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Hello October, It’s Wonderful To See You!

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Can you believe it’s October already!? I know it’s a cliché, but time has absolutely flown by these past few months. While we love summer’s warm sun, and relaxed schedule, there is nothing better than sipping coffee while enjoying the crisp fall air. We love nature walks, scavenger hunts, campfire nights, and jumping in leaves! All are wonderfully beautiful, and so quick to leave. Enjoy the moment. 🙂

 

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How Fiction Helps Children Grow!

My youngest has been traveling to conventions with us over the past few months. Amid the different locations and changing venues, she has held tightly to one constant: on every trip she brings a classic children’s literature book. These books are her old friends: Little House in the Big Woods; Charlotte’s Web; Winnie-the-Pooh; Farmer Boy;…

via How Fiction Helps Children Grow — Simply Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason Math (aka Board Game Math) — Homeschool Unleashed!

One of my favorite parts of homeschooling has been using the Sonlight book lists for English and Social Studies. Snuggled together on the couch, or lying on a picnic blanket, my kids and I have traveled to distant lands and learned about foreign cultures, traveled back in time and been immersed in history, and heard […]

via Charlotte Mason Math (aka Board Game Math) — Homeschool Unleashed

Favorite Activities to Inspire Imaginations in Children

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.”

Being a creative adult doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a painter or sculptor. CEO’s and political leaders, too, benefit from being creative, which lets them see things in new ways and find solutions to problems others might miss. That kind of problem-solving and innovative thinking begins with the power of imagination.
So how do we inspire this power in our children? These fun activities are a good place to start!

 

#1. Tell Stories

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Reading to your kids isn’t about having a perfectly illustrated book, and the serene setting. It’s about the one-on-one connection, the parent and the child, with the story mediating. Storytelling may well be the cornerstone of imagination development, and doing it well, and in a variety of ways is something you can do almost every day-even if it’s only in brief moments.

 

#2. Make Art

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Paint, draw, mold, build, sculpt. Tactile experiences are important, and giving young children free rein over their work is crucial–let them create freely!

 

#3. Use Natural Materials

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Keeping kids in touch with objects from nature inherently inspires their imagination. So does play with open-ended toys  — such as blocks or sand  — that have endless possibilities!

 

#4. Puppets

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Gather a box of assorted household items  — a strainer, a shoe box, paper cups, a flashlight, whatever you can think of that’s not sharp or fragile  — and have your child create a puppet show using these objects as the “puppets.” You’ll be amazed at the creatures and characters your child creates.

 

#5. Wacky Photos

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Gather some old photographs that no one will miss (or cut out some pictures from old books)  –and let your child cut them into various bits and pieces. Then get out some glue, construction paper, and markers and have them create new scenes. You might suggest a general setting such as outer space or a medieval castle, then let your child create the image.

 

#6. Nature Story

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Take a paper bag and go on a walk with your child. Try to collect at least 10 nature objects, no more than one of each thing (only one leaf, and so forth). When you get home, have your child make a story from the objects by reaching in the bag and pulling out items one by one for inspiration.  We love seeing our children come up with some incredible stories by using just a few simple items! 🙂

 

#7. Playing With Boxes And Cartons

 

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Whether it be a huge cardboard box or a simple egg carton, the creative possibilities are endless! Here is a tip if you don’t know where to get those huge boxes: find a local appliance store, or buy a large, wardrobe-sized box from a moving-supply store! Set the box up in an open area in your house and let your child decide what he wants it to be  — a house, a cave, a time capsule. Provide heavy-duty markers for decoration and let your child’s imagination go to work!

 

 

#8. Make Some Paper Creatures

 

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Start by folding a piece of paper, and then pass it along to the next person. It can be quite entertaining to see what kind of  creature or object a child can create!

 

 

#9. Art Tales

 

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Go to an art museum  — a small, local one is fine  — and slow down for a change. Stand in the middle of an exhibit room and have your child decide from a distance which picture he likes best. Then walk up to it and look at it closely. Ask your child to tell a story about what he sees. Encourage him with open-ended questions. Find another painting and have your child create a story that connects it with the last one!

 

 

#10.Junk Drawer Game

 

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Okay, everyone has a junk drawer (or two or three in our case). It could be one of those spare drawers in the kitchen or the top desk drawer in your child’s room. Have your child go through one drawer and pick out a dozen of the oddest, most lost-looking small objects he can find  — the less anyone knows what the things originally came from and what they were for, the better. Get a big sheet of cardboard or poster board, some markers, and some dice, and have your child invent a game using all the found pieces. Then sit down and play together. Who knows? You may invent an award winning game while you’re at it! 😉

 

 

Extra idea: Brush-less Painting

 

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Anyone can paint with a brush. For this activity, find things around the house that your child can paint with that aren’t brushes. String will work, or odd bits of sponge, broken pencils, rubber bands, strips of yarn or fabric, apples cut in half, or even a discarded action figure or doll. Spread some newspaper on a table or the floor, lay some washable paint out in small bowls or plates, give your child a large sheet of paper (at least 18 by 24 inches), and see what develops. Our littles loves going outside to gather twigs and pine needles to make nature prints. They turned out beautifully!

 

 

Do you have an idea that inspires imagination?! Share below! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power Of Outdoor Free Play

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Unfortunately, the amount of time that children spend engaged in unstructured, child-directed outdoor play has diminished significantly in the past generation. Schools have opted out of recess and play time in favor of a more structured academic period. As many years of research has shown, that it causing more harm than good. Here are some of the amazing benefits that come with outdoor free play!

 

Cognitive Health

 

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Playing outdoors gives children the opportunity to make decisions and problem solve, it provides an environment for creative thinking, and makes children use a higher level of sequence, planning, and organizing.

 

Physical Health

 

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Outdoor play provides more opportunity for movement which in turn greatly decreases the likelihood of developing of developing obesity and disease. It also magnifies the use of fine and gross motor skills!

Mental health

 

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Overall, children who are active outdoors have much better moods, have a decrease in hyperactivity, and are less likely to have symptoms related to anxiety and depression.

Emotional Health

 

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The development in empathy, an increase in self-esteem, and the development of emotional intelligence is all part of getting outdoors to play! 🙂

Social Skills

 

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Research has also shown that playing outdoors provides increased social interactions, higher levels of sharing, cooperating, and helping!

Play Skills

 

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Play skills help develop creativity, and provide endless opportunities for imagination and engagement! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Indiana Summer’s End

In Indiana, there’s always a reason to celebrate. 
Car shows, historic reenactments, carnivals, art fairs, music festivals, county fairs – Sky’s the limit! Each year, over 640 festivals and events are held in all 92 counties from January to December. Here are our favorite Fall events! 🙂

 

#1. Summer’s End Market

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Summer’s End Market
August 26th- 9am-2pm | Parke County Fairgrounds
As the summer is coming to an end, this market will provide for you a great opportunity to shop those unique vendors, yet again. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through an inside building and plenty of parking.

 

#2. Bridgeton Milling & Craft Demo Days

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Bridgeton Grist Mill 1878 Grounds Live demonstrations at the mill. Grinding flour and cornmeal on 200 year old French buhr stones.
Pioneer craft demonstrations, fiber arts.
No admission. For more information call 765-548-2136 or visit www.bridgetonindiana.com

 

#3. Covered Bridge Festival

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This countywide festival, Indiana’s largest festival, always starts on the 2nd Friday in October is nationally known as one of the largest. Enjoy visiting communities throughout the county with a wide array of shopping and a variety of food that is sure to please everyone.

 

#4. Elephant Retreat

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Circus History is deep rooted in French Lick with the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus once owned by Ed Ballard. An African elephant herd of three girls will be retreating at Wilstem Ranch, only 7 miles from French Lick. The three elephants that retreat at Wilstem Ranch each year are retired from making appearances in parades, circus acts and more. But as they age, even elephants need retreats, and they’re coming to town for a vacation! This one of a kind up-close encounter is a rare and wonderful opportunity to learn more about these amazing creatures and connect with them in a tranquil environment. Various levels of engagement are available.

 

#5. 50th Annual Orange County Pumpkin Festival

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Carnival, food booths, vendor booths, flea market, games, entertainment and more.  Parade will be held on Sunday.

 

#6. Outdoor Movie Night!

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Family Movie Night
August 18, 2017
 Location: Hendricks Regional Health YMCA
Address: 301 Satori Parkway, Avon, IN 46123
Time: 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Price: Free

 

#7.  McCloud Prairie Maze

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September 1, 2017 – October 31, 2017 Recurring daily
Bring the whole family out to test your navigational skills from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 in our huge maze that is cut into the McCloud Prairie. The maze is open from dawn to dusk daily. Be sure to wear comfortable closed-toe shoes, dress for the weather, and pack some water.  Venue: McCloud Nature Park
Host: McCloud Nature Park
Address: 8518 Hughes Rd., North Salem, IN 46165
Price: Free

 

#8. North Salem Old Fashioned Days

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September 2, 2017 – September 4, 2017 Recurring daily
Three days of family fun!  Live music, vendors, food, tractor pulls and horse pulls!  A smorgasboard breakfast kicks off the festival at 7 a.m. on Saturday at the United Methodist Church on Main Street. At 11 a.m., you can’t miss the Old Fashion Days Parade, the largest parade in Hendricks County. Be sure to bring a sack for the kiddos as candy will be aplenty and plan to come early as parking will fill up fast.

 

#9. Natural Valley Ranch

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This family-owned ranch set in a scenic wooded area allows visitors to experience 30-, 60- and 90-minute horseback rides through their sprawling 75-acre property nestled alongside White Lick Creek near Brownsburg. In addition to horseback rides, visitors can see and interact with farm animals, go hiking, fishing or even stay in a 3,100-square-foot country cottage with a wrap-around porch that can sleep 12-16 people.

 

#10. Beasley’s Orchard

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Voted a top Indiana destination, this family-owned business boasts a Civil War-era barn featuring a local market with both homemade and home-grown produce and products including apples, fresh vegetables, jellies and more. Other features include a pumpkin patch, corn maze and annual Heartland Apple Festival in the fall. Visitors can even enjoy a cup of Beasley’s apple cider, voted by the Indiana Horticultural Society ‘The Best Apple Cider in Indiana’ .

 

Do you have a favorite festival? If so, share it below! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, Math Can Be Fun!

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Math. It’s  one of those subjects that can be just as challenging to teach as it is to comprehend. Which is why we love using math manipulatives! Students learn better when they’re actively engaged, and manipulatives in your home or classroom make it easy for kids to get excited. Below are our favorite ways to use math manipulatives in our home, and they are all kid approved! 🙂

 

#1. Fraction Bars

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Use these pieces to reinforce understanding of equivalent fractions. It’s great to have an item that kids can use to visually help them learn fractions!

 

#2. Fraction Circles

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The common “pie” fraction circles have always been a hit in our house!

 

#3. Linking Cubes

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The creative possibilities are endless with these cubes. Designed to be virtually unbreakable, these blocks will easily meet the rigors of the classroom.

 

#4. Albert’s Insomnia  

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The more you play the more like Albert you will become! WARNING: DON’T GET ADDICTED OR YOU WILL LOSE SLEEP! This easy to learn math card game is fun and challenging. Beginning with the number ‘1’ as the first answer, you’ll be using addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division to combine the randomly displayed four cards into the next number in the sequence, so using the operations, the only answer for the next player is “2”. Sometimes you’ll fl y through the sequence with ease. Other times you’ll literally sit and stew over the cards hoping to expose a combination that produces the needed number. We love this game! It encourages creative and critical thinking. It’s an absolute favorite around here!! 🙂

 

#5. Bear Counters 

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Our kids love these! Perfect for beginning math.

 

#6. Wiz Dice

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Teach place value. “Give each student a handful of dice and have them roll. Then have them randomly arrange the numbers they rolled on their desk. Have them write down which number is in the hundreds place, tens place, ones place and so on. It’s a simple activity, but it’s lots of fun.” —Karen Crawford, second grade, Houston, Texas

 

#7. Learning Placemats 

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Whether you’re at the dinner table, or on the go, these dry erase charts are a must! The backs of them are blank, so you can fill in the answers for plenty of multiplication practice!

 

#8. Geoboards 

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Can be used for creating geometric shapes, showing fractions of a shape, etc.

 

#9. Tangrams 

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Help children explore shape, size, symmetry and more!

 

#10. Color Counters

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Great counting discs for all kinds of math problems!! 

 

 

What about you? Do you have a favorite math manipulative or game you like to use? If so, leave us a comment below! 🙂

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