Fun Ways To Teach Your Children Phonics 

As a parent, you’re responsible for teaching your kids a lot of things. The knowledge you instill to them can contribute to the quality of life they’ll have in the future. The more they know, the easier it’ll be for them to manage challenges and attain success.

One of the most essential things a parent is expected to teach their children is phonics. This is an important branch of linguistics that can help children spell, read, and communicate.

Because of the importance of phonics, parents like you should exert time and effort in teaching your children about it. This is especially true if your children are already going to school.

Here are some ways to teach your children phonics:

  1. Hunt For Letters

Teaching your children phonics is actually easy. Aside from having the free range of coming up with your own activities, you’ll have access to several online sources, such as The Happy Learner.

If you’re looking for an easy and cheap way of teaching your child phonics, start by looking for old magazines and catalogs. Pick a letter and let your children find this letter in the magazine and catalog. This activity will allow your children to develop their comprehension skills while making it easy for them to associate the appearance of the letter to its sounds.

If you want to take this activity up a notch, grab a pair of scissors and cut out the letters that your children spotted in these printed materials. Create a collage in a piece of cardboard and use these as flashcards for all the letters in the alphabet. If the cardboard you’re using has still space, cut out images that visually represent the letter, as well.

  1. Alphabet Ball

Children usually spend their time in front of a gadget. They’ll spend long hours playing with a tablet, laptop, or smartphone. While technology allows your children to be occupied and occasionally learn several things, going overboard can also have adverse effects to their development.

Spending too much time on a gadget can lead to eye strain and poor physical health. The solution? Invite your children to go outdoors and play alphabet ball. Alphabet ball is a physical activity aimed to teach your children phonics.

The game starts once an adult yells a letter, and the child is expected to respond and associate the letter with a word. If the adult mentioned the letter “A”, the child can respond with an apple or astronaut. After the child successfully does this, the adult will pass the ball to the child, and it’s now the child’s turn to yell out a letter. The adult then responds by providing a word that starts with the letter the child mentioned, and so on.

You can add more fun to the activity by kicking the ball or playing tag with other children.

  1. Create An Alphabet Book Through A Picture-Taking Activity

If your children already know how to use a camera or smartphone, let their creativity shine by letting them play a phonics adventure. This activity can be done anywhere – whether you’re inside the home, in your garden, or shopping for groceries.

Hand the camera to your child and instruct them to take pictures of items that start from letters A to Z. Give them the freedom to take any picture they want, regardless of how weird it can be. Once your child has collected enough pictures to cover the entire alphabet, print the pictures and compile them into an album. Or if you have the time and interest, place the pictures in a scrapbook.

You can choose to repeat this activity with your children, given that you’re doing it in another location. The compilation you’ll produce from these pictures can be an indicator of the progress your children made in learning phonics.

  1. Mystery Bags

Children naturally love surprises. They’ll be motivated to fulfill tasks if the prize involves a surprise. When teaching your children phonics, let them play Mystery Bags. This game will require you to use at least three bags and different objects around the house.

Start by hiding different items that start with the same letter in each of these bags. If you want your children to learn more about the letter C, you can place a candy, cup, and clip inside the bags. Let your children name each item and guess the mystery letter that’s common among these objects.

Don’t Forget To Have Fun!

The key to successfully teaching your children phonics is to disguise it as play. Instead of being too uptight with your sessions, change your routine regularly, and allow your children to have fun. Ask if there are certain toys or games they want to do and incorporate phonics into it.

Aside from teaching your children phonics, you can also utilize these activities as a way to bond more with your children!

My Blog Website is Now 10 Years Old: Getting Published as a Daddy Blogger, Making My National TV Debut, and Becoming an SEO Side Hustler

It was exactly a decade ago today that I published my very first blog post here on this website. It was called, “Snail Trails: Your Memory May Be the Only Proof an Event Ever Happened.”

For the first year of my blog, I was just writing about random thoughts that went through my head; much like the kind of topics I cover on my YouTube channels now.

But about a year into blogging, my wife and I found out we were going to be having our first child. I decided to start writing a letter to our child at least every week.

Just a few months into my new series, I was featured in American Baby magazine. And a few months after that, I was chosen by Parents Magazine to be their official daddy blogger for the next 4 years.

This led to me being given dozens of opportunities to feature brand-new vehicles on my blog, as companies like Lexus and Chevy often sent me cars for a week at a time; even sending me and family on trips as well.

After my time at Parents.com ended, the next venture was been hand-selected by one of the scouts for Lifetime’s upcoming TV show, This Time Next Year. My national TV debut took place in February 2018.

Since then, I have been using my blogging experience and SEO knowledge to operate a few different side hustles to generate passive income, like placing Amazon links in my most popular posts and regularly selling guest blog posts to companies.

True story: I just bought a brand-new stereo for my Jeep based on my most recent Amazon payment I received.

It’s true I love writing and I love documenting my life on my blog, as it’s my way of keeping up with my own journey of life.

But I also don’t mind the fact that this blog has provided me opportunities that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Thank you to all my readers for being a part of my blog- and my life!

Tips on Taking Control of Your Energy Bill: Unplugging Devices When Not in Use

Almost one out of three households in the United States struggle to pay their energy bills and as electricity costs are predicted to continue increasing on through 2020, this pressure could get even worse.

Generally, most of what we use electricity for is on necessities. Over 60% of energy consumption goes to powering appliances like refrigerators, keeping the heat and air conditioning on, and interior lighting. The other 40% goes to non-essential and luxury items like game consoles and TVs. Yet, one in ten households are kept at unsafe temperatures just to save money and one in five will go without other basic necessities as well, effectively overlooking simple ways to save. Turning down the thermostat is a good way to scale back high bills, but it certainly isn’t the only option.

From resealing doors and windows to switching to LED light bulbs, even small changes can add up to big savings on electricity. Ready to wrangle your family’s energy usage? See this infographic for more.

Yes, I Accept Guest Blog Posts, If You Can Afford My $35 Fee to Help Boost Your SEO (3 Steps to Getting Published in 3 Days or Less)

If you are a fellow blogger, or you manage your own small business and would like to boost the SEO for your company or brand online by linking it to a website has healthy as mine, here’s your opportunity.

After constantly receiving inquiries all last year, and having to go through the arbitrary process of negotiating my fee with each potential client, I’ve now looked back on what ultimately was the going rate in 2018: It was $35.

So in 2019, I want to make this simple for both of us and save us a bunch of time. Here’s how to get your guest blog post published here on my site:

1. Write an informative article like this one with links back to your website, as well as links to larger websites. Ideally, you will want to have a number in your title. (For example, “5 Ways to…”) This is ultimately a parenting blog, so your content should be somewhat relevant to a family lifestyle.

2. Email me your article to nickshell1983@hotmail.com, with a relevant copyright-free photo attached, with this as the subject line: “$35 Guest Blog Post”. Also let me know the name of the person, blog, or company you would like to see credited as the author.

3. Pay me the $35 fee within 7 days. Once you complete the previous step, I will review and publish your article, sending you the link for your review along with an invoice through PayPal for $35. If payment is not received within 7 days, I will delete the blog post.

So it’s that simple. There is no need to send me an initial email to start the process or to try to negotiate the rate.

Just complete all 3 steps and within 3 business days, your guest blog post will be up live on my website, and shared through my website’s Facebook fan page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

I look forward to working with you.

And if you can’t afford my $35 right now, I have a free SEO starter kit for you right here.

3 Places to Stay Just Outside of Dallas, TX 

Dallas, the ninth largest city in the United States, is often called the commercial hub of the North Texas region. Featuring a variety of museums, sporting venues, and cultural events, the city is home to a variety of activities that make it a great place to visit for people of all ages. While most travelers to the area plan to stay near the downtown area, venturing out to the smaller towns surrounding the city can provide a unique glimpse into the region and is often more affordable.

Lancaster

Located about 5 miles from Dallas, Lancaster offers visitors the opportunity to see attractions they would probably miss if they stayed in the city. Lancaster’s Commemorative Air Force DFW Wing is a small museum that allows visitors to see, touch, and explore planes from World War II. The museum is open on the weekends and staffed by former military members who provide visitors with intriguing history lessons they won’t soon forget.

Visitors to the area will also enjoy exploring Lancaster’s Bear Creek Nature Park, which is home to a butterfly garden, rock climbing wall, fishing pier, and multiple hiking trails.

Lancaster is a vibrant community that travelers will enjoy exploring. By taking advantage of the hotel accommodations available in Lancaster, visitors will have access to the unique attractions mentioned here as well to the variety of restaurants and shops in the area.

Plano

Situated less than 20 miles from Dallas, Plano features a diverse assortment of attractions that visitors to the area will enjoy. Nature lovers can explore Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, which features 3.5 miles of concrete trails and 5 miles of soft surface trails. Kayaking and paddle boarding are also available at the preserve, and visitors should check out Go Ape Zip Line and Treetop Adventure for a one-of-a-kind experience that will have them zipping through the forest canopy. The preserve is open from dawn until dusk.

Plano’s Heritage Farmstead Museum is another must-see attraction for travelers to the Dallas area. This living history museum gives visitors a first-hand peek at what life was like on the Texas Blackland Prairies years ago.

Garland

A quick 30-minute drive from Dallas, Garland features several unique attractions, including Hawaiian Falls Garland, a large water park, and Spring Creek Forest Preserve, a natural area that’s perfect for spending a relaxing afternoon outdoors.

Hawaiian Falls features a lazy river, numerous water slides, and a 16,000 square foot wave pool. Kids and adults alike will enjoy spending the day at this thrilling water park. If you’re looking for a more laid-back way to spend the day, Spring Creek Forest Preserve is a city-owned nature preserve featuring short, easy hiking trails that allow you to experience the region’s beautiful scenery.

On your next trip to Dallas, consider staying in one of the nearby towns. You’ll discover new areas to explore and save a little money at the same time. This vibrant part of Texas is sure to provide visitors with memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Image via Flickr by awsheffield

Yes, I Accept Guest Blog Posts to Boost Your SEO. I Charge $100. Email Me.

You just Googled, “bloggers who accept guest blog posts” because you are needing to strengthen your website’s SEO. On a daily basis, I get requests from people asking me about this. That obviously proves my website has amazing SEO.

The answer is yes. I do accept guest blog posts. I also accept $100, to be paid via PayPal.

I have the SEO platform you need to link your site to. You have the $100 that I would like to link to my wallet.

So if you’re interested, send an email to nickshell1983@hotmail.com with this headline:

SEO $100

Make sure that you include a photo, as an attachment, not copied and pasted, to accompany your article; which needs to a be minimum of 300 to 400 words and somewhat relevant to the topic of parenting and family.

Also let me know how you want to be listed in the byline, so I know which person and/or brand to draw readers’ attention to.

The concept with your guest blog post is that you want to answer questions that people are already Googling, but you will be using my popular platform to do it, which will refer people back to your website.

Here’s a recent example of a guest blog post here on my site, where someone paid my $100 fee:

And yeah, I get it…

If you’re just starting out, you likely don’t have the budget to afford my service. That’s the paradox:

Larger companies can afford to pay for SEO, so they stay large.

Small companies can’t afford to pay for SEO, so they stay small.

If you can’t afford my $100 free to be featured as a guest blogger on my website, I can at least leave you with a complimentary parting gift, which is my SEO starter kit.

Yet still, it’s inevitable: You can’t get around the fact that you’ll need a stronger website like mine to attach links back to yours.

How much time are you willing to spend searching for other websites that will accept guest blog posts cheaper, or ideally for free?

You have to decide: Is your time worth $100?

Perhaps you’ll decide, like Billy Joel said back in 1977:

I might as well be the one.

Examples of Nick Shell’s SEO Work for The Biostatistics Department for Vanderbilt University: 9 Video Promos and an ENAR Blog Post

On my LinkedIn profile, I focus on my SEO skills most of all; how I have been hired by multiple brands like Primrose Schools and Moe’s Southwest Grill to write articles and create videos to promote their presence online, as a 3rd party. As I pointed out in my recently published article, SEO Starter Kit: 5 Free Tips, being an SEO specialist goes way beyond an active Twitter and Facebook account.

I am publishing this today to provide a candid look at some of my work as a freelance SEO specialist. For the past couple of months now, I have been producing content on a reoccurring basis for Biostastistics Department for Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. I am the one they contract to create the content many people see; even if my name doesn’t show up in the bylines or the credits.

Ultimately, the main purpose of my work for them is to further promote and grow Vanderbilt’s presence online; using blog posts and YouTube videos, as vehicles of promotion.

Back in March, I was responsible for creating a 9 collection video promo series; where I interviewed professors and students. The collection played on a big monitor at their booth at the ENAR 2018 Spring Meeting in Atlanta. (ENAR stands for Eastern North American Region.)

So for any prospective students who visited Vanderbilt’s booth, they had no option but to catch a glimpse of my video producing and editing skills; where my work even included original music that I composed and recorded to accompany the interviews.

This project also required me to go to downtown Nashville and capture some footage of Broadway, to help illustrate why Nashville itself is a fun place to be.

After the event in Atlanta was over, my collection of video promos were then uploaded to Vanderbilt Health’s YouTube channel, where they can currently be seen by the free world; I am including all 9 videos at the bottom of this post.

Additionally, I was responsible for writing a related article for Vanderbilt’s website, to basically create a permanent reminder of Vanderbilt’s presence at the ENAR 2018 Spring Meeting in Atlanta.

But first, I realized it would be important that I created an all new blog platform for Vanderbilt’s Biostastics website. So I did. I appropriately named it The Biostatistics Blog.

And that’s where you can find the very first blog post I wrote for it, entitled, Vanderbilt University’s Biostatistics Graduate Program Takes on the 2018 ENAR Spring Meeting in Atlanta.

As you can imagine, I am proud to be deemed as worthy enough of my SEO knowledge and skills to be an ongoing contractor for a legendary establishment like Vanderbilt University. I guess choosing to be an English major back in college wasn’t so crazy of an idea after all.

Thanks for checking out my work today!