Beating Cabin Fever with Cooking

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It’s winter. It’s cold. There’s no snow to play in, or the kids are tired of playing in the snow. What can you do to beat Cabin Fever? Try cooking! Cooking with your kids is fun, healthy, AND educational! It is sometimes said that “Cooking is science (or math) for hungry people!”  

Think about all the science and math your children are observing and using when cooking. There’s the math of measuring out the ingredients. For an extra challenge you ...

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Conversation Starters

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Does this scenario sound familiar? You pick your little one up from school, or maybe you are sitting at the dinner table, and you ask the age-old question, “What did you do in school today?” and the response you get is “played” or “nothing.”  If you want your little one to open up and give you the juicy details, open-ended questions that get them really thinking are the way to go. Here are a few ideas to try ...

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Plain Blocks = Deluxe Learning

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A toy not decorated with TV characters or bright colors? No blinking lights? No microchip? Nothing that wiggles or twinkles or giggles? Why would kids want to play with something like that? And yet, they do. They play with blocks. Plain, wooden ones. Many early childhood educators say wooden unit blocks are the one piece of play equipment they wouldn’t do without.

For many children, exploring the Block Area on the second floor is one of the ...

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Making Paper

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By: Claire Reynes

Making handmade paper can be a fantastic at-home activity if you’re prepared with the right tools and materials! Below is a list of the absolute essentials that you’ll need for a day of papermaking fun, along with some fun extras and ideas for projects.

One of the things you’ll definitely need is a mould and deckle, which is what we use to catch and pull the pulp to form a sheet of paper. Professional mould and deckles can be ...

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Raising Mini Physicists

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When most of you think about learning physics, where does your memory take you? Do you automatically think of physics class in high school or maybe an experiment in middle school? Whether or not we realize it, we all grew up experimenting with physics in and out of the classroom. For instance, did you have a Slinky® when you were a child? This is a toy that helps you intuitively learn physics. My brother and I each had a Slinky® ...

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Meet Artist Claire Reynes

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By: Claire Reynes

When people meet an artist one of the first things they usually ask them is, “what materials do you use?” For a long time I didn’t have an exact answer to that question. I love making art and I love teaching art but I really didn’t have one medium that I felt connected to. During my junior year of college that all changed when I studied abroad in Cortona, Italy through the University of Georgia-Athens art program. It ...

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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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