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Archive for April, 2011

Fun @ Georgia State Railroad Museum!

Thank you to everyone who came out for Easter Egg-stravaganza last weekend at Georgia State Railroad Museum!  Here’s a peak at our album. To view more photos, log on to Savannah Children’s Museum Project Facebook page…

  

Miss Rebecca’s Explore Savannah Suggestion

Savannah Sidewalk Arts Festival

Thirty is one of our favorite numbers at Coastal Heritage Society.  At Georgia State Railroad Museum, “The 30” is the official nickname of our beautiful and powerful steam locomotive showcased throughout the year and on special occasions such as Savannah Santa Train, held in December. But 30 is significant to Savannah this week because of the 30th anniversary of a beautiful tradition,  held this coming weekend at Forsyth Park by SCAD. Here’s the low-down, courtesy of Savannah Morning News… Great for kids of all ages!

  

Tybee Turtle Trot & 5K

If you haven’t already signed up for the 7th annual Tybee Turtle Trot and 5K happening this Saturday April 29th, there is still time to sign up! The best part is that there is plenty to do for families not participating formally in the beach race. After the run around 10 a.m., the Georgia Sea Turtle Center will release a Loggerhead Sea Turtle patient back to the ocean! It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning after the stormy weather we’ve been having. Click here for more details…


 

Great Ideas For: Recycling & Repurposing

Speaking of great Savannah traditions, if you missed the Savannah Earth Day Festival last weekend, not to worry. Here are some of my favorite pics for recycled, repurposed and resourceful fun for common household items. Please share your ideas for repurposing these  and other items by commenting on this blog post (:


Plastic Easter Eggs

 

Egg Cartons

   

  • Eyes for a 3D drawing or puppet
  • Seed planters
  • Small paint holder
  • Caterpillar craft

Detergent Lids

 

  • Art supply holder
  • Potted plant (poke holes in bottom)
  • Ears for a funny mask
  • Knobs (on a make-believe car, rocketship, plane etc.)

Baby food Jars (both glass and plastic

   

  • Terrarium
  • Art organizer: for glitter, pom poms, wiggly eyes, etc.
  • Sensory activity:  put familiar scented oils on cotton balls and store in jar.  Open lid or punch holes in top for child to guess what the scent may be.  Add a colored sticker on the bottom for matching up answers.
  • Votive candle holder:  allow your child to decorate it.  Idea:  glue tissue paper squares around it.

Snow globe:  (this is a favorite of mine because it can be fun all year long, depending on what theme you create inside! Use snowmen, shamrocks, seashells, etc. Be creative! Simply glue figure on lid, add water, secure tightly, then hot glue the edge!

Miss Rebecca Recommends

I’m getting excited about summer camps!  One of my favorite train-themed books to read to groups is Shortcut by Donald Crews.  Crews’ picture books are amazing, and tell about all types of transportation, and each book tells an amazingly cute and educational story.  Shortcut is no exception—this book is a tale about a group of kids who decide to take a shortcut home from their afternoon of play…only their shortcut is via walking down a railroad track!  I like to turn this into a teachable moment, addressing safety issues by asking groups of children what would have been the safest route to choose… As the story comes to a close, no one is hurt, but it sure was a close call!  This very engaging and exciting book is recommended for ages 3-10—perfect for talking about the difference in train cars, steam vs. diesel, and of course, safety around the tracks, which we have plenty of here in Savannah!

Calendar Notes

Storytime:  10am Wednesday, May 18 @ Georgia State Railroad Museum

Reading Express:  10am Saturday, May 28 @ Georgia State Railroad Museum

Discover the joy of reading while clickety-clacking down the tracks.  Enjoy activities and have a chance to win cool prizes!

For: Toddlers to 10 year olds

Fee: $10 per child with regular adult admission

Advanced Reservations Required.  Call 912-651-6823 x3.

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Holiday Happenings

Self Expression!

For the past eight Friday mornings, I’ve been teaching a toddler art class to local little ones.  It’s been a great adventure of self expression and socialization!  This past Friday was our last spring session.  In celebration of our last class of the season, the budding artists painted their own tiles which will be placed on the fence heading toward the (near) future home of Savannah Children’s Museum’s Exploration Station (coming late fall)!

   

If you’d like to join us on our next Toddler Art adventure, mark your calendars for our summer session scheduled to begin July 15!

  • Ages: Classes are open to ages 15 months to 3 years.
  • Times: Classes are Friday mornings at 10am July 15 – September 2, 2011.
  • Fee: $100 for all 8 classes or $12.50 per class.

Spaces fill up quickly!  Contact us today for more information, or to reserve your child’s spot:  912-651-6823 x3 or email info@chsgeorgia.org.

This Weekend:  Easter Egg-stravaganza!

Date: Saturday, April 23
Time: 10:00am-11:30am
Place: Georgia State Railroad Museum

Join us this coming weekend for egg hunting fun at Georgia State Railroad Museum!  Your children will enjoy having their face painted, making springy crafts, and listening to a story read aloud on the Springtime Story Train!  Where else can you hear a story while chugging down the tracks?

Spaces are limited on our diesel-powered open-air passenger car.  Contact us today to make your reservation for springtime memories-in-the-making!

Fee: $10 per child plus regular adult admission.

For more information contact us at: 912-651-6823 x3 or email info@chsgeorgia.org.

Home Connections

EARTH-STER!? Earth Day and Easter Rolled into One!

Here’s a great way to repurpose those empty egg cartons, honoring the principles we teach our children on Earth Day, and should model every day.  Once emptied of eggs, turn that egg carton into a fun and  interactive mathematical teaching tool!  Using a permanent marker, label the egg “holders” numbers 1- 12.  Gather small object to be used for counting.  These can be held in the top-side of the egg carton.  Count using one-to-one correspondence with your kids (i.e. count as the object is placed in its holder).  One object in Holder #1, Two objects in Holder #2, and so on.

All kinds of small objects can work.  Here I used small plastic rings, but I’ve also used popcorn kernels, dried beans, and little erasers.  Remember, because they’re small—this activity should be closely supervised and only done with children ages 3 and up.

Passover Haroseth

Says Joan Nathan, author of The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen, “When children help you cook for a holiday, they learn the meaning of that holiday.”  Cooking for Passover, whether your family is Jewish or not, can serve as a teachable moment in learning traditions and religious customs.  Try this recipe with your child and gain a new appreciate of others’ (or your own) beliefs.

Haroseth is one of the six traditional items in a Passover meal.  It’s usually served on a matzo (or can be served on a cracker).
Ingredients

  • 8 apples
  • 2/3 cup almonds
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

Peel apple, remove core, and finely dice.  Have your child mix all ingredients with you and spread over matzo or crackers.  Enjoy! This image is courtesy of divinecaroline.com, which also has a great recipe.

Miss Rebecca Recommends

Friday, April 22 is Earth Day.  Celebrate and instill respect in your child by reading The Earth Book byTodd Parr.  This easy-reader offers child-friendly advice about how to take care of our planet, our home.  It gives simple reminders such as “I turn off the faucet while I brush my teeth.”  Very cute and simple, this book is appropriate for one-on-one storytime as well as reading to a large circle time group.  I recommend The Earth Book for 3-year-olds in preschool to 8-year-olds.  Older children can be encouraged to write and illustrate their own Earth book complete with friendly reminders about what we can do to keep our planet green. Available in book form or Kindle format from Amazon.com.

Told in rhyme, What is Easter? by Michelle Medlock Adams tells the true story and meaning behind Easter in child-appropriate terms.  It teaches that this holiday is much beyond eggs and chocolate bunnies.  A simple, easy read for bedtime and small groups at circle time, this little children’s book is appropriate for 3 to 7 year olds. Available in hardcover or board book from Amazon.com.

Celebrate Passover, by the National Geographic Society is a nonfictional photographic children’s book, which teaches both Jewish and non-Jewish children alike about Passover traditions and customs.  Many of the photos are of very orthodox traditions, which makes for storytime diversity.  It’s packed full of information, which may be a bit much for emerging readers, but has beautiful photos which can help tell the story to youngsters.  I recommend it for Kindergarten to fifth graders as it’s a great introduction to Passover. Available online from the National Geographic Store.

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Celebrate Good Times!
Next week is Spring Break for Savannah-Chatham public schools, but this week is extra special, as it’s the Week of the Young Child (WOYC)!

Since 1971, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has sponsored this nationwide celebration which has two main purposes:  to celebrate the fun of childhood and to give thanks to childcare givers, teachers, and all those who support the education and learning of children.  This year’s theme as deemed by NAEYC is Early Years are Learning Years. WOYC is always held in April—which is a beautiful time of year to celebrate the joys of being a parent, teacher, or caregiver of a child!  The weather is warmer, and spring has sprung, which makes for a wonderful opportunity to get out of the house with your tiniest – but biggest – fans!

Family Field Trips: Explore – Engage – Experience

Take your child on a special “field trip” to your favorite historic site or Savannah locale.  It’s never too early to be immersed in the culture of our beautiful city.  My favorites, of course, are Georgia State Railroad Museum which is offering rides on the No. 30 steam locomotive through 4/17, and Old Fort Jackson which offers daily cannon firings through October.

Leopold’s ice cream shop is a great place to cool down and learn about a local business that has been around for generations, while lovely Forsyth park is always popular and gearing up to host the Savannah Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 23rd. Don’t forget about Oatland Isand! It’s a bit out of the way if you don’t live on the ‘island chain,’ but it’s a wonderful way to spend the day immersed in local beauty, or climb the lighthouse on Tybee -and let us know how many stairs you counted!

I could go on  forever, but I’d rather hear from you! Post your favorite field trip locations as a comment to this post, and help give parents ideas on what to do this spring. Posts made by  5 p.m. EST, this Sunday April 17th, will be entered to win your choice of

  • a family 4 pack of tickets to enjoy Old Fort Jackson for a day OR
  • ice cream for 3 at Leopold’s

Home Connections
Observe, Record, and Explore
Whether on vacation in a new city, or out and about in your own neighborhood, there are many opportunities for exploration!  Take a camera, sketch book and magnifying glasses (optional, but a fun accessory!) and go with your little explorer to a new neck of the woods, or encourage looking at a familiar spot in a different way.  Your budding photographer may enjoy taking close-up pictures of never-before-seen plants and insects.

Urge your adventurer to illustrate what he or she sees in an investigative journal (i.e. composition notebook).  This little journey can surely spark conversations as well as an interest in scientific thinking.

Me Dolls
In celebrating children being themselves, make individualized paper dolls with your kids.  These can be made on a regular sheet of paper by using a paper doll or gingerbread man template found online, or can be life-size by tracing your child’s body on newsprint or butcher paper.  Fun tip: Savannah Morning News sells large rolls of unused newsprint, perfect for this purpose!

Decorate these dolls, big or small, with materials found around the house.  Scrap fabric or wallpaper books can make interesting clothes.  Yarn, twine, and ribbons are perfect for hair, and bottle caps serve as eyes as well as buttons.  The fun is entirely up to your child and is 100% open-ended!

Be Thankful

Write or draw thank-you cards for your child’s teachers, babysitters, and other loved ones.  You could even frame the aforementioned artistic masterpiece for this special person in your child’s life. Let them know they’re appreciated.

Miss Rebecca Recommends

There are many books I could mention that are lovely for this time of year, but one of my favorites is Eve Bunting’s Flower Garden.  I wrote a blog a couple weeks ago about gardening with little ones, and I almost recommended it then -but I absolutely must now!  This adorable, easy-reader picture book is filled with up-close illustrations of a girl and her father preparing a beautiful surprise for Mother.  This is a lovely book, and while it’s an easy read with not too many words, I really recommend it for all ages.  It’s a beautiful book, has lovely pictures, and tells the story of making things magnificent in a small space.

Don’t forget!  Make your reservation today!
Easter Egg-stravaganza:  Saturday, April 23—10:00am-11:30am

@ Georgia State Railroad Museum.
Hop aboard the Springtime Story Train and hunt for eggs around this extraordinary site!
Toddlers to 10 year-olds.  $10 per child with regular adult admission.
Reservations required to ensure plenty of egg-hunting fun!
Call 912-651-6823×3 or email info@chsgeorgia.org to make your reservation.

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The Game of Life…

Not Just Fun for the Kids!

Playing games with your family is a great way to build connections, stronger relationships, laugh, and of course, learn!  Some games can take a whole evening, making a game night event out of the play, while others can be played quickly, easily fitting into a busy schedule of afternoon homework, scouting, dance, and household chores.  Below are a few of my favorites for you to try.  Schedule a family game night this week!  Leave me a comment and let me know—what are your favorite family games? Do you play the family classics the ‘old-fashioned’ way or on Wii? Times are changing but Family Game Night will always be a great idea.

Apples to Apples Junior

While Mattel recommends this game for ages 9 and up, I think it’s appropriate for children who are as young as 6 years old, and of reading age.  This game is all about funny analogies and descriptors.  It encourages talk and cooperation as well as sparks logical thought and an increased vocabulary.

Uno

Also by Mattel, this card game has been around for generations, and I’m sure you’ve played it at some point in your life.  Recommended for ages 7 and up, but can really be used by anyone Pre-K and up (as long as they recognize numbers and colors), this fast-moving card game reinforces pattern recognition skills with colors and numbers, is very portable and is great for playing in the car on a long trip!  Definitely addictive in the best kind of way, Uno builds skills while building upon relationships.

Jenga

I love Jenga not only for the way it makes you bite your bottom lip as you carefully make your move then shout “Jenga!” before the tower falls to the ground, but also for the many possibilities this game has to offer.  Sure, it’s about balance and control, but you can also make  up many variations to this game.  For example, ahead of time, place a colored dot on some blocks.  Make the colors correspond to a poster board of questions.  Like this:

Green dot = What is your favorite after school activity?

Red dot = What do you want to be when you grow up?

The list can go on and on!  All blocks can correspond to questions, or just a few.  Have fun playing and getting to know each other better. Make up your own version best suited for your family’s dynamic or a themed birthday or playdate!

Hasbro recommends this game for ages 6 and up, but really it can be played by ages 3 and up (or at least old enough so that game pieces cannot be swallowed).  Even little ones can have fun stacking the blocks in this game, simply using the pieces to build an open-ended structure.

Life

Recommended for ages 9 and up, this game is great for illustrating important decision-making.  For example, will you go to college?  What kind of job will you have?  Will you have children?  I love how this game provokes real-life conversations, for while the game of Life is as simple, the real thing is not. . . This fosters great communication between you and your child. . . I also like the fact that the game pieces are little cars—too cute!

Zingo

Great for little ones who are not yet reading, this game is very similar to BINGO, and has cute illustrations.  Very appropriate for ages 3-8, Zingo teaches turn-taking, cooperation, spelling, and can even be played among children themselves, with the small group alternating who is the Zingo slider and caller.  It’s fun to play until everyone fills their Zingo card and wins!

Make your own DART BOARD!

Kid-Friendly Darts

You will need:

  • Pizza pan or cardboard cut into a circle, about 16” round
  • Felt (a light color or white)
  • Permanent Marker
  • Ping Pong Balls
  • Velcro strips
  • Hot Glue

Cover pan or round cardboard completely with felt.  Draw a bullseye circle and larger circles around it, assigning point amounts in each circular area.  Hang on door or wall, away from breakables, and eye level with children.  Glue Velcro strips around ping pong balls.  Once dry and completed, have each child throw two or three balls toward the board.  Add up scores, or just have fun throwing!

Miss Rebecca Recommends

April is National Poetry Month!  Celebrate by reading a children’s book of poetry, such as Jack Prelutsky’s New Kid on the Block. This book is filled with goofy rhymes and silly sayings.  I love how rhymes really get the attention of children and teach budding readers.  Recommended for ages 4-12, both readers and non-readers, this is a great bedtime book! Encourage an older reading-age child to read a bedtime poem to a younger brother or sister.

Want a copy of The New Kid on the Block with a personalized note by Miss Rebecca? Post the name of YOUR family’s favorite poetry book here, to share with other Savannah families, and to be entered to win! All posts must be made to this specific blog entry no later than Friday April 22nd. A winner will be announced Tuesday May 2nd! One comment per parent/ child care provider/ adult per household. Multiple comments may be made by all adults in the same home as long as you are signed in separately. Make sure to post this to your Facebook page and spread the word!

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