Day of Play December 2013 Newsletter

Edward Street Child Services, Rose Hayes, 508-792-0220

Publication Date: 
December 12, 2013
December 2013 Newsletter! 

Here you will find activities in each of the 6 important types of play: reading play, construction play, STEM play, creative arts play, active play and music & dance play that will allow you to continue the learning fun at home! To find out more about the benefits of play, visit the Day of Play website!


Reading Play

1.  Bingo! Create multiple bingo boards of winter words for your children by making square grids on pieces of paper with one word per grid box. Make sure you have flashcards of the winter words to use as a master set while announcing the words during the game. Using coins or buttons as bingo pieces, have your children mark each word they have on their board that you announce during the game (help your children recognize words if necessary). The first player to get 5 words on their board in a row yells "Bingo!" and wins that round. Play multiple rounds with different boards! This game helps your children learn to effectively recognize words.   


2. Holiday Word Search! Make a holiday word search for your children that includes words related to the winter and holiday season. Under the word search box be sure to make a key of the words hidden within the word search. Help your children find each hidden word and go over what the words are together! Letter recognition is further developed through the use of word searches.


3. Holiday Cards! Improve your child's writing skills with the construction of holiday cards. Help your children create holiday cards with short messages written in them to send to family and friends! Let your children decorate the cards after their messages have been written!


Construction Play

1. Popcorn Snowman!Pop a package of popcorn in the microwave. As you do this, melt ¼ cup of butter and 10 ounces marshmallows (just as you would for making rice krispie treats). Once the butter and marshmallows are melted, pour the mixture over the popcorn and mix it all together. After the mixture has cooled, have your children take two handfuls of the mixture, one larger than the other, and then shape them into a snowman by placing the smaller circle on top of the larger one. Let your child decorate their snowman with foods such as raisins, pretzels and gumdrops.  Make sure that you put the snowmen on wax paper so that they won't stick to anything! Creating these snowmen is a fun way to improve your child's fine motor skills.


2. Feed the Birds! This activity is great when you are outside in the snow playing with your children after a storm! Construct a birdbath out of snow with your children and fill the basin with birdseed or bread crumbs. Keep an eye on the bird feeder to see if any birds or other animals take a tasty treat from it! As you observe your birdbath with your children discuss various topics related to birds.


3. Snow Igloo! With your child create a snow fort in the shape of an igloo. Pack snow in buckets and other containers to use as the building blocks for your fort. Can you and your child make a fort with multiple rooms? What different types of structures can you construct while using snow as blocks? Discuss basic principles of building with your child as you have fun in the snow! This type of play is beneficial for both fine and gross motor skill development.  

STEM Play (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

1. Cup Lift! Help your child blow up a balloon until it is the size of a softball or grapefruit. Do not tie the balloon closed yet. Hold the rim of a plastic cup up to the balloon (the balloon should be too large to fit inside of the cup). Hold the cup in place on the side of the balloon and continue to blow the balloon up. Let go of the cup. Does it stay stuck to the balloon? Why? Can you get multiple cups to stay attached to the balloon? Challenge your child's gross motor skills and problem-solving abilities!


2. Rolling Jar Race! With your child collect two old jars. Let one jar remain empty and fill the other jar with water (you can add food coloring to the water to make the two jars easily distinguishable). Find or make a small ramp. Put the two jars at the top of the ramp with each jar on its side. Release the jars at the same time and watch them go! Which jar is faster? Why? Is it faster on other types of ramps too?


3. Cornstarch goop! Discuss the topic of solid versus liquid with your child during this activity.With your child, add ¼ cup of water to ½ cup of corn starch in a small bowl. Mix the ingredients together using your hands. Add food coloring to the mixture to make it colorful! If you need to add more water, add just a couple of drops (especially after playing with the goop for awhile). Let your child play with the goop, but watch out-this creative and intriguing activity can be a little messy!

Creative Arts Play

1. Sock Puppets! Save those unpaired socks lying around your house and make them into fun sock puppets with your child! Have your child put the sock on his or her hand and imagine what kind of animal or creature he or she wants to make it into. For younger children, drawing faces and clothes on with permanent markers is the perfect way to decorate their sock puppet! Older children can use more challenging art supplies to decorate their puppets. This can include cutting pieces of colored felt for eyes, scales, and noses and gluing them in place. After the sock puppets have been created have your child put on a show for family and friends! This activity builds abstract thinking and self-confidence in children.


2. Winter Wonderland! Let your children have total freedom with this activity by presenting them with various art supplies that could be used to make a winter wonderland! Get your children thinking by helping them brainstorm what might be found in a winter wonderland. This allows for growth in your children's ability to think critically and conceptualize.


3. Hand Wreath! This activity can be messy so make sure you spread newspaper over the surface upon which your child is working.  With your child, cut out the center of a paper plate to make the shape of a wreath with the outer part of the plate. Next, present your child with various paint colors. Help your child cover their palms and fingers in paint and decorate their wreath using their hand prints! Hand-eye coordination and color recognition are important skills that are incorporated into this craft. 


Active Play

1. Wall to Wall! Help your children learn the importance of active play with this simple activity. Find an area or room to run across from wall to wall. Start the game by yelling "Go!" where upon the children run from one wall and stop at the other. Have your children count up to different numbers as they run. Try counting down. Encourage all types of physical activity by challenging your children to run in different ways. Can they skip? Run backwards? Run on their tip toes?


2. Hoopers! On the ground, place half as many hoops (or paper plates) as the number of children playing the game. Have your children stand outside the hoops. Then, on the command "Run," have the children run around the area without touching anyone else or the hoops. On the command "Hoopers" each child must find the nearest hoop to jump inside. Get creative and change up the actions outside the hoops (for example, skip or hop). This game can be combined with Wall to Wall (above). This fun game promotes the importance of healthy competition and does not emphasize failure because many people do not get their own hoop and everyone continues to play after each round.


3. Blanket Play! Give your children a sturdy blanket. Your children can use the blanket as a slide by pulling someone else around the room. They can use the blanket as a cradle by gently swinging it back and forth with a doll or a teddy bear inside. The blanket can be used as a catapult for tossing balls or other soft objects to someone else. Or, it can be used as a merry-go round by having one or two children sit in the middle while others walk around holding the edges. Let your children decide how they want to use the blanket! Blanket play like this teaches your children that objects can be multi-purposeful which enhances their ability to think openly and critically. 

Music & Dance Play

1.  Holiday Recital! Help your child sing along to their favorite holiday tunes! Practice dance routines to these songs. Invite other children to join in performing in a holiday recital for family and friends! Getting everyone involved in the recital makes dance and music more appealing to children who typically prefer different kinds of activities and tend to be shy.


2. Freeze Dance Cards! With your children, brainstorm and write down different dance moves on flashcards (one dance move per card). Let each child pick a dance move out of a hat. Start playing music, with each child dancing to the music with the dance move depicted on their card. When the music stops have your children freeze in their dance pose. The child who is last to freeze in their dance pose is out. Switch up the cards and play again! The freeze rule incorporated in this dance game helps children learn to follow rules while also working on improving gross motor and social skills.


3. Tin Drum! This creative approach to music encourages children to express themselves freely when it comes to musical activities. After covering the surface upon which your child will be working with newspaper, present your child with different colored paints, paintbrushes, and a tin can. Flip the can over so that the bottom is facing up and let your child paint the can however he or she would like. When the can has dried, give your child a wooden stirring spoon and now it's time for them to start playing the drums!