Sunday, November 30, 2008


Shadow- 2. The rough image cast by an object blocking rays of illumination.

Moving all around to create shadows promotes body awareness and comfort.

Inside the house, you can set up a lamp or flashlight to shine at a wall.
Turn on some fun music to move with.
Stand in front of the light with your child and move to the music as you watch your shadows.

Go outside when the sun is up and sing a fun song to your child as he dances a shadow upon the ground. Help him find the different parts of his shadow. As he dances to your songs, encourage him to observe how his shadow moves. Call out different ways to move: like a rabbit, like the rain, like the wind...

Help him to try new movements that he’ll enjoy seeing his shadow doing.

Chase your child's shadow with your arms outstretched so your shadow looks like it's chasing your child's. Encourage your child to chase your shadow and catch it. Suggest that your child step on your shadow's hair, hands, elbows and other body parts.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

This activity encourages counting and coordination.
Show your child how to tap a balloon so that it stays in the air. As you tap the balloon each time, count out loud. Let your child try to tap the balloon. Take turns tapping the balloon as you count out loud the number of times you can tap it before it falls to the ground.
Change it up by tapping the balloon with your head, elbows, knees and feet.
A few ideas for older children:
-Count together the number of taps you can keep the balloon up in the air. When it falls to the ground, let your child write the number you achieved onto the balloon with a permanent marker. Then continue to tap. After you have a few numbers, let your child add the numbers on the balloon and write the answer on the balloon.
-You can practice tapping the balloon in “twos”, “threes”, or “fives”. The first person takes a turn tapping the balloon in the air three times, then the next person must step in to tap the balloon three times...continue tapping and counting. Count in “threes”, emphasizing every third number: "one, two, THREE, four, five, SIX, seven, eight, NINE!"
--Take turns tapping the balloon with your child to keep it in the air. Each person keeps track of the number of times they tapped the balloon. Write down how many taps you had and how many taps your child had. Now let your child add (subtract, multiply, divide) the two numbers together.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

This activity demonstrates a chemical change. It is also a great activity to demonstrate how milk curdles.

You will need to:

· Add 4 tsp. of white vinegar to 1 ½ cups of skim milk.

· Microwave the mixture for about a minute.

· After a minute, the milk and vinegar will be separated into two parts, a liquid and a solid. The vinegar created a chemical reaction by separating the milk proteins into two parts, a solid (curds) and a liquid (whey).

· When you stir the milk, the curds become a blob.

When the liquid is drained off, you can combine the blob into one big lump and let it cool. Then the protein curd is malleable and you can squish and play with it. If you leave it out, it will harden.

Recite “Little Miss Muffet” with your child. Give your child some cottage cheese to eat and discuss how “curds and whey” are made. Your child may enjoy acting out the nursery rhyme, quietly enjoying her cottage cheese until the spider (you) jumps beside her and your “Miss Muffet” runs away into another room.

So, sit on your tuffet and commence creating some curds and whey!
You can find this and other activities at:

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Little minds are so capable! They can correctly name every dinosaur they see, match the princesses with their princes, and quote lines from their favorite movies.

...And...they can absolutely recognize famous artworks and their artists!

These are some great series and books I've come across to introduce my children to art masterworks.

"The Mini-Masters Series", by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, tells a rhyming story on its hard pages as each book highlights individual artists like Gaugin, Monet, Degas, Seurat...

Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo's "Touch The Art Series" engages your child's interest with interaction on every hard page. Tug on braids or feel a fuzzy peach. Each book showcases several artists from different genres.

I also like to cut out masterworks I find in magazines or the newspaper, laminate the picture with contact paper and keep them in a pocket near the other artbooks.

Two other books on our shelf:

I Spy: An Alphabet in Art, Lucy Micklethwait (Series includes Shapes, Colors, Animals, Numbers in Art...and some others)

Usborne The Children's Book of Art (Internet Linked), Rosie Dickins, Carrie Armstrong, and Uwe Mayer (Showcases many well-known artists and their lives, many different styles, glossary, some nudity-Michelangelo,Botticelli...)

Two other books on my wish list:

Discovering Great Artists: Hands-on Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters, MaryAnn F. Kohl

Usborne Art Treasury, Rosie Dickins and Nicola Butler

Besides reading these books to your child, keep these resources in easy reach for your child to look at whenever it strikes her fancy. Lay a book on your child's bed or desk to encourage little eyes and hands to peruse.

Not only will your child come to appreciate different genre and learn the names of the works and will enjoy heightening your own art awareness!

What are your SMMART ideas for introducing your child to the art masters?


Sunday, November 2, 2008


This activity provides an opportunity for your child to practice writing her letters with glue, and explore her olfactory creativity. It also introduces your child to other ways to enhance food's flavor without using salt.

You will need:
Piece of Cardstock, Cardboard, or Construction Paper
Craft Glue
Cotton Swab
Spices (Rosemary, Crushed Basil, Mustard Seeds, Cinnamon, Pepper-a grinder makes it more fun…)
Colored Gelatin in a shaker

Use a sturdy piece of paper, such as cardstock or even cardboard, for this activity.

Let your child use the glue to create lines, shapes and letters on the paper. If the glue is too hard to squeeze, then let them dip a cotton swab into a blob of glue that you squeeze onto a separate piece of paper.

Children who are just learning to write their letters may practice by copying lines. You can make straight, curvy and zig-zag glue lines on the paper for your child to trace with a glue cotton swab. Older children can draw letters with glue…and may enjoy writing their names.

Now, provide a variety of items for your child to shake onto the paper. If the item has a scent, let your child smell it as you talk about its name and what it smells like. Discuss which types of food you could enhance with each spice.

Your child may enjoy sniffing the letters of her name when she finishes this activity.
Allow your child to shake in some of these spices when you are cooking dinner together.


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