Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Does your child need to expand his vocabulary? Building a good vocabulary is crucial to good reading and writing skills. There are four main types of vocabulary:

  • Reading Vocabulary-the words you recognize when reading
  • Listening Vocabulary-words you recognize when listening to speech
  • Writing Vocabulary-the words you can use when writing
  • Speaking Vocabulary-the words you use in speech
The average student learns about 3,000 words a year, or about eight words a day. Vocabulary is important not only because it helps with reading and writing, but it aids expressions and communication, linguistic vocabulary is synonymous with thinking vocabulary, and folks are often judged by others based on what their vocabulary.

I have my daughter work on vocabulary by playing online vocabulary games and other activities. One activity we do is play the dictionary game. Have one person (the leader) look up a word in the dictionary (something unusual) and write down the definition. The person who looked up the word says the word to the other player who write down a fake definition. They can write a funny definition or a serious one, it doesn’t matter as long as they try to write something believable. The leader then reads each definition, including the real one. Everyone tries to guess what the true meaning is.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kite Fun

Who says playing around doesn’t include learning? How is it that something that is heavier than air can fly? Kites are a great way to explore science, art, history… Kites must be important, after all there are museums about kites and even an Android app for your phone!

It is not certain where kites came from, but people of the South Sea Islands used to use them to fish. They attached bait to the tail of the kite and a web to catch the fish. Many people think kites may have originated in China or Japan.

A super history lesson can be based on the origination of the kite. Science can definitely be worked in while you learn about drag, lift, pull.. and more. Art plays into the lessons by decorating the kite you build. Even literature can be explored while learning about kites as you read myths about where kites came from. You can also have your child write a poem on a kite shape.

Little kids can work on developing their scissor skills, cutting and pasting technique, art embellishments, paper folding, design ideas…as they build paper kites.

Kite building for older kids can demonstrate basic aerodynamic principles such as the aerofoil and the dihedral, and factors affecting stability of flight. Science and kites just go together like peanut butter and jelly. Although you don’t have to know about aerodynamics to fly a kite, it can help you control your kite if you do.