Leading My Son and His Friends on a Scavenger Hunt Hike through the Creek, in Search of “Toxic Rocks” to Defeat the Villain, Red Rover

Last month my 3rd grader son and I left from the Cub Scout orientation meeting broken-hearted. I myself was in Cub Scouts for 4 years back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was a major part of my childhood.

But it’s not set up the same way anymore. At the meeting, the adults were ultimately informed that if we wanted our sons to be in Scouts, we would be volunteering to be the actual leaders.

In a household where both parents work full-time, I knew that it would be unwise to commit so much of my time to what would ultimately be a part-time job that would indirectly pay other people’s salaries, in the likeness of a multilevel marketing pyramid scheme.

So I decided to start my own group; for all the boys whose parents couldn’t commit to the actual organization.

I set up a “scavenger hunt hike” at a nearby park with a creek. Once all the boys arrived, along with a few younger sisters, a villain who called himself Red Rover popped out of the bushes.

He explained that his great-grandfather originally own the land, but instead of being able to inherit the land, it was given to the city as a public park.

Therefore, Red Rover hid 8 “toxic rocks” along the creek, which would dry up all the water if the boys couldn’t find them all within the following hour.

Here’s a video of that event:

As I expected, all 8 toxic rocks were found within the hour. Therefore, Red Rover returned from the bushes, in an attempt to take them back from me.

This led to a low-budget Marvel style fist fight between Red Rover and me.

Here’s the video for that part:

The boys (and their sisters) enjoyed playing on the park afterwards, as my wife had brought some snacks for the kids to enjoy as well.

And some might call this a major coincidence, but my friend Ben showed up after the scavenger hunt hike rough-house with the boys.

It was a plan that came together!

Now that the launch went well, I am excited to plan the next event…

Advertisements

Dear Jack: Teaching Your Sister to Sword Fight, Who is Half Your Size and a Third of Your Age

8 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

A few weeks ago, you spent your allowance money on some swords and shields at the Dollar Store.

Well, this past weekend, your 3 year-old sister was as eager as you were to practice sword fighting with you.

So the living room become the arena, where a brave little girl who is half your size and a third of your age showed no fear as she begin sword fighting her brother.

You were wearing a dragon mask; meaning that your sister was fighting the dragon!

To her, this is simply normal. So I guess your allowance money is well spend that week!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Found a Way Around My Rules About Coming Downstairs Too Early in the Morning

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Our system has been working pretty well since I initiated it earlier in the summer:

You can’t come downstairs in the mornings when you wake up, until the old cell phone alarm goes off first.

This structure has successfully got you out of the habit of waking up at 5:08 AM; before anyone else.

But I do think it’s funny what you did one day this past week…

I had just gotten out of the shower, about to make my breakfast smoothie, when I heard your brother shout, “Holly! Quit being a creepy doll!”

Apparently, you woke up earlier than you knew you were supposed to that morning, and decided to camp out on the very bottom stair- so that you technically were not downstairs.

That is quite clever. As your brother, you accidentally scared him, as he was not expecting to see a little girl facing up at him as he made his way downstairs as it was still dark outside.

I like that is hilarious!

Love,

Daddy

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!

Dear Holly: You are Cindy Brady from The Brady Bunch?

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

After your brother made his decision to spend his allowance money on a Funko Pop vinyl figure at Books-A-Million last Saturday, I wanted for you to be able to buy one as well.

You still had $4 remaining from your great-uncle Al giving you some money recently. Near the cash register, I noticed a clearance table. I scanned the dozens of characters to find one that was perfect for you…

I lucked out.

For just $3, there was Cindy Brady from The Brady Bunch.

I immediately showed it to you, and asked, “Holly, look… here’s Holly! Do you want to buy it and take it home?”

The next day as I was taking you into your preschool class, you proudly presented it to your teacher, proclaiming, “Look! I got a Holly!”

Needless to say, you’ve been sleeping with it every night as well.

Love,

Daddy

The Benefits of Dress Up Play For Kids 

Do you remember when you were a kid how much you wished that you were someone else for a while? When your kids play, they dress up on so many occasions and attempts to be someone else that he really admires from the mighty king of a castle to a famous superhero. However, when you little kids dress up, you should ensure that they build both their vocabulary and their confidence. And this can easily be done, so read on as we dive further into it.

Why Dress-Up Play Is Smart

If you didn’t already know, you’re literally going to find a dedicated box of supplies for playing dress-up within any preschool classroom. And this is simply due to the fact that teachers know just how much imagination kids put into play. However, they are also facilitating a series of various emotional and academic muscles that aid with fundamental development.

If you’ve ever seen your daughter in her idea of scrubs examining her dolls and stuffed animals with a stethoscope, you can be sure that her mind is going a mile a minute as she performs the activities that were done on her at some point more than a dozen times. And it’s the same when his mind races as he imagines himself driving down a speedway, because just like her, he is also learning how to sit in a car, buckle up his seat belt and to also put the key into the ignition. We can even guarantee that your kid isn’t doing all of this in a silent manner when he’s playing dress-up.

Even when they pretend to be in fancy restaurants, they’re engaging in conversations about food, drinks and even cooking for those who are pretending to be the chef. And they even go on to order at their favourite table three. Even if she’s walking on the moon exploring and hunting for her favourite Martians, you can be she has a colander or rather her own space helmet on her little head; she’s even going to be searching for the perfect spot to land her rocket ship as well as the colours of the aliens and the desired rock that it hides behind. You’ll be happy to know that even when playtime is a lot quieter, their imagination is at work.

Role-playing with other kids go a long way since it encourages them to cooperate, socialize and even take turns. And when they get the chance to let their imaginations run free, they go on to become some of the best problem solvers at adulthood. And if you’ve asked why, well the simple answer is, their creative thinking grows with practice as they rescue dolls from bad guys and let themselves be the ultimate superhero.

How to Encourage Dress-Up Play

If you’re seeking to encourage more dress-up play, be sure to gather much more supplies and keep them all in a location that is easy to access check out these LED toys perfect for dressing up. And then you’re going to need to talk and enquire about what he or she would like to become when they are older. You can even ask about what they’d do if they were Dora the Explorer and ensure that you facilitate the environment for this fantasy to be acted upon. You can even dress up and play; however, preschool-age children wouldn’t ever need too much encouragement since that’s the perfect age at which creativeness kicks in.

Gather Your Garb

If you’re looking for the perfect costume, a store-bought is actually just perfect. And they’ll come in a series of their favorite characters such as Yo Gabba Gabba’s Plex along with the entire line of Disney Princess outfits. In no time your children will be acting, singing and even reading their favorite books.

However, your initial home is actually filled with so many items that do just the same. And they can easily be an old dress or pair of shoes. So, be sure to check your closet or even the thrift shop for the following items:

*Hats 

*Belts 

*Towels for making capes 

*Glasses with the lenses removed 

*Pocketbooks 

*Costume jewellry 

*Gloves 

*Shawls 

*Perfume bottles that are empty 

*Plastic colanders 

*Old bags or even small luggage’s 

*Scrubs 

*Aprons  

*Dance costumes 

In essence, the list is really never ending and it changes according to what you or your child prefers. So, go out and gather supplies and don’t forget to stash them together in an old trunk. And you can even keep it in their play room!

Kindness Matters: How to Talk to Your Kids About Being a Good Friend 

It’s important to remember that your children learn their most valuable skills from you. Here’s how to teach your child about being a good friend.

Friends are the family we choose. They help enrich our lives and support us through the trials and tribulations of daily life. However, being a good friend is something we need to learn.

So, how do you teach your kids about how to be a great friend? Here are some hints and activities to help you teach this valuable lesson.

Lead By Example

Kids are natural-born mimickers. Think about how many times you have heard them copy something you have said or done. So, why not use this to help you teach valuable lessons on friendships to your toddler.

Let them play nearby when you are having a friend over for a cup of coffee. Praise your friends in front of your children. Make sure they see you doing kind things for your friends.

This will set the stage for any little ones in your life to see the positive ways friends interact.

Read Books About Friendship

Not only is reading a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your child, but it can also help you teach them about being a good friend. Plus, there’s an almost never-ending supply of children’s books on friendship.

Here are some great choices:

1: Frog and Toad
These books show how friends who have very different personalities can work together and build each up other in positive ways. It also demonstrates the importance of sharing, listening, and being supportive.

2: George and Martha
A favorite of parents and youngsters alike, this book teaches kids about the importance of boundaries, why practical jokes aren’t always funny, and how sometimes the best times you can have with a friend is simply sitting around doing nothing.

3: Sparky
This charming story is about accepting friends for who they are and not trying to change them. It is about celebrating differences and loving your friends for who they are and not what you want them to be.

Talk To Them About What Makes A Good Friend

Having frank conversations with your preschooler about what makes a great friend is one way to make sure they really understand what that means. By highlighting that good friends share, listen to each other, use kind language, and remember important details about each other, you are explaining the traits your child can strive to develop.

Having clear examples like “doesn’t it feel nice when someone tells you ‘good job’?” or “thank you for sharing your toy with me. It makes me happy when you do that” can help children grasp these concepts.

You can also use holidays like the international day of friendship and even Valentine’s Day to teach them about celebrating friendship. This is a great chance to show them how days like this can remind us to let the people in our lives know how much they mean to us.

How To Make Friends

Making friends when you’re young can be easy for some children. They simply approach a peer and ask to be their friend. Other children may find it a bit more difficult.

One way to help timid kids is to role play meeting new people. By having it be part of make-believe time and turning it into a game, you are taking the pressure off your child and turning the idea of making friends into a fun activity.

Or get them to practice saying “hello” to other children. Then move on to asking them if they want to play. Once children start talking and play with each other, friendship grows quickly.

Demonstrate Kindness

We all know it is easier to be friends with someone who is kind. So, by teaching your children how to be kind and compassionate people you will help them to create lasting bonds with friends.

Get in the habit of saying please and thank you when you ask your child to do something for you. This will give them positive behaviors to model and help reinforce how to talk to people in a kind way.

Also, be sure to praise them when they remember their good manners. It is amazing how a simple “I really like it when you say (insert kind word here)” or “Thank you for remembering to (a kind word here)”. It makes me happy when you do that” can help to solidify how important kindness is to young children.

Talk About Emotions, Even the Negative Ones

Talking about different emotions, especially negative ones, can actually help kids create meaningful relationships. By acknowledging that everyone feels sad, angry, hurt, or frustrated helps to ensure your child understands this is a normal part of life.

Plus, when they are able to discuss these feelings in a positive and productive way, instead of acting out, they are learning how to be more empathetic and loving toward others. It turns out having emotional self-control helps us to identify emotions in others and put ourselves in their shoes, an important skill when it comes to forming friendships.

It also helps with problem-solving skills. When children are able to identify negative emotions, they are able to narrow down why they are feeling that way and figure out how to overcome it.

This is useful when it comes to conflict resolution in relationships. They are able to speak up for themselves when something goes wrong or they are hurt instead of lashing out and making the situation worse.

Being A Good Friend

These are just a few tips on how to teach your child about being a good friend. There are plenty of other great resources from books to websites to television shows available to help you.

For more great parenting guides, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.