Reading, Writing & Math: A Rewarding Experience for My Little Girl

 

“Mommy, may I please do some reading today,” my five year old pleaded. Those words are always music to my ears! Since my daughter was a baby, she’s always been eager to learn. Also, like many children, she loves playing with toys. One of her toys of choice is her doll, Sophia. Whenever we go near the toy section in Target, Quinn’s eyes widen as she sees the many doll accessories: clothing, footwear, little brushes, beds, you name it.

Since the star reward system my husband and I started with Quinn when she was two to reinforce positive behaviors was so successful, I thought why not implement a program like that to encourage and reward her for learning, especially since her school does not issue homework for kindergartners.

Over the summer, I purchased several workbooks and resources to help her with reading, writing and math. Then, I ordered big charts, smiley stickers and punch cards through Amazon. For every three stickers Quinn earns a smiley face. Then, she gets one punch on the card. Once she earns ten punches, she’s able to get some doll accessories for Sophia.

Of course, some parents might argue that learning is a requirement for children, and why should a child be rewarded? While this may be plausible for some, I’ve actually found that my daughter is even more eager to learn. It does not feel like a chore to her, and she does not do it solely to earn stickers or punches on the punch card. Sometimes, I have to let her know that she’s able to earn a sticker since she asked about practicing her writing.

Often, Quinn will ask to write and read instead of watch television or play with her toys.  What I love is that she even does math by counting up how many more smiley faces she needs in the different sections to earn a punch on the card and then how many punches she needs to get to ten.

This reward system also teaches Quinn about value. As she gets the doll accessories, she knows she had to put in a lot of work to earn them. It makes her appreciate them more than me just giving them to her.

Does your child needs a little encouragement to learn? Give the reward punch card system a try. Maybe it will be as successful for your child as it has been for mine!

All the best,

Tanya

Math the Fun Way: Cashing in on Learning with My Little Girl

“Everything is one dollar! Since you have three things, your total is three dollars,” she said. I then replied, “Okay, here’s a five dollar bill.” She then thought for a moment as she went back to her cash register and responded, “Since you gave me five dollars and purchased three toys for a dollar a piece, you get back…two dollars!” She then reached in her drawer, grabbed the two one dollar bills and gave me my change.

Playing store with my four year old is a fun activity. She enjoys setting up her items for sell and determining the prices. Sometimes, she even comes up with backstories on the items to explain why they cost what they cost.

I especially love playing store with her because I know it is so much more than an imaginative play activity. Quinn is using math skills and critical thinking. Sometimes, she’ll negotiate with me on the price. It also teaches her the value of a dollar, what different coins are worth and even information about who’s on the money. “This penny has Abraham Lincoln on it, right Mommy? This one is easy to remember because the coin is brown,” she informed me.

One day when I picked her up from preschool, her teacher told me how excited Quinn was when she found a shiny dime when they were outside and how she couldn’t wait to put it in her piggy bank. It is never too young to learn about money, and I am glad that my daughter loves not just spending but saving and collecting.

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s Little Scientist: Never Too Young for STEM

She put on her white lab coat and selected the experiment she wanted to conduct. I assisted her with arranging the items needed, and she then smiled and said, “I have to out on my science glasses for safety before we get started!” We first saw the “Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Activity Set (12 pieces)” in the Franklin Institute Gift Shop, and my four year old just had to have it. The price was $30, but upon checking through Amazon.com, I saw that I could get it for just $18.11. Though there were some tears shed and a fit or two had, I eventually convinced my daughter that it was better for us to order through Amazon so that we could save some money and have a little left over to get the lab coat too. 

Quinn loves doing projects, activities and games, especially STEM related ones. Though I have a Liberal Arts background, I too enjoy these projects and was just as eager for the package to arrive. The kit is for children as young as three, but I must say that some adults could benefit and have fun from these science experiments that are not all that time consuming and require items that most people already have in their household.

Though my little girl is not writing as yet, we were able to discuss what she thought would happen before starting a project. I even taught her the word: hypothesis. We enjoyed doing the primary color experiment together, and days later she still talks about the primary and secondary colors and how red and blue make purple. Quinn’s Nana thoroughly enjoyed doing the volcano experiment with her so much that they did it two times.

Some of the other experiments involve learning about how plants sprout from seeds, examining different insects and determining what sinks and floats, and we’re both looking forward to doing them too. I was so impressed by the twelve piece kit that I ordered the Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set, 45 Piece set so that we can do more experiments in the weeks to come.

These experiments remind me of how much I enjoyed going to science class in grade school and how I wish these at home kits existed when I was younger. Of course, there’s no absolute science to raising children and making sure they have a perfect childhood and have a solid foundation for learning, but I’m so grateful to be creating these memories with my daughter and hope they stay with her for years to come.

All the best,

Tanya

Terrific Toy Tuesday: Alphabet Marks the Spot

“What did you roll, Quinnie?” I asked my daughter. “An igloo! Igloo starts with the letter I!” she responded and sought out the letter “I” on the mat and jumped on it. One of the first steps to learning how to read is not only recognizing letters but mastering the sounds to identify which words start with certain letters. Even though Quinn has known the alphabet and been able to recite it for a few years now, when she was about three and half, I decided to purchase an interactive game that reinforces what she knows while encouraging her to want to learn how to sound out words and eventually read.

Though the game is marketed to children in kindergarten (five years old) and up, and Quinn just turned four last month, she is still able to have fun with it because there are multiple ways to play based on the level of the child. Also there is a focus on gross motor, language, social and behavioral skills that she can apply not only in an academic setting but simply interacting with people in her everyday life.

There’s so much pressure for children to learn to read at young ages, and even though Quinn is learning how to sound out and spell a few words, I want it to be a fun experience for her where she is excited about learning, and this game is one of the resources that has helped. If you are looking for a way to promote learning the alphabet and transitioning to reading with active play for your child, Alphabet Marks the Spot by Learning Resources may be the perfect choice for you.

 

All the best,

Tanya