Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How puppets can help with social skills

Puppets are a common device for playtime, and it's easy to see how children love to play together with puppets.  Puppets are also a great example of learning through play.  But what you might not realize is how helpful puppets can be in helping to teach children social skills, such as conflict resolution.

The use of puppets can also help with modeling good classroom behaviors, like asking a teacher for help.  This great article explains how these concepts are achieved, and how teachers prepare an effective and fun puppet show for your child.  Who knew puppets could be so beneficial?

Source: "Circle Time Puppets - Teaching Social Skills" Play and Children's Learning in the Classroom, Julia Luckenbill. Web.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The importance of play-based learning

A play-based learning environment may just be the best thing for your child's skills and academic success.  The creating, questioning, imitating, dreaming, and sharing are a child's first connections to the world that transcends book-learning and encourages the child to actively engage with people and ideas.  

This article explains so many of the key points of play-based learning and why it's beneficial for children, and it's definitely worth a read!

Source: "Want to get your kids into college?  Let them Play." CNN Opinion. Erika Christakis, Nicholas Christakis. Web. 29 Dec. 2009.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On-the-go coversation games

Since my kids were small, we've played a handful of games in the car on the way to work, school, and on errands.  It's amazing how fun they still are after several years!  These games are often a great way to get my children to converse with me, and for me to connect with them, so I don't feel like just a chauffeur!  Our favorites are "guess this character" and reading half of a road sign so they can guess the other half.  Here's another idea that's great for on-the-go fun that will have you and your child talking!  Thanks to Family Fun magazine for this idea.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Celebrate the First Day of Summer

Summer is officially here!  Celebrate with these awesome backyard BBQ and grilled salad ideas.  You'll find so many recipes for a variety of meat and vegetable burgers, sides, and salads like that will have you wanting to grill a lot more often this summer!  These delicious recipes are courtesy of


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rescue Han Solo!

Here's an awesome 'Lego Star Wars Science' experiment that is likely more fun than watching the
movie!  This would be perfect for Dads that love to instill a little Star Wars knowledge into their child, and a great way to have fun in preparation for Father's Day on June 15th.

Thanks to Fun-a-Day for this project!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tips to limit screen time at home

Here are some tips on how to balance the use of electronic devices and get your preschooler moving and enjoying outside time.

  1. Set some time aside and unplug your home each day!  Use that time and go outside.  Garden, ride bikes, or even draw pictures outside as a family. 
  2. There's an app for that! Limit screen use with the help of an app!  Check out the TimeLock Time Limit app in the iTunes store. 
  3. Set up a incentive system and encourage your child to earn their electronic time to play.  Encourage your to earn time by making a healthy food choice, helping around the house or helping with the family pet could potentially earn your child a minute of electronic time. 
  4. Children learn by example!  Spending time relaxing and catching up on your favorite tv shows or computer games may send the message that it's okay for your child to spend time of their favorite computer games too. 
  5. Have a start and an end time.  An ideal time for preschoolers to enjoy electronics is 15-30 minutes a day. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter fun with your little one!

With the Easter holiday fast approaching, we'd like to feature three great Easter activities that you and your child will love to do this weekend!

Easter egg dyeing
This site has some great tips when coloring eggs.  Using a whisk to hold the egg is brilliant!  Also, visit McCormick's color wash recipe for more great ideas and how-to videos.
Egg hunt
Here's a great idea of incorporating a scavenger hunt style to this year's Easter egg hunt.  Kids will love the extra fun that the clues will bring!

Printable bunny mask
This quick craft activity will be so much fun to decorate and show off your child's Easter spirit!  

Enjoy your weekend, and to all of our CCOA families, we wish you a Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

5 must-have items for travel

When traveling with kids by plane or by car, the contents of your carry-on or diaper bag can easily make or break your family trip. Keep everyone happy on your family vacation this Spring or Summer by making sure your everyday parenting essentials are packed and within easy reach, and add a few extras that will make the ride a little smoother for everyone. We guarantee that these 5 suggestions can be traveling lifesavers.

1.  Super cool art supplies.

Throwing a few crayons into your bag to occupy the kids while dining out is likely second nature to you by now. When traveling, you’ll need to bring in the bigger guns! We love Eeboo Pattern Scratch Paper and your kids will, too. With the provided tool, they scratch off the paper’s black coating to reveal surprising colors and designs – continuous surprises every time they make a mark will keep them doodling far longer than they do with their usual art supplies.

2.  A little something to keep the littlest one happy.

Babies need more than just warm bottles and clean diapers to make them happy on a long flight or car ride. Don’t forget to include some soothing entertainment in your bag. Teething babies will dig the 100 percent Silicone beads on the Chewbeads Mulberry Teether You can breathe easy knowing that the beads are free of BPA, phthalates, cadmium, lead or any metal. The colorful “bracelet” is so cute, you can easily get away with sliding one on your wrist to have at the ready. 

3.  Germ prevention.

Think of all the places little hands will touch in a single day of traveling  – door handles, airplane trays, high chairs, restaurant tables, even your handbag that’s been perched next to your feet on a well-traveled commuter train or plane. Ugh! Do your best to keep germs at bay by squirting busy hands with an all-natural hand sanitizer that kill the bugs without spreading equally nasty chemicals.

4.  Mini-backpacks loaded with loot.

The experts at Conde Traveler suggest giving each child their own backpack to carry. Before they leave home, load it with loot you can buy from the $1 isle, including toys and activities to keep kids busy on the plane or in the car. Your best bet are stickers, coloring books, mini notebooks, and trinkets. Make a deal with the kids before you leave home – the content is theirs as long as they carry the bag and don’t open it until you give them the green light. Check out these Skip Hop Zoo Pack Backpacks!

5.  Emergency kit.

No matter how much you hover, someone is bound to end up with a scraped knee, itchy bug bite, or a fever… and hopefully nothing more serious. Be prepared by having a mini first aid kit stashed in your bag. The Red Cross has a handy list of what to include in a standard first aid kit for the family. When traveling with little kids, remember to include Baby Tylenol, Benadryl for an allergic reaction and plenty of bandaids. Turn to quick ship sources for a handy take-along first aid kit designed for easy travel.

Happy travels!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sweetheart cherry pies

What better way to say "I love you" to the loves in your life then by baking these beautiful, tasty treats?  Sarah at Cake Student shares this wonderful recipe for you to enjoy.


  • pie dough
  • fresh cherries, chopped
  • ricotta cheese
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • 1 TBSP butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Roll out your pie dough.  Cut out shapes with cookie cutter.
  3. Sprinkle and stir the sugar with the chopped cherries in a bowl.
  4. Lay out your heart cut outs on the baking sheet. Spoon on some fresh ricotta cheese, then spoon on the cherries. Lay down the top dough, seal to press with a fork.
  5. Brush the top with melted butter.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until mini hearts are golden brown. The baking time will largely depend on the thickness of your pastry dough and your oven. Just keep close watch.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Happy Valentine's Day!