Bye Bye Baby- how to leave the childcare without tears

 

 

Childcare can be a great adventure. However, when you’re leaving your child there, the experience is often difficult for both you and the child. Use these parenting tips to ensure your child’s transition is as smooth as possible. In turn, your mindset will be much better.

waving goodby

  • Let your children know what to expect. Your kids are used to the rhythm of your family life, and childcare disrupts that. They’ll be confronted with new rules and routines. Explain that while you are at work, they will be having fun. Say that they will make new friends and play with lots of cool toys. If possible, visit the childcare with your children prior to the start date and have them meet the teacher and get a feel for the place. That may not be enough, and a photo book with pictures taken during that visit will help remind the child of what to expect. However, don’t treat this as some huge ordeal or change. Another idea is to read a couple of books about childcare adventures to your children.
  • Practice consistency. This is probably the most critical of these parenting tips. If the first day of drop-off goes terribly, shrug it off and start fresh the next day. And the next. Before you know it, a new routine has been established, and your child is looking forward to childcare. Avoid pulling your child out if the first hand-off (or subsequent ones) go badly. This serves to tell the child he can sidestep negative feelings and also puts him in control.
  • Keep goodbyes and hellos snappy. This area is particularly important for consistency. When you say goodbye, say something like: “Goodbye for now. I will be back after nap time to get you. I hope you have a fun day!” or “Bye for now. See you later, alligator!” Turn and leave. Don’t look back or linger. Definitely don’t sneak off without informing your child you are leaving.  When you do return after work, point out that you are back, exactly as you said you would be. Your child will get the message that these goodbyes are by no means permanent.
  • Enlist the teacher’s help. Write or type a bulleted list for the teacher that gives her the lowdown on your child’s life at home. For example, include information on when your child eats, sleeps and uses the bathroom. Also include personal touches such as your child’s favorite color, story, games and songs. Of vital importance is to highlight any allergies your child may have and methods you use to calm your child. The teacher can take advantage of your parenting tips to keep your child happy.
  • Let your child choose a “buddy” to bring from home. The “buddy,” which could be a photo, blanket, doll, cup or pretty much anything, will make the child feel more at home and will function as an emotional support of sorts. After some time passes, the child probably will no longer need the “buddy.”
  • Stay away. This means no surprise drop-ins and resisting the temptation to call every more than twice a day. You must trust the childcare to contact you if an emergency occurs. Remember that children are intuitive and read moods well. You being anxious will give your child anxiety that wasn’t there or fuel further anxiety. Give your child’s distress at childcare about two weeks to a month to subside.
  • Remember your child adores you whether saying goodbye is easy or tough for them; whether they rush to you when you come to pick them up or tell you to wait a minute, they aren’t ready to go.  Sometimes younger children have NO problem with goodbye the first week or so- pre-school is a grand adventure. But they may begin to cry after two weeks or so when they realize this is an everyday thing.  Wanting to stay means they are Very secure: you’ve found the right place and they know you will always be there. If  either event  happens, know that it’s normal, and follow the tips above.

Following these parenting tips should result in relatively smooth hand-offs. However, if the tears and tantrums are especially severe and persist more than a month, have someone else take your child to childcare for a few days.

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Festival fun and safety with young children

festival

 

Many families love to attend fairs, festivals, and carnivals with their babies and young children during the warm summer months. These events often include activities that are fun for the whole family. It is important to take the necessary safety precautions to ensure that everyone has a good time at these events, including you.

Do your research

Look up information about the event ahead of time so that you know what to expect. Check out the size of the event, the attractions and vendors that it includes, how the parking works, and whether or not strollers are allowed. Everyone in the family will be less stressed and better prepared if there are clear expectations. If your children are old enough to understand, talk to them about the event. For example, it can be helpful for them to know that it may be crowded and noisy and that they need to stay close to Mom and Dad at all times.

Be realistic about how long you should stay

The last thing that you want to do when you attend an event is set your children up to fail. Even if you regularly attended festivals multiple days in a row for long stretches of time each day before you had kids, your little ones will not be up for this type of schedule. Plan to avoid the busiest parts of the festivities and to take breaks from the action as needed.

Pay attention to the weather and plan accordingly

Most likely the festival or fair will include a lot of walking. Make sure that everyone wears sturdy, comfortable footwear that is suitable for lengthy periods on your feet. Check the weather before heading out the door and choose appropriate clothing. If it is chilly or there is a good chance that the temperature will drop later in the day, dress in layers. Bring hats, and make sure to apply sunscreen.

Keep in mind that thunderstorms can spring up unexpectedly during the summer. Have a plan of action in place so that you can seek shelter at the event or make it back to your car in a timely fashion in case there is lightning in the area.

Make smart decisions about meals and snacks

You want to make sure that your children are not hungry during the event, but you also want to avoid having anyone getting sick from the rides. If there are carnival rides, plan to ride them before you eat anything heavy or greasy, such as corn dogs and funnel cake. If your kids need a snack before going on the rides, stick to lighter options such as crackers and popcorn.

Drink lots of water

If possible, bring in your own water. Most festivals charge a premium for beverages. You don’t want to skimp on the water because it’s expensive. Keep in mind that when you feel thirsty, you’re already getting dehydrated. Keep the water flowing while you’re at the event so that there is no risk of this happening.

Take measures to prevent separation

Identify the security guards and stations at the event and point them out to your kids. Equip your children with contact information. Keep a piece of paper with your name and cell phone number with each child that he or she can give to an adult if needed. Stick together as much as possible. Any time a family member separates from the group, there is a greater risk of someone getting lost.

Fun things to do at Home: Kite Flying !

It's Spring

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and April begins National Kite month so here’s some kite information you can use to have fun with your kids.

Kites can be great fun on several levels.

  •  You can craft them at home with bags or even duct tape.
  • And kites are one of the fun things you can do to hang out outside that are not routine.

 delta kite

Different kites work for different wind speeds.

  • Diamond shape, Delta shapes and Dragon shapes are best for light to medium winds.
  • While Box kites and Parafoils do well in medium to high winds.

All types of kites need60 to 100 ft. of string and more if the wind allows.

The best winds are from around 5 to 25 mph.  The leaves and bushes will be noticeably blowing, but will not be leaning—they will still be fluttering.

Medium winds are the most fun because you can make your kite “dance” by letting string out and reeling it in.

The best places to fly kites are in parks or fields.  Trees “eat” kites and it’s dangerous to be near electrical or phone wires.  Never fly a kite in a storm!

toddler kite

Here is a list of websites with great instructions for making your own kite:

http://www.freehomeschooldeals.com/how-to-make-a-paper-bag-kite/

http://www.nationalkitemonth.org/plans/boca.php

http://doecdoe.blogspot.com/2011/07/go-fly-kite.html

http://www.joann.com/totally-cosmic-duct-tape-kite/prod703769/

http://www.makeandtakes.com/colorful-stained-glass-kites

 

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

Kindness vs Entiltlement

There’s always a lot of talk about what’s the matter with kids today, and these days one of the biggest discussions centers around “entitlement”…. Way More.  It can be seen over “stuff”- always wanting more, not taking care of what you have.  It can also be seen when kids treat other kids poorly.  In fact bullying is a form of entitled behavior.

Angry tween
 There are many theories about the cause of entitlement behavior: One may be that kids have so much more things than former generations-within the past two years the percentage of kids under age 9 who’ve used smartphones and tablets soared from 38 percent to more than 70 percent!  They are constantly bombarded with media images of kids who have EVERYTHING with no consideration for family finances or the fact that they did nothing to earn it.  TV families seem to have unstoppable resources, When that’s nearly all they see on TV and movies, we can’t expect them to understand that  their lives are not those of people on TV or that TV is not real life. 

Also, in an effort to boost self esteem we often weaken it.  Kids know when they didn’t do their best or as well as someone else.  But when we tell them they did instead of saying “you weren’t the fastest today, but  you are great at reading” we actually lower self-esteem (and leave them thinking we are either liars or gullible).  Books that say “I’m special” because my favorite toy is Tonka Trucks nothing for self esteem.  Books that say “I’m special because I can tie my shoes by myself” do.

Here are a few things you can do to raise healthy, kind kids:

Teach them the difference between needs and wants.  Make the “wants” something to look forward to  on birthdays, special occasions or as random rewards

Include them in the finances of their wants.  Let them help around the house or use their allowance to help pay for the new Legos, or bike or game.  When it’s not free, it’s usually better taken care of and appreciated more anyway

Create an atmosphere of gratitude.  Thank the kids and your spouse for getting you a glass of water, or shoveling.  Thank the waitress who brings your food.  Send thank you notes and help your kids do the same on holidays and for birthday gifts.

Everyone has a job in the family.  Very young children can bring silverware to the table with napkins.  They can pick up toys they use.  As kids age, give them jobs that are more complex with more responsibility.  Allowances are just that- money they are allowed to have.  Chores are a part of being in the family.  Everybody eats, so everybody can help clean up.  Everyone sits around the TV, so everyone can make sure there’s not too much clutter to do that.  Everyone rides in the car so everyone can bring out his or her trash.  Families help and take care of each other.

If you do offer an allowance, stick to it.  If your child gets 5 dollars a week that’s it.  He can save for something or spend it all at once, but there is not more money until the next “payday”.

Finally, while it’s not okay to intentionally cause your child  pain, It is OK to let your child experience pain … not pain that you can prevent physically, but pain that you can’t necessarily prevent emotionally. If your child  forgets his lunch, don’t drop off a McDonalds Happy Meal.  Forgotten coats mean a cold day, that will probably not be repeated.  His homework is not your homework…

We all want to raise kids who are strong, and independent.  Entitlement mentality creates adults who are whiney, and dependent.

 

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

 

Crafting Month Continues: Fun Things to do with Cherios

We are continuing with ideas made with things easily found around most homes.  The crafting item today is CHERIOS and/or FRUIT LOOPS. 

                             fruit loops

  • It’s easy to make a rainbow with Fruit Loops.  Just draw draw six concentric arcs.  The kids can glue the cereal pieces on the arcs.  (Use glue or frosting if you think the cereal will be eaten no matter what) The smallest arc will be for purple loops, the next blue.  The next arcs above will be for green then yellow loops. The last loops should be orange and red.  This color scheme is the closest to a real rainbow, so you can also use it as a mini science class.  (As sunlight passes into a drop of rain, water acts as prism & the ray is bent as it enters the drop and is separated into colors.   We see the colors when the light is bent – the rays are different lengths that create different colors. The visible colors from shortest to longest wavelength are: violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.)                                                                                                                                                                                                    rainbow bowls 
  •  Of course, if your child is very young, or you don’t want to deal with  science on a Saturday, you are still honing small motor skills if your child just picks up and glues the cereal to the paper.  It builda coordination to pick up pieces of cereal one at a time.
  • If your child is just learning colors, set out some bowls and let her sort the cereal by colors                                ramekin
  • If She is learning  her alphabet or to spell her name,  let her use the cereal loops to create letters, or to spell.  Again, you can pencil a large letter shape and your child can follow the lines to create
  • letters or words
  • Letters on chalkboard

 

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

Parenting Tips: Most Common Dental Concerns

Again, we consulted the American Dental Association to learn:

Common DentalConcerns  

preschooler brushing teeth

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay You can help prevent your baby from getting cavities or developing what is called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries, by beginning an oral hygiene routine within the first few days after birth. Start by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean gauze pad. This helps removes plaque that can harm erupting teeth. When your child’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and water. For bottle feedings, place only formula, milk or breast milk inside and avoid using sugary beverages such as juice or soda. Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottle before going to bed. Dental Emergencies Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s permanent tooth. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to take your child to the dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible. Here are some tips if your child experiences a common dental emergency:

  • For a knocked-out tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your child’s cheek and gum, or in milk. Call your dentist right away.
  • For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down.
  • If your child bites his tongue or lip, clean the area gently and apply a cold compress.
  • For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
  • For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.

Thumbsucking Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects. It may help them relax or make them feel safe or happy. Most children stop sucking by age 4. If your child continues to thumb suck that after the permanent teeth have come in, it can cause problems with tooth alignment and your child’s bite. The frequency, duration and intensity of a habit will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. If you are worried about your child’s sucking habits, talk to your dentist or consult your child’s pediatrician. Space Maintainers Space maintainers help “hold space” for permanent teeth. Your child may need one if he or she loses a baby tooth prematurely, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. If a primary tooth is lost too early, adult teeth can erupt into the empty space instead of where they should be.When more adult teeth are ready to come into the mouth, there may not be enough room for them because of the lost space. To prevent this from happening, the dentist may recommend a space maintainer to hold open the space left by the missing tooth. Sealants Sealants are a fast and easy way of protecting your child’s teeth that act as barriers to cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves. Sealing a tooth is fast and there is virtually no discomfort. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing but may have to be reapplied if needed. Both primary and permanent teeth can benefit from sealants. Ask your dentist if sealants will help your child. Mouthguards Mouthguards can help protect your child from a dental emergency. They should be worn whenever your child is participating in sports and recreational activities. Mouthguards cushion blows that would otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures. If your child participates in such pastimes, ask your dentist about custom-fitted mouth protectors. Malocclusion Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crowded, crooked or out of alignment, or the jaws don’t meet properly. This may become particularly noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. If not treated early, a bad bite can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean where teeth are crooked or crowded, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease. Bad bites can also:

  • Affect proper development of the jaws.
  • Make the protruding teeth at risk for chips and fractures.
  • Affect eating and speaking.
  • Make some teeth more likely to wear abnormally or faster than those that are properly aligned.

Anesthesia and Sedation Your dentist might recommend that your child be administered anesthesia or sedation to relax them in order to safely complete some dental procedures. Download a PDF of questions to ask your dentist before your child undergoes any type of anesthesia.

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

Parenting Tips: Dental Health Starts Early!

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

You can help prevent your baby from getting cavities or developing what is called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries, by beginning an oral hygiene routine within the first few days after birth. Start by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean gauze pad. This helps removes plaque that can harm erupting teeth. When your child’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and water. For bottle feedings, place only formula, milk or breast milk inside and avoid using sugary beverages such as juice or soda. Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottle before going to bed.

Dental Emergencies

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s permanent tooth. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to take your child to the dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.

Here are some tips if your child experiences a common dental emergency:

  • For a knocked-out tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your child’s cheek and gum, or in milk. Call your dentist right away.
  • For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down.
  • If your child bites his tongue or lip, clean the area gently and apply a cold compress.
  • For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
  • For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.

Thumbsucking

Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects. It may help them relax or make them feel safe or happy. Most children stop sucking by age 4. If your child continues to thumb suck that after the permanent teeth have come in, it can cause problems with tooth alignment and your child’s bite. The frequency, duration and intensity of a habit will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. If you are worried about your child’s sucking habits, talk to your dentist or consult your child’s pediatrician.

Space Maintainers

Space maintainers help “hold space” for permanent teeth. Your child may need one if he or she loses a baby tooth prematurely, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. If a primary tooth is lost too early, adult teeth can erupt into the empty space instead of where they should be.When more adult teeth are ready to come into the mouth, there may not be enough room for them because of the lost space. To prevent this from happening, the dentist may recommend a space maintainer to hold open the space left by the missing tooth.

Sealants

Sealants are a fast and easy way of protecting your child’s teeth that act as barriers to cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves. Sealing a tooth is fast and there is virtually no discomfort. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing but may have to be reapplied if needed. Both primary and permanent teeth can benefit from sealants. Ask your dentist if sealants will help your child.

Mouthguards

Mouthguards can help protect your child from a dental emergency. They should be worn whenever your child is participating in sports and recreational activities. Mouthguards cushion blows that would otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures. If your child participates in such pastimes, ask your dentist about custom-fitted mouth protectors.

Malocclusion

Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crowded, crooked or out of alignment, or the jaws don’t meet properly. This may become particularly noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. If not treated early, a bad bite can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean where teeth are crooked or crowded, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.

Bad bites can also:

  • Affect proper development of the jaws.
  • Make the protruding teeth at risk for chips and fractures.
  • Affect eating and speaking.
  • Make some teeth more likely to wear abnormally or faster than those that are properly aligned.

Anesthesia and Sedation

Your dentist might recommend that your child be administered anesthesia or sedation to relax them in order to safely complete some dental procedures. Download a PDF of questions to ask your dentist before your child undergoes any type of anesthesia.

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

Parenting Tips: Indoor Activities to Prevent Cabin Fever

These activities and games are flexible for different ages. There’s no winning or losing; the point is just to get moving. Don’t feel silly joining in!

Freeze dance. A classic! All you need is music, and the only guideline is to freeze when the music is paused. Encourage kids to “freeze” in fun poses or with funny faces. Use a variety of musical styles and tempos. Tip: An older child can do the music while you dance with younger ones.

Indoor obstacle Course. Use soft materials, push aside some furniture, andpractice gross motor skills without breaking any priceless antiques! Set out a laundry basket and use balled up socks to practice throwing and accuracy. Tape down some yarn or string for a makeshift balance beam. Do moves in place, like running, jumping, and hopping. Add yoga moves, use a timer, and cheer them on. There are an infinite number of possibilities here.
 

Scavenger hunt. Take any theme, such as patterns, letters, or colors and hunt around the house. Make it official with a clipboard and check off items as you go. Crawl around, reach up high, and get down low!

toddler yoga

Yoga for kids. If you enjoy yoga, you kids probably do, too! Just remember, they won’t stay quiet and breathe; expect laughter at the names of animal posesand even make up songs as you go. For added literacy practice, make flash cards with the names of the poses and a picture. Classroom favorites are usually airplane (flying warrior), lion, and table top. It’s incredible to hear a five-year-old say, “Yoga calms me down!”

Copy dancing. I think a 4-year-old named this game that originated from a preschool dance party. This game can be played with two to twenty participants, and it’s as simple as it sounds. One person dances while the others copy their moves. Kids love being the leaders, and imitation is, after all, the highest form of flattery. So put on some dancing tunes and show off those moves!

Story go-round: This is the same concept as the dance-making game. Make up a cooperative story by letting each person add one sentence. Start with characters and a simple plot, like “a dog and cat went to the beach,” and let the children take it from there. The sillier, the better!   If your child is four or five or older, let them take the lead on most of these projects; if younger, help them get started. Show your interest in their ideas, encourage their suggestions, and ask open-ended question to keep the momentum going!

Homemade collage with reusable materials. Simply provide a few items that can be rearranged again and again. Arrange them on a tray or placemat to make patterns, designs, and objects. Since the materials are reusable, take a picture to commemorate each creation. Ideas: craft sticks, buttons, paint samples, fabric swatches, spare keys.                                            collage resized 600
DIY stuffed animals. You really can make a loveable stuffed animal (or insect!) with only four things: markers, construction paper, a stapler and recycled newspaper. It’s so easy and gets the kids excited every time. Put two pieces of paper together, draw your animal’s outline, and cut it out, making two identical shapes. Decorate, color, and add as much detail as desired. Then staple the two pieces together about halfway. Now for the fun part– stuffing! Use pillow stuffing from a craft store, or just rip and ball up newspaper, and begin stuffing it into your creation. When fully stuffed, staple closed, and you’ve got a keeper!

Shapes. Help your child learn their shapes by tracing common household items. Turn over a cup to make circles, and trace your cell phone for rectangles. Hunting is part of the fun. Kids may want to decorate their shapes, cut them out, and glue them on to larger paper for fancy art projects.

Ice cube tray sorting and pattern making. Here’s another way to mix math, art, and fine motor skills. You’ll need an ice cube tray, egg container or muffin tin, plus small items to play with, such as various dried beans, buttons, coins or marbles. Jewelry, like plastic rings or earrings have that lost their partner, makes it extra exciting. Your child can sort the items (by color, size, pattern or any way they like), make patterns with them, or invent their own game. There are tons of possibilities and no right answers; this type of play blends logical thinking and mathematical reasoning with creativity. For extra fun and challenge, use tweezers or clothespins to pick up the items.

Dyed paper. Art, science, or interior design? This project is so versatile and produces such attractive results you may want to use it as decoration. Similar to tie-dye, but without the tying, just use paper towels and a few colors of either diluted food coloring or liquid tempera paint to make fantastic designs.                                                                                             Steps: Fold a paper towel until it’s the size of cracker, then dip it into       the paint  until saturated, dipping each corner into a different color.   Then carefully  unfold it  and let dry, preferably on a tablecloth or  anything you don’t mind staining.  Be  prepared for repetition as children experiment with different ways to fold the  paper  and   marvel at the lovely results. When dry, the paper towels can be  strung  together and hung up, or taped to windows for a stained glass-like effect.
 

Collage Placemats. Recycle your old magazines and exercise the imagination, all in one! Let children choose and cut their favorite pictures out of magazines (or help them). Then they glue them on paper, then draw and decorate all around it. Scissors and glue are a must; markers, crayons, oil pastels, stickers and glitter are optional. In addition to magazines, recycle wrapping paper, post cards(you know, like the ones for take-out pizza), tissue paper and (clean) cotton balls to make even grander creations.

describe the image
Melted crayons. If you have old, broken crayons hanging around, then you have an instant craft project! Reuse those old crayons by making them new again. Unwrap the crayons, arrange them in a muffin tin in a single layer, and cook in the oven on 200 degrees for about 10 minutes. Let cool, then stick them in the freezer to make it easier to pop them out. Just turn the pan over and you’ll have new cool, round crayons. Note: When the crayons are fresh out of the freezer, they may not color well. Warm them up in your hands to get them going.

Masks. Homemade masks are fairly easy to make, yet are highly covetable. There are so many possibilities for characters, from animals to superheroes, and lots of variations in how to make them.
Children’s masks can be made out of different types of paper or fabrics, and either tied with elastic or glued on to a craft stick to hold up. The adult will probably need to measure where the eyes should be cut out of the paper or fabric, and how long the elastic should be to go around the child’s head. No matter how it’s done, it’s likely to get a big smile when the child wears it and peeks in the mirror.

Drama. Put on a play using puppets, socks for puppets,dolls, or just yourselves! Use a favorite book, classic tale, or make up your own story. Find props and costumes and play dress-up with younger children, or put on longer plays with preschoolers. Just act it out and have fun. If your child has a flair for the dramatic, they’ll take charge of this one and it can easily last an hour (“OK, pretend I’m the queen. Now you say…”). They love it when you just play along and let them be the director.  Use cell phones to film and share.

Cooking. When you have some extra time, make up an easy, hands-on cooking project for your next snack or meal. For children, cooking can mean sensory exploration, logical ordering, and confidence boosting. Let them do as much of the work as possible. The easiest recipes are ready-to-eat foods like sandwiches, wraps or roll ups, and salads. Even sophisticated kale chips are kid-friendly; kids wash the kale and pat it dry, tear it off the stem into bite-size pieces, toss it in olive oil and spices, and spread the pieces on a tray. Adults work the oven then everyone crunches away!
 

Water play. Most preschools have a water table that children use for sensory exploration, dramatic play, and more. You can make your own using any sized plastic tub. Let kids use cups or pitchers to fill it with water. Add natural materials like rocks or crystals, household items like spoons, measuring cups and bowls, or any little plastic toys they like. Then let the fun begin! It’s amazing to see the stories children build from just these few items. Sensory play is open-ended, engaging, and can also be surprisingly calming for kinesthetic learners.

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

Parent Tips: Keeping up with Product Recalls

In this economy, we are all trying to save money.  So off we go to the garage sale or craigslist to pick up cribs, carriers, clothing or toys.  But how do you know if the crib you are getting is safe?  Well, you can check out products being recalled through http://www.cpsc.gov/en/  ?  And, you can be put on their mailing list for alerts by signing up at http://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/Subscribe/  .

Crib safety was completely overhauled in 2010.  Last month new safety standards were developed for hand held infant carriers.  Children’s hoodies are recalled all the time because of choking hazards.  Specific baby monitors were recalled in November, and bassinets and cradles got new safety regulations in September.    This is how we discovered that crib bumpers were causing deaths of infants!   Thomas Learning Centers receives updates regularly and you can too.

infant with crib bumpers

Here are some tips on what to do if you have purchased a recalled item:

1. Verify the product number – Recalls commonly involve toys that were manufactured during a particular time period or at a specific factory. On the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), you will be able to find a list of the product numbers that are involved in the recall. It may take some time to find the number on your toy, as they are usually located in inconspicuous places.

2. Take the items away from your child – This may be a bit hard to do, especially if your child loves the toy, but you will need to put it in a hard-to-reach place or throw the toy away entirely, depending on the circumstances. If the recalled item is something larger like a crib or stroller, you will need to find a suitable replacement for the item until you receive further instructions from the maker of the product.

Contact the manufacturer – Most recalls will involve contacting a representative of the company. They will usually require you to send them the product or a proof of purchase. In turn, they will replace the item, send you replacement parts or give you a full refund if the problem cannot be fixed.

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

Learning At Home: Developing Fine Motor Skills

Eye-Hand coordination activites to do at home

  • You will need:
  • tweezers and/or tongs  pom poms or marbles or                                                                     small pebbles
  • Rounded safety scissors, construction paper, glue and                                                             or tape
  •  A skewer with a rubber band around it to make it  easy to hold                                                Or an oversized push-pin
  • A big plastic sewing needle and yarn and cardboard shapes                                                     with holes  punched
  •  A container and small objects to put in it

For the tweezers, put the pom poms, pebbles or marbles in containers and have your child move them to another container.

describe the image

Draw shapes  or lines on paper, give your child scissors and ask him to cut out the shape or along the line.  This is a learning activity- so don’t expect perfection!  Then let him loose with glue or paper to make a card or poster.

Make shapes with dots all over a piece of construction paper.  Give your child a something to poke with- a skewer or push pin and let her push the holes to create the shape.

Take a jar with a wide mouth and lid.  Depending on the age of your child you can leave the lid off and simply provide objects  like clothes pins, or pennies or beans to be dropped in the jar.  With an older child you can punch holes in the lid (or use an empty spice jar that has two openings- one to shake with and one for the measuring spoon).  Give your child toothpicks that have to be fitted through the holes to get them in the jar.

Cut shapes out of cardboard.  Use a hole punch and put holes around the edge.  Give your child a large plastic needle threaded with yarn and let her “sew’’ the edges.

All of these activities build eye hand coordination skills that will help when learning to read and write.  HAVE FUN!

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831