Each week, I will present a low-cost do-it-yourself option for cutting cost and making cool learning stuff for your childcare and preschool children. I love blocks, and all building material that can be used in whatever way my children can imagine. This is why this week we are going to talk about a Pvc Pipe […]Continue reading
Sometimes, it is hard for family child care providers to explain to potential parents that “yes, indeed a whole bunch of learning happening in my home.” This list, I have had for some years and I use in my Parent Handbook, as a way to explain to parents what types of learning can occur in a family […]Continue reading
Get hours of fun, from these homemade playdough recipes. Who says store bought Play Dough is better. The types of playdough that can be created is only limited by ones imagination. I have only ever had one concern about making playdough, what if I mix up the cream of tartar with the alum? Basic Playdough 3 cups flour […]Continue reading
I found 1-2-3 Learn Curriculum early last week. The creator is Jean Hayes, she has been doing Family Child Care since 1985 in MN. She like many of us, struggle with finding a curriculum that fits our mixed age groups, eliminates waste and is cost effective. She could not find a curriculum that suited her needs, so she made one. I have had a chance to really dig in deep, to her stuff this weekend. All I can say, is I love it.
- Great themes
- Well put together
- Includes infant, toddler and preschool activities
- Books with activities
- Covers: literacy, language, arts and crafts, science, math and much more.
- Great printables
- You can use as you need
- A great, great price
- Plus, she is always adding free stuff.
Having used both Mother Goose Time and Funshine Express, I like the way Jean thinks and has put together her curriculum. She know about family child care and how one day you can have four preschoolers and an infant and the next two toddlers, and three preschoolers. It makes it hard to plan and implement a consistent curriculum. So do yourself a favor and check out some of Jean’s work. 123 Curriculum Blog or her website at 123 Learn Curriculum. You can also learn more about Jean here on video by Parent Aware talking about the Quality Rating Program that she participated in.
Plus, in support of a special cause all new subscription to 1-2-3 Learn Curriculum from March 16, 2011 – April 15, 2011, 50% will be donated to the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk August 19, 2011. Awesome!
I know as I transition from a purchased and planned curriculum to my own managed and designed curriculum for Little Scholar I will be using 1-2-3 Learn Curriculum. I can’t wait for her to design up some more stuff.
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Now, I consider myself fairly educated, and knowledgeable. As I look back over the ten years of working with young children, I can honestly say, they have taught me a great deal about the world and myself. Here is a list of what I have learned.
- Pea gravel does indeed get stuck up a nose.
- Ketchup and Ranch are considered by many a meal.
- If you have 5 children in diapers, there will be at least one day a week when they all poop at the same time.
- I can only handle 5 “why?” questions in a row.
- It takes at least six months for a child to learn that sand taste nasty.
- That toys must be beaten until something breaks.
- That louder is better.
- Two year olds do not understand “walk”, they can only run, save your breath.
- Pea gravel also fits nicely into your ear.
- That I have one diaper a year that makes me gag, even after all these years.
- I will get vomited on at least once a year.
- Children are natural creators, if left to their own devises they could create something you don’t appreciate.
- Children are an excellent example of the chaos theory.
- No matter how many play phones I have, it is never enough.
- Yes a magnet wand can be thrown through a glass window
- No matter how many times you vacuüm, and sweep an infant will still amaze you with what they have in their mouth.
- Yes, a beach ball can break a ceiling light.
- Streaking is necessary as a young child.
- When children first learn to use toilet paper, it is okay to use the whole roll.
- Milk art on the floor, is indeed very pretty.
- All paper items must be crumpled and ripped, even if laminated.
- If it is stuck on the wall it must be picked or pulled off, even if it is nailed or screwed on.
- Anything that has wheels and can be pushed, must be used to run over our friends with.
- You will only think that it is cute once, to teach an infant to blow raspberries or zurberts while eating.
- It is okay to keep worms and rolly-pollies in our pockets, so we can play with them later.
Please fill free to add to this list, I know that there are so many things to learn from children. I am positive I will learn twenty-five more in the next ten years.
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You might think that developing great curriculum starts with a great theme. Nope, it starts with a great schedule. Many fail at their attempts at curriculum because they have not thought through their schedule. They attempt to put into place this great theme and activities that are awesome, only to find that the whole attempt ended up in chaos.
Set up your schedule. It is time to take a look at your schedule, first look at the times of your day, that are set. These would be breakfast, lunch, nap, snack and if you make any school runs. Write these down.
- 8:00 am Breakfast, bus comes at 8:35
- 11:30 Lunch
- 12:30 Nap
- 3:30 Snack bus comes at 4:05
Now schedule in your preparation for lunch, breakfast, snack and bathroom breaks and clean up times, like this. Remember that curriculum does not have to occur in a large amounts of alloted time.
- 7:45 Start breakfast
- 8:00 Breakfast
- 8:20 Start clean-up from breakfast
- 8:45 – 9:00 Bathroom/Diapers
You are going to start to see, some time in small blocks. Like the example above, what are the children doing in the 15 minutes that breakfast is being prepared?
- Manipulative are always a good option, puzzles and books.
- Dry erase boards and markers.
- Anything using small motor skills.
As you move through your schedule, you will start to see patterns of time. Like what is going to go on from breakfast to 9:00 when I am partly distracted with clean-ups, diapers and bathroom breaks.
- Free play
- Block area
- Home living or prop boxes
You have made it through, the first quarter of your day. Now schedule your morning outside time and if you do a morning snack.
- 7:45 Start Breakfast
- 8:00 Breakfast
- 8:20 Start Clean-up from Breakfast
- 8:45 – 9:00 Bathroom Break and Diapers
- 9:50 -10:00 Bathroom Break
- 10:00 – 10:45 Outside
In this example no morning snack is given. There is almost an hour for curriculum. Here you can schedule parts of your curriculum that you know are going to be more time consuming. These are often done in 20 minute blocks.
- Circle or Calendar Time
- Arts and Crafts
- Sensory and Science
- Music and Movement
Another tip for your curriculum schedule is that you can always do part of your curriculum outside. I like to do art and some of my sensory and science outside. Now, you can see another slot of time that curriculum can be slipped into.
- 9:50 -10:00 Bathroom Break/Diaper Check
- 10:00 – 10:45 Outside
- 10:45 – 10:55 Bathroom Break/Diaper Check
- 10:55 – 11:30
Lunch is a tremendously hard time. We have tired, hungry kids and our attention must be partly distracted by making lunch. What kind of curriculum would fit in this time period?
- Purposeful media. (Computer, a short video that goes with curriculum, etc.)
- Table toys and smaller manipulative’s
- Books and literacy activities
- Any type of one to one activity. Sharing is usually hard during this period.
You have scheduled half of your day. Continue on in this same pattern to finish out the rest of you day. I know that you are thinking, “My day is always unpredictable, how do I schedule that?” My best advise is to be flexible, schedule a catch-up time, or just come to the conclusion that some days, you can not get everything done. Keep a look out for Part II, of Great Curriculum.
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What to do with a picky eater? This is a question I get a lot. Many that work with children, have that one child that just about refuses to eat anything besides hot dogs and mac and cheese. Is this because you only fed them fast food and kid food from the time they were little. Probably not, I tell those who say “well they are going to eat or they will starve at my house.” Again, probably not. I, have had two picky eaters. I have suffered through years of helpful people telling me: “it’s your fault you should make them eat or your too easy on them.” For many, many years, I took my food when we went to other people’s homes or out to eat to avoid embarrassment and a scene. I just want to give parents who are in this situation a bit of hope. I told those helpful people; that my children’s taste buds would develop and grow as they do. I chose not to fight over dinner, this is one area besides learning to go to the bathroom on their own, that if you decide to make it a battle they will win. Now, I have children who are open to more foods than I am. But, until that time I have some helpful tips for the frustrated parent and a pair ear plugs so you don’t have to listen to those helpful people. Here are a few things NOT to do with a picky eater.
• Don’t force your child to eat. Let him eat whatever he wants and how much he wants. Don’t force him to eat more. It is always helpful to have a healthy alternative that you know they will eat.
• Don’t withhold treats and snacks. It’s best sometimes to just move on to the next meal.
• Avoid punishment at mealtime. Don’t punish your child for not eating well or if he refuses to take a bite of new food. Remember it takes 5 -7 times or more for a child to acquire a taste for new foods.
• Don’t offer desert as a bribe or a reward for desired behaviors. For example don’t say, “If you will finish off all the food in the plate you will get an ice-cream”.
• Don’t offer him drinks just before the meals. Also limit the intake of high calorie drinks. Such drinks can fill their stomach and affect their meals.
• Avoid commenting on the child’s eating while at the table. Instead make mealtime a pleasant experience by discussing nice and positive topics.
• Don’t allow your child to eat alone. Let the family eat the meal together.
• Don’t loose your temper if your child refuses to eat food. Be patient and keep on trying.
These are just a few idea that have help me through the years. But, knowing some of the reasons why a child might be a picky eater has made it even easier. There are several reasons why children become picky eaters. Some children are sensitive to tastes, smell and texture from birth itself. Some children find it difficult to chew the food and so they become picky eaters. Some don’t like the color of the food and others don’t like the taste.
I survived the picky years, and yes I have more than once made three different meals at dinner, and made sure that I had healthy alternatives they would eat because they snacked all day. But, I now have a child that eats sushi. I would never have figured that.
This is a post that I did over a year ago, a little tweaking and updating and it still applies today.
This is one of my favorite themes. I picked this one because I feel in the need of a picnic and I seem to have an abundance of stuffed bears. You can spend a whole week on bears and Teddy Bears, but those can be difficult to put together and sometimes just to much bear. Sometimes we just need a day, of something different.
So, gather your Teddy Bears, or have your children bring one from home. Let’s start our picnic fun.
Start your day out by getting all your dramatic play stuff set out. You will need a table-cloth, picnic basket, cups, plates, napkins, play food, pretend pitcher, Teddy Bears and anything else you feel you need to take on a picnic. I like to set the stage, and do a little pretending myself, with the kids and the picnic play items. It is easy to think that all the children will know what a picnic is, but maybe not. Showing how to use and set the stage will eliminate the use of the props for other things not as appropriate.
Next, you can move right into a little circle time with the kids. Get started with this movement activity your child can do with his or her bear. Chant the following:
Teddy Bear, teddy bear, jump up and down.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear, turn all around.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear, show me your shoe.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear you’d better skidoo.
or this one is also good
Busy Bear, Busy Bear, turn around,
Busy Bear, Busy Bear, jump up and down.
Busy Bear Busy Bear, walk to me,
Busy Bear, Busy Bear, bend your knees.
Busy Bear, Busy Bear, on your toes,
Busy Bear, Busy Bear, touch your nose.
Busy Bear, Busy Bear, hop around,
Busy Bear, Busy Bear, sit on the ground!
Letter recognition can also be done at this time. The letter B or T is great. Stop by Preschool Express, for your ABC Letter Reproducible.
Bunch of Bear Activities
Gummy bear math, ask the children to hypothesize which color gummy bear there is the most of in a package. Sort as a class and record on a chart. Gummy bears can also be a great patterning tool. Start a pattern let the children finish it.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Anniversary Edition of a Modern Classic Teddy bear hunt, hide the teddy bears all over the room. Then read going on a Bear Hunt. Now it’s time to go on that hunt. Be sure to remember some of the actions as you search with the children for their teddy bears.
Coffee Bears make a great art project. Add coffee grounds to brown paint. Make or use a bear pattern. Here is an easy one to copy. Have children paint. Makes great brown bears. Be sure to add the googly eyes.
Basic Stuff: Equipment
Hole Punch/Paper Punch
various shapes and sizes
Various Cookie Cutters
Play Dough Accessories
various shapes and sizes
Basic Stuff: To Buy
Paper of all varieties and colors:
Paper Plates, Cups, and Bowls
Clear Contact Paper
Plastic Zippered bags
Basic Stuff: To Collect
Paper Towel/Toilet Paper Rolls
Cardboard Milk/Juice Carton
Plastic Milk Carton
So, you are probably wondering where am I suppose to put all this stuff. It really is not as big as it looks and you don’t need to become a hoarder. I use a large plastic tote to keep excess, then a small rope (about 3 yards in length) that is attached to my ceiling, clothes pins are used to hand my gallon zipper bags, that have a small supply of all my materials. No matter how you choose to store your materials, you will now never miss a creative moment. It is fun to be a bit spontaneous, a bummer when you don’t have the materials.
Here is how you can make your own cheap and easy art storage.
If you want a copy to print out hit the share button below and you can print out a copy for easy inventory.
Many people get stumped on this part. I think anywhere from a one page to a six page is effective. Here are some idea’s for pages.
- Home Page
- About Page
- Curriculum Page
- Your Program
- Enrollment or Fees/Rate
- Photo Page
- Links Page
- Daily/Weekly News Page
- Parent Page
Now that you have decided what pages you want to include on your website. Let’s talk about the content. It is important what you put on these pages, you want it clean, informative and easy to navigate. Here are some ideas for topics for each page. I can not write the verbiage for you, but I can give you some helpful hint’s to get you started.
1. Your Business Name and all contact information. I do find that a physical address can also come in handy. E-mail and phone number are also a must. You want people to contact you.
2. Brief paragraph or billets on what you offer, this can be anything from , nutritious meals, daily walks and outdoor activities, warm loving home, ages of children, to if you talk only full or part-time children.
3. A brief welcome paragraph. Think of this as you opening your door and welcoming someone into your home. Make it an inviting and informative, you want the person viewing your page to want to learn more about you and your program.
Your qualifications, years teaching, your associations, your philosophy, your education and training and I always think a little story about you is great for an about page. It makes you real, and people like to get to know you a bit before they contact. It is a most precious thing they are entrusting to you, it is okay to get a bit personal on this page.
Curriculum or Program Page
1. These pages can either be joined or used separately. On a curriculum page you can find: type of activities, special curriculum used such as a religious curriculum or something like Funshine Express, Mother Goose Time or Baby Signs.
2. You might also want to put a daily schedule, this is helpful to for potential clients to see that you have a well thought out program.
Enrollment or Fees/Rate Page
1. On this page you can find everything anyone needs to know about your enrollment process. This can be the paperwork that is needed for enrollment, and or the process in which you enroll families.
2. Rates and Fees, you can add your enrollment fees, to the rates and ages of the children that you enroll. Some, will argue that this information should be given either over the phone or in a personal interview. I disagree, save your potential client some time. A website is for information, so give it.
Use this page to give a visual story of what you do. I think this is a great page to include. It shows, how your home is set up, the equipment and toys you use, plus it shows how much fun your kids are having.
Links, Daily or Weekly News and Parent Page
These pages, I like to call the fun stuff. These are for return visitors or current clients. These pages allow you to become a resource to your families. Be as creative as you want here.
The pages and content you put on your website you want it to best express your business. So remember, sometimes less is best.
Business of Family Child Care…Yes you need a Website. Part III. Part three will end this series, I will talk about some of the more tricky things, posting pictures, links, advertising and blogs.
Do you think you need a website? I say YES! With more and more potential clients, searching the web for information. Your site is the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential client, before they make a decision.
With a well-designed, and professional looking website your family child care business can project the image and professionalism that can compete with child care centers and preschools.
Here is part I in helping you develop a great looking website. No need for you to ask, your ten-year old nephew, because you are computer challenged. Let’s get started.
1. Hosting, what is it and why do I need it? Hosting can be used to refer to the housing of your website. You have to put it somewhere. Knowing that you want a website cheap or free is where we will start. Weebly is my favorite free website host. What is nice about Weebly is they want your business, they have a section called Weebly for Education that is specifically tailored for teachers and schools. My second choice is Homestead cheap but, a great site for easy to build websites that let you have a bit more freedom and space than the free websites.
2. Now, do your consumer duties and become an informed shopper. I highly suggest you Google free websites and look for some more options. Any of them work great.
3. Now that you have made your choice, you need to register or join. During this registration they will ask you to enter a domain name. Now, you can either buy a domain name. This means you will get a name that looks like this www.mylittlescholar.org, your name with a .com, .net, or .org at the end. They are fairly cheep; go to godaddy.com and research a untaken name or you can get you free subdomains from your host. This name will look something like this www.greenfishchronicles.wordpress.com. Your name, then the host company name then a .com at the end. A bit more lengthy but still very cost-effective.
Tips on choosing your domain name. Keep it simple, easy to spell and easy to remember.
4. Now to the part I find the most fun. Choosing a template and the start of your design. Creativity rules when choosing your template. You might have an idea of what you want, but if you do not I suggest you just browse until you find that one design that says, this is it.
Tips on a choosing template. The template does not have to be all cartoon, and kids. I have seen some well done websites by family child care businesses that use nature, color and anything in-between.
Websites, are an important tool in showing a potential client what you are about, and your business. Many overlook this marketing tool, due to believing that it is too hard or expensive.
I am calling all family child care business that have completed your website to post it here. One its free promotion for you. Two, it will help other get ideas on what they can have in a website.
Here is my Family Child Care Business Website. Take a look.
Are you afraid of sensory play because you think it is to messy. Well, I am here to tell you; there is more in a child’s world to explore with their hands than just sand and water.
A sensory box or discovery box can be easily made of a plastic box designed for storage under the bed. I have a couple that stack on top of each other so I can trade out types of sensory boxes every couple of days. This type of box is large and shallow enough that it is easy for children to reach and has less spillage over the sides. I also recommend using an old tablecloth or shower curtain underneath for fast and easy clean up. You can help your child use their senses during play by providing a variety of “sensory materials.” Let us explore some everyday items from around the house.
Be sure to use soil that has no chemicals added to it or is sterilized. You can find this type of soil at your local hardware store. You can do a garden theme with child size garden tools, small pots and artificial flowers. Or, a farm theme is also fun, with tractors, trucks and a farm play set.
Snow is also an excellent and exciting for sensory play when it is too cold to go outside. Have the children wear mittens and build snowmen and castles.
Using scoops, large tongs, plastic glasses and bowls is a great sensory idea.
This is last-minute activity that kids love. Have plastic pitchers, and cups for practice pouring. Also, if you have toys that need washing add soapsuds, wash clothes, and enjoy the clean toys and fun. Water has many sensory activities that you can do.
Leaves are great for rustling and make crunching sounds. You can also bring in twigs, flower peddles, stones and rocks. In the fall, a variety of colored leaves is great for seasonal lessons.
Be sure to use the classic type of shaving cream that is not methylated. Use foam blocks for the children to pretend building houses, roads and cities. Cars are also great for making roads and paths or just use it alone for a fun experience.
Provide scooping and pouring toys. Bury small toys for treasure hunts.
Dried beans, rice and oatmeal
Use the beans, rice and oatmeal material in the same way that you would sand or the birdseed.
Is great for pretending just about anything. They can use many molds, scissors, plastic knives, etc.
Here is a great recipe for homemade play dough.
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon powdered alum
2 packages unsweetened drink mix
Combine first six ingredients. Add the drink mix with water. Cook over medium heat and stir until mixture forms a soft ball. Put dough on wax paper until cool enough to handle. Knead until smooth and store material in tightly covered container.
Twenty More Great Ideas for Sensory Play
1. Colored rice or noodles.
2. Packing peanuts.
3. Shredded paper.
4. Crumbled Paper
5. Straws of different sizes and shapes
6. Colored pom, poms.
7. Feed corn and wheat.
8. Small roll of sod grass.
9. Unwanted scrap construction paper and scissors.
10. Rocks of various shapes and sizes.
11. Coffee and Cornmeal mix.
12. Cooked spaghetti.
14. Colored curling ribbons of various sizes.
15. Home made silly puddy
Add equal parts of white glue and liquid starch to a small bowl. 1/2 a cup of each is good to start with. Liquid starch can be found at your local grocery store . Mix with hands or a plastic spoon and let sit over night, Doesn’t have to be thoroughly mixed. Mix again the next day to desired consistency.
16. Easter grass.
17. Mardi Gras beads.
18. Clean Mud
mix 1 roll white toilet paper, 1 bar grated Dove Soap (grate with a cheese grater), and warm water (make the water warm enough to melt the soap). Let the kids tear up the toilet paper into small pieces. Put into big bowl or large container with grated soap. Pour in water in small amounts while mixing paper and soap with hands. Enough water has been added when the mixture is the consistency of thick cool whip.
20. Styrofoam packing pieces of various sizes and water.
Not only is sensory play fun it is a learning experience. When children use their senses, to explore different materials they gain important communication skills, reasoning, problem-solving, motor skills. All these skills get your child ready for preschool and kindergarten.
More Fun Activities:
When 2011 started, there was a glimmer of what I wanted to do with this blog. Most important to me was to write about the Business of Family Child Care, there just was not many people out there, shouting the joys of this business. I was a bit nervous and put off my first posts for almost a month, out of sheer fear. But, then I just jumped in, started experimenting and was “Wowed!” by the response. So if you missed some articles never fear, here is the top eleven of 2011.
1. 20 Playdough Recipes. You can really never have too many playdough recipes.
2. 10 Sensory Play Recipes. Gloop, mud, glunk, glack or flubber. Must have recipes for making paper mache to colored rice and noodles.
3. Germs, Germs, Germs… Actives for Toddlers and Preschool. This article had it’s debut on Squidoo. I crossed it over added a few items, and now a very nice place to keep all the germ ideas for kids.
4. Teddy Bear Picnic. I love Teddy Bears and so do my kids. I have not had one of these in a while, I think I will plan it for our first snowy week indoors.
6. A List of Skills Children Learn in a Family Child Care. Have you been looking for a list to add to your interviews with parents. Here it is a great list of skills, that children learn right in your home.
7. First Aid Book, For Your First Aid Kit. Want some quick references, make your own first aid book for yourself or parents.
8. Developing Great Curriculum Part I. You see lots of activities and things to do with the kiddo’s but how do you really put it into a working curriculum. Start with a great schedule.
9. Speaking of curriculum. A must place to stop by and visit. 1-2-3 Learn Curriculum. A family child care veteran that has developed some awesome curriculum, that will fit in your day and your kids will love it.
10. Business of Family Child Care… Yes, you need a Website. Part I. I want to see real family child care business, pop-up on search engines. Online marketing starts with a good website.
11. Child Care is NOT a Low Cost Start-Up Home Based Business. This was a bit of a vent article. I often think that there are many articles out there that mislead and do not give an exact account of what is really needed to run a successful family child care business.
Have a wonderful and blessed New Year! I will talking with you soon about two new projects, Green Fish 365 and Kelsey’s Project…
Oh…Additional Reading…My Top Favorite Three!
Meet the Hermits! Adding Science to a Small Space. R.I.P. Plato, you are missed.
Last year I struggled up until a week before Christmas…
My own children got a big kick out saying “Bah Hum Bug, Mom!”
My annual holiday dilemma, is decorating for the holidays. Honestly, it starts a week before Thanksgiving; I mentally go over all the children I care for, their age, activity levels, personality, defiance and overall jubilance for the opening of gifts. Then I make a mental checklist of all my seasonal decorations and…
Well, and that is as far as I have gotten. Why the dragging of the feet, you might ask?
- Christmas decorations as a whole are not safe. They have sticky, prickly, blinky, sparkly, sharp things that children cannot help but want to explore.
- Oh and how can you not see pretty, shiny gifts and not understand that you cannot open them. I mean really, that takes years of practice, I know adults that cannot master that challenge.
- Plus, I wear myself out saying “No!” It really cannot be worded any other way.
I have tried, “Sorry, honey…if you pull on that, it is going to land on your head.” by then it is usually too late.
Or “I know that it is round and looks like a ball, but they are called ornaments, so they stay where they are.”
This does not work on a two-year old ever, “I know you just had your birthday, but these gifts are for other people.”
I could lock up my decorations, but it does not seem right to me. Or maybe, I could decorate with just stuff, we make for the holidays, but that just makes everything look messy and defeats the purpose of home for the holidays. I have a home that I would like to enjoy with my own sparkly, blinky things.
I am considering just putting the gifts under my new Christmas Disco Ball. It hangs from the ceiling and is sparkly and blinky. Oh, and the Christmas Disco Ball, is a story I plan to share very soon. I am just trying to figure out how best to hang it from the ceiling and find the really cool disco music to go with it. I am thinking some Disco Duck would be awesome.