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Toys! And A CONTEST!

By November 14, 2011November 21st, 201120 Comments

Today on the SoundSteps blog, we want to give away a Kindermusik Fun Pack with fun accessories and a gift certificate for a free month of Kindermusik classes! Read on to find out how you can win.

Congratulations to Melissa Johnson! She is the winner of our Kindermusik Fun Pack! Thanks for participating and stay plugged into the blog for future info, updates, stories and CONTESTS!

The season is almost upon us. That’s right, toy-buying season. I know, you go into it with the best of intentions and come out of it with wonderful things you know your child can’t resist.

For those of you who want to keep it simple, you don’t have to spend much. In fact, if you’ve been in my classes, you know I frequently lament all things electronic for children. Like it or not, our children are growing up in an age of extreme visual stimulation from screens (TVs, computers, iEverything!) Did you know that the American Association of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all before age 2? That’s right, no I-Anything for your little one. And auditory stimulation? Our children need less sound pollution and more active listening in their lives to promote good attention.

Impossible you say? Well, probably so. You have to raise your child in the age in which he/she is living. But let’s work on alternative ways to play that really make a difference for your child. The first 3-5 years are the foundation for all later learning.  Specifically, your child needs to build imagination and creativity in these critical early years.  When he picks up a pencil and goes to practice the alphabet, he can do so with ease because he’s got fine motor to grip that pencil. Or when she looks at a computer and moves a mouse around the screen, she will have the spacial awareness to do so. There are all sorts of structures in the brain that are built through creative and imaginative play and that play happens easily with flexible “toys”.

I like to call these toys that don’t do anything for your child. They are open-ended. They don’t have a goal or purpose, they just are. In class, we play with lots of these things:

  • Sticks: they can be letters, X’s, trains, bunny ears, cat whiskers, or maybe they can even tap a beat.
  • Scarves: today they’re superhero capes, tomorrow they are laundry to be folded, yesterday they were bird feathers.
  • Hoops: call them a boat, a puddle, a cheerio, a bracelet…

Get the picture? These are the ways you want your child learning: touching, creating, imagining, handling, writing stories. You’ll build spatial awareness that will transfer onto a page. When it’s time to write letters and numbers, your child will understand directionality and proportion.

Here are some TOYS you can buy for your child as we approach the holiday season:

  • Finger paints and bath paints are great, but shaving cream is also great, or how about edible finger paint?!
  • Cardboard boxes and paper bags
  • Any containers that nest or fit inside one another make great tools for learning proportions and shapes. Think of it as pre-geometry.
  • Play dough
  • Dress up. Fun remnants from the fabric store work great. And boys and girls need to play dress up!
  • Plasticware, paper plates, pots and pans, kitchen containers–use for sound exploration, drumming.
  • Parchment paper (for baking) makes wonderful crunching sounds and doesn’t disintegrate or tear easily.
  • Water bottles–you can put anything in them and make a shaker. Explore the difference between cereal, rice, beans…
  • Dry foods–use large foil pans (big ones from Sam’s) to create texture exploration with rice, pasta, sand
  • Bubbles–great for hand/eye, fine motor, attention and concentration

This post brought to you by Miss Lisa, an expert in imagination!

And now for THE CONTEST! We’d love for you to share the Kindermusik by SoundSteps website, blog, and Facebook page with your friends! All three are a great place to keep up with the Kindermusik happenings and share in the experiences that go beyond your Kindermusik classes. We will be giving away a Kindermusik Fun Pack with fun accessories and a gift certificate for a free month of Kindermusik classes to one lucky winner! Here are three different ways your name will go into the cyber-hat: Tell us what you’re giving your child this year!

Share your idea and enter to win by:

  1. Using the comment box here on the blog (one comment per household)
  2. Sharing it in a comment on the Kindermusik Facebook page
  3. LIKE our Facebook Page for the first time

Contest ends Friday, November 18th at 7:00p.m. (CST). Each person can be eligible by all three means of entering, increasing your chances to win. Winner will be announced the following Monday morning.