Monday, September 28, 2015

Rock On!

Have some fun with rocks - and let your little ones explore and learn! We took some stones that were flat on at least one side, and used a paint pen to make upper-case letters on them. Then, we put them out on a table, and . . .

First, there was lots of interest ... and lots of questions!

"What are these? What do we do with them?" We didn't ask our little ones to do anything in particular with the rocks, but soon they were searching for their name letters and lining them up, calling friends over, and trying out new combinations :)

They noticed that some of their names started with the same letter, and that they had to share letters to make friends' names.

Next, maybe they'll want to play a match game - we'll need more rocks!

How about numbered rocks to line up in order ... or addition rocks! We could try shapes and patterns one day, too!

Have fun!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Books to Love: "Bear Snores On" by Karma Wilson, illustrations by Jane Chapman

Kids LOVE the Karma Wilson Bear books ... This was the first one I discovered and it was an instant hit with my little ones! (There are more!!)

This terrific read-aloud will get your kiddos involved in the story right away with the use of engaging illustrations, by Jane Chapman, and the rhythm of repeating lines. Right from the start, the story builds ... As each new animal joins the story, seeking shelter in the cave, the words get more interesting and the print sizes up and down, from whisper-tiny to shout-out-big! As each new element is added to the sleepy scene, the same phrase caps it off - but it will get louder and louder, as your little friends join in!

Use this book to teach sequencing and pause to recall what happened first, next, and last. Use it to teach concepts of print and have your kiddos point out the words, left to right, one by one. Ask about the characters and make a list of all the animal friends. Try a child-led retelling, for comprehension assessment, using all the sweet pictures. Talk about friends sharing what they have, and meeting new friends. 

Most of all ...
Have fun!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Little Ones With Big Feelings

When we try something new, we sometimes have feelings of fear, anxiety, or just uncertainty. Little ones just starting school may have these feelings, too, but aren't sure how to express them.

Parents and teachers can help by naming those feelings with them and giving them a funny face, like an emoticon, to label those butterflies-in-the-tummy times. Giving children tools to express themselves can sometimes help avoid those meltdowns created by big changes, and make for a much happier adjustment to school.

Use a little drawing to launch a chat about what your kiddo is feeling. Ask them to think about what face they'd like to have - and then work out a plan with them of how to get there. Maybe arranging a first day walk-to-school partner, or enclosing a family photo in their lunch boxes would help :) Getting your little one talking about feelings encourages them to share fears and dispel any unfounded ideas they may be internalizing.

Try this to get them giggling: Sing a little song with them to help them voice what's going on inside ...

If you're happy and you know it, show your smile, if you're happy and you know, show your smile, if you're happy and you know it - then your face will surely show it, if you're happy and you know it, show your smile! 

Then ...
If you're sad and you know it, make sad eyes ...
If you're mad and you know it, make a face ...

They will be in charge of coming up with some very silly faces :-o

When they complete that all-important first day, make sure you do a happy face check-in. Just another way of getting ready for school!!

Have fun!