Showing posts with label Activities for children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Activities for children. Show all posts

Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn Is In the Air!

fall leaves
Bald Eagle State Park in rural Pennsylvania offers fun
Autumn activity for families, activities for children
and beautiful Autumn foliage.

Can’t you just feel the changes in the air? The nights are cooler and the days are getting shorter and shorter.  Autumn has arrived! What do you think of as the season changes from the “dog days” of summer to that wonderful crisp, cool autumn weather? Our beautiful summertime slowly starts to slip away as the leaves start to change colors to display their beautiful autumn foliage and eventually fall from the trees. Could that be why we call it Fall?

Have you ever wondered just what other things start to change along with the seasons. If you have pets or livestock you will notice definite changes in them as they start to grow out their winter coats. Fewer hours of daylight trigger this change. Just like foliage, pets and livestock are part of the changing images of autumn, as their coats get thicker. So if you see horses getting rather fuzzy you will know why! Some animals, like the Arctic fox and hare, change their color to white to camouflage themselves better in winter months.

Time to Talk Healthy!

We also must be aware that changes in weather can affect our health. From flu season to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), we need to keep ourselves healthy as the temperatures drop. Scheduling a seasonal physical with your health care professional is a good idea for all ages to establish a baseline for a variety of areas that are important as we age. Cholesterol levels, thyroid levels and blood sugar are just a few.  By establishing a baseline your doctor knows quickly when there are changes in your body. Your doctor can learn a lot from a simple blood test that actually checks for several things in a person’s body. This can detect early something that could be a potential health issue if left untreated. Make this an annual autumn activity for families!

A visit to the doctor is particularly important for senior citizens as they are more susceptible to flu and cold weather illnesses, like pneumonia. Doctors' offices and many pharmacies offer vaccines and many are covered by insurance. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see what is covered.

Let’s Have Some Fall Fun!
Autumn leaves
Autumn foliage as trees change color

Autumn is my favorite time of the year for other reasons too. The beautiful colors of fall subtly appear on the trees in their autumn leaves ranging from soft yellows and gold to the bold reds of the maple trees. Soon the leaves will fall as the temperatures also begin to fall making way for winter.

images of autumn
Collecting fall leaves for crafts is one of
many Autumn activities for children.

Fall is a great time of the year to dress up your dining room table with mini bouquets of gorgeous leaves tied together with colorful ribbons. It is a great time for easy craft projects with materials at your fingertips out of your own backyard. There are plenty of free fall craft ideas online. Art Is Helping Kids is a great resource for free activities for all seasons.

Fall is also a great time to encourage your kids to help with the yard work. Making a family fun game of raking fall leaves is a great way to motivate kids to get involved. Have relay races to see who can get the biggest pile in the shortest amount of time. Just make sure that you provide them with kid-size tools for safety measures. If you have pine trees in your yard, the kids can gather the pine cones for future craft projects for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pine cone crafts, like making turkey table decorations or scented pine cones for the upcoming holidays, can be easy and fun projects for kids.

This is a really fun time of year that the whole family can enjoy and that offers a variety of activities for children and adults of all ages. Don't hesitate! Get started because Autumn will soon turn to Winter. HAPPY AUTUMN!

Cindy Foley
Contributing Writer

Monday, September 17, 2012

Teaching Children the Basics of Money

money lessons
Teaching money skills to kids will make them happy.
Kids LOVE money so why not teach them great money skills? I think the more kids understand about the value of money and how to save money the better off they will be when they become adults. 

You can teach your child how to count money just like you teach them to count numbers.  There are a lot of activities for children that teach them how to count money. Learning through games, counting money worksheets and going to the store with you are great ways to learn about money.  Many parents taught their kids about money and how to use it by having them total the cost of groceries with a calculator as they put items in the basket. This helps them with their math skills and helps them grasp the cost of things.

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

In our household of four we have two spenders and two savers. Our youngest, like me, loves to spend. Our oldest likes to save, like my husband. Our kids were able to see how to spend and how to save, which was valuable. If my husband and I both liked to spend, they might not have learned the value of saving. We tried to teach them at a very young age the famous saying "Money doesn't grow on trees." 

When they were preschoolers the money lessons were very easy. We used piggy banks where they could save their money.  After saving some, we took them to the store and let them buy something they wanted.  Although they didn’t completely understand the concept at that age, at least they knew that saving coins in their banks meant they could get something that they really wanted. As they got older it was easier to explain.

That’s when we started assigning chores and an allowance for our kids was established.  Not only did they apply saving money, but they also had to start making decisions about purchases based on their savings.
Learning by Doing
Money skills money lessons
Chore chart to track progress.

Keeping a chore chart and paying kids an allowance at the end of each week lets kids see their progress. Free Behavior Charts is a website where you can print out a free chore chart. They can be customized with popular characters your kids know and love. Goal for It also has free customizable chore charts that you can print, or use on line. Computer savvy kids might love that!

Putting up a visible reminder also adds extra fun and motivation to chores and will gives kids a sense of pride when they can track their accomplishments. Add some colorful magnets and it's even more fun!

For children under ten years, a list of chores and activities like this could work well:

•  Brush teeth
•  Feed pets
•  Homework
•  Make your bed
•  Clean your room

For kids over ten, your list could look something like this:

•  Dishes
•  Clean up after pets
•  Mow lawn
•  Vacuum
•  Wash car

Make learning about money a family activity:

•  Have a "Money" game night and play Monopoly, Pay Day, or my favorite Life. 
•  Make a lemonade stand that the whole family can enjoy.  Let them borrow the money for supplies, and explain that they need to pay back the loan with their earnings. This teaches kids about what a bank does and the importance of paying back a loan.

As our children get older their toys become more expensive. If they understand the value of money they may understand why they can't get that expensive toy right away.  Our girls kept asking us for a Mac laptop and we just kept telling them to save their money.  Finally last month, they had both saved enough money to each buy one. They are very nice computers and my daughters take very good care of them.  I think it is because they know exactly how hard they had to save and work to buy them. They appreciate something they worked hard for and they both have a sense of pride when they tell everyone that they saved up for it all by themselves.  It also made me very proud to know that my girls are responsible and they understand that you have to work hard to get things in life.  Oh, and it was also nice to keep my checkbook in my wallet while they spent some of their hard-earned cash!

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer