Monthly Archives

March 2016

Simple Spring Art For Kids

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This is a great art activity for a number of reasons. First of all it is open-ended, this means children can take from it and create whatever they like, there is no perfect example to match, it is up to them. Second, cutting and pasting is great for practicing fine motor skills.

So, here is the craft: INVITATION TO CREATE FLOWERS

Instructions

  • You will need a variety of colours of construction paper
  • You will want to cut these papers into a number of shapes prior to giving them to your child. (you can cut them with your child which is good for fine motor but may take away slightly from the open-ended aspect of the activity, it is a trade off and your choice)
  • Make the following shapes in a variety of sizes
    • Long, skinny rectangles (stems)
    • Triangles (petals or leaves)
    • Circles and ovals (petals)
    • Leaf shapes (leaves)
    • Quarter sheets (backgrounds)
  • Place the paper pieces and a glue stick on a tray (sorted or unsorted) and let your child create flowers using the pieces however they like!

Source: http://www.cuttingtinybites.com/2016/02/invitation-to-create-flower-garden-kids-craft.html

 

Crossing the Midline and Motor Development

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What is crossing the body’s midline?

  • Imagine an invisible line down the middle of the body splitting it in right and left halves. This is the body’s midline. Crossing over the midline refers to any motor activities that require limbs from the left side of the body to reach across to the right side of the body or vice versa.

What is the importance of crossing over the midline?

  • Crossing the body’s midline is an important part of developing fine motor skills for children. This is because motor control of the body via the brain is separated into two hemispheres. The left brain hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. Therefore, when getting children to practice crossing the midline, they are essentially (on a very basic level) getting the two sides of their brain to practice talking to each other.
  • Many movements in day to day life require crossing over the midline, such as reaching towards your foot to put on a shoe, writing, or hitting a ball with a bat.
  • Crossing the midline also plays a role in developing dominant handedness. “When your child spontaneously crosses the midline with the dominant hand, then the dominant hand is going to get the practice that it needs to develop good fine motor skills” (see source at bottom for quote). Developing dominance of hand early on can make learning to write a much easier process for a child.

Ways to develop crossing the midline skills include:

  • Bilateral integration skills (using both sides of the body at the same time)
  • Core stability
  • Hand dominance
  • Planning and sequencing (of motor actions)
  • Body awareness

Activities That Can Help Improve Crossing the Body’s Midline Include:

  • Crafts that involve fine motor skills like beading, cutting and pasting, folding paper
  • Finger puppets: placing finger puppets on one hand and removing them with the other
  • Twister! Yes, play twister
  • Stickers: placing stickers on one arm and removing them with the opposite hand

 

Source: http://www.childdevelopment.com.au/images/Resources/area_of_concern_pdfs/Crossing_the_bodys_midline.pdf

 

Gardening Activities

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With the start of Spring, children at Parkland Players have been learning some new gardening skills! We have planted some flowers, and grown sprouts in jars (pictured above on the top). If your child has been enjoying these activities, here is a great one to do at home, especially with Easter approaching.

EGGHEADS WITH CRESS HAIR (pictured above on the bottom).

Materials:

  • Empty egg shells
  • Felt pens
  • Stick-on wobbly eyes
  • Cotton wool,
  • Cress seeds
  • An empty egg carton

Instructions

  1. Wash out the eggshells (after breaking them open at the top very carefully) and sit them in an egg carton.
  2. Draw on some fun faces!
  3. Put some cotton wool inside the shells and dampen them with some water.
  4. Sprinkle cress seeds all over the cotton wool – good coverage will give you a full head of hair.
  5. Place them on a windowsill where they will get some light and wait for them to sprout (this may take a couple days.
  6. Add a little bit of water if the cotton wool dries out.

Source: http://nurturestore.co.uk/eggheads-with-cress-hair

 

Shaving Cream Art: Sensory Activity for Kids

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This is a great activity for visual and touch sensory stimulation. (Warning: it can be a little messy, get your child, and maybe yourself , to wear an apron/smock or an old t-shirt)

Materials:

  • Shaving cream from a can
  • Plate or tray
  • Food colouring or paint
  • Toothpick
  • Paper
  • Spoon

Instructions

  1. Spray the shaving cream onto your plate or tray.
  2. Let your child smooth out the shaving cream with the back of a spoon
  3. Add some drops of food colouring, or paint. Use this as a moment to count drops or talk about colours.
  4. Using a toothpick, mix the food colouring through the shaving cream and watch how the colours mix together.
  5. Optional: take a piece of paper and place it on the mixed up food colouring and shaving cream. Press it down firmly. Lift the paper up and scoop off the cream, it should reveal a stained marble pattern on the paper.

 

Source: http://laughingkidslearn.com/shaving-cream-art-activity/

 

Fine Motor Activities

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Here are some great fine motor activities for developing pre-writing pencil grip skills…without forcing your child to write and do extensive worksheets.

  1. Sticker Station: peeling stickers off their backing can be a difficult task for little ones! Give them some stickers and let them play and practice this skill.
  2. Beading, Sewing and Threading Activities: see source at bottom for list of ideas…but in general, any beading threading and sewing activities are great for fine motor! They can also aid in cognitive development if you incorporate patterning and counting
  3. Play-Doh!: play-doh is great because it helps build strength in children’s hands but also promotes creativity
  4. Teeny Crafts: see source at bottom for a list of ideas..but in general, crafts that involve specific details, and gluing things like googly eyes can be good for fine motor
  5. Cutting: give your kid some safety scissors and paper and let them practice!
  6. Painting with Q-tips: this is greate because the small size of q-tips requires fine motor control
  7. And more!

Visit (source) for details on each category above and more options: http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2015/11/fine-motor-activities-that-develop-pre-writing-skills.html

 

Reggio Emilia Approach: The Importance of Documentation

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As discussed in previous posts, the Reggio Emilia Approach has a number of key principles, but of these the most important aspect of Reggio Emilia is arguable its focus on child-driven learning. This means that Reggio Emilia regards the child as infinitely capable, able to direct their learning, and able to utilize the environment in their learning. The teacher’s role is to support children in their explorative endeavours AND to be a co-learner with the children. An important part of supporting child-directed learning is documentation.

Documentation refers to the teacher’s task of being active observers of children, and keeping record of, or displaying their work. Basically, the main goal is to make children’s learning visible, and this can be done in a number of ways. It can be done through photographing activities and children or it can be done by displaying work on the walls.

By making learning visible, the teacher the teacher can gain insight into the child’s thought processes, learning and level of understanding. Additionally, making learning visible serves as a self-assessment for teachers to determine if their work is adequate and appropriate, where it was successful, and where it could be improved. Lastly, it gives parents information about the learning that their children are doing. It provides a communication line between teacher and parent which is also central to the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education.

Source (opinion article): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach

 

Upcoming Events in Coquitlam

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Check out the latest list of upcoming events in Coquitlam! (here are some of our favourites but you can find more on the site, link at bottom)

  • Ready, Set, Play! A Free Family Event, March 12, 2016: family event to try sports of all kinds with your children (Pinetree Communty Centre)
  • Easter Bunny Hop and Hunt: March 19th 2016: families can enjoy Easter themed games, crafts and more, there will also be a scavenger hunt!
  • Free Swim at Poirer Sports and Leisure Complex March 19th 2016

For full event details and more upcoming events check out the link (source): http://www.coquitlam.ca/parks-recreation-and-culture/arts-and-culture/special-events-calendar/special-events-calendar.aspx

 

Featured Book: Frindle by Andrew Clements

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Usually when we post about a featured book we like to pick one good for read-alouds with younger children. This week we wanted to do something different with our featured book post, we decided to pick a book good for your older children (approx. grade 4/5) or advanced readers.

Our book this week is called Frindle by Andrew Clements. It is a children’s novel about a young boy named Nick Allen who invents a word after being given homework involving a report on the history of the dictionary. His word, “frindle” catches on, and a wonderful sequence of events ensues.

Let your young reader give Frindle a try!