Monday, August 1, 2016

Simple Play Space Transformations

Trying to keep your toddler or infant occupied at home can be a full time job. With your busy schedule filled with errands, work, extra-curricular activities and taking care of your family, you might feel overwhelmed trying to keep playtime exciting!

So, what can you do at home to keep your kids active and stimulate their imaginations? Creating a play space in your home is easier than you might think, and you probably have the supplies for it sitting around, gathering dust.

Here are a few tips and suggestions below for creating a fun, natural play shelter space in your home or backyard:


  1. Using a tent, blankets, or teepee like structures, creating a shelter or fort for your children is easy! Children will have fun decorating their spaces and making them their own. Pop-up shelters or half-tents (typically used outdoors) can be bought cheaply at garage sales. These are easy to move around indoors too, which is great for bad weather days.
  2. For more natural play spaces, try using sticks, logs and branches, and drape an old sheet, blankets, or colorful fabric over the top. 
  3. The best shelters and play spaces are the ones that your kids make by themselves. Provide them with the supplies, and see what their imaginations can come up with!
  4. Filling a fort or tent with blankets and pillows will make it a comfortable space for your child to read, color, watch movies, and play with their friends. This shelter, indoors or outdoors, can also double as a place for naptime, and even a good spot for an impromptu picnic. 


Get creative! Almost anything you have in your home can be put together to make a fun playtime shelter for your kids. Add some toys, books and other items for them to play with, and let their imagination do the rest.

At Little Angels Preschool and Daycare, we believe in using natural play to encourage kids to use their imaginations and create their own fun. If you want more information on our natural play philosophy, schedule a tour of our center! We are the trusted and preferred daycare in Ann Arbor, and would love to welcome you to our family! Contact us today!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

How to Make a Small Greenhouse From Recyclable Materials

Now that summer’s in full swing, it’s likely that your garden is, too!

Kids can learn a lot from gardening – how plants grow, how to create healthy soil, which insects can hurt plants and which can help. Taking care of plants can teach responsibility and compassion, too!

Did you know that while you can buy plastic greenhouses for seeds at your local nursery, there is a more eco-friendly and cost-friendly way to grow seedlings at home? Starting seeds at home not only ensures that your child can watch plants grow right before his or her eyes, but it can also be better for the plants. Seedlings may be too fragile to be planted directly in the ground because they’re too exposed to the elements. Raising delicate plants like basil in your home allows you (and your child) to provide the extra care that they may need to thrive. A home greenhouse made from repurposed materials is a great way to make this happen!

How to Make Your Greenhouse

Supplies you’ll need are:

  • Toilet paper rolls 
  • Large plastic container with lid and air holes (a strawberry container works great for this use)
  • Seed raising mix

The basic steps:

  • Cut your toilet rolls in half or in thirds – you want to be able to close the lid with the rolls inside, so cutting them into smaller sections will allow you the space you need and still give the seeds room to grow.
  • Fill your container with the toilet paper rolls, and then distribute your seed raising mix in an even layer across the entire bottom (filling the rolls and the space between them). 
  • Carefully add your seeds and gently water them. 
  • Close the lid.


The toilet paper rolls will form tiny containers that you can eventually plant in your garden without disturbing the roots when the plants are big enough to survive outside. These tiny planters are easy for little hands to hold. This activity will allow your child to have some hands-on fun this summer and get a little dirty!

For more fun activities, check out the other posts on our blog and our website! At Little Angels Preschool and Daycare, we believe that letting kids play in nature is great for their imagination and teaches them a lot about the world around them. As the trusted and preferred daycare in Ann Arbor, we love spending time outdoors with the kids who are part of our Little Angels family! If you want to find out more about our natural play philosophy, please call us today or visit our website!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Values You Should Teach Your Child By Age 5

As a parent of young children, you know that there are important values your kids need to learn for them to make friends, do well in school, and grow up.

When your kids are younger, they soak up everything they see and hear! The earlier you start teaching good values, the more likely they’ll internalize those values and apply them throughout their lives.

Here are five values that you may want your child to learn by his or her fifth birthday:


  1. Love – Always be generous with your affection. When your son or daughter sees you showing love to family members and friends, he or she will feel more comfortable expressing affection. 
  2. Consideration – Teach your kids to think about others’ feelings! Over time, a young child can see that treating peers nicely and being friendly can ensure that his or her peers will be nice in return. Remember the Golden Rule: treat others how you want to be treated!
  3. Determination – Encourage your kids to take on a challenge! The easiest way to encourage determination according to Parents.com is “avoiding excessive praise and by providing children with honest feedback, delivered in a gentle, supportive fashion.” Make sure to congratulate your kids when they do something that is difficult for them, such as making friends when they’re shy, or completing a homework assignment that they’ve struggled with in the past.
  4. Honesty – Help your kids find a way to tell the truth! The easiest way to encourage them to be truthful is to make sure that you’re truthful as well. Another way is to make sure you don’t overreact to small white lies. Encourage children to be honest by assuring them that you won’t yell and that they won’t be in trouble if they tell the truth the first time. 
  5. Justice – Teach your kids to say ‘I’m sorry’ and make amends! Teaching your children to apologize after they do something wrong will help to instill the concepts of right and wrong, and help them think about how their actions affect people around them.


We think there’s a good chance that kids who learn these values will have an easier time socializing, making friends in school, and interaction with adults. Learning these values and life lessons early on will also give your children a foundation they can build on as they grow into mature, happy, kind-hearted people!

As the trusted and preferred daycare in Ann Arbor, we provide a positive learning environment for kids all over Washtenaw County. If you want more information about our facility or our teaching style, please visit our website!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Discovery Bottles For Your Favorite Bedtime Story!

Does your child just LOVE a great story? They may love it even more brought to life in a discovery bottle!
 

Discovery bottles are an easy activity to go along with a story to make it more fun. We found this awesome activity on TeachPreschool.org.
Example provided by TeachPreschool.org


Materials:
Well it depends on which story you choose. But, it’s recommended that you use a Voss plastic water bottle, water, baby oil, and a drop of dish soap, and/or food color. Depending on the story you can put things in it that relate back to the story’s theme.
 

Directions:
While you read a story to your child have them look at the discovery bottle and describe what they see. You can also display the bottle with the book in their room.
 

For discovery bottle examples visit TeachPreschool.org for more information!
 

This activity lays down the building blocks needed for reading and comprehension development. This discovery bottle activity helps develop your child’s cognitive senses for memory, reading and analyzing. If you try this activity at home, please share pictures of your discovery bottles in the comment section below. We’d love to see the kind of fun you had while putting these discovery bottles together!

Little Angels Preschool in the Ann Arbor area has been serving Saline, Ypsilanti, Milan, Pittsfield Township, and the surrounding areas for more than 20 years. Your child will gain positive self-esteem, confidence and a healthy sense of value through Experienced Based Learning at our daycare center. Call (734) 998-0233 to schedule a tour!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

How to Create a Natural Outdoor Play Space at Home

Did your parents ever say “fresh air is good for you?” Well it turns out our parents were right!


Creating a natural outdoor play space in your backyard is easy if you have access to natural materials, which most of us do. According to LetTheChildrenPlay.net, elements to include in your natural outdoor play space should include: 
  • Water
  • Vegetation
  • Animals
  • Insects
  • Sand
  • Natural Color
  • Places to sit on, in, under, lean against, provide privacy, shade or shelter
  • Different levels, nooks, crannies, places to hide
  • Structures or objects that can be changed, including lots of loose parts
The outdoors is richer in sensory experiences than are indoor environments. Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences, and that learning supports brain development. Children who have nature experiences demonstrate more advanced cognitive development by improving awareness, reasoning, and observational skills.
 

At Little Angels Preschool & Daycare in Ypsilanti we focus on growing the WHOLE child, not just academically, but also their character and well-being. Studies have shown that being outdoors is great for your child’s intelligence and their character, as well as their physical and mental health. Little Angels is dedicated to spending much of your child’s day exploring nature. We feel that it’s the best and most effective way for children to learn and grow. Call (734) 998-0233 to schedule a tour!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Water and Music Play Fun For All!

Does your child enjoy music? They’ll LOVE this activity that will teach them all about rhythm, pattern, tempo, pitch and tone! It was created by Alec Duncan, and we found it on ChildsPlayMusic.com.au:
 

Materials


•    Water trough
•    Stainless steel and aluminum bowls – various sizes
•    Stainless steel and aluminum pot lids – various sizes
•    Various strikers (plastic mixing spoons or bamboo or plastic chopsticks work well)
•    Short lengths of garden hose
•    Plastic drink bottles
•    Spray bottle
•    Random lengths of 90mm PVC stormwater pipe
•    A guiro made from 40mm corrugated plastic drain pipe (not the type with slits in it)
•    A shaker made from 40mm PVC pipe with gravel inside
•    A packing tape drum (see here for a video of how to make one for yourself)
•    A plastic canister (or any plastic container or small bucket)
 

Directions
preschool Ann Arbor
Photo Credit: ChildsPlayMusic.com.au


Allow children to experiment with the sounds each bowl, hose, and pipe make when you dip them in and out of water while tapping on them with chopsticks. Repeat! 

Watch the water and music play video here for a demonstration!
 

This might seem like just a fun playtime activity, but you’re really helping your child to be set up for success. Want your child to be the next Beethoven? The earlier music is taught the earlier your child can fine tune his or her craft! This water and music activity develops both their small and gross motor skills which could help better their mobility. Also, this music activity is a great way for your child to learn math and science skills.
 

Little Angels Preschool in the Ann Arbor area has been serving Saline, Ann Arbor, Milan, Pittsfield Township, and the surrounding areas for more than 20 years. Your child will gain positive self-esteem, confidence and a healthy sense of value through Experienced-Based-Learning at our daycare center. Call (734) 998-0233 to schedule a tour!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About Kindergarten Readiness! Read Our Checklist!

Is your child ready for kindergarten? Let’s find out!
 

At Little Angels Preschool in the Ann Arbor area we know how to identify when a child is ready to move on from preschool. Typically their fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills, and academic skills are vastly improved compared to when they were toddlers.
 

According to Scholastic, here’s what you should look in your child to know when their ready to start kindergarten:
preschool ann arbor
1. Enthusiasm toward learning
Do they ask questions? Do they take initiative?


2. Solid oral-language skills
Can your child retain new words and use them in a conversation?


3. Ability to listen
Can your child follow directions? Can your child understand rhyming words or finish sentences to familiar stories?


4. Desire to be independent
Can your child hang up his or her coat? Fasten or unfasten buttons? Eat neatly and pour into a cup?


preschool ann arbor
5. Ability to play well with others
Does your child share with other children? Can your child problem solve when a problem occurs?


6. Strong fine motor skills
Can your child color, cut with scissors, or hold a pencil?


7. Basic letter and number recognition
Can your child recognize most numbers and letters by sight?


After reading through this list of kindergarten readiness items, do you feel your child is ready for this next important step in their education? If you don’t think they’re ready, it’s important to take time after school to help practice some of these special developmental skills. You should also consult with your child’s teacher or the director of their preschool to ensure their readiness.


Little Angels Preschool in the Ann Arbor area has been serving Ypsilanti, Saline, Milan, Pittsfield Township, and the surrounding areas for more than 20 years. Your child will gain positive self-esteem, confidence and a healthy sense of value through Experienced-Based-Learning at our daycare center. Call (734) 998-0233 to schedule a tour!