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July 2021

Regardless of where we’re living right now, life looks much different than it ever has in our lifetime.  Many families are at home with children, struggling to play the role of the teacher in addition to all our other roles.  If this is you, you’re not alone.  Better yet, there’s help in the form of well-intentioned tips that may not make it all better. However, they can certainly be useful during a time when we need access to all the tools in our toolbox. As parents, we want to be supporting language and communication in the home. But often we anticipate our children’s needs without them ever having to communicate.  However well-intentioned we may be, we’re missing language opportunities. For example, when we do routine things like help them put on their clothes or prepare their breakfast, without using language. Everyday routines are essentially toddler activities at home that we can use to support their language and communication in the home. Tips For Supporting Language and Communication in the Home.   Gestures Count It’s not uncommon to get caught up in the use of words that we forget about other forms of communication. One common way toddlers communicate is through the use of gestures.  If

Toddlers learn best through play; therefore, I want to intentionally create play-based learning experiences to expose them to simply play with letters. Activities for toddlers are vital that early learning experiences are fun and positive. By ‘playing together’ both parent and child are relaxed. I will share with you five simple play with letters activities for you to try. Alphabet Soup! Materials: Container, water, and foam letters. Add kitchen items such as saucepans, whisk, strainer and plates. Step-by-step: Half fill a container with water. Always supervise children around the water. Add foam letters and gather various kitchen items for your child to use. Your child can stir all the letters and various other chosen items. They can scoop out various letters or choose items to place into a saucepan to ‘cook’. They may even want to plate up various creations.   Simple Play With Letters.  Materials: Box, marker, 26 popsicle sticks, and a sharp knife (adult use only).  Step-by-step: The adult cuts 26 slits in rows equally spaced apart into one side of a cardboard box. Write the letters of the alphabet below each slit (I used upper and lowercase). Write the letters of the alphabet on popsicle sticks (I used upper and lowercase). Your child matches the letters

As a mother of four children, I’ve had to prepare toddler siblings for a new baby three times. The first time around, I just had to prepare myself and that was a challenge enough! When you have a baby, your whole life often turns upside down. When you add a second, third, etc baby to the family – the impacts are felt by every family member.  As parents, we worry if we will feel the same amount of love for a new baby? Will our older children will get enough attention?  Will they feel jealous about their new sibling? Why should we be preparing toddler siblings for a new baby? One of the most daunting tasks is preparing toddler siblings for a new baby when they cannot communicate well. It´s further complicated if they can´t fully comprehend what you mean when you talk about a baby being in mommy’s tummy. Toddlers are used to being the center of attention in many families. They laugh along when mom points to her pregnant belly and says there is a baby coming.  The feelings they have vary from child to child. They may love or hate the idea of a new baby, but they really cannot

Adding fun toddlers' activities is a great way to help young children stay engaged. With numeracy, I find simple to play with numbers is a popular way for my son to have fun while learning foundational math concepts. Keeping things simple also allows me to rotate activities frequently or it is easy for my son to repeat these activities in his independent play.   Popsicle stick and clothespin numbers. This is one of my favorite toddler activities to practice number sequences. With little effort, it can be adapted to become an easier or more difficult activity. Simply change the size of the number and how many numbers are missing on a single popsicle stick. Materials: Popsicle sticks, markers, and clothespins. Step-by-step: Write the numbers 1 to 7 on a popsicle stick, leaving one number out. Repeat this on other popsicle sticks, leaving a different number out. Write on clothespins the numbers 1-7. Your child finds the clothespin with the correct missing number – so it´s also developing their fine motor skills.                                 Clothespin Dominoes! Materials: Clothespins, markers, and stickers. Step-by-step: On one end of the clothespin, stick a coloured sticker. On the other end, write a

Did you know singing improves the emotional development of a child? Singing has an array of benefits, and some are not as obvious as you would think. Do you know the benefits of singing for children: improving the mental health of your child through music? Did you know music and singing have become a handy educational tool during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns? Teachers are relying on music to engage younger students that are not used to learning online.   The Benefits of Singing for Children.   1. Easy Engagement. Firstly, children don’t need much encouragement to play, and singing often falls into the category of ‘play’ for most children. It comes very naturally to most children. Singing can help them engage with friends allowing for opportunities to express themselves and use their vocabulary creatively.  Secondly, singing is a great way to encourage storytelling, build a small child’s memory of important information, i.e. “Heads and shoulders, knees and toes”,  and even talk about their feelings, i.e. “If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands”.    2. Self-Expression. Self-expression is crucial to a child’s development and growth. Through singing and songwriting, children can experience: Social cohesion. Build confidence. Engage in a creative form of self-expression. Develop resilience. Furthermore, engaging in the

I love upcycling projects as they help us to think more innovatively and creatively. Transforming recyclables into something new and useful is a lot of fun. I have chosen five fun upcycling ideas that you and your child will enjoy. The purpose of these toddler activities is to help your toddlers learn in an effective way.   Bubble Wrap Fish! Materials: Bubble wrap, leaves, glue, paint, googly eyes, construction paper, and scissors. Step-by-step: 1.Cut bubble wrap into fish shapes. 2. Collect leaves for their tails. 3. Mix primary colors of paint together and paint one side of the bubble wrap. 4. Glue the bubble wrap on paper, leaving space between each one. 5. Glue on a leaf to represent the tail of each fish. 6. Glue on a googly eye to each fish. 7. Introduce vocabularies like scales, fins, tail, and bubbles.   Upcycled Newspaper Flower. Materials: Newspaper, split pin, scissors, watercolor paints, paintbrushes, and water. Step-by-step: Cut four general flower shapes out of newspaper. Each flower shape slightly smaller than the previous one. Cut a rectangle shape for the stem. Paint watercolours on each of the four newspaper flowers and stems. Layer each flower on top of one another (biggest to smallest). Secure them together with a split pin. Glue on the stem to the base

Guest Post by Author Shelley Wilson. One in six young people aged 5-16-year-olds has a mental disorder. It’s essential to engage our children in activities that improve their mental health, including the fabulous activities in Lisa’s recent post, The Importance of Play. The power of storytelling for children’s mental health is often overlooked. I believe storytelling and meditation are important toddler activities to be considered for improving their mental health. Keeping the channels of communication open for children allows them the space to break any stigma surrounding mental health and keep talking. But how do you build a good mental health practice in children as young as 4 or 5?   Let’s meditate! Meditation calms an overactive mind and soothes an overexerted body. It can boost creativity and reduce stress. Even very young children have worries and can experience stress or depression. In preschoolers, anxiety can be caused by separation from parents. Once older, academic and social pressures can cause our children to feel overwhelmed. Furthermore, meditation is an accessible tool to support your child’s positive mental health by developing and strengthening their ability to calm thoughts and actions In just five to ten minutes spent reading with your child is enough to get them into a

Lisa Forsythe

Teacher, mum and author of Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-At-Home Handbook for Parents.