EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for July 2010

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

We often lament the fact that there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do everything we would like.  

Fact: there are 24 hours in the day, typically broken into sleep (recommended 8 hours) and awake (the 16 hours left).    

Fact: Time will not change.  You have to. Instead of whining and feeling frustrated by this seemingly unmanageable time cycle, rethink your time strategies! 

Some ideas: 

  1. Prioritize!  Literally list what absolutely has to be done during the day, what you would like to do during the day and what would be a “bonus” if it got done during the day.  Now cross off your completions and move on!
  2. Beg, borrow and steal ideas!  You are not the first person who has been strapped by time.  Discuss this with friends, resource your mother (I’m sure she worked some of this out raising you!), modify other’s methods, ask for help and read all that you have time for.
  3. Get organized.  Anybody ever spend so much time looking for things, redoing mistakes or running around that you wind up wasting an incredible amount of your time?  Put a system and plan in place for outside responsibilities, in home routines, children’s calendars and yourself – then stick to it. Start today.
  4. Delegate and cooperate.  Who can share what you feel takes away most of your time?  Piggy-back anything you can to accomplish as much as you can.  Enlist friends to share shopping, errands and events.  Be a pleasant addition to play groups and schools.  This will often be a wonderful way to collaborate on problem solving.
  5. Learn to say no.  You, your child and your family do not have to be part of each and every thing that comes along.  You can say no – then stick to it.  Respect others that do the same.
  6. Avoid perfection.  It is truly wonderful to raise a family. Children grow up very quickly and a sink full of dishes should be the least of your worries!  Enjoy your home, listen to your children laughing, go chase the dog with them, smile at yourself in the mirror and eat popsicles!

You teach your children how to handle life by the way you live it.  

Children need “down time” from the very busy lives we create for them.  Scheduled sports, scheduled play and scheduled learning must be balanced with truly nothing to do – let children sleep on the couch, run around the backyard or just sit on the porch with you. 

It will be the best time you ever spend. 

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

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Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

It is a true pleasure to watch young children show care and concern for each other, their families, their world and themselves.  From the youngest of infants, children respond to caring adults – adults that soothe their crying, hold them when they are sleepy, smile at their beautiful faces and touch them with love and respect.  This is the beginning of the strong message of care.

Adults that show care, concern and compassion for children display it in many ways.  These following ways are consistent no matter what age the child is:

  • True listening – whether a baby is crying, a toddler is excited, an older child is questioning or another adult is talking – a true listener attends only to the person needing attention.  There are no distractions.  Eye contact, body language, words and actions all send a message of care. 
  • Responsive actions – caring adults take care of concerns physically (a band-aid, a hot meal, a calming car ride..) and emotionally (a hug & kiss, a long talk, a cozy blanket..) 
  • Time investment – time is often the element that creates genuine displays of care and concern.  This investment is seen in caring for the sick, responsible actions in a child’s home and world and opportunities to create something new.

So, how do we help children grow to be caring and compassionate?

  1. First and foremost, model these qualities in your actions and words!
  2. Allow questions about problems and discuss responsible solutions through kind actions and respectful decisions.
  3. Recognize caring actions and praise children when they use them, i.e. making cards for a sick friend, sympathizing with a child that is distressed, managing their own feelings.  Help your child recognize and appreciate care others have shown them.
  4.  Expect caring actions and words.  From infancy these qualities should be instilled in children. Give words to actions, i.e. “You brought your sister her bottle to make her feel better.  Thank you!  That was such a nice thing to do.”
  5. Nurture kindness.  Plant a garden and care for it, allow children to care for pets, older children can practice environmental responsibility and a family can intentionally care for a charity or cause.

A kind word is echoed through a lifetime.  Be kind to your children!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

I came across this very easy, but quite interesting craft many years ago.  This easy activity comes from the Kaboose Website and is a craft and science project all in one. Each time children make an Ocean in a Bottle something new happens! 

For each Ocean in a Bottle, you will need the following:

  • A clean, empty two-liter plastic bottle with a lid
  • Clear vegetable oil
  • Water
  • A funnel
  • Blue food coloring
  • Shells and sea creatures (available from craft stores; be sure to use lightweight items that float)
  • One teaspoon of glitter
  • White craft glue
  • A hot glue gun (to be used only by adults).

Directions:

  1. Fill each bottle halfway with water  
  2. Add a few drops of blue food coloring and swirl around to mix
  3. Then add glitter and sea creatures/shells
  4. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with vegetable oil using a funnel 
  5. Make sure that the cap and rim are dry and then apply white glue around the rim and seal the cap
  6. Use a layer of hot glue around the outside edge of the cap for additional protection from leaking

Turn the bottle on its side to create a wave in this ocean habitat!

Some helpful hints…

  • Baby oil can be substituted for vegetable oil.
  • Create more than one bottle with a variety of floating – or sinking – items (let children collect shells and stones from natural sources for their Ocean in a Bottle.)
  • Set up an ocean display of posters, books, children’s paintings, and stories around this project.
  • Make different varieties of an Ocean in a Bottle for gifts.  Children love to give their “creations”!
  • Always allow your child’s personal touch on any of her/his creations – maybe their Ocean is red!

Young children (with much adult help) can enjoy this project just as much as older children!  Young children love to play in the water – they will fill and dump the plastic bottles over and over again….  They will touch and move the sand and shells around.  They will throw the funnel and try to figure out what it is—-great!  Let them do it all because they will also be watching you, listening to you and learning from you!  What a wonderful way to see skills of sequencing, following directions, manipulating, sorting and creating. 

Older children can work alongside you in this summer project.  What a great way to discover information about the ocean environment.  Build up to this project through songs, stories, pictures and visits to the naval park, waterfront, aquarium, science museum and art gallery.  Use the library and computer – these tools are teeming with information about the ocean, water environments, aquatic life and land.

The best part is when the “Ocean in a Bottle” is finished; they can hold, carry, shake, sing about and learn to appreciate this wonderful natural environment model.  It is great fun!

Ships Ahoy!

Summer – sunshine, sand, surf, splashing, sandals, smiles, s’mores!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
 

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Water play is basic play in the summer; whether it is at a beach, community pool or in a backyard.  While swimming and splashing are great ways to cool off and have fun with friends, make sure that children are safe while they are splashing! 

Adults – not other children – should always be with any child near or in the water.  Big or small pools or any water container (buckets, tubs, etc.), sprinklers, slip & slides, even running hoses present a possible danger to children.  Beaches, ponds, creeks and all other natural water sources are critical areas for adult supervision.  Since you can’t always see the bottom of a lake or pond, you don’t always know the depth of the water which could lead to an unsafe situation. Remember – it is important to always comply with any posted safety signs or lifeguard instructions.  For additional information on water safety, visit the American Red Cross – Basic Water Safety Rules. 

With that being said, here are some water fun ideas for these lazy days of summer! 

  • Add favorite “indoor toys” to any outside water play.  Add some mild soap and sponges!  It’s a great way to get those trucks and dolly dishes washed! 
  • Turn the hose on and let children water the gardens, rinse off the outside furniture, spray the driveway, car & each other!
  • Outside painting with water is a great way to cool off and be creative! 
  • Put a couple of slip & slides next to each other for some wet & wild races!
  • Sand castles at the beach can be made with Tupperware and plastic bowl & cup “molds”.  Plastic measuring cups, rubber spatulas, colanders and funnels in the sand will “cook” up excitement!
  • Play “I Spy Everything (any color)” at the beach and keep a list.
  • Collect, save & display sea shells you collected with your child.  They’ll be so proud to show others their “treasures!”

Children are natural water babies! Very young children also have absolutely no fear.  They are curious and they are characters – rarely are they cautious.  Older children are excited and explorers around water, getting lost in their play and forgetful of water safety rules. Your children need you to be a water play partner and a water supervisor in order to stay safe! 

 Watchful eyes, sunscreen, water bottles, shade & cover-ups are an important part of everyone’s fun in the sun!
So Jump In!  The water’s fine!
 

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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