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Archive for the ‘Family time’ Category

Party with Poems for the Month of April!

Celebrate national poetry month by bringing the neighborhood together! Use chalk to help your child write down one of her favorite poems on the sidewalk. Leave extra chalk and include a note encouraging neighboring families to add their favorites, too. Pretty soon, the sidewalks will be filled with colorful poems from all over the community. This can be a great way to meet and work with neighboring families! (You can also do this at a local park, but be sure to acquire any necessary permissions first!)

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Take a trip to the local bookstore or library with your child and pick out an easy-to-read poetry book. Before bed each night, choose one of the poems to read with your little one. Continue this for the month of April. Poetry before bed will be a fun tradition for you and your child to enjoy!

Help your child select a favorite poem at the beginning of April. Repeat it together each day to help him memorize the poem. At the end of the month, hold a family recital where family members recite their favorite poems. Create lots of applause so your child feels comfortable. When he is ready, ask him to recite the poem from memory, impressing everyone who attends!

What are some of your family’s favorite poems to read together?

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

what-you-need

 

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.

 

apple-hat

 

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.

 

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?

Halloween Treats: Spider Snacks!

Looking for a spooktacular twist for your child’s Halloween snack? Try these tasty spider snacks!Spider Snacks 2

Ingredients:

  • Crackers
  • Cream Cheese
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Candy-coated chocolates
  1. Spread cream cheese on a cracker.
  2. Break  pretzel sticks in half and use as legs on each side of the cracker (two per side).
  3. Use small candy-coated chocolates for eyes and place on the cream cheese.
  4. Enjoy!

Mealtime Makeover!

Sometimes, putting together a tasty and nutritious meal for our families can be difficult. Here are some tips for making dinnertime with our energetic little ones easier. twenty20_57c6a417-0cc7-4440-8840-1ca2d86f5dc0

  1. Gather your children at the table and ask them to draw simple items that you will rate from 1 to 10. Give high numbers to boost their self-confidence. They will enjoy this game before dinner, and you will appreciate the calmness of your lively preschoolers.
  2. Explain what you are cooking and let them participate. Children may be more excited to eat the food if they help prepare it. Some age-appropriate tasks might include washing veggies, measuring ingredients and setting the table.
  3. For a fun activity, have them create artwork to be laminated and used as placemats for the table. Your little ones will enjoy sitting down to eat more when they see their own pictures included in the table setting.
  4. To encourage children to eat new foods, talk to them about the different shapes and colors of the food while they are eating it. This is a great way to converse with your children. For them, dinner may seem more like a game than a meal.

What are some other ways to encourage your little ones to eat at dinnertime?

Siblings: First Friends

Siblings play a huge role in each other’s lives. Many siblings who are close in age become each other’s first friend. You can encourage a strong, long-term bond by letting your older child take care of his new brother or sister as much as possible.Siblings

Children learn a lot from their parents, and they also learn a lot from their siblings. It is best to encourage our children to have strong connections with one another for them to achieve stable social and emotional development. When children are close with their siblings, the transition to making friends at school is much easier. With siblings who are farther apart in age, the older child becomes a teacher who can explain how to make friends at school and how to behave in the classroom.

Along with being the first born, which is special in itself, your older child now has the extra special responsibility of being a role model for his little brother or sister.

What are some ways you encourage your children to bond with one another?

Apple Printing Activity!

You can use apples as stamps to create fun pictures, design wrapping paper or decorate clothing like t-shirts and jeans.

Materials

  • ApplesApple Printing
  • Paint (Use washable poster paint for paper prints and fabric paints for clothes.)
  • Paper plates
  • A printable surface
  • Newspaper to protect the work surface
  • Art smocks or old t-shirts
  • A knife to cut the apples (for adults only)*

Instructions

  1. Cover your work surface with newspaper and make sure everyone is wearing old clothes or a smock.
  2. Pour paint on the paper plates. Use one color per plate.
  3. Ask your child to guess what shape of half an apple will look like.
  4. Cut the apple in half from top to bottom to create an apple silhouette, or create a circle with a star by cutting the apple horizontally. You and your child can also brainstorm ways to create different shapes with the apple.
  5. Encourage your child to dip the flat side of the apple in the paint, thoroughly covering the flat surface, and then place the apple with the paint side down on the printing surface.
  6. Enjoy creating fun designs and pictures with your homemade stamps!

 

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

Teaching Thankfulness through Community Service

Volunteering is an enriching experience for everyone involved. Families have more opportunities and more reasons than ever to volunteer Twenty20 - share a mealtogether.

Why should you get involved?

  • Volunteering feels good, and children learn to feel satisfaction and pride come in helping others;
  • Getting involved strengthens your community. Organizations that use volunteers often provide services at low or no cost to those in need;
  • Volunteering can strengthen your family bonds as you have fun together and grow closer. Select one or two projects a year, and make them a family tradition.

What do children learn?

  • Children learn how to be on time, do their best and be proud of the results. This creates a sense of responsibility;
  • Children learn that one person can make a difference;
  • Children learn to think of others. Giving a toy to a less fortunate child helps children learn that other people need our help. Volunteering to clean up a park teaches your children they can improve their community.

How can you get involved?twenty20 - garden

  • The internet offers a lot of information about volunteering. You can begin your search online by typing “community service and volunteer organizations” in the search box;
  • Call a local charity, church or hospital.

Community service makes a lasting impression on children. They quickly learn that the service they provide benefits real people, and they feel good about it.

Naptime Has Never Been More Fun

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At least for Laura Izumikawa anyway. The photographer, based out of Los Angeles, doesn’t watch T.V. or take a nap herself while her 4-month-old daughter, Joey Marie Choi, sleeps. Instead she dresses Joey in costumes that are sure to put what you wore for Halloween last year to shame, and shares them with family, friends and her 279K followers on Instagram.

While we don’t know Izumikawa’s secret to get Joey to sleep through her time as Beyoncé, Pikachu or the Statue of Liberty, we do have some tips you can follow for a more successful nap time.

  • Choose a regular, daily naptime and stick to it—early afternoon is best.
  • Have your child visit the potty before heading off for their nap.
  • Naps should occur in the same place your child sleeps at night.
  • Choose a calming activity to do for a few minutes before naptime to help your little one wind down, e.g., they can practice a few yoga poses or flip through their favorite book.Capture 2
  • Enter the room with the lights off or dimmed low.
  • Play soothing music or sing a soft lullaby to help them fall asleep.
  • Provide a “lovey” for naptime snuggling.

The Benefits of a Musical Environment

MusicYou can make music with just about anything found in your household. Adding a musically inclined environment to your child’s life offers extensive benefits for her emotional, intellectual and social development.

For young children, music helps identify teamwork. It shows that you can create something greater with the help of more people. For example, the use of drums, guitars and vocals can produce a better song than a song only containing the use of drums.

Music allows children to express themselves through creativity and openness with others. Enjoying music gives preschoolers a common interest and can create lasting friendships. Here are some ideas to incorporate some tunes into your child’s daily activities.

  • Allow your child to sit at the kitchen table with pots and pans to use as drums while you make dinner. This engages your child with you in the kitchen and keeps him away from the possible dangers of the kitchen while you are cooking. Provide him with different types of pans and utensils (for example, plastic utensils and metal pans) so that he can learn to create various sounds. It is best not to use glass in this activity.
  • Sing along with your child in the car. Preschoolers are not yet at the age where they become self-conscious of their behavior. In fact, most little ones love letting out their strong vocal chords for everyone around them to hear. Encourage your child to do this more often, even if it is a little loud on the ear drums! Playing basic songs and repeating them regularly will help your child retain simple melodies and rhythms.
  • Plan a dance party for family fun night. Encourage your child to get up and show you his moves by playing freeze dance. This is done by a family member controlling the music and stopping it at random times. When the music is stopped, everyone freezes until the song restarts. Freeze dance always results in tons of giggles by all the family members.