Monthly Archives

January 2017

Activities to Stimulate Creativity for Preschoolers

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Today our post is an article from the Himama Childcare and Preschool Blog.

In order to preserve the assertions made by the original author we suggest reading it on their website here:

The article discusses how preschoolers are at the age where their creativity seems endless, how it is incredibly important to continue to encourage this creativity and some ways to do this.

Check it out!

Snowy Owls: Book and Craft

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January is almost over and we can’t believe how quickly it went by! Our theme for the month was winter animals. Children were doing a number of activities to explore this topic and learn more about the animals that thrive in snowy and colder climates. So, before January truly comes to an end, we thought we would share a fun craft!

This activity goes best alongside the book “Owl Babies” by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson. For a video reading of the book visit: but we recommend reading the actual book as it is a good way to practice literacy skills and the illustrations of the forest scenery are quite beautiful. After reading the book you can begin the craft. The idea is to recreate one of the scenes in the story. You can pick whichever scene you like, or match the one above. Here’s what you will need to do!


  • Black construction paper
  • Brown construction paper (this can also just be white paper painted brown, or even use a brown lunch bag!)
  • Orange construction paper
  • Black marker
  • Glue
  • White acrylic paint
  • Large pom-pom
  • Clothespin


  1. Start with your black construction paper. This part is up to you how you want to make it look like the scenery in the book. Some suggestions include painting on some glitter glue to make it look like a starry sky, or colouring with pastels to add some forest foliage.
  2. Next, make a tree branch out of brown paper. Draw lines and swirls on it to make it look like a wood texture. You can even crumple and uncrumple it for further effect before gluing it on the bottom of your black construction paper background.
  3. Now here is the fun part. Put a pom pom (you could also use a cotton ball) in a clothespin and use this as your paint brush! This is good for fine motor and sensory abilities. Dip the pom pom in white paint and dab it on the paper to make the shapes of three owl babies!
  4. Finally glue on eyes by cutting out ciricles of brown, then black, then white paper in that size order from largest to smallest. And a triangle out of orange paper for the beak. (Note: you could also substitute googly eyes here if you have them.)
  5. And that’s it! A snowy owl scene! Discuss with children any questions they have about snowy owls.



Top Trends for Children’s Books in 2017 (from Scholastic)

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We are loving this article from scholastic about book trends for kids for the coming year! This is the article in its entirety. It is presented here in this format to preserve the assertions made by the original author Michael Barrett.


Scholastic Top Trends in Children’s Books for 2017:


This past year’s news headlines can provide children a false perception that the world is unkind and hostile. Parents and educators can take the opportunity to find books by authors and artists who are doing their part to implement the need for kindness in an uncertain world. For younger children, look for titles that teach the importance of empathy, openness and sharing. For older children, discover titles that showcase the power of unexpected friendships.

Our official Scholastic Reading Club blog, JudyNewman at Scholastic, just recently highighted how to teach kindness through children’s books. It’s a great read!

Top book recommendations: 

Among many others, for young readers and listeners, look for HOW DO DINOSAURS STAY FRIENDS? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (Scholastic), HOORAY FOR HAT by Brian Won (HMH), BERNICE GETS CARRIED AWAY (Dial), and WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE KIND? by Rana DiOrio and Stephane For older readers, look for launch of the series, THE KINDNESS CLUB by Courtney Sheinmel (Bloomsbury) and, the perennial bestseller, WONDER by R. J. Palacio (Random House). WONDER will be coming to movie theaters in April 2017 so even more people will know Palacio’s story. And Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (March 17, 2017) is also a story where the plot turns on acts of kindness. So let’s hope this is a trend that’s here for good!


Millennials will remember the joys of picking out the latest titles from their favorite book series at the Scholastic Book Fair or through monthly Scholastic Reading Club flyers.  The 30th anniversary of The Magic School Bus, the 25th anniversary of Goosebumps, and the 20th anniversary of Captain Underpants will introduce a new fan base to these popular franchises. In addition, the new television series revamp of The Magic School Bus, as well as the upcoming film release of Captain Underpants and a new release in Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man series will be on every kid’s reading wish list.

Top book recommendations:

GOOSEBUMPS SLAPPYWORLD #1: SLAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU by R.L. Stine (Scholastic), DOG MAN UNLEASHED by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic) and The MAGIC SCHOOL BUS series by Joanne Cole and Bruce Degan (Scholastic).

Don’t forget other “book” anniversarie with anniversaries with ELEPHANT & PIGGIE by Mo Willems (Hyperion).The early reader series first launched in 2007 with two titles: MY FRIEND IS SAD and TODAY I WILL FLY.


Recent research shows that kids worldwide say that the number one characteristic kids look for when picking out a book to read for fun is “make me laugh.”Looking for “laugh out loud” reads is one way to help a child associate reading as a fun and pleasurable activity.

Top book recommendations:

The youngest readers have great new books including MOBY SHINOBI: NINJA ON THE FARM by Luke Flowers (Scholastic) and SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS: KNOCK-KNOCK ON WOOD by Marcie Colleen and Steve James (Macmillan). Older readers should look for FRAZZLED: EVERYDAY DISASTERS AND IMPENDING DOOM by Booki Vivat and MY WEIRDEST SCHOOL: MR. NICK IS A LUNATIC by Dan Gutman (both HarperCollins).


As social media grows and it becomes more difficult to decipher what’s “real” news versus fake “news,” parents and educators can introduce children to the structure of nonfiction reads, biographies and other important titles that will teach children the basic skills of discerning accurate information.

Top book recommendations:

For young readers, LEGO NONFICTION: BUG OFF! (Scholastic) and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC READERS: FREDERICK DOUGLAS (National Geographic). 

For older readers, LEGO NONFICTION: FACTASTIC (Scholastic), HISTORY BUSTERS: THE TRUTH (& MYTHS ABOUT THE PRESIDENTS) by Linda Peacock (Scholastic), FACT OR FAKE? by Allan Zullo (Scholastic), and HIDDEN FIGURES YOUNG READERS EDITION by Margot Lee Shetterly (HarperCollins).


A great way to get kids introduced to new genres and stories is reading classic fairy tales – with an unexpected twist. Meet Little Red Riding Hood, but this time as a superhero. Revisit the land of Oz with the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Cowardly Lion as the cast of characters from the Geronimo Stilton series. Children’s literature is always being reimagined in new ways and putting favorite characters into a new world of hijinks is bound to get children of all ages interested in reading for fun.

Top book recommendations:

For younger readers and listeners, look for SUPER RED RIDING HOOD by Claudia Davila (Kids Can Press), THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann and Ben Mantle (Random House), and ITSY BITSY DUCKLING  by Jeffrey Burton and Sanja Rescek (Little Simon). For older readers, the GERONIMO STILTON series (Scholastic) has a new line of classic tales including THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Also look for the launch of the LITTLE LEGENDS series (Sourcebooks) as it follows favorite fairy-tale characters in legendary new adventures.


Source: Author: Michael Barrett


Featured Book: “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs

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Due to all the snow we have recently had in the Lower Mainland, we thought “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs would be a fitting featured book this week. This book tells a whimsical tale of a boy who builds a snowman that comes to life.

What makes this book so special is that it is told completely through illustrations, without dialogue or narration.

For a full animated short film of this book visit:


Social and Emotional Communication with Your Child Aged Birth to Two: Strategies/Activities for 18 Months to 2 Years

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This is the fourth and final post in a series of posts on social and emotional communication with children aged two years and under.

This post will focus on strategies and activities for facilitating social and emotional development in your child from age18 months to 2 years.

  • Make a cozy space in your home: make a space that your child can go to when they need to calm down from negative emotions or as an alternative to a time out; a “calming corner” of sorts. Sometimes children need time alone to sort out their feelings, just like adults do.
  • Use positive suggestions instead of no statements: often times we tell toddlers what not to do when they are acting out or misbehaving. Try turning these sentences positive by asking what can they do instead of the negative behaviour they are currently engaging in.
  • Empathize with your child’s feelings: state that you know how your child is feeling when they are experiencing a negative emotion. Show them that you acknowledge their state of being.
  • Help your child understand her feelings and behaviours: this ties into labelling emotions. Help your child to figure why the feel or act a certain why so that they are better able to address the problem.
  • Offer choices: give toddlers a sense of control

In conclusion, emotions are important to a child’s development and it is important for caregivers to be aware and engaged in supporting this development.




Social and Emotional Communication with Your Child Aged Birth to Two: Strategies/Activities for Birth to 18 Months

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This is the third post in a series of posts on social and emotional communication with children aged two years and under.

This post will focus on strategies and activities for facilitating social and emotional development in your child from birth to 18 months.

  • Physical contact is essential: Holding and cuddling your baby is essential for the formation of positive attachment and bonds between caregiver and baby.
  • Read Stories: developmental of literacy skills can start at any age and has a whole load of cognitive benefits. Read to your child with brightly coloured and highly sensory books. The sound of your voice is also great for them.
  • Mirrors: mirrors are good for babies so that they can develop their self-concept.
  • Help your child to sooth themselves when they are overwhelmed: babies have not yet mastered self-soothing and need help in this. It is also important to support them in learning how to calm themselves down as they get older.
  • Be aware of your own emotions: remember that your child can often sense your energy and how you are feeling too. If you are experiencing stress or negative emotions, your baby can often feed off this and express similar emotions. This isn’t healthy for you or the baby, and so it is important to engage in self care and tend to your own social/emotional states.



Social and Emotional Communication with Your Child Aged Birth to Two: Good Habits and Strategies

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This is the second post in a series of posts on social and emotional communication with children aged two years and under.

This post will review some of the ways parents can help their baby or young toddler learn about their emotions and how to express themselves.

  1. Keep your child’s temperament in mind:
    1. Temperament is the way a young child routinely interacts with the world and responds to stimuli. Temperament is thought to be innate, not learned and a key characteristic of each child that may predict personality traits later in life.
    2. Temperament is important when it comes to social and emotional communication because it can influence the intensity with which your child experiences emotions and their style of expressing them.
    3. It is important to note that there is no “right” or “wrong” temperament. Temperament is simply a categorization of behaviour that can be helpful in getting to know how to interact with your child an how your child will interact with you.
  2. Talk about feelings:
    1. This sounds like a cliché but it is important for you to talk about feelings. Even if your children has not developed language enough to understand it is good for you to get into the habit of labelling emotions so that when your child is at the point where they are starting to speak to express themselves, they also development the habit of labelling how they are feeling.
    2. It is easier to communicate and deal with emotions if we know what they are.
  3. Be a role model:
    1. Lead by example and do your best to show children how to appropriately handle negative emotions through your actions.

In the next post we will discuss strategies and activities that can be targeted at specific age groups to improve social and emotional communications.



Social and Emotional Communication with Your Child Aged Birth to Two: Greenspan’s Essential Developmental Stages

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This is the first post in a series of posts on social and emotional communication with children aged two years and under.

Children two and under can experience many emotions throughout the course of their day. However, these emotions are often difficult for them to express due to their current level of language development. For this reason it is very important for caregivers to be aware of how to interpret, communicate and handle this sometimes ambiguous social and emotional communication.

One tool that parents may use in this regard is having a working knowledge of where your child is at in their social/emotional development. The following is one way of understanding the stages of their social/emotional development. This is “Greenspan’s Essential Developmental Stages”:

  1. Stage One (birth to 3 months): developmental goal is being calm and interested in all the sensations of the world
    1. Baby is learning how to be calm, and how to accept soothing from a caregiver
    2. Baby is learning how to feel secure and interested in their environment
    3. Baby is trying to organize information from sensory inputs
  2. Stage Two (2 to 10 months)): developmental goal is falling in love
    1. This means that baby is becoming more focused on parents and other things outside of themselves and expressing emotional reactions to these stimuli
  3. Stage Three (3 to 10 months): developmental goal is becoming a two-way communicator
    1. Baby is purposefully using gestures to communicate
    2. Baby is responding to others’ gestures and realizing that he can use his gestures to get his needs met by a caregiver
  4. Stage Four (9 to 18 months): developmental goal is learning to solve problems and discovering a sense of self
    1. Baby is learning how to solve problems and communicating in increasing complex ways
    2. Language begins to be incorporated into communication at this stage
  5. Stage Five (16 to 36 months) developmental goal is creating ideas
    1. Toddler is able to utilize symbolic/representative thought
    2. Their verbal communication has improved and their awareness of others has increased.

Our next post will focus on the various habits and skills that are beneficial for social and emotional communication with your child.