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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!

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.

Ten Fun Summer Activities to Help Engage Your Child’s Mind

Have you found a summer camp program for your child yet? A high-quality summer camp can help prevent summer learning loss. These ten fun activities can also help engage your child’s mind during the warmer months!twenty20_93e07c5c-6dba-4320-9c6d-fb1446f53b6d

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.
  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Plan a treasure hunt. For more enjoyment, include the whole neighborhood.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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.

Daddy-Daughter Bonding: Seven Special Things Every Father and Daughter Should Do Together

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When I think back to my childhood, one of the first things I think of is the time my dad and I made a bowl of movie-theater-style popcorn and built an epic blanket and pillow fort in the living room after he picked me up from school one day. For the rest of the afternoon, we watched TV shows and movies in our makeshift fort and munched on our favorite snacks. As a girl who grew up with a father who worked overnight, I was fortunate enough to spend every day of my childhood by my dad’s side after he picked me up from school. He was my eating buddy, my movie companion, my dancing partner and the person I played dress up with. He was always right there next to me with a feathery pink boa around his neck and a smile on his face. Some of the best memories I have are of my dad and me doing the simplest things together.

A father-daughter bond is something that should be initiated and cherished from a young age and nurtured throughout life as you both grow together. Establishing a strong bond with your daughter isn’t as complicated as it seems at times. From my experience with my dad, it’s spending time together that matters most. Here are seven special things every father and daughter should do together that will strengthen their bond.

Go on a daily walk – Go explore your neighborhood on an afternoon nature stroll or simply take a walk down the street to grab a scoop of ice cream after dinner. My dad and I made this our daily ritual when I was growing up. Going on a walk is a great way for a father and daughter to spend quality time together. It’s a time to unplug and unwind without any distractions and simply enjoy each other’s company. While walking, we would tell stories and talk about what I did at school and what he did at work that day. When I was younger, I felt closer to my dad because of our afternoon strolls, but now in my adult years, I feel that I have always had open communication with my dad just from doing this daily routine.

Have an outdoor (or indoor) picnic – On warm, sunny days, my dad made lunchtime exciting by having a picnic outside in our backyard or in our tree fort. We would place a blanket on the grass or inside the fort and eat. Afterward, we played games in the backyard. On days when the weather wasn’t so nice, we’d have an indoor picnic in the living room and then do crafts or coloring in the kitchen. I remember loving our daddy-daughter picnic lunches because the experience was different than just eating a typical lunch at the kitchen table. Picnics and playtime with my dad made an ordinary day more special and memorable, and I always looked forward to it.

Visit a place you both love – My dad and I both loved this local mom-and-pop toy shop in our neighborhood. He took me there once after school, and ever since then I was hooked. My dad loved collecting remote-controlled cars, and I loved dolls. We would go to the toy shop once every two weeks to explore the overly-packed aisles and check out what new things were in the store since the last time we visited. We somehow made it our thing, and we both couldn’t wait until the next time we would go on our outing to the toy shop together. It’s so important to find a place that you both love to visit or something you both love to do and continue to nurture that throughout time.

Start a collection – Collecting together helps promote a special bond between the two of you. Whether it’s rocks, stamps or model trains, a daddy-daughter collection is something worth cultivating. I began a coin collection when I was young, and my dad joined in on it. I remember running home from school to tell him about a new coin that we absolutely needed to put in our collection. We kept collecting together for years, and it is still something we both continue to do together now even though I am well into my twenties.

Make a meal – It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. There’s nothing quite like crafting a simple lunch you both can enjoy while getting your hands dirty and laughing together in the kitchen. Sometimes my dad and I would make dinner and surprise my mom before she returned home from work. By cooking with my dad, I was able to hang out and make memories with him while sparking my curiosity for experimenting with new foods and ingredients. He taught me what goes into prepping and making a meal as well as how great it feels to share a meal that you helped create.

Attend a sporting event – Going to a sporting event isn’t just for fathers and sons. One summer when I was a young girl, my dad took me to my first baseball game. We dressed up in matching shirts, and we spent the night before the game painting, coloring and gluing an enormous poster to take to the event so we could hold it up and cheer on the home team. Seeing a baseball game in person was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and I was grateful that I was able to watch it by my dad’s side as he taught me about the game.

Build something together – My dad and I used to build pillow forts in our living room every chance we could get. We would take every blanket and pillow in the house and spend the afternoon strategically constructing the perfect hideaway. Building something with your dad, whether it’s arts and crafts related or constructing something as simple as a blanket fort in your living room, is ideal bonding time and a guarantee that you will have a smile on your face the whole afternoon.

Dr. Jack Maypole: Potty Training On The Go!

little-feet-dangling-off-the-potty_t20_yrozr0For that parent in the eternal state of carpooling or attending to the business of life maintenance, the messy of business of potty training a child ‘in the field’ is best done so you are not literally potty training in the field. Here are a few tips, that are more based in pragmatics than in best evidence, however they are spun from the better elements of learning theory and motivation.

For starters, set your expectations low and don’t feel pressured to succeed in potty training when you are a family on the go (no pun intended). Kids are sharp, and will pick up if you are stressed about NOT having an accident. Frankly, if it bothers you overly much, continue your good work at home and talk frankly and reasonably that wearing an ‘about town’ diaper when going to the supermarket is normal. Is a child unhappy about a diaper? Make it a ‘big kid pullup’ and as with all things potty training, maximize praise for compliance and meeting goals (Peeing in the toilet, or letting you know that they need to go…or just went), and avoiding–at all costs–getting upset, freaked out or mad if there is a (well named) accident.

If you are ready to take a chance, and to push the envelope and take a child out (assuming they are progressing well in their home potty training, that they have developmentally appropriate milestones, and are in good health) then I recommend parents begin with short hops (trip to the corner store, nearby playground, or a short dog walk going sans diaper. When one gets home from a trip out of the house without a diaper or pullup, celebrate. Praise. Clapping. Stickers. High fives.

Over days and trips, venture further and consider going without a diaper as long as a child seems engaged and excited about doing well. Don’t fuss over the inevitable setbacks.

And, make a pit stop before you run out the door. And: go light on the beverages as able.

Taken altogether, kids will soon (and eventually) arrive home dry. Celebrate accordingly!

Dr. Maypole, member of The Goddard School’s Educational Advisory Board, is a well-respected pediatrician, associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Comprehensive Care Program at Boston Medical Center.

Five Benefits of Teaching Children to Cook

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Cooking is as important a life skill as swimming or riding a bike; however, like those other skills, cooking is not generally taught in school. Parents are usually responsible for teaching their children to cook. Here are five benefits of teaching children this valuable skill.

  1. It’s a great bonding experience. If you teach your child how to make a favorite family recipe, she will have a memory that can last a lifetime.
  2. It leads to healthy eating habits. By purchasing fresh, healthy ingredients and using them to prepare a meal at home with your child, you will give him a better understanding of what healthy eating looks and tastes like.
  3. It helps build math skills. Cooking involves math, such as measuring out a cup of milk, counting eggs or doubling a recipe. Using math practically in the kitchen helps bolster those skills.
  4. It helps boost confidence. If you serve spaghetti and meatballs and announce to the rest of your family that your child helped prepare the meal, it may give him a sense of accomplishment, which will increase his self-esteem.
  5. It encourages the development of communication and collaboration skills. If you and your child are baking a cake, you have to talk about what you are doing, such as measuring flour or stirring batter. You must also work together to assemble the cake.

How to Make a No-Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag

The average American family takes home about 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. If you could stack them all up length-wise, they would be as tall as a 254-story skyscraper, which is 94 stories taller than the tallest building in the world! During Root for Earth, which takes place from April 1 to April 22 this year, we are educating children on the impact single-use plastics have on the environment and brainstorming alternatives to these plastics. Say no to plastic bags by making your own no-sew t-shirt tote bag at home and using it on your next shopping trip!

Materials

  • Old t-shirt
  • Fabric scissors
  • Black marker
  • Ruler

Instructions

  1. Lay the t-shirt flat.
  2. Fold the shirt in half, making sure the sleeves line up.
  3. Cut off the sleeves, cutting along the inside of the seams. If you don’t have fabric scissors, you can cut the sleeves off individually using regular scissors.
  4. Lay the t-shirt flat again so that the front of the shirt is facing up.
  5. To cut out the neck of the shirt, place a plate on the top of the shirt so that half of it covers the neck. Using a marker, trace around the edge of the plate. Then cut along the line and remove the neck of the shirt.
  6. Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat again. Make sure the bottom edges are even and smooth.
  7. Using a ruler, measure 3.5” up from the bottom of the shirt on each side. Mark the measurement on each side with the marker.
  8. Measure horizontally along the bottom of the shirt, making a hash mark every half inch.
  9. Cut the bottom of the shirt, cutting along each half-inch hash mark up to the 3.5” hash mark. Do that all the way across the bottom of the shirt so that you’re left with 3.5”-long strips.
  10. Starting on the left side, tie each pair of strips together all the way across the bottom of the shirt.
  11. To close the gaps between the knots, starting again on the left side, tie the top strip to the bottom of the adjacent strip. Make sure to tie each knot tightly.
  12. Once the second row of knots is complete, tie a double knot on each end to reinforce them.
  13. Turn the shirt “inside in” so that the knots are inside the bag, and your bag is ready to use!

 

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

Gardening with Your Preschooler

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Have you found a summer camp program for your child yet? A high-quality summer camp often has an outdoor classroom or garden. Gardening allows your child to learn about biology through fun, hands-on experiences. Here are a few ways that you can get your child interested in gardening at home.
• With your child, start off by researching which plants will develop best in your area. Let him choose which plants he would like to see grow right in his backyard. Then take a trip with him to purchase the necessary seeds and tools.
• If you want to have a more advanced garden, keeping in mind age appropriateness, help your child plant vegetables. It will be rewarding to eat the vegetables that you and your child have helped grow.
• Talk with your child about the changes and patterns she notices as the plants begin to grow, and ask her to predict what will happen in the future.
• Discuss the different kinds of bugs that she sees in the garden. Determine if certain bugs are beneficial or harmful to the garden and why.
• Ask your child to draw pictures of what he observes happening in the garden and help him write down what he sees.
• Keep track of how tall the plants are, and ask your child to use her math and ruler skills to determine how much each plant has grown each week.
• As your preschooler “digs deeper” into gardening he will retain lasting memories of what he has learned.

National Plant a Flower Day Craft

Materials

  • Construction paper in multiple colors
  • Mixed dry beans (or seeds or beads)
  • Twine or yarn
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Instructions

Cut different flower shapes out of construction paper – stem, leaves and flower. Create the soil by cutting a piece of brown construction paper in half and gluing it to the bottom third of a piece of blue construction paper. Glue a strip of green construction paper where the brown and blue paper meet to create the grass. Then glue a bean or seed just below the grass to emulate planting a seed. Next, glue the twine or yarn below the bean/seed to create roots. Then glue the stem and leaves. Finally, add the flower and glue seeds in the center of it.

Be sure to talk about the growth process with your child as you assemble the craft. “The seed is planted in the soil, and then the roots extend, drinking in water and nutrients. Then the stem grows, which delivers water and nutrients to the leaves and flower. Seeds from the flower can be planted to grow more flowers!”

Create a Playday Jar

play-dateHow many times have your children expressed how bored they are on a day off from School? On certain days of the school year, your children may not have school, but you still need to work. A lot of companies are flexible with work from home hours, but this still requires you to focus at home, which can be difficult with a toddler or preschooler running around.

Consider sitting down with your children and brainstorming ideas for the days when your little ones have off, but when mom and dad still need to work. Write the ideas on individual pieces of paper and place them in a jar. On the days when your children complain about being bored, ask them to choose an activity from the jar. When coming up with ideas, keep in mind that these activities should not require much adult attention so you can do your work.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Create a picture book for them to read to mom or dad at the end of the workday.

2. Complete a puzzle.

3. Work on an activity book like a coloring book, a Find the Difference activity or an I Spy activity.

4. Use old shoe boxes or packing boxes to create an invention. Provide various materials for your children to be creative, such as string, glue sticks and crayons.

What are some ideas that you give to your children when they are bored?