Monday, September 20, 2010

Room To Grow

Read and Raise will no longer be updating posts on this site. However, this site and all its previous posts will still be available for looking through.

Check out Room to Grow
a site run by Tonya Wright, early childhood educator for more thoughts, ideas and book reviews focused on early childhood.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Bowling help children develop large motor skills and eye hand coordination. It's also lots of fun.

Blocks, empty boxes, or even stacked rolls of paper towels can be used as bowling pins. Any size ball can be used for the bowling ball.

Be creative with how you stack up the "pins". The can be in one tall tower or many shorter towers. Your child can stand as close or as far away as he chooses. If he's too far away, he can problem solve and decide to move closer. If he's too close and the game is easy, he can decide to move further away.

Roll the ball, yell strike, and stack them up again for more fun.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tree Rubbings

Learning about nature can be simple. With a crayon, paper and a tree, your child can learn about the differences in bark textures.

First, take the outer layer of paper off a crayon, or if you made a melted crayon from the post last week, use that.
Next, hold a blank piece of paper against tree bark. Finally, color on the paper. If you have a regular crayon, hold it sideways for best results.

Discuss how the bark feels and how it looks both before and after you use the paper. Does it have patterns? Is it rough? Smooth? What colors do you see? Can you see sap? What about bugs?

Now try another tree. Does is have the same bark? If not, what does the new bark look and feel like?

An easy activity can create a lot of interest in a preschooler.
Helmets aren't needed, unless your preschooler loves to bike.
For more science related activities, go to  Science Sunday

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Melting old crayons

You may remember this from your childhood. Melting old crayons to make a new one.

Items needed:
1. Old crayons
2. Muffin tin
3. Foil muffin paper
4. Oven

Collect old pieces of crayons and place them in a foil lined muffin tin. It's fun to mix a variety of colors together. Preheat the oven to 225. Bake (melt) the crayons for approximately 20 minutes. Let cool until crayons become a solid. Take out of foil and use for coloring.

If you have muffin tins with different shapes, you can make shape crayons.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Learning to Lace

Learning to lace is fun and helps children develop fine motor skills.
Items needed:
1.Oak tag or cardboard from a cereal box
3.Hole puncher

Cut a large block letter from the oak tag or cereal box. The letter could be the first letter in your child's name. Next, use the hole puncher to make holes around the perimeter. Cut a length of yarn and roll a piece of tape on one end to stiffen it. Then show your child how to thread the yarn through the holes in and out until he's gone all the way around the letter or finished using the yarn.

Patricia’s background includes 25 years of teaching in the following grades: Preschool, kindergarten, first grade,third grade and sixth grade. She also taught Basic Spanish to kindergarten through fourth grade. Her family moved to Arizona from Ohio six years ago.Her oldest son's family lives 8 miles away so she gets to see her three year old granddaughter a lot to try out new ideas and books! Her youngest son, a handicapped adult, lives with her. She has devoted more time to writing these past six years and has published stories in a children’s magazine.Currently she works for Bright Hub as a writer and contributing editor in the Education Channel with a focus on lesson ideas for Preschool through middle school.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Memory Game

Memory game is a fun activity you might remember from childhood birthday parties.

1.On a tray, place a few items your child is familiar with.
2.Have you child touch and say the name of each item.
3.Place a kitchen towel over the tray, covering the items.
4.Tell your child to close his eyes or turn his head.
5.While he isn't looking, take away an item.
6.Uncover the tray.
7.Now ask your child to look again at the items and figure out which one is missing.

It's a good idea to do one item at a time. Once your child understands how to play and recalls which item is missing, try taking away two then three.

If your child is having trouble remembering, try taking an item away while he watches, allowing him to see. This sounds simple to adults, but to a child, this can still be a fun and challenging way to play.

Children love to test themselves and might even ask to switch roles with you.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spray Bottles

Do have a clean, empty spray bottle in the house? Fill it with water and watch your child have fun!

Inside Spraying.
With a rag and a spray bottle, your child can spray toys, chairs, tables even windows. He'll enjoy play time and as an extra bonus, you'll have help cleaning. Be sure to explain that soft furniture, such as couches, are off limits.

Outside Spraying
It's free range outside. Your child can spray sidewalks, rocks, gardens and toys. Discuss the difference between wet and dry. What do rocks look like before and after spraying>

Caution: Don't use a bottle that had chemicals in it. Find a clean bottle. If you don't have one at home, they're available in the hair section at most grocery stores.

Shape Pictures

Gluing shapes together to make a picture is a fun, educational activity, perfect for preschoolers.

Items needed.
1.Precut shapes out of construction paper (you'll need to cut out a few basic shapes before your child starts the project).
3.1 empty piece of construction paper on which your child will glue the shapes.

Ask your child what he can make with the shapes. Encourage his creativity.

A wonderful follow up to making shape pictures is to read Mouse Shapes, by Ellen Stoll Walsh.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fun with Water

Looking for new ideas on water play? Check out Pam Cannon's article about water activities.  The activities are not only fun, but also work on preschool skills such as counting, comparing, and creating.

Monday, August 23, 2010


The old standby volcano, made with baking soda and vinegar, is an exciting activity for a preschooler.

Building the volcano can be made many ways. The one pictured is with Playdough and Playdough container.

Playdough, Playdough container, bottle of vinegar, box of baking soda.

1.Remove all Playdough from the container.
2.Mold the Playdough around the container to make a volcano. Leave the top of the container open.
3.Pour a few tablespoons of baking soda into the container.
4. Pour a little vinegar onto the baking soda and watch the explosion.
5. Repeat as much as your child wants.

Thanks, Kids Matter
for reminding us how much fun this is.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Water Makes Music

Remember how much fun you had as a child tapping a spoon against a glass filled with water? Your preschooler will enjoy it as well.

Items needed:
spoon (try metal and plastic to hear the differences)
glass cups
small pitcher or plastic bottle of water.
cookie sheet to catch any spills. Makes clean up easier.

At a table or on the floor, place a few empty glasses on a cookie sheet. Fill the small pitcher with water. Now let your child pour water into the cups. Any amount will do. Now tap the cups gently with the spoon.

Encourage your child to listen to the difference between an empty and full cup. Try filling one halfway. Tap it. Fill it with more water and tap again. Notice any differences in the sounds? Were some higher pitched? Some lower? Can you tap a familiar tune?

Looking for more science activities? Check out Science Sunday.
A blog of at home science activities for a variety of ages.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Easy Salsa Recipe

It's tomato season! Here's an easy salsa recipe that your child can make.

1. Cut a ripe tomato into small pieces. Place in a wide bowl.

2. Take a potato masher and mash the tomato pieces over and over.

3. Add some cut corn (frozen or from the can).

4. If you have a lemon, squeeze a little into the bowl.

5. Sprinkle with sugar.

That's all. It's tasty and fun to make.