Fine Motor Activity: Poms and Whisk

Supplies: Pom Poms (various colors) and Whisk

Directions: Show your child how to put the pom poms in the whisk and shake it all around. Have your child repeat what you’ve done and away they go!

Skills Learned: Beginnings to show interest and some control in manipulating art materials. Trying to use pincer grip to pick up objects. Fine motor skills. Following one step directions.

 

Math & Manipulative Activity: Shape Match

Supplies: 2 Copies of Any Shape Matching Worksheet, Colored Pencils, Crayons or Markers & a Cookie Sheet

Directions: Have your kiddo color in one of the shape matching worksheets then cut out the shapes for them. Put the other worksheet on a cookie sheet and have your child match the colored shapes to the shapes on the tray! Take this one step further by discussing the colors they chose and counting the various shapes.

Skills Learned: Begin number recognition. Vocalize numbers out loud. Introduce amounts and quantities. Color recognition. Shape recognition and matching.

 

Gross Motor Activity: Soul Man

Supplies: Sunglasses & Tambourines (Don’t have a tambourine? Pick any musical instrument around the house!)

Directions: Give your child a pair of sunglasses and tambourine or musical instrument then turn on Soul Man by The Blues Brothers and have a dance party!

Skills Learned: Gross motor skills. Following one step directions. Cultural understanding.

 

Science & Sensory Activity: Shaving Cream Rain Clouds

Supplies: Water, Clear Bowl, Shaving Cream and Blue Food Coloring

Directions: Place water in the clear bowl. Put the shaving cream on top to form “clouds.” Add the blue food coloring to the top of the clouds. Watch it rain!

Skills Learned: Beginning to understand cause and effect. Repetition of actions to gain desired results. Exploring various liquids. Color recognition. Understand surroundings; sky, clouds, ground, water, etc.

 

Imagination & Language Learning Activity: Pizza Party!

Supplies: Colored Felt Cut into Pizza and Toppings Shapes, don’t Forget the Cheese!

Directions: Have your child create their very own pizza with felt pieces. Give them all of the different felt toppings and pizza crust and let their imaginations go wild! To take this one step further help your child create a graph and poll the family on their favorite pizzas!

Skills Learned: Fine motor development. Language development. Math and counting.

 

Kind Child Activity: All Better

Supplies: Stuffed Animals & Band-Aids

Directions: Give your child their favorite stuffed animal and some band-aids. Have your child open the band-aid on their own and place it on the stuffed animals “boo boo.”

Skills Learned: Fine motor development. Language development. Kind Child Culture by teaching empathy and compassion.

Ready… Set… Explore!

This month we are exploring citizenship in our Cultural Understanding portion of our Ascend curriculum, and are also exploring other countries and cultures. With the previous celebration of Independence Day on July 4th, this is a great time to explore other cultures and how they celebrate their countries of origin. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce history lessons to your child. A few exploration topics that can be covered during these lessons are exploring how America differs from other countries, and how America celebrates holidays in contrast to how other countries celebrate. This complex concept can be taught in a variety of ways to accommodate the developmental goals for a variety of ages. 

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-oldsString art using red, white, and blue paint is a great way to create a fireworks effect on paper. Another fun activity that your child will love is creating squish bags with red, white, and blue paint. Your toddler will love these activities that incorporate creative art and fun, sensory experiences. Pictures of July 4th celebrations, such as fireworks and special foods, can be shown to your child along with a brief explanation of why we celebrate on July 4th. To add a different perspective and cultural awareness, consider creating a simple flip book of pictures for your child, depicting photos from celebrations in other countries.
  • Three-year-oldsTake this opportunity to introduce the American flag and what it symbolizes. Consider teaching your child why our culture celebrates the American flag, and why we see it hung in a variety of places. Introduce a fun fine motor activity by tracing stripes and stars for your child to cut out and paste together to create their own flag. They can even create flags from other cultures, followed by a brief discussion on cultural practices from around the globe. Your child can also create their own glitter paint using clear glue, water, and glitter, or paint and glitter, to create sparkly fireworks paint! 
  • Four-/Five-year-oldsFamily tradition is a great concept to cover when talking about how your family celebrates on July 4th. Break out some old family photos and talk to your child about where your family immigrated from, and what their experiences might have been like in their country of origin. By tying in your own family’s stories, teaching the cultural perspective will be better relatable. A brief discussion on typical American traditions vs. traditions from other cultures around the world will give your child diverse insight. Helping your child create fun hats or crowns for not only him or her, but also for family members to wear during celebrations, will help your child to feel included and valued in the family celebration. A book, such as Happy Fourth of July, Jenny Sweetney, by Leslie Kimmelman is a great way to help your child understand this day of celebration. These activities are rich in historical lessons, establishing an understanding of American tradition vs. traditions around the world, and the activity suggested will promote fine motor skills!  

Skills Supported: fine motor skills, sensory exploration, historical knowledge, knowledge of American traditions and traditions from around the globe, promoting a sense of multi-cultural diversity.

In literacy this month, we are sounding out letters while utilizing our senses. By using the five senses, children will retain the knowledge of simple phonics and writing skills they’ve learned critical to school age learning, while having fun in the process. Using materials from the Handwriting Without Tears program utilized in our curriculum, the experience of learning how to sound out and write letters becomes an interactive process. The skill of knowing what sound each letter makes, as well as understanding the formation of letters, is key to early school success.  

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-oldsFun songs which incorporate letters, such as the ABC’s song, is a great auditory way for your child to learn their letters. Other songs such as “B is for Billy” will not only help your auditory learner memorize letters of the alphabet, but he will also be learning the first letter of his name as well! Helping your toddler form uppercase letters using playdoh is a perfect sensory activity to help your child retain what each letter looks like, and what shapes form the letters. This is also a great fine motor activity to build those small muscles in the hands! As an extra tip, add a spice, such as cinnamon, to the playdoh to enhance the sensory experience! Comparing shapes traced in sand to pictures of uppercase alphabet letters will help your child understand that letters are essentially shapes! Another great activity that will encourage sight and touch is building letters using wood blocks.
  • Three-year-oldsCreating uppercase letters using painter’s tape on a table is a wonderful fine motor activity, as well as a literacy activity that will help your child understand the formation of letters. Repetition of letter sounds such as, “A is for ah, ah, apple” will help your child retain the knowledge needed for later reading comprehension. One of our favorite alphabet books is Chica, Chica Chica Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. This book offers a repetitious melody to help your child memorize the letters of the alphabet, as well as vivid images. Your three’s will also love to bake the alphabet by rolling cookie dough into alphabet shapes.
  • Four-/Five-year-oldsReady, set, it’s off to Kindergarten you go! But first, let’s learn letters. Listing words that begin with the letter of the week will make your child feel included in the learning process of the class. Magnet boards, wood blocks, small sand boxes, and molding dough are all great tools in the formation of letters, as well as developing fine motor muscles in the hands. They will be having so much fun, they won’t even know they’re learning! Forming letters using their bodies and attempting to form letters using music ribbons are a great way to learn the alphabet and get those wiggles out with a gross motor activity. A letter hide-and-seek game or a letter scavenger hunt will turn learning the alphabet into a fun competition!

Skills Supported: fine motor skills, sensory experience, literacy and phonics knowledge, gross motor skills, handwriting skills.

Compare the relative size and weight of various objects. 

In mathematics this month, we are comparing the size and weight of various objects by utilizing the many tools that we have at our disposal in our classrooms. Our teachers rotate their materials frequently, and make sure there are props for all domains of learning in every center. For example, mathematics tools can be found in home living (with measuring cups and measuring spoons), blocks (with scales), manipulatives center (with counting bears and pattern cards), as well as other centers! As children move from center to center, the tools give the opportunity for an immersed learning experience, as well as the teachers asking open-ended questions which will enhance and expand children’s knowledge. 

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-oldsAdding measuring cups, spoons, and other pouring utensils to sand or water in sensory play will help your child understand concepts such as “full” and “empty”. An explanation of measurement, while playing with your child, will make the experience fun and interactive for them! Allow your child to help you pour liquid from a tall, skinny container, to a short, wide container. Discuss with your child why one container looks more full than the other, despite the same amount of liquid being poured in. (For ease of clean-up, this is a great bath time activity!)
  • Three-year-oldsExperimenting with scales is one way that a three-year-old can understand the volume and weight of objects. Why does a large foam block weigh less than a small wood block? What will happen to these objects if we place them in water? These open-ended questions will provoke your child’s critical thinking skills. These fun, math/science activities will be enjoyed by all! Don’t be afraid to get a little messy, lay down on the sidewalk outside your house and allow your child to draw your outline. Later, you can measure with a measuring tape and compare the difference of your height. While outside, explore what happens to liquid when it’s left in a cup in the sun all day. Where did the liquid go? What is evaporation? More open-ended questions to provoke those critical thinking skills.
  • Four-/Five-year-oldsPopcorn is yummy, and great for this experiment as well! Fill a jar with 30 popcorn seeds and fill a second jar with 30 pieces of popped popcorn. Why does the popped corn take up more space? What is heavier, the seeds or the popped corn? Let’s weigh it! Activities such as this will promote those critical thinking skills, as well as an understanding of mass and volume. Create a scavenger hunt for things that your child can compare on the scale. This activity will give your child an understanding of mass and volume. 

Skills Supported: critical thinking skills, sensory exploration, science and mathematics skills.

Observe Famous Artists and Art Styles!

This month we are exploring classical artists and art styles through pictures, books, and fun hands-on activities. We are creating art as a personal response to our feelings conjured by viewing art, and are expressing these feelings through a variety of mediums on the art easel. After exploring the history, process, and meaning of the artist’s work, the children will enjoy experimenting with the very same medium that the artist used. This activity introduces a variety of developmental goals such as fine motor skill development, sensory exploration, and expansion and articulation of personal response, as well as conversational skills and speech. Academic goals include history of classical artists, differentiating between various styles and mediums of art, and exploring a variety of art tools. Your child will love this messy, hands-on learning experience! 

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-oldsYour child can explore pictures of paintings created by classical artists, and can be given a choice of mediums to create their own art with paints, crayons, and chalk. A great idea for the introduction of a classical artist is Van Gogh and simple brush strokes. Show your child how to paint with a paintbrush, draw with chalks, and mix colors to create new ones! Fine motor skills and science skills are emphasized in this adaption of our creative art activity.
  • Three-year-oldsThe exploration of the artist’s work, as well as the face of the artist, will help your child connect their work to the creation of the artist. Extending the medium selection to include not only paint, crayons, and chalk, but also homemade puff paint, will turn this activity into a rich sensory and science experience. A trip to the local art museum to explore original works of art will also enrich the activity and help your child to retain the information they’ve learned about the artist.
  • Four-/Five-year-oldsIn addition to a trip to the local museum, and exploring original art and photos of the artist, exploring professional art tools in a craft store will enrich their experience in learning the value of art in our society. To extend art activities across the science and sensory domains, your child can mix their own paint and create their own mediums such as sand paint, puff paint, and bubble paint. Your child will be learning across a variety of domains and will be having fun in the process!

Skills Supported: conversation of their feelings on various art pieces and the historical significance of classical artists, fine motor skills (gripping the art tools), imagination, scientific experimentation, practicing personal response to pieces of art, and sensory exploration.

Conduct Cooking Experiments with Assistance 

This month we are exploring the concept of cooking as a science and sensory experiment! By exploring ingredients, the smell and flavors produced when mixing them, as well as molding and kneading components such as dough, we are incorporating rich experiences in science, fine motor skills, and sensory play. Cooking activities also build self-esteem and freedom of expression when your child wields their own cooking tools and experiments freely with the measurement of ingredients. Cooking experiments also opens doors to deeper conversation where critical thinking skills will develop, as well as the development of diversity and multi-cultural practices when discussing recipes and foods from around the world. This activity can be conducted by your child solo, or one-on-one with you, a teacher, or a peer.  

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-oldsYour child can explore the ingredients you use when cooking dinner. Encourage your child to smell, taste, and mix ingredients together to help you bake or cook. Consider giving your child a variety of tools and ingredients to experiment with on their own, served in containers with lids for easy clean up. Cleanliness practices can also be incorporated in your lessons, teaching proper hand-washing procedures before and after touching food. In addition to a hands-on experience, recipe books with photos can be shared as a visual prop to enhance and extend conversational skills.
  • Three-year-oldsIn addition to having your child help you prepare meals in the kitchen, you can assist your child in following a recipe read from a recipe book, or a recipe passed down through out the generations in your family. In addition to science, mathematics, and sensory development, this will create opportunity to converse about the diversity in your family and family traditions. Your child’s critical thinking skills and preferences will sharpen as he or she contemplates their specific food preferences, how they may differ from yours, and food trends across your family’s generations.  
  • Four-/Five-year-oldsA trip to the local grocery store, produce store, or bakery is a great way to continue to enhance and extend learning domains. Your child will love the sensory experience of smelling and seeing all of the goodies these stores have to offer, and your child can assist you in choosing items that he or she may want to taste or cook with at home. Encourage your child to push out of their comfort zone and try new foods! When at home, mixing and measuring ingredients will enhance mathematics, sensory, and science skills. Incorporating a short video or book about foods from various worldly cultures will give your child a broader understanding of food practices around the world, and how food impacts society dynamics. In-depth conversations about the pictures they view, the foods they taste, and the cultural backgrounds of these foods will enhance language skills, critical thinking, and will introduce multi-cultural and diversity concepts. 

Skills Supported: Language development, critical thinking, science, sensory, mathematics, diverse and multi-cultural understanding, familial practices, and an opportunity for a close bonding experience with your child.

baby drooling at two monthsYour precious baby is growing so fast—it seems as though s/he changes overnight!

Throughout all these changes, you may be concerned about some of them, especially if you are a first-time parent.

For example, is your baby drooling at two months? In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about your drooling two-month-old!

What You Should Know When Your Baby Starts Drooling at Two Months

It’s Normal!

Baby’s start drooling at two or three months of age.

Why does this happen?

Babies don’t have full control over the muscles that control swallowing until they are 18-24 months old. Additionally, the average person produces about two to four pints of saliva per day!

Without the ability to swallow saliva, expect your baby to drool for a long time to come!

Your Baby is Healthy

Is your baby drooling at two months? Drooling is actually a positive indicator that your baby’s digestive system is developing well.

To elaborate, saliva aids in the breakdown of food before the food even reaches the stomach. In addition, saliva breaks down bacteria and washes the mouth, preventing your baby from getting sick.

Therefore, if your baby is drooling excessively, it only means his/her digestive system is working properly!

It’s Not a Sign of Teething

Many people believe drooling is a sign of teething. However, the two are not directly correlated. In reality, the two activities occur on similar timelines.

When your baby starts developing fine motor skills, such as chewing, receptors send signals to the brain that initiate saliva production. Therefore, when your baby is ready to start eating solid food, s/he will start drooling more!

So, drooling is not a direct sign of teething. However, the two will probably happen around the same time.

What Should You Do if the Drool Causes Irritation?

In some cases, drool can cause irritation around the mouth, such as a rash or dry skin.

If that happens to your baby, try to gently wipe away the drool so it doesn’t sit on the baby’s face for too long. In addition, you may want to consider applying ointment to the affected area at night.

In the end, there isn’t anything you can do to prevent your baby from drooling. After all, it’s a natural and healthy part of a baby’s development!

 

It’s Time to Build a Castle!

It’s time to pull out the different blocks you may have at home and use your child’s creativity and critical thinking to build a castle.  Allow your child to use their creativity to make a castle and then add different items to make their imagination come to life.  Building with blocks strengthens problem solving skills, fosters creativity and self-expression.

Materials:

  • Building Blocks
  • Tons of Imagination

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-olds—Select blocks that your child is familiar using.  If you have more than one set try offering them both and watch to see what they create using both sets together.  Practice counting and you add blocks to the castle.  Ask open ended questions to further exploration.
  • Three-year-olds—Talk with your child about what they would like their castle to look like.  Take the time to look at pictures of castles in books and other print.  Select blocks and other enhancements around your home to let your child make their dream castle.
  • Four-/Five-year-olds—Ask your child to draw a picture of what they would like their castle to look like.  Then look around the house to find blocks that they would like to use to build their castle.  Some examples would be small boxes, Legos, wooden blocks, soft blocks, empty containers.  Another option would be to use sugar cubes to build their castle if you have those available.

Skills Supported: Vocabulary. Imagination. Problem solving. Counting. Self-expression.

Artwork with a POP!

We have been learning about the properties of bubbles.  Spend time outside blowing bubbles and trying to catch them.  You can either do bubble wrap painting at a table inside or on the sidewalk outside.  Spread out a piece of bubble wrap on the table with different colors of washable paint.  Allow your child to use a paint brush to paint the bubble wrap.  Then place a piece of paper on top of the bubble wrap to print the picture onto the paper.

Materials:

  • Bubble Wrap
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Paint Brush

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-olds—Talk about the difference in texture between the bubbles you are blowing outside and the bubble wrap.  What do the bubbles feel like when they pop on your hand?  How does it feel when the pop the bubbles on the bubble wrap?
  • Three-year-olds—Use different sizes of bubble wrap make different paintings.  With supervision pop the bubbles.  Compare and contrast the different sounds.  Is one bubble pop louder than the other?
  • Four-/Five-year-olds—Cut the bubble wrap into different shapes and then paint the different shapes of bubble wrap.  Then you can use the shapes to stamp a picture onto a larger piece of paper.  On a warm day you could spray the bubble wrap with water and then stamp the print onto the sidewalk.  What different shapes do you see?

Skills Supported: Fine motor skills through popping the bubbles and using the paint brush. Creativity and imagination. Sensory exploration through textures.

Fine Motor Activity: Pipe Cleaner Loops

Supplies: Pipe Cleaners, Fruit Loops or Cereal and Your Imagination!

Directions: Have your child string the desired amount of fruit loops on the pipe cleaner. Take this time to discuss colors, patterns and what you are making! Bend the pipe cleaner into fun shapes!

Skills Learned: Explore creating texture art. Developing fine motor skills by lacing beads on a string.

 

 

Math & Manipulative Activity: Number Hunt

Supplies: Sticky Notes or Papers With Numbers Written on Them, Items Around Home and Adventure!

Directions: Create notes 1-10 with one number written on each individual sticky note. Line up the notes with numbers on a table, shelf or floor. Have your child use their sense of adventure to find specific number if items around your house. For example, number 1 = 1 object, number 2 = 2 objects. Any items or toys will work! Make it an adventure by pretending you’re exploring and looking for treasure!

Skills Learned: Begin number recognition. Vocalize numbers out loud. Introduce amounts and quantities.

 

Gross Motor Activity: Yoga or Animal Yoga

Supplies: Yoga Cards (optional) and Mats (optional)

Directions: Instruct your child to an open area to practice yoga poses. Animal yoga is a fun variation where children can act our yoga poses that mimic animals – add in animal noises! 

Skills Learned: Gross motor skills. Animal recognition. Following one step directions.

 

Creative Expression Activity: Painting Ice

Supplies: Ice Cubes, Paint, Paint Brushes and Shallow Pan or Tub

Directions: Place ice in the shallow pan. Allow your child to use desired coloring to paint the ice. Show your child how to use both hands to paint because it can be slippery. Discuss colors, how cold the ice can be and how ice is made.

Skills Learned: Exploring creative art with 3d materials. Color recognition. Color mixing. Exploring objects by sense of touch, hot and cold.

Science & Sensory Activity: Bread In A Bag

Supplies: 3 Cups of Unbleached White Flour, 4 Tablespoons of Sugar, 2 1/2 Teaspoons of Rapid Rise Yeast or 1/4 Package, 1 Teaspoon of Salt, 3 Tablespoons of Oil and 1 Cup of Warm Water

Directions: In your gallon size or larger Ziploc bag add: 1 cup of the flour, sugar, yeast and warm water. Then seal up the bag, and while doing it, let out as much air (out of the bag) as possible. Then you or your child can scrunch and squeeze the ingredients around in the bag, till they are mixed well together. Let the bag set on the counter for 10 minutes, so the yeast can begin to work. Then open the bag again, and add another cup of the flour, the oil and the salt. Close the bag and repeat scrunching and mixing. Finally open the bag again and add the final cup of the flour and mix one last time. Lay out a sheet of wax paper lightly dusted with flour and pour the mixture onto it. For around 5 minutes (or less), knead and work the dough till it’s all nice and smooth. Divide the dough into two portions, and place each into mini loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Set your dough loaves in a non-drafty warm spot and cover them with a clean kitchen towel. Let them raise for 30 minutes to an hour, till they’ve almost doubled in size. If they don’t get a whole lot bigger, don’t worry, they will raise some in the oven too. Bake for around 25 minutes, in a preheated 375-degree oven. Let them cool in the pan for just a couple of minutes, and then turn them out onto a cooling rack or clean towel.

Skills Learned: Counting with assistance. Measuring ingredients, pouring and mixing. Gross and fine motor skills. Experiencing various foods and ingredients by taste and smell. Exploring the five senses.

 

Language Learning Activity: Cool Whip Letters

Supplies: Cool Whip and Tray or Mat

Directions: Scoop the desired amount of cool whip onto your tray or mat. Have your child make letters and discuss the sounds for each letter. Don’t forget to taste the materials!

Skills Learned: Begin to explore letters. Experience with textured objects using sense of touch.