Mixed Age Groups in an Early Childhood Care Setting

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Today for our post we are sharing something for our fellow daycares out there! At Parkland Players we have a large range of age groups in our care and in the summer months, with summer camps sometimes those ages get mixed. It can be challenging to manage a group of children at such different developmental stages and with differing needs and interests.

So for our post today we are sharing (yet, another) wonderful article from the himama blog. This article discusses what to do in a care setting with mixed ages. We like this article because even if the age range of the children in your classroom is not drastic and maybe only a few years apart, the tips here are useful! This article might even be good for larger families with significant age gaps between their youngest and eldest children.

Give it a read here: https://www.himama.com/blog/caring-for-mixed-age-groups-in-early-childhood-education/?ref=newsletter09-17


All About Me in Numbers

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Today we are sharing a great activity for the first couple weeks of school when kids are learning about themselves and each other. This activity is also good for practicing mathematics and numeracy skills.


  • Large pieces of paper (chart paper or posters)
  • Pens, pencils, crayons, markers, etc.
  • Post-it notes


  1. Give each child a sheet of paper and 8 post-it notes.
  2. Instruct eac child to write the following questions on their large piece of paper, leaving large enough space for each of the post-its.
    1. My age
    2. My shoe size
    3. My birth month (as a number)
    4. My birthdate
    5. The number of people in my family
    6. The number of letters in my name
    7. The number of pets I own
    8. The number of sports games I’ve been to
    9. Or have them make their own questions that can be answered in numbers
  3. Next, each child should write the answer to each of those questions on THE BACK of their post-its (one answer per post-it).
  4. Lastly, each child has to make an equation that adds to the answer that they have written on the back of their post-9its. This can be modified for different age groups. Equations can be addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, include fractions/decimals, etc.
  5. Children are to then put their post-its, with the equation side out, on their poster. They may draw a self-portrait in the middle.
  6. Children can go around the room and test themselves using other people’s posters! And ask questions to each other to get to know one another better.

Source: http://4thgradefunfl.blogspot.ca/2014/09/figure-me-out.html



STEAM In Preschool

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Today was our first day of Preschool for the 2017-2018 School Year and so we thought we would share this lovely article from the Himama blog written by Maryann Harman on the importance of STEAM in preschool.

For those who don’t already know, STEAM is an educational approach that focuses on integrating the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in order to make learning opportunities more real to life and to teach children to make connections across disciplines.

The article at the link below focuses specifically on making sure that the A (arts) in STEAM is not forgotten in preschool.

Check out the full article here: https://www.himama.com/blog/STEAM-for-preschoolers/?ref=newsletter

Happy first week of school!


Back to School

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Back to school is next week! We can’t believe how quickly the summer has gone by, but we are excited for a new school year. Your child is probably excited too, but maybe also a little bit anxious? Or tentative? Maybe they don’t know how to feel about going back to school, the summer is pretty great! Maybe as a parent, you are feeling a little nervous yourself, due to the change in routine, or because your child is headed into Kindergarten. Back to School can be a time of mixed emotions and can require a considerable period of adjustment on the part of students, teachers, parents, and caregivers.

So today we are sharing this guide from Fraser Health. It has some great tips on how best to get into the swing of things for the new school year, as well as some links to more specialized struggles your child may face with back to school and how to handle them together.

Check out the article here: http://news.fraserhealth.ca//News/August-2016/Your-Healthy-Back-to-School-Guide.aspx

At Parkland Players we do our best to make back to school as seamless a transition as possible and to address any anxiety as it comes up. We are looking forward to the new school year and welcome all our new students, as well as welcome back our returning ones! Happy September everyone!


Summer Crafts Series: Drinking Straw Yarn Weaving Bracelets

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This is the fourth and final post in the summer craft series. This one is good for practicing creative art and fine motor skills.


DRINKING STRAW YARN WEAVING BRACELETS from: theresjustonemommy.com


  • 3-5 plastic drinking straws
  • Yarn
  • Tape
  • Small piece of cardboard
  • Scissors


  1. Cut 2 pieces of yarn approximately 2 ft long each.
  2. Tie the three pieces of yarn together at one end. Thread each piece through an individual plastic straw.
  3. Wrap 5-8 ft of a different colour of yarn around a small piece of cardboard.
  4. Tie the loose end of your weaving yarn to the other three pieces of yarn that were threaded through the straws.
  5. Tape the knotted yarn to the table to hold everything in place.
  6. Use the carboard shuttle with all the yarn on it to weave the yarn over the first straw, under the second and then over the third.
  7. Continue weaving back and forth and push the yarn up on the straws as you go.
  8. Once done weaving carefully slide the soda straws down, and off the yarn, one at a time and hold the weaving in place so it doesn’t unravel.
  9. Tie the ends together to make a bracelet.

Source: http://theresjustonemommy.com/2016/07/15/soda-straw-weaving-tutorial/#comment-312452


Summer Crafts Series: Water Sponge Darts

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This is the third post in a series of posts on summer crafts. This selection is more of an activity than a craft but it is great for the summer so we are including it here anyways.


WATER SPONGE DARTS from: theseasonedmom.com


  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Sponges
  • Water
  • Bucket


  1. This activity is quite simple to set up but it is a lot of fun and a good way to cool off in the summer!
  2. Draw a target on the sidewalk with chalk. Draw circles inside of each other. Or, create your own kind of target, it can be a grid with different point values or whatever else your child wants to create.
  3. Fill a bucket with water and collect some sponges.
  4. Take turns dipping sponges in the water and tossing them at the target.
  5. And that’s it!

Source: http://www.theseasonedmom.com/sponge-darts/


Summer Crafts Series: Painting with Ice Cubes

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This is the second post in a series of posts on summer crafts. This is a great one for combining art and outdoor play and it is applicable to most age groups.


PAINTING WITH ICE CUBES from: onesavvymom.net


  • Heavy paper (ex. Construction paper)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden craft sticks
  • Ice cube tray
  • Washable non-toxic paint
  • Optional: muffin tin to separate paint after the fact


  1. NOTE: the following instructions are taken exactly from the source site below in order to preserve the directions.
  2. Mix 1 teaspoon washable kids paint with 1 teaspoon water in each space in the ice cube tray.
  3. Place wooden popsicle stick in each space in your filled ice cube tray.
  4. Place your ice cube tray of paints in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until frozen.
  5. Once frozen, remove ice paints from cube tray and place in an old muffin tin.
  6. On a nice day cover a tabletop surface or sidewalk with heavy white craft paper.
  7. Set your muffin tin full of ice paints alongside your heavy duty craft paper and let children get creative.
  8. Safety note: make sure younger children do not attempt to put the paint cubes in their mouths.

Source: http://www.onesavvymom.net/2016/07/summer-toddler-craft-idea-ice-painting-how-to-make-ice-paints.html


Summer Crafts Series: Woodworking – Dinosaur Bookends

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This is the first post in a series of posts on summer crafts.

Today’s craft focuses on woodworking. Some parents may be hesitant to get children involved in woodworking as the tools necessary can be difficult to use and dangerous for little hands. However, we believe that woodworking activities can be modified for children to make them safe, yet still introduce them to a cool new skill. In general, learning skills like woodworking, sewing, cooking, and more is great for kids, it helps them build confidence, and you’ll find that if you take the time and care to properly teach them the use of significant tools and how to be safe, they will be respectful of those tools and what they can/cannot and should/should not do with them.

All that being said, this is a good woodworking activity to ease into the subject as it does not require nails or hammers, the adult only steps are minimal and at the end of it you have a practical item that kids can be proud to keep in their room.


DINOSAUR BOOKENDS from: http://www.instructables.com/id/Dinosaur-Bookends-with-Hot-Glue/

Materials Needed

  • Scrap wood
  • Old plastic dinosaur toys
  • Hobby knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paint
  • Sandpaper


  1. Find an old dinosaur toy (or other similar item, like toy animals for example) and cut the dinosaur in half. (ADULT ONLY STEP).
  2. Find two pieces of scrap wood. If necessary, you may need to cut these to make them the right size/shape.
  3. Let children sand the wood pieces with sandpaper.
  4. Hot glue two pieces of wood together to make an L shape. (USE OF HOT GLUE IS ALSO AN ADULT ONLY STEP).
  5. Then, glue half the dinosaur on each side of the L like the image above so that they make a pair.
  6. Let the glue dry (this shouldn’t take too long).
  7. Let children paint the pieces with the dinosaurs attached.
  8. Let dry and then their you have it, bookends! They make a cute pair!

Source: http://www.instructables.com/id/Dinosaur-Bookends-with-Hot-Glue/