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‘Helping Them Heal’ Wins Association of American Publishers REVERE Award

July 07, 2015
How to Help Traumatized Children

"Practical yet authoritative information, presented clearly with plenty of stories and helpful lists. The information is well-organized and accessible--for example, the 'Five Things We Know' at the beginning of each chapter and the 'Ideas for Practice' at the end of each chapter." - REVERE Awards Review

 

Dr. Karen L. Peterson’s Helping Them Heal has won an Association of American Publishers REVERE Award for Professional Resources in the People and Populations category.  Helping Them Heal provides early childhood educators with answers, ideas, and specific classroom strategies to move trauma-affected children in positive directions. "Those working with young children would benefit from reading this book and would almost certainly come back to reference it throughout their careers," read one of the REVERE Awards reviews. 

The REVERE Awards identify and honor excellence in high quality products that support teaching and learning. The main objective of the program is to help teachers, parents, and the educational community by identifying the most effective resources for teaching and learning. No other competition has had the longevity and success of the REVERE Awards, and other awards cannot match the prestige of winning a REVERE Award.

 

Learn more about the REVERE Awards here and read more of reviews of Helping Them Heal here.




Gryphon House Releases Moving Matters Series

June 17, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Anna Wilmoth

Gryphon House, Inc.

336-712-3480

anna@ghbooks.com

 

Gryphon House Releases Moving Matters Series

Books for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers encourage physical activity

Lewisville, N.C. – Citing rising obesity rates and inactivity among young children, Gryphon House, Inc., is publishing a timely series of books aimed at increasing physical activity among young children. The Moving Matters Series—Encouraging Physical Activity in Infants, Encouraging Physical Activity in Toddlers, and Encouraging Physical Activity in Preschoolers—provides parents and teachers with simple ideas and activities to start children on the path to healthy living.

This is author Steve Sanders’s first book with Gryphon House, Inc., the leading publisher of educational resources for teachers. The books will be released in October 2015.

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“The first five years of life are critical in establishing a child’s healthy habits,” Sanders says. “With obesity levels rising among young children, parents and teachers need accurate and straightforward information to better equip them with strategies to get children active.”

To request a free excerpt or e-galley copy, please click the links below or contact anna@ghbooks.com

Encouraging Physical Activity in Infants (ISBN 978-0-87659-245-8, 104 pp., $19.95)

Encouraging Physical Activity in Toddlers (ISBN 978-0-87659-050-8, 144 pp., $19.95)

Encouraging Physical Activity in Preschoolers (ISBN 978-0-87659-046-1, 192 pp., $19.95)

Learn more at the Gryphon House website, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About the Author

As a professor and early childhood consultant, Steve Sanders, EdD, focuses on preparing the next generation of teachers to help children become physically active and healthy for life. For more than 30 years, he has promoted this concept while working with all age levels—from teaching infant and parent movement classes to coaching youth sports teams and leading university teacher preparation courses. He is the recipient of the Margie Hanson National Association for Sport and Physical Education Distinguished Service Award.

About Gryphon House, Inc.

Gryphon House, Inc., is an award-winning publisher of resource books for parents and teachers of children from birth through age eight. Developmentally appropriate and easy to use, Gryphon House books provide parents and teachers with the tools they need to bring the joy of learning to young children. To learn more, or to check out the entire collection, visit www.gryphonhouse.com.

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"Hands On Science and Math: Fun, Fascinating, and Affordable Activities for Young Children" Webinar

June 15, 2015

>>> VIEW THE WEBINAR RECORDING

 

Hands-On Science and Math

Looking for a way to integrate STEM into your daily activities? Step into a fully functioning early childhood science laboratory. In this edWeb.net webinar for the Early Learning Book Chats, attendees learned how to intrigue and motivate their PreK to second grade students to be super scientists. Beth Davis, EdS, NBCT demonstrated actual activities used in her school science lab at Kids For Kids Academy in Miami, Florida.  This webinar included demonstrations of actual science experiments and covered ways to use low cost or no cost materials in your classroom.  Educators learned strategies to integrate science into the other subject areas and how to manage materials.

Earn your CE Certificate for viewing this recording: Join the free Early Learning Book Chats community on edWeb.net and take a quiz to receive a CE Certificate for viewing this webinar.  Past webinars, presentation slides, and CE quizzes are available in the Webinar Archives folder of the Community Toolbox.

Early Learning Book Chats is a free professional learning community (PLC) that helps educators and caregivers find the tools that they need to bring the joy of learning to young children. The community hosts online discussions that make it easy for educators to stay connected over time with fellow teachers to share ideas, tips and resources. Join our experts for a monthly napinar – early learning PD while your young students sleep! This program is sponsored by Gryphon House.




Renate Zangl Featured on Care.com

June 04, 2015

Renate Zangl on Care.com

If you’re looking for games for babies that will help foster the relationship between an older sibling and your newest addition, Gryphon House author Rentate Zangl was recently featured in Care.com’s article “5 Fun Baby Games Kids Can Play With Their Younger Sibling.” Zangl provides games for infants as young as 4-months-old that develop language, social, motor skills and more. For all the games and tips, read the full story here. 

 

Image from care.com.




What Not to Miss at the 2015 NAEYC Institute

May 08, 2015

What Not to Miss at the 2015 NAEYC Institute

 

The NAYEC 2015 National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development will be held June 7-10, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Several Gryphon House authors will be presenting on trending topics in early childhood education and early childhood development. Here are the sessions you won't want to miss:

Presentation Title

Presenter

Topic Track Category

Date & Time

Site

Meeting Room


Why Does Sitting Still Equal Learning?: Why and How We Should Educate the Whole -- Thinking, Feeling, Moving -- Child

Rae Pica

Curriculum-Theories and Approaches

6/7/2015 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Jefferson Ballroom (300)

 

Using a (ital)Powerful Interactions(ital) stance to support professional conversations that extend learning

Judy Jablon
Diana Courson

Professional Development-Technical Assistance (Coaching, Mentoring, Consultation)

6/7/2015 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Jefferson Ballroom (300)


Preparing leaders for the diverse schools of today: Addressing different abilities and languages effectively

Pam Brillante
Karen Nemeth

Professional Development-Technical Assistance (Coaching, Mentoring, Consultation)

6/7/2015 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Hilton Exhibit Center A (370)


Consultants, coaches, administrators, faculty, and other professional development providers as ambassadors of a constantly evolving profession of excellence

Karen Nemeth
Fran Simon
Pam Brillante

Featured Session

6/8/2015 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Grand Ballroom A (500)


Changing the frame from quick fix to prevention: Effective teaching strategies for supporting emotional development

Kay M Albrecht
Barbara Volpe

Professional Development-Training Programs

6/8/2015 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Grand Ballroom D (250)


Creating nature-rich indoor and outdoor environments that support whole-child development: Evidence-based strategies and guiding principles for designing inspiring spaces

Susan Wirth
Sandra Duncan

Learning Environments

6/8/2015 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Oak Alley (70)


Using work sampling to support an integrated approach to enhancing child outcomes and program quality from preschool to third grade

Judy Jablon
Jenna Tenore
Dena Booker
Rachel Elkey
Jennifer Godin

Child Assessment (developmental screening, diagnostic evaluation, classroom-based assessment)

6/8/2015 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Marlborough A/B (150)


Rigor, reflection, and research: The three R's of a graduate program that includes advocacy, action research, integrated content, pedagogy, and leadership experiences

Janis Strasser
Holly Seplocha

Professional Development-Education Programs

6/8/2015 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Hilton Exhibit Center B (360)


Helping infant and toddler caregivers optimize development by being more intentional in their choices of activities, interactions, and experiences

Pam Schiller

Curriculum-Theories and Approaches

6/8/2015 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Napoleon Ballroom (400)


Supporting inclusion with the (ital)Quality Inclusive Practices Checklist(ital)

Johnna Darragh Ernst

Children with Disabilities/Early Intervention

6/8/2015 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Napoleon Ballroom (400)


Do you see what I see? Examining challenging behavior through your lenses, and through mine

Karen Cairone
Mary Louise Hemmeter
Ed Greene
Barbara Kaiser
Marilou Hyson

Social/Emotional Development

6/9/2015 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Versailles Ballroom (250)


Professional development inspirations from Grandes Comienzos, Futuros Brillantes: New approaches to supporting linguistically diverse teachers

Karen Nemeth
Kathleen Hayes

Diversity & Equity

6/9/2015 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Versailles Ballroom (250)


Programmatic supports for implementing and sustaining quality coaching

Ragan McLeod
Mary Louise Hemmeter

Professional Development-Technical Assistance (Coaching, Mentoring, Consultation)

6/7/2015 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Hilton Exhibit Center A (370)


Research Symposium: Preparing teachers to engage children in STEM

Marina Bers
Kimberly Brenneman
Angela Eckhoff

Research

6/9/2015 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Grand Ballroom B (510)


Do you see what I see? Examining challenging behavior through your lenses, and through mine

Karen Cairone
Mary Louise Hemmeter
Ed Greene
Barbara Kaiser
Marilou Hyson

Social/Emotional Development

6/9/2015 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Versailles Ballroom (250)


Partnerships for excellence

Kyra Ostendorf

Leadership

6/8/2015 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Prince of Wales (TH 70)


Transitioning from ECERS-R to ECERS-3 in state QRIS efforts

Richard M Clifford
Denise Jenson
Megan Showalter

Quality Initiatives-QRIS, Compensation, and Licensing

6/9/2015 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Napoleon Ballroom (400)

                             



Gryphon House Author Joye Newman Featured on Education Talk Radio

April 30, 2015

Movement and Play Activities | Gryphon House

Joye Newman, co-author of our newest release Move to Learn, spoke with Education Talk Radio earlier this week on the importance of integrating movement into the early childhood curriculum. The first five years of life are crucial in the development of skills that will be used for a lifetime. “What we need in early childhood from about birth to age 5,” Joye says,  “is for kids to build [neurological] pathways so that simple things like balancing or being able to integrate the feeling of a tag on the back of your neck or walking, even, becomes second nature.”

Move to Learn | Gryphon House

 

To hear the full interview and for more information about integrating movement into the classroom, click here and pick up your copy of Move to Learn today!




Dr. Renate Zangl Featured on Care.com

April 29, 2015

Dr. Renate Zangl Featured in Early Literacy Article on Care.com

Gryphon House author Renate Zangl, PhD, was featured in Care.com’s article “ABC Games for Toddlers to Promote Early Reading.” In the article, Zangl offers insights and ideas on how to give your child a head start in language and literacy development. Read the full story here.




Congratulations to our 2015 NAPPA Award Winners!

April 28, 2015

Gryphon House NAPPA Award Winners

We’re proud to announce that 4 of our books have won National Parenting Publications Awards! The National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) is one of the longest running and most respected awards programs in the country. With 25 years of experience in the industry, NAPPA has been continuously celebrated as the "go-to" source for parents and professionals seeking the best products for their children and families.

The Best for Babies by Alice Sterling Honig, PhD | Gryphon House

The Best for Babies

“Came in handy when looking for daycare, providing a comprehensive checklist of things to look for.” – NAPPA Review

About the book:

Caregiver-child interactions are critically important in promoting cognitive, language, and social-emotional learning in young children. With examples and detailed explanations,The Best for Babies illuminates the behaviors and interactions that teachers or care providers should provide for the children in their care.

Raising a Talker by Renate Zangl, PhD | Gryphon House

Raising a Talker

“Great for new parents to foster communication with their little ones. Clean and easy-to-follow layout. Activities are laid out to explain the skills fostered, goals, materials, and what to look for. This book provides a great resource for parents and can be used by educators as well.” – NAPPA Review

About the book:

Combining fun, easy-to-do activities with research-based tips and developmental overviews, Raising a Talker helps parents and caregivers naturally transform play sessions into meaningful language-learning experiences. Little tweaks and easy changes in everyday play create nurturing environments where communication and discovery can flourish. 

Science—Not Just for Scientists!

“Experiments that the entire family can enjoy using easily accessible items in your home and yard. Wide array of activities and lessons that are easy to follow. Methods, materials and objectives are clearly laid out. Teachers and parents won't be intimidated by teaching science with this tool!” – NAPPA Review

About the book:

This book gives parents and teachers simple ideas to open up the world of discovery to young children. Children will explore patterns, cause and effect, size and scale, change and growth, energy, and how things work. Easy to follow, step-by-step activities lead children and their caregivers through a new world of discovery.

Parents Ask, Experts Answer by Tina Nocera | Gryphon House

Parents Ask, Experts Answer

“I love how the questions in the book are from real life parents, and the answers provided are from different perspectives. Allows readers to choose the best solution for their families.” – NAPPA Review

About the book:

In Parents Ask, Experts Answer, Tina Nocera, founder of Parental Wisdom, brings together a panel of thirty-five experts to offer advice on some of the most challenging issues faced by parents. By presenting multiple solutions to each challenge, Parents Ask, Experts Answer helps parents see that there may be several right answers to a problem.




KidsChat: Beth R. Davis

April 23, 2015

Beth R. Davis, EdS, Gryphon House author and early childhood educator, offers answers to your questions about her passion for math and science in early education.Beth R. Davis discusses STEM activities, math activities, science activities for preschoolers.

 

Someone wants to become an early childhood educator. What do you tell them? 

Young children are blank canvases filled with possibilities. Each day is an opportunity to mold and develop young minds. Keep in mind that every child has unique gifts and talents. As an early childhood educator, it is your role to find and nurture those gifts and talents in each and every child.  Remember, no two children are alike, and you should interact with each one as an individual.

What fascinates you about early childhood development?

It is fascinating to me to see that children are developing a curiosity for learning at a younger and younger age.  I am fascinated that what seems like an abstract concept, when introduced over time, young children grasp bits and pieces and ultimately will gain an understanding of the concepts.

What’s your favorite science activity to do with children?

My favorite activity is the recycled rockets.The sense of excitement as each child launches their own rocket is simply contagious. 

What’s your favorite age group to work with?

My favorite age to work with are the 4- and 5-year -olds.

What is one thing we don’t know about you, but should?      

Charity work is very near and dear to my heart and inspiring kids to make a difference through acts of kindness. I have a charity, Kids 4 Kids (www.kids4kids.org) that has worked with youth volunteers of all ages to fill and deliver over 75,000 backpacks for poor children among other projects.

You write about preschool science and math. How and why did you begin and continue to do that?

I was originally an elementary science lab teacher. After 17 years teaching hands-on science to kids in grades 2-5, I had a chance to open my own preschool. After seeing the sense of awe and amazement in the older children, I knew that it would be just as exciting with younger children. I am shocked and amazed by how much the preschoolers retain and by the joy they get when they make a new discovery. They see science as magic and I love watching these little science magicians explore the world around them with a sense of wonder and amazement. I also love facilitating teachers to make science enjoyable for their students. When you see the light bulb go off, you will never be the same. 

What fascinates you about early childhood science related development?

I am fascinated to see that STEM is bringing science to the forefront of early childhood education. I love that, by just teaching good science to young children, we can create lifelong learners and critical thinkers.

So you mentioned doing research. What did you learn or how were you changed by that experience? 

In my research, I doubled the amount of hands-on science instruction to the lowest performing, at-risk kids at my elementary school. Their gains in science content knowledge proved that exposing children to high-quality, hands-on instructions is far more effective than teaching science content knowledge in a book or by using worksheets. I was shocked that these low-performing, at-risk kids actually synthesized greater science content knowledge than their above-average and gifted classmates. Just goes to show that you learn by doing.

 

Find more activities based on Beth Davis' experiences and research in her new book, Hands-On Science and Math.

Hands-On Science and Math. Beth R. Davis discusses STEM activities, math activities, science activities for preschoolers.




3 Tips for Creating a Welcoming Classroom

April 21, 2015

Teaching Tips & Classroom Management Strategies | Gryphon House

Think about your favorite room in your home. Chances are that space is a reflection of your social identities and others could learn about you just by viewing that space. An inclusive early childhood classroom should feel the same way. It should be a reflection of the children and family served. Here are 3 classroom strategies for creating a safe and welcoming classroom: 

1. On signage, include the home languages of families in your classroom.

By designing a classroom that is easy to understand regardless of a user’s language skills, families can enter the building or classroom environment and immediately know or intuit expectations.

2. Ask families for books, songs, family photos, and other meaningful traditions that can be incorporated in the classroom environment.

Materials in your classroom should reflect the homes, communities, and abilities of the families served. By allowing families to share meaningful items with the class, you create a sense of belonging and membership.

3. Create an area for families to sit and talk, and areas where small groups can gather and converse comfortably.

Whether it is a small sitting area arranged in the welcome area or a small couch inside the classroom, these types of areas support family communication with teachers.

 

Teaching Tips & Classroom Management Strategies | Gryphon House

 

For more practical classroom management strategies to help create an inclusive classroom for all families, check out The Welcoming Classroom. Author Johnna Darragh Ernst specializes in helping early childhood professionals connect with families to create inclusive early childhood classroom communities. Learn more here.




5 Strategies for Developing a Comprehensive Preschool Curriculum

April 14, 2015

A comprehensive preschool curriculum is more than a collection of activities and ideas, or simply a list of facts. It should include a broad focus of topics from the relationship between the teacher and child and family to integration of room arrangement. Here are 5 essential components to creating a comprehensive preschool curriculum:

Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers | Gryphon House

1. Child development theory, research, and best practices

The foundation for an early childhood curriculum should be child development theory, research, and best practices. Topics such as primary teaching, literacy development, and theories about the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development of preschoolers are essential components of a curriculum.

 

2. Interactive experiences

The type and quality of interactive experiences children have with others is an important component of curriculum. Many opportunities occur to capitalize on children’s experiences as they happen during the school day. Because capitalizing on these experiences is so important, they should appear in curriculum plans as prompts for these crucial, often spontaneous experiences.

 

3. Observation and assessment

Understanding each child’s developmental age and stage, temperament, learning style, play interests, play themes, interactive style, and other characteristics forms the foundation of curriculum tailored to meet individual as well as group needs.

 

4. Family partnerships

Creating a partnership with families is a crucial professional and curriculum planning skill. As a teacher, understanding the unique cultural characteristics of families is important in creating a respectful, reciprocal relationship.

 

5. Environments

The environment is a powerful contributor to children’s learning. Teachers must create environments that support children’s learning and growth and stimulate the wide range of play behaviors conducive to a beneficial early childhood experience.

 

Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers | Gryphon House

If the thought of creating your own curriculum is overwhelming have no fear! The Innovations series combines all of these components into a seamless, comprehensive, developmental approach to early childhood education for children from birth to five years of age. Learn more here.




Gryphon House announces “Hands-On Science and Math”

April 13, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Anna Wilmoth

Gryphon House, Inc.

336-712-3480

anna@ghbooks.com

Gryphon House announces “Hands-On Science and Math: Fun, Fascinating Activities for Young Children”

Science and math activity book lays groundwork for complex STEM concepts

Lewisville, N.C. – Celebrated Florida educator Beth R. Davis debuts well-researched math and science activities for pre-K through second grade in her first book with Gryphon House, Inc., the leading publisher of educational resources for teachers. “Hands-On Science and Math: Fun, Fascinating Activities for Young Children,” offers more than 40 full-color activities that allow teachers to infuse math and science teaching throughout the school day.

The simple experiments, done with easy-to-find materials, help educators plan engaging science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lessons that will excite children and foster critical thinking.

The science and math activities have been piloted and researched at Davis’s Kids for Kids Academy in Miami, Florida, as well as in her research from Florida International University.

“In my research, I have found that children exposed to hands-on science and math instruction gain greater subject-matter understanding than students exposed to only book learning or traditional worksheets,” Davis said. “That helps preschoolers enter kindergarten prepared for success.”

 “Hands-On Science and Math: Fun, Fascinating Activities for Young Children” (ISBN 978-0-87659-649-4, 150 pp., $14.95) will be available for purchase in July 2015. Educators may preorder books here. For writers interested in e-galley copies, please email anna@ghbooks.com,

 

About the Author

Beth R. Davis, EdS, NBCT, holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education; a master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages, or TESOL; and an education specialist degree in computer education. She is the director of Kids for Kids Academy preschool in Miami, Florida. She is a sought-after presenter and curriculum author and has served on Florida state panels in the areas of curriculum, standards, and testing.

About Gryphon House, Inc.

Gryphon House, Inc., is an award-winning publisher of resource books for parents and teachers of children from birth through age eight. Developmentally appropriate and easy to use, Gryphon House books provide parents and teachers with the tools they need to bring the joy of learning to young children. To learn more, or to check out the entire collection, visit www.gryphonhouse.com.

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Gryphon House announces “Shake, Rattle, and Roll"

April 06, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Anna Wilmoth

Gryphon House, Inc.

336-712-3480

annawilmoth@kaplanco.com

 

 

Gryphon House announces “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Rhythm Instruments and More for Active Learning”

Abigail Flesch Connors’s new book provides music and movement activities for children of all skill levels

Lewisville, N.C. - Hands-on music activities are the heart of a new book from Gryphon House, Inc., the leading publisher of educational resources for teachers and parents. “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Rhythm Instruments and More for Active Learning,” by Abigail Flesch Connors, MEd, is a collection of more than 100 play-based, active musical activities that encourage singing, moving, listening and playing instruments.

Ideal for teachers and parents of children ages 3 to 6 years old, the easy activities include simple explanations about critical skills the activities are encouraging, including:

  • Language – Repetitive songs help develop oral language and early literacy
  • Math – Music involves fractions, ratios, patterns, and proportions
  • Science – Activities involve acoustics, volume, velocity, mass, and force
  • Music – Children explore culture, imagine different environments, and express themselves while playing songs and singing along

“It’s no secret that quiet doesn’t always equal quality learning,” says Connors, who has taught young children for more than 20 years. “At times, we struggle to help children settle down, but we can also encourage them to move to the beat so they can listen and learn in more active ways.”

“Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Rhythm Instruments and More for Active Learning” (ISBN 978-0-87659-349-3, 184 pp., $16.95) will be available for purchase in June 2015. Educators may preorder books here. For writers interested in e-galley copies, please email annawilmoth@kaplanco.com,

About the Author

Abigail Flesch Connors, an early childhood music teacher and author of Gryphon House book 101 Rhythm Instrument Activities for Young Children, has been teaching for more than 20 years. She has presented workshops for the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the New Jersey Association for Music Education, the Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators, and many other groups. She received a bachelor of music degree from Manhattanville College and a master of education degree from the University of Connecticut.

About Gryphon House, Inc.

Gryphon House, Inc. is an award-winning publisher of resource books for parents and teachers of children from birth through age eight. Developmentally appropriate and easy to use, Gryphon House books provide parents and teachers with the tools they need to bring the joy of learning to young children. To learn more, or to check out the entire collection, visit www.gryphonhouse.com.

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KidsChat: Dr. Robert Williams

March 26, 2015

Dr. Robert Williams, Gryphon House author and early childhood educator, offers answers to your questions about his science background and passion for bringing science into childhood development.

 Dr. Robert Williams, Gryphon House author and early childhood educator, offers answers to your questions about his science background and passion for bringing science into childhood development.

You write about preschool science and math.  How and why did you begin and continue to do that? 

I started thinking about projects back in the early ’80s. I have never been the research type of professor: I think a college professor should produce something for others that reflects his learning and work. I love learning and using materials such as plants and critters and rocks, especially outside. During my travels, I started a collection of stories about the Big Dipper. I even watched the constellation in the night sky over Mt. Everest as a Nepali guide shared his story of how it was formed.

I have created so many paths for my interests but none has kept me as busy as writing science and math books for preschool teachers. An honest confession: I could not have done them by myself. I was lucky that my friend and colleague Dr. Bob Rockwell was willing to work with me. Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood joined us. Our most recent book is The Preschool Scientist. For me, nothing is better than sharing my knowledge and love of the natural world. Hopefully, that passes on to the children who experience the activities with the caring adults in their lives. 

I did not forget you, Joy Lubawy and Debbie Cunningham, my coauthors for Preschool Math. We were a team from another dimension. I met Joy in Australia, and Debbie, who nurtured and loved my grandchildren in her Montessori school in Florida, was convinced that we could write a book of math ideas. And we did. As loud and overbearing as I can be, one might not think that I can work with soft and lovely people like Joy and Debbie, but we produced a good book. I know my weaknesses and have found people who can fill in. I love them for sharing their knowledge with me. Together, we have given teachers and their little ones good, developmentally appropriate science.

 

What fascinates you about early childhood development?

The minds of those little ones! They are so eager to learn—they will try almost anything. But they also have limits that are culturally set on them. For instance, bugs and crawly things are “scary,” and often a poor bug is instantly squashed. In science explorations, we teach children to observe bugs. We show the children how to capture them and then to observe and record what they see. Children soon have less fear and learn to observe many creatures. At age 4, they have the skills to make detailed observations, but we often can’t determine what they have observed because they don’t have the language or drawing skills to share. I think we limit kids’ science because we don’t think they’re capable of in-depth science explorations when they really just can’t tell us much about those observations.

 

What’s your favorite science area to do with children?

I am, by training, a life scientist, specifically a botanist. I can spout off plant names, but my favorite natural items for working with little ones are rocks. I have been doing many conferences lately using rocks to introduce properties of matter. Studying rocks allows teachers to take the children outdoors. You can make collections of rocks that tell all sorts of things. Rocks and sticks make excellent art materials. Rocks are not messy, but they can be if you add soil and water. Rocks don’t have gender or cultural biases.

Any 4-year-old can have many rocks in one pocket, but can she tell you how the rocks are the same and how some are different? Your job is to help her discover how. Some early blooming geologists can get their start in a classroom that studies rocks.

 

What’s your favorite age group to work with? children? teachers? 

Both!

I love walking into a classroom of older 4-year-olds and seeing their reactions because they know I’m coming to do science. I am personally interested in teaching measurement in Pre-K, so I have done many sessions with children making linear and mass measurements. They can do it, and I think that they acquire number skills sooner with increased exposure to measurement. I use a simple metric ruler and a balance and weights (mass sets). I show the children a line drawing of a balance that indicates which object is heaviest. (The drawing is a triangle with a straight line on top.) One little boy picked up how to use the balance immediately, but he couldn’t draw the triangle to make the picture. I showed him how to do it several times, but his triangle always came out as a blob. This was my first experience with a 4-year-old being unable to draw. I told him he could do it—he just needed to practice. I suggested that his teacher would help and so would his mom and dad. I came back two weeks later, and he grabbed a pad and pencil and ran to greet me. “See, Dr. Bob, I can do it.” He drew a really good triangle and beamed a smile that will stay in my memory forever. I do love those little devils. 

I have seen generations of teachers come and go. Fifty-two years ago I was a young buck who knew everything, teaching biology in Great Falls, Montana. With much help from the department chair, I grew more and more confident. Not hard to believe, if you know me. 

I like the young teachers because they are so idealistic and eager. And I like the older ones because they are so steady and are without so many of life’s distractions, such as young families. Younger ones can turn into good science teachers; older teachers incorporate more science because they have figured out the system and are not as intimidated by administrative demands. Science should be one of the highest priorities of our schools.

 

What is one thing we don’t know about you but should? 

I am a collector and explorer. I have been to more than 65 countries. I taught in many and explored both nature and culture.  I live in a house that is heated with wood. I do not have garbage pickup but recycle and reuse all my waste. I can throw a rock into the Guadalupe River from my front door. Recently, I picked up a turtle from the busy road and brought it to the river where it has a new home. I trapped a cat this last month and brought him home, too. He is my new buddy. 

 

I write and do professional development because I want to share my love for my earth with all of you.  You, in turn, have to share that with your kiddos.

With Love,

Dr. Bob




Gryphon House releases “Getting to the Heart of Learning"

March 25, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:

Anna Wilmoth

Gryphon House, Inc.

336-712-3480

annawilmoth@kaplanco.com

 

 

Gryphon House releases “Getting to the Heart of Learning: Social-Emotional Skills across the Early Childhood Curriculum”

Ellen Booth Church’s new book weaves social-emotional learning into daily lesson planning

Lewisville, N.C. – Gryphon House, Inc., the nation’s leading publisher of educational resources for teachers of children ages birth to 8, announced today a new activity book centered on social-emotional learning. “Getting to the Heart of Learning: Social-Emotional Skills across the Early Childhood Curriculum,” by Ellen Booth Church, offers activities designed to connect social-emotional learning seamlessly to the classroom curriculum.

Each activity is embedded with child-development tips, research-based guidelines, and information that supports teachers in knowing why each activity is designed a certain way and how to encourage children to keep learning. From circle time to group activities and taking the concepts home, the book promotes open-ended and creative explorations that also encourage family engagement.

“Preschool and kindergarten teachers recognize both the need to address social development in their students and with their students’ families and the need to teach the basic skills that are essential to learning,” Church says. “These two things do not need to be separate. The trick is to recognize the connection and emphasize it in our interactions with children.”

Rather than adding activities throughout the day, these explorations integrate social-emotional learning across the curriculum through group involvement and building community.

“Getting to the Heart of Learning: Social-Emotional Skills across the Early Childhood Curriculum” (ISBN 978-0-87659-580-0, 180 pp., $16.95) will be available for purchase in June 2015. Educators may preorder books here. For writers interested in e-galley copies, please email annawilmoth@kaplanco.com,

 

About the Author

Ellen Booth Church, a former associate professor of early childhood at SUNY Farmingdale, has shared her unusual approach of combining cognitive learning experiences with creative play in a variety of books, magazines, and articles for early childhood educators. Church is currently an adjunct professor of early childhood at Nova Southeastern University and is developing preschools in India and Nepal as well as presenting keynotes at conferences around the world.

 

About Gryphon House, Inc.

Gryphon House, Inc. is an award-winning publisher of resource books for parents and teachers of children from birth through age eight. Developmentally appropriate and easy to use, Gryphon House books provide parents and teachers with the tools they need to bring the joy of learning to young children. To learn more, or to check out the entire collection, visit www.gryphonhouse.com.

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Susan A. Miller Featured on Care.com

March 23, 2015
Susan A. Miller Featured on Care.com

Future Gryphon House author and early childhood specialist Susan A. Miller was featured in Care.com's article "4-Year-Old Cognitive Milestones." The article gives parents some important milestones four-year-olds will reach that are preparing him for school. Miller reminds parents that each child is unique and will reach milestones at his own pace. "Be confident that your child is right where he needs to be, says Miller, and encourage him as he tackles his 4-year-old cognitive milestones." Read the full article here.




Remembering Jackie Silberg

March 20, 2015

 

Jackie Silberg was a champion for children who devoted her life to early childhood education. She was a warm, engaging person who loved to share music with those around her. She helped even reluctant students to feel comfortable in singing and making music. As the author of 15 award-winning books, she was thrilled to learn that her books were translated into many languages and shared with children all over the world. Jackie was a perpetual learner who was always open to new ideas and new approaches to sharing joy through music. She will be missed.




3 Strategies to Help Your Toddler Prepare for School

March 19, 2015

For many parents of young children, the thought of starting preschool is daunting. Parents today feel more pressure to promote their child's early academia, questioning at what age do kids start preschool, and, in fact, what does

For many parents of young children, the thought of starting preschool is daunting. Parents today feel more pressure to promote their child's early academia, questioning at what age do kids start preschool, and, in fact, what does "preschool age" even mean?

But preparing your child for preschool doesn't have to be stressful.

Tina Nocera's book, Parents Ask, Experts Answer, delves into the common question of preschool readiness. In the book, parent-submitted questions are answered by multiple experts so that parents may choose the answer that best fits their family.

Experts agree that preschool is usually a good thing! It encourages socialization, structured play and learning how to interact with adults and peers.

Parents Ask, Experts Answer contributor Dr. Vicki Panaccione urges parents to explore four developmental areas when deciding whether their child is ready for preschool: physical, social, emotional and cognitive (mental). Although different preschools may have different requirements, the following list includes many of the indicators that your child may be ready to attend a structured program and interact with a group of other children.

(From Dr. Panaccione) 

Physical readiness may include:

  • Your child is potty trained,
  • Able to go without a nap for an extended period of time,
  • Has independent living skills, such as washing hands, pulling up pants, eating without assistance,
  • Able to sit for short periods of time to listen to a story or sing songs, etc.,
  • Able to hold crayon or marker.

Social readiness may include:

  • Able to comply with simple instructions and rules,
  • Can share, cooperate, wait her turn, etc.,
  • Ready to participate in group activities,
  • Can play with or alongside other children,
  • Able to comfortably interact with other adults.

Emotional readiness may include:

  • Ability to sleep by himself,
  • Ability to comfortably separate from you,
  • Ability to be away from you for extended periods of time,
  • Comfortable with high levels of stimulation and activity,
  • Comfortable around other children and adults,
  • Able to follow a routine and structure,
  • Able to do an assigned activity,
  • Able to work independently for short periods of time.

Cognitive (mental) readiness may include:

  • Eagerness to learn,
  • Ability to listen to and understand a story,
  • Ability to understand and follow basic instructions,
  • Ability to focus and concentrate for short periods of time.

Keep in mind that children develop at different ages and degrees.  Follow your child’s lead in terms of his or her readiness to be involved in a stimulating but structured setting surrounded by other children and adults. Preschool can be a wonderful opportunity to learn, socialize and gain independence when your child is ready!

For more expert tips on your parenting queries, check out Parents Ask, Experts Answer.

For many parents of young children, the thought of starting preschool is daunting. Parents today feel more pressure to promote their child's early academia, questioning at what age do kids start preschool, and, in fact, what does




Gryphon House Announces 'Move to Learn: Integrating Movement into the Early Childhood Curriculum'

March 18, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Jennifer Lewis

Gryphon House Inc.

800-638-0928

Jlewis@kaplanco.com

 

Gryphon House Announces Move to Learn: Integrating Movement into the Early Childhood Curriculum

Joye Newman and Miriam P. Feinberg’s book offers ways to get young children moving in six curriculum areas

 

Lewisville, N.C. – March 9, 2015 – Movement is not only natural, but it is necessary for optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. To help early childhood educators incorporate movement into teaching, Gryphon House Inc., a leading publisher of early childhood resources, announces Move to Learn: Integrating Movement into the Early Childhood Curriculum. Co-authored by Joye Newman, MA, and Miriam P. Feinberg, PhD, Move to Learn helps educators easily turn their classrooms into environments that encourage movement activities throughout the early childhood curricula, including:

  • Language and Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Creative Representation
  • Social Skills

Move To Learn provides easy to implement and effective classroom activities that early childhood educators will love using and are fun for children,” said Feinberg.

Readers of Move to Learn will receive numerous recommendations for getting children to move. For instance, in the “Language and Literacy” chapter, children can act out the characters of classic books, such as Goodnight Moon. When reading the story, a child can be skittering like the mouse, moving quietly like the old lady, or making their bodies look like chairs.

"Movement activities experienced in early childhood build the stepping stones for all future learning. A child who is comfortable in his or her body greets the world with confidence and curiosity,” said Newman. “The early childhood classroom is the ideal setting for integrating movement into learning."

Move to Learn: Integrating Movement into the Early Childhood Curriculum (ISBN: 978-0-87659-560-2, 136 pages, $14.95) will be available to purchase in May 2015. Educators may preorder books here. For writers interested in e-galley copies, please email anna@ghbooks.com

 

About the Authors

Joye Newman, MA, is a perceptual motor therapist and the director of Kids Moving Company, a popular creative movement company in Bethesda, Maryland. She maintains a private practice in perceptual motor therapy, helping children of all ages and stages feel better in their bodies. She is a highly sought-after speaker and writer on the importance of movement in the early years. In her spare time, she enjoys Israeli folk dancing, reading, and knitting (but not all at once).

Miriam P. Feinberg, PhD, has had a long career as teacher trainer, curriculum writer and parent educator. She has contributed to the field of early childhood education as a professor, an educational consultant to schools and educators nationally and internationally, and an author of children’s storybooks, teacher curriculum guides, and journal articles. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren.

 

About Gryphon House Inc.

Gryphon House is an award-winning publisher of resource books for parents and teachers of children from birth through age eight. Developmentally appropriate and easy to use, Gryphon House books provide parents and teachers with the tools they need to bring the joy of learning to young children. To learn more, or to check out the entire collection, visit www.gryphonhouse.com.

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Building Young Children’s Sounds, Words and Brains: Your Words and Interactions Matter Webinar

March 10, 2015

>>> VIEW THE WEBINAR RECORDING

Building Young Children's Sounds, Words, and BrainsTalking with infants is a hot topic in the news now. Why? Because talking means learning, building knowledge and intelligence. How and how much caregivers talk, engage and interact with infants and toddlers matters. Their daily conversations and play times shape children’s lives and learning before kindergarten and well beyond those early years into school. Educators can give infants and toddlers an edge by having language-rich interactions that make it easier to build the sounds and words that help them develop strong language skills and brains to support learning in many different areas. In this edWeb.net webinar for the Early Learning Book Chats community, Renate Zangl, PhD, child language researcher and author of Raising a Talker, demonstrated how you can help infants and toddlers learn about sounds and build their first words more effectively. Renate covered how talking and singing in parentese, reading in a dialogic way, and using motionese, and gestures boost language and learning to help lay a strong foundation for the future. View the webinar recording to learn how to enrich your daily interactions with simple actions and strategies that create high-quality learning experiences for infants and toddlers, and how and why simple tweaks in the way you interact and talk support learning. Renate explained that knowing why something works is important, and how to use certain features more often and deliberately.  Attendees also learned what to look out for in young children’s behavior as they learn to understand and talk, and how to more closely tune in to their developmental needs.

Earn your CE Certificate for viewing this recording: Join the free Early Learning Book Chats community on edWeb.net and take a quiz to receive a CE Certificate for viewing this webinar.  Past webinars, presentation slides, and CE quizzes are available in the Webinar Archives folder of the Community Toolbox.

Early Learning Book Chats is a free professional learning community (PLC) that helps educators and caregivers find the tools that they need to bring the joy of learning to young children. The community hosts online discussions that make it easy for educators to stay connected over time with fellow teachers to share ideas, tips and resources. Join our experts for a monthly napinar – early learning PD while your young students sleep!




What Not to Miss at the National Head Start Conference

March 04, 2015
What Not to Miss at the National Head Start Conference

The 42nd Annual Head Start Conference will take place March 30 - April 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Several Gryphon House authors will be presenting on trending topics in early childhood education. Here's what not to miss:

 

MONDAY, MARCH 30

 

The Three R’s of Quality Leadership: Reflection, Relationships, and Resilience

Susan Damico and Linda K. Likins 

9:00 am – 5:00 pm | (Special Track/Additional Fee Session)

Room 101 | Washington, DC Convention Center

Leaders in Head Start include individuals in a variety of roles from education and mental health coordinators, consultants, assistant directors to directors. For all of these leaders, creating an environment of internal capacity to support an ongoing commitment to the highest quality of care for children is imperative. When leaders make reflection, relationships and resilience a part of such efforts, the team wins. You are invited to come learn simple, everyday strategies that can help make a big difference in the health and wellness of adults who care for young children. When the village is well, the children are well.

 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1

 

Universal Design for Learning to Welcome all Languages and Abilities

Karen Nemeth and Pam Brillante

2:00 pm | Salon A | Washington, DC Convention Center

Designing an inclusive classroom is the first step to success for children with diverse languages and abilities. This interactive workshop will demonstrate the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach that helps early educators plan, equip and fill their classrooms in ways that welcome each child to start school ready to learn. Participants will learn how the principles of UDL can make learning accessible for any child, especially children who are DLLs or who have disabilities.

 

Using Bilingual Staff Development Materials to Enhance Teaching

Karen Nemeth

4:00 pm | Salon A | Washington, DC Convention Center 

Bilingual teachers and assistants bring valuable language assets to each program. Supporting the growth of their diverse languages is an important way to build program quality. This interactive workshop will present a variety of print and digital resources for staff development that are available in languages other than English. We will engage participants in discovering innovative ways to use these materials to enhance teaching in different languages.

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2015

 

Head Start A to Z: Self-Assessment

Karen Cairone

9:00 am | Room 102 B | Washington, DC Convention Center

Head Start and Early Head Start programs engage in an annual Self-Assessment process by assessing progress in meeting local program goals and objectives, and evaluating program compliance with Federal requirements. This session introduces new directors to the five phases of an efficient Self-Assessment process that focuses on mining data gathered through ongoing monitoring to answer broader questions and considering big picture, long-range, systemic issues. 

 

Head Start A to Z: Self-Assessment

Karen Cairone

11:00 am | Room 102 B | Washington, DC Convention Center 

Head Start and Early Head Start programs engage in an annual Self-Assessment process by assessing progress in meeting local program goals and objectives, and evaluating program compliance with Federal requirements. This session introduces new directors to the five phases of an efficient Self-Assessment process that focuses on mining data gathered through ongoing monitoring to answer broader questions and considering big picture, long-range, systemic issues. 

 

Challenging Behaviors: What to Do When Nothing Else Works!

William DeMeo, PhD

 2:00 pm | Room 143 B | Washington, DC Convention Center

This dynamic and interactive workshop will focus on providing participants with knowledge of effective prevention and intervention strategies for children who exhibit challenging behaviors. Through a combination of role-playing and other active participatory methods, participants will learn how to implement these practical and effective strategies immediately into their program.

 

For more information and a full conference program, visit the National Head Start Conference website.




Congratulations to Our 3 Mom's Choice Award Winners!

February 20, 2015
Gryphon House Mom's Choice Award Winners

Three Gryphon House books—Raising a Talker, Parents Ask, Experts Answer, and Science—Not Just for Scientists!—have won Mom's Choice Awards! The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children and families. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. 

 

About Our Award Winners

Raising a Talker

Raising a Talker

Combining fun, easy-to-do activities with research-based tips and developmental overviews, Raising a Talker helps parents and caregivers naturally transform play sessions into meaningful language-learning experiences. Little tweaks and easy changes in everyday play create nurturing environments where communication and discovery can flourish. 

 

 

 

Parents Ask, Experts Answer

Parents Ask, Experts Answer

In Parents Ask, Experts Answer, Tina Nocera, founder of Parental Wisdom, brings together a panel of thirty-five experts to offer advice on some of the most challenging issues faced by parents. By presenting multiple solutions to each challenge, Parents Ask, Experts Answer helps parents see that there may be several right answers to a problem. 

 

 

 

Science--Not Just for Scientists!

Science—Not Just for Scientists!

This book gives parents and teachers simple ideas to open up the world of discovery to young children. Children will explore patterns, cause and effect, size and scale, change and growth, energy, and how things work. Easy to follow, step-by-step activities lead children and their caregivers through a new world of discovery.

 

 

 

For more information on the Mom's Choice Awards, click here.




4 Tips to Create an Inclusive Classroom

February 11, 2015
4 Tips to Create an Inclusive Classroom

The classroom is children’s home away from home and must be warm and inviting and packed with opportunities for the children to learn new concepts. Children with special needs may need some modifications of typical classroom experiences in order to thrive. Check out our four tips on how to create an inclusive early childhood classroom that will engage every child.

 

1. Discovery Centers

Set up special tables in the classroom to display materials related to a topic of study that children might otherwise overlook. For example, placing an Ant Farm and books about ants on a special table allows children to observe and find out about ants on their own, hence the name Discovery Center!

2. Group (Or Circle) Times

Limit large group time. Presenting lessons early in the morning when children are fresh allows them to absorb information more easily. Keeping activities within lessons short (about 20 minutes) and to the point helps children gain maximum knowledge in a minimum amount of time. Overall, lessons should take no longer than 20 or 30 minutes. Vary activities within the lesson to accommodate children’s needs across developmental domains.

3. Word Walls

Word Walls are permanent collections of words that are meaningful to children. Word Walls may be on chalkboards, on charts, or on large pieces of paper. As themes are introduced to children, write down words that accompany the themes to help children understand that print has meaning and that print is predictable. The words are pronounced the same way each time one sees them. Pairing pictures with words on the Word Wall helps children associate print with concepts.

4. Individualized Instruction

Working one-on-one with children in various centers is the best way to approach and support their learning. Individualized instruction is as simple as helping a child put a puzzle together or sitting nearby and responding to children’s questions on how to write certain letters. In inclusive classrooms, the need for individualized instruction is critical.

 

For more easy, practical, and inexpensive ways to modify your classroom to meet the needs of all children, check out The Inclusive Early Childhood Classroom. 




What Not to Miss at the Conference on the Young Years

February 02, 2015
What Not to Miss at Conference on the Young Years

Three Gryphon House authors and early childhood development experts Rae Pica, Dr. Rebecca Isbell, and Dr. Jean Feldman will be keynote speakers at the Conference on the Young Years March 5-7, 2015. Here’s more about the authors and the sessions that you don't want to miss:

Rae Pica

Rae Pica

For over thirty years, Rae Pica has been helping teachers implement activity learning across the curriculum.  As a children’s movement specialist, Pica is known for her lively and informative presentations and has shared her expertise for groups such as Nickelodeon's Blues Clues, the Sesame Street Research Department, the Centers for Disease Control, Gymboree Play & Music Centers, and the Head Start Bureau. Pica is also co-creator and host of a radio program called "Body, Mind and Child," in which she interviews experts in early childhood education, child development, the neurosciences, and more.

Thursday, March 5 – 10:30am – 12:00pm: Featured Presentation - #1001 Moving and Learning Across the Curriculum: Active Learning for the Whole Child

 

 

Dr. Rebecca Isbell

Dr. Rebecca Isbell 

Working in the field of early childhood for many years and in a variety of capacities has provided Dr. Rebecca Isbell with many meaningful stories that effectively demonstrate the amazing capabilities of young children and the people who work with them. She was the director of the Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning and a professor of Early Childhood Education at East Tennessee State University.  For a number of years, Dr. Isbell has presented at international, national, and regional early childhood professional meetings. She is a sought-after presenter and keynote speaker for early childhood conferences and training meetings. With presentations full of current research, practical ideas, “real” visuals of classrooms, and humorous stories, you won’t want to miss her any of her three sessions!

Friday, March 6 – 8:30am – 9:45am: Opening General Session Keynote Address: Putting the Pieces Back Together: Inspiring the Whole Child for Today’s World

Friday, March 6 – 10:00am – 11:30am: Featured Presentations #2 - Designing Amazing Early Childhood Environments: Makeovers that Work!

Friday, March 6 – 1:45pm – 3:15pm: Featured Presentation #23 - Music and Art as 21st Century Skills: Creating, Communicating, and Collaborating

 

Dr. Jean Feldman

Dr. Jean Feldman has been actively involved in education for over 40 years. She has worked as a classroom teacher, instructor of adults, author, and consultant. Dr. Feldman has a B.A. from the University of Georgia, a D.A.S.T. from Emory University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Georgia State University. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Kindergarten Alliance, and the International Reading Association. She has recorded over 12 CDs and inspires teachers across the country with her lively music and activities that make learning FUN!

Saturday, March 7 – 8:30am – 9:45am: Closing General Session Keynote Address: Kids Just Wanna Have Fun! (and Teachers Do, Too!)

Saturday, March 7 – 10:00am – 11:00am: Featured Presentation - #52 - Transition Tips and Tricks

Saturday, March 7 – 11:15am – 12:15pm: Featured Presentation - #67 - Totally Math

 

For more information on Rae Pica, Dr. Rebecca Isbell, and Dr. Jean Feldman's sessions and the Conference on the Young Years, click here.




Hands-On Science and Math Video: Pouring and More

July 06, 2015

This video shows the activity “Pouring and More: Funnels and Test Tubes” from Beth Davis’ Hands-On Science and Math. The science activity for kids introduces the funnel to the sand-and-water table. Test tubes will also be introduced in this science game for kids. Watch the full video below:

 

 

Science Game for Kids

 

Get the full activity plus the math and literacy extension activities in Hands-On Science and Math.




Lesson Plan Series: Geography

July 02, 2015

Many teachers and parents have reached out to us about how to teach geography for kids. You don't have to know how to teach geography as an expert, as long as you have the right resources. The right geography lesson will also incorporate lessons in counting for kids.

 

Many teachers and parents have reached out to us about how to teach geography for kids. You don't have to know how to teach geography as an expert, as long as you have the right resources. The right geography lesson will also incorporate lessons in counting for kids.

Our popular Learn Every Day About Social Studies book offers 100 ideas from teachers and homeschoolers. Below are two samples for you to try!

 

Where? Where? It's on the Map!

Learning Objectives

  • Begin to think about geography and mapping.
  • Participate in the visual arts.

Materials

  • large piece of paper
  • markers
  • "As The Crow Flies" by Gail Hartman
  • pictures of objects on the children's playground
  • glue or tape

Preparation

Draw a basic outline of the children's playground on a large sheet of paper, leaving blank spaces where playground equipment belongs.

What to Do

  1. Gather the children together. Read "As the Crow Flies" by Gail Hartman to the children.
  2. After finishing the story, engage the children in a discussion about the different creatures in the story, and look at the maps for each section. Point out how at the end of the story, the little maps become part of a big map.
  3. Show the children the large prepared map outline. Tell the children they are going to make a map of their own playground.
  4. Show the children pictures of the various pieces of playground equipment and challenge the children to indicate where on the maps the equipment belongs. 
  5. Write the name of the piece of equipment in the blank space on the map, and continue until the map is complete.

Assessment

  • Can the children identify the names of the pieces of equipment on their playground?
  • Can the children correctly indicate where the various pieces of playground equipment belong on the map?

 

Alaska

Learning Objectives

  • Develop map-reading and globe-reading skills.
  • Learn about Alaska.

Materials

  • North American map
  • large poster board or butcher paper
  • crayons or colored pencils

Preparation

Pin up a piece of poster board or butcher paper in the classroom or on an outside wall. It should be wide enough so all the children can stand and draw on it at the same time.

What to Do

  1. Read one of the books or a related book and talk about Alaska with the children.
  2. Show the children where Alaska is on the map. Point out how far north it is from the continental United States.
  3. Ask the children what they think it would be like to live in Alaska. Explain that most people there live in cities and towns. What do the children think about igloos and polar bears?
  4. Provide each child with markers, crayons, and colored pencils. Invite them to draw and color something about Alaska on the big paper. Make sure each child has enough space. If the children are not sure what to draw, suggest polar bears, igloos, arctic foxes, glaciers, and so on.
  5. After the children finish their drawings, help them sign their names below their work.

Assessment

  • Can the children describe Alaska in some way?
  • What Alaska features did the children draw?

 

Get more great activities in Learn Every Day About Social Studies.

Many teachers and parents have reached out to us about how to teach geography for kids. You don't have to know how to teach geography as an expert, as long as you have the right resources. The right geography lesson will also incorporate lessons in counting for kids.




Hands-On Science and Math Video: Cool Vibrations

July 01, 2015

In this science activity for preschoolers, kids will explore their sense of sound.  They will use a tuning fork to hear sound, and they will see and feel the vibrations.

 

 

 

 

Science Games for Kids

Find more math and science activities for kids in Hands-On Science and Math.




Wednesday Word: Care

July 01, 2015

Care

 

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

—Leo Buscaglia, author and professor of special education

Each letter in the word care contains the essence of our job description as early childhood educators. Think of the letter C as composed and calm, serene and tranquil. Children reflect our demeanors, and our composure can help them find their own self-control and calm. The letter A stands for our attention to attentiveness. Every child deserves our individual and undivided attention at some point during our busy days. The letter R is for responsiveness. An early childhood educator is a responsive teacher who uses observation and assessment to differentiate and provide for individual children. Early childhood educators, or as Magda Gerber referred to them, educarers, are E—engaged with children as evidenced by their eye contact, body language, conversation, and respectful listening.  How will you show children that you care?

 

 

 

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday. Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




From Ellen Booth Church Q and A

June 30, 2015
Ellen Booth Church Quote

In our recent interview with early childhood education expert Ellen Booth Church, she emphasizes the importance of social-emotional development in early learning and the benefits of integrating the social-emotional skills of group participation throughout the preschool curriculum. "When we focus on the social and emotional aspect of working together on a science, math, literacy activity,” Ellen suggests, "we create a balanced experience that helps children in all aspects of development.” For more information on the benefits of social and emotional learning and how to integrate it into your classroom, read the full interview with Ellen here.




Hands-On Science and Math Video: The Estimation Guessing Game

June 26, 2015

Develop important math skills with this math game for preschoolers! Taken from Beth Davis’ new book, Hands-On Science and Math, The Estimation Guessing Game teaches the important math skill of estimation as well as helps develop number sense. This math and science game for kids also teaches sorting and counting. Get estimating and learning with your class today!

 

 

Math Games for Kids

 

For more STEM activities for preschoolers, get your copy of Hands-On Science and Math today.




KidsChat: Ellen Booth Church

June 25, 2015

Ellen Booth Church, author of Getting to the Heart of Learning: Social-Emotional Skills across the Early Childhood Curriculum, is passionate about social development in children. Her expert tips and advice go beyond the classroom; they can also inform how to be a good parent. Read her answers questions about her experience and passion for social and emotional development, including some of her own parental guidance.

Ellen Booth Church, author of Getting to the Heart of Learning: Social-Emotional Skills across the Early Childhood Curriculum, answers questions about her experience and passion for social-emotional learning.

 

How did you get started in the social and emotional world of early education?

I have to say it started with my first classroom of preschoolers! I started teaching preschool in 1973 in a state university laboratory school. The focus at that time was on developing curriculum that fit the developmental needs of the “whole” child…meaning a balanced approach to supporting the cognitive, physical, creative and social aspects of each individual child. I quickly saw the importance of circle time for building all four domains with an emphasis on the social and emotional skills of group participation. This experience has stayed with me all these years. And now as I see the social and emotional challenges teachers are dealing with I feel that this emphasis is essential for creating a classroom community.

Why are you passionate about it?

Experience! I have watched children grow and blossom in programs that support their social and emotional development. What a delight to see a shy child open up, an angry child calm and center, or a quiet child speak up! But also my interest in research has provided the information and support for the importance of social and emotional development. We are seeing more and more research that is saying school success is not just about cognitive development. In fact, social and emotional skills are the greatest indicator of school success. I think Aristotle said it best: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Why is it important for us to focus on social and emotional development in the early years?

Studies are showing that children who learn social and emotional skills in the early years have better attitudes about themselves and others. Plus, they have more confidence in their abilities. Young children who have developed positive social and emotional skills tend to have less aggressive behaviors and tend to have a greater ability to handle change and stress. Brain research is suggesting that the neural pathways that are needed for learning are supported by positive interactions with others.

How does social and emotional learning benefit all other domains of learning? 

I look at this as a balanced equation. When we focus on the social and emotional aspect of working together on a science, math, literacy activity, we create a balanced experience that helps children in all aspects of development. However, we have to point this out to children! We can’t just assume if they are working together that they are realizing the social and emotional facet of the experience. That is why I have included questions and dialog throughout the activities that can help children recognize the specific skill of sharing, helping, listening…TOGETHER!

What does "Getting to the Heart of Learning" give teachers that they currently don’t have?

As teachers, we always can use an opportunity to look at our program and curriculum with new eyes. The front matter and activities in Getting to the Heart of Learning provide teachers with a breath of fresh air. With a focus on social and emotional skills and circle time, teachers can develop new activities and revisit their favorites with the viewpoint of “seeing the social and emotional in all learning.”

Anything else you’d like us to know about you or this book?

I have been involved in early childhood education since the early ‘70’s and have watched curriculum approaches come and go and come back again. But at the core of it all is the CHILD.  Children everywhere are dealing with more and more complex issues that require the ability to work together as a group as well as individually with confidence. In the last three years, I have been working to develop preschool programs in India and Nepal. I find it fascinating that so many of the social and emotional issues of early childhood are similar, and yet, in a different context. I think when we work with our hearts wide open to the gift of childhood… ALL children experience the joy of learning!

 

Learn more of Ellen's strategies in her book, Getting to the Heart of Learning: Social-Emotional Skills across the Early Childhood Curriculum.

Getting to the Heart of Learning




Hands-On Science and Math Video: Growth and Change

June 24, 2015

In this science activity for kids, children will learn about life cycles and how mealworms grow and change into beetles. The children will also learn how to use a hand lens as they closely examine the mealworms. Once the children get used to handling the mealworms, the critters can make a great addition to your discovery area or learning station for free exploration.

 

 

Science Activities for Kids

 

Find the full activity, complete with several math activities for kids that will extend the learning, in Hands-On Science and Math.




Wednesday Word: Bread

June 24, 2015

Bread

Quotes for Teachers

 

“Who will help me plant the wheat?” I chanted as I walked about the room with a fistful of wheat berries, inviting children to the sensory table filled with potting soil. Nearby sat cookie sheets covered in a light blanket of powdery white flour, perfect for drawing, tracing letters, or simply exploring. A few children ground some wheat berries using a flat stone and a river rock. “Wow,” one exclaimed, “that miller must have had lots of wheat to make a whole bag of flour!” Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris and many versions of The Little Red Hen filled our days with rich curriculum. Children can see and taste a whole universe in bread. Each nibble contains the sun, soil, rain, harvest, and hands of many people.

 

 

 

Inspiration for Teachers

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.

Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Exciting Everyday Science Activities for Toddlers

June 22, 2015

Science Activities for Toddlers

Introduce the concept of floatation along with animals and the sounds they make with these two science activities for toddlers! With these games for toddlers, little ones will practice motor skills, experiment with water, and more.

Let’s Make a Zoo

Materials:

Old magazines or catalogs

Piece of tagboard

Glue

Child-safe scissors

What to do:

  1. Talk with your child about animals found in a zoo.
  2. Invite the child to look through the magazines and catalogs to find pictures of animals that live in the zoo.
  3. Help him cut or tear out the animal pictures and then glue them to tagboard.
  4. When the collage is complete, display it in your home.

More to do:

Provide plastic animals for your child to play with. Ask her to produce the sounds she thinks the animals make.

 

Flotation Experiment

Materials:

Water table or bucket

An assortment of items, such as blocks, large corks, sponge balls, plastic lids, and sponges

What to do:

  1. Fill the water table or bucket with water.
  2. Explain the safety rules that go along with water play. Remind your child that the water stays in the bucket or water table.
  3. Put all of the objects nearby within the child’s reach.
  4. Ask them, “Which items float, and which sink?”
  5. Encourage them to experiment by putting different objects into the water. Observe and discuss the outcome. Ask your child which objects are heavier, which are lighter.
  6. Help your child use problem-solving techniques to guess which is heavier.

More to do:

Math: Use this basic activity to explain the notions of weight and displacement.

 

 

Science Activities for Toddlers

For more toddler lesson plans, check out our best-selling infant/toddler resource The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities.




Hands-On Science and Math Video: Squish and Squeeze

June 22, 2015

In this video, author Beth Davis demonstrates the activity "Squish and Squeeze: Secondary Colors" from her new book Hands-On Science and Math. This science and math activity for preschoolers teaches children the concepts of primary and secondary colors. This rich sensory experience also provides opportunities to incorporate math and literacy learning. Watch the video below:

 

 
 
Math and Science Games for Kids
 
If you're looking for more STEM activities for preschoolers, get your copy of Hands-On Science and Math today!



Hands-On Science and Math Video: Find the Long-Lost Animals

June 19, 2015

Kids will have a blast pretending to be paleontologists in this science and math activity for preschoolers! As they explore fossils, this math game for kids provides the perfect opportunity to practice counting. 

 

 
 
Math and Science Games for Kids
 
 
To get the complete activity and many more math and science games for kids, pick up your copy of Hands-On Science and Math today!



Lesson Plan Idea: Develop Fine Motor Skills for Toddlers

June 18, 2015

Teachers have many options for developing fine motor skills for toddlers, and it goes far beyond lessons about spelling for kids. Try incorporating nature explorations into your lesson plans. Establishing an appreciation of nature in toddlers influences the same love of nature for preschoolers.

Teachers have many options for developing fine motor skills for toddlers, and it goes far beyond lessons about spelling for kids. Try incorporating nature explorations into your lesson plans. Establishing an appreciation of nature in toddlers influences the same love of nature for preschoolers.

Turn learning about the planet into an educational activity that focuses o developing fine motors skills with our Learn Every Day About Our Green Earth, where you'll find 100 ideas from teachers.

Below are a few activities that utilize fine motor skills.

Litter Bugs

Learning Objectives: The children will use small motor skills to make "bug bodies," and develop their small motor skills by using tape and/or glue.

Materials

  • Newspaper
  • Tape
  • Plastic utensils
  • Plastic caps
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Glue

What to Do

  1. Explain to the children that when we drop trash on the ground, we are "litter bugs." This trash can wash into streams and cause problems for animals, plants, and people. We need to make sure litter goes into trash cans and recycling bins.
  2. Have each child wad up a piece of newspaper. They should make a ball about the size of a baseball. Use tape to keep it in a ball shape.
  3. Have the children select plastic utensils for legs, a plastic cap for a hat, and wiggle eyes. They can then glue or tape these items onto their litter bugs.
  4. Arrange these litter bugs around the room to remind everyone that litter goes in specific places.

Assessment

  • Can each child make a paper ball body?
  • Can each child add limbs, a cap, and eyes to a paper ball body?

 

Nature Brushes

Learning Objectives: The children will develop their small motor skills, and explore paint and painting.

Materials

  • Feathers
  • Pine needles
  • Sticks
  • Watercolor paint (in solid cakes)
  • Water
  • White paper

What to Do

  1. Discuss painting with the children. Explain that people often use brushes to paint, but it is possible to use a wide variety of materials when making a painting.
  2. Place feathers, pine needles, leaves, and sticks within the children's reach.
  3. Give each child a paper and watercolors. 
  4. Invite the children to use the items on the table or an easel to paint a picture.
  5. Encourage the children to paint scenes they see, or to imagine scenes or abstract designs they would like to paint.
  6. Talk with the children about their paintings as they are working. Ask the children to describe what they are painting.

Teacher Tips:

  • Take the children on a nature walk so they can collect the items that they will use to paint with.
  • Have the children use other items to paint with, such as kitchen utensils or old tools.

Assessment:

  • How well are the children able to manipulate and use the natural objects as painting tools?
  • Are the children engaged? Are they happy with the art they created?
  • What do the children choose to paint? Ask them to discuss their work. Consider having a group discussion about everyone's paintings.

 

For more lesson plan ideas and activities, check out Learn Every Day About Our Green Earth.




Hands-On Science and Math Video: Fluffed Up Soap

June 17, 2015
Teach children about the physical properties of matter with this video of a science activity for preschoolers from Hands-On Science and Math. Author Beth Davis takes a simple bar of soap and turns it into a science game for kids that teaches the terms hot, cold, sinking, and floating.
 
 
 
 
 

Science Games for Kids
 
For more math and science activities for preschoolers, get your copy of Hands-On Science and Math today!



Wednesday Word: Box

June 17, 2015

Box

Wednesday Word

For the money, a box of any size is a fantastic learning material, filled with limitless possibilities for exploration, discovery, creativity, and problem solving. As the book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis illustrates, you need only think creatively. Too often, we’re lured by glitzy catalogs that promise materials and curricula to address every learning standard—a teacher’s dream come true. Children deserve rich, open-ended materials they can readily manipulate and transform using their imaginations and creativity. From infants who can crawl inside and out to toddlers who can push, pull, dump, and fill to preschoolers who can make rocket ships and boats—boxes provide curriculum rich with possibilities. A box can be . . .

 

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.

Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Math Activities for Babies: “One, Two” and “Fast and Slow Rhythms”

June 16, 2015

Math Activities for Babies

Introduce important mathematical concepts with these two math games for babies!  These math games for kids use early music experiences to introduce counting and patterning to infants.

 

One, Two

  • Sit with your baby on the floor.
  • Make up rhymes as you hold your baby’s hand and let him touch different parts of your body.
  • Here are some ideas:

One, two, three, touch my knee.

Yellow, red, touch my head.

Dippity dips, touch my lips.

Apples, pears, touch my hair.

  • Each time you say the part of the body, put your child’s hand on that part. When you say, “One, two, three, touch my knee,” put your baby’s hand on your knee.
  • Reverse the game, and touch your baby as you say the rhyme.

 

What brain research says:

Babies need touching experiences to grow the brain and grow the body, these experiences are just as critical as nutrients and vitamins.

 

Fast and Slow Rhythms

  • Give your baby some wooden spoons or rhythm sticks.
  • Put your little one in a high chair, or have him sit on the floor.
  • You should have some wooden spoons or rhythm sticks, too.
  • Sing a song such as “The Wheels on the Bus,” and tap the sticks to the beat of the song.
  • Encourage your baby to tap his sticks, too.
  • Sing the same song faster, and tap your sticks faster.
  • Sing the song slowly, and tap your sticks slowly.
  • Your baby will enjoy watching you tap the sticks faster and slower and will begin to understand the concepts of fast and slow.

 

What brain research says:

Early music experiences increase and enhance spatial-temporal reasoning and the learning of mathematical concepts.

 

Math Activities for Babies

For more math for kids ideas and inspiration, pick up a copy of our best-selling 125 Brain Games for Babies.




Hands-On Science and Math Video: Tools for Drips and Drops

June 15, 2015

In this video, author Beth Davis demonstrates a math and science activity for kids from her book Hands-On Science and Math. This science activity for preschoolers uses pipettes and droppers to explore liquids. Children also improve motor skills by squeezing and releasing the dropper. 

 

Science and Math Games for Kids

 

For more math and science activities for preschoolers, get your copy of Hands-On Science and Math today!




Lesson Plan Idea: Colors for Toddlers

June 12, 2015

Activities that incorporate colors for kids are great way to introduce toddlers to art experiences. Teaching colors for toddlers also teaches sensory experiences, the magic of discover and how to manipulate your world. Colors also introduce concepts of sorting for kids to learn some basic math foundations.

Activities that incorporate colors for kids are great way to introduce toddlers to art experiences. Teaching colors for toddlers also teaches sensory experiences, the magic of discover and how to manipulate your world. Colors also introduce concepts of sorting for kids to learn some basic math foundations.

In her best-selling book, First Art for Toddlers and Twos, MaryAnn F. Kohl offers activities to incorporate colors into the toddler curriculum. Read below for some lesson-plan inspiration!

Paint It: Four Process Ideas

Roly-Poly It

Materials

  • Tempera paint
  • Paint trays or old cookie sheets
  • Paint rollers, different sizes
  • Large paper
  • Tape

Prepare (Adult)

  • Pour puddles of tempera paint onto trays or old cookie sheets.
  • Tape a large piece of paper to the table or on a wall.
  • Put out a variety of paint rollers.

Process (Child)

  • Roll real paint rollers through the paint and then onto big paper with room to experiment and explore. Use small cylinder or foam corner paint rollers (toddlers and twos seem to like the small rollers best).

Variations

  • Tape a piece of large paper to a fence. When the child rolls the paint rollers over it, it will pick up the fence pattern from underneath.
  • Soak used paint rollers in a bucket of water for easy clean up, or freeze in a plastic bag for use the next day.

 

Absorb It

Materials

  • Bucket of water
  • Coffee filters
  • Newspaper
  • Water-based markers
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water in cups
  • Misting spray bottle, optional

Prepare (Adult)

  • Place open, flat coffee filters on a piece of newspaper.
  • Put out water-based markers, cups of water, paintbrushes.

Process (Child)

  • Draw with the markers on the coffee filter, and then paint the marker lines with a paintbrush dipped in water.
  • The marker lines come to life, blurring and spreading into the absorbent coffee filter - a magical and beautiful sight!

Variations:

  • Draw with the markers as above, but spray the filter with a misting spray bottle filled with water.
  • Dab the marker lines with a wet sponge.

 

Ribbon It

Materials

  • Ribbons
  • Tempera paint
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Yarn, string, jewelry chains, or strings of beads, optional
  • Wet paper towels or sponges

Prepare (Adult)

  • Cut ribbons into 1- to 2-foot lengths and place them on the table.
  • Pour puddles of paint on a tray or on a newspaper-covered table.
  • Keep wet paper towels or sponges nearby for wiping painted fingers and hands.

Process (Child)

  • Drop the ribbons into a puddle of paint, use hands to stir and coat them, and then drop them on a piece of paper to make curly patterns and prints.
  • Drop, drag, or wiggle a ribbon on the paper, making one or more wiggly patterned paintings.
  • Experiment with yarn, string, or even jewelry chains and strings of beads, if desired.

 

For more of MaryAnn F. Kohl's great lesson plan ideas, check out her book, First Art for Toddlers and Twos, and visit our Lesson Planning section!

Activities that incorporate colors for kids are great way to introduce toddlers to art experiences. Teaching colors for toddlers also teaches sensory experiences, the magic of discover and how to manipulate your world. Colors also introduce concepts of sorting for kids to learn some basic math foundations.




Wednesday Word: Blocks

June 10, 2015

Blocks

Blocks provide rich experiences to children and teachers and build a foundation for lifelong learning. Yet, there isn’t an early childhood teacher who won’t admit that those blocks are her arch nemesis. The recommended number of blocks is daunting when it comes to clean-up time, and woe to the ECERS score for random shelving. Don’t you wonder about those classrooms you visit where the block area looks like it jumped off of a catalog page? So, what is your roadblock to block play? How can you rethink that area of your classroom? Have you spent quality time there, really immersed in the play or observing and noticing how the children use that area? When was the last time you and the children explored the potential of blocks as learning tools? How can you celebrate this often overlooked staple in the early childhood classroom?

 

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.

Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Hands-On Science and Math Video: Lots of Lids

June 09, 2015
In this video, author Beth Davis demonstrates a math and science activity for kids from her book Hands-On Science and Math. With this sorting game for kids, they will learn how to count, graph, and make comparisons with a variety of lids.
 
 
 
 
 
Math and Science Games for Kids
 
For more math and science activities for preschoolers, get your copy of Hands-On Science and Math today!



Fun Art Games for Kids This Summer

June 09, 2015

Art Games for Kids

In these fun arts and crafts ideas for summer, parents and kids can take advantage of the warm weather and get creative outside! The summer months are notorious for afternoon rain showers so we’ll use those to as an opportunity to do some kids summer crafts that will keep them learning and exploring despite the weather. These two art activities for toddlers were taken from the popular First Art for Toddlers and Twos.

 

Rainy Day Spray

Shower curtains are meant to be wet, so why not use one as a canvas for rainy artwork?

Materials

Empty, clean spice shaker jars or salt and pepper jars

Old plastic shower curtain

Powdered tempera paint

Rainy day (if there is no rain, fill a misting bottle with water)

Scissors

Shoebox or basket

Prepare (Adult)         

  • Wait to do this activity outdoors on a mildly rainy day (no big wind, and no thunder and lightning!). Wear any rain gear necessary.
  • Cut a shower curtain into individual squares that a child can carry, perhaps 12” x 12”.
  • Put different colors of powdered tempera paints into empty spice shakers or salt and pepper shakers.
  • Place the shakers in a shoebox or basket for carrying.
  • When done, help the children carry the art back inside, and let it dry.

Process (Child)

  • Carry the plastic squares and paints outdoors.
  • Place the squares on the grass or sidewalk.
  • Sprinkle different colors of powdered tempera on the squares. (Drops of liquid tempera paint work, too.)
  • Let the raindrops plop on the plastic, bringing the powdered paint to life. Colors will mix and blend on their own.

Tips              

  • Some children will find it easier to carry their plastic square on a cookie sheet or plastic tray.
  • Do not be too surprised—most children will want to put their fingers into the wet paint!

 

Chalk & Water Drawings

Dip colored chalk into water, and draw. It’s so easy! For even more fun, find a puddle of water on the sidewalk, and scribble in it. When chalk is wet, it has a different texture and makes thicker and softer-looking lines.

Materials

Berry basket, soup can, or basket

Colored chalk (big sidewalk chalk or poster chalk is best)

Old scrub brush, optional

Sidewalk, driveway, or patio

Small bucket of water or a puddle

Sturdy wide paintbrush

Prepare (Adult)

  • Partially fill a bucket with water, making sure it is light enough for a child to carry easily. Or if possible, find an outdoor puddle on a sidewalk.
  • Plunk a big, fat brush into the bucket, or place one next to the puddle.
  • Put chalk sticks into a berry basket, soup can, or basket, and head outdoors. (Carry the chalk for the children.)

Process (Child)

  • Dip a stick of chalk into the bucket of water or puddle and scribble on the sidewalk.
  • Pour a small puddle of water on the sidewalk, and scribble with a stick of chalk in the puddle.
  • Put the brush directly into a natural puddle.
  • Brush water over chalk lines using a fat paintbrush to blur the lines.
  • Scrub off the chalk using an old scrub brush, and then start all over again. (Some children love scrubbing. This is a good skill to practice for other potentially messy projects!) 

Tips              

  • Use small buckets of water that the children can carry around independently. Fill each bucket only a few inches deep so children can lift and carry it easily.
  • Wrap masking tape around one end of a chalk stick if children do not like the feel of chalk on their fingers.

If you’re looking for more art games for kids of all ages, First Art for Toddlers and Twos is perfect for those little learners, while Preschool Art is great for three and four-year-olds. Shop more art books.




KidsChat: Dr. Jenny Friedman Q&A

June 04, 2015

Jenny Friedman, PhD, is the founder executive director of Doing Good Together, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that helps families raise children who are compassionate, aware of social issues, and instilled with the lifelong habit of giving. Here, the Gryphon House author answers your questions.

Jenny Friedman, PhD, is the founder executive director of Doing Good Together, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that helps families raise children who are compassionate, aware of social issues, and instilled with the lifelong habit of giving. Here, the Gryphon House author answers your questions.

 

What inspired you to write about family volunteering?

While my three children were growing up, I used my background in child development and education to write for local and national parenting magazines. I was also taking my little ones to deliver meals to the homebound, cook and serve dinner at a local homeless shelter, and do other volunteer projects. I saw the enormous benefits these activities had for my own children, and also how little had been written about family volunteering. I decided to create a handbook for parents with simple, practical ideas for weaving volunteerism into their lives. After publishing The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering, I launched a nonprofit called Doing Good Together, whose mission is to empower families to raise children to care and contribute.

Why is volunteering an important lesson to teach our children?

Volunteering helps kids practice kindness and compassion, and creates awareness of the needs of others. These are terribly important lessons, which is why I’m so passionate about it! Volunteering provides a path for parents to pass on critical values like empathy and good citizenship. It teaches kids teamwork, responsibility, and critical thinking skills. And it encourages tolerance and gratitude. Just as important, serving others together draws families closer and makes communities stronger. Research shows that adults who volunteered when they were children are two times more likely to be involved in community service as adults who didn’t.

How has the definition of volunteering changed over the years?

People have diverse definitions of the word “volunteering.” Since I wrote The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering, I have come to realize that: 

  • Many families serve others by assisting those close to them: an ailing family member, a neighbor who is disabled, a child’s friend who could use a mentor. This type of “neighboring” counts as volunteering just as much as helping strangers. It teaches the same lessons to children and contributes in the same measure to the community.
  • Occasional volunteer projects are great, but it’s also key to “practice” kindness, every day. You can weave “giving back” into your daily routine in small ways – buying an extra grocery item for the food pantry on every shopping trip, picking up litter on the way to the park, collecting loose change and donating it to a cause.
  • Volunteering need not be complicated. Even if you have five minutes, your family can make a difference, like making a card for kids who are sick (cardsforhospitalizedkids.com) or cheering people with some artwork (colorasmile.org). 
  • Rather than categorizing themselves as “givers” or “receivers,” children need to understand that every family has something to contribute, and that every family, at some time or another, depends on the service of others.
  • Reflection matters. We don’t want kindness and service to others to become an item you simply check off your to-do list. I encourage parents to have conversations about “giving” with their children to deepen the experience and to let them know how much they value “doing for others.”

What is the most impactful experience you’ve had while volunteering?

My family has mentored a young girl since she was 6 years old. She has had some huge challenges (including homelessness) in her life, many more than my own children could imagine having to face. Now 20, she has been able to overcome those obstacles to become a successful student, hold a job, and build friendships. That relationship, which continues to this day, has been incredibly valuable for our whole family. 

 

To find more of Dr. Friedman's great tips for how to volunteer with your family, check out The Busy Family's Guide to Volunteering.




Wednesday Word: Birthdays

June 03, 2015

Birthdays

Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time. —Jean Paul Richter, author

 

Bad Guys Don’t Have Birthdays by Vivian Paley reiterates the power of birthdays as wielded by preschoolers. Woeful is the child who is confronted with the ultimate exclusionary comment: “I’m not inviting you to my birthday!” Birthdays can be a rich source of study about similarities and differences among families. In the classroom, consider asking families to share stories surrounding the day of their children’s births to shift the focus away from the idea of presents and snacks. In one class, families were asked to create timelines of their children’s lives that included one photograph for each year. What a great way to celebrate the growth and development of each child. How might you create more meaningful celebrations of birthdays in your setting?

 

 

 

Wednesday Word: Birthdays

 

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday. Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Make Math Fun with These Math Activities for Toddlers

June 02, 2015

Math for Kids

Teaching kids math doesn’t have to be hard! Essential math skills such as patterning, classifying, and counting can be incorporated into everyday activities like cleaning up toys. Today’s math activities for toddlers use easily found items like blocks, stuffed animals, and rocks. Keep reading to find three math for kids activities that will have the toddlers in your care learning and having fun!

 

The Sorting Game

This game encourages two-year-olds to clean up their toys and teaches them matching skills at the same time.

  • Pick one category, such as blocks, and search for blocks all over the room or house. Your child will enjoy this very much. Make it fun by saying, “Block, block, where are you?” “Oh, here you are!”
  • Put all of the blocks into a container.
  • Try matching the blocks by size. Pick one block and ask your child to find another of the same size.
  • You can also match blocks by color.
  • When you have finished with blocks, start looking for other toys. 

Getting Into Shapes

You will need blocks of different shapes, such as circles, squares, and triangles to play this game.

  • Give your child the square block and let him hold it and feel its shape. Talk about its name and point out other square shapes in the room.
  • Give your child another block of a different shape. Talk about this shape.
  • Take the first and second blocks and place them into a sack or large bag.
  • Hold another square block in your hand. Show it to him and ask him to find the matching shape in the sack.
  • At first, he can put his hand into the sack and look at what he takes out. As he gets better at the game, encourage him to identify the shape by feeling the block.

Ones and Twos

Saying the words “one” and “two,” and being able to hold up one or two fingers, does not necessarily mean that a two-year-old understands the concepts. Experiencing numbers using all her senses will help your child acquire that understanding.

  • Begin by talking about “a lot,” “a few,” and “one,”
  • Assemble blocks in groups of seven, three, and one.
  • Talk with your child about which group has a lot of blocks, a few blocks, and one block.
  • Ask your child to give you a block.
  • Continue placing other objects in groups of a few, a lot, and one. Stuffed animals and rocks are fun to use.
  • Each time, ask your child to give you one item.
  • When you think that your child understands the concept on “one,” begin introducing the concept of “two”: two socks, two shoes, two hands, two eyes, and so on.
  • Play the same game, always including a group of “two.”

Math for Kids

 

 

From Games to Play with Two Year Olds

 

 

 

If you're looking for more math books for toddlers, check out the complete list of our math resources.




Effective Teaching Strategies for Managing your Preschool Classroom

May 28, 2015

Many preschool teacher resource books offer teaching strategies for classroom management based on challenging behaviors. But that leaves a lot out of the typical classroom rules.

Many preschool teacher resource books offer teaching strategies for classroom management based on challenging behaviors. But that leaves a lot out of the typical classroom rules.

In their invaluable book, Preschool Classroom Management, veteran teachers Laverne Warner, PhD, and Sharon Anne Lynch, EdD, offer 150 ideas for successful teaching and learning. From organizing centers to handling tattling and foul mouths, their deep expertise lays a plan for how new and experienced teachers can improve their classroom outcomes.

Here are just a couple of their great pieces of advice:

 

Addressing the Behavior, Not the Child

The Issue:

When you handle behavior problems in the classroom, it is important to separate children from their behavior and address the behavior only. This approach is likely to be more successful in helping children change their behavior.

Overview

Preschool children are sensitive to how adults assess their behavior. They want to be liked, and they are often guilty when they have behaved negatively. To avoid producing guilt feelings in young children, address their behavior, not the whole child.

Goal:

To have children feel accepted as people when confronted with their negative behaviors, instead of feeling belittled.

Solutions:

The following are good examples of comments by teachers who value children, but must correct certain behaviors:

  • "Lana, your talking during story time was a problem today. I know you forgot the rule about no talking during story time. How can we solve this problem tomorrow?"
  • "Josh, you know I think you have many talents, including having strong muscles. But when you kick others in the classroom, you create problems for your friends and yourself. Let's talk about what you can do instead."
  • "Just because you disobey the rules, Kirk, doesn't mean you're bad. What it means is that you've forgotten why we have rules. We have rules so we can have a happy classroom. Let me show you how to work with others in the Block Corner."
  • "Jodie, you don't feel well today, do you? That makes you irritable and it appears you don't want to get along with your classmates. Come talk to me about what you are feeling."

In each of the above examples, the teacher addressing the child's behavior, not the child.

Keys to Effective Classroom Management

Teachers are human, so if you lash out in anger to children, apologize and tell them that you made a mistake.

 

Planning Ahead

The Issue: 

It's important to think through the consequences of an instruction. For example, if you say, "It's time to go outdoors to play," the children immediately rush to the exit. Indeed, it may be time to go outside and play, but you need a plan of action for getting the children ready to depart for the playground.

Overview:

Your number one responsibility in a classroom is the safety of the children. Taking time to plan for changes in the schedule, for moving from one part of the building to another, and for transitions from school to home are critical components of each day.

Goal:

To keep children safe and orderly, because children are not always aware of impending dangers.

Solutions:

The following scenarios describe teachers who plan ahead:

  • Ms. Motley's three-year-olds can be a handful, but she is enjoying working with each of them. She learned early in the school year that confusion erupts when she asks, "Do you want to hear this book again?" Some do, while others don't. Ms. Motley corrected this chaos by saying instead, "Let me read this book again."
  • Mr. Larry has observed that his children are unaware that the street next to his school has a lot of traffic. Although there is a fence around the playground and the gate has a security latch, he is still concerned that one of his youngsters might wander into the street. He has talked with the director about providing a safety guard during outside playtime, and for arrival and dismissal times. He has suggested that the parents of the children may want to volunteer to provide this service.
  • Mrs. Gilliam developed a system for collecting lunch money that saves her precious time each morning. When the children arrive at school, they drop their lunch money into an envelope that has their name on it and is attached to a poster on the classroom door. When children are engaged in classroom center experiences, Mrs. Gilliam is able to count the money without interruption.
  • Ms. Jay knows that taking her children to the school library can be a challenge because it is a long walk. Her solution is that the librarian and her assigned aide meet the class halfway. This allows Ms. Jay to return to her classroom to organize for other events children have scheduled for the day.

Keys to Effective Classroom Management:

Before the school year starts, scrutinize the classroom and playground for impending dangers. Eliminate hazards, and before the children arrive, spend time thinking about how to keep them safe. For example, remove pieces of furniture that are worn and might break if sat on, or take away broken glass from the playground if it has become a dumping ground by thoughtless neighbors.

Give children specific directions to minimize chaotic responses to classroom procedures.




Wednesday Word: Beyond

May 27, 2015

Beyond

Beyond | Wednesday Word

The idea that everything is purposeful really changes the way you live. To think that everything that you do has a ripple effect, that every word that you speak, every action that you make affects other people and the planet. —Victoria Moran, author

 

“To infinity and beyond!” echoes in the playground as the toddlers sail down the slide. Infinity—that immeasurable, nebulous concept—reminds me of all the immeasurables that we do daily, beginning with our first hellos. We share one moment of special greeting with a parent, tell an anecdote from the previous day, or notice a facial expression or body language that says, “I could use your attention.” Our attention can change a parent’s outlook and can, in turn, help her affect others in her workplace and beyond. This ripple effect represents the infinite power of our actions.

 

 

 

Wednesday Word: Beyond

 

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday. Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Lesson Plan Idea: Shapes for Kids

May 26, 2015

Shapes for Kids | Lesson Plan

 

Teach how to identify and continue a pattern with this fun patterning game for kids. This shapes game for preschoolers is perfect for ages 4 and up and is a great introduction of triangles for kids. Taken from Learn Every Day About Shapes, this book provides plenty of shapes for kids to learn basic geometry.

 

Learning Objectives

The children will:

  1. Recognize triangles.
  2. Learn how to identify and continue a pattern.

Vocabulary

  • blue
  • pattern
  • red
  • triangle
  • yellow

Materials

red, yellow, and blue cut-out paper triangles

What To Do

  1. Display the triangles and ask the children to name the shapes and colors.
  2. Demonstrate an ABAB pattern with the red and yellow triangles, and challenge the children to continue the pattern.
  3. Beside the ABAB pattern, begin an AABB pattern with the red and blue triangles, and challenge the children to continue this pattern at the same time.
  4. After the children have continued the first two patterns for some time, begin an ABCABC pattern, using all three colors. Challenge the children to continue that pattern.
  5. Create different patterns for the children to continue, and then have them design their own patterns.

Teacher-To-Teacher Tips

  • Store the paper triangles in zipper-closure bags in the math center, and encourage the children to create patterns during center time.
  • For an advanced challenge, suggest that the children count the number of triangles in each pattern, as well as the number of ABAB, AABB, and ABCABC clusters in each pattern.

Song

Do You Know What Has Three Sides? by Laura Wynkoop

(Tune: "Mary Had a Little Lamb")

Do you know what has three sides,

Has three sides, has three sides?

 

Do you know what has three sides?

A triangle, that's what!

 

Assessment

To assess the children's learning, consider the following:

  • Given the paper triangles, can each child name the shape he sees?
  • Display ABAB, AABB, and ABCABC patterns. Can the child identify and continue the patterns?

 

Shapes for Kids | Lesson Plan

 

For more activities to introduce shapes for children get your copy of Learn Every Day About Shapes today.




Wednesday Word: Beginnings

May 20, 2015

Beginnings

Wednesday Inspiration for Early Childhood Teachers | Gryphon House

Human beings love stories because they safely show us beginnings, middles, and ends. —A. S. Byatt, author

Once upon a time, when the world was new, in the beginning, today was like any other day—how does your story of today begin? Each day you get to create a new story of experiences for the children who surround you. Like any good professional, you begin each day with a framework of possibilities. Today, be present to the opportunities for co-constructing the day’s story by noticing and capitalizing upon the direction of the children’s interests. Be open to plot twists and turns, surprises, and mysteries that add suspense. What story will they share with families at pick-up time today? The end of today’s story is the beginning of tomorrow’s.

 

Wednesday Word: Beginnings

 

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Why Do Children Need Social Skills? A Social-Emotional Discussion

May 18, 2015

How To Teach Social Skills

Children can grow, discover, and learn best when they develop social and emotional skills early in life. Promoting optimal development of these skills, particularly early in life, is important.  It is up to adults to provide children with the skills necessary to navigate successfully through life. Keep reading to find out more about social emotional development and ideas for how to teach social skills and build resilience through a daily routine.

What Is Social Development?

Social development involves learning to form and value relationships with others. First friendships and the development of social skills go hand-in-hand in the early years. Teachers and parents alike can promote these important social behaviors in young children by helping them establish and maintain friendships.

What is Emotional Development?

Emotional development is closely related to social development and refers to how a child feels about himself or herself, about the people in his or her life, and about the environment in which he or she plays and lives. Both positive and negative emotions are important. Teachers and parents can help children understand, identify, and deal with their strong emotions and feelings.

3 Ways to Promote Resilience Using Daily Routine:

  1. Establish and maintain a predictable schedule and consistent daily routines.
  2. Help children learn to be flexible when circumstances arise that will alter the regular routine of the day.
  3. Provide time in the daily schedule to expend energy and time to relax.

 

How To Teach Social Skills

 

For more information on the social emotional development of young children and how you can help promote resilience, Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure offers ways to help children live and learn their way into social and emotional resilience, while having fun!




Lesson Plan Idea: Rhyming Words

May 15, 2015

Rhyming Words Lesson Plan Idea

Rhyming words for kids is a great way to teach them early literacy skills. You can begin practicing rhyming words with toddlers using simple, repetitive nursery rhymes. There's no right or wrong way how to teach rhyming words, but adding a song or chant helps little learners catch on.

From the popular activity book, Do You Know the Muffin Man?, Gryphon House authors Pam Schiller and Thomas Moore offer hundreds of rhythm and rhyming activities that are perfect for the preschool classroom.

 

I Love the Mountains

(Tune: Traditional)

I love the mountains.

I love the rolling hills.

I love the flowers.

I love the daffodils.

Boom-de-otta, boom-de-otta,

Boom-de-otta, boom-de-otta. Boom!

Literacy Activities:

Discuss the difference between mountains and hills. Which are bigger? What are rolling hills?

  1. If available, show the children pictures of beautiful things in nature, such as trees, mountains, fields of flowers, lightening storms, and so forth. Use the photos to stimulate conversation about what they think are beautiful things in nature.
  2. Teach the children the American Sign Language sign for mountains, hills, flowers, and love. Try singing the song and using the signs at the same time.
  3. Invite the children to sing the song, substituting "like" for "love." Try substituting "see" for "love." Does changing a word change the impact of the song? Cant he children think of another word to substitute?

Print Awareness:

  1. Write the word "love" on chart paper. Ask children to name some things that they love. Make a list of their responses and read the list out loud when you are finished.

For more great literacy and language activities using favorite rhymes and songs, check out Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Rhyming words for kids is a great way to teach them early literacy skills. You can begin practicing rhyming words with toddlers using simple, repetitive nursery rhymes. There's no right or wrong way how to teach rhyming words, but adding a song or chant helps little learners catch on.




Get Creative! Teach Memorial Day with Art

May 13, 2015

Memorial Day Art Activities for Toddlers

Memorial Day is right around the corner and this art activity for toddlers and preschoolers is the perfect way to introduce the holiday in your home or classroom. This patriotic exploration makes art with toddlers and preschoolers fun and engaging.

 

Materials:

newspaper

glue

small containers

paintbrushes

9” x 12” white construction paper

red and blue tissue paper

self-adhesive stars

What to do:

  1. Cover the work surface with newspaper and pour glue into small containers.
  2. Let children help tear red and blue tissue paper into small pieces.
  3. Give each child a piece of white paper. Demonstrate how to paint a design on their paper with glue.
  4. Before the glue dries, show them how to glue crumpled bits of torn tissue paper over the surface of the paper. Allow to dry.
  5. Once the glue dries, distribute self-adhesive stars for the children to add to their “patriotic papers.”

More to do:

Ask all the children to wear red, white, and blue one day.

Music: Sing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” or “This Land Is Your Land.”

Snack: Serve strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream for snack.

 

Memorial Day Art Activities for Toddlers

 

For more craft ideas for preschoolers, The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities will have the kids in your classroom learning all year long!  




Wednesday Word: Beauty

May 13, 2015

Beauty

Beauty is whatever gives joy.

—Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

Environments where you and children spend the better part of your days together should be places of beauty, wonder, and delight. Think about the colors, textures, and objects that bring you joy and happiness. Every teacher should have a “beautiful things” shelf filled with photos, knickknacks, and collections that tell about that individual. My beautiful things include a picture of my mother as a little girl, a few sets of salt and pepper shakers from my grandmother’s collection of 300, mementos from travels abroad, and favorite books. When days get hectic, I need only gaze upon these reminders of happy times. Children often want to handle the beautiful items and to hear the stories about them over and over.

 

Wednesday Word: Beauty

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.

Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Reading Game: Wild About Reading

May 07, 2015

Reading Game to Boost Vocabulary

 

Get your 3- and 4-year-olds excited about reading with reading games like this one! This activity will help make teaching reading and teaching vocabulary to a large group easy and fun.

Materials:

markers

tagboard or cardstock paper

scissors or die-cut machine

laminate

pocket chart

What to do:

1. On a piece of 8 1/2” x 11” tagboard or cardstock, write “Wild About Reading” at the top and print the directions: “Place the cards with words you can read on the word wall.”

2. Cut out elephants on a die-cut machine. Print sight words on each elephant. Mount each elephant on tagboard, laminate, and cut out.

3. Hang the pocket chart at children’s eye level. Seat the children in a circle near the pocket chart. Insert the title/directions card in the top pocket of the pocket chart.

4. Place one elephant at a time in the pocket chart. Ask for volunteers to read the words. This fun center gives children an opportunity to learn many new words.

 

This activity on teaching vocabulary was taken from The GIANT Encyclopedia of Learning Center Activities for Children 3 to 6. For more reading resources for teachers and ideas on how to teach vocabulary, click here. 




How to Boost Your Baby's Vocabulary

April 30, 2015

Infant development remains a hot topic for parents as they seek support strategies for the developmental stages of children. While development of a baby may vary, the milestones for babies follow specific physical, cognitive and social-emotional development.

Infant development remains a hot topic for parents as they seek support strategies for the developmental stages of children. While development of a baby may vary, the milestones for babies follow specific physical, cognitive and social-emotional development.

In her new book, Raising a Talker, Renate Zangl, PhD, explores how babies reach their language-development milestones. Through her simple strategies and interactive games and activities, she helps you boost your baby's vocabulary.

Below are a collection of games you can play with your baby 0-12 months.

Sound chants – friendly oooohs and eeeeehs  

  1. Place the baby in a comfortable place: sitting in the infant seat, lying on the changing table, or sitting on your lap while you hold her securely. The baby needs to face you.
  2. Make a funny sound to get the baby’s attention. Once the baby is looking at you, and you have her attention, you’re ready to go.
  3. Get up close and make an exaggerated /o/ sound, dragging out the vowel, saying something like ooooooooooh
  4. Pause for a few seconds and watch to see if the baby mirrors you. Praise her when she does and talk back to anything she said or did.
  5. Continue and make a few more /o/ sounds, again clearly articulating the sounds, exaggerating your lip movements and dragging out the vowel sound. Always pause, so your baby can respond back.
  6. After a few repetitions, switch to a new sound to keep the baby interested in the game. Pick a sound that looks very different from the /o/ sound such as the /e/ sound. Again, articulate the sound clearly and drag it out, saying something like eeeeeeeeeh...
  7. Repeat the sound a few times, always pausing for the baby to chime in.
  8. Now alternate between /o/ and /e/ sounds, saying oooooooh followed by eeeeeeeh. Alternate how you say the sounds – go up in your voice sometimes using a higher pitch, then go down in your voice other times, using a lower pitch. These variations make the game more interesting, keep the baby’s attention and sharpen the listening skills.
  9. Observe if your baby watches your mouth as you play this game. It may take some time until your baby imitates, but she will do so over time.

Note: Getting up close is important so that the baby can clearly watch how the vowel sounds are formed. Babies around 4 months old are literally hanging onto your mouth, and by going up close, you let the baby watch how you articulate the sound and give her visual information to learn from as well. Exaggerate your vowels and don’t be afraid to use your full pitch range playing this game.

Skills fostered: Visual discrimination, auditory discrimination, sound learning, cognitive skills, social skills

Variant:

To give the child a different listening experience, use a kitchen paper roll or toilet paper roll, and alternate the sound chants, once saying them without the roll (just like above), and then another time saying them through the roll.

 

Face gallery

Babies love faces, especially those of familiar people and other babies.

Preparation:

Take pictures of familiar faces, including the baby’s own face. Make copies of the faces and cover them with contact paper to make them more durable. Put them up on the wall at your eye level spacing them out nicely from each other. Use pictures of faces where the eyes are looking directly at you, which makes the faces more interesting for the baby to look at. 

  1. Walk through the face gallery holding your baby securely in your arms.
  2. As you walk through, point to each face. Talk in Baby Talk/Parentese and get excited as you see each face saying the person’s name: Oh, look! There’s DAAAAADDYYYYY! See DAAAAADDDYYYY!! Or: Oh, look! That’s you! There’s NEEEEL! … Saying the person’s name as you play the game gives the baby the necessary repetition needed to build up word memories to eventually recognize the names.

Skills fostered: Visual discrimination, language skills, social/emotional skills

Variants:

a. Secure a rope over your baby’s crib and attach 3-5 pictures in a row. It’s best to have the face shown on the back and the front, so if the baby swipes at the picture, she can still see a face. Again, it’s best if you talk with the baby as she reaches out towards the pictures. This makes the game more fun because she loves to listen to your voice and can learn about her language and people’s names at the same time.

Skills fostered: same as above, plus eye-hand coordination

b. Get some small wall mirrors that you hang up at eye level and space out. Then walk from mirror to mirror holding your baby securely in your arms, as you discuss who it is that you see. Again, be very excited and surprised as the face pops up in the mirror and use language to guide the game along.

c. Instead of faces, use squares or circles with bold white/black or red/white patterns. Babies first love to watch things that have clear contrasts and bright colors. Again, put the shapes up on the wall and walk through your art gallery as you talk about what you see. Have the baby touch the textures, as well.

Skills fostered: same as above, plus tactile discrimination

 

What’s in the kitchen cabinets?

Materials: Some noise-making toys, such as rubber ducks that squeak, your keys that dangle, a rattle, a bell.

Preparation: Put one noise-making toy in each of your top kitchen cabinets so that when you open the cabinet, you can easily reach the toy.

  1. Hold your baby securely on your arms, and as you walk through the kitchen, open one cabinet after the other.
  2. Knock on the cabinet and say: Knock, knock, whose there? Knocking on the cabinet gets the child’s attention before you open the door. Then, open the cabinet, pick up the noise maker and make its sound, while also naming what it is: Oh, look! It’s a DUUUUCK! See the DUUUCK. It says QUAAACK, QUAAACK. Act surprised about finding this treasure and talk in Parentese, articulating the object’s name very clearly and at the end of the sentence. Let the baby play with the noise maker if she’s interested. Making the object’s noise as well as labeling the object allows the baby to connect its sound with the object’s name.
  3. Go to the next cabinet, and repeat the activity the same way. Sticking with the same ritual makes the game predictable, which allows the baby to learn the name of the game and build up anticipation of what is coming next. Babies love and thrive on predictable scenarios that have a new twist (the new toy that is discovered in the cabinet).

Skills fostered: Auditory discrimination, language skills, social skills, fine-motor skills,

Variant:

As the baby starts to crawl, you can use shoe boxes (without the lid) that you fill with noise makers or toys the child is interested in. Spread out 3 to 4 shoe boxes on the floor and help the child discover the hidden treasures of the boxes. Again, be very excited and talk in Baby Talk, labeling each of the things you discover together.

 

Mirror peekaboo

Babies love to see faces, especially those of their own and of people familiar to them. They also love it when things disappear and then reappear. Here you combine both of their favorites.

Material: Large, unbreakable mirror; large scarf  

  1. Sit on the floor with the baby sitting on your lap, securely holding him as you both face the mirror. Place the mirror such that both of your faces are clearly visible in it.
  2. Tap on the mirror, so the child gets interested in it. Make silly faces and sounds as you watch your faces in the mirror. For example, make click sounds, kissing sounds, vowel sounds, big smiley faces. Be creative with your face and voice, and exaggerate what you say and show.
  3. Put a scarf over your head and then have it drop in front of you so that both of your faces are covered up. As your faces disappear, say PEEKA – and then pull the scarf away, as you say BOOOH! Mommy and SARAH are back!!
  4. Start the game all over, at first making silly sounds and faces and then having your faces disappear. Again, stick to a predictable scenario, so that the baby can learn how the game is played and over time, she’ll have great fun pulling off the scarf herself to make your faces reappear.

Skills fostered: auditory skills, cognitive skills, language skills, fine-motor skills

Variant:

Use sunglasses that you put on your face, and as you put them on, say PEEKAAA – and as you take them off, say BOOOOH! Mommy (or person’s name)  is BAAACK!

 

Where are we?   

This is a fun search game in which the baby has to look for two familiar people while he’s also learning about their names.

  1. Where’s MOMMY (or the person’s name) -  When the baby is engaged in an activity, hide behind the sofa, or some other place where he can not see you. Then ask clearly and loudly: Where’s MOMMY (or the person’s name)? Pause and see if he looks in your direction. If he does, pop up and triumphantly praise him: That’s right! Here’s MOMMY! You found me! MOMMY is here! If not, ask again: Where’s MOMMY? Can you find MOMMY? If he can’t find you, show yourself, get his attention so he looks at you, and then tell him who are. Then say goodbye, wave and hide again.
  2. Where’s DADDY?(or the person’s name) -  Now, the other person hides. Hide behind the open door, or some place different from where the first person is hiding, but also completely out of the baby’s sight. Then play the same game as before, telling him who you are when you appear: Hey there! It’s me, DADDY! 
  3. Pop up alternately: Where’s MOMMY?/Where’s DADDY? - The two people  now hide and reappear from their places, one after the other: mom, dad, mom, dad, etc. See if the baby anticipates where you are going to  pop-up next  by looking in your direction before you actually appear.
  4. Switch locations: Mom is now hiding in dad’s location and vice versa. Play the game the same way as before, asking him to look for mommy one time, then for daddy the next time, then mommy again, and so forth. Does he first  look for mommy at her ‘old’ hang out?
  5. Pop up randomly from your hiding places: For example, dad hides and reappears two or three times in a row, before mom comes in, etc. This way your game is no longer predictable, and your baby has to really listen from where the voice is coming from to locate you. Hide at different places as you keep playing the game over time. This makes it again new and interesting for him.

Skills fostered: Spatial awareness, cognitive skills, language skills, object/people permanence, social/emotional skills

 

Find more great activities in Raising a Talker.




Wednesday Word: Awake

April 29, 2015

Awake

Many of us go about our day-to-day routines with senses dulled to what is really happening around us.

Many of us go about our day-to-day routines with senses dulled to what is really happening around us.  It is time to reawaken your ability to more fully sense what is happening in the here and now.  In a room full of children and demands, too often our attention is lured away by the many distractions.  If you want to be happier in your work and to feel fulfilled, you must consciously choose mindfulness.  Becoming conscious of your senses means slowing down and realizing that every moment offers itself in its own way—the question is how to respond.  Awaken to the liquid brown eyes of a child, the smell of baby shampoo, the softness of blankies, the belly laugh of a toddler, the “but why” of a preschooler,  the spring daffodils, the crunchy fall leaves, and the patterns of frost on windowpanes.

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.

Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Wednesday Word: Authentic

April 22, 2015

Authentic

I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.

—Charles R. Swindoll, minister and author

Children in child care need to be around real people, not empty, fake, and saccharine role-players.

Children in child care need to be around real people, not empty, fake, and saccharine role-players. Being a real person means showing when you are angry, scared, upset, or nervous—but in a respectful manner. It is important to honestly communicate what effect a child’s action has on others so that the child can learn. Expressing your authentic feelings clearly with no blame, accusations, or judgment but with honesty, dignity, and respect takes practice. Children need to know when their behavior is unacceptable. Our job is to model respectful ways to express anger, frustrations, and fears. Too often, well-intentioned providers communicate mixed messages among voice, body language, words, and actions. Children know when we are authentic.

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.

Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Science Quote for Kids

April 20, 2015

We recently caught up with Gryphon House author and early childhood educator Dr. Robert Williams about integrating science into early childhood classrooms. We learned that even though young children may not have the language to describe what they are observing, they are still learning.

When we asked Dr. Bob what fascinates him about teaching young children, he said, "The minds of those little ones! They are so eager to learn—they will try almost anything... At age 4, they have the skills to make detailed observations, but we often can’t determine what they have observed because they don’t have the language or drawing skills to share. I think we limit kids’ science because we don’t think they’re capable of in-depth science explorations when they really just can’t tell us much about those observations."

Science for Kids | Gryphon House

So get those little hands making, noses smelling, tongues tasting, and eyes exploring their way through science! To learn more about science activities for preschoolers, read the full interview here.




Wednesday Word: Attention

April 15, 2015

Attention

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

—Henry Miller, author

How do you satisfy your own need for attention? How do children get your attention? Notice the children whom you pay attention to. Do you focus on the children who are sweet, kind, and attractive?

How do you satisfy your own need for attention? How do children get your attention? Notice the children whom you pay attention to. Do you focus on the children who are sweet, kind, and attractive? Do you pay attention to those who are competent and confident? Do you pay attention to those who are misbehaving, challenging, loud, physical, and unpredictable? What about those children who seem to escape our attention altogether? Children will seek attention from important adults in ways that may be less than acceptable. Your daily challenge is to invest attention in each child. Carve out meaningful individual time, and help the other children understand your intent: “I know you need my attention, and I understand how difficult it is to wait, but right now your friend needs my attention.” 

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.

Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




4 Tips to Make Math Fun for Kindergarten

April 09, 2015

Teachers know that math activities have never been among the most popular activities for kindergartners. But you can help them learn math in a way that will reframe how your students view math.

Teachers know that math activities have never been among the most popular activities for kindergartners. But you can help them learn math in a way that will reframe how your students view math.

In Count on Math: Activities for Small Hands and Lively Minds, authors Pam Schiller and Lynne Peterson Brown offer hundreds of math activities for kids. They also show how math easily incorporates into indoor activities for kids on rainy days.

Schiller and Peterson offer their tips to make math fun for kindergarten:

  1. Children are more motivated to learn when the material is interesting and meaningful to them. Use familiar objects that they associate with fun events, such as birthday candles for counting, sorting and classifying toys from home and evenly distributing cookies to classmates.
  2. Take the activity outside! Let them sort pebbles, leaves or seeds. When children control, manipulate and arrange objects, they internalize concepts and make sense of the world. 
  3. Think outside the box - Children need many opportunities to touch, taste, smell, listen to and visually explore a variety of materials to learn about their multiple attributes or properties. Free exploration helps children see similarities and differences in objects when they begin to practice classification. For example, sorting objects based on their smell or texture.
  4. Make it tasty! Math is also a yummy opportunity to teach healthy eating habits when the kids sort, stack and divide up pieces of fruit, vegetables and crackers.

Find more tips and great activities in Count on Math.

Math activities have never been the most popular activities for kindergarteners. But you can help them learn math in a way that will make math activities for kids your new favorite subject!




Wednesday Word: Attend

April 08, 2015

Attend

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

—Lucille Ball

Be gentle, loving, kind, and attentive to yourself. Take time throughout the day to meet your needs just as you would for someone whom you care about dearly and deeply. Engage wholeheartedly in movement activities with the children to experience joyful exercise.

Be gentle, loving, kind, and attentive to yourself. Take time throughout the day to meet your needs just as you would for someone whom you care about dearly and deeply. Engage wholeheartedly in movement activities with the children to experience joyful exercise. Consider using yoga and breathing as transitional activities to help you and the children switch gears mentally and physically. Instead of grabbing that soda or coffee when you find yourself flagging, drink water to hydrate yourself and give you renewed energy. Whenever possible, gaze out the window at the sunshine, clouds, and nature in all her glory. Focus on the faces of the children, attending deeply to their expressions of trust and security in knowing that you meet their needs. Attend to your needs first so that you can be present for others.

In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday.

Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education.  She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.




Science Quotes for Kids by Peggy Ashbrook

April 06, 2015

Science for Kids | Gryphon House

Encourage kids of all ages to experience the world fully, describe what they see, ask questions, repeat the experience, and think about the why of it. Like learning to count or to read, learning how to "do" science is a lifelong process. By exposing children to science early, we encourage them to ask questions, seek answers, and give voice to their ideas.

- Adapted From Peggy Ashbrook's Science is Simple




Tie-dyed Butterfly

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Red, green, yellow, and blue food coloring Water Bowls 4 suction-cup soap dishes 4 eyedroppers White paper towels Spring-type clothespins
Instructions: 1. Mix food coloring and water in small bowls. Place four suction-cup soap dishes on a table with the suction cups facing upward. 2. Have the children dip an eyedropper into the colored water and squeeze a drop of the liquid into a suction cup. Have them do the same until each suction cup has a drop of color in it. 3. Close the spring-type clothespin on the paper towel, forming two butterfly wings. 4. Invite the children to dip one wing into a cup or cups of colored water, then do the same with the second wing. Have the class watch the towels absorb the water and color, then hang the towels to dry. More to do More art: Attach a magnet to the clothespin for hanging on the board or a refrigerator. Design a butterfly garden on a mural or bulletin board, then add the children's tie-dyed butterflies. Outdoors: Plant a butterfly garden with the other classes at your school.



Still-life Paintings

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Still-life subjects Still-life art prints or posters Watercolor paints and brushes Paper
Instructions: 1. Ahead of time, set up a display of still-life subjects. Some familiar objects might include a teapot and cups, a baseball mitt and glove, some children's blocks and a beach ball, and a grouping of teddy bears. 2. Show the children examples of still-life drawings or paintings. 3. Invite the children to choose the subject they would like to paint. 4. Provide the children with paint, brushes, and paper and encourage them to paint their still-life subject. More to do Dramatic play: Hang the children's work and art posters, then pretend you are visiting a gallery. Take turns as docent, artist, and visitor, then enjoy a snack in the cafe. More art: Repeat the activity using different media such as crayons, tempera paints, chalk, colored pencils, and markers. Frame the children's artwork and create an art gallery or exhibit. On another day, create portraits, landscapes, or abstract art. Music: Play quiet music while the children paint.



Adventure in Purple

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson Purple crayons Large paper banner
Instructions: 1. Read and discuss Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. 2. Invite the children to create a character like Harold and give him or her a name. Lay the banner paper on the floor or a long table. 3. Decide what your character will do first, and draw a simple picture using straight or wavy lines in purple crayon. Invite one of the children to continue telling the story and add some lines to the drawing. When the first child is finished, invite the rest of the class in turn to finish the story and drawing. More to do Language: Have the children dictate their own story and design a book of their own with white paper and a crayon.



Crayon Etchings

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Courier and Ives art poster White art paper Crayons Paper clips
Instructions: 1. Show the children an example of an etching such as the Courier and Ives print. 2. Supply the children with art paper and crayons. 3. Have the children color their paper in any design with different colors. Encourage them to press hard and cover the entire surface. 4. When they have finished, show the children how to cover their design completely with black crayon, again pressing very hard. 5. Straighten the paper clips to form a point on one end. Hand one clip to each child. 6. Invite the children to etch a design or picture in the black crayon using the paper clip. More to do Circle time: Show the children a dollar bill and explain how the design is etched in metal, then printed onto paper. Brainstorm about everyday examples of etchings. Field trips: Visit an off-set printing shop for a demonstration. Tour the art department at a nearby high school to see how etchings are made.



Cotton Swabs and Tongue Depressors

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Tempera paint Bedpans or shallow trays Tongue depressors or craft sticks Cotton swabs Paper
Instructions: 1. Show the children the cotton swabs and tongue depressors. Talk about what happens in a doctor's office. 2. Pour tempera paints in bedpans or shallow trays. 3. Put tongue depressors, cotton swabs, and paints on the table. 4. Let the children explore painting with these tools on paper. 5. Encourage them to use different colors and different techniques to create unique designs. More to do Dramatic play: Set up a pretend doctor's office or hospital in the classroom.



Creative Community

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Shoeboxes, one per child Construction paper Scissors Markers Glue
Instructions: 1. Give each child a shoebox. 2. Have the children plan what buildings and sites they would like to include in the community that they will create in the shoebox. 3. Provide the children with construction paper, scissors, markers, and glue so that they may cut out buildings, trees, landmarks, etc., decorate them, and glue them in their boxes. 4. Show the children how to fold the bottoms of their cutouts to form a "lip" with which to glue them to the inside of the boxes. More to do Field trip: Go on a walking tour of your community. Visit places such as the local bakery, police station, fire station, and doctor's office. Social studies: Have the class work together to make a map of the community or neighborhood. Let the children draw streets, buildings, and parks. Encourage them to add their homes to the map.



In the Neighborhood

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: White construction paper, 8" x 10" (20 cm x 25 cm) Markers Scissors 1 large piece of poster board or cardboard Glue Sponges, cut into small rectangles
Instructions: 1. Give the children markers and construction paper, and have them draw pictures of their homes. 2. Have the children cut their houses out of the drawings. If they have included other things in the drawings, such as people and pets, cut those out too. 3. Follow the next set of directions in order to assemble the neighborhood on a large piece of poster board or cardboard. 4. First, have the children choose several houses to be in the back row. They should glue these down in a straight line near the top of the cardboard, leaving some room to make the sky. 5. Then have them choose some houses for your next row. Glue a small sponge to the back of each, and let them dry. After they are dry, glue them in front of the first row. 6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the rest of the houses, until you have used them all. 7. Have the children draw some clouds, rainbows, the sun, birds, etc. Cut these out and glue a small sponge to the back of each. Have the children glue them to the sky portion of the scene. 8. Glue a piece of sponge on the back of any people the children have drawn and cut out. Glue these people to the very bottom of the neighborhood scene. More to do Field trip: Take the class on a walking field trip through the neighborhood.



Brick Making

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Dirt Water Plastic bucket Muffin tins or ice cube trays
Instructions: 1. Put dirt in a plastic bucket and mix in just enough water to form a mud ball. 2. Press the mud into muffin tin cups or ice cube tray sections. 3. Place the tins or trays in a warm place for about ten days, or bake at 250 degree F (130 degree C) for 15 minutes. 4. When cool, drop the "bricks" on newsprint on the floor and see which ones break and which ones hold together. Use the solid bricks for building. 5. Make as many bricks as possible for the most fun in building. More to do More art: Add a little plaster of Paris to the mud mixture so it will hold together better. Attach bricks and other items together in a free-form building using plaster of Paris mixed to a runny consistency. Build with wood scraps and glue.



Blueprints

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Architect's drawing (optional) Large white paper Blue pens Blue pencils Blue crayons Blue markers Rulers Yardsticks Empty paper towel tubes
Instructions: 1. If possible, bring in an architect's drawing of a house and show it to the children. 2. Give each child a large piece of white paper. 3. Put blue pens, blue pencils, blue crayons, blue markers, rulers, and yardsticks on the table. 4. Ask the children to use these items to draw a picture of a building that they would like to build, just like an architect would. 5. Roll them up and keep them in empty paper towel tubes. More to do Blocks: Encourage the children to take their blueprints to the block area and build their buildings. Field trip: Visit an architect's office or construction site. Language: Have the children write advertisements for their buildings.



Give-a-Hand Bookmarks

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Pencils Scissors Poster board Pens White paper Tempera paint Lids from margarine tubs Glue
Instructions: 1. Have each child trace one handprint on a piece of poster board and cut it out. If there are more than 12 children doing this activity, you will need each child to cut out two handprints. 2. Next, invite the children to go around and get their hands autographed, front and back, by the other children. Explain to the children that they are to sign their name on one of the hand's fingers. Nine other children can sign the fingers and two can sign the palm. 3. Make bookmarks by cutting paper into rectangles that are 8" x 3" (20 cm x 8 cm). Write the word "Thanks" in dots on each bookmark. 4. When all the hands have been signed by the other children, give out the bookmarks. 5. Pour some paint in margarine lids. 6. Have the children dip their thumbs in the paint and press over the dots of each letter in Thanks. 7. When the bookmarks are dry, have the children glue them to the bottom of the hands. 8. Give these bookmarks as gifts to people who have volunteered in your classroom or to community helpers in your town.



Lumber Town

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Night on Neighborhood Street by Eloise Greenfield Safety goggles Thick work gloves Scraps of lumber Wood saw, nails, and hammers for the older group Wood glue for the younger group Sandpaper Paint and paintbrushes Markers Magazines Scissors
Instructions: 1. Read Night on Neighborhood Street by Eloise Greenfield and then talk with the children about neighborhoods. What are they? Who lives in a neighborhood? 2. Ask the children if they would like to build a miniature neighborhood of their own to play with in the classroom. 3. Allow each child to select a piece of lumber from the scraps. As they do, talk about the shape of the wood and what kind of neighborhood building it reminds them of. Remember that neighborhoods are made up of more than just private homes. There are grocery stores, department stores, toy stores, libraries, museums, hospitals, police and fire departments, and so much more. Let children decide what neighborhood building their piece of lumber will represent. 4. The older children can use the wood saw to cut their pieces of lumber into the shapes they desire. They can also use the hammer and nails to add small scraps of wood to their lumber to represent chimneys, etc. The younger children can use wood glue to do the same. Both groups can use sandpaper to smooth the lumber. Make sure children wear protective gloves and goggles whenever they are handling tools of any kind, including sandpaper. 5. Make sure the bottom of each "building" is sanded smooth and flat so it will stand up when added to the neighborhood. 6. When the pieces are ready, the children can use the paint and markers to decorate them to represent the building they have chosen. Decorative windows and doors can be cut out of colorful magazine pages and glued on after the paint dries. Don't forget to label your community buildings. 7. Add the new buildings to the block area. More to do Field trip: If possible, plan a field trip to walk (or even drive) around your neighborhood. Look for the types of buildings your children chose to represent with their pieces of lumber. How many stores do you see? What kind are they? Did you find a library, a museum, police or fire department? Math: Record what you found on the field trip and make a chart or graph when you get back. More art: Make a neighborhood mat to put your houses on. On a large flat piece of cardboard, draw in city streets and rural roads. Add fields, grassy areas, parks, parking lots, and crosswalks at the intersections. Original poem The Buildings in Your Neighborhood These are the buildings in your neighborhood In your neighborhood, in your neighborhood. These are the buildings in your neighborhood The buildings that you see every day. The Post office is a building in your neighborhood In your neighborhood, in your neighborhood. The Post Office is a building in your neighborhood You take your letters there to mail. The Library is a building in your neighborhood In your neighborhood, in your neighborhood. The Library is a building in your neighborhood You can read some great books there. The Grocery Store is a building in your neighborhood In your neighborhood, in your neighborhood. The Grocery Store is a building in your neighborhood You can buy some yummy food there.



Caterpillar Cookies

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Flour Sugar cookie dough Cookie sheets Oven Vanilla icing Green food coloring Spoon Plastic knives Gum drops Black gel icing in a tube Shoestring licorice
Instructions: 1. Have the children flour their hands and the surface to be worked. Give the children pieces of sugar cookie dough to roll into a snake shape. They should place the snake shapes on a cookie sheet and flatten them until they are about 1" (3 cm) thick. 2. Bake the snakes according to your recipe. 3. After the cookies cool, have the children help you mix vanilla icing with green food coloring so that it becomes a bright green color. 4. Have the children ice the cookies, and stick gumdrops all over them to represent spots. 5. Next, let the children add black gel eyes and insert cut-up shoestring licorice for the legs and antennae. More to do Outdoors: Give the children magnifying glasses and suggest that they look for caterpillars to examine.



Spider Bites

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Plastic knives Cream cheese, softened Round crackers Pretzel sticks Raisins
Instructions: 1. Have each child spread cream cheese on one round cracker. 2. Tell the children to place another round cracker on top. 3. Give them eight pretzel sticks to stick along the sides of the crackers, into the cream cheese. 4. Have them place two dots of cream cheese on their top cracker, and top those with raisins to resemble eyes. 5. Eat and enjoy!



Pretzel Sculptures

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: 1 package of dry yeast 1 tablespoon (15 mL) sugar 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt 11/2 cups (375 mL) warm water Large plastic bowl Spoon 4 cups (1 L) flour Paper plates Vegetables, such as zucchini, carrot, onion, broccoli, green and red peppers, cut into small pieces Cookie sheets Oven
Instructions: 1. Let the children help you stir the yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water together in a large bowl. 2. Gradually add the flour. 3. Have the children take turns helping to knead the dough. 4. Give each child a paper plate to work on and a piece of the dough to shape into a sculpture. 5. Encourage them to decorate the sculptures with the vegetables. 6. Bake the pretzels at 425 degree F (220 degree C) for 12 to 15 minutes. More to do Movement: Have the children sit on the floor cross-legged, so that their legs resemble a pretzel. Now have them lean forward on their hands and try to walk on their knees, while keeping their legs in a pretzel.



Bread People

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Loaf of bread Toaster Cookie cutters, shaped like people Cream cheese Spreaders Carrots, celery, and red peppers, cut into small pieces Olives Raisins String cheese
Instructions: 1. Lightly toast the bread and give a slice to each child. 2. Have the children cut a person out of their bread slice with a cookie cutter. 3. Encourage the children to spread cream cheese on their bread with a spreader, and then decorate the person with the vegetables, olives, raisins, and cheese. 4. Enjoy snack time!



Craft Dough

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris Bread Is for Eating by David Gershator Wax paper Small objects, such as beads, pebbles, buttons, etc. Oven Paint Paintbrushes
Instructions: 1. Have the children pour the salt, flour, and water in a saucepan and mix the ingredients well. 2. Cook the dough over a medium low heat, continually stirring, until the dough thickens. 3. Take the dough out of the pan and lay it on a sheet of wax paper. 4. Let the children mold the warm dough into a free-form shape. 5. Provide beads, rocks, peas, macaroni, buttons, etc., for the children to press into the dough. 6. Bake the sculptures at 200 degree F (90 degree C) for one hour, or place them in the sun to dry. 7. Suggest that the children paint the finished product. More to do Language: Write this recipe on a chart and refer to it while making the dough with the children.



Thumbprint Cookies

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Measuring cup Bowl 2 cups (500 mL) of flour 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of salt 2/3 cup (165 mL) of oil 4-5 tablespoons (60-75 mL) of water Fork Cooking spray Cookie sheet Oven Jam or peanut butter Spoons
Instructions: 1. Have the children help measure and pour the flour, salt, oil, and water into a bowl. Let them have a turn mixing the ingredients with their hands or a fork. 2. Encourage the children to roll the dough into small balls and lay them on a greased cookie sheet. Have the children push their thumbprints into the balls. 3. Bake the cookies at 325 degree F (160 degree C) for 10 minutes. 4. Let the cookies cool, and have the children fill the thumbprint centers with jam or peanut butter. More to do More art: Give children ink pads and paper and let them make thumbprint art. Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?



Gingerbread People

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: The Gingerbread Man, any version 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter 1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar 1/2 cup (125 mL) molasses 2 large bowls Spoon Sifter 31/2 cup (875 mL) flour 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt 1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cloves 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) cinnamon 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ginger 5 teaspoons (25 mL) water Cookie cutters, shaped like gingerbread men and women Dried currants, raisins, and store-bought cookie decorations Cookie sheets Oven
Instructions: 1. Read The Gingerbread Man to the children and tell them that they are going to make their own gingerbread people. 2. Invite the children to help you prepare the cookie dough. Blend the butter, sugar, and molasses in a large bowl. Sift the flour, salt, soda, and spices together in another bowl. 3. Add the flour mixture alternately with the water to the butter/sugar mixture. Knead until smooth. 4. Give the children lumps of dough, and let them press them with the heel of their hands until they are about 1/4" (6 mm) thick. 5. Give them the cookie cutters and let them cut out the cookies. 6. Let the children decorate the cookies with currants, raisins, and store-bought cookie decorations. 7. Lay them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 350 degree F (180 degree C) for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. More to do Games: Go on a hunt for the Gingerbread Man. Read clues to the children that were supposedly left by the Gingerbread Man, leading from one place in the school to another. They might say, for example, "Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me. I'm the Gingerbread Man. Look near the slide Language: Read The Gingerbread Man to the children and have them act out the story.



Star Light, Star Bright

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Black construction paper Smudge-proof chalk
Instructions: 1. Encourage the children to envision a nighttime scene. Talk about the kinds of things they see at night (fireflies, stars, the moon, lighted windows). 2. Give the children the paper and chalk and invite them to create a nighttime scene. The white chalk on the black paper resembles the night sky. 3. Display the creations on a bulletin board entitled "Star Light, Star Bright." More to do Dramatic play: Act out nighttime routines such as brushing your teeth, reading a bedtime story, and putting on pajamas. Language: Create a dream book. Children can draw their favorite dream and dictate a sentence about it.



Twinkling Stars

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Iza Trapani Black construction paper Star stickers in assorted colors
Instructions: 1. Read Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Iza Trapani to the children. 2. Give the children black construction paper and some star stickers. 3. Invite the children to create their own designs by sticking stars on paper. 4. Hang the finished work around the classroom. More to do More art: Show the children pictures of constellations. Invite them to create the shape of a constellation such as the Big Dipper using the stickers. Music: Sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" with the children.



Scribble Art Dreams

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni Permanent black marker Paper Colored markers
Instructions: 1. Read Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni to the children. 2. Invite the children to make pictures like the drawings in the book. 3. Ask each child to make a simple "scribble drawing" on a piece of paper using a permanent black marker. 4. Using colored markers, ask the child to color each section of the drawing in a different color. 5. Notice how the drawings resemble the artwork in Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni. More to do Language: Have the children share stories of their favorite or scariest dreams.



Starry, Starry Night

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: White art paper Crayons Watercolors Sponges, cut in 2" x 2" (5 cm x 5 cm) Containers Water Silver or gold glitter and glue
Instructions: 1. The day before you plan to do this activity, ask the children to look at the night sky and to try to remember all that they see. 2. The next day, invite the children to draw a picture of what they saw in the night sky. 3. Suggest that they color the stars and moon with crayons, pressing hard, but ask them not to color the sky. 4. Give the children watercolors, sponges, and containers of water. Using the sponges, the children should wet their papers entirely and put a black or dark blue "wash" over their pictures of the sky. 5. When the pictures are dry, invite the students to use glitter to make their "Starry, Starry Night" pictures sparkle. More to do Dramatic play: Use a refrigerator box to make a "rocket ship" for the play center. Put a journal or plain paper inside for the "astronauts" to record what they see in "outer space."



Daytime/Nighttime

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Poster board Marker Crayons Paper Scissors
Instructions: 1. Talk about day and night. Name things that we usually do in the daytime, things we do at night, and things we could do during the day or night. You can also name things we could see during the day or night. 2. Draw a Venn diagram of two large overlapping circles on the poster board. Label the large part of the circle on the left "Day" and label the large part of the circle on the right "Night." Label the overlapping part "Day and Night." 3. During the day, children usually eat breakfast, go to school, and play. At night children see the stars, put on pajamas, and go to sleep. During day and night children brush their teeth, eat, and enjoy time with their families. You'll think of many more! 4. Have each child color things they do or see during the day, at night, or both. Cut them out and place on the class day-and-night Venn diagram. More to do Science: Talk to the children about animals that are nocturnal and what they do at night.



Turning Night to Day

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: 9" (23 cm) paper plates, two per child Paint or crayons Paper fasteners Scissors
Instructions: 1. Show the children how to fold both plates in half and use the fold as a guideline. 2. On one plate, have the children draw or paint a picture of a house or any outside scene on the top half, while the bottom of the plate is the ground decorated with grass etc. This is the scene plate. 3. On the top half of the scene plate, trim off all the excess parts of the plate closest to the picture. 4. On the other plate, invite the children to color or paint a day scene on the top half and a night scene on the lower portion. 5. Use the paper fastener to attach the picture plate to the top of the day and night plate. 6. Then turn night into day! More to do More art: The scene plate can be changed to animal habitats, various seasons of the year, or even the weather.



Dinosaur Sock Puppets

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Cardboard ovals, 1 3/8" x 2" (3.5 cm x 5 cm) Glue Old or new socks in solid colors Fabric Junk box items, such as packing peanuts, buttons, ribbon, popsicle sticks, googly eyes
Instructions: 1. Help the children glue cardboard ovals underneath the toes of each sock and fold them in half to create the mouths for the puppets. 2. Invite the children to glue fabric and items from the junk box on to the sock to create a dinosaur. Encourage the children to think about what features their dinosaurs need, and what items they could use to create them. For example, packing peanuts may be glued into the mouths for teeth or along the back of the sock for spikes. More to do Language: Ask the children to make up a story to go along with their new creations. They can decide on a name for their dinosaur, where the dinosaur lives, what he eats, and what the dinosaur likes to do for fun. Set up a puppet theater and let the children put on impromptu shows with their puppets.



Dino Hats

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Solid-color kerchief or fabric in similar shape Scissors Felt or construction paper Glue Googly eyes Pompoms Fabric paint
Instructions: 1. Have the children cut small triangles from construction paper or felt. Show them how to glue the triangles, or sharp dinosaur teeth, inside the kerchief along the front; when the child wears the kerchief, he will wear it across his forehead and tie it in back of his head. The teeth will be positioned across the child's forehead when he wears the kerchief. 2. Invite the children to glue googly eyes and pompoms on the kerchief and add a few spots here and there with fabric paint. 3. Set the kerchiefs aside to dry. More to do Language: Compose a dinosaur adventure together. More art: Decorate baseball hats or visors. Design a matching T-shirt. Use a pattern to cut dinosaur shapes in duplicate from fabric or paper; sew or glue the pieces together and fill the dinosaurs with stuffing.



Unique Fossils

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Small objects, such as acorns, rocks, paper clips, buttons, twigs Plaster of Paris Water Styrofoam cup Small cups from drink mixes, such as Crystal Light
Instructions: 1. Have each child find a small object to make a fossil out of. They can look for objects in the class- 117 room or outside. 2. Prepare the plaster of Paris in a Styrofoam cup, according to the directions on the box. 3. Pour the plaster of Paris into each Crystal Light cup, and give one to each child. 4. Have the children place their objects into their cups. The children should press the objects about a 1/4" (6 mm) deep. 5. After the plaster of Paris starts to firm up, carefully remove the objects and set the cups aside to dry completely. 6. Have the children remove their "fossils" from the Crystal Light cups. More to do Guest: Invite an archaeologist to speak to the class. Science: Lay out all the fossils and small objects from which they were made, and encourage the children to match the fossil with the object that made it. Bring in real fossils, or pictures of real fossils, for the children to look at.



Dinosaur Sidewalk Shapes

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Enlarged dinosaur shape cut from oak tag or cardboard Colored sidewalk chalk
Instructions: 1. Take the children outside to a patio or sidewalk and invite them to trace around enlarged patterns of dinosaurs using colored chalk. 2. If children know the names of the dinosaurs, help them write these next to the outlines. 3. Encourage the children to draw in details or simply color the inside of the outline of the chalk. More to do More art: Tell the children to draw their own dinosaurs on the sidewalk without the use of a pattern. Encourage creativity! Science: Display books about dinosaurs along with puzzles and models for the children to explore.



Wear a Dinosaur!

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Plain white T-shirts White paper Fabric crayons Cardboard Iron and ironing board Fabric paints
Instructions: 1. Wash and dry all the T-shirts. 2. Invite the children to draw and color a dinosaur of their choice on the white paper using fabric crayons. Remind the children that they must press hard with the crayons. (You may have to darken some areas before ironing.) 3. Place a piece of cardboard inside each shirt before ironing. 4. Lay each picture face down over the front of a T-shirt. 5. Follow the directions on the fabric crayon box for ironing. 6. After the shirts are cool, let the children create scenery around their dinosaurs with fabric paints. More to do Movement: Encourage the children to wear their T-shirts and have a dinosaur parade to music.



Dinosaur on the Wall

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Bulletin board paper Tape Overhead projector Dinosaur books Pencils Permanent marker Paintbrushes Tempera paints Scissors
Instructions: 1. Tape a large piece of bulletin board paper to the wall. 2. Have the children choose a picture of a dinosaur from a book. With the help of an overhead projector, have the children draw the outline of the dinosaur on the paper with pencils. Make it as large as possible. 3. Outline the drawing with a permanent marker. 4. Encourage the children to work together to decide on what features this dinosaur should have. 5. Let the children work in small groups to paint features on the dinosaur. When it is dry, cut it out, and mount it on the wall. More to do Blocks: Set up a dinosaur museum in the block area. Decorate the area using the dinosaur mural. Encourage the children to pretend that the blocks are dinosaur bones, and to use them to put together dinosaur skeletons. Field trip: Visit a natural history museum where there is a dinosaur exhibit.



Dynamic Dinosaurs

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Construction paper Crayons, colored pencils, or markers Scissors Paper fasteners
Instructions: 1. Divide the children into groups of four or five. 2. Ask each group to create a dinosaur and assign each child in the group a part of the dinosaur body; for example, each child would be responsible for either the head, neck, body, legs, or tail of the dinosaur. 3. Have the children spread out around the room and work apart from their group. 4. Supply the children with construction paper, drawing tools, and scissors. Ask each child to design the body part that they are responsible for without looking at their partners' designs. 5. When the children are ready, invite them to meet again as a group and connect the individual parts with paper fasteners, creating a disjointed dinosaur with a very unusual appearance. Have each group name their dinosaur. 6. Display the dinosaurs on a large wall or mural. More to do More art: Create 3-D dinosaurs with butcher paper; cut out two sides of a dinosaur and staple them together leaving an opening, then stuff with newspaper and paint or decorate. Game: Before you fasten the dinosaur parts together, group the children according to the part of the dinosaur they created and assign each child in the group a number; call out their numbers in sequence and have them assemble a dinosaur"continue until all possible combinations have been made.



Dinosaurs on the Ceiling

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Dinosaur pictures Large white paper, 18" x 24" (45 cm x 60 cm) Markers Paper clips Scissors Stapler Newspaper String
Instructions: 1. Display dinosaur pictures in the art area. 2. Give the children large sheets of paper and ask them to choose their favorite dinosaur and draw it with markers. 3. Fasten another sheet of paper to the drawings with paper clips, and cut around the dinosaurs so that you end up with two of each child's dinosaur. 4. Staple each pair together around the outside edge leaving an opening where the children can stuff crumpled newspapers inside to make three-dimensional dinosaurs. 5. Staple the opening closed and add a string at the top to hang the dinosaur. 6. Have the children decorate both sides of the dinosaur shape with bright markers. 7. Hang the dinosaurs from the classroom ceiling. More to do Game: Play "I'm Thinking of a Dinosaur" by letting the children take turns giving clues about the dinosaurs hanging from the ceiling, while the rest of the class guesses the name of the dinosaur.



The Mad Monster

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Large monster, cut out of poster board Glue Fake fur Rubber clown nose Old mittens Large googly eyes Markers Contact paper Masking tape Wipe-off crayons Yarn
Instructions: 1. Talk with the children about emotions, especially anger. Explain that everyone feels angry sometimes, but we have to find good ways of expressing our anger. 2. Tell the children they will now make a special monster that will help them express their anger in a good way. 3. Show them the monster that you cut out of poster board. 4. Call on the children to help you add the monster's features. They may choose to glue fur on the monster's head, glue on a clown nose, attach the mittens for hands, glue on moveable eyes, or draw on the clothing with markers. 5. Have the children name the monster. 6. Cover it with contact paper, and hang it on the wall. Attach a few wipe-off crayons to pieces of yarn, and attach these to the wall next to the mad monster. 7. Tell the children that whenever they feel angry, they can come over to the monster and use the crayons to scribble out their anger on the monster.



Paper Plate Masks

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Paper plates, with holes cut for eyes Popsicle sticks Masking tape Markers
Instructions: 1. Give each child a paper plate, a Popsicle stick, and a piece of masking tape. Help the children tape the stick to the plate as a handle. 2. Invite the children to use the markers to draw a happy face on one side of their plate and a sad face on the other. Encourage creativity! Faces can have tears, teeth, noses, and eyebrows. 3. Encourage the children to act out happy or sad situations using their masks. More to do Games: Ask the children a variety of questions beginning with "How would you feel if" and adding an experience, such as "you got an ice cream cone" or "your cat was sick." Ask the children to turn the mask to the happy or sad side to answer the question. More art: Suggest that the children make masks portraying other emotions, such as anger, fear, and surprise.



Squishy Squeezie

April 03, 2015
Book: The Giant Encyclopedia of Art and Craft Activities for Children 3 to 6
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Fine Motor
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child
Materials: Balloons or rubber gloves Funnel Various nontoxic fillings, such as flour, sand, or baking soda
Instructions: 1. Stretch out balloon or glove, so no parts are sticking together. 2. Using a funnel, help the children pour one of the fillings into their balloons. 3. Stop filling before the balloons are too full, and tie the end in a knot. 4. Encourage the children to squeeze this toy when they have strong feelings or just for fun! More to do Games: Set up a beanbag game where children take turns tossing beanbags into receptacles. More art: Give children stickers of eyes, ears, noses, etc., and let them decorate their Squishy Squeezies.



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