Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring into Action!

As the weather starts to get a little warmer, it's a great time to reevaluate your daily routine with your children! Use this time of year to jumpstart a daily movement plan that will get you ready for summer play. Slipping in some exercise, some walking, balancing, throwing, catching - it will all help your child's overall development! After a long winter of sitting inside, it's just what we all need!

Start by inserting some basics, such as running in place or jumping jacks, in between everyday tasks. It will rev up your energy level and boost your mood! Have a catch with a squishy ball or stuffed toy! Visit a playground or plan a playdate that is a no video/no game time for action :) Pull out some chalk and make some hopscotch or maze patterns to use for more fun!

Find some pockets of time where you can get in a daily walk - even if it's only for a few minutes. While you're walking, you can cover a whole day's worth of early childhood curriculum.
Children are fascinated by the tiniest things in nature ... a bud opening on a tree, an ant crawling on the sidewalk, a ladybug on a leaf ... use this time to help your child connect with nature! (science)  Work on counting as you cover the distance down the sidewalk! (math) Practice songs and clapping to different patterns while you walk - find objects that begin with each letter of the alphabet! (literacy)

And, best of all .... have fun!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mix Up Some Colors!

Make learning about colors fun!

Learning about primary colors - blue, red and yellow - and the colors they make when blended together - is so much fun for little ones! Get some washable paints and some large paper and get ready to mix and make!

There are some wonderful books that illustrate for children just how to do some color mixing! Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh, is an adorable tale about white mice who jump into different paint colors and end up mixing them up on paper, thereby creating new colors through blending. Your child will love the cute little mice and the patterns they make - it is a perfect way to explain how blending certain colors results in new colors.

Let your little "mice" replicate the story by mixing up some paint colors of their own. Playing with paint and paper is fun, messy and will have your little ones exploring - and learning! You can use fingers, brushes, sponges or even fabric scraps as your tools ... try each primary color first and then see what happens when a dot of something else enters the picture! Let your child direct the learning and be ready for some terrific artwork! Have extra paper on hand for when "experiments" turn everything brown or gray and your child wants to try again :)

Another book on the same theme is Color Dance by Ann Jonas. Children will be fascinated by the swirls and twirls of the colored scarves in this lovely picture book! Make sure to linger over each illustration and have your child retell the story to you to reinforce the learning. Explore some fun with movement by trying out some scarves of your own ... then, look for colorful fabric scraps or bits of ribbon to make a color collage!

Have fun!