FOR THE LOVE OF
Happy Fourth Everyone! Let's celebrate with a freebie!
Snag your free firework cutting activity here while you can!
This simple cutting activity works those writing muscles for better handwriting.
More on non-writing activities that help writing next week (promise).
Invite your kiddo to:
Hey Easy Lemon Squeezy! Why are you so obsessed with MINI?!?!?
In my last blog post, I mentioned the new “golf pencil” craze. Mini is in!
It is not only an adorable trend but also really great for early writers and fine motor all around.
It makes sense, smaller hands = smaller materials.
Gone are the days of thinking big, bulky pencils are easier to hold. They might seem easier but they also call for an entirely different grip than regular width pencils. This creates habits our kids need to “unlearn” in kindergarten or their handwriting will be a mess.
Smaller gives kids the easier while asking them to grip the pencil the same way they will be asked to grip pencils and pens in school.
There is also something magical about kids using small materials. In my teaching and mom experience, I have found, big things call for big movements and little things call for little movements.
In our Monthly Writing Center, little movements are the thing, after all, writing is just a collection of very intentional little movements.
Each of our Monthly Writing Centers comes with a mini book for just this reason, turning the pages and writing small enough to fit in your mini books takes an amazing about of muscle strength and control. Also, for kids who aren’t sure about the writing thing, mini books and paper are way less intimidating. We have all had that moment staring at a big blank screen and not knowing where to start, the mini takes some of that intimidation away for kids.
Plus, mini is unexpected. Kids are accustomed to the 8.5 X 11 land of paper, worksheets and coloring books. This predictably starts at a very young age! Mini changes the landscape (literally) and adds some surprise!
Really look at the attention and care this kiddo > is giving to his writing. Mini means lean in, work slow, pay attention!
Mini is easy at home. Literally cut things up! The magic of paper is that it can be whatever shape or size you want it to be.
So shrink it all down, friends! Mini is magical!
Summer is the BEST but summer academic regression is the WORST.
Summer academic regression is when children lose what they learned at school during the summer. When it comes to reading and writing studies show that the average kiddo loses 2 months. Yikes!
But before we turn to summer homework and 1st-grade workbooks remember these two rules:
Let’s tackle rule 2. How do we get our kids to write ALL SUMMER LONG?
Answer: Writing Centers!
Writing Centers are the teacher's secret weapon and they are so easy to set up in your home. Our July Writing Centers are the foolproof way to launch, but here are some easy ways to get started while you wait for your *Happy Mail*.
Make sure paper and writing instruments are ALWAYS available. This means making sure they are low enough, easy enough to open and never run out. The simplest way to do this is to create baskets of paper and writing instruments on a low shelf or in your child’s playroom.
Of course, this will take some very serious chats about the rules of writing (only on paper/not on walls), but these are important boundaries for your child to have both at home and schools so have the chat.
Want to make sure paper never runs out? Scrap is best! In my house and classroom every flyer, newspaper, used piece wrapping paper, and rough draft makes its way to our paper bin.
Keep these SIMPLE. We are talking pencils and for very special work felt tip markers.
When buying pencils consider your child’s grip work. For PreK-K golf pencils are best. The shorter the pencil the more instinctual it is to use the right grip. This concept has all but replaced the “fat” pencils and crayons of the past. Older kids should get used to using whatever tool they will need to use in school, so as soon as you get that supply list duplicate the writing tools for home.
Side note: These practical choices should not replace FUN. Each of our Monthly Writing Centers comes with an exciting writing tool. So keep taking cute pens from hotels and save them for a rainy day.
Once you have the paper and pencil, you need motivation!
In our Monthly Writing Centers our motivators include story disks, postcards, mini books, stickers, tracing paper, journal prompts and more.
At home, add labeled family photos, postcards from family trips and books about the *it* topic. Collect beautiful stationery, birthday cards, and notebooks. I get pretty notebooks as gifts A LOT. It makes sense, everyone around me knows I am a list maker and journal writer. Most of these make their way to my writing centers because kids LOVE THEM. Oh and post-its, they are beyond fun (we need a separate blog post about post-its).
Be creative here, cardboard, boxes, scrap wood, canvas...work with what you have.
One of the best ways to introduce writing to our littles is creating surveys. Surveys are my secret teacher/momma weapon!
Honestly, I cannot think of another paper based activity that will give you as much academic bang for your (zero) bucks.
Survey's give us a couple awesome practice skills
Here's what you need
This is a pre-writing activity that works for kids of all ages.
Here's what you do
PRINT OFF ONE OF OUR AWESOME SURVEY SHEETS
Introduce the Survey Sheet and your awesome new clipboard as amazingly cool new materials. Sell this! This whole process is going to be fun so make sure it shows all over your face :)
Model the process with your child:
“Hey! I have an idea. Let's do a family survey!Surveys let us answer questions about a group of people. This survey sheet will answer: Which do people like more Unicorns or Trolls? Let’s ask everyone in our family. First, we can ask Dad. We will say, 'Excuse me, may I ask you a question?' When he says yes we will ask, 'Which do you like more Unicorns or Trolls?' If he says unicorns we will put a tally line here and if he says trolls we will put one here. Then we can call grandma and ask the same thing!"
When your data collection is done take some time out to talk about the data.
More people like trolls than unicorns.
Fewer people like unicorns than trolls.
3 people like unicorns more and 5 people like trolls more.
5 is more than 3. 3 is less than 5...
Guys! This is so simple and fun but also carries a huge academic punch! Don’t forget to use the blank sheets to create your own surveys with your kiddos and tag us in all your survey work @easylemon_squeezy on the gram.
As an early educator, I hear it all the time:
"How do I get my kid to love writing? They spend all day playing dress up, building with legos and watching Coco. The second I put a pencil in front of them it’s a HARD NO!"
For the next few weeks, I'm going to dive into strategies for getting your littles to love writing!
A love of writing and reading makes smart kids. We all want kids who find school interesting and inspiring not fail-able and hard. Love is the way to get there.
When kids honestly L.O.V.E. to write they identify as writers and once they identify as writers they take chances, practice often and end up great writers. So lets build the LOVE!