Friday, 17 May 2013

Snacks From Around the World

Click below to read more about snacks and meals from other cultures. Try a few recipes in your own day home.
                                                               Click here:

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Here are some items to collect for a Garden prop box:

Mother and daughter planting seeds in the family gardenGardening gloves
Knee pads
Small flower pots and trays from garden centre
Seeds and bulbs
Watering cans
Signs to tell what you have planted - tongue depressors
Shredded black paper (for dirt) - or you could use real dirt when outside
Plastic or silk flowers,stems and leaves
Real flowers
Small gardening hand shovels
Magnifying glasses
Lattice or small trellis for plants to climb
Grass mats made of plastic - see Dollar store
Tree cookies (sections cut from a tree)
Pine cones
Rocks, pebbles, glass beads
Empty potting soil bags filled with crumpled newspaper and taped shut
Empty spray bottles
Easter baskets and grass
Plastic vases
Cash register

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Happy Provider Appreciation Day!

They Will Remember
I take care of your children.
I love them.
I teach them.
I clean them, and I feed them.
I take care of your children.
I see their first steps.
I hear their first words.
I share their happiness and I feel their hurts.
I take care of your children
As if they are my own.
And when they are grown and no longer need me,
My love will be a part of them,
deep within the heart of them.
They will know that I was there for them
And they will remember.

-by Eileen Koscho

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Open Ended Materials

Open-ended means not having a fixed answer; unrestricted. The children themselves decide what to do, how to do it, and what to use.

These are objects that have many uses and endless possibilities. There are no exceptions, no specific problems to solve, no rules to follow, and no pressure to produce a finished project. It's about FREE PLAY!

Why are open-ended materials important to include in children's play?

  • allows children to use their imagination and creativity
  • helps develop trial and error and problem solving skills
  • children have no fear of doing it wrong since there is no right method or outcome.
  • open-ended play gives children a sense of freedom and self confidence
  • they must make their own choices and learn to be responsible and self-directed.

The following activities are NOT open-ended:
  • ready made cut outs,shapes, or craft kits
  • traced drawings for children to color
  • coloring books
  • stencils
  • dot-to-dot drawings
  • puzzles and board games
  • toys with batteries- 90% toy, 10% child
  • television and videos
  • toys with only one purpose or use
  • costumes with one specific use only- Halloween costumes

List of Open-Ended materials to use often in your program planning: (use with direct supervision)

Cardboard tubes
Styrofoam packing
Wood scraps
Metal juice can lids
Paint-watercolor, tempera, acrylic
Jewels from old lamps and chandeliers
Old costume jewelry
Wine corks
Empty spools of thread
Textured paper
Plastic caps from milk jugs, bottle caps
Fabric pieces – felt squares
Pipe cleaners
Cardboard boxes of various sizes
All kinds of tape
Play dough
Googly eyes
Recycled water bottles/cans
Pom poms
Old metal keys
Empty cereal boxes
Parts from machines, clocks, engines
Paper bags – grocery and lunch bags
Hats, shoes, belts, bags, shirts, gloves
Newspaper and flyers
Scarves and bandanas
Shoe boxes
Colored, clean aquarium rocks
Bread tags
Artificial flowers and petals
Laundry soap lids
Straws of different colors and sizes
Aluminum foil
Golf T’s
Plastic food containers with lids
Sea shells
Empty ice cream buckets
Dice of all sizes
Poker chips
Paper clips
Glass gems
Tree cookies – stumps cut up into discs
Pine cones
PVC pipe
Pussy Willows
Nuts and bolts from a hardware store
Bulrushes – Cattails
Beads of various sizes
                                          THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Multicultural Puzzle

This puzzle was bought at a store called Anthropologie which is a ladies clothing store in West Edmonton Mall. Search in the back corner of the store to find a children's book and toy section. It was about $17.00 and has different pictures on the back of each piece as well. The box says 3 and up but some 2 year olds can do this with ease. It can also be bought online by clicking here to link to

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Lentil Soup

4 leeks - white and light green parts only
1 bunch kale
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes , drained
6 cups water
2 sweet potatoes - peeled and diced
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
12 fresh basil leaves (optional)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Slice each leek in half lengthwise, then slice into half moons about 1/4 inch thick. You should have about 2 cups. Place in a large bowl of cold water and swish to remove any grit. Drain and pat dry.
Remove stems from kale. Stack leaves on top of one another and slice into strips. You'll need about 3 cups.

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add leeks and cook for 3 minutes.Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Stir in kale, sweet potatoes, lentils, thyme, basil, salt and pepper.Simmer until lentils are tender- about 30 minutes. Spoon inti individual bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan.

To freeze: Omit parmesan. Let soup cool. Ladle into large resealable bags, filling each one halfway. Store up to 3 months.
Serves 6


6 soft flour multigrain or corn tortillas
Hard shell tacos (optional)

Meat Mixture: make the night before so it's ready for lunch
1 pound of ground beef (can use ground chicken or turkey)
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water

leaf lettuce
green onions
cilantro (optional)
roma tomatoes
cheddar cheese, shredded, light or fat free
sour cream, light or fat free
chunky salsa

Brown ground beef in a frying pan. Add spices, ketchup and water to browned meat. Simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes.

Wash all vegetables. Cut them up small and set out in serving bowls.
Have the children spoon meat mixture onto tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and add their favourite toppings. Roll up the tortilla.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

What Can We Do With Play Dough?

Here's some ideas to make play dough time more interesting for children:

- Make impressions in the dough with things from around your, or things you have collected on    walks (shells,leaves, sticks, plastic animals,cars, barbie shoes).

-Push small items into the play dough to create faces ( buttons,paper clips, popsicle sticks, googly eyes).

- Use Mr. Potato Head pieces to make play dough people.

-Add children's safety scissors so the children cut the play dough.

-Create a bakery by making cupcakes, birthday cakes, cinnamon buns, cookies, bread. Add cake decorations, muffin cups, rolling pins, bowls, spoons, plastic knives, small cookie sheets, spatulas, cookie cutters,potato masher, etc....

-Create a restaurant by making pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fries.

-Flatten dough and roll cars and trucks in it to make tire tracks.

-Roll snakes and balls and use them to shape letters.

-Sculpt animals-add feathers,eyes, fur, etc...

-Put fresh play dough in a syringe or icing bag and let children squeeze it out.

-Mix different combinations of colored play dough to make new colors. 

 Red + Blue = Purple, Yellow + Blue = Green, Red + Yellow = Orange
 Then mix all the colors together!

-Use small plastic animal toys (available at the dollar store) and let the child make different kinds of caves  and homes for the animals to live in.

-Make ornaments. Bake at 200 degrees for 5 minutes so they will harden and preserve.

Source: Play Dough, Painting, and Prop Boxes Workshop by Krista Anderson

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

What Can We Paint With?

Painting with paint brushes is always an engaging activity you can involve children in, but you can paint with many things you already have in your home. Try some of these items:

Apples - Cut apples in half, dip in paint and place on a paper.

Wet Chalk - Place sticks of chalk into a cup of water. You can add sugar to the water for a different effect. Draw on paper with the wet chalk.

Cars- Dip the wheels of a toy car into paint, then drive the car on a paper to make tire tracks.

Toothbrush - Dip a paint brush into paint and paint with it. Try an electric toothbrush!

Bottles - Paint the outside of an empty, washed, plastic juice or pop bottle.

Kitchen utensils- Wooden spoons, spatulas, flippers, forks, potato masher. use washable paint so it will wash off.

Toy animal footprints-Paint the feet of toy animals and have them walk across a paper.

Leaves and Rocks - Go on a nature walk, collect leaves and rocks. Paint one side of a leaf and stamp it onto your paper. Use silk leaves if not available. Paint the rocks and decorate them.

Ketchup - Provide a small cup  of ketchup, allow children to dip their fingers into the ketchup and paint on a high chair tray . Press a paper onto the tray to transfer their art to paper. Peel the paper off the tray and let dry.

Water - Small children can paint with a toddler paint brush, a small cup of water and paper.

Ziploc bag - Put finger paint in a ziploc bag and seal it. Tape it closed. Children can draw on the bag with their finger creating and erasing designs over and over!

Hands and Feet - Dip children's hands and feet in paint. Make handprints and walk across a large paper taped to the floor. Use different colors and watch how the colors mix.

Q-tips - Dip Q-tips in a container of paint and make dot pictures.

Potatoes - Cut a potato in half. Carve out simple shapes such as a square, circle, triangle and rectangle. Allow the children to dip the potato into paint and stamp on paper. Encourage them to arrange shapes to create characters, vehicles, houses etc....

Laundry Soap Caps - Dip into paint and stamp circles on paper or boxes.

Marbles or Golf Balls - Put marbles or golf balls in paint, scoop them out with a spoon, and place on paper cut to the size and shape of a cake pan or tin box. Roll the marbles around on the paper.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Greek Style Lemon Roast Potatoes

8-10 peeled potatoes cut in wedges
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper

Place potatoes in a 13 X 9 baking dish
Whish together broth, lemon juice, oil and seasonings
Pour over potatoes, turning to coat
Bake in 325 degree oven for about 2 hours, turning occasionally

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Post Office

Items to collect for a Post Office Prop Box:

View detailsStamps-Stickers
Envelopes - all sizes
Ink pads and stamps
Play money
Cash register
Mailing labels for parcels
Packing tape and brown paper to wrap boxes
Valentine cards and envelopes
Blank cards and envelopes
Paper pads
Letter Carrier shirt/coat/hat
Letter Carrier bag
Shoe boxes to put mail in
Box- to pretend it's a mail truck
Post cards
Index cards to write on
Junk mail
Small wrapped boxes to deliver
Pictures of a post office
Mail box


A cornstarch and water mixture known as "Goop" can be made at home using:

2 cups of water in a large bowl or plastic storage container
Add a little food coloring (not very much or it will stain clothing)
Pour in 4 cups of cornstarch slowly
Mix as you add cornstarch. Try mixing with your hands as it turns from solid to liquid.
Clean up: Washes off easily with water or let dry and it will turn into powder.
Put smocks on the children.
Add items to the mixture such as small containers, kitchen utensils, funnels, spoons, plastic knives, animal figures, people figures ........
Make enough for all the children and yourself to play!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Play Dough

3 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 Koolaid Packages (same color)
2 cups boiling water

Mix dry ingredients. Add boiling water. Knead on floured board. Can add more flour by sprinkling until desired consistency. Store in a sealed container. Some people store the container in the fridge to slow bacteria growth. Make new play dough each week.

You can also use food coloring instead of Koolaid powder.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Emotional Checklist for Children

Below is an emotional checklist for a parent or caregiver to read and be familiar with when tending to a child's emotional needs:

Child will cry when feeling distressed and this indicates that something is wrong. Give comfort to the child, allow them to cry, redirect their attention, and help the child learn the words to say how they feel. Hold and rock the child. Give the child a soft toy to hug, or talk to a hand puppet. Read a book to the child.

Fear is caused by the presence of something threatening of safety and security. Some situations which cause fear and anxiety are: unfamiliar surroundings, noises, new people, animals, darkness, unfamiliar routine. These situations make a child feel tense and unable to relax. As a result a child will have difficulty eating, falling asleep, and using the toilet. Adults do not have control over a child. We can gently, lovingly influence the child. Refrain from pressuring a child to eat or toilet. Talk with parents. Stay positive. Eat with the children, use nap time toys to comfort, and play soothing music to help relax. Have a predictable routine. Be accepting of the child the way they are.

HANDLES SUDDEN CHANGES AND STARTLING SITUATIONS WITH CONTROL (surprise) Surprise only lasts a moment. It's an unexpected external event such as a clap of thunder or the appearance of a person. Everything is new to an infant so they experience more surprises and startling than older children. Most children will experience delight after the initial shock is over and muscles tensing and body jumps have stopped. Prepare children for surprises such as fire drills, visitors, and new events by talking, practicing, reading books, and showing photos.

Anger results when we are physically or psychologically restrained from doing something, frustrated in our attempts, interrupted, personally insulted, or forced to do something against our will. Anger calls for some sort of release (venting). Caregivers have the challenge of teaching a child how to express their anger in words, not actions, and providing a healthy and safe way to let off steam. Talk about feelings. Give words for feelings. Model responses to situations that cause anger so a child can learn the proper way to face challenges. Encourage children to use words rather than actions. Teach a child what to do, rather than focusing on what not to do.

 Everyone feels shy at one time or another. It results from a heightened degree of self-awareness such as feeling helpless, exposed, incompetent, not living up to expectations. using shame as a form of discipline can be emotionally crippling and should be avoided. Shame results in a real or perceived put down of the self. The child may show embarrassment, cry or hide. Focus on the child's strengths. Do not dwell on the shyness. Pair the child with another peer they are comfortable with. Introduce new activities and people slowly. If the child backs away, comfort them and accept that they are not ready to join in. Some children need to watch first.

Young children show affection when around those who are affectionate. Love and affection are necessary for children's growth and development. Caregivers need to form a real connection with each child and show unconditional love. Offer lots of physical contact. Give non-verbal cues such as a smile, and eye contact. Offer verbal affirmations such as "Good to see you today". Connect with each child several times a day.

 Child can focus on a person or object that captures their attention. Children will use their senses to explore. Interested children are alert, active, curious, and self-confident. A child throwing his dish on the floor isn't being difficult - he is curious about what happens when he lets go of the dish. Stimulate a child's natural curiosity by adding new items to their play, and changing toys, arrangement of the furniture, and by doing new activities. Find out what interests the child. Ask questions, pose problems to solve together.

Joy is positive and spontaneous. It is the result of a pleasant experience (hug, kiss, kind words). A person cannot teach another to be happy but she can influence by presenting a pleasant environment, and responding positively when joy occurs.