Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let's Move Child Care

This past week, I had the privilege of attending the National Association for Family Child Care Conference in Atlanta, GA, where the Let's Move Child Care campaign was promoted. For this post, I am pleased to share some of the highlights discussed at pre-conference professional development institute sessions as well as a special Sesame Workshop Roundtable to review materials and progress on the anti-obesity initiative.

The Let's Move! Child Care campaign is part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative in collaboration with Nemours, Healthy Kids Healthy Futures, and Child Care Aware America (formerly NACCRRA). The Let's Move! website is FILLED with resources and tools to help children in your care increase their levels of activity throughout the day and make healthy meal and drink choices.

Spaghetti! A healthy choice!

Hot dogs and fries. Not such a healthy choice

  • Let's Move! Child Care Goals:

    1. Physical Activity
    1. Physical Activity
    Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
  • 2. Screen Time
    2. Screen Time
    None under age 2. For 2 and up, work to limit to 30 minutes/week during child care. Aim for no more than 1-2 hours/day of quality screen time at home.
  • 3. Food
    3. Food
    Try to serve fruits or vegetables at every meal. Eat meals family-style whenever possible. Avoid serving fried foods.
  • 4. Beverages
    4. Beverages
    When you can, give water during meals and all day. Avoid sugary drinks. Two and up, serve low- or non-fat milk and 4-6 ounces max of 100% juice a day.
  • 5. Infant Feeding
    5. Infant Feeding
    Provide breast milk to infants of mothers who wish to breastfeed. Welcome mothers to nurse mid-day and support parents' decisions with infant feeding.

Features of the Let's Move! Child Care Website

Start Early

Make Nutrition Fun

Get Kids Moving

Be Inspired

Change Your World

Summer 2010

Summer 2011....35 pounds lighter.

The Nutrition and Moving tabs contains a list of facts about the topic, a set of activities with complete instructions, and a listing of additional web-based tools and resources and hot links to them. The other tabs contain facts and resources you may find useful in your work with children.

Sesame Workshop has produced a companion guide to their Healthy Habits for Life Resource Kit called "We've Got the Moves" featuring Grover. Both of these resources are available for use or download here.

I hope you will explore these resources, join the campaign, and master the 5 goals with the children in your care.

Blog entry by Dr. Ellaine B. Miller, PhD. Family Child Care Partnerships at Auburn University.www.humsci.auburn.edu/fccp

Monday, July 30, 2012

Outdoor Learning: Sand and MUD!

Our Giant Sandbox is perfect for covering ourselves up with sand!

Here in Michigan, we're in the middle of summer. 
We have been taking every opportunity that we get to spend it exploring and learning outdoors! 

Our giant sandbox (We had 19 tons of sand delivered) provides the perfect spot for lots of exploring. We have been digging and digging, and digging. Oddly enough, we have yet to reach China. Some of our friends think we will get there soon, and others have their hearts set on digging all the way to Australia. 

Digging also leads to building.....

and building in the sandbox often leads to mountains.... and mountains often turn to volcanoes! 

And... the big holes made from making volcanoes are sometimes filled by..... Mermaids... or Mermen!

Thinking about those crazy sea creatures makes us think of water... and where there is sand and water... There is MUD!


Have you been getting outside to explore and learn? 

For more of our outdoor learning adventures, you might want to read my 

 More About Amy

Amy Ahola is the owner/operator of Child Central Station, group home daycare and educational toy store in Marquette, Michigan.  She has been running her own business since 2005. Prior to that time, Amy worked in a childcare center and public school. In addition to her childcare business, Amy also provides educational training sessions. Amy earned a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Northern Michigan University and a M.S. in Training, Development, and Performance Improvement.  For more information about any of her programs, please visit Child Central Station or Find her on Facebook

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Science and Nursery Rhymes

One of my favorite ways to begin the year in kindergarten is with nursery rhymes.  Students are familiar with the rhymes so they feel successful, which builds their confidence.   Humpty Dumpty is always one of my students favorite rhyme.  I wanted to create more activities to extend this activity, and as an added bonus I was able to clean out my holiday tub.  Do you have extra plastic Easter eggs?  Too many to count, right?  This is the project for you!  Students put metal washers in plastic eggs, set the egg on a wooden block, and use a magnet to move "Humpty".  Students will experiment with putting different number of washers in the egg to see what effect it has on Humpty, moving the magnet different distances from Humpty to see what happens, and more observations. This is a simple science station to set up that will keep your students engaged for a long time!  Click to get your FREE copy!
photo of: Humpty Dumpty Nursery Rhyme science Center
You can purchase a package of washers at Home Depot for $2.68 and a package of magnets for $2.25.  Set Humpty on a wooden "wall" and he's ready for some fun!

Here is an extension worksheet yours students can do.  Let them choose whether to draw Humpty at the beginning of the story, middle of the story, or end of the story.  

Michelle is the author of Teach123 and also contributes to the following collaborative blogs: Best Practices 4 Teaching, The Lesson Cloud, Common Core Kids, and Common Core Classroom.  She has twenty years of teaching experience.  Eleven of those years were spent teaching kindergarten.    

Editor's Note: I just had a RoundUP of all things Humpty-Dumpty over at RainbowsWithinReach.
These other projects would certainly tie together PERFECTLY with Michelle's ideas! 

photo of: Nursery Rhyme Projects for Humpty Dumpty: Kindergarten + Preschool

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nurturing Creativity

Welcome back to my "slot of the month". Wonderful to be posting with you here again today. A quick reminder - I am Maggy, from Red Ted Art,  where I regularly get crafty with my two young children (4 years and 2 years old).


 As my children get older and in particularly, my son becomes more "able", I have started to think about and look at "Art" again more closely. Many of my activities a "product" orientated (which I think is fine, especially, as I try and let my children have as much free reign to explore as possible, whilst doing such product orientated crafts).

So I wanted to do a little more "process". But "process" focussing on art. What makes a good artist? What "tools" does any artist need to create?

 Though not exclusive, these are some core areas:

* Technique (possible the most important - learning about how to use brushes, paint, clay, junk etc etc to create)
* Imagination (isn't imagination what makes a great artists?) 
* Memory (though I am sure some art is purely isnpirational, a lot will come from memory - say you want to add a specific animal to your picture, you need to "remember" the basic things about that animal to make it recognisable) 

Because of this I launched a "Daily Creativity" series on Red Ted Art. Small, things, you can do that nurture the above "skills" in children. So when it comes to hands on art session, your children are ready to get arty!!

I would love to share our first 3 "activities":

Cloud Spotting A simple activity to do any time and any place - out of the window in a car or bus, whilst sitting on a bench or blanket in the park or whilst walking to and from school. Look at the clouds and what do you see? Do the things you see change? What are they turning into? Can you make a story? A firm childhood favourite, that promotes imagination! Original post here.

Cutting Skills A great "time filler", do it for 5 minutes here and there. If you find your child is a reluctant cutter... have you thought about either - changing your scissors or cutitng something different? Scissors: Many child safety scissors are very hard to cut with and therefore frustrating. No fun! Under supervision, I do let my kids use my scissors What you are cutting: equally, card or fabric can be hard to cut, whilst funky foam or playdough are fun and colourful. It is also a great way of exploring what different things are made off and how some are easy and some hard to cut! Original post here.
Potato Printing I think that potato printing is underrated - potatoes are so inexpensive and yet so versatile, there is no reason for doing it again and again and again. We cut some potatoes in to letter shapes (E, H and L) and looked at what patterns you could make. We investigated how best to print (lots of paint or little paint? One print or 3 prints before adding more paint) and mixing colours. Do it again and again and again! Original post here.

I hope you feel inspired by the above. Lots more to come (especially working on memory and techniques). And remember.. these ideas are to be done again and again and again, when you have a few minutes to spare do the simple ones, if you have more time, get out the paints!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Activities for the story "Goodnight Moon"

By Laura Eldredge

A few months back, my partner Tressa and I each filmed a video series for ehow.com on various preschool-related topics of their choosing.  I'd like to share one of the videos that I did for the story "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown.


"Goodnight Moon" is a very popular children's story and a great bedtime story. It takes a child through saying goodnight to all the things that are in the room.

One activity to go along with this story is to create a Goodnight Moon collage. Have children start with the moon use a yellow construction paper moon, or one out of foam, or felt. Using glue or a glue stick, they can glue the moon right onto the center of a piece of black construction paper.

Discuss some things that children might do before bedtime, as part of their bedtime routine. Have children draw or cut out pictures of these activities from a magazine or clipart (ie. brush their teeth, read a goodnight story, get a stuffed animal, etc.).

Then they can glue those things all around their moon. And it's a nice way for them to even remember some of the different steps and things that they do before they go to bed. You can add some shiny stars around the moon to complete the collage.

View the video clip to see this idea and another activity:

Laura Eldredge is a teacher and curriculum coordinator at a NAEYC accredited early childhood program in Connecticut. She also co-founded the website The SEEDS Network, as a way to provide early childhood professionals with ideas and resources that support them in their quest to provide quality care and education to our youngest learners. She blogs at www.theseedsblog.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Winter fun in the summer

Staying active is sometimes hard when it's so hot out. It has been so hot here that we have just been sitting in front of the fans (we don't have air conditioning) trying to cool down. Does all this hot weather make you think of snow?  Today I was thinking about the winter carnival we had a school last winter.  It could easily be adapted for the hot weather.  Or you could keep it winter for a fun winter activity in the middle of summer.

One of our fabulous educational assistants, designed this obstacle course for the children as part of our winter carnival celebration.  It was made for children of all abilities.  Here are some of the things they had to do.
The children had to pull a wagon with a mummy dog through pylons to pick up a baby dog and come back again.

The children had to take the gingerbread man through the house and around the red mat, where he got eaten by a dog.

This is the groundhog tunnel that the children had to crawl through then put the date together correctly for groundhog day.

 The children had to shovel "snow" from one bucket to the other.

 The children then had to walk the plank of the pirate ship

 Blowing "snow" onto the paper with a straw was very tricky.

Next the children had to feed the bear.  They had to reach into the box and find something that the bear would like to eat.

The children had to put the gingerbread man back together.

Could they spell the words correctly?

Lastly, they had to throw "snowballs" into the egg cartons.

The children had a blast that day doing all the fun snowy activities.  If you need a little cooling down, you could do a snowy fun day in the middle of summer and cool down too.

Amanda Myers has been teaching a self contained special education classroom for the past 20 years.  She writes about her class and tips for working with special children on her blog A Special Kind of Class.
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