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    Parent Post November 2014 Edition

    Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas

    A few of you asked if we could provide some ideas for gifts for children that are not the typical mass-marketed gifts.  Here is a list of toys we know our children love and ideas to enhance them:

    • Blocks - there's nothing like them!  Our children enjoy the addition of plastic animals or people, felt and fabric pieces, small vehicles, and items from nature (think twigs, rocks, seashells, etc.) to the blocks.
    • Playdough - it's calming and relaxing.  We have a recipe for making it at home that I will list below, but there is nothing wrong with commercially made dough.  Our children enjoy the addition of twigs, birthday candles, cinnamon sticks, etc. to the dough.   We use cookie cutters, pizza cutters, rolling pins, and scissors with our dough.  In fact, using scissors with playdough is a great way to introduce scissors skills to children.  
    • Commercial-type building/connecting materials such as Legos, Duplos, Magnatiles, Kynex, etc.
    • A great building material for the bathtub...pvc pipe!
    • And speaking of's great for rolling marbles and balls...maybe your child is old enough to get his/her first set of marbles?  (Mailing tubes are fun too!)
    • Dress-up clothes - scavenging Goodwill for these can often bring great results.
    • Several excellent favorites:  books, puzzles, board games.  There are board games appropriate for young children - they make for great family time.  Since our children are perpetually progressing in their development, they will always need and appreciate a more challenging puzzle. 
    • Art and craft supplies.  Go beyond paper...get "fun" paper!  Stickers, glitter glue, sequins, feathers, etc.  These are all loved for making new creations.  
    • Musical instruments - shakers, sticks, drums...all loved by our children.
    • Cooking supplies and utensils.  Maybe an apron to help keep clean?  Or maybe a children's cookbook?  Children really do enjoy cooking.
    • Or perhaps you want to start a new tradition?  Some children look forward to a new pair of pajamas, or really cool socks, fun slippers, or a new set of neat mittens at this time of year.
    If you have a great gift idea to share, please post it our on Facebook page.

    Exam Week, January Term, and Spring Semester Sign-Up Information

    For those of you who have previously used the center, you probably remember that your contract for care ends on the last class day of the fall semester and that we re-enroll for care for the spring semester.  You also know that care provided during exam week and the January term is a part of a “special sign-up” and that if you do not need care during those times you simply don’t sign up in those areas – we won’t expect your child and you will not be billed. In the past we used two processes for this: exam week sign-up was on the front counter and spring and January term was a part of a contract that was placed on your child’s locker.  I hope to try something new: in early November I will post on your child’s locker a form that includes all three – exam week in December, January 2015 term, and the spring 2015 contract.  You will have the opportunity to do all of your upcoming scheduling in one fell swoop.  Hopefully this will make sense and be easier for everyone.  And for those of you who are new to the center, welcome to this new adventure in scheduling!

    Please note on the new form the hours of operation for the three sessions: during January term we will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  During exam week and spring semester we will follow our regular schedule of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

    This is all very new – please see Sue with any questions you may have concerning it.  

    Playdough Recipe

    You will need the following ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 T. oil, 2 t. cream of tartar, and 1 cup water.  Heat the oil in a saucepan.  Add other ingredients.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture looks like mashed potatoes.  Drop the dough onto waxed paper and when cool enough to handle, knead it for a few minutes.  Food coloring can be added to enhance the color and extracts, such as peppermint or cinnamon, can be added to enhance the smell.  These can be added at the end or when placing the ingredients in the saucepan.  Store playdough in an airtight container.  

    Parent-Teacher Conferences

    Thanks to those of you who took part in parent-teacher conferences.  It's always nice to have that uninterrupted time to chat with you.