Toy Turnover!

TOY TURNOVER! | As parents, we are overwhelmed by toy advertisements. While toys are fun, development through play happens whether you are introducing the latest trendy toy or an everyday object you repurpose.
One of Claire’s (8 months) favorite “toys” is an old colander that she has turned into a drum and
sometimes a hat!

With a toddler and an infant, our house can feel like it’s drowning in toys. Not only is this overwhelming
to us as parents, it’s overstimulating for our kids too. We started rotating toys about a year ago and it
has been a game changer! We have four bins of toys (including household items that have turned into
toys) that we rotate every two weeks or so.

Our 2-year-old loves “toy rotation days” and while Claire doesn’t quite understand yet, she does show excitement when different toys are put out. Exploring through play doesn’t have to mean buying the latest and greatest. Recycling and repurposing things you already have can seem just as novel as opening brand-new toys! To get more ideas for how to do Explore Through Movement and Play, click here.

Learning with Colors and Shapes

LEARNING WITH COLORS AND SHAPES | This month as we focused on the basic, Count, Group and Compare, we focused on colors, shapes and sorting. Titus enjoys playing with his blocks so we sort them by color and let him match the holes they should go into. We give him time to figure it out himself before we assist. We give him some time for trial and error, but once he figures it out we celebrate with a round of applause! We also call out the different colors and shapes of his blocks.

Titus is a great helper!  When cooking, he helps to separate things and measure out ingredients – although his favorite activity in the kitchen is going through the cabinets and pulling out pots and pans!

When we are walking up & down the stairs, we count each step! We’ve created a playlist full of songs for Titus that he can dance to and learn from. One of our favorites is Gracie’s Corner the Color Song. We go through our home and find the colors that we hear in the song. Here is a link so you can enjoy it too!

By Candace Martin

Create a Calming Space

CREATE A CALMING SPACE | Most of the time when a child feels stressed, a parent also feels stressed and can result in ways that may not be as positive. However, there are ways to address BIG feelings in a calming and loving way that will help manage stress for both child and parent. Young children are learning how to control their feelings,
and this can be a learning process and an adjustment for parents. It is important though to see social
and emotional development as a critical foundation in the early years for future academic success. Long before entering kindergarten, children should begin identifying their emotions, gaining helpful tools to support emotion management, and self-regulation skills.

My son who is three-and-a-half is learning how to manage his BIG feelings. When he gets angry, sad,
frustrated, or anxious, it has been helpful to create a calming space for him to go to and show him what
he can do in this space. Not only does my son see that he can use this space, but he also sees me as his
mom use this space. So how is a calming space created? It is simple! Choose a location in your home
that can be a calming space made with pillows, blankets, a tent, etc. You may add soft textures with
stuffed animals, emotion books, journals, and squishy objects. This space is used best with the loving
guidance of a parent or caregiver who can talk with the child as they experience these BIG feelings.

Recently, when my son felt frustrated and began to have a meltdown, he came over to the cozy calming
corner and laid down his head. I gave him a back massage and encouraged him to take deep breaths,
relax, and know that it is okay. I reassured him that his feelings were valid for feeling frustrated and that
he can keep trying until he gets it or tries something else. I wanted him to know that he can be
persistent, and it is okay to also take a break before trying again. The next time that there are BIG
feelings from your little one, consider how you might create a calming space to Maximize Love and
Manage Stress.

By Airreia Pierce, Author, Educator and Mom

Goodnight Room

GOODNIGHT ROOM | At 7 months, Claire is fascinated by the world around her. Things that may seem mundane to us are brand new and exciting to her. We can easily entertain her by walking around the house and pointing at art, plants, books, or even the coffee maker! We name objects as we point to them, and she has started to point with us. Claire gets extra excited when we point to photos of people or animals that she knows!

With the 8-month sleep regression around the corner, we are doing everything we can to establish a consistent bedtime routine. One part of our routine is pointing and naming some of the items on her shelves above her rocking chair after reading. She loves doing this every night! We did this with her big sister, Eleanor, when she was an infant too, and now Eleanor likes to say “goodnight” to the items in her room. We found it helped Eleanor’s vocabulary and Claire seems to enjoy it too! Talking, pointing, and singing are easy ways to connect with your child throughout the day. Learn more ways to integrate the Basic, Talk, Sing and Point into your caregiving routine!

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Summer Play!

SUMMER PLAY! | The playground provides us many opportunities for the basic, Explore Through Movement and Play. Titus loves to play on the swings, slide and run through the splash pad. He enjoys exploring the various activities and we follow him around while he leads us.

Some days we take walks after school – Titus plays in the grass, looks at birds, flowers and trees and he can run off some energy! We also give Titus time to create art and play with crayons; he’s an artist in the making!

At 19 months, he is very interested in learning how things work, how to open things and building blocks. At home, as we use the stairs we use words such as up and down and count as we climb. Titus loves throwing his ball and chasing bubbles while we play outside. He helps out around the house by pushing the garage button, and turning the water and lights on & off. By encouraging him to explore his environment and move, we are helping his cognitive abilities to grow at a faster rate, which we know will pay off when it’s time for kindergarten!

By Candace Martin

Basics Guilford PlayDaze – September 9

The Basics Guilford PlayDaze with Greensboro Parks and Recreation is a morning of outdoor play and exploration at Keeley Park in Greensboro, NC. PlayDaze celebrates the value of play and is designed to provide diverse play activities for preschoolers and families of all ages. Activities include:
– Outdoor play and games
– Fun activities and community resources
– Museum exploration
– Opportunities to read
– Food Trucks and more!

  • Saturday, September 9
  • 10 am – 1 pm
  • Keeley Park
  • 4100 Keeley Rd
  • McLeansville, NC 27301

Email us with questions


One, Two, Three – Count With Me!

ONE, TWO, THREE – COUNT WITH ME! | Playing simple board games and interactive games can help integrate basic math skills, teach taking turns, and strengthen the bond with your child. My three-year-old recently began playing a new game with me which has now become his favorite. The game is called “Beware of the Bear.” The
concept of the game is to see how many items you can collect from the picnic basket without waking the
bear! The person who has the most items wins!

Once the bear wakes up, I ask my son to count his items. He touches them as he counts and then shows me with his fingers how many it represents. Then if he sees that he has more than me, he excitedly says, “I won mommy!”

In addition to counting, since the items are different colors and objects, we can also group them by color and kind. This simple visual discrimination skill is helpful for children to understand what items belong and their characteristics that make the items unique. Learning should be fun for children. I am amazed at how he is learning to count on his own as we continue to play the game. Children who learn the concept of numbers and use one-
to-one correspondence are preparing for kindergarten long before entering.

Even if it is not a board game, simple counting skills can easily be embedded throughout daily routines. This includes counting the steps it takes to walk to the car, counting out snack items before eating them, and counting out favorite toys at home. The ways are endless to involve children with the ability to Count, Group, and Compare in the comfort of their home!

Ultimate Baby/Toddler Summer Reading Guide

Going into a new season is always a fun time to discover new books and Read and Discuss Stories. Because reading to babies and toddlers is an integral part of preparing them to learn to read themselves, here are a few books to explore to jumpstart your summer. Guilford County libraries also offer wonderful summer reading programs for children of all ages to keep older children learning and reading, and to feed the curious minds of babies and toddlers, so take a look at the links below to get involved!

Summer Books for Toddlers & Preschoolers

How to Talk Like a Bear by Charlie Grandy

The Octopus Escapes by Maile Maloy

There’s a Beach in My Bedroom by Kevin Jonas and Danielle Jonas

Hot Dog by Doug Salati

Counting to Bananas by Carrie Tillotson

Hattie Harmony Worry Detective by Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie Arnett


Summer Books for Babies

The Smell of a Rainbow by Dawn Goldworm

Spot Goes to the Beach by Eric Hill

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Duck Duck Goose by Tad Hills

Hello Zoo by Nicola Slater


Guilford County Summer Reading Programs Information

From reading lists and competitions to story times, check out these sites to find out more about what local public libraries are offering this summer.

High Point Public Library

Greensboro Public Library

Gibsonville Public Library

Building to Count, Group and Compare

BUILDING TO COUNT, GROUP AND COMPARE | Eleanor was gifted a bag of Mega Bloks for her 1st birthday last year. At first she wasn’t sure what to do with them. However, she just turned two, and they are now one of her favorite toys! They inspire creativity and imagination, they exercise her fine motor skills, and they encourage her to Count, Group and Compare.

Her Mega Bloks come in several different colors, sizes, and shapes. When we are playing together, we help Eleanor think about what pieces will work best for what she wants to build. Since her birthday was recently, she often wants to build birthday cakes. She’ll sort out the colors she wants to use and decide how many layers the cake should be. We love watching her brain work as she makes these decisions. She associates the colors with flavors (pink is strawberry, white is vanilla, etc.) and mostly decides to make two-layer cakes since she is two. Once she builds it to her satisfaction, she’ll blow out the “candles” and have just as much fun destroying it as she had making it!

When it’s time to clean up, we have to take apart all of the Mega Bloks and put them away one at a time so that they will fit in the bag. This allows a great opportunity to compare the sizes of the blocks as we have to think about which ones need to go in first. Eleanor loves her Mega Bloks and we are excited to help her develop early math skills!

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Emotions and Encouragement

EMOTIONS AND ENCOURAGEMENT | The Basic – Maximize Love, Manage Stress is all about emotions, behavior and feelings.

At 17 months, Titus is becoming very aware of his emotions; whether he’s exhausted after a fun filled day at daycare, pushed himself past his naptime or when he’s “hangry”.

When these emotions come out we make sure to give him a hug and express that it’s okay, take a few seconds and just sit with him while he calms down or read a quick book. Sticking to our daily routine in the morning, at dinner and bedtime helps Titus know what to expect and makes it easier for him to transition from one thing to the next.

As parents, it’s important for us to always express love to Titus to make him feel secure and safe. When we encourage and guide him, we see how confident it makes him feel to push himself to do something new or to repeat a positive action. It’s also important for us to manage our own stress, express gratitude and to just be present which in turn strengthens our bond.

By Candace Martin

Stories Build Memories

STORIES BUILD MEMORIES | When reading stories, it is more than just a single reading. Most often children like repetition and want to hear their favorite books thousands of times during their childhood years. Reading stories also creates fond memories between families and their children. Children will often make connections with
how they felt during those special reading times to other events that they experience. Storytime,
whether it is during the day, at night, a rainy day, bath time, outside, or just a time carved out to read, is
special no matter what. Children are paying attention to the adults that read to them, seeing how engaged they are, excited about reading, and the facial expressions that are made while reading.

One of my son’s favorite stories is “Llama Llama Red Pajama.” We have read that story more times than
I can count! My son makes the connection with the characters in the book to his times with me reading
to him and tucking him in bed at night. He has modeled some of the facial expressions from the story
that little Llama makes and enjoys acting out certain parts. This story has led to specific discussions
about how mommy has other things to do after getting him to sleep at night. He is reassured that I am
still here in the house and feels safe though he must go to sleep. Even in other environments such as the
Greensboro Science Center, he has seen an Alpaca animal and made the connection that it looked like the animal
from “Llama Llama Red Pajama.” These discussions, connections, and memories are strengthened
through the different types of books as you Read and Discuss Stories. The next time you read a book to a child,
remember that the experience is more than just reading!

By Airreia Pierce, Basics Blogger

Culinary Chats

CULINARY CHATS | Eleanor (23 months) has always been a chatterbox, but she has recently experienced a
language explosion where she wants to talk about anything and everything. She frequently asks
us, “what’s that?” and tries to find relationships between things to help provide context.

A few weeks ago, she got a book about animals baking cookies. Through the book, she has learned
about measuring cups, baking sheets, and other cooking tools. When she watches me make
dinner, she notices when I’m using these items and points out that it is “just like the book!” This
has initiated many conversations around cooking and other activities we do in the kitchen.

Eleanor has never shown much interest in helping me cook before, but now she loves it. We
listen to music and I explain each step while she asks, “what is mama doing?” and “what’s
that?” a dozen times.  We talk about the various foods we eat, the preparation process, and
the tools we use. Her favorite way to help is to mash sweet potatoes and scoop them out of the
bowl. Cooking together is not only fun, it is a great way to grow her vocabulary through Talk, Sing and Point!

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Exploring At The Children’s Museum

MUSEUM EXPLORATION | This month we focused on Explore Through Movement and Play  which was perfect with the Spring weather we’ve been having. Titus loves being outdoors which gives us more opportunities for outdoor fun. We take walks through different parks and gardens in the City and point out flowers & trees, birds and we even spotted a turtle while at Country Park.

We also took Titus on his first trip to the Miriam P. Brenner Children’s Museum and he had a blast! The museum provided so many opportunities for us to Explore through Movement and Play. We started out in the Tot Spot. He played on the slide and with blocks, made music with instruments, and rode toys. We then moved into the construction zone. It was exciting to let Titus take the lead and explore the different features of the exhibit. We then ventured out into the outdoor play area where Titus climbed and went round and round on the spinner. Throughout each activity we made sure to describe what we did. It was a fun day to get out and explore the many exhibits at the museum and we will definitely be back.

By Candace and Terry Martin

A Birthday to Count On

A BIRTHDAY TO COUNT ON! | Birthdays are special to little ones especially when they understand they are growing up! Each year, my son looks forward adding candles to our play cake. He is only three now, but already looking forward to when he turns four in December. On his sister’s birthday, he got his play cake out and started counting the candles he would need to match his sister’s age: six. He persisted to find the slices of cake that fit together to make a round cake. Then he counted out the candles: one, two, three, and four. He then realized that he was missing two more candles to make six. Using objects to help with one-to-one correspondence is helpful especially when children can recognize when they are missing items. This exercise creates early addition and subtraction problems through play!

This simple activity can be used with a variety of manipulatives or snacks at home that children can use to count with and compare. You can ask specific questions such as, “Which number is more? Which number is less?” Using objects that your child is interested in can make counting more meaningful.

Children learn the importance of using numbers to identify with their age, amounts, and objects they may be using. While it does not have to be a birthday to practice counting, every day can be a moment to help children to practice Count, Group, and Compare!

By Airreia Pierce, Basics Blogger

Tasty Tuesday Interview

Q&A with Renea Myers, Owner of Culinary U of the Triad

1) How can you make cooking both fun and a tool to build literacy? 

One way to build literacy in the kitchen is to create a tray of different ingredients- it can be a random mix of produce, baking products, whatever you have that is identifiable by sight.  Find simple, large print recipes that include those ingredients.  Point out one of the ingredient words and then encourage the child to say the word, choose it from the ingredient tray and taste (if appropriate). This will help reinforce sight words, food awareness and adventurous tasting. 

2) Do you have ideas for how parents can do “number talk” with kids while in the kitchen since building a foundation for math is so important?  

There are many ways to do kitchen math!  Depending on the age of the child you can read a recipe ingredient- like 3 eggs, 2 cups, 4 ounces, 2 pounds, etc- and have the child help you count, measure or weigh as you cook.  As the child gets older, you can use measuring cups to reinforce basic fractions.  I find the scale experiment really fun for kids as they grow. Encourage them to guess how much an ingredient weighs and then teach them to use a scale to see if they are right. 

3) What about picky eaters – any ideas for how to help parents address this?  

The biggest thing is to take away the pressure and the attention.  Here are some tips:

  • Model adventurous tasting.  Parents with a flexible palate are more likely to have flexible kids. The goal is to be a Flexitarian.  
  • Help kids understand that we all have favorite foods, foods we are willing to eat but don’t prefer and those “deal breaker” foods we are unwilling to eat.  The goal is to be able to count your deal-breaker foods on one hand.  These should be specific foods, not categories like green vegetables!  Talk about the different preferences of each family member so kids can see that we all have favorites but should try to be flexible.
  • At meal times, avoid making separate food for kids except in the case of allergies.  Make sure there is at least one food on the plate you know your child loves.  Place small portions of “stretch” foods on the plate and encourage but don’t insist the child taste it.  Don’t make a big deal if they say no- just move on with the meal and others eating that food.  I have even given away the rejected food to another family member who wanted it!  The next time you make that food, put a small portion on the plate again without drama.  Over time, the child is likely to taste it.  Don’t make a big deal when they do try it!  Positive and negative attention at the dinner table can create future drama.   Just plan your healthy menu, serve the food and let nature take it’s course. Try not to cave in to demands of pickiness. I promise your child will not starve.  

3 Strategies to Deal with Big Emotions

3 STRATEGIES TO DEAL WITH BIG EMOTIONS | Eleanor is almost 2 and she’s starting to experience some big toddler feelings. Whenever she’s having a “moment”, Colin and I work hard to keep calm and regulated. If we become flustered or overwhelmed, it only creates more chaos and confusion for Eleanor. It isn’t always easy. Being
a parent is hard and it can be difficult to stay level. We try our best to employ 3 main strategies
to help her work through her emotions.

1. Identify, validate, set the boundary:
First, we help Eleanor identify her emotion and validate it, while keeping a firm boundary.
For example, “I know you feel sad that we have to leave the park. It’s tough to stop
playing, but we have to go home now and get ready for dinner. We’re having tacos

2. Calming bin:
We get out the “calming bin” when Eleanor is having a tough time. It has a couple of her
favorite books (highly recommend Little Monkey Calms Down!), some fidget toys, a
stuffed animal, and a puzzle. The items facilitate conversation around feelings, but they
also serve as calming distractions.

3. Give options:
It seems like many times when Eleanor is frustrated, it’s because she doesn’t feel like
she has any control. When she doesn’t want to do something, we give her two options,
so she feels like she has a vote. For example, “It’s time to get out of the bathtub. I know
it’s hard to get out when you’re having so much fun, but we have to get ready for
bedtime. Which pajamas do you want to wear? Dinosaurs or bunnies?”

These approaches can be challenging – especially when we’re in public and baby sister is
screaming (whew!) – but when we’re successful, they make a big difference in regulating
Eleanor’s emotions and preventing meltdowns. It’s important to us that Eleanor feels heard and
supported. Using these strategies allows us to maximize love and manage stress, which overall
helps us to feel more connected as a family.

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Building His Imagination…Through Reading

BUILDING HIS IMAGINATION…..THROUGH READING! | Reading time is great bonding time for our family. Titus is at the stage where he likes to pick out his own book to read. We’ve filled up his bookshelves quickly, thanks to his monthly book from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (you can opt in to receive free books here).

We normally have one book we read each night and change it weekly. We’ve gotten creative using different verbal and facial expressions through the characters of each story! His favorite books lately have been Llama Llama Red Pajama and the classic Good Night Moon.

When reading with Titus, we identify colors on pages and describe images and the different representations of characters. We point at pictures on the page and then let him do the same thing. We’ve started keeping books in each room of the house so at any time, we can take a few minutes and read. All of these strategies help us Read and Discuss Stories with Titus and help him build the neural connections he needs to learn to read and start kindergarten well prepared!

We look forward to taking Titus on his first trip to our local library; it will definitely take reading time to a new, fun level!

By Candace and Terry Martin

Point and Learn

POINT AND LEARN | Young minds are learning and growing each day as they are experiencing the world around them. Whether it is seeing a butterfly for the first time, or identifying the names of their favorite
transportation vehicles, children are fascinated by what they are learning. No matter what age, the
pointing and talking is valuable to build communication skills. For instance, with babies, pointing can be
used to learn the names of objects in order to support language as receptive learning is
acquired first. As toddlers’ vocabulary expands, they will begin to point on their own and adults can
have a conversation with them about what they see.

My three-year-old son is able to point and has learned to name what he sees. When he was younger, I supported his language by pointing out various objects, images, words, and numbers, and reinforcing the name of what we saw. In the earlier years, he would look and babble, but I know that he was listening. Whether it is a book or a song, it is important to point out and ask questions that will develop vocabulary skills. Even the simplest songs that your children enjoy hearing are providing meaningful repetition that will become a part of their memory for years to come!

One of my son’s favorite songbooks was “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and I would point to the words as I
sang them. Not only was he learning to track the print with his eyes, but he was learning how to
match the words with the sound of the song. I would ask questions such as, “Where is the star?” “What
color is the star?” I would provide the response when he was too young to give an answer, but as he got
older and started pointing on his own, he was able to share. Though the skills of Talk, Sing, and Point
seem simple, they are critical to the development of language skills. So the next time, your little one
grabs a book or wants you to sing a song, be sure to help them point and learn along the way!

–By Airreia Pierce | Visit Airreia’s website | Follow her on Facebook

Games That Move!

GAMES THAT MOVE | Two under two is a lot of fun, but it’s also a challenge when attention has to be divided. At 22 months, Eleanor can get frustrated when I need to tend to her newborn sister, Claire. We’ve
found ways to explore through movement and play to give Eleanor an activity to do while I can’t
be on the floor playing with her.

For example, when I’m feeding Claire, Eleanor and I will sing a song that includes gestures and
movement, such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” Her favorite is “Teddy Bear, Teddy
Bear.” I sing the lyrics and she does the corresponding dance moves. Not only are these songs
silly and make her laugh, they also help her remember the names of body parts and gestures.
Claire also enjoys hearing the songs!

Another activity we do is the classic game, “Red Light, Green Light.” She loves running around
the kitchen and stopping quickly when I say, “red light!” It’s a great way to get energy out and it
allows us to Explore Through Movement and Play even when my hands are tied.

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Counting Fun

COUNTING FUN | Lately, Titus has been playing with his blocks, toy cars and dump truck. During playtime, we always play music and we can tell that Titus loves to hear the beat and he quickly catches on to patterns and rhythms. Listening to Gracie’s Corner song, Count to 100, makes counting fun and interactive. We also count as we climb up and down the stairs!

We Group and Compare his blocks by colors and sizes. He does a great job figuring out how to make the blocks fit each other which is helping his problem-solving skills. We make sure to talk to him and use specific positioning language. For example, the blue block is above the purple block. We sort his toy cars by their different types. Then we discuss quantities such as having more cars than trucks or vice versa. This may sound like a lot of work, but we really want Titus to develop a strong foundation to learn math – everyone can be a math person when they start with Count, Group and Compare!

By Candace and Terry Martin

Supporting Sleep Can Maximize Love, Manage Stress

SUPPORTING SLEEP CAN MAXIMIZE LOVE, MANAGE STRESS | Have you ever noticed the difference it makes in how you talk or respond to your child? Frowns, loud voices, long silences, or frequent irritation can cause young children to feel unloved, and rebellious, and sometimes even have behavior challenges. However, when met with warm hugs, big smiles, calming tones, and gentleness, young children can feel unconditionally loved. There are many situations involving children that can be handled differently from the perspective of how parents are responding. Naps and bedtime, for instance, can either be positive or a nightmare!

My three-year-old enjoys daily naps since he was born! While not always easy, I have realized that positive guidance is most helpful in supporting his napping and nighttime routines. First, using a consistent routine, not only helps my son to predict what is next but becomes less stressful for me. Secondly, reading and singing have also been a part of the calming process to prepare for sleep. Sometimes he tries me by wanting to keep reading more books to stay up, but telling him firmly and lovingly why sleep is good for him, prevents me from giving in to a power struggle. I simply remind him, “Your mind and body needs rest to help you grow and relax” all while gently massaging his head and his hands. I smile, use a calm tone, and form the words, “I love you,” as he quietly says “I love you too” before drifting off into dreamland.

I have heard so many stories that are filled with stress on both the parents and children all while preparing for a nap or nighttime. I can confidently say, “Love gently and it will help little one’s sleep.” Perhaps, Llama Llama’s mama was right. She consistently showed love and reassured her little one that she was still there until Llama Llama went to sleep. So, the next time you are preparing your little ones for their nap or going to bed at night, choose positive guidance – this truly will Maximize Love, Manage Stress for your child and strengthen the parent-child bond.

–By Airreia Pierce | Visit Airreia’s website | Follow her on Facebook



Book Was Her Second Word

BOOK WAS HER SECOND WORD | Eleanor loves to read. “Book” was her second word! We’ve been reading with Eleanor since she was born and we try to go beyond just reading the words. We discuss the story and how it might relate to her life: “The caterpillar is eating strawberries. You had strawberries for breakfast!” We
also look for opportunities to count: “How many balloons do you see?”, and search for recurring
characters: “Where is the mouse on this page?” At 21 months, she grasps the storylines and will
even “read” to us by reciting what she remembers.

Eleanor recently received Goodnight, Gorilla from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. At first, I
wasn’t sure if she would like it. The pictures are colorful, but most of the story must be
interpreted through the illustrations. She doesn’t have any other books that have pages without
words. To my surprise, it has become one of her favorites! The first couple of times I read it to
her, I would describe what was happening. Now, she tells me what is happening! Sometimes it’s
accurate, and sometimes she uses her imagination.  I love how it inspires her to be creative.
I’m currently on the hunt for more books that are open to interpretation! Find out more about how to integrate Read and Discuss Stories into your caregiving approach.

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Find out more about why picture books are powerful!

Let’s Talk

LET’S TALK | This month we’ve practiced Talk, Sing and Point in a number of ways.

Titus LOVES the song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. As soon as we start singing he is already clapping his hands. He also enjoys playing peek-a-boo. When playing this, we point out body parts like “touch your head, cover your eyes”.

When picking up Titus from daycare, we ask him how his day was. We describe what we see when driving in the car, name the different foods he has at each meal and at times incorporate sign language.

At 13 months, it’s amazing to watch Titus grow and change daily. Now that he’s very mobile and we are in a new home, he is always discovering new things. He watches us closely as well so we make sure to repeat words and be specific about the actions we are doing.

By Terry and Candace Martin

Playful Moves

PLAYFUL MOVES | Children do not need reminders to move, but they do need opportunities to intentionally move through play! My son recently turned three but has developed an interest in basketball. He sees his dad play basketball and often imitates certain moves. Even when his dad is not around, he wants to play basketball! Through these simple replays, he is remembering, imitating, modeling, imagining, and physically moving. His dad has taught him how to hold the ball, bounce, and shoot. Though the basketball goal is higher, he made the connection that he needed to be taller to reach the goal by asking me, “Mommy lift me up.” He also likes to grab his favorite “basketball shoes” he calls them when he plays because he sees his dad wearing them.

Children use these imagination and role-playing skills as they Explore Through Movement and Play.
Often by finding specific activities that your child enjoys, you can follow up with future related activities
that may help to work on similar skills. For example, since I see that he enjoys basketball, even when we
are at home, I like to incorporate other materials to work on using the same skills in movement and play.
One material I have used are socks and a laundry basket. He must run to grab the sock balls and throw
them in the laundry basket. We have also used scrap paper balls and the trash can as well to also
encourage similar movement. The possibilities are endless as long as you find what interests your child
and allow children to have fun while they are moving and playing!

–By Airreia Pierce | Visit Airreia’s website | Follow her on Facebook

Little Helping Hands

LITTLE HELPING HANDS | On December 2, Eleanor became a big sister! While most days she loves baby Claire, she is still getting used to sharing attention. She loves to help with things, so we have found opportunities for her to help with the baby. She will bring Claire blankets, throw away diapers, and turn on the baby swing. She is so proud of herself, and these activities have helped her embrace the big sister role!

She recently has started helping us with laundry, which encourages counting, grouping, and comparing! We sort Eleanor’s clothes from Claire’s and compare the size differences between them. Claire’s clothes are so tiny! Eleanor loves to count socks and we work on matching them in pairs. Who knew a mundane chore could be so fun! Finding these simple, everyday activities to talk about numbers and practice grouping and comparing is an important building block for basic math skills your child will need as they enter school. Learn more about Count, Group and Compare here!

By Lizzy Tahsuda, mom of two

Guilford Basics