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Archive for May, 2019

Outdoor Play for Infants and Toddlers – Lee Scott

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Goddard School Educational Advisory Board member Lee Scott gives six outdoor play ideas for infants and toddlers.

Summer is a great time for playing outside with your child. Many fun outdoor activities support sensory integration, language development and fine and gross motor skill development. Of course, you will also be out in the fresh air and sunshine. Here are six activities to enjoy in the summer sun.

  1. Use water and sand for sensory play. Provide plastic buckets, and let your child mix and handle water and sand. She will love the textures. Sing a song as you play to describe what your child is doing. Try “Here We Are Playing in the Sand” sung to the tune of “Here We Go ‘round the Mulberry Bush.” Singing and talking while playing is terrific for early language development.
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  1. Go for a walk. You can walk in the backyard, in your neighborhood or in a nearby park. As your child looks around and points to things, talk about his observations. Pick up flowers, leaves, stones and sticks. Let him feel the items, but be careful not to let him put them in his mouth. Children learn by observing and experiencing new things. Your descriptions of the items will help your child build language skills.

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  1. Enjoy early science activities without the mess. Show your child some ice cubes and watch them melt while asking your child what is happening to them. Place ice cream in a sealed plastic bag and let your child play with it until it melts. Remember to talk about what is happening and repeat the activities a few times.

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  1. Set up a station for messy art. With finger paints and paper, encourage your child to use her hands and feet to create a design. The best part is that you can clean up with a hose while she enjoys playing in the water. Let your child hose you off, too.

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  1. Create an outdoor obstacle course. Start with big cardboard boxes, blankets draped over a chair and other large objects. Include your child’s favorite stuffed animal or a ball. He can then explore the course by going in, under and around the items. Give simple directions, such as “Roll the ball into the box” or “Let’s have Teddy go through the hoop.” Your child will build language and listening skills while working on his gross motor development.

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  1. Let your little one crawl, walk and run. My nephew took his first steps when we were playing outside with a few balls and he stood up to get one that had rolled away. Luckily, we got a snapshot before he sat down again.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Our Top Ten Children’s Books to Celebrate National Creativity Day – Lee Scott and Helen Hadani

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Goddard School Educational Advisory Board members Lee Scott and Helen Hadani name their top ten children’s books that celebrate creativity.

  1. Beautiful Oops, Barney Saltzberg

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A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator.

Buy

2. Papa’s Mechanical Fish, Candice Fleming

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Candace Fleming and illustrator Boris Kulikov pair up to tell a fun story about a real submarine inventor in Papa’s Mechanical Fish

Buy

3. The Giant Jam Sandwich, John Vernon Lord

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It’s a dark day for Itching Down. Four million wasps have just descended on the town, and the pests are relentless! What can be done? Bap the Baker has a crazy idea that just might work . . .Young readers will love having this lyrical, rhyming text in a new accessible format as they watch the industrious citizens of Itching Down knead, bake, and slather the biggest wasp trap there ever was!

Buy

4. The Most Magnificent Thing, Ashley Spires

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Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!”

Buy

5. What Do You Do with an Idea?, Kobi Yamada

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This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself.

Buy

6. The Dot, Peter Reynolds

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Her teacher smiled. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”

Buy

7. The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt

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Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit!

Buy

8. Not a Box, Antoinette Portis

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Inspired by a memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her sister, Antoinette Portis captures the thrill when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes real—when the imagination takes over inside a cardboard box, and through play, a child is transported to a world where anything is possible.

Buy

9. Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty

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The beloved New York Times bestselling picture book about pursuing one’s passion with persistence and learning to celebrate each failure on the road to achieving one’s dreams.

Buy

10. The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Eric Carle

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Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child

Buy

5 Tips for Teaching Your Children What a REAL Hero Looks Like

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It can help them build up their own self-esteem and self-worth.

Mentors and role models, we all know, serve great value in our lives. They teach, inspire, excite and support us.

Sometimes, however, our culture’s obsession with celebrity and wealth can create an environment where children are choosing their heroes or role models based on status or power.

That’s why I wrote a book to help children identify positive role models who will empower them to be their best, The Hero Book: Learning Lessons from the People You Admire. We need to help children think about what makes their ‘heroes’ admirable; encourage them to seek out positive role models whose examples will provide positive guidance and empowerment; inspire them to emulate the traits and actions of those they admire; and strengthen their self-esteem by showing them all the admirable qualities they possess.

Here are some top tips on helping your children find positive role models:

1. Turn it upside down.

When you talk to your children about their heroes or role models, get them thinking first about the qualities and traits that they admire in people; that way, they’ll begin to view people through the lens of those qualities that they find inspiring.

2. Talk to your children about your role models, and, when you do, be sure to highlight WHY the person is your role model.

Mention the qualities that inspire you—like the person’s kindness, integrity, hard work and courage—so that your child can see that heroes might be well-known people, but can also be people who they see everyday who act in ways that inspire others.

3. Show them they are heroes too.

Once you’ve shown your children that people can be admired for their qualities and characteristics, it’s then easy to let them think about the great qualities that they possess—helping them to build their self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

4. Show them how they can learn from their role models.

Now that they’ve thought about the qualities they admire in others, who they choose as role models, and what they like about themselves, you can explain to them the best way to show you admire someone is to emulate the things you think are great. For example, if they admire someone for being kind, suggest they think of some kind things they can do. If they admire someone for being talented at a skill, have them think about a skill they want to be good at, and how they plan to practice and work hard to improve it.

5. Plan a HERO party and make it fun.

There’s a free parent’s guide that offers activities for planning a children’s party that inspires children to think about role models and celebrate the hero inside themselves.

 

This article was written by Ellen Sabin from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Frozen Bananas

Beat the heat with this delicious summer treat!

Frozen Bananas

You Will Need

Bananas

Popsicle Sticks

Nut or Seed Butter

Chocolate Syrup

Honey

Trail Mix

Granola

Chopped Nuts

Parchment Paper

  1. Peel a banana and cut it into two pieces.
  2. Insert a Popsicle stick in the flat end of each piece of banana.
  3. Use a butter knife or spatula to cover the banana with your choice of nut or seed butter; honey or chocolate syrup.
  4. Roll in granola, trail mix or chopped nuts.
  5. Place the bananas on a tray covered with parchment paper and freeze.

Children will “go bananas” for this fun frozen treat!

A Trick to Teach Kids Compassion

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It’s easy to conclude that people generally suck. Don’t they, though? There’s the driver who cut you off, the lady who appears out of nowhere to swipe the last Costco sample off the tray when you’ve been waiting patiently in line, the “friend” who’s forgotten your birthday three years in a row. I get why we’d assume others just aren’t trying.

But this, of course, is a damaging outlook to take. It closes us off from connection, and makes us cranky and bitter. As a parent, I want to teach my daughter to view others with compassion over judgment—a tough skill to learn, but one that will serve her every day. Sabina Nawaz, writing for Harvard Business Review, shares an activity that I like a lot. She and her kids play what they call Multiple Meanings, a simple people-watching game that promotes empathy. Here’s how it works:

We take turns creating stories from observations of people and events on trips to and from school. For example, if we see a man walking rapidly on the sidewalk with tattooed arms and a sleeveless vest, we might make up a story that he’s late for work because his car broke down, so he’s walking fast to get help. Maybe he owns a tattoo parlor across the bridge and is a walking advertisement for his business. Or maybe he’s meeting someone in the park and is running late. Our children then use the skill when they’re upset about something at home or at school. This is especially helpful when my sons argue and come to me for mediation. To reduce the heat in the conflict, I ask: “What other meanings can you make about why your brother borrowed your Lego airplane?” The goal is to be able to calm themselves down and be more empathetic, so they approach someone else with curiosity instead of judgment.

We often teach kids to mind their own business. But what if we didn’t? What if we taught them to wonder about people, even those who might hurt them? What if we reminded them that everyone is fighting a hard battle? What if will pushed them to challenge their assumptions and give others the benefit of the doubt—or even better, ask them about their lives? In Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong, she asks her husband if he believes people are doing the best they can. His response was this: “I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” That is exactly it.

With your kids, help them use their natural love for stories to come up with their own narratives for the toddler throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, the man who’s getting upset at the bank or the bully in the book their reading. In the end, the story they’re changing will be their own.

 

This article was written by shared by Michelle Woo to Lifehacker and Michelle Woo on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Celebrating Moms, Dads, Grandparents and All Who Raise Children! – Lee Scott

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Lee Scott, Chair of The Goddard School’s Education Advisory Board and early education programming expert talks about celebrating Moms, Dads, Grandparents and All Who Raise Children!

It is spring and a great time to celebrate all those who parent children, whether they be moms, dads, stepparents, aunts, uncles, grandparents or others.

Families today come in all forms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 report, the majority of America’s children live in families with two parents (69 percent). The report does not distinguish parent types such as biological parents, same-sex parents, or stepparents. Single parents comprise 23 percent of households with children followed by those headed by grandparents, other relatives, or foster parents.

Children learn about Mother’s and Father’s Day celebrations through their school, television programs and advertisements, and/or friends. It may be confusing or awkward for some children if their parents are not the stereotypical mom and dad. We can support these celebrations by broadening our appreciation for all parents. We then shift the focus of the celebration to parenting and not on the type of parent.

There are many fun ways to celebrate these special days. Try the classic homemade card expressing appreciation for the parents or a special breakfast prepared by the children. These gifts still work today as they did in the early 1900s when the days became official. Neither has to be elaborate. The fun is watching the children make and share their creations.

Another wonderful way to share appreciation for parents is through storytelling. Spend time as a family sharing stories of the past and present, which provide children with a sense of belonging and connecting to family and the world around them. You can also read books about parents and families. Here are five of my favorites that celebrate all parents:

  1. Oh My Baby, Little One, Kathi Appelt and Jane Dyer

A mother’s love is carried throughout a young child’s day, ending with the celebration of being together again. The story helps children and parents with separation anxiety.

  1. Who’s in My Family?: All About Our Families, Robie H. Harris and Nadine Bernard Westcott

A trip to the zoo helps two children learn about all types of families. They explore not only the animals but also all the families visiting the zoo.

  1. Mommy, Mama, and Me, Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson

This book is fun because it goes through daily routines in a playful, rhyming manner. Great for young ones! There is also one titled Daddy, Papa, and Me.

  1. The Family Book, Todd Parr

The book focuses on how families, although often very different, are alike in love and caring for each other. This is my go-to book for beginning conversations about families, and I love the fun illustrations.

  1. Molly’s Family, Nancy Garden and Sharon Wooding

A young girl learns how to talk about her two-mom family in school. At first it is difficult, but her teacher helps along the way. Very helpful for giving children ways to answer the question: why do you have two mommies (or daddies)?

 

No matter what type of family you have, you can celebrate who you are on these special spring days.

Three Cute Craft Ideas for Father’s Day

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When you hear the term Father’s Day, what is the first thing you think of? Does “new tie” come to mind? That is one of the most common gifts and has become a traditional purchase around Father’s Day. Instead of going with the same old gift though, enlist the help of your favorite artist – your preschooler! Dad will be more excited to have a hand-crafted gift from his little pride and joy rather than a store-bought present. Here are three cute DIY gift ideas for Dad.

  1. Pencil holder

Gather a clean can or jar and some construction paper. Assist your child in cutting the construction paper to fit around the can and then help him glue the paper to the can. After the glue has dried, ask your child to draw pictures or place stickers on the can, encouraging his creativity. This is a great gift for Dad’s desk at work or at home.

  1. Stick photo frame

For this activity, you will need wooden craft sticks and a lively photo of your little one with Dad. Glue the sticks in the shape of a square (this step should be assisted by an adult), leaving a large enough space for the photo in the center. Once the glue has dried, encourage your child to decorate the frame with stickers or a message such as “I love you, Dad!” Then tape the photo face-down to the back side of the frame and it is complete!

  1. Create a book about Dad

On blank sheets of paper, write a statement about Dad on each page and ask your child to fill in the blanks. Depending on age, you can help your child with the writing portion of this step. Encourage your child to draw a picture that goes with the sentence on each page. Statements can include:

“This is what my dad looks like”

“The greatest thing about my dad is ________.”

“My dad is best at _______.”

“My dad’s favorite food is ______.”

“My favorite thing to do with my dad is _______.”

Bind the pages with staples or use a hole punch and bind the pages together by lacing ribbon through the holes.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

 

Four Steps to Creating a Beautiful Children’s Library in Your Home

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When it comes to your home, every child’s personal library should be a happy place to retreat to. Refreshing your child’s library space isn’t a lengthy process, and it can be done quickly. If your child’s library is collecting dust or is simply needing a makeover, try these four tips to start building a beautiful children’s library right in your own home.

Clean out the clutter. A fresh start is often the best way to inspire a new vibe to your reading area at home. Remove all the books from the shelf and start to sift through them. Divide the books into two piles, books your children read often and ones they do not read often. You can toss out the books your children have outgrown or never touched; put them in a bag and donate them or give them to family or friends.

Always add new books to your children’s collection. Board books, concept books, fairy tales, picture books, rhythmic books and early readers. Figure out what you don’t have and explore from there. Make sure you have an assortment of various books so you can build a multifaceted collection for your children. Try to incorporate pieces that have a range of difficulty levels, an assortment of genres and a diversity of cultures and authors. In this way, when one of your children is in the mood for a different type of book to read, there will be many options.

Make their library fun and inviting with a warm atmosphere. Consider relocating the library to a place where it will get the most use. Whether it’s in their bedroom, playroom or family room, you want your children to be able to feel they can easily access their home library and stay a while. Motivate them to search and grab by putting books low on the shelf or at their eye level so they can take books easily and often. Don’t forget to create a reading nook with a comfy chair, bean bag or a soft rug for an inviting space for them to lounge and hang out once they have found books to delve into.

Continue to nurture the collection and reading space. As your children grow, continue to keep their library relevant, up to date and aesthetically pleasing. Clean out and add new books as their interests and reading levels change over time. Continue to add to their collection. Don’t be afraid to swap out old furniture, artwork and decor to keep them interested and curious. You always want to keep them fascinated about exploring their space. Sometimes rearranging and adding a few great books is all that’s needed.

Yoga for Kids

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Yoga promotes healthy activities for children. Instead of sitting on the couch watching your favorite television show, get up and move around with your child. Yoga introduces children to an active, non-competitive sport. In yoga, you are encouraged to move at your own pace, showing children that they don’t always need to compete to be the best; they just need to do their personal best. Yoga also teaches concentration and determination. Not everyone can do each pose perfectly the first time. It takes concentration to focus on breathing while performing a pose, and it takes determination to keep working at it until you get it right.

What are some of your child’s favorite yoga poses?

A Short List of Summertime Safety Essentials

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Have you found a summer camp program for your child yet? A high-quality summer camp often means spending a lot of time outside soaking up the sun and exploring the world. While outdoor play is a great way to keep children active and happy (and learning!), there are some summertime essentials every parent needs to protect their children from the potential hazards of summertime.

  • Sunscreen is necessary to protect your child’s skin from harmful sun damage;
  • Children should wear sunglasses to shield their eyes from the UVA and UVB rays;
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children wear a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears and back of the neck;
  • The AAP also recommends that children wear clothes made of tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, which is protective and cool;
  • Insect repellent is another important tool in a summer safety arsenal. Current AAP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend using insect repellent that contains 10% to 30% DEET in children older than two months;
  • Have plenty of water on hand – even if an activity isn’t overly physical, children (and adults!) need to remain hydrated in hot weather.