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Zucchini Pizza Boats

Surprise your little one with a zucchini pizza boat! This delicious treat is vegetarian and gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Tomato-based pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. After washing zucchini and trimming the ends, cut each in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to gently scrape out center of zucchini. Place zucchini halves in small baking dish, then spoon desired amount of pizza sauce into the halves. Top with desired amount of cheeses. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden. You can also try adding other ingredients such as green peppers or mushrooms – just be sure to place them on top of the cheese before baking.

 

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

Winter Scavenger Hunt

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Your local park can be a magical winter wonderland that is perfect for playful learning. Create a scavenger hunt for your family to enjoy while exploring nature. You may decide to separate into teams and see how many items you can each check off before your opponents.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Animal tracks;
  • Hidden berries;
  • Icicles (Only adults should handle icicles. they can be very sharp!);
  • Human footprints;
  • A leaf still on a tree;
  • A tree with no leaves;
  • Something green;
  • A pinecone;
  • A bird;

You can modify your list depending on the ages of the children. Enjoy the endless possibilities!

Five Ways to Encourage Open-Mindedness

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Part of being a good citizen is being open-minded regarding different types of people, cultures and customs. Here are five ways to encourage open-mindedness in children.

  1. Reading books that feature diverse groups of characters. The same goes for TV shows and movies. Simply reading about or watching people from various cultures interact can show a child that the world is made up of different types of people, and that this diversity should be celebrated. However, if there are stereotypes in a book, show or movie, you can talk about these stereotypes with your child and explain the negative effects that stereotypes have.
  2. Celebrating holidays from around the world. Observing holidays from various cultures is an easy way to learn about different cultures and why they celebrate those holidays.
  3. Encouraging your children to ask questions. Whether it is a question about a different race or about a different religion, having an honest dialogue about your child’s concerns can help dispel any myths or stereotypes she might have heard.
  4. Serving different types of food for dinner. You can designate one night a week as “International Night.” On this night you sample the food from another culture. Research the foods with your child and learn why those foods are favored over others.
  5. Encouraging your child’s individuality. For example, if your son wants to play with dolls or do something else that does not conform with the male stereotype, encourage it. Raising an independent thinker means raising somebody who is self-reliant and confident.

Learning through Meal Prepping: Five Benefits to Letting Children Pack Their Own Lunches

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Letting children assist with packing their own lunches can be beneficial. You can teach your children about responsibility and portion control and boost their creativity and decision-making skills by inviting your children into the kitchen with you for a lesson. Here are five benefits of allowing children to help prepare their own lunches.

It emphasizes portion control. Bento-box lunch containers are an easy and exceptionally helpful tool for teaching your child about portion sizes and meal organization. When your children select their lunch items with you, provide them with a bento-box container and explain what healthy meal portions look like. They can use the bento box to pack their lunches, which helps them visualize and be aware of the portion sizes they are packing.

It introduces the importance of nutrition. Your children’s favorite go-to treats, such as fruit snacks and cookies, don’t necessarily make some of the healthiest snacks. When they’re in the kitchen with you, teach them about what the key food groups are and how those food groups keep their minds and bodies well nourished. Provide different vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains and dairy products, and let them choose what to put into their lunch bags. Guide them to pack meals with all the food groups.

It aids in independent learning and decision making. When your children are preparing their lunches with you in the kitchen, give them options for what to pack. Allow them to choose from two or three different things. Do they want a chicken sandwich, a turkey sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Do they want carrots or cucumbers? Do they want strawberries, apples or grapes? Once they decide, let them gather and pack their choices, and then help them focus on the next food group. Once you establish a routine, they will make quicker decisions. Picking their own meals lets them feel independent and accomplished.

It boosts creativity and introduces the art of cooking.
 Getting your children into the kitchen at a young age helps them start cooking and learning the steps it takes to create a meal. Instead of providing them with premade and wrapped turkey sandwiches, let them make some with you. Start by letting them select the bread, get out the condiments and select the meat, cheese and toppings they want on their delicious sandwiches. This shows them how much time, effort, creativity and skill it takes to make a proper lunch.

It teaches responsibility, routines and time management. Whether you pack meals after dinner or after your children get home from school, make sure to schedule a meal-preparation time that works best for your family. Meet in the kitchen at your designated time, and start preparing the lunches. By establishing a routine, such as meeting every night or twice a week at 7 PM, you will be familiarizing your children with following a schedule, helping them plan meals. If you want to make meal preparation more fun, consider getting a small chalkboard or whiteboard to keep in your kitchen. Have your children write out the days of the week and the foods they want in their lunchboxes each day. This can keep you organized, and it encourages your children to start planning meals.

Five Ways to Encourage Children to Give Back

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Part of being a good citizen includes giving back to the community and the world at large. Here are five ways to encourage children to be charitable.

1. Start small. Rake the leaves in an elderly neighbor’s yard, take food to an ailing relative or just hold the door for someone. These deeds show your child that small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

2. Donate clothes and toys. Go through your child’s closet and toy chest and ask him which items he would like to donate, and then take him to an organization that accepts donations of clothes and toys. You can even make this a regular habit.

3. Participate in local drives. Whether it is a bake sale, canned food drive or other charitable initiative, get involved while enlisting the help of your child.

4. Build on your child’s interests. For example, if your child shows an interest in cooking, you and he can volunteer at a soup kitchen when he is old enough. If your child likes animals, you can donate gently used items, such as pet beds and grooming tools, to your local animal shelter. You should contact your local shelter first to find out what items it accepts.

5. Select a charity to support. Ask your child how she would like to change the world. Based on her answer, select a charity to support regularly. If she wants to help find a cure for cancer, you can raise money for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. If she wants to help find homes for people who do not have them, you can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

Sharing is a Significant Skill for Young Children

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Demonstrating the act of sharing with young children helps them build friendships and create a peaceful playtime with others.

Your children will learn best from what you do, so remember to practice the art of sharing. You are a role model for your little ones. Incorporate sharing in your daily activities with your children by using small examples.

1. Show your children that there is one granola bar left in the box. Explain how all of you are hungry and ask your children what they think you should do.

2. Play games that require taking turns with your children. Watch how well your children do with waiting for their turn and explain how important patience is.

3. Be proactive with your explanations. Instead of waiting to witness that your children are not sharing with a friend, talk with them about how they will need to play nice and share their toys when a friend comes to visit.

Depending on your children’s answers and actions, be sure to explain that all the children may not get what they exactly want, but sharing creates a compromise for everyone involved.

You also could explain the consequences of not sharing. If your children are caught hiding toys from their friends, they should know the consequences. Explain that not sharing may result in not being able to play with any toys for the entire day. However, if they share, although they may not get what they exactly want, they will have more than they had when they started. If they do not share, they will end up without any toys.

GODDARD SCHOOL PRESCHOOLERS HAND-PICK THEIR TOP 10 TOYS FOR THE 2018 HOLIDAY SEASON

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Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School®, a leader in early childhood education franchises focused on learning through play for children six weeks to six years old, recently conducted its eleventh annual Preschooler-Approved Toy Test. Preschoolers, teachers and early childhood education experts across the United States tested the most innovative educational toys on the market, and GSI is eager to announce their top 10 educational toys for 2018.

 

Fifty Goddard Schools received 30 of 2018’s hottest toys for ages six weeks to six years old that were chosen by Goddard Systems’ Toy Test Committee out of dozens of submissions received from toy manufacturers around the globe. With the help of their teachers, the preschoolers played with, critiqued and selected their favorite toys, and GSI compiled the results.

 

The following are the Top 10 Preschooler-Approved Toys for 2018.

 

  • VTech Touch and Discover: Sensory Turtle (3+ months)
  • Mirari Shellby Snail (9+ months)
  • Leap Frog Learning Friends: 100 Words Book (18+ months)
  • SMARTMAX My First Farm Animal (1-5 years)
  • SMARTMAX My First Tractor Set (1-5 years)
  • Peaceable Kingdom Acorn Soup (2+ years)
  • Popular Playthings Magnetic Mix or Match Animals (2+ years)
  • Popular Playthings Magnetic Mix or Match Vehicles (3+ years)
  • Basic Fun Lite Brite (4+ years)
  • PlayMonster Don’t Rock the Boat (5+ years)

 

“The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test offers a fun and educational experience to help children develop important, lifelong skills through play-based learning,” said Dr. Craig Bach, GSI’s vice president of education. “The children explored, experimented with and evaluated a range of classic, creative and STEAM-based toys from leading manufacturers and then chose their favorites.”

 

The public can now vote for the best toy by visiting The Goddard School’s Toy Test page from Nov. 1 to 12. GSI will purchase 100 units of the winning toy and donate them to Toys for Tots, a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve that distributes holiday gifts to less-fortunate children in the community.

 

Five Ways You Can Help Children Cope with Homesickness

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When children spend a night away from home at a sleepover or on a family vacation, they may experience feelings of homesickness. Here are five ways to help them cope with these feelings.

 

  1. Talk about being away before your child is away. Some children might not even be aware of how homesickness feels, so it’s a good idea to have a conversation about what homesickness is and how you will be available if your child needs to talk.
  2. Keep the lines of communication open. Your child can keep in touch with you through text messages, phone calls and emails while she is away from home. This provides a comforting connection.
  3. Remind your child that it’s only temporary. A sleepover is only one night; a vacation may only last a week. The time away from home will not last forever, and neither will the homesickness.
  4. Encourage your child to do things that will take his mind off being homesick. Suggest that your child read a story, play a game or play with friends or siblings. Having fun is one of the best ways to cope with homesickness.
  5. Suggest that your child take something comforting along. A favorite stuffed animal, a blanket, a pillow or a familiar item that reminds your child of home can soothe him if he is homesick.

30 Hacks for Today’s Parents!

The Goddard School is 30, and, to celebrate, we held a “30 Hacks for Today’s Parent” contest! We asked parents to post a comment along with a photo, video and/or short description that shows off their favorite parenting hack.

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Here are the top 30 parenting hacks from our Goddard parents!

1.”When you go on vacation and want to make sure your kid won’t fall out of bed, tuck extra pillows or rolled up blankets under the sheet on each side of the bed. It creates a little bumper to keep them from rolling out.” – Rachel S. rachael-sartor-edited
2. “Use a washing machine drain pan to catch dropped food & crumbs.” – Mara J

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3. “Chopsticks stop sticky hands!” – Katherine D.T.

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4. “When you have a sick kiddo – tape an empty tissue box box to the full one.  When you have a dirty tissue you can stuff it into the empty box so you don’t have to get up and throw it away each time.  When the box is full just snap it off and toss it.” – Carey S.

5.  “When my little one was just learning to pull herself up we had a coffee table with bars and designs on the bottom (along with a shelf we kept magazines…). So she wouldn’t hit her head on the bars or pull the magazines out we tied a crib bumper along the bottom (on the left in photo).” – Amanda S.

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6. “I keep a diaper caddy in the backseat of my car in case I have an unplanned doctor appointment or event that would need essentials when I don’t normally have my diaper bag or am coming from work to get kids. I keep diapers, wipes, change of clothes, toys, snacks, books, blanket, hand wipes, diaper cream and other necessities. They even serve as back ups in case I forget to throw something in my diaper bag. That way I’m covered on all bases!” – Sarah B.W.

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7. “To wean your toddler off of their pacifier, try cutting the nipple off of the pacifier and tell him/her that it is “broken.” If you feel that cutting the whole nipple off all at once is too dramatic, you can start off by cutting a small hole in the end of the nipple and slowly make it bigger and bigger until the child is no longer comforted by the pacifier.” – Kyla C.

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8. “Keeping the kids out of the kitchen drawers and cupboards – toy links and a yardstick.” – Abby W.

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9. “Our kids love to paint, but want every color. We put it in an ice cube tray, with press n seal wrap on top. It doesn’t dry out! Also use q tips for paint brushes. One in each color. Makes for easier clean up & less wasted paint!” – Carolyn K.P.

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10. “For some reason, restaurants tend to serve kid meals at like 500 degrees. Whenever we go out to eat, we will order our child’s meal when we order our drinks but we ask that their meal be kept in the back until our food is ready to come out. It helps to cool the food down out of eyesight of our child (as its hard for them to understand the concept of ‘wait and let it cool down’ when the chicken fingers and fries are right in front of them).” – Samantha L.

11. “To keep my son’s bedroom door from being slammed we cut down the side of a pool noodle and put it at the top of his door.” – Shauna B.

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12. “For dining on the go, Carry a lint roller in the diaper bag. Apply 2-3 rows of lint roller tape, adhesive side down on dirty public tables. The backside creates a clean, cheap, disposable and immovable eating surface for toddlers. Then clean up any crumbs with the adhesive side afterward.” – Paula S. M.

13. “Buy your kids a Starbucks cake pop to get them to be quiet for five minutes so you can drink some coffee in peace.”

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14. “Use laundry clips to prevent taco spills.”

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15. “Grab a dirty sock off of the floor and wipe down the surfaces in the kids’ bedrooms every week when gathering dirty laundry. It’s worked for 22 years. Kid still doesn’t know. Repeat for husband…that one has worked for 28 years. They think I dust..” – Amy T.

16. “Giving your kiddo pesky medications: Having a hard time getting your infant to swallow medication? One trick is to squirt a little medication into the inner cheek of your kiddo and then quickly blow in your baby’s face. This can cause them to swallow, getting the medications down them before they spit it back in your face!” – Jake C.

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17. “This parenting “hack” I am recommending is curbside grocery pickup 😉 Walmart and Giant Eagle both offer it in multiple locations. As a parent, this has saved me so much time and money each week. You can sit in the luxury of your own home, ask the kids what they’d like to eat, research food offerings and become organized with recipes. Families that have rather large grocery lists each week and parents who dread walking into a grocery store, this is such an awesome service. I’ve been doing this for months now, it’s a game changer.” Amy B.

18. “For potty training toddlers: cover the mattress with a waterproof cover then fitted sheet. Repeat the waterproof cover and fitted sheet on top. If they have an accident in the night just pull off the first layer and put them right back to bed quickly without a major disturbance in their (and your) sleep.” – Amanda K.

19. “We struggled to find child safety locks to keep our pantry doors and our sons closet doors shut because the handles were so far away. none of the typical door locks worked. We used the oven or fridge locks instead.” – Cary S.

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20. “Our best parent hack is using blue painters tape for everything. We put some over the speaker on toys (why are kids toys so loud?!), use them as “stickers” or let the kids hang artwork all around the house. Since it’s painters tape it doesn’t damage the walls or toys! ” – Tricia H

21. “For potty training and sick kiddos, keep two layers of mattress protector and sheets on the bed. Makes middle of the night changes a little easier to just take a layer off and have one ready to go! I’ve done it in the crib and big kid beds.” – Carolyn K.P.

22. “We use hair ties to keep cabinets and double closet doors closed! We’ve tried all of the expensive gadgets, and hair ties have been the most successful at keeping our little one safe! (They rock for trips, too!)” – Paige O.

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23. “This is great for any baby/toddler who were the bed. Sometimes diapers get too full during the night and it leaks or sometimes toddlers just wet the bed… so… It is a PAIN to change the sheets in a crib. So what we do is put a water proof liner on, then a sheet, then another water proof liner and another sheet, so if the sheet gets wet, you just have to rip off one set and the bed is made and ready to go. So you’re only making the bed every other time. Works for us!” – Dori S.

24. “Use your child’s dresser as a changing table. Saves money & space by not buying a separate changing table & you’ll have room to keep everything handy! (Our changing pad came with straps that you can nail into the dresser to prevent it from moving). Bonus hack from the picture: Use the IKEA spice racks as book holders. We painted ours. (IKEA has figured out that folks do this & our store actually stocks them in the kid’s section now).” – Betsy P.

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25. ” A friend of mine gave me these great tips: Carry a bassinet or small crib waterproof flat sheet or cover in the diaper bag for diaper changes in public. It covers the nasty changing stations completely (to keep baby from touching anything–we all know the disposable covers sometime provided are not big enough nor are most changing pads), and can also be used in the car. Best thing about it, if it gets dirty, you just throw it in the wash! This same friend also told me to get a small portable potty with disposable liners for the car for road trips or when public bathrooms are just too gross for little ones who touch everything.” – Jessica I.B.

26. “Throw dirty socks in a small mesh laundry bag. Was and dry in bag and never lose them!” – Elyse J. S.

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27. “My hack: I encourage my kids to ask a lot of questions. It builds a lot of curiosity. That’s why I always use Alexa or google . I tell my kids to ask Alexa and google all the time. It also keeps them busy.” – Melwyn X. P.

28. “This was absolutely one of the best ideas… the laundry basket in the tub to keep all the baby toys near my daughter.” – Chantele M.

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29. “Pretty simple and yet “Oh So” effective hack that has always worked for me – giving your child a choice of 2 things when you already know that both get them doing what you want them to do. For example, a kid that refuses to take medicine – start off saying do you want to take your medicine with a pretzel or a cracker??? They usually make a choice and do one or the other not even realizing they just did what you wanted. Bonus, your child likes getting to make decisions!” – Colleen C.

30. “It has recently come to my attention that rubber duckies and other small bath toys can often become filled with bacteria due to the collection of water inside. So, I have begun to use a hot glue gun to seal the small hole on the bottom close” – Dori F.

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Top O’ The Graham!

Here’s a cheery snack to satisfy your little one’s hungry tummy! Click here for the video!

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Ingredients

  • Non-fat yogurt (any flavor)
  • Graham crackers
  • Banana slices
  • Dried cranberries

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Break a graham cracker in half so you have two squares.

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Spread a spoonful of yogurt on one of the graham cracker squares. (Try it out with key lime flavored yogurt for a St. Patrick’s Day treat!)

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Top with a banana slice and dried cranberries.

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Repeat and enjoy!

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