, and other complex spelling and reading rules.

 

There are three Stages of BOB Books, as well as a Reading Readiness set of books.  The first stage, Stage 1:Starting to Read is the beginnings of a child’s reading adventure.  It contains three sets of books, one of which being Sight Words Kindergarten.  It can be used as support with the other books in Stage 1.  The great thing about the Sight Words Kindergarten books and the Sight Words First Grade books is that both sets come with sight word cards that have sight words on one side and a sentence using the sight word on the other side!  Score!

 

Sight Words Kindergarten Boxed Set

 

 

Here is one of the children in my class reading Book 1 of the Sight Words Kindergarten books.

 

 

 

The Sight Words First Grade books go with Stage 2.  Stage 2 also contains three book sets, and also supports the other books in the stage and allows children to practice reading, learn more sight words, and continue practicing the rules of reading.

Sight Words First Grade Boxed Set

 

 

Here is another child in my class reading Book 1 from the Sight Words First Grade books.

 

BOB Books simply are great readers for young children beginning their reading journey.  The books have great stories, cute pictures, and easy to love characters!  BOB Books are a necessity in your classroom or homeschool as a part of your language and reading area.  One of the most important things to consider when introducing a child to reading for the first time is that you follow the lead of the child.  Making sure the foundation is set before introducing reading will ensure the child a great start for reading. Follow the development of the child, do not rush or push their process.  Doing so may lead a child to not be successful and confident in their reading journey.

 

If you are unfamiliar with BOB Books, you can see what they offer young readers here.

 

Anitra

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Language Writing

How to introduce young children to the process of writing

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

For young children, learning to write can be a drudging process.  There are many things that go into teaching young children to write.  Can you just give them a pencil and let them figure it out and explore writing on their own?  Sure you can.  But unfortunately, most children will wither stray away from writing letters or get tired of writing the same letters over and over.  By all means, it is a good idea to give children writing tools and let them creatively “write” things on their own.  At some point, there will need to be some sort of formal introduction of the writing process for children, so that they are able to form the letters correctly and legibly.

There are many activities that young children can engage in as a way of introducing them to the process of writing.  The activities listed below are not an all inclusive list of activities; it is just an idea of what a teacher or mom can do to help introduce children to the world of writing.

Before introducing letter writing and formation, you can provide opportunities for children to trace shapes or objects.  These shape tracing boards have been laminated and the children use a washable marker to trace the shapes.  Once complete, they use a wet sponge and wipe the boards clean. 

Start by having them use fat markers, fat pencils, and fat crayons.  For their small hands, it will make it easier in the beginning for them to grasp and hold the writing tool.  Also, providing young children the opportunity to create and write creatively is important.  Provide various writing tools and blank paper, so that they can practice making shapes; and eventually letters on their own.

Another good tool to use are stencils.  Larger stencils of various shapes, animals, and letters are good for writing practice and for pencil grip functions.  The small letter stencils provide more of a fine motor practice of writing and still allows the children the freedom to explore creatively and independently.

Once they have had practiced using the tracing boards and stencils for awhile, they may be ready for name tracing cards.  Of course, many factors determine if a child shows readiness for tracing their name.  Each child progresses at their own pace, and each child should be assessed on a individual basis.  Name tracing cards are sentence strips that are cut in half, that have their first name written on them.  I then have cut strips of tracing paper that I paper clip onto their name card.  The children trace over the letters in their name, and can take the tracing paper home.  This is especially effective for children who have difficulty holding or grasping a pencil or for those who may not have strong fine motor skills.

Once a child has developed strong fine motor skills and correct pencil grip, they can then be introduced to what I call their Name Paper.  It is created with a font software in a computer.  In the beginning, they trace over their name in print, and practice a few lines on their own.  I eventually add their last name, still using print.  Once they have mastered the correct formation of all of the letters, I introduce their first name in D’Nealian, and then finally adding their last name.  If they master D’Nealian, I introduce them to cursive.  Using the D’Nealian font makes an easier transition into teaching cursive.

 

 

I have used, and continue to use these activities and others in my Montessori classroom. These tips and activities can help aid in the successful introduction and implementation of writing for young children.

Anitra

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