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Friday, March 30, 2012

Off to A.C. Moore

On Wednesday we had a fun trip to one of our local craft supply stores, A.C. Moore. The children were able to take a tour of the facility and see the many different types of mediums available for creating all types of projects.

It was also great, as they knew we were concentrating on community helpers, that when we reached the Melissa and Doug section, our tour guide was sure to show the children all the wonderful puppets and dress up clothes they had for many different kinds of helpers.

After traveling through the store we got to go to the "classroom" and create a "Dream It" picture. The children were encourage to think about what they wanted to be when they grew up, and draw a picture of that. When we were finished we were even treated to a goodie bag.

This was my first trip to this store--in this capacity. I thought it was very nice of them, but I would have liked to been able to let the children get a little closer to many of the things she was talking about. We had to look down the aisle she was speaking about each time. I think some of it got lost.

It was still very kind of them to allow us to come to the store and create something. We thank them immensely.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guest Post: Nutrition for Kids

Nutrition for Kids

Getting kids to eat healthy, satisfying snacks and meals throughout the day can be difficult with all of the pre-made, sugar-laden and fat-filled snacks available and marketed at parents and kids. However healthy eating doesn’t have to be non-existent, it just needs a little foresight and planning from the parents, nannies, and babysitters. To make sure that your kids are getting the nutrients they need try implementing these switches to their diets:

1. Keep healthy snacks on hand

One of the reasons that kids gravitate towards foods like chips and cookies is that they’re usually readily available and no prep work is involved. Always have a bowl of grapes or baby carrots available in the fridge so that they can quickly grab some when they get hungry. Paired with healthy dips like peanut butter or hummus, they’ll have a satisfying snack packed with a nutrient punch while still fulfilling a sweet or salty craving.

2. Skip the sugary sodas

Instead of giving kids sodas, which are full of empty calories and devoid of any nutritional value, let them drink water or lower-calorie flavored teas. If your kids are craving a sweet beverage use the individual servings of sugar-free, flavored sweeteners to give them a juice-like drink sans the calories or sugar.

3. Pack their school lunches

Even though there have been recent strides in providing more healthy cafeteria lunch fare, the food there is still notoriously unhealthy. Pack a sack lunch for your kids to make sure that they’re getting the nutrition they need. You can make lunch more fun by making fun-shaped sandwiches with cookie cutters and trying delicious new twists on old standby favorites.

4. Don’t let them skip breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for kids. Serve them breakfasts with equal parts protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates to start their day off on the right foot. Instead of pouring a bowl of cereal try making eggs in a basket or a fruit smoothie. Getting them into a routine of regularly eating a healthy breakfast while they’re young is a great habit to make.

5. Switch up dessert

When it comes time for dessert skip the ice cream and make homemade desserts, like fruit popsicles made out of frozen fruits or Greek yogurt and fresh berries. Frozen fruits or fresh berries will satisfy a sweet craving, and the thick, creamy texture of Greek yogurt will still taste indulgent. For an extra creamy and delicious treat try mixing Greek yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter. It’s exactly the type of dessert everyone needs – satisfying, decadent tasting, and yet still healthy!

Eating nutritious snacks and meals doesn’t have to be boring for your kids. Make meal time fun by constantly trying new fruits, veggies, whole grains, and proteins and include the kids when you’re preparing them. By showing them early on that being healthy is still delicious and fun they’ll learn habits that can stick with them for a lifetime.

Author Bio

Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of nanny agency. You can reach her at

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Adorable Spring Birds

With spring upon us it was a time for an adorable spring time craft. What better craft than birds? And, what better place to find an adorable one than in my Mailbox magazine.

This craft is from mailbox. It's a little bird in a nest.

For the craft you need:

brown lunch bag
2 large pom poms (I used 2 inch)
brown straw/grass/paper shreds
wiggle eyes

The first step was to make the actual nest using a brown lunch bag. I had done this part for the children as it was a bit tricky. I'm sure older children could accomplish this task. You start from the top and roll the bag down until it is nest shape.

Next I had the children fill the nest with the paper shreds. They then picked any two pom poms they desired. Using the tacky they glue the two pom poms together and put the wiggle eyes on. I had them pick out some feathers, dip them in the tacky, then lay them on the pom poms.

The final piece was a small orange beak. I had cut out small orange diamonds. We folded them in half, then dipped the fold in the tacky and stuck it to the front of the pom pom.

We placed the bird in the nest and he was ready to go home.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Early Literacy Activities

Here is a guest post by Lisa who gives some good tips to helping your little one become a readrer.

Early Literacy Activities You Can Do With Your Preschooler at Home

As a parent of a preschooler, you probably want to set your child up for academic success in the future. In kindergarten, your child will learn the basic building blocks of literacy. By the end of first grade, your child should have the fundamental building blocks of literacy down and be able to read a variety of age-appropriate books on her own. Reading isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to learn, though. Learning to read takes a lot of work on your part, your child’s part, and the part of her teachers. One of the best ways to give your child a head start when it comes to reading is to start exposing him to basic literacy concepts in preschool. Here are a few activities you can start engaging your child in now to help making learning to read in kindergarten and first grade easier:

1. Read simple, repetitive books together.

Pick out some books that feature the same, basic words on each page. These are the kind of books your child will read in kindergarten. They’re books that focus on words like “the,” “come,” “here,” “at,” “what,” “where,” etc. These basic, everyday words are called sight words, and your child will be expected to memorize them in kindergarten. Reading simple, repetitive books that feature these words with your child will expose your little one to words she’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future.

2. Create an alphabet book together using environmental print.

You can make an alphabet book out of construction paper together. Write each letter on each page, and they have your child practice writing each letter under your model letters. Don’t be surprised if your child has some difficultly writing all the letters. It’s completely normal for a preschooler to find writing challenging.

After your child is done writing all of the letters on all of the pages, go online and find some pictures of things that begin with each letter. Environmental print is basically pictures of things like cartoon characters, store logos, and even food and drink related images like Captain Crunch and Pizza Hut. Just pick out pictures you know your child is familiar with and print them out. Then you and your child can glue the pictures on the pages of your alphabet book, based on what letters those pictures start with. Children usually have more fun with environmental print than they do with pictures that are usually associated with the alphabet, like apples, bears, and caterpillars.

Once you’ve finished your alphabet book, you can punch some holes in the sides of it and bind it with string. After you’ve done this, you can flip through the book with your child and practice letters and sounds. Learning letters and sounds is essential to reading success in kindergarten. If your child learns letters and sounds in preschool, he’ll be ahead of the game.

3. Read fun, interesting books to your child.

Reading simple, repetitive books together will be useful, but your child won’t think it’s as fun as having longer, more interesting books read to him. So, be sure to read lots of fun books like those by Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, and Shel Silverstein. It may also be good to add some non-fiction books into the mix about dinosaurs and other science related topics, if your child is interested in those topics. The purpose of reading fun, interesting books to your child is to instill a lifelong love of reading in her, which is arguably the most important thing you can do to set your child up for academic success!

Author’s Bio: Lisa is a mother and guest post writer on the subjects of parenting, child development, and even things like throwing your child the perfect Mario birthday party.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Off to the Grocery Store

This week the Pre-K class got to visit our local Giant Supermarket. They had a great time. Our tour guide was wonderful and the children we so good.
During our visit we got to find the health care items, good foods like whole grain cereals and organic items, the deli, the bakery, meat department, dairy, and fruits and vegetables.
Some of their favorite parts were a "name the fruit game" in the produce section. Our leader had some fruits and veggies in a bag. The children had to close their eyes, pull something out, and see if they could tell what it was by feeling and smelling it.
They also got to pet "Larry the Lobster" in the seafood area. Some were a little hesitant, and some we couldn't get away. I thought this was pretty neat myself.
They also got to enjoy a piece of cheese from the deli and a yummy cookie from the bakery. I also got to enjoy a yummy cookie from the bakery--no way I was passing up a chocolate chip cookie.
One area we did not get to was the back room. Giant is a large place and we did a lot of walking. We thought it might be good to skip that. Next year, I am thinking maybe to skip the milk aisle and see the back room. I thought it would be fun for them to see where the food comes in and how it gets sorted. They were ready to be done though. The trip lasted about an hour.
Before we left we got a Giant reusable grocery bag with an apple, water, granola bar, and a Giant work hat. I thought it was a wonderful trip.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Belated Happy St. Patrick's to You!

Here it is, the 20th of March, the first day of spring, and I have yet to write a recent March post. St. Patrick's Day? Done. The lion and the lamb? Done. Well, you are going to get them anyway!

Today I am going to post our St. Patrick's Day fun for both classes. The three-year-olds had a blast our green rice with gold coins, the shamrock table, and the Lucky Charm sorting.

Our craft a Fruit Loop rainbow with Sugar Pop gold was a major hit too. That room smelled so good! I do have to say the children were a bit "sugared" us when it was time to go.

We finished up the day with our shamrock hunt and found a treat left by a leprechaun too. I told them to wait until they got home to eat the candy.

Pre-K had many of the same activities going on at the tables: green rice with coins, Lucky Charm sorting, and shamrock making. They had one extra table though--green applesauce. I had placed the applesauce in a bowl with some cups next to it. They spooned some applesauce in their cup and "sprinkled" some green sugar--like the kind used to make cookies. The only problem with this was that the sugar came out in a pour mode rather than a sprinkle mode.

The craft for the class was a rainbow leprechaun hat. Our previous Pre-K teacher used to make it with the children and I always thought it looked so festive.

Pre-K also got to finish up the day with the shamrock hunt and the leprechaun treat.

Oh, I have to show this great treat one of our parents brought in for the children. It is rainbow colored licorice and two gold chocolate coins. She had them in a bag with a poem that read:

You've got the gold at the end of the rainbow. Happy St. Patrick's day!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Guest Post: Eating Adventurously

Hi everyone. Yes, I am still here. March is a hectic month for me. I'm trying to get back on track, but it's happening slowly. Below is a guest post written by Lauren Bailey. She offers some tips to get your child to eat "adventurously."

4 Tips for Encouraging your Toddler to Eat Adventurously
The title of this post could have easily been something to the effect of "tips for making your toddler eat her vegetables." And this is part of what this post will discuss. But the reason I prefer to go with the phrase "eat adventurously" is that getting your young charge to eat the right foods is all about how you present the idea of eating right. If you make it into a battle, one in which you force your child to eat her Brussels sprouts, then it will always be a battle. Soon it will be a battle you will tire of waging. On the other hand, if you teach your child early on the pleasures of food, not just the "because-I-said-so's" of food, then you'll see how much more open to new culinary experiences she'll be, both now and in the future. Here are some tips.
1. Don't insist on having your child finish everything.
This may be a hard-wired rule engrained in us by our parents, and their parents before them, but when you insist that your child finish everything on her plate, you invite them to feel resentful about food, and you also encourage overeating in the future. Instead of insisting on eating everything, insist on having, at the very least, two or three bites of everything.
<!- 2. Present troublesome foods in interesting ways on the plate.
Sometimes, it's not necessarily the taste of healthy foods that young children object to. Rather, it's the dull or weird way they look. Consider different ways of presenting the food so that it becomes more appealing. For example, arrange peas and carrots into a little smiley face, or think about preparing particularly colorful or interestingly shaped foods like bell peppers, star fruit, etc.
<!-3. Don't let your child become accustomed to "kid's foods."
"Kid's foods," like chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese, have mostly become kids foods through tradition, and not necessarily because they are specially liked by kids. Whenever you go out to a restaurant, eschew the kids menu and order your child smaller portions of adult foods, so that they can get used to the flavors of real foods early on.
<!-4. Always emphasize taste, even over nutrition.
Parents usually operate under the assumption that if you explain to your child the health benefits of food, they'll want to eat it more. Saying things like "X will make you grow taller" or "Z will make your eyes see better," is really not all that interesting to a small child. They usually have only a very rudimentary concept of health, so health will certainly not motivate them. Instead of emphasizing nutrition, talk to your child about different tastes inherent in food and why they should be appreciated. Raise them to truly enjoy the freshness of fruits and vegetables, and the complex flavors of foods cooked in different ways. They'll be way more receptive than you think.
Although it may seem a bit over-the-top to try cultivating in your child a mature palate, you'll see that teaching this early will help them develop a healthier relationship with food overall, one in which enjoyment and moderation are at the center of the table.
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fun At the Library

We have begun to discuss Community Helpers in our Pre-K class. To help us with the theme, I have been trying to schedule some trips or visitors from different walks of life. You may remember we had a dental hygienist in February--that was 1 part dental health, 1 part community helper.
Yesterday we took a trip to our local library. We were able to have a tour of the children's area of the library. After our tour we had story time.

I thought it was especially cute; Our tour guide asked the children if they had any questions. She was getting the usual responses like--"I like to play Wii," "My brother is at school," or "I watch movies." When all of a sudden one little boy raised his hand; of course, we were wondering what he wanted to tell us. Well, guess what? He actually had a question, and a great one at that. Mr. M wanted to know how many books there are in the library! I was very impressed as was our tour guide. Luckily she had an answer for him too.
It was a nice trip, especially for children that had never visited a library and seen the amount of items in a library.

I have to show the cute snack our resident creative mom sent in for the day. Since we were going on the trip she wanted to have a portable snack in case we needed it. What did she send? Adorable butterflies. To make the butterflies she had her children color clip type clothespins, and shaped a piece of pipe cleaner into antenna. Then using a snack size zipper bag, she put the clothespin in the middle of the bag. She then added grapes to one side of the "wings," and crackers to the other side of the "wing." I thought it was the cutest thing ever.

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