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Learn with your kids this summer with these Denver adventures

Most of the time, as parents, we encourage our children to do things we already know how to do. We help them with homework we did ourselves many years ago. If we are baseball fans, we sign them up for a team and smile when they first put on their uniform. If we play the piano, we help them read the notes as they learn an instrument. If we are multilingual, they learn a second language at home. If we like to read, they read along with us.

Our kids also discover their own unique talents as they grow up.

Rarely, then, do we have the opportunity to learn something entirely new together. And it is a surprisingly amazing experience.

On a recent trip to the beach, my three boys and I all went snorkeling for the first time. So we got accustomed to breathing through the apparatus at the same time. We struggled a little with the flippers together. We simultaneously tried to empty our breathing tubes. We each wondered about what we might see and whether we would be brave enough to stay in the water with a shark or a stingray.

We got to test ourselves together.

We did not all learn at the same pace. We did not all last as long in the water. The five year old mastered it the fastest, but tired of the waves earlier than the rest of us. The ten year old proved to be a relentless underwater explorer. And mom did not get to see the octopus!

But we had a great time, which was wonderful to be both witness to and a part of.

5 ways to help kids pay attention in the classroom and at home

“Mom!” said 7 year-old Mason when his mother cursed at the driver who had just cut her off, “you’re in your amygdala. You’d better get back into your prefrontal cortex.”

Such utterances have been made by school children in Steamboat Springs ever since Kristen Race, PhD, began training that district’s teachers in her Mindful Life Schools program (other school districts in Colorado and around the country have received training, as well). In addition to trainings for educators, Dr. Race also offers workshops for parents  in how to create peaceful classrooms and homes through the simple act of cultivating mindfulness.

The children learn early on the brain science behind the program. When we are stressed, our response are more likely to come from

How to turn your kids’ summer boredom into blossoming brains

Hard to believe it’s almost done. My daughter is headed to fifth grade. But there’s no time for nostalgia – I’m too caught up in the whirlwind that is the end of a school year.

Then there’s the long, looming summer – a vast expanse that sounds great in theory – until it’s here and your kids are bored and they’re on the way to losing a good chunk of what they’ve learned this year.

To help you keep the learning going over the summer months, I’ve collected some great ideas and resources from the awesome cast of experts at EdNews Parent.

Leave your mark: Let your “mini me” lend a helping hand

My two-year-old daughter insists on helping Mom and Dad. That means she is often very close by and at risk of being tripped over.

Add two dachshunds into the mix and you have a moving obstacle course, particularly at dinnertime when the smell of food hits the air.

Keira likes to help take dishes out of the dishwasher while the dogs hover, waiting for a morsel or two to fall. It’s family time in the kitchen and I love every minute of the controlled chaos.

I especially enjoy having Keira help out as best as she can. I don’t fight her

All kids are smart. Really.

Children differ.  Does your child . . .
love animals?
like to work with others?
like to set goals?
enjoy singing?
do mental math easily?
like word games?
love maps?
excel in sports?

Everyone is smart. In some way. The examples you just read show the different ways in which children are gifted, or in other words, smart.

Parents, you know your kids are smart. But did you know that there are many ways of smart? Multiple Intelligences Theory (from research done by Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard) identifies eight different intelligences or ways of being smart – where as traditionally we think of smart as linguistic and mathematical. Gardner suggests we expand our thinking.

Thomas Armstrong, PhD paraphrases Gardner’s eight intelligences into kid language in his book, You’re Smarter Thank You Think as . . .

Word smart: reading, writing or speaking, foreign languages, story telling, spelling, & more
Music smart: music, singing, instruments, & more
Logic smart: numbers, math, patterns, science
Picture smart: visualize, like art, designing
Body smart: coordinated, athletic, like acting, crafting, repairing
People smart: interested in others, lots of friends, join groups
Self smart: understand self, journal, plan, goal oriented
Nature smart: observe, classify, enjoy outdoors, gardening, cooking

What are you?  What is your child?  Here’s an online test and a printable test.

Try this Fruit Game activity with your toddler to develop all of the intelligences.  Start out with . . . “I’m thinking of a fruit that is round, red, juicy,” sing songs about apples and show the shape of an apple with your hands or body.  See full details by clicking on the link.

Here are some activities for each of the intelligences.

Try these challenging Multiple Intelligences activities online. (for you)

Why does it matter?  What do you think?