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Amanda Camillo

Children’s Books For Spring

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It appears that Spring is finally upon us in the Lower Mainland! The days are getting longer and a little bit warmer, and the sun is peaking through here and there! So, we thought we would share some great Spring themed children’s book! These books are awesome for their simple stories, colourful illustrations and learning about Spring weather and creatures!

  1. “Ten Little Caterpillars” by Bill Martin, illustrated by Lois Ehlert. This is a fun one about, you guessed it, 10 caterpillars! They are preparing to turn into butterflies! This is also a great counting book for younger kiddos. The last page of the book also provides names and descriptions of the different types of caterpillars for those children who are scientifically inclined. Check out a video reading here: But, as always, we recommend the real deal!
  2. “Click, Clack, Peep” by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. This one is great for farm animal sounds! One of our themes for next month is agriculture and we will be taking a look at this book! If you like “Click Clack, Peep” you can also check out “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type” also by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. For a video reading check out:
  3. “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle. If you think you recognize this authors name you are probably correct! Eric Carle is a wonderful children’s book author and illustrator famous for “The Hungry Caterpillar”, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” and others! “The Tiny Seed” is great for learning about planting and gardening and for practicing cognitive sequencing skills. For a video reading check out this link: BUT, for this book we especially recommend the real version as the book is quite large which makes it fun, and the pages are different sizes that make an interesting visual sequence of events together.
  4. “Bear Wants More” by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman. This is an endearing tale of a Bear who wakes up from his winter hibernation at the beginning of Spring and is very hungry! We like this read because of its rhythm and rhyming words, and its cute depictions of familiar forest animals. For a video reading visit:

So there you have it! Four exciting children’s books for Spring. We have provided the links for video readings but we will say it one more time, holding the real book in your hands and reading it to your child is ALWAYS much better! So, visit your local library to take a look at these titles and get the best reading experience!

For more Spring books visit (source):


Hands-On Learning: What Does it Mean and Why is it Important?

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Today for our post we thought we would talk about an important aspect of early childhood education (and arguably education throughout your entire life): hands-on learning. Hands-on learning is one of those terms that get thrown around very easily. It is emphasized often, especially in early childhood education and for good reason. But in order to understand why hands-on learning is so important we first need to establish a solid definition of hands-on learning. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “hands-on” as “relating to, being, or providing direct practical experience in the operation or function of something; involving or allowing use of or touching with the hands; characterized by active personal involvement; gained by actually doing something rather than learning about it from books, lectures, etc.” (Source: Basically, hands-on learning is learning by doing. This definition might sound quite broad in scope, but in this case, that is appropriate. Hands-on learning can happen in a multitude of ways, with many materials, in a variety of spaces, and through various activities. And children are natural hands-on learners! From the day you are born experiences are key to developing understandings of the world around you. Babies don’t learn from worksheets, babies learn by exploring their environment, and so do older children. So do adults in a lot of ways!

So how do we encourage and facilitate hands-on learning for our children? Well this article from community playthings has a couple of suggestions (source at bottom).

  1. Blocks, Blocks, Blocks: building blocks like lego, wooden block sets, and other open-ended building toys are great. They have endless possibilities, they teach children problem-solving skills. The essentially encourage the process of having an idea, planning how to create it, implementing that plan, correcting where necessary, and implementing again. They get children to learn about geometry and physics. And when playing together blocks facilitate development of essential social and collaborative skills.
  2. Garden, Kitchen, Woodshop: get children involved in what feels like the everyday. For you making dinner might feel like a tired old chore, but for them it is an opportunity to use new tools learn about measurements and math, and more! The same can be said of gardening. And don’t be afraid to let your children do things like woodworking and sewing, you may be worried that the tools involved in some of these tasks are dangerous for them but you can always manage the activities so that harm is avoided and they are learning new skills. When taught properly, children can surprise you what they can do!
  3. Art: this is a common category of hands-on learning but a good one! Art is where the creativity is expressed. Create an art space for your child that is always accessible with various art implements. Bring in recycled materials too. Let them create!

Hopefully this article has given you some practical knowledge about hands-on learning and its benefits. For more information visit the source site below!



Word Dominoes Game

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Today we thought we would share this cool word game from nurturestore. This game is good for learning and practicing CVC words. CVC words are 3 letter words that alternate a Consonant letter, Vowel letter, and then another Consonant letter (hence, CVC). The are some of the first words early readers learn and they are good for practicing early literacy skills and building the foundations for spelling.

This game uses CVC words and is played much like Dominoes. To start with you will need to brainstorm a list of CVC words that rhyme. The source site used the following:

Cat Cot Bat Bet But Cut Bit Dot Fit
Fat Got Mat Mot Sat Sit Pot Pet Pat
Pit Rat Rot Top Cop Mop Pop Rip Tip
Pip Sip Big Dig Fig Pig Rig Rib Fib
Dog Fog Bus Pub Put Pup      

Once you have thought up your CVC words. Get some craft popsicle sticks. On each Popsicle stick write two of the CVC words at random and separate them with a line down the middle. These are your “dominoes”.

Divide the dominoes between players. To play the game have someone start by placing the first domino. Then you take turns placing the dominoes until someone gets rid of all of theirs first. You can place a domino by either matching rhyming words or matching the beginning letter of each word.

To extend this game you can have each player make up a sentence with the word before placing it down.

And there it is, simple and fun literacy game!




Nowruz Celebration Today

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Today at the centre we had our Nowruz celebration (Persian New Year) and we just wanted to share some information with you about the tradition! A great video to watch on the holiday is viewable at:

A few days prior to the New Year, a special cover is spread on to the Persian carpet or on a table in every Persian household. This ceremonial table is called cloth of seven dishes, (each one beginning with the Persian letter cinn). The number seven has been sacred in Iran since the ancient times, and the seven dishes stand for the seven angelic heralds of life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.

The symbolic dishes consist of:

  1. Sabzeh or sprouts, usually wheat or lentil representing rebirth.
  2. Samanu is a pudding in which common wheat sprouts are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding.
  3. Seeb means apple and represents health and beauty.
  4. Senjed, the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, represents love.
  5. Seer, which is garlic in Persian, represents medicine.
  6. Somaq, sumac berries, represent the colour of sunrise; with the appearance of the sun, Good conquers Evil.
  7. Serkeh, or vinegar, represents age and patience.

To reconfirm all hopes and wishes expressed by the traditional foods, other elements and symbols are also often on the ceremonial table:

  • A few coins represent prosperity and wealth.
  • A basket of painted eggs represent fertility.
  • A Seville orange floating in a bowl of water represents the earth floating in space
  • A goldfish in a bowl represents life and the end of astral year-picas.
  • A flask of rose water known for its magical cleansing power, is also included on the tablecloth.
  • Nearby is a brazier for burning wild rue, a sacred herb whose smoldering fumes ward off evil spirits.
  • A pot of flowering hyacinth or narcissus.
  • A mirror, which represents the images and reflections of Creation as we celebrate anew the Persian traditions, and beliefs that creation took place on the first day of spring.
  • On either side of the mirror are two candlesticks holding a flickering candle for each child in the family. The candles represent enlightenment and happiness.


If you are interested in more information on Nowruz check out this link:

Note: the above photo is our Table for this year’s celebration! Happy Nowruz!

Is Your Play Risky Enough?

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This week we have an awesome post from one of our favourites, the Himama Childcare and Preschool Blog. This one is about risky play. Most importantly it discusses how risky play is actually essential in early childhood as it allows children to increase self-confidence as they master skills they may not have known they could take on, it allows them to practice risk assessment from a young age, and reduces fear and anxiety when it comes to interacting with the world and social play. All the assertions made by the author are backed by recent research in the field of Early Childhood Education.

Read it here:

Is your play risky enough?


Shamrock Marbling Activity

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This week we have a few St. Patrick’s Day themed activities planned! This one is super fun and can be modified to the shape of something else (like a butterfly for example) if you aren’t in the St. Patrick’s Day mood. Here’s the instructions…


  1. green paint
  2. marbles
  3. box or tupperware
  4. paper
  5. scissors


  • cut a large piece of white construction or card stock paper into the shape of a shamrock (this might take a few tries to get it just right, sketch it with a pencil first!)
  • Place the white paper in the bottom of a box. An old shoebox or unused tupperware container works best.
  • Squirt some paint onto the shamrock once in the box. Hopefully you have a couple different shades of green.
  • Place the marbles in the box now and roll them around. The marbles will run through the paint and then across the paper creating this super cool splatter effect! (beware that the paint will also get on your container/box so be sure that it is something you are comfortable getting dirty)
  • Once you are done, remove the shamrock from the box and let dry.