Monthly Archives

August 2020

  • Simple Methods for Teaching Kids Kindness and Empathy

    As a child, my parents recited the old adage “treat others the way they want to be treated” often. This message has resonated throughout my life in situations where I feel triggered or compelled to jump to conclusions. It’s important that my children understand the values of empathy and why it should be employed in our social interactions and relationships.

    In fact, years from now when I look back on the job I’ve done as a parent, I will measure my success in the amount of kindness radiating from my kids.

    FREE PRINTABLES BELOW!

    Let’s define empathy as the attempt to understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one’s own.

    Empathy allows children to assess how others are feeling and respond appropriately. In the age of bullying, it’s vital to the health of our youngest generation to understand and practice empathy and tactful sensitivity. By teaching children to look outward and identify with the experience of others, we can cultivate kindness and foster compassion.

    Below is a printable learning activity, a printable call to action and a list of picture books to help children explore the value of empathy and grow kindness. We hope you make full use of our simple methods for teaching kids kindness and empathy, and in doing so, make the world a better place.

    Wrinkled Heart Learning Activity

    Start with an unwrinkled heart. Have your child cut it out. Explain negative speak and give examples. With each negative phrase, fold the heart until it is completely wrinkled. Discuss how hurtful words can cause another person harm and are not easily forgotten.

    Lastly, explain that once something is communicated, it can not be retracted, in the same way the heart cannot be unwrinkled.

    A few more talking points:

      • Explain why it is important to think before you speak
      • Talk to your children about the struggles that others go through
      • Have a conversation about how the different life experiences of others can explain their actions
      • Teach them that words can hurt and have consequences
      • Discuss how speaking with care and sensitivity could save someone pain and suffering

    Random Acts of Kindness Jar

    Help children learn to derive pleasure from the happiness of others with this simple and impactful activity. Use the label to create a random acts of kindness jar.

    Cut the acts of kindness into small strips and fold them up. Then place them in the jar.

    Every morning (or week, month, whatever works for your family) have your child pull one of the strips from the jar and complete the act of kindness. Watch as they grow in their desire to give and pay it forward.

    Books that Teach & Inspire Empathy

    There is no better method for delivering a message to a child than via picture book. Research indicates that reading improves a child’s emotional intelligence and increases empathy. Be sure to check out the following reads:

    How Full is Your Bucket?

    Each of us has an invisible bucket. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful. Yet most children (and many adults) don’t realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day. Felix learns how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket. He then realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well. Follow along with Felix as he learns how easy it can be to fill the buckets of his classmates, teachers and family members. Before the day is over, you’ll see how Felix discovers that filling someone else’s bucket also fills his own.

    The Last Stop on Market Street

    Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. Help children walk a mile in another’s shoes and gain a different perspective with this award winning read.

    The Invisible Boy

    Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party until a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our Simple Methods for Teaching Kids Kindness and Empathy. Looking for more on early childhood development? Be sure to read our small steps for Raising Confident Kids.



    teaching kids empathy

    0
  • The Colors of Nutrition

     

    Lately I’ve been catching myself using the “You need to eat healthy foods first,” phrase often. My son has a fervent sweet tooth, and like most kids, prefers sugary snacks to the vitamin rich foods he needs for solid growth and development.

    But to a child, what is this “healthy” term, and why must it be the barrier to the tastier things in life? After asking myself this question, I decided it was important that I break it down for him.

    A colorful diet is a healthy diet, and fruits and vegetables are the gateway. In this Colors of Nutrition printable learning activity, kids will first color the produce page. Next, they will cut and glue each fruit or veggie on the corresponding “color” page.

    For every color page there is a quick passage about nutrition. It’s important for kids to grasp what healthy means, and understand how colorful foods impact the body in different ways.

    Get started with our Colors of Nutrition printable download below!

    Directions

    Have your child or student fill in the fruits and vegetables on the produce page. This can be done simply with crayons, pencils or markers. Another option is to use construction or tissue paper for more color and scissor practice.

    Then, have them cut the pictures out and glue them to the corresponding color page. While gluing each fruit and vegetable, read the nutrition excerpt on the page. Be sure to emphasize the importance of a colorful diet!

    Excerpts:

    • Red colored fruits and vegetables keep our hearts strong and healthy. They also contain antioxidants, which lower the risk of diseases such as cancer.
    • Orange colored fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin A, which keeps our eyes healthy and Vitamin C, which strengthens our immune system and keeps us from getting sick.

    • Green colored fruits and vegetables support our liver and contain disease fighting antioxidants. Cruciferous green colored foods such as broccoli or brussels sprouts are a good source of Vitamins C, K, E and fiber.
    • Purple and blue colored fruits and vegetables keep our brains healthy and support memory function so we can remember things. They also contain those disease fighting antioxidants.

    • Yellow: Much like orange, yellow colored fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin A, which keeps our eyes healthy and Vitamin C, which supports our immune system. Yellow foods also help our bodies heal cuts and scrapes.

    • White colored fruits and vegetables protect us from certain diseases and contain nutrients that help us digest food. Cruciferous white colored foods such as cauliflower are a good source of Vitamins C, K, E and fiber.

    nutrition printable

    In addition to this learning activity, have your child assist in shopping for produce and meal prep. This way it’s possible to have organic conversations about nutrition and the value of a healthy diet. Feel free to supplement this activity with more on the affects of colorful foods on the body here.

    The finished product! 

    We hope this introduction to the colors of nutrition will inspire your child or student to consume more fruits and veggies! For more excellent learning activities, check out more printable content HERE!

     


    .

    0
  • First Day of School Book Favorites (+ activities too)

    We all know that the first day of school can be an emotional time for parents and kids alike. This year brings its own challenges, with virtual learning, social distancing requirements, and block scheduling planned for students across the country.

    This is new territory for everyone, and children are not immune to the uneasiness surrounding reopening schools. However, by staying positive and proactive, it’s possible to carve out an optimistic outlook for the upcoming school year.

    One of the best ways to ease a child’s anxiety is through literature. By introducing characters with feelings and situations resembling their own, they are able to ascertain insight and expand their perspective.

    And by forming character connections through literature with your child, you will be able to affirm their feelings and create open dialogue on topics of concern or excitement.

    Below we have listed some of our favorite first day of school books you can read to prepare your child for the new year. With comprehensive subjects such as first-day jitters, meeting new friends, learning the new school rules; we’ve listed a book for it all.

    You will also find some post-reading activities to stimulate follow-up conversations and engage your child even more with some of the characters and topics.

    See Our List of Favorite First Day of School Books and Activities Below!

    1. Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? 

    Through sweet, simple prose and vivid illustrations, this book encourages positive behavior as children see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love on a daily basis.

    Activity:

    How Full Is Your Bucket childrens activity picture Have you child create a bucket of their own by thinking and writing down the things that make them happy and placing them in their bucket.

    Clickable link to download How Full is Your Bucket book activity

    2. First Day Jitters

    Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. First Day Jitters is sure to be treasured by anyone who has ever anticipated a first day of school.

    Activity: 

    Picture of boy holding First Day Jitters book activityHave your child make a “Jitter Juice”. Cut out all the emojis that your child feels about starting school and put them in the jitter juice. You can also make a “Jitter Juice” of your own with Hawaiian Punch and Sprite!

    Clickable image to First Day Jitters book activity

    3. Llama Llama Misses Mama

    It’s Llama Llama’s first day of school, and he’s not too happy about it. Still, he trudges along and makes his bed, brushes his teeth, and eats his breakfast.

    But once he arrives at his classroom — with so many new faces, new names, and new games — little Llama doesn’t know what to do. And when Mama Llama leaves, the little guy feels even more shy and alone. What will this lonely llama do? Will Mama ever return?

    Activity:

    Boy holding up Llama Llama paper plate craft

    With two paper plates, make an outline of Llama Llama’s head, ears and scruffy hair. Cut out the eyes, color and glue together to create a Llama Llama mask!

    4. Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books

    It’s the first day of first grade! Gilbert is looking forward to learning how to read and making new friends, but . . .

    Will the teacher be nice? Will first grade be too hard? Will he like his classmates? Will they like him? Gilbert is excited and nervous at the same time and maybe your littles will relate.

    Activity:

    What's in My Backpack book activity exampleDownload the below activity to help your little one prepare their backpack. They’ll need more than just books and pencils!

    Clickable image to Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books book activity

    5. David Goes to School

    In this sequel, young David heads off to school for the first time and David’s teacher certainly has her hands full! From running, yelling, and pushing with abandon to chewing gum in class, David’s high-energy antics fill each day with trouble. David’s unruly romp through school is sure to bring a smile to the face of even the best-behaved reader. Read along as David learns the school rules.

    Activity:

    Picture of David Goes to School book activitySchool rules are very important. See if your child knows the difference between good school behavior and what is not allowed with this “Yes, David – No, David” activity.

    Clickable link to David Goes to School book activity download

    Our List of Back to School book FAVORITES!

    Interested in more back-to-school posts? Check out this post to download a free first day of school printable!

    6