When adults think of exercising, they imagine working out at a gym, running on a treadmill, or lifting weights. However, for kids, exercise means playing and being physically active. Kids exercise when they have gym class at school, during recess, at dance class or soccer practice, while riding bikes, or when playing tag. I don’t think I have ever heard a 5 year old say, “Mom, I will be back in an hour, I’m heading to the gym to lift weights!”
Kids who exercise will have:
Aerobic exercise can be fun for both adults and kids. Aerobic activities include biking, baseball, soccer, skating, running, hiking, swimming, etc.
Improving strength doesn't have to mean lifting weights. Instead, kids can do push-ups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and other exercises to help tone and strengthen muscles. They also improve their strength when they climb, do a handstand, or wrestle.
Stretching exercises help improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Kids get chances every day to stretch when they reach for a toy, practice a split, or do a cartwheel.
The problem is kids being sedentary. Sitting around, watching TV, playing with an iPad, playing videogames, etc. They are not being active enough. Try some of these activities to help in the growth and development of your kids!
Well, we are into that 3-5-week period in Wisconsin where the warm weather finally comes out to greet us. Some may say that it gets so hot that when you go to buy vegetables, it is vegetable soup before you can even make it home. Everyone is always looking for ways to stay cool on a hot Summer’s day. As a parent, you are trying to find ways to keep your children cool! Here are 5 refreshing snacks that will surely peak your child’s interest:
1)Watermelon: Watermelons and Summer go hand in hand, don’t they? There’s just something so refreshing about biting into the juicy fruit on a hot day. It can be difficult to keep little people hydrated and cool when all they want to do is play in the sun. Watermelons make fantastic snacks for kids as they quickly replace lost water and electrolytes. It has an incredible 92% average water content! It’s also an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium and lycopene.
2)Homemade Fruit Popsicles: When you make popsicles, it is important to use the whole fruit, rather than just the juice, so kids get 100% of the nutrients in the fruit (juicing removes the fiber and some water-soluble vitamins). And if it gets kids eating fruit that they ordinarily wouldn’t touch, well that’s a massive bonus too.
3)Peanut Butter and Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip: This dip would go perfectly with your fruit kabobs, apples, or simply any other fresh fruit. Kids love to dip their food!. This is also very low hassle, and a quick snack for your children even if you are on the go in the Summer.
4)Veggies with Ranch Dip: Finding a “clean” Ranch at the grocery store can be tricky, but Bolthouse Farms makes one that is as healthy as they come. Fresh veggies including celery, carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, etc. are all very refreshing to have with everyone’s favorite dip. This is also an easy snack to prepare or bring with you traveling.
5)Greek Yogurt with (fresh or frozen) Berries: Plain Greek yogurt is used to avoid added sugar in. To sweeten, either add raw honey or a tiny bit of stevia to a handful frozen berries, and it’s a treat the kiddos won’t want to put down. Frozen berries are also usually less expensive than fresh ones and are great for smoothies too.
Summer is a great time to enjoy some new snack options, especially when the fruit is in season here in Wisconsin! Enjoy it while it lasts, and embrace the warm weather, because we know all too well that the cold will be back before we know it!
Have a wonderful Summer!
One sheep… Two sheep…. 3 sheep…
Putting your child to sleep can definitely add some much-needed quiet time, however, obviously the concept of a child getting rest isn’t to benefit the parents. Sleep can help children fight obesity, avoid colds, and aide in having success in school. There is an ongoing public health goal to get more sleep both for children and adults. When kids get the sleep they need, they may have a lower risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes as well as fewer learning problems and attention issues. Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise. It's when the body repackages neurotransmitters, chemicals that enable brain cells to communicate. And experts have recently been able to demonstrate that sleep allows brain cells to "take out the trash" each night, flushing out disease-causing toxins.
1)Sleep Promotes Growth
a. I am sure there are mornings where you wake up, and you strongly believe your child has gotten bigger. Well that is because it is true. Growth hormone is most strongly secreted during deep sleep. By our own human nature, babies spend about 50% of the time in this deep sleep, which is considered to be essential for adequate growth.
2)Sleep Affects Weight
a. Getting too little of sleep can cause obesity as early as infancy. By parents understanding the difference between children eating because they’re hungry, rather than using it as a soothing tool, swaddling and swinging can put a baby to sleep. Thus, the baby will not gain unnecessary weight. Worn out children eat differently then well-rested children. They crave more carbs, or higher-fat foods.
3)Sleep Fights Germs
a. During sleep, children (and adults) also produce proteins known as cytokines, which the body relies on to fight infection, illness, and stress. Therefore, the less sleep you get, the less cytokines you produce. It's been found that adults who sleep fewer than seven hours per night are almost three times more likely to develop a cold when exposed to that virus than those who sleep eight or more hours.
4)Sleep Increases Attention Span
a. Children who consistently sleep fewer than ten hours a night before age 3 are three times more likely to have hyperactivity and impulsivity problems by age 6. Research has shown that adding as little as 27 minutes of extra sleep per night makes it easier for them to manage their moods and impulses so they can focus on schoolwork. It is a pretty easy concept that the more rested you are, the easier it is for you to stay focused on a task.
5)Sleep Boosts Learning
a. Newborn babies are constantly learning, even when they are sleeping. Although they look so peaceful and cozy, their brain is making millions of connections all while sleeping. Sleep aids learning in kids of all ages, and education experts are finding that naps have a particular magic. Neuroscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst taught a group of 40 preschoolers a game similar to Memory. Then the kids took a nap (averaging 77 minutes) one week and stayed awake the other week. When they stayed awake, they forgot 15 percent of what they'd learned, but when they napped they retained everything. The kids scored better on the game not only after they'd just woken up but the next day too.
Develop a routine and a time that children need to go to sleep. For example, bath, brush teeth, read a story, then lights out. Then you can set the stage, things like temperature, fan, night light, etc. Do all this, so that your child knows it is time to recharge the batteries and get some sleep!
I can remember it just like Yesterday. Playing soccer with my friends in the front yard as the sun begins to set. The warm air is cooled by a light breeze and the tree branches shimmer ever so slightly. The sprinklers turn on, but that doesn’t stop us from playing… it only made the competition that much more intense. After each goal a belly slide through the sprinkler sufficed as an appropriate and jubilant celebration. Oh Summer days… how we love you.
The best activities for children I can think of for Summer:
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink in the wild air."
Summer Program is so much more than a place for children to play and have fun with friends. It is a place to have new experiences, develop new interests and skills, and to establish the confidence to be independent and empowered.
Our Summer Program offers a ton of different activities, including but not limited to: Light Speed Indoor Go-Carts, swimming at Country Springs, Discovery World, Miller Park Tour, Milwaukee Zoo, Uihlein Soccer Complex, Water Town Aquatics, and more! With this wide variety of activities, your child can experience new things, and find new interests outside of traditional sports and school activities. Our intentionally planned activities are meant to evoke imagination and creativity.
Summer Program allows kids the opportunities to form new friendships with others they have yet to meet or interact with. Learning and growing with new people is always an important skill in child development. Also working as a group or team can teach skills and foster friendships that will prosper long after Summer Program concludes. These potential life-long friendships could all be rooted in the similar interests that they found they share at Summer Program.
With activity and growth comes success and failure. Whether it is basketball or chalk drawing on the pavement, each activity comes with its own set of mini milestones and tests. Some of these activities might be brand new to your child, while others could be extensions of what they already know. Maybe they’ve never played basketball before, or perhaps they’ve played basketball but have never attempted a certain type of dribble. By getting out on the court and learning to play basketball, or even putting together some form of a through the legs dribble, an increase in confidence will result. The willingness to try something new, regardless of their impending success or failure will result in a newfound confidence, and a more resilient child.
In the end, Summer Program is FUN. There will be loads of good times and plenty of learning. But that is what Summer Program is, it is a learning experience. This summer can be a very important in learning new skills, having new experiences, and developing new friendships.
“Hey Siri, Call Becky”
“Hey Alexa, Text Jason”
“Hey Google, what is the weather?”
Technology is all around us whether you like it or not. Some of us, are more tech savvy than others, but we cannot deny that technology helps us create deeper insights, do more with less, and simply saves us time. Technology also has its negatives including the constant need to upgrade, lack of privacy, and it can be powerfully destructive. As a self-proclaimed technology enthusiast, I still find it easy to point out negatives, rather than the positives. Although I do believe that the evils of technology are only exemplified when you abuse how much time you spend using it, I do see ways we can steer away from too much technology.
A big change in the behavior of children is less exercise/play. Technology such as iPads, video games, television, smartphones, etc. can be to blame for making children much more sedentary when they get home from school, rather than going outside to play. Spending time outdoors has a huge number of positive effects on the body — it provides you with exposure to sunlight, which supplies your body with Vitamin D. This helps to fight infections and keep your skin healthy. Additionally, regular exposure to sunlight helps to keep your sleep cycle regular by influencing the body’s production of melatonin. Recent research has shown screens from devices such as tablets and smart phones emit harmful blue light that can cause headaches, eye strain and irritated eyes for children.
Technology is just overflowing stimuli that gives us instant gratification. It can also affect the way kids process information — when kids are exposed to high levels of technology, they tend to think through things only superficially and don’t develop the ability to think critically or be creative when learning new concepts. They only begin scratching the surface, when really the more we think critically, the more connections our brain makes. All types of technology can have negative effects on children when used in excess, because they lower children’s frequency of interacting with their peers. This makes it more difficult for them to pick up on social cues and develop meaningful relationships with others — something that can have serious negative consequences as they grow and develop. Engaging in new experiences with others creates that interpersonal relationship. They also have a difficult time developing emotion the same way other kids would if they spend too much of their time with technology and not enough time being engaged while in the presence of others.
This isn’t to say that all technology is bad, or that children should never use technology. Technology provides tons of positive opportunities for learning, entertaining, and socializing, but it should be monitored and used appropriately. Here are some tips to help head off these problems and encourage responsible technology use with your children. Instead of prohibiting technology use altogether, set daily limits for how long children can use technology each day. Talk with them about what seems reasonable and keep their schedules in mind. For many kids, once they get their initial fix of technology after a long day at school, they’ll get the same level of satisfaction that they would if they’d been using the technology for hours. If your children are fighting you on these rules, try explaining to them the negative effects that technology can have — this will help them understand why it’s important.
What part of everyday life has technology not immersed itself in? We use it to get to and from our destinations, to heat up our food,, and to stay-up-to-date on current events. We would be hard-pressed to find an area of life not in some-way directly impacted by technology. Since the inception of the calculator, technology has been slowly creeping into early childhood education classroom, causing quite the controversy.
The role technology should play in the early childhood education classroom is a hotly debated subject among researchers, childhood education advocates, and teachers. This post will seek to lay out both sides of the argument, providing the reader with a comprehensive guide to the cases for and against the incorporation of technology in the birth to five classroom.
In favor of technology in the classroom:
The next post will focus on how Discovery Days/Kids Connection Childcare centers incorporate technology into the classroom in a developmentally appropriate way, and what that looks like on a daily basis.
Learning GenerosityIn early childhood education centers we rightly stress the importance of early literacy, learning one’s ABCs, exercises for physical development, and promoting other essential experiences that assist children in meeting their developmental milestones, but we often neglect a crucial part of child development: teaching generosity.
Generosity can be defined as, “the act of giving to others freely.” Generosity is both a skill and a habit that once learned and implemented can be a powerful antidote to the negativity we all experience on a daily basis. There is research that promotes the notion that we are biologically hardwired in our brains to have the inclination to act generously, but as early childhood educators we are not doing an effective enough job unleashing that inclination to ensure that every child’s generosity is making the lives of others around them better.
How can we encourage generosity in children?
If you were to walk into one of our centers (Discovery Days I, II, and III and Kids Connection I and II) you might see that the children spend 80% of their waking hours engaging in play. On a surface level, this might cause the casual observer to be skeptical or to think that the curriculum isn’t very rigorous; however, nothing could be further from the truth.
Our educational philosophy is very simple: children learn best through explorative play in which they are engaging with their environment and other children, with the help of a facilitating teacher. You may be thinking, what constitutes “play?” “Play” is only “play” according to a group of early childhood experts, if it meets three of the following expectations listed below, each of which is taken directly fromscholarly work (Krasnor&Pepler, 1980; Rubin, Fein, & Vandenberg, 1983, depicted in the “Power of Play” publication):
PLAY IS PLEASURABLE. Children must enjoy the activity or it is not play.
PLAY IS INTRINSICALLY MOTIVATED. Children engage in play simply for the satisfaction the behavior itself brings. It has no extrinsically motivated function or goal.
PLAY IS PROCESS ORIENTED. When children play, the means are more important than the ends.
PLAY IS FREELY CHOSEN. It is spontaneous and voluntary. If a child is pressured, she will likely not think of the activity as play.
PLAY IS ACTIVELY ENGAGED. Players must be physically and/or mentally involved in the activity.
PLAY IS NON-LITERAL. It involves make-believe
What does the research say?
We have all seen children throw temper tantrums, and we can all likely agree that they are not much fun to witness. We have been in the room as a child has punched an adult or another child, or when they’ve said harsh swear words they have no business knowing. Each of these scenarios conveys a universal emotion: Anger. It’s a common emotion, many of us deal with on a daily basis regardless of age. What many probably don’t remember is that when we were children, we were likely taught how to manage anger and try to deal with it in a healthy way. Children who act on their anger in unproductive ways, such as with violence or screaming, have not been taught how to manage their anger in a healthy manner.This blog has been crafted for the purpose of providing information on the topic of childhood anger, and how we as educators and parents can teach children to handle their anger. Anger plagues humans for their entire life, therefore becoming essential that children are taught from a young age what are appropriate responses to this difficult to handle emotion.
What does a child have to be angry about?