EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for January 2012


Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Children love to play; games, chase, house, soccer. Children play all the time. Children are good at playing.

Children love to learn; rhymes, songs, how to ride a bike, how to read.  Children are learning all the time.  Children are good at learning.

Learning and playing are good partners. They are good for children.

Maximize this wonderful, natural partnership….Play with your children indoors and out.   Play every day –  teach every day.

Puzzles and blocks teach language – language that describes; red, colossal, language that labels; structure, tower.  They are math and science builders – sequence, weight, measure, patterns, predict. Toys that typically go with blocks, such as buildings, bridges, vehicles and people are so important to help children learn selection, naming, movement and categories.

Superheroes and princesses are a fact of life.  Play heroes with your children.  What’s wrong with being powerful enough to save the day?!  There are lots of reasons to pay attention to princesses who are helpful and take care of themselves.  Set up and play out scenarios that encourage your child to solve a problem and expand their imagination.  What defines “good”?  What is magical thinking?

Pretend play; playing school, house, builder or firefighter are ripe with learning opportunities.  Matching visuals (uniforms, tools, materials), connecting language (principal, emergency, build) and recognizing responsibilities (teaching, parenting, constructing, and spraying) teach children to organize thinking and extend literacy and physical skills. Children do not consider pretend play gender based. 

Creative play gets messy!  Painting, coloring, squeezing play dough, spreading glitter and glue teach small muscle skills and eye-hand coordination. Creative play teaches colors, shapes and symbols. Creative play teaches set up and clean up.   Creative tools are lacing cards, ribbons and fancy scissors.  Creativity teaches acceptance of imagination!

Backyard and playground play are body builders. These are natural playscapes that teach children about bones & muscles, balance, healthy habits and safety. Put a jacket on and run around.  Swing a bat, kick a ball and ride bikes.  You will be teaching children how important a healthy body is. 

Sing silly songs, rhyme names and objects, write with chalk on the sidewalk and play hopscotch. Play games your children play.  Talk about what you do.   Read every day with children.  Listen to them read. Be fun and funny.   Be the play partner they want for a lifetime.

I tried to teach my child with books,
He gave me only puzzled looks.
I tried to teach my child with words,
They passed him by often unheard.
Despairingly I turned aside,
How shall I teach this child, I cried.
Into my hands he put the key,
“Come”, he said, “play with me!”  Anon.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

I don’t really consider myself a winter person.  I prefer sandals and t-shirts to boots and turtlenecks.  Out of necessity I help shovel the driveway but insist I get the parking space in the garage.  The only reason I like winter at all is because I have an excuse to drink hot chocolate with sprinkles and whipped cream and not feel guilty!

When my children were little, I used to love the snow.  I have photos to prove it. I have grandchildren now that absolutely love to run and jump into snow hills and just play in the snowy yard.  So when I join them, I can’t help but find magic in this sparkly cold powder that drifts to the ground.  (Even if I know I will eventually have to shovel it!)

Have you watched (I mean really watched) your children in the snow outside?  They are wonderful with bright cheeks and misty breath.  They move with steady grace (even toddlers once they get the hang of it) and they run with reckless abandon.  Children find magic in falling snow.  They see wonder in snow-covered playgrounds and they howl and scream when they slip, slide, and sled.  Half the time they don’t care if their hat is missing or their gloves are soaked. 

You have the real privilege of being able to enjoy winter with children in your own back yard.  I know it takes time to dress little ones and help dress “big” ones in all of their outside gear.  But..                                                                                                                                               

*Plan ahead in hallways and closets – be sure there is space for everything.  Consider where all of that wet, cold gear will go when everyone comes in.  Are there dry clothes to change into?   Boots in the garage or hall?  Set your children up for successful play transitions.

*Have extra gear on hooks and in bags.  Consider assignment and thrift shops for extras.                           

 *Winter fun is learning about weather, animals, plants and clouds. It is a chance for friendship, fun, lessons in balance & motion and taking aim or ducking for cover in a snowball fight!  Your snowy yard and slushy street is an exciting classroom (ssh… don’t tell the kids).

 *Consider taking outside what children enjoy inside. Scoops, shovels, bowls, trucks, balls, plastic toys, blocks & people… Invite friends to climb and dig out snowhills.

*Make sure you have winter gear to play outside with your children. Take an evening winter walk – the world looks different.  Everything is peaceful and glittery.

So GET OUT and make time for winter fun!

Then COME IN and share hot chocolate with whipped cream & sprinkles!!

You won’t feel guilty at all!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Resolutions to keep – A list for your fridge…

  • Read to your children everyday
  • Be a model of health and wellness
  • Eat balanced meals
  • Eat family meals together at the kitchen table
  • Get enough sleep
  • Learn a new children’s song to sing in the car
  • Unplug, close down and ignore all electronics and hand-held systems when children are with you
  • Play everyday
  • Be a partner with your child’s teacher
  • Help with homework
  • Make sure everyone in the car is buckled
  • Keep your work at your work
  • Laugh out loud
  • Keep promises
  • Openly and affectionately love your spouse and children

“If it’s on the fridge or marked on my calendar,it’s official in my house.” S.M.S.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

These are burning questions to consider as we head into 2012:

  1. How many ways do we let each of our children and all of our family members know that we are totally on their side?  2012 ways only begins to cover it.
  2. What is the cost of bringing your child’s favorite book home from a shopping trip?  About $7.00.  How about a little puppet that goes with the story?  Total cost $12.00.  Snuggling together and sharing his special story?  No cost, just 2012 sighs of happiness.
  3. Can you count the steps that a new walker takes – when she discovers that everything looks different standing up – that everyone smiles and claps for her with each step she takes – that all of a sudden what was once over there can actually be right here?  You can begin with 2012, but don’t stop there because she certainly won’t!
  4. How many crayons will a preschooler who has discovered that he is, in fact, Picasso go through during the coming year?  At least 2012.
  5. Can you estimate the giggles that a toddler will make thinking that you are the funniest, greatest and coolest friend she will ever have?  Yes, 2012 – but that’s a low estimate.
  6. Are there really 2012 excuses that school-agers can come up with when they don’t want to do something?  Yes.  They are really something.
  7. How many dimes do you need to make it through summer ice cream cone season?  2012.  But $201.20 only covers one child.  If you have multiples, better start saving.
  8. Do you know how to sing BINGO?  If not, have your child teach you.  She will want you to sing it with her 2012 times this year!  It’s really great.
  9. Do toddlers have a favorite word? Yes.  What is it? No.  Will they repeat their favorite word every chance they get?  Yes.  About how many times? 2012
  10. I recently counted how many times parents tell their children to “Get ready, now.”  That number would be 2012.  How many times did children get ready, now? 0
  11. How many New Year’s 2012 resolutions will be broken by March?  2010.  Eating better and sleeping more tend to linger.  They are not always successful, but they tend to linger!
  12. How many days are you wished health, happiness and good fortune in this new year? 2012

Happy New Year 2012! Kate           


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