Seeds of Potential: Exploring Similarities and Differences with Children

The following post is a “best of” from the archives and was written by in 2011. Enjoy!

As children grow older their social world begins to expand and to take an ever-increasing role in their life and minds. As a classroom teacher and a parent I have witnessed first hand the enormous benefits that come from the explicit introduction of social and emotional skills to children. When children have the language and skills that are necessary to effectively express themselves and to navigate through a variety of circumstances, they have more energy and time to dedicate to playing, learning and growing.

Families that explore these concepts together develop a shared language and lines of communication that will become ever so important as children become exposed to more complex social dynamics.

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Storybook Bingo + more activities for early readers

The following post is by contributor Mariah Bruehl of.

For those of us who have young, emerging readers in our lives, we know that it is a fine line between the euphoria of sweet success and the frustration that can easily come and overtake them. It is these ups and downs that are the reason why the reading process should stay light and fun. There is no better way to make learning to read fun and playful, than by engaging in simple games with your child.

Storybook bingo

Storybook bingo is a great way to encourage word recognition. It is the perfect activity for children who are beginning to recognize  simple words and who have strong letter-to-sound recognition. The inspiration for this game came from No Time for Flashcards, which is my go-to resource for .

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Young writer's card making caddy

The following post is by contributor Mariah Bruehl of .

I am a huge fan of making for . Yet, I often find that when it is time to get busy, getting creative, I have to search in ten different spots to find inspirational materials.

So this year, before the Mother”s Day, Father”s Day, end of the school year, family birthday card making frenzy started, I decided to put together a card caddy that would have everything the girls needed to make lovely and unique cards.

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Spin the Bottle: A Fun Family Conversation Starter

The following is by contributor Mariah Bruehl of .

How was your day at school? How many of us have asked this question to our children and received an ambiguous and uninformative response?

As parents we have an innate desire to connect with and understand our children, yet it can often seem difficult to come up with the right question at the right time.

The bottom line is sometimes we need a little help.

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Habits of Heart and Mind (and a Playful Learning Giveaway, too!)

Hello readers!  I”m so excited about today”s post! Simple Kids contributor Mariah Bruehl has written an amazing book called .  I have been reading my copy and making notes likes crazy, getting so many new ideas and inspiration from her. I”ll admit that I”m a little biased because I think quite highly of Mariah, but I truly think this is one of those books that belongs on every parent”s bookshelf.

Mariah is also the genius behind the website and and the e-course . She”s got a fun post and a terrific giveaway for you today. Thanks Mariah! – Kara

This giveaway is now closed.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday, August 30th.  Thanks!

Now that the book has made its way out into the world, many people have asked me what my goal was in writing the book. I must say, that is a hard question to answer, but if I had to choose one thing that I hope to accomplish, it is that children and families co-create habits of heart and mind.

Yes, it is important that children memorize their addition and multiplication facts and become proficient in important skills and drills. Yet, if they are not developed within a larger context of intellectual character then we are missing the mark.

Having written the book roughly two years ago, I have had the benefit of seeing how many of the learning experiences have had an impact on my daughters over time. Not only in the development of their skills, but also in their disposition towards fully utilizing and expressing their new-found abilities.

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