Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Post Survey

1) As a result of this blog I am aware of the increase of media presence in children’s lives. I understand ways to limit television viewing and how to make it educational for children.
Do you strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree

2) As a result of this blog I am knowledgeable about the negative effects television viewing can have. 
Do you strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree

3) As a result of this blog I am more aware of different activities that I can do with children that do not involve television.
 Do you strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree

4) The information gained from this blog was relevant to me
Do you strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, or strongly agree

5) Overall how satisfied were you with the blog? 
Not at all, somewhat, satisfied, or very satisfied

6) On a scale of 1 to 10 how effective was this blog in changing your views of television viewing practices? Please explain your answer.

7) Please rate the following aspects of the blog. Do you strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, or strongly agree that:
         a) Post length was appropriate
         b) Pace of posts were appropriate
         b) Topics covered were simple and understandable
         c) The navigation of the blog was easy (reading and posting comments)

8) What was your favorite part?

9) What was your least favorite part?

10) Any other feedback or comments from the blog experience:

Monday, March 26, 2012


Create a Rainbow of Healthy Food 

Activity 1) 
Getting your child to eat her fair share of healthy fruits and vegetables can sometimes be difficult. Here's a project to inspire your child to start eating super healthy: make a Healthy Foods Rainbow! In this activity, your child will color a rainbow, glue on fruits and vegetables, and keep track of which healthy super-foods she eats throughout the week in a colorful way.
Not only will your child's fine motor skills and and bar graph skills improve, but she'll also get to create a wonderful picture that'll help her keep healthy eating habits for years to come.

Create a Rainbow of Healthy Foods

What You Need:

·         Grocery ads
·         Scissors
·         Glue stick
·         Crayons
·         2 cotton balls
·         Rainbow Template
·         Healthy Foods Graph Template



What You Do:

1.       Discuss what colors make up a rainbow. Tell her the order of the rainbow’s colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). Color the rainbow.
2.       Have her cut fruits and vegetables from the grocery ads. You might want to have her trim them smaller so they fit onto the rainbow. Try to find a healthy fruit or vegetable for each color of the rainbow.
3.       Let her name the fruits and veggies, and glue them onto the correct color of the rainbow. For example, strawberries and red bell peppers would be glued onto the red section of the rainbow, while oranges and butternut squash would be glued onto the orange part.
4.       Make puffy clouds to complete the picture by stretching each cotton ball and gluing it into place on the rainbow drawing.
5.       Now hang the rainbow on your refrigerator to remind your child (and family!) to eat all the colors of fruits and vegetables.
6.       Use the graph to show the different colors of fruits and vegetables that your child eats during the week. Beginning at the bottom of the bar graph, color a box for each color of fruit or vegetable eaten. For example, if you eat a carrot stick, color an orange box.
Can your preschooler eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables this week? Try it and see!

Play Twist  
Activity 2) 
Practicing shapes is important for preschoolers, but most preschoolers would rather play outside. With the game, you get the best of both worlds: shape practice masquerading as a fun sidewalk game. Draw shapes on the ground, and let your preschooler walk, hop, and skip her way to learning all about rectangles, triangles, and circles. All you need is some sidewalk chalk and a bit of concrete to get started.
Twist N Turn
What You Need:
·         Sidewalk chalk
·         Flat, paved area such as a driveway
·         Pen or pencil
·         Slips of paper
·         Small paper lunch bag

What You Do:

1.       Choose 5 shapes you want your preschooler to become more familiar with, such as triangles, circles, rectangles, squares, diamonds, ovals, stars, pentagons, or cubes.
2.       Write 10 simple instructions, each one on a small slip of paper. Try to incorporate color, shape, and direction. Here are a few ideas:
·         Put your left foot on the pink triangle
·         Hop to the yellow pentagon
·         Walk backward to the blue square
·         Put your right hand on the purple circle
·         Hop on your left foot to the green diamond
3.       Place the slips in the small paper lunch bag.
4.       On the pavement outside, ask your child to draw the 5 shapes with sidewalk chalk in the corresponding colors you used to create the instructions. Remember, the shapes need to be large, so you’ll want to guide your child’s chalk work.
5.       Ask your child to pull a slip of paper from the bag, and get twisting and turning, or hopping and running! Encourage your preschooler to help “read” the instructions.
6.       Take this activity to another level by letting your child make up movements for you to carry out. No written directions needed, just let your child be “boss” and get creative!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More fun, safe, and affordable activities


activities for toddlers

1) Play With Bubbles

Go outside with your little one. Encourage your child to crawl or toddle after the blowing bubbles and reach for them on their own. Bubble games boost eye-hand coordination and gross motor skills, as well as language development ("Wow, that big one is really high up!")

2) Closet Musician

Fill a storage space or cabinet (preferably near the floor) with a variety of "instruments," including pots, metal bowls, wooden spoons, metal lids or other toy musical instruments. Then encourage your child to help herself to what's inside and give impromptu concerts. Clap your hands and dance along as you encourage her to experiment with playing louder and softer or faster and slower. Add actual music to the mix so she can play along. Making music improves coordination, listening skills, and an understanding of rhythm. It also encourages an active curiosity (what else can I bang on?) and sociability as she entertains her audience.

3) Stacking Game

Gather big, lightweight, homemade blocks constructed from paper bags and milk cartons. Start by filling brown grocery bags with crumpled newspaper, then use masking tape to seal the open ends shut. To add some smaller blocks into the mix, collect a few empty milk or orange-juice cartons, open the tops, and cut the corner creases to create flaps. Then tape the flaps down to form a box. Then ask your little one to help you decorate your blocks with markers, stickers, construction or wrapping paper, or crayons. Building and stacking boost both fine and gross motor skills as well as eye-hand coordination. Plus, these activities help a toddler learn about spatial relationships and shapes

4) Building Blocks
 Encourage your child to stack his blocks as high as he can, or place them end to end to form a wall — or even a fort. Show him how to place smaller blocks atop bigger ones, and let him experiment with reversing that order. This activity provides lessons in cause and effect, as well as size and shape discrimination. It also boosts spatial awareness, problem solving, and fine motor skills.
5) Beach Balls     
 Inflate a not-too-big beach ball and begin by sitting on the floor and gently rolling it back and forth between you and your little one. Show your child how to spread his legs so the ball will roll into his legs, and keep the ball slightly underinflated to make it easier for him to "catch." This helps builds eye-hand coordination, gross motor skills, and social skills as your child learns to play with another person in a noncompetitive way. 
toddlers with beach ball 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fun, Safe, and Affordable Activities


  • Make Funny Faces

Try a smile, a big open mouth, raised eyebrows, or a stuck- out-tongue. Also try talking to your little one. Why is this good? It helps stimulate your baby’s social, visual, and emotional development.  
  • Tickling. 
Why is this good? Tickle time promotes body awareness and social development as well as tactile stimulation. It also gives you a chance to respond to your baby’s cues and body language

  • Help Your Baby Explore
Carry your baby in your arms or put him in his stroller and hit the road. First stop: Your yard or a walk around the neighborhood where there's no end to things he can discover: a blade of grass, the bark of a tree, a warm stone, a wet leaf.  Pick things up so he can get a closer look. Brush a leaf against his cheek (it tickles!), hold a flower to his nose (it smells!). Then go home and have him turn the light switch on and off, or feel the water in the faucet. Why is this good?  New sights and sounds stimulate a baby in just about every way. Touring his world helps him learn to be actively curious, builds vocabulary, and promotes visual and sensory development. 

  • Play “Peekaboo” or “This Little Piggy” 
These games not only strengthen that special bond you share with your little one, they stimulate a baby's senses, gross motor skills, visual tracking, social development, and her sense of humor!,

  • Obstacle Course
Put up an obstacle course of pillows, stuffed animals, and books in the room, then hold babies hands and  crawl along side her as you guide her around the objects. This activity boosts gross motor skills, coordination, balance, and lower-body strength. Plus, mastering the challenge of stepping over and around objects is great for her walking skills and her self-esteem ("Good job, Taylor!").

  • Pouring Game 
To foster that love of the game, offer your little one some plastic bowls, cups, and buckets in a variety of sizes, an assortment of shovels and spoons, and pourable items such as sand, rice, cornmeal, or water to play with. Make sure you've got the time and space to make a mess as a baby's finesse with this task goes only so far. Perhaps you can spread a plastic tablecloth on the kitchen floor first, or better yet, head outside if the weather's nice. To get your baby started, show her how it's done by pouring water from one container to another or scooping up sand with the shovel. Then she'll be ready to roll (and tilt and dump and scoop!) on her own. This sensory-stimulating task also boosts fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Plus, it builds vocabulary as you narrate the action.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ways to Make Television Viewing Educational

Around 30 months is when children are old enough to learn from what’s on the screen. They learn best from TV when it’s designed by experts to meet their developmental needs. The following are ways to make TV viewing educational:
·         Preview programs before your child watches them.
·         Check the TV listings and program reviews ahead of time for programs your family can watch together. Choose shows that foster interest and learning in hobbies and education (reading, science, etc.)
·         When picking shows, ask yourself, “Is this developmentally appropriate for her?” Sesame Street, for example is designed for 3-5 year olds, but most of the children watching it are only 16-18 months old. Shows that move from one scene to another quickly aren’t great because they can be disorienting.
·         Participate with children. Parents should watch television with their children. Ask and answer questions about what you see (shapes, colors, numbers, letters, emotions, etc.) Parents can discuss program content with their children and can clarify actions and behaviors. You can also help them learn how to process the messages- including the commercials
·         For preschoolers examples of well-designed shows include Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, or Dora the Explorer

For more information on making smart media choices, visit


Monday, March 12, 2012

Ways to Limit Television

Here are some suggestions of ways to limit your children's television:

  • Turn off the TV during meals
  • Set a good example-limit your own screen time
  • Keep TV's out of kids' bedrooms
  • Try a weekday ban. Record shows or save TV and videos for weekends so you'll have more family time for meals, games, physical activity, reading, and just plain quality time with your kids
  • Stock the room in which you have the TV with plenty of other non-screen entertainment such as books, kids' magazines, toys, puzzles, board games, etc.
  • Don't allow kids to watch TV while doing homework
  • Treat TV as a privilege to be earned- not a right. Establish and enforce family TV viewing rules, such as TV is only allowed after chores and homework is completed
  • Come up with a family TV schedule that you all agree upon each week. Then post the schedule in a visible area ( on the refrigerator) so that everyone knows which programs are OK to watch and when. Make sure to turn off the TV when the scheduled program is over instead of channel surfing

What about all of you? What do you do in your homes to limit the amount of television?

Thursday, March 8, 2012


            Dr. Nancy Maynard, a Pediatrician at the Great Falls Clinic in Great Falls, Montana uses an analogy of children watching television right before going to sleep. She states, "I think of it as going to the state fair. You are on the midway, with all the lights and the noise. Walking away from that, I don't know how many people are relaxed."

            According to the American Academy of Pediatrics 19% of parents of children younger than 1 year said their children have television in their bedrooms. Twenty-nine percent of children two to three years of age have a television in their bedroom, and thirty percent of parents have reported that watching television program enabled their children to fall asleep. Though some parents perceive a televised program to be a calming sleep aid, some programs actually increase bedtime resistance, delay the onset of sleep, cause anxiety about falling asleep, and shorten sleep duration. With children younger than three years, television viewing is related with irregular sleep schedules. Poor sleep habits can have negative effects on mood, behavior, and learning.
             Television viewing, among school-aged children and adolescents, has been shown to be associated with poor sleep habits and disturbed sleep. Cross-sectional studies found that television/videotape viewing was associated with late bedtimes and sleep disturbances among school-aged children and adolescents. One longitudinal study demonstrated that high levels of television viewing during adolescence might lead to the development of sleep problems in early adulthood.
            The American Academy of Pediatrics found that television viewing among infants and toddlers was associated with an increased risk of having an irregular sleep schedule. This was independent of many other factors that could affect a child’s sleep schedule, such as household and demographic factors, maternal health, and family interactions, as well as parental ability to maintain regular mealtimes.

          These findings are potentially important, because a routinized sleep schedule is a critical component of guaranteeing good sleep. Irregular sleep schedules can lead to inadequate sleep time and sleep problems. Studies among adults have shown that changes in sleep schedules can affect the sleep/wake cycle and lead to inadequate sleep. Irregular sleep schedules can also be a sign of a sleep problem.
       Furthermore, inadequate sleep among adults has been linked to impaired immune function, inability to concentrate, memory deficits, and emotional instability. Inadequate sleep and sleep problems among children can have effects on both the child and the parent. Consequences for the child may include problems of mood, behavior, and learning, and poor health outcomes. It is also easy to imagine that a child’s sleep problem could lead to inadequate sleep for the parent, thus putting the parent at risk for, at a minimum, mood imbalances and poor parenting. Adequate, high-quality sleep, promoted by routine sleep schedules, is important to the overall well-being of children and parents.