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August 3rd is Watermelon Day

By Erin Rutter

When I think of summer, one of the most memorable sensations that come to my mind is the first juicy bite of a watermelon slice.  August 3rd is Watermelon Day.  What a perfect day to plan activities around a watermelon theme! In this post, you’ll find some ideas for a science activity, a craft for toddlers to preschool age children, and a refreshing beverage.

children-655542_640 (2)A watermelon can grow to be very big- almost 5 pounds- but does it sink or float?  For this science experiment, decide where you want to perform the activity: in a large bucket or a kiddie pool out in the yard, or even a bathtub.  Get together items that may sink or float, and don’t forget the watermelon! Ask children to make predictions and record those on a chart or a piece of construction paper. What did they predict? How did the children react? Were they surprised?

Now, lets try a fun craft.  The children could create a watermelon slice out of a paper plate.  First cut the paper plates in half. Children could use crayons, markers, paint dobbers, or any other art tool to decorate the watermelon slice.  I think it is a good idea to use a marker to draw a line of where the colors should go (green along the edge and red or pink on the inside.)  Next, glue black buttons or small pom-poms to represent the seeds.   On a hot day, you could attach a wooden stick to the rind and use the watermelon slice as a fan.

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Finally, not only can the children enjoy a slice or two of watermelon but you could also make some delicious watermelon lemonade.  I found this recipe from My Little Moppet. You can find the full recipe here at Watermelon Lemonade.

You’ll need watermelon cubes, honey, lemon juice, and ice cold water.  Sounds delicious! This could be the perfect drink to cool those kids off on a hot day, especially Watermelon Day!

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REAL MEN DO PULL-UPS: EMBRACING MASCULINITY AS A EARLY CHILD PROFESSIONAL

by Daniel Miskin

Being involved in the early childhood education field for the past 10+ years I am well aware of the very small population that males represent in the field. I am also well aware of the need and desire to get more males involved in the profession. For my fellow male early childhood education professionals, as well as my female colleagues, I want to offer a piece of advice to help encourage this and that is to allow male early childhood educators TO BE MEN!

Men in the early childhood field ought to be caring, nurturing, at appropriate times even a little bit silly for the sake of the children they are caring for. In fact, I am convinced that nobody would be able to get into or stay in the field if they did not actually possess these traits/skills. Men in the early childhood field need to be firm yet patient, read stories in an energetic, engaging manner, give hugs as well as high-fives, and many other forms of care and encouragement for young children. It is not for all men. Then again, it is not for all women either.

For myself, I am perfectly comfortable giving hugs, singing with children, dancing, changing diapers, and other responsibilities early childhood educators would be expected to do. I also have brought to the classroom my love of being physically active, strength training, and following and participating in sports, as well. Both aspects of my personality are just two sides to the same coin and I don’t see any reason why both cannot be a part of the classroom curriculum.

Baby weightlifting

While I have a real passion and a knack for working with young children, I have also, equally, a passion for physical fitness. Passionate enough, in fact, that in the Spring of 2014, in addition to being an early childhood educator, I got certified to be a personal fitness trainer. What was nice about this professional pursuit, as many of you know, is that the two fields do not need to be mutually exclusive, and actually can work quite well together. When my co-teacher was busy doing some prep work, or maybe working with a child one-on-one, I could engage the whole group in a PT session, doing push-ups, crunches, reverse crunches, jumping jacks, and stretches. (The push-ups, of course, would always end up with me doing some push-ups with several children on my back.) For myself, the physical part of the job is where I have been able to truly embrace my masculinity.

Other males might have other skills or interest in which they can embrace their masculinity. Some men might try bringing in their tools and using their handyman skills around the center (or whatever environment that they are working in.) Some might want to bring in their trophies or photos of their sports accomplishments to share with the classroom. For others, photos of their camping/hiking trip or of the fish they caught while out fishing. There are many ways in which men identify with their masculinity and allowing men to bring that into the classroom, if done in an appropriate, professional way, should be a huge benefit for the children of that classroom, especially those who do not have male role models at home.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying woman cannot do any or all of these things. I have had female co-workers who were bigger football fans than I am. I have had female co-workers who are hunters. I am sure there are plenty of female early childhood educators who are into weight lifting and martial arts as well. I am not saying that females cannot do these things. What I am saying is that nobody that I know of would consider such activities to not be masculine.

Outside of work I have a group of male friends I hang out with. We go out (though not frequently) to sports bars and cigar parlors, and participate in “manly” activities. My friends all know what I do for work, yet I have never been made to feel like I don’t belong with that kind of group, or that I am less of a man than they are. Also, while such activities must be done in moderation, they can be an enjoyable time and a great bonding experience. We may talk about things like football, or the outdoor adventures we have planned or participated in, but I can also talk about my job, and not have to be concerned about being judged for not being very masculine.

Overall, it is important to keep in mind that children benefit from learning about a wealth of
different experiences. By allowing male care-givers to be themselves, and how they identify with their
own masculinity gives children an enriched classroom experience from which they can gain understanding and acceptance. To allow men to act as they naturally would is beneficial for everyone involved in the classroom. Also, for all my fellow male early childhood educators, I just want to remind you that what you do is no small job. You have been entrusted to be safeguarding, encouraging, and guiding young children in the development of their earliest and very crucial stage of development. Gender aside, that’s a pretty big (and important) task for anyone.

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International Holidays to Celebrate in Preschool

 

International Holidays to Celebrate in Preschool

January Holidays

  • Genjitsu (Japanese New Year’s Day)

February Holidays

  • Gung Hay Fat Choy (Chinese New Year)
  • Vietnamese New Year

March Holidays

  • Hina Matsuri (Girl’s Day in Japan)
  • Purim (Jewish)
  • Now Ruz (Persian New Year)
  • Independence Day (Greece)

April Holidays

  • Passover (Jewish)
  • Children Day (Turkey)
  • Pan-American Day (Southwest U.S., Central & South America)

May Holidays

  • May Day (U.S., Canada, Europe)
  • Lei Day (Hawaii)
  • Cinco De Mayo (Mexico)
  • Tango-No-Sellu (Boys’ Day in Japan)
  • Victoria Day (Canada)

June Holidays

  • Dragon Boat Festival (China)

July Holidays

  • Dominion Day (Canada)
  • Bastille Day (France)
  • Egyptian National Day
  • Ethiopian National Day
  • Spain’s National Day

August Holidays

  • Whai Oh! (Jamaica’ Independence Day)

September Holidays

  • Independence Day (Mexico & Central America)
  • Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)
  • Oktoberfest (Germany)

October Holidays

  • Sukkot (Jewish)
  • Thanksgiving (Canada)

November Holidays

  • El Dia de Los Muertos (Mexico)

December Holidays

  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Las Posadas (Mexico & Spain)
  • Kenya’s National Holiday (Africa)
  • Kwanzaa (African-American)

 

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Art Recipes: Make your own supplies!

Here is a fun way to save money and be frugal. Make your own art supplies. These art recipes are fun and easy!

Dough Recipes

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Cold Playdough

1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water

*Mix all ingredients together to proper consistency.

Cooked Playdough

1/2 cup salt
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 T. cooking oil
1 T. cream of tartar

*Heat over low heat and stir. When it clumps up remove from heat and knead in a few drops of food coloring

Peanut Butter Playdough

1 part peanut butter
1 part non-fat powdered milk
1 tsp. of honey*(optional)

* Mix and knead.* Honey should be avoided for children under age one.

Bread Dough

1 part white bread without crust
1 part Elmer’s glue
food coloring

*Shred bread well and add glue. knead until proper consistency and not to gooey. Add either bread or glue as needed. Add a few drops of coloring as desired. This dough dries well.

Oatmeal Fun Dough

2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup water

*Mix all ingredients and knead dough.

Rubber Dough

2 cups baking soda
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup cornstarch

*Mix with fork. boil over medium heat until thick. Cool on flat surface.

Other Recipes

Flour Finger-paint

3 cups flour
2 TBSP liquid soap
3/4 cup water
food coloring

*Mix all ingredients together

Finger Paint

*Mix together dry tempera paint with liquid starch or wall paper paste.

Puffy Tempera Paint

(for paper use only)
1 part salt
1 part flour
1 water
2 parts dry tempera

*Mix all ingredients together and put in squeeze bottles.

Silly Putty

*Add 4 T. of white Elmer’s glue to 2 T. of liquid starch. Mix together, if it stays stringy, add a drop of glue. If too brittle add more starch. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Clean Crayons

*Mix 2 parts Ivory Snow powder with 1 part water until thick and creamy. Add a desired food coloring drop. Let harden in small molds, or ice cube trays. Super Bubbles
1 cup water
2 T. light karo syrup
4 T. liquid dish soap

*Mix all ingredients together.

Sidewalk Chalk

2 cups of water
2 cups of Plaster of Paris
2 T. powdered tempera

*Stir all ingredients and let set for a few minutes. Pour into paper towel tubes that have been taped over at one end. Let dry for at least 2 hours

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Arbor Day Activities

Arbor Day Activities

National Arbor Day is April 24, 2015-Visit the Arbor Day Foundation Website

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Tree Songs and Fingerplays

The Apple Tree
Way up high in the apple tree (raise arms over head)
Two little apples smiled at me (make fists or circles with hands)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (move hands as if shaking something)
Down came the apples (falling motion with fists)
Mmmmmm-were they good! (rub tummy)

Trees (Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
The trees are growing high,
The trees are growing high.
With soil and rain and sunny days,
The trees are growing high.
The trees are growing roots,
The trees are growing roots.
With soil and rain and sunny days,
The trees are growing roots.
The trees are growing bark,
The trees are growing bark.
With soil and rain and sunny days,
The trees are growing bark.

Tree Art Activities

Tree Rubbing
Have children hold a piece of paper against a tree and use the side of a crayon to make a tree bark rubbing. This can be done in pairs with one child holding the paper and the other child doing the rubbing.

Creative Tree
Give children a cut-out of a tree trunk with branches to glue on a sheet of construction. Provide a variety of art materials – tissue paper, construction paper, pom-pom balls, buttons, etc. and have them create colorful trees any way they would like.

Tape Tree Art
Have kids rip masking or painter’s tape into different sized strips. Arrange the tape on cardstock in the design of trees with brances. Let children paint over the tape. When dry, rip the tape to reveal tape tree art.

Family Tree
Create a large tree on the wall with construction paper. Let children bring in pictures of their families and add the pictures to the tree.

Tree Math and Science

Tree Trunk Estimating
Find a tree outside and ask children to guess how long of a string will wrap around the trunk. Have each child cut their piece of string and then see how close they are.

Parts of a Tree
Place different parts of a tree in your science area for observation. You can include: leaves, branches, acorns, bark, pinecones, pine needles, tree nuts, etc.

Tree Motor Skills and Movement

Leaf Dancing
Play some classical music and let the children pretend to be falling leaves and move to the music. Give each child a real or face leaf to hold as they move.

Tree Snacks

Broccoli Trees
Serve broccoli florets (little trees) and dip for a healthy snack.

Cucumber and Pretzel Stick Trees
Allow children to arrange pretzel sticks to make a tree trunk and cucumbers for leaves. Once they assemble their tree, they can eat their snack.

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What Pet Should You Get?

You may have heard the big news: A newly discovered Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I get? is going to be released this summer.  So, what pet should you get for your classroom?

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Pets in Child Care

Having a pet in the daycare or preschool classroom can be an educational as well as a fun experience. An animal friend in the classroom can help children learn compassion, responsibility, and many scientific concepts. Here are some guidelines for making this a positive experience.

Questions to Ask

  • Do you want to have a pet the children can pick up and handle?
  • How much are you willing to spend on the care of this pet?
  • Who will be involved in its care and feeding?
  • What will you do if the animal gets sick?
  • Who will care for it over long holiday weekends?

Learn More About the Pet

It is extremely important to research different types of pets to find out what would be the best fit for your classroom. Below are some links to get you started on your research.

Welcoming a Pet

  • Demonstrate How to Handle an Animal. – Children can learn how to be gentle through direct instruction and role modeling. Explain that animals can feel pain.
  • Show How Animals Need Respect. – Like children, the pet will need quiet times and play times. Sometimes they will need to leave the animal alone. Explain how the pet has many of the same basic survival needs as they do. Allow them to participate in basic care such as feeding or changing bedding for the pet.

Heath and Safety Issues

These guidelines are not to take the place of your state’s or locality’s child care regulations and laws. They are just general tips for protecting the health and safety of the children.

  • Be sure the pet is in good health, shows no evidence of disease, and is friendly toward children.
  • Keep the animal’s cage, bed or nest clean at all times. All pet waste should be disposed of immediately.
  • Only allow children to handle the pet when you can supervise them.
  • Show children safe behavior. They need to learn not to tease or harass the pet.
  • Be sure to alert parents before they enroll their child in your class. Some children have allergies or fears of that animal.
  • Everyone must wash their hands after handling pets or pet items.

© 2004 Joni Levine

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Child Care Lounge Membership Club

gAnnouncing the Child Care Lounge Elite Membership Club! We will continue to have oodles of free resources and ideas on our website. This is a benefit for those who want even more! Plus the convenience of having it all in one place at your fingertips!

Receive the monthly e-magazine that includes :
activities
recipes
freebies
and more!

Click here to learn more about the membership levels and other benefits!

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Grants for Childhood Education

Grants for Early Childhood Education

Starting a child care program can be a lot of work, and funding is often a source of stress among business owners and directors. Luckily the U.S. government distributes money through grants each year to help people open a new business or develop an existing one. Below is a list of places that offer grants relating to early childhood education.

*Please note that Child Care Lounge does not offer grants directly, nor can we guarantee that this information is current.

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Receive Free Books

  • First Book empowers educators with an unprecedented choice of high quality books and materials.FirstBook.org

Kaboom! Playground Grants

  • KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.KaBOOM!

Kellogg Foundation

  • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.Kellogg Foundation – Online Application

The Safeway Foundation

  • The Safeway Foundation funds nonprofit organizations that strengthen the neighborhoods we serve. We consider applications in the following areas: Health and Human Services, Hunger Relief, Education, and Helping People with Disabilities.The Safeway Foundation

Toshiba America Foundation

Association of American Educators

The Captain Planet Foundation

  • The Captain Planet Foundation primarily makes grants to U.S.-based schools and organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $3 million.The Captain Planet Foundation

Crayola Art-Infused Education Program Grants

  • Each grant-winning school (up to 20 grants awarded) receives $2,500 and Crayola products valued at $1,000.Crayola Grant Program

Sparkplug Foundation

  • The Sparkplug Foundation is a family foundation that funds start-up organizations and new projects of established organizations in music, education and community organizing.Sparkplug’s Application Process

Target Education Grants

  • Throughout the year, Target provides education grants to local K-12 schools to support educational field trips, early childhood reading programs and participation in the arts.Target Grants

Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

  • This award acknowledges the critical role of child care teachers in providing quality early care and education. Child care teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and on U.S. Military bases and installations around the world are invited to apply. Fifty teachers are selected for their commitment and dedication to the children they serve. Of the top ten recipients, one is selected to receive the Helene Marks Award and is named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

Teacher Awards

Reiman Foundation Grant

  • The Reiman Foundation focuses its giving in four main areas: Health Care, Education, The Arts & Children. Nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Applications are reviewed and decisions made on applications received on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Deadline is rolling.

Grant Information

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Gift Ideas for Child Care Providers

Gift Ideas for Child Care Providers

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With the holidays quickly approaching, now is the time to consider what to buy for the child care provider in your life. Whether you are a parent or a child care director you will find some great gift ideas for providers here!

Art Recipes Booklet-Recipes for playdough, paint, bubbles, clay and preschool art materials. Available in a PDF file that is downloadable after your purchase.

Counting Fingerplays Booklet- Fingerplays for many themes that will help you reinforce math and counting skills.Available in a PDF file that is downloadable after your purchase.

 Learning Foundations Curriculum-A comprehensive, creative and inviting developmentally appropriate preschool curriculum designed to build skills and facilitate optimum learning experiences, while enhancing self-concept and preparing children for future educational success

CCL-Cafe-Press

Suggested Gift Books

 

Other Websites

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