Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Do What I Do

Have you ever heard of ‘monkey see, monkey do’? While you may not have monkeys in your house, you might have some children watching and hearing everything you do and say. Children tend to mimic their role models in many different ways so it is essential that we as adults, and role models, display behaviors that we wish to see in our children.

Watch What You Eat

Even the youngest of children know that a cookie tastes better than whatever is for dinner. But as role models, it is vital that we eat healthy alongside our children. It isn’t fair when children are told to eat fruits and veggies and we are snacking on chips and candy.

Plan meals and learn about new foods as a family, but don’t ban the sweets. This only increases the appeal for them for the entire family. Always remember that moderation is key. Make eating healthy fun and the norm in your home.

Stay Physically Active

Children are naturally wiggle worms. Most of the time they can’t sit still for long. It is important to burn off that extra energy in children so they sleep better at night and wake up well-rested.

Do things together to stay physically active. We shouldn’t just sit on the couch, watch television, or get hypnotized by an iPad---nor should our children..Now is a great time to make a New Year’s resolution to be a better play partner for our kids. Play games outside, go to the playground, set up an obstacle course in the house or just jump around like any young child does, but together! Your children will love that you are being silly with them and you will get everyone’s hearts pumping! Listen to a sample of this fun tune from Choosy Kids, Do What I Do, and make up your own moves together to the song. Get creative!

Brush Two Times a Day Together

Brushing teeth is something that is learned, especially from others doing it. Make it a point to brush your teeth together, for two minutes, two times a day. Most children younger than 8 will need help properly brushing their teeth, so make it a fun game so you can reach those molars and tight spaces in small mouths.

Get into a habit with children that after using the bathroom and washing hands, brushing their teeth should be next on their to-do list. Get creative when teaching children about brushing. You can listen to music while you brush to make it more fun. Choosy Kids has plenty of songs about brushing that are two minutes or more in length. There are also fun toothbrushes available that light up, play songs or have a favorite character on them so children like using it.

Model New Skills to Show that Learning is Fun

Children are always up for learning something new. Show children that learning is fun and you can never stop learning new things, even as an adult.

If you want to learn something new together, try learning about a different country or try making a recipe with a food new to your family. You can also explore new places as a family and learn about history while you do so. By doing things together, you can also get into more in-depth conversations since everyone is experiencing it together. You never know what you may learn from a child as well! Everyone thinks differently, but especially children as they have wide open minds.

So, let’s remember that children are always watching and listening. Let’s try to be healthy role models because they love to play “do what I do” all day long.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

100 Seasonal Active Learning Ideas - Winter Edition

By: The Choosy Kids Team

In some parts of the country, cooler weather is on the way. Parents often have to search high and low to find fun indoor activities to keep kids moving and learning. If you live where the sun is still shining down and it is warm, you may be looking for some winter or holiday crafts to do with the kids to ring in the holiday season. Choosy Kids has all of your indoor and outdoor activities covered with our 100 Seasonal Active Learning Ideas - Winter Edition list!

We’d also like you to try to participate too! Think you and your children (nieces/nephews/grandchildren/students/children you watch after/friends, etc.) could complete 10 ideas? 20? 50? All 100? Tell us how many you think you can complete and show us your completions! Share your photos and completions with us on our social media pages (Facebook or Twitter). Remember to tag us (@choosykids) and use the hashtag #100ChoosyIdeas.

  1. Build a snowman
  2. Do snow angels
  3. Throw snowballs
  4. Catch snowflakes in your mouth
  5. Go sled riding
  6. Go skiing
  7. Drink hot cocoa with marshmallows
  8. Walk up and how hills holding hands with a friend
  9. Watch a movie with your family
  10. Play dress up
  11. Make snowflakes out of paper
  12. Find flowers outside
  13. Decorate for your holiday
  14. Make a gingerbread house
  15. Have a dance party with Choosy Kids music
  16. Have a tea party
  17. Won't be getting snow in your area? Make your own!
  18. Go ice skating outside
  19. Go ice skating inside - Just get some wax paper, step on it and skate across any surface!
  20. Create colorful watercolor art piece. Try adding salt on the paper while the watercolors are still wet, or use aluminum foil to create patterns.
  21. Create sculptures with styrofoam and bamboo skewers. Check out this awesome blog for “How To”
  22. Build your own toddler drop box. Create a variety of shapes!
  23. Build a snow castle
  24. Play a game of snowball toss. Set up foam cups and use cotton balls to see how many your child can make within the cups.
  25. Complete some of the free activities on choosykids.com
  26. Play where in the world is Choosy?! Print a picture of Choosy and hid him. Allow your child to see if they can find Choosy.
  27. Have an indoor beach party. Pretend it’s a warm summer's day, and break out the summer  gear.
  28. Participate in RAOK - Random Act of Kindness
  29. Draw in the snow. Use food coloring as paint and make the freshly fallen snow your canvas.
  30. Build a bird feeder and watch the winter birds come for a meal.
  31. Play outdoor hockey.
  32. Create a family movie
  33. Make a winter wreath  
  34. Make a time capsule of your family belongings. Create a box which includes photos, postcards, or anything at all you would like. Hide the box and revisit it next year.
  35. Check if any parades are in town and go enjoy the festivities.
  36. Have breakfast for dinner - make sure to include a plenty of fruits and veggies.
  37. Create a garden sensory bin
  38. If you have a GPS capable phone, why not participate in Geocaching?
  39. Make up your own game. Let your children participate by creating the rules
  40. Try some water experiments (such as ice experiments with salt).
  41. Create a list of the outdoor changes between winter and summer
  42. Bundle up and head to the park for some outdoor fun.
  43. Prepare your garden for winter
  44. Make snow prints in the snow
  45. Create a paper clip chain
  46. With a chalkboard, write your child’s name out with chalk and let them trace over it with water
  47. Create popsicle stick sleds
  48. Create snowflakes from popsicle sticks
  49. Create farm animals from paper plates and cotton balls. For even more fun, can you create a Choosy plate mask?
  50. Build a cardboard playhouse
  51. Use coffee filters to create snowflake. Create a bucket and throw them up in the air for indoor snow effect. For even more fun, have your child match the ones that are similar.
  52. No snow? No problem! Use newspaper to create an indoor snowman!
  53. Create your own holiday and winter decorations.
  54. Make homemade play dough
  55. Build a marble race track.
  56. Read a new book everyday. You can check out Choosy’s Holiday Tale online!
  57. Put strips of tape hanging from the doorway and let your children to throw cotton balls at the tape.
  58. Bowl indoors
  59. Create jewelry from beads
  60. Create an indoor hopscotch board.
  61. Pretend a grocery store trip. Encourage your child to choose the healthy option!
  62. Use cotton swabs and watercolor paints to create the perfect pointillism art piece.
  63. Create a playscape table
  64. Create suncatchers
  65. Decorate aprons for the holidays
  66. Create a band with pots and pans, and be like Choosy’s band!
  67. Play charades
  68. Allow your child to explore their sense. Ask questions like, “ What color is that” , or “ Is that object rough or smooth”
  69. Use boxes as stacking blocks
  70. Create a cardboard wearable car
  71. Play peek a boo. If you need some music to accompany the game, check out Choosy Kids’ CD “Our Special Time”
  72. Create a collage from old magazines
  73. Tape together paper, and trace your child, then let your child trace you.
  74. Sing together
  75. Take a trip to the library!
  76. Blow bubbles inside and see how many you can pop.
  77. Play with magnets on the fridge
  78. If you are beginning to miss the flowers, why not create yarn flowers?
  79. Make simply party hats from paper
  80. Create your own crayons with a variety of shapes and sizes
  81. Talk about safety tips for winter and the importance of staying safe when playing outside during the winter
  82. Create ice balloons

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Three Holiday Lessons for Children

By: Christine Cox, The Choosy Mommy

As we near closer to the holiday season, I feel like I have been teaching my 4 year old a lot of lessons at one time. This year is going to be a special holiday season because she is really starting to enjoy family traditions and is getting in the holiday spirit. In my family, we talk a lot about Santa and his reindeer, the elves at the North Pole and how exciting Christmas morning is going to be when all of the presents magically appear under the tree. But there are also lessons that I am trying to focus on to ensure my daughter values more than just presents during this time of the year and through life. No matter what holiday you celebrate, here are three life lessons that can be nurtured in all children this time of the year.

1. Giving is Better than Receiving

This is a hard lesson to teach children who are really excited to unwrap presents they have received from others. Unfortunately, there are people in our world who have very little so I have made it a goal this holiday season to teach Capri about different family circumstances and to hopefully engage her feelings about giving something of hers to someone else. I have taught this lesson with the help of our Choosy Kids team. Each year, the Choosy Kids team “adopts” a family who is less fortunate and struggling to make ends meet. We provide gifts to the family to help them have a special holiday together. There was a 2 year old little girl in the family this year so I took it upon myself to explain to Capri that this little girl, right now,  doesn’t have as much as Capri has and it is up to us to make sure she has a great holiday. So we went through Capri’s toys and picked out things that she wanted to give to the other little girl. I couldn’t believe the things she wanted to give her. Stuffed animals that she loved, slept with at night, and carried around during the day were toys she wanted to give to this little girl because “she will love them too” as she said. It didn’t stop with this little girl. We have since picked a name off of the giving tree at school and purchased a gift for a child there and have made monetary donations to different organizations that mean something to our family. I always make sure to ask Capri how she feels after we give something and she tells me good and I usually get a big hug. The tears always swell up in my eyes because she is getting it!

2. Say Thank You, Even if it Wasn’t What You Wanted

A prime example of this actually happened pre-Christmas to my daughter. Capri and Cam’s Grandmother gave them a new movie to watch. Actually, Capri and I had already watched this flick in the movie theater and when her Grandmother gave her the movie, instead of just saying thank you, she went on to tell her that she doesn’t even like that movie (but in reality she wasn’t thrilled with the movie theater experience…she’s 4). Regardless, I had to try to teach her that Grandma’s feelings might have been hurt because Capri didn’t graciously say thank you for the gift. Whether the gift is something your child may have asked for or not, we need to nurture and encourage the thank you’s. If your child is still not thrilled with the item, you can revisit my first lesson about giving and maybe find a child who really would like the gift and have your child experience giving in this way..

3. You Don’t Have to Buy Anything

Most children do not have a full understanding of money or buying something until they are in elementary school (trust me because Capri thinks we can buy anything and everything on Amazon). A good lesson to teach children this time of the year is that you don’t have to buy something to be able to give it as a gift. Sometimes homemade items are the best presents, and sometimes just your presence is the greatest gift. I have taught this lesson by asking Capri to make her own Christmas cards to send to people, by having her make cookies for the neighbors, and when she is a little older I plan to teach her about volunteering and helping others, something that doesn’t cost a dime! 

What are some other lessons that you can think of that are good to teach this time of the year?

About the Author: Christine Cox is the blog master for Choosy Kids and owner of The Choosy Mommy. She has always had a passion for writing and is honored to contribute her work to this blog. Most of her writing inspiration comes from her daughter, Capri, who is fun-loving and full of energy, and son Cam, who is learning new things everyday. Click here to learn more about Christine.

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