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March 31st Activity Bundle

Good morning everyone! We heard your feedback about including typical developmental milestones in our activities so you can continue tracking your child’s growth and progress while you are all at home. We LOVE this idea and we LOVE your feedback. Keep it coming!

This post has quite a bit of information for grown ups to read today so hopefully you can continue referring back to it as you spend more time with at home learning in the coming months.

HELPING WITH TASKS/CHORES

by Lauren B. with information from “The Fitzgerald Institute of Lifelong Learning: I Want It Now! Overcoming Entitlement training.”

Find more wonderful resources at http://www.jeaninefitzgerald.com/

Need some help?

Today’s curriculum includes helping with tasks and chores! After all, life is curriculum.

Don’t be shy about asking your young children for more help around the house. You’ll be surprised what they may be able to help you with, and how excited they will be doing it!

When we give children responsibility we are empowering them. Sometimes, without knowing it, we may invoke feelings of disempowerment by stopping our children from helping or not including them in helping around the house with us. The work may not be done perfectly, but it sure will keep them busy!

The more experiences they have with these tasks, the easier it will become for them and the more success you will see. Helping around the house will teach the skill of helping, build consciousness, and encourage intrinsic motivation.

Praise only offers temporary pleasure, instead try to extend your gratitude towards your children for trying to help out! Start your statements with “I noticed that…!” or “Thank you for…” While implementing this in your home you are also teaching the values of responsibility and cooperation! 

Here are developmentally appropriate tasks to invite your children to practice and learn:2 Year Olds…

  1. Help with dressing tasks

  2. Help with brushing teeth

  3. Help with picking up toys

  4. Putting their own dirty clothes in their laundry bin

  5. Washing table (with soap and water only)3 Year Olds…

  6. Simple meal preparation help

  7. Help to bathe themselves

  8. Taking off and putting on shoes

  9. Increase dressing responsibilities

  10. Feeding pet(s)

  11. Clearing Dishes

  12. Setting table

  13. Sorting silverware

  14. Pairing socks out of dryer

  15. Folding washcloths4 Year Olds…

  16. Clean up their toys

  17. Putting dirty clothes in washer

  18. Making bed

  19. Empty trash

  20. Fixing simple snacks

  21. Helping cook

  22. Using manners

  23. Asking to use things other people own

  24. Sweeping

  25. Using simple tools safely5 Year Olds…

  26. Vacuum

  27. Hanging clothes

  28. Cooking a simple meal

  29. Saving money

  30. Buckling their seat belt


DREAMCATCHERS

By Sam

This activity inspires children to talk about their dreams and feelings and it can help comfort them.

Here are a few things that I know about dream catchers:

  1. They can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes.

  2. They usually create a web of natural fibers, but other materials are used too.

  3. The Ojibwe word for dreamcatcher “asabikeshiinh” actually means “spider,” which relates to the web.

  4. The dreamcatcher for the Ojibwa tribe was spiritual.

  5. The dreamcatcher brings comfort and helps protect those sleeping.

  6. Good dreams are said to pass through and slide down the feathers and ribbon to comfort the person sleeping.

  7. The scary dreams get caught up in the web and get destroyed. 

  8. Some say the morning sunlight clears the web to begin the next dream cycle.

Here are a few ways to create your very own dream catcher:

  1. Find sticks outside and tie together to make a shape. Triangle, square or a circle if you can find vine a to bend.

  2. Begin to wrap yarn or string around the sticks to create a web (children might need help knotting the string).

  3. Add different colors of string.

  4. Hang ribbon on the bottom of the structure.

  5. Add beads or feathers to let them catch some air

Remember all of this is adjustable and adaptable for the materials you may find outside. 

Books about dreams/dreaming:

Happy Dreamer- Peter H. Reynolds:  https://youtu.be/edJHW-BsGnM

Dreams– Ezra Jack Keats:  https://youtu.be/jz81UqUQN_Y

Uni the Unicorn– Amy Krouse Rosenthal: https://youtu.be/nlK8j3lLhcw

Drum Dream Girl– Margarita Engle:  https://youtu.be/asftTbAlcuY

READING PICTURE BOOKS WITH CHILDREN

By Natalie

I believe that instead of reading a picture book to a child, we are reading it with them.

There is an amazing adult book that discusses this topic in depth. I know money and resources are tight but I will provide a link here just in case someone would like to order it to have it at home. It is a book that I reference time and time again while thinking about literacy and young children.


However, I will include some of my favorite strategies for reading books with children here, including developmental milestones and expectations for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

First of all, bring books everywhere! Exposure to books is the key to everything when it comes to literacy learning. Bring a book with you on a walk, bring a book to the breakfast table, put a book on the couch while you are watching TV, read a book at rest time/bedtime. Books everywhere! You might not be able to read the book in every single situation but having it available is the first step.

It’s like trying to get your child to eat a new food, it might take a bunch of times before they even try it. A child who might not be interested in books now should still be exposed to them as much as possible. That way they become aware and familiar with books no matter what.

For infants: 

  1. It’s all about exposure for infants. Let them touch the book and handle it themselves if you can.

  2. Lots of pointing! Slow down each reading by pointing to different parts of the pictures. Your infant’s eyes should track your finger and notice more parts of the pictures. “Look at their blue hat on top of their head!” “Look at this big, tall giraffe!” “See the child eating apples, we love apples!” “Look, there are one…two…three…four babies on this page!”

  3. If your infant is verbal, have them try to repeat common words/sounds with you. “There’s a doggie. Woof woof! Let’s say dog together, dog! Woof woof!”

  4. Repetition is also important. You might feel like you have read the same book a million times, but try to push through this! It means your child is getting familiar with the vocabulary and intonation of your reading voice. It’s especially awesome if they are requesting the same book, it means they are enjoying it and engaged!

Infant Room Favorite Books:

  1. Pout Pout Fish- Deborah Deisen

  2. Baby Faces- Margaret Miller

  3. Mr. Gumpy’s Outing- John Burningham

  4. Going on a Bear Hunt- Michael Rosen

For Toddlers:

  1. Toddlers can start to hold books and turn pages. It’s okay to correct their hold on a book if it is upside down. When you read a book with them, let them help turn the pages so they will get the hang of it.

  2. There will be a lot of pointing and labeling between the two of you while you are reading. Labeling what they are pointing at each time helps them learn new vocabulary and engage actively with the book.

  3. Ask questions about the book that can be answered with a point or a simple verbal answer. “What animal is this here?” Or “Where is the kitten?”

Young Toddler Favorite Books:

  1. Trucks and Diggers- Marie Greenwood

  2. The Lady with the Alligator Purse- Mary Ann Hoberman

  3. Itsy Bitsy Spider- Iza Trapani

  4. The Napping House- Audrey Wood

  5. Pete the Cat books- Eric Litwin and James Dean

  6. Llama llama Red Pajama- Anna Dewdney

  7. Head to Toe- Eric Carle

  8. Little Blue Truck- Alice Schertle

  9. Anything animals and truck related

Older Toddler Favorite Books:

  1. Corduroy- Don Freeman

For Preschoolers:

While reading, include the child in every single part of the book. Let them touch the spine, and teach them what the spine does! “This part of the book is where all the pages are held together!”

Talk to them about the title, author and illustrator and what each of those means.

Before reading a new book, take a “picture walk” through the book to get familiar with the pictures before you begin reading.

You can even show them where to begin reading on the page and what direction to follow by pointing at the words as you read along.

Maybe choose a letter (probably the first letter of their first name is a good starting point) and see if you guys can find all of those letters in the book while you read together.

Ask lots of questions! Especially ones that connect the story to their real life. “She is going on the swings. Have you ever gone on the swings?” “She is frightened. Tell me about a time you felt scared.” It might feel unnatural to do this, like you are interrupting the flow of the story, but trust me, this makes the activity of reading so much richer and worthwhile for preschoolers.

Preschool Favorite Books:

  1. Abiyoyo- Pete Seeger

  2. Hair Love- Matthew A. Cherry

  3. The Three Billy Goats Gruff- Paul Galdone (This is a great one to act out!)

  4. Trashy Town- Andrea Luka Zimmerman and David Clemesha

  5. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!- Mo Willems (And pretty much every other Mo Willems book.)

  6. Last Stop on Market Street- Matt de la Peña

  7. Uni the Unicorn- Amy Krouse Rosenthal

  8. Shh! We Have a Plan- Chris Haughton

  9. Frog and Toad- Arnold Lobel

  10. Have You Seen My Dragon?- Steve Light

  11. The Princess and the Dragon- Audrey Wood

Tip: “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library” is a free program that sends your family a new developmentally appropriate picture book every month!

Follow this link to fill out your information and get set up!

Found Art & Construction

by Melissa

Some of you are likely missing the art supplies we use at BCS.  We miss exploring them with you as well! Here are some art materials you can make with limited supplies.

Getting ready:

Make your own paintbrushes from nature.  You can collect sticks, pine cones, acorns (to use as dabbers), leaves and pine needles 

Make your own paint/watercolors using vinegar and food coloring or the leftover juice from food that is normally discarded (pickle juice, beet juice, spinach water, can you think of others?). Or break open dried out markers and soak the spongey part inside in vinegar to extract the colors. (Green Preschool makes all our own watercolors this way!)

Note:  These activities support children’s cognitive development as flexible thinkers. They explore different, novel uses for objects, promoting ingenuity; something we explore in all the classrooms at BCS.

Here is a link to 3 different homemade paints that use some common pantry items if you feel inclined:

Collect a variety of natural objects for art.  Sticks, rocks, branches, mulch, pinecones, anything really.

Now Go!

Paint rocks, natural objects using paint or water.

Note: BCS infants and toddlers often paint natural materials (and even cardboard) with water.  Children explore the science of how objects change when painting with water. They are noticing cause and effect as the object’s appearance changes.

Collage with natural material. Make a beautiful display or create a picture by placing natural objects together.  What designs can you make?

Sculptures building using rocks, sticks, branches.

This can also be used as an outside fort building experience!

Note:  Children integrate self expression and visual art with gross motor/fine motor and problem solving as they work to balance and support their sculptures.

Send a message: write/create a message out of natural materials in your yard or on the sidewalk for others to see. We can all use a little kindness right now.

Note: Children explore language in visual context and written format.  There is an emotional and social aspect of our connectedness to each other and how our actions impact others. 

Build a fairy house using only natural materials.  

How to make a fairy house:

  1. Choose a location that will support more natural materials being leaned against.  (Hint: rocks and stumps work really well.)

  2. Add natural materials to make walls, roof or entryway

Hint: sticks are great for the walls, leaves and grass for the roof, small stones and sticks for a pathway.

This can also be used as a miniature dramatic play.  Melissa’s daughter used to make  mouse houses everywhere as a child.

Note:  This creative play supports the physical development and problem solving associated with building and the cognitive and prosocial development associated with symbolic imaginative play

We love and miss you all! See you tomorrow.

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