Monthly Archives

June 2015

Handprint and Footprint Lobster

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Keeping with our theme of Under the Sea, this art idea is a great way for kids to play, and for you to keep a fun memory that preserves their age.



  • Modge Podge
  • Wide and narrow paint brushes
  • Paint cups
  • Water cup
  • Paint
  • Sandpaper for sand (optional)
  • Google eyes if desired
  • Artificial floral for seaweed and coral. (optional)
  • Canvas of desired size

10 Artwork protecting sealer spray



  • For the lobster, the footprint is the body of the lobster and the handprints are the claws
  • Paint the bottom of your child’s foot
  • Have your child step on their sea themed paper (hopefully the decorated it to create an underwater backdrop)
  • Clean their foot so you don’t make a mess!
  • Then paint their hands and allow them to handprint the paper near the heel of their footprint in two places
  • Paint small lines to connect the handprints (claws) and footprint (body)
  • Add lines for legs on both sides of the footprint
  • Glue or draw on eyes
  • Let dry
  • Save the memory!




Emotional Growth and Music

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Music can play a very important role in early childhood development, especially when it comes to physical, emotional, and linguistic growth.

From the time a baby is developing in the womb, they are exposed to sound. If a mother is playing music, then the baby can often hear it. And it is here that musical development begins.

As most parents know, once a baby is born a common practice is to sing lullabies and nursery rhymes to them. Songs like these can be beneficial for a number of reasons.

  • They can foster communication between parent and child
  • They can encourage social behaviour
  • They can give the child a sense of security and comfort
  • They can strengthen the emotional bonds between parent and child
  • And most importantly, the auditory stimulation (and possible rocking motions while being sung to) can aid brain development

This last point is made evident when babies often coo and babble in response to a parent’s lullaby. They are expressing their positive mood, but they are also exhibiting early stages of language development which is helped along by the musical play.

Altogether, music can play an important role in creating strong bonds between infant children and their caregivers, and foster key development at a young age.


Source: Mary Stouffer (member of Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto) Article: “Emotional Growth Through Musical Play” published by the Canadian Child Care Federation


Summer Science Experiments

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Here are a few creative and educational ideas for activities in the summer:

  • Sticky Ice: turn a piece of ice into glue using salt and ice.
  • Ice Excavations: freeze some small toys/prizes in ice and let children attempt to get them out with a variety of materials
  • Fizzing Ice Cubes: freeze vinegar dyed with food colouring into small cubes (as in an ice cube tray), then take the vinegar cubes out and place them in a tray of baking soda, once they start to melt they will become fizzy and children can play with them/move them around for an interesting visual and sensory activity (shown in pic above)
  • Pop Rocks Balloons: pouring pop rocks candy into a bottle of soda and placing a balloon on the opening at the top should cause the balloon to inflate due to the reaction between the pop rocks and the soda
  • Building Anemometers: this is a cool activity for kids to learn about the wind, the instructions a slightly more extensive than the other so for more details see




Attachment Styles

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On their first day of school, preschool or daycare children can have a variety of emotional responses. Some children are nothing but happy to be in a new place. They explore, their environment, ask questions and don’t think twice when their caregiver leaves. Other children however, have a harder time adjusting to the new environment and new people. They feel uncomfortable without their caregiver and are hesitant to engage with their new peers. All of these responses are can be normal and with time children will become more accustomed to and comfortable in their new environment. But, these different initial reactions can be attributed to a psychological concept developed by Mary Ainsworth known as attachment.

Attachment refers to the closeness of the relationship between a young child and their primary caregiver (in most cases the primary caregiver is a mom or dad but the term refers to anyone who spends the most amount of time caring for the young child). Children can have different attachment styles depending on the relationship with their caregiver and these different styles can predict how well they handle being in new situations without the caregiver present.

There are 4 main attachment styles: secure, avoidant, ambivalent and disorganized. Each style is associated with a different response when children are put into new unfamiliar situations without their primary caregiver.

Securely attached children notice when their caregiver leaves and protest, but after a small amount of time the child will begin to explore their environment, and begin to play. When their caregiver returns they are happy to see them and quickly at ease.

Avoidant attachment leads to children being virtually indifferent to their caregiver’s presence. They don’t notice when the caregiver leaves and don’t notice when they return either. They have no difficulties engaging with the new environment and beginning to play.

Ambivalent attachment leads to children being quite distraught when a caregiver leaves them in a novel situation. They are not easily calmed down and don’t engage in the new environment or begin to play. When the caregiver returns they immediately go to them but are not easily soothed and still not calm.

Lastly, disorganized attachment characterizes children with no consistent pattern of behaviour in new situations. When the caregiver is present, when the caregiver leaves and when the caregiver returns, their behaviour varies from indifferent to the caregiver to extremely attuned to their presence.

Clearly the best attachment style for children to have is the secure attachment. Children who are securely attached typically have caregivers that are consistently attentive to their emotional state and are responsive to their needs.



Sea Foam Sensory Activity

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For the month of June, the theme at Parkland Players is Under the Sea! Children are spending time learning about sea creatures and the ocean environment. Here is a fun at-home activity that goes with our theme and is good for sensory play.


  • 1/3 cup water (I’ve read that distilled water yields the best bubbles, but our tap water did just fine)
  • 1/3 cup Dawn dish soap (you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour in the UK)
  • A few squirts liquid watercolors in your desired color/colors (we used turquoise and green). I’ve also seen food coloring and Koolaid used to color soap foam, but beware of staining with both of those types of coloring. The liquid watercolors washed right out of our clothes and skin with no problems.


To create the foam simply combine the above ingredients with a mixer, hand mixer, or blender.

Mix equeal parts water and dish soap and then add a small amount of cornstarch as a stabilizer, then watercolours to make it blue!

Throw some aquatic animal toys, seashells, ocean treasure and whatever else you can think of to the sea foam.

Let the kids search through the foam for the items in the foam and have fun!




Adult Relationships and Role in Childhood Learning

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Adults play an important role in infant and toddler’s ability to learn. Young children often use adult behaviour in a given situation as a reference point for understanding the climate of the environment. They look to parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and babysitters to know whether or not they are in a safe and comfortable place. Calm and sympathetic adult behaviour does best to provide infants with the feeling that their environment is okay, and this feeling stimulates learning.


The goal for educators is to provide this kind of environment for children at all times. They strive to set up environments to provoke curiosity and give opportunities to learn without being over stimulating and stressful. They try to encourage questions and promote good decisions and problem solving. They are attentive to not only what a child is doing but also what a child is trying to learn, and how they are trying to learn it.


When adults keep all these factors in mind when interacting with infants and toddlers, they create an environment rich in educational opportunity and support.


Source: Petersen, Sandra H., and Donna S. Wittmer. Infant and Toddler Curriculum, 2nd Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. VitalBook file.


Infants and Toddlers: How do They Learn?

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Sometimes it can be hard to remember that babies and toddlers are proficient learners. They may not learn in the same ways as adults, but they are experiencing the world and taking it in nevertheless. They build memories and understanding even though they can’t explicity express them, and the first few years of life are vital to children’s cognitive development.


In the first 3 years of life, infants and toddler’s mainly learn:

  • About relationships (with parents and caregivers mostly, sometimes with other children)
  • How to express their feelings
  • To develop a sense of self
  • How to use their bodies in space (to walk, explore, handle objects, etc.)
  • How to communicate through gestures and facial expressions
  • To develop friendships
  • To use pictures, words and pretend play (which are an important basis for literacy)


How do Infants and Toddlers Learn?


Infants and toddlers learn primarily through exploration of their environment. A few strategies toddler’s develop by doing this include:

  • Maintaining attention (the ability to focus on something for longer periods)
  • Curiosity (the desire to learn/discover)
  • Memory (the ability to store information for future use)
  • Gathering information (the ability to collect information for storage)
  • Solving problems
  • Persistence through frustration


Source: Petersen, Sandra H., and Donna S. Wittmer. Infant and Toddler Curriculum, 2nd Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. VitalBook file.



Phases of Development In Picture Making

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Children love to colour and draw, and as they continue to play in this way the complexity of their drawing evolves. Here are the phases at which their drawing develops.


Phase 1: Scribble, Patch, Oval

  • Makes marks on the paper
  • Experiments with the media
  • Does not know what has ben made
  • Expresses little language about painting
  • Children usually don’t want to discuss their art at this stage, parent’s response to children’s efforts should be supportive of the child’s efforts. Parents might say “painting is fun!” or “you’re very busy!”


Phase 2:

  • Children’s drawings will begin to look more like people.
  • The start by adding lines and dots to an oval shape
  • They then may make a big head with dots and lines for eyes, nose, mouthm legs and sometimes arms and will attach the legs and arms directly to the head
  • Next, children will lengthen the legs and attempt body outlines, they will paint figures with varied torsos and attach the arms to the torso


Source: Petersen, Sandra H., and Donna S. Wittmer. Infant and Toddler Curriculum, 2nd Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. VitalBook file.