24 Ways to Use Your “Elf” to Teach Giving and Kindness (+ giveaway )

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{This is NOT a sponsored post.}

 

Elves.

Does one magically appear in your house at the beginning of the holiday season?

Or are you on the fence about getting one this year?

We’ve all seen the pictures on our feeds.  Elves wreaking havoc in people’s homes:   making messes in the kitchen, tearing up the bathroom, and playing pranks on the families they visit.

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Our elf playing the filipino game “sungka”
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Our elf reminding us there are 9 days left until Christmas using butterscotch chips!
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Our elf channeling Miley Cyrus

Many parents buy them as a fun Christmas tradition.  They tell their children “The elf is keeping an eye on you and will tell Santa  about any misbehavior they see.”

So why do we make the elves do such mischievous things?  Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid modeling to children?

This seems rather ironic.

So instead of having 24 mornings of finding your elf doing something silly or mischievous, why not use this as an opportunity to teach your children character.  After all, we are using it partly to guide their character during the holiday season right?  This is an opportunity to teach children not about behaving well as a countdown to focus on receiving gifts on Christmas morning.  Let’s teach children about giving and kindness.

24 Ways Your Elf Can Teach Giving and Kindness

Many of the elf “surprises” can be divided into two categories:  Pay it Forward and Kid Action.  Pay it Forward surprises are when your elf does something special for your child or children and asks the children to “pay it forward” and do something similarly kind for someone else.  Kid Action items are suggestions your elf presents to help your child make their day a bit kinder.  Here are some ideas you can implement for all 24 days of December for Christmas Day or you can take some of your favorites to use!

  1. Elf can set up your child’s toothbrushes with toothpaste in their bathroom with a cute note saying “Let’s brighten that smile to share happily with others today!”
  2. Elf can set up your child’s shoes, backpack, lunchbox, etc. ready and waiting by the door with a positive note for the day “Have a terrific day!”.
  3. Elf can leave a few canned goods with a note encouraging the child to donate it to their local church pantry or foodbank.
  4. Elf will leave a holiday pencil for the child and a second one for the child to give to a friend that day.
  5. Elf will leave a compliment on a note for the child.  This could be for something specific they did the day before/recently or a compliment for their personality!
  6. Elf will make the child’s favorite treat overnight (cookies, brownies, snack, etc.) and have some bagged for the child to share with a friend.
  7. Elf will cook the child’s favorite breakfast.
  8. Elf will leave a good luck note for an upcoming performance, test, etc.
  9. Elf will leave a congratulations note for the child regarding a recent accomplishment.
  10. Elf will leave a “caught being good” note or small treat and mention something good the child did that he/she should be truly proud of!
  11. Elf will leave a blank “Thank You” card for the child to write/draw in and give to someone they’d like to say thank you to (teacher, parent, family member, friend, etc.).
  12. Elf will leave a kindness suggestion note asking the child to make a new friend that day, sit by someone new at lunch, share something with someone, etc.
  13. Elf will leave a note simply saying “I love you!”
  14. Elf will leave an ornament or inexpensive holiday decor item for the child to give to a neighbor to help spread holiday cheer!
  15. Elf will do one of the child’s chores and leave a blank “coupon” for the child to do the same for someone else in the family!
  16. Elf will leave a kindness suggestion note asking the child to hold the door open for someone that day.
  17. Elf will wrap a gift the child had ready for a family member.
  18. Elf will leave a kindness suggestion note to create a video message and send the greeting to a friend or family member who lives far away.
  19. Elf will leave a recipe and the ingredients for a holiday treat for the child to make with the family!
  20. Elf will leave socks and “Hot Hands” for the child to donate to a local shelter.
  21. Elf will leave craft materials and instructions (if needed) for the child to make a holiday craft (which they can give to someone!).
  22. Elf will leave a blank note titled “Five Things I am Thankful For” that the child can complete (with a parent if necessary!).
  23. Elf will leave a prayer card or a note with a written blessing for the child.
  24. Elf will leave a blank prayer card for the child to write a holiday prayer for the family.

Do you have any other suggestions to add!  I’d love to hear them in the comments!  But wait!!!

I have one more surprise…

To help foster elves teaching kindness this Christmas season, I’m giving away an Elf Magic prize pack!  The package includes a cute 10″ elf carefully selected from the North Pole, an Elf Magic storybook, and a container of elf magic confetti!  This giveaway has a short turnaround because I want to make sure it gets to a deserving family in time for the holidays.  So hurry!  It ends on November 24th!!!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a blessed holiday season!

~Lani

 

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Matific: Teaching Math Intuitively Through Interactive Gaming (+ a Giveaway!)

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By now you have probably settled into the school year.  Orientations are over.  If you are a teacher, classroom management structure has been established and now you are getting to know the abilities of the students.  If you are a parent, you may be noticing your child struggling in certain areas now that they are in the thick of things.  Particularly in math, it is critical that your child get the extra support he/she needs to succeed.

Why is math important?

Math along with subjects that support STEM initiatives has been a concern in U.S. education.  A recent Pew Research Center report concluded that although math scores have improved significantly in the past two decades, the U.S. still falls in the middle amongst countries in math aptitude.  In 2013, 35 percent of eighth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in mathematics.  What are the possible consequences of this?  Math is considered a cornerstone for learning critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and other vital intellectual skills to make proficient productive workers.  However, it is projected that there will be a projected 1.2 million STEM jobs by 2018 that will remain unfilled as we currently don’t have the proficiency to fill them.

What is Matific?

Matific is a new math resource for grades K-6 that strives to provide versatile immersive math experiences for students.  Available online as through mobile applications as well (both Android and iOS), Matific delivers episodes which consists of hands-on interactive games and challenges in specific math topics.  In addition, a variety of worksheets are available along with the episodes to provide additional practice.

How does it help students?

Developed by mathematicians and educators, Matific is based on the idea of making math intuitive for students.  It is designed to support math curriculums by providing spiraling activities that build from the fundamental to more higher order challenges.  Students navigate through concepts on their own as positive feedback is delivered.  Each grade level includes a comprehensive list of activities including arithmetic operations, measurement, geometry, data analysis, and even a more challenging area called “brain teasers” for the students who just want more.  Most importantly, the episiodes are fun and all have a gaming element.  My 5th grader likes how it turns concepts like division and fractions into fun play.

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I initially thought Matific was only going to be useful for my 5th grader, but my 2 year old actually loves playing the counting episodes in the Kindergarten module!  This is a great tool in preparing students for kindergarten when you provided guided instruction.

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Parents who are interested in purchasing for your children can start with a 10-day trial. Membership options run in 3, 6, and 12 month increments starting at $18 or $36 annually.  The price is very reasonable for what you are getting.

How can it help teachers?

Whether you are classroom teacher, assistant, or homeschool teacher, Matific is a great supplement to your instruction.  Teachers can start with a FREE account and have students engage with the hands-on activities on the computer or mobile devices as a process activity or attention-getter for a lesson.  With a teacher account, you have free access to all of the episodes, worksheets, tutorials, and teacher guides.  In addition, you can upload a class list or invite students to your Matific account and track everyone’s progress.  Populate performance reports for yourself, parents, or a math administrator in your building.  You can even upgrade to a premium account and have each student access Matific at home.  This may be a good supplement to a flipped classroom.

Now for a GIVEAWAY!

Are you interested in Matific?  I am running a giveaway for the next two weeks for you to get a FREE annual account!  You can have all of the episodes and worksheets, grades K-6, for your children to use for the entire year!  Just enter below!  A winner will be selected at random.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE 11/9/2015:  Congratulations to Dana B for winning a year of Matific!

Good luck!
~Lani

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary year membership to Matific to assist with this review.  All of the opinions here are completely my own.

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NubiAh: Land of African Kings and Queens Bedtime Stories & Coloring Book

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I’m looking to gift this book to a worthwhile family, school, afterschool program, etc.  If you are an advocate for diversity education, multiculturalism, and empowering urban youth, please read on for more information.

I received the children’s book, NuBiAh by Thomas Jonesfor review.  I was initially drawn to reviewing the book as it offered a collection of stories of notable and researched African kings, queens, and nobility.  Being an Asian minority, I’ve always felt our history curriculum fail to appropriately cover the legacies of non-European history.  I would love to have learned in more depth the stories of early civilizations from around the world. In particular, I think it is important for all children to understand the global scope of history.  NuBiAh helps bring a piece of the global history puzzle to life.

Through my research of the book, I found this children’s story and coloring book was made to compliment the musical stage play NuBiAh.  An culturally diverse and anti-bullying enrichment program based in Los Angeles, NuBiah is produced by Urban City Youth.  Take a look at the amazing performance:

The book aims to not only share the history of rich African culture, but empower youth in finding their passion and true purpose in life through the theme “Listen to the Drum“.  NuBiAh is complete with a wide range of stories including that of the popular and beautiful Queen Nefertiti and King Shaka.  However, the biggest benefit of the collection are bringing to light the lives of:  Queen Yaa Asantewa, Queen of Great Courage; Queen Makeda, The Symbol of Beauty; King Hannibal, Master Strategist; and more.

What I loved about the presentation of the book is that each noble character is introduced with a brief bio.  Yet the heart of the character’s chapter in the book is a “bedtime story” which reads as a first-person spoken word piece.  This is great for children to feel like they are hearing the story from the historical figure’s voice themselves.  However, this element makes the book extremely functional for the classroom in helping students with the practice of prose, oral communication, speech, and public speaking.

Although the book is a coloring book as well, the only thing I wish the book had was a few vivid colorful pictures of the characters of each story.  However, the lack of it just encourages children to use their imagination and bring those black and white images to life.  The coloring book options in this book are intricate and even adults can enjoy expressing themselves through color.

This is an excellent resource for any family or school to have to help teach diversity and history.  I would like to gift the copy that I received to a family, classroom, resource teacher, after school program, or any educator that works with urban youth.  If you are interested in this gift, please contact me at Lani@rosetintedtraveler.com with your name and a brief explanation of your background and educational need for it!

I will update here when I’ve already gifted the book to someone!

~Lani

Disclosure:  I received a copy of NuBiAh for review.  The thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.

 

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