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Play in the Park

Parks are a great place to encourage outdoor play. Instead of sitting inside watching television or playing on a tablet, plan a day at the park with your little one. Bring lunch, water and snacks so you and your child can enjoy the outdoors all day.

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A few activities to get you started for the day can include playing Frisbee, playing catch and jumping rope. Try to gather a group of children and their parents for a friendly game of whiffle ball. If your park has a walking trail, bring a notebook and ask your child to draw things that you see along the way. Take photos of unique animals, flowers or trees and research them at home for a nice cool-down activity.

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What are some activities you and your children do at the park?

National Fossil Day

Today, October 11, 2017, is National Fossil Day! Many little ones love playing with dinosaur toys. What better time to learn through play than on National Fossil Day? Many children may see dinosaurs as fantasy characters since the creatures lived millions of years ago. You can have a prehistoric blast by teaching your child what fossils are and how we use them to research past time periods. Here’s a great way to help your child visualize fossils instead of looking up photos of them in books or online.

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Take out your favorite sugar cookie recipe and gather some small toy dinosaurs. Together with your child, prepare the cookies, and while they are baking, clean the toy dinosaurs. Once the cookies are out of the oven, while still soft, press the toy dinosaurs into the cookies to leave a dinosaur imprint. Then, carefully remove the toy dinosaurs, and set the cookies aside to cool and harden. The imprint of a toy dinosaur will allow your child to see what a fossil looks like.

collecting fossils. get coral fossil out of a chalk rock.

What are some ways that you and your child can learn about fossils?

THE GODDARD SCHOOL PUTS TOYS UP AGAINST ITS TOUGHEST CRITICS DURING THE 10th ANNUAL PRESCHOOLER-APPROVED TOY TEST

Preschoolers Across the United States Select the Top Educational Toys That Support Skill Development and Playful Learning.

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School® preschool system, is hosting its tenth annual Preschooler-Approved Toy Test. As the holiday season approaches, preschoolers at 50 Goddard School locations throughout the U.S. will be tasked with finding the best educational toys on the market for infants and children. The world’s leading toy companies are competing for the prestigious title of Preschooler-Approved Top 10 Toys of 2017.

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Annually, The Goddard School’s Toy Test Committee, which comprises a group of early childhood education experts, reviews applications from nearly 100 global toy manufacturers. They judge each entry on specific educational criteria such as encouraging interactive, child-initiated play, inspiring creativity and collaboration and supporting skill development and playful learning. From there, the 25 toys with the highest scores are sent to 50 participating Goddard School locations nationwide to be tested by the preschoolers.

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The testing week this year takes place from Monday, September 25 to Friday, September 29. At the end of the week, the preschoolers will vote for their favorite toys. GSI will tally the votes to reveal the Top 10 Preschooler-Approved Toys and announce the results on November 1, 2017; next, voting will be opened to the public until November 10, 2017, on The Goddard School’s Toy Test page.

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“Our students are busy at work uncovering the top toys that promote playful learning,” says GSI’s Vice President of Education, Dr. Craig Bach. “Toy Test engages the children through fun, play-based activities, which are the core of our educational philosophy. Learning through play enables them to build skills like critical thinking and creativity, which help prepare them for success in school, career and life.”

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Past Preschooler-Approved Toy Test winners include brands such as Laser Pegs, K’NEX Brands, Learning Resources, and John Deere’s Gearation Board. For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

Facing a Power Outage

When a strong, windy storm results in a power outage, some young children may become afraid, especially in the evening when it’s dark outside. Follow these steps to make power outages seem less scary and even enjoyable for your little ones.

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  1. Be prepared. Before a big storm, make sure you have at least two working flashlights and plenty of batteries for them.
  2. Be safe. Light candles, out of the reach of children, in each room. Make sure to have a well lit path from the living room to the kitchen, to the bathroom and to wherever you and your child
  3. Be smart. Call your power company to find out the estimated time to restore the power. It will seem less scary to your little one if she knows when the lights will come back on. Consider incorporating a fun game of counting down each hour.
  4. Be wise. Have planned activities ready for your child in order to avoid boredom. Here are a few activities that you can include:
    • Card games such as go fish
    • Coloring and other arts and crafts
    • A taste test with things found in your kitchen – Lay out a few plates with different foods on them. Have your child cover his eyes and ask him what is on each plate.
    • A sock puppet show – Guide your child in making faces on the socks, and then put on a puppet show.
    • A concert – Ask your child to use his imagination and gather things and from around the house that can be used to create music like pots, pans and bells. Then make some music.
    • Special time – Snuggle up and read a book together.

What are some activities your family does together during power outages?

Ice Cream Grahamwich!

Make summer last longer with these simple and delicious “ice cream” grahamwiches!

Ingredients

  • Graham Crackers
  • Whipped Topping
  • Plastic Wrap

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1.  Spread a dollop of whipped topping on a graham cracker.

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2.  Top with another graham cracker.

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3.  Wrap each grahamwich in plastic wrap and freeze it.

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4.  When it is completely frozen, unwrap and enjoy your ice cream grahamwich!

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Grandparents Day

This Sunday, September 10, is Grandparents Day! Having strong family connections is important for a child’s healthy, happy lifestyle. Although there is a large age gap between preschoolers and their grandparents, children can learn a lot from their elders.

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Grandparents have vast amounts of wisdom to offer, and they can render a kindness that is unlike that of other generations. There is a certain admiration that grandparents and grandchildren share with each other, and it is beneficial to give them opportunities to spend time together. The celebration of Grandparents Day is a great way to show grandparents just how loved and appreciated they are.

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Homemade crafts from grandchildren are the perfect gifts to celebrate this special day.

Hand or Foot Print Masterpieces

Gather some non-toxic paint and have your child dip his hands or feet in it. Then place his hands or feet onto a sheet of paper, a t-shirt or a piece of canvas. After the paint has dried, help your preschooler sign his name for that extra special touch.

Photo Album

Sit down with your little one and sift through the photos that you have taken of her with her grandparents over the years. Choose the best ones (though they are all great!), and create a photo album filled with wonderful memories. Grandparents will be able to reflect on this gift for many years and enjoy reminiscing the beautiful moments they spent with their grandchildren.

Those children who live far away from their grandparents can still celebrate Grandparent’s Day. You can take a trip to the nearest assisted living center and spend some time with the residents who cannot see their grandchildren on Grandparents Day. The residents will be delighted to spend time with your child, and she will feel good about herself for giving back to those in the community while having fun.

What are some activities your family does for Grandparents Day?

Three Ways to Discourage Children from Arguing

It can be challenging when a child argues with a parent. Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers three ways to diffuse an argument before it escalates.

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1. Alexander, the main character in Judith Viorst’s wonderful Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, complains that it’s not fair about not getting new sneakers when his brother did. If a child said this to his mother, one strategy would be for his mom to say, “It may not seem fair right now because you don’t need new sneakers. When you need something, you usually get it and then it seems fair to you. Those are our family rules, discussion over.” Making sure it’s understood that the discussion is over is the crucial component.

2. Let’s say that a child is arguing with her mom about picking up her blocks. Mom, keeping her cool, might announce, “I’m setting the timer for five minutes. Any blocks not put away when it rings will be taken away. It’s your choice.” “Discussion over” is implied. Try not to include the oft-heard concluder “Okay?” because the child will never think it’s okay, and you are just inviting the next arguing match.

3. It is a good idea for parents to change their behavior first and not wait until the child does what the parent wants. If you feel yourself being sucked into the argument vortex, you should stand firmly and silently for 10-30 seconds, avoid eye contact, breathe a few times and then announce something like “I am not arguing any more so that I can help you learn how to manage yourself when you don’t get your way.” After doing this a few dozen times, it usually slows the arguing to a tolerable pace. Silence, without the shaming, is a parent’s most powerful tool.

DIY Banana Chips

Many store-bought banana chips are loaded with added sugar and fat. Follow these simple instructions to make healthy banana chips at home.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Slice the banana (or bananas, depending on how many chips you want) into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, and lay them on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees F for two to three hours or until golden. Then let the chips harden at room temperature. Enjoy them as is or serve with nut butter. For an extra kick of sweetness, brush lemon juice on the banana slices before baking.

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

 

Total Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017, the moon will cover the sun, causing rapid temperature drops throughout the United States. This is known as a total solar eclipse. You can complete a simple craft with your children to help explain what the solar eclipse is and how it will look.

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Items that you will need:

  • Two sheets of black construction paper
  • One sheet of yellow construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Directions

Guide your child in cutting out a large circle from the yellow sheet of paper and glue it to one of the black sheets. Next, take the second black sheet of paper and cut out a circle slightly smaller than you cut from the yellow sheet. Slide the black circle across the yellow circle to show the different phases of the eclipse. Once you are done discussing the phases, glue the black circle to the center of the yellow circle so that just the edges of yellow are showing. This representation is a great way to explain to your children how the solar eclipse will look.

While completing this craft, discuss with your child why solar eclipses happen and how often they occur.

Five Benefits of Imaginative Play

Imaginative play benefits the growth of the cerebellum. This part of the brain is “responsible for key cognitive functions such as attention, language processing, sensing musical rhythms, and more” (Brown & Vaughan, 2009, p. 34). Here are five other benefits of imaginative play for children.

1. Play fosters the development of imagination. Imaginative play encourages children to be anything they want to be. This anything-goes thinking allows them to come up with ideas that they might not think about in a more structured environment.

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2. It encourages the development of problem-solving skills. Problem solving requires the ability to think creatively. Imaginative play involves experimenting with different activities, such as building with blocks or sculpting with modeling clay (White, 2015). Engaging in these playful activities helps children become more creative, which gives them the ability to solve different problems (Roskos & Christie, 2000).

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3. Play allows a child to fail without consequences. For example, when children play house, they imagine themselves as parents or spouses. They learn from those scenarios without dealing with negative consequences. Imaginative play, in other words, gives children the freedom to fail and try again without feeling defeated (Lillemyr, 2009).  

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4. It encourages social-emotional development. When pretending to be, say, a mother or a father, the child must imagine being in that person’s shoes. As a result, the child learns to interact and think about things as a parent, which helps the child become empathetic and practice language that is more in a parent’s vocabulary than a child’s.

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5. It helps children unwind. Unstructured imaginative play gives children the opportunity to be in their own world for a while without worrying about anything except playing and having fun.

 

References

Brown, S., & Vaughan, C. (2009). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul. New York, NY: Avery.

Lillemyr, O. F. (2009). Taking play seriously: Children and play in early childhood education—An exciting challenge. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Roskos, K. A., & Christie, J. F. (2000). Play and literacy in early childhood: Research from multiple perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

White, R. E. (2015). The power of play: A research summary on play and learning. Retrieved from http://www.childrensmuseums.org/images/MCMResearchSummary.pdf