Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nursery Rhymes

Nursery rhymes can play an important part in children’s lives. For many children, nursery rhymes are the first songs and stories that they hear.

I remember as a child learning and singing nursery rhymes at home and at school. Think about the ones that you know and teach them to your children.

Nursery rhymes stimulate memory, improve language skills, develop appreciation for music, enrich vocabulary, phonemic awareness, encourage thinking skills, and develop pre-reading skills….and best of all, they are fun!

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider and sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

This is a lot of fun to role play. You will need a group of children.

The children take turns being Miss Muffet pretending to eat curds and whey. Another child pretends to sneak up behind her as the spider. Students are encouraged to scream a really good "eeek!"

I wrote an additional verse to Miss Muffet. It appears on the Sniggles, Squirrels, and Chickenpox CD and in the I Love Children Songbook.

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider and sat down beside her
And said “what a very nice day.”

Using nursery rhymes that your children are familiar with, play this game.

When the subject is identified, everyone says the nursery rhyme together.

Give clues to nursery rhyme characters. For example:
I am a girl.
I have an animal that follows me to school.

Mary Had a Little Lamb
Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece as white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went
That lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rules,
It made the children laugh and play,
To see a lamb at school.

Clue: I am a mouse
I like to run up and down clocks

Hickory, Dickory, Dock
Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse did run,
Hickory, dickory, dock.

Clue: I am round.
I sat on a wall and fell down.

Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Nursery rhymes will help stimulate your child's memory, improve their language skills and develop their appreciation for music.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Toddlers - Touch

Games involving the senses help develop memory in young children.

When areas of the brain experience a stimulus, it increases the strength of the signal to the brain.

Here are some games that you can play that will develop the sense of touch.

Fill three plastic bags with different textured materials. For example, popcorn, cooked pasta, and jello.

Let the children feel the bags and tell you how it feels.

It’s important for you to give the children the vocabulary to use: squishy, hard, soft, smooth, etc.

Touch the body parts as you say the words in the chant. If you want to sing the chant, it goes to the tune of “Tavern in the Town.”

Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes,
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes,
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

Start slowly and each time you say the words, go a little faster. The children love to do this.

Take an orange, an apple, and a banana and place them in separate plastic bags.

Ask the children to identify the fruit by feeling the bag and not looking at it.

Cut several assorted sized shapes from heavy cardboard or tag board. A circle, a square, a triangle and any others that the children will recognize.

Ask a child to close his eyes. Ask him to feel the shape and to guess what shape it is by using his sense of touch. Let each child to have a turn.

Touch your shoulders,
Touch your knees,
Touch your hands behind you please.
Touch your elbows,
touch your toes
Touch your hair,
and touch your nose!
Touch the wall,
Touch the floor,
Touch the table,
Touch the door.

Give your child directions to walk around the room and look for different textures to touch. This will familiarize them with the way things feel.

Start with soft. Look around the room and touch something soft. How many soft things can we find?

Continue on with hard, bumpy, cold, warm and smooth.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Infants - Cause and Effect

Infants enjoy dropping things.

Use the following games as learning experiences for your infants.

Babies like to throw things out of the high chair or over the side of the crib. They watch the objects fall and
listen to the sound it makes when it hits the floor. Your baby is exploring cause and effect relationships.

Your baby should be sitting in a high chair.

Take a large basket or a pot and put it on the floor next to the highchair.

Fill a separate container with several small objects and place the container in front of your baby.

Take something from the container and drop it into the basket.

Ask your baby to copy you..

If he doesn’t understand, put one of the objects in his hand and help him drop it..

When it drops, say words like “bumpity bump” or “ding dong.”

Give the baby objects that fall with different sounds. For example: a rattle, a wooden spoon, a ball, and a washcloth. Talk about the different sounds. “Oh, that was so soft.” “That rattle sounded noisy.”

Another reason that babies like to throw things out of the high chair is to see what happens to the object.

Does it bounce like a ball or does it stay still? Actually, she is learning about the laws of gravity.

Give her a wadded up piece of paper to throw on the floor. Next, give her a tennis ball or small rubber ball to do the same.

Talk about the differences. “Oh look, that ball bounced. Oh look, the paper didn’t bounce. Here is a block. I wonder if it will bounce.”

When your baby throws food on the floor, she is probably wanting to see if it will bounce!