Fairy Arts & Crafts for Kids

Hey everybody, here’s a post from my wife Maya. Enjoy!

Arts and crafts are a great way to improve hand-eye coordination and develop fine motor skills in children. Arts and crafts related to fairies can be even more exciting to children as they love all things magical and dainty, and what’s more it expands their imagination. They can continue to play with these little projects and create a make-believe world of fairies.

Make a Fairy

First, you will need a lovely fairy before you build a home for her. You can make a fairy using twigs and leaves, kind of like stick figures, and hold them together with sticky tape or glue. Fairies are after all nature beings. Children can also draw a fairy on card stock, color it, and cut it out. If you are looking for inspiration, you can look for fairy images online. There are virtual pet games websites that offer fairy drawing instructions.

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 “Fairies and Fantasy” by jaci XIII is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Build a Fairy Garden

A fairy garden is a fun project to begin as kids can continue to work on it and create little pieces of furniture or leave fairy treats. The fairy garden can be created in a garden or in a shallow pan. Layer the pan with soil. Create a grassy path by sprinkling grass seed and line pebbles on either side of it. Moss is also a great choice. You can add miniature plants like African violets, brass buttons, thyme, begonias, heron’s bill, and creeping Charlie.

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Fairy Gardening Pathways” by Chiot’s Run is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you have large sea shells, you can simply color them with a Sharpie and turn them upside down to make little fairy homes. Large leaves can be folded into cones and held together with sticks to create a small tepee. A small earthen pot can be transformed into a pond by surrounding it with pebbles and filling it with water. Fairy furniture can be made with pebbles and twigs gathered from the garden.

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Fairy garden 1” by Mary Louise Eklund is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A Sprinkle of Fairy Dust

Fairies love all things sparkly and sweet. Children can leave them sweet treats like a dribble of honey on a fresh, young leaf. Large crystals make a great finishing touch to your fairy garden. If not, you can simply scatter fairy dust. All you need is some talcum powder and glitter. Shake them together. The mixture can then be transferred into a tiny vial using a paper funnel; you get miniature mason jars and glass jars with cork stoppers in the market. Kids can then sprinkle the fairy dust in their fairy garden.

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Purple with muti color twinkles” by Valerie Everett is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Kids will have a fun time with this fairy arts and crafts project, and will enjoy coming up with new ways to spruce up their fairy garden!

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How to Choose the Right Learning Games for Kids

Come summer, there are a variety of games kids can play – dance games, puzzle games, learning games, escape room games and the list can go on. It is not easy to find the right game for children. A good game is one that will add value to their education. This could be by assessing their understanding of the subject or giving them the practice they need in the right context to give them a better grasp of the concepts.

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DSC05907-001” by Laurie Sullivan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here is a checklist that tells you what to look out for while looking for learning games.

Identify the Learning Goal

Before you even begin to look for a learning game, it is important to identify the purpose behind it. Narrow down the subject, topic, age and grade, and how you want to use the game to supplement classroom learning. If your first grader needs practice with addition via practice, then consider looking for games that cater to this specific goal.

Features of a Game

  • Interactivity – This feature keeps the children engaged as they have to be actively involved in taking a game forward. Their actions determine the flow of the game.
  • Good Story – Learning games that have a good story line or context can help children understand how and why a concept is applied. This could be as simple as a game of basketball that is used to practice addition or something that is long form and set within a virtual world. Graphics and music also add to the user experience. Not all games have a story or context in place.

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DSC05870” by Laurie Sullivan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

  • Progress & Rewards – Learning games that have different progress levels and offer rewards for achievements can be motivating to children. Rewards can simply mean a line of encouragement and the points they earn.
  • Fun – We cannot underestimate the fun factor in any video game because that is the one feature that sets it apart from textbooks and worksheets, and makes games alluring to children.

Types of Learning Games

Learning games are good for kids. These games are designed keeping in mind the learning goals. Games to develop critical thinking skills can be presented as puzzles and strategy games. Other games include but are not limited to adventure, interactive reading, and role playing games.

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DSC05903” by Laurie Sullivan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There is a choice of paid and free digital learning games for kids on the internet, and you can factor that into your decision. With this checklist in place, it will be easier to find learning games that will benefit children.

Endorse guts, not meanness

I like Mark Edmundson for two reasons – he writes great essays and he has written a book about Why Football Matters. Football is big in America. Little kids play football. Big burly kids play football. It’s a way out of poverty for many kids, thanks to college scholarships, which support footballers, but push them to keep up their grades if they want to continue playing football.

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Dsc_0198 by Brian J McDermott

Building Character

Playing football is a great way to build character. Camps like NFL Play 60 Character Camp help kids learn football, understand healthier lifestyles and get doses of character lessons that equip them with important life skills. Football can toughen kids. It teaches kids to get up after every fall. Resilience becomes a way of life. Humiliation might be a part of this toughening, but for most kids, the goal is to get back up on their feet.

The Dark Side

While building courage in football, it is easy for kids to go over to the dark side. In the process of toughening up, a mean streak might develop. That is where coaches step in. A good coach watches over his wards with a hawk’s eye. Team spirit is good, but the team must not swallow the individual. Courage must not darken into brutality. Team spirit must not deteriorate into a rowdy act. Coaches draw lines, and by that teach kids to draw lines. Lessons learnt on the field, help kids do the right thing both on and off the field.

Getting kids to Play

The summer is when a lot of kids start their football days. Parents want their kids to play for fun, character building and many other reason. Belts on helmets are tightened and eyeball to eyeball tough looks are given. Hurts are soothed and encouragement is shouted. But then there are many kids who don’t start off with an interest in football. They would much rather play pet games or spend time on virtual games. In such a situation, it is for the parents to start playing with the kids. Making play a habit, encourages kids to get outside the house. It could start with family, and then include friends. Once kids have a taste for play, it is hard for parents to get them back in. Then football, is just the next step!

This summer, get into the habit of playing.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy… and Mama

This line is wonderful – ‘Daddy was free to be Daddy because Mama was Mama.’

Storyshucker

With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday I’d like to acknowledge the obvious individual…Mama.

She still laughs remembering Daddy’s funny stories. He artfully told his silly tales and endless supply of jokes to keep everyone entertained. Daddy could be truly funny and Mama was the first to laugh. After sixty years of marriage there’s no doubt she’d heard his material several times over but Daddy loved to see people laugh and Mama wouldn’t have him disappointed. She loved him and laughed hard at his jokes, chastised his colorful language, and coyly prompted him to repeat her favorites. Daddy enjoyed making others laugh and Mama happily served as the perfect straight man even if she occasionally found herself the brunt of his playful banter.

An aunt grinned and asked Mama, “How in the world do you live with him?”

“It ain’t easy.” Mama answered, shaking her head.

Daddy’s vegetable garden was perfection…

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The Mathlete in Football

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Image Credit: http://www.footballfoundation.org/tabid/567/Article/54652/John-Urschel-Makes-Draft-Predictions-for-ESPN-The-Magazine.aspx

Q: Which footballer is 6 feet 3 inches tall and is a 308-pound offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL?

Q: Which footballer tweets ‘Happy Pi Day!’?

Q Which footballer wrote unabashedly, ‘…I love hitting people..’

A.: John Urschel

Followers of football might not know that he has completed 1o seasons and at the end of every season, his mother has had a conversation with him about leaving the sport. She is afraid. Afraid he will become a statistic in the world of brain injuries. After Chris Borland, quit saying he was concerned about brain injuries, at the age of 24, one wonders if Jean Urschel made a wise decision to stay. His mother also knows that he has another whole world waiting for him – the world of mathematics. To be fair he does straddle the words of mathematics and football, with great élan, because he loves both.

He feels a lot of kids who don’t like mathematics or those who feel they do not have a flair for mathematics, pick up and get comfortable with math as they play fantasy football and other mathematical games. He feels math helps in decision making and problem solving. In his own words –

One of the most important components of being an elite athlete is to be able to see something, take that information at an instant, and make a split second decision, and make sure it is the right decision. This is something that requires great intelligence and it requires fast twitch brain muscles. Not just fast twitch running jumping hitting. Fast twitch thinking, which mathematics trains.

A jock who loves mathematics – that is a rarity. May his wish to be a titled player come true. Good Luck!