“O Canada, our home and native land…”

CanadaDay1As Canada Day approaches, many families are gearing up to celebrate. They are stocking up on red and white decorations and Canadian flags, making plans to participate in local festivities, and planning get-together barbeques. These are just a few ways to mark the day.

Here are some different activities to try with your family this Canada day:

Make your Own Flag

  1. Take a large piece of white paper and paint the two sides red.
  2. Put red paint on your child’s hand and make a print in the middle of the paper as the maple leaf.

Make a Canada Flag Cake

CanadaDay2

  1. Choose a cake mix (I like white for this one) and follow the directions on the box (or use your own recipe). Read the steps out loud and let your kids add the ingredients.
  2. After the cake is baked and cooled, spread whipped cream over the top as icing.
  3. Let your kids use sliced strawberries to create the flag on the cake by putting them on the sides and in the middle.

Sing a Canadian Song

  1. Make one up using a tune you know, like this one (http://www.dltk-kids.com/canada/songs/ourcountry.html) sung to the tune of “The Muffin Man.”

Do you know our country’s name,
our country’s name, our country’s name.
Do you know our country’s name.
C-A-N-A-D-A!

2.   Another favourite song for this special day is, of course, our national anthem. I love hearing the random outbursts of it everywhere. Each time I hear it, I’m reminded of a story from our Rhymes that Bind program.

A parent came to the program worried because she knew it was really important to sing to her baby, but she only knew one song. I asked which song she had been singing and she sheepishly confessed it was “O Canada.” After reassuring her that her baby loved hearing her voice, no matter what song she sang, we supported her goal of learning more songs to share with her baby.

You and your children will treasure the memories made, not only on these special days but all the time. Sing anything, anytime, but sing our anthem especially loud this Canada Day – I’ll be waiting for it!

 

Edmonton COW Wraps Up Spring

It has been another successful Spring session for the Edmonton Literacy C.O.W. Bus. We would like to say thank you to all of our participants, whether you visited the C.O.W. bus once a week or once a month. We looked forward to your visits and appreciated being incorporated into your routines. A big shout out to all the Mom’s, Dad’s, Grandma’s, Grandpa’s, babysitters, and caregiver’s that came to learn and PLAY.

Thanks for reading to your little ones, letting them read to you, doing puzzles, engaging in all kinds of fun activities, participating in the stories and playing pretend. You are your child’s first and most important teachers, so thank you for trying and doing your best.

Over the program year, 22 new babies were born to our families and paraded on the bus. We will see 58 bright shiny faces head off to preschool or kindergarten in the fall and they will truly be missed.

This session we have given away more than 200 books for our Lending Library prizes — we put participant’s names into our draw when they routinely check books in and out. We have also given away around 100 donated books to our families.

We hope to see you again in the fall and hopefully there will be some new faces as well.

The Edmonton C.O.W. Team

COW

You’ll find our Edmonton bus schedule here

hashtag: #edm_cow

A Peek at Books for Babies

Happy Baby

At Books for Babies we do our best to welcome everyone and keep things fun and friendly. We set up on the floor with blankets to create a soft and safe place for babies to relax and explore. Many of the older babies feel comfortable enough to check out the space and meet the other babies and families, but they quickly lose confidence if they lose sight of mom or dad!

The Books for Babies program promotes healthy family relationships; it is designed around how babies learn and the role their family members play in that process. We focus on activities like book sharing and talking and singing together, but babies are really learning all the time in response to their experiences, their relationships, and their surroundings.

What that means to our program is that sometimes our discussions and information sharing have to take a back seat to the needs of the babies in the group. After all, babies need to feel comfortable and cared for, or they will let you know in a way that makes it very hard to do anything else! We calm them and keep them engaged by looking into their eyes, responding to their coos and cries, and holding them when they need to be held. After all, nobody likes to be ignored.

Every few minutes, we give the babies our undivided attention and sing rhymes together. Not only is this fun for the babies, but it also helps to keep the babies calm. And, an hour is a long time for a baby to hold it together in a busy group, so we stop mid-way through the program to give everyone a break.

There’s a lot going on in Books for Babies, but I hope this gives you an idea of what the program looks like… from the babies’ perspective at least.

Books for Babies Edmonton program schedule:

hashtag: #books_for_babies

Learn, Grow, and Play Together – as a Family

Spring is finally here! At Learn Together – Grow Together we have been focusing on ways in which we can “grow” as families.

Our activities have been showcasing ways in which parents are able to spend quality learning time with their children while having fun. Now that the weather is beautiful again, we encourage all families to spend time outdoors – growing together!

Below are some of the ways that we practiced growing together this session:

  • using cardboard boxes, plastic containers, and other recyclable materials, we made our own robots
  • using construction paper, ribbons, tape, and string, we made our own kites and flew them in the wind
  • using paint and pre-made wooden structures from a dollarstore, we decorated birdhouses for the birds that come to visit
  • using paper and markers, we created our very own scavenger hunt to do outside
  • using a Styrofoam cup (which we decorated with a face), potting soil, and grass seeds, we made our own grassheads by having the grass grow out of the top

Kite1     Kite2

We hope you can take the time to try one or more of these activities. As you are interacting and playing together, you will be growing together as a family too. Enjoy learning as you spend time together!

More about the Learn Together – Grow Together program

hashtag: #LT_GT