Saturday, March 18, 2017

Keep Learning During Breaks From School With LeapStart

March is National Reading Month, Spring Break and soon the Easter holidays. Although you will have planned family activities, why not keep learning in this off-time from school? Whether your child is in preschool, kindergarten or the primary grades, LeapStart Interactive Learning Systems will keep the "learning" during your holiday breaks.  

Jam-packed with school and life skills for curious 2-7 year olds, the LeapStart activity books are designed to help build key skills and challenge kids to get ready for their next step in learning. The system works with a library of 16 re-playable activity books that get kids excited about a multitude of concepts from the ABCs, numbers, shapes and colors to reading, writing, social skills, science, technology, engineering, math and many more. Both LeapStart platforms work with all four levels of activity books for complete interchangeability and ability to find just the right level for each set of skills.

The LeapStart interactive learning systems include a portable kid-tough device with a downloadable Parent Guide that fosters the development of kids ages 2-7 with tips, tricks, and activities that parents and kids can do together. Each system comes with a sampler book: Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten designed for the younger platform and Kindergarten and 1st Grade designed for the older platform. Availability LeapStart Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten system (MSRP $39.99, ages 2-4) and LeapStart Kindergarten & 1st Grade system (MSRP $39.99, ages 5-7) as well as the 16 LeapStart Activity books (MSRP $12.99 each, ages 2-7) are available at major retail locations and online in the U.S.

I love this toy as you can upgrade with a variety of additional booklets (each sold separately) engaging your child in learning and stepping up to new skills. LeapStart is coming into my home for the spring holidays and continued use during the long summer months. Learning can be fun with the right tools -- from simple problems to critical thinking and even STEM learning. I thank LeapFrog for making such an innovative learning toy.

Leapstart on Amazon

Until later -- Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links or advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you informative and interesting content. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

How Do You Amuse the Kids on St. Patrick's Day?

Calling all teachers and parents:

Lads and lassies, get ready to celebrate a “wee-bit of fun” this March 17th on St. Patrick’s Day. 

Doing the shamrock stomp:  (baby & toddler)
Put on some music (like an Irish jig or McNamara’s Band) and invite your child to dance along with you.  For young babies, hold them in your arms while you dance.  Encourage him to come up with a variety of ways to move to the music.  To do the “Shamrock Stomp”, cut out large shamrock shapes from green construction paper.  Tape these to the floor.  Start the music and have your child move and jump from shamrock to shamrock.  This is a fun way for your youngster to express himself on St. Patrick’s Day and great for practicing large motor skills.  Masking tape on the floor can be another entertaining movement game.  Stick the tape on the floor to make a design, such as a zigzag, a circle, triangle or a star.  Let your child move along, over and around the lines as they please.

Click here to purchase this CD

How about the shamrock shimmy?  (preschool+)
Here’s a fun locomotion game to play with your child.  It’s even better if you can gather other family members or friends.  Cut several small shamrocks from green construction paper.  Write instructions on the one side like:  hop like a bunny, gallop like a horse, crawl like a snake, walk like an elephant, whistle like a leprechaun,  skip, walk backwards, etc.  Place these instructional shamrocks in a container on the other side of the room.  Play this like a relay race, as the first person runs to the pile, takes a shamrock and does what it says while returning to his/her team, then sits down. Station an adult to help read the instructions.  The next team member proceeds the same way until everyone has a turn.  Another fun St. Paddy game is “Irish Hot Potato.”  Sit all players in a circle.  Hand one child a potato.  Explain that when the music begins they will pass the potato to the person on their right.  When the music stops whoever’s holding the potato scoots out of the circle and playing resumes. Who will end up in the circle alone with the potato? Play some Celtic or Irish Jig music to get into the spirit, although any music will do.

Cover photo courtesy of Tumisu, CC0 Public Domain,

Quick shopping for materials you will need for these activities:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Take Time to Read on a Winter Day

Whether you are by the fireside or poolside, nothing beats a good book on a winter’s day. For children in the north, it’s fun reading about experiences in the snow and cold, however, for children in the south, they can read about what they are missing and have fun too through the magic of books.
Here are a few books to try:

  • A Really Good Snowman by Daniel J. Mahoney (Clarion)
  • Winter’s Gift written and illustrated by Jane Monroe Donovan (Sleeping Bear Press)
  • Snowball Fight by Jimmy Fallon (Dutton Children’s Books)
  • Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Robert’s Snow by Grace Lin (Viking)
  • The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming (Henry Holt & Co.)
  • It’s Winter (Celebrate the Seasons) by Linda Glaser (Millbrook Press)
  • Winter Friends by Carl R. Sams & Jean Stoick (Carl R. Sams II Photography)
  • Dream Snow by Eric Carle (Philomel)
  • The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett (Putnam Juvenile)
Find these books and more about winter on

Do you feel like making some snowmen crafts? Check out these fun ideas!

    I hope you and your children enjoy these winter books and craft suggestions. Please feel free to comment below and add some of your wintry favorites.

    (Books first posted on Caring for Kids/ EverydayTLC by Tania Cowling)

    Sunday, February 12, 2017

    3 Valentine Activities for February 14th

    It's February, and love is in the air. What greater love is there than the love of a child? So whether you are expecting the birth of your child or already enjoying the many hugs and kisses of a little one, Valentine's Day is the perfect time to celebrate. Here are some fun and easy Valentine's Day ideas to help with building early memories with your child this holiday season.
    For Expecting Parents:

    This creative little gift is especially designed for expectant parents. Remember those silly messages found on candy hearts you used to eat in grade school? For fun, try personalizing your own messages on cut out construction paper hearts for your loved one! "Back Massage," "Belly Rub," "Midnight Run for Snacks," or "Extra Smiles" are just a few ideas for fun heart sayings. The paper hearts don't taste like candy, but guaranteed to bring grins to the recipient.

    Finger Paint With Your Baby:
    The use of non-toxic paints offers older babies endless possibilities for making discoveries and exploring. A red (pink) heart picture is perfect for Valentine’s Day and fun to do with your child using pudding paint. Mix one box of instant vanilla pudding according to directions on the package. Add drops of red food coloring to achieve the desired color. Hand on hand, help your baby fingerpaint on freezer paper or paper plates. When dry, cut the paper into a heart-shape. Fingerpainting is such an open-ended activity—the process of painting is more important than the finished project. Take time to tickle the senses—enjoy the feel of this paint, smell it and if your baby tries to take a taste, it’s OK-- it’s pudding!

    Fun With Toddlers:
    Take several large appliance boxes and open all the tops and bottoms. Using heavy tape, attach all the boxes together making sure the inside flaps are securely taped and smooth. Invite your toddler to decorate the outside of the boxes in his own way with lots of scribbled hearts and designs using crayons and markers. Valentine stickers may aid in the decorating and toddlers just love them. Write “Tunnel of Love” on the outside. Encourage your little one to crawl through the tunnel—you may just want to follow him!
    Enjoy your holiday and happy parenting,
    Tania :)
    Photos courtesy of geralt, photoshop Tofs, Moscow Moms, CC0 Public Domain,

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017

    February is Dental Health Care Month

    With my oldest grandchild losing baby teeth and getting his first permanent teeth to my youngest grandson cutting his baby molars -- I thought it's fitting to include some ways to teach preschoolers about dental health and ways to take care of their pearly whites. First, parents need to understand how important it is to visit the dentist at an early age to insure that your child's baby teeth come in properly. And, that the kiddos care for their teeth so permanent teeth are strong and shiny.

    Teaching young children about important matters in the health field is best done through interactive activities. Read on for some fun dental health activities to do at home or school.

    Reading books about dental health is fun for young children who learn from friendly characters who deliver the message about taking care of teeth. It also wouldn't hurt to have a "cool" looking toothbrush to lure the kids into happy brushing!

    Since February is National Dental Health Care Month, take the time to read some entertaining and informative books about dental care and teeth. And, stock up on the supplies that will help your little ones get into the good habit of brushing.

    Until later~~~
    Happy Parenting,

    Book cover photos courtesy of
    Photo courtesy of woodypino, CC0 Public Domain,

    Thursday, February 2, 2017

    Valentine Crafts for the Young

    It's coming on February 14th. Time to get started on Valentine crafts. Here are a few to try.

    I know your children make Valentines in school and daycare, but there is nothing like getting out the art supplies and creating memorable decorations and gifts with your little one at home. This is something I cherished with my children and now my grandkids. Kids are only young once, savor every moment.

    CD Photo Magnet—

    This is a project you and your child can make for gifts and recipients can truly enjoy.  Recycle old CD’s (or the ones you get in the mail). Glue a picture of your child on the front, in the center.  With a colorful paint pen, write, “Your Love Makes My Heart Sing” around the disk. Decorate with cute little hearts, drawn freehand or you can use stickers. Attach a small piece of adhesive magnetic tape to the backside of the disk. This tape is easily found in craft stores.  Just think; this project idea can be used for multiple holidays—just by changing colors and decorative designs.  It’s also a craft project that older children may enjoy making themselves!

    Everybody Loves A T-Shirt!

    How about one with meaning? You can use this technique on canvas bags, baseball caps, and hand towels too. Use your imagination and have fun!  With a fabric paint marker write, “Behind every hand is a heart that loves Dad” (or Grandma, or whomever the shirt is for).  Gently paint the hands of your child with fabric paint and press them on any area of the shirt.  Use a variety of colors and allow the shirt to dry.  Make sure to wash your child’s hands thoroughly.  For an added touch, date the shirt with a laundry marker or fabric paint marker.

    Making Tie-Dyed Valentines—

    A tie-dyed print doesn’t have to be messy.  Here is a way to get this same effect using simple art materials.  Flatten a white coffee filter and place it onto a sheet of cardboard or anything that will protect your table.  Invite your child to draw Valentine designs (actually scribbles will do) onto the filter with washable color markers covering a vast surface.  Fold the filter into quarters and dip it into cold water for just a second.  Your child will be amazed as he/she sees the colors blend.  Open the filter and lay it flat to dry.  When completely dry, show your child how to cut hearts from this unique paper.

    Spend quality time bonding and making memorable crafts for this holiday. They are fun too!
    Happy Parenting,

    Contact me for republication of any part of this blog post with a link back to Creative Preschool Time 

    Saturday, January 28, 2017

    The Chinese New Year: Year of the Rooster

    The Chinese New Year 2017 is the Year of the Rooster according to the Chinese Zodiac. It started Friday, January 27, 2017, and ends February 2nd. This is a fun holiday to celebrate with your children even if you are not of the Chinese descent.

    Here are a couple articles to explain the holiday and activities you can partake with your children.

    Chinese New Year Traditions (Holidays Helper)

    The Chinese New Year is the most important and festive holiday by the Chinese people. It is celebrated on the first day of the lunar calendar (with the beginning of the New Moon) anywhere from January 21 to February 19. Each Chinese year is represented by a repeated cycle of 12 animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. In 2015, the Chinese New Year begins on February 19, 2015 and is the Year of the Goat/Sheep.
    As part of the Chinese New Year celebration, presents are bought, decorations adorn the homes, special foods are made, and new clothing is worn. Days before the holiday, Chinese families are busy preparing their homes with a thorough cleaning. The cleaning rids the bad luck and allows good luck to enter. Brooms are put away on New Year’s Eve, so good luck can’t be swept away. Since the color red is a symbol of happiness to the Chinese, you will see many homes with red paint trims.

    Teaching Your Kindergarten Class About the Chinese New Year (Bright Hub Education)
    Chinese people consider The Chinese New Year as the most important and festive holiday. It is celebrated on the first day of the lunar calendar (with the beginning of the New Moon) anywhere from January 21 to February 19. These activities will help students understand the holiday.
    • Twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac represent each year and continue with a repeated cycle including the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. In 2017, the Chinese New Year begins on January 27, 2017 and ends on February 2. It is the Year of the Rooster.

    Sunday, January 22, 2017

    A New and Improved Illumibowl Makes Potty Visits Fun

    Hi friends,

    I'm back again raving about Illumibowl because they now have a new and improved version. I was given the privilege to review this awesome product in August 2016 and now I like this newer advancement even better. Making trips to the bathroom at night has been easier (no need to put on the bright lights and disturb your sleep) and this little device has engaged my grandkids in easier potty training.  They love to visit the colorful lights at grandma's house, which has led to their parents installing the Illumibowl Motion-Activated Toilet Night Light at their homes.

    The new product is easier to install (no more suction cups or long wire for the bulb). The one-piece stay put arm is much better and this new product even has a dimmer to adjust the amount of light you prefer.

    Click on this link to see a cute video. And below is my original post.

    The Illumibowl Motion-Activated Toilet Night Light will delight your kids with lighted color in the toilet bowl. Do you like blue? Or green?  How about purple? See, when it’s dark at night the sensor will activate and light up the toilet bowl in your favorite color or you can let it morph in a spectrum of colors. It’s easy to install and you just have to provide three AAA batteries.

    Kudos to these inventors! Just think how nice this will be to see the toilet at night without having to turn on bright lights. Lead your little ones to go to the color – it will be a novelty at first. Don’t be surprised if your youngster asks several times to go potty, but in the long run, this little device serves a purpose. And for older kids this nightlight helps them find the toilet on their own – easily and safely.

    This is a product that was introduced on Shark Tank this past spring and after the demonstrations was picked up by Kevin O’Leary and now a Shark Tank product. You can find this toilet light at most Bed, Bath, and Beyond stores. Or you can order directly from their website.

    Since my blog site presents products for children, I thought this one-of-a-kind bathroom nightlight is perfect for families. But just think, it works great for adults too. No more bumps and bruises trying to find the porcelain throne in the dark. It stays on for two minutes, just enough time to do you business!

    Make sure to visit this product’s website as there are numerous articles on bathroom tips and ones for potty training. Great tips for parents to read.

    I want to thank Illumibowl for the opportunity to try their product. I was not paid or coached to write this blog post. The information about the product was provided and these are my own opinions.

    Happy Parenting,
    Tania :)

    Monday, January 16, 2017

    The Rhythm is Going to Get You!

    Let’s face it, kids love to make noise and create things. Homemade rhythm instruments are all about cause and effect and kids can express feelings, moods, and emotions through music. These projects teach how sound is produced and ways that kids can change the properties of that sound. So, get out the box of recyclables and spend some quality time making music together.

    5 clear glasses (all the same size)
    Food Coloring
    Numbered cards from 1-5
    Metal spoon

    Create a crystal concert using several glasses, water and food coloring. Fill the glasses with different levels of water to make different sounds. Follow the sequence of 1-inch in glass one, 2-inches in glass two and so on. The more water you put into the glass, the lower the tone. Tap out familiar songs with a spoon, or have your child compose his/her own tunes.
    Play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” following this pattern:



    Heavy-duty paper plate (paper, not plastic)
    3-5 Jingle bells
    Elastic thread or yarn
    Paper hole punch
    Markers, crayons, stickers

    Decorate a paper plate with art materials. When finished, punch 3 to 5 holes around the rim with a hole punch. Tie one bell into each hole and add ribbons if you wish. Kids can hold the plate in their hands and shake it along with tapping the tambourine against their thighs and other parts of the body.


    Metal cookie/candy tin
    Paper clips (about 20)
    Cardboard circle (cut slightly larger than the diameter of the tin)
    Packaging tape
    Adhesive stickers, including musical notes
    Drum sticks (unsharpened pencils or chopsticks)

    Decorate the tin (lid discarded) and circle with colorful adhesive stickers (or paint a solid color with acrylic paints). Turn the tin upside down and spread paper clips evenly on the recessed bottom of the tin. Place the cardboard circle over the bottom (the cardboard should not touch the paper clips).  Secure this circle with thick tape, allowing the tape to overlap the sides. Kids can use drumsticks to tap this snare drum. Encourage them to think of other materials to use inside this drum besides paper clips to see what other sounds may be produced.

    My craft originally published on

    **Source: Shake, Tap & Play a Merry Tune by Tania Cowling
    Fearon Teaching Aids, 1992 (out of print- sold by author on

    Photos by Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
    Contact me for republication of any part of this blog post with a link back to Creative Preschool Time 

    Tuesday, January 3, 2017

    Cabin Fever Learning: Math With Cereal

    Happy New Year! 

    How many of you still have the kids home on Christmas break from school? Here is a fun way to brush up on those math skills using dry cereal at home.

    One of the reasons that Americans have taken to breakfast cereals is that they are quick and easy. Besides, cereals have been specifically designed so kids will like them: creative shapes, colors, flavors and the box is entertaining while they eat.

    Cereal can be used in mathematical learning, but think of the creative process this manipulative material offers to develop the senses and ingenious art activities as well. Try a few projects below and don’t forget to provide a clean bowl of cereal for munching!

    Tactile Cards

    On pieces of cardboard, draw a large number. Have the children glue O-shaped cereal inside, the same amount as the number value. After it’s dry, they can run their fingers along the shape of this number and begin counting skills, along with your help. Start with numbers one to five and increase numerals according to age and skill level.

    Egg Carton Math Game

    Write the numerals 1-12 inside the sections of an egg carton with a black marker. Give each child a cup of cereal and have him place pieces of cereal to correspond with the number in each section. Count the pieces together in each egg cup. As children play this game, they are learning to recognize symbols for each number. Another way to teach number recognition is to look for number symbols every time you sit together to read a book or look at magazines. Point to numerals and say the number name out loud.

    Making Patterns

    Make a pattern model using bamboo skewers. Thread on mini-marshmallows and O-shaped cereal. Use colorful cereal and sort by color or number of O’s between each marshmallow. Encourage the children to copy your model, and then make up patterns of their own. NOTE: Adult supervision is advised when using pointed sticks with young children. A variation to this activity is to glue cereal pieces on paper, creating specific patterns.

    Geometric Cereal Shapes

    You will need construction paper, scissors, glue and cereal for this project. Instruct children to cut out squares, triangles, circles and rectangles from the paper. Younger children may need adult help. Glue pieces of cereal to fill each shape.

    Children learn by doing, so as they play, mathematical skills can be mastered. Think creatively by using cereal and foods to make this experience fun.

    This article was originally published by this author on a closed Yahoo property and regional print magazines.
    Photos by Tania K Cowling, all rights reserved