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.

A Free Copy of our Christmas Book

book

Please take advantage of our Anniversary Celebration; order your free copy of our Christmas book, first published in 2015. We are giving away 1, 000 copies of Can Santa Find Me on Christmas?

The book, which sells for $7.99, is free while the supply lasts. There is a one copy limit per address and $2.99 charge for shipping and handling.

This hard-cover book is about how the “Can Do” Kids deal with every kid’s fear when away from home on Christmas.

What anniversary are we celebrating? We are actually celebrating two anniversaries. The first anniversary, 25 years ago, celebrates when the concept of  creating “Can Do”Street came about. As an educator of young children, I was always looking for ways of helping them to make good choices to be safe, to practice socially acceptable behaviors, and be a friend.

When I attended an Apple seminar on a new computer suitable for school and home use, I thought I had found my medium…interactive, animated programs that could run on school and home computers. The idea was ahead of its time. It would be years before there was a computer in every classroom and in most homes.

The second anniversary, 6 years ago, celebrates the launch of “Can Do” Street offering animated, interactive programs and games that help young children make good choices about subjects such as friendship, sharing, being kind, personal safety, and other life skills.

We hope you will take advantage of our free Christmas book gift! To do so just click on the Store logo in the right column on this page.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Jean

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Holiday Travel with Young Children

travelIt’s that time again…time to travel and visit with family and friends over the school holiday.

It’s time to think of ways to keep the kids comfortable and occupied during long trips. It’s time to prepare for the “just in case situation” which always seem to occur when we travel, such as motion sickness.

How to prepare for long car trips:

  • If you’re going by car, plan a travel route with stops where your children can get out of the car and run around and blow off some steam from being cooped up in the car. Good places are parks and child play areas.
  •  Get to where you are staying overnight early, before the kids get overtired, hungry and cranky.
  • Pack some hand sanitizer as it’s a good alternative for hand washing if soap and water aren’t available at a toilet rest stop.
  • Try to make your meal stops a little before the usual lunch or dinner rush hour – you’ll get better service and it won’t take quite so long.

What to take

Apart from the items you’d normally take on a trip, it can be helpful to take extra things just for car travel. Here are some ideas:

  • Paper towels or wipes can be used in lots of ways.
  • Take empty plastic bags for rubbish, dirty clothes and dirty diapers
  • Take a change of clothes for each child. Depending on the season, you might also want to take hats or something warm to put on.
  • Some families take an old ice cream container for accidents of any kind. It can also work as a potty if your child hasn’t been toilet trained for long and there are no toilets around.
  • If you have a child who wets the bed, take a piece of plastic to protect mattresses.
  • Take a bag of things to do on the trip
  • Take some healthy food, such as fruit, to snack on.
  • Bring water to drink, and try to avoid too many soft drinks. Small plastic water bottles with pop-tops can be very good for young children.

Bus or train travel

  • Traveling on a bus or train can be very exciting for young children. But long trips can pose similar challenges to long car trips, as children can become bored with the scenery and of being stuck in a confined space. So, be sure to bring  food, drink, toys and books as you would for car travel.

Air travel

Things to consider when travel is by plane:

  • If you’re going overseas, check with your doctor in advance so you can all get the vaccinations you need.
  • Dress children lightly for air travel, and check that you can get blankets from the cabin staff if needed. Layers of clothes that you can take on and off are a good idea.
  • Some airlines are better at supporting parents traveling with children. It can be helpful to ask other parents about which airlines they preferred to fly with.
  • If you’re able to organize the timing so your trip back home happens during night time, you’re more likely not to disturb your children’s sleep pattern.
  •  If you have a toddler, it can be handy to take a fold-up stroller for him to sit in at airports.

Seating
If you’re traveling with a baby you can ask to have a bulkhead seat, which gives you more leg room and a place for a bassinet. There may already be a bassinet in the bulkhead, but check with the airline when booking – you might have to bring your own, and a size and weight limit applies. Bassinets also offer a place for your baby to sit while you have your meal, or when you just want a break from holding  him or her.

Airline staff
When the airline staff ask at the start of your flight if you’ll need any help, tell them you’ll need a hand to heat bottles and/or solids, and that you might need help at meal times so you can eat.

Toys
Pack a comfort or cuddle toy your child likes for the plane trip. Small toys – such as little dolls, cars, trucks and trains – are good for playing on the tray top.

Some children are more prone to travel sickness than others.

What to do to avoid travel sickness

  • Before leaving, don’t eat fatty foods, but do eat something – it seems worse on an empty stomach.
  • Encourage those with travel sickness to look outside the vehicle, not inside. They shouldn’t look at moving things, like other cars – instead, they should try to look at something that’s still, such as the same spot on the horizon.
  • Make sure there’s a breeze and fresh air – it’s a good idea to have the window open a little bit.
  • Don’t read in a moving vehicle.
  • Some people find that keeping their head as still as possible can help.
  • Try to distract travel sick children by getting them to think about other things.
  • If your child goes pale, gets very quiet or complains of feeling sick, stop and let her have a walk in the fresh air.
  • Speak to your doctor about medicines for travel sickness
  • If your children are often sick, take a container, wipes, a towel and a change of clothes in case of accidents.

Source: Child and Youth Health

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The Holiday Buffet

holiday Holiday buffets are a popular way to entertain, but these kinds of food service, where foods are left out for long periods of time, can be a health hazard.

Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline to help you have a safe holiday party.

Safe Food Handling
Always serve food on clean plates — not those previously holding raw meat and poultry. Otherwise, bacteria which may have been present in raw meat juices can cross contaminate the food to be served.

Cook Thoroughly
If you are cooking holiday foods ahead of time for your party, be sure to cook foods thoroughly to safe minimum internal temperatures.

  • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
  • Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Use Shallow Containers to Store Holiday Foods
Divide holiday cooked foods into shallow containers to store in the refrigerator or freezer until serving. This encourages rapid, even cooling. Reheat hot foods to 165 °F. Arrange and serve food on several small platters rather than on one large platter. Keep the rest of the food hot in the oven (set at 200-250 °F) or cold in the refrigerator until serving time. This way foods will be held at a safe temperature for a longer period of time. REPLACE empty platters rather than adding fresh food to a dish that already had food in it. Many people’s hands may have been taking food from the dish, which has also been sitting out at room temperature.

The Two-Hour Rule for Holiday Buffets
Holiday foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything there two hours or more.

Keep Hot Foods HOT And Cold Foods COLD
Hot foods should be held at 140 °F or warmer. On the buffet table you can keep hot foods hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Cold foods should be held at 40 °F or colder. Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice. Otherwise, use small serving trays and replace them.

Foodborne Bacteria
Bacteria are everywhere but a few types especially like to crash parties. Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens and Listeria monocytogenes frequent people’s hands and steam tables. And unlike microorganisms that cause food to spoil, harmful or pathogenic bacteria cannot be smelled or tasted. Prevention is safe food handling.

If illness occurs, however, contact a health professional and describe the symptoms.

Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus (“staph”) bacteria are found on our skin, in infected cuts and pimples, and in our noses and throats. They are spread by improper food handling. Prevention includes washing hands and utensils before preparing and handling foods and not letting prepared foods — particularly cooked and cured meats and cheese and meat salads — sit at room temperature more than two hours. Thorough cooking destroys “staph” bacteria but staphylococcal enterotoxin is resistant to heat, refrigeration and freezing.

Clostridium perfringens
Perfringens” is called the “cafeteria germ” because it may be found in foods served in quantity and left for long periods of time on inadequately maintained steam tables or at room temperature. Prevention is to divide large portions of cooked foods such as beef, turkey, gravy, dressing, stews and casseroles into smaller portions for serving and cooling. Keep cooked foods hot or cold, not lukewarm.

Listeria monocytogenes
Because Listeria bacteria multiply, although slowly, at refrigeration temperatures, these bacteria can be found in cold foods typically served on buffets. To avoid serving foods containing Listeria, follow “keep refrigerated” label directions and carefully observe “sell by” and “use by” dates on processed products, and thoroughly reheat frozen or refrigerated processed meat and poultry products before consumption.

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Scooter Safety

scooter

Scooters have stood the test of time, with each generation enjoying scooters in one form or another. A scooter can be great fun…a speedy way to get around. Today, there are even scooters for toddlers!

Kids need to practice scooter safety; accidents are on the rise. Over one third of all scooter accidents occur in children under eight years of age.

With the promise of fun comes the reminder that scooter safety is a very important consideration.

 Scooter safety for young children is best summed up as follows:

  • A helmet, knee pads and elbow pads must be worn whenever a child rides a scooter. No matter if it is summer and hot or they are just going a short distance
  • Children under eight must be supervised when riding a scooter.
  • Scooters need to be ridden on smooth, paved surfaces schoolyards, parks and sidewalks
  • Riders must remember that the street is not a safe place to ride.
  • If they ride on sidewalks, people walking on the sidewalk have the right of way.

To insure scooter safety, children need to learn how to scoot from an adult, just as they do for bike riding and skateboarding.

 

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Making Braid Fabric Wreaths…Fun for Ma n’ Me

wreaths

For as long as I can remember I have been making and gifting braided fabric wreaths. When my child was in the early years in grade school, he would enjoy helping stuff the fabric tubes and braiding the tubes for the wreaths. Most of all, he enjoyed talking about the role he played in its creation!

For friends who celebrated Christmas there were wreaths made of Christmas scene patterns braided with a solid red or green. Friends who didn’t celebrate Christmas were happy to receive wreaths that were suitable for hanging year round.

You will need to sew up the fabric tubes and the bows for the wreaths on a sewing machine, but children can help with the other parts of the wreath making.

Materials for One Wreath:

3 strips of Fabric (assorted/solid colors) cut 72 inches long by 10 inches wide

1 strip of a solid color/print for the bow cut 60 inches long by 10 inches wide

1 circular wire ring 12 inches in diameter (a large clothing hanger will do – bend to shape* )

Thread to match the color of the fabric

Sewing needles for hand sewing

Use of a sewing machine to make the strips into tubes for stuffing

2 bag of 100% Poly-fil for stuffing -20 ounces

1 long stick about 1 and ½ inches wide to use for pushing the fiber-fil into the tubing

Cutting Directions:

Cut 3 strips of fabric 72“long by 10” wide

Cut one strip of cloth for the bow – 60” long by 10“wide

Sewing Directions:

Wreath

  • Turn 3 strips (tubes) to be used for the wreath to the wrong side, pin or baste stitch one ½ inch from the edge. Leave openings every 12 inches to make stuffing easier. Machine stitch to openings (every 12 inches, leaving 4 inches open for stuffing, machine stitch for 12 inches, leave 4’ open…repeat until finished.
  • Turn tubes right side out, begin stuffing, use stick to help position stuffing in the tube, stuff each open section then hand stitch closed until you finish each tube.
  • Secure 3 tubes with a pin or stitch together at one end. Begin to braid until the 3 tubes have only 4 inches to the end ( use this to join with that part of the wreath that is held together with a pin or stitching)
  • Shape into a circle, join beginning and end of wreath together, hand sew.
  • Mount on wire ring by sewing wreath tubes to the wire at a few inch intervals

Bow

  • Turn bow fabric wrong side out, baste ½ inch from the edge, machine stitch the long side and one short side, turn inside out, press, hand stitch or machine stitch the open end closed.
  • Tie bow around the wreath at the point where you joined the top and bottom of the wreath , be sure to include the wire

Note: You can purchase wire rings for your wreaths at a hardware store or online.*

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Store News: The “Can Do” Character Towel is perfect for bath time and beach time! Just click on the store logo and check it out. There’s free shipping on all items!

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