Category Archives: Preschoolers

Guest Post: My Favorite Preschool Age Toys for the Pandemic Age

[Note: This post was written by KFDC contributor Emily Moise, a local mom, writer, and navigator of pandemic life with two young children.]

 

It’s that point in the pandemic winter where I just want all the things that will keep my little ones busy. And I mean busy quickly, independently, and for extended periods of time. The allure of the @busytoddler DIY sensory and creative play has faded as pandemic-fatigue has left me with little set-up and clean-up energy to expend. My son is also in the “sudden burst of throwing everything” phase. He can have his rice sensory bin this summer, outdoors.

Over the past year, my almost 2 and 3.5 year-olds have gone through many play phases and explorations. My daughter’s puzzle obsession has left us with cabinets full of them for another day. Our crafts corner is fully stocked, waiting for the moment it will finally be utilized unprompted. A supply of Legos is ready for its heyday, and stronger hands. Only a short list of items have risen to the top for us, consistently used eagerly and unsolicited.    Here are my tried and true items for preschoolers.

 

Climbing Rope Swing

This rope swing may be my best purchase of 2020. I had seen them around my neighborhood hanging from large trees — which we don’t have. After some assurance from Pinterest that they could be used indoors, we installed one in our basement this past fall. My 3-year-old has sustained enthusiasm for it since then, and even sneaks off downstairs to use it unprompted. It has a long life ahead holding up to 120 lbs. 

 

Magnetic Tiles

Magnetic tiles have been a household favorite for awhile but made a big resurgence when my son was old enough to join in — aside from being the tower destroyer. Now, both kids will play with these together for up to an hour. We recently added a set with gears to our collection, plus some window and door tiles, and are on the lookout for more accessory sets like this

 

Melissa & Doug Activity Pads

This brand is a classic for a reason! Their activity pads are my favorites, giving us lots of extended and/or independent play. My kids can do these Scissor Skills activities (with assistance) for an oddly long time, and do these reusable Puffy Sticker books over and over again. These Seek & Find sticker pads are my go-to when I need some uninterrupted time, and this one has quiet time written all over it. The painting pads with built in watercolors like this are genius. 

 

Board & Card Games

We’ve tried a dozen games during the past year but only a few are in heavy rotation. The trick has been finding ones that don’t exclude my youngest child, and bonus points when it’s mildly entertaining for the grown-ups. Zingo is as good as you’ve heard. We’ve had success teaching our little ones to play Go Fish, even if they are playing with open hands. Disney’s Eye Found It! is a winner, and there is a board version.

 

Playdoh

I had an aha moment with Playdoh at the start of the pandemic but it went out of favor after I realized it had to be cleaned up and capped — quickly — to avoid drying out, and also monitored to make sure someone didn’t smush ten new colors into one brown blob. After trying the alternatives, I brought the ‘doh back into the rotation, and I get it again. It just works so well for all preschool ages, especially if you add the right tools to the mix. 

 

Bath Puzzles

At some point, every parent realizes that bath toys are no good. The mold is annoying at best and dangerous at worst. I recently discovered bath puzzles with foam pieces that stick to the tub and walls without holes to collect or squirt water. Perfect for a much-needed extended bath time! After a quick search, I have a few more on my wish list like this alphabet set and this numbers set. This one is cute too.

 

Honorable Mentions

Building toy alternatives like Flower Gardens and LeapBuilders products (more toddler-friendly than Duplo’s) have given us lots of independent play. My eldest preschooler enjoys workbooks, particularly the mazes which don’t require much assistance, and the dry erase ones where mistakes are welcome. 

 

*What are your go-to items? Share in the comments and help a mom out!

 

 

 

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Filed under Coronavirus, COVID-19, Educational, Guest Post, Indoor Play, Preschoolers, Social Distancing, Toddlers

Learn About Washington Waldorf School at a Virtual Open House

 

This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, Preschoolers, Schools, Social Distancing, Virtual Programs

Interviewing a Child Care Provider — 8 Questions to Ask to Keep Your Child Safe

[Note: This is a Sponsored Guest Post contributed by Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool ahead of a new center opening at National Landing.]

 

You want to find the best child care option for your child while ensuring health and safety. Choosing a provider is a major decision under normal circumstances; finding child care during a pandemic means there are a whole host of additional things to consider and evaluate. Whether you’re interviewing a private nanny, occasional sitter, or child care center, ask these eight questions.

1. What COVID-19 protocols do you have in place?
If you’re looking at a child care center, be sure to ask questions that will make you feel more comfortable, such as:

  • Do you perform daily health screens — including temperature checks — on parents, children, and staff?
  • Are teachers and staff required to wear masks?
  • Are group sizes reduced and kept consistent?
  • Does the center have specific cleaning, sanitizing, and hand-washing practices throughout the day and after the center closes each night?

And if you’re considering a private provider, gauge their stance on all of the above, too.

2. Do you have current first aid and CPR training certifications?
When it comes to finding child care that you trust, you’ll want to double check that the provider holds first aid and CPR certifications, and that they’re renewed on a regular basis. Just in case the unthinkable happens, you want your child to be in good, capable hands.

3. How do you handle cleaning and sanitizing?
Today, these two practices are critical. Nannies and sitters don’t typically handle housekeeping duties, but they should be willing to clean up anything that happens under their watch (think: spilled liquids, any bodily fluids, or any meal-related mess). Plus, you’ll probably want them to disinfect surfaces that they come into contact with while they’re in your home. At a child care center, you’ll want to make sure strict cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting policies are followed for toys, cots, bedding, surfaces, diapering areas and bathrooms, and other things that everyone touches, like doorknobs and light switches. Ask about any additional protocols they’ve implemented in response to the pandemic, and make sure the provider you choose will help teach your child good hygiene practices in an effective and age-appropriate way.

4. What are your outdoor policies?
When it’s time to go outside, make sure the provider has weather-appropriate policies — your child should have sunscreen on, be dressed for the weather in appropriate clothing and footwear, and have access to shade and drinking water. Plus, you’ll want to make sure physical distancing guidelines are followed — if you’re looking at a center, do they restrict access to outdoor spaces to one group at a time?

5. What do you do when a child misbehaves?
Find out how the provider handles discipline. All children make mistakes, and you want to ensure the provider uses positive techniques — such as redirection, guidance, conflict resolution, and constructive discussions — that will help prevent problematic behavior in the future.

6. How do you address children’s unique needs?
Does your child have a severe food allergy? Allergic to bee stings? Your provider should be trained on how to use an EpiPen and other necessary medication, should feel comfortable acting in case of an emergency, and have a solid escalation plan, if necessary.

7. Have you ever had to deal with a child care emergency? What did you do?
The answer to this question will give you a feel for how the provider might act under pressure in a potentially scary situation. Listen for things like, “called 911,” “called poison control,” “called parents,” “performed the Heimlich maneuver,” and more.

8. What is the policy for sick or mildly ill children?
If your child spikes a fever or gets the stomach bug under the provider’s care, you want to make sure that he or she will be kept comfortable and tended to until you can come home or pick up. Ensure that the provider is willing to administer medication when necessary. What is the child care center’s exclusion policy, for both children and staff, should someone test positive for COVID-19?

 

Finding a child care provider who will keep your child healthy and safe is critical for your little one’s wellbeing, and your peace of mind. Ask these eight questions during the interview process to make sure you find a provider you can trust.

Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols at Bright Horizons
Learn about the enhanced measures we’ve put in place at our centers across the country. And for a full checklist of questions to ask as you evaluate child care, download our health and safety child care checklist for parents.

To learn about enrollment opportunities at our newest location, Bright Horizons at National Landing, call 703-647-1181 today!

Bright Horizons at National Landing
3550 South Clark Street
Suite 100 
Arlington VA 22202
[email protected]
www.facebook.com/BHatNationalLanding

 

This post is sponsored by Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

 

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Filed under Child Care, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Daycare, Preschoolers, Toddlers, Virginia

Keep Kids Moving this Summer with CityDance Online Camps!


This post is sponsored by CityDance, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2020, Camp, Class, Gradeschoolers, Middle Schoolers, Preschoolers, Social Distancing, Summer, Teens