There are some great playgrounds and play parks all over the country ranging from marvelous gated parks such as the Princess Diana Memorial Play Park in Kensington Gardens, London where the huge Peter Pan pirate ship play ground is surrounded by sensory gardens and a musical maze, to the tiny play park at the end of the round. Whatever facilities you have nearby, it's great to get out and enjoy the parks with the children.
However, there are thousands of accidents in play parks each year ranging from broken bones to concussions and sprains.
The age group at the highest risk are those between 6 and 9.
Play it Safe
Obviously you don't want to ban them from going to the playground, because you're scared they will fall over and hurt themselves, because its healthy to be out in the fresh air, exercising, practising physical skills and developing their social skills. However, you don't want to end up in A&E with a broken limb! Yes, there are risks, yes they may fall,but here are some tips to reduce the chance of accidents.
At this time of year there is so much going on in the garden - here are a few ways of introducing some wildlife to your outside space.
Most of all, get the children involved and get them muddy too! Nothing is more exciting for a toddler or pre-schooler than dirty hands, mucky knees and a brown, muddy smudge on their nose! Start a diary project and draw what you do and what you observe in the garden.
Maths and counting and numbers may not be your preferred subject and it may bring back memories of dreading the maths lessons as school and struggling over homework, but it doesn't have to be like that! While hard sums are a long way down the line for our children, it's a great idea to get them in the swing of counting and using numbers, even when they are small, so they are confident when they get older. It will serve as vital building bock for future maths.
Here are a few simple way of incorporating numbers, counting and sums into your toddler's life. You'll see how easy it is!
Making learning fun is the fundamental ideal of ToucanLearn, it's fun and learning for you and your little ones!
Watching your little one skip and prance around a church hall wearing a sweet ballet skirt and pretty little ballet shoes is undeniably cute. However, why should we bother introducing ballet or any kind of dance into the lives of pre-schoolers?
Choose a class that is fun focused and that it is an accredited school either the Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD) or Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD).
Messy Play is a fun and important part of play - babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers are always delighted to get their hands stuck in to some messy play. They get to feel and touch items and substances they wouldn't normally handle. But, it is also useful for the beginnings of mark-making and ideal for observing their world and how different ingredients change when mixed up. Most importantly - it is fun!
Get a large tray such as a baking tray with fairly deep sides to use when doing messy play. Add some ingredients to the tray and encourage the little ones to mix and feel and play with the substances.
Remember to protect clothing, floor, tables and keep any valuables away from the mess. Have fun!
Whether they are learning to read, just looking at the pictures or starting to sound out letters, whatever stage your child is at, it is vital to get them enthusiastic about books. No matter the style of book, whether it is the latest release or an old favourite from your own childhood, or if it is from a book shop, a library or is borrowed - get them excited about books. Here are some easy ways!
Bring it alive: That doesn't just mean fun voices and emotion in your voice when you read... why not introduce some sensory experience too. If it's a book about a fish, swimming in rough water, panting to get to the party on time to eat cake... why not get them to take their socks off and paddle in a few inches of water in the bath, then run on the spot and have a mouthful of cake for them to eat along with the characters!
Pictures: There are some super illustrations in children's books, so sometimes just look at the pictures. Spot things, talk about what's not mentioned in the story but that feature in the pictures. Focus on one thing and make up your own little story.
Familiar books: If you have read a book too many times for your liking, talk about changing the ending and decide what else could happen. Change the character and discuss how different animals or people would make the story different.
Other means: Try all sorts of books, cloth books, out sized books, ones with lots of words or just a few. No matter the age of your child, they will get something out of looking or reading a new book, even if its not officially aimed at their age.
Get everyone involved: If you have family visiting get them to read a book or if your little one is starting to read, get them to read to your family or act out their favourite book. Do a puppet show with teddies or dress up in the characters and do a version as a play.
Library: The library will have books in different forms: A book you may have read may also be available in audio CD/spoken word format or as a cartoon or film on DVD. Use these formats too.
Write your own story together: Take some photos of things and print them. Then create your own story. Write the words in a book, stick in the pictures and it will become your own, unique masterpiece!
There are lots of ways to liven up story time, both for you and your little one! Try some of these tips!
It's great to get outside whatever the weather, and winter outdoor activities take on a whole new meaning as we are wrapped up warm and have different things to focus on and play with. However, there are still dangers at large and here are a few pointers when it comes to making outside play safe and fun for children.
Have, good, clean and safe fun!
Children love playing games: it's fun, it's easy and it's a great way of learning without even knowing it!
Early on, games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake and other nursery rhymes form the basis of children's games. This is how the idea of games actually starts. The little ones laugh and smile and begin to understand cause and effect: ie. each time teddy pops out from behind the cushion, it will make them jump and they will laugh! It sounds simple, but it's an early form of game-playing.
They will then progress to all sorts of other games: easy box games, then number, colour and letter games and eventually board games. At each stage they are learning different things and experiencing different ideas. The notion of a winner and loser; the notion of practising at something to get better; the idea that you need to make an effort and try hard at something to then enjoy the feeling of doing well etc.
What are the benefits of playing games? Does it really help in any way other than passing the time?
Surely, once children begin to read or learn their numbers they should be doing that in their spare time, rather than playing? This couldn't be further from the truth! In fact, children that play tend to become better and more attentive learners on average, and what you must remember is that when chidren are playing, the are learning the whole time too! This is what ToucanLearn is all about... sharing ideas of games, activities and crafts that are GREAT FUN, but we show you the learning elements too so you can see exactly what your little ones are actually learning about. As they are doing the activities with you, they are learning even more (Two CAN Learn much better than one)!
Do you need special equipment at each age stage in order to encourage your child to play?
NO! Play can involve anything (more or less!). From wooden spoons and saucepans, to folded socks and a washing basket! It can mean jumping in puddles to learn counting or throwing gloves to see how far you can get them or posting junk mail into a shoe box made into a letter box. All sorts of things can be used as long as you are there to help the game along!
What do children learn through play?
They learn about the properties of objects and how they work. That if you throw something hard, it will go far. They learn about their own limitations: they may be great on the scooter but not so confident on a bike. They learn about their environment (stairs and steps) and other places (on a walk to the park). They learn how to play with other children and how to interact with adults.
Will playing make them better at school?
Many studies have concluded that children that play with their parents are more curious and interested in learning. Playing is a great way to get them active and interested. It may also help their social skills and helps develop healthy relationships with other children.
Plus, possibly most importantly, by playing with your children, you are developing and securing your won relationship with them - which is absolutley vital.
So, just get out there and do some ToucanLearn activities, fool around, have a laugh and enjoy these special years when playing can be so much fun for your both!
Baby showers, long popular in the USA, are becoming increasingly common in the UK and other European countries - for those new to this tradition, we offer some fun ideas for games and activities. Before that, a word on protocol!
What is a baby shower?! Contrary to common belief, a baby shower does not take its name from showering the expectant mother with gifts. The name arises from Franz Schauer, a German immigrant and silversmith in New York who encouraged gift-giving amongst mothers-to-be. You should bring a gift along for the lucky expecting mother, but much of the rest of the evening harks back to 'hen night', with frivolous games and much fun! You may also be lucky enough to leave with a bag of 'favours', a goody bag to remind you of the event.
Here are some fun ideas for games that you could play at the next baby shower you're invited to:-
Have fun, this could be the last fun evening the expectant mother has for a while!
The weather is warmer, the kids want to go out, but what can you do and why bother doing physical activity when you can just stay indoors? It's important to encourage youngsters to get active and get used to the idea of doing physical activity. Here are a few reasons why its important to do activities with children of all ages, because it helps them to:
How much exercise you do depends on you, but the advice is that it should be about an hour a day. Sound a lot? It's not really when you look at what's included:-
How can you help?
So, get outside and have some fun!
Toddlers can't read, so why do we bother with reading them books? The answer is simple: one day they will have to learn to read and if they like books, associate them with fun and good experiences, they will be more inclined to want to learn about letters and sounds and eventually reading.
Being able to read a book is a huge and marvelous gift. It opens the world up for little children and allows them to enjoy the fantastic stories that are available and help them learn at school. So, by reading to the toddlers and even babies, you're helping them for when they need to learn to read at school and indeed helping on their journey through school. Plus, even more important at this stage, introducing them to a wonderful world of stories and adventures!
So, what to do to make books fun! Here are a few tips:
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