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April 20th Activity Bundle

CHALK SHAPES JUMPING GAME

BY THE OLDER TODDLER TEAM

This is a fun way to get your kids moving outside while thinking about shapes and colors! This is also a great way for kids to practice following instructions.

Materials needed:

  1. Chalk of various colors

  2. A safe sidewalk/driveway/outdoor surface for jumping

Directions:

  1. Choose 3 shapes to use to draw a grid on the ground. You can do this part alone or ask your child to help set up! They might need some guidance figuring out how to draw the shapes.

  2. Example: Circles, squares, triangles, stars, hearts, diamonds

  3. Have your child choose one shape to stick with for the first round, and different shapes for the next rounds. 

  4. The goal of the game is to have your child jump from one end of the grid to the other by only jumping on one chosen shape.

  5. Example: If your child chooses “circle” as their shape, they must only jump on the circles all the way to the end of the grid.

  6. If you want to add a twist to the game, draw the shapes with different colored chalk and have your child pick a color to stick with to get to the end of the grid.

  7. Another way you could play is to tell your child which shape/color to jump on as they go

  8. Example: say “jump to the square!” and then “jump to the circle!” and then “jump to a red shape” etc

  9. Take turns being in charge, maybe you can be the leader the first round while your child jumps, and then your child can be the leader in the next round while you jump!



WHY DO WE LAUGH?

By Sam

I have been reading a lot these days and listening to podcasts. I started to think about why people laugh and what is funny to people. As I researched and read many scientific articles about the brain and why we laugh I discovered that it’s pretty simple… Laughter:

  1. Reduces anxiety

  2. Brings a sense relief after

  3. Changes your breathing pattern

  4. Decreases stress

  5. Increases endorphins (which temporarily reduce pain)

Here are a few things to think about: Laughing begins with relationships between people and starts in infancy.

It is about facial expressions, sounds and touch.

Whether you use silly words, change your voice, make a funny face, tell funny stories, tickle someone or just know how to make people laugh in other ways, it is about connection. So just go for it.

Here are a few jokes to get you started:

“What’s a purple gorilla called?

     A grape ape!”

“Knock knock.

     Who’s there?

Lettuce

     Lettuce who?

Lettuce in…it’s cold out!”

What falls in the winter but never gets hurt?  SNOW!!! 


“Knock knock.

     Who’s there?

Who.

     Who who?

I didn’t know you were an owl!”

You might snort, chuckle or giggle, which are all signs that you are putting the pieces together at the right moment. Then it hits you: LAUGHTER!!

Where do cows go for entertainment?       The moooooovies!!!


My favorite laughter is hearing a friend laugh so much that it becomes contagious. As my family would say, “It’s like glue.”                      

A few more jokes that the Preschoolers love:

“How do you make a tissue dance?  

     Put a little boogie in it!”

“What did one toilet say to the other? 

     You look a bit flushed!”

“How do you talk to giants? 

     Use BIG words!”

“Why was 6 afraid of 7? 

     Because 7 8 9!”

Whatever you do these next few days, make some time to laugh! 

  1. Tell a joke

  2. Clown around

  3. Make funny faces

  4. Change your voice 

  5. Pretend 

  6. Hide and return quickly! 

  7. Invent stories with silly words

Here are two episodes of VPR’s podcast “BUT WHY?” on laughter:

I like to say, “Do what you love.” I hope this helps all of you laugh.

CORDUROY BY DON FREEMAN

BY MOLLY

Corduroy is a classic children’s story that raises questions about broad and important issues that we encounter on a day to day basis: materialism, friendship, and belonging. The bear, Corduroy, encounters the same struggles that each one of us face throughout our lives. Most people wish to acquire material items, friends and a sense of belonging. It is for this very reason why this simple and popular storybook teaches children valuable lessons that can be used in their lives from a young age.

Children typically want the coolest toy, the prettiest dress, or the most money in their piggy bank. Material consumption is a characteristic of many North Americans. Do we actually need material things to be happy? From a young age, the word “want” becomes central to our vocabulary. In other developing countries this desire to own material possessions is not as prominent. As we enter adulthood, many people want the the biggest house, the most fashionable clothing and accessories, and the nicest car. Does society push us to feel that we need these objects to be happy and live a fulfilling life? Are those that do not desire to have unnecessary material things less happy or less fulfilled? Corduroy serves a classic example of the materialism that is ingrained in our society. Although children do not need toys to survive, they still desire them and go out of their way to acquire these objects throughout their lives.

Friendship is a component of life that many consider to be necessary in order to fulfill happiness. From the beginning of our lives, we interact with others and create long-lasting connections with people and sometimes even things. In most cases, a need of companionship and a vivid imagination are the two main ingredients in the friendship between a person and an inanimate object. Even though the object is not alive, it can still provide comfort and make one feel safe if that person trusts in the object enough. Corduroy provides the child, Lisa, with this kind of friendship in the story even though he is not alive. Do children prefer to have imaginary friends over alternative friends? The story teaches children that friendship goes beyond its conventional form and that people can find comfort and love in even objects such as teddy bears.

Belonging, also known as the desire to be an accepted member of a group, is a feeling that every person experiences throughout their lives. Corduroy not only wants to belong to home, but also a friend. This symbolizes our humanistic need to belong to something, whether it is to a home, friends, family, sports team, or work place. Why do humans feel the need to belong to something? Often when we belong to something, we get a feeling of acceptance and wholeness. Corduroy addresses basic questions that most people pass through life without even wondering about even though it is so central to whom we are and why we do the things we do.

Overall, Corduroy presents many opportunities to discuss important issues that we can relate to every day of our lives. It brings up numerous questions and can create discussion that children can easily relate to since they encounter the need to acquire material things, friends, and a sense of belonging from a very young age. From reading the story and asking philosophical questions, Corduroy can teach children valuable life lessons while providing entertainment.

Questions for Philosophical Discussion:

Materialism:

“Oh, Mommy!” she said. “Look! There’s the very bear I’ve always wanted.”

  1. When is it okay to want material things?

  2. Why does Lisa want the teddy bear?

  3. Why does Lisa’s mother want the bear to be in perfect condition?

  4. If someone has the coolest toys and the nicest clothing, how will they feel?

  5. If people do not always want the most material possessions, are they unhappy? Why?

  6. Do you think that we only want material things because other people want them too or have them already?

  7. Throughout our lives we constantly desire to have more material possessions. Is this phenomenon common throughout the world or just in North America?

Friendship:

“You must be a friend,” said Corduroy. “I’ve always wanted a friend.” “Me too!” said Lisa, and gave him a big hug.

  1. What are the necessary components of a friendship?

  2. What kinds of things do friends do for each other?

  3. Do you think the bear does those things for Lisa?

  4. When is it okay for people to be friends with inanimate objects?

  5. Does Lisa want to be friends with the teddy bear instead of another child?

  6. Have you ever had an imaginary friend or been friends with something that was not alive?

  7. Even though the bear is not alive, do you think it can still be a friend to Lisa? Why?

Belonging:

“This must be home,” he said. “I know I’ve always wanted a home!”

  1. What does it mean to belong?

  2. What is the definition of home?

  3. What does coming home feel like to you?

  4. Is the desire to belong central to human emotions? If so, why?

  5. If the bear is not alive, then why does it want to belong to a home?

  6. Have you ever had the feeling of wanting to belong to something or someone? What did it feel like?

  7. At what points in our lives do we feel like we belong to someone or something the most?

BUTTERFLIES AT ECHO

We miss ECHO so much! It’s a little uncertain if ECHO will be open in time for us to go see the butterfly exhibit. But in the meantime, ECHO made a couple videos of the butterfly pavilion to watch at home!



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