Summer Week 4: June 26-30

I look forward to so many of these summer activities! I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s just the nostalgia of summer. This week we are starting to get patriotic… doing some repeats… and making one of our favorite summer treats… Popsicles!

Art

IMG_0194Patriotic Hat

Adult prep (optional): Staple an elastic chin strap fitted for your child to the top of a plastic cup. Set aside for later

Let your child decorate a full size sheet of red, blue, or white construction paper with patriotic decorations. You can have red, white, and blue paint, markers, or fat crayons, glitter, star stickers or cutouts, stripes, or anything else they would like. When they are finished roll it into a cylinder and tape or staple the two edges together. Now you can drop the cylinder onto the plastic cup and tape, or staple, the edges at the bottom of the hat (to keep the paper from coming off of the plastic cup; using the plastic cup is optional to keep the bottom more stable, add elastic to the paper cylinder if not using a cup). Now it is ready to wear and get excited for the 4th of July!

Stuff to Have

-Red, white, or blue construction paper

-1 wide mouth, disposable plastic cup

-Decorations: stars, stickers, paints, colors, glitter, etc.

-Glue, tape, and/or staples

-Piece of elastic fitted for your child

Developing Skills

Fine motor, planning, colors, arts and crafts

Fine Motor

Tear Stripes

Tearing… an amazingly simple concept that is actually quite difficult for our little ones. Now, it’s ok if you really don’t end up with stripes, but give this fine motor activity a try with your child. They will find it fun when they get their fingers to work at tearing apart the paper. It really is a good fine motor workout for their little forearm and hand muscles. You may need to help your younger toddler get their tears started, but once they go it will be fun to see what they can do.

If your child is on the older end of the toddler/preschool years and seems ready to try cutting, pull out a pair of safety scissors to give cutting a try. If it gets to frustrating, don’t force it. Trust me, they won’t go to college without the ability to cut with scissors. It will come! There’s no use forcing these types of things on our kids, they’ll just learn to not like it!

Stuff to Have

-Red and white construction paper

-Children’s safety scissors (optional)

Developing Skills

Fine motor

Problem Solving

Find the Star

Play a game of hide and seek, only in this version hide a construction paper star for your child to find. For younger children keep it pretty easy, at their eye level and not too hidden. Also keep their level of mobility in mind. For older children, make it a little tougher, but not so much that they get frustrated. Children will love getting to use their problem solving skills to find the star. They will also love getting to take some turns hiding it from you!

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Stuff to Have

-1 medium size star (cut from construction paper or stiff fabric like felt)

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Science & Math

Who’s My Mommy Fish Match

Make 5 large fish in different colors of construction paper, and make 5 small fish to correspond to the colors of the large fish. This is an activity of matching. Matching the mommy fish to the baby fish based on color. Let your child play with how to match the fish together, all along describe what they are doing and what you are doing. If they enjoy matching, they can also sort by size, putting all of the big fish together and all of the little fish together.

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Stuff to Have

-Mommy fish: 5 large construction paper fish (all different colors)

-Baby fish: 5 smaller construction paper fish (corresponding to the mommy colors)

Developing Skills

Early math (matching and sorting), fine motor, problem solving

Cooking & Baking

Strawberry Popsicles

Blend strawberries in a blender until smooth with a few chunks. Add A little honey to taste (or your sweetener of choice) only as necessary if strawberries are tart. Pour the strawberry mixture into the popsicle molds (or paper cups) place sticks in the middle. Let freeze for 1-2 hours, or until frozen through.

Stuff to Have

2 c. Strawberries

Water

Honey, to taste

Popsicle molds, or small paper cups and popsicle sticks

Developing Skills

Science, fine motor


Make sure you’re sprinkling in a good dose of these too…

Large Motor: Find ways to use the big muscle groups. Activities could include things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler, or other outside activities. One activity that kids will never turn down is getting out the bubbles! And it’s a great chance to work out energy and strengthen large muscle groups by chasing after the bubbles.

Music and Rhymes: There are many online resources for music and rhymes. Look for some that focus on summertime, maybe going to the beach or camping, Fourth of July, and playing outside.

Books: Take a trip to the library and look for books about summer as well as books that match your child’s interest. Read, read, and read some more! They will love it and it’s prime time to get some snuggles.

Summer Week 3: June 19-23

Art

Summertime Collage

This is a two part activity that will touch on a lot of areas of development. First, go on a nature walk and talk about the changes that are happening now that it is summer. Is the temperature different? What things are growing? What colors do you see? While on your walk, encourage your child to collect nature items that look interesting to them. Then, you can glue the nature items onto a piece of paper and create a collage.

Stuff to Have:

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-Construction paper

-Glue

-Items from nature: leaves, flowers, twigs, grass, small pebbles…

Developing Skills

Fine motor, large motor, art, planning and follow through, early science

Fine Motor

Ping Pong Ball Drop

Set out your jar and ping pong balls (or similar small ball) and ask your child how to put the balls in the jar. Let your child try dropping the balls in. If your child is young or not interested, demonstrate to them how to drop the balls in. Can they get it out? If it’s too easy for your child, make it more difficult by trying to drop the ball in from a higher point. Or, try something different by dropping a smaller object into a container with a smaller opening.

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Stuff to Have

-Ping pong balls, or ball similar in size

-Jar or plastic container with opening wide enough to fit ball

-Craft balls (smaller than ping pong balls), optional

-Jar or container with smaller opening, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand eye coordination, problem solving

Sensory

Splash Time! Water Play

Every child loves water play, and playing outside in water is a natural option in the summer. It is also a great learning opportunity! Fill a small pool or a large shallow container with water, or use a hose attached to a gentle sprinkler. Not only is it a sensory activity, it is science (water properties), fine motor (playing with spoons, cups, etc.), math (volume and measuring), and of course one of the most fun things for kids! Capitalize on the chance to play in water by adding anything that will enhance their play and their learning. This could be plastic cups, bowls, spoons, ladles, colanders, sponges, etc. Be creative and have fun!

Stuff to Have

-Small pool, hose with a gentle sprinkler, small shallow tub

-Cups, spoons, sponges, bowls, colanders, etc.

Developing Skills

Sensory and texture, early math, early science, problem solving, colors, fine motor

*Safety Note: Please stay with kids no mater their age while doing activities with water. Close supervision is a must even with older toddlers and preschoolers. I also do not recommend the use of a large bucket filled with water, as small children could tip in while reaching down to the water and not be able to get back out.

Science and Math

Melt an Ice Cube

Take your child outside, preferably a hot one to see the change happen quickly. Set your ice cubes in various locations and see how they melt. One could be on the sidewalk in the direct sun, one could be in the shade, and one could be left inside… be creative! Your older child may be able to describe the differences in the melting ice cube. Younger children might enjoy playing with the ice as it melts. Either way, ask questions, describe what you see, give your child a chance to make their own observations, and let them experience the changing ice cube by touching, splashing, maybe even tasting the melting ice.

Stuff to Have

Ice cubes

Developing Skills

Early science, sensory, fine motor

Cooking and Baking

Peanut Butter Balls 

Using a food processor or blender, grind oats to medium coarseness. Blend oats, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla with a mixer until combined. Scoop 1-2t of the mixture and roll into balls with hands. Place peanut butter balls on parchment lined cookie sheet and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 1.5-2 hours or until firm. Kids can get their hands messy helping measure, dump, mix, and roll with this activity! I encourage you to let your child take part with as much as they can, they will absolutely love it and will have so much pride in getting to snack on their own creation when it is ready!

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Stuff to Have

1/2 c. peanut butter (or other nut butter)

2 c. oats

3 T honey or maple syrup (or to taste)

1 t. vanilla

Developing Skills

Fine motor, early science, early math, following instructions

Add On Activities

Large Motor: Find ways to use the big muscle groups. Activities would include things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling…

Music and Rhymes: There are many online resources for music and rhymes. Look for some that focus on summertime, water play, and playing outside.

Books: Take a trip to the library and look for books about summer as well as books that match your child’s interest. Read, read and read some more! They will love it and it’s prime time to get some snuggles.

Summer Week 2: June 12-16

Art

Make Daddy A Card

Let your child design and decorate their own card for their dad, or someone special in their life, for Father’s Day. Fold the paper in half for a traditional looking card or keep it big for a full page picture. Let you child pick the materials and decide how to decorate it.

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Stuff to Have

-Construction paper

-Pens, crayons, markers, paints (let your child choose)

-Miscellaneous decorations: Stickers, glue, glitter, yarn, etc., optional

Developing Skills

Art, colors, planning, follow through, experience with art materials

Fine Motor

Balance a Golf Ball

Hold a spoon with one hand. Place the golf ball on the large part of the spoon and demonstrate to your little one how it can balance if you keep it steady. Now, show them what happens with you tip it. It falls off. Let them try balancing the golf ball while walking around. Too easy for your older toddler? Let them try holding the golf ball on a smaller spoon or between a large pair of tongs.

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Stuff to Have

-Cereal or soup spoon

-Golf balls (or similar size ball)

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand-eye coordination

Problem Solving

Go Fishing

Adult prep:

Fishing pole: Make a small hole in one end of the paper towel role. Then, to attach the pipe cleaner, stick about an inch through the hole, bend the pipe cleaner over and tape the piece inside of the towel roll.  On the other end of the pipe cleaner attach a strong magnet, or glue the tip of the pipe cleaner between two magnets.IMG_0099

Fish: On construction paper draw about a 3-inch circle or oval then add a triangle to one side to make the tail of the fish. Cut it out and add an eye and a line for the mouth. On the back of the fish glue a magnet.

Set-up: Set the fish out, magnet side up, on the floor, on a table, or in a shallow plastic container. Then your child can sit nearby and “fish” with their magnet fishing pole. This is a problem solving activity so you might start by asking how they can pick up the fish with their new pole. Let them experiment some and see if it works to pick up a fish. This might require a little help from you if they aren’t catching any, but once they start to pull up  fish they will be excited to catch more!

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Stuff to Have

-1 empty paper towel roll

-1 pipe cleaner

-Tape/glue

-6 magnets

-Construction paper fish

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through, fine motor

Science & Math

Float or Sink?

Collect items from around the house that will sink and float. If your child is older they can help you collect objects and you can talk about what you each think will happen. Once you have collected the objects fill a tub or container with water to test each of the objects. One by one let your child put them in. Be descriptive about what is happening and ask a lot of questions, especially to your older child. Remember, even if they aren’t answering doesn’t mean they aren’t learning!

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Stuff to Have

-Various objects that will sink in water

-Various objects that will float in water

-Tub or large plastic container of water

Developing Skills

Early math, early science

Cooking & Baking

Daddy’s favorite treat

With your child, choose a treat to make with them for daddy (or other special father figure) for Father’s Day… I do believe we will be making caramel rice crispy treats!


Here are other developmentally important areas for activities!

Large Motor: Find ways to use the big muscle groups! Activities could include things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler, or other outside activities. With Father’s Day approaching also consider something like golfing with daddy. Use wrapping paper rolls cut to your child’s size and a small plastic ball like a ping pong ball or golf ball. Your child will enjoy this large motor activity with daddy (or mommy) while at the same time working on their hand-eye coordination.

Music and Rhymes: There are many online resources for music and rhymes. Right now I like to look for some that focus on summertime, dads (for Father’s Day), and playing outside.

Books: Take a trip to the library and look for books about summer as well as books that match your child’s interest. Read, read, and read some more! They will love it and it’s prime time to get some snuggles.

Happy Playing! 

Seeds on a Sponge

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We picked seeds on a sponge for our “favorite” science and math activity this week. Mostly because we didn’t get it done in the week it was planned! I get this idea in my head that certain activities are going to be harder or take more time and then I dread them. This was one of them. It ended up going really fast and being a lot of fun. I need to remind my self of that. They always go fast and I always enjoy it!

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This activity idea originated a long time ago, back when I was a lead toddler teacher of 1-year olds. I literally have no memory of where I got the idea. I don’t really know why sponges and not just dirt. It’s even weird to me.

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But, I stick with it! And it end up being pretty fun seeing the seed. Because in the dirt you can’t see it, but on top of the green sponge we were able to see the seed changing. So, that’s probably why the sponge.

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I had pre-cut the sponges into circles to fit into sections of egg carton. That is totally unnecessary. Cut a sponge in half (or even in quarters if you want it smaller), because a whole sponge would be a lot of area to cover with tiny seeds. Set the sponge in a small container to catch extra liquid and you are good to go.

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I had my son wet the sponge first with a spoon (hello fine motor and science!) and then he sprinkled a couple of pinches of the seeds onto the sponge (more fine motor and science!).

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Then, we looked at them while they changed and talked about a good place to set them so that they could get sunlight. The great thing too is that you get to watch it change over time and sharpen those observation skills. With the youngest little ones it’s going to be a lot of you noticing and pointing things out and asking questions. Remember, just because they aren’t saying things doesn’t mean they don’t understand what you are saying! As they get a little bit older, they’ll be able to share the things they notice. Don’t be surprised if they notice things different than you. I love hearing how little guys describe things in their own language! So, be encouraging and supportive.

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Let’s talk about what’s going on here…

Fine motor: I know I already mentioned it some, but using the spoon to pour over water is a great fine motor movement. Think of all of the control that it takes to keep it steady until just the right moment that they get to pour it in the right spot.

Then, picking up the seeds gets that pincer grasp (between thumb and forefinger) going, and then sprinkling them onto the sponge just so uses the muscles again.

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Science: Clearly this is a science activity, but not really for the obvious reasons. Most people will think it is a science activity just because it is planting seeds. Yes, you are right it is science because of that. For this age though, the science is more about the process, feeling the materials (sponge, water, seeds) and then observing what happens.

Also think about the simplicity of pouring water over a dry sponge. The sponge starts hard, crunchy even, and pretty small. With the addition of water it completely changes. It gets soft, squishy, and grows. To me, water and sponges is actually an activity in itself. So, capitalize on having fun with that part of the activity and talking about the changes that are happening.

Happy Playing!

*I’ll try to update as our seeds change!

 

Summer week 1: June 5-9

Art

Make a Tie like Daddy’s

Parent prep: From white construction paper, cut out a tie shape. From other various colors of construction paper cut out fun shapes for your child to glue onto the tie. It could be stripes, circles, zig zags, hearts, stars, anything that will be fun for the tie.

Let your children decorate daddy’s tie. For younger children it is sometimes easier to dip the decorations into a small puddle of glue. Older children get get their fine motor muscles working by using a stick of glue or squeezing liquid glue onto the paper. It’s ok if it gets messy! Let them decorate their tie as much as they like. Describe what they are doing and ask them to describe back to you as much as they can.

Stuff to Have

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-Construction paper, for tie

-Construction paper decorations

-Stickers, optional

-Glue

Developing Skills

Fine motor, art, gluing

Fine Motor

Ping Pong Ball Drop

Set out your jar and ping pong balls (or similar small ball) and ask your child how to put the balls in the jar. Let your child try dropping the balls in. If your child is young or not interested, demonstrate to them how to drop the balls in. Can they get it out? If it’s too easy for your child, make it more difficult by trying to drop the ball in from a higher point. Or, try something different by dropping a smaller object into a container with a smaller opening.

Stuff to Have

IMG_1698

-Ping pong balls, or ball similar in size

-Jar or plastic container with opening wide enough to fit ball

-Craft balls (smaller than ping pong balls), optional

-Jar or container with smaller opening, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand eye coordination, problem solving

Problem Solving

Find The Star

Play a game of hide and seek, only in this version hide a construction paper star for your child to find. For younger children keep it pretty easy, at their eye level and not too hidden. Also keep their level of mobility in mind. For older children, make it a little tougher, but not so much that they get frustrated. Children will love getting to use their problem solving skills to find the star. They will also love getting to take some turns hiding it from you!

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Stuff to Have

-1 medium size star (cut from construction paper or stiff fabric like felt)

Developing Skills

Problem solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

Who’s my mommy: Fish Match

Make 5 large fish in different colors of construction paper, and make 5 small fish to correspond to the colors of the large fish. This is an activity of matching. Matching the mommy fish to the baby fish based on color. Let your child play with how to match the fish together, all along describe what they are doing and what you are doing. If they enjoy matching, they can also sort by size, putting all of the big fish together and all of the little fish together.

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Stuff to Have

-Mommy fish: 5 large construction paper fish (all different colors)

-Baby fish: 5 smaller construction paper fish (corresponding to the mommy colors)

Developing Skills:

Early math (matching and sorting), fine motor, problem solving

Cooking and Baking

Choose a Summer Favorite:

Take this opportunity to make something that is really special to you and your family. Maybe a cold treat that you always like to make in the summertime, a favorite cookie, or maybe you have some June fruits or vegetables to harvest and make something delicious!


Along with these fun activities, it’s just as important to make sure you are getting in large motor movement, reading, and even some music and rhymes! Here’s more information about those things:

Large Motor: Find ways to use the big muscle groups. Activities could include things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling, running through a sprinkler, or other outside activities. With Father’s Day approaching also consider something like golfing with daddy. Use wrapping paper rolls cut to your child’s size and a small plastic ball like a ping pong ball or golf ball. Your child will enjoy this large motor activity with daddy (or mommy) while at the same time working on their hand-eye coordination.

Books: Take a trip to the library and look for books about summer as well as books that match your child’s interest. Read, read, and read some more! They will love it and it’s prime time to get some snuggles.

Music and Rhymes: There are many online resources for music and rhymes. Look for some that focus on summertime, dads (for Father’s Day), and playing outside.

Summer Week 1: June 5-9

Real. Meaningful. Family.

Art

Make a Tie like Daddy’s

Parent prep: From white construction paper, cut out a tie shape. From other various colors of construction paper cut out fun shapes for your child to glue onto the tie. It could be stripes, circles, zig zags, hearts, stars, anything that will be fun for the tie.

Let your children decorate daddy’s tie. For younger children it is sometimes easier to dip the decorations into a small puddle of glue. Older children get get their fine motor muscles working by using a stick of glue or squeezing liquid glue onto the paper. It’s ok if it gets messy! Let them decorate their tie as much as they like. Describe what they are doing and ask them to describe back to you as much as they can.

Stuff to Have

IMG_1717

-Construction paper, for tie

-Construction paper decorations

-Stickers, optional

-Glue

Developing Skills

Fine motor, art…

View original post 628 more words

25 Super Duper FUN Learning Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

When I say the word “learning” what do you think of?

Books… School… ABC’s & 123’s… Math… Science… Grammar… History… Quantum Physics?

Not bad associations with the word learning!  Now check out my 25 Super Duper FUN Learning Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers and I’ll catch you on the flip side to talk about it!

  1. Go to the grocery store.
  2. Play at the park.
  3. Blow bubbles.
  4. Play with play dough.
  5. Build a fort or a tent.
  6. Cook something together.
  7. Pick wildflowers.
  8. Play music and dance or make up new moves.
  9. Sort toys by color, shape, or size.
  10. Run, jump, and climb, inside or outside.
  11. Make a sticker collage.
  12. Take a bath.
  13. Pretend play.
  14. Find shapes in the clouds.
  15. Have a snack.
  16. Go for a walk.
  17. Color.
  18. Roll a ball.
  19. Make and play homemade instruments.
  20. Play hide and seek.
  21. Sing a song.
  22. Finger paint.
  23. Bring your child’s favorite animals to life with a puppet show.
  24. Read a book.
  25. Do nothing. Rest and snuggle together!

Are you thinking that is NOT a super duper FUN list of learning activities for toddlers and preschoolers? Are you thinking that is a super duper boring list of things that happen every day for toddlers and preschoolers?

You’re right! These are super simple things that are huge sources of learning for toddlers and preschoolers. Learning for young children doesn’t come in the traditional form of learning that we typically think of and it doesn’t come from making them sit down and learn what we want to teach them.

Learning starts with US! It takes us asking questions, making every day interactions interesting and applicable to their lives. Describing what we see and making connections for them. Playing along side them allows them to see our ideas and try them in their own play, it makes our relationship stronger, and is teaching them ways to interact with others.

So, this list of 25 things are some of the best (although not the only) ways that we can play with our kids on a daily basis. They will learn so much about themselves, social interactions with us and others, their language abilities will grow, as well as personal experiences with scientific and math properties (water, volume, matching, colors, observation, sorting, seriation, etc.), fine motor processes to lead to future use of scissors and writing utensils (stickers, picking up small objects, using utensils like forks, spoons, measuring cups, stirring, dumping etc.), problem solving abilities to stick with problems in their environment, art processes and letting creativity and imagination thrive, and lot’s of other areas of learning!

These are the types of concepts that I try to spread out throughout the weeks in my weekly activities. They should be simple, they should be developmentally appropriate, and they should be opportunities to play together to enhance their learning and your relationship! That is what my goal is every week with these activity plans. Not to create toddler or preschool “school” but to set aside time each day to ensure we are playing together with our little ones!

So, let’s go play together!

Capturing the Rainbow

 The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow…

But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.

-Erik Erikson

Just a sec… no, I’m not tearing up, I just have something in both eyes…

That quote gets me every time!

I have a major tendency of going overboard for special occasions… birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, holidays… I have that in common with Clark Griswold I guess…

I think there is something great about setting aside that time as different than the rest of life. Life kind of stinks sometimes, right? The world is chaotic, even scary at times, and in general ranges from over-scheduled chaos to the hum drum boringness of making food (it’s constant right? Or is that just my house?), folding laundry, and cleaning up the latest milk spill on the floor. So, when something is special, I want it to feel totally set apart from all of that… not ordinary, or every day, but fun, pretty, exciting, sometimes sparkly, and different. This isn’t to say that this is normal or necessary (my husband can attest to this), but just to give a glimpse into some of what drives me.

I realized a couple of years ago that I didn’t just want special occasions to be set apart from daily life, but I wanted to have chances every day that were set apart and meaningful. I was tired of putting my kids to bed feeling like I hadn’t done anything with them, rather we had just kind of gone through the routine of the day, coexisting rather than interacting.

…I have a point, and it does relate to this blog…

So, I started to fashion my schedule around my kids as my first priority and using these activities as a set way to know what I was going to do with them. Instead of working my kids in around everything else, I started trying to work in everything else around my kids. Now obviously it doesn’t take a plan, or special materials to connect with our kids or to have them learn. What this plan did for me was take away the constant “what should we do today?” It was just ready to go and I could focus on our time playing together.

And that’s what I want to share here in this blog “space”… my first goal is getting moms (or dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters) playing together with kids in a developmentally appropriate way. To take out the guesswork and have little to no prep, in order to set aside time each day to do something together with our kids. Not to mention, they are going to be learning, because toddlers and preschoolers are constantly learning!

Now, as an aside… the takeaway here is not perfection in parenting or teaching children. It’s about being real too. There are still busy days that we don’t get activities done. So, that’s why I wrote 25 Super Duper Fun Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers. Check that out to learn more about how these little guys learn… I think it will help take a lot of pressure off of your daily life! 

What’s in store for the next year you ask?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

The activity plans will continue to post with fun, developmentally appropriate activities and my tips and ideas to keep them fun and interesting.

My goal for the next year is to talk about research as it applies to children, development, families, relationships, discipline, education, and on and on… tons of topics that I think anyone with kids will want to hear. When I was in grad school I always felt like research information that would benefit families got stuck in something of a research cloud. It’s been my goal ever since then to get that information out to people that it matters!

So, that’s a little bit about where I’ve been and where I’m headed. It doesn’t feel possible that a year has gone by, but I’m extremely happy to have that milestone under my belt. If you want more information about me or my blog check out these pages:

Welcome to Real. Meaningful. Family.

Dr. Emily’s Story

Why Real. Meaningful. Family?

And of course…

Happy Playing!

There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

-C.S. Lewis

 

In the Kitchen: Kids Choice… Popsicles

If there is ever a chance for my kids to choose something to make in the kitchen… like this week… they will choose something with berries! They loooove berries. So, despite the unseasonably cold weather, they chose to make popsicles this week for our kids choice activity. They love them because like i said, they love berries. And I love them because our popsicles are pretty much just blended berries, water, and a teensy bit of honey. Super healthy and delicious!

Once I gathered all the equipment I called in my helpers. They took turns dropping the strawberries into the blender and then they each got to squeeze in a little honey.

Now you can blend it. It’s up to you and your little one how chunky or not chunky you want it. It seems like kids as a rule tend to like less chunky. Once you’ve got it to the desired consistency take a taste to make sure you’ve got it just how you want it. When it is good pour it into the molds (or paper cups), put the tops on (or popsicle sticks in), and set into the freezer. Let freeze for 1-2 hours or until frozen through and enjoy!

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IMG_0324The sky is the limit with these popsicles. You could do more kinds of fruit or a different fruit all together. You could puree the fruit and then fold into yogurt and freeze and have fruit and yogurt pops. I once heard of a dad who basically made a super healthy smoothie with fruit and kale and froze that as a popsicle! I think that’s a great idea too! So, if you want to keep it simple like us, you can. Or you can get creative and throw in all kinds of stuff!

Cooking activities are just the best to do with kids. I’ve never met a kid who didn’t get super excited to help in the kitchen! So it’s fun, that’s the most important part when doing things with toddlers and preschoolers! Then, there are almost always opportunities for fine muscle movement. In this case they are picking up strawberries, squeezing in honey, and think of the control it takes to hold onto a measuring cup to pour into the popsicle mold. I helped my son, but he still used a lot of his own control to pour in the mixture.

IMG_0326Making popsicles is also a chemistry experience. Isn’t that crazy!? Anytime you take a substance and change it’s properties, like baking or freezing you are doing science. Of course, we never expect toddlers to walk away from an activity stating to us scientific properties! It is more just a conversation about their popsicle. It could sound something like this, “Remember we mixed up the strawberries. Now look what happened! They are different now. They frozen and so cold! They are going to be a tasty treat to help us cool off after we play outside.”

Remember no matter what you are doing, the best addition you can make to an activity is talking, describing, and asking questions. Ideas are: point out the texture of the strawberry or the stickiness of the honey. Talk about what is happening while you blend it. Taste it and talk about what it tastes like. Pour it into the molds and explain why. Then when you set them into the freezer, give a simple explanation of what is going to happen. It doesn’t need to be formal, or teacher-y, just a simple conversation while you work together. Most of all, just have fun together!

Happy Playing!

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