Inspiring your toddler's creativity

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 03:04pm
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You don’t need to spend a lot of money to inspire your child’s creativity. Being creative doesn’t have to start with expensive materials from the toy or art store.

Creating toys and activities for children from recyclable materials or "beautiful junk" is important for two reasons:

  • Common household materials are an inexpensive way to provide play opportunities for young children
  • Children's creativity and thinking skills can be developed at the same time that you are being an environmentally conscious parent

The following list can be used along with scissors, glue, yarn, paint and markers, in order to construct and create anything your child's imagination suggests:

egg cartons
milk cartons (all sizes)
plastic containers, bottles and jugs with lids
boxes (large and small)
aluminum pie plates
styrofoam trays
paper towel and toilet rolls
cardboard tubing
old wrapping paper
road maps
muffin tins
popsicle sticks
old, clean paint brushes
wooden clothes pegs
used envelopes
old Christmas cards
old pantyhose
paint chips/samples
brown paper bags
buttons (all colours, shapes and sizes)
egg shells
coffee cans and lids
empty film canisters
juice lids
carpet samples
spools; ribbon rolls
bottle caps
yarn; ribbons
magazines; catalogues; calendars
cloth scraps of different fabric
leather or suede remnants
lace, trim or rick rack
beads; old jewellery
wood scraps; dowels
discarded wallpaper sample books
inner tubes
pipe lengths
old newsprint

Use recycled materials from around your house to encourage your child’s imagination and creativity while having fun together! Visit the Activity Centre for lots of fun activities that you can do with your child to encourage his creativity. 

What articles from around your house have you used to inspire your child’s creativity? Share your ideas below!

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Help! My toddler doesn’t like to speak

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 05:13pm
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Some children seem quiet and reluctant to talk. Some don't naturally and easily use language to express their needs and wants, to comment on things, to get information or to entertain others. Other children may use language comfortably, but only in familiar situations. Being quiet in new situations is very common in children, particularly young ones. But you may be concerned that your child is too quiet, too much of the time.

There are many reasons that a child may be reluctant to speak. Two fairly common reasons are:

  • When placed in a new situation, your child may be worried about what to do, or be concerned about being away from home or from parents. For a child, deciding not to speak is one way to feel some control over an unfamiliar, somewhat scary situation.
  • Your child may feel pressured or embarrassed to speak, like the fear that many of us feel of talking in front of a crowd.

The important thing to remember is that your child isn't trying to embarrass you by not cooperating, or "acting dumb." She is just dealing with the situation as best as she can, so be patient and understanding.

If the situation doesn't improve, or gets worse - for example, you notice your child only talks to one parent, or not at all while at day care - it's time to get some help. Consult your child's physician, or call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

Does your child refuse to speak? Does he start talking after warming up to new people? Leave a comment below and share you experiences with other parents who are just like you!


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Creating a Smoke Free Environment for Your Baby Video

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2012 11:09am
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We have all heard about the dangers if we choose to smoke.  What are the risks of second hand or third hand smoke for babies and children? This video talks about

the risks of second hand and third hand smoke for children.  It offers strategies to help you as parents create a smoke free environment for your child.


 Video - Creating A Smoke Free Environment for Your Children

Used with Permission of Best Start Resource Centre Health Nexus http://www.beststart.org

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Preparing your toddler for a holiday dinner

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 04:16pm
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The ultimate goal of a family get together is to have a pleasant meal and enjoy each other's company. Stress occurs when young children misbehave, cause disruptions or don't comply with expectations. Our Comfort, Play & Teach approach can help you make the dinner more enjoyable for all.

You comfort your toddler when you recognize and support his needs, showing him that you respect and value him as a separate person. Preparing your toddler ahead of time for the dinner will help him feel a sense of security and comfort:

  • Tell him who will be coming for dinner.
  • Inform him that there will be lots of new and different foods to try.
  • Warn him that the meal will take a long time because grownups like to talk.

You can also prevent problems and comfort your toddler by understanding what is considered reasonable behaviour for this situation and for your child's age. For instance, it is unreasonable to expect a toddler to sit in a highchair or at the table for more than 20-30 minutes without wanting to be the centre of attention. By reading his signals and taking certain measures, you can prevent temper tantrums or outbursts from happening:

  • Give your child something nutritious to eat before the holiday dinner. That way, even if he doesn't want to try the foods being served, he will not feel too hungry.
  • Allow him to come and go from the table. He can play nearby in between courses and join the family when he is ready to eat some more.

Have some of his favourite activities ready beforehand, e.g. blocks, cars, crayons and paper. This way you can supervise and interact from a distance as he plays without causing too much disruption at the table.

Have you had dinner time successes or disasters with your toddler? Let us know by sharing your comment below!

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