**Parent Guide: Fun and Easy Math Activities for Kids**

Having a secret stash of math activities for kids can certainly come in handy for parents, babysitters, teachers, and virtually anyone who spends time with children. Whether mom and dad are trying to prepare their preschooler for kindergarten or they simply want to help their youngster get the hang of some tricky math functions, a fun one-on-one math activity can be just the ticket to gaining a child’s interest and participation in math. For some, mathematics comes easy but for others it can take a lot of practice and memorization. Children who are struggling to understand a math concept or who simply seem disinterested in learning about mathematics will need something fun and intriguing to get them involved. The following math activities for kids are just a few great ideas that parents can use to get help their children explore a more practical and interesting side of math.

**Shape-Building with Food**

Shapes can be a difficult area for preschoolers to get a grasp of, particularly some of the more complex shapes such as pentagon and hexagon. A fun way to introduce an interesting hands-on approach to learning shapes is to involve food. One could use anything that the child likes as long as the foods have the ability to create whichever shapes are going to be taught to the child. Pretzel sticks and marshmallows work really well for this project because the pretzel sticks can be used to pierce the marshmallows which will hold the pieces together. The child can be encouraged to snap pieces off of the pretzel sticks in order to make the necessary shape. For instance, to create a rectangle the child would need two regular-length pretzel sticks and two that have been slightly trimmed (munched-on). Instead of marshmallows, one might also use jelly candy or gum drops.

**Greater/Lesser Than with Legos**

For some children, overcoming the “greater than, lesser than” milestone can be a difficult task. Understanding what these commonly-used math phrases mean can be so difficult in itself, along with numbers being thrown into the mix, that some children simply zone-out. A great way to show a child exactly what greater and lesser means is to give them something physical to represent the numbers. What better way to do this than to use Legos? Use a flat foundation Lego piece and use two different colors to represent the numbers that the blocks will represent. For instance, if the question is 3 _ 8 then one might use three red blocks stacked on top of one another to represent the first figure and eight blue blocks stacked to represent the second figure. This “real life” representation of a greater than/less than scenario helps the child to understand that the equations aren’t as foreign as they seem on paper. To jazz up this activity a bit, consider putting numbered pieces of paper into a bowl and have the child randomly select two numbers. Have the child lay them on a table in front of the Lego foundation and assist him or her in building the towers that will represent each number. Give the child a piece of paper with the greater than/less than symbol, >, and have him or her place it in the correct position between the numbers.

**Number Bonds with Jelly Beans**

Number bonds not only help children understand addition and subtraction, but in many cases this practice helps them to gather information from a picture and put the data to practical use. If a child struggles with number bonds then it might be time to break open a bag of jelly beans and sit down for a math lesson! For any math activities for kids involving food, always make sure that the child has freshly-washed hands and a clean work space. For this activity one will need a piece of paper with three large circles drawn to form the points of a triangle. Lines should be drawn from the top circle to both of the circles below. Now, place however many jelly beans are needed into the top circle. Say, one uses eight jelly beans for the “whole” number in the first problem. Ask the child how many jelly beans are needed in each of the bottom circles to equal the same amount in the top circle. If the child seems reluctant to get started then provide part of the answer for them. For instance, mom or dad could put eight jelly beans in the top circle and three in one of the bottom circles. This way the question now turns into: *if we have three jelly beans, how many more do we need to make eight?* This can make number bonds much easier to grasp, plus the child gets to enjoy a few jelly beans for his or her hard work!

**Measuring Game**

A well-rounded stash of math activities for kids must also include measurement. Measuring in proper units may be a bit advanced for younger children, but that doesn’t mean that young children can’t practice measuring in order to get an appreciation for its usefulness and practicality. Consider using Legos, blocks, or another collection of items that are exactly the same size. Teach the child to start at the beginning of an object and add one block after another until they have reached the end of the object. Afterward, ask the child how many units tall or wide the object is. For fun, start with the child’s foot, having them measure from toe to heel. With a bit of guidance and praise it won’t be long before the child is measuring everything in the house!

]]>**The Value of Math Projects**

Math projects are usually assigned or demonstrated with one or more of several purposes in mind.

– They are given to show that mathematics can be fun.

– They are given to show where mathematics can be useful.

– They are given to show that mathematics can be easier to grasp if given in a context that enables a person to use his or her natural cognitive powers to solve a problem.

– They can show there is often more than one way to solve a problem.

– They can show ways to deal with seemingly complex problems.

There may well be more reasons. Math is often taught by writing equations on the blackboard and giving the students instructions on how to go about solving them. All goes well one begins to encounter those problems in higher mathematics where there are multiple ways to arrive at a solution. Some problems have no solution, and some solutions that can be arrived at are at best approximate.

The five reasons given above for assigning math projects might be summed up as follows: Encourage students to learn how to think outside the box.

**There Are Often Different Ways to Solve a Problem – Subtracting by Addition for Example**

One example for a math project would be a simple example of how a computer makes calculations. First of all, what a computer does best, in fact the only thing the machine can do without help is to count. A computer can count very fast of course. It can also be programmed to add two numbers. It can also be programmed to subtract, multiply, and divide, which it actually accomplishes by a counting and adding. In other words, even though it is programmed by a person, a computer solves math problems differently than a person does.

Most math teachers, at least the good ones, are aware of the fact that many problems can be solved by more than one method, yet they never pass this fact along to their students, who basically learn one and only one way, and from rote. A simple example of subtracting by addition would be to subtract 890 from 1051. The larger number is 51 more than 1000. Set 51 aside. Add 110 to the smaller number, 890 to get 1,000. The answer is 110. Set that number aside. Adding the two numbers, 110 and 51, gives you 161, which is your answer.

**Writing Down an Infinite Number of Numbers – Simplified **

Another example would be to find all the numbers which when added to any other number would add up to 15. If you take fractions and decimals into account the answer is that there are an infinite number of solutions to this problem, since an infinite number of numbers is involved. A simple math expression illustrates the power of algebra; x + y = 15, where x or y could be any two numbers, as long as their sum was 15. Too many beginning algebra students are still trying to get a handle on the significance of x when y is suddenly introduced, and all of a sudden there is more than one solution to an equation.

**Figure It Out for Yourself**

Many math projects present a problem but don’t show what the answer is or how to arrive at it. The observer is left to scratch his or her head, wondering how to proceed. In many if not most schools in the United States, students are shown the rules for solving a problem, and then given some problems to solve, which they can do if they follow the rules. Math isn’t taught this way everywhere. Some schools teach math by what is generally known as the Socratic Approach. Socrates was a very good teacher. His method of teaching was to ask questions and let his students figure out how to go about finding an answer. That’s how they learned. An example might be to find the answer to a problem that involves throwing a pair of dice. The only clue would be that probability is somehow involved, but that might be enough of a clue. These kinds of problems are what we call puzzles. In math classes, students are usually given problems to solve. Unfortunately they are not often given puzzles to solve, which can sometimes lead to more meaningful learning experiences.

**From Counting Beans in a Paper Cup to the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus**

There are countless books, workbooks, and kits filled with math projects and math project ideas on the market. Some are free and others are not. They are for all levels although the majority tend to focus on students in preschool, kindergarten, or the lower grades. That is somewhat of a shame as high schools students and even some college students could profit from looking at math from different angles. So for that matter could some adults who were taught mathematics in the traditional manner. For many adults, math wasn’t all that much fun and there were many concepts presented that were harder to grasp than they really needed to be. Even the fundamental theorem of calculus, which sounds scary, can be presented in a manner that is easy to grasp. Given the power of computerized graphics and animation, the power of calculus can be presented by visual examples which can be fascinating to follow.

]]>My best friend’s wife is currently pregnant with their fourth child. Although having given birth several times, this pregnancy is a little bit momentous for them as the baby she is carrying, is their first boy. They originally planned for only two children, one boy and one girl hopefully, but as luck would have it, three girls preceded this boy.

Already in her late thirties, with her eldest daughter turning 14 this year, she knows that she is pushing the calendar a little bit with this pregnancy, so great care was taken to avoid problems that may arise during this time. They are really happy with the three girls already, but their dream is to have a boy in the family, to complement his three sisters, and to make it complete in their view.

They had a mild scare a couple of weeks back when she had a sudden bout of diarrhea. Of her three past pregnancies, diarrhea was never a factor, so they took great pains in knowing what the cause was, so they can avoid it, and also went immediately to the doctor for proper treatment and also advise.

Pending her lab results, the doctor explained to them the possible causes of diarrhea during pregnancy, he refer me to this website www.commondigestivedisorders.net to learn more about it. Among them is simple food poisoning or something bad that she ate, intestinal parasites, stomach flu or even the hormonal changes that occur to a woman during pregnancy may cause diarrhea. Sometimes, the doctor said, even changes in the diet, in expectation of pregnancy may cause it, as well as heavy exercise or the sudden stopping of it, may also result in the condition.

The doctor also told them that it was nothing to panic about, and her diarrhea, hopefully, will clear up by itself within two to four days, also reminding her to mind her fluid intake in order to avoid dehydration. And if ever the test results came back positive for parasites or bacteria, just a normal course of antibiotics would be needed to remedy it. The doctor finally said that her diarrhea, will not unduly affect her still unborn child in her womb, if dehydration would not be a factor in her sickness, emphasizing again the need to regularly hydrate herself to avoid any lasting effect on the both of them.

Their worries thoroughly addressed and hearing the words that they wanted to hear, they went home happy and planning. They talked about getting a bland diet for the coming week to help her intestinal tract rebound from diarrhea, and how they generally would avoid in her diet, spicy, fatty and rich kinds of food, which are also the usual culprits in causing diarrhea even on a normal person. The BRAT diet also was mentioned, which stands for bananas, rice, apples and toast, to help in her recovery.

Much care should always be taken for every pregnancy, be it the first or the fourth one, to ensure the well-being of everyone involved. It also is of great help when your husband, like my friend, is by your side through much of the process, as it really lightens the hardships and burden associated with it. Congratulations on being a great dad.

]]>We should get really worried about it as water plays a very vital role in all of our lives. Heck, our bodies are composed of mainly water so you can really see why we ought to be assured that what we are taking into it is safe beyond any reasonable doubt

So what can we really do about it besides waiting for our government to do something about it? Well if we just leave it to them then it would probably kill us, so the responsibility really comes down to each and every one of us to ensure the cleanliness of our drinking water.

Buying bottled water for our daily consumption is one thing, but it doesn’t really hold ground in the long run because of the cost it entails and everyone is really not that well off to constantly keep buying it. Boiling of water for drinking is another alternative but it falls to the buying of bottled water category as the boiling of water entails additional costs which will rack up when done continuously.

Filters, in my mind, is the best solution for our home water problems as they solve almost all the problems related to it. See if they filtered the water at the water plant, which they surely do, the water then become prey to the water pipes that conveys the water to our homes, so we are back to square one. So the end filter will work just nicely.

The water will be “cleaned” at the plant then it would be sent through the pipes gaining some impurities once again, but all of that can be solved by bringing in a filter at the end point, which is our faucets, to ensure it is once again clean as it was supposed to be.

So the problem now is finding which kind of filter is the right tool to use for the job. I have read about reverse osmosis and how it thoroughly removes harmful elements from the water meant for human consumption. Basically it works like several types of sieves put together to further purify the water as it passes through each material and the end product will be clean water that is free from impurities.

I have checked on the web and surely there were several products listed as such. The only thing I have got to do now is find out which one is the best reverse osmosis system for me. I will surely find it as my health really depends on it. It’s relatively cheap too as you don’t really replace it regularly. Anyways, it’s really peace of mind that we’re buying here so price will take a back seat on this one.

]]>Walking gives me time to reflect on things that happened, or would be happening, in my life. It is a time for me to rest a little and give back something to “me”. Of course, I also need the exercise that walking offers, but the thing that excites me most when I’m walking around is the chance to marvel at all of God’s creation and everything around me.

I love seeing the little birds that constantly fly from one branch to another seeking for food or just playing around with other birds, the old brown leaves that gently falls to the ground signaling its return to nature, or the random squirrel that pops up unexpectedly, skittering this way and that as if trying to tell you to come hither and play. Everything about my walk is glorious, if you know what I mean.

Walking to me is so very therapeutic that it recharges me to do whatever task still is needed to be done both at home and at work. I don’t know if it is the exercise that does that as we all know how breaking a sweat changes your perspective of things, or maybe it is really the change in scenery.

I also have started bringing a camera when I walk as I thought that maybe taking pictures of what relaxes me most may help me during times of stresses, like when computing my bills, yay! Who wouldn’t be happy looking at pictures of flowers in full bloom when you’re thinking about your hard earned money going away right? Well it certainly makes you think of more positive things.

I have been traveling a lot lately, work related stuff, and I was thinking of bringing my camera with me on my trips. I just need to know about the best travel tripod to buy and the best lightweight luggage available, while we’re at it, so that I could pack as much as I wanted and never have to suffer carrying any of it around.

Well I really need the tripod as my hands have the habit of shaking when taking pictures, probably out of excitement and such, so any suggestions on that department would be greatly appreciated.

Maybe sometimes I’ll even post a few of the pictures I have been taking here in my blog for everyone to see. Who knows, maybe you’ll even feel relieved as I am when you manage to get a look at the wonderful things that I have captured on my lenses, believe me they are truly gorgeous to look at.

]]>Take for example the heart; it constantly supplies my whole body with blood and the accompanying nutrients in it, day in and day out since my life began, never ceasing to stop even if momentarily, because once it does, everything also goes out with it. Imagine clenching your fist tightly for two seconds then release it abruptly, now do it about thirty times and tell me what you felt. Your hands did get tired and numb after only a short while didn’t it? The heart cannot afford to get tired for our sake, in fact our heart beats an average of 72 beats per minute, even more if we are exerting effort or are feeling anxious, and that translates into almost 104,000 beats in a day. And if you ever lived up to seventy years old, you can thank your heart for beating almost 2.5 trillion times during your lifetime. No machine created by man can ever beat the heart in terms of performance and longevity.

The human body is also mysterious in the ways it operates itself, prime example of which is our ability to give birth. The female’s body, when already of age, steadily creates the capacity to create life in her womb. Monthly, she gets her period, becomes fertile and produces eggs that can become a baby, provided a sperm enters and interacts with it. How does a woman menstruate? Where does the blood come from and how does the body know that it is time for it? Yes, science probably has answers for each of our questions, but still, why is it done that way. To further discuss from the given example; if a women does get pregnant, how did the sperm get inside the egg? How does it know it is an egg in the first place? And why does the monthly period during pregnancy stop occurring? Is there a hole, deep down the annals of the woman’s body, that got plugged close?

I can go on and on with my questions, and that is just for the human body. What about everything in this world, or even out of it? From whence do all things come from? Are we a product of a big explosion, that happened way, way back? But where did that explosion come from? And who made it? Where is the start of all of that? Or did somebody made all of that and also created us?

Thinking about all of that, really shows us how insignificant all of us are in the scheme of things, one tiny dot in an infinite canvass of life. We live our daily lives blissfully unaware that we are hurtling thru space to a place not yet defined, but for what?

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She has *Allergic Rhinitis*, also commonly known as hay fever. No she is not particularly allergic to hay or have a fever most of the time, hay fever is a condition or disease, which typically resembles a common cold with its variety of symptoms such as sneezing, runny, itchy nose and blocked sinuses. Hay fever is caused by the body’s response to allergens in the air, particularly pollen from trees, plants and grass.

Hay fever is a very common disease and is treated by drugs such as Anti-Histamines and steroids. Although the medicines used to treat hay fever is very efficient, it only addresses the symptoms of the disease and not the source of it. Allergy testing is very vital, to know on which items you are allergic to, and consequently avoiding such things, is basically the crux of the treatment of hay fever. Strengthening of the body’s immune system is another vital avenue towards its cure. For hay fever, the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really rings true.

I had talked to her a couple of times, asking if she was alright or if she is feeling well, sometimes she tells me that it is difficult to breathe, sometimes she complains of fluid in lungs and the hard effort that is needed to bring it out. I also always consciously try to call her in class to answer something, because she often gets sleepy with the medicines she was taking. Medicines for hay fever, always almost contain anti-histamines, which main job is to suppress the production of histamines in the body, but an undesirable side effect of them is drowsiness.

I am also planning to talk to her parents and suggest about the values of natural antihistamine. Maybe it can help with her being sleepy all the time and allow her to concentrate more. Many types of food contain natural antihistamines, typical everyday foods such as garlic, ginger, parsley and even vitamins C and sea-foods contain enough of the compound, that regular consumption of them is as effective as taking medicines. I am just waiting for the correct time to discuss it with them. Hopefully they will give it a try.

]]>Talking with the gracious owner of the dog, who also immediately accepted my apologies, saying that it was bound to happen and that it was also her fault, because her dog was meant to be carried in crowded places, I found out that the dog was a Teacup Pomeranian. Teacup because it was a tiny variation of Pomeranian dogs, which originally hails from Europe, and is already small to begin with, so just imagine the size of her dog.

They were at the mall to see the vet and to have her pet checked for dog ear infection. The owner said that her dog was always shaking her head and kept on scratching it, as if trying to get something out, and that she had checked it and noticed a bad smell coming from the ear. Freaked out about it, that was when she decided to go to the vet to have it checked out. The dog seemed quite alright as it wiggled around in her grasp and kept playing with the buttons on her shirt, but hey, what do I know about her dog anyway, and I’m not about to smell his ears to really find out, so I just took her word for it. We both said goodbyes and went our separate ways.

I keep on thinking about her dog while driving home. The image of that cute little Pomeranian cuddled beside me or playing with things around my desk is very tempting. It also has been a while since we have had a pet in our house, and I think it’s about the right time to have one, or maybe not.

I thought about how little it would eat and how easy it would be to bathe and care for. Not to mention the joy it will bring to the kids both at home and at school. I can almost picture their eyes, wide with amazement and wonder, and how they would love holding and playing with it. I really would love to have one.

But I also thought about how hard it would be to care for such a little dog. Being very little means that it is also very fragile, a fall while carrying it or an accidental step, like what I have almost done recently, could give it injuries more certainly than a bigger, normal sized dog. Improper handling by kids, who surely would love to hold it, could also bring harm to it. The many risks involved in caring for one, would surely reflect with the high cost it would require from Pet Health Insurance, also came to my mind.

Maybe it was just infatuation, I told myself. Maybe it was really not the right time for it, said the other side of my head. But my heart tells me that I would love to have one. Which do I follow?

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I know they are a little bit old for this activity, already at middle school, but I thought it would be nice to repeat it, if only to further hone their skills in public speaking and boost their confidence in it. It is also nice to know each students insights about different things, as you can visibly tell it from the way they speak and the kinds of words they are using, and it is not so much for their academic learning but for their personal growth as well.

And judging by the weird sounds and numerous pet cages around, it would be safe to say, that most of the students brought their pets with them. To be exact, there were three mini dogs, two cats, five spiders, a snake and a hedgehog; I thought to myself about how chaotic it would be, if any one of them ever escaped from their cages. I understand the choices of cats, dogs and to some extent, and just for shock factor, snakes and spiders, but to think that some of these kids got hedgehogs as pets, amazed me a little. Hedgehogs are almost non-social animals that prefer to rather be by themselves than to interact with humans. So I was very curious about the kid that brought it, and also silently thought to myself, that if I were his classmate, I would eventually ask him of where was the fun in that?

Time did come for that particular boy, to explain why he brought the hedgehog with him that day. He began by asking the class if they are familiar with the video game called Sonic the Hedgehog, which he says was his favorite game when he was younger. He then showed his pet hedgehog and declared to the class; this is Sonic. He said that he was so enamored with the game, that he eventually asked his parents to buy him a hedgehog, and he got his wish. He added that at first, he was disappointed with Sonic, as he was so slow moving, and was the direct opposite of the fast hedgehog that was featured in the game, but then, eventually came to love him because of his “lazy ways”, which he said, reflected to his own personality.

He then said “Sonic” in a loud voice, and the hedgehog he had brought with him curled into a prickly ball, which elicited several oohs from the class, mine included. He then picked Sonic up and blew wind into the hedgehog, and amazingly, it resumed normal form, and was met with loud applause from his classmates. He then closed his presentation by talking about how he himself builds his own hedgehog cages, with just a little help from his dad, and how he takes care of Sonic by himself. He eventually returned to his seat with a big smile on his face.

I was smiling too.

]]>But before you stop breastfeeding, you must first know what to expect, when you go through the process of weaning your child from your breasts. There are several sources, that you can easily get hold of, for this kind of information, like your family doctor, a friend who has past experience in breastfeeding, or even the internet, where you can find answers to whatever qualms you have. But I would like to briefly state, that the hardest and most difficult part of how to stop breastfeeding, is the effect it has on your baby.

My co-teacher has had troubles weaning her child from breastfeeding. Apart from having her period while breastfeeding, which is not normal as menstruation commonly, does not start until the cessation of breastfeeding, she had also suffered from Thrush, a yeast infection which can be passed to the baby, and had to stop breastfeeding. It was terribly hard on her baby adjusting to the sudden change. She even said that her baby became somewhat emotional to what had happened, and at first, also refused other forms of feedings such as with baby bottles and baby cups. It is understandable for the baby to feel that way because not only had he lost his mother’s milk, but also the routine comfort time he had with his mom during feeding. It was an arduous time for both of them but they eventually adjusted.

Generally, the stopping of breastfeeding is rather quite simple. Make up your mind and set a date on which you will start weaning your child form your breast. When that date comes, start to lessen your breastfeeding sessions with your child. If for example, you regularly breastfeed about 8 times a day, then make it only seven sessions after two days, six sessions after another two days, then five and four, until you eventually get to zero breastfeeding sessions in a day. During that time, it is vital to replace your lost breastfeeding sessions with feeding from a baby bottle, so that your child will not miss out on needed nutrients. It also serves as familiarization of your child to the bottle which will become his source of feeding from that time hence.

When you discontinue breastfeeding, you may suffer from breast soreness, plugged milk ducts and even breast lumps due to the fact that you are still producing milk. It is recommended to have warm showers to at least relieve the pain and soreness in your breast. The wearing of a tight fitting bra also helps the process as well as using nursing pads, to prevent breast milk from ruining clothes, as you may still experience milk leakage for several weeks. Also be aware that your breast may sag from the cessation of breastfeeding, it is normal and does not have anything serious meaning to it. If problems persist or if you are experiencing something out of the ordinary, trust your instincts and immediately consult a doctor.

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