Although children are eager and willing to learn, they are all individually different, meaning personality, attention span, and interest level to name a few. Which is why it is important to provide learning activities for kids that provide continuous stimulation that makes learning fun.
Active and Fun Science Exploration
Children love to explore the world around them, by investigating and asking questions which makes them naturals for wanting to be actively involved in science. They are inquisitive” and have a strong desire to investigate the world. Unfortunately, often times science is introduced in more complex terms than is needed. Although, it is important that they learn the facts, there should be opportunities for children to have active involvement. Active involvement should involve cognitive thinking”>as well as the physical aspect of investigating an experiment. One great experiment that can be done at home and will impress the young scientist is an experiment involving manipulating milk to change colors.
Color Changing Milk Experiment
In this experiment, milk, food coloring, and dish soap is added to produce color.
2% or whole milk
Red, yellow, green, and blue food coloring
Dawn dish soap
- Pour milk into the plate until the bottom is completely covered about 1/4 of an inch.
- Put one drop of each of the four colors of food coloring into the milk. Keep the drops close together in the center of the plate.
- Get the cotton swab and make a prediction about what will happen when you touch the tip of the cotton swab to the center of the milk. Make sure you do not stir the mixture. Just touch it with the tip of the cotton swab. Try it? What happened?
- Now put a drop of dish soap on the other end of the cotton swab. Put the soapy end of the cotton swab back in the middle of the milk.
- Next, add another drop of soap to the tip of the cotton swab and try it again. Keep experimenting with placing the cotton swab at different places in the milk. You will notice that the colors in the milk continue to move even when the cotton swab is removed. How does the milk in the food coloring move?
This experiment is great for discovery learning. It requires that children make their own predictions, and discoveries. The Color Changing Milk activity is only the beginning to several observations and discoveries that can be made. To begin actively exploring you can first change something, make a new experiment, and then do a comparison. Next, do this same experiment again using water in place of milk. What will the color do with water? Why or Why not? You can also explore what would happen if other kinds of milk were used, such as 1%, 2%, whole milk, or cream. Does the amount of fat in the milk produce a different result? To keep the experiment in tact, you have to use dish soap, but maybe you could use a different brand. Use the same amount of what ever brand you select. Then make a chart of what happened with each kind of milk. What happened when a different brand of soap was used? Compare the similarities and differences.
This activity demonstrates the importance for children to explore and make their own discoveries. It is imperative for them to go through this process to ensure that they have valuable learning experiences. Children are curious about their surroundings and are determined to find out as much as possible. They want to discover, and experiment. Children want to learn science by doing hands-on activities. Continue doing as many experiments as possible with children. When children are constantly involved in experiments they will remain motivated and eager to do the next science experiment.
Multicultural and Passport Learning Activities for Kids
In a child’s mind traveling to other countries is as simple as getting on a plane. They are oblivious to what it takes to actually go to another country. Taking trips to other countries is rather costly and not within reach for some families. However, with our constantly changing world, it is so important that children study other cultures whenever the opportunity permits. One exciting way is to teach about passports. What are they? How and when are they used? How does one obtain them? Teaching about passports is incredibly useful for teaching history, geography, and multicultural education.
Art is always an exciting activity for children. Once you take out the glue, crayons, scissors, and markers their imaginations start to soar. Why not incorporate passports? You can begin by having students design their own passports as an art project. This will keep them motivated in multicultural studies. First, you would make a book the size of a passport with all the countries that your child would like to visit someday. To make it realistic, cover the book with heavy dark blue paper. Have your child decorate their passport with gold stickers. Use a colorful wall map and have your child point out all of the countries that they would like to visit. You could also have them write about what they think they would learn from visiting each of these countries. Additionally, they can write a description of the country they have chosen. Then, type up all of the countries your child selected and make it into a make believe itinerary. As your child learns about each of the countries they have selected, they can decorate their passport with cultural drawings. They can practice penmanship by writing a few simple words in the language spoken by that country. Have fun and enrich your child with cultures from all over the world
Passports and Technology
The internet is highly useful in introducing culture, history, and languages. Take the opportunity for your child to utilize their imaginary passports and itinerary and turn to the country they would like to learn about. Have a discussion about the illustrations your child created and have them talk about their illustrations. You can take a moment to talk about the country’s culture, language, and foods. Together during family time, you can do some internet research and collect more information about their country. The information collected can be used to write in a journal. Not only will your child be learning about other cultures and traditions, but daily writing activities will significantly improve writing skills. After, they have completed their writing, then you can award them with stickers of that country.
Children love surprises! One way to spice up learning is for them to make a surprise of their own. Journals are great for this. First, a country that has not been studied is selected. Then in their journal, the child will list everything about that country without revealing which country it is. They can include types of dishes of that country, languages, customs, traditions, and pictures. The child will tell their parent everything that they have gathered about this country and then the parent can guess which country their child selected. This will keep your child motivated as well as having some productive quality time with your child.
Performing Arts and Multicultural Education
You can also provide enriching activities through the performing arts. Children are very receptive to performing arts. Teaching through the arts is wonderful for maintaining a child’s interest. Stimulate your child’s interest by providing ample opportunities for them to experience all forms of self-expression and emotion. Children will be thrilled to listen to music and sing songs in other languages. Dance and movement are effective in teaching about other cultures and their traditions. Foreign language exposure teaches children about the world. They learn to accept other languages and are more receptive to learning other languages.
Expose your child to the arts by going on family outings to places and events where they can hear music and see performances of other cultures. Locate and participate in local fairs and celebrations that embrace culture. Take some time to learn about artists from different cultures, their work, and their background. You may also compare the the work of artists from other cultures to that of your own. Discuss similarities and differences.
Literature, Language Arts
Multicultural education provides a wealth of opportunities for introducing children to high quality literature and language. Allowing students the opportunity to read stories and folktales from other countries will definitely expose them culturally. Children love to be read to. One interactive way is to dress up as the culture of the folktale that is being read about. If you are reading an Irish story wear something to symbolize that culture while reading the story. When you read these stories aloud you will build listening skills, entertain, and explain to children why things are the way they are. All these stories from around the world demonstrate to children that we are all alike. Regardless of our culture we experience, happiness, sadness, and concerns. Locate books about different countries, histories, and celebrations. Have the same story read to them in a different language. Introduce your child to another language.
Strategies to Keep Children Motivated to Read
Reading is a life long fundamental skill. It is the center of all academic subject areas. If a child can read fluently and comprehend what they read then they have the ability to excel. Most children will become fluent readers. However, are still obligated to develop methods that will keep them interested as they get older.
It is not uncommon for children to love reading in the early grades. Unfortunately, by the time they reach middle school they have little or no interest in reading. In order to sustain a love for reading it is imperative that habit of reading is imbedded during the early years of life. The best way to keep children motivated is to maintain their interest in the early years and continue through middle school, high school, and as an adult.
1. Start reading to your child at a very early age. It is never too early. Some parents begin reading to their children in the womb! Reading can occur at anytime throughout the day. Just provide frequent positive reading experiences that demonstrate that reading is enjoyable.
2. Go to the library. Many library facilities offer story time for children. After story time is over you can use this time to reread the story with your child. It is also a good opportunity to select other books that you do not have at home.
3. Although you might be eager to hear your child read those first words, try not to push them into reading. Children learn to read at their own pace. It is best that they are given ample opportunities to enjoy being read to.
4. Even when your child becomes that all-star reader, continue to read to them. Children love to be read to. We often forget that as they get older and become fluent readers. Keep in mind that when children learn to read they often comprehend stories at a higher level in which they can read themselves. Reading to your child will keep them highly interested in books. Additionally, reading to your child is a time for bonding and quality time to spend together. So keep reading to them!
5. Help them to read a story that is of interest to them but they may have difficulty reading. You can read the story with your child and have them select the parts that are of interest to them. You can read the other parts that were not selected.
6. If your child is reading and comes to a word that they do not know reassure them that its ok tell them the word and to continue reading. The goal is to keep your child motivated and interested in reading so they do not become frustrated.
7. For those children who are hesitant about reading, you could start with having them select the topics they want to know more about. Comic strips are a fun way to get children motivated to read.
8. Children model what they see at home. So if you want your child to be interested in reading then you have to model it yourself. If they never see their parent read then they will not have any interest.
9. Technology is a great source for many educational activities, however reading a book still outweighs the benefits of sitting in front of a computer of television.
10. Take advantage of the reading experiences museums offer. Some museums have a children’s area designed to read about the topics at the museum. If it is a science museum then in the children’s area you will likely find books about the subject of science.