Toddler Blog

Getting An Early Start Appreciating Art!

We believe it’s never too early to start appreciating art! But how do we get those little pair of eyes ready for some big art adventure?

A great way to begin is just to ask “What do you see?” or “What do you notice?” You may be surprised to learn which detail is most captivating to them.

Next, ask them what the story is! If it’s a portrait, ask who the person in the picture is. If there are multiple characters, ask who they are to one another.

If the art is more abstract, start literal and then dig deeper. Ask “What colors do you see?” before asking “How does it make you feel?”

Try your hardest to use open ended questions instead of leading your little to what you believe is the “right” answer. Kids of all ages will love that their opinions are being heard. Especially if you can validate them by saying things like, “I see that too!”

PRESCHOOL PREPPED!

Getting ready for the start of preschool is one of the most exciting (and challenging!) times in a toddler’s life. Moms often ask us to share how to best prep their little one for this new chapter. So here are our top tips on how to get your kiddo PRESCHOOL PREPPED!

1. Visit beforehand. Plan a mini tour with your little, taking note of all the fun details the space has to offer. The red door, the caterpillar picture hanging on the wall, the green leggo table, etc etc.

2. Snap photos to bring home with you! Having the visual reminders of all these things will become a huge source of comfort for your soon-to-be preschooler! It’s especially helpful if you get a great snapshot of your soon-to-be teacher too.

3. Tell the school story! For example: “When we go back to school on Monday, we will push open the big red door, say Good Morning to the caterpillar picture, and then you can play on the green leggo table! What will you build?” Play this story out over and over again until your kiddo can tell it themselves.

4. Plan a post-preschool date. To assure kids you will be back, talk about what you will do after you pick them up. Will you listen to a special song in the car or get an after school snack together?

5. Listen. Sometimes a little one’s fears are kept inside because no one thought to ask them.  Although it’s tempting to quickly reassure your child and move on, instead let your child know that their worries have been heard.  Then you can address any fears before moving forward with this milestone together!

The Zany Animal Zoo!

I’m Megan Manzi, here to share tips on engaging your kiddos at home using everyday, household items with a bit of imagination! You know all those plastic animal figures you keep stepping on? Time to put them to work in this week’s activity… Welcome to “The Zany Animal Zoo!”

First have your toddler sort the animals. This is a great time to work on reinforcing colors and size. I love to sort the animals into two groups, big versus small, and then encourage my toddler friends to place them in size order from biggest to smallest. For an added challenge, separate the animals in different corners depending on where they live — sky, sea, or land.

Next, color the animals’ feet with washable paint or stamp pads. Have them hop, race, and gallop across a piece of paper. Look at how each animal’s tracks look different! For more messy fun, paint the entire animal figure a wild color. A bright purple duck is even more fun than a yellow one.

Finally, it’s time to give our zany zoo animals a bath! A sponge, water, and some soap will keep toddlers happy for quite a while. Take this time to review body parts. Guide your toddler to sponge off the plastic horses’ back, maybe even his hooves, etc. Best part is, our toddler has had a fun filled, educating activity and done most of the clean up themselves!

Hello grown ups!

Hello! I’m Megan Manzi, the new Education Director for Toddler Camp. I’m excited to share as a regular, weekly contributor on the blog and to get connected with you!

I’ll be sharing tips on engaging your kiddos at home using everyday, household items with a bit of imagination. We’ll discover creative activities, games, and crafts that are developmentally stimulating and wildly fun. Get ready to take your playtime to the next level!

As a “Professional At Make Believe,” I’ve been creating interactive, play-based, curriculum for over 10 years. After studying Theatre Education in Boston, I graduated from Emerson College with a degree in all things artsy. I’ve served as Education Director for The Beverly Hills Country Club, Theatre Director for the YMCA, and most recently as Arts Coordinator for LAUSD.

Looking forward to our upcoming adventures together!

Warmly,
Megan

KIDDO KAZOO!

We all know that the things that keep kids entertained the longest are the noisiest! So instead of fighting the commotion, we decided to embrace the hullabaloo with our KIDDO KAZOO!

1. Add glue to a recycled toilet paper core. We painted ours on with a paintbrush, then decided to just roll it in the liquid goo for messier fun.

2. Start collaging different pieces of paper to your core. This is a great time to review colors and shapes – Even textures if you have a variety of papers. Play with overlapping collage pieces for a more layered look.

3. Top with a small square of wax paper & a rubber band. Then let the kazoo cacophony play out!!