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STEAM Activities for Kids

Have you have heard all the rage about STEAM?

It includes all of the elements of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) with a nice little addition, art.  

This recently new phenomenon is of particular interest to me because of my STEM loving boy (Have you SEEN all of the LEGO activities we have done in our house?) - but he also adores art. And, by including art into STEM topics we are giving children a way to connect with subjects that they might not enjoy as much.   

STEAM Activities for Kids

STEAM Activities for Kids

I hope this list provides a great place for you to get started with STEAM Activities for your kids... pick one or two and then go from there.

Incorporating these into your children's lives will be MUCH fun - and MUCH learning, too.

Designing Robots: Use Qixels  to help kids design their very own robot decoration. This STEAM activity helps kids create using their own imagination with very little help. For more STEM robot fun, you will want to check out our LEGO® Education WeDo Robotics in Your Homeschool post where you will learn how to build robots with LEGO®. 

How to Flip a Rainbow: I love this STEAM activity because it is so simple. All you will need is a tall glass of water, paper, and markers. This will help kids learn how looking at objects from a different point of view always gives different results.

LEGO® Candy Math: Learning with LEGO® is so much fun. This activity helps kids learn about addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions all with the help of two of our favorite things - LEGO® and candy. For more ideas on how to use LEGO® for learning, visit our LEGO® Learning Page. It is full of ideas. 

Compass Painting: With the use of a simple math compass and water paints kids can create a one of a kind masterpiece. Who knew you could turn a math instrument into an art tool? 

Math Art Mobius Strip: If you have kids that are enthralled with art but could care less about math, this is the perfect STEAM project for them. Watch their eyes light up as they discover the wonder of a Mobius strip. 

Playdough Engineering Kit for Kids: This is a great kit to put together because it can easily be taken along when you are out and about. It helps kids learn how to make familiar shapes as well as making their own shape creations come to life. 

Experiment with Watercolor Resist: Use different types of media to see how it reacts to watercolors. This is a great way to achieve different art effects. Kids can learn how to make different textures and patterns. 

Paper Plate Marble Maze: Building a marble maze can be a bit challenging. But the end result will only give kids the confidence to keep on building. For more marble fun consider adding the game Kerplunk and the book LEGO® Chain Reactions to your STEAM resources. 

Fun With LEGO Mini Figures - Create Your Own Mini Fig Printable: I like this STEAM idea because it is so easy. It gives kids the platform to create something of their very own, using their own ideas. Giving kids room to create allows them to explore, learn, and discover all while being hands on.

 


Following are products that will foster the hands on learning experience that comes with building.  

 


STEAM is a wonderful tool to use in a variety of subjects. It brings together the fascination with science, logic of math, and creativity of art. 

What are some of your favorite STEAM activities for kids?

STEAM Activities for Kids

How to Talk to Kids About Puberty

I don't know about you, but I wasn't given much information when I was going through puberty. 

In fact, I vividly remember thinking that a woman could become pregnant by simply eating a certain combination of foods!  (I think this stemmed from seeing "The Pregnancy Diet" in one of my mother's magazines.)

It's been important for me to give my children accurate information about puberty, sex, and all of the things surrounding this pre-teen/teen stage of life -- information that is grounded in Biblical truth and doesn't leave anything out.

It is also important to start EARLY -- I think as early as 8 or 9 -- so that our children don't get curious and go hunting for this information in places that haven't been vetted by their parents!

Now that we've gone through this with both a girl and a boy, there are some favorite resources my husband and I have used to guide our children through this pivotal time in their lives. 

These are the resources that have proven helpful in our home. It isn't the ONLY way to teach your children about puberty and sexuality - just what has worked for us.  I hope the resources are helpful to you as you guide your sons and daughters on their journey to becoming men and women! 

How to Talk to Kids About Puberty

Puberty Resources For Boys & Girls

Having a trusted resource that explains changes in boys and girls has been SO helpful in our house... it helps brothers and sisters understand what is going on with each other.  Especially for a little brother, it can explain sometimes why his sister (and mom!) act a bit goofy once a month!

By far, the favorite books we have come across from Trish & Luke Gilkerson. They approach puberty and sexuality in such a straightforward, Biblical manner. 

Each lesson in the book we did first (7 Lesson to Introduce Your Children to Biblical Sexuality) is geared for boys AND girls - so if your child is wondering about the opposite sex all of the questions are answered. 

Scripture precedes each of the seven lessons, and directly relates to Biblical sexuality. 

The other books by the Gilkersons are:

Changes: 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty

Relationships: 11 Lessons to Give Kids a Greater Understanding of Biblical Sexuality

What I appreciate the most about all of these books is that it gives the parents an introduction, and then each lesson is 100% scripted - and written so that our children are engaged and talking. I wish I had known about these when my daughter was this age!  

These books have made it EASY for my husband and me to talk with our son about puberty.

Because, let's face it, sometimes we - THE PARENTS - can be reticent about this subject.


Puberty Resources for Girls

She who does not make the world better for having lived in it has failed to be all that woman should be.
— Karen Andreola - Beautiful Girlhood

 

When my daughter was very young, we set up date nights in my bedroom, made tea, and read Beautiful Girlhood aloud. This set the stage for changes that would occur in the coming years. This book is sweet and old fashioned, setting forth the ideals of girl and womanhood.

We followed this up with the Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood - a more focused and interactive Bible study for the two of us. 

The next in the series, Beyond Beautiful Girlhood, is all about keeping a home and womanhood -- not in sexual terms, but in terms of womanhood.  VERY good.

Sharing these books are all sweet ways to spend time with our girls and bring them into the fold of what it means to be a beautiful girl - and eventually a woman.  It is with great fondness that I look back on these times spent with my daughter.

 

 

 

As my daughter got a bit older she was naturally curious about the changes that were going on in her body. I purchased a couple of the American Girl books for her.  We read them together, and I then I gave her the books to keep in her room and read again at her leisure.  (I think she read these books DOZENS of times!)

These books are not written from a Biblical perspective, but they do give accurate information that when shared by me, I feel very comfortable using. 

The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls

The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls

Feelings: The Care and Keeping of Your Emotions

Is This Normal: More Girls' Questions

 

All of these resources are wonderful, but if they aren't used in conjunction with open dialogue and spending TIME with your girls, they won't be effective.  


Puberty Resources for Boys

It's been a blessing for my son to have a father who is willing to spend time with him and talk to him a lot during this time of his life. They have "fire pit chats" where they discuss manly things... but it's also very helpful to have some books on hand to aid the discussions.

If every dad would read Raising a Modern Day Knight, I think our boys would be in great shape to become men.  It helps fathers to instruct their sons in Biblical, chivalrous manhood.

I've also loved Bringing Up Boys - given to me as a gift when I found out I was pregnant with my son.  

For a read aloud together with your son, try Boyhood and Beyond

Other books that will be good resources for our boys include:

The Boy's Body Book

It's Great to Be a Guy!

It's Perfectly Normal

 

Sons are looking for the substance of life. As I hope to prove, they hunger for the best things. In the absence of these anchors, sons drift. But when loving dads add these into the manhood mix, their sons flourish. They become noble men, gentle men, men of valor, principled men, knights.
— Robert Lewis - Raising a Modern-Day Knight

The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical SexualityChanges: 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of PubertyRelationships: 11 Lessons to Give Kids a Greater Understanding of Biblical SexualityBeautiful GirlhoodThe Companion Guide to Beautiful GirlhoodBeyond Beautiful Girlhood Plus Companion GuideThe Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls, Revised EditionThe Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older GirlsThe Care and Keeping of You Journal (Revised): for Younger Girls (American Girl)The Feelings Book (Revised): The Care and Keeping of Your EmotionsIs This Normal (Revised): MORE Girls' Questions, Answered by the Editors of The Care & Keeping of YouThe Care and Keeping of You 2 Journal (American Girl)Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic ManhoodBringing Up BoysBoyhood and BeyondThe Boy's Body Book: Third Edition: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOUIt's Great to Be a Guy!: God Has a Plan for You...and Your Body!It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health (The Family Library)

 


I hope this list has been helpful.

What ideas do you have for talking to our kids about puberty?  Share them in the comments below!  We are stronger as a community, sharing our ideas and supporting each other.

How to Talk to Kids About Puberty

Tips & Tricks - All About Reading

We all want to raise children who love to read, right? Every homeschool parent I know wants to raise children who love to read. But the process of teaching children how to read can be daunting. I have found a gentle, but structured approach that works well for my family. I recently shared my Love for All About Reading. Today I'm sharing my tips and tricks for using the All About Reading program. 

We have used All About Reading Pre-Reading, All About Reading Level 1, All About Reading Level 2, All About Reading Level 3, and are beginning All About Reading Level 4.

In using multiple levels of this program, I have learned some practical tips and tricks for using All About Reading that I hope will be helpful for your homeschool. 

Tips and Tricks for Using All About Reading

Tips & Tricks for All About Reading

    1 - Take advantage of the online placement tests

    My oldest started with AAR Level 2 and has worked his way to AAR Level 4. We used several other reading programs before trying All About Reading. It was then that his reading really took off. I do believe it was a matter of timing and the right approach to teaching reading that helped reading "click" for him. So if your child is already reading some, go ahead and check out the placement tests to see what level would be right for your student. 

    The recommendation for All About Spelling is to begin with Level 1 and progress at the student's pace to ensure they have a good foundation of spelling rules. However, for All About Reading, there are online placement tests to help you determine the right level to begin with your student.

    * If you have any questions about where to start, give All About Learning Press a call for guidance. They are so helpful and knowledgeable. In fact, they provide LIFETIME support on their products!

    2 - Decide how you want to store your letter tiles

    All About Learning Press recommends a 2'x3' magnetic white board for the tiles. Go for this bigger size board if you can.  We started using AAR with a smaller one. Once we were able to move to the larger size board, it made our lessons flow a little easier because our tiles stay organized.

    I realize everyone's home and budget is different. There are other options - a smaller magnetic white board, a metal cookie sheet, the floor or a table. But the 2'X3' magnetic whiteboard is the ideal size to use with All About Reading and All About Spelling. You can find these boards at office supply stores, big box stores, and Amazon. Prices vary. But make sure you get one that is magnetic. 

    We use our white board on a small table where the kids can write and move the tiles around easily at their level. I have seen others who mount their boards on the wall. Since we don't have ours on the wall, we do have to have a place to store it when it's not in use. Since we use it daily, our board gets handled quite often. 

    If you don't have a magnetic board to store the tiles on, you will have to lay out the tiles for each lesson before you can begin. Ideally, you will have a 2'x3' magnetic white board and either mount it on the wall or have it accessible to put on the floor or a table to use during your reading lessons each day. 

    You will also need a place to store the tiles you'll need for future lessons. I just keep ours in a plastic bag where I keep my teacher's manuals. If you have toddlers, you'll want to keep the tiles out of reach until they are a little older. 

    You use the same magnetic white board and tiles with All About Reading and All About Spelling if you use both programs. 

    Tips and Tricks for Using All About Reading

    3 - Organize your materials up front

    Each level of All About Reading requires a Student Pack which includes the activity book and cards that will need to be prepped before your lessons. You need one student pack for each student that you are teaching at the same time. You can save the activities and cards for use with your younger children as long as you won't be teaching them on the same level at the same time. I wanted to organize my materials to reduce prep time for each lesson and to keep them organized to use again with my younger child. 

    • Tear apart the phonogram and word cards and put them into a card storage box. This is simple enough, just takes a while to do. 
       
    • Put magnets on the back of all the tiles. Again, this takes some time, but this prep work up front will save time later on. 
       
    • The activity book contains simple activities that need to be prepared. I take a 3 ring binder and put each lesson's activity pages in a page protector. I prepare the activities that require cutting or stapling. Once I have gone through the activity book and put everything into page protectors, I'm left with the cover and spine of the activity book. I cut those up and insert them into the spine and front cover of the 3 ring binder. As we approach each new lesson, I pull out the page protector containing that day's lesson and store it in my teacher's manual until we have completed that lesson. Then I put it back in the binder and pull out the new one for the next day. 

    If you will be starting this program at the beginning of the school year, take time to organize during the summer. Or if you'll be starting this program mid-year like I have, just plan enough time to do this prep work before you are ready to begin using the program. I find I'm more consistent in using curriculum that I have organized. 

    This organization does take some time up front. I like to do this while I listen to a podcast or audio book to help pass the time. 

    4 - Get a card storage box

    All About Learning Press offers a Reading Review Box to store the phonogram and words cards. When we started All About Reading and All About Spelling with my son a few years ago, I didn't order the Reading Review Box. I thought it would be easy enough to just use an index card box that I already had.  A typical index card box isn't large enough to hold all the cards in it at once (except for the pre-reading level). I ended up buying a big index card box similar to this one on Amazon. I keep my son's current All About Reading and All About Spelling cards in this one box. 

    When my daughter began All About Reading Level 1, I bought the Reading Review Box. It's nice because it has spacers in it that can be removed as we add more levels. You'll need a reading interactive kit to be used with all levels of All About Reading. The Reading Review Box is included in the deluxe reading interactive kit or you can buy it separately. 

    5 - Read the teacher's manual and go at your child's pace

    If you have only looked at the All About Reading materials online and have never put your hands on them, this snippet of a typical lesson may help you understand how all the components work together.

    This truly is a multi-sensory approach. 

    The AAR Teacher's Manual guides you step by step through each lesson. Here's a quick rundown of how the different components are used in a typical lesson:

    • Review phonogram and word cards taught in previous lessons
    • Use the magnetic phonogram and letter tiles as you work through the new lesson
    • Do the assigned activities and reading practice pages from the activity book
    • Introduce any new phonogram and/or word cards for the lesson
    • Student reads aloud assigned stories from their AAR reader about every other lesson or so

    How long each lesson takes will depend on you and your child. If you prep your materials ahead of time (see #3 above :-) ) , it will save you precious time during the lesson when you have your child's attention. All About Reading recommends about 20 minutes per session

    Go at a pace that works for your child. This is a beautiful benefit of homeschooling - being able to personalize your child's education. 

    You can work through an entire lesson in one day or spread it out over multiple days. Set a timer or stop when you realize your child is getting tired even if the lesson isn't "completed" yet. Pick back up in the same place the next day. When we split lessons up over multiple days, I still do the review of the phonogram and word cards when we pick back up on our lesson.

    Reading Activity Bundle

    I'm thrilled to share these Tips & Tricks for All About Reading with you in hopes that it will help you and your children on your journey to reading success. All About Reading is an investment. It has more to organize than some other programs. But it is thorough. It is multi-sensory. It works.

    If you have used this program before, what are your tips and tricks for using All About Reading?

    If you have found these tips and tricks helpful, I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below!