As teachers, care providers and parents, you know better than anyone that kids learn best through hands-on or play based learning. Our friends at Kodo Kids know that hands-on play is not only extremely educational, but also the most fun way to learn. That’s why they produce products that promote investigation and exploration.
As childhood expert Bev Bos would say, “If it’s not in the hand, it’s not in the head.” At Mom Trusted, we agree with Kodo Kids’ learning philosophy. Open-ended play is an important learning style for children of all ages. It helps create a deep understanding of the material introduced to them. This hands-on, play approach is especially important during early education, when children are just starting to discover and create their learning style, along with the world around them.
Products from Kodo Kids range anywhere from Digger Kits, designed to encourage outdoor play and learning by digging, burying and sifting through sand and soil, to Kodo Clay, an all-natural product meant for art and expression. There’s a magnetic filling kit that teaches kids about magnetism and iron particles. Kodo Kids even has Pump Works, a kit of water tubes that lets children test out their engineering and water pumping skills.
How do we know Kodo Kids’ products are great? They sent us some and we loved them! With a wide variety of tools, toys and gadgets, any teacher, child care provider, or parent is sure to find something right up their alley that suits their individual teaching or parenting style. Visit Kodo Kids’ products for yourself today to see just how great hands-on learning can be!
With the steep costs of preschool, many parents are searching for lower costing options or even eliminating pre-k altogether. Those in Los Angeles County may have a more affordable option at their fingertips. The Un Mundo de Amigos Preschool offers free and affordable preschool to kids in the LA county.
Un Mundo de Amigos offers free half-day preschool without any financial restrictions. The only requirements are that the families live in LA County and children fall within the birthday perimeters. Un Mundo de Amigos does, however, still offer affordable childcare to families of kids who are younger than four or those who’d like their kids to participate in the full-day program. Families who fall into those categories are welcome to opt for the program’s private pay option, which costs $5 per hour, still much lower than most other pre-k programs.
Laurie Peterson, who had previously worked in the business of PG golf tournaments, founded Un Mundo de Amigos after seeing the joy her own son got from starting school. “I realized that not every child had had the same beginnings as he has had,” said Peterson. “And yet every parent loves their child as much as I love him.”
Most of it is funded through the Los Angeles Universal Preschool, a non-profit dedicated to increasing preschool affordability and access in the LA area. In 1999, as a result of a 50-cent tax law on cigarettes and other tobacco products in California, more funding was put toward early childhood development. Eighty percent of the new revenue was distributed among counties in California and backs organizations such as LAUP, working to improve the lives and education of children from the age of birth to five years old.
The program has been going strong and just graduated its fifth preschool class. Un Mundo de Amigos enrolls about 130 students each year and this year is no different. With the school year officially beginning in September, Un Mundo de Amigos has a handful of spots available in its free program and only one private place still open.
For more information about Un Mundo de Amigos Preschool, click here.
This fall, 57,000 children in need of preschool through the Head Start program will be out of luck. This year, Head Start program saw big budget cuts, in fact, the biggest the program has seen in history.
The White House said the lack of funding is due to spending cuts, resulting from the sequestration. Head Start has been around since the mid-1960s and this is by far the largest cut it’s ever seen. Many worry that this dramatic loss of funding will hurt the ones who need help the most: low-income families struggling to afford preschool. In 2012, Head Start served over one million families, but now, nearly 60,000 less will be included this school year.
Kids aren’t the only ones who will suffer from the cuts. Around 18,000 Head Start employees will lose their jobs due to the lack of funding. The grand total of funding loss sits at a heavy $400 million. Cuts are expected to take place by the end of September.
The good news? Those looking for affordable childcare and preschool programs in their area have come to the right spot. At Mom Trusted, we’re always sad to hear about less funding for great programs like Head Start, but we’re still here to help parents in need find the best possible match for their families. Visit MomTrusted.com to start your search now!
-“Head Start hit with worst cuts in its history” USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/19/stateline-head-start/2671309/
-“57,000 fewer children will be in the Head Start program because of spending cuts, the White House says” NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/budget-cuts-whack-head-start-article-1.1431355
-“Head Start budget cuts cost kids, jobs” LA Daily News: http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20130814/head-start-budget-cuts-cost-kids-jobs
-Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net
The first day of preschool is a scary one, both for you and your child. Here are some ideas for how to make that big step easier on both of you:
1. Pay a visit.
Visit the classroom with your little one to get them excited. This will not only create excitement, but help eliminate the first day nerves. Meeting his or her new teacher will also help by giving them a familiar face on the first real day of school.
2. Discuss the activities.
Tell your child what they’ll be doing every day. Think of it as explaining their schedule, even if they don’t have a firm grasp on time just yet. This way, when their teacher says, “OK. It’s snack time,” it will be an activity that your child remembers from their schedule. Schedules provide comfort and make the day flow more smoothly.
3. Pack their favorites.
A lunchbox filled with your child’s favorite snacks is a surefire way to chase some first day jitters away.
4. Leave a love note
First days are always a little scary so let your little one know you’re thinking of them. Leave a note in their lunchbox. Picture notes are great for those who aren’t reading quite yet.
5. Read books about preschool.
Reading stories out loud about how exciting preschool is will give your little one something to look forward to.
6. Buy the gear.
Go out together to shop for a new backpack, notebooks and crayons. New school supplies that he or she helped pick out will make them feel extra prepared and look forward to the big day.
7. Ask them.
Ask your child how they’re feeling. Are they excited? Are they nervous? Not only will talking through feelings prove therapeutic, but you may be able to put some of their worries to rest.
8. Set up play dates ahead of time.
If you receive a class list before preschool starts, give some of the parents a call. If your child has the opportunity to play with one or two of his or her new classmates before preschool even starts, she or he’ll be able to spot a familiar face on the first day.
9. Talk about the potty routine.
Many kids have just finished potty training when they start preschool. They may feel nervous about having to go while they’re in a new place. Talk about this before hand. Make sure they understand what steps to take. “Ask your teacher first.” “Don’t forget to wash your hands.”
10. Consider sending a comfort item.
If your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, send it along with them. It will comfort them, especially during naptime when they’re trying to fall asleep in a new place. Just be sure to double check with the preschool to make sure it’s OK first.
11. Start bringing preschool up in day-to-day activities.
If your child draws a colorful picture, say “I bet you’re going to get to make other art projects like that at preschool.” If you see your little one share a toy, applaud them by saying, “Great job! Your new school friends are really going to love when you share with them.”
12. Share your own stories.
Reassure your little kiddo that when you started preschool, you were scared too, but then tell them about all of the fun you had and friends you made.
13. Goodbye routine.
Create your very own goodbye ritual. Maybe you sing a little song or give each other a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Maybe you recite a goofy poem. Routine makes kids feel safe so figure out your parting ritual and practice it before the big day. That way, when it comes time for the real deal, all the drills before hand will make using it for real, a treat.
14. Don’t linger.
If you look afraid, your child will pick up on it. And if you stick around too long when dropping them off, they’ll sense that something is wrong. You need to be as brave as you’re telling them to be. So put on a big smile and let your child know how excited you are for them to be taking the next big step!
15. Be on time.
Be on time when you pick up your child. Not only is it scary to watch all of the other classmates leave with their parents, while yours is nowhere to be found, but showing up late looks just plain irresponsible. So be there when you are supposed to be to pick up your child and hear all about their preschool adventures.
-“10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for School.” Parents.com
-Fox, Isadora. “First Day Jitters: Getting Kids Excited About Preschool.” Parents.
-“Tips for the first day of preschool.” Babble.
-Photo courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net
The summer may not be winding down quite yet, but you want to make sure your kids’ school brains aren’t either. Use these fun activities to get their minds active and stimulated again. Get your kids’ brains geared up for the school year.
Start a family list of books to read and have everyone participate. Then you can discuss favorite stories and authors. Hang a small whiteboard or chalkboard in the kitchen, with a few colorful markers or sticks of chalk. Keep the list running. When someone hears about a new book, they can add it to the list. Select a time to make a weekly trip to the library to check out a few from the board. Think of it as a family book club.
Scope out the educational camp scene in your area. Is there a space or archeology camp your little ones may be interested in? What about a young authors’ writing camp? Check with your kids’ school, community center or local library to see available camps in your town.
Bake a treat
Baking is a great way to keep busy, full and work on some math skills. For slightly older kids, measuring can be great for all sorts of math from adding and subtracting, to multiplying and dividing. For littler ones, baking is a good time to practice newfound counting skills.
Crafts are the perfect way to both have fun and encourage an active imagination. Take advantage of the sunshine and nice weather by moving craft time outdoors. Plus, that means less mess indoors!
-“5 Ways to Keep Your Kids’ Brains Active All Summer Long” Gaiam Life: http://life.gaiam.com/article/5-ways-keep-your-kids-brains-active-all-summer-long
-“Summer Brain Drain: How to Keep Sharp Over the Summer Break” Tutor Doctor: http://tutordoctor.com/blog/blog/summer-brain-drain-how-to-keep-sharp-over-the-summer-break/
-“25 Activities to Keep Kids’ Brains Active in Summer” Education World: http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/profdev073.shtml
-Photo courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net
When kids think eating right, they cringe at brussel sprouts and broccoli, but the Eat to Win game makes learning about a healthy lifestyle fun. Not only does the engaging game help parents and childcare centers teach about the major food groups, but it also stresses the importance of staying active. This gives children the right tools to lead a healthy life for years to come.
Teaching little ones the importance of eating right and exercising regularly is more important than ever before. Childhood obesity has doubled in the last 30 years, affecting over one third of children in the U.S, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Eat to Win makes teaching these life lessons fun!
Eat to Win was created by a concerned mom whose own child struggled with weight issues. The games were made to encourage nutrition and exercise for kids of all ages.
They’re also a ton of fun! Daycare director Chris Bicknell was shocked to find how the games captured her children’s attention. “I was able to keep 18 children all under the age of four’s attention while using the Eat to Win Flashcards,” said Bicknell. “Our center absolutely LOVES these products!”
At Mom Trusted, we want to get behind the health train so we’re offering our care and education providers a special deal:
Just enter the discount code before you checkout.
Mom Trusted put together a few fun ideas for critter-crazy children. These will help them expand their scientific knowledge and have a great time. Here are some bug activities for kids. Some are educational and others are even tasty:
Invest in an ant farm. Your kids will have fun for hours watching the ants dig mazes.
Eat dirt for dessert! Make some chocolate pudding, following the instructions on the box, and pour it into small, plastic cups. Then crumble chocolate cookies on top of the pudding. Stick a few gummy worms in each cup. You can even add green coconut shavings (dyed using a few drops of food coloring) for grass if you want to get extra fancy.
Make a worm hotel. All you need is a big glass or plastic jar and some worms. Fill the jar with dirt, stick a few worms in and watch them wiggle through it. Note: the worms will be happiest if you alternate dirt and sand every few inches. Make sure to return them to their natural habitat after a few days.
Make compost in your own backyard. Gather veggie kitchen scrapes, some leaves or cut grass and place in a large pale with a lid. When it starts to decompose into dirt, add a few worms to help the process along.
Feed the ants and watch how much they can carry. Be sure to do this activity far away from your home! Grab some lunch leftovers and take them out to a field with a few ant hills. Drop the food in large chunks and watch as tiny ants come to take away pieces many times their size.
-“Bugs and insect activities for kids” Pinterest
-“Creepy crawly activities for kids who love bugs” education.com
-Photo courtesy of antpkr/freedigitalphotos.net