Learning Fun for Kids Online

Home school and after school, kids online can access some great sites and games that are both educational and fun. This site reviews and links to the best, and also discusses some parenting articles and homework sites of interest to parents.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kids Love the Shakespearean Insulter

Instead of retorting to schoolyard taunts with hurt silence or an ineffective "Oh, yeah?!", I (grown-up that I am) instructed my kids to find their favorite come-back at the Shakespearean Insulter:

For example, hissing something along the lines of
Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?
sounds so much better than "I'm TELLING!".

And a little more seriously, it's actually a novel way of introducing the Bard to youngsters, putting him (and the intricacies of language) in their corner.

Let's say some kid, who is know to lie, falsely accuses your child of lying. A withering look, and a line from Hamlet:
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
and it's all she wrote.


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posted by Stephanie @ Monday, June 22, 2009   0 comments

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Father's Day Games for Kids

Get the little ones into Father's Day mode with some online fun.

At AKidsHeart.com, the Tie Memory Game is a simple matching game, with a nice message when you're done. I like the mini-golf as well (although I didn't see which way the arrow was pointing at first, and was 13 over par on the first hole. . .) If jig-saw puzzles are a favorite, there's a Victorian one that's very sweet.

Something sure to be treasured is a recording of your child explaining why his or her daddy is so special. Encourage lots of chatter by asking questions (phrased for age-appropriateness, of course:
  • What does daddy look like?
  • What is his name?
  • What is your grandfather's name?
  • What is daddy's job?
  • What do you like to do most with your father?
  • What is your dad's favorite activity?
  • What is your father's favorite meal?
  • Tell me about a fond memory you have about you and your dad.
  • What does your father do in his free time? Does he have a special hobby?
  • Does your dad play sports?
  • Which games does your father play with you?
  • Does your dad have tools?
  • Tell me about your father's car.
  • Which chores does your father do around the house? Groceries? Dishes? Take out the trash? Cooking? Mow the lawn?
(source of daddy-interview: Educatall.com)


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posted by Stephanie @ Sunday, June 14, 2009   0 comments

Friday, June 12, 2009

Singing Lessons for Kids

In answer to the question How Young is Too Young to Study Singing?, professional singer and voice teacher Elizabeth Prescott says that the "generally held view is that the optimal age to begin to develop the voice is in the mid to late teens because the vocal chords have reached relative maturity".

She knows the downfalls that can occur in choirs (like building or shaping voices) and remembers her own elementary school choir director encouraging the children to sing louder (which usually means shouting).

Elizabeth also talks about what to do with your hands while singing (usually relaxed at your side is best: "A good nothing is better than a bad something").

Bottom line:

If your child isn't more relaxed after their voice lesson than before it, then it's probably not the right time and place for them to study. Some of my favorite students state that they only come to voice lessons for a weekly break from the pressures of their academic life. Their parents know their kids don't practice. Many parents of my high-school students have told me the lessons are a kind of therapy. These kids don't want to be pushed. They get pushed enough. They just want to come in, work on technique a bit, sing through a few songs, and leave happy. Their skills improve over time even if they don't really care. Other students have serious goals and serious work habits. I keep their lessons very structured, and that's a joy for me as well.
I concur. Singing is and should always be a joy.

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posted by Stephanie @ Friday, June 12, 2009   1 comments

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kids Can Clean Their Own Rooms - No, Really!

Sometimes we forget how literal kids are. The sweeping parental order from on high CLEAN YOUR ROOM needs to be broken down into steps in order to make sense to them, and if your tween or teen is anything like mine, a printed list might help. (A lot.)

Try printing out How To Clean a Kid's Room in 15 Minutes from About.com.

In this short, numbered article, author Sarah Aguirre starts with Step One: Grab Your Supplies. She then links to a list of cleaning supplies; however, I'd just skip this step and provide your child with some heavy-duty wipes or paper towels and a bottle of vinegar.

  • Step Two: Put all dirty clothing in a hamper.
  • Three: Put all trash in trash can.
  • Four: Make the bed. (smoothing is acceptable)
  • Five: Pick up and fold or hang clean clothes.
  • Six: put all toys in appropriate container or closet.
  • Seven: put all items that don't belong in the room in a container or basket.
  • Eight: Vacuum.

When a To Do list is easy to follow and very specific, there's a better chance of it being followed.

Of course, I'd like to add a step: shovel out everything from under your bed. . .


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posted by Stephanie @ Wednesday, June 10, 2009   2 comments

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Kids Gardens In Boots and Other Unusual Places

At Planning My Garden, there are great ideas for WHAT kids can grow their gardens IN -- and they've come up with some unusual plant containers that are environmentally friendly (because they're big on recycling) and are sure to spark more ideas for creative flower pots. Some of the suggestions on the site are:
  • Old boots and shoes
  • Cinderblocks
  • Pipes (they call them sewer tiles)
  • Plastic bag (that holds the potting soil)
  • Old tires or pots
  • Wooden barrels
  • Piece of rain gutter or eavestroughing (which can be affixed to a fence or wall)
Another idea I thought was great was to have a mini-veggie garden by way of hanging baskets! We all admire the flowers that decorate our porches, but wouldn't it be kind of fun to plant mini-tomatoes in a hanging basket? This time it isn't the container that is unusual--it's the idea of planting something other than decorative flowers in a hanging basket.

Do you have any unusual ideas that make gardening with the kids even more fun?



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posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, June 06, 2009   0 comments

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Unique and Easy Homemade Gifts for Father's Day

A personalized pillow case, designed and painted by your child, is a useful and very unique Father's Day gift. It's fairly inexpensive and can be extremely easy to make: purchase a linen pillow case in any solid color, and some fabric paint and markers.

Depending on the age of your child, the designs can be intricate or simple -- from baby footprints and handprints to meaningful messages.

The best method of controlling a movable surface like a pillowcase (or t-shirt for that matter) is to insert a piece of cardboard inside it -- the snugger the fit, the better the hold. No large pieces of cardboard lying around? Get a poster board and fold it up, or use a telephone book.

It's nice to have a matching set, of course . . .


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posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, June 04, 2009   3 comments