Tag Archives for family

Garden Letters!

Garden LettersGarden Letters

As I am currently working on teaching my son to recognize his letters while studying the current best practices for preschool literacy, I have found some very useful information that I have been able to “test”. While we have found many things that don’t work (“let’s sit down and do flashcards and workbooks!”), I have also found several activities that have helped him to improve his letter recognition. One of my favorite finds are these great stones that can be used in many hands-on learning games. How about putting them in our fabulous learning garden and doing a scavenger hunt? Another fun and active idea that I tried out yesterday (because we had an 85 degree AMAZING day here in the PNW) was a game of squirt the letters. We are working on the lowercase letters and I wrote a bunch of letters (uppercase and lowercase) on the ground with sidewalk chalk. He held his favorite garden spray bottle and when I called out a letter he had to run to it and squirt it away. It helped me to see which ones he knew and he had a blast! Having fun while learning the letters is key in keeping a preschooler engaged and building a solid conceptual foundation. We can’t wait to use these ideas and more with our kids next year!

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day Craft

Earth Day Craft

It’s Earth Day! A time to take a moment from our busy lives to stop and appreciate and celebrate God’s amazing creation. I wish I could say that I do this every day but between grocery shopping, diaper changes, cooking, cleaning, and general busyness I don’t often take time to stop and look around me at the beautiful world we live in. That whole “stop and smell the roses” idea is wonderful, but it’s difficult to do when you’re juggling a car seat, diaper bag, and totes full of groceries! Which is why I always appreciate Earth Day.

When April 22nd rolls around each year, strangers meet at local parks to pick up garbage, communities join together to plant gardens, and for one day there is a common focus: the Earth. I can’t help but think God smiles at this, as He gifted us with the earth—the plants, animals, oceans—and calls us to take care of it.

With our experience working with kids we’ve found that most LOVE activities that involve nature and the earth, so getting kids excited about Earth Day is fairly easy. In the past we’ve had our classes pick up litter around the school, and the kids were more excited for this than if we’d surprised them with an extra recess! But we’ve wished we could take it a step further and share why it is important to care for and love the earth—that it’s God’s creation! We are so excited to do this at The Garden Preschool. To teach kids about God’s creation, how to honor and care for it, and to celebrate it not just on Earth Day, but every day!

Here are a few things you could do with your kiddos to celebrate Earth Day this year or in years to come:

  • Read the creation story in Genesis with your kids
  • Get out and enjoy God’s creation: go for a hike, a nature walk, or take a picnic to the park and enjoy the beauty around you
  • Make a family resolution to help the earth: Start composing? Make a recycle bin? Have fun with it!
  • Join with other families to clean up your neighborhood or a local park
  • Use earth materials (sticks, rocks, etc.) or recycled goods to create an art project! (Our classes have done this and the kids LOVED it. And their creations were quite impressive!)

Here are a few websites/blogs we found that have other great activity ideas. Happy Earth Day!

http://www.creativefamilyfun.net/2013/04/10-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day.html
http://playfullearning.net/from-the-bin-diy-recycled-vases-flowers/
http://www.housingaforest.com/recycled-crafts-and-activities-for-kids/
http://blog.melissaanddoug.com/2013/04/19/4-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day-with-your-child/

Our craft…we talked about composting and set up our can.  We also made a scrap holder for our birds so that they can have a soft “bed” in their house.

Logan learning about continents and The Earth this morning

Logan learning about continents and The Earth this morning

Composting Can

Composting Can

Scrap Holder for Birds

Scrap Holder for Birds

Lastly, we had our Garden Preschool meeting outside with a picnic lunch today…beautiful!

Kari and Keira at our meeting

Kari and Keira at our meeting

Logan and Dylan at our picnic

Logan and Dylan at our picnic

What We’ve Been Up To and Where We Are Going

You may have noticed our blog posts have slowed down in the last two months. Don’t let our absence fool you! We are still busy planning and preparing for The Garden each day, filling our Pinterest boards with fun new activities, meeting and emailing each other our latest ideas, and updating our growing list of interested families for the fall (YAY!!). But we slowed our pace a little as our focus has shifted to our growing families.

We are excited to share that the newest members of the Fouhy and Yeager families have arrived! Kari welcomed baby Keira into the world at the end of February, and Nicole’s baby boy Dylan was born at the end of March. Our time in the last six weeks has been taken up with feeding, burping, changing, and snuggling our little bundles of joy (and taking naps as we adjust to late nights with little sleep)!
Meet our kiddos, future students at the Garden Preschool!

Keira Fouhy

Dylan Yeager

Dylan Yeager

As we adjust to life as a new mom (Kari) and a mother of two (Nicole), we are also thrilled to be moving into the next steps with the preschool. We are actively praying and looking for our perfect location, as summer is approaching and we are excited to begin setting up our space. {Again, if you have a lead on a rental house in Bothell, a church, or other space you feel would be a good fit for The Garden, let us know!} And we will soon set up meetings with interested families so we can share more about our school and what the year ahead has in store. If you haven’t yet been added to our contact list and are interested in finding out more about The Garden, make sure to head to the “Contact Us” section of our website. We are so excited to meet with families, share our vision for the year, and get to know future students at The Garden!

Between now and then we’ll be busy updating the blog weekly, so don’t forget to check back to see what’s new!

Inch By Inch: We’re going to make this Garden Grow!

The Garden Preschool: 3 Focus AreasThe Garden Preschool

Wow! The first month in 2013 has flown by! I hope that some of our tips have inspired you to make the most of the precious time you have with your preschooler. I know with getting back to work and school and life, I constantly have to remind myself to pause and really savor my family time.

We at the Garden preschool have had a great time reflecting on our own values and building up the foundation for what we hope will enrich the lives of all of the students and families that we get the delight of serving come September when we officially launch the preschool. As we move into February we are going to continue posting on our blog some tips and resources to help make parenting and teaching your preschool a bit easier. All of the posts that you see are on topics that we feel very strongly about and also connect directly to our 3 main value areas at The Garden Preschool: developing a love for God, a love for self, and a love for learning.

To develop a love for God we will be posting bible stories, preschool-appropriate “mini-lessons”, crafts, songs, and other faith-building resources that we will also be implementing in our preschool classes.

A love for self comes from having the security of knowing that God loves you, but also we will be posting resources ever month for healthy recipes, exercise and “active-time” ideas, and body/self image building books, activities, and tips.

Of course as preschool teachers (as well as Mommies) we hope that all children not only learn and grow every day, but also develop a true love for learning and a curiosity that will make the process fun and engaging for them. We will be posting monthly author spotlights, literacy activities, and authentic math and science ideas appropriate for the preschool age. Again, all of the posts will directly relate to our core values at The Garden Preschool and should give you some insight into what your child would be doing if they get to be one of our little learners!

Please don’t forget to ‘Like’ us on Facebook so that you will see all of the blog posts come through and also check out our website for information on our Fall programs and contact us if you would like to be in the loop about September 2013 (or beyond) openings.

We feel so blessed to be able to bring our passions to all of you amazing parents and we hope that you have benefitted from some of our tips thus far!

Love,
Kari and Nicole at The Garden Preschool

Resolving to Get Fit as a Family – It’s Easier Than You Think!

Stoller Strides BothellStroller Strides Bothell

It’s that time of year! The time when many individuals and families vow to get up and moving and back into shape. The TV ads and packed gym parking lots are evidence of the “get fit now” mentality that tends to come with the new year. And as someone who places a strong value on health and fitness, I think these are great goals! The problem is that for many people and their families, the goals are too big and our lives are too busy, so after a month or so the fitness resolutions fizzle out (I’m speaking from experience here!).

With a baby on the way in just under a month, I have been thinking ahead to when our little one arrives and different ways that I can get back into a work-out routine that is manageable and fits into what I know is about to become an extremely busy season of life. I’m a first time mom and my workouts in the past have consisted of playing on soccer teams, training at the gym, and a lot of running in recent years. And while all of these have been great for me, I wanted to find some things that I could do together with my husband and child, so we are all getting fit as a family. So, I started to do some research, and I found there are plenty of quick, easy, and fun ways you can get moving as a family, even during these cold, winter months.

Pick one of these to try!

  • Turn your living room into a gym and let the games begin!
    I can remember going over to a friend’s house when I was young and our favorite activity was pretending we were gymnasts. We’d push the couches back (with the help of her mom!), lay out some thick comforters, and swirl, somersault and bound around the living room until we were out of breath and red in the face! This is a great way to get your kids active and moving. Just make sure to move the coffee table and cover any pointy corners!
  • Family Dance Party!
    Find an open space in your house, crank up the music, (pull the blinds if you’re embarrassed!) and dance! My mom has an in-home daycare that I visit regularly and on many occasions I’ve found the kids having an impromptu dance party. Join in and you get a great workout too. Plus, the kids LOVE it. My current favorite dance party music: Casper Baby Pants and Recess Monkey.
  • Walk/Jog as a Family
    If you have kids who are old enough to hit the trails with you, head out on a family walk or jog. Start small and work up to a goal as a family. First, loop the neighborhood, then head to a local track or trail. You can even train for a family race or event! There are many great FREE 1k races for kids locally. Check out race websites to see if they include a kids’ 1k option.
  • Stroller Strides
    While I, (Nicole speaking here), was pregnant with my first I attended a pregnancy workout class offered at Evergreen Hospital and I absolutely LOVED it! It got me out and moving and made the end of my pregnancy tolerable. The instructor was the owner of the Bothell Stroller Strides group and I joined that shortly after Logan was born. I’ll give a shout out to Hillary because she is so outgoing and fun and Stroller Strides (fitness classes where you get to take and bond with your child) was the best thing I ever did for myself as a new mom. When I went back to work full time I had a really hard time keeping a workout schedule and I really regret that, but I fully plan to join Stroller Strides of Bothell once Dylan is born! Hilary makes the classes fun and while you are focused on yourself; you also can bond with your baby. Check it out at Bothell Stroller Strides!

These are just a few of my favorites. For more on family fitness, check out the following websites:

Resolving to Build Faith Together – A few ideas

Boz the BearBoz the Bear

Could there be any more of a daunting task? Teach my child all of the skills necessary to thrive in the world and then also teach them to have good character and desire to learn about God and how to live a spiritual and meaningful life? Yikes! There are many resources out there that have great ideas for teaching young children about God. I think that the biggest struggle with the toddler and preschool age is that often you sit down to do a devotional, sing, and read the bible and within 10 seconds they are up and making dinner in their play kitchen. You feel like you’ve failed. I felt this way for a long time….we tried to make family devotionals a part of our evening schedule ever since Logan was born.

We started in infancy with us reading while he ate and then playing the LullaBible – My absolute favorite-even still!

Now we have progressed to reading a bible story from the Hands on Bible and doing the activities from it and singing a few songs.

Logan usually lasts about 5-10 minutes now and it is still hard to imagine that we are making any difference. We also watch Veggie Tales and Boz the Bear.

Yesterday in the car we were listening to the Veggie Tales worship cd and he started singing (the right words!!). My husband and I just looked at each other and smiled. He might not be reciting any versus right now, but I know that his character is being shaped by what we are doing and that with God’s help (through lots of parental and family prayer) that good values are being built in our little man’s heart.

Resolving to Serve as a Family- Start at Home

Charity Begins at Home
Charity-Begins-at-HomeCharity-Begins-at-Home

I ran across this blog post in early December and was greatly impacted by the simplicity of its concepts. Ever since my son Logan was born 2 years ago my husband and I have talked about how we really want to instill in him a heart to give and serve. I often get frustrated because I feel like we “talk” a lot and then we have a hard time following through. Since having Logan we have done a few small service projects but have definitely not done as much as I would have liked. Finding projects that are appropriate to the toddler and preschool ages is tricky! Anyway, this article struck me because the main premise was just being charitable and giving at home…I can totally do that! We are our children’s role models and if they see us doing nice things, even if it is just for Daddy or Grandma, they will remember. So, my biggest advice for giving as a family is to start small at your home.

When you are ready and have the time, I also recommend this book for ideas on how to serve with young children: The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference

The text is definitely for older kids, but all project ideas can be adapted for our preschoolers!

Resolving to Spend Quality Family Time

Q is for quality time

We lead such busy lives and I am as guilty as the next Mom of missing out on some of those little moments that present themselves to spend quality time with my son. I often try to catch up on emails and text messages when I get home instead of saving it until after he goes to bed. I have realized that I only get 2 ½ hours with my son each night when we all get home from work. Yikes…that time flies by! And while we can’t add hours to the day, we can be intentional about the time we have with our families and find creative ways to carve out more time to spend with the ones we love.

Here are some quick and mostly low-prep ways to spend quality time with your family.

A few favorites include:

A couple of strategies to create more family time during the week:

  • Make enough dinner for leftovers the next night, or prep meals on the weekend to free up time after work.
  • Limit your screen time – Put down the phones, laptops, tablets, and spend uninterrupted time with family. Emails will still be there for you later.
  • Share jobs and stick to a routine – everything from setting the table, cleaning up, getting PJ’s on, etc., will go faster and smoother if the routine is predictable.
“Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

~Annie Dillard