Online Story Time?

Have you ever taken your toddler or preschooler to story time at the library?  It’s so fun.  Lots of kids, books, songs, kid-friendly musical instruments, stuffed animals, toys.  It’s one of my favorite things to do with my younger kids.

But sometimes it’s just tough to get to the library.  I have some weeks so packed we can’t fit it in.  But I wanted to share with you one of my favorite new resources I’ve found: story time online!

On YouTube, there are whole channels devoted to story time.  For example, The New York Public Library films many of their children’s programs and posts them for everyone to see.  The librarian does songs, books and even teaches Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in Japanese.  Click here to check it out.

Now remember, though.  For young children to learn from media, they need to be co-viewing it with a parent.  The parent and child need to watch together and the parent needs to be helping the child process what they’re watching. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016, Media and the Young Mind.)

So as you’re watching the online storytime together, be singing the songs with your child, doing the silly actions, commenting on the books and cuddling close together.  This will make it meaningful.

There are other channels that just read books aloud.  Like this one.  They’re simple and could easily be paused to talk about what’s happening in the story.

But one of my favorite resources is this next video.  She is a speech pathologist and gives FANTASTIC advice on reading with young kids.  It’s a bit long, 17ish minutes, but worth ever second.  It has change the way I read with my youngest daughter.  If you’re sick of your old routine check this out.

I’m so excited about the amazing resources available to us online!  Please share if you have any great early-literacy resources!  I’d love to hear them.

Activities For Kids: Playing In The Dirt (The Mini-Version)

This post is all about toddlers.  Oh, toddlers.  You love ’em, but boy, they test your limits.

Hands down, the toughest time of the day is the hour before dinner.  It’s torturous.  The patience I prayed for in the morning has disappeared, the kids are hungry and I’m spent.

This time is also filled with debriefing my older kids on their day, finishing dinner, helping with music practice, and doing all the dishes I didn’t get done earlier in the day (which is usually piled up to my shoulders).  I’ve never been great at coordinating this hour, and as a consequence, my youngest kiddo tends to get ignored.  Which equals major meltdowns.

This truth hurts a little to write. 🙂

So this spring, I decided to give my toddler a little more.  I’ve given her an activity that she can do on her own, but is fun and engaging.  So far it’s worked.

I dug through my garage and found a couple old bags of landscaping sand.  Although, just plain old dirt from the yard would have worked just fine.  I dumped it into an old tub I had lying around and put it right outside the back door.

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I buried some random toys in it, gave her a shovel and let her at it.  SHE LOVED IT!!!  I was able to focus on my bigger kids while she happily dug away.

Success!!!!!

Every few days, I bury some new toys in there for her to find.  I have even caught my older and “too-cool” preteens over there digging in the sand while they wait for dinner time.

If you’re having a tough time entertaining those toddlers while you’re finishing out the day,  try filling up a tub of dirt, burying some toys and letting them get a little dirty.  It’s almost bath time anyway, right? 🙂

You’re sanity and dish-duties will thank you.

Idea for Play: Throw A Blanket Over Anything And Make A Fort

We have this big, blue blanket that my great-grandma made.  I use it for everything.  I like to imagine that her love emanates from it, giving me strength and helping me mother my children.  My kids just think it is soft and comfy.

But either way,  it is a sweeeeeeet blanket for forts.

My challenge for you this week, is to pull out a huge blanket, throw it over some furniture and make a fort.  Put it in a major room of your house.  And forget the cleaning police- leave it out all week.

I kept the fort exciting for days by doing a few simple things:

  • Filling the fort with new toys after every nap time.  First put in blocks, the next playtime- dollhouse furniture;  then LEGOs, then books…..
  • Bringing out the flashlights at night time.  Before bedtime, read a new book by flashlight in the fort.  The next night, make up stories with everyone participating.  the next night, make shadow puppets.
  • Climb in there yourself!  Everything is more fun when a parent comes and plays.  Get them started on a block tower that reaches to the “ceiling”.  Don’t be afraid to be silly or let your backside hang outside the blanket 🙂 (I’m always too big to get my whole body in.)  Your kids will think you are the coolest.

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Happy fort building!  Remember to unplug everyday!

Dawnie