Independent Play: Using Play Invitations To Encourage Imagination and Learning

Independent Play: Using Play Invitations To Encourage Imagination and Learning

Play and Learning, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs, Toddlers 12- 36 months
Independent play helps children feel confident, builds a sense of capability, concentration skills and creates many opportunities for discovery and learning. While children do not need intricate and overly elaborate toys or play opportunities to develop well, offering diverse play materials and new opportunities is a great way to help children enjoy their independent playtime. This is also a fantastic way to rotate toys that have been a bit forgotten and introduce new materials. So, a play invitation is simply setting out a specific play activity or a few toys on a surface that is easily accessible to the child, such as a small table or a blanket on the ground. Whatever toy or activity it is, it should be something the children can: Play without assistance and low supervision…
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6 Fun Ways to Encourage Reading & Writing

6 Fun Ways to Encourage Reading & Writing

Parenting, Play and Learning
Once children begin reading and writing on their own, it can seem like a whole new world opens up to them. Signs posted along the road, magazine headlines, signs at the grocery all become sources of information. While there are many  "academic" focused ways to encourage reading and writing in those early days of stumbling over new words and figuring out how to spell there are many simple and fun ways children can practice through play and truly learn so very much. 1. Picture postcards:  Drawing  a picture and then writing out a few simple sentences or words to describe the drawing can be a fun way for children to share their interests with friends. The extra step of taking it to the post office and receiving a picture in…
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Love Books Summer Exchange: Transforming Trash into Toys we Treasure

Love Books Summer Exchange: Transforming Trash into Toys we Treasure

Play and Learning
Simple fun is often the best kind of fun! My children and I were so excited just a week ago when we received a box full of trash in the mail from Krissy of B-Inspired Mama.   Why? Well, this summer I signed up to participate in the Love Books Summer Exchange hosted by The Educators Spin on It.  The idea is that bloggers send each other's families one book along with some kind of activity through the mail. We love books and book based activities so this seemed like a great idea! While Krissy sent me a message excusing the simplicity of the activity, I assured her that my children were beyond excited about the box and book we received. We love simple, open ended play and this box…
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The Importance of Hands-On Learning Fun

The Importance of Hands-On Learning Fun

Help By Age & Stage, Play and Learning
Children love sensory play, messy science experiments, and hands-on activities. While it seems like children are “just playing” during this time, they are actually learning quite a bit. Hands on play activities are important for children to develop and practice many different skills. In this post, Mary Catherine, author of Fun-A-Day is sharing the importance of hands-on learning and what children really do discover through different play opportunities: Recently, my children played with a Coffee and Flower Sensory Bin. During that activity, they: • Explored their senses o Smell -- The coffee beans gave off a unique scent, which most of the children enjoyed. A few thought it smelled “extra stinky” though. o Sight -- Looking at the different colors and shapes of the beans, the play dough, and the fake flowers o…
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Science & Art: 2 Fun Experiments For Young Children

Science & Art: 2 Fun Experiments For Young Children

Play and Learning
Science experiments can be a wonderful way for children to learn, not only about science but also about working as a team, developing patience and following directions. Science experiments are also wonderful for boosting cognitive flexibility, focus and curiosity.The following two experiments are fairly simple but full fun and learning: Science & art experiment 1 Droplets of Color = Why Do Oil and Water not mix?  Materials: vegetable oil  food coloring in small containers water pipettes or eye droppers white plates Place one to two table spoons of oil onto a plate to create an oil "canvas". Using pipettes drop food coloring onto the oil and watch as droplets form.  Drop a few drop of just water or water mixed with food coloring to observe the ways in which the water, oil…
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What are the benefits of playing online games for children?

Play and Learning
Quite a number of parents automatically think that online games do more harm than good to their children, however playing games online can provide some benefits to your children’s skills development. If parents create reasonable guidelines with their children and create positive agreements around playing online games then struggles like kids staying up late playing on their computers; disinterest in school activities or work and problems with children isolating themselves do not need to become an issue. There are a multitude of fun and age appropriate games online that can provide opportunities for children to exercise their creativity, set goals, practice persistence, develop responsibility, and even learn new information. Games like taking care of a virtual pet like horse games or building cities, puzzles and more can be quite fun.…
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The Long-Term Benefits of Good Reading Habits

The Long-Term Benefits of Good Reading Habits

Parenting, Play and Learning
How often should you read to your child? Sharing your favorite book from your childhood with your kids is a unique and rewarding experience, as watching a child learn to read can be one of the proudest moments in a young parent’s life. Reading with your kids daily is not only a deep bonding experience for both parent and child, it also instills good habits into your children that will last throughout their entire lives. Seemingly countless statistics are rattled off about how children who were read to grow up to be more successful in school, but why is this? What benefits does daily reading give a child? Some are obvious, but some might surprise you.     Brain-Training There has been a lot on the news recently about child…
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35 Toys That Encourage Learning & Independent Play

35 Toys That Encourage Learning & Independent Play

Play and Learning
Toys are everywhere this time of the year  - and yes, toys are a wonderful way for children to play, learn and discover. But so many toys get opened up, children play for a little bit and then the toy sits in the corner, forgotten....So which toys really capture children's attention? Often it is the simple, non electronic and "open ended" toys and play items that most encourage children to express themselves freely, discover, learn, create and explore and play independently. Here are  35 plus of our favorite, kid powered, time tested playthings that offer young children a chance to play with a parent or independently and  become immersed in play, learning and imagination: Cardboard boxes What’s not to love about a giant cardboard box? It can be a fort, a train, a race…
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Play & Discover: 6 Learning Activities For Tots & Preschoolers

Play & Discover: 6 Learning Activities For Tots & Preschoolers

Play and Learning
From figuring out patterns, matching pairs, color sorting  and more, play activities are a great  hands on way for toddlers & preschoolers to explore, experiment and learn.  The following six activities are fantastic opportunities for children to work on cognitive, motor, social and language skills, all which are vital to development. Welcome to the September edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Exploring and Learning. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are writing about this exploring and learning! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. The following activities are simple to set up and offer an opportunity for toddlers and preschoolers to…
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Arr matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play.

Arr matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play.

Play and Learning
One wonderful and natural way that children can practice patience, cooperation, problem solving is through imaginative and creative play. In the spirit of the family creations blog carnival, today I am sharing about my family’s favorite pirate activities, how and what we learn from them. Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. *** Building a pirate ship: We have built many pirate ships, from cardboard boxes to using rope and a piece of scrap wood, no matter…
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