COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

January 5, 2017
by countryfun
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Listening Is Important and Needs to be Taught

We teach our children so many other skills, but do we really think about teaching them to listen?

The art of listening is something children will use throughout their entire lives and while it usually takes a back seat to learning how to talk, walk, ABC’s… it really is just as important a skill. Maybe even more important.

So how does one go about teaching “listening”?

Believe it or not there are many simple and fun ways to teaching listening skills. Think “PLAY”, the natural way children learn. When participating in any of the activities below be sure to comment on “what a good listener” they are. That the connection that draws a child’s attention to listening as a skill that’s a positive in them learning. That’s the teaching.

  1. Play games like, “Simon Says,” or “I Spy”. Play “Clue” games that involve following clues/directions to find a hidden (or in our case lost) object. We also like to play “Who says…….” – make an animal sound and have them label it. If your good make other sounds like a truck backing up, popcorn popping, ….
  2. Sing favorite songs together. Then when singing it again (which we all know children love to do) change up some of the important words. See if they notice and point out your “mistakes.” Do this a few times and you’ll find them always watching for you to “make mistakes” again. They might even start making their own “mistakes” for you to catch.
  3. Talk about sounds. When talking with your child about the ordinary things that are happen during their day be sure to ask them about the things you both are hearing. For example- talk about the sounds you hear as you are outside like birds, airplanes, traffic.
  4. Ask those “predictor” questions. When reading books aloud asking questions about what they think will happen next. At the end of the story, question them about events in the story to see how well they were listening. No “yes” or “no” questions, we want information shared. This activity works better for children as they are getting closer to preschool age. They need some base of language to follow through on clearly answering the questions. Do not let this stop you from asking right from the start. Every engagement is an opportunity to support your child’s learning.

We can teach listening skills through fun or play activities, but it’s just as important that we model good listening when we are with our children.

  1. Be at eye level. We know it’s easier to talk to someone when you are on the same level. Our children deserve that also. Getting down to their level makes that connection and it’s more likely they will focus and listen to you. If it’s hard to kneel down, adapt – pick them up, sit in chairs. What’s most important is that you’re eye to eye, or on a similar level.
  2. Use a normal (volume) voice speaking at a steady pace, in a language your child can understand. Please with toddlers, don’t dumb down your language (baby talk). First they understands more than you realize and second we want them to hear rich expanded language. If they do not hear it how are they to learn it?
  3. Say it once and give them so time to respond by words or action. Saying it over and over means they don’t need to listen the first time, and that is not a behavior pattern we want to set in place or encourage. Try it again using different words, making sure your directions aren’t too wordy, and really are appropriate for the developmental level of the child. If your child continues not to respond after you have adapted, this time repeat the directions and then gently show them the way or how to follow your directions.
  4. Keep your word. If you tell a child that they must eat a good meal or they can’t have dessert, stick to it. Developing a reason to listen is part of one’s listening skills, so it’s important that children know you mean it and will consistently follow through.
  5. Control your yelling. It’s often better to drop your voice tone or whisper to get a child’s attention. When they are ignoring you, it’s tempting to yell to get them to do what you want. However, if you yell too much, they are just learning to tune you out, or just see this speaking as normal. Save your loud voice for times when you really need it, like if you notice your toddler is about to run out into the street.
  6. Listen to your child.  This seems like such common sense, but so often we do not truly listen to them. Remember good role models are needed in developing good listening skills. The other benefit of listening to your child is supporting the development of their personal sense of self-worth.
  7. Repeat what you hear them saying. Take the opportunity to expand by adding a descriptive word. This not only works on listening skills, but increases their vocabulary.

Listening is also more than just “listen” and “follow the directions” or “respond”. Listening is really how we communicate. No matter the age we need to be having real conversations with our children. Talk with them, not at them. Really listen to them and show them that you are, through your responses. These conversations with you, help them learn about the flow of conversations. Even with an infant these conversations, which as usually “silly”, are encouraging listening skill development while making those important personal connections.

 

December 26, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Snapshots of 2016

Snapshots of 2016

 

It’s always fun to look back through some of the snapshots of the past year. What I love is the active play, smiles, cooperation, friendships and investigation that I see in these snapshots. ~

 

November 28, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Tis the Season! Flu and Cold Arrives

Tis the Season! Flu and Cold Arrives

It is important for all of us to do what we can for prevention.

  • WASH YOUR HANDS!!!! WASH wash-hands-sign-nhe-13111_300YOUR HANDS!!!!WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!WASH YOUR HANDS!!!! Washing hands is the first line of defense and super easy. We all need to do a better job of this, especially now. Use soap and water as the first line of defense. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is fine for when soap and water is not available.
  • Keep hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. That’s the door to the body for influenza germs. This will be harder to teach to our youngest ones.
  • Cover up that cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve- “The Dracula”. Germs die in the material and don’t get spread to everything you handle. Be sure to still wash your hands. If tissues are used get them into the wastebasket and wash up.
  • Stay at home and avoid contact with others if you are sick.

***** Proper Hand Washing***** 

To be sure all surfaces of the hand are cleaned – have children work up bubbles to cover all the parts of their hands.

  1. Wets hands with warm, running water and apply liquid soap.
  2. Rub hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds, covering all surfaces and fingers – fingers wide, (interweave) cross together to make x’s, move those x’s up and down, then close fingers and rub the palms together. Be extra careful to wash back of the hands and the full length of the thumb.
  3. Scrub nails by rubbing them against the palms of your hands – scrub nails from finger tips to wrist multiple times, switching hands -“Tickle Fingers”
  4. Rub backs of each hand
  5. Rinse your hands with running water
  6. Dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel and use it to turn off the faucet.

For children, 15 seconds can be reached by saying the ABC’s, counting to at least 20, or singing a favorite finger song like ‘itsy,bitsy spider’.

Scrubbing nails on the palm is probably new to most of us, but kids have fun with it real quickly.

*****Is it cold or flu?*****

They are so similar in symptoms. Flu symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, muscle pain. With the flu you really feel pretty achy all over. Fever is another strong sign, especially with children that may not be able to tell us how their body is feeling. Not as common, but at times there is also nausea and diarrhea. Remember true FLU is a respiratory illness, not the stomach upset we often refer to as the flu.

The flu virus is spread when contaminated droplets exit the mouth and nose of the one infected and make contact with someone healthy. It is important to disinfect door knobs, light switches, phones, computers, toys and any other surfaces that are commonly touched around your house.

Here are the recipes for non-toxic cleaning sprays that I use year-round to disinfect every surface within our space:

  1. Fill a 16 ounce spray bottle almost to the top with water. Add 3 tablespoons of liquid castile soap and 20 – 30 drops of tea tree oil, and shake to mix. Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic qualities. This is great to use on doorknobs, sink handles, phones, and other commonly handled surfaces.
  2. By itself, vinegar is not a disinfectant, but when used with hydrogen peroxide, it kills bacteria more effectively than any commercial cleaner. In spray bottle that keeps sunlight out (I covered a bottle with solid contact paper), put 3 % hydrogen peroxide. In another bottle, put straight white vinegar. Spray one after the other (order does not matter) on desired surface. Leave several minutes and wipe clean. Can use water to wipe down or just a clean cloth.
  3. This is a “mix as use” disinfecting recipe: 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide(3%). Just wipe on or spray and let dry. (I usually mix in a bowl and then wipe down any surface want to disinfect.)

Additional non-toxic home cleaning recipes.

For the little extra time cleaning with a disinfectant adds to your daily routine the benefits are huge – a healthier family and home environment.

For recovery: rest, drink plenty of liquids (add in ice chips, light soups, broths), take fever-reducing medication (no aspirin to anyone under 20), and lukewarm sponge baths to relieve further discomfort. Antibiotics are not of any use in the treatment of the flu.

October 25, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Remembering Summer 2016

Remembering Summer 2016

30539186345_b40680dfe5_oAs we welcome Fall and the many changes to our days that come with truly transitioning to another season, it’s fun to look back at snapshots from our days over the past summer.

Whether it was the exploration of the nature around us on our summertime walks – like 1 garter snake saved from tires “smushing” it…….. img_1176_29584086402_oor garden harvests for meals – like homemade sauce……..30058070832_8a0832f1f1_o or enjoying eating white raspberries with a friendly grasshopper……….. 29875285895_ef69663322_o We enjoyed both our outside ………..

outside

and inside time………inside

 

September 8, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on A Healthly Reminder

A Healthly Reminder

As we head into a season that seems to see more illness here’s a reminder:

original source:http://w2.cocokids.org/_cs/downloadables/cc-healthnutrition-keepmehome.pdf

August 10, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Zucchini Jam?

Zucchini Jam?

Our zucchini seedlings germinated really well this year and I find it hard to throw seedlings on the compost pile. I gave some away to families to plant and the rest ended up in our garden. With the weather this year the zucchini plants are really producing. We’re baking, dehydrating, freezing and eating both raw and cooked. There is also only so much zucchini you can give away, so…… what else can we do besides the compost pile? Have fun with a zucchini recipe online search 🙂

I found a couple of interesting ideas and settled on Zucchini Jam. After watching YouTube videos and comparing recipes I combined with my other jam recipes and settled on the following:

  • 6 cups shredded zucchini – I left on peel, seeded completely and shredded with multiple grating plates to get a variety of sizes/textures.
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup bottled lemon juice – I always have this on hand vs fresh lemon
  • 1 – 20 oz can crushed pineapple (with natural juice) – do not drain
  • 6 oz regular jello, any flavor works – I tried strawberry first as I know it’s liked by everyone here. Does have food dye for those with allergies.

Placed everything, but jello, in a saucepan that would hold ingredients with an extra 4 inches to cover splatters as it boils. Boil for 20 minutes. Stir almost constantly to prevent sticking and browning. Also cuts down foaming. Zucchini goes transparent, but maintains texture.

While cooking zucchini mixture get canning jars and lids ready. (Loving my electric water bath canner. Heats quicker and maintains temperature really well. Also frees up much needed stove top space.)

After 20 minutes remove zucchini mixture from heat source and add in jello. Stir it in really well and get it into hot jars. (I used a mix of jelly jars that I had on hand.) Process in water bath for 5 minutes.

jam

Always seem to have a bit left over whenever I make jams, relishes, and pickles so we enjoyed this new jam this morning on homemade whole wheat toast. Texture was more like a marmalade and not too sweet. Will definitely make more of this zucchini jam. It was super easy, reasonable cost and pretty healthy for a jam – zucchini and pineapple.

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