Here We Grow In Home Child Care - herewegrowinhomechildcare


Welcome to Here We Grow In Home Day Care! I am pleased to offer my services to Collinsville and surrounding area families.  Within this site you will find a vast amount of pertinent information. 

This is where parents can come to see what is on the menu or check out the fun pictures of their child having a great time and learning.

Please brows through my parent handbook and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have! Thank you for stopping by!

Forms and information



All About Me-1.doc


Sample Daily Plan.docx


Parent Handbook.doc

Dawn CPR Certificate.pdf

DCFS Licensing Orientation Cert.pdf

Mandated Reporter Cert.docx

Useful sites

Activity village
Arts and crafts
Health and Nutrition for preschoolers
Toilet learning
Zero to three
Naeyc young babies
Questions to ask a provider
Encourage kids to eat healthy food
Teaching math
Star Fall

Class updates & news

Happy April!

Wow its been a long time since I have updated my web page! Now that everyone is on Facebook there isn't much reason. Well For those who still frequent the webpage we have a lot of fun things coming up! This Friday is Kaileys birthday bash as well as our Easter party! We are going to have oodles of fun!

Next week we will be celebrating earth day. our grass heads are coming along beautifully, and will be in need of a trim soon! We will be playing in the dirt next Wednesday and getting messy, so dress accordingly.

We are moving right along with our MGT units. We have a little more then a week left in that and we can kick off the next theme. I will try to upload some new pictures soon. I have a lot of work ahead of me getting everything up to date here!

The week of Thanksgiving

Hey parents just a reminder that thanksgiving is a paid holiday. I will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and will be close that Thursday and Friday. I hope everyone is excited for this wonderful feast!

Coats and Jackets!

Ok Parents its that time of year again! Jacket and Coat season!
This is a wonderful time of year to work on gross motor and coordination skills. A few of these kiddos are about ready to potty train. You can NOT potty train a child that is not coordinated enough to pull their pants up and down. That's all apart of the learning process.
So I do encourage those old enough to try to put on and take off their own jackets, coats, gloves, hats, shoes etc. This can be made into a really fun game for you to do at home too! Of course perfection is not expected. However fostering a can do attitude is just as important as achieving the desired result.

Gateway Family church fun days!

This is at our church this weekend. Its going to be a lot of fun, and its for a good cause!


October 10th thru 12th - Don't miss Gateway Fun Days Thursday, October 10th thru Saturday, October 12th! Join in for some good, old-fashioned fun during Gateway Fun Days! The FUN begins Thursday from 5pm -10pm, Friday from 5pm-10pm & Saturday from 1pm-10pm. Rides for both Kids and adults! Booths-Local Vendors-Hand made and commercial products. Live Music-food-drinks- Fun for Everyone! Tickets are only $2 per ride! On Saturday, arm bands for kids will be $20.00 giving you unlimited rides on ALL rides from 1pm-5pm! That’s 4 Hours of unlimited rides with the purchase of an arm band; Saturday Only! Don’t miss out! Bring your family and join us us at Gateway Fun Days!

Need Auto body work?

One of the dads I work for has an awesome auto shop! Check them out!

Children and Nutrition

As parents we all know that nutrition is important for our children's cognitive, social, emotional and physical wellness and development. Here are some ways to encourage nutrition and health!  
* Try new foods often and include children in selecting what foods to buy
* Encourage movement and exercise each day
* Use healthy vocabulary around children
* Serve water and low fat milk with meals and snacks
* Opt for whole fruit rather than juice
* Replace old favorites with healthy alternatives
* Be a good role model

October MGT. Theme

This months Theme is Down on the Farm! This one is going to be a lot of fun!

"This fall from sunrise to sunset, your child will love participating in the art and science of life on a farm. Ride a tractor, grow crops, and milk a cow. Harvest seeds of learning in this wonderful theme."

Weekly Experiences
Week one: What animals live on a farm?
Week two: What is in a barn?
Week three: What food grows on a farm?
Week four: What do farmers do?


Our core skills this month will be letters C, X, and U; Numbers 2,12, and 20 ( We will continue to focus more on counting to 10 and recognizing those numbers); the triangle; as well as colors red and brown.

We will also do many Halloween activities through out the month! Lately we have been practicing saying trick or treat, as well as thank you! 

Be a hero!

For you awesome healthy people who like to run, here's a great chance for you to run and do something great for kids! If you cant run or don't run maybe consider passing this information on to your friends. From 6-10 they will have family activities like bounce houses, live DJ, face painting and giveaways!

Just a reminder!

Just a reminder that I am closed next Friday! Please plan accordingly : )

Six things you should say today!

The Month of September MGT.

In September we will explore the theme of "Me and my family". You will receive more details next week in the family news letter. The core skills we will be aiming for will be numbers 1, 10, and 11, Letters M, T and A, Colors green and yellow and the shape circle.
It is going to be a fantastic month! I am so excited!!

Kids and thier emotions


Just a reminder that I will be closed from July 31st to August 12th. If my children get enrolled in Private school the August 12th closure will move from the 12th to the 19th. I appreciate your patience and understanding : )

looking for a place to see the fireworks this year?


This website list all the locations that will be shooting off fireworks this year!

4th of July

Its holiday time again! You may have seen on the facebook page that I will be closed next Thursday. I want to remind everyone that this is a paid holiday for me. I will be open on Friday for your convenience. You are also welcome to move Thursday to another day if need be. Just let me know how you would like to handle that. Thank you everyone!

Rescuing drowning children! A must read!

The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the couple swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine; what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not 10 feet away, their 9-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know—from 50 feet away—what the father couldn’t recognize from just 10? Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew know what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response—so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children, ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)—of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In some of those drownings, the adult will actually watch the child do it, having no idea it is happening.* Drowning does not look like drowning—Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene magazine, described the Instinctive Drowning Response like this:

  1. “Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the Instinctive Drowning Response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long—but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs—vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK—don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

Pool safety/ simple steps save lives!

Now I highly doubt any of you would be  neglectful enough to leave your toddlers and children unattended in a body of water, its always good to educate ourselves! This website advocates for education in pool and spa safety. Its worth a look!

20 things every parent should hear!

1. You are a hero for your kids. You are. You're a go-the-distance, fight-the-dragon, face-the-challenges hero for your kids. Taking a beating makes that more true. Not less.

2. We all struggle. Every parent. Everywhere. We all second-guess ourselves. And we all want to quit sometimes. Hold the good times close, and when things are tough, remember, "this, too, shall pass."

3. Finding the funny may not save your soul, but it will save your sanity. Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, look for the humor and embrace the crazy. Laughter is a lifeline.

4. Every day, you will feel like you have mishandled something. Like you've been impatient. Like you've misjudged. Like you've been too harsh. Like you've been too lenient. You may be right. Apologize if you need to and then, whatever. Seriously. Just whatever. Let it go.

5. The crazy, the crying, the cuddles. The screaming, the sacred, the scared. The minutes, the magic, the mess. It's all part of it. And it's all worth it.

6. Family is the best. Even when it's not perfect. And it's never perfect. Ever.

7. At the end of organization, at the end of patience, at the end of perfection, we die to ourselves. And then love rises from the ashes. It sucks. And then it gets better. And then it sucks again. Still, love rises.

8. You will never regret parenting. Except for the teeny, tiny tons of times when you secretly wonder if you maybe regret it just a little. But, overall, never. And overall is what counts in the end.

9. Parenting is like climbing the big mountain. Look for the base camp. That's where you rest, meet other climbers, take in oxygen and acclimatize. Base camp is what makes summiting possible.

10. You are not alone in this strange, vast, parenting ocean. Even in the dark of night. You are not alone. You're not.

11. Kids know the way to magical and they'll give you a free pass to come along. Breathe in the magic as long as you can, because that same kid is going to poop his pants in just a minute.

12. There's a very fine line between enjoying the chaos and barely surviving. Actually, there's no line at all. It's all mixed up together. That "fine line" thing is a lie.

13. If you pay attention, kids will teach you how to laugh loudly, how to love deeply and how to live fully. They will also ruin all your stuff.

14. Any number of kids is a lot of kids.

15. Look for joy. You'll find it in the middle of the busy. Or under the ridiculous. Or hanging from the overwhelmed in its underpants. Joy's like that. It's in the middle of everything. It's completely unpredictable. And it will surprise you when you're not expecting it. Like vomit and diarrhea, except good.

16. You will fall apart and do it all wrong. Forgive yourself. Ask your kids to forgive you. Set an example of resilient fallibility. Set an example of practicing the art of love -- both loving yourself and loving others. No one does this parenting gig right the first time. Or the last time. Or the times in between. Showing your kids how to keep going after getting it wrong is a wonderful gift to give them.

17. Kids are difficult, gross, confusing and awesome. So are you.

18. Parenting will bring you face-to-face with yourself. It may be terrifying. It may break you. But it will also rebuild you, and you will be stronger than you ever thought possible.

19. Balance is a myth. Parenting isn't a tight-rope walk; it's a dance. Strive for rhythm instead of balance, and trust yourself to move to the ever-changing beat.

20. Yes, you will have days where you wonder where the hell the capable and organized you went. Yes, you will sit on the floor of the main aisle at Target by the check-out area with a child who is thrashing, screaming and calling you names. Yes, you will have to tell your child that the dog is not a napkin and to put down the urinal cake. If you do not do all those things literally, then you will do them figuratively. And yes, you will also hold that child and rock back and forth and tell him you love him and tell him he's safe and tell him you're not leaving even though he will someday leave you. This is parenting. It is tragic and triumphant. Messy and magical. Sacred and spectacular. And it is, always, fiercely worthwhile.

HA this made me smile : )

Photo: Like if you love weekend.

Love this!

A note about Sunscreen and summer fun!

Parents this is a friendly reminder to please send (or keep in the diaper bag) a change of warm weathered clothes. We are going outside as much as possible.

I will apply sunscreen as needed. if you prefer I not please just let me know. Also if you have a preferred brand please feel free to send it. You are welcome to send it in the diaper bag each day, or you can send some to be left here. I am using Banana Boat baby spf 50, it is tear and sting free.


We will also be kicking off splash days!! The kids LOVE water play. I have a blow up pool and sprinklers for them to enjoy. So we will need swim clothes/swim diapers. You can send some to leave here or send it each day/week however you want to work it is fine by me : )


We are going to have a GREAT summer! We will do lessons outside as much as possible!

Mother Goose time June Curriculum

Pleased  Here is a video that will tell you a little more about what you can expect for next month!

What does your child need to know for kindergarten?


This is a decent read and give a guideline on what they should be working on at the preschool level.

Welcome to a new friend!

We want to give a big warm welcome to our new friend Grant! Grant will be joining us full time. Also thank you to Christen and Ryan for referring the family to me, it is greatly appreciated!

Seperation Anxiety

Here is an age by age guide and tricks to deal with it!

Aprils book list

Below you will find a link to this months suggested book list!

How does Mother Goose time match up to Illinois Early childhood standards?

Check it out for yourself!

Cowboys, Dunes and Desserts

This is a fun week! The children are excited to learn about Cowboys and Cowgirls! Here is a snippet of what we are doing this week:


Cowboy boots, cowboy hat, lasso, horse, and at the rodeo


We are stomping out our names (syllables), decorate cowboy boots, dance and talk about what parts of our bodies we are moving, practice squares and square dancing.


Children will decorate cowboy hats, sort shapes by colors and size, explore the color brown and read a new book called "Life in a dessert.


We will work with this month’s look and find, and learn about deserts and the animals that live there. We will practice counting to 17, learn about being kind and play with jump ropes.


They will decorate a horse and trot around, explore the letter H, practice cutting and so much more!

Week three The lifecycle of a butterfly!

We have had so much fun learning about butterflies this week! Here are some of the fun things we did:

* we learned that butterflies lay eggs on a leaf

* we glued "eggs" to a leaf and discussed how the hungry caterpillar will hatch and eat the leaf

* we played the bug in a rug game

*we learned about the letter B

*we practiced counting to 15 and 16 this week

*we made a caterpillar sculpture out of cornstarch noodles

*we explored the color yellow

*we read the folder story about the hungry caterpillar

*we learned about chrysalis

*we practiced sight words in our little books

*we searched for and found 16 flowers around the playroom

*we explored the lifecycle plate art

* we learned that N is for net and Noah

*we danced ("fluttered) around the room to the MGT cd and so much more.

We also have circle time each day. During circle time we have finger plays, songs, calendar, weather, stories ext. These things happen everyday and aren't always mentioned on the dailies. It is all a part of our busy routine!


Next week we will wrap up this unit about butterflies, we will learn about Easter and spring. there will be special treats next Tuesday in light of Easter. I am doing it on Tuesday due to attendance of some of the children : )

See you soon!


Butterfly house

week 2 The Bee

This week we explored the bee body, helper bee, bee stings, beekeeper and bee communication.

We made a bee sculpture and talked about the parts of the bee. We sang " baby Bumble bee, and had a bee race!

Children learned about how bees pollinate flowers and made a flower necklace ( this worked on visual arts, fine motor and social relationships) We explored the photo cards, and this months puzzle. We practiced flapping our wings like bees fifteen times, and made a book called "Whats on me".

We made a beekeeper puppet and explored real bees wax!

We sang a song:

Honeybee was feeling sad, feeling sad, feeling sad. honey bee was feeling sad, this is how he moved.

The we would buzz around the room real slow. We would change the words and speed up or slow down accordingly.

Next week we are going to explore the life cycle of a butterfly!

Week one MGT In the Beehive

This week we will elarn about the life of bees.

Children will make beehive stamps using bubble wrap, Reaceave new name tags, learn about Hexagons, buzz around the yard like bees, taste honey, practice handwriting with a honeycomb stencile, make hexagon stamps, build a haneycomb with foam hexagons, explore the color black play in a homemade "beehive", explore the new seek and find, count to 14, write in there little journals, learn about forgiveness, make a bee headband, make there own bee snacks, sort hexagons, learn about the letter B, practice cutting, puzzles and so much more!


Bumble Bees by Fran howard

Today we read a book about bumble bees. We talked about bees being insects, they say buzz, they are black and yellow and have wings, how they use thier antennas, they have five eyes, they live in a nest (other bees live in the bee hives we are used to hearing about, bumblebees live in a nest in the ground), they drink nectar from flowers (it gives them energy to fly).

You can read more baout bees:

Bees up close by Robin Birch

Bees and thier hives by Linda Tagliaferro

The life cycle of a bee by Lisa Trumbauer



How to make the yummy popular banana pops!

This is an easy, healthy yummy snack/breakfast that the kids can make themselves!

All you need is:

1)  Bananas

2)  Yogurt

3)  Crushed golden graham cereal

4)  Aluminum foil

Take the peeled banana; roll it in yogurt, followed by the crushed cereal. Wrap in foil and freeze!

Licensing updates

Right now I am working on meeting the required coursed the state of Illinois mandates I take. Some of these are free, others take more time and cost money. I will post my certifications as I earn them. Aside from manuvering through the red tape things are really coming together! I am so excited to be working towards this personal/professional goal right now!

10 tips for picky eaters

Has your preschooler refused to eat anything other than chicken nuggets for the past two days? Or would your toddler rather play than eat anything at all?

If children's nutrition is a sore topic in your household, you're not alone. Many parents worry about what their children eat — and don't eat. However, most kids get plenty of variety and nutrition in their diets over the course of a week. Until your child's food preferences mature, consider these tips for preventing mealtime battles.

No. 1: Respect your child's appetite — or lack of one

If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack. Likewise, don't bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate. This might only ignite — or reinforce — a power struggle over food. In addition, your child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration. Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more.

No. 2: Stick to the routine

Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. Provide juice or milk with the food, and offer water between meals and snacks. Allowing your child to fill up on juice or milk throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.

No. 3: Be patient with new foods

Young children often touch or smell new foods, and may even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite. Encourage your child by talking about a food's color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child's favorite foods.

No. 4: Make it fun

Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner. Serve a variety of brightly colored foods.

No. 5: Recruit your child's help

At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don't buy anything that you don't want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.


No. 6: Set a good example

If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

No. 7: Be creative

Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups.

No. 8: Minimize distractions

Turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals. This will help your child focus on eating. Keep in mind that television advertising might also encourage your child to desire sugary foods.

No. 9: Don't offer dessert as a reward

Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which might only increase your child's desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week — or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.

No. 10: Don't be a short-order cook

Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn't eat. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.

If you're concerned that picky eating is compromising your child's growth and development, consult your child's doctor. In addition, consider recording the types and amounts of food your child eats for three days. The big picture might help ease your worries. A food log can also help your child's doctor determine any problems. In the meantime, remember that your child's eating habits won't likely change overnight — but the small steps you take each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating.


Article found at:

Recommended Valentines day books

Cliffords first Valentines day By Norman Birdwell

What is valentines day by harriet Ziefert

The very special valentine by Maggie kneen

The night beofre Valentines Day by Natasha Wing

Biscuits Valentine day by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

The day it rained hearts byFelicia Bond

Kids and food 10 tips for parents

It's no surprise that parents might need some help understanding what it means to eat healthy. From the MyPlate food guide to the latest food fad, it can be awfully confusing.

The good news is that you don't need a degree in nutrition to raise healthy kids. Following some basic guidelines can help you encourage your kids to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.

Here are 10 key rules to live by:

  1. Parents control the supply lines. You decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. Though kids will pester their parents for less nutritious foods, adults should be in charge when deciding which foods are regularly stocked in the house. Kids won't go hungry. They'll eat what's available in the cupboard and fridge at home. If their favorite snack isn't all that nutritious, you can still buy it once in a while so they don't feel deprived.
  2. From the foods you offer, kids get to choose what they will eat or whether to eat at all. Kids need to have some say in the matter. Schedule regular meal and snack times. From the selections you offer, let them choose what to eat and how much of it they want. This may seem like a little too much freedom. But if you follow step 1, your kids will be choosing only from the foods you buy and serve.
  3. Quit the "clean-plate club." Let kids stop eating when they feel they've had enough. Lots of parents grew up under the clean-plate rule, but that approach doesn't help kids listen to their own bodies when they feel full. When kids notice and respond to feelings of fullness, they're less likely to overeat.
  4. Start them young. Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer variety. Likes and dislikes begin forming even when kids are babies. You may need to serve a new food on several different occasions for a child to accept it. Don't force a child to eat, but offer a few bites. With older kids, ask them to try one bite.
  5. Rewrite the kids' menu. Who says kids only want to eat hot dogs, pizza, burgers, and macaroni and cheese? When eating out, let your kids try new foods and they might surprise you with their willingness to experiment. You can start by letting them try a little of whatever you ordered or ordering an appetizer for them to try.
  6. Drink calories count. Soda and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. Water and milk are the best drinks for kids. Juice is fine when it's 100%, but kids don't need much of it — 4 to 6 ounces a day is enough for preschoolers.
  7. Put sweets in their place. Occasional sweets are fine, but don't turn dessert into the main reason for eating dinner. When dessert is the prize for eating dinner, kids naturally place more value on the cupcake than the broccoli. Try to stay neutral about foods.
  8. Food is not love. Find better ways to say "I love you." When foods are used to reward kids and show affection, they may start using food to cope with stress or other emotions. Offer hugs, praise, and attention instead of food treats.
  9. Kids do as you do. Be a role model and eat healthy yourself. When trying to teach good eating habits, try to set the best example possible. Choose nutritious snacks, eat at the table, and don't skip meals.
  10. Limit TV and computer time. When you do, you'll avoid mindless snacking and encourage activity. Research has shown that kids who cut down on TV-watching also reduced their percentage of body fat. When TV and computer time are limited, they'll find more active things to do. And limiting "screen time" means you'll have more time to be active together.

Family meals


Whether you have a toddler or a teen, here are five of the best strategies to improve nutrition and encourage smart eating habits:

  1. Have regular family meals.
  2. Serve a variety of healthy foods and snacks.
  3. Be a role model by eating healthy yourself.
  4. Avoid battles over food.
  5. Involve kids in the process.

What we are up to these days

We have been doing a lot! We made peace shakers and had a peace march in celebration of MLK day. We have been working very hard on our handwriting skills, tracing and fine motor skills. Everyone enjoyed the folder game we played ( we had to roll the dice to move our piece to the watering hole!) We hid safari animals in the tall yellow grass, and colored a picture of an elephant after we found all of the E's! We have been moving our bodies a lot to get the wiggles out, and have been learning about Africa!

Top 10 skills children learn from the arts

You don’t find school reformers talking much about how we need to train more teachers in the arts, given the current obsession with science, math, technology and engineering (STEM), but here’s a list of skills that young people learn from studying the arts. They serve as a reminder that the arts — while important to study for their intrinsic value — also promote skills seen as important in academic and life success. (That’s why some people talk  about changing the current national emphasis on STEM to STEAM.) This was written by Lisa Phillips is an author, blog journalist, arts and leadership educator, speaker and business owner. To learn about Lisa’s book, “The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World,” click here. This appeared on the ARTSblog.


By Lisa Phillips

1. Creativity – Being able to think on your feet, approach tasks from different perspectives and think ‘outside of the box’ will distinguish your child from others. In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.

2. Confidence – The skills developed through theater, not only train you how to convincingly deliver a message, but also build the confidence you need to take command of the stage. Theater training gives children practice stepping out of their comfort zone and allows them to make mistakes and learn from them in rehearsal. This process gives children the confidence to perform in front of large audiences.

3. Problem Solving – Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.

4. Perseverance – When a child picks up a violin for the first time, she/he knows that playing Bach right away is not an option; however, when that child practices, learns the skills and techniques and doesn’t give up, that Bach concerto is that much closer. In an increasingly competitive world, where people are being asked to continually develop new skills, perseverance is essential to achieving success.

5. Focus – The ability to focus is a key skill developed through ensemble work. Keeping a balance between listening and contributing involves a great deal of concentration and focus. It requires each participant to not only think about their role, but how their role contributes to the big picture of what is being created. Recent research has shown that participation in the arts improves children’s abilities to concentrate and focus in other aspects of their lives.

6. Non-Verbal Communication – Through experiences in theater and dance education, children learn to breakdown the mechanics of body language. They experience different ways of moving and how those movements communicate different emotions. They are then coached in performance skills to ensure they are portraying their character effectively to the audience.

7. Receiving Constructive Feedback – Receiving constructive feedback about a performance or visual art piece is a regular part of any arts instruction. Children learn that feedback is part of learning and it is not something to be offended by or to be taken personally. It is something helpful. The goal is the improvement of skills and evaluation is incorporated at every step of the process. Each arts discipline has built in parameters to ensure that critique is a valuable experience and greatly contributes to the success of the final piece.

8. Collaboration – Most arts disciplines are collaborative in nature. Through the arts, children practice working together, sharing responsibility, and compromising with others to accomplish a common goal. When a child has a part to play in a music ensemble, or a theater or dance production, they begin to understand that their contribution is necessary for the success of the group. Through these experiences children gain confidence and start to learn that their contributions have value even if they don’t have the biggest role.

9. Dedication – When kids get to practice following through with artistic endeavors that result in a finished product or performance, they learn to associate dedication with a feeling of accomplishment. They practice developing healthy work habits of being on time for rehearsals and performances, respecting the contributions of others, and putting effort into the success of the final piece. In the performing arts, the reward for dedication is the warm feeling of an audience’s applause that comes rushing over you, making all your efforts worthwhile.

10. Accountability – When children practice creating something collaboratively they get used to the idea that their actions affect other people. They learn that when they are not prepared or on-time, that other people suffer. Through the arts, children also learn that it is important to admit that you made a mistake and take responsibility for it. Because mistakes are a regular part of the process of learning in the arts, children begin to see that mistakes happen. We acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.

"So much more than ABC's"

"If asked when children learn to read and write, the average person would probably say, “in first grade.” Although this is indeed true for most children, success in first grade relies on more than just the instruction provided then; it also depends heavily on the knowledge and skills acquired long before. In fact, the experiences that build a foundation for learning to read and write have a history stretching all the way back to infancy."

So many parents have this misconception that their young toddler or baby cant learn. This is so incredibly wrong! Your children are growing and learning each day. It is your job, your responsibility to harness that raw curiosity and run with it.
The public school system is struggling. Why not give your child the best head start that you can possibly provide?

Closed on Monday!

Just a friendly reminder that I am closed on Monday! There is no charge for this day. I appreciate your understanding.

Week One- Getting ready for Safari

This was a very exciting week! We explored passports, packing, safari vehicle, cameras and being at the park. Why does a preschooler care about these things? What skills are they taking away from these topics? Well allow me to explain!
Before we began this months lessons we worked from the world map. Children were shown where we live and located Africa on the map.
The children drew a self portrait, practiced writing their names, wrote their ages and placed stickers in the pass port (fine motor skills, visual art, geography, emergent writing skills were all used while making art, chatting and having fun)
We work a lot on name recognition. We played a game with the new name tags where I placed all of the names on the floor then asked each of them to bring me only their name. Then we put them on the wall so we can refer back to them over the course of the month.
We made a safari hat as you can see from the pictures. I showed them a clip of the African grass land. we talked about how hot it is and how we wear hats to protect our heads from heat and cold.
We sorted foam ovals into groups. They were sorted into large and small as well as green and yellow ( works on shapes, pattern and sorting, spatial awareness skills)
Our book this month is My friend Pearl. Pearl is a four year old child that lives in Uganda. As we read this book we discussed how very different we are to pearl and how alike we are even though she lives across the world!
We worked from the look and find poster. we counted animals and birds, and found the hidden things in the picture! We also worked from our "My little journal" We practiced writing ovals.
We made our own "camera" and took pictures of lions, elephants and giraffes. (works on the these skills : Drama, visual arts, self concept, fine motor)
We handled the letter E and practiced making the ehh sound

This is only a smidgin of what we accomplished this week. We played outside, played with balls, read many books, colored for the fun of it, danced and so much more!

Please make sure your child is prepared for the day!

We have very busy mornings here and hit the ground running. It is important that children arrive dressed, hair bushed, medicine given if needed and ready to start the day.
If children arrive unprepared that is how you will find them upon pick up. Your child will still participate in messy sensory activities, painting, as well as going outside to play. This can be uncomfortable for them. Please have children ready to go, thank you Dawn

***This doe snot apply to infants and small babies (nor those that have to drop off significantly earlier than normal)

Play Is Seriouse Learning!

Discipline VS. Punishment

Art with two year olds

At Here We Grow we love to paint and explore many sensory activities. I came across this article and got a couple of new ideas from it. I thought maybe you would too!

I get many questions about how we introduce art to our 2 year olds, and what activities they enjoy. 

We invite the 2's to the art table by removing all the chairs. This way they can just walk up and start working. We don't require they wear smocks, as often this will stop them from wanting to paint or glue. (Unless it's a special project that does not include washable materials.)  We discuss this with the parents at the start of the year and encourage them to send their children in washable play clothes.

Once they feel comfortable, they will walk right up and explore!

Here are some art activities we do with the 2's:

Painting in, on, and around boxes.

Stamping paint on large pieces of paper. 
(These are home-made stamps we made by screwing blocks on top of various lids.)

Group painting. This is especially nice at the beginning of the year!

Painting with utensils. This is helpful for those who are still timid to get their hands in paint, due to the long handles.

One of our very favorites: rolling paint with brayers! We do this on a flat surface as well as at the easel.

You can use many different objects to dip into paint. 

We experiment with various sized brushes and various thicknesses of paint.

Some love to get their hands in it!

While others prefer to keep their hands clean. Putting objects and paint in a Zip Lock bag is still a sensory experience, but the paint doesn't touch the hands.

Or squirting paint on wax paper and then placing another piece of wax paper on top. Again, no touching the paint!

I enjoy varying what we paint on. In this case, it was tin foil.

Eventually we add some glue to our projects. 

And add some objects to our glue!

And driving cars and trucks through paint - one of our VERY favorites!

Eventually most of the 2's feel comfortable to get their hands in there and have fun! And for those that still are sensitive to the feeling of paint, they know they can wash their hands ... often! 

Let them have fun with whatever you choose. Give them time to explore. Sometimes they want to leave and do something else and then return for some more. A true learning experience!

This article was found at the following web site:

World Greatest hobby train show!

World's Greatest Hobby Train Show

Sunday, Jan 13 10:00a to 5:00p

More dates & times (1)

World's Greatest Hobby Train Show

Join Choo Choo Bob and his friends as they sing songs, have fun, and explore the world of trains!

100,000 square feet - over 20 spectacular operating model railroads

200 booths - all major manufacturers exhibiting, including: Bachmann, Kato, Walthers, Lionel, Athearr, Broadway Limited

Free Thomas Riding Train - Trains you can run, demos and more

Saturday, January 12th from 10 am - 6 pm
Sunday, January 13th from 10 am - 5 pm

America's Center - 701 Convention
Plaza (8th & Washington), St. louis, MO

Adults: Saturday: $11, Sunday $10, 2 days $12 (cash only) - children under 16 are free with an adult.

World's greatest hobby on tour - a train show like no other. We visit only once every 5 to 10 years so don't miss it!

For directions and more information visit:

A baby

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for”

Cheese for healthy teeth!

Did you know recent research shows cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child’s teeth? In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, and Monterey jack all stimulate the body’s salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect teeth from acids that weaken them. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque’s ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child’s teeth. So pack a cheese stick in your child's lunch and encourage them to eat it last.

Pediatric Dentistry of Sunset Hills

Delta Dental winter zoo (I receved this in the mail and decided to share as it sounds like fun!)

Sundays Jan 20- feb 10 from 11 am to 4 pm. This is a free even!

Come march with the penguins each Sunday and enjoy family fun featuring live entertainment, games and special treats. Activities take place in the living world and around the Zoo.

The Penguin Parade takes place each Sunday at 2 as long as it is less than 50 degrees out. On Feb 10th enjoy a family-style Mardi Gras celebration with mask-making, a parade, music and beads! you can register to participate in the Mardi Gras parade at

What have we been working on?

We are slowly wrapping up the December Sights and Sounds Of Winter Theme. If you browse through the pictures you will find shots of some of the wonderful art work we have created. Aside from the neat things Mother Goose sends us we have had sensory with Fake snow, real snow, shaving creme, puff paint, and play dough.
We did a lot of work with the numbers 7 and 8, the letters V, X, and M, the colors white and red, and the star shape.
In week one we learned about drums, ribbons, horn, stringed instruments and the piano. We made our very own small drum and learned about beats and syllables. How many beats are in your name? We looked at each others name tags and practiced the beats.
The dancing ribbons were a huge hit! the children enjoyed making them and dancing to the music, whirling and twirling. it was a fun way to get little feet moving! We made horns out of paper and practiced blowing them. We spent a lot of time listening to the sounds different instruments made and discussed what instruments we loved the most. The children learned about the parts of a violin and listened to Lindsay Stirling.

In week two the children explored animal tracks, Ice, owls, bells and singing..
we made a reindeer headband, talked about what tracks animals make in the snow and played the animal tracks game! They made a dripping ice collage, and had sensory with ice cubes. We also learned the sign for cookie. The children made there own bells and rang them as we sang songs like jingle bells. We also used our bells to practice counting.

During week three children learned about cookies, tea pot, house guest, mouse, feast. They decorated pretend cookies on a plate and later for snack decorated real cookies to eat! We decorated a tea pot using wet tea bags. and later drank tea with our snack. Letter we made an adorable mouse out of the number eight!
Week four has spilled over into this first week of January due to being closed for the holidays. We have explored candle, star, shadows, fire and saying good night.
We made a really nice candle wreath, played winter bingo. We learned and sang Twinkle twinkle little star, made a starlight wand, and made a star out of puff paint! We made shadows by playing with flashlights. The children also practiced fine motor skills by lacing a stocking. We talked about fire safety and what to do if there was a fire in there home.

This is just a small sample of some of the things we have done over the past month. It does not cover everything. December has been a lot of fun and we are looking forward to January as we pack our bags and travel to Africa. We are Going on a safari this month!

CPR First Aid

I will be obtaining my CPR/FIRST AID January 2nd.

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What to do with the kiddos on New years eve...

Well Christmas was wonderful. It was bustling busy and fun. Here at daycare we had a nice little party with some games and a yummy Christmas snack. Now that everything is all settled in the question that rises is what to do for New Years Eve.
In Our house we have a family game night. The kids stay up as late as they can. We have lots of snack foods, lil smokies, cheese and crackers, and we make homemade pizza. We play board games, card games whatever we want and just enjoy each others time.
I found a website that has a lot of choices for families to choose from this year. We have taken the kids to first night before and it was pretty fun (dress very warmly). Whatever you chose to do with your families I hope that you will be safe, warm and enjoy your time together. Have fun making memories!

Sensory Play: Is This Really Necessary?

If you frequent child activity blogs, you know that “sensory play” has been a hot topic for quite awhile now.  There are even entire websites devoted to sensory play for your tots, and while they are super fun to read and full of creative (and sometimes elaborate) ideas, you may find yourself asking, “Is all this REALLY necessary for my child’s development?”

To answer this question, let’s first look at what we know about sensory play.

What is sensory play?

Sensory play is simply play that encourages children to use one or more of the senses.  Often called “messy play,” sensory play experiences focus on stimulating childrens’ senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, balance, and movement.

Research tells us…

What does this mean to us?

The first three points on the list above are pretty self-explanatory. In a nutshell, sensory experiences are like food for the brain…they provide valuable input that allows the brain to build new pathways that in turn support growth in crucial areas of development.

The fourth point, however, is what sheds some light on the answer to our original question, “Is all this REALLY necessary?”  You may be thinking, “My parents didn’t do sensory play with me, and I turned out ok!”  The fact is, our little ones spend much less time outdoors than their parents and certainly grandparents did as children.  Since the outdoors is naturally full of sensory play opportunities, this has definitely had a part in the decline of sensory play.  Secondly, although children can definitely fulfill their need for sensory play indoors when given periods of unstructured playtime with stimulating materials, the truth is that indoor time is often monopolized by television, battery operated toys, or toddler/preschool programs that focus on drilling academics rather than fostering important play skills.  This has resulted in a generation of children who may not even know how to play when given the opportunity…how sad is that?

So in short, the answer to your question is yes, sensory play is crucial for your child’s development. And since children today are no longer given ample opportunities for naturally occurring sensory play, it is up to us as parents to be sure their needs are met.

But wait!!  

Before you curse my name and then rush out and buy the materials to recreate every zany sensory activity you ever pinned on Pinterest, let’s review what sensory play actually looks like.  Now, I am the first to admit that I have been known to get a little elaborate when planning sensory experiences for my tots (see my Giant Sensory Lagoon).  But keep in mind that a) I only do these types of activities once or twice a month, b) I have tons of materials at my disposal left over from years of working therapeutically with kids, and c) I have a bit of a screw loose.  I get immense pleasure from planning creative activities for our tot school group.  However, while the sensory lagoon was WICKED fun for both the kids and the adults who participated, I am fully cognizant of the fact that my children probably won’t even remember it and it did not turn them into baby geniuses over night.  If you do not have the time, resources, or inclination to turn your patio into an ocean for your children (see, it sounds kinda crazy when you say it that way), THAT’S PERFECTLY FINE!!  The truth is, while I may spend one night a month glueing ribbon to ping pong balls to make floating jellyfish, the rest of the time I am a typical frazzled twin mama who doesn’t have time to shower, much less create faux sea creatures.  Our typical sensory play experiences are much less glamourous (and often spur-of-the-moment), but just as effective!  Here are some much less time-intensive activities that you can do to enrich your child’s “sensory diet” without losing your sanity as well.

These are just a few ideas to get you started- there are way too many simple sensory activities out there for just one post.  Google it and you will see what I mean!  Here is another recent post with an example of simple (and FREE) outdoor sensory play with natural elements. Or, check out my themed units page, especially the five senses series, for more easy ideas (and some more adventurous ones, too).  And please, next time you read a post from me with an elaborate sensory play idea (‘cuz it’s gonna happen), just roll your eyes, pin it to your sensory board, and remember that I’ve got a screw loose. And that’s why you love me ;)

Article copied from:

Frosty Fluff Snow Play!

Today we made fake snow! The children had the best time with this stuff. here is what we did, and a ink to the sight where it was found!
To Make Frosty Fluff You Will Need:

~  Two 16 oz boxes of corn starch/ corn flour (or one 32 oz box)
~  One can of shaving cream (any variety will do- unscented is best!)
~  Peppermint Extract (optional)
~  Buffalo Snow Iridescent Flakes  (We buy ours at The Dollar Tree and Walmart- you know,  that
    sparkly fake  snow glitter )

Slowly add the shaving cream and snow glitter to the corn starch.  You don't need the whole bag of snow glitter.  Just keep adding it until you like the amount of sparkle.  It takes a bit of mixing to work the shaving cream into the corn starch but the process is FUN!  Both materials feel amazing!  I added a couple drops of peppermint extract towards the end of the mixing process but you can add it at anytime or skip it.  It isn't necessary; It just adds another fun element of play and exploration.

Week two= Outside sights and sounds!

This is going to be a busy week! We are going to finish our Christmas trees we worked on last Friday. So they will come home on Monday. We are going to explore animal tracks and talk about different winter animals. We will Play a matching folder game and talk about the noises animals make as they walk outside.
We will talk about Ice and play with it in the sensory table. The children will explore the letter V this week and will learn the sign for cookies! We will listen to bells and make our own. We will learn about how animals sing, talk about as well as sing songs about the weather. We will work on cutting skills, letter recognition, name recognition and more!

Sights and sounds of winter week one

This week we explored drums, ribbons,horns, stringed instruments and piano. 

We colored drums and then played with them to the beat of the music on our sights and sounds of winter CD. We practiced making a beat on our lap and saying out names. We made a beat on our lap and sand songs like "Macaroni" the "Alphabet" and "row row young boat" Then we explored our shape of the month the star. We put foam stars in groups of small, medium, and large. We made patterns with them, stacked them and counted them. We explored our name cards and looked at the letters in our name.
Everyone loved the ribbons! They decorated the handles and then I tied red and green ribbon to it. we danced around the room and twirled with them. We talked about the colors red and green as we danced. The book this month is called Sounds and Hearing. So we talked about what we hear with and how sound travels. I read books to them each day, this is the book that came with the curriculum.
we discussed what a horn looks like and listened to the sound that comes from a horn. Then we played with the look and find. We counted the stars that were pictured as well as the cookies and children. we talked about the snow in the pictures and how snow feels to the touch. Then we used the looking glass to find different objects. The children practiced counting to seven. we counted seven stars, seven cars, seven barbies, seven shapes etc.

This is just a couple of days worth of activities. We also spent a lot of time outside, made winter mittens, colored, painted, practiced letter recognition, days of the week, the month, and so much more. Our days are very busy!

Skills worked on were: Self concept, fine motor, phonological awareness, social relationships, logic, communication, gross motor and music, physical science, drama, earth science, shapes, patterns and sorting, vocabulary, comprehension, listening comprehension, number concepts, spatial awareness ext.

Why you shouldnt throw out those Broken crayons!

“No! Don’t break that…(crack!)…crayon.”

Sound familiar?

I know, you hate it when kids break stuff. It means toys have been ruined and money wasted.

But, thank goodness, it’s not true when it comes to crayons! They are actually better when they’re broken.

Here’s why.

Kids develop the ability to grasp and use a writing utensil in a fairly predictable progression, as demonstrated in the picture below (though there is some variation in names used for the first three grasps):

Sometimes, however, kids will get “stuck” in one grasp and have a hard time trying out more mature grasps. The solution?

Give them a crayon that’s been broken in half.

This naturally encourages them to “pinch” the crayon between their thumb and index finger, moving them into a more mature and skilled grasp pattern. The reason is simple — it’s hard to use a cylindrical or digital grasp on a short crayon.

Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.

I actually encourage parents of young kids to break crayons in half in order to promote more mature grasp patterns as they develop their fine motor skills (be sure to remove the paper, though). And, as an added bonus, it gives you twice as many crayons so there are more to go around!

So the next time you feel the urge to go out and buy more crayons because the ones you have at home are broken, think again! Those broken, washed up crayons are just waiting to be used to help your little ones with the development of their fine motor skills.

Article found at

The Sights and Sounds of Winter!

This month will ignite your child's sense of sight and sound as they discover, hears and sees the beauty of the winter months. He will begin by exploring various instruments and props. he will make his own drum, a ribbon wand for dancing and a pretend piano! The Journey continues outside by hunting for sights and sounds in nature. Listen to the hoot of an owl, the crack of ice and the ringing bells. Then go inside to warm up and investigate familiar indoor sights and sounds. Hear a whistling tea pot, electric mixer and the crunch of cookies. end the month by experimenting with light and dark in our short winter days. what lights up the night sky and what makes shadows? A full, fun month of sensory exploration fills this theme!\

Our Featured Concepts this month are:
Letters V,X and M
Shape, Star
Numbes, 7 and 8
colors white and red
Social behavior, I love.

In week 1 we will explore Drums, Ribbons, horns, Stringed instruments, and piano.
In week 2 we will explore Candle, star, shadow, fire, goodnight
in week 3 we will explore animal tracks, ice, owl, bells, singing
in week 4 we will explore cookies, teapot, house guest, mouse and fest

Our music genera this month is classical!

The importance of transitions

Transitions can be stressful and frustrating for children who are not ready to either end their current activity or who have difficulty with change. Prepare children for transitions by alerting them of the upcoming change before it happens. The more children can predict their routine, the smoother the day will flow.

Our schedule here is not a rigid one, but we do follow a routine. Changes occur due to the weather (for example going out side to play may have to wait until the afternoon rather then 9 am so it can warm up a little for us). Please see the sample daily plan for more information on our routine.



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4/24/2014 4:50:48 PM