The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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Posted by on in Learning Games
Making and Using HOOPS: Part 2 How to Use a Hoop: Place the hoop on the floor, one for each person (including parents), and take turns telling each other how many body parts to put into your hoop. Be creative: elbow and knee, bottom and two hands, etc….any two body parts. This aids in learning inside/outside and number of parts. (Parents/grandparents: only do what you can safely do. If you have any concerns, check with your doctor.) Kukla is a Turkish game most commonly played by making an O in the dirt and piling up rocks in the center. This can also be played indoors with a hoop and homemade bowling pins or a pile of blocks inside the hoop. Once the pile is set, use bean bags or rolled up socks (socks are one of the safest indoor balls) to throw and knock it down. If anything is knocked down, everyone yells in unison “Kukla!” We...
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Posted by on in Physical Development
Making & Using HOOPS: Part 1 Ways to Make a Hoop: Buy a hula hoop. Garden hose: Make different sizes on your own using and old garden hose. Cut in preferred lengths, bend it, buy dowels to connect the ends (take a small piece of hose to the store as a sample so the dowel will fit exactly). The dowel should be cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces. Stick both ends of the hose tubing into the wooden dowel until stuck together, then tape over that seam with clear or duct tape (hint: if children can see the seam, they may want to take it the tape off).  Coat hanger: Stretch out a wire coat hanger using pliers, leaving the twisted part intact. Cut off the hook and turn down the stump. Make the remaining part of the hanger into a hoop then tape over the sharp twisted part. Clear tubing: Buy clear, plastic tubing from a hardware...
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Posted by on in Learning Games
Math Fun Today’s activities will be toward benefiting pre-reading and pre-math skills. We will get the body and senses involved. It is important to remember to set up everything so there will be minimal clean-up afterwards. (For instance, on top of an old shower curtain or sheet.)   Finger Painting with Shaving Cream Find a dark surface (for example, table, play table cloth). Spread out shaving cream. (Don’t do this activity if the child will put it in their mouth. Warn them not to. It’s gross!) Have them draw the number in the shaving cream with their finger. If you are doing “Number of the Day!” have them make that number a few times. Then have them turn it into a picture. Have them make that number of dots. Turn it into a picture. Turn it into that number of lines, or squiggles, etc., and then into a picture. As long as they...
Tagged in: learning games Math
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2 Quick Ideas to Help with Balance & Leg Strength 1. Put pieces of masking tape (approximately the length of the child's foot) : one piece for hopping and two side-by-side pieces for jumping along a path. Wherever you put the two pieces, direct your child to "Jump!" and when they get to the single piece of tape remind them to "Hop." This course can be as long or short as you like, indoor or outdoor, from the kitchen table to the bathroom to brush teeth after a meal, etc. This activity is growing muscles in your child's body, teaching the ability to balance (especially when hopping), and learning to follow directions is a benefit as well. 2. There is also the option of doing one long straight tape line on the floor (or yarn/ribbon/rope could work as well) in order to give the child a pretend tightrope or balance beam. Walk forward and backward, put on some music and do...
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Posted by on in Parenting
Magic Listening Mist Materials:      Spray Bottle (the more whimsical, the better) Water + drop of mint oil or mouthwash   Anytime children need to be focused and giving attention one can whip out some Magic Listening Mist! This is a simple tool, easy to make, and very easy to apply. As used by some kindergarten teachers, spraying a little scented mist into the air at the appropriate time can be a way of triggering little imaginations and therefore producing more attention. Beware of overuse or use when not needed as some of the magic slips away under these circumstances. However, when instructions are being given for the next task at hand, this little item can be very useful. Notice the scent added to the water? We often do things with the other senses while leaving out smell. It is very powerful and another gateway to the brain! The aroma of mint can...
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Posted by on in Learning Games

Today we bring you "Playing With A Purpose" which is a video series made by Kirby Worthington and her colleagues. In this series you will be able to learn a variety of educational toys that are homemade and free as they come from recyclable materials. Enjoy and stay tuned for more to come!...
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Math Principle #2: One-to-One Correspondence When teaching the math principle called “one-to-one correspondence”, it is important to involve physical development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and making it something they delight in – all at the same time! Then they will get it much faster. Count while Eating They can count each cheerio, or each green bean. Before they realize it, they are understanding subtraction! It gets the brain wired for math as a toddler. They may not know it, of course; but one day it will click. Tick Tock Game Also mentioned in our previous post on math, this game can be used to teach one-to-one correspondence. It involves the body and balance. When they say the number, lift a finger and have them jump. As a rule, only go as high as they are old (until the age of 5). Counting Steps Also, again, count when going up steps. Always go in order....
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Math for Kids: Seriation Seriation is putting things in size order, either big-to-small or small-to-big. Children need to learn this concept of looking at something and picking out which item is bigger or smaller. Be sure to go in the same order each time. (Always from bigger to smaller or the other way, but don’t go back and forth. Keep it clear for them.) When teaching seriation, it’s best to use all the same color items. When teaching size or quantity, lots of color can confuse the children as to exactly what you are comparing. If the items being compared are all the same color, the child is clear it is size that is being differentiated. To prepare for the two steps in teaching seriation, you will need a big square and a little square. You can use a brightly colored cardboard box. (You may be able to get some free from a grocery store.)...
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How To Get The Brain Wired For Math If a child is not understand math, you can play games to get the brain ready for math. If you need to start over with the basics again with an older child, just be aware of using materials that won’t belittle a child (sand, clay). The object is to get the information into the brain through auditory, tactile, and other methods. If the “highways” aren’t working, use “back roads”- it still gets you there! Three Principles for Getting the Brain Ready for Math Stable Order Principle – When you’re counting, the numbers have to be said in a fixed order: “One, two, three, four, etc.” Not “Three, five, two, seven…” Preschoolers often don’t have this concept yet. One-to-One Correspondence – Each item you’re counting gets a number and only one number. You can practice this when going up stairs. Children may at first use many numbers per step. Have them step...
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
Rainy Day Art Activities Bubble Art Stage 1: When teaching a child to blow through a straw, have them put it in their mouth and hold their hand at the other end so that they can feel the air come through the straw when they blow out (instead of sucking in). Stage 2: Since children are more accustomed to sucking in than blowing out, use water in a glass to show the difference. Place the straw in the water and have the child blow bubbles in the water to practice blowing out. Stage 3: Once accustomed to blowing out, try making bubbles with soap. Put a little dish soap in water and blow with the straw. It is recommended that you do this in the bathtub, in the kitchen with a towel on the floor, or outside. This should make a lot of bubbles! Stage 4: Now we get to the bubble art. Add tempura...
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
You Can Still Jump Into Spring! There are many activities one can do with children while staying inside and getting energy out. Today, we’ll list a few ideas to get you through the spring showers that lead to summer flowers! Obstacle Course As with most of these activities, it’s all about using what you have on hand. An obstacle course can be constructed of anything like a rope laid out on the floor or some masking tape to make a tight rope to balance across. If you have unbreakable, sturdy bowls these could also be used for balancing on when turned upside down. Set out any kind of container that can catch bean bags (or rolled up socks) when they are tossed. Use a tunnel or box as an obstacle to crawl through, over, under, balance/climb on, or jump off of landing on a soft couch cushion. As long as the children are safe, there are many...
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