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Kid Friendly Digital Activities Part 3

Kid Friendly Digital Activities Part 3

Audiobooks

Next up — listening to a good book.  Mostly excerpted from Mighty Mommy, with my own two cents thrown in for good measure.

 

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In Getting Kids to Read Over the Summerthe NEA states that children, especially those from low-income families, can lose up to three months of reading progress over the summer months.   “There are tons of books that students will fall in love with that can be used as hooks to the academically required books.”  — Mighty Mommy

Introduce your child to the Wide Wonderful World of audio books.  Your grandkids (and you) can listen here, you can listen there, you can listen anywhere!  Listen in the car, listen while doing chores (Gramma can have the kids do chores, too.  It’s good for them — but that is for another post).

Mighty Mommy suggests a resource called Reading Rockets, “a national multimedia literacy initiative offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read (Butler, 2017).”

In their article Listen and Learn with Audiobooks parents can glean some great advice on how to help kids take advantage of the wonderful world of audio books this summer and throughout the school year.  For a wide-variety of interesting audio books for the entire family visit Macmillan Audio (Butler, 2017).

 

How to choose the right story?

You want to start with familiar stories, ones you’ve already read aloud to them.  This way you change just one variable, the reading voice.

The format you choose should be easy for you both to use.  Most Grandmothers are familiar with the most obvious choice, Books on CD.  Some public libraries “carry Playaways, which are books pre-loaded onto MP3 player available for checkout. (Walker R., 2017).”  Doesn’t that sound cool?  Sort of like fast food for the ears.  My library system provides audio books through the service called OverDrive from which one can “borrow” the audio book by downloading it for a specific time, usually 14 days.  I personally don’t jump with joy over this format because it meant that I had to sign in to my library, then download and join in to OverDrive, and I have to listen to it through that app only.  But, I do have access to free popular books, as long as they are actually available.

The titles you choose should be ones recognized as High Quality.  Talk with your librarian for suggestions, or check out suggestions from Notable Children’s Recordings from the American Library Association or Reading Rockets’ Favorite Audio Books.  You should probably get input from your kids so they are more likely to actually listen rather than poking the toy dinosaur into his brothers’ ear.

Other online ways to obtain audio books include Audible and Tales2Go where you can subscribe to a very extensive catalog of audio content.  Both sites are paid subscription sites.  I can vouch for Audible, find they are good, but personally I cannot afford it.  Tales2Go subscriptions are primarily for Brick-n-Mortar schools as well as Homeschools with varying plans.  BUT, there is also a subscription for individuals, from 99$ for an annual subscription, 40$ for three months (enough to take you through the summer), and a monthly subscription which you get from the Play Store.

My personal favorite is Lit2Go, from Florida Center for Instructional Technology.  This is a free site (what’s not to love about free?) which includes downloadable MP3, of course — we ARE talking specifically about audio books.  But the site includes downloadable PDF form so you can print if you need to, or read from the screen.  Many stories also provide teacher notes and learning objectives, which make these stories that much more valuable.  However, my suggestion is to not go too deep into the teaching part.  The kids will learn much just by listening to good stories.  The vintage images from these classic public-domain books are priceless.

What to do (Walker R., 2017)

  • Listen to audio books together.

  • Offer some background information or a preview of the story to help your child focus his listening and more easily follow what’s happening in the story.

  • Feel free to stop listening. If an audio book isn’t engaging, try another!

  • Keep your young listeners in mind. While kids can listen on a higher level than they can read, some stories may be too complex for young listeners to follow and enjoy.

  • Don’t let audio books take the place of you reading aloud to your child or telling them stories. 

 

Here’s another free site.  Librivox  has loads of public domain books read by volunteers around the world.  My experience is largely great, although I have found some readers I just cannot listen to.  Often, you can find the same book read by a volunteer whose style is more compatible.  If not, then try the next suggestion ….

How about this idea?  Record yourself reading to the kids.  You need a quiet place to read out loud, a microphone you can find from Walmart or Amazon, and an app that will record your voice in MP3 format.  You will want to give life to the characters, using different voices.  Don’t be afraid to be crazy!  The kids eat it up, ask me how I know!  The crazier, the better.  And, don’t be afraid you will look stupid.  Your kids won’t know what hit them, just be you!  They love you no matter.

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https://www.tales2go.com/subscribe/?hsCtaTracking=7b4eef48-0cf7-479b-985c-b66b04d50285%7C95ce45e7-5ccd-41fa-bb49-5b49233686be#individual

https://www.audible.com/ep/kids-audiobooks

https://www.overdrive.com/

http://www.playaway.com/

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/listen-and-learn-audio-books

https://us.macmillan.com/audio/

http://www.nea.org/tools/55443.htm

http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncr

http://www.readingrockets.org/booklists/our-favorite-audio-books

 

 

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Kid Friendly Digital Activities Part 2

Kid Friendly Digital Activities Part 2

This next post is exerpted from the Mighty Mommy’s blog, Episode #433.  I have to say, it is out of this world.  Kids (or grandmothers) can build a virtual rocket, find out the path of the Space Station and who is on it right now.

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Online Space Exploration

Summer is the perfect time to learn more about the moon, stars and the fascinating world of outer space.  National Aeronautics and Space Administration known as NASA has a terrific on-line site for kids ages Pre-Kindergarten thru 4th grade called NASA Kids’ Club.

We discovered this user-friendly site last summer when my daughter was in the 4th grade.  She was able to play a variety of on-line games which support the national education standards in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. One of her favorite games was called Windows to Earth which allows you to select various locations throughout the world and see what they look like photographed from space.  The sound effects are very cool and the visuals were really awesome.  — Butler, 2017

 

The page link included here has a great informational page for parents and caregivers, including grade-appropriate learning objectives.  Here is the first few paragraphs from that page:

Welcome to NASA Kids’ Club.

NASA provides a safe place for children to play as they learn about NASA and its missions.

On this site, you will find games of various skill levels for children pre-K through grade 4. These games support national education standards in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. See the Game Descriptions and National Education Standards below.

The NASA Kids’ Club Picture Show is an image gallery of some of NASA’s coolest and most interesting pictures. They may be used as conversation starters or writing prompts to lead children in discussions about STEM-related topics and current events.

The Now in Space slideshow introduces young explorers to the crew currently orbiting Earth on the International Space Station.

NASA encourages you to visit NASA Kids’ Club and use its games and activities to inspire the next generation.   https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub/text/extras/Game_Descriptions_National_Standards.html

Resources

Butler, C. (2017, June 18). From Audiobooks to Art Lessons—5 Fun, Digital Activities for Kids. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from Mighty Mommy’s Quick and Dirty Tips: https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/productivity/learning/from-audiobooks-to-art-lessons-5-fun-digital-activities-for-kids

Wild, F. (2018, March 21). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved from Nasa Kids’ Club: https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub/index.html

Image Victorian Girl from Vintage Moth

 

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Break the Monotony: Summertime Activities for the Kids

Melissa Purcell, who wrote in 2014 on her blog My Humorous Mommy Life! about some of the summertime activities to keep kids busy.

Homemade Slime: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/07/24/how-to-make-gak-slime/.  This is free of Borax, and has only two ingredients.  This page also has some other activities to try out, along with other slime recipes.

Yo Yo Balloons: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2010/06/24/yo-yo-balloons-from-jessica-of-zakka-life/ — instructions are all there, but the youtube video is no longer available.  However, I found one that gives you an easy idea to work with

 

Chalk Paint: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/07/27/chalk-paint/ — if you have a sidewalk, give the kids a chance to make huge art in public!  Starch and water and food colours.  Add foam brushes and kids and your work is done!

Homemade Playdough: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2008/08/26/homemade-playdough/ — another fun creative kinetic easy recipe.

33 Activities under 10$ that will keep your kids busy all summer:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum — Wow, they ain’t kidding!  Here are some of the offerings: Coloured tape to make roads in the bedroom, or an outdoor board game; Chalk and sponge bullseye game; Exploding paint bags; painting on wet glue with food colouring (seems like a great way to learn about the colour wheel, mixing colours and all that); DIY a throwing tarp; A Jenga-style tower out of cut up sponges; A river in the back yard (what kid can resist a river?); Taping a paper towel to the wall keeps toddlers busy; Pipe cleaners and a colander does the same; Use burlap to make a sewing station; Experimentation using water marbles;

Buy a 2-ounce pack for $7.99 here.

A cool science experiment yielding alien bubbles; Extract DNA from Strawberries!; run balloon rockets; Bowl using erasers and marble; string up the hallway for Mission Impossible; Make soap clouds; Popcorn Olympics; Giant Bubbles; Decorate T-shirts with crayons; Marble Racetrack; Outdoor obstacle course

Summer bingo: http://www.enjoyutah.org/2012/04/summer-bingo-with-resources.html

Get creative with science:  http://www.pinterest.com/redtedart/science/http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/05/science-fun-for-kids.html — these pinterest ideas can get your child’s STEM on (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics).

STEM the summer Slide: http://www.middleweb.com/15579/ideas-activities-stem-summer-slide/ — another site with science experiment ideas, including a checklist to watch for as you do these activities.

 

Break the Monotony: Summertime Activities for the Kids.

Purcell, M. (2014, June 2). Break the Monotony: Summertime Activities for the Kids. Retrieved from My Humorous Mommy Life! And, the Many Inbetweens ….: https://myhumorousmommylife.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/break-the-monotony-summertime-activities-for-the-kids/

 

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Gramma Nettie seeks the treasure!

Children need to explore their surroundings.  Gramma Nettie needs a way to do this.  Here are a couple of free activities for families to get into some outside activities.  By using some free apps on my smartphone, I can take the grandkids out to explore their environment.

 

GeoCaching

The first one I got involved in was GeoCaching.  According to the website,

“Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt ….”

Players hide containers in hidden locations, and upload GPS coordinates to the website.  Finders use the website (www.geocaching.com) to search the map for nearby caches. You can use the coordinates on any GPS device or smartphone to get near the location.

But eventually, the player has to stop looking at the device and start looking at his surroundings.  He has to start thinking about where the cache might be.  He has to look high.  She has to look low.  This video explains how it is done:

Be sure to take some sort of small item to trade.  It could be a coin, or a bracelet or those rubber bands in the shape of an animal.  But don’t put food in, for obvious reasons.  Also, take a pen to sign the log book.

This is a very VERY popular sport with about 2.5 million caches worldwide and over 6 million players.  Yes, worldwide.  I have yet to be in an area without a cache.  And to think they’ve been hiding around you all this time!

As an example, check out the Argo Gold cache hidden by one of the counselors.  I haven’t found it yet, but I intend to try again soon.

You can take GeoTours in several continents.  A few that caught my eye was the Bigfoots Search in Bonneville Washington, the Santa Fe National Historic Trail GeoTour, the Schatzheuterin GeoTour in Germany, the Washington State Parks Centennial GeoTour, Thingsites GeoTour, Dinosaur Train GeoTour,  I won’t get to all of them, but they caught my eye none-the-less.

One GeoCacher suggested we adopt a secret hand signal to indicate we are fellow cachers.  Read what he has to say here:

http://camswitzer.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/geosign-language/

Munzee

Another growing sport is called Munzee.  I know, it is an awkward name.  It is a variation of the German word for coin, but with an extra “e” added at the end.

This is also a treasure hunt, but without the treasure.  Instead, the player uses a free app on her smartphone to find a hidden QR code.  She then scans it, which gives the distinctive — and satisfying — “ding” and voila! you have just earned five points.

There are not as many Munzees deployed.  In fact, in my own county I have pioneered all but three of the deployments.  It is a lonely job, but somebody has to do it.

An interesting Munzee is the Galerie Trinitas near the campus of Great Falls University.

As a player, you can generate QR codes on the website, print them out and laminate them to deploy.  Or you could purchase some generic sticker munzees to place out and about.  It is a cheap hobby, and I have some of each.

When I deploy munzees, I try to choose a site of interest, or has fascinating history involved.  In my city, there is an old hotel, an old bank and other historic buildings.  There are also lots of old mining campsites in the mountains.

I have placed munzees at the top of mountain passes, and at some photography sites at the wildlife refuge.  All of these are great places to deploy munzees, and then add the historical description on the webpage for everyone to learn.  Again, great activity to get the grandkids out and about.

Choose one or choose both, and get out there for new adventures! — Gramma Nettie

 

 

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