Monday, August 29, 2011

The Preschool Years

Children do a LOT of growing during the preschool years.  Here is a short list of a few things you can look for in your child's development---
***Your preschooler will begin to have a longer attention span***Preschool children love to act silly and goofy***Preschoolers are loud. Have you been in our room during center time?*** Preschoolers also like to use language that isn't nice (often repeating words heard in conversation, television or movies and usually using them at an inappropriate time like in front of Grandma :-)***Preschoolers talk a lot and ask LOTS and LOTS AND LOTS of questions. Your child is not asking questions to drive you crazy, really.  The average four year old asks about 437 questions per day!   Remember this is an average-consider yourself lucky if your child only asks two or three hundred!***Preschool children desire real adult things.  We have old cell phones, computer keyboards plus a wide variety of other items we incorporate into dramatic play.***As your child creates art work this school year, they will want to keep it***Preschoolers are developing a better concept of friends and friendship and will want to play with friends***Preschoolers are also starting to have a better understanding of how to take turns and what it means to share***For more information, go to the PBS parents site at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Can't Find My Shoes!

School has been in session for over a week. How are your mornings going getting kiddos ready for school?  Chaos, organized chaos or organized?  If you would like to be more organized in the morning read this article from USA Today-Five Ways to Take the Lunacy Out of School Mornings

Monday, August 22, 2011

Read Every Day!

I loved reading books to my boys when they were little. They are both good readers and read a lot!  Reading to a child EVERY DAY is one of the best ways to help them achieve success in school. Reading should be a fun and enjoyable activity for parent and child. Here are a few tips to help you help your child become a good reader-
*Make reading a part of your bedtime routine.  Most children like hearing a story every night at bedtime.
*Let your child pick the book and hold it.
*Discuss the illustrations. Point to the pictures. Encourage your child to point and discuss illustrations.
*Read alphabet and counting books.
*Stop and discuss unfamiliar words to build vocabulary.
*Rhyming and silly stories are well liked by preschoolers.
*Use books to help w/new experiences (going to the dentist, first sleepover, a new baby, etc.)
*Use 'voices' for different characters in the story. 
*Get a library card and make trips to the library.
*Make sure your child has books at home.  On a budget?  Thrift stores and garage sales are a great place to find book bargains.

Read every day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reptile and Amphibian Fair

  The 20th Annual Reptile and Amphibian Fair will be at Lakeview Museum tomorrow, August 20th and Sunday, August 21st from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   Admission is $3.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Remember from preschool to high school-you are your child's first and most important teacher.  
Learning begins at home.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Siblings Without Rivalry

My boys are four years apart and I thought they would fight less than siblings closer in age.  Silly me!  If you have more than one child there are bound to be conflicts. Summer vacation is almost over. Do you feel you need a referee shirt and a whistle to survive the day? Here is an article to help you keep your sanity these last few days before school starts-

Also, check out the books Siblings Without Rivalry and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wild Things

There is a lot to do in the Peoria area this week.  Chiefs are at home on Tuesday and Saturday, Brown Bag concert at the courthouse on Wednesday,  on Thursday you can listen to jazz at the CEFCU stage on the riverfront,  or head to the Metamora square on Friday for a free concert.  Don't forget the Metamora farmers market and other area farmers markets on Saturday.

In the mood for something really different???  The Peoria Zoo is have a Family Zoo Snooze on Friday night.  Start time is 7 p.m. and  the event ends on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.   The cost is $30 per person which includes a snack, breakfast and admission to the zoo on Saturday.  Children must be 5 or older and one adult for every five kids.  For more information or to register call 309/681-3513.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Preschool and Kindergarten

There is a lot going on during the school year in preschool and kindergarten.  We introduce and practice a wide variety of skills for kindergarten readiness.  By the time your child enters kindergarten, s/he should be able to-

*Identify letters of the alphabet
*Count to ten
*Count out ten objects
*Use art materials (scissors, crayons, markers, glue, etc.)
*Write name with upper and lower case letters
*Sort objects
*Complete patterns
*Identify basic shapes and colors
*Identify basic body parts
*Speak with complete sentences
*Recognize a few words
*Play independently
*Focus on an activity for ten minutes
*Care for personal needs (bathroom, washing hands, cleaning up, getting dressed) without help 

Don't stress out if your child does not have all of these skills mastered.  A lot of growing happens in kindergarten!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Time Capsule

Starting preschool? Starting kindergarten?  Want a fun activity for school age children?  Imagine your child ten, thirteen or fourteen years from now...a senior in high school. Crazy, right?  Time capsules are a fun activity to capture today's memories. What fun it will be to look at when your child is a senior in high school!  Hard to imagine, right? 

Here are some ideas-
*Select a container-a photo box, a shoebox, a paint container (you can buy these at most large building supply centers) or plastic container w/a lid.
*Decorate the box with paints, markers, stickers or photos.
*Gather small souvenirs of  your child's life-newspaper clippings, magazines, ticket stubs, photos, small toys.
*Write about your life now and in the future (see below for suggestions).
*Put everything in the container and store in a safe dry place.  Mark "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL SENIOR GRADUATION"

My Life Now-
Name, Age, Date, Address, Family Members, Pets, School, Grade, Teachers, Closest Friends, Favorites (book, food, drink, sport, movie, TV show, toy or game, school subject, song, band or musician, color, vacation), I Want to be a ....

My Life as a Senior-
How will I be different, How will I be the same, What sport will I be playing, Will I play a musical insturment, I will have learned how to,  My favorite subject will be...

You get the idea.  A quick Google search for 'time capsule for kids ideas' or 'time capsule questions for kids' should give you plenty of ideas.  Most of all-have fun with it!

Here's another idea from last year-

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

There's Nothing to Do!

If you need some fun ideas to survive the last few weeks of summer vacation click here-

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shapes and Letters and Colors

Here is an activity you can do at home with your child to reinforce letters, colors or shapes. Pick a spot your child can place objects-a low table, a small blanket, etc.  Pick a letter and look around your home and find things that start with the letter. Or show your child a shape or color and find things.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to School

School supplies have been on store shelves for weeks.  It's the first day of August and school is less than three weeks away for the grade school and four weeks for preschool.  Here are some ideas to help with the first day of preschool or kindergarten---
*Visit the school and play on the playground.
*Go to the library and read books about going to school.
*Watch Cookie Monster on his first day of school or Barney and friends.
Sesame Street--
*Drive by the school occasionally and draw a picture of the school or the playground.
*Pretend it is the first day of school and practice waving good-bye or saying good-bye at a door.
*Play school and take turns being the teacher.
*Have your child dictate and you write what they think the first day of school will be like.  What do they want to learn in kindergarten?  Read it at the end of the first day and read it at the end of the year.
*For kindergartners, eat some meals from a lunch box.  This is good practice for opening containers and then cleaning up their lunch.
*Several days before school, organize what your child will need for the first day. The night before pick out clothes.
Enjoy the last weeks of summer and we will see you soon!