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Growing Play

April 2012


Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Pretend Play Box #1

Pet Show What's Inside: Inside this box is two small stuffed animals with jointed arms and legs, scraps of fabric, small brush, two balls, tiny pet and some printables from Pretend Play Animal Packet - www.GrowingPlay.com/gpanimal (Pet Show sign, pet show awards, pet show registration form and judging forms). I wanted to put in the jointed animals so they can be bendable if the kids wanted to do a talent category with the animals. Animal puppets would be fun to include. What They Played: The 18 month old liked using the brush on the animals and enjoyed undressing them. The older kids registered the pets for the show and picked some friends to be judges. They dressed up the stuffed animals. The scrap fabrics that worked best were long so the kids could wrap it around the animal many times and just tuck it in. The fabric that worked best was tulle. This turned into a fashion show not just a pet show. One participant used the balls to create a talent show and the other participant did gymnastics with the stuffed animal. After judging was completed, all the animals received an award. Sign for the Box: If you are creating your own boxes I added the sign for the box to the document. You can view it at Pretend Play Box - Pet Show Sign https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qsEedsgT7zeuJcpW6dS1Ml23KTK_UQ29kvRjI_TP4kA/edit#

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Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Pretend Play Box #2

Newborn Baby What's Inside: plastic doll, old baby blanket, wash cloth cut into 4 small squares, Q-tips, cotton balls, small baby soap container rinsed out and a few pretend pages from the Hospital and Doctor download www.GrowingPlay.com/gpdoctor What They Played: The 18 month old loved washing up the baby using the water from the soap bottle (about one teaspoon) and a small washcloth. Using the small washcloth and tiny bottle was essential. There was so little water that the baby could not make that much of a mess (which was great since I was making dinner). She was even squeezing the wash cloth out of the bucket and it was not dripping. The older children used the forms from the packet that were inside the box. They filled out the pretend birth certificate and the baby check up form. The children love to play hospital with a pregnant patient so this box was a hit. Sign for the Box: Why not follow along, trying to match my goal of one pretend play box per week and create your own pretend play boxes. Click here Pretend Play Box - Newborn Baby to download the sign https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qsEedsgT7zeuJcpW6dS1Ml23KTK_UQ29kvRjI_TP4kA/edit#

Head on over to Growing Play to get Pretend Play - Hospital and Doctor www.GrowingPlay.com/gpdoctor © Growing Play


Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Pretend Play Box #3

School What's Inside: Inside this box is a home made clipboard (cardboard, contact paper and binder clip), large index cards, pencil box (recycled watercolor container), ruler, protractor, paper clips, set of dice, pointer, stickers, dry erase marker, eraser, name jar (popsicle sticks inside recycled Parmesan cheese container), pom pom jar (collect one pom pom for good behavior - ďŹ ll the jar and have a pretend party at your school), prize jar (toy cars and rubber ducks inside jar) and some laminated printables from Pretend Play School Packet www.GrowingPlay.com/gpschool (report card, behavior chart, lesson plan, attendance, weather, calender and a few more). What They Played: The 18 month old loved putting the popsicle sticks in and out of the cheese container, pom poms in/out of jar, spilling the paper clips over and over onto the lid of the box and writing with a pencil on the clipboard. The older kids set up doll school. Using the pretend play school forms (www.GrowingPlay.com/gpschool ) they reviewed the calender, handed out jobs, took attendance, gave stars for good behavior and completed report cards. They wrote the doll's names on the popsicle sticks so that when it was time to take a turn they would just pull out a stick and call that doll's name. Pom-poms were awarded and removed for good or bad behavior. They created a few worksheets on the index cards for the doll's to complete. Using the pointer, they brought attention to different areas on the weather chart. All in all, it kept the kids busy for quite some time. Sign for the Box: If you are creating your own boxes I added the sign for the box to the document. You can view it at Pretend Play Box - School Sign https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qsEedsgT7zeuJcpW6dS1Ml23KTK_UQ29kvRjI_TP4kA/edit#

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Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com 10 Games to Play with Plastic Easter Eggs Here are 10 ideas and games to do with plastic Easter eggs (none of them include candy inside!) 1. Sensory Table Accessories: Separate the plastic eggs. Children can use them to dig in sand, beans or other tactile items. Put them in the water table. Some of the eggs have holes in the bottom and the water will drip out. Kids can cup the egg in one hand and pour water into with the other. 2. Seek and Match: Take several eggs of the same color. Using permanent marker, draw circles on one egg, dots on another one, triangles, etc. Separate the eggs and hide them. The kids have to find each half of the egg and match it up with the correct pattern. 3. Egg and Spoon Race: This old favorite is a relay race. Try to balance the egg on a wooden spoon and walk a certain distance. Don't let the egg drop off. 4. Egg and Hand Race: Have children complete an easy obstacle course holding one egg in each hand. The child has to cup the egg gently in the hand and don't drop the eggs. 5. Mini Golf Egg Race: Using small toy golf clubs, hit the egg through different obstacles. 6. Bucket Eggs: This is good if you have a LOT of eggs and a few kids. Separate the kids into two teams. Put a bucket in the middle of the yard. Assign each team certain colors i.e. team one is red and green eggs and team two is yellow and purple eggs. Scatter all the eggs around the yard. On "GO" each team must grab the correct color egg and toss it in the bucket. At the end of 1 minute whoever has the most eggs in the bucket wins. 7. Smelly Eggs: You will need the plastic eggs that have the holes in the bottom for this activity. Put different scents in each eggs i.e. cinnamon, cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract or lemon juice, lavender, etc. The child has to guess what scent is inside each egg. 8. Noisy Eggs: Put different small objects inside an egg such as rice, beans, dice, jellybeans, etc. Seal it shut with strong tape. The child can guess what is inside. Or make two sets of the noisy eggs and the child can match the eggs up with the matching sounds. 9. Egg Soup: Take a bunch of plastic eggs and separate them. Pretend to make egg soup. Add the eggs into a big plastic bowl. Practice stirring the eggs. When done, match up the eggs and place them in a small bowl to serve up your pretend soup. 10. Egg Color Hunt: Hide four different colored eggs in the yard or indoors. Announce to the child to find the eggs in a certain order in a certain amount of time. For example: Find pink, purple, green and yellow in 2 minutes or less. Child has to find eggs in that exact order. © Growing Play


Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Tot Time

Tot Time

Tot Time

Here is a very simple but effective play idea for toddlers. Cut up some small sponges and place in a soapy dish. The toddler can put the sponges in and out of the dish. Squeezing out the water is lots of fun! Be prepared to change clothes after this activity. This activity encourages: · exploration · fine motor skills · strengthening of the muscles in the fingers

Make these simple sock blocks out of old socks. Cut off the toes in the socks. Roll the sock up to create the sock block. That's it! We made many sock blocks from all of our mismatched socks or socks with holes in the toes. Some suggested activity ideas to do with sock blocks: Put them on a child's wrist. When they take the sock off, they are crossing midline and working on one of the steps of undressing. Squeeze them over a bottle to make some stacking rings. See how high you can pile them. Tie some old tights between two sock blocks and play tug of war. Practice juggling. Set up a pretend bakery and use the sock blocks as pretend donuts or bracelets. Use as a pretend ID bracelet for a hospital patient. © Growing Play


Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Tot Time

Tot Time

Tot Time

After getting some inspiration from this blog post about Easter ideas, I decided to make a simple egg box myself (keep in mind, mine does not look nearly as pretty as hers I cut corners whenever possible). I am always looking for simple ideas for my 18 month old to play with to keep her busy. This was a hit. It took me all of 2 minutes to create (hence why it does not look pretty). I just used a knife and cut some holes in the top of a shoe box. Two of the holes were meant to be tight for the plastic eggs so she could hammer the eggs into the box, instead of just dropping them in. On the side, I cut out a little trap door to get the eggs out of. For the 2 minutes of prep time, this kept her busy for about 15 minutes. Well worth the investment of 2 minutes! This simple egg box encourages: 路 eye hand coordination 路 language development: IN versus OUT If you wanted to make it harder, you could add some colored dots to the openings so the child would have to color match. Or maybe put numbers and the child has to put that many eggs in the hole. Check out my toddler ideas board on Pinterest for more inspiration www.pinterest.com/growingplay/toddler-ideas 漏 Growing Play


Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Play Outdoors

Play Outdoors

5 Outdoor Imagination Activities Finally, the weather appears to be getting a little nicer. After winter time, children just seem to relish in the sunshine and fresh air of the outdoors. Spring time is a great time to encourage your children to spend more time outdoors. Of course, you can do the obvious, bike rides, spring plantings, mud pies and puddles. Here are five outdoor imagination games that may spark some interest with children. 1. Outdoor Tea Party: Search the park or yard for smooth rocks to be the the plates. Find some circular rocks to be the tea cups. How about a fat stick for the tea pot. Serve up some acorn snacks as pretend food. Lay out a blanket and get the nature tea party started. 2. Nature Restaurant: Set up a pretend restaurant serving up mud pies, pine cones stew, rock soup, grass delight and more. Use your beach buckets for pots. Sticks can stir up all the special recipes. 3. Wilderness Family: Pretend that you live in the woods year round. Create a small fort outdoors in the woods or just drape a sheet on in between some bushes. Search for rocks, pine cones and grass to be your pretend food. Collect sticks to make a pretend fire to cook over and keep warm by. Make a bed of leaves to sleep on. Find a pine branch to be your broom. Pretend to go hunting for animals. Remember to stay in the fort during "storms" or if "dangerous animals" are lurking about. 4. Parade: Create instruments using items from nature - bang two rocks together, hit sticks together and grass blade whistles (personally never could do that but I know kids who can). March around the yard playing your homemade instruments. 5. Circus: Pretend to put on a circus show outdoors. Put jump ropes on the ground as tight ropes. Hang hula hoops from the trees to throw old stuffed animals through for the animal acts. Practice bike riding tricks i.e. ride with one hand, ride only pedaling with one foot, etc. Hula hoop or jump rope for long periods of time. Children will not only benefit from the outdoor time but imagination fuels creativity and learning.

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Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Play Outdoors

Play Outdoors

Here is a fun outdoor game to practice math skills. We have played this before using cards and vocabulary words but figured we would change it up and practice math. It works just like a treasure hunt. 1. Head outdoors with sidewalk chalk. Write the first problem i.e. 4+4=. Continue creating problems and write the answers with a new problem underneath. At the end of the hunt, write the final answer in the circle and the word PRIZE below. 2. Now time to go on the hunt. Start at the first problem 4+4=. Run to find the correct answer (8) inside the circle. When you get to the correct answer, solve the problem below the circle. Go and find the correct answer. Continue until the child find the answer with the word PRIZE below. Get creative where you write the problems. Spread them out - try writing on trees and rocks. It will all erase with a good rain fall. The activity encourages: · math skills · physical activity · outdoor time Need more activities? Check out Sidewalk Chalk Fun and Games or Scavenger Hunts www.GrowingPlay.com/activeplay © Growing Play


Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Play Outdoors

Play Outdoors

Head outdoors with some flour socks today. All you need to do is take an old sock and pour some flour into it (about 1/2 cup). Tie off the sock. The kids can whack it against the ground to leave marks on the pavement, trees or big rocks. Might seem simple, but the kids love playing with these. Try having a throwing contest. It is super easy to keep track of where it lands because it leaves a mark. Challenge yourself how far you can throw it. We have always used just flour in the socks, but if your child is into smashing, try putting some sidewalk chalk pieces into the socks. Smash them up with a hammer or rock and use them to leave colored marks. This activity encourages: ·

physical activity

·

outdoor play

·

eye hand coordination

·

upper extremity strengthening (all that whacking against the pavement can lead to stronger muscles!)

Want more ideas like this to get kids playing, moving and developing to the full potential? Check out the book Play, Move, Develop - www.GrowingPlay.com/playmovedevelop . © Growing Play


Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Play Outdoors

Play Outdoors

This activity encourages: ·

outdoor play

·

fine motor skills (movements of the hand and fingers)

·

gross motor skills (large movements of the body)

·

visual skills

·

math skills

Step 1: Make a set of bug tweezers by folding a plastic straw in half and taping slightly closed at the top. Another option is to use your kitchen tongs or any tweezers you may have. Step 2: Hide pom poms in the grass. These will be the bugs. Assign value to each bug ie small pom-poms = 5 points, large pom-poms=10 points and any green pom-pom=20 points. (I like to assign the points to work on skip counting and also adds to the game. You do not necessarily need to have the most pom-poms to win if playing against other players) Step 3: On "GO" the child runs and picks up as many bugs as they can find using only the tweezers. Step 4: When all the bugs have been found, spill them out of the cup, and add up the total points.

© Growing Play


Growing Play ...one step further www.GrowingPlay.com

Play Outdoors

Play Outdoors The Hidden Rock Game Here is a simple outdoor activity for all ages: Find a small rock. Using paint or permanent marker draw something on the rock. Go on a hunt for several items from nature that are large enough to cover the rock. We gathered pine cones, leaves, sticks and tree bark. Place them in a designated area in your outdoor space about 10-20 feet from a starting line. One person will hide the rock by placing it under one of the nature items. Once the rock is hidden, another person will have to go and find it. Start the timer and the person can run from the starting line to the designated area to find the rock by turning over all the nature items. Once the rock is found run back to the starting line and stop the clock! See who can get the best time or just compete against yourself to see what is the shortest amount of time before you find the rock and return to the starting line.

© Growing Play


Growing Play ...one step further Going Outdoors to Improve Attention Span An article in the Journal of Attention Disorders, reports on the benefits of walking in a park to increase attention span. A small group of 17 children with ADHD, participated in a study comparing walks in a park, downtown and a neighborhood. The walks in the park resulted in a significant difference in concentration as scored on the Digit Span Backwards (DSB). The article also discusses Attention Restoration Theory (ART). The basics of this theory is that interacting with nature results in a type of restoration for the body and the brain. Try to remember a recent event when you spent time outdoors in a natural environment. You may walk slowly and attend to all of your visual surroundings - a bird chirping, a sunset, the green grass of Spring. When you return indoors, you feel relaxed and calm. Now to try to remember that last time you were outdoors in a busier environment, perhaps a city. Your attention may be focused on planning when to cross a street, avoiding cars and other city obstacles. These two environments rely on your brain to use two different types of attention - involuntary and voluntary. Concentrating on topics that interest you or something that grabs your attention involves involuntary attention. Concentrating on blocking out distractions to focus on the topic at hand involves voluntary attention (which can fatigue easily). When the brain experiences involuntary attention it allows voluntary attention to rest and recover. The authors of this study question whether children with ADHD experience deficits in voluntary attention resulting in the fluctuating attention span that you see in children with ADHD. Therefore, the Attention Restoration Theory when applied to children with and without ADHD can perhaps be very beneficial. Walks in nature are simple to carry out on a daily basis. The "restorative" action of the walks which call upon involuntary attention can possibly help to improve voluntary attention. With the amount of television and computer time that children are exposed to daily, more time spent outdoors is essential. Here are several ideas to encourage increased nature time for all children: 1. Take hikes and short walks in the woods. 2. Go letterboxing - Letterboxing is a great family activity for people of all ages. You can go to www.letterboxing.org for a list of clues throughout the USA. You print off the clues, walk to find them and stamp a marking in your log book. Try geocaching if you have a GPS or smart phone. 3. Gardening - plant a garden with children. Plant seeds in pots so that all children can assist. 4. Go on scavenger hunts for outdoor materials - check out Scavenger Hunts e-book for ideas 5. Allow children to play outdoors in dirt, mud and puddles. 6. Go on a bug hunt - see how many different bugs you can identify 7. Start a nature collection such as rocks, acorns, leaves or pine cones. 8. Go fishing, frog hunting, horseback riding or birdwatching. 9. Build a structure out of natural materials i.e. fort, collage made out of sticks or leafs. 10. Encourage teachers to plan lessons outdoors. Fresh air makes everyone feel healthier, relaxed and perhaps improves attention. It is a simple way to improve concentration with no side effects (except skinned knees). References: Faber Taylor, Andrea, Kuo, Frances E. Children With Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park J Atten Disord 2009 12: 402-409 Cimprich, B Attention Restoration Theory: Empirical Work and Practical Applications Retrieved from the web on 4/17/09 at http://www.umb.no/statisk/greencare/meetings/presentations_vienna_2007/cimprich_cost_pres_71007.pdf

© Growing Play


Get Kids Moving Coupon Book for SPRING from GrowingPlay.com Directions: 1. Print out pages 1-9. 2. Cut along the black lines to create the coupon pages. 3. Optional: Write you own ideas on the blank coupons from page 9. 4. Stack the coupons behind the cover page below. 5. Staple on the right hand side of the coupon book. 6. Give to your favorite child!

COUPON

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This coupon book is presented to:

www.GrowingPlay.com


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This coupon entitles you to a game of catch. www.GrowingPlay.com

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This coupon entitles you to a game of hide and seek. www.GrowingPlay.com


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This coupon entitles you to an obstacle course challenge.

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This coupon entitles you to a game of balloon volleyball.

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This coupon entitles you to play with bubbles. www.GrowingPlay.com


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This coupon entitles you to a scavenger hunt. www.GrowingPlay.com

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This coupon entitles you to a trip to the park.

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Visit www.GrowingPlay.com for more activity ideas to take play one step

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Growing Play April 2012 Issue 1  

Premiere issue of activity ideas for children to grow their play skills. Includes ideas fro toddlers through tweens.

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