Development

Sensory Balloons: Sensory Play Craft for Babies and Toddlers

During the last Intellidance Babies class of every session, we have a sensory day. There are finger paints, a ball pit, a sensory blanket, musical instruments, and an assortment of other sensory-related materials. As my fall session was coming to an end, I wanted to start to prepare for our sensory day. I thought it would be novel for the babies to have something they could hold in their hands that felt different. It needed to be about the same size as an egg shaker since that’s about all they can hold in their hands, and the sensory objects inside it needed to be protected from tiny mouths.

Eleanor and I decided to create sensory balloons. Now, I know that a balloon doesn’t exactly sound like the safest object to be giving a baby, but they aren’t inflated, so they can’t pop. And, they are also being supervised by their caregivers, so there is little risk of the babies injuring themselves. That being said, I would never leave a baby alone with one of these sensory balloons! Here’s how we went about creating them:

How to pick gifts for children ages 0-3

Toys, toys, toys! During the holiday season parents are surrounded by thousands of options that can quickly make giving the gift of play overwhelming.  Understanding your child’s developmental stage can help you focus your search on toys that your child will not only enjoy, but will also support their continued growth.

0-6 months:

During the first six months of life babies are working on pre-locomotor development: vision and spine development, and hand-eye coordination. Simple toys that can be enjoyed by grasping, mouthing, and observing are most beneficial for young babies.

Pomegranate Fun: A Fine Motor Snack for Toddlers

Looking for a finger food for your little one that is both tasty and nutritious?  Pomegranates are a great alternative to common snacks, such as Cheerios, that caregivers often place in front of their babies at mealtime.  Not only are they delicious, they also have many nutritional and developmental benefits.

 “Pom poms”, as my 12 month old son refers to them as, are often labeled as a superfood.  They are jam packed with vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber.  Pomegranates are also a great source of antioxidants which are responsible for protecting the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. 

Sleep Matters: Interview with Sleep Haven

When my husband and I became first time parents the thing I remember us saying over and over again was how tired we were. Actually, utterly exhausted would have been more accurate. It's not like people hadn't warned us. We had read many books, visited hundreds of websites, and done prenatal classes that all made it very clear: we would be experiencing sleep deprivation. But nothing could have prepared us for the reality of how challenging lack of sleep coupled with the anxiety of figuring out how to care for our new daughter would be.

What Does Peace Feel Like Through the Eyes of Your Child

With November upon us, everyone is thinking about Remembrance Day and those who have given their lives so we may have our freedom. Often, I’ve found it difficult to explain Remembrance Day to the young students I’ve taught. For them, they haven’t seen the daily effects that wars have on families, homes, and countries. They are so far removed from World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War that it’s difficult for them to make a connection. I have found that teaching our children about peace has been a very effective tool as they can apply it to their everyday lives. Peace in the classroom, on the playground, and in their homes.

The Benefits of Using Sign Language with Your Child

“Where are we going?”

“We’re going swimming.”

“Is Grandma coming?”

“No, Grandma’s at home.”

“I’m hungry.”

“Do you want a snack?”

“Yes, please.”

This is the type of conversation I have with my daughter, Eleanor, who will be seventeen months old next week. From birth, she has been learning American Sign Language (ASL), and it has opened up a whole new world of communication for us and our family.

Touch and your Child's Development

When a baby is born, more often than not, doctors will immediately place the infant on the mother’s chest. These first moments of skin-to-skin contact between mother and child begin to nurture the infant’s emotional, physical and cognitive development, while strengthening the infant-caregiver bond.

Touch can be a very powerful parenting tool, especially during the newborn stage. When babies cry, they release a stress hormone, cortisol, which slows brain growth and development. Newborn babies who are held often cry less (thus releasing less cortisol) and sleep more. This relaxed state facilitates early brain development.

Nurturing your child's Emotional Intelligence

Intelligence quotient (IQ) and academic achievement are often focused upon indicators of potential success. However, they are not the only factors that determine how successful and happy a person will be in the future. Our ability to get along with others and maneuver through social situations can have just as much influence on our success. As parents, we can support our children’s future potential by developing their emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to identify, assess and control the emotions of oneself, of others and of groups. It has been greatly debated if and how emotional intelligence can be measured like IQ, however it is generally agreed upon that people with greater EI are more successful.

Physical Activity Recommendations for Infants

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and Participaction have just released their Physical Activity Guidelines for Ages 0-4. This is great news for professionals like myself who have a mandate to increase awareness about the importance of daily movement and play for children.

Although it may seem redundant to put in place guidelines for physical activity for young children who seem to constantly be on the go, there is an increasing prevalence of digital play (TV, computers, video games, and touch devices) being marketed to younger and younger children.

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