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Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category

Travel the Globe (Virtually)

Traveling is a great way to keep our little ones’ excitement with learning at an all-time high. Use a globe (any size) to decide where you will virtually travel. Each week, ask each of your children to spin the globe and place a finger somewhere on the globe to stop the spinning. Choose one of the countries where their fingers land as your destination.

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Spend the beginning of the week with your children researching the different cultures, food and clothing found in this country. Talk about the temperatures there and the wild animals that you can find there. Discuss how your culture differs from theirs. At the end of the week, dress up in clothes that are native to that country and plan a meal that originated in that country.

Where will you and your little ones travel to?

Pumpkin Carving Party

The days are chilly, the leaves are changing and fall is in the air.

A pumpkin carving party is a great way to gather your community together. Bring your own pumpkin (BYOP)!

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Invite families in your community to get slimy with pumpkin goop, spooky with spider webs and creative with jack-o-lanterns.

Decorate your yard or block with fun Halloween decorations and watch this magical land come to life. Your little ones will love getting together with other children in the community.

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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?

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?

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

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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