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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Halloween

We hope you are all enjoying Halloween! If you are looking for something to do tonight because of changes in trick or treat plans, try this Mummy Pizza for dinner.  It is super easy and the kids can help!Image

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Top 10 Fun Sensory Activities to do at Home

 

1. Water Play: taking a bath, washing babies or Legos in the sink with soap wash clothes and water.

2. Shaving Cream: you can do this on a cookie sheet or even during bath time put some on the surround of the bathtub. You can make it bathtub paints by using a muffin tin, put shaving cream in each and then mix a drop of food coloring in each, add a paint brush and they are ready to be Picasso in the tub.

3. Play Dough here are a couple of our favorite recipes http://www.prekinders.com/play-dough-recipes/, add more to it by just adding a drop of lavender oil or even add a little sand for texture.

4. Sensory Walk: I love taking sensory walks this time of year, go outside and listen, look, touch, taste (edibles only) and smell. Then talk about each of the items.

5. Cloud Dough: mix about 4 cups of flour to ½ cup of oil and mix, put it a plastic tub with spoons, measuring cups and you have fun for hours

6. Sensory Bottles: clean out small old pop/water/juice bottles and add water, food coloring and a little vegetable oil, popcorn kernels, water glitter and oil, beans or whatever you can fit in the bottle. Take a glue gun and put some in the cap and screw it on quickly.

7. Remove a Sense: use a blindfold to focus on using other senses as they move around the room

8. Walk inside and outside with no socks on

9. Dirt Play/Sand/Mud Pies: go outside and give your child old pie tins spoons and cups and their imagination will run wild.

10. Colored Rice or Noodles: super easy a little planning ahead for a lot of fun: you will need 1 large bag of rice cheaper the better, you can use either vinegar or rubbing alcohol, food coloring, gallon bags, and a cookie sheet or two. I put two cups of rice in each bag along with 1 tsp. of rubbing alcohol. Then add a generous amount of food coloring mixing colors if needed to get the right color. Seal the bag and shake, squish, and smoosh until all the color is distributed evenly. The smell of the alcohol/vinegar goes away once it is fully dried. Another variation of this is to cook the noodles with a couple tablespoons of vinegar and food coloring and drain it let it cool and then let the children explore.

 

Taking the spooky out of Halloween

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Halloween is quickly approaching, and though many people enjoy the opportunity to be someone else for the day, for little ones it can be very scary. Not all costumes are kid friendly, and while you can do your best to make sure your child loves his or her own costume, there is no way of knowing what they may encounter other children (or young teens) wearing while participating in Halloween related festivities.

It is important to encourage your child to celebrate in the way that makes them most comfortable. Make sure to take the time to explain that they may see things that look scary (and even just the act of being out after dark, or seeing others run around outside in the dark can be scary), but this is a day that is all about pretend. Help your child that being scared is part of the fun, and make sure they know that they do not have to do anything that they do not want to do.

They may not want to dress up in a new costume, but you may get them to agree to a costume that they play with often, or you may even be able to borrow one of your child’s favorite dress up costumes from his or her teacher. If he or she does not want to go trick or treating, try to find another way to celebrate the holiday, they could help you pass out candy at your home, or you could find an age appropriate Halloween movie to watch, and a few fun games that you could play at home to celebrate.

Holidays are not about what the rest of the world does, they are about the traditions that you create with your family, so make sure that your celebration is one that your child feels comfortable with, and you will have happy memories for years to come.  

It’s Book Order Time!

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I LOVED taking home Scholastic Book Orders as a kid, and it makes me so happy to be able to offer the same opportunity to our students.  What parent can say no to a child begging for a new book! There are so many wonderful things about the scholastic program, not only are the books budget friendly (they even have a $1 book featured each month), but parent orders allow teachers and schools to earn points towards free books for the classroom.  You can order books by stopping at school to pick up a flier, or by visiting the scholastic website (click the photo above).  If you order online you will have to set up a parent profile, and choose Inspirations Early Learning Center from the drop-down list of schools.

There are so many books to choose from it can be a bit overwhelming, so we have created a list of some of our favorite authors to help with your decision. Even if you don’t order through scholastic books clubs, please check out some of these authors on Amazon, or at your favorite local bookstore!

Many people consider teachers to be the authority on anything related to children’s literacy, and while we all know which authors we love, our minds have a tendency of going blank when a parent or family member asks us to recommend a great book.  Maybe it’s because there are so many great books how there, how could we pick just one? Here are some of our favorite authors, and a short summary of their work.

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Sandra Boynton: We’ve never met anyone who didn’t smile while reading a Sandra Boynton book. Her adorable illustrations, lyrical writing, and downright silly stories are just as much fun for adults as they are for kids.

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David Shannon: Shannon’s David stories are perfect for 2-4 year olds, simple wording with hilarious illustrations makes it easy for even the youngest readers to participate in story time. His books for older children (Alice the Fairy, How I Became a Pirate) are written in a conversational tone that makes a child feel as if the main character is a friend, whose imagination is as wild and crazy as their own.

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Anna Dewdney: The Llama Llama author is one of our favorites to read because her rhymes seem to roll right off your tongue, without feeling clichéd or obvious. We also give her props for having a moral behind every story that is actually relevant to our world, and any author who can write an honest story about a kid throwing a temper tantrum in the grocery store is a hero in our book.

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Ree Drummond: The Pioneer Woman got her start as a lifestyle blogger, but that’s exactly what we love about her books. She writes children stories exactly like she writes her blog, as if she were talking to the reader in person, and that reader happens to be a close friend of hers. We love the conversational style, and kids love Charlie the Ranch Dog.

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Denise Fleming: Fleming grew up not too far from our school, so we have to give her books a plug, but what we really love about her work is her distinctive illustrating style. Rarely do you see a perfect straight line in her soft brushstrokes, and this gives all of her characters a realistic look, that also makes them seem inherently friendly.

Glow Night!

We had a great time last night at our Glow in the Dark Family Event.

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C is using a glow stick, string and pony beads to make a glow necklace.

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C was exploring the sensory table that was filled with golf balls and frozen water balloons with glow sticks.

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C was working on his large motor skills by participating in a little glow hopscotch.

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Fairy Jars, one of our Pinterest finds that we absolutely had to try.

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Black light exploration: anything neon or white we set out for the children to investigate as well as glow books.


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 One of the night’s big hits was the glow in the dark stacking cups. All that was used was the glow in the dark bracelets that we put on the outside of small clear plastic cups. Children were not only invited by the glow but the challenge of using different building materials.

We were motivated by an in-service several months ago that we attended with Brianne Teevan. One of her YouTube videos inspired us so much that we decided to do our own version on a much smaller scale. Check out the Bambini Creativi Light the Night:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPRsj-Eo1Sg . Is there anyone or anything that has inspired you, let us know.

 

Fire Prevention Week

Next week (October 6-12) is Fire Prevention week, What can you do to make sure that your children are safe in the event of a fire? Here are some ideas; 

1. Talk about it. Ask your children what they would do if there was a fire at home, or at school, their answers may surprise you. It helps to understand what knowledge they already have before moving forward with your fire safety plans.

2. Make a plan. Everyone should have a plan in place for their family in the even of a fire. If possible sit down and come up with your plan together, this will help to make sure that all family members know what to do, and why they have to follow the plan. It is also a good idea to practice your plan, the more that you practice, the easier it will be to remember the plan in a true emergency.

3. Find a way to make fire safety fun. Fires are serious, and should not be taken lightly, but they can also be very scary for a young child to think about. Use your resources to make the discussion interesting and thought-provoking, instead of scary.  See if your local fire station is hosting any special events this week, go to the library and check out some fire-related books, find an episode of your child’s favorite television show that discusses fire safety, or use art to help your child express what he or she understands, or is afraid of regarding fires. 

4. Practice. Give your child the opportunity to help you cook dinner, or sit around a campfire as a family. Use these experiences as learning experiences, and explain to your child the safety precautions that you follow when you do these types of activities. 

For more ideas check out the Fire Prevention Week Website!Image