Imagine a toddler running pell-mell outside wearing nothing but a t-shirt, sock feet, and a runny nose. Sound familiar? Getting your children to dress properly during the winter months can be a parent’s biggest struggle! Even if your children act unfazed by the cold weather, it’s important they learn how to bundle up, if only to prevent catching a cold. Here are some creative ways to get your little one to dress warmly for winter:
Dramatic Play for Winter
If there’s one way to get children to dress up, it’s involving them in dramatic play! Encourage your children to pretend to be Eskimos wandering through the arctic or polar bears trying to keep their pups warm. Whatever it is your children are pretending to be, make sure you stress how important keeping warm is to their health and being able to survive in cold environments. A great book to read while bundling up is Animals in Winter.
Pick out Winter Clothes for Toys
Children often learn best from seeing the things expected of them acted out. Learning will come even more naturally when children are involved in hands-on activity that requires them to physically dress their toys. Whether it’s dressing your child’s Favorite Friends Let It Snow Doll or dressing Freddy Frog with his felt set, putting clothes on their toys is a great way to remind children how to properly dress themselves.
Rewarding Appropriate Clothing
Sometimes, as parents, we have to make deals with our children. We’re sure you are familiar with the, “If you’ll do this THEN we can ____.” statements. When it comes to cold weather, sometimes it can be as simple as offering a fun outdoors activity for them to engage in after they agree to button up the coat and keep from pulling off the toboggan! Some fun activities you can enjoy with your children once they’re properly bundled up include sledding, making an outdoor fort, and even kicking around the Moon Ball!
Finally, it’s important for children to understand the health benefits of dressing warm for winter. Express your concern for their health and teach healthy habits to keep them from getting sick. Here is a great graphic from Kaplan Early Learning Company on how to keep children from spreading germs:
As you start the new year, it’s best to have learning resources in mind for your children. This will not only help continue learning opportunities that start in the classroom at home, but also give you options when it comes to filling weekends, indoor play days, and the special holidays you get to spend together! Without further adieu, here is a list of 2015 parent resources we hope you’ll find useful:
Early Education Blogs
Blogs go a long way in providing inspiration and a way to get connected with other parents and teachers. Here are a few of our favorites:
Educational Toy Suggestions
Keep up with our latest toys for the new year! Whether it’s incorporating new technology, discovering our latest dramatic play options, or finding classics on sale, here are our top toys for the new year:
- Stephen Joseph Wall Growth Chart
- Keep up with how much your child is growing each day! Add inches and dates for memories to revisit years down the road.
- Lil Allie Gator
- Start teaching proper brushing habits from the start with help from Lil Allie Gator! Because everyone knows if Alligators brush their teeth, then it must be important!
- Cottage Bed Pretend Play Tent
- Encourage dramatic play and fanciful reading spaces with the new Cottage Bed Pretend Play Tent. Fits directly over a twin mattress!
- Geomag Gbaby Farm – 11 Pieces
- Magnetic rods allow budding builders to construct whatever shapes and structures they can imagine. Hours of building fun for babies!
- Laser Pegs® Combat Fighter – 6 Models in 1
- Build 6 different models with the Laser Pegs® Combat Fighter! Vehicles can even light up while racing! Encourages creativity while providing hours of fun during play.
- Practice Lacing Shoes (set of 2)
- Let your little ones practice tying their shoes without it inhibiting their progress. Great for 3 years and up.
We hope you find these suggestions useful as you launch into the new year with your children!
As 2015 is underway, that means Martin Luther King Jr. Day is right around the corner! Celebrated the third Monday of every January, the holiday commemorates an American hero who fought for equality for all. MLK provides a great example for children to not only read about but also learn from. Here are a few ways you can teach your children to value diversity just as MLK did.
Fun Facts About MLK
- Martin Luther King Jr. attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, GA and was so smart that he skipped two grades in high school! He started his college education at 15.
- King was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
- One of his main influences was Mahatma Gandhi who taught protesting in a non-violent manner.
- There are over 730 streets in the United States named after Martin Luther King Jr.
- In his efforts to fight segregation and inequality, King traveled more than six million miles and spoke more than 2,500 times.
Ways to Teach Diversity to Your Kids
1. Read Inclusive Books
It’s important that the children’s books you choose are inclusive and represent a variety of cultures and races. Children can use these books as examples of the diversity America is proud to represent every day. Be sure to encourage acceptance of those small differences by choosing diverse reading materials like the ones below:
2. Schedule Multicultural Play Dates
Know a family in the classroom or neighborhood of a different race or culture? Suggest scheduling a play date so your children can come to appreciate and accept differences in others and themselves. Introduce children to different cuisines during snack time, different languages spoken in the home, and even different greetings, clothing, and mannerisms from their fellow peers. Sometimes, children’s differences can even lead to closer friendships.
3. Make Diversity an Open Discussion
Whether you’re walking in the park, in the grocery store, or simply riding home from picking your child up at school, be sure you encourage them to discuss the differences they see in the people around them. Opening up children’s discussion on those differences and pointing out how positive they are will lead to a broader perspective and overall acceptance in children. You can also take it one step further by getting children to see instances where their peers may be struggling, whether because of language barriers or physical handicaps, as opportunities to reach out and help.
Activity: A Song for MLK Day
Sing the following to the tune “Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?” for MLK Day!
We are all different,
We are all different,
Each in our own way.
Whether dark skin or light,
We should get along not fight,
We are all different,
Each in our own way!
(Source: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities For Children 3 to 6)
The New Year is finally upon us! As children prepare to finish the latter part of the school year, it’s important to encourage kids to make educational goals for the new calendar year. Children can change their whole attitude toward the classroom, their peers, and even homework if learning is approached with intentionality. Here are some positive ways you can encourage your child to not only become passionate about learning, but also intentional.
The Importance of Planning
You can never stress the importance of having a plan enough when it comes to encouraging children to be prepared. There are several ways you can point out the planning that occurs every day to help children apply those same lessons to their own decisions:
- Talk about your plans.
- You make decisions every day. Discuss those decisions aloud with your child to allow him or her to understand your thought process. This will teach your child that your thoughts and actions are intentional.
- Make both long- and short-term goals.
- When you make goals, be sure you share them with your children. Whether it’s saving up for new furniture in the house, or even something as simple as making a list before shopping at the grocery store so that unnecessary items aren’t bought, include children in the planning process and allow them to see you accomplish goals both within your day and in the future. Encourage them to make their own goals when it comes to classroom accomplishments, pursuing subjects they are passionate about, or even improving behavior problems.
Leaving Time for Reflection
Though you can plan to the best of your ability, it’s natural that not every plan is going to work the way you imagined it. Some plans fall through no matter how much you wanted them to succeed. Unsuccessful goals can provide the perfect opportunity for reflection and making adjustments to try something new in the future. Here are a few ways to include children in the process:
- Ask the right questions.
- It’s important to ask questions that will require children to reflect on the topics being learned. If a child is not grasping a certain concept, try asking questions differently. For example, if your child is learning about safari animals, try something like, “Giraffes have long necks and long legs. What might be good about having long legs and a long neck? What other animals have long necks and long legs?” Great questions will help children make sense of new information by offering comparison. It will also give them a new approach to learning that may offer greater success in the future.
- Discuss the results of intentional planning.
- This is a great time to allow children to focus on the goals they’ve made and the results of trying to achieve them. If they’ve come up short, redirect their focus on ways to make goals more attainable and not on the disappointment of failure. Knowing what went wrong and how to fix it is all a part of the learning process!
Encourage Persistence and Commitment
- Read stories like the Itsy Bitsy Spider or I Knew You Could! to instill values of persistence and determination in children even in the face of great obstacles.
- Create a “Tomorrow Box” where children can store unfinished artwork to complete later.
- Help children celebrate small successes by using charts or calendars to mark off daily accomplishments.
- Model and encourage new ways to finish work children may be struggling to complete.
We hope you found these strategies useful for helping your child approach the New Year with intentionality. Find even more social and emotional strategies in the book Seven Skills for School Success.