Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have a very happy and special Thanksgiving!

I am so thankful for my very supportive family and friends and for all of you following and giving this new blogger a chance!

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Thankfulness Questions

Here is a fun activity to do as we prepare for Thanksgiving! Grab a pencil and ask your child these questions. I am certain you will come away with some special and adorable answers!

For toddlers and preschoolers, “thankfulness” is a pretty abstract concept. But asking questions like this gets their wheels turning, thinking about the things that they have. They also may start to process things that are more special or that they like more than other things. Really, the ability to pick out things that we are happy to have or like the most is the beginning of the ability to be thankful.

While the questions are written with the word thankful, try changing the wording to something like “What do you like having that is ____?” “What is your favorite thing about ____?” “What are you excited that you have that is ____?” Be creative and find ways to word the questions that fits with your child’s development and knowledge!

Have Fun! Check in on our Facebook page and let us know any of the super cute answers that you get!

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The Thanksgiving Shuffle

I think my love for Thanksgiving really began in college. I just loved getting to go home and relax from school having the excited feeling that this was the kick off to the Holiday season. Now that I am a parent I still feel that way, and I probably love it even more! I know it can be a busy time, especially for young families (and older families too!). The reason I point out young families specifically is that it seems like parents with young children haven’t set up their own traditions or special times together. Some might even feel like it is silly to set aside time just for their family when their children aren’t old enough to remember or appreciate what is happening. I encourage you though, even if your children are young, to not let your family get lost in the shuffle of larger Thanksgiving gatherings. Believe me, I fully understand and appreciate the importance of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends that are family! Heritage and family connections are so important, and should be cherished if you have them! But spending special time with just your family, even if your children are still babies, is so important. Yep, they might not remember it, but when you look at it from a standpoint of building a relationship with your spouse and child you will never regret spending special time with just your family.

It isn’t a hard and fast rule for us, but we have made Thanksgiving a holiday that we stay home, for the most part. Even if we do need to go to a family gathering, we still find a day or evening to just have our Thanksgiving together. I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot of planning and persistence, but it is totally worth it! We make our own meal, we use our special dishes, we have our own yummy treats… my kids are young but they do notice!

So, with all of that said, there is no specific plan for this week. I figure you will have plenty of cooking and baking activities of your own that your child can join in on. Tonight I am starting my mashed potatoes that I’m thinking I can put my kids to work on the mashing part. They will love that! So, get creative with the things you have to do and try to spend time with your child at the same time! If you have some time for extra activities you can do some of your favorites from the fall activity plans or catch up on some Thanksgiving activities that you maybe didn’t have time for last week!

Hopefully, this Friday I will get week 13 up for Fall. That is the last activity plan for Fall and then we will move on to Winter. There are so many fun activities coming up! I am so excited!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

In the Kitchen: Pilgrim Hats

Here’s part 3 of Catch-up day! Sorry about the over posting, but there were fun Thanksgiving activities this week and I didn’t want to miss out on posting them! Next Monday I’ll post the ‘411’ on the rest of the Fall activity plan, Thanksgiving, and Week 13!

But for now I’ll keep this post quick. It’s pretty self explanatory. These are a fun and super easy In the Kitchen activity to get in the Thanksgiving spirit!

I like activities like this because we can make just a few for my kids to have a snack time, and then we aren’t left with a huge amount of treats. So I had each of my kids make 2, so that requires 2 chocolate striped cookies, 2 peanut butter cups, and peanut butter. You decide how many you need for your family and let that determine your amounts.

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Like I said, it’s pretty easy, but great scooping and smearing opportunities for your child’s fine motor development! Smear the peanut butter on the chocolate side of the cookie.

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Then, stick the peanut butter cup on the peanut butter.

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And there you go, a cute, tasty little Pilgrim hat!

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I said I’d keep it short, so I’ll stop there and I’ll check in on Monday with more info about fall activities and the transition to Winter!

Happy Playing!

Time for Art: Bean Turkey

Can you tell I’m totally playing catch-up? I spent the week visiting my brand new baby nephew and I had amazing intentions of staying on top of our activities and posting new activity blogs… but why do that when I could be doing this…

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So, that is why I am posting this week’s art activity on a Friday! Here is another turkey friend and another craft with a hand tracing… I just can’t pass up doing crafts that involve those sweet, chubby little hands!

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This time around you are going to trace around your child’s hand and use that for the turkey body, no cutting involved this week. Once you have the body traced onto the paper plate you can let your child go to work gluing on the beans. You know all those beans you’ve been doing fine motor work with? Now you can use them for a craft!

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You definitely need to use a paper plate, or some sort of cardboard of that weight. Otherwise the beans will be too heavy and will bend it. I don’t even think card stock would be heavy enough for this. So, if you don’t have a paper plate, you could cut a nice circle or square from a cereal or cracker box. Personally, I like to make sure I have a paper plate, because it makes it look a little nicer, and I like to use this craft along with the Turkey Roll to set around at Thanksgiving time.

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

Fine motor: Fine motor, fine motor, fine motor… blah, blah, blah. Are you tired of hearing about fine motor? I hope not because it is such a huge part of your child’s development at this age. These crafts are a great chance to get all of those little muscles moving. But your child will come across a lot of fine motor enhancing tasks throughout their day, so make sure you let them try, maybe even struggle a little bit, to keep their hands and fingers working! I know it’s so much easier to just do it, but that isn’t going to benefit your child in the long run.

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Arts and Crafts: I mentioned something to this effect last week with the Turkey Roll craft, but I’m going to say it again. It is such a great learning experience to see a collection of random materials… a paper plate, hand, beans, and glue… as they transform into something. Not just something, but something they were in charge of making! It opens up such a world of creativity, and the chance to just try, experiment, and learn what comes of it. Let your child explore and experiment with this activity and really give their creativity and imagination a chance!

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Fall Week 12

Fall Week 12: November 14-18

At Real. Meaningful. Family. my goal is to provide information based on research for parents and caregivers, and to create regular opportunity for you to have special together time with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers learn from the environment and daily interactions. We are in no way seeking to create a school-like setting for your young child. Research has clearly indicated that academic learning (think reading, writing, and arithmetic) for these young children is not developmentally appropriate, learning for this age is in the every day details. The activities below have been created as a time to set aside specifically for parents and care givers to have a fun interaction with their children. I would recommend you first prioritize time to read, snuggle, dance, sing, move, rhyme, play, and then add these activities in as you can. Don’t stress… keep it simple, and just be together!
“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” -Erik Erikson

Art

Bean Turkey

img_1519Trace your child’s hand in the middle of the paper plate (it has to be a paper plate or of that thickness, nothing else will hold up the heaviness of the beans) Then, your child can glue beans on to fill in the turkey. If they are overwhelmed by the amount of area to fill in, help them focus in on a finger at a time and then break down the palm into segments. Once done you can draw in a beak, the snood (a.k.a. the red hangy down thing), and some feet. Once done you’ve got a super cute turkey decoration for Thanksgiving!

Stuff to have

1 small paper plate

1/2- 1 cup dry beans

Glue

Developing Skills

Fine motor, art

Fine Motor

Pipe Cleaner Colander

img_1001Pull out your kitchen colander and some pipe cleaners. Let your child poke the pipe cleaners through the holes of the colander giving them a great fine motor workout!

Stuff to Have

Colander

Pipe cleaners

Developing Skills

Fine motor

Problem Solving

Flashlight Find

IMG_0700Darken a room that is familiar to your child and has familiar objects in it. Sit down somewhere comfortable and let your child use the flashlight to find various objects. Older children will love having you name some of their favorite toys or special objects and using the flashlight to find them. While younger children might not grasp the concept of finding things with the flashlight you can demonstrate and begin that problem solving concept. If they are only interested in playing with the flashlight that is fine too- they are still always learning and building new concepts. Just take care to help them avoid looking directly at the light.

Stuff to Have

-1 Flashlight

-Darkened, familiar room

Developing Skills

Problem Solving, follow through

Early Science & Math

img_1111Nature Walk

Since this season is one of constant changes I like to include 2 or 3 nature walks just to take in all the changes. It is such a simple way to talk about change, observe colors, feel different temperatures, and compare what is different from the last nature walk. So, head outside and enjoy the changing weather, trees, flowers, grass, etc. Talk a lot about colors and the changes you see- even with the youngest children. Walks are simple but great opportunities to enhance vocabulary and learning about the environment around us.

Developing Skills

Science (observation), colors, temperatures, large motor

Cooking & Baking

img_1570Pilgrim Hats

Turn the cookie upside down so that the all chocolate side is up. Then use peanut butter to “glue” the wide part of the Reeses to the cookie. And like that you have a tasty & cute treat to get in the Thanksgiving mode!

Stuff to Have

Fudge stripe cookies

Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

peanut butter

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory


Happy playing!