Early Learning

March of Time: Helping Kids Develop a Sense of Time

The expression “Time marches on,” is appropriate for ending the month of March and inspires a post on helping kids develop a sense of time.strategic allocation of attention

Although kids will have some ideas about time, it is really very confusing. The light of day and dark of night helps kids figure out day and night, but it isn’t always the same. In the summer, it can stay light until after bedtime, while in the winter, it’s dark before supper. We confuse kids too, when we ask them to wait for a minute and take much longer. Time is always there, but when we are in a hurry, we say we don’t have time. We still have time, but not enough. No wonder time is so tricky for kids—and many adults too.

There are quite a few words connected to time, such as second, minute, hour, day, night, week, month, and year. Even if kids haven’t figured out what these words all mean, it helps if they have heard them. The names of the days of the week take on special meaning if parents have the same day off. Often kids ask if a day is a home-day or a daycare-day.coooking with kids

A few simple activities give experiences with aspects of time. Counting the number of sleeps until there is a special event is one way of helping kids develop a sense of time. They may want to cross off the days on a calendar. Recipes have instructions for the number of minutes something needs to bake. Mix up a batch of cookies and set a timer when you put them in the oven. Clocks that have pictures of the sun or the moon are useful too. If the weather is hot, instead of cookies you might want to make popsicles but that will take more time.

Another fun opportunity using time is the game What Time is it Mr. Wolf. Since a big space is needed for running, it’s better to play this game outside. To play, one person is the wolf. The wolf stands in the middle of the space and the players stand at one end. Kids ask the wolf, “What time is it, Mr. Wolf? The wolf chooses the number of hours, as in 4 o’clock, and calls it out. The players then take 4 steps. If the wolf says 3 o’clock, the kids take 3 steps and so on. The kids get closer and closer until the wolf answers, “It’s lunch time!” The kids run back to the starting point, screaming and giggling.learning about time

The wolf, especially if it’s an adult, can vary the “It’s lunch time!” answer. For instance, it could be “Hug time” or “Tickle time.” Occasionally, you can even use “It’s put away toys time!” or some other chore. What are some other ways and plays for helping kids develop a sense of time?


On the March: Kids’ Goal-setting Skills and Ways to Support Learning Them

March seems appropriate for a post on kids’ goal-setting skills because marching is steady and purposeful. Developing these skills is child’s play.getting ready for kindergarten everyday

Babies, toddlers, and young kids are strongly motivated—for some things that is. A baby will struggle to find a way out of a crib, and a toddler or older child will stack blocks, toys and rearrange furniture to reach the cookies.

Kids will set their own goals as they play. Little Sister wanted to cross the bridge at the playground all by herself. She held on the edges and slowly took one sideways step at a time. She asked me to stay back and only watch. Big Sister wanted to go down the waterslide at the pool and she’s finally tall enough. I had to stay down with her sister so she went up by herself.risk management for kids

Some goals children choose are realistic, like putting together a simple puzzle, but others are not, like building a block tower so high it reaches the sky. As kids play, they will figure out which ones that can do and which they can’t. As a strategy, goal setting is tremendously powerful, and we can support children’s learning by ensuring they have time and opportunity to play.

Basically, goal-setting is a three-step process: deciding on the goal, figuring out how to accomplish it, and taking action. When we notice, children wanting to do something, we can ask them how they might be able to. This moves them to the second step. We can also break a big task into smaller ones for them. For instance, the goal might be to get all the toys put away before going to the park. We can suggest they put away all the blue toys, and we’ll help with the red ones. Celebrating their success with them when they accomplish a goal also encourages them.goal-setting for kids

As children play today, how can you support kids’ goal-setting skills?


Being Silly for Children’s Fun and Learning – Mad as a March Hare

Being silly for children’s fun and learning is written in the calendar. The expression to be “mad as a March hare” means to be crazy, and it is March. Children laugh far more times a day than adults do. Being serious is important, but laughter can help all of us cope with life’s stresses.red nose faces

Silly antics can take no time at all and can happen practically anywhere. Absolutely no extra materials are needed to make faces at and with each other. You might want to make different ones or try and copy each other. You can use a mirror and see who makes the silliest ones. If you want to make sure you have your child’s attention for giving a few instructions, try making some very exaggerated expressions at the same time. Ask your child to say the instructions back to you, along with some silly faces.silly fun and learning

Playing some silly games, like using bizarre words, covers up for the times when you don’t mean it. For example, ask kids to hang up the coats in the shower instead of the closet or to put the ice cream back in the dishwasher. Usually, they will howl with laughter. When you unintentionally get mixed up, like putting Little Brother’s coat on Big Sister when trying to hurry, it’s not so obvious. When getting ready to go outside, pretend to try and put on a child’s coat. It will be much too small but the enjoyment will be much fun. Or, zip your coat up on your child and then look everywhere for it. From such little interactions comes big learning.silly fun and learning

A sense of humor is something that develops and it is surprisingly complicated. First, kids have to recognize a situation as unexpected or unintended. Then, they need to check if it’s scary or threatening in any way. If not, they can go ahead and giggle. Finding something funny requires brain processing.sharing laugh with a friend

Besides being silly for children’s fun and learning, crazyiness helps children bond with us and other people. When we share a laugh, we also share a relationship. Getting along with others is a work in progress, and being able to laugh together can make it easier. Can you and your child have some silly fun today?


How to Steal a March #15: Helping Kids Ask Questions

Helping kids ask questions will give them an advantage. Thomas Berger said, “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” Despite the astonishing number of questions kids ask a day–some estimates are more than 300–asking questions is really quite complicated. Brains have to organize the correct order of words, change … Continue reading How to Steal a March #15: Helping Kids Ask Questions

How to Steal a March #12: Imagination Gives Kids An Advantage

We all want our kids to have the best, including learning and opportunities, and imagination gives kids an advantage. It helps them “to steal a march.” In the words of Einstein himself, “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge. Are kids born with a talent for imagining? That’s hard to say because we can’t see how … Continue reading How to Steal a March #12: Imagination Gives Kids An Advantage

How to Steal a March #11: Helping Kids Learn to Make Choices

Making choices is a skill, and during the early years is the best time for helping kids learn to make choices. Kids need opportunities and experience, as well as our example and guidance. Have you ever noticed how kids will play with anything? It’s every bit as likely a child will play with sticks, rocks, … Continue reading How to Steal a March #11: Helping Kids Learn to Make Choices

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

Kids Need Routines – Helping Kids Make Friends with Routine

Monday starts the week’s routine; did you know kids need routines? This post explores why and since it’s friendship month, making friends with routines. A routine functions like an invisible security blanket. It wraps around a child giving a sense of comfort and familiarity. Kids know what’s coming next, instead of always being surprised. It’s … Continue reading Kids Need Routines – Helping Kids Make Friends with Routine

February Heart Connections: What Is Your Child’s Favorite Object?

The month of February invites us to connect with the heart; to start, what is your child’s favorite object? What’s yours? Choices give clues–and practice. Recently, I registered in a video challenge event. Each day, for 30 days, we create a short video and share it with the group. This helps to get past the … Continue reading February Heart Connections: What Is Your Child’s Favorite Object?

New Year’s Resolution: You Are Your Child’s Greatest Learning Resource So Take Care of You

Today’s new year’s resolution is brought to you by the letter Y: you are your child’s greatest learning resource so take care of you. While this sounds next to impossible for parents, especially when comes to the issue of getting enough sleep, it’s far too important to ignore. And we all need to be there … Continue reading New Year’s Resolution: You Are Your Child’s Greatest Learning Resource So Take Care of You