This blog is a place where parents and teachers of children 3-7 years of age can find information about topics specific to children in this age group, share ideas and access free resources for home and the classroom.

Keep Your Children Reading Over the Summer

readingWhat can you do to keep your children reading during summer vacation?

There are so many things to do during the summer other than reading. Yet, every child needs to keep up their reading skills. Family members can motivate children to read by using strategies that integrate reading into summer activities and events. Here are a few:

  • Before going to the beach, a park, visiting a historical site, a sporting event, or other activity make reading about the upcoming activity part of the planning, and then talk about the book and the activity over a snack, afterwards.
  • Check you library’s summer reading programs. Make attending these programs a summer activity, as well as stocking up on books to borrow.
  • Let your children see you reading regularly. Grab a magazine when you are in a waiting room. Bring a book to the beach.  Have a book on your night stand.
  • Talk to them about what you have learned and continue to learn from books.
  • Build reading time into your child’s  day, not as something to do when day is done and kids are too tired to do anything but zone out in front of the TV.
  • Much reading during the school year is required reading; make summer a time for fun reading on subjects of interest to your children

  • Give your children the opportunity to read a variety of materials, not just storybooks,  such as magazines, newsletters, and papers geared to their age and interests.
  • Road trips area great time for children to get in some reading
  • Encourage your children to join or start a  friends book club that can meet every two weeks to discuss a book they all read.

Reading during the summer will give your children a jump start when returning to school, not only with reading but with vocabulary and grammar!

 

 

 

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Memorial Day: explaining it to Children

 It isn’t easy to explain Memorial Day to children. But, if you are asked, here is a history you might want to share.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country.

Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966; however,  it’s difficult to prove the origins of the day. Probably it had many separate beginnings; with towns and gatherings of people honoring their war dead.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868. General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed the day. It was first observed on 30 May 1868. On that day, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I. At that time, the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War. It became the day to honor Americans who died fighting in any war. It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May. It passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) ensuring a three day weekend for a Federal holiday. However, several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead. It is celebrated on January 19 in Texas; April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. And, May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day.

What may be needed to return the spirit of Memorial Day is a return to a traditional day of observance. Many Americans feel that making the day into a three-day holiday weekend  made it easier for people to forget the solemnity of the day.

 American Flag flying on Memorial Day

Source: usmemorialday.org

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Mother’s Day and Food Safety

Here comes Mother’s Day; a day for hosting a gathering for our mothers. For many of us, it is a time to serve convenience food, so we have more time to enjoy our company.

The Partnership for Food Safety Education wants you to know that to prevent food-related illness due to under-cooking frozen or other convenience foods follow these four simple tips:

1. Read and follow package cooking instructions.

2. Know when to use a microwave or conventional oven.

3. Know your microwave wattage before microwaving food.

4. Always use a food thermometer to ensure a safe internal temperature.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service wants you to know the following about keeping party foods safe:

  • Make sure all food is cooked thoroughly before serving.
  • Store prepared foods in shallow pans so they cool quickly and evenly. Reheat and serve small amounts on platters while the remaining food stays hot in the oven.
  • Don’t let food stay at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Use chafing dishes, warming trays or slow cookers to keep foods hot.
  • Surround dishes of cold foods with ice.

Both government agencies are quick to remind us that taking precautions when preparing and serving food can spare us the misery of a food-induced illness.

All of us at “Can Do” Street know how important mothers and grandmothers are to children young and old. So…from all of us to all of you…

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Home school Preschool Rocks!

With a growing number of parents choosing to home school their child(ren), I thought  a reprint of the following post, Home school Preschool Rocks! by MommieKate on October 25, 2010 might be helpful for some of our readers who are considering homeschooling as an option.

Six weeks ago I officially joined the many who have decided (at least for now) to educate my son at home. Let me just say: IT IS AWESOME!  I admit, I didn’t feel that way at first.  I was excited and then (while doing endless internet research) it hit me.  Hit me hard.  I mean, this is one of the biggest decisions that will affect my little boy FOR LIFE.  I started to panic. Have you seen the ka-zillion choices out there? There are so many different education styles and ten times that in curriculum choices. I became overwhelmed.  Nauseated even. And then…

I found some lovely blogs that helped bring me back to “OK, I can do this” state.  More on them later (plus links). While I am in no way an expert, I did figure out a few things over the summer.  Here is a summary of my Crash Course for Home School Newbies:

  • Start with the legalities. Find out what the laws are in your state.  This will help guide you through your curriculum choices. You may not even want or need a curriculum. My state is one that has few requirements and gives parents great freedom.
  • Consider your own skills and limitations as well as your family’s. Do you follow a tight schedule, a flexible routine, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?  Are you creative?  Do you need the guidance of a curriculum? How much guidance?  What is your budget? I chose mine based on flexibility and budget.
  • What support will you have? Is your spouse on board?  Will he be able to help – to what degree?  Is there a homeschooling group in your area? I joined a local Christian HS group to get ideas & guidance from veteran parents and for the field trip opportunities.
  • Have a firm idea of why you want to pursue this. You will want it in neon flashing lights.  I’m not kidding- it starts with the curriculum choices, the HOURS of prep work, and ends with a lot of negative questions and comments from others. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, but it is HARD WORK.
  • Relax and keep it all in perspective. Nothing is set it stone. You will explore and change styles, methods, and curriculum many times as you grow and your school days go by.  You’ll learn as you go. You may even change your mind all together about home education. Homeschooling is ALL ABOUT FLEXIBILITY and doing what is best for each stage of your family’s life. What I’ve learned so far is Home school Preschool Rocks!
Don’t stress.  Trust God to guide you.  Trust yourself.  Have fun.

I want to give blog hugs to Sue, thehomeschoolchick and to Erica at confessionsofahomeschooler. These ladies gave me confidence, a place to start, and shared a sense of humor in the process. They have great links to other helpful sites. If you are homeschooling you probably already know them.  If you are still in the consideration stage, go check out their sites- you’ll be glad you did. Also, to find out your state’s laws visit http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp.  HAPPY HOMESCHOOLING!

 

 


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Rainy Day Exercises for Young Children

Coach Campbell writes about the need for rainy day exercises for young children.Hi, I’m Coach (Ned) Campbell and I don’t just play a coach on “Can Do “Street; I am a coach.  Coach Campbell suggests rainy day exercises for young children

I am a USA Wrestling nationally certified wrestling coach and was named the 2009 Beat the Streets Wrestling High School Coach of the Year.  I also serve as the President of the New York City Public School Wrestling Coaches Association. I graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in American studies and later earned my graduate degree in American history from Brooklyn College.  I teach history at a large public high school in Brooklyn, New York where in addition to coaching the wrestling team I was the Assistant Head Coach of varsity football.

Now as I spend my days with hundreds of young teenagers, I can tell you from personal experience that many incoming freshmen are not physically fit and healthy.  Many come to me having never done anything athletic before in their lives.  So, I cannot stress enough the importance of early childhood exercise and development of good, healthy lifestyle choices at a young age.

One common obstacle to daily exercise is the weather.  When confined to the indoors I suggest “Rainy Day Exercises” as an alternative to just sitting around.  It also helps to have a workout partner which can be a sibling, a friend over on a play-date or even you. Once you get started a daily exercise routine can quickly become a good habit anyone can be proud of!

Rainy Day Exercises

Any number of stretches for flexibility and as a warm-up:

  1. Feet apart, slow stretch and touch the floor with your fingertips…hold it for 10 seconds and no bouncing
  2. Deep knee bend and elbows on inside of knees and hands on feet…slow push out of the elbows to stretch the groin muscles. Again, slow and no bouncing /herky jerky movements.
  3. Trunk twisters with hands on hips.
  4. Circle the arms forwards and backwards, small and big circles.

Exercises:

  1. Leg raises – lie flat on your back, keep legs straight and raise them 6-8 inches off the floor…hold for 10 seconds.
  2. Flutter kicks – lie flat on your back, but straight legs are going up and down like you are doing a backstroke in the pool.
  3. Sit-ups
  4. Push-ups – back straight and on your knees to start until you build up strength. Keep a straight back with no bowing, sagging, etc.
  5. Various exercises with dumbbell weights…and since this is for home use the dumbbells can be homemade from things that might be thrown away…SUCH AS…empty plastic jugs that used to contain iced tea, milk, juices, etc.  Take two identical plastic jugs and fill them equally with water. Seal them tight and they are perfect for weights for bicep curls, overhead presses and shrugs.

Questions?  E-mail me at coachcampbell@candostreet.com

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