Category Archives: Education

Playtime schedule for kids: Structured Play vs Free Play

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It is rightly said that play is our brain’s favourite way of learning. Nowadays, indoor games have taken precedence over outdoor sports, with children playing games on their smartphones or watching videos for hours at one go. This has reduced the amount of time they spend outdoors where they can pick up skills from other kids their age. By setting aside time for structured play and free play, you’ll be instilling them with a sense of curiosity and fostering them with traits that encourage purposeful learning.

All parents understand that play is central to their children’s physical, cognitive, sensory, social, and emotional development. The question is, what is the right way to implement a playtime schedule, and how much time should you devote to it? Should you focus on structured play or free play? The key here is balance. Instead of choosing structured play over free play or vice-versa, parents should focus on planning out their children’s playtime schedule in a way that it involves a little bit of both. Here are a few ways that you can ensure a balanced playtime for your children.

SKIDOS play
Image Source: unsplash.com (Kelly Sikkema)

1. Getting creative with arts and crafts

With art being an unstructured activity and crafts, a structured one, it is a good idea for parents to include both of these in their children’s playtime. Let kids learn how to reuse everyday materials and scraps from their home and create crafts. Save cardboard boxes and straws, have your children’s craft cartoon characters out of them or use a peanut butter jar to make a pencil stand for their study table. Hand them some crayons and paints, let their creativity flow on paper.

2. Jigsaws puzzles and Legos

We’ve all played with Legos, building blocks, and jigsaw puzzles, no matter what age. Let your kids make a tower, a robot or an aeroplane with Legos, so they can construct different structures and designs. While building blocks allow children to create anything from imagination, jigsaw puzzles are structured. Have them start with jigsaw puzzles that are easy to solve and then progress to more difficult ones. Doing this will help them hone critical problem-solving skills and strategic thinking.

3. Outdoor activities

It’s just as crucial for children to take part in sports as it is for them to study. There are plenty of things for kids to do outdoors, like ride bicycles, play in the playground or learn swimming. Allow your children to pick a sport they are interested in, which will teach them how to recognise patterns and meet a pre-established goal efficiently. You can even let them invent different games where they can chase the other kids around the park, giving them plenty of opportunities to make friends.

If you are confused about how you should manage your children’s playtime, consider their strengths and weaknesses. If you want to help them build social skills and develop executive function skills, giving them a bit of extra time for unstructured play will help. If you want to ensure your children are goal-oriented, an additional 20-minutes of structured play will do wonders. Make playtime fun and engaging with SKIDOS games by subscribing to and downloading them at https://subscribe.skidos.com/

How to avoid increased screen time for your child this summer vacation?

By | Education, Parenthood | No Comments

At a time when technology and social media are slowly replacing human interactions, it is crucial to limit media consumption for children. For kids, tablets and phones are a part of their life, even more so than their friends. This is why parents need to keep tabs on how often their kids are glued to them. Especially since summer vacations have arrived, the daily school routine goes haywire, and there’s more and more of playing games on their tablets or watching TV.

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Since the lack of routine makes it hard to keep track of screen time, parents worry about how much is too much and how they can manage it. The key here is balance, so we’ve compiled a few creative ways to limit screen time for your kids.

1. Encourage playing outdoors

Even though there is plenty of educational games online that kids love and adore, parents need to ensure that they have just as much fun playing any other sport outdoors. And don’t worry, sports are a great way to keep your children engaged in the learning process, so they don’t lose any skills they picked up in school. Turn outdoor and indoor sports into fun math games by having your children keep track of the score out loud and add or subtract the digits.

2. Art and craft

If you want your children to get in touch with their creative side, handing them colouring sheets and crayons is the first step. Ask them to make greeting cards, crafts, and DIY projects for their friends and family members for birthdays and holidays. Teach them about different shapes and objects around them by drawing them out. Parents can also make up ABC games to familiarise them with the alphabet and after their kids have named each letter, they must draw something that begins with it.

3. Indulge in co-curricular activities

It is important to teach children that learning doesn’t always have to take place within the four walls of a classroom. Parents should enroll their children in dance, music or self-defense classes so they can spend their spare time developing new skills. It will also build their self-esteem and foster a sense of responsibility and accountability in them. Children can join a book club to improve their reading skills as well as stimulate their imagination, and who knows, they might be an author in the making. When they come across a word they don’t understand, have them spell it out and encourage them to check the meaning in the dictionary. By turning these activities into fun spelling games for kids, you will make it easier for them to retain the spelling and meaning of the words. 

4. Weekend outings

The more time you spend with your children, the more they’ll appreciate relationships and connections. Family time can involve activities like organising a picnic in the park or coaching the junior league games, which will help build a bond with your children. Teach your kids valuable life lessons out in the woods by taking them for a camping trip. What’s more, this will not only allow children to unplug from technology but also grow independent.

 

Well, with these fun activities to involve in, there is so much you can do to make sure your children don’t stay hooked to their tablets. And when they do, let them indulge in some fun and engaging learning games at https://subscribe.skidos.com/

 

Homework Hassles

By | Coding, Education, Gamification, Parenthood, Skidos | No Comments

Your child’s first day of school is a day that you will never forget. Once school begins; waking your little one up, bathing, breakfast, dressing up and rushing for school become daily chores. Pep talks, gifts, motherly advice and scolding is what you need to push your little one to go to school every single day. But it doesn’t end there. The most intimidating part of your child’s school life is ‘homework.’ Yes, your child’s homework soon becomes a part and parcel of your parental responsibilities. Coping with your child’s mood swings, tantrums and unwillingness to study is to be faced every single day. So the question that’s probably hovering in your mind is ‘How to get the homework done?’

But before we share some tips, it’s important for you to understand the benefits of homework.

Homework:

  •      Serves as a quick revision of what’s been taught
  •      Helps to sharpen the memory
  •      Prepares your child for the upcoming tests and exams
  •      Inculcates discipline and habit of being able to concentrate on daily basis
  •      Makes kids aware of personal responsibility and accountability

It not only helps your kids but it also benefits the parents. It gives you a chance to know what is being taught in school, allows you to share your views and values and also lets you spend some quality time with your child.

Tips to get the homework done:

  • Be a mentor, not a helper: It’s important for kids to accept homework as their personal responsibility. Just be approachable and accessible whenever they ask for advice. Remember constant spoon feeding is like calling for trouble so be a mentor and help your kid help himself.
  • Probe: Asking questions like; which part have you understood? What according to you is the solution? Give me an example, etc. will develop a habit of thinking and problem solving.
  • Finding the right time: It’s always advisable to fix a time slot for homework. It eliminates your child’s habit of procrastination. After school time and before play time is a perfect slot for homework.
  • Inspire: Positive motivation works better than scolding and threatening your child. Motivate your kid by using genuine praise, appreciation or with a pat on the back.  Sometimes appreciation can be teamed with a candy, a favourite toy or by allowing some extra play time.
  • Create a study zone: Make space for your little one to sit peacefully for his/her homework. Avoid placing study table next to the window or in living room, as it will distract your child. Ensure that TV and music system is turned off and toys and eatables are kept away from the study zone.
  • Making Time: Teach your child to make time for completing homework.  Prioritizing tasks, subjects and other important activities is what your child must learn. Making a time table for homework, new learning and revision will help kids learn time management and organising skills at an early age.

 

Encourage your child to help develop habit of completing the homework on time. After all a disciplined life is what will lead him/her towards success.

Visit https://subscribe.skidos.com/ to explore alternate ways to sharpen your child’s math accuracy!  

 

 

How Healthy Are Computers For My Child?

By | Education, Gamification, Parenthood, Skidos | No Comments

As parents, we are often confused about whether we should allow our children to experiment and learn to use technology at such an early age. After all, we didn’t need or use it growing up, and we turned out great, right? However, times are changing, and children are learning to use technology faster than we ever have. 

Young children love drawing pictures using simple drawing programs on computers and iPads. Since your preschooler is learning numbers and letters, using a word processing game or software can be fun. In fact, there are tons of interesting games and lots of educational content that you can download for every age group.

Since this is the age when he/she is developing cognitive skills rapidly, your child will quickly get addicted to games that have a right and wrong answer, matching colours/shapes, animal related and basic strategy games that take him a level higher. The cause and effect relationship slowly becomes obvious and hooks your little one in.

Yes, computer games and programs can be fun and educational for children. Studies show that for children between 5-7 years old, screen time (including TV, DVDs, ipad and Computers) should not exceed two hours a day. This is because:

·         Young children learn best on interaction with others. It helps develop language and social skills.

·     Lifetime habits are often developed during these formative years. It isn’t in your child’s best interest to rely on a computer for something to do or to kill boredom.

·    Although using computers may stimulate imagination and creativity, they do need to explore the real world and pretend play.

  You can help your child on journey in digital literacy, and here’s where you can start:

·      Whenever your little one is spending time on a computer/device, sit with him/her and show interest. Explain what is happening on screen, and suggest what to do next.

·        Rather than just passively talking, ask questions. “How do you play this?” “What happens if you move this item here?”

·       Download software that fosters creativity, such as making up stories or rhymes. It will allow your children to express things that they don’t have the words for. Help your child to choose a background, character, etc.

·        Encourage your kids to play with siblings and friends, for example a dual player game.

·      Lay down the rules in terms of how much time is allowed.  Too much computer time causes eye strain, back/waist problems, headaches and hand injuries to your young one.

Visit https://subscribe.skidos.com/ to explore SKIDOS games

Improve your child’s reading skills: Five easy tips

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Learning letters can be fun for children. But the real challenge comes when they start joining alphabets and sounding words. It can get a little confusing for your child to understand why ‘cut’ and ‘put’ don’t sound the same or why ‘know’ and ‘no’ sound exactly the same. But from fun activities to online learning games, there are a lot of ways to help them learn. Here are some easy tips to help your child develop excellent reading skills and vocabulary.

 


Copying is a good start

Let your child copy the way you speak. This will help them learn the sound of words that will later help them when they start spelling words. Make sure that you make correct usage of words so that your child can learn fast. For example, when speaking in front of your child, use ‘going to’ instead of ‘gonna’ or ‘what are you doing’ instead of ‘whatcha doing’. Remember that this is the formative stage. If they hear different usage of words at school and at home, it can confuse them and slow down their progress. If required, speak to their teacher so that you can continue the learning process at home. Games like Simon Says are a good way to make them follow your pronunciation in a fun way.

Story time can help learn

Whether at school or at home, encourage your child to read along and turn reading time into a fun and effective reading game time. If it is a story that they have heard a lot of times before, they will repeat a lot of it from memory instead of actually reading the words. But this will help them associate the words to the sounds. This will also help you interact better with your child because they will feel involved and needed. Give them a reward, like their favourite snack, every time they read without making any mistakes. This will encourage them to improve and work harder.

Finding letters

Don’t discard old newspapers and magazines. Instead turn them into fun spelling games for your children. Pick a letter and encourage them to find that letter throughout a page. Now help them identify words that use that letter and sound similar. For example, if your child has found all the ‘O’s’ on the page, let them now associate it with sounds like ‘got’, ‘not’, etc. This way your child will develop a strong word association skill. Let them colour all the words that they find so that it remains engaging and colourful for them.

Sound the words for spellings

Start simple and easy. Choose easy words that have straight sounds like ‘aah’, ‘buh’, etc. For example, if your child is spelling the words bus, then break it into sounds like ‘buh’ and ‘saa’. This will make it easy for children to spell words and remember them the next time. Start with small words and move on to bigger words where the sound can be easily broken down. Once your child is confident of the sound then they can also read other words by sound association even if the spelling is different. So, if they have learnt ‘bus’, they can also read ‘us’ and ‘dust’.

Find learning games

With kids spending more and more time online, why not utilise that time to teach them reading? Find out the right reading game with interesting characters and engaging sound effects where your child can learn as they play. These are most useful for times when your children are on their own. Instead of spending time playing aggressive games that teach nothing, encourage them to play fun learning games that will also help with their schoolwork.

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Moving Beyond the Fear of Math: Building the Foundation for First Grade Math

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Starting a first grade can be both exciting and daunting. With new classmates and teachers, higher levels of learning can prove to be intimidating for your child. Often, math becomes the main villain. But you can help your child overcome the fear of numbers and improve their first-grade math skills. Here are some handy tips to help your child move ahead.

 

Math Learning Content for Grade 1
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Understand the problem

From peer pressure to not being able to follow the teacher’s instructions, there can be many reasons for your child to get stuck. Talk to your child. Try to understand the real reason for their fear of numbers. Take a look at their curriculum and, if required, speak to the teacher to help your child resolve the problem.
 

Math is for everyone

First grade is an important milestone. It is here that children often pick up the idea that everyone cannot be good at math. If your child is visibly making less efforts in learning, this could be a reason. Make them understand that math is an important part of our everyday life. Let them count the number of fruits you brought from the market. Or encourage them to count the loose change in your purse. This will build their confidence and help them learn better.
 

Make learning fun

Math does not have to be only a school subject. It can also be a fun pastime and a way to bond with your child. Math games for 1st graders can help your child have fun while they learn. Choose a multiplayer game so that you can join in with your child. This will take off the pressure of learning and encourage your child to take more interest in the subject.

Back to the basics

Very often when stuck with one math problem, it can impact the overall learning. You may notice your child making mistakes even with the problems that they previously solved easily. Try to reach the root of the problem. Once they can solve that one problem, everything else will become a cake walk.

 

Clocks and calendars

In the digital age, analogue can prove to be a very good math teacher. Encourage your child to calculate the number of hours left before their favourite TV show starts. Or let them count the number of days left for holidays to begin. This will help them get rid of the fear of numbers and make friends with math.

Do you like maths?

Have you been telling your child how you were bad at maths in school? Or how you hated going to the math class and how your teacher was a monster? Guess what! Your child may not actually be bad in maths but is getting impacted by your stories. Children are not weak in any subject genetically but can psychologically be encouraged or discouraged. Instead of recollecting all your bad memories at the dinner table, tell your child about all the fun you had in the math class. 

Even if it has nothing to do with the subject, it will encourage your child to look forward to math period instead of getting scared. Tell them about the friends you had in that class. Ask them about their day and let them tell you all the good things they experienced. This will go a long way in improving their math and building their confidence.

You can get started with some engaging math games for first graders at https://skidos.com/math-games-7-9-year-old-kids/.

Help your child overcome the math test syndrome

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Is your child scared of maths tests? Don’t worry. Your child is not alone. Children are often most nervous before math tests. They are not just scared of numbers but are also scared of being judged. As a parent, you play a very important role in making your child confident. Here are a few tips that will help your child face the math test and pass with flying colours.

SKIDOS Math Test Blog

It is just a test

Children often feel the pressure to perform as well as their peers. Let your child understand that this is just an exam. Even if they don’t get an ‘A+’ you will still love them as much. You will notice that your child will perform better and will take more interest in numbers when they no longer have to compete.

 Let numbers be fun

Numbers are scary for most kids (it sure was for me!). Find fun ways to teach mathematics to children. Math games are definitely one way to go. Let them count the number of candies they have on their plate. Or let them count their crayons as they add them to the crayon box. Can they count their Lego bricks before putting them away? How many Lego bricks did they have to add to make their castle or plane? This will also help them prepare for math exams without the fear of failure.

Find math games online

Children today spend a lot of time online. Instead of taking away their gadgets, why not help them learn online? Math games for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade[ is easily available. Find the game that meets your child’s learning need. Make sure you purchase from reliable sources instead of having to spend money on ads.

It’s alright to make mistakes

Since math is a subject of fixed answers, children are often scared of giving the wrong answer. Let children know that it’s alright to make mistakes. You only learn more when you make mistakes. Maths is not about memorising; its about understanding. Encourage your children to understand where they made the mistake and why instead of scolding them for wrong answers. The more a child feels comfortable with mistakes, the easier it becomes for them to understand the problems.

Explain the basics

Maths is not history where memorising the answers will help. Encourage your child to go to the basics of math problems. How do addition and subtraction work? Why is counting numbers important? Educational math games can be a fun way of teaching children the basics.

Maths is all around us

A math exam is a one-time thing. But numbers are all around us. Once children realise that they are using maths all the time, they will feel more relaxed in an exam. One good grade or one bad grade is a passing thing. What is most important is for children to understand the need for mathematics in life. This will make sure that they don’t see it as just a school subject, but take an actual interest.

What are your tips to help your child prepare for that math exam? Share with us in the comments below.

Making math basics easy, one sum at a time

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When starting to learn addition and subtraction, children may hit a roadblock. Learning numbers can seem easy but to combine or divide them can seem difficult. But you can help make maths easy for your children. From using every day activities to introducing them to learning games, here are five tips for learning addition and subtraction and make numbers fun.

SKIDOS Making Math Basic Easy Blog

1. Let’s eat numbers

Does your child like gummy bears or other candies? Let them count how many gummy bears they have on their plate. Do they like chocolates? Let them count the number of pieces in a bag. Start with one and ask them to add one more to it. Now they have two. Continue this process till it becomes fun for them and they start doing it on their own. Use the same trick to teach them subtraction. Give them five gummy bears and ask them to count. Now remove one from the plate. Voila! They are left with four. The best part for you? You can do this with anything that they like to eat.

2. Colour your way through maths

Colouring is definitely a good way to keep your child engaged while you finish your chores. But what if colouring could also teach your children addition and subtraction? Use colouring as a learning game. Draw a pie or a grid or a big flower. Now give your children simple addition problems. Let them solve the equation and then colour the answer. For example: What is 1+1? If they can give the correct answer (in this case 2) then they will colour two parts of the pie or two petals of the flower. This will keep them engaged and make it easy and fun for them to complete their math homework.

3. Create board games

Let each clue of the board game be an addition or subtraction problem, similar to snakes and ladder. The answer to every addition sum will make them move ahead in the game. If they land on a subtraction sum then the answer will make them go backwards. The more number of addition problems they solve correctly, the faster they win the game. Keep some double digit addition problems. Correct answers to these will help them jump ahead in the game. Children learn best when they play games. Let their learning be a fun way to pass time rather than a task to complete every day.

4. Play online learning games

Kids today spend more time on smartphones and tablets, almost to the point of addiction. But you can help your child turn an addiction to education. Instead of taking away the gadgets, make them a tool to help your child with addition and subtraction. Simply download quality learning games for kids  and let them play while they learn. These will make their time spent on gadgets more useful and introduce them to more useful games.

5. Use everyday games to teach maths

Do your children have a favourite game? Do they play with action figures or build towers with Lego? Why not count the number of action figures they have or the number of bricks they use to build their tower? After a hard day’s work, this can prove to be an effective way of spending time with your children while helping them learn.

Do you have a fun way of teaching your children math? Share it with us in the comments below.

Real vs virtual: Balance your child’s screen time

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With our busy lives, children often find a lot of time on their hands. Gadgets and apps have become an easy way to kill time. But you don’t want your child to get caught up in the vortex. Of course, you can child lock your television and smartphone. But children today are smarter than we would like to believe (my three-year-old nephew can crack his mother’s passcode, every time, trust me!). Read on to discover solutions that will help you balance your child’s screen time without having to face a tantrum every single time.

SKIDOS Family Screen Time

What is your child watching?

Even before you think of monitoring your child’s screen time, take stock of what is taking up most of their time. Are they watching movies or are hooked to the latest cartoons? Or have they discovered the latest gaming fad? If you don’t the extent of the problem, you can’t find the right solution.

Make small changes

Once you have figured out what they watch, find what you can alter to balance their screen time and give them a more fruitful upbringing. If they like playing games, why not introduce them to educational games that will help them learn while they have fun. This way, they won’t feel deprived and you won’t have to worry about their browsing habits.

Balance their time between the real world and the virtual world

You may have an easier task if your child enjoys outdoor activities. If not, then the challenge is bigger when it comes to their interaction with the outside world. Find learning apps that will encourage them to complete tasks in real life and feed results in the app before they proceed to the next level. This will ensure that your child puts to practice what they learn and, in the process, will reduce the time they spend in front of a screen.

Apps that allow you control

All of the above is possible when you are home. But what about the time when you are at the office? How can you ensure that your child is not distracted by gadgets? Educational apps today allow time restrictions. Find an app that will automatically switch off after a set time limit. You can also incentivise your child by encouraging them to fulfil daily chores like school work in lieu of additional play time on their favorite learning app once you get home.

Find other interests

The real world is always the best teacher. Find activities that you and your children can enjoy together. You can also find activities that are related to the environment of the learning apps so that your child can easily relate to the surroundings and enjoys the app even more. Encourage them to find and relate objects from the educational games to objects around them. This will enhance their learning process and divide their time between the screen and the outside world.  Get started with the right learning apps here.

Make math fun: Apps that make learning simple

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Most children are scared of numbers. But what if maths could be easy and fun? What if numbers became your child’s best friend? Here’s how you can make math learning simple for your child.

SKIDOS Math Games

Make numbers fun

Addition and subtraction can be boring. But if the same can be taught in a fun way, children are sure to love it. Look at mathematics games that include attractive characters and interactive levels to keep children engaged for hours. This will also help your child to concentrate better on school work.

Get your child exclusive attention

Whether your child is in kindergarten learning numbers or a 2nd grader learning problem solving, it is not always possible for a teacher to give exclusive attention to every child in the classroom. A fun, interactive learning game will help your child learn at their own pace.

Bring maths to everyday life

Math is all around us. Let your child see it too. Encourage your child to use their classroom and gaming app learning at home. Can they help you total the grocery bill? Can they count the number of apples left in the fruit basket? Can your child keep a count on the number of times you get a phone call in a day? Simple, everyday activities that will make your child interested in maths.

Make math interesting

If your child loves to play online games, nothing could be better than educational maths games. These will help your child learn math in a colorful environment. Whether they like adventures like car racing  and surfing or cute characters like bunny rabbits and bears & bees, you are sure to find games that will interest your child and make math interesting.

Share the math fear

Like things we like, things we don’t like can also bring us closer to our children. If you too found math scary, let your child know. Share the funny stories. And then find ways to solve maths equations together. Select multiplayer games and share your tips & tricks. When education is made fun instead of a burden, children tend to put more effort.

Don’t make math a monster

Maths is important. But don’t punish your child if they run in the opposite direction at the mere mention of numbers. Let them know that it is alright to learn slow. And it is alright to not get top grades all the time. They should be able to look at it like a problem that can have multiple solutions. Instead of comparing your child to the math genius in their class, find mathematics games  that will show them the fun side of numbers.

Always encourage

Till your child finds school and education a ‘cool’ thing, you are in a good spot. There will always be challenges. Not all children learn at the same pace. Make sure your child does not feel isolated just because they could not score well.

Start with some fun math games at https://skidos.com/portfolio-coolmathgames-coding-games/