Question Board; Help Your Preschooler Answer Her/ His Own Questions

Young children, especially preschoolers, ask a lot of questions, and one of my goals is to help them learn how to ask and answer questions on own their own. The question board is a great way to teach kids how to ask questions effectively, create a guess about the question, and then how to research the answer or test their theory.

Question Board For Preschoolers By Merissa Hatch

How to make the board

Materials:

  • Large board (about 2′ by 1.5′)
  • Paint, stickers, decorative accents
  • Dark permanent marker
  • Post- It notes
  • Pen or pencil
  1. Get your board- I got my board from our local lumber yard. It was a piece of scrap wood they were giving away. I didn’t need to sand this one, but it’s important the board can not easily cause slivers, so I suggest checking that the board is smooth, or smoothing it down before letting the kids decorate it.
  2. Go wild decorating it- I made this board for several kids with all different ages and interests, so I made a pretty generic one. I almost added some stickers. If I had, I would have painted clear nail polish over them to keep them from peeling off over time.
  3. Using a permanent marker, I labeled a section for adding questions we think of and a section for the question(s) we plan to answer each day.

How to use the board

I try to use the time we are walking to various activities (parks, the library etc) to bring up topics that will encourage the kids to ask more questions and answer them. Sometimes we talk about random trivia, like US history or what constitutes a berry. Sometimes we talk about things that are happening in the child’s life and how it makes them feel or think. But these talks always end with at least one question for the question board. And the more we did it, the more the kids wanted to learn.

When the kids ask a question that they don’t need to know right away and they can research on their own, I tell them we will put it on the question board. When we are about to go to the library, I remind the kids to pick one or two questions from the question board to answer. We also look some of the answers up online. With the older kids (6+), I talk to them about how to tell if a book or website is a reliable source.

Tips and Tricks

  • Keep post- it notes and pencils close to the board. It is a lot harder to “feel like” writing down a question “real fast” if it takes too long to find a pencil or paper.
  • Another variation of this board is to do it on a white board. Although that would not leave room for as many questions, it would save a lot of time. You could label the spaces with a permanent marker. Then write the questions with erasable crayon or white board pens.
  • This would be a great project to do as a family. By getting the kids involved in the process of creating it, they are more likely to use and enjoy it.
  • I used the kid’s tempera paint. I don’t suggest using tempera paint. I had to do about four or five coats to get it dark enough. That took a long time. I suggest using wood paint instead. I tried acrylic paint as well, but the paint just chipped. So did the tempera.

Curiosity is an important part of discovery, development and problem solving. I like this board because it helps us all keep track of our questions and answers and encourages a healthy interest in the world around the kids. We could easily just look up all the questions on the internet, but I like to take the kids to the library at least once a week and help them look up some of the answers in books and the reference section. Knowing how to do research from a variety of media sources is a very useful skill to have.

Related:

http://www.parenting.com/article/answering-kids-toughest-questions

http://www.parents.com/kids/development/intellectual/why-questions-kids-ask-how-to-answer/

http://merissawrites.com/2014/10/23/4-science-questions-a-sick-pet-opens-for-preschoolers/

Famous Children? My Article On the Moms Magazine Blog

I have finally posted an article to the “Moms Magazine” blog. Below is a sneak preview. Click the link to my full post below to read the full article.

“What To Do When Your Child Informs You She Wants To Be Famous”

On Moms Magazine 

You are sitting on the couch watching your favorite T.V. show when your five- year- old daughter comes in and tells you that she wants to be a famous movie star when she grows up. You know that is unlikely, but you don’t want to just squash that dream as soon as she tells you about it, do you? Of course not! But there are a lot more career options than…

Read more of my article on Moms Magazine here. 

***Comment, like and share. Are there any tips you think I missed? Please let me know! Thanks. 🙂

Schedule Tracker and Reward Ideas For Preschoolers

Lately I have been having a hard time staying totally “sane” because both M and C were asking about 30 questions an hour. M was always asking “what are we going to do, now?”

The constant questioning about what to do told me three things:

  • They both wanted some structure
  • M did not know how to entertain herself
  • I needed to help them want to play alone

The solution?  I put in place a reward system and a schedule. After testing out several different ways to help them know what’s coming next, I finally found something that works for both of them. (*Sigh* the convenience 😉 )

The Schedule ClockSchedule Clock For Preschoolers

M is here all day, but C doesn’t get here until after school about 315. So I made a clock and we call her “schedule clock.” she doesn’t read time, yet, so instead of numbers we have pictures of everything that we’re going to do, and  in which order. After we do one thing, she gets to move the red arrow under the item we’re doing next. The schedule clock is something that M just does, and C doesn’t.

The Popsicle Stick Rewards

I, also, strongly believe in positive reinforcement and motivation over negative reinforcement. So I found something that is affordable for me, and the kids really seemed to love. I colored about 40 Popsicle sticks and after they do certain things they get to put a Popsicle stick in their pocket. For example, they don’t seem to like their veggies (who does), so when they eat vegetables they get a stick.

Ways They Can Earn

Here are the ways that M&C can earn their sticks of course you can and should customize it so that it works best with your kids

  • Napping
  • Eating their vegetables
  • Cleaning up
  • Being respectful
  • Doing their school work (M has 30 minutes to an hour of school work here at home, C goes to elementary school)
  • C gets a stick if he doesn’t wake M while she naps
  • Asking questions only once

The Store

At the end of the week on every Friday they get to have the store with several different kinds of prices. I don’t have any pictures from last week, which was our first store, but they were each able to get two or three little prizes with their sticks.

The prizes

Prize Box For PReschoolers
Here is my current prize box.
  • Bouncy balls
  • Small toy cars
  • Bubble gum
  • Small pieces of candy
  • Little erasers
  • Bubbles
  • Miniature toys

You can usually fill up a small prize bin, enough for four or five kids for a couple of months of under ten dollars. I try to get to know the kids before buying the prizes so I know they will like their options. This month, I only had about five dollars for prizes, so I got some really “gender- neutral” toys. Next time, I plan to get some more “gender- specific” prizes, too.

It has taken a few weeks,  but I have finally found something that works well for these kids.

***How do you help your child know what’s next? Does he/she constantly ask you questions?  What did you do.***

Related Links:  

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-organize-your-family-chaos-with-the-help-of-tech-1595502673

http://www.babycenter.com/0_secrets-of-organized-families-insider-strategies-for-getting_1390724.bc

http://merissawrites.com/2015/09/11/question-board-help-your-preschooler-answer-her-his-own-questions/