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5 Creative Ways to Get Children to Clean Up

5 Creative Ways to Get Children to Clean Up in a Child Care Setting

clean up

Getting children to clean up in a preschool or child care setting can be tough. Check out these 5 creative ways to get young children to clean up.

 

Mystery Clean-Up: Before beginning clean-up time, look around the room and pick out an item that needs to be put away. Announce to the children that you have chosen a mystery item and that whoever puts it away will win a prize.  When the room is cleaned up, announce the winner.

 

Tong Challenge: Give each child a pair of tongs and challenge them to pick up toys, using the tongs, and put them away.

 

Color Call-Out: Call out a color and let the children find a toy that has that color in it to put away.  Continue until all toys are put away.

 

Clean-Up Train: Start a train and walk around the room to the first area that is cleaned up, picking up the kids in that area.  Keep the train going around the room until every area is cleaned up and all kids are part of the train.

 

Roll-A-Die Clean-Up: Roll a die and have each child put away the number of toys on the die (i.e. Roll a 2, and each child puts 2 toys away).  Continue until all toys are put away.

clean up


Clean Up Books and Songs:

5 Tips for Handling a Difficult Parent in Child Care

Written by Susan Gove, Ph.D. – CEO of Your Center Success

5 Tips for Handling a Difficult Parent in Child Care

difficult parent

Some parents walk through the door and you brace yourself for a challenge.  Others are so sweet that you think you could become friends.  That’s Day One.

 

You don’t always know how parents will interact with you on any given day.  After all, you are caring for their most precious child.

 

Here are a few tips on how to handle some of the most common difficult parent situations:

 

  1. The parent comes in and wants to carry on a lengthy conversation with you while you are trying to tend to a room full of children.
  2.  

    TIP:  You explain that you need to be engaged with all of the children you have in front of you right now and that a good time for the two of you to talk would be (fill in the blank).  Be courteous, but speak with conviction.
     

  3. The parent is upset because he believes that his daughter is not getting the same attention that all of the other children are getting because the staff member in her group doesn’t like her and he wants his daughter to be put into another area of the center.
     

    TIP:  You make sure that you manage his escalating temper and, don’t argue whether he is right or wrong.  Assure him that you are sorry to hear about his concern and that you will observe his daughter’s interactions with staff over the next few days and then you and he can talk again.  Assure him that his daughter’s success is very important to you.

  4.  

  5. The parent is complaining that her child is unhappy about coming to school and cries when he has to get in the car to come to the center. She wants to know what is happening to her son in your center to make him feel this way.
     

    TIP:  You show sincere concern and tell her that this is not uncommon, but something that you and she will want to work on together right away.  Schedule a time when you can talk together.  Tell her that you will do some extra observations of him and talk to other staff members about her son prior to your meeting.

  6.  

  7. A parent wants to talk with you; you are uneasy and expect confrontation.
  8.  

    TIP:  Parents just want to know what is going on with their child.  They care and they can’t be there with their child, and that is very disconcerting to many parents.  The TONE of their question may not really reflect how they feel about the center or you.  Listen to the content and skip all of the facial clue and voice tones that you would normally examine.  It is your job to talk to parents because their children can’t tell them about their day with any reliability.

     

  9. As hard as we try, we very often judge a book by its cover – or a parent by her appearance/attitude. Bad move.
  10.  
    TIP:  Don’t judge parents.  Listen to them.  Show that you care about their child almost as much as they do.  Show that you have a plan for their child’s success and that you want them to be a part of the process.

25 Books about Picnics for Preschool

25 books about picnics for preschool

Picnics are popular in the summer months and it is something that can be included in a preschool curriculum.   We have found 25 books about picnics for preschool children that can be incorporated into your early childhood program.  Keep in mind that picnics can be just as fun indoors on a rainy day.

25 Books about Picnics for Preschool:


Top 10 Health Benefits of Going on a Picnic (Good for children and adults)

  • Outdoors Spending time outdoors, basking in nature, breathing fresh air and enjoying a great view. The pure air invigorates you and leaves you feeling rejuvenated. For those with respiratory disorders, breathing clean air helps clear the lungs.
  • Family bonding Spending time with family is always a great bonding experience. In the fast-paced, urbane lifestyle of today there is often limited time for maintaining relationships with some of the most important people in your life. Staying engaged with your family and friends can help build stronger bonds and foster warmth, security and love, as well as feelings of belonging.
  • Enables communication Since picnics often take place in warm environments, the tendency to participate in relaxing small talk is high. Simply keeping updated on what is going on in other people’s lives and learning what their plans can improve relationships. Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the party to bond, plan, connect and learn from one another.
  • Grants time for self-reflection While picnics offer many social benefits, you don’t have to spend the entire time chatting up a storm. Picnics offer an excellent opportunity for you to spend time meditating about your life, the decisions you have made and the decisions you will make.
  • Foster healthy eating habits – Meals prepared and eaten at home are usually more nutritious and healthy than eating out and particularly so for when you bring food for a picnic. The typical portrait of picnics present a wicker basket full of fruitsvegetables, dairy and grains. These foods provide nutrients such as fiber, calcium and essential vitamins.
  • Stay active – Regular picnics can foster a family ritual where young ones are introduced to sports, games, and nature and encourages adults to partake in physical activities as well. Mini games between family and friends like tug-of-war, 2-hand-touch or flag football and kickball can be played before a meal to help induce a feeling of achievement prior to a well-deserved meal, while playing more casual games like horseshoes and bean bag toss can serve as a relaxing but still active activity. Even consuming the healthy food usually provided at picnics keeps you energetic and active through the day.
  • Mood booster – Eating lunch outdoors is a natural mood booster. You can be amazed how much the lack of sun in your body can affect you mood. There’s something about fresh air, sunshine, or a nice breeze that just puts you in good mood and motivates you making you want to get some exercise.
  • Relieves stress – Picnics are a great stress buster as it helps reduce the stress and anxiety related to work and home. Being an adult isn’t always easy and it’s great to be able to ease up on the responsibility from time to time by lounging in the sunlight.
  • Builds stronger bones – The vitamin D we get from the sun is needed for maximum absorption of calcium from the intestine, which helps build strong bones and teeth. Getting enough vitamin D can help you reduce your chances of getting bone deterioration diseases like osteoporosis. For children, regular sun exposure helps increase the process of growth and height and can decrease the risk of rickets. The sun also provides benefits to your skin by providing a nice, warm, sun-kissed glow.
  • Saves money – Picnics are known to be quite inexpressive. All one has to do is prepare meals at home and head out to a park or picnic area. If you have a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry, you may not even have to spend a cent!

Summer Writing Prompts for Preschool

Summer Writing Prompts for Preschool

Writing Prompts are a great addition to a literacy center.  Journal writing in preschool can be a good way to help children develop communication skills.  They can practice phonetic spelling and creative thinking.

Here are some good Summer writing prompts for preschoolers:

  • The best part about summer is…
  • When the sun is out, I like to…
  • This is how to build a sandcastle…
  • TThe place where I want to go on vacation is…
  • When I go swimming, I like to…
  • If I were a ladybug, I would…
  • I cool down in the summer by…
  • I have a magical beach umbrella that…
  • I know it is summer when…
  • One day I bounced a beach ball so high that…

To download these writing prompt templates, as well as 10 others, visit Teachers Pay Teachers.


What are the building blocks necessary to develop writing readiness (pre-writing)? [Excerpt from Writing Readiness (Pre-Writing) Skills]

  • Hand and finger strength: An ability to exert force against resistance using the hands and fingers that allows the necessary muscle power for controlled movement of the pencil.
  • Crossing the mid-line: The ability to cross the imaginary line running from a person’s nose to pelvis that divides the body into left and right sides.
  • Pencil grasp: The efficiency of how the pencil is held, allowing age appropriate pencil movement generation.
  • Hand eye coordination: The ability to process information received from the eyes to control, guide and direct the hands in the performance of a task such as handwriting.
  • Bilateral integration: Using two hands together with one hand leading (e.g. holding and moving the pencil with the dominant hand while the other hand helps by holding the writing paper).
  • Upper body strength: The strength and stability provided by the shoulder to allow controlled hand movement for good pencil control.
  • Object manipulation: The ability to skilfully manipulate tools (including holding and moving pencils and scissors) and controlled use of everyday tools (such as a toothbrush, hairbrush, cutlery).
  • Visual perception: The brain’s ability to interpret and make sense of visual images seen by the eyes, such as letters and numbers.
  • Hand dominance: The consistent use of one (usually the same) hand for task performance, which allows refined skills to develop.
  • Hand division: Using just the thumb, index and middle finger for manipulation, leaving the fourth and little finger tucked into the palm stabilizing the other fingers but not participating.

Ways to Tell Child Care Providers that You Appreciate Them

appreciate

A lot of child care providers do not receive the appreciation and respect that they deserve.  Child care deserve a big “Thank you” for their dedication, commitment and compassion.  Early childhood educators provide children with a solid foundation for academic and behavioral success.  Child Care Directors, as well as parents can use a variety of simple phrases to express appreciation for what child care providers do.  Even child care providers themselves can show appreciation to their co-workers with these phrases.

  1. You inspire me when you…
  2. I really appreciate when you…
  3. I value what you do when…
  4. It is amazing that you…
  5. I like the way you handled…
  6. It makes me smile when you…
  7. It is awesome that you…
  8. I love how you…
  9. I am thankful that you…
  10. Thanks a million for…
  11. I appreciate your…
  12. You made a great decision when…
  13. I respect you when…
  14. It was kind of you when…
  15. Thank you for…
  16. It was wonderful for you to take the time to…
  17. It was so thoughtful of you to…
  18. You made my day when…
  19. The way you handled … was excellent.
  20. I am grateful that you…
  21. You are invaluable because…
  22. What would I do without you?
  23. I appreciate this more than you know.
  24. I am moved by your actions.
  25. Your help has been invaluable to me.
  26. I value your insights.
  27. You are the best.
  28. You have my gratitude.
  29. I appreciate the information you gave me.
  30. You rock!

 


The Friday before Mother’s Day is recognized as Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.

Provider Appreciation Day is a special day in May to recognize child care providers, teachers and other educators of young children everywhere.

Started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey, Provider Appreciation Day is appropriately celebrated each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day. The founding organizers saw the need to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. Momentum and support for this event has grown each year and recognition presently includes individuals and government organizations throughout the United States.

12 Healthy Snacks that Look like Flowers

Healthy Snacks that Look like Flowers

Whether you are celebrating Spring or having a Flower theme, we found 12 healthy snacks that look like flowers.  They are all easy to create, and have just a few ingredients.

Healthy eating and snacking is vital for children.  This collection of flower snacks contains mostly fruits, vegetables, and cheese…and other items found on the 20 Best Snacks for Kids list at Parents.com.

Tomato Flower
Tomato Flower (Source: Kiddie Foodies)
Orange Strawberry Flower
Orange Strawberry Flower
(Source: Kid Activities)
Fruit Flower
Fruit Flower(Source: Creative Kids Snacks)
Cucumber Flower
Fruit Flower(Source: Super Healthy Kids)
Flower Lunch
Flower Lunch(Source: PBS)
Cucumber Flower Sandwiches
Cucumber Flower Sandwiches(Source: Spaceships Laser Beams)
Carrots and Dip Flower
Carrots and Dip Flower(Source: Momtastic)
Cheesy Sunflower
Cheesy Sunflower(Source: Crafty Moods)
Fruit and Cheese Flowers
Fruit and Cheese Flowers
(Source: Momendeavors)
Daffodil Snack Cups
Daffodil Snack Cups(Source: What Moms Love)
Veggie Flowers
Veggie Flowers(Source: Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten)
Eggo Waffle Flowers
Eggo Waffle Flowers
(Source: Eggo)

Healthful eating has many benefits for children. It can:

  • Stabilize their energy.
  • Improve their minds.
  • Even out their moods.
  • Help them maintain a healthy weight.
  • Help prevent mental health conditions. These include depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
    Plus, having a healthy diet and focusing on nutrition are some of the simplest and most important ways to prevent the onset of disease. Healthy eating can help prevent many chronic diseases. These include obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Around half of all Americans have one or more of these illnesses.

Healthy eating habits are more likely to stay with you if you learn them as a child. That’s why it’s important that you teach your children good habits now. It will help them stick with these eating patterns.

(Excerpt from: Nutrition Tips for Kids)

Gardening Prop Box

gardening prop box

Prop Boxes are groups of dramatic play materials that are based on a theme.  Bring out a Gardening Prop Box in the spring (especially during National Lawn and Garden Month – April).  It is easy to put together a Gardening Prop Box.

Just grab a tote/container, and collect the following items.  Put some potting soil in the your sensory table and let kids use the props to grow pretend or real flowers and vegetables.  Click Here for tote label that you can laminate and tape on the tote.  Prop boxes are meant to invoke the imagination of children.  Providing prop boxes with basic items for dramatic play can be very beneficial for children.

Gardening Tools
Watering Can Gardening Gloves
Flower Pots
Pretend Flowers
Plastic Vegetables
Flower Seeds
Vegetable Seeds
Plastic Worms

 

 


Child Care Directories That You Need to Be Listed On

Get more ideas in the “Publicizing Child Care Openings” online class

When a parent needs child care, they will most likely do an internet search for child care near them.  It is so important to list your child care program and website on the many child care directories out there.  The more directories you are included in, the more likely parents will find you.  In addition to your state licensing website (who should have you listed), here is a list of many child care directory websites that you can add your program to:


Using daycare marketing tips will ensure that your home based daycare stays full to capacity. According to Merriam Webster, advertising is defined as, “the action of calling something to the attention of the public”.

 

It’s an opportunity to toot your own horn. You are a professional child care provider and you want potential parents and children in your area to know that you exist.

 

So, how do you get the word out?

 

There are two absolutely free ways to advertise child care. Once you are established, these two forms of daycare marketing will likely be responsible for most of the business you receive.

 

 

Child Care Resource and Referral. This is an excellent resource and accounted for nearly half my enrollees over a period of a dozen years. This is a service that matches parents looking for providers with available daycare homes in their area. This is a great form of daycare advertising that works year round. Here, in Minnesota, I didn’t need to do anything other than get my license to be added to the list. Once you have your license, feel free to contact them to make sure you have been added.

 

*This is also an excellent resource for lists of classes or workshops available to enhance the quality of the care you provide. They also provide grant information to licensed providers.

 

Word-of-Mouth Advertising. Tell everyone you know about your new venture. Daycare advertising is easy when you notify neighbors, co-workers, family and friends. Do not limit yourself to only those that have children. Everyone has the potential to know someone in need of child care. The people who know you best will be able to refer people looking for child care directly to you.

 

There is no better form of daycare marketing than to have satisfied parents tell others about you. Run your child care home like a professional, keeping both children and parents happy, and over time there may be no need to publicize. Parents who referred other parents accounted for half of the children in my care.

 

When you are first starting out however, your daycare marketing campaign will have to be creative.

 

(Taken from Online Article Day Care Marketing)

____________________

Preschool Holiday Gross Motor Activities

Preschool Holiday Gross Motor Activities

Here is a list of some preschool holiday gross motor activities to get children moving.  There isn’t as much outside time in the winter months, but gross motor activities are important for young children.  Incorporate these into your holiday parties or holiday themes.

 

  1. Parachute Jingle Bells: Get a bedsheet and place it flat on the ground.  Put several jingle bells on the sheet and have children gather round and lift the sheet.  Have them shake the sheet gently (like a parachute activity) to make it jingle bell.  Do this while singing “Jingle Bells”.
  2. Present Toss: Wrap empty cardboard boxes with wrapping paper and ribbon.  Like a balloon toss, line up two rows of children facing each other.  Take turns tossing the wrapped presents between teammates.  The opposite player much catch the present to remain in the game.
  3. Avoid the Bows: Place Christmas bows throughout the room on the floor.  Play holiday music and have children move around the room without stepping on the bows. 
  4. Candy Cane Hunt: Hide candy canes all around the room.  Give each child a bag.  Play a holiday song while children walk around the room collecting candy canes.  When the song is over, have the children count how many candy canes they found.
  5. Wax Paper Ice Skating: Give the kids to pieces of wax paper.  Put a foot on each one and glide around the room like they are ice skating.

    Photo Credit: From the Hive

  6. Snowball Bounce: Have children create 2 Snowman Paddles (paper plates with a snowman face and craft stick handles glued on).  Get some balloons and toss them in the air.  The children will use their Snowman Paddles to keep the balloons off the ground. (Source: Dixie Delights)
  7. Penguin Waddle Relay: Divide children into 2 teams. Have them race from start to finish while holding a ball between their knees, waddling like penguins!

    Photo Credit: Brilliant Beginnings Preschool

  8. Snowball Toss: Create a Snowman out of a cardboard tri-fold project board.  Cut out holes in the Snowman and have children toss white plastic balls, bean bags, orlarge pom poms into the holes.  (Source: Leafy Treetops)
  9. Reindeer Toss: Get a large box and draw or add a reindeer face to the front.  Put tree branches through the top for antlers.  Use rings from another game or cut centers out of paper plates and have children toss the rings onto the antlers.
  10. Hanukkah Yoga: Dreidel symbols will represent each yoga pose.  Print out a picture of each symbol and tape to the wall.  One child pins the dreidel and the other kids do the pose. (Source and more details: Bee Yoga Fusion)

We also think these are cute: Download these Christmas action cards and get your kids moving! (Oopsy Daisy)

The Preschool Thanksgiving Word Wall

preschool thanksgiving word wall


Buy Word Cards

Buy Word Cards

Word Walls are important for incorporating literacy into an early childhood classroom environment.  Word Walls are usually bulletin boards that display important words for the children to see.  These words can include names, sight words, theme words, etc.  Word Walls can be interactive and change throughout the year.

Some early childhood educators place the letters of the alphabet across the Word Wall, and have the words listed below each letter, based on the corresponding first letter of the word.  Others simply have a collection of grouped words for students to see.

Thanksgiving is a great time to introduce a variety of words relating to harvest time.  Here is a list of suggestions for 36 words to introduce:

America Indian
Bake Leftovers
Corn Mashed Potatoes
Cornucopia Mayflower
Cranberry Sauce Native American
Dinner November
Drumstick Parade
Eat Pie
Fall Pilgrim
Family Plymouth Rock
Feast Pumpkin
Food Rolls
Football Settle
Gobble Stuffing
Gravy Thankful
Harvest Thanksgiving
Hat Thursday
Holiday Turkey

 


We like these 5 Tips for Introducing Word Wall Words (adapted from preschoolteacher81.blogspot.com):
1. Put the word card with picture in a mystery box. You can give hints and try to get the kids to guess the word or just have someone come up and draw one out and say what it is.

Variation: Use the same mystery box, only put real objects or items in that go along with the word.

2. Pass the word around the circle (musical chairs style) until the music stops and whoever is holding it must identify the word (by looking at the picture) and then place it on the word wall. Also, this gives every student a chance to look closely at the picture before putting it on the wall where it may seldom be looked at again by some children.

3. Play the loud/soft game. Have the children repeat the word loudly at first, then keep repeating it while getting quieter until you can no longer hear them. You can also do it with fast/slow or other variations, just make sure not to do it so much that the word ends up getting distorted and they are not really sure of the correct pronunciation.

4. Sing a song. For example: (Tune of: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush) This is the word we put on the wall, put on the wall, put on the wall. This is the word we put on the wall. The word is ______.
Another version could be a chant or clapping how many syllables in the word.

5. Choose a child whose name begins with the same letter as the word to put the word on the wall. To make it a little more challenging, say the word emphasizing the beginning sound and ask whose name begins with the same sound? Or if no one’s name begins with that letter, whoever thinks of another word that begins with the same letter first gets to put the word up.