29
Nov

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07
Mar

Stages of artistic development in preschoolers and toddlers

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Art is an important aspect of learning in early childhood education and must be carefully designed to enhance their artistic development and nurture an appreciation for beauty in their world. Art enriches the lives of all preschoolers and toddlers as it provides experiences for them in finding meaning about themselves and the world around them.

“From the moment the child discovers what it looks like and feels like to put lines down on paper, he has found something he will never lose, he has found art” – R.Kellogg1969.

Rhoda Kellogg has studied 100,000 young children’s drawings drawn with pencil, pen, crayon or brush and this extensive study has helped significantly in our understanding of children’s artistic development. She was particularly interested in the scribbles of young children and she discovered that children progress from making scribbles to drawing pictures by using a built-in, spontaneous method of self-teaching and would continue until the children were 5 years old and only in the later stages of development that children’s artwork can be coached and guided by an adult.

Kellogg also identified various symbols that have been drawn by children across various cultures. The mandala design which is a simple circle or square divided by intersecting lines is produced by children in different parts of the world.

Kellogg also discovered that preschoolers and toddlers unlike older children are not concerned about their art pieces looking nice or resembling real things but they move their hands to express a feeling that comes from within them and are delighted in the movement and scribbles they produce. With this knowledge in mind, it is important not to force them to look at physical objects and try to copy it but allow them to experiment, create in their own unique way thus providing them an opportunity to express their own ideas and feelings.

The artistic developmental stages are the scribble stage, basic form stage and the pictorial stage. Although there is a predictable pattern to their development, preschoolers and toddlers move through the levels in different ways and at their own pace. These stages can assist parents or teachers as they work with young children and provide guidelines for planning for a specific group of children.

Kellogg’s developmental stages

  1. Scribble stage
    These are the earliest drawings of young children. They are simple and random markings, made for the pleasure of drawing scribbles. During this stage, the young children have no concern in trying to draw to represent anything but rather are enjoying the process of making scribbles on the paper.
  2. Basic form stage
    Children begin to draw simple lines and shapes. Kellogg identified several universal symbols that children use around the world. These include the mandala, sun, ladders, spirals, wavy lines and rainbows. These symbols were being used to communicate and were the beginnings of writing. Children in this stage continue to draw for pleasure.
  3. Pictorial stage
    During this stage, children use the shapes from stage 2 to draw symbolic representations of real people and things such as houses, tress and windows. They begin to identify their drawings, tell related stories and expand their drawings to include new meanings and understanding.

Positive and appropriate nurture of preschoolers and toddlers beginning artistic efforts can provide a strong foundation for later development and enjoyment of artistic experiences.

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Tags: kindergarten games, preschoolers activities, preschoolers and toddlers

04
Mar

How to teach preschoolers and toddlers to speak well

Filed in Literacy Play

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Effective communication is one of the most important life skills anyone can have. There are many people who have excellent academic qualifications but if they have not learnt how to express themselves in a creative and interesting way, will lose out in many ways to others who do not equal their academic qualifications but have learnt how to communicate effectively through spoken language and how to co-operate and build positive interpersonal relationships with others.

Parents can provide opportunities for their preschoolers and toddlers to become effective communicators when they understand the different types of oral communication. Listening and speaking are the basis for language development and are as important as completing their written activities or perfecting neat handwriting.

  1. Provide an environment to encourage them to express themselves.
    Effective communication is when parents learn how to allow their children to express their own thoughts and ideas freely. Have a warm and supportive home environment where they can learn to express themselves without the fear of criticism or judgment. Help them understand that making mistakes is a necessary and an expected part of learning.
  2. Set aside some time to listen to your preschoolers and toddlers.
    Listen empathically by encouraging them to explain and defend their viewpoints while at the same time listening to yours. Parents should try not to interrupt while they are speaking or finish off their sentences for them. Be patient with them as they might take a little longer to express their thoughts as they are still learning to put them into words and interrupting them will not help but will impede fluency and make them less confident.
  3. Parents can forge close bonding with them by reading their favorite story books or watching movies together.  Encourage them to express their own thoughts, feelings or viewpoints on the characters in the stories or movies by asking them open-ended questions. Show them that you value their individual differences of thought and opinion and encourage them to be original and creative in self-expression.
  4. Organize activities for your preschoolers and toddlers that will invite them to explore and manipulate ideas and think “out of the box”.
    Have gardening, drawing or cooking activities together to provide them interesting life experiences as this can help to broaden their vocabulary and the more diverse these experiences are, the wider their vocabulary will become for them to be able to express themselves accurately and succinctly.
  5. Encourage them to describe things accurately.
    When they answer your question with an “okay’ or “all right”, ask them what they mean by that. Do they mean “funny’, “entertaining” or “interesting”? Using precise words is important for accurate and unambiguous communication.
  6. Develop strong reporting skills by allowing your preschoolers and toddlers to tell you about their present and past experiences. Encourage them to reflect on these experiences by asking them to describe how they felt or how would they have reacted if it happens again and compare them with other experiences they have had.
  7. Reasoning skill is another important oral skill for them to inculcate. Training them on how to explain processes, articulate problems and suggesting solutions and opinions can kick-start their creative thinking to come up with a whole range of brilliant and imaginative ideas. Using their imagination is one way of thinking that leads to having great ideas.

Preschoolers and toddlers need time, opportunity and encouragement to develop these life skills and they learn best by ‘having a go” when they have nothing to fear or be anxious about and all their intelligence and creativity is employed to the full. This is the natural way to learn.

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Tags: brain teasers for kids, preschool worksheets, preschoolers and toddlers

12
Feb

Simple and Fun Brain teasers for kids

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Brain teasers for kids can come in many forms. Encouraging them to play with puzzles develops their cognitive thinking skills. Riddles encourage them to think in unconventional ways with given constraints in mind.

  1. Memory Brain Games
    These games challenge their memory, concentration and observation skills.
    Place a few picture cards and let the kids remember the cards for a period of time. Close the cards and ask them to remember the picture cards. The number of cards and the time will depend on the ability level of the kids. Another extension of this game is to take away one card and ask them which picture card is missing.

  2. Visual brain teasers for kids
    These games develop visualization skill. Depending on the ability of the kids, have a puzzle set of 10 to 20 pieces. Take out several pieces and ask the kids to fit in the missing pieces.
    Another classical game is to spot the differences between 2 identical pictures but several items are missing from one of the pictures.

  3. Sensory learning games
    These games develop their sensory and imaginary skills.
    This game develops their sense of touch. Show several toys to the kids. Let them touch, hold and explore the toys. It is best when the toys have different shapes and textures like smooth, rough, furry and leathery surfaces. Put the toys in a cloth bag.
    The kids have to put their hand inside the bag to guess what the toy is by feeling it. Encourage them to describe what they are touching.
    Another great game to improve their sense of sight is to describe an item in a room and ask the kids to find it.

  4. Language brain teasers for kids
    These games develop literacy skills as the kids need to think about and manipulate words and letters.
    Write the kids names on the board and ask them to create words using the letters in their names. An example, Sara, John and Peter – the kids can create words like ran, hen, near or tear. Another fun game to practice spelling and vocabulary skills is playing the classical crossword puzzle. The kids will get fulfillment when they are guided initially so that they understand what they have to do to fill up the empty grid boxes.

  5. Logic brain teasers for kids
    Riddles develop problem-solving skills as it trains the kids to see how making relationships between bits of information can help them solution-find and they engage the kids in a great deal of thinking activity.

When kids receive stimulation through positive interactions with caring adults during their early years, connections between neurons and synapses are formed as they learn and when appropriate brain teasers for kids are used, they are given the opportunity to develop their thinking and use their ability to question and reason when they learn and all these are important features of great thinkers.

Consider downloading “Mind Power Series” today with a 56 –day trial at www.gamesforfunkids.com and see for yourself why parents, teachers, child care providers, kindergartens and everyone who are interested in early childhood education are so excited and sharing about how the “Mind Power Series” has widen their knowledge on how to use very simple, fun, effective and fuss-free methods to develop their children individual gifts, talents, creativity, thinking and learning skills.

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Tags: brain teasers and puzzles, brain teasers for kids, preschoolers and toddlers

08
Feb

Preschoolers and toddlers – how to decorate their bedrooms

Decorating preschoolers and toddlers bedroom is not as easy as it seems. Parents have to think of the safety features and blend them with 120X600childlike fantasy. They need separate areas for sleeping, playing and studying.

A typical bedroom will have a bed, study table and storage for their toys. Their room decoration need to be less expensive and easily changeable as their needs change rapidly, so here are some ideas for an economical cost decoration.

  1. Preschoolers and toddlers love primary colors like red, blue, green and yellow. However, it is not a good idea to paint the walls or furniture in these colors as their tastes are ever-changing, so the wise choice is to keep these in neutral color.
    Other than painting their walls, have some fun decorating with them. Stick pieces of colored paper or some cartoons from the magazines or stickers. They are not expensive and can be changed easily. You can change them every week thus giving it a fresh change of environment.
    You can also hang posters on themes like motivation quotes, science or even their favorite cartoon characters. These are some preschoolers and toddlers activities which you can do with them as they are fun, engaging, get them involved and stimulate their creativity.
  2. Consider putting in a colorful area rug. These rugs come in all sizes, so take them shopping and allow them to choose their own rug and complement it by throwing in several hug pillows to create a cozy corner. They will love to snuggle down for reading or play some games. You can even add a bookshelf next to it to give a purpose to the place by putting in their story books, magazines and toys.
  3. Decorative shelving is another brilliant way to add charm to rooms. You can either buy simple, plain and inexpensive shelves. Engage in other fun preschoolers and toddlers activities by making the shelves yourself. Buy a plywood shelf and paint them in their favorite color and decorate them with stickers, pictures from magazines or hanging toys.
  4. Storage in their rooms must be made accessible to them. You can buy carts with rollers and place them under their beds or if you have shelves, store the less frequently used items on top.
  5. Kids love inflatable furniture. It comes in different colors and designs and easily stored away when they are not needed.
  6. Kids love to write on walls, so it is a good idea to hang a large black board on the wall at their level. This will prevent them from writing on the wall and also present a prop for them to play imaginary games like “Pretend to be the Teacher”. Preschoolers and toddlers love imaginative plays and an activity much encouraged during the early years as such plays contribute to happiness, self-confidence, development of cognitive, emotional, social, creative and physical skills.

There are many ideas for decorating kids rooms and it need not be expensive but the key to a good decoration is that it is flexible enough to change and adapt to their rapid changing needs.

Tags: preschoolers and toddlers, toddlers activities

02
Feb

Kid activities for living and playing together as one family

busyMost parents are so preoccupied with their work, business and other things to pursue financial stability that their family life is neglected. With 120X600this busy lifestyle, where then can quality time with the family fits? Is it an impossible mission? No, so please put down whatever you are doing and spare a minute to read this.

Even though both husband and wife work, they have to find time to strengthen their bond with their kids as often as they can. We must never resort to lame reasons like feeling too tired or too busy and neglect the family that you have created.

Quality time is where family members gather to share special moments to nurture their relationship and it can involve many activities to let each other know you are a family. Such activities need not always be outdoors as there are many kid activities you can do together in the house such as play board or card games or watching your favorite movies. Kids need to know and feel that they have parents who love and care for them to enjoy their childhood and grow up to be confident adults.

How do you have quality time with your kids?

When a family is committed to managing their lives well to raise a happy family, you have to make time to spend time with the family no matter how busy your daily schedule is or how tired you feel. This is a basic and important requirement to spending quality time with your kids. You can try the suggested kid activities which you can do with them –

  1. Have a morning or evening walk in the park
    Learn to relax with your kids by having a leisurely 30 minutes walk in the park. You need not do this every day but have this activity at least once a week as the main purpose is for the family to be together. I like to pack a simple picnic lunch during the weekends and take my whole family out to the park.
  2. Have regular “sit down” meals together
    Sharing a “sit down” meal together on a regular basis can do wonders for your family. Schedule two or three nights in a week for this special meal and give your kids undivided attention. Show them how interested you are in what they have been doing for the day or at school by listening emphatically to them. Kids are very sensitive as they know when you are genuine or just faking it, so turn off your cell phones and television and do not read the newspapers or magazines when you are having this “sit down” meals with them. I see so many parents doing this and they wonder why their kids are still not happy when they thought that they have  already spent quality time with them.
  3. Have a fun activity night together
    Schedule a day to play some activities with the family. Take turns letting each family member choose the activities that will be played. I will usually plan this activity with my family a month before as this can build up the excitement in my kids.  The activities which we usually play are board games such as Monopoly, Risk and Scrabble. I still remember fondly one of the most enjoyable and fun kid activities which my youngest child organized for a particular month. It was the Easter month and she had diligently collected several empty egg shells for us to paint Easter eggs. Later she hid these eggs and gave us clues to find the hidden eggs. My whole family loved this activity so much that we promised to play it again next year and even name it as “The Easter Hunt”.
  4. Read to your kids or encourage them to read to you
    This is one of the many kid activities which I encourage parents to start early with them, as early as while they are still infants. They may not understand all that you are reading but they will grow to love the sound of your voice. Choose storybooks with big prints and colorful pictures to read to your kids and it is always good to encourage them to read to you as this can nurture them to love reading.

Knowing how to spend quality time with your kids is like baking a cake, a lovely, time-consuming process that should not be hurried or it will a leave a nasty taste in everyone’s mouth – why?  try eating a half-baked cake!

Tags: family activity, kid activities, theme activities


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