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Archive for 2017

Density Experiment!

Young children benefit from active, hands-on activities that foster scientific learning. You can inspire your little scientist’s interests by conducting this easy and fun density experiment at home! Encourage your children to ask questions, learn from their mistakes, try again, explore new activities and come up with solutions.

density-experiment

Click here to watch the video or check out the complete instructions below!

Materials

  • Clear jar or container
  • Lightly colored water (blue or green works best)
  • Wooden block
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Marble
  • Bottle cap
  • Corn syrup
  • Plastic figurine
  • Coin
  • Flower petal
  • LEGO bricks (or other small items)
  • Eraser

Procedure

  1. Pour the water into the jar. Pour corn syrup into the jar. Pour the oil into jar.
    1. What happened to the liquids in the jar?
    2. Why do you think this happened?
  2. Make predictions about what will happen to the different objects before dropping them into the jar. Take turns dropping the objects into the jar.
    1. Were all of your predictions correct?
    2. If any predictions were not correct, why do you think the results were different from the predictions?

 

A Child’s First Pet

Many children plead, “Please mom, dad, I need one. I’ll take good care of it.” Can you guess what this is all about? Yes, that furry bundle of responsibility known as a pet. As parents, our first thoughts might be the dirty messes in our homes, the many extra expenses or the cold, nightly walks with a beloved fur ball in less than ideal weather. However, a pet can be a great friend for your child; it can teach him responsibility and provide him with many other benefits.

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Having a pet offers your child a best friend, a constant companion and an audience to listen to her imaginative stories. This will boost her confidence while she is learning to read. Some children can be shy about reading out loud. Reading to a pet can provide your child with a reason to practice reading aloud without feeling embarrassed, leading to increased reading skills over time.

Caring for a pet also teaches children responsibility by their having to perform simple tasks that are vital to an animal’s health. This includes feeding the pet on a schedule, cleaning up after the pet and providing it with exercise. Reinforcing the importance of responsibility, even at a young age, can help children learn valuable life lessons.

How does your family’s lovable furry friend benefit your child?

Build a “Snowman”: a Recipe for Fun!

Whether you live in the snowy northeast or sunny southwest, you and your child can build (and eat!) your own yummy snowman! Click here to watch the video tutorial!

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Ingredients (for one snowman):

  • 3 Thick slices of banana
  • 1 Pretzel stick (broken in half)
  • 1 Apple wedge
  • Several mini chocolate chips or small raisins

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On a plate, line up the banana pieces to build the body of your snowman.

 

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Add the apple wedge for a hat.

 

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Add one half of the pretzel stick to each side of the second banana slice for arms.

 

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Place the mini chocolate chips or raisins for eyes, a nose and buttons!

 

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Get creative with other pieces of fruits and veggies and decorate your snowman with a scarf, mittens and even boots!

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

 

Four Ways to Encourage Physical Activity

Physical activity and exercise are essential to your child’s development. Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers four tips on how to twenty20_12c2b596-6dd8-40ba-b07e-cd5e2aef92fbencourage physical activity.

  1. Start with yourself. Set an example by being physically active, personally and with your child, and talking about how it helps you feel and think better.
  2. Encourage your child to pick activities that she finds fun, and then suggest activities that add something to it. For example, if your child enjoys running, ask her whether she’d like to kick a soccer or tennis ball while she runs. This can help children see how a supplemental activity adds to the fun as well as the ‘burn.’
  3. Whenever possible walk or ride (a bike or scooter, while wearing a helmet, of course) when you need to get somewhere nearby. Also, leave extra time to stop and smell the roses with your child. These simple times together end all too soon.
  4. Give children the space, tools and time to be physically active themselves and figure out what’s fun to master on their own. “I want to do it myself” is the battle cry of autonomy in these years and should be respected.

Three Fun Ways to Celebrate Groundhog Day

Most of us know the tradition. On the second day of February, every year, we watch the beloved cuddly creature come out from its burrow and predict if spring is on the way or if we need our hats and gloves for six more weeks of winter. Here are some ways to celebrate this holiday with your little one:twenty20_7fae5ce4-41b8-4386-a64f-186b28c931fb

  • Research different facts about groundhogs with your child. You can find out what they like to eat, how they hibernate and in what parts of the world this furry animal can be found;
  • Experiment with shadows. Ask your child what items she thinks will create a shadow. Then, use a flashlight in a dimly lit room to demonstrate how light can create the shadows of hands on a wall. Explain how this is similar to the way the sun will cause the groundhog to see his shadow on the ground;
  • Ask your child to predict the groundhog’s forecast. Will he say that spring will arrive early or that winter will last six more weeks? You can predetermine a prize for her if her forecast agrees with the groundhog’s prediction. Prizes can be as simple as her choosing the family dinner for one night. Another option is to create a different meal for either outcome. For example, if the groundhog sees his shadow, dinner will be chicken, and if he doesn’t see his shadow, dinner will be pasta.

What are some ways you celebrate Groundhog Day with your family?

Chemistry Experiment: Milk Fireworks!

Science is more than test tubes, microscopes and formulas. And children have a natural curiosity in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

Scientific thinking involves asking questions, learning from mistakes, trying again, exploring new activities and coming up with solutions. Children are natural scientific thinkers, and they want to learn and solve problems.

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You can encourage your little scientist’s interests by conducting this easy and fun chemistry experiment at home. Click here to watch the video or check out the complete instructions below!

 

Materials

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Whole milk
  • Cotton swabs
  • Red, yellow, blue and green food coloring
  • Shallow tray

Procedure

  • Pour enough milk in the tray to completely cover the bottom of the tray and allow the milk to settle. Add one drop each of the red, yellow, blue and green food coloring to the milk. Keep the drops close together, but not touching, in the center of the tray of milk.
    • What does this look like?
  • Before completing the next step, explain to the group what you will do next and have them make a prediction about what will happen. Then, touch the tip of a cotton swab to the milk in the center of the tray. Do not stir the mix, but gently touch it with the tip of the cotton swab.
    • What happened?
  • Have the group make a prediction about what will happen next. Place a drop of liquid dish soap on the tip of the cotton swab. Place the soapy end of the cotton swab in the middle of the tray and hold it there for 5 to 10 seconds.
    • What happened?
    • What do you see?
    • Why do you think that this happened?
  • Add another drop of soap to the tip to the cotton swab and try it again. Try placing the cotton swab at different places in the milk.
    • Did anything change?
    • What do you think will happen if we keep doing this?

Four Ways to Help Children Fall Asleep

Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers four ways to help children fall asleep.twenty20_633d5703-2356-457f-8730-d07b63f9a0d7

  1. Improve the odds of bedtime going smoothly by not starting the lessons until the child reaches four to six months of age. Starting too early will teach your child to cry, not to sleep.
  2. Be patient and give the process time to work. It takes adults an average of 20 minutes to fall asleep, even though we’ve done it thousands of times, and that’s when our sleep hygiene is working reasonably well. Many adults, especially parents, need a bit more time to fall asleep. Keep in mind that children may experience similar challenges.
  3. Some crying is nearly universal at bedtime. Putting your child to bed when already asleep to avoid the crying might cause him to be disoriented when he wakes up in the night, which he will surely do. You’ll be up yet again because he hasn’t learned how to put himself back to sleep, just to cry for you.
  4. Through your routine, children will learn what happens next, so put them down when they get drowsy, sit down near them, using occasional light touch and your voice to soothe when the pacifier pops out and they have to put out the effort to find it, which is just what you want to them to be able to do in the middle of the night. It’s the wise parent who then says goodnight softly and leaves the room. Some crying may ensue, so wait for a few moments beyond what you think you can stand, then go back in briefly to reassure the child (and yourself) in the softest voice and touch you can manage. In a matter of weeks, research reassures us that your small student will be on the path to being able to fall back to sleep on his or her own.

How to Fold a Paper Airplane

If you end up stuck inside this winter due to the weather or frigid temperatures, don’t worry! All you need for some fun is a piece of paper. Spend some time with your little ones and learn how to fold a spare sheet of paper into a high-flying masterpiece! Watch the tutorial here!

 

  1. Fold a piece of paper in half lengthwise to fine the center.

 

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2. Fold the top corners down to the center line.

 

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3. Fold the triangle down to look like an envelope.

 

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4. Fold the top corners down to the center line, leaving a small triangle sticking out.

 

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5. Fold the small triangle up.

 

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6. Fold the plane in half, with the small triangle on the outside.

 

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7. Fold the wings back on themselves.

 

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8. Slowly launch the plane and watch it glide along, or lift one of the back flaps slightly to make it fly in a spiral.

 

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Have fun!

Five Benefits of Family Meal Time

While it can twenty20_57c6a417-0cc7-4440-8840-1ca2d86f5dc0be challenging to find the time to eat meals as a family, it is important to try to make time for this oft-ignored tradition. Here are five benefits of eating meals together as a family.

  1. It gives you quality time together. Due to everybody’s different schedule, it can be difficult to spend time together  as a family. A regular meal time gives families a chance to regroup, talk and enjoy each other’s company.
  2. It helps reinforce good manners. Having a meal as a family is an excellent opportunity to practice good manners. The more you eat together, the more opportunities your children have to practice good manners.
  3. It promotes healthy eating. When you have meals together at home, you can easily control what your children are served. twenty20_9e57ce90-74c3-44d0-9f76-12c914a5e392Thus, you can add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to the menu.  
  4. It helps expand children’s palates. Instead of serving rice, substitute quinoa. Or serve mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. If you’re serving chicken, add a side of tikka masala sauce for dipping. Having family meals together means more opportunities for trying and hopefully enjoying different foods.
  5. It helps save money. Many families will visit the local pizza shop or a fast food restaurant to save time, but the costs of doing so can add up quickly. It is much more cost effective to prepare and serve a meal at home than to go out to eat. Your family can put the money you save toward something else, such as a vacation or weekend outing.