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Blog posts tagged in at home

Fall is officially here and school is back in session!  One of the best things about fall are the many outdoor activities available to celebrate the season.  At Sunshine Preschool & Infant Care our months of October and November are always packed full of activities such as hayrides, pumpkin picking, healthy feasts, and costume filled parades. 

Outside of school there are many local events that parents can do with their children to help celebrate the season.

Many local farms offer pick your own options where families can take a hayride together, pick some apples, pumpkins, or other produce, and often times also be able to see farm animals.

  • English Farm right next door to the preschool is open for visitors. 
    Check out the market where you can purchase fresh produce, eggs, and fall decorations. 
    Stroll around the farm to see the animals, try the corn maze, or take a weekend hayride to the pumpkin patch. 
    http://www.englishfarm.org/
  • Hillview Farms in Gillette offers families apple and pumpkin picking opportunities in the month of October. 
    Hayrides to the apple and pumpkin fields are provided free of charge every Saturday from 9:00am-5:00pm.
    http://hillviewfarmnj.com/
  • Ripple Hill Farm in Basking Ridge
    http://www.ripplehillfarm.com/
  • Wightmans Farms in Morristown
    http://www.wightmansfarms.com/

    Along with the ongoing farm activities there are a number of local events geared towards families with young children.  Many of them are free or cheap as well.
  • Snyder Farm Fall Festival
    Sept 27th – Oct 25th on the Weekends from 11am-6pm
    Hayrides, corn maze, food, facepainting.
    $10 per person, children under 2 are free
    http://www.snyders-farm.com/fall-festival
  • The Lord Stirling 1770s Festival
    Sunday Oct 5th 10:30am-4:30pm
    Return to the past and experience daily colonial life and craft industry at this annual festival. 
    Children of all ages will enjoy hayrides, clay crafts, stenciling, tin piercing, and colonial games.
    Snacks, lunch, and cold drinks are available.
    Suggested donation: $5 per person
  • Dewy Meadows Day
    Saturday Oct 11th from 11am-3pm
    The Merchants Association of Dewy Meadow Village invites you to attend Dewy Meadow Day Basking Ridge.
    Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and participate in a Costume Parade, as well as complimentary pony rides, petting zoo, face painting and much more!
    Free! 
  • By the Ligh of the Moon
    Friday, Oct 17th 6:30pm-9:00pm
    Environmental Education Center
    Listen for animal sounds. Make sparks fly. Hone your night vision and more as you traverse the swampy trails with a Naturalist beneath the stars.
    Indoor activities may include live critters, face painting, and more! Cookies and cider top off the night.
    Space is limited. Pre-registration is required. We recommend wearing your boots and leaving your stroller at home due to wet, dark, and uneven terrain.
    $6 per person
    http://www.somersetcountyparks.org/parksFacilities/eec/ParkFeatures.html
  • Brick Fair for Lego enthusiasts
    November 1st & 2nd from 11am-4pm
    Pre-purchase tickets, children under 3 are free
    www.brickfair.com
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Tagged in: at home autumn outdoors

http://www.kids-cooking-activities.com/images/boystirring.jpgThe kitchen is one of the best learning environments for children! We're currently offering a supplemental program for our preschoolers in partnership with Chef It Up 2 Go because it affords such great hands on development opportunities. Here are some quick and easy ways for you to use everyday cooking as an interactive learning experience with your child!

Two-year-olds are learning to use the large muscles in their arms. Try activities such as:
 scrubbing vegetables and fruits
 carrying unbreakable items to the table C
 dipping foods
 washing and tearing lettuce and salad greens
 breaking bread into pieces

Three-year-olds are learning to use their hands. Try activities such as:
 pouring liquids into batter (you measure first)
 mixing batter or other dry and wet ingredients together
 shaking a drink in a closed container
 spreading butters or spreads
 kneading dough
 washing vegetables and fruit
 serving foods
 putting things in the trash after cooking or after a meal

Four and five-year-olds are learning to control small muscles in their fingers. Try activities such as:
 juicing oranges, lemons, and limes
 peeling some fruits and vegetables (bananas and even onions)
 mashing soft fruits and vegetables
 scrubbing vegetables (potatoes, mushrooms)
 cutting soft foods with a plastic knife (mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs)
 pressing cookie cutters
 measuring dry ingredients
 cracking open/breaking eggs
 beating eggs with an egg beater
 setting the table
 wiping up after cooking
 clearing the table after a meal

*information courtesy of http://growing-minds.org/documents/cooking-with-children-in-licensed-child-care.pdf

Image courtesy of http://www.kids-cooking-activities.com/kids-cooking-lessons-assistant-chef-intro.html

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It's finally here! After a very long winter, the first day of spring has arrived and we are anticipating a wam(ish) and sunny day! Weather like this usually means the preschoolers get to go outside and enjoy their playground, do sidewalk chalk, and take walks around our park-like property. Even the littlest ones will get fresh air on their buggy rides now that the sun is out. Our three year old classroom just put up a bird feeder right outside their window that we're hoping many feathered friends will enjoy!

b2ap3_thumbnail_springpostbboard.pngAs spring rolls in, we'll be doing a lot of seasonally themed activities here at Sunshine Preschool & Infant Care. If you'd like to continue the learning at home with some fun, quick and easy activities, we'd suggest trying out one of these from Mike Stelzner over on mykidsadventures.com. He recently posted an article on the top indoor and outdoor spring activities for busy parents who want to create meaningful moments with their kids without adding more stress to their already super busy lives.

Don't miss the ideas about making your own bird feeder at home (and the info on bird watching) and how to take chalk art to the "next level". Let us know which ones you tried, or better yet - send us a picture with you and your child having a fun with one of these great activities! Happy Spring!

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Dr. Seuss

Read Across America

Last week the preschool learned all about Dr. Seuss, finalizing the week with a Green Eggs and Ham morning snack.  Dr. Seuss week is one of the many ways that Sunshine Preschool & Infant Care intentionally works to install a love of reading into each child who comes through our care.

As parents, there are many things you too can be doing at home to increase your child’s early literacy skills and love for reading. The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child. 

Reading Tips for Parents of Babies

It's never too early to read to your baby. As soon as your baby is born, he or she starts learning. Just by talking to, playing with, and caring for your baby every day, you help your baby develop language skills necessary to become a reader. By reading with your baby, you foster a love of books and reading right from the start.

Snuggle up with a book
When you hold your baby close and look at a book together, your baby will enjoy the snuggling and hearing your voice as well as the story. Feeling safe and secure with you while looking at a book builds your baby's confidence and love of reading.

Keep books where your baby can reach them
Make sure books are as easy to reach, hold, and look at as toys. Remember, a baby will do with a book what he does with everything else — put it in his mouth. And that's exactly what he's supposed to do, so you may only want to put chewable books within reach.

Talk with your baby — all day long
Describe the weather or which apples you are choosing at the grocery. Talk about the pictures in a book or things you see on a walk. Ask questions. By listening, your child learns words, ideas, and how language works.

Encourage your baby's coos, growls, and gurgles
They are your baby's way of communicating with you, and are important first steps toward speech. Encourage attempts to mimic you. The more your baby practices making sounds, the clearer they will become. Go ahead and moo, woof and honk!

Develop a daily routine (and make reading a part of it)
Routines can soothe a baby, and let a baby learn to predict what will happen next. The ability to predict is important when your child is older and is reading independently.

Check out the link for more tips: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/23798

Reading Tips for Parents of Toddlers

Being a toddler is all about action. Encourage continued language development and interest in books and reading by keeping things lively and engaging. Everyday experiences are full of opportunities to engage in conversation and develop language skills.

Don't expect your toddler to sit still for a book
Toddlers need to move, so don't worry if they act out stories or just skip, romp, or tumble as you read to them. They may be moving, but they are listening.

Recite rhymes, sing songs, and make mistakes!
Pause to let your toddler finish a phrase or chant a refrain. Once your toddler is familiar with the rhyme or pattern, make mistakes on purpose and get caught.

Choose engaging books
Books featuring animals or machines invite movement and making sounds. Books with flaps or different textures to touch keep hands busy. Books with detailed illustrations or recurring items hidden in the pictures are great for exploring and discussing.

Encourage play that involves naming, describing, and communicating
Set up a zoo with all the stuffed animals. Stage a race with the toy cars. Put your toddler in charge and ask lots of questions.

Play to their favorites
Read favorite stories again and again. Seek out books about things your toddler especially likes — trains, animals, the moon. These books may extend a toddler's attention span and build enthusiasm for reading.

Not having fun?
Try a different story or a different time during the day. Reading with a very young child is primarily about building positive experiences with books, not finishing every book you start.

Check out the link for more tips: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/23794

Reading Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

Read early and read often. The early years are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading.

Read together every day
Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close.

Give everything a name
Build your child's vocabulary by talking about interesting words and objects. For example, "Look at that airplane! Those are the wings of the plane. Why do you think they are called wings?"

Read with fun in your voice
Read to your child with humor and expression. Use different voices. Ham it up!

Be interactive
Discuss what's happening in the book, point out things on the page, and ask questions.

Read it again and again
Go ahead and read your child's favorite book for the 100th time!

Point out print everywhere
Talk about the written words you see in the world around you. Ask your child to find a new word on each outing.

Get your child evaluated
Please be sure to see your child's pediatrician or teacher as soon as possible if you have concerns about your child's language development, hearing, or sight.

Check out the link for more tips: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/7833

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