Rhythm, beat, excitement. That's the philosophy of Francine Cooper, a mother and home child care provider, in Cleveland. To teach children how to spell their names, she puts the letters to a beat — something between a cheer and a song — and spells it out. "We sing about everything we do to create learning," Cooper says. "We make it fun and exciting. ... Before they know it, they've learned to not only spell their names but all of the other names as well."
Bird feeders in the Age of Peanut Allergies //
Remember those pine cone bird feeders many of us made as kids? We'd spread peanut butter on a pine cone, roll it in birdseed and hang it outside to see how many different kinds of birds would stop by. But today, with peanut allergies tripling in the United States from 1997 to 2008, the activity seems to be on the endangered species list. Not to fear, says Phoebe Atkinson, education director at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. "Make a paste out of cornmeal, Crisco and a little flour," Atkinson says. "Paste it on a pine cone; then roll it in birdseed." Ingredients in birdseed, including sunflower seeds, are not nuts, but if your child has a severe nut allergy, check with your doctor first.
Make A Music Video //
Every Christmas, Thea Wilson's children used to pick out a favorite song and create a music video complete with an original dance as a gift to all family members. "It was a hoot!" says Wilson, director of early childhood education at Cleveland Music School Settlement.
With easy access to digital video cameras or cell phone cameras, you can select a song together, create a dance, film and produce it. And it doesn't need to even be a holiday. Create one for Grandma's birthday or just because it's a snow day from school. And it's even cheaper now because you can upload the video to YouTube and send family and friends the link, rather than duplicating and mailing tapes or DVDs.