10 Simple Ways to Get Creative & Have FUN with Read-aloud Time!

Making read-aloud time part of your everyday routine—before bedtime, for example—is a great way to guarantee regular reading. Routines also help young children feel safe and secure because they know what to expect. If you have a regular reading routine, keep it up!

But if you’d like to get creative and add extra fun to what you’re already doing, we have 10 simple ideas! Whether you’re a parent, caregiver, or teacher, we hope some of these tips can work for you and the little ones you love!

1. Read to a pet. Children are delighted when you include their furry friends in read-aloud time! And if you have a child who’s learning to read, local libraries will even host events where children can read to specially trained service animals.

2. Visit your local library or bookstore for story times. It’s fun to enjoy great stories with other children and families. (And it gives you a break from reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the 99th time.) Local libraries offer a variety of preschool storytime programs throughout the week, often including hands-on activities, music, and opportunities for movement and play.

3. Use different voices when you read aloud. Whether you’re reading the words or simply pointing to the pictures and describing what you see, use an expressive voice to engage your child and make the book interesting. For example, you can use a high voice, a squeaky voice, a deep voice. Whisper the words or sing them. Use different voices for different characters. 

4. Let your child “read” to you. If you read regularly to your toddler, you may have already discovered that they love to mimic your reading.

It’s okay that they don’t actually know how to read. Holding the book, turning the pages, making sounds—these are all important pre-reading skills! Encourage their "pretend reading" and praise them for it.

5. Find a fun place to read. Grab a handful of books and sit under a tree, build a reading fort out of cushions and blankets, or find a cozy spot under the kitchen table. Let your child experience read-aloud time as an adventure! 

As your child gets a little older, the following ideas are great for helping them make connections between what they read and the world around them.  

6. Visit someplace described in the book. If you’re reading a book about the farm, visit a local farm and make connections from the book, such as the animals or tractors you see.

7. Experience something from a book. Eat green eggs and ham (from Green Eggs and Ham.) Try orange marmalade on toast. (From A Bear Called Paddington.) For more ideas, check out this link: Extend Reading Experiences by Bringing Books Alive!

8. Pick silly books. Laughter is good medicine for children and adults alike! We love this list of “super silly books for kids,” many of which you’ll find at your local library.

9. Check out library books based on your child's interests: If your preschooler is into dinosaurs, trucks, or the farm, your local library has all sorts of colorful picture books based on their interests. Children will enjoy read-alouds even more when they’re engaged in stories or information books about things they love! 

10. Let them experience stories with movement and play. If you're reading a story that takes place on a farm, for example, let them get out plastic farm animals and make the sounds each animal makes. You can also let them act out the story as you read. This is a great way for them to move their bodies, something all children need, and have an extra dose of fun with storytime.

What do all of these ideas have in common? They make read-aloud time enjoyable for both you and your child. When reading to babies and young children, there’s just one goal: give them positive experiences with books.

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life! 

Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents "Read and Discuss Stories" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
  • If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!

 

 


15 Screen-Free Indoor Activities to Keep a Young Child Busy

Bad weather days can make it a challenge to keep little ones engaged and active without resorting to screens. When the days are cold or the rain won't stop, it’s tempting to turn on the TV or the iPad instead of encouraging activities that will stimulate the brain and the body in the ways a young child needs. Exploring through movement and play is one of 5 Basics every child needs to get a great start in life!

Believe it or not, there are many things your child can do that are free or low-cost. Here are some of our favorites!

1. Build a fort: blankets, pillows, sheets, towels, and living room furniture can keep children engaged for hours. Once the fort is built, it’s a great place for looking at books, setting up a tea party, or playing with toys.

2. Hide and seek: You can hide, they can hide, or you can hide objects for them to find.

3. Blocks! Check out these fun activities involving blocks.

4. Art: With simple supplies you already already have on hand, your child can create to their heart’s content: crayons, washable markers, scrap paper, stickers, toilet paper rolls, paper plates, etc.

5. Water play in the sink, tub, or large plastic bin. Plastic containers and water provide lots of fun for toddlers! Plastic animals can join the fun too. *Remember to always provide supervision when your child is doing water play.

6. Pretend play. Children are naturally creative and imaginative. Whether they’re making a tea party for their stuffed animals, building a zoo, or cooking dinner, encouraging pretend play is an important and delightful part of a child’s development.

7. Play-Doh. Yes, it can be messy but it’s also a great way for your child to have lots of fun for a long time, all while strengthening the muscles in their fingers and hands that are so important for school.

8. Turn on music and have a dance party. This one’s for you too, moms and dads! It’s a great way to maximize love, manage stress, and let your child burn off some energy.

9. Puzzles. They’re another great activity for developing the muscles in fingers, and working on coordination and thinking skills. Children love working the same puzzles over and over again!

10. Books. Yes, we want you to read to your child but it’s also valuable for children to look at books on their own, to “pretend read,” to talk about the pictures, and to make up their own stories as they turn the pages.

11, Dump out plastic cups and utensils in the kitchen. Toddlers love to bang on containers with plastic spoons, to put containers inside one another, to build and stack and then knock it all down. This is a simple way for them to stay occupied while you work in the kitchen.

12. A cardboard box. For a child, a cardboard box isn’t just a cardboard box. It’s a car, a rocket ship, a house, a place to hide, and so much more!

13. Simple sensory bins. Take a few containers—bins, plastic bottles, or large resealable bags—and fill them with child-friendly objects that appeal to your child’s senses and interests: feathers, water beads, cotton balls, plastic toys. Here are some simple ideas to get you started. *Closely supervise your child if your bins or bags have items that can be choking hazards. 

14. Masking tape. A simple roll of tape can create a lot of fun! Tape “roads” on the floor for matchbox cars, tape a hopscotch court, or tape a “balance beam.”

15. Have an indoor picnic. A blanket on the living room floor + finger foods turn snack time or meal time into a fun treat and a break from the ordinary.

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life! 

Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are "Explore Through Movement and Play" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
  • If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!


Getting Back to The Basics During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a wonderful time for young children and for those who care for them. The festivities and traditions take on a magical quality when seen through the eyes of a child.

But as we all know, the holidays can also be a stressful and challenging time. Extra treats, later bedtimes, parties, presents, and travel can be disruptive to normal family rhythms. Many parents and caregivers also experience extra financial and family strain during this season.

With these realities in mind, how can we take the "The Basics" (5 fun, simple, powerful ways that to help all our children become the happiest and most successful they can be) and weave them into both the celebrations and the challenges of the holiday season?

Here are 5 simple ways, one for each Basic:

1. Maximize Love and Manage Stress

Regardless of what holiday tradition your family celebrates, the best present you can give your child is your presence.

Your young child needs your hugs and kisses, your bedtime snuggles, and your voice. Our consumer culture convinces us that we need the latest and greatest toys and experiences, but all a young child truly needs is consistent love and care. 

Keeping as many of your daily routines as possible is extra important during the holidays. Knowing what to expect helps children feel secure and maintains healthy sleep schedules and mealtimes. 

Managing stress is easier said than done, right? Remember that caring for young children is already a full-time job! This is definitely a stage of life when it's always best to simplify.

Here are some practical tips for managing stress:

  • Store-bought desserts instead of homemade are just fine for the holiday party.
  • Remember that less is more with young children. They are easily distracted and overwhelmed. Keep treats and toys to a minimum so they can really enjoy the gifts of the season!
  • Know your limits and your child's. It's nearly impossible to please everyone. If others' expectations of you are more than you can handle, it's okay to say no or offer an alternative.
  • When stress is unavoidable, take steps to cope effectively. This may look like finding a trusted caregiver for your child if you need a break, walking away from a tantrum for a minute to take deep breaths, finding someone you trust who can help or listen, or going for a walk.

 

2. Talk, Sing, and Point

The great thing about The Basics is that they become part of everyday life. Talk, Sing and Point as you take in the sights and sounds of the season. 

If you're traveling, point out new things you see through the window. Sing along with holiday songs and make music part of your festivities. Remember that this is a magical time for little ones; you can make the most of it by talking, singing, and pointing your way through the season. 

 

3. Count, Group, and Compare

Kitchen time is a great time to do this! If you're doing extra baking, let your child help with counting and measuring in the kitchen. 

 

4. Explore through Movement and Play

Between the extra excitement and extra sugar, children have lots of extra energy this time of year! Help them stay active by letting them play as much as possible. If weather permits, take a 30 minute break and go to the park or take a walk.

The holidays are also a great time to enjoy fun indoor games together! 

 

5. Read and Discuss Stories

Your local library will have a rich collection of children's books for all the different holidays. Pictures books are a fun and engaging way to teach your child about the traditions you celebrate this time of year. 

And because it's such a busy season, reading together is a perfect way to slow down, snuggle up, de-stress. Storytime isn't only beneficial for your child, it's beneficial for you as you bond with your child and hold them close. 

What are YOUR favorite ways to do The Basics during the holidays?

 

///

 

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life! 

Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are "Maximizing Love & Managing Stress" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
  • If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!


Use these everyday moments to prepare your child for math! (even if you're not a "math person")

Believe it or not, babies are born with ready brains for learning numbers, patterns, sizes, shapes, and comparisons. Using everyday moments, you can help your child build a healthy brain that’s prepared for problem-solving and math.

These simple ideas—during mealtime, car time, and bath time—can help you turn everyday moments into powerful learning opportunities! 

MEAL TIME

If you have a baby who is eating cereal or table food, count each bite as you feed them with a spoon. Using a fun, sing-song voice as you count shows your baby that counting is fun! 

As your child can feed himself finger foods like Cheerios, count out a certain number and put them in a group. “Let’s count 5 Cheerios! 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5!” Counting individual items teaches your child that numbers correspond with objects.

Once your child understands that numbers represents objects, you can begin doing simple addition and subtraction. “How many chicken nuggets are on your plate? That’s right, 5. If you eat 2, how many are left?”  Or "How many carrots will you have if I give you 1 more?" They may not know the answers at first, but you can take this opportunity to point to the items and count with them. 

Have fun with patterns and shapes. Create a simple pattern such as carrot, grape, carrot, grape. Then let you child create her own patterns with finger foods. Meal time is also a great opportunity to talk about shapes! "What shape is your cracker?”

BATH TIME

Teach comparisons such a big, small, heavy and light. Having simple toys in the bathtub, such as plastic cups, is a fun way to do this. Simple conversations like these may not seem like math, but they are. 

“Which cup is big and which cup is small?”

“Pour the cup from up high. Now pour the cup from down low.”

“When you fill the cup with water, does it get heavier? When you dump the water out, does it feel lighter?”

Talk about shapes, colors, and sizes of bath toys.

Use words like over, under, down, up during bathtime. “I’m going to pour the water down your back to rinse you off.” Or “Look up as I rinse your hair.”

CAR TIME

What shapes do you see? Houses, shops, signs, the wheels on a car—they all have shapes that your child can begin to recognize!

Talk about time. “It will take us about 10 minutes to get to the store.”

Count things. Traffic lights, cows and horses, red trucks, white cars, buses. Children love to count!

Ask how many? How many wheels does that truck have? How many wheels does that car have? How many wheels does that bicycle have?

///

 

Here are some resources that can help you on your journey: 

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents count, group, and compare with their little ones.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!

If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.  

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!

 


6 Simple Ways to Support Language Learning with Your Child

If you're a parent or caregiver, you already have the superpowers you need to help your child learn to communicate! You don't need a degree in speech or child development. You don't need books written by experts or expensive educational toys. Babies learn to talk from being talked to.

Talking, singing, and pointing with your baby from the very beginning are some of the most important things you can do to build a strong and healthy brain! 

Children learn language from the moment they are born. Day by day, babies learn that sounds have meaning. Every time you talk, sing, or point to what you are talking about, you provide clues to the meaning of what you are saying. 

Talking is teaching.

This is why “Talking, Singing and Pointing” is one of The Basics, 5 fun, simple, powerful ways every child can get a great start in life! 

Here are six simple ways you can talk, sing and point with your baby or toddler. Chances are, you're already doing these things throughout the day. But being mindful of just how important it is to talk, sing, and point, can help you be even more intentional with your child. 

1. Talk throughout the day.

Talk to your child during activities like changing, feeding, bathing, going for walks, and running errands.

Describe what you are doing. Name and point to the objects around you. If you have a baby, know that the sound of your voice is your baby's favorite sound! So when you fix lunch, buckle carseats, or walk to the mailbox, describe what you're doing. 

2. Add ideas.

Help grow your child’s use of words by expanding on what he says. For example, if he says “eat,” you can respond with, “Yes, let's eat a snack. I'm going to fix some apple slices and cheese."

3. Point.

When you talk about something, point to it. This helps your child understand what you mean. Encourage your child to point, too. “Can you point to your shoes?” This will help them connect words to objects.

4. Sing.

Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes. Choose ones you remember from your own childhood or make up new ones. Children love music, and there is a great deal of research that supports the power of music and rhyming for healthy brain development!

5. Go back and forth.

When your baby makes a sound, show excitement in your face and voice! Respond to their sound with words and see how long you can keep the “conversation” going. You may have seen this video that went viral of a dad having an animated conversation with his toddler. This is a perfect example of going back and forth, even though your little one may not be using real words yet. 

6. Listen and respond.

Listen to your toddler’s questions and answer them. Have a conversation. This is when the most powerful learning takes place.

///

 

Here are some resources that can help you on your journey: 

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are Talking, Singing and Pointing with their little ones.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!

If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.  

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!


There are 29 items on 6 pages.

Archives