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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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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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The Truth About Sharing

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Most of our young visitors are of the mindset, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too!” Some of our grown-up visitors may get upset when they see their two-year-old not sharing something in our Museum. You can facilitate your child’s understanding by, first, understanding what they are capable of and, secondly, creating an environment that helps children become aware of other children and each other’s boundaries.

Why is sharing so hard?

For starters, young ...

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Safely Watching the August 21st Solar Eclipse

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On August 21, 2017 you will have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to view a powerful solar eclipse. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets directly in between the Earth and the sun, blocking the sun’s rays. The darkness that results is a rare occurrence, especially in the Chicagoland area. While solar eclipses happen a few times every year, the path of totality, or total darkness, spreads over less than 1% of the Earth’s surface and only occurs for ...

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The Great American Solar Eclipse!

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The Great American Solar Eclipse!

A very rare astronomical event is coming in 2017. The United States will be experiencing a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. To see the sky darkened by a total solar eclipse in the midwestern U.S., you had to be alive in 1919!

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon “appears” to cover up the sun. What is really happening is the moon passes between Earth and the sun, and the ...

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This Season Give Toys that Teach

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Toys are tools for the young. When chosen according to a child’s needs, wants, or interests they can inspire curiosity and creativity as well as foster motor development, problem solving, and thinking skills.

Here are a few tips to guide you as you choose toys that teach your child:

Which Toys for What Age?
According to NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), each child grows at a different pace, and knowing how your child plays or uses ...

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Books to Help Teach Kindness

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As a continuation of last week’s blog, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite books that have an underlying theme of kindness, empathy, dealing with difficult feelings, respect for others’ differences, and other topics regarding friendship. By experiencing rich, often complex, well-developed plots and characters in books, children are better positioned to deal with conflict in their own lives. Children’s literature in general is an excellent way to facilitate conversations with children. Use open-ended questions ...

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Easy Chemistry To Do At Home

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In honor of National Chemistry Week, try the following experiments as an easy way to introduce chemistry to your little ones at home.

  • Bubbles
    Fill pie tins with a small amount of water and bubble solution or just pure bubble solution and let your child explore the properties of materials and how they change. This is an excellent open-ended introduction to science for the youngest.
  • Sink or Float
    Make and test hypotheses with your child and then classify the objects that sink ...
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