Monday, July 21, 2014

Coloured Tape and Paper Clip Bracelet

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Here's a really quick and easy bracelet that kids can make. The one pictured was made without any assistance by my 7 year old granddaughter. My younger buddies would need a little help doing this, but older kids can easily manage on their own.

I provided some coloured paper clips and coloured tape.  My granddaughter and grandson got to linking the paper clips together.  My 4 year old grandson was thrilled with just linking the paper clips and it was a great fine motor skill activity for him.  His older sister was ready for more of a challenge and she was able to take the coloured tape and wrap it around each paper clip to add an extra decorative feature to her bracelet.  She enjoyed making this bracelet so much she asked to take the rest of my paper clips hope to make more of them.  

I have to put paper clips on my shopping list because I'm sure the rest of my buddies would like to do this, too.  This was a good activity for multi-aged groups as it can be as easy or difficult as skill level of the child doing it.  Happy crafting!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Multi-Sensory Snack

Mandarin orange snack, Mandarin orange wedges at room temp, and refridgerated

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Knowing that my buddies learn through their senses, I like to add in an extra sense when I can.  When you think of food, you might just think of the sense of taste.  But there are other senses that can be experienced, too.  I like to give their senses an extra challenge. Sometimes, when serving our snacks, I will serve the same item at two different temperatures. Most fruit is perfect for this, today we had mandarin oranges. They were perfect on our sectioned plates and my buddies could sort through which were cold and which were warm (at room temperature). It was a fun addition to snack time, and added a little extra learning. 

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Next time you serve snack, think about more than taste.  Think texture, temperature, colour, and even scent.  Try different colours of apples or grapes, try potatoes cooked in different ways - baked or mashed, try cheeses melted or cubed, and try one of our favourites - frozen veggies!  Corn and peas are the best!  I've even found kids who won't eat veggies at all will eat them frozen.  Let me know if you try something new!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Speech Therapy - There's an App for That!


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Having been in the business of child care for over 20 years, I've had many children in my care and have always tried to help each child develop to their potential. Sometimes a child will have trouble with their speech, and I will try to help them with that as much as I can. Children today are so much more fortunate than they were 10 or more years ago. Today, their parents and I have access to so much more information and resources than we did years ago. I am so thankful for that! With the cost and long wait lists to get children in to see speech therapists, it is nice to know that there is help available outside of the speech therapist's office.  Even after a child is accepted into the speech program, which is usually only one short weekly visit, support at home and at daycare go a long way in helping children practice and perfect their speech sounds.  

About 10 years ago, when I noticed that I had several children who were struggling with speech sounds, I began searching for resources.  They were extremely difficult to come by, and, at that time, speech and language pathologists were not very generous with their resources.  I had one speech sounds development chart that had been given to me by a teacher and I treasured it and guarded it carefully.  There was an impression that speech therapy was so complicated that no one without specialized training would be able to help a child - except, maybe for parents with children in speech therapy who were being given instructions by the speech therapist on how to help.  I was thrilled to find a cd called Speechercise to use with my buddies.  I simply added a few of the speechercise song activities to our usual circle time routine.  It wasn't perfect, but it was something.  Today, it is just one of many available resources.



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Please don't misunderstand me and think that I am discouraging any parent from getting their child into a speech therapist if they have any kind of speech delay!  Absolutely get your child into a professional because a professional can diagnose any underlying cause of the speech delay.  There may be a physical reason that the child is struggling with speech.  What I am saying, though, is that you don't have to wait and do nothing.  There are lots of resources!  The video above is just one of many apps available for parents.  There is a small charge for the Tiga Talk app, but there are many free ones as well.  Visit the Tiga Talk home page here.



Technology has been getting a bad rap lately and there is a general consensus that children are exposed to too much technology.  It's easy to see why that might be, as children seem naturally drawn to these things.  Early childhood educators and child care providers are even going as far as banning all technology from their classrooms.  I prefer to make use of children's natural affinity for technology and use it to help children's development.  There's no denying that technology is here to stay and when not overused it can be as valuable a tool as any other in our environments.  

Technology will not cure everything, either, and should not be solely relied upon to correct speech problems, either. Reading stories, singing songs and just having face to face conversations with your child are very important.  Here's a link to some of our everyday activities for language and literacy skills.  

I hope this post has been helpful.  If you have a favourite resource or app for speech, or language and literacy, please share it with me in your comments.  I will add it to this post so more readers may find it.  Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!


For more helpful info see:

Speech Delays and Speech Therapy





Monday, July 7, 2014

Counting Carrots

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It was early in the spring and my buddies and I had filled our pots with dirt and planted some seeds.  My buddies loved the dirt and I knew it was going to be hard to wait for the seeds to sprout. I also knew they would find the pots of dirt irresistable.  Dirt and kids are made for each other, right?    I took some of the left over dirt from our planting and poured it into our water table. I had purchased some little carrot candy holders from the dollar store. I emptied them and stuck the carrots into the dirt. Then I waited for my buddies to discover this activity on their own.


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It didn't take them long before they located buckets and garden tools. They got to digging and pulling up their carrots. I threw in a little math and had them count the carrots they dug up, too. They enjoyed replanting their carrots as much as they enjoyed pulling them. I enjoyed how easy and inexpensive this activity was to set up. And I loved watching them have fun while learning, too.  We are sure to do this activity again.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Labelling Toys for Learning

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My buddies and I were playing with our tool bench and all the assorted tools and as they would pick out and bring a toy to me I would give them the name for it.  We hadn't played with these toys for a long while and my buddies were really interested in all of them.  With my limited tool knowledge, it wasn't long before I was handed a tool for which I had no name. I didn't know what it was. Fortunately, my husband was home, and he gave us the names I didn't know. I was thinking about how much easier this little labelling game was with our dinosaurs, where I could just flip the dinosaur over and read the name off the bottom and look like a real scholar!  I was also thinking about how popular labelling is in preschool classrooms - labelling shelves and furniture, and putting lots of literacy posters on the wall.  I decided I would add the names of the tools to the tools.  Not only would it help me remember the names of the tools, but it would also help promote literacy skills with my buddies.  When one of my buddies discovered "phone" written on the back of the toy phone, I was questioned about it.  As an early reader, not yet in kindergarten, she hasn't yet learned about "ph" making the "f" sound.  I think that with the phone being labelled, she will  be reminded of the new information she has learned every time she picks up the phone. 
This little experience taught me a lot and has the potential to help my buddies learn so much!  What if I labelled all my toys?? Imagine the possibilities!!!! I have to go now - I have lots of toys that need labelling!  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Modelling Clay Pictures

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As I was browsing Pinterest, I came across a picture done in modelling clay. It reminded me of work done by the Canadian author/illustrator, Barbara Reid. I admit that modelling clay is not my favourite material, but this activity really caught my interest. Childhood 101 reminded me that modelling clay could be used in ways other than the traditional sculpting and moulding. You can see the post. Check out this post for inspiration : Modelling Clay Pictures

When my grandchildren last visited, I gave them the clay and showed them how they could use it to make pictures.  My 4 year old grandson sat down and made alphabet letters with his modelling clay.  My 7 year old granddaughter used a foil take out container lid as a base to create her picture.  She carefully added clay, piece by piece until her picture was complete.  

If your children are interested in modelling clay art (or Plasticine art), they would definitely enjoy looking at Barbara Reid's books. Her illustrations done in modelling clay (plasticine) are amazing and beautiful.  Visit her site here:  Barbara Reid  And then, get creating!  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Supreme Water Painting

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Painting with water has always been a go to activity for us. My buddies love to see how the water darkens the colour of the wood, bricks or concrete as they brush it on.  I love how fast and easy and mess free painting with water is.  Since painting with water is so easy, we've already done it a few times and I wanted to kick it up a notch.  I had a large container of Glittering Confetti that I had purchased at Dollarama.  I put a spoonful of it in each of the cups of water and added big thick paintbrushes for painting.  Then I set my buddies free to paint to their heart's content.



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The beautiful thing about water painting is that my buddies can pretty much paint ANYTHING they want.  Nothing outside is going to be damaged by being painted with water.  The awesome thing about painting with glitter confetti in the water is the extra sparkle that is left behind even after the water dries.  Glitter confetti pieces are bigger than glitter so they don't stick to your clothing and skin as much as regular glitter does and because the pieces are bigger, they have a bigger sparkle, too.  My buddies had a lot of fun with this and there was very little clean up afterwards.  Basically we just rinsed the brushes and cups to use another time.



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We're sure to do this activity again and again!  Be sure to click on the this link for more outdoor art activities AND to get in on a $1500 Giveaway!