Train Play: A window into child development

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Trains are back at DCM! Open-ended train play presents us with a window into the learning and development that take place during play. Children are learning about sharing, working together, negotiating, and conflict resolution — valuable lessons that help us negotiate the world we live in, as well as problem solving, creativity, imagination, spatial reasoning, fine motor skills, dexterity, and communication skills.

You might think that play is play is play, but if you look at it through the lens of ...

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Have no Fear!

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Confession time: as a child, I was terrified of the martians on Sesame Street. So terrified, in fact, that as an adult I remember how I felt when they popped up on the screen. Does this mean that I developed into an anxious and fearful adult? Not in the least! Seemingly irrational fears are very common in children under the age of five and interestingly enough are very specific to the developmental stage of the child. The most ...

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Piece by Piece: Learning through Puzzle Play

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While cleaning out my closet recently, I was inspired to dust off an old jig saw puzzle. As I peeked away at it, it struck me that enjoyment of puzzles is one of those golden play activities that seems to span generations. From early childhood to late adulthood, there is just something about the way a jigsaw puzzle, crossword puzzle, or even Candy Crush challenges our thinking and exercises our minds, enticing and captivating us. In addition to being entertaining, ...

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April is Autism Awareness Month

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There is a saying – “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.” By definition, Autism is a spectrum disorder that often interferes with a child’s ability to communicate and interact. The question remains, how do we support our children so that they can grow and develop? A good friend of mine, who has a son with autism, told me that one of the answers for her son was learning through play.

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1,2,3 Count with Me: Numbers at Home

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Almost everything we do is connected to mathematical thinking! Imagine setting a table or preparing a meal without some understanding of math concepts. The foundational understanding of math begins very early in life through everyday experiences. Children actively construct informal mathematical concepts and strategies through the opportunities they encounter with a variety of objects and their important grown-ups and play partners. Building a mathematical vocabulary is an excellent place to start. There are countless opportunities during the day for ...

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Tantrum Taming

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Do you have a terrible-two or a three-nager? How about a five-year-old who seems to be going on sixteen? You then undoubtedly are familiar with the entire spectrum of emotions experienced in the early years. While the epic meltdowns experienced in these years are difficult for us grown-ups, it is important to remember that the emotions that stimulate this response are extremely difficult for our little ones too.  

The first years of life are full of ...

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Food Glorious Food!

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Raise your hand if the topics of food and meal times in your household stress you out. If you didn’t already know, you are not alone! Between the ages of two and five it is common for children to display a fear of new foods, causing them to be cautious about trying things that are unfamiliar. While this might make us think they are being difficult or picky, it’s actually often related to the fact that children are ...

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Smash, Pinch, Squish, and Poke Your Way to Learning: The Power of Playdough

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A love of playdough seems to be timeless and understandably so! For all of us sensory oriented people, it can be relaxing or even stress relieving. For creative types, it sparks our imaginations and stimulates our curiosity. Whether it’s homemade or store bought, there is just something about playdough that draws you in.

But did you know that playdough is so much more than a fun sensory experience? Playdough can be used to support all areas of development from fine motor ...

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Let’s Make Some Noise!

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If you have little ones in your life there is no doubt that you are very familiar with the fact that from the moment they are able to grasp an object, that they are driven to bang, shake, and throw it on the floor. They do this to learn, not to give us headaches. By acting on objects in these ways, they are gathering important information about their environments, what their bodies are capable of, and the properties of the ...

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A Closer Look at Art Is Instrumental

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This past week we were thrilled to unveil our newest exhibit Art Is Instrumental! In creating this exhibit we continually talked about how “it starts with art” meaning that art is the inspiration and focus of this exhibit and music is the vehicle through which to experience the art in a very unique and maybe even unexpected way. We wanted children and their adult caregivers to have opportunities to experience how artists interpret instruments and musicians, how art can be ...

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