Shining Stars Child Care Shares Tips
Summer fun doesn’t have to be expensive. Through her longtime work with children, experienced child care provider Deb Decker of Shining Stars Child Care has plenty of ideas to keep kids occupied and create quality time that will be treasured by busy parents.
A strong advocate of “play-based learning” as its core teaching philosophy, Shining Stars encourages parents to make the most of their kid’s early years. “Kids are only little once,” Decker noted. “You don’t realize how fast they grow up.”
Summer vacation may already be halfway over, but there is still plenty of time to enjoy fun activities that are also great learning tools. Such activities allow kids to get away from screens and be physically active, learn something new, improve coordination, and develop their natural abilities – all while having fun.
Water activities are a favorite with kids and a way to cool off in the summer heat. Try using a water hose to create a jet for kids to attempt to jump over without getting wet. As the stream is lifted, they can run underneath it. Or, host a relay by giving each team a container with water. Whoever races to the other side and keeps the most water in their cup wins.
Make homemade bubble wands by cutting the tops off of water bottles or stringing together cut straws into triangles, diamonds, and squares. Mix together dish soap and water – try different food coloring in separate containers for colored bubbles – and let kids try to catch their bubbles. Make foam with egg beaters or whisks.
If there are some brushes or paint rollers in the garage, give the kids some water buckets and have them “paint” the fence, porch, playset, driveway, sidewalk, or garage. Kids are kept busy and the water dries quickly so they can do it again.
For the toddler, physical activity is a priority to help them develop and learn many skills. “Get little hands involved with all the tasks that you might perform yourself and find mundane or tiresome,” said Decker. “Not only will you be helping your toddler be more active, you’ll be laying the groundwork for him to perform these tasks independently one day.”
Toddlers don’t realize how much work it is to pull weeds, harvest, sweep porches, or refill bird baths and feeders – just don’t let them in on the fact that it’s work.
Design a scavenger hunt by hiding toys around the yard and creating a list with drawings to help your toddler cross off. Hide items in easy spots and be cautious about hiding beloved objects. Some toddlers may love to find their favorite toy, while others won’t.
Create a fun obstacle course with whatever you have on hand – crawl underneath a chair, roll through the grass, circle around a tree, then dash to the patio. You can even set up a crepe paper ribbon to run through at the finish, and start with a whistle blow.
If the kids are different ages, a game that all can enjoy is Red Light, Green Light. “Most toddlers have been in the car or on walks through city streets enough to notice traffic signs and lights, and are putting together the concept of red meaning stop and green meaning go,” said Decker.
Whatever activities end up being the kids’ favorite, they’re sure to remember them as some of the best parts of summer. Learn more about Shining Stars Child Care and play-based learning by contacting them or taking a tour.
Shining Stars Child Care
1017 Laurel St, Marshfield