Early Learning Calendar - Capital Area District Library

Early Learning Calendar - Capital Area District Library
INGHAM
Early Learning Calendar
HOW TO
USE THIS
CALENDAR
Learning begins at birth! It is important that families
feel supported and know how they can encourage
children throughout early childhood. This calendar was
developed in order to give you some information and
guidance on how you can help children in learning and
be prepared to succeed in kindergarten.
This calendar contains a variety of information related
to preparing children for success in kindergarten, what
children will be learning in kindergarten and fun things you
can do together from birth to develop and support children’s skills!
• Daily activities can be adapted to your child’s age, interest or skill level.
• This calendar is designed to be used in any year. The empty boxes can be
left blank, used to check off activities completed, or to write in dates.
• Each month highlights a local resource your family may want to use or visit.
• Developmental Milestones and ideas
for Learning on the Go can be found
at the back of the calendar.
Children learn many different skills in the
following areas that will help them be ready to
succeed in kindergarten. Each day of the week
focuses on a different area.
Sunday: Language Development
Activities will help your child practice these skills:
• Answering questions about a story you’ve read together.
• Taking two or more turns in a conversation.
• Using words learned from stories, experiences and
conversation.
• Being understood by most people.
• Using I, he, she, him, her, his and hers correctly.
Monday: Literacy Development
Tuesday: Mathematical Development
Activities will help your child practice these skills:
Activities will help your child practice these skills:
• Playing with sounds in words (rhyming, beginning sounds).
• Identifying 18 upper case and 15 lower case letters
and the sounds they make.
• Recognizing their own written name.
• Looking at a book front to back and turning pages one at a time.
• Writing their first name beginning with a capital and finishing
with lowercase.
•
•
•
•
•
•
Wednesday: Physical Development
Thursday: Social Development
Activities will help your child practice these skills:
Activities will help your child practice these skills:
• Jumping with two feet.
• Maintaining personal space.
• Using a tripod grasp (thumb and two fingers) to write or draw
a letter, numeral or shape.
• Trusting other adults and children.
• Playing with, not just next to, other children.
Verbally counting to 20.
Physically counting out 10 objects correctly.
Identifying numbers 1–20.
Identifying basic shapes (square, circle, triangle, etc.).
Creating a two-part pattern (green, white, green, white).
Sorting objects by something they have in common (color,
size, shape, etc.)
• Learning and participating in a group.
• Using kids’ scissors.
Friday: Emotional Development
Saturday: Approaches to Learning
Activities will help your child practice these skills:
Activities will help your child practice these skills:
• Separating from primary caregiver for an extended period of
time.
• Taking care of their own needs (i.e. wiping after toileting,
washing hands).
•
•
•
•
• Controlling the expression of their feelings.
Showing curiosity and motivation to learn new things.
Spending 10–15 minutes working on interesting tasks.
Focusing and concentrating on an activity for 10–15 minutes.
Remembering and connecting experiences with environment
(grocery store, library).
• Following two-step directions and remembering simple routines.
• Sticking with and solving simple problems.
PLAY
IS LEARNING
Play is the work of children. It brings
enjoyment, releases energy, and gives
children a way to express themselves.
Play also encourages creativity, imagination,
self-confidence and problem-solving.
Don’t ever stop playing together!
• INFANTS: explore and play by putting
things in their mouths and banging them
on the ground. Beware of choking hazards.
Items that can pass through a toilet paper
tube can be a choking hazard for infants.
• TODDLERS: copy actions and behaviors
of others. They are learning empathy and
cooperation through play.
• PRESCHOOLERS: have longer attention
spans and the ability to concentrate.
Offer enough time for children to become
engaged in their favorite play activities.
JA NU A RY
LOCAL RESOURCE: Play and Learn Groups provide activities for families
to play and explore alongside their children ages four years old and younger.
Groups are offered in a variety of locations across the Ingham service area.
Visit www.inghamgreatstart.org for the current Play and Learn Group schedule.
Sing the
alphabet song.
A is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
“A” together. Look
for “A’s” or objects that
begin with the /a/ sound
as in apple.
The shape of the
day is a triangle.
See how many
triangles you can find.
Dance, dance,
dance! Turn on
some music and
dance with your child!
Be extra kind to
someone today.
Encourage your
child to serve
themselves
during mealtime.
Build a snowman!
Talk with your
child about your
child’s favorite soup.
B is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a
“B” together. Look
for “B’s” or objects that
begin with the /b/ sound
as in ball.
The color of the day
is blue. See how
many blue things
you can find today!
Go outside and
make snow angels
together.
Visit the children’s
section of your
local library. Pick
out books or stay and read
a while. Visit your library’s
website at www.cadl.org or
www.elpl.org.
Draw a happy face
and talk about what
things make you
happy.
Cut snowflakes
out of paper and
decorate them
together.
Learn a new word
together and
practice using it.
Read a familiar book
together. Then let
your child “read”
the story back to you.
Today is all about
the number 1. See
how many “1’s”
you can find as you
go about your day.
Go outside and
shovel together.
Schedule a play
date with a cousin,
neighbor or friend.
Encourage your
child to clean up
after themselves
after mealtime.
At home, act out the
story of Goldilocks
and the Three Bears
with stuffed animals.
Sing your favorite
song to your child.
Ask your child what
their favorite song is.
C is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a
“C” together. Look
for “C’s” or objects that
begin with the /c/ sound
as in cat.
Count how many
vegetables you eat
today. What colors
are they?
Draw shapes in
shaving cream.
Recognizing shapes
is the beginning of
recognizing letters
and numbers.
Sit down and eat
a meal together.
Tell your child
about your day and
ask about theirs.
Practice washing
hands, brushing
teeth and combing
hair while chanting
“Hickory, Dickory, Dock.”
Talk to your child
about when they
were younger.
What kinds of things
did they do and say?
Sing “Hickory,
Dickory, Dock.”
Make up some hand
motions to the song/rhyme.
Reading before bed
is a time-honored
tradition. What
times can you find to read
with your child? Try bath
time, mealtime, potty time,
and doctor’s appointments.
Count your child’s
fingers and toes.
Use familiar
household objects
to create an
obstacle course. For
example, couch cushions,
pillows, laundry basket…
Play a game
together like
Peek-a-Boo,
I Spy or Hokey Pokey.
Help your child
think of something
they can do for
someone else.
Talk about different
materials: paper,
cloth, wood, metal,
etc. Can you find things
made of each?
SONG/RHYME:
Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory Dickory Dock
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one.
The mouse ran down.
Hickory Dickory Dock.
MUSIC IS
FOR EVERYONE
Music really is for everyone! Your child
will love to hear your voice no matter
how well you sing.
• INFANTS: enjoy songs, fingerplays and
dancing. These activities are soothing and
fun, and create a feeling of safety and
stress relief.
• TODDLERS: respond to music by moving
and being active. By moving, toddlers
strengthen their large muscles and learn
coordination.
• PRESCHOOLERS: build literacy skills
through music. Songs, rhymes and rhythms
help young children recognize individual
sounds and learn to keep a steady rhythm,
important pre-reading skills.
F E BR U ARY
LOCAL RESOURCE: The City of East Lansing sponsors live musical
performances for families as part of the FREE Children’s Concert Series.
Look for the current Children’s Concert Series schedule
at www.cityofeastlansing.com/137/Childrens-Concert-Series.
Make a recipe
together. Talk
about how the food
smells, looks, and how
it will taste.
D is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a
“D” together. Look
for “D’s” or objects that
begin with the /d/ sound
as in dog.
A square is the
shape of the day.
Count how many
squares you can
find today.
Jump high, jump
low, leap like a frog.
Visit the children’s
section of your
local library.
Help your child
make a phone call
to someone special
to tell them 2 things they
love about them.
Go on a nature
walk this week!
What does winter
look like in your
neighborhood?
Create a list of
special people and
talk about what
makes them special.
Talk about the parts
of a book: title,
author, illustrator
and which direction
we read.
The color of the
day is red. See
how many red
things you can find.
Choose one of your
special people and
write them a letter
together.
Deliver the letter
you wrote to your
special person.
Practice good
hygiene: blowing
nose, coughing and
sneezing into arm, washing
hands and throwing away
a Kleenex.
Complete a
puzzle together.
Talk about all of
your favorite things.
E is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
“E” together. Look
for “E’s” or objects that
begin with the /e/ sound
as in elephant.
Today is all about
the number 2. See
how many “2’s”
you can find.
Practice jumping on
one foot, then the
other. Count your
jumps. Clap your hands
with each jump.
Join a Play and
Learn Group.
To find a location
near you, visit
www.inghamgreatstart.org.
Wash hands and
talk through the
proper steps. Make
up a song about
washing hands.
Make a weather
book out of paper.
Draw pictures of
different kinds of weather
and talk about them.
Talk through your
child’s day. Tell them
what they will be
doing, i.e. eating, taking a nap,
going to the store. This builds
their everyday vocabulary. Ask
them what they think will be
the most fun.
Look through a
picture book and
tell the story without
using the words. Wordless
picture books are fun and
promote language!
Mix up all of your
silverware and let
your child sort in
a variety of ways.
Sorting is great early
math skills practice.
Act out the
song, “Head and
Shoulders, Knees
and Toes.”
Schedule a play
date with cousin,
neighbor or friend.
Dress in the
color red today.
Play a listening/
following direction
game like “Simon
Says” with your child.
At the grocery
produce section,
name all of the
colors you can see.
Make signs with
descriptive words
like “hot”, “soft”,
etc. Tape them around
the house.
Count the socks
in your house in
singles and in pairs.
Talk about things
that come in pairs.
Cut out hearts.
Place on floor.
Jump with two feet
from heart to heart.
Sit down and eat
a meal together.
Talk about your
favorite winter activity.
Read a story
with your child.
Have them
tell/draw/write what they
loved about the book.
Make a list of your
family’s safety rules.
Talk about why you
need to have rules.
SONG/RHYME:
Head and Shoulders,
Knees and Toes
(Sung to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down. Throughout, touch corresponding part of own body.)
Head and shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes.
Head and shoulders knees and toes,eyes, ears, mouth, and nose.
Head and shoulders, knees and toes.
READING WITH
YOUR CHILD
Literacy learning begins at birth! Reading out
loud to children is one of the most important
activities for building understanding and skills
needed for later reading success.
• INFANTS: learn to talk by hearing spoken
words. Board books are a good choice for
babies—they are small, sturdy and have
pages that are easy to turn. Babies also
love to see faces, so look for books with
photographs of people of all ages.
• TODDLERS: Keep toddlers engaged
with books that have rhymes, movement,
rhythm and singing. Toddlers learn through
repetition and may request the same book
or game over and over again.
• PRESCHOOLERS: are ready to listen to
longer stories, but don’t forget to make
them fun and interactive. Books with
lots of different kinds of words will build
vocabulary and understanding of
new concepts.
M A RCH
LOCAL RESOURCE: The Early Childhood Literacy Coalition celebrates literacy
with two weeks of free activities and an early literacy celebration every March. Find
the full schedule on Capital Area District Libraries’ website at www.cadl.org. Look up
the ECLC facebook page at www.facebook.com/EarlyChildhoodLiteracyCoalition.
Talk about patterns.
Which animals have
stripes? Which ones
have spots?
F is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
“F” together. Look
for “F’s” or objects
that begin with the /f/
sound as in fish.
A rectangle is the
shape of the day.
Count how many
rectangles you can find.
Play some music
and dance.
Schedule a play
date with a cousin,
neighbor or friend.
Practice putting on
and taking off
outdoor clothing.
Show your child
how to measure
using measuring
cups. Let them practice
with water and dry beans.
Let your child help
prepare a meal or
snack. Talk about
what you and your child
are doing.
Talk about syllables
as the sounds in
words. Clap out
some words together.
One clap for each syllable
or word chunk.
The color of the day
is purple. See how
many purple things
you can find today.
Kids love to help!
Give your child a
small cloth so they
can dust along with you.
Visit the library.
Draw a sad face.
Tell about a time
you felt sad.
Collect 3 purple
items in your house.
Talk about shades
of colors. Which one
is lighter/darker?
Start each day at
the window and talk
about the weather.
G is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a
“G” together. Look
for “G’s” or objects
that begin with the /g/
sound as in goat.
Today is all about
the number 3. See
how many “3’s”
you can find as you
go about your day.
Make a fort and
read in it together.
Sit down and eat
a meal together.
Clean up as many
toys as you can in
30 seconds.
Gather mystery
objects and put
them in a bag.
Have your child feel the
item in the bag and
guess what it is.
Say and act out the
finger play, “Two
Little Black Birds.”
Just for fun, read
with a flashlight.
Make shadow
puppets or tell each
other stories.
Dress in the color
purple today.
Go on a rectangle
hunt in the house,
moving like different
animals from room to room.
Practice using
“Please” and
“Thank you” with
others.
Talk about how you
feel when the snow
melts.
Texture fun: give
your child scraps
of paper, fabrics,
and cardboard. Talk about
the different textures.
At the grocery
store, talk about
which things
are cold.
Make a book of
your own. Staple
paper together.
Child draws pictures and
parents write the words.
Count all the doors
and windows in
your home. Are
there more doors
or windows?
Make something
out of a cardboard
box and tape.
Bundle up and
visit a local park/
playground.
Help clear the table
and wash the dishes.
Talk about sweet,
salty, bitter, spicy,
and sour. Taste
something and discuss
what they liked best.
FINGERPLAY:
Two Little Blackbirds
Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill
One named Jack (show left hand) and the other named Jill (show right hand)
Fly away Jack! (fly left hand behind back)
Fly away Jill! (fly right hand behind back)
Come back, Jack! (fly left hand back from behind back)
Come back, Jill! (fly right hand back from behind back)
SCIENCE EVERY DAY
Science is everywhere—from animals, plants and the natural
world, to health and nutrition, to tools and machines, and
more! Children are naturally curious about their world and
science encourages their love of exploration.
• INFANTS: learn about the world and properties of
objects by using all of their senses. When they drop a
toy and you pick it up, they are learning about cause
and effect.
• TODDLERS: are trying to find out how the world works.
As they use their five senses they are making sense of
their world. Encourage your toddler to try things out.
What will happen if you put a stick in a mud puddle?
As your child looks closely at things in nature, give
names to objects found.
• PRESCHOOLERS: use trial and error, an important part
of the scientific process. Adults can encourage curiosity
by asking questions and allowing children to investigate
many different possibilities.
How do you think that works?
Why do you think giraffes have long necks?
What tool would help us do this job?
What will happen to this ice cube when we put
it in hot water?
A PR IL
LOCAL RESOURCE: The MSU Science Festival is an amazing,
multi-day series of events that highlight the fields of science, technology,
engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). For this year’s complete
schedule visit www.sciencefestival.msu.edu.
Sing and act out
“Little Bo Peep.”
Sing the
alphabet song.
Today is all about
the number 4. Think
of 4 things that are
heavy. Think of 4
things at the beach.
Choose 3 new
foods and have
a family taste test.
Ask your child if
you can join their
play. This models
how to join others at play.
Paint a picture
while listening to
music. Talk about
how you felt.
Cut a picture into
pieces to make a
puzzle, then put it
back together.
Make up a song
about part of your
child’s daily routine.
H is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
“H” together. Look
for “H’s” or objects that
begin with the /h/ sound
as in horse.
The color of the
day is green! See
how many green
things you can find.
Set up an obstacle
course for your
child to go over,
under, in, out,
around and through.
Read a book about
friendship and talk
about how to be
a good friend.
Find a calming
place in your
house. Encourage
your child to visit this place
when they need to calm
themselves.
Show your child
what time of day
it is at breakfast,
lunch, and dinner. Talk about
which routines happen at
which times.
Ask your child to
predict what will
happen in a book
by looking at the cover.
“Paint” lines, circles
or letters on the
sidewalk/driveway
with water.
Do jumping jacks
together and count
aloud as you go.
See how high you
can count together!
Roll up a sock to
make a ball. Pull
out the laundry
basket and throw the sock
ball into it. Step farther back
each time.
Ask your child if
you can use their
toy when they are
finished playing with it. Help
them follow through after
your child is done.
Give your child a
basket to fill with
things your child
likes. Talk about the items
they have collected.
Talk about choices
with your child.
Make sure to give
choices as often as you can.
Repeat the sounds
that your baby
makes back to
your baby.
Have your child
find and circle all
the letters on a
cereal box or other food
packaging.
A circle is the shape
of the day. Count
how many circles
you can find today!
Play the freeze
game. Play music
on your phone and
dance together. When
the music stops, you
both freeze.
Go to the mall
and play with
other children in
the play area.
Make different
faces in the mirror
together. Talk
about emotions.
When your child
asks you a question,
show them how you
find the answer in a book
or on a website.
Play restaurant
with your child.
Pretend play builds
vocabulary!
I is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
“I” together. Look
for “I’s” or objects that
begin with the /i/ sound
as in igloo.
Cook together!
Encourage
your child to use
measuring cups to measure
and add ingredients.
Make a batch of
playdough together
(1 cup flour + ½ cup
salt + about ½ cup water)
and use your hands to make
different things.
Draw a picture or
make a card for
a neighbor and
deliver it.
Look for happy
faces in books,
then sad faces.
Talk about feelings.
Get out some
recycled materials
(cardboard, plastic
containers, etc.) and tape.
Make something together
today!
RHYME:
Little Bo Peep
Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them.
Leave them alone and they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.
SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL
Your child may be just learning how to get along in
a group setting. They are learning your expectations,
how to interact with other children and developing
an understanding of rules. They are also beginning
to develop the ability to control their impulses. With
support from you, children practice and learn these skills.
• INFANTS: Supporting social emotional development
means meeting their needs. Babbling to them when
they talk to you, responding to their cries, and letting
them explore their world while you’re nearby.
• TODDLERS: As toddlers experience their feelings,
provide names for those feelings. Follow your child’s
lead in play. Support them as they reach out to play
with others. Try to provide multiples of materials,
so each toddler has their own.
• PRESCHOOLERS: Support your preschooler’s interest
in playing with other children. Ask questions such as
“how would that make you feel?” to help develop
empathy and perspective taking. Let them know you
notice when they do something helpful.
M AY
LOCAL RESOURCE: Research shows that children who
attend high-quality preschool programs are more likely to:
• Attend college
• Read proficiently by 3rd grade
• Earn higher incomes
• Graduate from high school
Many three and four year old children are eligible for tuition-free
preschool. To learn more about options and complete an
application (the first step in the process of getting connected to a
program), go to www.inghampreschool.org or call 1-855-644-7735.
Use a sock for
a puppet to act
out the “Eentsy
Weentsy Spider.”
Attend your local
library’s storytime.
Check out a book.
www.cadl.org/events
or www.elpl.org.
A diamond is the
shape of the day.
Count how many
diamonds you can
find today.
Using your kitchen
tongs, practice
moving things from
one bowl to another.
Make a puzzle by
cutting up the front
of a cereal box. Put
it back together with your
child taking turns to put in
each piece.
Mount a small
mirror at your
child’s eyelevel.
Make faces in the mirror.
Make a plan for
tomorrow with your
child. Write it down.
Follow through.
Expand your child’s
language. When
your child says “My
shoes,” you can say “Those
are your shiny, red shoes.”
J is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a
“J” together. Look
for “J’s” or objects that
begin with the /j/ sound
as in jar.
Go on a walk and
collect natural
objects (stones,
pinecones, etc).
Graph what you find.
Do jumping jacks
together and count
aloud as you go.
See how high you
can count together!
Practice responding
with a “Hello!”
when someone
greets you.
Read a book about
feelings. Go to your
library and ask your
librarian for book ideas.
Talk about a recent
family trip.
When reading a
book, ask your child
to predict what will
happen before you turn the
last page.
With your child,
find the first letter
in your child’s name
in as many places
as possible.
Today is all about
the number 5.
Find 5 tiny things.
Find 5 big things. Find
5 medium-sized things.
Put on some
music and move
together!
Learn to say
“please” and
“thank you” in
Spanish. “Por Favor”
y “Gracias.” Practice it
with people you see.
Read a book about
friendship and talk
about how to be a
good friend.
At the end of the
day reflect on
something that
made you feel happy. Ask
your child to reflect about
what made them happy.
Using your phone,
take photos of
nature in surprising
places (crack in a sidewalk).
Show the photos and ask
your child to tell you a story.
Have your child
write a grocery list
and help find the
items when you’re at
the store.
Put salt, sand or
shaving cream on
a cookie tin. Draw
shapes in the material. Have
your child name the shape.
Now it’s their turn.
Teach your child
to wash their
hands—tops,
bottoms and between
fingers—for the duration of
the Happy Birthday song.
Today is a pink
day. See how many
pink things you
can find. Talk about which
things are pink.
Take pictures of
your child’s
face expressing
happiness, sadness, fear,
frustration… Post those
pictures around their mirror.
Notice when your
child solves their
own problem. Tell
your child and list the ways
they solved the problem.
Find a bag and put
some familiar items
in it. Reach in and
describe the object. Have
your child guess what it is.
Now it’s your turn to guess!
K is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a
“K” together. Look
for “K’s” or objects that
begin with the /k/ sound
as in kangaroo.
Pick flowers in
your neighborhood
and press them
between the pages of
a large book. Count the
petals and leaves.
Kick a ball back
and forth with
your child.
Play in puddles
with a friend. See
who can make the
biggest splash!
Lay on your back
outside and watch
the clouds in the
sky. Talk about what animals
they look like.
Have your child
help you with the
laundry, matching
socks and sorting piles.
SONG:
The Eentsy Weentsy
Spider
The eentsy weentsy spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the
Eentsy weentsy spider climbed up the spout again.
OUTSIDE PLAY
Remember playing outside as a child, the sense of freedom
and wonder? Outdoor play supports children’s physical
development using large muscles to run and jump. Learning
is enhanced as children experience new sights, sounds,
smells and textures. Children of all ages need to get
outside, spring, summer, fall and winter.
• INFANTS: benefit from stroller walks, where they hear
outside noises, experience natural light and breezes,
and become familiar with the feeling of moving outside.
Sitting on the grass provides input of different textures
and smells.
• TODDLERS: love the new experiences of being
outdoors, and will learn new skills. Walking on different
surfaces and slopes lets their muscles learn new ways to
support their bodies.
• PRESCHOOLERS: have fun seeing all of the new things
outside—birds and squirrels, clouds, sticks and stones.
They can use new materials to build or use in different
ways. It’s a chance to run, jump and play in ways that
are different from being inside.
JU NE
LOCAL RESOURCE: Nature centers are great resources for outdoor playing and
learning. Ingham County boasts three centers with numerous trails, events and educational
opportunities—Fenner Nature Center, www.mynaturecenter.org Harris Nature Center,
www.meridian.mi.us under Parks and Recreation Woldumar Nature Center, www.woldumar.org.
Read a book
about animals and
make some animal
sounds.
Show your child
that there are things
to read everywhere.
Make a game of finding
things with words on them
(like soup cans and cereal
boxes).
Today is an orange
day. See how many
orange things you
can find. Talk about
which things are orange.
Sing “Head and
Shoulders, Knees
and Toes” while
doing the motions. Now
sing it using other body
parts.
Visit your local
park. Practice
playing with other
children.
Model calming
techniques
(slow breathing,
squeezing a pillow, etc.) Use
them before you attempt to
solve a problem.
Give your child
15 different things
from a drawer in
your home. See how
many ways they can
be sorted.
Read and act out
“Beehive.”
Together, list as
many words as you
can that rhyme with
the word “bee.”
Today is all about
the number 6. See
how many 6’s you
can find as you go about
your day.
Play “Follow the
Leader” and move
in different ways:
walk, jump, crawl, hop on
one foot.
Invite a friend over
to play. Make up a
new game together.
Help your child
think of something
they can do for
someone else.
Pretend you
are going on a
camping trip.
Gather the items you’ll
need and set up camp!
Find sounds of
familiar things on
your phone such as
a train, dog barking or a
car horn. Play them for your
child, and have your child
guess what they are.
L is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
“L” together. Look
for “L’s” or objects that
begin with the /l/ sound
as in love.
Float or Sink? Find
things around your
home. Get a bowl
of water. Have your child
guess if they will float or
sink. Test it out. Sort things
by what floats and what
sinks.
Practice buttons
and zippers on
clothing or on dolls.
Write a letter to
a friend or family
member.
Ask your child what
makes your child
feel happy. Take a
picture of your child feeling
happy doing what they
enjoy. Start a feelings book.
Create a mystery
bag for your child.
Put an item inside
the bag and give verbal
clues about its identity. Let
your child feel, describe,
and guess what it is before
looking at it. (repeat)
Read a book by
using only the
pictures.
Go on a hunt to
collect sticks. Use
the sticks to form
letters.
An oval is the
shape of the day.
Count how many
ovals you can find today!
Cut out ovals
from different
types of paper
(newspaper, sandpaper,
wax paper, etc.). Which is
largest? Which is softest?
Visit the library
with your child
this week. Pick out
books or stay and read a
while. Check out events:
www.cadl.org/events or
www.elpl.org.
Talk about how
we’re all unique
and special. Have
your child name
some special things
about themselves.
Go on a cloud hunt.
Spread a blanket
on the ground and
see what objects you
can “find” in the clouds.
(animals, shapes, etc.)
Go for a listening
walk! Ask your
child to listen and
describe the sounds they
hear.
M is the letter
of the day.
Trace/draw an “M”
together. Look for “M’s”
or objects that begin with
the /m/ sound as in mouse.
Create a pattern
by clapping and
tapping. Have your
child follow your pattern.
Now follow theirs.
Practice moving
like different
animals. Crawl like
an alligator, slither like a
snake, jump like a rabbit,
balance on one foot like a
resting duck.
Go on a nature
scavenger hunt
with a friend. Look
for different colors and
textures and see how
many shades of green you
can find.
Cut pictures
from a magazine
representing
different emotions. Choose
a picture and act out what
you would do if you felt
that way.
Talk about the
different shapes
and parts of a car.
Can you draw
a car together?
FINGERPLAY:
Beehive
(Clasp hands together to make a beehive.)
Here is the beehive. / Where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees. (Look closely at beehive.)
Soon they will all come out of the hive.
One, two, three, four, five! (Hold out fingers in succession as you count.)
Bzzzzzzzz! (Separate hands; fly fingers around as if they are bees.)
NUTRITION
AND YOUR GROWING CHILD
Good nutrition gives children the energy and
vitamins they need to learn and grow. Learning
healthy eating habits as a child is important for
a healthy future.
• INFANTS: need the nutrients and vitamins
found only in breastmilk or infant formula.
Your pediatrician may suggest introducing
infant cereal and pureed vegetables and
fruits after six months of age.
• TODDLERS: can be picky eaters, but they
learn by watching others. Eat a variety of foods
and your child will be more likely to try new
foods, too. Offer small servings of fruits and
vegetables at every meal.
• PRESCHOOLERS: can help plan some parts
of their meals. Offer two choices—such as
broccoli or carrots—and let your child decide.
Make meals a family time and talk about
healthy food choices.
JU LY
LOCAL RESOURCE: Visit a local farmers market to buy fresh produce for
your family. Visit Greater Lansing Area Farmers Markets on www.lansing.org
for a list of markets near you.
Look at
family photos
together. Explain
vocabulary like “family,”
“grandparents,” “uncles,”
etc.
N is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
N together. Look
for “N’s” or objects that
begin with the /n/ sound
as in nest.
Make a ramp: prop
up one end of a
board or other
large flat item. Experiment
with how different items
“roll” down the ramp.
Cut different sized
triangles out of
paper or fabric.
Which is largest?
Which is softest?
Make an invitation
for a friend to
come over and
play.
Tell your child of a
time you felt proud
and then have them
tell you of a time they
felt proud.
Make pretend
recipes outdoors.
Say, “What should
we put in that soup?”
and hand your child
a rock “potato.”
Expand your
child’s talking.
When your child
babbles/speaks respond
with: “Oh what a great
idea!” or ”What happens
next?”
Form letters with
rocks and sticks
outside.
Today is a yellow
day. See how many
yellow things you
can find. Talk about which
things are yellow.
Draw on the
sidewalk with chalk.
Make roads for toy
cars to drive on.
Visit the library with
your child this week.
Pick out books or
stay and read a while.
Check out library events:
www.cadl.org or
www.elpl.org.
Think of something
you can do to help
someone today.
Make play-dough
at home (1 cup
flour + ½ cup salt
+ about ½ cup of water). Mix
together. Scent with spices
or add food coloring.
Talk through your
baby’s features. Say,
“Where are your
eyes? Oh, here they are.”
Ask older kids to point to
parts of their body.
O is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
O together. Look
for “O’s” or objects that
begin with the /o/ sound
as in ostrich.
Today is all about
the number 7. See
how many 7’s you
can find as you go
about your day.
Play ball with your
child. Sit on the
ground facing each
other and roll a ball back
and forth.
Go to a local park
and practice taking
turns on the slide.
Talk about how
you feel on a
warm sunny day.
Identify places as
you drive by them.
Call out where you
are going and what you
are doing with your child.
Go for a walk
outside and listen.
Identify the sounds
you hear.
Make up silly
words that rhyme.
Make up pretend
definitions, too!
A triangle is the
shape of the day
today. Count how
many triangles you
can find today!
Put on some
music and dance
with your child.
Try different types of
dances and get your
bodies moving!
Sit down and eat a
meal together, talk
about your favorite
summer activity.
Read a book with
your child and have
them tell you how
the story made them feel.
Make a puzzle
out of a picture
(magazine, cereal
box, etc.) and put
it back together.
Sing and act out
“Five Green and
Speckled Frogs.”
Help your child
type their name
on a keyboard.
Talk about
opposites today
(big, small; short,
tall; etc.) Find examples of
opposites wherever you
go today!
Be a speckled
frog, hop across
the room while
singing the song.
Invite a friend to
play in the water.
Practice brushing
teeth together as
a family.
Play “I Spy” outside.
SONG:
Five Green and
Speckled Frogs
Five green and speckled frogs sat on a hollow log
Eating some most delicious bugs. Yum, yum!
One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool
Then there were four speckled frogs.
(Repeat but with four frogs, then three, and so on.)
PHYSICAL
DEVELOPMENT
Children’s large and small muscles are
growing and developing daily. Children
master physical tasks at different rates
but in predictable patterns.
• INFANTS: may be lifting their heads around
three months, next they will lift their chest,
then roll, crawl, sit, stand and eventually
learn to walk. Be sure your baby has a safe,
clean area where they can experience time
on their tummy each day.
• TODDLERS: love to move. Give your child
opportunities to run, climb, and throw in
safe areas. Offer activities to strengthen
their hand/grasp, such as using a spoon,
tearing paper, and turning door knobs.
• PRESCHOOLERS: should practice
running, jumping with both feet, skipping
and galloping. Give your child many
opportunities to use crayons, pencils
and child sized scissors.
A UG U ST
LOCAL RESOURCE: There are many local parks which offer play areas for
children of different age groups. Visit Ingham County Parks at www.pk.ingham.org.
Also look for the Back to School Health Fair sponsored by Ingham County Health
Department at www.hd.ingham.org/ForParents.aspx.
Have your child
give you directions
for getting dressed
or making a snack.
Make a mistake and let
them correct you!
P is the letter of
the day. Trace/draw
a P together. Look
for “P’s” today or objects
that begin with the /p/
sound as in pig.
Today is all about
the number 8. See
how many 8’s you
can find as you go about
your day.
Make lines with
chalk or string and
practice walking
while keeping your balance.
Do a puzzle or play
a game together.
Practice taking
turns!
Join a play
and learn
group. Go to
www.inghamgreatstart.org
to find a location near you.
Play with a dishpan
of water and plastic
cups, spoons and
bowls.
Pretend to have a
phone conversation
with your child.
Practice answering the
phone and inviting
someone over to play.
Write your child’s
name. Have them
trace the letters
with their finger and then
with a pen.
Collect a bag of
items from outside,
then sort them by
something they have
in common.
Practice cutting
squares with
scissors.
Invite a neighbor,
friend or relative
over for a playdate.
Sing “If You’re
Happy and You
Know It!” Make up
extra verses!
Make cloud dough
together (¼ cup of
oil + 2 cups flour).
Let your child play with this
sensory mess outside on
the grass!
Say and act out
the finger play
“Five Plump Peas.”
Q is the letter of
the day. Trace/draw
a Q together. Look
for “Q’s” today or objects
that begin with the /q/
sound as in quilt.
A square is the
shape of the day.
Count how many
squares you can
find today!
Stretch together.
Stand up tall and
reach to the sky,
bend to one side, then the
other. Repeat. Stretch out
your bodies!
Help your child
learn their name,
address and
phone number.
Have your child
help with a
household task
today.
Blow bubbles
together. How long
before one pops?
How high do they float?
With your child,
look at the pictures
in a book and guess
what happens. Then read
it to see if you’re right!
Visit the library to
choose books with
your child. Help
your child practice asking
the librarian for suggestions
or a specific item location.
Play Number Dash:
write numbers on
the sidewalk then
call out numbers
and dash to those
numbers.
Play “Red Light,
Green Light.”
Visit a place in your
community you’ve
never been before.
Ask your child what
frustrates them.
Think of 5 things
that are orange.
Think of 5 things
at the store. Think of 5
things that are soft.
Read a book about
animals. What’s your
favorite animal?
R is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
R together. Look
for “R’s” today or objects
that begin with the /r/
sound as in rake.
Today is a brown
day. See how many
brown things you
can find. Talk about which
things are brown.
Draw a picture of a
tree in each season:
spring, summer, fall,
winter. Talk about
the changing seasons.
Have a family story
time today. Let
each member of
the family pick a favorite
book and read together.
Practice making
frustrated faces in
the mirror during
your bedtime routine.
Talk about wind
together. Which
objects can blow
away in the wind? Can you
test your predictions with
a fan?
FINGERPLAY:
Five Plump Peas
Five plump peas in a pea pod pressed. (Hold one fist up)
One grew, two grew, and so did all the rest. (Open fist– one finger at a time)
They grew and they grew and they never stopped.
(Starting with hands together, move them apart on each “grew”)
They grew so big that the pea pod popped! (Clap hands on “popped”)
LEARN MATH
EVERY DAY
Math is not just about counting and numbers.
There are hundreds of ways to include math in
your child’s everyday activities.
• INFANTS: Use every day activities as
opportunities to count. Count socks as
you put them on your baby, count baby’s
toes, tell them where you are putting things
(“I put the block on top of the tower”).
• TODDLERS: can start to recognize shapes,
sort objects by type and use number words.
Recite rhymes and sing songs that include
number words with your child.
• PRESCHOOLERS: can solve daily life
math problems, such as how many plates
to set for dinner. They can recognize
and make patterns, and can count out
loud to 10 or higher. Read books that
include math concepts.
S E P TE MBER
LOCAL RESOURCE: There is so much for families to do in Ingham County, no
calendar could list them all! For fun family events, visit Hulafrog at www.hulafrog.com.
To learn more about resources and events related to the childbearing year and families
with young children, visit Willow Tree Family Center at www.willowtreefamily.com.
Wish on stars
together at night.
Tell each other
your wishes.
S is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw an
S together. Look for
“S’s” today or objects
that begin with the /s/
sound as in sun.
A rectangle is the
shape of the day
today. Count how
many rectangles you
can find today!
Visit the library
with your child
this week. Pick out
books or stay and read a
while. Check out events:
www.cadl.org/events or
www.elpl.org.
Draw a map of
your neighborhood
together. Talk with
your child about
where things are.
Draw a mad face
and tell about a
time you were mad.
Play a following
directions game,
like Simon Says
with your child.
Encourage your
child to tell you a
story. Write down
what they say and then
read the story to them at
bedtime.
Together with your
child think of 10
things that rhyme
with “mad.”
Today is all about
the number 9. See
how many 9’s you
can find as you go about
your day.
Fold a paper
airplane and fly
it together.
Visit the children’s
section of your
local library.
Lie down and close
your eyes. Can
you hear yourself
breathing? Can you hear
your heart beating?
Did you calm down?
Discuss a plant’s life
cycle: seed, sprout,
tree. Draw each
stage on an index card.
Help your child put them
in the correct order.
Sing and act out the
song, “The Wheels
on the Bus.”
T is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a T
together. Look for
“T’s” today or objects that
begin with the /t/ sound as
in toy.
Today is a black
day. See how many
black things you
can find today. Talk about
which things are black.
Find some objects
you can trace
around. Let your
child trace around them and
then try to match up the
object with its outline.
Sit down and eat a
meal together, talk
about your favorite
fall activity.
Make an emotions
book with folded
paper. Draw faces
showing different emotions.
Label them as you discuss
emotions with your child.
Make mud outside.
What happens
when you add
water to dry dirt?
Sing the ABC song in
funny voices—robots,
dinosaurs, etc.
As you read a story
with your child, ask
“who,” “what,”
“where,” “when” and
“why” questions.
Count berries or
other snacks as
you eat them.
Practice cutting
rectangles.
Practice using
“please” and
“thank you” with
others.
Paint or draw with
Pretend you are a
fingers or brushes.
photographer and
Put some music on
take pictures.
and encourage your child to
paint how the music feels.
Talk about the moon
and draw a picture
of it. What shape
is the moon?
Help your child
write their name
with play dough,
salt, shaving cream,
marker, etc.
Identify numbers
on a phone. Talk
about your phone
number and try
to memorize it. Make up
a song about your phone
number.
Practice jumping,
crawling or
hopping around
objects outside.
Write a letter or
draw a picture for
a new friend.
Have your child
practice putting on
their own coat and
backpack.
SONG:
Wheels on the Bus
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
Round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
All through the town.
Predict what will
sink or float in the
bathtub or sink.
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish…
The driver on the bus says “move on back”…
The people on the bus go up and down…
The babies on the bus go “wah, wah, wah”…
The parents on the bus say “I love you, I love you, I love you”…
EVERY DAY ART
CREATE, EXPLORE, IMAGINE!
Making art builds fine motor skills, boosts self-confidence
and allows children to share their feelings in age-appropriate
ways. Art improves children’s higher thinking skills and
encourages them to use their imagination. Create a space
where it is okay to make a mess.
• INFANTS: Allow them to explore different textures
that are safe to touch and taste, even while eating.
Let them tear junk mail!
• TODDLERS: Start simple! You don’t need fancy art
supplies—use pencils, washable markers, crayons,
scraps of paper. Let them experiment with materials.
Avoid giving directions or suggesting changes.
Remember the process of creating is more
important than the product.
• PRESCHOOLERS: Ask your child to tell you about
their creation. Find some space to display their art
work. If you haven’t already done so, add in more
supplies such as watercolor paint, glue sticks and
blunt tip scissors to snip at paper.
OC TO B ER
LOCAL RESOURCE: The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum offers Family
Days on the first Saturday of every month (excluding major holiday weekends),
from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Families with children of all ages can enjoy making art.
547 E Circle Dr., East Lansing, MI 48824, www.broadmuseum.msu.edu.
Check out a CD or
hoopla album from
the library and learn
a new song together.
Read to your child
while they take a
bath. You get a
captive audience and
your child gets a fun
surprise!
The shape of the
day is a circle.
Count how many
circles you see today!
Draw pictures
together. Focus on
the process and the
fun of drawing, not on the
product.
Visit the library with
your child this week.
Pick out books or
stay and read a while.
Check out events:
www.cadl.org/events
or www.elpl.org.
Practice washing
hands, brushing
teeth and combing
hair.
Make leaf rubbings.
Collect leaves, put
them under a sheet
of paper, and rub a crayon
over the paper. Fun textures
and shapes!
Have your child
give their baby doll
a bath. Talk about
each step of the process.
U is the letter of
the day. Trace/draw
a U together. Look
for “U’s” today or objects
that begin with the /u/
sound as in uncle.
Gather 10 rocks.
How are they
similar? How are
they different?
Let your child help
you rake leaves.
Jump, run, toss
leaves and play together!
Help your child
make a phone call
to a special friend
or relative to tell them
2 things about fall.
Pretend to be the
child and let your
child be the parent.
Let them have fun taking
care of you!
Take a walk. Collect
natural items from
the ground. Use
your collection to make
leaf art. Read Leaf Man
by Lois Ehlert.
Camp out! Make a
fort with chairs and
blankets. Have your
child make up a story with
you about camping.
Read an
informational book
about Fall today.
Talk about why the leaves
change and what kinds of
events we enjoy in the fall
season.
Today is all about
the number 10.
How many 10’s can
you find today? Count
things in 10s if you can!
Have your child put
stickers on paper.
The stickers can be
of anything. Kids love to
develop their fine-motor
muscles with stickers!
Sit down and eat
a meal together.
Tell your child
about your day and ask
about theirs.
Talk to your child
about seasonal
items you see in
the store and how they
make you feel. What is
real and what is pretend?
Collect and
crumple dried
leaves outside.
What sound do they make?
How do they smell or feel?
Put leaves under a sheet
of paper, and rub a crayon
over the paper.
Look at photos
of your family.
Talk about your
family and what makes
them special.
Put some shaving
cream on a baking
sheet or in the
bathtub. Practice writing
your child’s name, letters,
their age, and numbers.
Think of 5 things
that are small.
Think of 5 things
that are purple.
Think of 5 animals.
V is the letter of
the day. Trace/draw
a V together. Look
for “V’s” today or objects
that begin with the /v/
sound as in vest.
Visit a pumpkin
patch or Farmer’s
Market and talk
about what a farmer does.
Draw a scary face
and talk about what
things are scary.
Carve a pumpkin
or prepare squash.
Let your child
squish the seedy insides
with their hands and
count the seeds together!
Take a walk
outside and talk
about the changes
you see in the fall.
Make your own
greeting cards.
Create a stash so
you have one ready when
an event comes up.
Make a pattern
together. Alternate
different colors of
socks. What comes next
in the pattern?
Make a spider web
on the floor with
masking tape or
string. Pretend you
are spiders.
Play a game
together (Peek-aBoo, Hide & Seek,
I Spy, etc.).
Say “please”
and “thank you”
often—your child
will too.
Experiment to
see which toys or
things will float or
sink in the bath.
SONG:
Clap Your Hands
Clap your hands, clap your hands, clap them just like me.
Touch your ears, touch your ears, touch them just like me.
Tap your feet, tap your feet, tap them just like me.
Pat your head, pat your head, pat it just like me.
WRITING STARTS
LONG BEFORE CHILDREN
CAN HOLD A PENCIL
Children need opportunities to develop
eye-hand coordination, and to understand
that ideas can be written and read by others.
• INFANTS: At mealtimes allow them to
pinch, poke and pick up small pieces
of food. Give them crayons to practice
scribbling.
• TODDLERS: Provide pencils and washable
markers so they can practice drawing and
coloring. Help them use their fingers to
draw in the sand. Let them tear paper, then
glue the pieces together. Make playdough
so they can roll, tear and cut it.
• PRESCHOOLERS: can begin to write
familiar words such as their name. Poke
holes in cardboard and give them a shoe
lace to string in and out. Give them stickers
to put on paper. Help your child title their
art work or dictate a story for you to write.
Write a grocery list together on paper and
use it while shopping.
NOV E M BER
LOCAL RESOURCE: Library storytimes provide opportunities
for writing and some libraries have a writing center. Find details
at www.cadl.org or www.elpl.org.
Play the “opposite
game.” Say a word
and have your child
tell you the opposite.
W is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a W
together. Look for
“W’s” today or objects
that begin with the /w/
sound as in water.
The shape of the
day is an oval.
Count how many
ovals you can find
today.
Choose a number
for the day. See
how many things
you can find that come in
that number. See if you can
find that number in print.
Count the number
of stairs as you help
your child walk up
or down.
Switch places.
Pretend to be the
baby while your
child takes care of you.
Make placemats for
mealtimes. They
don’t have to
be perfect.
Make puppets
out of brown
paper lunch bags.
Together, tell a story
with your puppets.
Make up a story
together. Take turns
adding more to the
story. Write it down.
Help your child set
the table. Decide
where each person
will sit.
Sing: “Clap your
hands 1, 2, 3. Clap
your hands just like
me.” (Then roll, wave, etc.)
Take a walk or visit
a local nature
center and look
for animals.
Talk about how
we’re all unique
and special. Have
your child name some
special things about
themselves.
Make binoculars
out of cardboard
tubes taped
together. Play “I Spy”
or be explorers!
Have your child
Write a letter to
help you make a
a family member
list of their favorite
today.
books, songs, friends, etc.
Save the list to look at again
when they’re older.
Play with beans or
pasta in a deep pan
or on a blanket.
Drive cars through it, scoop
it, pour it with measuring
cups.
X is the letter of
the day. Trace/draw
an X together.
Look for “X’s” today or
objects that end with the
/x/ sound as in box.
Attend storytime at
the library with your
child this week. Pick
out books or stay and read
a while. Check out events:
www.cadl.org/events
or www.elpl.org
Draw self-portraits
with your child.
Talk about them
together.
Give your child
dried pasta and
glue and let them
make a collage on a piece
of paper.
Practice this month’s
song.
Visit the library with
your child this week.
Pick out books or
stay and read a while.
Check out events:
www.cadl.org/events
or www.elpl.org
Draw a pie on a
plate. Then cut it
into halves and
quarters.
Trace around your
hand and then
decorate with
crayons, markers or paint.
Make a thankful
list together. Have
each member of
your family name something
they are thankful for.
Teach your child the
correct way to wash
their hands. Make
up a song to help them
keep washing for the right
length of time.
Talk about family
today. What does
it mean to you?
Who’s in your family?
Draw a picture or write
a story.
Today’s color is
gray. See how many
gray things you can
find today. Talk about the
color gray.
While walking or
driving, name the
signs you see or
count how many signs your
child recognizes (stop signs,
grocery store, restaurants,
etc.).
Trace your child’s
foot and cut it out
together. Measure
things around the house in
“feet.” How many “feet”
tall is your child?
Practice crawling,
jumping or hopping
around objects in
your home.
Have a family
storytime today.
Have each member
of your family pick a favorite
and read them together.
Holidays can be
stressful. Practice
blowing bubbles to
work on breathing to calm
yourself.
Playing with
playdough can be
a calming activity.
Make some together, then
poke, tear, squeeze and
pound it while talking about
ways to help yourself feel
calmer.
SONG:
If You’re Happy
and You Know It
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it,
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.
(Also try “nod your head,” “stomp your feet,” and “do all three.”)
SAVE, SPEND,
GIVE
Introducing responsibility and money
management early will help your child grow
up to be a financially responsible adult.
• INFANTS: Start the idea of save, spend and
give with a “Save Jar” for gift money or
small change. Introduce the idea of how to
make decisions about sharing and spending
when they are old enough to understand.
• TODDLERS: Help your child learn how to
take turns, and show patience yourself by
staying calm while waiting in traffic or in line
at the store. Patience is a key part of saving!
• PRESCHOOLERS: Introduce financial
basics by helping your child learn to name
and sort money. Encourage them to play
“Store,” and assign a small job while you
are shopping together, such as looking
for items on a list or handing money to
the cashier.
D ECE MBER
LOCAL RESOURCE: CACS Head Start offers Money Management classes for families
in the community. MSUFCU Financial Education participates with local schools, organizations,
clubs, and other community partners to provide educational presentations, events and
activities. Visit www.cacsheadstart.org/Family-Services and www.msufcu.org/events.
Pretend to talk on
the phone with
your child. Talking
develops vocabulary which
helps kids become ready to
read!
Y is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a
Y together. Look
for “Y’s” or objects that
begin with the /y/ sound
as in yellow.
Write the numbers
1–5 on paper. Next
to each number,
draw items to look for.
(1-ball, 2-socks, 3-blocks,
etc.)
Paper tearing: Let
your child develop
their fine-motor
muscles by tearing paper.
Glue that paper into a
collage, if appropriate.
Talk about your
favorite colors.
Walk around and
look for those colors
everywhere today!
Take turns making
faces in a mirror.
Show excitement
and talk about what
things are exciting.
Collect objects from
around your house.
Sort them by size:
small, medium, large, tiny,
etc. or by color.
Talk about your day.
What did you do?
How was it? Who
did you see? What did you
have for lunch?
Play the rhyming
game! Say a
word and then
encourage your child to say
a word that rhymes with it.
Make a pattern
together. Alternate
different colors of
objects. What comes
next in the pattern?
Play “Follow the
Leader.”
Play the guessing
game. Describe
an object and see if
you can guess what it is.
Then let your child describe
something.
Allow your child
to make choices,
such as what socks
to wear. Making choices
builds independence and
confidence.
Create something
out of recycled
items such as
boxes, paper or
plastic bottles.
Talk about
what animals
do in winter.
Z is the letter of the
day. Trace/draw a Z
together. Look for
“Z’s” today or objects that
begin with the /z/ sound as
in zebra.
Look for patterns in
your environment
today (in the carpet,
on the ceiling, as you walk
past buildings, etc.). Talk
about them together.
Play music or clap
and then stop and
“freeze.” This is
good listening and
balance practice!
Let your child
dictate a letter
for you to write.
Show them their words and
help them get the letter to
someone special.
Have fun playing
with your child for
20 minutes. Let
them take the lead.
Bake cookies and
share with family
or friends.
Talk about winter in
Michigan and around
the world today. Is it
cold everywhere?
Look for pictures
of bears (or other
things) in a book
together. Count how
many you find.
Practice counting
backwards from 10.
Pretend to be
snowflakes, then
snowballs, then a
snowman, and then
melt together.
Play “I Spy.” Say,
“I spy something
round and yellow.”
See if your child can
guess what it is.
Compliment your
child on doing
something well;
be specific.
Practice getting
dressed and
undressed for
cold weather.
Talk about friends
today. What does it
mean to be a good
friend?
Visit the library
with your child
this week. Pick out
books or stay and read
a while.
The shape of the
day is a diamond.
Count how many
diamonds you can
find today!
Go outside and talk
about what winter
looks like. Is there
snow?
Talk about
gift-giving today.
Make a homemade
gift for someone you love.
Draw pictures
together, focusing
on the process, not
the product. Talk about
what each of you
is drawing.
Draw a snowman
together. Talk
about accessories
for your snowman. What
color hat should it have?
SONG:
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 you are.
WHAT CHILDREN ARE LIKE:
Birth to Age 5
Adapted from: “TOYS: Tools for Learning.” NAEYC Brochure #571
No two children develop and grow at exactly the same pace. Here are a few things you can look for as you watch
your child’s growth and development. If you have questions or concerns about how your child is growing and
developing, you may want to talk to your child’s doctor or call the toll-free numbers listed below.
APPROXIMATE AGE
WHAT CHILDREN ARE LIKE
BIRTH TO 3 MONTHS
Begin to smile at people, coo
Follow moving person or object with eyes
Prefer faces and bright colors
Reach, discover hands, kick feet, lift head
Suck with pleasure
Cry, but often are soothed when held
Turn head toward sounds
4 TO 6 MONTHS
Prefer parents and older siblings to other people
Repeat actions that have interesting results
Listen intently, respond when spoken to
Laugh, gurgle, imitate sounds
Explore hands and feet, put objects in mouth
Sit when propped, roll over, scoot, bounce
Grasp objects without using thumbs, bat at hanging objects
Smile often
7 TO 12 MONTHS
1 TO 1½ YEARS
Remember simple events, form simple concepts
Identify themselves, body parts, voices of familiar people
Understand own name, other common words
Say first meaningful words
Explore, bang, or shake objects with hands
Find hidden objects, put objects in and out of containers
Sit alone
Creep, pull themselves up, stand, walk
May seem shy or become upset with strangers
Imitate adult actions
Speak and understand more words and ideas
Enjoy stories
Experiment with objects
Walk steadily, climb stairs
Assert independence, but strongly prefer familiar people
Recognize ownership of objects
Develop friendships, but also play alone
Are beginning to understand what adults want them to do,
but do not yet have the ability to control themselves
1½ TO 2 YEARS
2 TO 3½ YEARS
3½ TO 5 YEARS
Solve problems
Speak and understand even more
Show pride in accomplishments, like to help with tasks
Exhibit more body control, run
Play more with others
Begin pretend play
Enjoy learning new skills
Learn language rapidly
Are always on the go
Have some sense of danger
Gain more control of hands and fingers
Frustrated easily
Act more independent, but are still dependent, too
Act out familiar scenes
Have a longer attention span
Act silly, boisterous, may use shocking language
Talk a lot, ask many questions
Want real adult things, keep art projects
Test physical skills and courage with caution
Reveal feelings in dramatic play
Like to play with friends, do not like to lose
Share and take turns sometimes
For free help and information for children from birth to age 3
with possible developmental delays or disabilities. Call toll-free
1-800-EarlyOn (1-800-327-5966) or visit www.1800EarlyOn.org
Build Up helps parents and their children, ages 3 to 5,
who are having difficulty learning and who may be in need
of special education supports and/or services. Call toll-free
1-800-320-8384 or visit www.BuildUpMi.org for more information.
LEARNING
ON THE
GO
AT HOME:
You can turn everyday household chores and
activities into fun learning games for your child.
Doing Laundry
At Bedtime
Laundry activities can build math and
cooperation skills. Feeling useful also helps
children feel good, which encourages them to
continue to want to be helpful. Your child can:
Help your child wind down at the end of the
day and make bedtime less stressful and more
calming.
Make piles of light clothes and dark clothes.
•
Find matching pairs of socks.
•
•
Find all the shirts to put into a pile
for folding.
For example: Take a bath, brush teeth, read
a story, give a kiss, go to sleep.
•
Your preschool child can help plan bedtime
traditions and use special time for listening
to stories, making up stories, or talking
about the day.
Mealtime discussions can help your child’s
development and foster learning. Mealtime
interactions help children use language to
analyze, sequence and predict while promoting
a love of language.
•
Ask your child to tell you a story about their
day or tell them a story about your day.
•
Let your child help make the meal—tear
the lettuce for the salad, stir the spaghetti
sauce, or help set the table.
TRAVELING:
PUBLIC PLACES:
Use traveling time to enhance your child’s natural
curiosity and find ways to interact and connect
with your child.
At the Grocery Store
•
•
Talk about your child’s day. Ask specific
questions: “Did you draw in preschool?”
or “Did you eat a cheese sandwich?”
Talk with your child about where you are
going in the future to help them develop
thinking and planning skills (“We are going
to the market on the way home”).
Help keep your trips to the grocery store stress
free and educational.
•
Let your child make food choices. Should
we buy apples, oranges, or grapes today?
•
Have your child find items on your
grocery list.
•
Let your child help put away the boxes
and canned goods when you get home.
At the Park/Playground
On a Walk
Discover ways to transform activity into learning.
•
Taking your child on a walk is not only good
exercise, but allows them to experience
nature and learn about the outdoors.
•
How fast can you run toward the big tree?
•
Which slide is bigger, the red one or the
silver one?
•
Make up rhymes or sing marches as you
walk. Try walking and singing or chanting
fast, then slow.
•
Have your child count the number of swings
or other children.
•
Help your child learn to be safe by stopping
at corners and driveways and showing them
how to look both ways for cars.
•
Ask your child questions. What sounds
do you hear? What animals do you see?
What is the weather like today?
Create a consistent bedtime schedule that
your child can count on.
•
At Meals
In the Car/Bus
•
At the Library
Libraries are full of learning opportunities and are
wonderful places for exploring language and books.
•
Visit the library to get your own library card.
•
Let your child pick out their own library books.
•
Teach your child about proper care and
borrowing and returning books.
•
Attend storytime and other events at your
local library.
Source: Born Learning by Mind in the Making, a project of the Families and Work Institute.
For further information on early learning tips for parents, visit www.bornlearning.org.
Brain science-based early learning tips: www.joinvroom.org
NAEYC for families: families.naeyc.org
Ingham Intermediate School District’s Family Learning Connection: www.inghamisd.org/flc
SPONSORS
EARLY LEARNING CALENDAR WORKGROUP,
a subgroup of the Ingham School Readiness Advisory Committee
Wendy Boyce, Ingham Intermediate School District
Kim Fiebernitz , Ingham Intermediate School District
Laurie Linscott, Michigan State University Child Development Laboratories
Jennifer McCaffrey, Ingham Intermediate School District
Corrie Mervyn, Ingham Intermediate School District
Michelle Nicholson, Ingham Intermediate School District
Thais Rousseau, Capital Area District Libraries
Gloria Sabourin, Spartan Child Development Center
Mary Jo Wegenke, Ingham Intermediate School District
Jamie Yeomans, Parent
THANK YOU
Special thanks to the Kalamazoo Public Library for inspiration and permission to use content from the Kalamazoo Early Learning Calendar.
A sincere thank you to Capital Area District Libraries’ Marketing Department for design, formatting and layout.
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