Monthly Archives

September 2015

Reggio Emilia Learning: Provocation Tables

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Provocation tables may sound like a complex concept but the goal is actually quite simple: to provoke questions, discussions, curiosity and individually driven interests and learning. Provocation tables are simply a collection of items (often related to a theme that a teacher wants to expand on or that appears to be something students are interested in lately) that get children thinking about what the items are, represent and can be used for. Provocation tables are meant to be open-ended so children are afforded the opportunity to come to their own conclusions and direct their own questions and understanding of what is in front of them. This activity is reggio in nature because it is open-ended and the learning is driven by the children’s individual interests.

Pinterest has a number of examples of provocation tables to enhance understanding of this activity and its benefits:




Cooking with Kids

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Involving your children in cooking at home can be a fun way to spend time with them and still get done what you need to, here are a few meals that are easy to involve children in. (For full recipes visit website link below)

  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Spinach Ricotta Shells
  • Five Spiced Baked Fish
  • Tortilla Pizza
  • Cranberry Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
  • Chicken Pot Pie-Tortilla Style
  • Easy Quiche
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
  • Tuna Melts
  • Cereal
  • Yogurt Parfaits
  • Soup and Salad
  • Fish sticks and tater tots
  • Omelettes

For full recipes visit (source):


Fall Fun List

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This post is simply a list of fun things for kids to do in the fall! They aren’t complicated and children can probably complete most of them in a day, so have fun checking off the list with your children, or make your own list with different activities to complete this season!





More on Sensory Activities and Learning

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In our last post we discussed the role of sensory activity in different aspects of learning. In this post, we will look deeper into the five different types of sensory play (that correspond to the five senses) and how to engage in simple activities for each of these senses at home.


  • Play games that require the use of muscles for fine motor and gross motor development (games like leap frog, hopscotch, catch with a ball, home bowling, etc.)
  • Include your child in chores that involve specific muscle controls (like sweeping, wiping counters, etc.)
  • Use stimulating textures and objects in your house (this one can be done in a number of ways and is open to interpretation)


  • Change up lighting in different setting
  • Explore with colours (use food colouring, tie-dye clothes, etc.)
  • Play I Spy


  • Play or listen to musical instruments (change up the type of instrument and the volume)


  • The kitchen is a great place for this one: cook with different strong-smelling scents
  • Read scratch and sniff books
  • Go on walks outdoors and pay special attention to the different smells you encounter


  • Play with opposites: frozen vs hot foods, salty vs sweet, crunchy vs soft
  • Try foods that require different motions and activities with your teeth (liquids vs solids)
  • Cooking with your children is also a great way to play with their sense of taste




Sensory Play and its Role in Learning

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Sensory activities have certainly come up in previous posts but what exactly do we mean when we say sensory activities? And what is their impact on learning?

Sensory activities can simply be defined as any activity that engages one (or more) of our 5 senses. This may seem like a given part of any activity, I mean, how else do we interact with the world but through taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing? But sensory activities are unique in that they allow a child to explore new stimuli or events solely through a given sense and without much background information. This allows them to explore the experience in a very natural and independent way and to form their own conclusions what what they are learning. In short, it helps them develop cognitive, social, emotional, physical, creative and linguistic skillsets. Let’s go through each of these in turn:


  • Most prevalent cognitive skills that are developed through sensory play are problem solving and decision making since the child is put in a position where they have to decipher (through their sensory experience) what is happening and why


  • Sensory activities can help solidify children’s vocabulary by provided real world events that they can anchor definitions of words to

Social and Emotional

  • Certain sensory activities put children in the drivers seat, they are the one’s making decisions about their own learning and this control helps them build confidence and self-esteem


  • Sensory activities can help with the development of fine motor skills and small muscle movements


  • Because sensory activities are often so abstract and open-ended, they facilitate creative thinking




Fall Science Experiments

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Fall has arrived! At Parkland Players we often like to do science experiments in order to encourage creative thinking and scientific inquiry. offers a list of 20 fall science experiments for kids that we think are great! (For full instructions and pictures visit link at bottom):

  • Glow in the Dark Pumpkins
  • Glow Stick Experiments
  • Glowing Jello Experiment
  • Ghost Rockets
  • Erupting Pumpkin
  • Bubble Science with Pumpkins
  • Why Leaves Change Colour Activity
  • Corncob Popping
  • Pumpkin Catapult
  • Classic Egg Drop
  • Static Electricity Bats
  • Magnetic Slime
  • And more!


For the full list and links to instruction visit (source):


Upcoming Events in Coquitlam

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At Parkland Players, we love being a part of the Coquitlam community and this month the city has a number of fun and interesting events coming up. Among our favourites are

  • Treefest 2015 on September 19th where family can take part in tree toursm heritage walks, and more!
  • Westminster Savings Free Skate on September 19th at Poirier Sprots and Leisure Complex
  • Kid’s Swap Meet on September 20th where parents can swap and sell children’s items such as clothes, toys and more

For full event details such as time and place and for more events in coquitlam this month visit (source):


Benefits of Bilingualism

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In current Canadian society, many people and many children speak more than one language, and this can have a number of benefits in early childhood as well as later years.

  • Bilingual children are better at focusing their attention on only the information that is relevant to the task at hand
  • Bilingualism is found to be connected to increased creativity and better planning and problem solving
  • Aging in the brain is reduced in bilingual individuals
  • Bilinguals can sometimes have greater access to resources, people and career options

How do children learn more than one language? Bilingual acquisition can occur in 2 possible ways:

  • Simultaneous acquisition: this is the process of bilingualism in which learning of two language occurs at the same time starting from birth or the second language is introduced when the child is under 3 years old
  • Sequential acquisition: this is the process of language acquisition in which the child learns a second language after the first language is already established (usually after age of 3). This is often the case when a family immigrates to a new country OR a child speaks one language at home and does not learn a new language until he/she is of school age. Children who go through sequential acquisition often can experience:
    • Initial use of home language before being able to switch to second language
    • A silent or nonverbal period for the first couple months of exposure to the new language as they are trying to learn it
    • Use of short/imitative sentences
    • Eventually the child will begin to produce his/her own sentences and become comfortable in the second language

How to Support Your Bilingual Child

  • Do not force a certain language with your child in the home, do what is comfortable for you and your family
  • Don’t worry if your child mixes his two languages
  • Provide many opportunities for your child to engage with both languages they are trying to learn




All About Me: Family Tree

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This month at Parkland Players the educational themes are back to school and All About Me! In the spirit of all about me, we have a cool suggestion for a fun family activity to do with your children.

A family tree activity is a great way to get your children thinking about themselves in the context of their family and the people who care for them. It also provides an opportunity to teach them how that are connected to the various people in their lives. You can include as many family members in this activity as you want but the above photo provides an basic example for a jumping off point in this activity.