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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

Bean and Cheese Tacos

Looking for a quick and easy dinner idea? Please adults and children alike with these bean and cheese tacos!

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Ingredients

  • 15-oz can of pinto beans, rinsed
  • 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup mild salsa
  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce
  • Taco shells (hard or soft)
  • Low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Combine beans and salsa in a microwave-safe bowl, then heat 1 to 2 minutes or until hot. Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Spoon the bean mixture into each taco shell, top with lettuce and cheese.

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

How to Create a Story with Your Child

Many parents read stories to their children. But have you ever created a story with your child? Crafting a story with your child helps boost creativity, literacy and critical thinking skills. It is also a great opportunity to bond with your child, and it’s a lot of fun. Here are the four steps to creating a story.

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  1. Create two or three characters. Make a character checklist with your child to flesh out the characters. Are your characters boys or girls? What kinds of food do they like? How old are they? What do they do well? What do they not do well? Where do they live? How do they know each other? This is a good starting point for coming up with interesting characters, but feel free to give your characters additional attributes.
  2. Give them something to do. All characters should want something, even if it’s just to get ice cream. Once you figure out what your characters want, have them try to obtain it.
  3. Put obstacles in their way. If your characters want ice cream, for example, and are trying to get to the ice cream parlor or supermarket, put obstacles in their way. The obstacle, in this case, could be the simple problem of not knowing the way to the ice cream parlor or supermarket. Stories come from the characters having to overcome challenges to achieve their objectives.
  4. Write the story down. If your child isn’t old enough to write the story down, write it down for him. You could even paste those pages in a scrapbook, turning your story into a keepsake.

Summer Activities

Ten activities to do with your child this summer:

  1. Ride your bikes around your neighborhood or in a local park to increase family togetherness and to emphasize the importance of exercise.

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  1. Have a picnic. Encourage your child to help pack the basket. You can talk to him about the different types of food you are putting in the basket, where the food is from and what foods are best for his health.

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  1. Go on a leaf hunt. Your child can learn about different types of trees by their leaves, and she can observe how the trees grow. To create a lasting memory of your wonderful walk, you can collect a few leaves, place them on a sheet of paper and color them with a crayon. This will produce an imprint of the leaf to have for the future.

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  1. Volunteer in your community. Many communities have public gardens where children and parents come to plant their own flowers to contribute to the beauty of the community. If your community doesn’t have a garden, consider starting one. This will teach your child the importance of being involved and giving back.

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  1. Plan a treasure hunt. For more enjoyment, include the whole neighborhood.

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  1. Prepare new summer recipes. Encourage your child to use his skills to help with the ingredients and measurements. Soon, he’ll be cooking meals for you.

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  1. Take some of your old clothes and place them in a chest. Now, you can have a dress-up day, which is a perfect inside activity for a rainy day. Your child will love dressing up just like mom!

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  1. Create a craft table. Prepare a corner in your child’s playroom or bedroom with a table for craft activities, such as drawing, painting or building. This makes for another great indoor activity for rainy days.

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  1. Stargaze. On a warm, clear night, sit outside with your child and observe the various Talk about what you can and cannot see with the human eye. Enjoy the starry night!

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  1. Teach your child to conserve water during her daily activities. Since we enjoy pools, oceans and lakes during the summer months, this is a good time to teach your little one about the dangers of pollution and the effects it can have to our oceans and lakes.

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Does Your Toy Have What it Takes to be Preschooler-Approved?

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), national franchisor of The Goddard School® preschool system, is kicking off The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test 2017  and we are in search of the Top 10 Toys of the year for children (infants to six years old) that encourage playful learning.

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The Goddard School Toy Testing Committee selects toy finalists based on a research-based set of criteria.

Please click here to download The Goddard School Toy Test Application Form, which includes the evaluation criteria and submission instructions. Also, view the link for a snapshot of the extraordinary media coverage secured during last year’s Toy Test.

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The completed 2017 Official Application Forms and toy samples must be received by Friday, July 28, 2017. One application form per toy is required.

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Final selections will be publicized in national, local and social media. Please submit all questions to toytest@goddardsystems.com.

 

Screen Time Guidelines for Summer Break

Summer is here, which means children have more time to watch TV and play video games. To limit how much screen time your child has, you can institute a reward system.

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  1. Select readily available tokens that your child cannot not easily access, such as stickers or playing cards.
  2. Think of some helpful tasks that your child can do around the house. Tell her that she can earn a reward for each task she completes without being told to do it. Examples include cleaning up after herself, bringing in the mail, feeding the pets and setting the table. Explain the concept of exchanging the token for a prize or privilege. This system will also help your child learn and understand the concept of spending money to purchase a product.
  3. Explain to your child that each time she wants screen time, she must hand in one of her tokens. Set a time limit for each token that is suitable for the age of your child. For example, one token could equal ten minutes of screen time. You may want to set a limit for the number of tokens that your child can use each day. Write down these rules and explain them well to stop any arguments before they start.
  4. Let your child know that if she has no tokens, she will have to do more chores to earn screen time.

Your little ones will be so excited to earn their tokens that they will not realize how many helpful tasks they are completing.

Fourth of July Fun!

Four fun crafts for the Fourth of July!

  1. The American Flag

Take a white sheet of construction paper and place it lengthwise on a table. Assist your child to cut out seven red stripes 0.62 in. wide and one blue rectangle 3.5 in. wide by 3.75 in. long from construction paper. Glue the rectangle lengthwise on the upper left corner of the white sheet, and then glue the stripes 0.62 inches apart starting with the red so the white and red colors alternate, but do not cover the blue rectangle. Next, ask your child to draw stars in the blue rectangle. Lastly, talk with your child about why there are fifty stars and thirteen stripes on the American flag.

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  1. Red, White and Blue Firecrackers

Gather nine popsicle sticks. (Don’t eat all the popsicles at once!) Cut out a red, a blue and a white triangle from construction paper, and pick out some fun red, white and blue string or ribbon. Next, guide your child in gluing the popsicle sticks together in sets of three, edge-to-edge, one next to the other. After they have dried, glue one triangle to the top of each set of popsicle sticks, and tape the string to the bottom. When you finish, you will have three fabulous firecrackers.

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  1. Painted Fireworks

This is an easy one! All you need is blue paint, red paint, tape, a white sheet of paper and seven bendy straws. Wrap tape around the non-bendy ends of the straws so they are secured together. Bend the other ends so they are sticking out in different directions. Assist your child to paint the ends, alternating with blue and red paint. Once all the ends are painted, place them down on the paper. This is a great opportunity to explain patterns to your child. Add more paint and repeat this step in different spots on the paper.

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  1. Uncle Sam Hat

First, take a white Dixie cup and paint evenly spaced red stripes around it, alternating white and red. Next, cut a half-inch strip of blue paper and have your child paint stars from one end to the other. Once the stars have dried, glue the strip around the wide end of the cup. Lastly, cut out a circle from foam, paint it red and glue the rim of the cup to the circle.

Three Fun Rainy Day Activities

Rain, rain, go away! Until it does, here are three fun activities you and your child can do on a rainy day.

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  1. Indoor scavenger hunt. Come up with a list of items for your child to collect around the house, such as…
  • Toothbrush;
  • Stuffed animal;
  • A quarter;
  • Spatula;
  • Pillow.

Once your child has collected these items, reward her with a treat. You could also put a fun twist on this activity by asking your child to take photos (using a smartphone or a camera) of different items, such as her favorite shirt, her favorite hiding spot and so on.

  1. Make a fort. Use sofa cushions or cardboard boxes to make a fun hideout for you and your little one. Then play a game or snuggle up and read a story in the comfort of your fort. You could also pretend you’re camping
  1. Bake up a yummy treat. Chocolate chip cookies, for example, are relatively easy and quick to make. It’s fun, you’ll bond and your child will learn to bake!

 

Nutritious and Fun Breakfast: Banana in a Blanket

Perfect for breakfast or shared as a snack, this delicious, hearty little recipe is sure to please!

Ingredients

  • 1 six-inch whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter or cream cheese
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon granola

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Lay the tortilla on a plate and spread the entire surface evenly with the nut or seed butter or cream cheese.

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Peel the banana and place on one edge of the tortilla.

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Sprinkle with granola.

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Drizzle maple syrup or honey on top.

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Roll the tortilla to wrap the banana in the “blanket.”

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Slice in half, serve and enjoy!

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