Make Playdough Together

Everybody loves playdough, especially me. It’s a universal soother for toddlers through grownups! It lends itself to great conversation and imaginative play (everybody makes playdough snakes and slithers them around the table…) Make a fresh batch often, changing colors and mix-ins to keep it fun.

Best Playdough Recipe

I’ve made this recipe AT LEAST 50 times… it always comes out great! Make it WITH your child (you do the cooking!) and they’ll enjoy kneading with the warm dough when it’s cool enough to handle. Add a little vanilla or lemon extract to make it smell yummy. And while it doesn’t exactly taste good, it’s totally safe if little ones eat it!    

Store your playdough in an airtight container or ziplock bag and it will keep for weeks. Change out your playdough toys often to keep it interesting. Here are some ideas:

  • cookie cutters (of course!)
  • rollers that make designs
  • plasticware, esp knives for cutting
  • straws (cut some into small pieces, have some flexibles ones)
  • placemat with shapes that they can make playdough fit into
  • leggo and duplo blocks
  • googly eyes
  • mr. potato head pieces
  • cars
  • large bolts, washers and other tools for molding
  • safety scissors

Fun mix-ins include cinnamon, glitter, dry tempera paint, which makes more vibrant colors!

Watch how little Cady focuses so hard to use her hands to place the straws in the playdough. After doing this for a while, we added some manicotti pasta to thread onto the straws, making it a little more challenging. What a simple way to work on those fine-motor skills!

The One Question About My Baby I Can’t Stand…

The one question I really don't like to be asked as a parent...Once you have a baby, all sorts of people talk to you about the experience. Stories, advice, and questions come from friends, family, and perfect strangers. In general, I love this aspect of parenthood. I love that children bring people together. I love being a part of the camaraderie of parenthood. Sure, I’ve been given my fair share of advice I don’t agree with and occasionally been met with disapproval of my parenting approach; but even those interactions I normally still enjoy. I see them as interesting learning opportunities. There is one question, however, that still gets under my skin. Continue reading “The One Question About My Baby I Can’t Stand…”

30 Encouragements for Any Baby (or Big Kid!)

30 encouragements for any baby or big kidResearch has shown time and time again what a powerful impact words have on outcome. Both positive and negative language have the transformative power to make situations better or worse. This is true for people of all ages and the effects can be found both from self talk and the language used around you. Positive language helps children to succeed and thrive.

Knowing this, I’ve sought to be intentional with the language I use around my daughter. I want to empower, encourage, and validate her. But I’ll be honest, sometimes it can be a stretch for me to find affirming statements when I don’t know much about her personality yet. She’s only 8 months old–her personality and ability to express who she is is still developing.  Continue reading “30 Encouragements for Any Baby (or Big Kid!)”

Six Key Elements of Meaningful Play

six key elements of meaningful play

Play has positive affect on development of the whole child, including cognitive, social, physical, and emotional skills. Although many of play’s amazing benefits are known, children today are spending less and less time playing (children today spend 8 hours less a week playing than children did 20 years ago). Teachers and parents should seek to actively protect and encourage playtime for children. Knowing key elements of play can help you better foster quality play.  Continue reading “Six Key Elements of Meaningful Play”

The Significance of Creative Movement for Kids

 

image (3)Creative movement is movement that reflects the inner state of a child. In creative movement, children are free to express their own personalities, style, thoughts, and feelings. Creative movement encourages children to act on what they are learning and express their individuality. Children of all ages can enjoy creative movement. Let’s take a look at the benefits of creative movement and how to incorporate it into a child’s day. Continue reading “The Significance of Creative Movement for Kids”

Ready to read?

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In our previous post, we explored different pre-reading skills your baby, toddler, and preschooler can learn before they know how to read. These pre-reading skills are essential to learning to read. Luckily teaching these skills to your child is simple: all you have to do is read! Reading books together is the perfect platform for exposing your child to the many nuances of reading, including concepts of print. Continue reading “Ready to read?”

Why should I read to my baby or toddler?

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Most people know that it is important to read books with your kids. Your child benefits in so many ways when you read with them; these benefits are not limited to children who are old enough to “understand” a story, though. Children benefit from being read to from infancy. But what exactly do these pre-readers learn when we read to them? I believe knowing what and how our children are learning helps us to be better teachers. I couldn’t possibly list them all, but below are a few of the key skills that our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers learn by being read to. Continue reading “Why should I read to my baby or toddler?”