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Posts Tagged ‘Child’s play’

Break Up the Bad Weather Blues

Are you stuck inside because of the freezing temperatures or the rain? Take a step back from the TV, tablet or video game, and shake up your normal routine. When the weather prevents your children from playing outside, provide them with challenging activities and active games!

Girls Playing GameHave a Board Game Competition.

Hold a board game competition in your living or family room. Spend the day playing different games. You can even compete for prizes.

Create an Indoor Obstacle Course.

Create a course with 10 to 15 stations of quick physical or educational activities. One station might require your child to jump on one foot 15 times; at another, your child should sing the alphabet song twice. Use a stop watch or oven clock to time each other and see who can complete the obstacle course the in fastest time or who can improve on their previous best times.

Create Your Very Own Time Capsule.

Spend the day with your child creating and filling a time capsule with items, notes, pictures and other things that are important to you and your child. Then, store it away. On a rainy or snowy day in the future, open it up and share your memories!

Don’t let the weather put a damper on your fun and learning. Make the best out of being stuck indoors with a little creativity and items you already have in your home!

Stay Active

As parents, our main goal is to keep our children happy and healthy. One challenge, especially with enticing gadgets, is getting our children to keep active and understand the importance of exercise. Creating good habits early helps
9children maintain and form positive habits later. We want to teach our children to turn off the TV, put down the electronic devices and go outside to use their energy and imagination.

Here are some ideas of what you and your child can do together to stay active:

  • Go for a walk in the park or in your neighborhood and have a scavenger hunt (look for a pine cone, a red bird, etc.);
  • Use sidewalk chalk to create a hopscotch court and teach your child to play the game;
  • Find a new park or playground to explore;
  • Walk your dog or play fetch with your dog as a family;
  • Plant flowers together in a garden;
  • Visit a local zoo or museum;
  • Go outside and play with a bouncy ball;
  • Teach your child to ride a tricycle;
  • Have a family room dance party;
  • Set up a small inflatable pool in your backyard;
  • Play Simon Says, and make sure Simon includes plenty of jumping and other active movements.

Summer Sun and Heat Safety Tips

Keeping cool throughout hot summer months can be a challenge, especially in hotter and more humid climates. Tune in to the weather reports on exceptionally hot and humid days and share the tips below with your family.

Apply Sunscreen before Leaving the House

Whether you are headed to the pool, the beach or your back yard, make sure you apply sunscreen to yourself and your children. Don’t miss the tops of the ears and the hands. When applying sunscreen to the skin around the eyes, try using a tear-free sunscreen specially formulated for the face. Sunburns can occur in fifteen minutes of sun exposure and can even occur on cloudy days, so applying sunscreen before heading out and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is important.

Keep Activity Levels Low When the Humidity Is High

Stay safe on extremely hot and humid days by keeping an eye on weather advisories and the Heat Index graph the National Weather Service publishes. If your children play outside in humid weather, have them come inside and drink water every fifteen minutes.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

Children should typically drink five to eight cups of water every day, depending on how active they are.  On extremely hot and humid days, offer your children more than the recommended daily amount, especially before, during and after physical activity. Since children model their behavior on ours, we need to make sure we’re getting enough water every day, too.

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Normal reactions to hot weather include heavy sweating, a red face, heavy breathing, thirst and muscle cramps. However, if your child exhibits these reactions along with dizziness, fainting, clamminess, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or a lack of sweat, your child might have heat exhaustion. If your child shows any of these symptoms, take your child indoors or to a shady spot and give your child plenty of water or an electrolyte drink. If the symptoms do not subside in an hour, seek the help of a doctor.  Keep your child indoors until all the symptoms clear up and your child is feeling better.

Play Indoors

If it is too hot and humid for outside play, try one of these simple indoor activities.

  • Create an indoor beach day. Unpack your beach towels, sunglasses and hats. Fill a large plastic bin with sand from your sand box or from a home improvement store. Put the bin on a blanket or sheet to catch any sand that may spill. Toss some beach toys in the bin and let your children play in the sand while enjoying your air conditioning.  Grab some favorite beach treats like ice cream sandwiches or popsicles.  Better yet, make your own ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies and your favorite flavor of ice cream.
  • Go fishing. Craft your own indoor fishing game by cutting a big piece of blue felt into a round shape, like a pond or lake. Lay the blue felt flat on the floor. Cut felt or cardstock into fish shapes and punch a small hole in the mouth area of each. Tie a lightweight washer to the mouth of each fish with yarn or twine.  Create a fishing rod with a stick from your yard or a dowel from a craft store. Tie one end of a long strand of yarn or twine to the end of the stick or dowel and tie a ring magnet to the other end of the yarn. Toss the fish in the pond and have your little ones take turns fishing. (You can also buy indoor fishing games online.)
  • Build a “sand” castle. Use blocks to build a castle with your children. Try different configurations and take pictures of each to capture your indoor beach day memories.

What do you do with your children when it is too hot to play outside?

In the Spotlight: The Goddard School located in Voorhees, NJ

Voorhees, NJOn April 25, we counted the votes and declared The Goddard School located in Voorhees, NJ the winner of the 2014 Upcycling Challenge!

The competition, part of The Goddard School’s national Root for Earth campaign, encouraged children, faculty and families in Goddard Schools across the country to use their imaginations to create a scene or object using recyclable materials.

The Goddard School located in Voorhees’s project depicted a scene from Dr. Seuss’s book The Lorax, including “Truffula” trees made from cereal boxes and tissue paper and “Humming-Fish” made from plastic bottles.

After reading several of Dr. Seuss’s works during the School’s Dr. Seuss Week in March, the children decided that The Lorax, a fable about the importance of preserving the environment, would make the perfect theme.

Once they had their idea, School owner Tracy Sortino emailed the parents to ask them to donate their recyclables. Over the course of three weeks, the parents donated so many recyclables that the School had to recycle the leftovers.

Children worked on the project in the School’s pre-k classroom and displayed the finished product there. The children worked so enthusiastically that it only took them a week to finish it.

Photos of the completed project were posted to Facebook.

Then the voting began.

“Kids would say, ‘Mom, go on Facebook and vote,’” Sortino said, laughing. “Everybody was so into it, and that’s exciting.”

The parents were eager to see the School win the competition, and their support helped the School earn a grand total of 675 votes. The School also racked up around 250 shares on Facebook.

Sortino added that the parents’ enthusiasm helped to further foster a sense of unity. “They [parents] got to see a different side of us,” she said. “I think that really helped to build camaraderie.”

The competition helped the children learn about preserving the environment as well as the importance of teamwork, Sortino explained. The children also learned about energy conversation during The Goddard School’s national Lights Out! hour, another Root for Earth initiative. Goddard Schools across the nation turned off all non-essential lighting for one hour from 10 to 11 AM on Earth Day.

When The Goddard School located in Voorhees was notified on May 2 about its win, the children, teachers and parents were all excited and overjoyed by the news. Most importantly, the School continues to recycle and even recycled the project after it was taken down.

The Lorax would be proud.

Kindergarten Readiness

The Goddard SchoolTransitioning to kindergarten can be an exciting, anxiety-filled time for children and their parents. If you have older children, you may have an idea of what to expect or know the kindergarten teacher already.  Still, the transition is different for each child, and while one may have adjusted well to kindergarten, your next child may not adjust as easily, or vice versa.  By focusing on the present and adding skill-building activities to your summer, your child will be more confident about becoming a kindergartener.

Summer Fun

Summer is a time for having fun, playing with friends and bonding as a family.  Incorporate enjoyable activities that stretch your children’s imaginations and exercise their brains.

Reading

On hot, humid or rainy days, head to the library and read some books together. Have your future kindergartener read to you as much as possible.  The librarians typically have lists of age-appropriate books.

Getting Fresh Air and Exercise

  • Have your children help you create obstacle courses in the backyard that they can run, skip or jump through safely. If it is a hot day, you can set up the sprinkler for added enjoyment!
  • If your children ride a bicycle with training wheels, ask them if they are ready to practice riding without the training wheels. By letting them decide when they are ready, they learn to make decisions, face challenges and fears and take on responsibility.
  • Hit the pool. See whether your local municipality or YMCA pool offers swimming lessons over the summer.  Summer is a great time to work on swimming safety, keep physically active and have fun with your children. Besides, who doesn’t love cooling off in a pool on a hot summer day?
  • Take your children camping or hiking. Children love exploring nature and running free. Having a backyard campout or setting up a tent at a campground in your region are fun, educational ways for families to bond. You may be able to find a spot that offers easy hiking or walking trails or one with a lake where you can rent a canoe or kayak.

Bowling

Bowling is an opportunity to develop hand-eye coordination, balance and math skills while having fun.  Many bowling alleys offer bumpers and child-friendly bowling balls for children.  Over the summer, many locations offer free games for children every day!

Keeping Up with Friends

If your child was in preschool or a play group, keep in touch with their friends’ parents and plan out weekly or bi-weekly play dates or outings.  Kindergarten can be overwhelming for children because they are meeting so many new children.  Keeping up with your children’s preschool friends over the summer will help them continue developing the social skills they will need to make new friends.

Skills for Your Future Kindergartener

Children should be proficient in several skills when they enter kindergarten. You can help your child practice these skills throughout the summer. Your child should be able to do the following:

  • Grip a pencil, marker or crayon correctly;
  • Use child-safe scissors, glue and paint;
  • Identify sight words;
  • Play independently for a few minutes;
  • Use complete sentences when speaking;
  • Recite his or her full name, address and phone number;
  • Write his or her first name in uppercase and lowercase letters;
  • Sort objects by shape, size and quantity;
  • Get dressed independently.

These skills do not need to be mastered by the first day, but they are general skills that your child can practice throughout the summer.

Keep It Simple. Cherish Summer.

Summer is a time for children to have fun and play.  You can keep their anxiety over starting kindergarten at bay by focusing on friends, family and fun while sprinkling in some skill-building activities.  The first day of kindergarten will be here before you know it. You and your child will be ready to take on the challenge!

Camping-Inspired Birthday Party Ideas

Whether you grew up taking family camping trips or have never been camping in your life, a backyard campout for a birthday party can be fun and exciting for children and parents.  Once the children are old enough for sleepovers, a camping-inspired birthday party can create some great memories for you, your child and your child’s friends.

  • Prepare s’mores and wrap them in foil. You can bake The Goddard Schoolthem in the oven for a yummy snack or bake a s’mores-inspired cake;
  • Use clean, old tree stumps as refreshments stands;
  • Use bandanas as napkins or placemats;
  • Create a homemade, nut-free trail mix with various dried fruits, yogurt-covered raisins and sunflower seeds. Send small bags home as party favors;
  • Create a scavenger hunt. Have the children look for acorns, pine cones, leaves, etc.
  • Make pine cone bird feeders and let the children each take theirs home to tie in a tree;
  • Get a few bins of Lincoln Logs and have children craft their own log cabin creations;
  • Create a faux campfire with thick twigs collected from your yard or a bundle of firewood, and add crumpled-up yellow and red tissue paper on top;
  • Use twine and an old cardboard box to make a Welcome Campers or Camp Birthday [Child’s Name] sign;
  • In lieu of gifts, ask party guests to donate to your favorite national park;
  • Set up a large white sheet or projection screen in the yard and use a projector to show a movie under the stars;
  • Set up a few hammocks around your yard for the kids;
  • Stock a wooden crate with decks of cards, puzzles and other fun, camp-friendly games and activities.
  • Set up a fun morning buffet with your child’s favorite breakfast foods.

Happy camping!

Supporting Your Child’s Friendships

The Goddard SchoolWhen children outgrow the ‘mine’ stage and begin to share with others and make friends, these new friends will occasionally argue over a toy or game. As parents, we are often tempted to solve the problem for our children or talk with the other child’s parent. While this may calm things down for the moment, it does not help our children learn the give and take of a friendship.

Help children learn to solve problems themselves with the following proven steps.

  1. Talk about the situation to help your child understand the other child’s point of view. “I guess Kyle wants a turn, too.”
  2. Stay calm and let your child know that hitting, grabbing and shoving hurt other people. “You hurt me when you grab the toy, and I don’t like that.”
  3. Model sharing for your child and congratulate your child when he takes turns or shares a toy. “Wow, you guys are having fun. I like watching you play together!”
  4. Be nearby. Watch and guide the children as they solve conflicts. Once the children resolve the conflict, step in and praise the children. Having an adult close by puts the children on their best behavior, and developing good social skills leads to fun and enjoyable play dates with friends.
  5. Don’t overwhelm your child with play dates. Hold your first play dates with friends your child feels comfortable with and have several activities ready. During the play date, let the children choose which activity to do.
  6. Have bedtime talks and read stories. Talk about the friendships your child is building and read books on friendship. Children learn how others cope in social situations through stories.

Valentine Hearts Memory Game

With Valentine’s Day approaching, you and your child can make and play this fun game together!The Goddard School

Materials

  • Red, pink and white construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils

Instructions

Cut pairs of hearts from the three different colors of paper.

Draw two pictures of the same object on one side of two hearts. Draw simple pictures your child can recognize. Try drawing some of the following on the hearts:

  • A flower
  • A bumblebee
  • A heart
  • A ladybug
  • A puppy
  • A smiley face

After you have drawn a picture on one side of each heart-shaped card, shuffle the cards and lay them out face down in rows. You and your child can take turns picking a card, turning it over and then trying to pick the card with the matching picture. Each time your child turns over a card, ask your child to identify the object you drew. You can also ask questions about the pictures. If your child picks a card with a picture of a puppy, you could say, “You picked the puppy! What sound does a puppy make?” This fun activity also encourages critical thinking. When you or your child makes a match, put the pair to the side and continue with the game until you have matched all the pairs.

Teach. Play. Learn.: Inspiring Young Minds for the 21st Century

“In order to thrive in today’s world, children need to be equipped with 21st century skills. P21 applauds The Goddard School’s focus on developing these skills early so that students can be successful in and out of school.” – Helen Soule, Executive Director of P21

From January 13 through February 15, 2014, Goddard School preschools across the country are celebrating 21ST century learning and innovation! The Goddard School has partnered with TINKERTOY®, an organization that manufactures educational STEM-focused toys for children three and older, for our national Teach. Play. Learn. event. Stop by your nearest Goddard School to imagine, create and build with your children and see 21st century learning skills in action!

Click here for more event information and to locate and contact a participating Goddard School near you for event dates and times. And, as part of our partnership with TINKERTOY, families and friends of The Goddard School can enjoy a 20% discount at knex.com now through March 31, 2014 with coupon code goddard20.

Un-Scary Halloween Costume Ideas

 

Goddard School - Fire Fighter

Halloween for preschoolers should be light and upbeat, not scary. If you plan to celebrate with your little ones, either with trick-or-treating or a party, here are some fun and simple costumes to consider.

  • Superhero – All you need is a long-sleeved t-shirt, a colored hand towel or a rectangle of fabric for a cape; leggings or fitted pants; and felt for making an eye mask, headband and symbol cutout of your children’s choice. They can pick a superhero from a favorite movie or television show, or they can make up their own.
  • Hula Dancers – You will need a grass skirt bought from your local party store or made from the heads of rope mops. You will also need a lei from the party store, or you can make one from fake flowers purchased at the craft store.  Add leggings, fitted pants or tights, too. A toy ukulele can also make a fun prop.
  • Monster Truck – If you have a child who loves trucks, you can make a truck costume with cardboard boxes, some careful cuts (by a parent, of course) and some paint or markers. You will need to add some shoulder straps to the ‘truck’ to make sure your child is properly buckled (and can easily carry it).
  • It’s Raining Cats and Dogs – Most of us have an umbrella, children’s raincoat and rain boots handy at home.  Many of us have some stuffed dogs and cats at home, too. Have your child pick out which stuffed dogs and cats to use, and then you can attach them to the top of a sturdy, inexpensive umbrella with string or safety pins.

The options for fun costumes are endless. If you have other options for easy, fun Halloween costumes, share them with us here or on our Facebook Page at https://www.Facebook.com/GoddardSchool.