Monday, January 16, 2023

5+ Videos for Kids on How to Draw Martin Luther King Jr.



In honor of MLK Day, I decided to share with you some really great video tutorials for kids on how to draw Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Art is always a fun way to learn about historical figures, especially if you can't make a trip to the library for biographies or don't have any other resources to study someone. Below are several videos for drawing the famous civil rights activist. And I tried to include ones for different ages and skill levels.

This post contains affiliate links.

Gather Your Art Supplies


Before you get started, first decide on the video tutorial you'll be using. Then go ahead and get all your art supplies together. Here are some of the supplies used in the following art lessons.


How to Draw Martin Luther King Jr. Videos


Art for Kids Hub is one of my favorite drawing-for-kids channels. They have this video tutorial for How To Draw Cartoon Martin Luther King Jr.:


BONUS! You may also enjoy their drawing lesson for How To Draw I Have A Dream:


I love Making Art with Ms. B's directed drawing video because it's a different presentation of Dr. King - SO creative!


Art Projects for Kids has this simple and fabulous video lesson for drawing Dr. King:


Older students may enjoy this How to Draw Martin Luther King EASY - Step by Step for KIDS w/ Background from Mr. Schuette 's - ART CLASS:


And I really love this easy tutorial from Deep Space Sparkle that uses sharpie markers and watercolors for making a Martin Luther King Jr. Portrait:



Tuesday, January 10, 2023

7 Screen-Free Games for Elementary Kids


Like many parents, one of my goals at the beginning of every year is to get my kids to spend less time staring at a screen. So I'm always on the lookout for games and activities that will engage my kids and keep them busy offline and off tech. Here's one list of seven fun screen-free games for elementary kids that will give you ideas for helping your kids have fun without a device.

This post contains affiliate links.



Puzzles

The best thing about puzzles is that everyone can enjoy them. Be sure to choose puzzles with the right amount of pieces to make it a bit of a challenge without making it too hard for your children. A minimum of 24 pieces and up to 100 pieces is best for elementary-aged children. Or consider this family puzzle that comes with 20 big pieces for little kids and 40 pieces for big kids (and adults!). It's challenging enough for two people of vastly different ages and experiences to enjoy.




The Matching Game

Play the matching game with the kids. It strengthens their memory skills and can easily pass the time. There are lots of different versions of this game! One of my favorites is this one by eeboo (shown above). 


Printable Lotería Sets with Different Themes

OR you can consider downloading and printing one of my themed lotería sets to add a cultural twist. Then just print two copies of the game boards and cut them into cards.


Candy Land Dora the Explorer


Board Games

Do you use board games to supplement your lessons? There are so many games on the market now teaching everything from fractions to geography that you can find one to use with almost any subject. Even some old fashioned checkers, chess, or backgammon can be really fun for young kids.

I find these games to be valuable tools because they make learning fun, and they serve to reward my kids for their hard work. And the best part is that you can find board games in Spanish, too!

Here are a few games that I highly recommend for kids 5 and up:


Card Games for Kids

Card Games

We have stacks of cards in our home. From Uno to those card decks you get in a kids' meal at Chick Fil-A to regular playing cards. And the number of card games that you can find instructions for online seem endless! 

Our favorites for kids ages 4 to 8 are:


Gamewright Little Hands Playing Card Holder


Also, I recommend using this card holder to help little hands hold their cards in order. 




Crossword Puzzles & Word Searches

Have fun testing skills with word puzzles! Kid-friendly crossword puzzles are free to download online from a variety of sites. But you can always find these game books at your local bookstore or online. They come with lots of themes and even in Spanish!



Homemade obstacle course for kids
© Can Stock Photo  serrnovik



Homemade Obstacle Course

It's hard not to love an obstacle course. Children love the physical activity and the challenge. So consider making an obstacle course at home using different items, such as plastic rings, cones, pool noodles, cords or ropes, and so much more! You may have most of the supplies you need at home, but if not, here's a simple obstacle set from Imagym.


Hide and Seek Game

Hide and Seek

Enjoy a fun game of hide and seek! If you have an only child, you may have to get in there and play, too. You will be amazed how much fun it is to actually play this game with your child (I get the giggles while hiding from my 5yo). But if you aren't available to paly, your child can still have fun by turning the game into a treasure hunt. You can pick out any item (plush dolls work best), and hide it for your child to find.


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Friday, December 30, 2022

Latin Americans in History

 
I am SO excited to share that my newest book is now available for pre-order! Latin Americans in History: 15 Inspiring Latinas and Latinos You Should Know (aff link) was wonderful to research and write and I hope that you will all run out (or get online) and buy a copy! This book is a collection of biographies written for children ages 8 to 12 years old. It introduces them to a few well-known (and some not so well-known) figures of Latin American heritage in history.

This post contains affiliate links.


Teaching Children a More Complete History

One of the most frustrating things that I've noticed over the years is how true Latin American history has been ignored - or erased? - from history books. The only mention that Latin America typically gets in any history curriculum is by way of the Mesoamerican civilizations and the Spanish "discovery" and conquest/colonization of America.

How many historical figures of Latin American heritage can you actually think of? Maybe you think of Rigoberta Menchú or Simón Bolívar or maybe Benito Juárez? If you are familiar with their names AND their stories, then you should give yourself a pat on the back because you are in the minority.

Latin Americans in History: Biographies for Children


My book was written to introduce children ages 8 to 12 to some of the remarkable men and women of Latin American heritage who have made a difference in their countries and on world history. These 15 inspiring Latinas and Latinos are:

  • José Gervasio Artigas
  • Simón Bolívar
  • María Piedad Castillo de Levi
  • Guillo Pérez
  • Antônio Carlos Jobim
  • Gabriel García Márquez
  • Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro
  • Dolores Huerta
  • Rita Moreno
  • Pope Francis
  • Isabel Allende
  • Franklin Chang-Díaz
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Rigoberta Menchú
  • Cecilia Tait
In no way should these be considered the best or the most important figures to learn about. These 15 extraordinary figures barely touch the surface of the many, many noteworthy people who have loved their culture and fought for their people, countries, or traditions. 

The names chosen for profiles in this book were based on their diversity and representation. You will find an artist, musician, novelist, scientist, athlete, activist, suffragist, actor, and a Pope. They come from the U.S. and throughout Latin America, including Uruguay, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua, Argentina, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Peru.

Perhaps your children will recognize some of these names - or maybe they won't. And that's why I wrote this book. To help them learn, admire, and find confidence. 




And I'd like to give a huge shout out to Kristina Rodriguez, the talented illustrator whose artwork graces the pages of this book. Her beautiful portraits help children visualize the individuals we've highlighted in this biography.


Lesson Plans for Latin Americans in History


My new book officially launches on Tuesday, January 3rd. But you can pre-order it now

I am also making lesson plans for each individual chapter biography. They'll be available over the next few months. I'll update this post with links as they become available.


A Note About Brazil and Tom Jobim


Tom Jobim was a brilliant Brazilian musician. However, if you ask Brazilians or people of Brazilian heritage if they are Latin Americans, you may get different answers. The question of whether or not Brazil is part of Latin America remains controversial because it was a Portuguese colony, not a Spanish one. Therefore, it has a different history than its neighboring countries. However, in the spirit of inclusivity, Brazil has been included in this book. Just keep this question in mind as you read about Tom Jobim. 


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Thursday, December 22, 2022

5 Gifts to Empower Young Latinas

When I look for gifts for my kids, I try to find gifts that have meaning and value. So I wanted to put together a short list of some remarkable products that will empower young Latinas that you may be raising.

This post contains affiliate links.


Taking Flight With Captain Mama / Despegando Con Capitán Mamá

Taking Flight With Captain Mama / Despegando Con Capitán Mamá
by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato

This is the third book in the award-winning, bilingual, Captain Mama aviation series. I've written about the Captain Mama series before, so check out the reviews. In this story, Marco narrates as he and his classmates take flight on the KC-135R aerial refueling tanker during a class field trip. The students and teachers receive a pre-mission briefing and watch what each crewmember does to get the flying gas station ready to fly. In the air, they see the aircrew in action refueling some of the coolest jets in the U.S. Air Force and witness what happens when an emergency suddenly arises in flight! The book includes an original, bilingual origami jet project, bilingual glossaries and bilingual educational resources.


Latinas Breaking Barriers Flashcards


Latinas Breaking Barriers Flashcards
from Chicanx Scholars

50+ educational cards introducing the reader to strong Latina women who have defied the odds and overcome barriers of gender, race, class, and culture to become recognized leaders and role models all around the world in their respective fields.

Filled with colorful images and historical fun facts our youth are provided with the perfect opportunity to embrace their heritage, engage in meaningful dialogue about our past, and learn about the sacrifices prior generations have made.




HerStory Board Game
from Underdog Games

The premise of this game is that you’re an acclaimed author, writing a book to tell the stories of remarkable women in history. Discover iconic historical women as you do research, draft chapters, and complete the highest scoring book to win!120 HISTORIC WOMEN FEATURED: From Joan of Arc to Malala, HerStory includes historical legends and modern favorites. I have this game and it is amazing in both design and quality.


Create like Frida Self-Portrait Mirror Painting Kit


Create like Frida Self-Portrait Mirror Painting Kit
from KidsCrafts.org

Kids Crafts has a line of craft kits that feature remarkable trailblazing women in history, such as this one highlighting Frida Kahlo. Other kits include journaling, weaving, needle arts, and more to represent women such as Maya Angelou, Maria Montessori, and others.


Latin Americans in History: 15 Inspiring Latinas and Latinos You Should Know

by Monica Olivera (me!)

Discover the incredible contributions that people of Latin American heritage have made to world history! From politicians and physicists to poets and painters, these biographies for kids explore 15 incredible Latin American people who used their creativity, intelligence, and strong beliefs to improve the world around them.

  • Detailed biographies—Dive deep with stories that cover each person’s entire life, including their childhood, their accomplishments, and the challenges that they faced.
  • Learning and growing—These impressive people will inspire kids to discover their own talents and use them to achieve their dreams and support their community.
  • Beyond the book—Want to learn more? Each biography includes activity ideas and suggestions for further reading so kids can keep exploring.


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Thursday, December 15, 2022

Las Posadas Activities for Kids



Finding Las Posadas activities for kids can be difficult. So I thought it would be a great idea to put together one post that lists crafts and other activities for children of different ages. I've included craft tutorials, as well as a short list of printables that are available for parents and educators. For additional educational ideas, be sure to check out my post on Las Posadas Lesson Plans, Crafts, Activities, and Music

Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links.


Las Posadas Crafts for Kids




Here's a list of hands-on crafts for kids to make as they prepare for Las Posadas.

Crafts for Older Students


Materials to have on hand


Printables




Other Posts on Las Posadas



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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

5 Children's Books to Celebrate Hanukkah

 



As the end of the year approaches, numerous holidays take place, including Hanukkah. If you are raising a global citizen and are teaching your kids about holidays around the world or different religious traditions, be sure to check out my post, Hanukkah: Simple Resources for Learning about this Holiday. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short list of 5 children's books that celebrate Hanukkah.

This post contains affiliate links.


5 Picture Books that Highlight Hanukkah


Hanukkah at Monica's

by Varda Livney

No one loves Hanukkah more than Monica. And celebrating the Festival of Lights — lighting candles, singing blessings, eating delicious fried foods, and playing dreidel — is even more fun with friends. Luckily, Monica has lots of friends, including a robot, a pirate — even a jellyfish! Who’s going to arrive at her party next?


Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights

Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights
by Bonnie Bader

It's Hanukkah time! Preschoolers will learn all about how people celebrate Hanukkah--from eating latkes, spinning dreidels, exchanging gifts, and lighting the menorah. And they'll also learn why they celebrate--from the destruction of the Temple, the bravery of the Maccabees, and the miracle of that little bit of oil that lasted for eight nights. Filled with colorful illustrations and simple, yet informative text, this Big Golden Book is perfect for reading again and again. Share it with your family this Hanukkah!


The Eight Knights of Hanukkah

The Eight Knights of Hanukkah
by Leslie Kimmelman

It's the last night of Hanukkah and everyone is doing their part for the big celebration, but a dragon called Dreadful has other ideas. He roams the countryside, interrupting the party preparations. Lady Sadie must call upon the Eight Knights of Hanukkah to perform deeds of awesome kindness and stupendous bravery and put an end to the dragon's shenanigans.

When Dreadful eats all the special donuts the baker made, Sir Lily helps the baker make more sufganiyot. Sir Alex makes a young lad a new dreidel after Dreadful scorched his original one. And on the Knights go--but when they finally catch up to Dreadful, a funny surprise awaits them!


Oskar and the Eight Blessings

by Tanya Simon & Richard Simon 

A refugee seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht, Oskar arrives by ship in New York City with only a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to his new home in the north of the city, he passes experiences the city's many holiday sights, and encounters it various residents. Each offers Oskar a small act of kindness, welcoming him to the city and helping him on his way to a new life in the new world.


Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Hanukkah Holiday Book for Kids

by Naomi Howland 

Sadie and her four little brothers are very poor and always hungry. On the first night of Chanukah, Sadie performs a generous act, and in turn receives a frying pan that cooks up sizzling hot, golden latkes on command. Sadie tells her brothers never to use the magic pan, but when she goes out one afternoon, the mischievous boys can't resist. They remember the words to start the pan cooking . . . but what were the words to make it stop? This humorous tale of generosity and greed is accompanied by bright, cheerful illustrations depicting a traditional Russian village. An author's note and a recipe for Sadie's latkes are included.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Spanish for You! Special Holiday Offer



Special Holiday Offer for You!

Just for Mommy Maestra readers! Get a FREE Spanish for You! 10-Day Christmas Lesson with the purchase of a Spanish for You! Homeschool Themed Course Package that lasts the school year! No experience needed. (Best with ages 8+ but younger kids can join in on many things!)

The Homeschool Themed Course ($49.95) gives you an entire school year of Spanish learning ready to go! Super easy to implement in your homeschool with multiple ages that you can do at your own pace with step-by-step lessons. Also, completely reusable and comes with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee!


The 10-Day Christmas Lesson lets your kids build understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills with a Christmas theme. So easy and fun with lots of games and all step-by-step. And, like all Spanish for You! materials, you can always go at your own pace.

Listen to Debbie tell you about what comes inside a Homeschool Themed Course Package:


Your kids will learn to use vocabulary, properly conjugated verbs and grammar concepts to understand, speak, read, and write in everyday life.  And, they will have fun doing it! 


You Always Have Support from Spanish for You!


If you ever have questions while using Spanish for You! materials, you can always email Debbie Annett directly at support@spanish-for-you.net. She has written and taught every lesson and has worked with homeschool parents and co-ops for over 20 years! 





Order Spanish for You! for Yourself or to Gift to Someone!


To get your Spanish for You! 10-Day Christmas Lesson with the purchase of a Spanish for You! Homeschool Themed Course Package that lasts the school year, use code: freechristmas  Be sure to put both items in your cart. Valid through 12/31/22.

Any questions prior to purchasing, feel free to email Debbie at support@spanish-for-you.net.


The Giveaway


Enter below to win a $50 gift code to use on any Spanish for You! order! Two winners will be chosen. You must live in the U.S. to enter. Even if you’re not looking for Spanish materials, you could enter so you can gift the code to someone special if you win. Enter through December 13th. Two winners will be chosen randomly on December 14th.

¡Buena suerte!
 

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Audible Gift Memberships


When I'm looking for bilingual gifts to give this holiday season, I ask the members of my Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers Facebook group for advice. This year, I asked them what they thought about Audible and their response was SOO positive! Why? Because Audible has a section called Audible Latino that features thousands of books in Spanish or by Latino authors. So giving Audible Gift Memberships sounds like a great option for families and friends. 

This post contains affiliate links.

Spanish and Bilingual Audiobooks


Audible's Spanish-language book section includes tons of children's books. And they aren't just lousy Spanish translations of English books. Many of them are originally written in Spanish. 



For example, some of the titles that jumped out at me are:
  • Esperanza renace by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • Cuentos para entender el mundo by Eloy Moreno
  • Devolver al Remitente by Julia Alvarez
  • La Edad de Oro by José Martí
  • Cuentos de la Selva by Horacio Quiroga
  • El Quijote Contado A Los Niños by Rosa Navarro Durán

Native Spanish Speakers as Narrators


It's always great when the narrators are native Spanish speakers. You might enjoy this interview with Puerto Rican actor, Carlos Ponce, who is the narrator for the Harry Potter series in Spanish. The Spanish audiobook series is exceptionally well done.



A Valuable Tool for Bilingual Homeschoolers


Several of the homeschooling members of our Facebook group enjoy Audible and find it to be an invaluable tool in their bilingual homeschooling. For example, these audiobooks can be listened to during car rides, in waiting rooms, before bed, or as part of daily lessons. 

Not only does it help tune a child's ear to Spanish language, but it's a great way to teach Spanish or introduce new vocabulary. And it is a way to supplement or ensure regular exposure the language.

Audible Gift Membership Options


The excellent part is that gift memberships are available in 1, 3, 6 and 12-month membership options. This is great if you are on a budget but still want to give your family and friends something meaningful. And then they can decide if they love it and want to continue their membership throughout the year. 

AND Amazon will send your gift recipient an email on the day you choose along with redemption instructions, or allow you to print and give it directly based on the option you select.

If you're ready to purchase gift memberships for your loved ones, then head over to Amazon to select the Audible Gift Membership option that best works for you!




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Monday, November 14, 2022

7 Alphabet Learning Toys



It's the time of year when I shift my attention to gift buying in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. I start thinking about what my kids want and what they need. And where they're concerned, I'm always thinking about fun educational products that will help them learn and grow. Over the past year, I have focused on alphabet toys for preschoolers and kindergartners to help my youngest. And I wanted to share some of the ones that we've used, and a few others that I think would be great tools in a child's pre-literacy journey.

Educational Insights and Learning Resources are my two go-to brands for this type of resource. They have so many excellent educational toys to help teach and reinforce basic skills. But there are a few other smaller, but wonderful companies creating learning magic. I've tried to list the resources below in order of complexity, beginning with uppercase letter recognition and ending with beginning sounds.

The following post contains affiliate links.


Peaceable Kingdom Alphabet Bingo!


Alphabet Bingo


We began with this game and still play it today, even though my son knows his alphabet letters. This bingo game comes with six double-sided game boards, a bunch of counters, and 26 letter tokens with the capital on one side and an image on the other. Each image begins with the letter on the other side of the token. 

When we first started playing this game, my son always wanted to look for the picture which was easier, but I would always say the letter out loud instead of the name of the image. Or I would say, "R for rocket," emphasizing the r sound at the beginning of the word. This is a great first game for alphabet recognition.

This game is from Peaceable Kingdom.


Frida's Fruit Fiesta Alphabet Game


Frida's Fruit Fiesta Alphabet Game


This is, hands down, my favorite alphabet toy. Technically, it's a 2- (or more) player game. But it's one that even I don't mind playing regularly with my 5 year old. He's old enough now to recognize all the letters, but we still play the game because it's fun and a good way to reinforce his letter recognition.

This game comes with four player boards, three (connected) spinners, 26 game pieces (fruit bowls with a letter), and Frida (a toucan-shaped tweezer tool). Instructions are also included, of course. 

The objective of the game is to get four in a row on your player board in a manner similar to bingo (left-right, up-down, or diagonally). You spin all three spinners and choose the letter of the alphabet you want to place on your player board. Then your child uses Frida to "collect" the fruit bowl that has the letter in question.

It's super fun for littles and great for helping them identify upper case letters. The only thing I would change about this game would be to add lowercase letters as well.

This game is by Educational Insights.


Alphabet Learning Locks

Alphabet Learning Locks


This is another great toy that we have. I noticed a long time ago that my son was fascinated by keys and locks. So whoever invented this was pretty brilliant. Kids have to find the right key to unlock the padlock - and the "key" is that they have to match the upper- and lowercase letters! 

This is a really fun toy set by Dinhon.


Alphabet Acorns Activity Se


Alphabet Acorns Activity Set


I bought this set a few years ago for my son and he still plays with them. Alphabet Acorns comes with 78 pieces: 26 acorn bases, 26 acorn "caps" and 26 color-coded counters/figures. 

Each acorn has a capital letter displayed on the front, it's lowercase partner on the inside of the lid, and a surprise hidden inside that begins with the letter on the acorn. What a great way to help teach the alphabet! I really highly recommend this set. 

But parents be warned: It can be a challenge to keep up with the small figures inside the acorns if you don't keep an eye on your child while they are playing with the set.

This set is by Learning Resources.


ABC Cookies


ABC Cookies


This set is also on my list to purchase because it is the next level up. ABC Cookies comes with four different games that you can play to learn different concepts: 

  • letter recognition
  • upper and lowercase matching
  • letter sequencing
  • beginning sounds
Letter sequencing is, I think, often overlooked especially in homeschooling. So I really like this set from Learning Resources.


Learning Resources Smart Snacks Alpha Pops


Alpha Pops


The focus of this set is to learn upper and lowercase letters. It comes with 26 double-sided pops, that are also color coded to help children learn which letters go together. All the popsicles will connect with each other, so they may also be used to build simple two-letter words, such as "go," "at," "me," etc.

This set is also by Learning Resources.



Alphabet Island


I haven't actually bought Alphabet Island, but it is on my list of games to get this year. It caught my eye because players are required to match upper and lowercase letters or beginning sounds with the corresponding pictures. My 5 yo definitely loves playing games, so this is high on my list this year for Christmas. And it's a treasure hunt theme, which I know he will enjoy. 

This game is by Learning Resources.


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