5 Amazing Christmas Games That Preschoolers Would Love

Christmas Games

Do you need to entertain your little ones during this busy holiday season? No problem, here are five amazing activities that are all Christmas themed and very educational for mental growth and development.

  1. Pass The Bow
    Pass around a gift wrapping or present bow to teach young children about patience and taking turns. You sing a Christmas song while passing around the bow until you stop the song and whoever has the bow last gets a present from under the tree. Continue until all children have a present in their lap.

  2. Stocking Journals
    Set up a craft table full of supplies to create a “stocking journal,” which is essentially a stocking shaped journal that they can decorate and draw what they think Christmas is all about and what they would like to have in their stocking.

  3. Guess The Gift Box
    Take a large or medium sized box, wrap it up like a Christmas gift but leave the bottom open so you can place objects underneath it. This is a guessing game that can be quite challenging, but still fun. Children guess what’s under the box through clues (and if you’re inclined, they get to win that item).

  4. Ornament Toss
    Similar to a sack toss game that many children are familiar with, except the box is meant to look like a Christmas tree and kids can take turns to throw in plastic, unbreakable ornaments into the holes in the Christmas tree for points or just for fun.

  5. Candy Cane Ring Toss
    Again, a similar game but with a Christmas twist! This one features candy canes that can be easily tossed for points or just for fun like the other games mentioned. Then, the candy canes can be eaten later on after the game.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

10 Foods That Help in Brain Development of Your Child

Food

During the developmental stages, children need an abundant amount of nutrients. While supplements are beneficial, the nutrients they receive from the foods they eat are the easiest for the body to break down and utilize.

  1. Apples/plums – Known for the abundance of quercetin, apples and plums are ideal for a sack lunch. They are also convenient snacks for when kids are at home and need a quick pick me up.

  2. Berries – Bright, colorful berries are full of antioxidants and other vitamins that are needed for proper brain function. One rule of thumb to follow is the brighter the fruit, the more nutritious.

  3. Lean or Clean Meats – Meats that are marbled with fats and gristle are also heavy with toxins. Antibiotics and pesticides collect in fat deposits.

  4. Cauliflower – Vitamin B6, folate, and fiber are found in cauliflower in rather large amounts compared to other fruits and vegetables.

  5. Eggs – Eggs are high in protein, lutein, zinc, and omega 3 fatty acids that can help a child concentrate.

  6. Greens – Greens help to detoxify the brain and improve overall brain function.

  7. Nuts/Seeds/Nut butters – Full of essential fatty acids, proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, nuts, seeds, and the butters produced from there are excellent for brain development.

  8. Oatmeal – Oatmeal’s high fiber and protein content help to keep arteries and blood vessels open. This encourages ample blood flow to the brain.

  9. Yogurt – Full fat yogurts give the brain what it needs to develop properly. The brain must have a certain amount of fat if it is to function efficiently.

  10. Salmon – Salmon has omega 3 fatty acids, high levels of protein, and an abundance of minerals that boost brain function.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Useful Tips for Inculcating Trust and Honesty in Preschoolers

Parents play a critical role in teaching their preschool aged children trust and honesty. The home environment is one of the first places that kids experience these values. Many parents may not realize how much they have already done for their children by providing a loving; comfortable home where they feel cared for, loved, and secure.

Inculcating Trust and Honesty in Preschoolers

The earlier that parents instill these values in their children, the more likely that they are to stick as the kids grow older. It may seem like a daunting task to go beyond this basic level of trust. However, there are a few simple pieces of advice that can make a big difference for your kids.

Set boundaries
Establishing rules and boundaries for children helps them learn right from wrong. With rules set in place, kids must make decisions to obey or disobey rules. It is imperative to set realistic rules that are appropriate for preschool age children. For example, a preschooler may not be able to clean his entire room unsupervised. However, he can learn to make his bed independently before he goes to school.

It is also important to set up rules and expectations that show that you trust your children. For example, preschool kids can pick out their own clothes for school. Completing these types of tasks on their own will help them develop independence as well as trust in themselves.

Offer a benefit for telling the truth
Sometimes parents punish children after they have done something wrong, but the punishment is for the wrong reason. This practice can lead to children not telling the truth because they’re worried about the consequences. Children must understand that they will be rewarded for telling the truth, even when they share that they’ve misbehaved. For example, a child will get in trouble for breaking a ceramic vase on purpose, but he will not get in as much trouble if he tells the truth about it.

Model trustworthy and honest behavior
Children learn behavior from the adults and other children that have a large role in their lives. If your relationships are based on trust, children will learn to instill this same value in their own relationships. You should also be conscious of your smaller actions and the effect that they may have on your kids.

For example, it can be tempting to tell a white lie to get out of an uncomfortable phone call or to avoid talking about a difficult subject with a friend. These lies may seem unimportant. However, getting in the habit of telling lies often leads to telling bigger lies. You don’t want your children to develop this same habit.

Don’t blame other people
Every adult has seen a child blame another child for an action that the first child is clearly responsible for doing. For example, a preschool aged boy may wet his pants and then try to blame it on another kid playing at the playground. It is easy to laugh at this naive attempt to pass the blame, but it is natural for people to blame others for something that goes wrong.

This issue goes back to the concept of providing a benefit for telling the truth. Ultimately a child will get in less trouble for taking the blame than trying to deny it and blaming another person.

Look for opportunities to grow
No one is perfect, children and parents alike. Even with the best of intentions, it is easy to fall into bad behavior patterns. If you see that your child is slipping, have a frank discussion with her without being accusatory or condescending. It is all too easy to start slipping dishonest comments into conversations or telling white lies to avoid certain situations. Your child may not even be aware that she is doing these things. Use examples from your own life during this discussion and talk about ways to change the behavior.

Seek out literary resources
There is variety of kids’ books that display the value of honesty including The Boy Who Cried Wolf retold by Katherine Evans, Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel, Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and The Berenstain Bears and The Truth by Stain Berenstain.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Thanksgiving: Time to Teach Your Kids About Gratitude

Happy Thankgiving

Most people view Thanksgiving as a holiday when family comes together to share a delicious meal. However, there is more to this holiday. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to teach your kids about how blessed they are.

  • Volunteer
    Thanksgiving is a wonderful occasion to give back something to the community. Buy some toys and get your children to help you gift wrap them before you take these gifts to the children’s hospital to distribute to kids who are sick.

  • Invite an Elderly Neighbor for Thanksgiving Dinner
    This Thanksgiving invite an elderly neighbor to join you for Thanksgiving dinner and share moments of joy and happiness with your family.

  • Do a Good Deed
    Ask your children to do a good deed the entire Thanksgiving week. It could be helping an elderly person cross the street or mowing an elderly or invalid neighbor’s lawn for free. Tell them the deed is not about expecting something in return.

  • Give Your Home a Thankful Ambience
    Get your kids to help you decorate the house with craft that oozes of happiness and gratitude. Display cards on the mantle that you have received. Make the whole atmosphere in the house festive, so that kids realize they do have something to be thankful about.

  • Pen Down a Few Words to a Friend
    Buy blank cards and get your children to write a few kind words to a friend. Ask them to write from the heart about what they like in the friend and why they are thankful that person is their friend.

  • Put Up a Thanksgiving Tree
    Start a tradition in your family to put up and decorate a Thanksgiving tree. Hang thank you notes and cards on the tree and also encourage visitors to write thank you notes that can be placed on the tree. Use other decorative items to make the tree festive and colorful.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Making the Most of Conference Time with Your Kids’ Teacher

conference time

Children learn in different environments and it’s essential that parents and the general child care teacher are on the same page about a child’s strengths and weaknesses. This is best done by having a sit-down conference with the teacher. A conference gives everyone involved more time to focus on one child without distraction and work together on a program that best suits your child. There are some things you can do to help make this important meeting a success.

Discuss home situations – This isn’t the time to keep “family business” quiet. Things like a divorce, a parent or sibling’s illness or financial events like job loss can all impact a child’s learning and behavior. Be willing to let the child care worker know of these things.

Ask questions – Don’t be afraid to ask if your child is ahead, behind or on schedule. If you don’t know something, ask. Teachers can often fill in the blanks that you are unsure of and let you know when you are doing things correctly.

Listen with an open mind – Don’t close down if the teacher starts mentioning issues. Listen and try to help figure out what is going on and how it can be addressed. Sometimes behavior issues will occur at school but not at home. Maybe your child excels in all but one area.

Ask how you can help – Discuss activities you can do at home that can help increase your child’s learning experience. Learning doesn’t stop at the classroom door.

Advocate – You are your child’s greatest asset. Do not hesitate to make sure any special needs are addressed and that your child is being given the chance to thrive in the learning environment.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

Day Care Centers: A Preferred Option for Working Moms

Many modern families have two parents with full-time jobs, which leaves them with some tough decisions to make concerning child care. While some families are fortunate to have nearby family to watch the kids, many people have to choose between day care centers, in-home providers and nannies. If you’re in the midst of making this decision, consider the following advantages of daycare services.

More affordable and reliable
Typically it is less expensive to sign up for daycare services than to hire a nanny or pay for in-home childcare. While some people feel that the home environment is worth the extra money, you can’t ignore the cost factor. Many working parents appreciate that daycare centers offer more reliable hours. You never have to worry about the daycare center closing because a particular teacher is sick or having a family emergency.

Adhere to state regulations
In-home childcare centers must follow the same state guidelines as public and private daycare centers, while nannies do not. Working with a childcare provider that must follow state regulations gives many parents a peace of mind. In addition to licensing, centers are subject to health and fire inspections. Some centers even take the extra step to become quality approved, ensuring that their children receive kindergarten preparation skills. It is easier for parents to evaluate varying options for childcare when there are clear standards.

Clear cut expectations
With a daycare center, there are clear rules for parents, such as when you can drop off and pick up children and what sort of snacks they will and won’t eat during the day. If you’ve had trouble hiring a nanny or babysitter who can’t accommodate your work schedule or who doesn’t follow your established home guidelines, a daycare may be the answer.

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

5 Delicious Halloween Candies That Are All Time Favorites

Halloween Candies

Halloween is all about costumes and sweet treats. Trick-or-treating is super-fun because of all the candies you get to eat. While there are those that you keep aside, there are Halloween candies that are all-time favorites and will continue to be so. No one can get enough of these yummy candies!

Here are 5 of the most delicious Halloween candies that are always loved no matter how many years go by:

  1. Kit Kat: Who does not love this yummy candy with crispy wafer and smooth milk chocolate? Any kid that gets this in their Halloween bag will be smiling for a long time!

  2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: This candy is one that nut-lovers adore! It is gooey and oh-so-delicious; how can it not be a Halloween favorite?

  3. Snickers: Ah, Snickers! Chewy, crunchy and full of yummy chocolate! This candy is filling and yet, you can never seem to get enough. It has to be the nougat, peanuts, milk chocolate and caramel; it is every candy-lover’s dream-combo.

  4. Sour Patch Kids: First, a mouthful of sour and then the delicious sweetness-that is what you get with this awesome candy! They look colorful and taste amazing. The green and red ones are still the favorite flavors of kids everywhere!

  5. M&Ms: This is another classic that kids everywhere love getting when they go trick-or-treating. Among chocolates that are candy-coated, M&Ms take the crown and always will. This is a Halloween treat that always brings a big grin to every kid’s face!

About Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.