The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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How to Help Your Distractible Child Follow Directions Does this sound familiar?    “Evan, put on your pajamas.”    “Take off your pants and put on your pajamas.”    “Evan, put down your LeapReader and put on your pajamas!”    “Evan, what are you supposed to be doing right now?”    “I don’t know.” Preschoolers, and even many elementary schoolers, are highly distractible, and that can make it hard for them to follow your directions in a prompt manner. This can be frustrating for parents, who just want their kids to do what they ask! Here are some strategies for working with a distractible child to maximize cooperation. Give a heads up. A few minutes before you want an instruction carried out, let your child know what’s coming. Say, “In five minutes, when the timer goes off, it will be time to stop what you’re doing and get your pajamas on.” This is especially true if your child is...
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How to Make Grocery Shopping a Learning Experience Grocery shopping with preschoolers isn’t easy. We get goal-oriented about shopping and feel frustrated that our kids are slowing us down. But grocery stores offer a wealth of stimuli for a child’s brain, and shopping is a great opportunity to help your little one learn and grow. Below are some ways you can engage your child while getting your shopping done. Name everything. Everything you buy, hold it up and name it. Let your child hold, feel, and smell items. This will help your child’s vocabulary explode. Work on colors. Once your child knows lots of nouns, you can begin to work on colors. Hold up a banana and say, “Yellow. Yellow banana.” Do this with anything that has a clear color. Show your child something red, and then say, “Can you find anything red?” Let them name everything they can find that’s red. Play “I Spy.” Keep in mind that...
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Textures for your Toes So often we think to let children feel textures with their hands, but we seldom think to let their feet experience new textures. Feeling textures with the feet is great for toddlers and preschool aged children. It stimulates the nerve endings in their feet as well as working on balance. And it is fun. How Do We Play? Place several textures in a row on the floor. Examples: Soft spongy foam from packing or bubble wrap. The large bubbles make a loud bang when popped, so avoid those for toddlers and young pre-school aged children. It can frighten them and ruins the experience. You also could use a mesh bag that oranges come in, a terry cloth towel, clear cellophane that makes crinkly sounds when  stepped on, fuzzy fabrics like velvet and fake fur, the bottom of a Styrofoam egg carton, or clean meat trays. Tape them down to avoid slips and falls.  Have all ages walk  barefooted on the...
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Bubbles in a Cup Bubbles in a cup is a great summer activity for outside. It teaches concentration and attention span, strengthens the muscles of the mouth, provides a science lesson, teaches following directions, and is lots of fun! Materials:  Towel to soak up spills if inside Tray under the cup or bowl Flat-bottomed bowl or cup – one per child A little Liquid detergent for dishes in water Straw – one per child (for bubbles that float, add a little cooking oil) Procedure: 1. If inside, put down a towel on the floor under their work. 2. Squirt dishwashing liquid into the bowl.  Not much is needed. 3. Add a little water – maybe 1 inch). 4. Hand them a straw (If they do not know how to blow, blow air through a straw onto their arm, then let them try.) 5. Let them blow bubbles galore – the bubbles may overflow the bowl.  They’ll love it! 6. Warn them not to...
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Activities and Classes for Preschoolers Structured activities and classes for preschoolers abound these days. Amid the dazzling array of opportunities, how do we know what choices are beneficial for our kids, and how much is too much? A good rule of thumb for preschoolers is to use their age as a guideline for the number of group activities a week. A two-year-old probably can’t handle more than two classes a week (this includes religious services/Sunday school), and a three-year-old shouldn’t have more than three a week. It’s also important to know your child’s personality here. Are they energized by being around people? Do they do better in smaller classes or just doing activities with one other friend? Follow your child’s lead. Art, music, and sports can all be fabulous for preschoolers. The important thing is that they be physically engaging, age appropriate, and focused on experience rather than outcome. Look for activities that provide tactile learning...
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