Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Make Scented Pumpkins

Engage children's senses with this autumn art project. They will create a paper pumpkin along with some scented, textured paint to add an element of sensory fun. Children will love touching, smelling, and, of course, looking at their seasonal masterpiece.

What You Need:

•Orange and green construction paper


•White glue


•Pumpkin pie spice


What You Do:

1. First, help the children cut out the pumpkin. Have them cut a large circle from the orange construction paper. If they need help cutting out the right shape, you can have them trace a plate, or you can sketch out the shape and have them cut along the lines. Talk about the shape and color as he cuts. What other fruits and vegetables are shaped like a circle or are orange in color?

2. Have them cut a small rectangle from the green construction paper. This will be the stem. Have them glue the green rectangle to the orange circle to create his pumpkin.

3.Now it’s time to make your scented paint! Help them measure equal parts white glue and water. Encourage them to stir the two ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.

4. Next, help them open the container of pumpkin pie spice. Encourage them to sniff it. What do they smell? Allow them to liberally sprinkle the spice over the glue and water mixture and stir again.

5.Now give them a paintbrush and encourage them to cover every inch of the paper pumpkin with the scented paint. When the paint dries, it'll be shiny and have a delightfully grainy texture from the added spice. And it'll even smell like pumpkin pie!

A great outing to go with this activity is a visit to your local pumpkin farm where children can observe the pumpkin life cycle in action. Talk about the process: pumpkins start off as one little seed. The seed sprouts into a seedling. The seedling grows into a vine. Flowers blossom along the vine and each flower becomes a little green pumpkin. As each pumpkin ripens, it becomes bigger and turns orange. While you're at the pumpkin farm, pick up a pumpkin of your own!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Paula's Pick of the Week (September 17)

Apples and Pumpkins

by Anne Rockwell

Fall is just around the corner! When I was a little girl, my mom would take me and my two sisters on a bike ride down the road to the local apple farm. I loved those trips! We picked our own apples and pumpkins and bought cider. I can still smell the sweet smell of that cider!

Anne Rockwell's "Apples and Pumpkins" features a little girl who visits a farm and chooses the reddest apples from the tree and finds THE BEST pumpkin!
Apples and Pumpkins is the fourth in a series of picture books about seasons.

Partner this book with a song about Fall!

Fall (Sung to the tune of Are You Sleeping?)

Leaves are falling. 
Leaves are falling 
To the ground 
Without a sound

Days are getting shorter.
Nights are growing longer. 
Fall is here.
Fall is here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Rhymers Are Readers

Nursery Rhymes are not just for fun! They have enormous educational value. Research shows listening comprehension precedes reading comprehension. In order for a child to understand what they are reading, they have to be able to hear the language first. This week we focus on the importance in rhymes and early reading skills.
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When children hear nursery rhymes, they hear the sounds vowels and consonants make. They learn how to put these sounds together to make words. They also practice pitch, volume, and voice In nursery rhymes, children hear new words that they would not hear in everyday language. Nursery rhymes are short and easy to repeat, so they become some of a child's first sentences.

Since nursery rhymes are patterns, they help children learn easy recall and memorization. Nursery rhymes

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usually tell a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. This teaches children that events happen in sequence, and they begin to learn how to understand stories and follow along. Nursery rhymes use patterns and sequence, so children begin to learn simple math skills as they recite them. Many rhymes also use numbers, counting, and other math words that children need to learn, such as size and weight.

Children develop their mouth and tongue muscles by using the different sounds in the rhyme. Rhymes that
Board Book
involve movement help with coordination. In dramatic play, children use their whole bodies to act out the nursery rhymes they hear. 

Sharing nursery rhymes provides a safe and secure bond between parents and children. Positive physical touch between a parent and a child or between children, for example, during clapping rhymes, is important for
social development. Funny nursery rhymes allow children to develop a sense of humor. Nursery rhyme characters experience many different emotions. This can help children identify their own emotions and understand the real emotions of others. When children act out the nursery rhyme stories they hear, they learn to imagine, be creative, and express themselves. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Paula's Pick of the Week (September 10)

Mom’s School

By Rebecca Van Slyke

“Sometimes I wish my mom missed the day they taught about eating vegetables.”
And so begins this fun role-reversal story in which moms act like kids.

In "Mom School",  a young child imagines what her mom must have learned when she went to school.

This story speaks to my childhood imagination. I can imagine my mom going to mom school and learning all the things she needed to be my mom!

Each page is filled with fun illustrations that had me laughing along.

Learn more about this book on our website!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Illustrate a famous book!

What You Need:
  • Picture book
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Crayons or markers.
  • Stapler, string, or brass clips
What You Do:
1. Pull out an unfamiliar book and sit down somewhere comfortable with your class. Without opening the book, look at the cover. Ask them what the pictures make them think of. What’s happening in it? Looking only at the picture, ask them to predict what they think the story will be about.

2. Now tell your class you’re going to read a story, but just this one time, they won’t be able to look at the pictures. Instead, ask them to use their imagination, and come up with images in their mind while you read.

3. During the reading, stop periodically and ask questions. For example, “Why did Sally go outside when her mother said not to?” Try to incorporate questions that require kids to make predictions as to what will happen next.

4. Once you’ve finished the book, tell your class that they are going to illustrate it! Now’s the time for discussion. While adults can often remember what happened in a story long after they’ve finished reading it, this is a skill that young kids need help developing. Give your class some prompts. Ask what happened first and then let them draw it. Ask what happened next, let them draw it, and so on. As they finish each picture, help them by writing some text below the illustration, using the words the child used when they retold it to you.

Bind the story and make a cover. Together you can compare their versions to the original and see what’s different.

For more classroom literacy ideas visit our website

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Color Glove

Teach toddlers five colors with this song and craft idea 

White work gloves
red, yellow, green, blue and orange paint.

Take the white gloves and paint the fingers and thumbs of each glove (not the palm)
Paint them red, yellow, blue, green, orange, so that you have two of each color.
Then, sing this song:

Tune: "Are You Sleeping"

Where is red? (bring one hand up with all fingers showing)

Where is red? (repeat with other hand.)

Here I am, (wave one hand)

Here I am (wave other hand)

Show me if you can, (Hold hands up)

Show me if you can.

Where is red?

Where is red?

Repeat this with all the colors allowing your toddler to show you the colors.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported recently on the importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds.
"Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth," reads the first line in this 12 page report.
AAP also reports that despite the benefits derived from play for both child and parent, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children!
AAP lists many important reasons why play is important:
  • Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.
  • Play is important to healthy brain development
    Puppet Book
  • It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.
  • Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers.
  • Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.
You can read the full report by visiting The American Academy of Pediatrics site.