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Make a Secret Message Scytale Spartan Cipher

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The days of passing notes in school may have been replaced with text messaging and Facebook, but there’s still something fun for kids about being being able to create secret messages.  

More Imaginative Play:
Kids' Learning Activities Spotlight10

Kids' Learning Activities

Celebrate Read Across America Week

Friday February 28, 2014

Next week is Read Across America Week--how will your family celebrate? There are probably celebrations planned in your area to coincide with Dr. Suess' birthday on March 2nd, but you can get a jumpstart on your week of reading at home.

If you read with your child for just 15 minutes a day and instill that as a habit he carries on through his lifetime, the number of books and subjects he can explore is astronomical. Once he becomes a fluent reader and, later in his life, is able to read about 600 words per minute, he'll be reading nearly 55,000 words a year! And that's just factoring in 15 minutes a day.

The important thing is to instill a love of reading. How you do that depends on your child, but here are some ways to start:

Ways to Get Kids Reading: Jumpstarting the Reluctant Reader
6 Fun Activities to Build Early Reading Skills

The Importance of Endings

Wednesday February 26, 2014
the end book

I've talked a lot over the years about teaching kids life lessons as well as academic lessons. I've explored why it's important for kids to make mistakes, talked about ways to teach kids to apologize, and showed you ways to work to increase your child's emotional vocabulary.

Another important life skill for kids to learn is that things come to an end. Whether it's a story that already has a beginning and a middle,a favorite activity that's ending for the season, or the end of a birthday party, kids have to learn that that there's a way for things to come to a close.

For me, it's my time with About.com that's coming to a close. My last day with About.com will be February 28, 2014. I've spent time writing as an Education Expert for Katherine Lee's excellent School-Age Children site and for the past few years have been honored to share ideas for learning here on the Kids' Learning Activities site.

When you teach kids about endings, it's a great opportunity to teach them about new beginnings, too. When you finish a book, you take those characters with you to the next book in the series. At the end of soccer season, you take the skills with you to the next sport. There's always something new to move on to and to move forward with.

I'm happy to say that's what I'm doing--taking this experience with me and moving on to a new beginning in my life. I'm sad to say goodbye to all of you, but excited to take what I've learned with me.

I have a new book, The Everything Parent's Guide to Special Education, coming out in April and I'll be spending more time writing about how parents can be advocates for their kids on my site EverythingKidsLearning, so you can follow my adventures there.

As for you, I wish you many easy endings and many more happy beginnings.

When Should You Worry About Your Child?

Tuesday February 25, 2014

Today on Parenting RoundAbout podcast, About.com parenting experts are tackling the issue of when you should worry about your child. To some degree, the answer is "when do you not worry about your child?" In all seriousness, though, it's a really important question to explore.

For me, it's a question close to my heart. As a trained early intervention specialist and the author of the upcoming book The Everything Parent's Guide to Special Education (more info about that is on my site EverythingKidsLearning), it's a question I think about and talk about often.

I think it's important to take a look at your child as a whole and make sure you know what he should be doing at his age, not what he might be able to do at his age. But that's not always easy when you're new to parenting. Luckily, About.com experts can help you with that.

Check out the Parenting RoundAbout podcast to hear our discussion, but remember to trust your instincts. If you're worried, ask the pediatrician!

What's His Story? Kids Writing About Characters

Sunday February 16, 2014
kid detective

I've talked a lot in the past few blog posts about getting kids writing. Once they've got the hang of it and start writing more involved stories, they're going to start writing about characters. It's not always easy to do because it involves not only writing, but also character building.

When you hear the words "character building," you might think of activities to help your child more sensitive person, but character building can also refer to the skill of kids writing about characters. The "What's His Story?" activity is great way to start building characters and back stories. It lets your child be a detective of sorts and gives an excuse to people watch.

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