Top Stay-At-Home Mom Blogger Nomination!! Please Vote for Us!

I received an unexpected email today informing me that I had been nominated as a Top Stay-at-Home Mom Blogger after being personally selected by a panel of judges over at VoiceBoks.com!  This comes as a complete and utter surprise and I am so very grateful to be presented with such a nomination!

I have so thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts, ideas and research findings with you all that this feels more like play than work for me!  Blogging has given me a new outlet for my incessant need to teach, since I decided to stay at home with my daughter, and I hope to continue along on this journey to the best of my ability.

How you can be a part of our journey!

If you have enjoyed reading our posts, please vote for us once a day between July 21-August 21!  You can VOTE DAILY, so click the badge at the top of this post or click here, scroll to Developing the Whole Child (in the number 8 position) and click the little heart in the top right corner!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support!

If at the end of this period, I am declared the winner of my category, I have a chance to go up against bloggers from all categories for blogger of the year!  But, I don’t want to get ahead of my self!  The nomination in itself is a huge, huge honour!!

I have also been nominated for a Liebster Award twice this year and I couldn’t be more excited!

Long Term Benefits of a Play-Based Early Childhood

“Research shows that children who engage in complex forms of socio-dramatic play have greater language skills than nonplayers, better social skills, more empathy, more imagination, and more of the subtle capacity to know what others mean. They are less aggressive and show more self-control and higher levels of thinking.

Long-term research casts doubt on the assumption that starting earlier on the teaching of phonics and other discrete skills leads to better results. For example, most of the play-based kindergartens in Germany were changed into centers for cognitive achievement during a wave of educational “reform” in the 1970s. But research comparing 50 play-based classes with 50 early-learning centers found that by age ten the children who had played in kindergarten excelled over the others in a host of ways. They were more advanced in reading and mathematics and they were better adjusted socially and emotionally in school. They excelled in creativity and intelligence, oral expression, and “industry.” As a result of this study German kindergartens returned to being play-based again. Continue reading

Scooping Snow

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R was 17 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Weather Words and What They Mean by Gail Gibbons – Gail Gibbons writes many informative books on scientific topics and this is another great one!  R liked to point at different pictures and would say stuff to me in her baby talk.  I would name the object she was pointing at for her.

Activity:

1. A Cup of Rain

IMG_0193I used two simple ingredients to make the snow!  I used one box (4 lbs) of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda from my fridge and slowly added vegetable oil to it until the baking soda started holding form.  I then stored it in the fridge until R was ready to play with it.  I gave her an ice cream scoop and rubber spatula to explore with and promote motor skills.  She loved scooping the snow from one bowl to the other and squishing it between her fingers!  After the child is done playing, store the snow in a ziplock bag to use again and again!

Extension Activities:
a. Encourage Imaginative Play.  Set up an ice shop with the child.  Ask the child the following open-ended question: What do you need to start an ice cream shop?  Have him/her add appropriate items and then use the snow as a part of the ice cream store.
b. Develop Literacy and Numeracy Skills.  With the ice cream shop, encourage the child to label different flavours of ice cream with their names and add a price as well.  Continue reading

Raining Indoors

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R was 17 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

The Rain Came Down by David Shannon – The rain came down is a wonderfully illustrated story about the quarrels of a small community during a rainstorm and how they lend each other a hand once the sun comes out.

Activity:

1. A Cup of Rain

IMG_0209I topped a glass of water with shaving foam to represent clouds. R then dropped water, coloured with blue food colouring, into the glass to make it look like rain. She enjoyed adding water droplets and then swirling the mixture around using the dropper.

Extension Activities:
a.  Scientific Testing.  Set up four cups of water: two with hot water, two with cold.  To one cup of hot water and one cup of cold water, have the child drop in hot water coloured with blue food colouring.  To the other cup of hot water and the other cup of cold water, have the child drop in cold water coloured with food colouring.  Ask the child to observe and record the differences in how the different experiments behave.   With older children, have them come up with their own hypothesis to test. Continue reading

Discovering Wind

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R was 17 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Weather! by Justin McCory Martin – R enjoyed listening to me read, “Weather!” It is a nonfiction book that includes information about all kinds of weather.

Activity:

1. Blowing Clouds

IMG_0163R worked on her coordination and lung strength as she attempted to blow cotton balls with and without a straw.  The way she curled her lips as she practiced blowing without a straw was just the cutest!!  It was a lot more difficult for her to blow with the straw since she had to aim the straw correctly.

Extension Activities:
a.  Have cloud blowing races with multiple kids.  If the kids are different ages, adapt the game for each one so that it is a fair race.  For example, the youngest child may blow without a straw, an older child with a straw and an even older child blind folded and no straw. Continue reading

Growing Kind Children

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R was 15 months old at the time of this visit

As we strolled into the dimly lit animal shelter, R spotted a striped cat lounging in its bed and was immediately drawn to it. She meowed at it as her face and hands were pressed up against the glass divider between the reception area and cat room. This was her first visit to the shelter, but not her first experience with cats. As the staff unlocked the door to the cat room, R gingerly trotted by my side. She promptly slipped in beside the striped cat, which we learned was called Linx, and began stroking his soft fur while quietly whispering “nice”. Her memory of interactions with other animals had served her well, as she knew to be nice to her new found friend and to stroke him gently.

IMG_7524Being kind to other people, animals, nature, herself and her and others possessions is something that I hope to instill in R. It is a quality I want her to carry throughout life.

On a daily basis, I take R on outings either with friends and family or on our own in order to promote healthy emotional development as she explores and tries new things and learns to take risks. These outings also help with R’s social development as she learns to make friends and get along with others. During play with other children, I encourage R to practice sharing and taking turns and to help bring children who are standing on the sidelines into the play scenarios. Continue reading

Fading Sunshine

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R was 17 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

What Will the Weather Be Like Today? by Paul Rogers – What will the weather be like today? is an awesome book with just the right amount of writing on each page to keep R engaged and beautiful pictures to go along with the words. The book ends with a question to prompt weather exploration. Continue reading