Raising Kids Who Love To Learn

Raising Kids Who Love to Learn

One of the many values I am trying to instill in my children is a love of learning.  I hope my kids always enjoy trying something new, learning about God’s world and how it works.  But raising kids who love to learn need not be an arduous task that requires a radical shift in thinking.  It can become a natural way of life as you raise your little ones to explore their world.

Five ideas for raising kids who love to learn:

 

Approach life with a general excitement.  Be thrilled with the unusual, the beautiful and the cool.  When you see something interesting, share it with your children.  When I was driving carpool last week, we saw a giant (and I mean giant) tractor driving down the road.  I think I could have fit in one of the wheel wells!  You better believe I pointed it out and talked about it with the girls.

Talk about gorgeous sunrises, the mysterious fog over the meadow, the interesting animals at the zoo.  Let your excitement of life be contagious.

Ask questions.  As you go about your daily life, ask your kids questions about what they are experiencing.  What do they see outside?  How do they think something works?

Fall is here.  When you are looking at the gorgeous outdoor colors, ask your kids why the leaves change colors.  (Incidentally, here is a cool experiment I did with my kids on this very subject.)  Let them hypothesize.  You may even get an answer worthy of recording in a journal.

Ask the why’s, how’s and cause/effect questions:  why did God give the elephant a trunk?  How do you think they made that toy?  What do you think happens if…

If you are not sure of an answer yourself, that’s ok.  Because really, who can answer all the galactic questions of a 7 year old?  Just check the internet together when you get home.

Encourage reading.  Reading opens up a child’s world.  Whether it is a fantastic adventure, a historical biography or a book teaching on a particular subject, books can expose your children to new information.  Encourage them to read all about tractors, horses, detectives or a favorite interest.

This is where I should add, however, that I am very careful what I put in front of my children whether it be books, movies or tv.  (Read my post at The Better Mom on protecting the innocence of your children.)

Take field trips.  Expose your children to a variety of experiences (age appropriate, of course.)  Visit farms, museums and other attractions.  Check your local library and park district for their many free programs.

We like to have a membership to a local attraction each year, whether it be the zoo, science museum or other location.  I usually buy an upgraded membership that allows guests to join us for free because I have found that I am more likely to go when we can take another mom and her kids along for the adventure.  Although, there are also times when we enjoy a quiet outing on our own as well.

Be an Example.  Don’t be afraid to try something new, yourself.  Take a class.  Attend a conference.

Last weekend, I went to Bloggy Conference at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  I love to learn and improve on what I am doing.  This was a great conference for learning the latest on social media, blogging tools and tips and meeting up with other bloggers.  It was extra fun because Cedar Point is the roller coaster capital of the world (seriously – the new dive coaster coming in Spring of 2016 will break 10 world records!)  My family comes with me, enjoys the park and the kids see me going to conference sessions over the course of the weekend . . . to learn.

What is it that you have always been interested in learning?  Join a Bible study.  Take a class through {my affiliate} Craftsy, JoAnns, a local community college or check your library.

If you want to raise kids who love to learn, make it a natural part of your everyday life.  Learning is a privilege and can be a great source of joy.

Be a family that celebrates learning.  

~Kristen

What would you add to this list?  

Raising Kids Who Love to Learn (fb)

Homemade Magnetic Play Bottle

Homemade Magnetic Play Bottle - fun and educational project for the kiddos

Let’s have some magnetic fun today!  Raid the craft closet, the office drawers and send your kids around the house in search of items small enough to put in a water bottle.

What You’ll Need to Make a Magnetic Play Bottle:

  • An empty water bottle
  • Small items (both magnetic and not magnetic)
  • A large magnet.  My kids have this one.

Read more on Motherhood On A Dime where I am guest posting today.

Celebrating the Academic Success of Your Child

Disclosure:  I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carson-Dellosa.  I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Improving Your Child's Academic Success (2)

I am always looking for something to celebrate.  Parties, birthdays, special moments with your kids, family fun . . . and I realize that not many people (or virtually none) would consider the taking of tests as something to celebrate.   But that is what I am taking time to talk about today.  Because your child’s academic success is definitely something worth celebrating.

As a parent, don’t you find yourself wanting your kids to be good at things?  Beyond character, faith and integrity, as a mom, I want my kids to learn certain skills.  I would love if my son acquired my husband’s awesome basketball skills.  But if my son wants to have a great jump shot, it will take practice.  If my daughter wants to play the piano well, that too will take practice.  And whether it is something I want for them, something they want for themselves or something that will help them succeed in life, doesn’t every parent desire to help their child succeed?

So let’s talk standardized tests.  Yes, those tests from school that track your kid’s and their school’s progress and scope of instruction.

Last year, my son took his first standardized test.  He did very well, however there were a couple areas where I was surprised he didn’t do better knowing his comprehension of the subject.  It was his first standardized test, and I wondered had he been used to the length, the format and the style of the standardized test, if he would have scored higher in those couple areas.

Not all kids are good test-takers.  What if we could help our children become better test takers by preparing them with tools that teach them how to follow directions, to understand different test formats and budget their time wisely?  What if we could equip them with strategies for avoiding common test taking mistakes?

carson dellosa test prep

Are you interested?  Count me in.  I am my kids’ advocate and cheerleader, and I want to help them in whatever way I can.  And for many children, practice would help them become better test-takers.

Over the last two weeks, I have been working with my son using Carson-Dellosa’s Spectrum Test Practice and Spectrum Test Prep for first grade.  These grade-specific workbooks are designed to help students prepare for standardized tests and help them learn how to become a successful test taker.

The Carson-Dellosa Publishing Group was founded by teachers and has a 35-year history as the leading supplemental education provider for teachers, parents and students.  I have been quite pleased by the scope of material covered, especially the reading comprehension.  It is training my son to look for key details as he reads a story and recalls information to answer questions.

The Test Prep books feature practice aligned to Common Core Standards.  And no matter what you think of Common Core Standards, this is still what your children are being tested on.  Practicing and improving your child’s test taking skills can alleviate anxiety, build confidence and equip them with strategies for taking standardized tests.

I was impressed with the variety of strategies and test tips shared in the Test Prep book as well.  Tips included telling the student to create a picture in his mind as he reads a story to trying to think of the mathematical answer before reading the choices.  One test tip in the language section was simply:  “Some words have more than one meaning.  You can use other words in the sentence to find the meaning.”

In addition to test preparation, I think keeping these workbooks handy when heading to appointments, when I know the kids will be waiting for awhile, is a great idea and a good alternative to playing games on a cell phone.  😉

carson dellosa sample test

Learn More About Carson-Dellosa on their website, Facebook or Twitter.

 

Not Your Typical Computer Game: A Junior Explorers Review

Disclosure: This post contain my affiliate link.  I was provided with this product at no cost in exchange for an honest review.  Please see my Disclosure Policy for more information.  

Not your typical computer game.  Junior Explorers Review-

If you’ve been hanging out with me for awhile, you know that generally, I don’t allow my kids to spend very much time playing games on my phone or computer. We don’t have a tablet – and I’ll probably put this off as long as possible.  I would rather see my kids use their imagination and creativity and learn that waiting isn’t a bad thing.  (And maybe a lesson I need to reinforce on myself…a’hem.)

So when I was asked to write a Junior Explorers review, I was excited but also knew this meant time my kids would be on the computer.  Would it be worth it?  I had to find out.

From their website, Junior Explorers is “a fun and educational monthly subscription for kids to explore and discover wildlife and nature.”  We received our Junior Explorers mission kit in the mail and it had lots of fun things!  Post cards, stickers, tattoos, a bracelet & pin, two mini figures to fit this month’s arctic theme and more.   There was the activity book that my son filled out and enjoyed all the games and puzzles.  We looked through all the fact cards and after we went through our checklist, we hopped on the computer to start our mission.

junior explorer arctic mission

junior explorers review

Curious what I thought?  Well let’s break it down into positives and negatives.  Here is my Junior Explorers Review:

Junior Explorers

The Positives

Fun missions:  With the arctic theme, our mission was to find the mother of two polar bear cubs.  It was a cute and appropriate mission.

Educational:  I was most pleased with this aspect of the program.  It was impressive the amount of information packed into this single mission.  

Engaging:  My son was very interested in solving the mission and excited to learn all about arctic in the way that Junior Explorers presented the information.  Quite engaging!

Variety:  Whether you’re tracking your progress on the map, adding to the Mission Report, playing games or learning about the wildlife, the mission offers great variety of activity and ways information is presented.  My son really enjoyed tapping on the different parts of the arctic animals to learn about a feature and why it helps the animal survive in the arctic.

Games Were More Than Just Fun:  A couple of the games were for fun only, as I would completely expect.  But some of the games were also educational as my son raced the clock to put food chains in the proper order.  Great!

No Sibling Add-On Fees:  We have been a part of other subscription services that had a sibling add-on fee.  With Junior Explorers, your kids can share the one account and save you money!

mission for junior explorers

The Negatives

I would like to see more instructions on playing the games.  Maybe it is our immature gaming ability, but there was one game in particular that we simply couldn’t figure out how to play.  My son thoroughly enjoyed my failed attempts, however.  😉  I mentioned this to my contact at Junior Explorers and she was going to pass along the feedback.

In our game, we experienced a glitch that sent us back to repeat steps along our mission.  While inconvenient, it wasn’t something so disappointing that would keep me from continuing or buying.

I don’t see this as a real negative, but if your children cannot yet read, you will need to sit down with them and do the mission together.  You’ll actually be pleasantly surprised with how much you learn.

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Overall – Two thumbs up!

All in all, I was quite pleased with our Junior Explorers Kit.  The educational value of the time spent on the computer was completely worth it.  I also like that they offer discounts if you subscribe for longer lengths of time, the lowest price available being just over $15 per monthly mission.

We also had the opportunity to try the Serengeti mission and both of my kids did it together.  My daughter was so excited when it was all done, she asked if we could do this all the time.  A win?  Yes, in both of our books.

Learn more about Junior Explorer Subscriptions by clicking here or on the banner below.

Junior Explorers

The 7 Days of Creation in Legos

The 7 Days of Creation in Legos

My children can spend hours building, creating and playing with legos.  They build/rebuild, imagine all sorts of story lines and use their creations to reenact plots endlessly.  And yes, the little bricks are all over my house, too.  But here is the cool part:  As a mom, if I can take something my children love and use it to teach a concept or a story, I have made my teaching more effective.  

And that is where our Creation Series starts.  7 Days of Creation in Legos.  Each day, we’ll build according to what God created on a given day.  Each day’s lego creation will build upon the previous days and at the end of the week, we will have an entire creation set made of legos.

Throughout the days of our series, we will have step by step tutorials as well as video instructions.  Follow the steps and create with us or use the posts to inspire your children to master-build their own designs.  Our entire creation set has been made from this lego set (affiliate link).

Ready to build?  Click on the image below to be taken to a particular day.  

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”

 

The 7 days of creation in LEGOS.. Day 1 - Light

7 Days of Creation in Legos- Day 2 Sky

7 days of creation in legos - day 3 - land, sea and plants

7 Days of Creation in Legos - Day 4


The 7 Days of Creation. Day 5 - Birds & Fish

7 days of creation - day 6 man & animals

The 7 days of creation in legos - Day 7 God Rested

7 days of creation in legos

Are you joining us in the 7 Days of Creation in Legos series?  If so, be sure to let us know how it goes.  My kids and I would be thrilled if you tag me so we can see your designs!

On Instagram – @kristenbsummers
On Twitter – @kristenbsummers
On Facebook – CelebrateEveryDayWithMe

Happy Building!

PS-  Each day at the bottom of the post, you’ll find a link up to other great bloggers that have teamed up to teach on creation.  Don’t miss out on the fun activities, printables and experiments!

creation for kids series logo 2

7 Days of Creation in Legos {Day 7 – God Rested}

7 Days of Creation in Legos - Day 7 - God Rested

It is the final day in our Creation in Legos series.  And while on the 7th Day God rested, we still have one last item to build . . . a throne.  If you’re joining us for the first time, you can find Day 1 here and this is the lego set (affiliate link) we’ve been using for our entire creation series.

Let’s Read our Passage:

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the severnth day he rested from all his work.  And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”  Genesis 2:1-3

Let’s Build!

lego throne - day 7

how to make a lego throne - bricks needed

 

We have two different ways to build the throne.  See the step by step images below or watch the video.

 

Can’t see the video?  Go here.

lego throne 1

lego throne 2lego throne 3 lego throne 4 lego throne 5 lego throne 6 lego throne 7

lego throne

 

Talking Points for Day 7:

  • A day of rest is a pattern God has set.  What does a day of rest mean for us?
  • Do our minds and bodies need time for rest?
  • Sunday is our day of rest.  What are we supposed to do on this day?  How can we follow His example?

 

The 7 days of creation in legos - Day 7 God Rested

<< Day 6

See the whole Creation Series in Legos at a glance.

creation for kids series logo 2

5 Activities to do Each Week with Kids to Keep the Sabbath Holy from True Aim Education

Creation: Rest – No Sew Quiet Book for Toddlers from Powerful Mothering

Creation Paper Plate Project from Bible Fun for Kids

The 7 Days of Creation in Legos {Day 6 – Man & Animals}

the 7 days of creation in legos - day 6 man & animals

We are moving right along in our creation series!  Today, we are building according to what God created on Day 6.  Your kids can build Adam, Eve and whatever animals they would like!  We built a frog, turtle and zebra.  Well, we actually built more, but these were the ones that made the cut.

In this series, our main goal is to teach what God made on each day and to remember that He is a very creative God.  But one other thing I have discovered is how much fun I’ve had building with my kids as we work together through the days of creation!   I hope you have been enjoying this series as much.

If you’re just joining us, you can find Day 1 here.  This is the lego set (affiliate link) that we’ve been using for our entire creation series.

Let’s read our passage:

“And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:  the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.’  And it was so.  God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’

God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’

Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.’  And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.  And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.”  Genesis 1:24-31

This is a big building day, so let’s get started.

How to Build a Frog

lego frog - day 6

lego frog for day 6

 

Can’t see the video?  Go here.

How to Build a Zebra

lego zebra

how to make a lego zebra

Can’t see the video?  Go here.

How to Build a Turtle 

make a lego turtle

There are a lot of pictures to show you how build the turtle.  In the interest of brevity for Day 6 (ah, too late), click here to see the Turtle Tutorial step by step (in images).

Adam & Eve

adam and eve in legos

Our Adam and Eve may look a little basic but they hold true to historical accuracy in that they start off naked.  My son was insistent on Adam’s hair being super high.

day 6 - adam

day 6 - eve in legos

Can’t see the video?  Go here.

 

7 days of creation - day 6 man & animals

<<Day 5     Day 7>>

See the whole Creation Series in Legos at a glance.

More Day 6 Fun:

creation for kids series logo

 

Jungle box/ What I like silhouette/ Amazing Animals from True Aim Education

Creation: Animals & Man – No Sew Quiet Book for Toddlers from Powerful Mothering

Animal Sort File Folder Game (preschool) from Bible Fun for Kids

 

The 7 Days of Creation in Legos {Day 5 – Birds & Fish}

7 days of creation - day 5 - birds & fish

Enter birds and fish!  It’s Day 5 in our Creation series in legos and today, we’re building what God created on the fifth day.

If you’ve missed our series, you can start at the beginning, here.  And don’t miss out on other great ideas and crafts from different bloggers in the Creation Story for Kids series.  All links are at the bottom.

Let’s Start by Reading our Passage:

“And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky’  So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good.  God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.’  And there was evening, and there was morning – the fifth day.”  Genesis 1:20-23

Now let’s build!  Your kids can create their own birds and fish or they can follow our tutorials below.  All our legos for the series came from this one set (affiliate link).

Building a Fish

I have to say this fish reminds me of something you’d see on Octonauts with its huge eyes.  But he is lovable nonetheless.

day 5 fish

lego fish

 

Can’t see the video?  Go here.

Building a Colorful Bird

When completed, this bird is ready to perch in the tree we made on Day 3.

lego bird for day 5 of creation

day 5 - bird

 

Can’t see the video?  Go here.

bird perched on tree - creation series in legos

The 7 Days of Creation.  Day 5 - Birds & Fish

<<Day 4       Day 6>>

See the whole Creation Series in Legos at a glance.

More Day 5 Fun at these Blogs:

creation for kids series logo 2

 

Contact Paper Fish/ Bird handprint/ How fish breath under water from True Aim Education

Creation Task Cards from Bible Fun for Kids

Creation: Birds & Fish – No Sew Quiet Book for Toddlers from Powerful Mothering

Follow True Aim Education’s board The Creation Story for Kids on Pinterest.