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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

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?

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.

Paper Flower Craft

Attention parents! Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and the most special gifts are those made by the hands of your tiny tots. Here’s a craft idea to help your child create a special keepsake for mom.

What you need:

  • Photo of your child
  • Construction paper
  • Pipe cleaners or straws
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape

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Instructions:

Cut the photo of your little one into a circle.

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Encourage your child to choose a color (or two) of construction paper and cut out eight ovals for petals. Cutting should be done by an adult.

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Help your child glue or tape the petals into a flower.

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Glue or tape your child’s photo in the center of the flower.

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Use a straw or pipe cleaner for the stem. (Tip: Twisting two pipe cleaners together makes a stronger stem.)

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For a more advanced activity, help your child write a poem for Mom and attach it to the flower. Have fun!

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Seven Fun and Creative Ways to Make a Lucky Shamrock! ☘

Are you looking for a fun craft to do with your children to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day? Don’t worry! We have you covered with seven fun and creative ways to make a lucky shamrock! ☘

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Painted Shamrocks

Gather together an empty toilet paper tube, some green paint and a paper plate. Pour a little green paint on the paper plate. Place an end of the tube in the paint and stamp a green circle on a blank canvas or sheet of paper. Do this two more times creating the shape of a triangle; then use a paint brush to draw a line coming from the bottom of the triangle to create a shamrock.

Shamrock Shakers

Gather two paper plates and some green paint. Assist your child to paint the bottoms of both plates green and lay them to dry. Next, place an assortment of “shaker” items on the inside of one plate, and then place the second plate on top with the green side up and have an adult staple the edges together. Finally, ask your child to shake the connected plates. For more engagement, encourage him to do a song or dance to go along with the rythem.

Pipe Cleaner Shamrocks

Bend one end of a pipe cleaner in the shape of a heart and use the other end as a handle. Place a newspaper on top of your table to avoid spills, and then place a white sheet of paper on top of it. Dip the heart end of the pipe cleaner in glue and stamp the glue on the paper four times in a circle creating the shape of a shamrock. Next, give your child a cup of glitter and carefully assist her in sprinkling it over the glue. Once the glue is covered, shake off the excess glitter.

Apple Shamrocks

Cut an apple in half. Next, ask your child to paint the inside of the apple green. Stamp the apple onto a sheet of paper or canvas four times forming the shape of a shamrock. Finally, use a paint brush to add a stem to your shamrock.

Texture Shamrock Craft

Cut out a large shamrock shape from construction paper for your child. Visit your local art supply store, and have your little artist pick out different green items to glue to his shamrock. These items may include buttons, pom-poms, felt pieces, etc. Once you are ready to begin crafting, encourage your child to demonstrate his artistic skills by attaching everything he gathered from the store to his shamrock. He may need adult assistance with the gluing. Discuss the different textures of each item with your child.

Shamrock Wreath

 Cut out a large cardboard circle from an old shoe box, packing box or pizza box, and then cut out a small circle in the middle of your cut-out so that it resembles a wreath. This should be done by an adult. Next, encourage your child to draw different size shamrocks. Also, consider drawing some shamrocks for her and ask her to color them in. Once you have a variety of shamrocks of various sizes and colors, cut them out and help your child glue them around the circle base. Finally, place a hook on a door in your home and hang up the wreath. Your little leprechaun will want to show off her wonderful creation.

Shamrocks out of Paper

 Draw a large outline of a shamrock on a piece of paper or canvas. Then, cut different shades of green construction paper in one-inch shapes, such as squares, triangles or circles. Next, provide your little one with all the shapes that you have cut on a plate. Ask him to start gluing the pieces anywhere within the lines of the shamrock. While he creates his work of art, you can talk to him about the different shapes and shades of the pieces.

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?

Toys for Tots Donation!

Each year Goddard Systems, Inc. holds a collection for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. In addition to the toys collected from our employees at the corporate office, Goddard Systems purchased and donated 100 of the winning toy from our Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, the Gearation Board by John Deere.

Thank you to all of those who donated and those who helped vote for our top toy! We wish everyone a very happy holiday!

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Pictured from left: Craig Bach, VP, Education; Jim DiRugeris, VP, Franchise Development; Joe Schumacher, CEO; Bob Scopinich, CFO and Rich Agar, VP, Operations.

Fourth of July Fun

It’s the time of year when family and friends join together for barbecues and fireworks. Whether it is a publicly held event or a celebration in your own backyard, twenty20_685fa3e1-fa9e-4338-9905-001d04b7affathe Fourth of July allows for lots of fun and various activities for all ages.

When searching for that perfect spot to lay down a blanket to view the fireworks, consider that fireworks may not be suitable for all children. While many adults enjoy this holiday, loud noises and bright lights can be frightening and overwhelming for young children.

Before attending any event that involves fireworks, discuss with your child what fireworks are and why people enjoy them. Show him videos of fireworks going off so he has a better idea of what to expect. It is normal for children to have a natural fear of loud unknown noises, and some children may also be afraid of fireworks falling on them. Be prepared to help him cope with his concerns.

While waiting for the sky to get dark enough for the fireworks to start, some children may become bored. Here are some activities that will help her stay occupied:

  • Play eye spy with her. In this way you can incorporate learning through play by asking her to find items that are specific colors and shapes;
  • Bring paper and crayons, and ask your child to draw pictures of what she thinks the fireworks will look like. This also may make her feel more comfortable about the anticipated display;
  • Provide outdoor equipment for games and activities such as balls, kites and jump ropes to keep your child engaged while she is having fun. Do not forget the snacks and water.

What are some activities your family does on the Fourth of July?

The Importance of Father’s Day

Each year, the third Sunday in June is a day dedicated to showing our dads just how important they are. We should twenty20_0ebc9527-d7cb-434a-86e1-6d4a3039c5a8remember to appreciate our fathers for everything they do for us year-round, but Father’s Day is a great opportunity to make sure they know how much we love them. While it is important to spend this day with Dad, however, don’t forget to show Grandpa and your uncle some love, too. This can be done with a phone call or by sending a card or small gift.

If you cannot be with Grandpa or your uncle on Father’s Day, plan a trip to make up for it. Fishing and camping trips are wonderful ways to step away from reality and focus on family bonding. As for Dad, ask him how he would like to spend Father’s Day with the family. Some ideas include mini golfing, a child-friendly construction activity such as building a bird house or simply playing catch in the backyard. And lastly, be sure to tell Dad how much you love and appreciate him and everything he has done for you.

What are some activities your family does to celebrate Father’s Day?

Popsicle Stick Puzzle

With Father’s Day right around the corner, here is a craft that is not only fun for children, but fun for dads, too!

Puzzle Collage

Materials

  • 8-10 large Popsicle sticks
  • White glue
  • Tape
  • Small utility knife (for the adult helper’s use only!)
  • A copy of a favorite photo of daddy

Instructions

  1. Lay the Popsicle sticks side by side so they align at the top and bottom.
  2. Place pieces of tape along the top and bottom of all the sticks to hold them together.
  3. Flip the sticks over, center the photo and stick it to the Popsicle sticks using white glue.
  4. Place a few heavy books on top and let it dry completely.
  5. When dry, remove the tape on the back and have the adult helper use the utility knife to separate the Popsicle sticks and cut through the photo.
  6. Mix the sticks up and wrap them or bundle them together and tie a ribbon around them and give to Dad on Father’s Day!

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

Pocket Full of Kisses Craft

Need a last minute Mother’s Day gift from your little one? Here’s a craft you can do together and present to mom to thank her for all that she does!

What you need:

  • Pocket Full of Kisses1Crayons, washable markers and/or water-based paint
  • Two white paper plates
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn, ribbon or a long shoelace
  • Safety scissors
  • Bag of HERSHEY’S KISSES®
  • Peel-and-stick magnets (optional)

What you do:

  1. Cut one paper plate in half and leave the other one whole.
  2. Use the hole punch to punch holes, about one inch apart, along the straight edge of the cut plate.
  3. Put the plates together so that the outside edges match up (this will form the pocket). While they are together, continue to punch holes, about one inch apart, around the edges of both plates.
  4. Use the yarn, ribbon or long shoelace to sew the two plates together. (You won’t actually sew the straight edge of the cut plate to the full plate, but you can lace the yarn through these holes for decoration and added support.)
  5. Tie the ends of the yarn, ribbon or shoelace together when sewing is complete.
  6. Make a hole at the top and tie a piece of yarn or ribbon through for hanging on the wall or attach a few peel-and-stick magnets to the back for hanging on the refrigerator.
  7. Decorate with crayons, washable markers and/or water-based paint.
  8. When complete, fill the pocket with HERSHEY’S KISSES® and display or give as a gift!

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