Educational Tips

Read these 34 Educational Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Kid tips and hundreds of other topics.

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thinking skills

HELP YOUR CHILD TO THINK THINGS THROUGH

Being able to thing things through and realize an expected chain of events is an important skill for your child. Be sure to ask questions like "What do you think about that?" or "What do you think will happen if…?" Then be sure to really listen to your child's answers, too. You will benefit from this as much as your child because you will learn what and how you're your child thinks and how they process the information. That will help you communicate more efficiently as they grow older. When your child is comfortable communicating with you without fear of reprisal they can be more open and honest.

   
educational activity

NUMBER CANS

Make some "Number Cans" to teach numeric concepts to your kids.
Cover empty vegetable tins with construction paper. Number the cans from 1 to 10 and draw dots on with a marker or crayon. Set out craft sticks or drinking straws. Help your child count the number of dots on the cans and place the right number of sticks inside them.

   
vocabulary building

READING TOGETHER

When you read to your child, run your finger under the words as you read them. This will teach him that you read from top to bottom and left to right, and those letters form words.

Provide a variety of books for him. Go to the library together. Soon he'll be able to read some of these words.

   
BEGINNING SCISSOR EXERCISES

BEGINNING SCISSOR EXERCISES

Before children begin any structured cutting tasks, let them develop a feel for scissors by allowing them to do some random cutting. Let them snip and cut small pieces of paper into smaller pieces until they are comfortable using them. I personally recommend you use the best quality children's scissors you can find. Children become frustrated quickly when their scissors "don't work" and they will not feel successful. Once they are comfortable opening and closing the blades of their scissors, have them cut along a straight line drawn on a piece of paper. Advance to a swivel line when the child is ready to "steer" their scissors. When comfortable with that the child can attempt to follow the line on a geometric shape.

   
educational activity

LEARNING NUMBERS

These are good "mini-rhymes" to use when your child is learning how to print their numbers.
1-A straight line, one is fun.
2-Around and back on the railroad track-two,two,two.
3-Around the tree and around the tree, that's the way we make a three.
4-Down and over, down some more. That's the way we make a four.
5-Fat old five goes down and around. Put a flag on top and see what you've
found.
6-Down to a loop, six rolls a hoop.
7-Across the sky and down from heaven, that's the way we make a seven.
8-Make an "s" but do not wait -- go right back up to make an eight.
9-A loop and a line--that's a nine.
10-A one first, a zero then, that's the way we make a ten!

   
educational activity

BECOME EXPLORERS

My children had a map of the world posted on the back of a bedroom door for years. It became a super reference tool. Make a map of your neighborhood with your children, talking about directions and how to get to their favorite places. Display a map of your area, state, country or the world. Refer to it when questions come up.

   
educational activity

BUILDING VOCABULARY

A good vocabulary will help your child throughout life. Being able to express themselves is key to succeeding both in their social lives, their academic lives and later in life in the "real world". Reading to and with your child daily takes only minutes a day and will pay back in volumes. Don't underestimate the value of books on tape, occasionally substituting these for the radio on a longer car trip. Encourage them to read to you. Keep a variety of reading materials at home magazines, books and newspapers. Act out their favorite stories, or put together a puppet show. Teach them that writing is fun. Encourage them to write from the time they can sound out words and have toddlers and preschool children dictate to you "writing" a letter to a favorite relative or friend. Have them make their own cards to give on birthdays or holidays.

   
studying

CRAMMING

"Cramming" is not the right way to use those last few hours before a test or exam. Excercise, believe it or not, puts your body at ease, and relaxes your muscles. It also puts your mind in a positive state. These three components combined will make your body ideal for a test writing situation. So, two hours before your next test, perhaps pruise your notes lightly, then take a one to two kilometer run, or a three to four kilometer bike, then return, take a shower, pruise your notes again for a few minutes, and I guarentee you'll do better on the test -- Good Luck!

   
homework

STUDY CORNER

All children deserve a special place to do their studying in. A small desk, a special corner of your desk, a tray table and chair in their room, what is important is that they have somewhere to keep their dictionary, other reference books and school-related material. If your child does their studying at the kitchen table set up a shelf for these materials in a nearby convenient spot.

   
homework

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Do your homework while your children do their school assignments. Balance your checkbook, pay bills, fold laundry. Show the attitude that "We're all in this together." Let them know that your are there if they need you. When they do ask for help, play detective. Help them search out the answers to their questions. Go to the library together and show them how to find the answers they need. Many families find a weekly trip to the library an inexpensive, fun, family activity. By teaching them how to research for answers, you teach them a life skill they will use forever. When you are all finished reward yourselves with a game or treat.

   
studying

DON'T JUST STUDY AT HOME

Remember this: for projects or for tests, simply reviewing at home won't get you an A! A majority of your studying should be done in the class! When your teacher is showing you how to do something, or teaching a lesson, listen to what he or she is saying, and try to understand. Often on tests, when looking at a question, I remember the answer from something that my teacher said during his lessons. Your teacher would never put something on a test (or expect something on a project) that he didn't teach in class, so listening is a sure bet to getting a good grade!

   

HANDING IN SCHOOLWORK

Remember when handing in your next assignment that teachers are only human! A teacher is likely to give a better mark to a project handed in a nice clean, neatly marked, duotang than to a project with pages loosely stapled together that is all dirty and crumpled, even if they have exactly the same thing written on them! Remember that appearance is important, and hand your work in looking acceptable!

   
holding scissors

THE PROPER WAY TO HOLD A PAIR OF SCISSORS

Start with the hand in a thumb up position. Place the thumb in the smaller top loop of the scissors' handle. Maintain this position while cutting. Wrap the pointer finger around the bottom of the scissors handle, using the pointer finger to lead the way by guiding the direction of the scissors. Place the middle and ring fingers in the bottom loop. If the pinkie finger will fit in the bottom loop, place it there also. If not, the pinkie finger should remain behind the scissors. Open and close scissors while slowly pushing them forward.

   
coounting

FIVE TURKEYS

Cut five turkey body shapes from brown felt and 15 tail feathers from red, yellow, and orange felt. Number the turkey body shapes from 1-5 and place them on a flannel board. Put the feather shapes in a pile. To play the game, have your children take turns selecting a turkey and placing that many feathers on it. (Can also make out of construction paper as an individual center.)

   
MATH GAME

A FISHY MATH GAME

In a shoebox make this homemade fishing game with an educational twist. Cut construction paper fish and mark them each with a number. Attach a paper clip to the nose of each fish. Tie some string to the end of a wooden spoon and on the other end of the string tie a magnet "hook." To play this game your child catches 2 fish and has to add the numbers on them. If correct he/she can keep the fish, if not the fish go back in the box. Play until all the fish are caught.

   
playgroups

PLAYGROUP SAFETY

Having a number of young children together for a play-date is good for your children. They make new friends and develop their social skills. However, the young guests may have a different environment at home. The following suggestions are important to establish before the play begins. This is a simple method that protects the children as well as informs them of what is to be expected in your environment.
1. Take a few moments to discuss rules and safety with your children and their visiting friends before they begin playing. For example you could say, "Our rules are simple--no hurting each other, no screaming, and no running indoors."
2. Checking toys, play and sports equipment on a regular basis to make sure they are safe.
3. Another common-sense way to protect the kids, is to monitor your their activities and make sure they are not doing anything dangerous.
4. Checking your home for potential dangers. Do you have a throw rug that people tend to trip over? A walkway that gets slippery when it rains? Find ways to fix these problems.
5. Talk to the parents before any play dates take place and discuss your concerns about the children's safety and what they expect of you. Ask them if there is anything they absolutely don't want their child doing, such as climbing trees or riding scooters.
It is also a good idea to have extra protective equipment on hand. An extra bike helmet, kneepads and wrist guards are useful. In fact I even have my tricycle bike riders wear their helmets to get them into the habit at an early age.

   
sand play

INDOOR SAND BOX

Hang on before you holler "NO WAY!" , read on to see how easy and not so messy this is. Day care centers and pre-schools have "Sand Tables" for children to explore in. You can provide this experience at home too! I use a large plastic storage container with a lid, it measures about 2' x 3' in width and length and is about 6 to 8" deep. I change the contents occasionally to one of the following. Cornmeal, Sand, Rice, Pebbles, Garden Dirt, etc. This "indoor sand box" is great for hiding little toys, driving little cars, playing with shoves and pails, anything you might have done last summer at the beach. When you bring the indoor sand box out for your child to play in, set it on a vinyl tablecloth or use an inflatable pool. You will soon find your child enthralled for hours!

   
teacher communication

TEACHER COMMUNICATION

Talk with teachers. Get to know your children's teachers and talk with them about what you can do to help at home. Try to attend open houses, conferences, plays, concerts, games and other activities at school. Introduce yourself to your child's teacher in person or by phone.

   
studying

HOW TO STUDY

If you have a test coming up, remember that studying isn't simply breezing over your material lightly, and that it takes more than five minutes. An effective method of studying is to read over your material in full, whether you think you have to or not, and then ask a family member, preferably mom or dad, to ask you some questions based on the facts. Mom and dad are best because they are most likely to ask questions similar to those that the teacher will ask on the test. I find that this is an effective way to study, but remember: you can't study the night before the test and expect to do well, you should review material very lightly every night, and perhaps study longer within a week of the test.

   
teacher communication

TEACHER CONFERENCES

Here are some general questions and information that can be shared with your child's teacher on your conference appointment. Even if you find your child is doing well, and you seem at a loss as to what to discuss in your conference, these questions are always important.
1.What grade level is my child performing on in reading, math, social studies, and science?
2.What do you see as my child's strengths and weaknesses?
3.Could you tell me about my child's work ethic, relations with other children, behavior in class, and attitude toward learning?
4.Can you tell me what academic topics and skills will be emphasized this year in your classroom?

   
HOW TO CARRY SCISSORS

HOW TO CARRY SCISSORS

Wrap fingers around closed blades with the blades pointing down. Holding scissors in this manner ensures that the scissors will drop to the floor instead of opening if you stumble or fall.
The natural reflex when you stumble is to open your hands to brace yourself.
Carrying scissors with your fingers in the handles, makes it likely that, when falling, the scissors will remain in your hand, potentially causing a serious injury!
Always walk slowly when carrying scissors.
Remind children to watch where they are going.
Pass scissors with fingers wrapped loosely around the closed blades, handles should face the person who will be taking the scissors.

   
educational activity

COUNTING COINS

Get a small handful of mixed coins, pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Make a rubbing of each type of coin across the bottom of the page. Then, pick a coin from your pile. Decide which coin it is like. Keep track of how many of each coin you have. And use this opportunity to teach counting skills. An older child may want to learn how to make change.

   
teacher communication

TIPS FOR TALKING TO YOUR CHILD'S TEACHER

1.Give the teacher extra information about your child to help him or her know the child better.
2.Express your appreciation to the teacher for the good year your child is having at school.
3.Ask the teacher if there is anything special that you could do to help in the classroom this year.

   
EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Encourage your children's interests in subjects like baseball or dinosaurs; go beyond schoolwork. Look in the library for books on the subjects and do research in reference material just for fun. Encourage your child to make up stories or plays and to draw pictures.

   
verbal skills

WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS LEARNING

Don't just ask, "What did you do in school today?" Dive deeper. Ask "Tell me about it." Encourage them to explain their assignments. They will be reviewing the lesson and you will know what they are learning in school. Show your child how their schoolwork applies to their lives.

   
scissors

TEACHING CHILDREN TO USE SCISSORS PROPERLY

Children love crafting, and often they need to use scissors to complete their project. Learning to use scissors properly is very important. Children should sit at the table or desk while cutting.

Sitting at a table helps to stabilize the child's hands and body. One hand should hold the paper while the other holds the scissors.

   
homework

HOW TO HELP WITH HOMEWORK

1. Get to know your child's teacher. Attend school events, such as parent-teacher conferences, to meet your child's teacher. Ask about his or her homework policy and how you should be involved.
2. Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure your child has a well-lit place to complete homework. Place supplies - paper, pencils, glue, scissors - within reach.
3. Schedule a regular study time. Some children work best in the afternoon, following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
4. Keep the distractions to a minimum. This means no television, no loud music, and no phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment could prove helpful.)
5. Make sure your child does his own work. Children will not learn if they cannot think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help children with directions. Your child's job is to do the learning.
6. Get involved in your child's academic career. Ask him about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Check his completed homework, and make yourself available for his questions and concerns.
7. Set a good homework example. Does your child see you reading the newspaper, writing letters, or reading a book?
8. Children are more likely to follow their parents' examples than their advice.
Praise his work. Stick his math assignment or art project on the refrigerator. Mention his achievements in science to relatives.

   
educational activity

PASS THE STORY

A good project that teaches your child how to follow through with something. Each night for a week (or once or twice a week for a month), Give your child a few pieces of paper. Have him draw a picture and write a sentence. At the end of the week have them put their pages together and see if you can make a story book This is a good activity for a group of children. Each child would make one or two pages of their own then together they can develop a story using all the pages together. Younger children can each draw an animal and cut them apart. Each child putting a part together with the rest. One head, one body, various limbs. The combination animals are very funny, but the most fun of all is naming the animal you have created. ( a monkeypotamus!)

   
attention span

INCREASE THEIR ATTENTION SPAN

By the age of three you can work on your child's attention span a bit and help him grow in this area. Give your little guy a planned activity, such as coloring or play dough, and require him to stay with it for a fixed period of time. Set the timer. Start with 10 or 15 minutes. Do this twice a day to begin with, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and not when they're hungry or tired. Build up the time gradually. Stick to your guns about waiting for the timer when they say they're all done in 5 minutes. Focusing is a skill and like any skill, some people find it easier than others, but everyone can learn.

   
FEATURES OF A GOOD PAIR OF SCISSORS

FEATURES OF A GOOD PAIR OF SCISSORS

A good pair of scissors should:
1. be able to be used by both hands
2. has a finger loop that allows room for more than one finger.
3. have handles that comfortably fit a child's hand, for comfort and control.
4. is made with a durable pivot point and corrosion resistant blades.
5. is designed to cut to the tip of all required materials such as felt, fabric, yarn and paper.

   
educational activity

WORD FIND ACTIVITY

Take a word with 7 - 9 letters and have the kids find as many little words as possible. When they get good at it have them find as many as they can before the time runs out, say 3 - 5 minutes.
Example- toothpick
Words- tooth, pick, thick, to, pit, kit, hit, hoot, toot, tick… etc.

   
SCISSOR SAFETY

SCISSOR SAFETY

Scissors should be used for cutting and snipping only. They are not toys.
Children should be supervised closely whenever they are using scissors.
Store scissors in a safe place, out of reach to small children.

   
alphabet cards

ALPHABET CARDS

Using a set of 3" x 5" index cards, make two sets of alphabet cards, one with capital and one with lowercase letters. Children can take turns matching the cards with the appropriate "big" and "little" letters. Your child can draw a picture on the reverse side of their alphabet cards.

   
educational activity

LETTER SEARCHING

This is another way to re use your daily paper before you send it to the recycle bin.
Give your children sections of a newspaper and felt tip markers. Have them look for a letter his or her name begins with. Or if your child is bigger, have them look for specific words, letters or numbers.

* From Theme a saurus

   
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Guru Spotlight
Christina Chan