How to Steal a March #9: Curiosity Gives A Learning Advantage

Children ask dozens and dozens of questions a day–some estimates are as high as 300 in a single day, but curiosity gives a learning advantage. As parents, teachers, and caregivers we need to encourage it. In the words of Thomas Berger, “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”kds and asking questionsIt would be impossible to answer all children’s questions. Some of them ask the same question over and over in the hope of getting a different answer, but we can answer a few of them. When we take the time to give kids some information, even if they don’t understand it all, they feel acknowledged. Their question hasn’t been ignored because it’s unimportant or silly and neither are they. Besides our answer, we give kids the message not only that it is okay to ask, but it is also okay to wonder.

We can also provide kids with an example when we are curious and want to find out. Instead of just washing some an apple before cutting it for snack, you could wonder if the apple will float or sink. Ask your child what s/he thinks might happen and then run some water in the kitchen sink. Pop it in and check it out. Did it float or sink? You can suggest your child tries some other fruit and veggies, like strawberries, grapes, a banana, a carrot, orange, potato and whatever else you might have on hand. Encourage your child to make a guess each time before trying. This helps kids learn they don’t have to be ‘right’, it’s more important to find out.

play with foodKids who are curious are eager to learn. They are not scared if they don’t know the answer to something. Being right or wrong isn’t their goal, finding out is. The old saying, to “steal a march on someone,” means having an advantage or an edge. Can you see how the attitude of curiosity gives a learning advantage? Child’s play is based on wondering and trying. Will your child’s day support being curious?

How to Steal a March 8: Play Turns Letters into Familiar Friends

Like numbers, letters can be challenging unknowns for kids when they arrive at school but early play turns letters into familiar friends.alphabet letter fun for kids

When young children arrive at school, their biggest challenge will be learning to read, this is figure out what the lines and squiggles on a page mean. It’s a huge task and it will affect them their entire life. We all want kids to succeed at it. We can help smooth some of the bumps in that road by giving them opportunity to become familiar with letters thru play. That way, when a child encounters letters at school, the brain can say, “Oh, I’ve played with these before. Two hands have felt their shapes, and I can even call some of them by name. I’ve heard some of their sounds. This isn’t so bad.”

Have you ever had to go somewhere you hadn’t been in a long time and couldn’t remember the way for sure? That sense of relief you felt when you finally saw a few landmarks you knew is what a child feels when s/he recognizes a few letters in the sea of lines and marks that make up letters and words. That’s why play with letters is so valuable.familiarity with letters

What are some activities so play turns letters into familiar friends?
As you can probably guess, reading books is tremendously important. From exposure to lots and lots and lots of books, kids make the connection that the marks on a page have meaning. In a simple book, you may be able to show your child a few words. “Oh, look at this. Here is a page of things that are red. See, this is the word ‘red’ written down.” Pointing with fingers is allowed.
Foam and magnetic letters are more than toys. Even if kids don’t know the names, the brain is recording the specific shapes. Occasionally, you can say the names of some of them and make the letter sound.

Names are some of the first words kids recognize. Show them their name written down and help them trace over a letter or two. When out on a walk, at the store, or in a favorite restaurant, notice some names. Are any letters the same?familiarity with letters

When your child is playing with playdough, roll out some letters. Hmmm, speaking of rolling, roll out some cookie dough and bake up a batch. Letters can be yummy to eat and what a tasty way for play to turn letters into familiar friends.

These are only a few suggestions for play experiences with letters. The words ” to steal a march on someone” are used to say someone has an advantage. Finding ways for your child to play and have fun with letters gives your child that march, that advantage. How can you support letter play for your child?


How to Steal a March #7: Art Play Boosts Brain Power

We often don’t think of it as serious or important as academics, but art play boosts brain power. Art play helps develop the important skills of visualization and creativity.pre-printing activities for young children

Brains think in words, but we also think in images. When we hear the words in a story, we create the images in our mind. When we describe an event to someone else, we use words to help them picture what happened too. Reading books and telling stories is word play; art activities are image and sensory play.

painting for kids

Usually, when we think of art activities for kids we think of drawing. Art tools for drawing aren’t limited to crayons. They can include chalk, paint, sticks, rocks, buttons, and recycled and nature items of many kinds. Besides paper, kids can create on sidewalks, driveways, dirt, decks, cardboard boxes and sometimes, walls. That’s not such a great choice, however. Kids can make pictures with a stick in the dirt, or rocks on a beach. The recycling basket often has treasures for art with school tools

When it comes to painting, food colors, fruits and vegetables, and even clear water are more choices. Brushes can range from fingers to old toothbrushes to marbles rolling around on a tray.
In addition to drawing, hands love to play with play dough. Whether you make your own at home or purchase it at a store, kids of various ages can play with it over and over. There are ­countless variations of play dough with different textures to appeal to the sense of touch. Another part of it’s appeal is that kids can create whatever they want. The possibilities are unlimited.

art play with rocks

We might think of creativity as a talent we are born with. It is also a skill that we can help kids develop by letting them explore and create. Businesses are finding the value of creativity as they look for innovative ideas and solutions. Have you heard the saying to “steal a march” on someone? This refers to having an advantage over somebody. Art play boosts brain power and can do just that–give kids an advantage. What kind of art play might happen today for your child?

How to Steal a March #6: Include Music Play for Kids

We know the importance of exercise for bodies, and it’s also important for brains; for some brain fitness, include music play for kids. Music stimulates many areas of the brain at the same time. If we could see inside the brain when it’s listening to or creating music, we would see an amazing amount of … Continue reading How to Steal a March #6: Include Music Play for Kids

How to Steal a March #5: Kids Social Skills Give An Advantage Over Academics

Whenever we think of success at school, we assume that academics is most important, but did you know kids social skills give an advantage over academics? Research is showing us that kids who cope with the social challenges of school are the ones who experience success. When we think about social skills vs academics it’s … Continue reading How to Steal a March #5: Kids Social Skills Give An Advantage Over Academics

How to Steal a March #4: Play Builds Math Confidence not Math Anxiety

Did you know at school 1 in 4 children is burdened with math anxiety? Children’s play builds math confidence instead of anxiety which can last for a lifetime. When it comes to math, such as dividing a recipe in half, checking the utility bill, or measuring a board before cutting, are you comfortable? For many … Continue reading How to Steal a March #4: Play Builds Math Confidence not Math Anxiety

How to Steal a March #3: Movement Activities Build Brain Power

March is a great month because it urges action and movement activities build brain power. Just in case you didn’t know or you need a reminder, kids love to move and be active. More than that, they absolutely need to. Vigorous exercise is great not only for bodies but also brains, building pathways and connections … Continue reading How to Steal a March #3: Movement Activities Build Brain Power

How to Steal a March #2: Reading Books to Kids Builds Brain Power

One of the most important activities you can do at home before children go to school is to read books because reading books to kids builds brain power. Books are superfood for brains. How much reading do you have to do in a day? While some jobs are mostly hands-on, many ordinary tasks involve reading. … Continue reading How to Steal a March #2: Reading Books to Kids Builds Brain Power

How to Steal a March #1: Words Build Brain Power

March Fourth sounds just like March Forth–what a fun play on words; for kids words build brain power. We might think words and action are opposites but brain-wise, the activity of words in the brain is mighty. Some fascinating research counted the number of words young children hear in a year. This, of course, varies … Continue reading How to Steal a March #1: Words Build Brain Power

March Action Sequence Fun Game for Kids

March is such a great month because it’s name is action and kids love to be active, so today’s play idea is a March action sequence fun game for kids. Vigorous physical activity is needed for both body and brain development. This game can happen spontaneously and build on whatever your child is doing. When … Continue reading March Action Sequence Fun Game for Kids