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Early Childhood Podcasts for Early Childhood Educators

Early Childhood Podcasts


Podcasts are more popular than ever.  They allow you to learn a wealth of knowledge by listening when you are driving, at the gym, doing household chores, or in an early childhood educator’s case – during naptime.  Early childhood podcasts gives you the chance to learn about early childhood topics without having to set aside time to read or watch a video. Podcasts also offer articles in smaller chunks, perfect this busy world.


Recommended by early childhood educators, here are some of the top early childhood podcasts* that you can check out.  (*Note: The Early Childhood Academy is only sharing information and does not endorse or represent any of these podcasts).


Real Talk for Real Teachers

A bi-monthly podcast from Conscious Discipline creator, Dr. Becky Bailey. Together with Conscious Discipline Master and Certified Instructors and special guests, Becky explores trends in social-emotional learning and classroom management.  CLICK HERE for more information.



Child Care Bar & Grill

A humorous, informative, and slightly irreverent podcast for child care providers and other early learning professionals hosted by authors, speakers, and play advocates, Lisa Murphy and Jeff A. Johnson.  CLICK HERE for more information.




The Early Childhood Nerd

Each week host Heather Bernt-Santy and a member of the ECE Nerd Collective share and discuss a quote with a focus on effecting change in the early learning world.  CLICK HERE for more information.





The Preschool Podcast

If you work in a child care, preschool or early years setting, The Preschool Podcast will provide you with inspiring and motivational stories, as well as practical advice for managing your organization, center or classroom.  CLICK HERE for more information.




Pre-K Teach & Play Podcast

A place where ECE {r}evolutionaries reclaim children’s right to learn through play, reimagine inclusive classrooms, and {r}evolutionize early care and education.  CLICK HERE for more information.





Preschool and Beyond

Answers common questions that arise during the preschool years, and provide helpful tips and ideas on how to engage with your preschool children. You will hear from teachers, researchers, and other early childhood experts.  CLICK HERE for more information.



How Preschool Teachers Do It

A podcast for everyone who works with or raises early learners.  CLICK HERE for more information.






Child Care Rockstar™ Radio Podcast

Tune in to top child care business expert Kris Murray on the Child Care Rockstar™ Radio podcast for interviews with early childhood leaders and experts that will leave you inspired to get to the next level of success.  CLICK HERE for more information.

Child Care Safety: How to Reduce the Risk of Child Care Accidents

Child Care Safety

Written Jonathan Rosenfled from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers


Nobody is more aware of and in tune with the needs of a child than his or her parents, but there come times when it is necessary to trust others with their care. Day care services allow parents to work and take care of their personal commitments while ensuring their children are supervised and safe. However, it is still possible for children to be injured while they are under the care of others, so it is important that you are aware of how well your child care service is equipped to prevent and react to common emergencies.


How to Reduce the Risk of Child Care Accidents


By knowing the common pitfalls, you can properly vet those who you are trusting with the care of your child. No two child care centers are the same and some are more lacking than others when it comes to the implementation of policy that will keep children out of harm’s way. Consider the following when you are deciding what daycare center you want to trust with your child.


  • What type of training do staff members undergo before being allowed to supervise children? Undertraining results in staff members being unaware of safety protocol and prevention measures that may prevent an accident.
  • What is the caregiver to child ratio? Centers that have higher ratios are less equipped to keep an eye on every child. It is important that your child receive adequate supervision, or he or she may wander off or get into things he or she shouldn’t.
  • Make sure the staff is properly trained in first aid and CPR. It is important for your own peace of mind to know that if your child does get into an accident, the caregivers are able to respond quickly and effectively.
  • If your child needs to take medications, try whenever possible to avoid the need for those medicines to be administered by caregivers. If you cannot administer them at home, make certain that you bring the medicines to the center in their original containers and provide clear written instructions on how they should be taken. Make sure also to discuss allergy information and know where emergency supplies are stored.
  • Inspect the center’s play areas and equipment to make sure that everything is clean and in good condition. Ask how often the equipment is sanitized to prevent the spread of disease and request inspection reports to see how the center has scored in the past.
  • Make sure that your child is kept up to date on vaccines and that you do not bring him or her to the daycare center while he or she is sick. Reducing exposure is instrumental to keeping others from catching communicable diseases.
  • Find out how the center handles food so that you are aware of whether there are any concerns over the spread of food-borne illnesses.
  • Find out whether staff is required to undergo background checks. It is also important to discuss what measures are in place to prevent and detect abuse.
  • Find out how well prepared the center is for an emergency. What are the procedures they follow in the event of a fire or a natural disaster? What supplies are on hand to protect staff and children?


The choice of who you trust to care for your children is more important than you realize, which is why you need to be extremely diligent and vet each potential care center before you decide who is qualified to watch after them. If you feel for any reason that a center lacks the child care safety measures to protect the children under their care, do not hesitate to look elsewhere.

Fine Motor Popcorn Activities for Young Children

Popcorn Activities



Popcorn is a popular preschool theme in October and November.  October is National Popcorn Popping Month and popcorn is a popular Thanksgiving treat for November.  Here are some fine motor popcorn activities that you can incorporate in your learning environment.


Fine Motor Popcorn Activities for Young Children

Popcorn Letter Practice


This fun writing tray uses just a few simple materials and comes together in no time at all!

To make a popcorn writing tray of your own, you’ll need:

  • Unpopped popcorn kernels
  • A shallow tray or dish
  • A marker or pencil (optional)
  • Printed Letters

Pour a small number of popcorn kernels into a tray.  Give children a marker or pencil that they can use to write their letters, or let them simply use their finger.


Source: fromabcstoacts.com

Popcorn Painting


Paint with popped corn by having children hold a piece of popcorn and dip into a thin tray of paint.  You can also glue popcorn to the end of a stick, brush, straw, etc.


Source: preschool-plan-it.com

Popcorn Counting


Provide a bowl of popcorn and some fine motor tweezers.  Set up popcorn boxes with a number on the front.  Have children use tweezers to pick up popcorn one by one and place the corresponding number of popcorn in each bag (ie. place eight pieces of popcorn in the bag with the number 8.



Popcorn Patterning


Create patterns by gluing popcorn and popcorn kernels on strips of paper.  Have children finish the patterns with popcorn and kernels.  For variety, you can use regular popcorn and cheese popcorn.




Click to Download Pattern Printable


Popcorn Measuring


Print out our Popcorn Measuring Sheet and make copies.  Have children find the items listed in the room, and measure each item by lining up pieces of popcorn next to the item. They can count the pieces of popcorn and write in the number.


Click to Download Measuring Printable

Why is it important to help children develop their fine motor skills?

Improving children’s dexterity will help them be able to write, pick up items, hold books, and much more. Finding fun ways for children to develop their fine motor skills is an important part of your job as a caretaker or early childhood teacher. Activities such as the ones included in this article are great ways to bring fine motor practice into the classroom without letting children know that’s what they’re working on as they play and create. (Source: Kaplan Early Learning Company)

Resources and Amazon Picks:


Popular Early Childhood Music and Movement YouTube Channels

Music and Movement


Music and movement plays an important role in a child’s development and has many benefits.  Early childhood music and movement activities allow childre to have fun, be creative,  and burn off some energy. When children participate in early childhood music and movement activities in a group, they also develop and enhance their social skills.


Recommended by early childhood educators, here are some of the top early childhood music and movement YouTube channels.  Each channel has a variety of videos to get children singing and moving!


Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel Jack has made over 45 albums for children with over 1,000 super fun and movement songs for children. The songs for kids and educational videos will help your children learn counting, numbers, reading and language skills, nursery rhymes, science, physical fitness, dance and movement. Children actively participate in all the learning with lots of movement and fun. These songs for kids have a tremendous diversity of musical styles from pop, Hip-Hop, Latin, country and rock.
Patty Shukla Kids TV – Children’s songs Children’s songs for babies, infants, toddlers and elementary students. Learn counting, shapes, colors, the alphabet, right hand left hand, months of the year, days of the week, phonics, ASL (sign language). Action songs for kids to jump, shake, dance, tango, move, wiggle, hop, bounce, twist and more. Also original story songs about grandparents, tooth fairy feelings, responsibility, environment, travel, fishing and much more.
The Laurie Berkner Band Fun songs that preschoolers (and beyond!) love to sing and dance to (I love to sing and dance too!) Along with the band, you may have seen Laurie on Noggin/Nick Jr. (Jack’s Big Music Show), Universal Kids, Netflix, Amazon, and more.
Greg and Steve Music The first children’s music duo to have two sold out shows at Carnegie Hall, have combined their experiences in the classroom with their expertise in the music industry to create quality educational music. Greg & Steve’s award winning music has become a staple of both the early childhood classroom and the family living room, and is considered a must have for children with special needs and children on the autism spectrum.
The Learning Station – Kids Songs and Nursery Rhymes A full serving of learning fun and educational videos for children brimming with active participation.  Featuring some of the most popular Learning Station songs filled with active participation, nursery rhymes, brain breaks for the classroom, learning videos, camp songs, dance, holiday songs, action songs, and our very popular move and freeze dance songs for children.
Dr. Jean

“Thanks for helping me put a song in the hearts of children!” Dr. Jean

Dr. Feldman inspires teachers across the country with her engaging songs and creative activities that help make teaching and learning FUN!  Dr. Jean Feldman’s noteworthy educational career has spanned more than 40 years. She has served as a classroom teacher, instructor of adults, author, and consultant.

The Super Fun Show (Shawn Brown) Fun Videos for preschool children and kindergarten. Brain breaks,wiggles and shakes.
Jim Gill Each of Jim’s recordings and books is created as an opportunity for playful interactions between a child and a caring adult.
Koo Koo Kanga Roo Koo Koo Kanga Roo puts on an all-ages dance party that invites everyone to join in. Whether you know them from “brain break” videos in your classroom, the Warped Tour or a late night bar show, you’ve probably gotten sweaty dancing to their jams at some point.
The Kiboomers – Kids Music Channel Their songs will help your children learn colors, shapes, counting, numbers, reading and language skills, nursery rhymes, dance and movement. The Kiboomers award-winning music consists of more than 700 songs to date. On this channel, you will find a selection of kids videos that showcase their music.
Raffi Raffi has been described by the Washington Post and the Toronto Star as “the most popular children’s entertainer in the English-speaking world” and “Canada’s all-time children’s champion.” This channel will allow Raffi fans of all ages to explore his catalog of songs and album, live performance clips and other specially created content.

Parent Involvement in Child Care

parent involvement


Parent involvement can be one of the most frustrating things about working in child care.  Parents are busy with their jobs and don’t always appear to be interested in communicating with you and/or participating in school activities.  Be empathetic with parents and try to understand their stress levels and living situations.  It is important to realize that no matter how hard you try, not EVERY parent will show the level of involvement that you hope for.   However, here are various parent involvement ideas to try.  Try not to rely on one single method. Getting parents involved is partly related to understanding how your families operate and what works best to get their attention.


Ideas to get parents involved:


Greet every parent personally – Always say hello and welcome to the parent when they drop their child off.  Yes, you want to greet the child too, but don’t forget to greet the parent by name.  This easy friendly guesture will make parents feel welcome, which can lead to more parent involvement in the future.


(Tip: Try to get to know the parents – find out their interests, hobbies, passions, etc.  This will help in more in-depth conversations.  Ask about something they have talked about previously.)



Set up a Private Facebook Group – Invite parents to join your classroom’s private Facebook group (most of them are probably very already active on Facebook anyway).  Only those in a private group can see the posts.  On this page, post pictures of the children involved in activities, suggestions for ideas to do at home, reminders, parenting tips, etc.


(Tip: Make the page interactive…Create polls, ask simple questions, create contests/giveaways, etc.)



Create Pinterest Boards – Create a Pinterest account with boards and pins that will be of interest to your families.   Ideas include: Weekend Activity Ideas, Recommended books for Toddlers (or the age group you work with), and Family Meal Recipes.


(Tip: You could also offer the option of turning your boards private and adding parents as pinning collaborators.)



Use Communication Apps –  There are many child care and preschool teacher apps that are recommended by early childhood educators to share pictures and updates with parents.  CLICK HERE for app suggestions.


(Tip: Communicate on a regular basis – and commit to the amount of time you will communicate.)



Make “Sunshine” Calls – Reach out with a quick phone call when you see that parents need some cheering up.  Or make a practice of calling at least one parent a week to relay good news.


(Tip: Keep track of these sunshine calls and make sure each family receives the same amount of calls throughout the year.)



Monthly Family Projects – Provide a monthly activity for the families to create something together.  At the end of each month, have each child show their family’s creation during circle time.  Examples: January – create a snowman character out of construction paper; April – Send home bean seeds and have families plant the seeds; October: carve a pumpkin


(Tip: Send home a project information sheet at the beginning of the month with directions, as well as materials that may be needed.)



Host Family Nights – Set up learning stations with activities based your current theme. Allow the parents to rotate through the stations with their child and do the activities.


(Tip: Provide dinner!  Everyone loves free food, and this takes the stress off of parents to provide dinner for their family.)



Family Posters – Ask families to work together to create a family poster. Explain that they can fill their poster with photos, drawings, notes, and handprints.


(Tip: Give each family the posterboard, so that they have a base to get started.)



Use a Class Mascot – Choose a class mascot, such as a stuffed animal.  Send the mascot home with a different child each weekend (or every other weekend).  Include a brief note introducing the mascot and a fill-in-the-blank journal for parents and child to fill out and return on Monday.


(Tip: Encourage the parents to take pictures of the mascot at home or participating in family activities.  Ask the parents to text you pictures so that you can share them with the children.)



Amazon Picks and Resources:


COVID, Social Distancing, and Mask Books for Young Children



With everything going on surrounding COVID-19, it is highly recommended that adults talk to and have conversations with children about the disease, and all of today’s current procedures.  We have put together a list of books that talk about COVID, Social Distancing, and Masks that are geared towards young children.  Adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear — through books!


COVID/Coronavirus Books:


Social Distancing Books:


Mask Books:



Tips for talking to children (From CDC Website)

  • Remain calm. Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
  • Reassure children that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Make yourself available to listen and to talk. Let children know they can come to you when they have questions.
  • Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
  • Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online. Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
  • Provide information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child. Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs. Remind children to wash their hands frequently and stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick. Also, remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
  • If school is open, discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff.

20 Books about Diversity and Race for Preschoolers

Books Diversity Race Preschoolers


Talking to young children about diversity and race is necessary.  A baby’s brain can notice race-based differences from as young as 6 months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and by ages 2 to 4, children can internalize racial bias.  Child care educators have an important role to play in fostering young children’s positive racial identities, so here are some great books that will help.


20 Books about Diversity and Race for Preschoolers:



Talking Race With Young Children

(from NPR.org)


Even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape and hair texture. Here’s how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children.


A few things to remember:

  • Don’t shush or shut them down if they mention race.
  • Don’t wait for kids to bring it up.
  • Be proactive, helping them build a positive awareness of diversity.
  • When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices.
  • You don’t have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.


In addition to Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, we spoke to Beverly Daniel Tatum: We recommend her TEDx talk as well as her book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race.


Additional Resources:

  • Babies begin to notice race at 6 months old — in fact, according to this pair of studies by Professor Kang Lee at the University of Toronto, they actually show signs of racial bias by this age.
  • One in 10 children is multiracial — according to Pew Research Center. This includes children with parents of two different races, plus those with at least one multiracial parent.

Sensory Table Activities for Toddlers

sensory toddlers


Sensory tables can be a lot of fun for preschoolers; however, you can’t always use the same materials in a toddler sensory table as you would in a preschool sensory table.  Common sensory table fillers like popcorn, rice, and packing peanuts are choking hazards to toddlers.  So, let’s take a look at some appropriate sensory table fillers and activities for toddlers.


Sensory Table Fillers for Toddlers


Besides the obvious – sand or water – here are some safe sensory table fillers:


Large Pom-Pom Balls
Items from Nature
Crinkled Paper
Taste-Safe Mud
Shaving Cream

Sensory Table Activities for Toddlers


Here are some ideas for sensory table fun:


Hide and Seek in Bubble Foam – Make Bubble Foam with this recipe.  Hide objects (toy cars, foam letters, etc.) in the bubble foam, and let children find the objects.


Car Wash – Provide soapy water and let children wash the toy cars.  (You can also do an Animal Wash or Wash Dishes).


Rainbow Spaghetti – Cook spaghetti.  Once drained and cooled, add a small (very small) amount of oil and toss.  Add a few drops of food coloring and mix well.  Lay spaghetti out on parchment paper to dry for about 1 hour.  Put in sensory table for enjoyment!


Gardening Sensory Table – Include potting soil, child friendly gardening tools, plastic pots, pretend flowers – allow children to work with the tools to dig, fill pots, etc.  Best if used outside.

Photo Source: www.mamapapabubba.com


Fruit Loop Color Sorting and Play – Fill sensory table with fruit loops and provide cups for children to sort by color.  Also include spoons, shovels, bowls, etc.

Photo Source: www.theresourcefulmama.com



Amazon Picks and Resources:


15 Books about Germs for Preschool

Books about Germs


Talking to children about how germs spread and the importance of handwashing can be a difficult subject.  We found several books about germs geared towards preschool children that can help you.


15 Books about Germs for Preschool:




Try one of these fun, interactive activities to teach children about germs and how to stop them from spreading.  (Source: Care.com)

1. Glitter GermsIn this activity from the Columbus Public Health website, sprinkle a little glitter on your child’s hands. Then have them wash with just water. Repeat the experiment, washing with soap and water the second time. Have your child observe which method removes more glitter. You can also put glitter on your hand and touch your child’s shoulder, hands and hair. Show them how the glitter (like germs) can spread by touch.


2. Everything You TouchThis activity, also from Columbus Public Health, has children make and color their own germs and then tape them to anything they touch to see how widely germs spread by touch.


3. Connect the DotsCheck out these lesson plans and activities at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


4.  Happy Handwashing SongTeach your kids this simple song from the CDC. Sing it twice through to reach the recommended time for handwashing.


5. Scrub ClubGo online and check out the songs and activities from NSF International.


6. Germs! VideoLet kids learn about germs along with Sid the Science Kid and his parents in this short, animated video.


7. “Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands” SongWash hands along with Little John in this sing-a-long video from Little Angel.

Sharing Activities for Young Children

sharing activies


Young children can have a hard time sharing… and depending on their age, they really aren’t capable of thinking much beyond themselves to understand sharing.  Often we tend to think that they already know what it means to share or take turns.  These sharing activities can be used to enhance the importance of sharing with others.   In addition, guide children to come up with solutions when sharing (or lack thereof) becomes an issue.  As with all interactions with children, be sure to praise the praise the positive, provide words and phrases to use, role play, and lead by example.


Paint or Draw a Picture Together – Set up a large white piece of paper and either painting supplies or crayons/markers.  Pair up children and have them decide what to draw or paint.  Have them take turns passing the supplies back and forth until their picture is complete.


Show and Tell Sharing – Allow children to bring a toy or item in for Show and Tell. After they finish describing their objects, ask them to pass the object around to the rest of the children. The object should travel in a circle.  When all of the objects are returned to the original owner, point out that they each shared their objects with their classmates. Ask the children to say how they felt when they shared their objects with others, as well as how the Show and Tell would have been different if they had not been able to see and hold the objects that their classmates brought in.


Pass the Ball – Have the kids sit in a circle. Pass around a ball and play some music. When the music stops, whoever is holding the ball says one thing he/she can share with someone else.


The Sharing Song – teach children The Sharing Song by Jack Johnson.  Click Here for lyrics.


The Doorbell Rang – Sharing and Math Activity – The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins is a classic children’s book loved by teachers, parents, and children alike. The patterned text of the story reveals an engaging tale that presents a real-life math challenge. Every preschooler can relate to the struggle of sharing but The Doorbell Rang presents several mathematical concepts as well.  Visit https://www.pre-kpages.com/preschool-math-exploration-the-doorbell-rang/ for details and direction.


Pass the Ice Cream: Sharing Activity for Preschoolers – A fun sharing activity for preschoolers inspired by Mo Willems’ Should I Share My Ice Cream?  Each child takes a turn sharing their ice cream with their friend – by passing it from one cone to another.  Visit https://www.sunnydayfamily.com/2016/09/sharing-activity-for-preschoolers.html for more information and direction.


Amazon Picks and Resources: