4 Things Your Child Can Learn from Baking

things-your-child-can-learn-from-baking-1

The holidays are approaching! For many of us, the holidays are about spending time with family and friends, and making tasty treats with these loved ones is often a tradition. This year, why not accomplish your bonding, baking, and even a little education all at the same time by inviting your child to help you mix up this season’s yummy desserts? Check out four things that your child can learn from baking

  1. Measurement

Adding a half cup of this and a teaspoon of that may seem simple, but hands-on experience can help your child understand measurement, fractions, and volume in new and deeper ways. Suddenly, the size difference between a half-cup and a whole-cup makes a lot more sense. You can even show your child how using the half-cup measure twice makes one whole-cup, while maybe saving yourself from having to wash the one-cup measure you had already used.

  1. Multitasking

Holiday baking is a process, and working alongside you in the kitchen provides a way for kids to sort out all the little tasks involved. Ask one of your helpers to set a timer while you put the cookies in the oven. While the first batch is baking, show them how to be efficient by getting the next tray of cookies ready. While cookies cool on a rack, work together to tidy up the baking area. Teach your children to manage time, and at the same time, keep them busy while they wait to sample the desserts.

  1. Chemistry

Have you ever goofed and used baking soda when you should have used baking powder? If you have, you know that the result is not what you hoped for. Take this opportunity with your child to talk a little bit about chemistry. For example, what’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Why do recipes require eggs? Helping your child approach baking as an edible science experiment may transform you from parent to mad scientist in your child’s eyes.

  1. Vocabulary

Recipe-reading is a great way to practice interpreting and following instructions, but recipes also come with a specific sort of vocabulary. Beat, whip, fold, whisk, and blend are all ways of combining ingredients; however, each has a specific meaning. The same goes for cut, chop, slice, dice, and mince. Teaching this vocabulary now and giving kids a chance to practice the skills can prepare them to someday make their own tasty holiday treats. More importantly, they’ll gain the confidence and some of the kitchen skills they’ll need to prepare nutritious foods on their own.

5 Winter Songs Appropriate for Just About Any Classroom

winter

The holiday season is quickly approaching! If you have turned on the radio or strolled through the mall lately, you’ve probably noticed that the airwaves are full of songs about snow, holly, and pine trees. But, for many teachers, finding music appropriate for singing at school can be a challenge. Songs that hint at a man in a red suit are often not an option for winter concerts and music lessons.

However, there are still many “winter song” options. Here are five that are often associated with the holidays, but remarkably, their traditional lyrics don’t mention Christmas. With this list, you can bring music into your classroom this holiday season.

Remember: Always review the lyrics and any recordings you plan to use prior to introducing them to your class.

 

Winter Wonderland

While this song is often included on Christmas albums, it is really a song about two people walking through a meadow and stopping to build a snowman. There are many versions of this song, all with slightly different lyrics. Here is one version I like!

Frosty the Snowman

This beloved winter song is one that most children already know. The classic Gene Autry recording of this song is among the most famous, but regardless of the version they all tell the story of a snowman who magically comes to life to play with the neighborhood children.

Jingle Bells

You’ve probably heard kids singing the “Batman smells” version of this song, but the original is equally engaging. Don’t believe it’s a “winter song”? Check out the lyrics for yourself here. You can find the Kidsongs kids singing this fun song here!

Sleigh Ride

This one is a classic in both its instrumental and lyric versions. The song’s lyrics tell of a group traveling though a winter scene via a horse-drawn sleigh. They’re headed to a party at a neighboring farm where there will be fantastic food. The a cappella group, Pentatonix, has an impressive adaptation that can inspire your little musicians with intricate melodies and harmonies, not to mention beat-boxing.

My Favorite Things (From The Sound of Music)

In 1959, Rodger and Hammerstein did not set out to write a holiday tune. They were creating a soundtrack for The Sound of Music, a Broadway musical that became a timeless, beloved film. For many folks, however, “My Favorite Things” has become synonymous with winter holidays. Although it makes no mention of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Solstice, this song—with its lovely patterned lyrics and concrete images—is perfect for inspiring joy and gratitude any time!

Fashion through the snow!

winter wear

The winter season is upon us, and you’ve probably already started shopping for your children’s outdoor winter wear. Nowadays, cold-weather attire can be fashionable, but functionality is a must, especially in those colder climates! Check out these tips on what to look for when buying winter wear for your children.

  • Let’s start with boots. Finding a good quality pair of boots is so important, especially if your child walks to school. The boots should have insulation, be water resistant, and have enough traction to keep your child steady on those icy sidewalks. You can find trendy boots for your child that have all these elements, but don’t assume it’s the case with every pair. Check the label or ask a sales clerk to make sure.
  • A winter coat that is durable and will keep your child warm throughout the cold winter months is a must! If you can, find a coat that has a removable inner jacket. This is a great option to have on those warmer winter days.
  • One problem with coat-shopping is deciding what kind of material to look for. Down or synthetic insulation—which is better?! It all comes down to personal preference. Down insulation is made from the soft feathers of a goose or duck. It is incredibly warm and lightweight, so your child won’t feel bogged down in the coat. Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is considered better able to resist moisture and is usually hypoallergenic. Coats with synthetic insulation typically dry faster than down-insulated coats, too. There is a downside, however. Synthetic has a reputation of being heavier than down, so consider that as well. Whatever you choose, you will find plenty of fashionable coats for your child that are made with either material.
  • Last but not least—winter accessories. Your children might complain when they’re bundled up in all their winter gear. Hats, scarves, gloves and mittens are just too much winter warmth! Regardless of their complaints, we know the importance of all this protection. When shopping for winter accessories, just make sure they are practical for your child’s activities. For example, if your child likes to be outside a lot, you will probably want to make sure the accessories are lined with an extra layer of material for added warmth.

Now that you’re ready for the flakes to fall, why not check out our Flurry of Math activity!

Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Bisque Recipe

Social Studies teaches us that, to many indigenous peoples, squash was an important fall crop. Today, squash is still an important fall food and one your children will love. Try our Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Bisque. It’s so simple to make. It also is a perfect soup to serve to your kids on a crisp, cool day this fall. Not only will you love it, but your kids will love it too! It is something that will surely warm their tummies after a day of outside play. The best part? You are not only making dinner delicious, but you are mixing it with an excellent fall treat—APPLE CIDER!

Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Bisque Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, apple, squash, and thyme. Sauté until everything is slightly softened (15-20 minutes). In a large pot, add the chicken stock and apple cider and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the onion, carrot, celery, apple, squash, and thyme to the large pot. Cover and simmer until apples and squash are tender (30-40 minutes). Let it cool.

Puree the mixture in a blender on medium speed until smooth. Return the mixture to the large pot and stir in the whipping cream and cinnamon. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Heat and serve.

6-8 Servings

Butternut squash

Using the slow cooker to help with Thanksgiving dinner

slow cooker

Let’s face it… using a slow cooker to make meals just makes life easier! Think about the best way to let it help you with preparing one of your biggest feasts of the year—Thanksgiving dinner!

  • Yes, you can make the turkey this way! First, it will depend on your slow cooker’s size and the size of turkey you want to serve, but you can indeed cook a whole turkey in a slow cooker. Doing a simple Google search for “slow cooker whole turkey recipes” will bring up a slew of recipes. We found one from Just A Pinch Recipes that sounds delish!
  • Think about your side dishes. Making at least one of your side dishes in a slow cooker can really save you some time, especially since most slow cooker recipes require very little prep. Check out these easy recommendations from Betty Crocker. Beware though, scanning through them will definitely make you hungry!
  • Believe it or not, there are plenty of desserts that can be made in a slow cooker. We actually found a crustless pumpkin pie recipe that’s amazing and super easy to make! Check it out on Recipes that Crock!

So, save your oven space for baking rolls and warming pre-made casseroles. No matter how much food you need to prepare, we’re pretty confident that putting your slow cooker to use will make your Thanksgiving dinner easier and a little more delicious!

Counting Kernels Science Activity

Counting Kernels Science

Kernels ScienceAre you looking for a salty snack to go along with your movie or a science project for your classroom? Well, there is one fun treat that is both: POPCORN! This versatile little grain can engage students in a fun and interactive science lab. What makes popcorn pop? How can we change whether or not the kernels will pop? Can we use science to make more kernels pop?

The Simple Solutions team has created these interactive science lessons for grades 3-8 to help you explore the pop-pop-possibilities of popcorn in your classroom.

Kernels Science Kernels Science Kernels Science Kernels Science

Kernels Science

We love seeing all of the fun you have with our ideas! Don’t forget to share how you put these activities to use! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Looking for a science Activity for Grades 1-2? Check out our Five Senses Popcorn Activity Experiment here!

Five Senses Popcorn Activity

Five Senses Popcorn Activity

Searching for a science lesson perfect for the five senses? Look no further! The Simple Solutions team has got you covered with our Five Senses Popcorn Activity for kindergarten through second grade. In this fun and interactive science project your students will have the chance to explore sight, sound, taste, touch, and texture using popcorn. This comparative activity will help your class practice their observational skills and give them the chance to try a yummy (and relatively healthy) snack all in the name of science!

popcorn activity popcorn activity

Let us know what you and your class thought of this activity. Share your comments and photos with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

 

Looking for a science Activity for Grades 3-8? Check out our Counting Kernels Experiment here!

Finding Great Educational Toys This Holiday Season

Educational Toys

Starting the holiday shopping season can sometimes seem like a dreaded task, especially when you’re trying to find games and toys that are educational. You’re plagued by questions like, “Will my kid like what I buy? Is it a waste of money? Will he quickly outgrow it?” and so on.

We looked at what’s on the shelves this holiday season and came up with a few questions to consider when choosing educational toys.

Shopping for the holidays can be enjoyable—it doesn’t have to be hard!

  • Is the toy is age-appropriate? In today’s market, there is no shortage of appealing toys. But if your child isn’t developmentally ready for a certain toy, it’s probably not the best purchase. The same holds true if you find a toy that isn’t appropriately challenging. To be enjoyable, an educational toy should be neither too hard, nor too easy to play with. You can always ask your child’s teacher for ideas about the kinds of play that might be academically useful.
  • Is the toy fun? Don’t buy a toy just because it’s labeled “educational.” Think about what might make it interesting to your child. For example, if your child loves art, then investing in an easel artist set is probably a good decision. But if your child doesn’t love music, buying a ukulele probably isn’t the best idea, even if you want her to play a musical instrument.
  • Is the toy recommended? Check out toy reviews. Look at games and toys that have won awards, such as Oppenheim, Parents’ Choice, and TOTY (Toy of the Year). Ask around—other parents and kids (of all ages) can give you some great ideas!

Here are some of our recommendations:

I love toys that let you create something. One of my all-time favorites was Creepy Crawlers (still available at Amazon). I played with it for years! Santa used to put bottles of Plastic Goop in my stocking at Christmas, so I could keep making things. It was creative and incorporated some cooking chemistry. -Nancy

One of my favorite toys was the Etch a Sketch. I remember taking it in the car on long drives to keep me occupied. I also loved the Spirograph and the board game Life. My kids both liked any kind of puzzle and materials to create things (paper, markers, stamps, stickers, etc.) -Pat

There’s a card game called SET that is super challenging and fun. It would be a great for grades 6-8 although some younger students may enjoy it too. -Sydney

I always search “toys” at NAGC.org (National Association for Gifted Children). It has a yearly list of recommendations from kids of all ages. Choosing from this list always makes me a hero with my nieces and nephews. -Donna

 

educational toys

3 Ways to Make Parent-Teacher Conferences More Productive

Parent-teacher conferences are a great time to learn about your child’s strengths and how you can build on his or her academic successes. You can also utilize conferences to understand whether or not your child may be struggling. Making the most of parent-teacher conferences is a great way to get involved with your child’s education!

Here are three ways to make parent-teacher conferences more productive:

  1. Prepare: Review your child’s homework assignments, graded quizzes or tests prior to going to the conference. Where do you see a need to improve? Also, ask your child what he or she likes or dislikes about school. Take notes and bring them to the conference to discuss your questions or concerns with the teacher.
  2. Listen: Pay attention to what the teacher has to say about your child. Ask to see examples if the teacher references something positive or negative about your child’s school work. This will help you understand what the teacher is suggesting. Make sure the teacher explains ways that you can also encourage and help your child with his or her studies at home.
  3. Review: After the conference is over, be sure to speak with your child. Explain what happened at the conference and discuss what you learned. Set goals together and lay out a plan to reach those goals. Make it a positive experience for you both.

Conferences

 


Simple Solutions COMMON CORE UNWRAPPED are mathematics resources for teachers and parents. Each page focuses on a single standard, “unwrapping” it for ease of understanding. Simple Solutions COMMON CORE UNWRAPPED are incredibly easy to use!

smart-picture

 

Socks that Grow!

socks

If you follow us on social media (and if you don’t already, you should) you may have seen that the Simple Solutions team has got socks on the brain!

twitter facebook instagram pinterest

Throughout the month of October Simple Solutions has been participating in Socktober. This event is a worldwide drive to help those in need by collecting and donating socks. This simple idea will help those less fortunate keep their toes warm as the wind starts to blow colder.

For all of you out there who are participating in Socktober with us or those of you who will be conducting clothing drives in the coming months, we have created a sock themed activity to get your students thinking about socks. Don’t forget to share with us how you use these activities and our other great products in your classroom.

Socks that Grow!

socksseeds-socks  growth-observation growth-table

 

To find out more about how you or your school can get involved in Socktober visit: http://happysocktober.com/

 

smart-picture

Welcome to the S2Mart website where you can create your own worksheets using our generator or purchase downloadable resources that focus on a single state standard.