The Benefits of Playing Outside For Early Childhood Development

Benefits of Playing Outside for Early Childhood Development

Most early childhood experts agree that outdoor play is essential for young children. Not only does it provide them with the opportunity to explore and learn about their environment, but it also helps them to develop important physical, social, and cognitive skills. Here are just a few of the benefits that outdoor play can provide for early childhood development:

Physical Development

Outdoor play is a great way for young children to get the exercise they need. Running, climbing, and playing games are all great ways for them to develop their gross motor skills. Additionally, being outdoors can also help children to develop their fine motor skills as they pick up small objects or try to climb onto playground equipment.

Social Development

Playing outside also provides young children with the opportunity to interact with other kids and adults. This can help them to develop important social skills, such as communication, cooperation, and problem-solving. Additionally, outdoor play can also give children a chance to practice their leadership skills as they take charge of games or activities.

Cognitive Development

Finally, outdoor play can also help young children to develop important cognitive skills. Searching for objects, counting steps, or following directions are all great ways for kids to learn about their environment and develop their thinking skills. Additionally, playing outside can also help children to develop their imaginations as they pretend to be different animals or characters.

As the weather warms up outside, the best way to spend the days is in our backyards or visiting some of the best parks around your home.

Family-Friendly Activities For Spring in Eden Prairie, MN

What Are Some Family-Friendly Activities You Can Do This Spring in Eden Prairie, MN?

If you’re looking for some fun activities to do with your family this spring, look no further than Eden Prairie, MN! There are plenty of great things to do in this city that will keep everyone entertained. Here are just a few of the many family-friendly activities you can enjoy in Eden Prairie this spring:

1. Visit the Minnesota Zoo. The Minnesota Zoo is a great place to take the family for a day of fun. There are plenty of animals to see, and the zoo also offers educational programs and events that the whole family can enjoy.

2. Go hiking or biking. Eden Prairie is home to many beautiful parks and trails, making it the perfect place to go for a hike or bike ride. There are trails of all difficulty levels, so everyone in the family can find one that’s just right for them.

3. Play at the park. Eden Prairie is home to several great parks, including Miller Park and Round Lake Park. These parks offer plenty of playground equipment and open space for running around, making them perfect for a family outing.

4. Visit the Eden Prairie Center. The Eden Prairie Center is a great place to take the family for a day of shopping, dining, and entertainment. There are over 100 stores and restaurants at the center, as well as a movie theater, an indoor water park, and much more.

5. Take a drive around Lake Riley. If you’re looking for some beautiful scenery to take in, head over to Lake Riley and take a scenic drive around the lake. The views will not disappoint!

In addition to these great activities, Eden Prairie is home to many other great things that your family can enjoy this spring.

Best Public Playgrounds Near Brooklyn Park, MN

Brooklyn Park is known for its access to many parks, and one of the best things about them is that they are open to the public. If you are looking for a great place to take your kids or just get some exercise, these parks are worth checking out.

Elm Creek Park Reserve:

While it is not in Brooklyn Park, it is within minutes of most homes. In addition to being the largest park reserve in the Twin Cities metro, it also offers many fun activities and playgrounds. This huge park is located in Maple Grove, Dayton, and Champlin. It offers tons of outdoor activities and trails, but the biggest selling point for kids is its large and colorful playground area.

Central Park:

This park is located in the heart of Brooklyn Park and offers something for everyone. There is a playground, a basketball court, a soccer field, and plenty of green space for picnics or games of tag.

Northwoods Park:

This park is great for kids thanks to its large playground with a variety of equipment, including a climbing wall and a zip line. There is also a basketball court, a tennis court, and a softball field.

Willowstone Park:

This small neighborhood park is a hidden gem. It has a playground, a basketball court, and plenty of green space. It also boasts a great view of the Mighty Mississippi River! It is the perfect place to take a break from the city without having to travel too far.

As Spring approaches, it’s time to start getting some fresh air for your kids. If you are looking for a place to get some exercise or take your kids for a playdate, these parks are worth checking out.

How to Get Your Kids Active During the Cold Months

During the cold months, it can be difficult to get your kids active and outside. You can try a variety of activities to keep them active, such as sledding or skating. You can also try out outdoor sports, such as hockey or skiing. You can also use indoor play areas such as playgrounds or ice rinks. Children can imitate their parents and siblings while enjoying outdoor activities.

Getting your children active during the cold months is essential for their physical and mental health. The cold weather causes them to store unused energy, which can affect their well-being. This can be easily prevented by limiting the screen time your kids have during the winter. By doing this, you will be able to motivate your child to spend more time outdoors during warmer months. The same applies to the parents. It is crucial for them to be physically active to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle.

In addition to outdoor activities, you can also do activities inside. Some of these activities include video games and dancing. For your little ones, try bowling or karaoke. During the cold months, indoor sports like soccer or basketball are also great indoors. In addition to playing video games and walking, you can try dancing in the snow. You can even plan family dance parties. Whatever your children like, make sure they are physically active during the cold months.

How Daycare Teaches Kids to Be Resilient

Working parents want to ensure their children are learning the best they can while away at daycare. While there are many benefits of enrolling your child in a daycare program, one of the most overlooked ones is the resiliency it can instill in a child. Here is how child care centers build resilience in children.

Successful daycares set up spaces to allow the children to explore their environment safely, which builds up self-esteem, independence, and confidence. There are many hands-on approaches to learning at daycares, which can help bloom creativity in children. Many skills are learned from this approach, and since children are curious by nature, they will constantly learn more and more.

Empathy is one of the most important traits anyone can develop. At childcare centers, children are constantly working and playing with each other. This can empower children to do good for others, but this can also help them be more confident in themselves. Children are taught social lessons each day, and when they learn that not every child is like them, they begin to understand how to be more empathetic towards others.

Because of the social environment, children learn to self-regulate behaviors and develop patience. Tying in the empathy they develop, children become much more resilient. They may even begin helping other children who might have a difficult time with solving a problem.

Over time, you will find that your child overcomes minor challenges once they’ve spent time in a child care center. Their development is crucial to their success in their adolescence, and much of their learning can start at daycare.

Tips on Making Play Time Learning Time

All children love to play. But did you know that they naturally learn by playing? There is more to “having fun” when children play. Since they are actively making their own choices and being involved in an activity, children can discover meanings and build connections. As a parent, you want to ensure your children are getting the best educational experiences they can get, even at very early stages of life. Luckily, you can incorporate learning into your playtime. Here are ways you can extend your child’s learning through playtime.

For Two Years and Under

While you may not think babies are “playing” in the sense that a toddler would, they do experience with their senses. One of the best educational experiences for babies is a “show and tell” activity. Children start to interact with other materials as they get older, but when they are under two, you can make for an interactive yet educational experience.

Show your babies any colorfully contrasting items, or ones with lots of texture and noise. They will be mesmerized by the sight of some objects. You should have them placed within their reach, and encourage them to play with them. You can use any toy or object that is safe for their age. Many people don’t realize they are already doing activities like this.

Another way to encourage learning while playing is to “tell” them what they are doing. When your baby is playing, interact with them and describe to them what they are doing. You should show that you are curious about what they’re doing and ask them questions. For instance, if your child is playing with a red ball, you can announce, “I see you are playing with a red ball!” You could then begin to ask them questions about the activity, such as, “What does the ball do?”.

Playing With Toddlers

As children get closer to the toddler years, they begin to incorporate what they see others do into their play. They might also begin to play next to other people. If you notice your child fixating on an activity that other people are doing, you should ask them questions and encourage them to try the activity themselves. For instance, if there is another group of children working on a puzzle, the toddler may wander over and watch them figure it out. Explain to them what they are doing. “Those kids are fitting the pieces together to make a puzzle. Can you find the missing piece?”

For many young children, playtime can be an educational experience. As a parent, you should encourage your child to explore their curiosities, and be there to ask questions. The more you pique their curiosity, the more informational the experience can be. Playing can be an incredibly powerful tool for children!

Tips For Teaching Responsibility To Children

Children learn most when they experience the lessons they learn in school or childcare. Responsibility is an important trait that children should learn early on. Here are some tips on how to raise responsible children.

Be a Role Model

First and foremost, as parents, you should model responsible behavior in the home. Some simple steps are apologizing when a mistake is made, cleaning up after every mess, bringing a shopping cart back to the store, etc. Many simple moments in our everyday life require our attention, and involving your kids in them can help teach them responsibility.

Outline and Enforce Rules

Be consistent with your enforcement of rules. Make a few set rules for the house, and make sure you are consistently verbalizing them. You should also make sure you are always enforcing them for every child, and not making excuses for them.

Stay Positive

Maintaining positivity is incredibly important. When you have a chore to do, be cheerful about it when you ask your children to help. If you’ve finished your meal, say “Please put your dishes in the sink”, rather than “Why did you leave a mess?”. Positive reinforcement can be crucial when introducing responsibilities to your children. Another good tip is to involve yourself in the chore. After a meal, you could say “Let’s clean up the dishes now!”.

Parents will begin to realize that their actions rub off on their kids. When you show that you take care of your responsibilities, your children will learn just how important they are. Try to keep your kids involved in your daily activities as much as possible, as this will enthuse them to learn about responsibility.

How to To Support a Child’s Mental Health

Every parent should care about their children’s mental health. And in times like these, many children may feel stress in and out of the home. Regardless of the situations, they are facing at the moment, there are methods parents can take to ensure their children’s mental health is taken seriously. Here are some tips that parents can follow to support their child’s mental health.

Make Routines At Home

Routines are essential for children to follow, as it gives them a sense of structure and security. Many changes have been made within the last year that may have damaged this sense of consistency, such as remote learning, moving around workspaces, and other adaptations we have had to make to combat COVID-19. Try to stay consistent with your routines at home, and if they have questions about why they need to make these adjustments, provide reassurance to them. When children know what they should expect in a situation, they will feel in control.

Don’t Burn Yourself Out

As a parent, you want to care for your children. However, this can often result in neglecting self-care. You aren’t able to pour from an empty cup, so you need to make sure your mental health is in check. Practicing guilt-free self-care is crucial to prevent yourself from burnout, and it also creates a great example for the kids. Try to create a list of things to do each day to bring joy into your life, and maybe share those moments with your kids!

If you want to develop empathy and stress-management skills in your kids, you shouldn’t mask your feelings to them. If you’re having a rough day, share with your children why you feel that way. For instance, due to social distancing guidelines, many of us have not seen our family in quite some time. You might feel bummed that you missed another holiday this year, and your kids might ask why you seem so sad.

By telling them the reasons why you feel this way, you help them identify and validate these emotions. You can then create a coping strategy. For instance, while you were not able to have a face-to-face dinner with your family for Easter this year, you still managed to have a virtual meeting. The concept of reuniting the family on a holiday still exists, albeit in a different format.

Spend More Time Together as a Family

While you develop routines for your family, make sure to put effort into making fun routines. For instance, dedicate your Saturdays to exploring a new park. Look up nearby parks, or venture out into state parks. These small routines can help develop strong familial relationships as well as giving your children something to look forward to every weekend. At the end of the day, ask your children for three good things that happened today. This can help them practice gratitude.

Fun Outdoor Spring Activities To Do With Your Family

As spring begins a new season, many families are excited to finally spend some extra time outdoors. With Covid-19 restrictions still in effect for many states, many parents are wondering how they can entertain their children outdoors. Here is a list of fun and creative activities you can do with your kids outside in the Spring.

Make Your Own Bubbles

Every kid loves bubbles, but did you know that they are incredibly easy to make? The best part, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. To make your own bubbles, all you will need is dish soap, water, and glycerin. Mix the batch up, and get ready to blow bubbles in your backyard. There are many fun activities you can play with your children, such as a bubble tag, or a freeze dance. Whoever pops the most bubbles while the song plays wins.

Do a Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are incredibly popular during this time of year, especially during Easter. You don’t need to round off some objects to have your kids find them. Instead, let them explore nature. Have them find flowers, pinecones, or even look for the perfect, roundest rock. Kids will love looking for unique items right in your own backyard, which is a great way to get them to enjoy some of the amazing beauty nature has to offer us.

Grow Veggies With Them

There is never an age that is too early to be taught how to garden. Bring your kids to a garden center and have them pick out a vegetable they would want to grow. You can teach them how to take care of the plant, from potting it to watering it, and as soon as you’ll know, it will become a bountiful crop. This can be an exciting way for your children to understand where the food you eat comes from, and it might even be the perfect way to get them to consume more veggies.

Take Spring Pictures

Many parents dread the idea of doing a family photo, especially with multiple kids. However, you can make the idea a bit more fun than just having them get dressed up and smile for a camera. Make the photo shoot a challenge by having your kids look around your yard to find the “best” spot. Then, you can take pictures in their spots. This will be perfect for updating your family pictures, but you can also do scrapbooks with them for a Mother’s Day project.

Spring is an optimistic time. Everybody is excited to see the warm weather arriving, so it’s a perfect time to connect back with your family outdoors. Consider some of these creative activities for spending time with your kids. It will keep them occupied for quite some time, and the best part is that it will all be spent outside.

3 Easy At Home Exercises You Can Do With Your Kids

Exercise is important for everyone, including your children. While your children may get plenty of play outside during the warm months, it is difficult to get them to exercise in the winter. So how do parents get their kids to move around indoors? Here are some of the easiest exercises you can do with your kids at home.

Running in Place

Running is the simplest way to exercise, and it’s a great way for kids to burn off some energy. The key to these “workouts” is to treat them like “play”. Do short bursts of exercises every day, that way you aren’t burning yourself out.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping is a great way to improve muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, and there’s no better exercise than jumping jacks. Other examples of jumping could be hurdle hops, tuck jumps, criss-cross jumps, or even squats.

Creative Exercise Games

Get creative with the exercises you do. Some examples include squat relays and corners.. For squat relays, have your kids on the opposite side of the rooms. On “go” the kids will run to meet in the middle and do a series of squats. After, they return to the sides of the room, and repeat the process a few times.

Corners is another incredibly fun and energetic play. Put each kid in a corner of the room.

On your cue, have them rotate to a different corner of the room and do a series of exercises. This could be a few jumping jacks, 15 second wall sit, or some push-ups. Let your kids decide which workouts they want to do.

When it comes to getting your kids to exercise, it can be a bit difficult. But with stay-at-home orders, we are all a bit too pent up. Exercise is important at any age, so follow these fun activities at home so both you and your kids can get some form of exercise and a little bit of fun bonding time!

COVID-Friendly Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Family This Autumn

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. And now that summer is officially over, a new season is upon us, one that is typically loaded with family activities. However, With the typical events canceled, and kids getting cooped up at home with distance learning, many parents are struggling to find ideas for keeping their kids entertained, all the while enjoying some quality family time. But by following CDC guidelines closely, you can still enjoy many popular fall activities with your family. Here’s the top COVID-friendly activities you can do with your family this fall.

Apple Orchards

Every fall, one of the most popular activities is to go apple picking. However, even some of the largest apple-picking events have shut down for the year. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t find an orchard near you. Many smaller, farm owned orchards are remaining open.

To ensure there are strict social distancing measures, they may end up allowing limited tickets and have timed entries, to ensure there are not too many people going in at once. So wear your masks, and wait until you get home to eat the apples. Make sure you and your kids wash their hands and the fruit thoroughly.

Scavenger Hunts

Fall is a great time to enjoy scavenger hunting at farms as well, but because this activity requires multiple people touching hidden objects, it can be a breeding ground for germs. However, you don’t need to bring your kids to an organized hunt. Instead, you can do it at home.

This is a perfect way to keep your kids entertained and enjoy the fall weather, and you can even get more creative with what you’re hiding!

Watching Leaves Change Colors

One of the more popular fall activities is leaf-peeping (a.k.a watching the leaves change to their glorious fall colors). This is quite possibly the most COVID-friendly activity, as well as the most festive fall activity. The best part of this is that you can do this from the comfort of your car or on a bike! You can always bring your family to locations that are notable for their fall leaves, but just make sure you abide social distancing guidelines.

Going on Hikes

Fresh air is the best kind of air, and luckily hiking is a fairly social-distancing friendly activity. The best part is, you can even get your fall-peeping done too! Make sure you check which facilities or parks are open at the time, and of course, be cautious of how busy these can be. Many playgrounds will still be closed in various parts of the country, so finding a park with safe and easy trails will be an excellent option instead. Make sure to bring your own sanitizer just to be extra safe.

There is no risk-free situation for COVID-19. Of course, the best measure to combat the spread of this novel virus is to follow CDC guidelines. But just remember there are alternatives to just staying at home all day.

How to Talk to Your Children About COVID-19

It’s been nearly six months since the initial shutdowns or businesses and schools, but as we are winding down the year, children are slowly returning to the routine of things, adapting to the changing climate of the pandemic we live in. For many children who are starting childcare, they might be simply too young to fully understand the magnitude of COVID-19, and as a parent, you probably are finding it incredibly difficult to talk with them about it. So here are some easy facts that you can share with your children.

Define what COVID-19 is

Let your children know what COVID-19 is by telling them there is a germ out there that can make some people sick. You can inform them of the common symptoms–if they are old enough to understand–such as a cough and fever. You should also let them know that not everyone may develop those symptoms or any at all.

Explain how germs spread

If you have not already gone over the importance of how germs spread, now is a crucial time. Explain to them how germs enter your body. COVID-19 typically spreads to the respiratory system by touching the nose, eyes, and mouth. Some children might not fully understand what germs are, so let them know that they are so small that they cannot see it. The best way to prevent contact is by frequently washing your hands and practicing not touching your face. They should also be aware of social distancing, especially when someone has a cough or a sneeze.

Teach the importance of washing your hands

Taking practical steps will not only prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it will teach them important lessons to use later on in life. Encourage them to wash their hands frequently before meals. If they sneeze or cough, make sure they know to cover it properly, and then follow up by washing their hands.

You can demonstrate these fairly easily. An excellent way to ensure they wash their hands for the recommended 20 seconds is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Get creative and have some fun!

Talking to your children about COVID-19 can be stressful for you, but it can be even scarier for your children. The importance of keeping your children calm about COVID-19 is crucial. You don’t want to cause fear in them, rather keep them informed and encourage them to do their part in preventing the spread.

Why Is It Important to Reward Kids for Effort?

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs out there. You’re responsible not just for feeding and clothing your children, but raising and nurturing them into good human beings.

Having said that, there’s no fixed set of guidelines or one right way to parenting. Every child is different, and every parent is different, and therefore, good parenting can be different for everyone.

One aspect that is a must for good parenting is rewarding children.

The Importance of Rewarding Kids

Rewarding children for certain behaviors and rewarding hard work is extremely crucial to encourage them to continue doing it. Continuously rewarding kids for good actions will motivate them to repeat them until it becomes a habit. This is especially important when kids are younger.

The first seven years of a child’s life are quite important as during this time, their brains are rapidly growing, and they’re developing vital life and social skills.
If a parent can teach good habits to their children from a young age through a proper reward system, they have a good chance of sticking with them throughout their lives.

Additionally, rewarding kids, for example, by praising a child, makes them feel good about themselves. Consequently, it helps shape their personality as they have good self-esteem and self-confidence.

Similarly, there are a lot of benefits of rewarding children. It creates a positive atmosphere. Sometimes, it can even help discourage bad behavior.

How to Reward Kids

Some parents might think that getting their children their favorite toy or the latest gadget is the way to reward them. That is not necessarily true. Giving your child a gift is an example of a tangible reward. You can reward your children through intangible gifts, such as praise.

Parents must give both tangible and intangible rewards to not make them too materialistic. A simple pat on the back or praising their actions is enough to make your child feel good and motivated to do it again.

Rewarding kids doesn’t always have to be done after they’ve accomplished something. It’s important to reward them simply for putting in their best effort too, regardless of whether they were able to achieve their goal or not.

Dangers of Rewarding Children

Despite what many may believe, there is such a thing as too much rewarding. The main goal of rewarding kids is to encourage a particular behavior or habit.

If you put too much focus on rewarding, your child might become only focused on the rewards and not on inculcating those habits. Even if it’s intangible rewards like praise, too much of it can turn your child into a narcissist.

For parents, even the smallest of good deeds and tiniest achievements by their children can make them incredibly happy and proud.

From learning to tie their own shoelaces and getting potty trained to graduating from college and getting that first job, achieving these milestones simply fills parents with pride. However, to actually get their children to achieve those milestones, parents need to reward their kids regularly.

How You Can Keep Your Children Calm During The COVID 19 Crisis

COVID-19 has disrupted the world, and many are experiencing the pangs of shelter-in-place. And because people are home 24/7 it’s causing anxiety levels to increase in adults and children. As such, parents are having to deal with their child or children’s schooling issues while trying to provide for their families. This pandemic is exceptional in its magnitude and spread throughout the world. It’s on every media outlet and it’s at the heart of every conversation especially during dinner. And due to the adjustments being made throughout the world, it has placed an increasingly amount of stress on children.

Here are a few ways on how you can keep your children calm during the COVID-19 crisis.

Remain calm. The key to having calm children during COVID-19 crisis or any crisis, is for parents to remain calm themselves. Children pick up on their parent’s behavior. For this reason, it is important for the parent(s) to remain calm in order to reassure their children that everything is okay. If you as a parent is unable to stay calm during the COVID-19 crisis, your children won’t remain calm either.

Create a sense of safety. Getting to know each other as a family is a safe haven to kids in the midst of vulnerability. Since kids are more susceptible and defenseless in many instances, it’s imperative to focus attention on providing a place of safety and giving them tangible provisions such as activities that are calming, their favorite dishes, blankets, or favorite toy used to make them feel safe or that all is well.

Limit exposure to news. News reports can be overwhelming for children especially since certain details about an event are described using sounds and images that may be a little too much for kids and can cause more harm than good. It’s also a good idea to not to depend on the news to provide your child(ren) with the updates about answers they may be seeking. Instead, get verified answers to the questions they are asking by seeking out credible sources to help you explain what is happening in the world concerning COVID-19. Let your children know that their safety is your number one priority.

Take time to listen. It’s important to give space for children to communicate their emotions and anxieties. By asking questions that allow them to give more than a yes or no answer gives them an opportunity to recognize what they want.

Tune in to what your children are saying, rather than giving them the answers allow them space to answer as they see it. Afterwards, reassure them by acknowledging what they have said and what they are feeling is normal.

Let the children play. Play is each youngster’s common type of conveying and preparing occasions. Children can recount tales about what they’ve heard and how they feel, regardless of whether they understand it or not. Besides, allowing children to play keeps them from being preoccupied with events that might be a bit too much for them. Plus, it gives them a way to release their bottled up tension and energy.

Crises have a way of affecting us and can cause a lot of anxiety especially to young people. How we cope is important not only for our well-being but for the well-being of our children. Thankfully, there are ways in which to remain calm during the COVID-19 crisis such as, remain calm as a parent, create a sense of safety, limit exposure to news, take time to listen, and let the children play.

This is not an exhaustive list of ways to remain calm during the COVID-19 crisis.

What are some of the ways in which you are helping your children remain calm during this pandemic? Let us know in the comment section.

5 Ways to Create a Calming Environment for Your Children

COVID-19 has brought a lot of added stress to the world around us, creating a lot of uncertainty and leaving everyone at home. With your children no longer at daycare or school, it can add to that stress and be tough to keep that school. Luckily, there are many silver linings we can take away from this time, a lot of it coming from simply remaining calm. As a parent, you’re going to have to take the lead and help your children make the most of the situation.

Here are some ideas to create a calming environment for your children during quarantine:

Establish a Routine

Many children are used to following a daily schedule with a majority of the structure coming from school. As long as you lock into some form of a routine, your children will become familiar with the cadence and start to take things in stride. It’s all about providing consistency and stability allowing your children to form a new rhythm while everyone is at home.

Make Expectations Clear

One thing you can do for your children is give them a goal for the day and plan far ahead so they know what to expect the next day. Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of the day to course correct, confront each day with a plan that your child can understand. It may vary based on the age of your children, but if you dig deep you can find something that works.

Be Positive

This is a confusing time for everyone, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way, but simply being as positive as possible will be the best thing for your children. They are adept at sensing stress, so being positive will help keep things as normal as possible.

Practice Self-Care

When you and your children have downtime, do things that you can both enjoy and bond over. If you can co-parent, make sure you and your spouse take turns giving you a bit of alone time so you can be refreshed a little bit doing something you enjoy.

Know When to Bend the Rules

When the situation calls for it, try to be as flexible as you can. If you can end your work day a bit early to do something fun with your child, take that opportunity. Reward good behavior by getting creative. Doing this will boost morale around the house and enhance overall positivity.

5 Tips to Effectively Teach Your Child Through COVID-19

COVID-19 has left children quarantined with parents at home with schools and day care centers closed across the country. There is a lot of uncertainty now, but we have no choice to move forward as best as we can. Now that your children are at home with you, there are certain actions you can take to ensure that they’re continuing an enriching learning experience. Here are some tips to keep your child stimulated through quarantine.

Take Things Slowly

It will take some time for your children to get used to school at home. The best thing you can do for them is to calmly give them the information you need while slowly building their routine. Make sure you give them time to decompress. You may be feeling anxious now, but try as much as you can to not pass that onto your children.

Develop a Schedule

Preparation is key when it comes to trying to make things as regular as possible during these rare circumstances. When there’s no schedule for your child to follow, simply take matters in your own hands by giving them a structure to follow every day. An important component to remember is to give your children some outside time as they’ll need it to not feel so isolated. If you’re working from home and can swing it, this would be great to spend this time together.

Find Online Replacement Activities

Outside of school work, there are probably multiple activities that have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Luckily, there have been many people and organizations that have stepped up to the plate. A great way to enrich your child’s day-to-day experience is by enrolling them in a couple of these activities. If your child’s instructor or coach is offering these classes, take them up on it as it’s an excellent way to keep them learning and engaging with their peers.

Let Your Children Use Creative Outlets

This is a tough time for everyone, but there are activities your child can learn and/or participate in that can help them calm their nerves. These are activities such as music, journaling, and art. This will allow them to properly state their feelings about COVID-19 and how their life has been impacted. They could also discover a new passion or talent!

Be Realistic

Make sure to keep your expectations tempered. Quarantine is not a competition, don’t put all of your energy into one activity and burn out. Just focus on doing the best you can and don’t compare your child’s progress to that of other children. Staying calm is the most important thing you can do to assure your child that everything is going to be just fine.

The Top Back to School Tips for Parents

Summer coming to an end means one thing: it is back to school season. It’s an exciting time, but many students dread the return of a new school year because it can be very stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience for your children, as there are ways that you as a parent can help make the transition from a relaxing summer break to a busy new school year a smooth one.

Make Mornings Easy

Starting your children off on a peaceful morning routine can result in a relaxing yet focused day for them at school. To start, make sure you are up and ready at least 20 minutes before your children. It’s smart to plan their outfits and breakfast so they don’t feel rushed and anxious before the school day has begun. You should also implement a “no electronics” rule before bed and right away in the morning to avoid any distractions that can cause them to delay the newly established routine.

Get Them the Right School Supplies

Make sure you are reviewing the list of supplies that are provided by the school or a new teacher. Your children must have access to them from day one. This emphasizes the importance of preparation, and your child will surely do much better school the more prepared they are. You can make the shopping experience more positive for your child by splurging a little bit on a fun folder or notebook. This makes the object much more exciting to use and your child will cherish it over the first option.

Establish Consistent Regiment for Homework

A full school day isn’t short, so it can be hard to get your children to do their homework immediately following their home arrival. This can make them feel burnt out the minute they get home. If they wait too late into the night, they might not have enough time to finish their homework. This could lead to the development of bad behaviors such as procrastination or not doing the work at all. To avoid burning your children out, you should give them a short rest period before they start their homework. A substantial half-hour break right after they arrive from school is the perfect amount of downtime. Make sure your child has a clean workspace and can easily access the utensils (pens, markers, etc.) necessary for getting the work done.

Update Your Calendar

While many schools and school districts provide an academic schedule that highlights key events, it is vital to highlight your children’s homework due-dates. Some teachers will give a monthly or weekly calendar, but that can change. Ask your children about more significant projects and make them on your schedule. The more you’re made aware of their schoolwork, the more accountable the child will feel for its completion.

How to Encourage Your Children to Spend More Time Outdoors

It’s a struggle that most parents have in the modern era, especially considering how easily connected our children are amongst many, many devices. How can you encourage your children to spend more time outdoors?

You could pick them up yourself and drag them outside, but as they get older (and heavier), this isn’t viable. What are some practical ways to get your children under the age of 12 outdoors? Read on to learn five solutions.

To entice your children with the thought of being outside, you need to determine what they might be interested in. If your child plays sports during the school year, you could encourage them to practice more by playing the game outdoors, even if it’s a sport that is typically hosted in a gymnasium.

If your child is more artistic, give them some chalk or encourage them to draw outside. We drive a lot of our creative inspiration from things we find in nature, so teach them this lesson by having them do artwork, either on pavement or with whatever medium they choose to work with.

Sometimes our children are fussy, and neither you nor your child knows what they’re interested in. This is where you might have to do some creative thinking and experiment with activities. Encourage them to expand their imaginations and play outdoors, because surely they will find some fun.

More important bonding moments happen outdoors. Because of this, you will encourage your child to put down their devices and enjoy what nature has to offer both your children and you. Since you are the one who wants them to show interest in being outside, be a leader and engage with their activity. If your child wants to play a sport, play with them.

If you can’t figure out what to do outside with them, make a bucket list and knock off every activity together. Just make sure that these activities are exclusive to things you do outdoors. An enjoyable way to knocking off the items on your list is by going on an “adventure” day, which can be designated once or a few times a week. This gives your children a way to have an exciting time with the whole family.

If you have tried everything you can to get your child outside and they are not budging, you might need to invite some of their friends over. Just make sure they are spending their playtime outdoors. This is an excellent way for children to expand their imaginations and have outside, as they are more likely to make up a new activity if other children are around playing with them.

You can also get involved with the community to meet other families with similar interests. Look for events that are coming up and plan to go to at least once a month. Not only will you be getting your family involved with the community, but you might also make connections with other people to arrange further play dates with their children and yours. Having your children socialize more is very beneficial for their overall development.

Kids are already used to getting recess every day, so why not give it to them at home? Use the methods above to create habits for your kids, because sooner than you know it, they will be asking to go outside more often, which means you’ve succeeded in having them spend less time in front of a television or tablet.

Getting them in the habit of going outside will encourage them to spend more and more time outside, even if they are only going out for the portion of the day that you’ve planned.

It might seem too simple, but this method is beneficial. If you have a seating area in any part outside of your house, get your children outside by having them do more daily activities out there. This includes eating meals, doing homework, crafts, and games. And if your kiddos are active readers, introduce them to the world of reading outdoors.

While normal activities are not as engaging as physical activity, they are still spending time outside, which might encourage them to do more of. It can be a fight in itself, getting them to leave the house, so having them do these simple tasks is a big win.

It can be tough to introduce new routines and activities for your kids, especially when they are so used to spending their free time on their digital devices. Just like kids, it can be challenging to do this as an adult. So do not give up, and lead by example. You need to the motivation and inspiration for getting your children outside, so do not give up–because soon you will have more bonding moments with your children.

How to Help Your Kids Socialize With Others

Children come with all types of personalities. Some are chatty and outgoing, and others are quiet and introspective. Some even get nervous and anxious at just the thought of talking to others. There are ways to help kids who are afraid of socializing, however. Here are some tips.

Practice Makes Perfect

For some kids, being social comes naturally. For others, it’s a skill that has to be developed. For those kids, practice can make a big difference. Do some role-playing so they can get used to and remember things to say, and questions to ask new people they might come across at school or on the playground.

Demonstrate Friendship-Building

You might think it’s easy to create lasting friendships with people who you care about, but your child might not. Talk to them about how you treat and interact with your friends, so they can build the skills they will need to keep new friendships and help them flourish.

Preparation

Along with practice, you can role-play to help them prepare for specific situations. For instance, if your child is going to a birthday party, work on the social norms, such as wishing a happy birthday to the host.

Provide Opportunities

It is never a bad idea to get your child out into the world and allow them to interact with other children regularly. That might mean joining a playgroup, or certain extracurriculars. Activities like dance or vocal training can help with confidence as well. Kids can also benefit from watching how other kids socialize with each other, so that they can pick up some skills that way.

Some kids who have trouble socializing are simply shy, and just need to grow out of it or learn to live with it. For others, there may be an underlying issue that should be examined by a pediatrician. If you are concerned, call your child’s doctor to address it.

5 Fun Reading Activities That Kids Will Love

Reading is always fun, but it is never a bad idea to make it even more engaging and exciting for kids. Here are some reading activities that the kids in your life are sure to love.

Spirit Days

Have you been reading Dr. Seuss before bed? How about Harry Potter? One way to enhance your child’s love of reading and books is to get into character. Spend an afternoon dressing up and even talking like your favorite characters. You will no doubt laugh and enjoy trying to come up with Dr. Seuss rhymes for everyday activities.

Door Decorating

Kids love for their rooms to be a reflection of themselves and their interests. Work with your kids to decorate their bedroom doors with elements from their favorite books. You can have photos of yourselves dressed up, drawings, or even simply copies of book covers.

Reading Together

It’s one thing for you to read to kids. They can also read to you. Even more fun is reading together. Reading in chorus will help your children develop their fluency. It will also help them with their reading confidence, since reading out loud is often done in classroom settings.

Take a Trip

Looking for something to do on a quiet day? Why not head to the bookstore or the library? The library often has exhibits, story circles, and special events based around the favorite childrens’ books of the time. Bookstores as well will often have book-based activities that kids will love.

Challenge Them

You don’t ever want to be too forceful in encouraging kids to read, but offering incentives can work, especially if they’re fun. What is more fun than a parent making a fool of themselves? If they read a certain book, for instance, then maybe you can do something silly related to it, such as dress like a ridiculous character for a day, or eat a crazy food like green eggs and ham.

There is no greater gift than to read a good book. Get your kids hooked early with some fun and engaging reading activities.

4 Things to Know About Teaching Your Child to Read

Many parents fret about how quickly and easily their kids learn to read. Along with talking and walking, it may be the skill that they are most concerned with. It can place a lot of pressure not just on the child, but on the parent as well. There is an entire industry geared towards getting kids to read at an early age, and parents are buying up those products in record numbers. Whereas in the past, kids didn’t even start to read until around the age of eight, now kids are entering kindergarten already knowing how. The problem is that all of this emphasis on reading may just put unneeded pressure on everyone involved, and frustrate the child. Here are some things to know to effectively help your child read.

Be Wary of Preconceptions

Children who pick up reading early and those who do not are too often placed in different boxes. However, how early a child learns to read has no bearing on their future reading skills or habits. Do not assume that your child is slow if they are not reading by the time they get to second grade. You should not assume the opposite, either. Some kids just need some more time to master the skill. Things tend to even out during their middle elementary years. If you think your child is slow learning, then drilling them with phonics and placing pressure on them may end up hurting the efforts. Kids can start to view reading as more of a chore than a joy, and will shut it out.

How Reading Works

For most adults, reading has become second nature. We see words and we know what they mean or we can quickly use clues to decipher what they mean. However, in the brain there is a more complicated process happening underneath the surface. Our eyes see the bunch of lines and dots, and our brain almost immediately recognizes the pattern and assigns meaning to what the eyes see. The connections between the eyes and the brain take time and practice to strengthen and develop, so reading can take time. A child will learn that what the letters mean and how to recognize them, and then will learn how to put them together to make words. This is a process known as sounding out.

Reading Goes Beyond Phonics

Recognizing patterns and translating them into meaning is only a part of reading. Sure, a child can sound out a word, but they also must be able to process what they word means. They must be able to determine if a “hat” is a person, a place, or a thing, for instance. Then they must be able to understand grammar and punctuation in sentences. As they develop, they will be able to place things in context to understand what is going on. They will get that animals do not normally talk, which might make a story more interesting. They will also learn to empathize with certain characters and understand the potential consequences of what those characters do. Understanding all of this takes time to develop and for a child to practice.

Patience is a Virtue

Learning to read is a years long process. Parents and teachers should always remember to be patient and nurturing when helping a child to read. It is not about having the best reader in first grade, it is about developing a lifelong love of reading.

5 Ways to Trick Your Kids into Eating Healthier

One of the biggest challenges that parents face these days is getting their kids to eat healthier foods. There are so many processed and junky options out there that it is difficult to get them to eat their greens and fruits. One of the ways that many parents have found success in this regard is by tricking their kids in creative ways. Putting spinach on their plate does not mean they will eat it, but maybe serving it in a different way would work. Here are some sneaky things you can do to get your kids eating healthy foods.

Sneak It Into Sauces

Sauces and dressing are often not the healthiest things on a plate, but that does not have to be the case. Chop up some vegetables into tiny pieces and mix it into your causes. Even a blended veggie is still a veggie. Your kids will not even notice when it is combined with a tasty pasta sauce.

Use A different Type Of Pasta

Kids love pasta. It is a staple in many households. One thing you can do is start serving pasta that is vegetable-based instead of the traditional kind. It has fun colors, and mixed in with a sauce your children will find the taste very similar to what they are used to.

Infuse Vegetables Into Meat

Hamburgers are summertime favorite, and they are also a perfect vehicle for sneaking in some healthy foods. Ground beef makes it easy for you to mix in some pureed vegetables into your hamburger meat for the patties. This would also work just as well if you are making meatballs or meatloaf.

Homemade Fruit Snacks

Kids love to eat processed food snacks in their lunches, but they are not the healthiest option. They have tons of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Using a food dehydrator you can create your own snacks that will still pack a flavorful punch without all the junky extra ingredients.

Popsicles

Much like fruit snacks, you can create your own popsicles at home using pureed fruits and vegetables. Freeze them up and your kids will enjoy the cool treat on a hot day.

It does not have to be a frustrating endeavor to get your kids to eat healthy. What they do not know will be good for them.

If you are interested in learning about Today’s Life Schools & Child Care’s Minnesota day care services, feel free to contact us online or call 952-358-2020.

Help Your Kids Avoid Getting Sick With These 6 Tips

Winter means many wonderful things. The crisp air, fun in the snow, and drinking hot drinks after coming in from the cold, just to name a few. Unfortunately, winter also brings with it some unpleasant things, not the least of which is illness. Colds and the flu are very common in winter, especially among kids. Here are some ways to keep your kids healthy during the colder months.

Hand Washing

Hands are constantly collecting bacteria, so they should be washed often. The best way to encourage kids to wash their hands is to make it fun. You can buy fun-smelling soaps, or even a motion sensor dispenser, to make it more interesting to wash up.

Sanitizer

Sometimes it might not be possible to wash with soap and water. Hand sanitizer will kill germs and bacteria on your hands when you are in a pinch and there is no sink nearby.

Layers

Make sure your child dresses in layers during the cold season. For one, you do not want them dressing too lightly. You also do not want them dressing too warmly, because they might sweat which will cool when they take their coat off. Layers mean that your child can have the right level of covering at all times.

Covering Up

It is very important that kids, or anyone for that matter, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. If they use their hands, then they will end up touching door knobs and other things that will spread the germs to others. They should use the crook of their elbows.

Tissues Everywhere

Make it easy for your kids to have tissues at hand so they are not using the backs of their hands. You could have a box open in every room of the house so they will never have to go looking for one. You can also send them to school with smaller packs, and put those little packs in their coat pockets as well.

Keep Them Home

There is no reason to send them to school or to do activities when they are sick. The best way to get over a cold is with rest. Not only will it allow their weak immune system to do its work, but they also will not be a risk to others.

If you are interested in learning about Today’s Life Schools & Child Care’s Minnesota day care services, feel free to contact us online or call 952-358-2020.

Ten Fun New Year’s Facts & Traditions

New Year’s is approaching, a time when millions of people will celebrate with food, new resolutions or a even kiss as the clock strikes 12. But how much do you know about the holiday? Here are 10 fun facts about New Year’s.

  • The first New Year’s celebration dates back 4,000 years. Julius Caesar, the emperor of Rome, was the first to declare Jan. 1 a national holiday. He named the month after Janus, the Roman god of doors and gates. Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking back. Caesar felt that a month named after this god would be fitting.
  • Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The top resolutions are: to lose weight, get organized, to spend less and save more, to stay fit and healthy, and to quit smoking. While nearly half of all Americans make resolutions, 25 percent of them give up on their resolutions by the second week of January.
  • Be sure to eat leafy greens on New Year’s. Tradition says that the more leafy greens a person eats, the more prosperity he or she will experience (what an incentive for staying healthy!). Tradition also says that legumes bring prosperity because beans and peas look like coins. No wonder why so many people eat black eyed peas on Jan. 1.
  • Many people ring in New Year’s by popping open a bottle of champagne. Americans drink close to 360 million glasses of sparkling wine during this time. The bubbly stuff dates back to the 17th century, when the cork was invented.
  • About 1 million people gather in New York City’s Times Square to watch the ball drop. The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop came about because of a ban on fireworks. The first ball in 1907 was 700 pounds and was lit with 100 25-watt lights. The current ball puts the old one to shame (thanks to technology). Today, it is covered in 2,688 crystals, is lit by 32,000 LED lights, weighs 11,875 pounds and is 12 feet in diameter.
  • Remember the last scene in When Harry Met Sally, when Harry references a song after he and Sally kiss? It wasAuld Lang Syne, a song traditionally sung at the end of New Year’s parties. Poet Robert Burns wrote it in 1788. Though most people do not know the words to Auld Lang Syne, the overall message is that people have to remember their loved ones, dead or alive, and keep them close in their hearts.
  • If Santa is the most common symbol associated with Christmas, then Baby New Year is the symbol most commonly associated with….you guessed it, New Year’s! Baby New Year is often seen in a diaper, black top hat, and a sash showing the numbers of the new year. Myth states that he matures into an old man during the year.
  • Make sure to be surrounded by family or loved ones on New Year’s Eve. The first person you come across in the new year could set the tone for the next 12 months. This applies to couples, as well. If a couple celebrating New Year’s together does not kiss, the future of the relationship might be splitsville, so be sure to lay one on your significant other.
  • At the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, 10,000 participants step through City Hall and perform in unique costumes. The parade dates back to mid-17th-century, incorporating elements from Irish, German, English, Swedish and other European heritages. The parade itself is divided into five divisions: a comic division, wench brigades, fancy division, string bands, and fancy bridges. If you are in the area for New Year’s, be sure to check out this event.
  • According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day more than any other holiday. Don’t think your old car is safe, either. In 2011, the 1994 Honda Accord was the most stolen car. To discourage car theft, make sure your car is in a populated area and always take your keys.

7 Fun Fall Activities For Your Toddler or Preschooler

7 Fun Fall Activities For Kids | Play

The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing color, it must be fall!

Welcome autumn with one of these 7 simple crafts or activities and have fun.

1. Hand print Fall Tree Craft

With two different ways to craft, older and younger kids can make their own versions of a colorful fall tree. More >

Two fall hand print crafts.


2. Paper Bag Fall Wreath

A fun fall craft to do together. Make a simple wreath and hang it on your front door to welcome fall. More >

A wreath made from paper bags and plastic flowers.

3. Popcorn Kernel Fall Sensory Bin

A simple sensory bin that teaches basic math concepts with measuring cups and leaves. More >

4. Autumn Apple Stamps

Autumn is apple season. Decorate paper, t-shirts, tea towels or aprons with these easy apple stamps. More >

Half an apple covered in red paint, ready to use as a stamp.

5. Pine Cone Hedgehogs

Find pine cones on a nature walk and transform them into adorable little hedgehogs. More >

6. Easy Acorn Mobile

Collect acorns and create a sweet acorn mobile to enjoy all season long. More >

A mobile made with acorns and a branch.

7. Leaf Window Hanging

Use leaves, flowers and grasses to make an easy fall decoration. More >

A window hanging made from leaves and contact paper.

For more info, visit: https://www.cbc.ca/parents/play/view/7-fun-fall-activities-for-kids