Daytripping

 

 

DAYTRIPPING

 

With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan for a day or a weekend away with your little one(s)!  Whether it is a fun ride with family to lull an infant to sleep in the car seat or an adventure with preschoolers, there are many local attractions nearby! 

 

  1.  Take a ride through the covered bridges of Pennsylvania to absorb some history for the adults and soothe infants into a peaceful slumber. Visit the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society to plan your route:  buckscountycbs.org
  2. Enjoy the display of flowers, trees, fountains and architecture at Longwood Gardens.  Late summer is ideal to take advantage of the sites in full bloom.  www.longwoodgardens.org
  3. Collect seashells, soak up the sun, enjoy the amusement rides and games, and check out the aquarium at Jenkinson’s pier in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. www.jenkisons.com
  4. For a quick ride, check out Kids Castle, an amazing playground located in Doylestown, PA. www.savekidscastle.org
  5. Is your little one obsessed with cars, and trucks, and things that go?  Check out Diggerland, the only construction theme & water park amusement complex in West Berlin, NJ-just 20 miles from Philadelphia!  www.store.diggerlandusa.com
  6. Love to explore nature?  Check out Churchville Nature Center, an environmental area of 65 acres in a nature preserve. www.churchvillenaturecenter.org
  7. Keeping in the same vein, check out Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed in New Jersey, a 265 square mile area crossing 5 counties.  www.thewatershed.org
  8. Adult libations paired with a petting zoo are available at ShadyBrook Farm during their Friday night, “Music on the Patio” series.  www.shadybrookfarm.com
  9. Looking for a “pick your own” farm experience, check out Terhune Orchards, a 250 acre sustainable farm in Princeton, NJ. www.terhuneorchards.com
  10. For the animal lovers, check out the llama farm & events at Woodsedge Farm in Stockton, NJ.  www.woodsedge.com
  11. Animals, farming, and history prevail at Howell Farm in Lambertville, NJ.   Check out their events at www.howellfarm.org/calendar  Sheep shearing, corn planting, and hog slopping are some of the upcoming events.  
  12. For the art lovers, check out the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA.  This is one of 5 locations throughout the US. www.crayolaexperience.com
  13. To accommodate the youngest to the eldest in your group, try American Dream, an amazing mall  in East Rutherford, NJ.   This state-of-the art complex offers mini golf, an aquarium, indoor surfing, Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, indoor ski resort, Legoland, water park, ice skating rink, and more!  www.americandream.com  
  14. For the blossoming engineer, check out Legoland Discovery Center in Philadelphia.  www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/philadelphia
  15. Animal lovers can enjoy a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo.  www.philadelphiazoo.org
  16. For the tactile-kinesthetic explorer, try the Please Touch Museum, a museum designed specifically for children to allow them to play with purpose and use their imagination.  www.pleasetouchmuseum.org
  17. An amusement park specifically designed for small children is Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA.  www.dutchwonderland.com
  18. For those learning about nursery rhymes and classic children’s characters, a great day out may be had at Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.  www.storybookland.com
  19. Looking to get some energy released indoors, try Playpad, Bucks County’s 5,000 square foot indoor play space for children up to age 9.  www.playpadbucks.com
  20. Sesame Place is always a great day out that is close to home in neighboring Langhorne, PA.  www.sesameplace.com

 

This is just a small glimpse of the many things that our area has to offer.  Whether you have one of these destinations in mind, an alternate destination, or just taking a ride in the country, spending time engaging with your child/dren is a great way to support social-emotional learning and create bonds to last a lifetime. 

Benefits of Gardening

 

Spring has finally arrived!  With Earth Day being celebrated globally this month, now is the perfect time to start planning a garden with your family! The benefits of gardening are endless.

 

Here are just a few of the benefits that children reap having the opportunity to work in the garden:

 

  • Building self-confidence 
  • Promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) through hypothesizing, observing, reasoning, planning, organizing, and measuring
  • Improving  focus & memory (cited by a Swedish Study published in Developmental Rehabilitation in July 2009)
  • Stress relieving and cortisol reducing (cited by a 2011 study in the Journal of Health Psychology)
  • Positively impacting mood & physical well-being
  • Improving locomotor skills through transport of dirt, use of wheelbarrow, etc.
  • Improving fine motor skills using pincer grip to weed, embed seeds, etc.
  • Increasing literacy through conversation, labeling of plants, creation of signs, etc.
  • Understanding of cause and effect
  • Encouraging teamwork, reliability, and responsibility 
  • Lowering respiratory illness and autoimmunity through exposure to microbes & fungi in dirt 
  • Teaching a respect for nature and all living things
  • Sequencing of growth 

 

Do not let space hinder you!  You can have these same experiences delivered in a window box or planter on a patio.  The appreciation of plant life can continue through each season both indoors and outdoors.  

 

Babysitting Co-ops

Babysitting Co-ops

A very common question in any childcare center . . . “Do you know anyone that babysits?” While some early childhood programs do allow babysitting by staff and teachers, other programs do not permit this at all.  What is a viable solution to this dilemma?  The answer may be simple (contingent upon the neighborhood in which you live).  Start a babysitting co-op!

 

What is a babysitting co-op?  It is an enterprise, business or group of people that manage and operate a particular service.  In this case, it would be babysitting.  Instead of a paid service, a co-op would allow families to provide free babysitting for other families and have the favor returned.  

 

Creating a co-op ensures that you are partnering with like-minded individuals.  You do not have to rely on a stranger or outside agency as your child or children would be cared for by other parents.  Experience is a guarantee!  It’s also a great way to promote social interaction for your own child or children.  

 

Take the initiative to start a co-op if there is not one nearby.  You can do this without pricey advertising.  Social media platforms can spread the word readily.  This can be done on local parenting groups sites.  You may even be able to partner with your local early childhood programs to have them spread the word on the school’s site or social media platforms.  You can also go “old school” and print flyers to post at the local library, ice cream shops, grocery stores, or shops catering to young children.  

 

There are a few things to consider:

  1.  You must be able to track time:  either a point system, time-reward system, spreadsheet, etc.  of those providing the service. For example, do you receive 10 points for every half hour?  What is the point system if you surpass the half hour mark?  Do you receive the full point amount after the half hour or a fraction? 
  2. The system needs to be in a centralized location to allow members to see if they need to offer time to babysit to increase their points, chips, etc.  or to see if they have enough to acquire babysitting services. The system would also need to have each member’s contact information.
  3. Does one person maintain the tracking system and contact information or is this responsibility shared with the group?  If it is shared, how often is one responsible for this upkeep?
  4. Determine the value of services offered.  For example, will households with more than one child need to accumulate more points for services than a household with one child.  Does someone babysitting 3 children accumulate more points than someone babysitting one child?  Do holidays or late nights accumulate a greater number of credits? 
  5. Is there a required notification period for requesting a sitter?  
  6. What are the requirements for joining the co-op?  Do you have to be recommended by another family?

While this may seem like a huge undertaking, once established a babysitting co-op could create lifelong friendships and partnerships, promote socialization for both children and adults, and establish a true community.  Like the old adage states, “It takes a village to raise a child!”

 

 

 

Do You Know a Fall Guy (or Gal)?

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It’s never easy for a teacher or school administrator to tell a parent that his/her child took a fall while at school; however, in the world of infants and toddlers it is an everyday occurrence.  The statistics are staggering, but it is reassuring that it is completely appropriate and part of development.

 

In a study of 130 children conducted several years back, it was found that toddlers ages 12 months to 19 months fall an average of 17 times an hour.  At the onset of walking, the number of falls increases to 69 times an hour.  Thankfully, being so low to the ground and having such great flexibility makes these falls relatively easy to overcome.  

 

Once the walking has become part of daily living, two year olds become much more confident and exhibit little fear.  The result?  An even greater number of falls.  The average two year old falls 38 times per day.  With time and practice, this number lessens.  Pediatricians consider it within the norm to have children fall all the way up to age 4!  

 

Why does this occur?  There are several reasons.  Due to the rapid rate of growth,children outgrow shoes quite quickly.  If shoes are not fitted properly, this can be an issue.  Additionally, sudden growth spurts means having to re-learn balance and finding  a new center of gravity.  Finally, most toddlers are farsighted, creating issues with depth perception.  This may cause toddlers to overstep or misjudge distance.

 

To limit the number of injuries due to  falls, be sure to check corners  and furniture stability.  Keep all cords, drawers, and appliances out of reach.  Check the fit of all shoes, use non-slip socks or go barefoot in the home.  Good traction equals good mobility.  And . . . most importantly, try not to overreact.  Strong reactions can create fear.

 

Remember the struggle to learn how to skate or ski.  With practice and determination you were able to conquer the task; your little one will learn proficiency over time, too!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

teacher at table with young children

Benefits of Early Childhood Intervention: Daycare and Preschool Could Make a Difference

Whether you are getting ready to go back to work after maternity leave or simply need a few hours throughout your day to get the grocery shopping and household chores done, your baby and toddler could benefit from attending daycare.

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Process Preschool Art

Process vs. Product Art

There is a myriad of information to consider when selecting an early childhood program.  An indication of a program’s philosophy is their approach to art. The easiest way to discern this is by paying close attention to the display of art projects.  While art is often displayed on bulletin boards to present an inviting classroom, it is essential that art is also displayed at children’s eye level to allow them to view it and reflect on the art throughout the day. 

 

What exactly is the difference between process art and product art?  Process art is open-ended; the focus of the lesson is to use the various mediums and create art for the purpose of expression.  Product art is a project that has a set of instructions and requires the end product to replicate a given example.  This was known in times past as “cookie cutter” art-meaning that each and every project looked exactly the same.  Product art serves in an execution of directions completed in a particular order without regard to individuality.  

 

Art is to serve as an expression and stimulate creativity and imagination. Art should be part of every day in a well-executed early childhood program.  While you may not receive “projects” daily, you should be receiving photos and/or videos of your child engaged in creative processes.

 

In the words of MaryAnn F. Kohl, “Art is as natural as sunshine, and as vital as nourishment.”  Allow children to make choices and create; the end product will be well worth it!

teacher with preschool students at table

Choosing a Preschool That’s Right For Your Child

It’s an exciting (and emotional) time when your young one becomes old enough to go to preschool. Because you and your child may be apart for the first time, you want to choose a preschool that understands your child’s needs and learning style. How can you know which one is the right fit for your child when there are so many different options?

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