Why Extracurricular Activities Are Important for Your Childhood Development (and Where to Find Them)

Why Extracurricular Activities Are Important for Your Childhood Development (and Where to Find Them)

Key highlights:

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  This statement is more than a proverb; it’s also a fact.  For many Vietnamese parents, children come to schools to study.  Their only mission as a student is getting good grades and success in their studies, and ultimately in life.  We somehow forget that school is not just a place to learn, but to play.  

Outside the standard framework of any educational curriculum, there are endless opportunities for students to learn new skills and ignite new passions.  Extracurricular activities are a vital element in your child’s development that should not be put to the side.  Regular participation in after-school activities is a fantastic way to help your children cut down on emotional stress, develop their personalities, strengthen their social and academic skills, and even enhance their chance of getting into top universities in the future.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of extracurricular activities, including a list of ideas for parents to get your child started.

What are extracurricular activities?

The word “extracurricular” can be broken down into its roots for a literal explanation: “extra” means “outside” and “curricular” refers to all of the work you do in the classroom.  So extracurricular activities are just activities that your child does outside of class. 

Extracurricular activities happen outside of class time, whether they are at lunch, after school or even on evenings and weekends.  Your child’s school will have lots of options starting in Junior grades through till the end of college.  Even though extracurricular activities offered to 10-year-olds will differ in some ways from that of college activities, they still share the same principle.  It’s an extra activity that enriches and enhances your child’s development and skills.

5 Benefits of Extracurricular Activity

Undertaking extracurricular activities has far-ranging benefits that touch on many aspects of a child’s development.  When children participate in extracurricular activities, the benefits are exponential as they have a tremendous influence on your child’s physical health, psychological well-being, and social development.  Here are five key reasons why you should be encouraging your child to take on something away from the classroom:

1. Self-exploration

Academics is typically an acquired flair. However, every child is gifted with a unique talent.  Participating in extracurricular activities gives your child a chance to learn more about themselves and their interests.  This helps them to decide what they truly like to do and can help them choose a major in the future.  Not only that, but extracurriculars also let your child explore interests they never even knew they had, allowing them to be more diverse in their likes and dislikes. 

Beyond that, extracurricular activities instill vital skills and personality traits that can be helpful in other walks of life.  For example, sports are crucial to developing teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving skills.  A musical instrument requires perseverance, hand-eye coordination and, above all, creativity.  These are vital skills that could stay with them for a lifetime.

2. Boost academic performance

Many of the skills that lie at the heart of extracurricular activities can be learned during core academic subjects.  Education requires solid problem-solving skills, memory, creativity, and critical thinking.  To varying degrees, you can find an extracurricular activity that has an impact on these areas.  For example, learning to read music is like learning to read a whole different language, with math skills thrown in the mix!  When performing a solo, your child has to read music, practice and critique their own performance.  All these skills transfer to performance across the curriculum and contribute to overall lifelong career-oriented skills!

Research has been carried out that develops a link between extracurricular participation and better academic performance.  In one study by the Texas A&M University, important academic outcomes like reading, math achievement and course grades were all found to be positively influenced by children who engage in extracurricular activities.

3. Improve confidence

As a child learns what they are good at, they will enjoy enhancing their motor skills; they will also gain confidence.  They will learn things like time management as extracurricular activities force a child to prioritize their to-do list.  Even this will help them be more confident because it will help them feel like they are taking control of their lives.  Children who feel that they have the self-efficacy to achieve their goals are less likely to give up when faced with challenging academic subjects like math.

4. Enhances social skills

These days, our children are becoming unsociable creatures.  While engaging in extracurricular activities is typically done in a group setting, your children can develop in the sense that they will learn they are not alone in their interests, and they will learn how to interact with like-minded individuals.  Socializing with others who enjoy what they like doing may even help them develop friendships that last a lifetime.  At the same time, they learn and respect the value of teamwork.  Also, it will keep their mind off from disturbing behavior and inappropriate activities. 

5. Build up a good resume

Extracurricular activities are also a great benefit to a students’ resume when applying for universities or jobs.  Believe it or not, when applying to colleges abroad, you will be surprised to see how much they are interested in how you choose to spend your free time.  100% of our College Compass students – who have got accepted to top universities in the world – confirm that extracurriculars play a massive role in their college applications.  The reality is that, combined with your grades and test scores, extracurricular activities are one of the best ways college officers can get an idea of who you are.

“Extra-curricular activities help students learn about themselves and develop and use their skills and knowledge in different contexts,” says Chris Davison, deputy director and careers adviser, with the careers and enterprise team at Durham University.  “Such activities are an essential element of the university experience.”  Extracurricular activities also demonstrate that your child has varied interests and a curiosity to learn beyond the traditional classroom.

 

College Compass is a College Advisory Program by Everest Education, where we offer personalized coaching and guidance to students from earlier years of high school. Our alumni have successfully applied to the most competitive schools in the world (Harvard University, Stanford University, Cornell University, Duke University, Williams College, Amherst College, NYU, Bates College, University of Southern California, Minerva…).  The program is led by Co-founders and Senior Lead Counselor of Everest Education, who graduated from Stanford University, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, and have served as alumni interviewers for Stanford.

>> Learn more about College Compass at https://e2.com.vn/programs/college-compass/

What Counts as an Extracurricular Activity?

If parents don’t know what activities can be counted as an “extracurricular” or have no idea of what options available out there, below, we suggest some of the most popular extracurricular activities amongst children.

The Common App says that extracurricular activities “include arts, athletics, clubs, employment, personal commitments, and other pursuits.”  Almost anything that you are actively and productively involved in can be considered an extracurricular activity.  You may be familiar with some of the popular categories of extracurriculars already:

  • Sports: includes playing on a school sports team, an intramural team, or a club team outside of your school.  The benefits of joining a sports team are extensive.  Physically, it encourages a healthy lifestyle and develops key physical attributes.  Mentally, it develops teamwork, problem-solving and communication skills while socially, few extracurricular activities bring individuals together as sports can.

  • Community Service: includes any sort of volunteer work, either in your community, on a national scale, or abroad.  This is also an excellent way to develop students’ resumes. 

  • Employment, including any jobs or internships: for older students, part-time jobs can be a valuable opportunity to expose them to industries they have shown an interest in or might like to go into in their career. Employers love to see a proactive individual who has shown intent to develop their career from an early age. 

  • Arts: includes visual arts, performing arts, comedy, culinary arts – this list is almost endless.

  • Academic activities: such as math or science clubs or competitions, research, or writing.  Aside from sports, student bodies like a union, debating team or student representation in a school government are all great ways to show a hunger for leadership, responsibility and a desire to tackle difficult subjects.  This is also a great way to develop problem-solving and communication skills.

  • Culture-based clubs: Culture-based clubs might be something as broad as film, music, languages,  blogging, a film club, hiking, Rubik’s Cube competitions, cosplay, and more.  Whatever interests your child, getting involved in a relevant club gives them the chance to socialize with like-minded children.

Schools and local communities nowadays are full of exciting activities that could spark your child’s imagination and capture their attention. Try to read your child’s general interests and consider what they may or may not be interested in taking part in.  Talk to your children about the types of activities you think they would enjoy.  By beginning the conversation early, you can give them options for what they would like to try until you find the perfect activity.  Then, look for what’s available to your child in their school or the wider community to find an appropriate club for your child.  And if your child wants to pursue something that’s not available, seek mentorship or advice from her teachers, or trusted counselors – we at Everest Education are happy to help!

And who knows?  Maybe what your child chooses could be the ticket to her future dream job!

Parting words

There are many benefits associated with extracurricular activities, making them extremely important for young children.  Not only will after school activities prepare them for their future, but it makes the present a whole lot of fun.  Academics and extracurricular activities go hand in hand to raise well-rounded individuals and independent learners.  Therefore, extracurricular activities should also be an essential factor to consider when selecting schools for your child.  Enrichment activities such as clubs, sports, and travel opportunities help your child flourish across multiple areas of development. 

>> Read on to explore Four things parents should consider to choose a good school for your child here:

https://blog.e2.com.vn/four-things-to-think-about-when-choosing-a-school-for-your-child/


Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, please leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox and find more parenting coverage at https://blog.e2.com.vn/e2-talk-tips-and-tricks-parents/

Smart Money Management Tips To Teach Your Kids

Smart Money Management Tips To Teach Your Kids

Key highlights

Tết is probably the best time of the year for every Vietnamese child – as they will get a huge amount of “lucky money”.  Now when the spring breeze passes over, how do you teach them to save, and use those money effectively?

Providing children with a thorough understanding of financial literacy at an early age, is vital to ensure proper money management skills later in life.  Setting a realistic budget, responsibly managing credit and debt, saving for unexpected expenses, and learning how to invest will all be important life skills for every young adult to master.  Unfortunately, many parents don’t teach their children money skills.  Some parents feel that finances are not their children’s business, or that financial matters are too complicated for their children to understand.  Others don’t want to burden their children with some of the more stressful aspects of money management, like debt and unexpected expenses.

If you don’t teach your kids how to manage money, somebody else will.  And that’s not a risk you want to take!  In this article, we introduce some good money management lessons for parents to teach your kids how to win with money at any age.

Teaching the basics of money

Research by the University of Cambridge reveals children as young as seven years old have an understanding of basic concepts related to finance.

Talking about money isn’t always easy, though.  The concept of sharing financial information has long been regarded as a “taboo” in the U.S. For families struggling, money management can often be a stressful topic, making parents want to protect their children from the realities of financial distress.  However,  financial literacy is often left out of our typical education system’s curriculum.  Therefore, parents are still the primary educators when it comes to teaching children the money management skills which will allow for a strong foundation of lasting financial competence.

A good foundation of money management will help your children:

  • spend their money wisely on the things they must have – these are their needs

  • save money for the things they like but can live without – these are their wants

  • set aside money for unforeseen expenses – for example, if their bicycle breaks down and needs repairs

  • stop accidental overspending.

At Everest Education, we start talking openly about Money with students from a very young age.  We teach them how to create a budget, show them simple strategies to keep track of their savings, how to calculate and apply comparison to make smart money-related decisions.  Students can even explore what is interests and compound interests, and know the basic rule of banking and investment at the beginning of their middle school – when they are introduced to the concept of Percentages.

 

>> Learn more about our Singapore Math program  at https://e2.com.vn/programs/singapore-math/

How to Getting Kids to Budget and Save Their Money

1. Explain where the money comes from

Let your child understand that money doesn’t grow on trees.  “When you’re teaching your kids about money, it’s important to teach them where it comes from.  Money does not just come from mom and dad’s wallet,” says Rachel Cruze, personal finance expert and the co-author of “Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money.”  “When you work, you get paid.  When you don’t, you don’t get paid.”  The key is to repeatedly demonstrate and demystify the relationship between work and money.

2. Preach the three principles: giving, saving and spending

When your child asks for a toy, let them know that they must buy the toy with their own money.  This is the moment when the “three jars” lesson comes into play.  Set up three jars for your child, each labeled “Saving,” “Spending” or “Sharing.”  Every time your child receives money, help them budget their money between the three jars.  Some of it goes into the jar for immediate, short-term spending: a candy bar or an ice-cream cone, perhaps.  Some of the money goes to the jar for “savings.”  Your child should choose their savings goal. Perhaps they want a new video game or a cell phone.  Each time they get paid, they can watch their balance grow.  The third jar should be for “sharing.”   Money in the sharing jar can go to someone you know who needs it or be used to donate to a friend’s cause. 

Tea Nicola, CEO of WealthBar, raves about this technique.  “My daughter who is eight understands that there are three buckets of money that she has to keep track of: saving, spending and giving,” Nicola says.  “For her, saving is usually for big ticket items like going to a special summer camp or other experiences she wants to have.  Spending money is what she can use on a daily basis, such as buying a candy bar or something like that.  We’re also teaching her the importance of giving.  This could be giving to charity, or it could be giving to others, like buying a present for her friend’s birthday.”

3. Discuss Wants vs. Needs

The first step in teaching kids the value of saving is to help them distinguish between wants and needs.  When your child reaches kindergarten, she’s likely ready to start learning a few more details about “wants” versus “needs”.  Put simply, a need is something we must have to survive; like food, water, and a home.  A want is something that’s nice to have, but you can actually live without; like an ice cream or a new skateboard.  For clarity’s sake, parents might make all “needs” fall into the categories of food, shelter, and clothing, while a “want” is something other than that.  There’s a gray area, of course – for example, Oreos are food, but they’re certainly not necessary.

 

Watch the video below to see the story of Larry the fish – it will help explain the concept to your kids. The video also has an idea for a quiz you can do with your kids to help them further understand needs versus wants:

Cash-clever kids know they have to take care of their needs, before they start thinking about what else they want.

4. Making a Wish List

A wish list is just another way of putting down financial goals on paper.  Your child can learn to become a more determined saver by learning the importance of saving for the future, including these issues:

  • What she’s saving for

  • What she has to put away to get there

  • How long it will take her to reach her savings goal

Take a look at the table below as an example to list your child’s goals.  You’ll see that there are two columns: short-term and long-term.  Short-term goals are ones that can be reached in a matter of weeks or a couple of months.  Long-term goals can take months or even years to attain (a few suggestions have been entered in this column for you).  When a child is young, she’ll probably only have short-term goals; and can’t be expected to think in terms of months or years.  That’s okay.  Just having short-term goals is enough to get him started on the road to saving success.  For example, an elementary school child might want to set a savings goal that can be reached within a few weeks or a month because this time frame is easily understood.  The important thing is to have some sort of goal so that she can develop the savings habit.

Now that your child knows what she wants, you’ll have to help her put a price tag on what she’s saving for. For example, if she wants to save up for a new bicycle make sure that he tallies all the expenses involved – maybe she’ll need a new helmet, or a new safety gear as well.

5. Have Them Track Spending

Part of being a better saver means knowing where your money is going.  If your children get an allowance, having them write down their purchases each day and add them up at the end of the week can be an eye-opening experience.  Encourage them to think about how they’re spending and how much faster they could reach their savings goal if they were to change their spending patterns.

6. Leave Room for Mistakes

Your kid blew all their money and needs more? Let’s seize this teachable moment.  Many parents can relate to this scenario: your kid had money, but they spent it all at the toy store. Now, you’re at the toy store again and they want something but they don’t have the money. What do you do?  Don’t cave. Instead, seize this “teachable moment”.  Part of putting kids in control of their own money is letting them learn from their errors.  It’s tempting to step in and steer kids away from a potentially costly mistake, but it may be better to use that mistake as a teachable moment.  In that way, they’ll know in the future what not to do with their cash.

“Teach them that when money runs out, it runs out,” Cruze says. “It will be tough in the moment, but in the long run you are teaching them to live below their means — and that’s the only way to win with money.”  And yes, your kids will make mistakes, but it’s better that they make those mistakes under the safety of your roof.

Money Is About Lifelong Learning

Money is a tool that can have a very positive influence on somebody’s life, but if it’s not managed properly it quickly becomes a burden.  Children should be exposed to handling money from an early age.  There is no guarantee that a child, given the best financial lessons in life, will go on to use those lessons.  However, parents should know and feel that they gave their children all the knowledge necessary to successfully handle their own finances.  Teaching money skills to your children will promote habits that will serve them well for their entire lives.

As a parent, teaching your children about money – just like teaching them manners, or kindness, or standing up for themselves – is not a one-semester course with an exam at the end.  It’s an ongoing commitment for you, and one of the most important lessons you can teach your child.

Further reading for parents

5 International Mathematics Competitions For Students Of All Ages

5 International Mathematics Competitions For Students Of All Ages

If your kids are good at Math, have you ever considered sending them to a math competition? A little competition can work wonders for kids.  The challenge of competitions could use an extra motivator to realize their full potential, spark their resume to earn scholarships, and open the door to many opportunities in the international education environment. 

In this article, we’ve compiled all the details on 5 popular math competitions for all age levels, including the eligibility requirements.  We’ll also briefly explain how to decide which math competition is right for your child and how math competitions can help her shine as a future college applicant. So let’s get started!

1. International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students and is held annually in a different country.  IMO is also one of the most prestigious math contests and is recognized worldwide.  It has played a significant role in generating wide interest in mathematics among high school students and identifying talent.  The first IMO was held in 1959 in Romania, with 7 countries participating. It has gradually expanded to over 100 countries from 5 continents.

  • Grade levels: high school students.  Contestants must be under the age of 20 and must not be registered at any tertiary institution.  Subject to these conditions, an individual may participate any number of times in the IMO.

  • Scoring and format: The format of the competition quickly became stable and unchanging.  Each country may send up to six contestants, and each contestant competes individually (without any help or collaboration).  The IMO competition lasts two days.  Students are given four and a half hours to solve three problems for six problems each day.  The first problem is usually the easiest on each day and the last problem the hardest.  Each question is worth 7 points, making 42 points the maximum possible score. 

  • Content: The content ranges from challenging algebra and pre-calculus problems to problems on branches of mathematics not conventionally covered at school and often not at university level either, such as projective and complex geometry, functional equations, combinatorics, and well-grounded number theory, of which extensive knowledge of theorems is required.  In addition to comprehensive mathematical knowledge, success on the IMO requires truly exceptional mathematical creativity and inventiveness. For example, here is one of the problems from the 2020 IMO:

>>> Find other IMO past papers here.

2. International Kangaroo Math Contest (IKMC)

International Kangaroo Math Contest (IKMC) is the largest competition for school students globally, with over 6 million participants from 77 countries in 2019. There are six levels of participation, ranging from grade 1 to grade 12.   Awards are given to the top-scoring students per grade at the national level.

IKMC was held in Vietnam for the first time in 2016 by the IEG Education Development Fund – IEG Foundation in cooperation with the University of Education and the National University of Hanoi at 5 test locations in Hanoi, and 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Grade levels: grades 1 through 12 (or homeschooled equivalent) is eligible to participate. IKMC in Vietnam is available for students from grade 1 to grade 8, divided into 4 levels: 

Level 1 (Pre-Ecolier)

Grade 1-2

Level 2 (Ecolier)

Grade 3-4

Level 3 (Benjamin)

Grade 5-6

Level 4 (Cadet)

Grade 7-8

  • Scoring and format: The test is 75 minutes long and consists of multiple-choice questions. 75 minutes is given to solve all problems, each with precisely 5 answer choices. No problems require the use of a calculator, and calculators of all types are prohibited. 

  • Content:  The majority of the problems are algebra or geometry. Math Kangaroo emphasizes three-dimensional geometry, which is usually not seen in many other competitions.  Problems in discrete mathematics (number theory and counting and probability) are occasionally used but fewer than other mathematical competitions.  A few logic and physics questions may also appear.  None of the problems require the use of precalculus concepts (logs, summations, complex numbers) or trigonometry.  An example of 2020 IKMC problems for grade 5-6 level:

>>> Find more IKMC past papers over the years here.

  • Timeline: annually on the third Thursday of March.

  • Fees and costs: 350,000 VND/ participant

  • Website:  https://kangaroo-math.vn/

3. Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO)

SASMO, which stands for Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad, is one of Asia’s largest math contests annually held in Singapore.  Most nations participating in the competition are in Asia, but some in Europe and the Middle East.  SASMO is run as one round competition in April annually and has expanded into 18 countries.  Currently, SASMO has 9 divisions from primary 2 to secondary 4 (Grade 2 to 10).

  • Grade levels: grades 2 through 10

  • Scoring and format: The test is 90 minutes long and consists of two sections

  • Section A:  15 Multiple Choice Questions (2 points for each correct answer; 0 point for each unanswered question; deduct 1 point for each wrong answer)

  • Section B:  10 Non-routine Questions (4 points for each correct answer; no penalty for wrong answers)
    Each student is given 15 points at the beginning to avoid negative scores.

  • Content: SASMO caters to the top 40% of the student population, and it aims to arouse students’ interest in mathematical problem solving to develop mathematical intuition, reasoning, logical, creative, and critical thinking.  SASMO contest fits nicely into the school curriculum with a high focus on non-routine problem sums. A sample question of SASMO for Grade 5 level:

>>> Find more SASMO past papers and online practices here.

4. International Math and Science Olympiad (IMSO)

International Math and Science Olympiad (IMSO) is an annual international contest in Maths and Science in English for elementary and secondary school students under 13 worldwide.  Participants should be chosen through a selection process.  Each country is entitled to send 12 students, 6 students for each subject.  The objective is to help students develop their maths and science levels and promote creativity, research, and academic development.  IMSO involves many of the world’s top 10 ranking math Olympiad countries such as China, Singapore, Vietnam, and Korea. Vietnam has been participating in IMSO since 2015 and firstly organized this contest in 2019 in Hanoi.

  • Grade levels: grade 5 and 6 students who are not older than 13 years

  • Scoring and format: The questions consist of 2 parts: Math (essay and short answer) and Science (essay, short answer, and multiple choices).  Contestants will have 120 minutes to finish their Math section and 135 minutes in total for Science.  All instructions, questions, and answers must be in English. All other languages will not be considered for marking.  Participants cannot bring any English dictionaries, books, scientific dictionaries, calculators, and other electronic devices.

  • Content:  The questions are constructed based on Mathematics and Science elementary school curricula, reference books, and other relevant sources, which cover intellectual reasoning and creativity.  A sample question of IMSO for Grade 5 level:

  • Timeline: October or November

  • Fees and costs: 200,000 VND/ participant

  • Website:  http://imso.ieg.vn/

5. American Mathematics Competitions (AMC)

The American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) are the first of a series of competitions in secondary school mathematics that determine the United States team for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).  The American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) consists of a series of increasingly tricky tests for middle school and high school students.  The AMC sets the standard in the United States for talented high school students of mathematics.  The AMC curriculum is both comprehensive and modern.  AMC exams are so well designed that some top universities such as MIT now ask students for their AMC scores.

  • Grade levels: student under grade 12

  • Scoring and format: AMC is divided into 3 levels:

+ AMC 8: for students under the age of 14.5 and in grades 8 and below

+ AMC 10: for students under the age of 17.5 and in grades 10 and below

+ AMC 12: for students under the age of 19.5 and in grades 12 and below


The AMC 8 is a 25 multiple-choice question, 40-minute competition for middle schoolers designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem-solving skills.  The score is based on the number of questions answered correctly only.  There is no penalty for getting a question wrong, and each question has equal value.

The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are 25 questions, 75-minute multiple-choice competitions in secondary school mathematics containing problems that can be understood and solved with pre-calculus concepts.  As of 2020, the use of calculators is permitted on both the AMC 10 and AMC 12.  The competitions are scored based on the number of questions answered correctly, and the number of questions left blank.  A student receives 6 points for each question answered correctly, 1.5 points for each question left blank, and 0 points for incorrect answers. 

      • Content: AMC tests mathematical problem solving with arithmetic, algebra, counting, geometry, number theory, and probability, with far more cross-over between the subject areas than in nearly all classrooms.  For example, most classrooms only have divisibility rules and little tidbits of number theory and consider number theory as not a whole branch of mathematics but just a bunch of short cuts.  The AMCs use number theory in much deeper (although elementary, without analysis) ways.  Tests vary widely in difficulty.  All three of the tests are designed such that no background in calculus, analysis, or any other higher mathematics is needed to take the exams.

>>> Find more AMC past papers and online practice here.

Preparing for and sitting a contest itself is a great way to get your child to engage with math outside of the classroom.  And success in a contest will be a massive boost to their academic self-confidence and will go on their record.  Math contests are a tremendous social and intellectual opportunity for students, but exposing students to competitions must be done wisely, else they become counterproductive to the goal of encouraging a lifelong interest in mathematics and other intellectual pursuits.

If you decide to enroll your child in an international math contest, it’s important that they properly prepare for it. At Everest Education, we are proud to be one of the first and distinctive learning centers that teach Math in English.  Students can learn, play, think, express the Math concepts in English very naturally and confidently.  

>> Find more information about our courses at: https://e2.com.vn/programs/singapore-math/ 

Please note that Everest Education has no affiliation with any of these events, and this article does not serve as an official endorsement.  These are simply snapshots of the different events at this time; there may be changes due to COVID-19 and other factors.  For the most up to date information, please check each event’s website.

Should you have any concerns or topics you want us to cover, please leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox and find more parenting coverage at
https://blog.e2.com.vn/e2-talk-tips-and-tricks-parents/

 

The Taste Of The Traditional Vietnamese Tet

The Taste Of The Traditional Vietnamese Tet

What can immediately remind you of the taste of Tết?

Let’s join Everest Education (“E2”) to find that taste through these traditional dishes on the Tết banquet table! This will give you some ideas using these vocabularies to introduce Tết to your international friends.

 

Bánh chưng or Square sticky rice cake – Chung cake – Savory sticky rice cake is a traditional Vietnamese rice cake made from glutinous rice, mung beans, pork and other ingredients. Its origin is told by the legend of Lang Liêu, a prince of the last king of the Sixth Hùng Dynasty, who became the successor thanks to his creation of Bánh Chưng and Bánh Giầy, which symbolized, respectively, the earth and the sky.

Bánh tét or Cylindrical glutinous rice cake is a Vietnamese savory but a sometimes sweetened cake made primarily from glutinous rice, rolled in a banana leaf into a thick, log-like cylindrical shape, with mung bean and pork filling, then boiled. The “tét” in the food’s name literally means “sliced” or “split,” possibly referring to the fact that it is served in slices.

 

Chả giò or (Fried) spring roll is a popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine. The main structure of a roll is commonly seasoned ground meat (pork or crab, shrimp, chicken, and sometimes snails (in northern Vietnam), and tofu (for vegetarian roll)), mushrooms, noodles, and diced vegetables such as carrots, kohlrabi and jicama, rolled up in a sheet of moist rice paper. The roll is then deep fried until the rice paper coat turns crispy and golden brown.

Chả lụa or Lean pork pie or Vietnamese Salami, Vietnamese Ham, Vietnamese Pork Sausage, Lean pork pie, Pork paste, Pork Pate in Banana Leaf is the most common type of sausage in Vietnamese cuisine, made of pork and traditionally wrapped in banana leaves into a cylindrical shape and boiled.

 

Nem chua or Fermented pork is a sweet, sour, salty and spicy fermented pork or beef sausage, usually served with a thin slice of garlic, bird’s eye chili and gooseberry tree leaf, usually rolled or cut in bite sizes.

Thịt đông or Jellied meat or Pork jelly is a typical dish of Northern Vietnam. It is an aspic made from pork, but mainly pig’s trotters, wood ear mushroom and pepper, in addition to pork skin, and may have jelly.

Thịt kho hột vịt (nước dừa) or Braised pork belly and eggs (in coconut juice) or Caramelized pork and eggs is a Vietnamese dish traditionally consisting of small pieces of marinated pork (usually bacon, or meat with both lean and fat) and boiled eggs braised in coconut juice. Spices used include pepper, fish sauce, chili, sugar, etc.

 

Canh khổ qua nhồi thịt or Stuffed bitter melon soup is a typical dish in Tết of the Southern people, with the meaning that the bad luck in the old year will pass and good things will come in the new year. Its main ingredient is bitter melon. Most of the stuffed ingredients are pork or fish and some condiments, such as soy sauce, pepper, or salt.

Lạp xưởng or Chinese sausage and Củ kiệu ngâm or Pickled small leeks is a popular duo every Tet. The origin of Lạp xưởng is from China and came to Vietnam for a long time. Lạp xưởng is a typical Tet dish of Vietnamese people. Pure Vietnamese Lạp xưởng taste is hard to replace. Combining meat, garlic, pepper, spices and simply made not sophisticatedly, Lạp xưởng becomes a unique dish in Vietnamese culinary culture.

 

When talking about Pickled small leeks, Vietnamese people think about Tết. Pickled small leeks dish is indispensable in the Southern’s Tet banquet. People use small leeks to wash and soak it with sugar and vinegar to make a crunchy, sweet and sour dish. It is usually used with many other Tet dishes such as bánh chưng, bánh tét, lạp xưởng …

Finally, when it comes to Tet food, we can’t help but mention the 3 Khô bò or Beef Jerky, Hạt dưa or Red roasted watermelon seeds and many kinds of Mứt or Dried fruit candy. Vietnamese people use these dishes to pass the time when playing Tết games. This set of 3 is the most “wanted” Tet dishes for children (and even adults).

What is your favorite Tết dish? Don’t forget to share with us by commenting below!

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reference: wiki
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Why You Should Let Your Child Play Minecraft (And How To Use It As A Teaching Tool)

Why You Should Let Your Child Play Minecraft (And How To Use It As A Teaching Tool)

Children learn about coding, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and digital citizenship through Minecraft’s game-based platform.

Video games are frowned upon by parents as time-wasters, and worse, some even think that these games corrupt the brain.  However, games are not always bad.  Some studies have shown certain video games can improve hand–eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and the mind’s ability to process information.

“Video games change your brain,” according to University of Wisconsin psychologist C. Shawn Green.  Playing video games changes the brain’s physical structure the same way as learning to read, playing the piano, or navigating using a map.  Much like exercise can build muscle, the powerful combination of concentration and rewarding surges of neurotransmitters like dopamine strengthen neural circuits that can build the brain.  And Minecraft – the world-renowned game we want to introduce with you today – is one of the best examples of how videogames can make your kids smarter.

Minecraft, the popular sandbox game, is beloved by educators worldwide for its use as a learning tool.  It enables students to explore, create and imagine in a completely different way than they could ever do in a traditional classroom. The beauty of the game is in the way it unleashes the creativity of both children and parents.

This article will tell you five reasons you should let your child play Minecraft and how to incorporate it into creating exciting learning experiences.

What is Minecraft?

For those of you who haven’t played it, Minecraft is a game that gives you an open world and the ability to use the raw materials around you to craft and shape tools, alter the landscape, build buildings, play music, or even build a working computer within the game.  Minecraft is defined as a three-dimensional sandbox video game for single or multi-player use.  The word “Minecraft” is a portmanteau of two verbs: to mine and craft.

Like any playground, Minecraft doesn’t come with instructions, and it’s relatively simple to pick up and play. You learn the game through exploration, experimentation, watching YouTube videos, and reading other fan-created content (there’s a lot of it online). And the more you play, the more you learn what to do and how to use the available resources, such as Redstone and different kinds of ore, to make ever-more-complex tools and structures.

Parents can imagine Minecraft as Super Mario of our kids’ generation.  It’s an international phenomenon.  There is an extensive Minecraft community based around all of the unique possibilities inherent in the game.

5 reasons why Minecraft is beneficial for your kids

“Is Minecraft bad for my child?” some parents may ask.  The answer is no!  On the contrary, this is a non-violent, educational game that can teach kids the fundamentals of programming skills, teamwork, problem-solving, project management and offers a great environment to foster creativity and “out of the box” thinking.  Still not convinced?  Check out these five concrete reasons why Minecraft isn’t a typical video game and how your kids can benefit from playing it.

1. Minecraft unleashes your child’s creativity. 

Minecraft isn’t just about stacking and unstacking blocks.  Encourage your kids to build something learned in school, like a Scottish castle or an Egyptian pyramid, or create an entire world from their imagination.  Some will explore extensive cave systems underground, while other players might build grand houses.  Perhaps your child will reveal their architectural genius and create astonishing block cities and structures inspired by real or fictional locations.

2. Minecraft inspires confident exploration.

Unlike other video games with strict rules and linear event progressions, Minecraft is an open environment that doesn’t come built-in with structured quests.  This means that youngsters can roam through this world and explore without an urgent set of tasks.  However, they are still challenged by loose survival requirements, such as feeding their avatars, building shelter, or warding off enemies.  Children are free to make mistakes and succeed in the world of Minecraft.

3. Minecraft develops career skills.

Not only geometry and math knowledge, but Minecraft can also even be directly applicable to essential workplace skills that will help your youngster land a solid career someday.  In addition to familiarity with computer hardware and functions, kids gain experience with video game design principles and coding in the Minecraft world.  A study in 2017 conducted at Glasgow University linked playing video games and Minecraft to future university success.  Their research found that people who played the game showed increased communication, adaptability, and resourcefulness scales, compared to the control group – all skills that are seen as critical for graduate success.  Progressing through Minecraft will provide you any number of opportunities to gently steer your kid toward good decision-making and preparation skills, as well as teaching patience and perseverance.

4. Minecraft enhances teamwork

One of the coolest things about Minecraft is that other players are constantly sharing their custom-made modifications, quest maps, impressive artwork, and wiki entries.  This culture encourages young people to explore their own ideas and contribute too.  Depending on your child’s age, you might want to explore special public servers, forums, and wiki guides together and see how other players customize their games.  Parents can also set up personal servers so that other friends and family members can join in on the fun.  Psychologists have been researching video games as a way to build social skills since children get to engage with one another to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

5. Minecraft is relatively inexpensive. 

Children of many ages can play Minecraft.  The game itself doesn’t cost much, and you can even have your child pay for it through allowance, teaching them the importance of saving money!  Due to their graphics’ simplicity, you don’t need a super expensive and advanced computer to run it either.  Minecraft can be played on PCs, Macs, and Xbox 360.  There’s also a version for iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android smartphones.  The computer version is $26.95.  The Xbox version is $20.  The tablet edition is $6.99.  Parents can download the PC or Mac version at www.minecraft.net.  You can also let your child experience the free trial here.

How to use Minecraft as an educational tool

Before you jump into using Minecraft as a creative tool for your children, let walk through the game yourself and consider some steps you can take to incorporate Minecraft into teaching kids real-life skills.

1. Experience Minecraft yourself

Parents should learn the basic game mechanics of Minecraft.  That will allow them to learn more about your children’s hobbies and open new communication spaces between parents and their kids.  You’re not expected to know every trick or secret to Minecraft, only how you can effectively use Minecraft as the specialized tool that it can be.  Once you’re a master, all that’s left to learn is how to use all the resources at your disposal to help your child learn in subjects like agriculture, arithmetic, history, chemistry, architecture, … and be involved and share in the fun too. 

With recent events shifting the world to online education shortly, Mojang Studios – the developer of Minecraft and Microsoft- has teamed up to make it even easier for parents at home to use this version of Minecraft dubbed Minecraft: Education Edition.  If you’re good at English, check out their full guide to Minecraft: Education Edition.  They’ve compiled a complete guide on all the essentials.  Not all of these features may be available to you, but it still might be useful to know what the Education Edition is capable of.

2. Engage kids in conversations

Ask your child what he likes about Minecraft.  Answers will likely revolve around the collective themes of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.  One of the best ways to do this is to set your child a challenge, such as: “Can you build a Minecraft railway?”.  Challenges like this will boost their problem-solving skills and develop their research skills as they look up solutions on YouTube and work out the best way to tackle the challenge.

3. Explore YouTube video tutorials

If you have not known anything about the game, just do a keyword search for “Minecraft,” and BOOM! –  over 140 million videos will show up!  Many of these have been created by students like ours honing their skills as content producers.  Some helpful examples can be found here and here.

Minecraft games are played in “worlds.” You will find any version of your child’s interest in exploring along with you, so open dialogue and uncover what kinds of worlds they value and what elements stand out.  Simply boot up the game and select an available world – it will load automatically. You can also visit the online world library and download as many as you wish. 

4. Add a tool for writing

Minecraft can be used to tell stories with characters, locations, choices, motivations, and plots.  Parents can use Minecraft as a tool for children to write and create stories based on their character.  Perhaps your child might develop a backstory for the world he makes, as well as for his character.  Children can also create a story with different plot elements using the game they play and add more creative aspects.

During the coronavirus school closures, Minecraft has made free lessons and worlds available for remote learning.   They also offer ten free worlds from its creator community, with each world offering lesson plans with writing activities, build challenges, and puzzles.

Minecraft Resources on the web

Children’s books about Minecraft and coding

     

Of course, like many other online video games, Minecraft might have some potential threats.  However, if you teach your children the right digital safety rules (i.e., never give out your real name, address, or other personal information), the online version of the game will be a positive social experience.  The next time your child asks if they can play more Minecraft (and you know they will!), think about all the useful, practical skills they’re gaining.  Sit down with them, watch them play, and get involved with what they’re learning and doing.  And who knows? Maybe time spending on Minecraft can spark your child’s interest in STEAM jobs; as Mark Zuckerberg – CEO of Facebook, once said, “I made a lot of games for myself, and they were terrible, but this was how I got into programming.”

Reference:

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/parents-ultimate-guide-to-minecraft#eductional

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/10-reasons-why-minecraft-beneficial-for-your-kids.html

https://funtech.co.uk/latest/does-minecraft-make-you-smarter#:~:text=As%20far%20as%20non%2Dviolent,out%20of%20the%20box%E2%80%9D%20thinking.

Let Kids Play: Is TikTok Safe For Kids?

Let Kids Play: Is TikTok Safe For Kids?

Let kids play is a way to help kids… learn effectively?!

Social networks in general as well as TikTok in particular always give parents a “headache”, because you do not know whether content is suitable for your kids or not. 

But hey, there is still lots of useful knowledge on these social platforms. The important thing to keep kids be safe when online and even take advantage of knowledge resources on these social networks is to accompany, guide or control the content (if kids are too young).

Everest Education (“E2”) hopes this article contains information parents need to learn about TikTok – a popular social network that kids join every day.

TikTok at a glance

TikTok is a social network for sharing user-generated short videos. Users can create and upload their own videos.

TikTok facts

  • TikTok for Younger Users splits users into age-appropriate TikTok environments. “TikTok for Younger Users” – that introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for an audience that is under 13 years old. TikTok for Younger Users allows us to split users into age-appropriate TikTok environments, in line with FTC guidance for mixed audience apps.
  • TikTok collects data of users. Collecting users’ data is thing social networks always do. We can custom settings to ensure information security, avoid unnecessary inconveniences. Learn how and why TikTok collects users’ data: https://www.tiktok.com/legal/privacy-policy?lang=en 

Kid-friendly TikTok accounts

@nasablueberry1 | Cool space facts

@daniel.labelle | Hilarious sports-themed

@iammoshow | Positive, cat-themed 

@fortnite | Updated dance moves and choreography

>>> Wanna find a place for kids to enjoy their studying? E2’s classes are the best choice, learn more here