early learning and development

Being Silly for Children’s Fun and Learning – Mad as a March Hare

Being silly for children’s fun and learning is written in the calendar. The expression to be “mad as a March hare” means to be crazy, and it is March. Children laugh far more times a day than adults do. Being serious is important, but laughter can help all of us cope with life’s stresses.red nose faces

Silly antics can take no time at all and can happen practically anywhere. Absolutely no extra materials are needed to make faces at and with each other. You might want to make different ones or try and copy each other. You can use a mirror and see who makes the silliest ones. If you want to make sure you have your child’s attention for giving a few instructions, try making some very exaggerated expressions at the same time. Ask your child to say the instructions back to you, along with some silly faces.silly fun and learning

Playing some silly games, like using bizarre words, covers up for the times when you don’t mean it. For example, ask kids to hang up the coats in the shower instead of the closet or to put the ice cream back in the dishwasher. Usually, they will howl with laughter. When you unintentionally get mixed up, like putting Little Brother’s coat on Big Sister when trying to hurry, it’s not so obvious. When getting ready to go outside, pretend to try and put on a child’s coat. It will be much too small but the enjoyment will be much fun. Or, zip your coat up on your child and then look everywhere for it. From such little interactions comes big learning.silly fun and learning

A sense of humor is something that develops and it is surprisingly complicated. First, kids have to recognize a situation as unexpected or unintended. Then, they need to check if it’s scary or threatening in any way. If not, they can go ahead and giggle. Finding something funny requires brain processing.sharing laugh with a friend

Besides being silly for children’s fun and learning, crazyiness helps children bond with us and other people. When we share a laugh, we also share a relationship. Getting along with others is a work in progress, and being able to laugh together can make it easier. Can you and your child have some silly fun today?


How to Steal a March #15: Helping Kids Ask Questions

Helping kids ask questions will give them an advantage. Thomas Berger said, “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”
help kids ask questions
Despite the astonishing number of questions kids ask a day–some estimates are more than 300–asking questions is really quite complicated. Brains have to organize the correct order of words, change the voice from regular speaking to go up at the end, and use specific words. Could it be that kids use the word Why because it works for asking a question so easily? Besides why, there’s how, when, what, and where to add to the list. It’s quite a challenge to learn and remember which word to use when and where.

help kids ask questions

Our example is part of the learning process and gives kids a model to copy. We can also use books and stories with questions to give them more examples, like Richard Torrey’s fun book “Why?” The pages have tricky questions, such as “Why do feet stink?” or “Why do crackers have holes?” You can follow the Why? book with another one by the same author, “Because.”

help kids ask questions

Asking the question is only part of the package. Besides the wondering, kids have to be able to trust that we will answer their quesion. They are not only asking for information, there is another underlying question, that is, “Am I important enough to answer?” Whether or not our answer makes sense to the child, our reply means  “Yes, you are important enough.

help kids ask questions

Another way to say having an advantage is the expression to ‘steal a march.’ Since it’s the month of March, using this expression is a fun play-on-words. Helping kids ask questions is another piece of early learning and development. It gives them a critical tool they can use to explore and understand the world as well as contributing to their sense of worth. For a play-of-the-day, have some fun with questions, not just serious ones, but the sillier the better. Do you have any questions?

New Year’s Resolution: You Are Your Child’s Greatest Learning Resource So Take Care of You

Today’s new year’s resolution is brought to you by the letter Y: you are your child’s greatest learning resource so take care of you. While this sounds next to impossible for parents, especially when comes to the issue of getting enough sleep, it’s far too important to ignore. And we all need to be there to help.

you are your child's greatest resource

This post has been inspired by words of advice from people who have been there and done that, as well as by some awesome new research from professionals. For those of you who prefer pictures to words, here is a graph that shows when children’s brains are the most sensitive for different kinds of learning.

brain's most sensitive time for learning

If you look at the start, brains are revved up and ready to go for vision, hearing, ways of responding and language. This isn’t like a switch that gets turned on at birth, the learning has already been happening! Babies not yet born can detect sound, so much so that their crying will have the accent of the language they have been hearing. This comes from hearing voices, especially those of the parents. When it comes to food preferences of young children, kids tend to choose ones that are familiar. This is a result of foods they have ‘tasted’ from what their mothers have eaten before birth.

parents are children's greatest resource

That’s just before birth. Children’s brains are learning at an astonishing rate after when they can interact with the world and others around them. Because learning is a developmental process, parents and caregivers are essential. “Scientists now know a major ingredient in this developmental process is the ‘serve and return’ relationship between children and their parents and other caregivers in the family or community.” (InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University) This relationship nurtures not just the heart, but the developing mind.

educate the mind and heart

School is just an expansion of the process that has already started for kids from within their families. The classroom teachers aren’t the first, parents are. When kids do get to school, one of the factors that most influences school success is parent involvement.

As parents, you are your child’s greatest learning resource. Taking care of yourself isn’t a selfish luxury. It’s vital. Fortunately, Nature has built in a wise plan. The brain learns best through play. Besides sleep, play is also a way to take care of ourselves. How will you and your child play today?


T = Trust: Parents, Educators Need to Trust and Let Kids Play

This post was inspired by play-expert Jeff A. Johnson at Explorations Early Learning. The message is parents, educators need to trust and let kids play. It seems parenting and teaching are balancing acts. There’s so much we would like to do for kids, but at the same time we have to let them learn for … Continue reading T = Trust: Parents, Educators Need to Trust and Let Kids Play

Q is for Questions: Why We Need to Help Kids Ask Questions

Since they ask more than 300 questions a day, why do we need to help kids ask questions? Asking questions is the first part to figuring things out. In the words of Thomas Berger, “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” For kids to know, they need to question. … Continue reading Q is for Questions: Why We Need to Help Kids Ask Questions

Before I Go to Kindergarten #19: Kids Need Curiosity

Is Your Child Curious and Eager to Learn? As parents, if you were given a choice, would you choose being curious or being smart for kids? For success at school and life, kids need curiosity. Because kids always seem to be asking questions and wanting to know how something works, we overlook the critical importance … Continue reading Before I Go to Kindergarten #19: Kids Need Curiosity

New Year’s Resolutions vs Bucket List Wishes for Young Kids

When parents and caregivers think of young children and resolutions, we include things that are important, like play, exercise, nature, and healthy foods. There is so much learning and development that has to happen in the early years and what children see, hear, and do now will impact them for a lifetime. But the word … Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions vs Bucket List Wishes for Young Kids