A Place to Grow Learning Blog

  • A Place to Grow Celebrates the Season

    Posted by on December 11, 2015

    Everywhere you look there are tell-tale signs of the holidays. Consumerism runs rampant through the malls, but A Place to Grow encourages more creative, less commercial methods to celebrate the season – through imaginative learning and inventive play.

    Our teachers engage young children with inclusive activities. Our “Caring, Sharing, and Giving” traditions offer special programs that appeal to children and their families.

    Caring, Sharing, and Giving

    1. Sharing – Children often want to bring in something that’s special to them that represents the holidays, family traditions, or the season to share with peers. We encourage the children to listen and share in their joy. It promotes tolerance and understanding among young children.
    2. Gift-Giving – One of our favorite traditions is the “surprise” gift children make in class. Presents from children are always embraced (and usually displayed) in the home. Children take great pride in their work, and even more so when they present their masterpiece as a gift. Our teachers have the kids create gifts to present to someone special during the holiday season.
    3. Harvest Breakfast – Another popular tradition we are proud of is our Harvest Breakfast. We share a meal, read stories, and have meaningful conversations about thankfulness and gratitude.

    This is the time of year we are also approached by parents asking what makes a toy “good” for children. We suggest toys that are open-ended and give children the opportunity to invent their own ways to play. Websites offering imaginative toys include hearthsong.com; onestepahead.com; forsmallhands.com; LakeshoreLearning.com; mindware.com; museumtour.com and youngexplorers.com.

    Our own original gift idea that parents have embraced is to create “Prop Boxes” as gifts.  This simple technique uses decorative, boxes with a special theme.  The possibilities are endless and children can add to their prop boxes creating new ideas throughout the year.

    Here are some ideas for imaginative play:

    1. Birthday Box:  party hats, decorations, plates, wrapping paper
    2. Writing Box: pads of paper, pens, pencils, envelopes, stamps
    3. Construction Box: Construction hat, goggles, play tools, scraps of wood
    4. Baby Box: washable baby doll, diapers, bottles, bath tub, diaper wipes
    5. Office box: calculator, junk mail, pens, number and alphabet stamps
    6. Art Box: water colors, paper, different size brushes, different sizes of paper, stamps
    7. Recycle Box: toilet paper and paper towel tubes, masking tape, hole punches, bread ties
    8. Cooking Box:  playdough, cutters, rolling pins, small dishes, and a play stove
    9. Camping Box: flashlight, fabric for a tent, collections of stuffed animals, sticks and rocks
    10. Vet Box: stuffed animals, Band-Aids, stethoscope, blankets

    The hustle and bustle of the holidays can easily overshadow the spirit of the season. The key is to find techniques that foster nurturing activities that reinforce the joy, cheer, and excitement that accompanies the holiday season.