The Star-Brite downloadable curriculum program is professionally planned by educators to enhance a child's early educational development, but kids just think it's fun! Each month you can download 20 days worth of materials for more than 100 hands-on craft and learning activities that help preschoolers understand numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. Children will learn and grow as they enjoy poems, games, finger-plays, arts and crafts, science projects and a variety of physical activities.
Sometimes parents want to teach their children, but the direct approach doesn’t get the message across. In these cases, parents can use a favorite toy as a central character and build a story around it.
One youngster, about five years old, developed a habit of wandering too far from home, making it difficult for his mother to keep an eye on him.
Discussions didn’t work, but when the mother began a series of silly misadventures starring Mr. Bear (his favorite stuffed animal), the scenario changed.
The young fellow listened, enthralled, to Mr. Bear’s ridiculous antics and obvious poor judgment.
Later the mother heard her son scolding the doll because Bear got lost at the supermarket or went into the wrong yard.
“I wouldn’t do anything dumb like that, would I?” he asked his mother.
And, eventually, he didn’t.
“I am an optimist. It doesn’t seem too much use being anything else,” declared Winston Churchill.
The reality is that people who expect good things to happen are usually the ones that have good things take place in their lives.
On the other hand, those who succumb to pessimism, fatalism, and resignation do not enjoy the rewards of life that come when challenges are met with hope and optimism.
Children must be taught how to accept the positive and how to modify the negative. As that is done, children will increasingly adopt optimistic, positive ways of viewing their experiences.
Gregg, the father of an 11-year-old boy, was inspired by his son’s attitude after the youth broke his wrist playing roller hockey.
“I was so concerned for him, thinking he might be depressed by the break, the cast he had to wear, and the fact that he would not play roller hockey for several months.
“To my amazement, my son told me that breaking his right wrist gave him an ideal opportunity to see if he could learn to become ambidextrous!"
Rhythm is more than marching to the beat of a favorite song or keeping time with the music by tapping a foot.
Different languages are filled with different kinds of rhythm. As we learn to talk while we are very young, we are also learning the rhythm that helps us understand and communicate in our language.
To help young children appreciate the many types of rhythm—in addition to the ones they hear in modern music—show them how they can mark time in poetry.
That is, read a poem aloud and ask them to feel the rhythm by walking or waving an arm “in time” with the words.
Each poem has its own unique “meter”, and you may want to use several different ones as examples.
This is also an excellent way to introduce your child to poetry, to enrich his or her storehouse of ideas—and to add an abundance of new words to his or her vocabulary.
If the supply of boxes is generous and constant, most children will be delighted to show parents how inventive they can be. For example, babies crawl into boxes, sit and grin. Sometimes they get stuck and cry. Then they learn how to back out.
Big brothers and sisters occasionally think of putting a string through a hole punched in a box. Then babies pull the boxes.
Toddlers think boxes are cars, boats, trains or space ships. They think very big boxes are houses.
Ask at your appliance store for a big box that used to contain and refrigerator. This big box will make a dandy puppet theater where the main character is a fierce shoebox crocodile (the box top is the lower jaw).
Some little boxes fit over hands for hand puppets. Some tiny boxes fit over fingers for finger puppets (remember the boxes lipsticks come in).
Middle-sized boxes fit over heads, with holes for eyes. Other boxes can make a whole suit of armor where the body pieces are attached by string at the joints. There’s also a visor hinged with string to go up and down.
Of course, there’s a whole world that can be made of miniature boxes—houses, farms for small animals, outer space cities that on closer inspection bulge with exotic cosmetic boxes, cheese boxes and toilet paper tubes. Elmer’s Glue™ holds it all together.
Oatmeal boxes make rockets. A paper plate with a wedge-shaped section cut out can be bent into a nose cone (plus some tape to hold it).
Eggs come in boxes (get the molded kind instead of the folded kind). And egg box caterpillars are easy—kids can tear one strip of bumps from the molded box, draw eyes, and there it is.
But why not start a really fun project everybody can work on: a dollhouse. First, pile up boxes, one for each room. Glue them together, cut doors and windows, fold a piece of corrugated cardboard into a V for the roof. Bend another piece of cardboard into a zigzag for the stairs, wallpaper the wall...the rest of the fun is up to you!
• Have a set bedtime. “When the big hand is on the six” or “When the clock says these numbers”, can be part of the routine.
In this way the clock, not the parent, is announcing the time to retire.
A warning of “ten minutes until bath time” is also useful so that fun isn’t suddenly interrupted.
• Minimize television and rowdy activities close to sleeping time.
• A routine works wonders. For instance, a warm, calm bath followed by a ritual goodnight to the spider plant, the clock, grandma and grandpa in a picture, the dog, the piano ...
If you keep it up long enough, you may find yourself yawning. And speaking of yawns, a few of those don’t hurt either.
• If necessary, provide a small nightlight, a quiet radio or CD, or a trusted companion.
Nick, age five, has a stuffed penguin fully a foot longer than he is, and no doubt, Penny the penguin helps keep away those things that go bump in the night.
• If your child doesn’t fall asleep at once, there’s no harm in reading or playing quietly in bed, even after bedtime.
A child can’t go to sleep on demand any more than an adult can. But often, if you tiptoe in ten or fifteen minutes later, you’ll find your youngster has been overtaken by the sandman. Then just whisper, “Sweet dreams …”
Of course, parents think that ‘slime’ is gross, and that’s probably the truth!
But kids love to mess around with it, and sometimes play like they’re “sculpting.”
Here’s how to make your own slime: Start with a quantity of water, and slowly add cornstarch,
mixing with your hand (or your child’s hand). Add enough cornstarch so
that the slime feels wet when you’re pouring it, but feels dry when
touched. Color can be used but do it first by adding powdered tempera to
cornstarch before mixing or add food color to the water before mixing.
Is this really art? Who knows, but the kids enjoy it enormously!