The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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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...

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...
20 Learning Games for When Mom or Dad is Exhausted Parents of preschoolers are tired people. Caring for little ones is exhausting work. We have the best intentions of providing enriching activities for our kids, but when exhaustion sets in, good intentions go out the window. To help you plan for those times when you need something your child can do while you are lying down or sitting, here’s a list of 20 activities. Finger paint in shaving cream spread on a cookie sheet. Play with play dough. Read. If you’re reading a well-known book, try changing some of the words or sentences and let your child have fun catching your “mistakes.” Play Chutes and Ladders or Candyland. Put on music and let your child dance. Try giving her a bean bag and challenge her to dance with the beanbag on her head, between her knees, or on her elbow. Play “red light, green light.” Play a following directions game. Give...

Posted by on in Learning Games
What do I do with a Sandbox? When my oldest daughter was 15 months old, her dad built a sandbox. I (Kirby) knew it was going to be perfect! I could hang clothes out to dry while my toddler blissfully discovered pouring and measuring and building and dumping. Montessori had come to my house! I gathered up my basket of wet clothes, led my little girl over to the new sandbox, and headed for the clothesline. But she just stood there, staring at the sand and looking puzzled. Then it hit me—she didn’t know how to play with sand. So I abandoned my laundry and we spent time making mountains together and filling up her dump truck, pouring water onto the sand, and digging holes. After that, she knew what to do, and she knew how much fun it could be. It’s not just kids who haven’t learned how to play with sand. Lots of parents don’t know...
Teach Your Child to Use Scissors Bouncing spirals hanging from the ceiling fan. Paper dolls. Hula skirts for toys. Fringed placemats. Paper-plate angels. Toilet-paper-tube puppets. When you know how to use scissors, you can make the best crafts! So how do you teach the skills necessary for all those fun crafts? Introduce the Scissors Show your child a pair of safe scissors. Tell him it’s like a little bird. The finger holes are the wings, and the blades are the mouth. You can make the bird flap its wings, and then it can open and close its mouth. Teach a Proper Grip Have the child put his thumb in the top hole and fingers on the bottom. A lot of kids try to put their thumbs on top. While they might be able to maneuver this initially, it won’t work at all when they try to cut around curves or cut more complicated shapes. So be sure...
How to Make a Travel Activity Book A travel activity book is a spiral notebook filled with learning games and fun activities for times your child needs to do something quiet, like in the doctor’s office, waiting rooms, or during car trips. It’s a combination of activities drawn onto pages, games held in envelopes stapled into the notebook, and blank pages for creative fun. Grab a notebook and let’s get started! Envelope games Pipe-cleaner people. In one envelope put in pre-made pipe-cleaner people, bits of cloth for clothes, and plain pipe cleaners for making props. Playing with posable pipe-cleaner people is great for your child's finger muscles and fine motor skills, and it makes for fun pretend play. You can tie pipe cleaner people onto a car seat for a preschooler so if your child drops them, he can pull them back up again. Tangrams. This doesn’t actually have to be tangrams. Just cut out a variety of...

Posted by on in Uncategorized
How to Make Colored Rice or Pasta Materials: Uncooked macaroni or rice Ziplock bag Food Coloring Rubbing Alcohol Put a couple of tablespoons of rubbing alcohol in the ziplock bag. (Use about a tablespoon for 2 cups of rice or pasta.) Add a few drops of food coloring. Add the uncooked pasta or rice, zip the bag, and mix it around until the pasta or rice is colored. Take the rice or pasta out of the bag, and spread it on paper towels to dry. Once it is dry, the color will stay and not come off on your fingers. The alcohol evaporates, so what's left is non-toxic, but we don't recommend eating it! The colored rice or pasta is fun for pouring and measuring or for digging in. Hide little plastic animals in the rice, and let your child dig around for them. Name each animal as your child finds them. If you are working on colors,...
Tagged in: Crafts learning games