A Tickle Rhyme is More than Just a Tickle Rhyme

Mother and toddler sitting on the sofa at home

Our Rhymes that Bind program has a variety of songs and rhymes, but for some us the tickle rhyme section is our favourite.

Spending time face-to–face with your child will connect you to them on their own level emotionally and physically. This will help to build strong attachment between you and your child.

There is an increasing body of knowledge about infant mental health that states that a huge part of attachment and positive infant development occurs in face-to–face interactions with parents and significant caregivers.

An infant learns how to adapt to stressors by watching their parent or caregiver’s facial expressions. They learn how to move from a negative to a positive emotional state through many stimuli that pass back and forth from caregiver to infant in face-to-face interactions.

A child learns the positive and fun emotional tones from tickle songs. Tickle songs let you and your child have a fun time together with both of you enjoying each other’s laughter.

A favourite at our Rhymes that Bind programs is the following timeless rhyme:

Round and Round the Garden

Round and Round the Garden (use a gentle tickle motion with your fingers on your child’s palm or tummy in a circle)
Like a teddy bear
One step, two step (walk fingers up the arm or tummy)
And I tickle you under there! (tickle the underarm)

Round and round the garden (use a gentle tickle motion with your fingers on your child’s palm or tummy in a circle)
Through the snow and wind (blow gently on their neck)
One step, two step (walk fingers up the arm or tummy)
I’ll tickle you there again! (tickle the underarm)

When repeated enough times your child will anticipate the tickle as soon as you say, “one step, two steps!

This is one of the many wonderful rhymes that you and your child can learn at our Rhymes that Bind program. Check for a program near you on the Centre for Family Literacy website! Happy tickling!

Learning About Colours

There are many things you can do to help your child learn about different concepts, such as reading books, making crafts, and singing songs. One of the concepts your child will need to learn is colours.

Read Books

The Day the Crayons QuitIn the Alberta Prairie C.O.W. (Classroom on Wheels) program, we like to share a book called The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. In addition to learning about colours, this book can help your child understand their own emotions, as well as help to develop their empathy skills.

“Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking – each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?”

Make Crafts

Here are some activities you can pair with this book:

Dear Crayon craft1.  Use a box of crayons to extend the story. As you read each crayon’s letter, ask your child to take that colour of crayon out of the box. What can they draw with it?

2.  Ask your child how they think each crayon was feeling when they wrote their letter. Use a large index card to write back to one of the crayons in the story. Draw and colour in the crayon that you are addressing, and tell your crayon why they should not quit. Make one for as many colours as you like!

3.  Make your own crayon box.

Materials:

•  Crayons
•  Markers
•  Pencil
•  Glue
•  Scissors
•  One sheet of yellow cardstock (8.5” X 11”)

Crayon Craft x 2Instructions:

  1. Draw and colour your own paper crayons (or use different colours of construction paper) and cut them out.
  2. Fold the yellow cardstock sheet in half and crease it.
  3. Open it up, and with your pencil, draw the opening of the box (a half circle) on the left-hand side of the sheet, making sure to leave about ¼” on either side.
  4. Cut out the opening, fold it back in place, and glue only the edges, so that you are still able to fit your paper crayons inside the “box”.
  5. Decorate your crayon box with crayons or markers!

 

 

Sing Songs

Teaching Mama” has some great resources, including “10 Preschool Songs About Colors.” One of my favourites is “Pass the Colour,” in the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat:”

Sit in a circle and pass a crayon around, singing the song until the following verse is done. Then yell out the crayon’s colour! Continue with as many crayons as you like.

Pass, pass, pass the colour,
This is the game we play.
When the little song is through,
The colour name we’ll say.
(YELLOW!)

For more craft ideas and book recommendations, check out the Centre for Family Literacy webpage: Resources for Parents

 

Sharing Stories vs. Reading Stories

Fam_Lit044Here at the Centre for Family Literacy we like to talk about sharing books with children as opposed to just reading books to them.

When you are sharing a book, as opposed to reading it, it becomes interactive. It becomes much more than just reading the words on the page. Two ways to do this are:

  • Ask open-ended questions such as “What are they doing in this picture?” or “What do you think is going to happen next?” This encourages children to stop and think about what is on the page, to make connections to real life, and to really step inside the story.
  • Find ways to extend the story.

What does it mean to extend a story?

To extend a story is to build on it—to add activities that are related to the subject of the story. But why should we extend stories?

Children learn best by doing—by being active. When they’re being active they are using all five senses to learn, and these multi-sensory experiences build neural connections in the brain. If they are having fun, they will want to do it again and again, and this repetition makes the connections even stronger. This is how children gain the confidence needed to learn new things.

Simple summertime story extender

one dog canoeA great book to share in the summer is one of our favourites, One-Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova.

In One-Dog Canoe, a girl and her dog set out on a canoe trip, just the two of them, when one by one they are approached by other creatures like Loon, Wolf and Moose, who want to join in on the fun.

I set off one morning in my little red canoe.
My dog wagged his tail.
“Can I come, too??
“You bet, I said.
“A trip for two – just me and you?”

It doesn’t take long before this canoe trip becomes a little more crowded!

“I swished past ferns,
where dragonflies flew.
Loon stretched her wings, “Can I come too?”

What you’ll need:

  • The book One-Dog Canoe
  • Stuffed animals or toys to match the characters: Beaver, Loon, Wolf, Bear, Moose, Frog, Dog, and Girl
  • A “canoe” made with construction paper or bark

(You can always improvise using what you have on hand.)

Give each child a character to hold on to (or multiple characters), and as each character comes up in the story, the child holding that character places it in the canoe. At the end of the story, there are too many animals in the canoe and it tips over, so act this out too by dumping out your canoe!

After the story we like to pair it with a song. Rhymes and songs are critical for developing oral language, and oral language is at the root of all future learning.

Try singing “Row Your Boat”

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

Row, row, row your boat,
Down a jungle stream.
If you see a crocodile,
Don’t forget to scream.
Ahh!

Row, row, row your boat,
Underneath a stream,
Ha, ha, fooled you,
I’m a submarine!
Bing!

Other ideas:

  • Act out the story using a big box, couch, or outdoor picnic table for the canoe
  • Bring a make-belief canoe into the bathtub
    • Experiment with what floats and what sinks
    • Ask “how many items will fit in your canoe before it tips over?”

Have fun sharing stories! For more ideas on how to make the most of your books, check out Flit, our family literacy app on the iTunes App store here!

 

Bathtub Fun on the C.O.W. Bus!

Waves in the Bathtub

A popular read on the Edmonton C.O.W. Bus is Waves in the Bathtub by Eugenie Fernandes. In this story, Kady takes her regular bath at night and sings the bathtub song about all of the ocean creatures she pretends are in the tub with her. From pelicans to large whales, Kady imagines many different creatures.

To extend this story and involve the children on another level, we have stuffed toys of all the creatures she pretends are in the bath with her. We use an inexpensive blue shower curtain as the ocean. This way each child can grab hold of the ocean by the edges and help make the waves in the bathtub for Kady.

As we progress through the story, each creature is eventually put into the ocean to swim in the waves with her. Both the children and the adults pick up the tune fairly quickly as it is catchy and repetitive.

A parent can have their own conversation with their children about what creatures they would like to pretend to swim with in the the ocean. Maybe the children are huge fans of the Ogopogo or sea horses. The song and story can be created entirely by children using their own imaginations and the props they may already have at home.

And with the mom in the book hopping into the bath at the end of the story and singing the same song, parents can create their personal version too!

Get the tune for the song from the following video, and see how we use it on the bus.

 

Why not join us for some fun on the Edmonton C.O.W. bus! Here’s our schedule

 

Singing with Your Toddler

iStock_sing

Here are some special tips for singing with your toddler.

  • Any time is a good time to sing with your toddler!
  • Routines provide opportunities for your child to hear the lyrics over and over again as the task is repeated during the day. Examples of daily routines include diaper changing /going potty, getting dressed, getting in the carseat, cleaning up the toys, or putting on their shoes.
  • A lively song such as “Ring Around the Rosie” might be more appropriate for an active part of the day than at bedtime.
  • Singing during routines can make a less desirable task more enjoyable for a child who is resistant to the activity.

Getting Started

  • Your child does not care whether you can carry a tune or not—being able to connect with you is exciting for them and creates a special bond between the two of you.
  • Sing about what is familiar or interests your child—whether it is a made-up song or a well-known song such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
  • Follow your child’s lead and sing something that encourages your child to join in with you!
  • Keep it simple! Your child loves repetition and they will learn from it. Repeat the lyrics and keep the words to a minimum. You might get tired of the song but your child won’t!
  • Keep it fun! If your child sees that you are having a blast making up songs, they will begin to come up with their own songs as their vocabulary increases.

Piggyback Songs

Piggyback songs are songs that use an existing melody with new lyrics. Make sure the words you use are ones that your child understands.

Here is a piggyback song to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.”

This is the way Jacob washes his hands
Washes his hands, washes his hands
This is the way Jacob washes his hands
Now they are nice and clean!

  • Putting your child’s name in a song makes it personal and fun. This song is made especially for your child. It begins to give them a love for language.
  • It teaches them their name; other family members can be added too, and eventually you can begin to add a last name.
  • This tune has the ability to carry into any routine of the day for you and your child. It can help distract, calm, and comfort your toddler—a useful technique for defusing the occasional frustrations of parenting.

Following is a link to a video clip of a parent encouraging a toddler to sing:

Singing with your toddler

Have FUN!

Check our website for more information about Rhymes that Bind and find a program near you in Edmonton.

hashtag: #RTB_Edm

 

A Walk with the Kids Fun? Absolutely!

Walk3

As I sit here, looking out the window at the falling snow on the second day of spring, a poem pops into my head:

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris
I wonders where the birdies is?

I have known this poem forever. I don’t know where I learned it, or why it popped into my head today of all days, but I thought I’d investigate further. It turns out the poem has more to it:

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris
I wonders where the birdies is?
They say the birds is on the wing
Ain’t that absurd?
I always thought the wing was on the bird.

The poem’s original author is unknown, but it reminds me of the style of one of my favourite poets, Ogden Nash, known for his short, funny and often nonsensical poems.

What does this have to do with anything? I promise, there is a point. As we finish this first week of spring (that is, of course, supposed to be filled with snow) and head into Easter and spring break, what types of activities can we do with our families? For those of you with young children, have a look at our previous blog for information on the Flit app. It’s filled with great activities for the 0-5 crowd.

For those with older kids, here are a few ideas inspired by the poem (see, there really is a connection)! Get outside to enjoy the snow or sun (whatever the case may be) and go for a walk. Try these activities:

  1. Create your own funny poem. Choose something you notice on your walk and see how many words you can think of, or make up, that rhyme with what you chose. When you get home, write the words down and arrange them into your own poem! For example:

I see a bee, right on that tree
Leave it alone, or maybe flee?
If I wave and dance, it may sting me
But flowers won’t grow if I hit she.

  1. Make your own spring walking game. Let your kids make up the rules, and how to start and end the game! Tell your kids you will follow their rules no matter what (as long as it’s not dangerous of course). It might be that every time you see a bird, you have to splash in a puddle or run around in a circle clucking like a chicken. Maybe the first person to spot a squirrel wins.
  1. Make up a story. See what you can find outside and take turns creating the story, line by line. For example, if you see a piece of fur in a tree, you can start the story by making up a reason why it’s there. Then your child can add to it.

One day, a tiny rabbit thought it would try to jump up into a tree. As it jumped, it caught it’s tail on a branch and a big piece of fur pulled out…

Have fun and enjoy your time together!

 

 

Extending Stories

The MittenHow often do we read through a children’s book and just put it down and leave it? In Learn Together Grow Together, we recently shared Jan Brett’s book The Mitten. In this winter tale, a little boy dropped his mitten in the snow and it became a space to crawl into for many forest creatures.

In order to take the story further, the program facilitators decided to add activities for the parents and children based on the story.

Find the Mittens:

We had a number of different coloured mittens hidden around the classroom. The parents worked together with their children to find all of the mittens.

Rhymes and Songs:

We sang some rhymes and songs about winter and mittens.

I’m a Little Snowman (to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”)

I’m a little snowman, short and fat 
Here are my buttons, here is my hat 
When the sun comes out, I cannot stay 
Cause I just slowly melt away!

Pet Snowball Song (to the tune of “I have a little bicycle”)
I made myself a snowball 
Just as perfect as could be. 
I thought I’d keep it as a pet 
And take it home with me. 
I gave it some pajamas 
And a pillow for its head. 
Then, last night it ran away, 
But first . . . . it wet the bed!

Snowey Pokey (to the tune of “Hokey Pokey”)
You put your right mitten in, you take your right mitten out, 
You put your right mitten in and you shake it all about. 
You do the Snowey pokey and you turn yourself around. 
That’s what it’s all about. 
Continue with additional verses:
You put your left mitten in 
You put your scarf in
You put your right boot in 
You put your left boot in
You put your hat in 
You put your snowself in
etc.

Gym Activities:

We had newspaper crunched up into balls and wrapped in packing tape. We pretended that the crunched up newspaper and tape were snowballs. The families practiced throwing their snowballs into baskets and played with them on a parachute.

For the Parents:

On 10-15 strips of paper, the parents wrote out and summarized the events of the story. We had parents whose first language is not English, so they wrote out their story summaries in other languages! By completing this activity, the parents were encouraged to use recall and comprehension skills (which is an activity the parents can do with their children with any story).

For the Parents and Children:

The children coloured in pictures of all the animals in The Mitten, and the parents helped their little ones cut out the pictures. There was also a paper cut-out of a mitten into which DSCN1033-cls-weball of the animals could go – just like in the story! The children were able to reenact the story, or make up a new one, with the animals.

These are just a few, simple ways in which a story was “extended,” and I’m sure there are many more ways to extend The Mitten. Next time you share a story with your children, try to find an activity or two to build on it. There are so many fun and interactive ways to bring a story to life!

If you have tried extending a story before, what activities did you use? We would love to hear what they were!

More about Learn Together – Grow Together or to register for the program

hashtag: #LT_GT

Easing into the Season of Festivities

(with little ones in tow!)

Sing

With all of the rush at this time of year, it is easy to forget what this looks like to the little ones around us. They don’t understand why adults need to hustle and bustle. At a time when we are busy checking off items on our lists, running from here to there, having more visitors (or doing more visiting), we need to remember to adjust our pace and our expectations of our small children.

It is helpful to remember that all of the changes to our little one’s schedule can result in behavioural changes such as mood swings or shorter attention spans; they can also be extra clingy to parents amidst so many new people. Add in that it is cold and flu season thanks to our increased social schedules and change in sleeping and eating habits. (More sweets than usual can cause irritability too). Mix all of these changes together and we have a recipe for a tantrum – for any toddler (older ones too)!

There are a few easy things anyone can do to help the situation, any place, with no equipment, toys or tools required.

  • Count to 3 – yes you, not them!
  • Take a few deep breaths when you feel that tantrum building up (theirs or yours)
  • Try a rhyme, or two or three! You can so easily redirect a mood by singing a song!

You can still complete your task and check off that list – just take time to breathe and be silly and have fun with your child!

Many holiday songs are directed to children. If you cannot remember the words and you only recall the tune, make up your own verses. Older children will enjoy helping twist common songs and rhymes into your own family treasures!

Here’s a twist on a familiar tune. Hum a few notes from “Jingle Bells” and you will be ready to sing this one:

Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
One fell on my nose
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
One fell on my toes
Snowflakes falling snowflakes falling
One fell on my head
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
Now its time to sled!

Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
One fell on my knee
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
All around me-e
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
This I’m going to dread
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
Dad says time for bed!

Come and join us for some fun at one of the Rhymes that Bind programs throughout the city. Find more information about Rhymes that Bind and our Edmonton program schedule here

hashtag: #RTB_Edm

3,2,1, Fun! Blasts Off the Fall Session

Elementary Pupil Counting With Teacher In Classroom

3,2,1, Fun! is back for the fall session. As always, our programs are free. We are now located at Brander Gardens School on Tuesday afternoons, from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. We are excited to see the return of some of our families from previous sessions, and are eager to meet some new families from the Brander Gardens area.

Some things that you can look forward to this fall from 3,2,1, Fun!:

Books we will be sharing:

  • A Perfectly Messed up Story by Patrick McDonnell
  • The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
  • The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett

Songs and Rhymes that we be sharing:

  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
  • 5 Little Pumpkins
  • The Color Song
  • Mix and Stir
  • If You Are a Ghost

Activities and Games we will explore:

  • Creating a Story Board to bring our favourite stories to life
  • Constructing our own game of BLAST OFF! using items you already have at home
  • Baking and decorating delicious cookies in all shapes, sizes, and colours
  • Creating our own puzzles and matching games using calendars and our imaginations
  • Exploring the colours, smells, and textures of Fall through a scavenger hunt and a hide and seek game

This is just the start of the fun and learning that is set to happen Tuesday afternoons at Brander Gardens School! Please join our community of learners as we explore numeracy through songs, stories and play!

Visit our website for more information about the 3,2,1, Fun! program.

hashtag: #321Fun

 

Lullabies

Lullabies belong to the instinctive nature of motherhood

– Richard Dubrill

Mom & BabyLullabies have been sung to children for centuries. Wherever you travel, women all over the world use the same tones, the same kind of pattern for singing to their babies. The sound of the lullaby mimics movement in the womb. It is a very basic song with a few words being repeated over and over.

The sound is meant to be sleep inducing and is rooted in love, tenderness and caring.

One of the earliest lullabies recorded chastises a baby for waking the house with its crying and threatens the baby with being eaten by a demon if it does not shut up right now.

An African lullaby sung in Western Africa begins with Rock, Rock, Rock and warns the baby that if it cries it could be eaten by a hyena. It is hard to believe that a lullaby with such dark undertones could be soothing to a baby.

The most popular lullaby, Rock a bye Baby, also tells of how the baby and cradle will drop from the bough of a tree. There are a couple of claims as to how the song began:

In American history, it is said that a young pilgrim boy saw a Native Indian mother suspend her baby from the branch of a tree. The wind was able to rock the cradle and put baby to sleep. The rhyme was known as “Hush a bye baby!”

In English history, a family with eight children, who lived in a massive Yew Tree that was 2000 years old, carved out a tree bough that was used as a cradle for their children.

Lullabies that are sung to a baby are a natural and effective way to bond and develop the human connection. It can be done through eye contact, loving touches and cuddling. Lullabies calm, comfort and help babies and their mothers feel secure.

The lullabies that are sung at Rhymes that Bind have changed from the traditional “Hush a bye Baby.”

Rock a Bye Baby

Rock a bye baby on the treetop,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall,
And Daddy or Mommy will catch you, cradle and all.

Another popular song is to the tune of Michael Row your Boat Ashore:

Let’s Be Quiet

Now it’s time for us to rest
Let’s be quiet
Now it’s time for us to rest
Let’s be quiet

You’ve been busy all day long
Let’s be quiet
You’ve been busy all day long
Let’s be quiet

Close your eyes for just awhile
Let’s be quiet
Close your eyes for just awhile
Let’s be quiet

(hum a verse )

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what are

ABCs

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Now I know my ABC’s next time won’t you count with me?
Cat’s and dogs and baby sheep
When I count I fall asleep

 

Come and join us for some lullabies at one of the Rhymes that Bind programs throughout the city. Find more information about Rhymes that Bind and our Edmonton program schedule here

hashtag: #RTB_Edm