Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fun Nature Project

As a follow up to our last post about the animal baby book, you can now have a way to bring nature right to your front porch!

These fun and easy-to-make bird seed hangers will be sure to keep your little ones entertained and any hungry birds fed!

 Here's what you will need: 
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tbsp corn syrup
4 cups birdseed
Large mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Any kind of mold-(cookie cutters work great!)
Non-stick spray
Pencil or drinking straw
Waxed paper
Twine or yarn for hanging

1. Measure the flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined.
2. Add the birdseed, to the flour mixture in the mixing bowl. Stir gently to coat the seed with the mixture.
3. Spray the mold that you are going to use with non-stick cooking spray, then spoon some of the birdseed mixture into each mold. Poke a hole through the center of each birdseed mold using a pencil or drinking straw (this will be where you hang it from).
4. Leave the birdseed mixture inside the molds for two to three hours. Lay out a sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface. Remove the birdseed mixture from the molds and gently place them upside down on the waxed paper. Allow them to continue to dry for two to three more hours or overnight (you don't want to hang them up still wet, because they may become moldy).
5. Cut a length of yarn or twine about one foot long, then string the yarn or twine through the hole in each molded birdseed feeder. Tie ends securely in a knot so you can hang the molded birdseed from a branch or hook.

As you make the feeders, let your little ones get in and do part of the stirring and molding of the birdseed, it's o.k. if things get a little messy, they will love the memory you are helping them to create! 

See how many different birds you can attract to this yummy treat! 

birdseed hangers

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: "If You Were My Baby: A Wildlife Lullaby"

Here at Welcome Baby we are big on early childhood literacy! How early, you might ask, well as early as you can! Not only does reading to your school-aged children help with their development, but reading to your baby can also improve their development and attachment needs.

This sweet book, by Fran Hodgkin and Laura J Bryant, gives an introduction to animals and their offspring. The pictures in it are soft and easy to look at, especially for your babies growing eyesight. So next time you are struggling to get your little one to relax or quiet down for a nap, grab a book and read to them. They will love listening to your gentle voice.

For more information on this book and other great nature books for kids (and babies too!) visit this website.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Exploring 5 senses through nature walks!

Summer is a perfect time to spend time with family, enjoy outside activities, and participate in physical activities.  We're lucky to live in Utah, there are some of the best trails around!   
One great family activity to do this summer is a "5 Senses Nature Walk" with your children.  Before going on your walk, take a few minutes to teach your children about the five different senses.  Welcome Baby has an amazing curriculum, you can view that lesson plan here . There are several fun books to read with your children as well!

Then prepare a walking kit for each child.  You will need the following items:
  • Small bag or backpack to put items in 
  • Crayons
  • Sandwich bags
  • Snack items
  • Magnify glass
  • Paint swatches
  • Pick up free paint samples from any hardware store.  Get a variety of colors and have your children find a item in nature that matches the color swatch.
  • Depending on where you go, have them look for certain animals or bugs.

  • On a piece of paper, list different textures to have your child look for (example: rough, hard, soft, poky, sticky, fuzzy, etc.).  Have your child spend a minute drawing each object they find.
  • Bring sandwich bags so your children can put items they find such as rocks, flowers, or leaves.
  •  Take a few minutes and have your children sit on a log and have them listen and name different sounds they hear. 
  • As your walking collect objects that have different smells.  During one of your breaks, blindfold your children and have them smell certain objects and then have them describe what they smell.  You might need to help them describe the object with as many adjectives as possible.
  • Pack a little bag of trail mix and a juice box so your children have something to munch on.  When packing some snacks, add items that are sweet, sour, etc. 

After you walk, spend some time looking through your child's bag to see what items they collected. You might even want to do a craft with your children after your walk.  Here are a few fun ideas!

 Have fun on your nature walk!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ready, Set, Routine!!

How many times have you heard that kids need routine?  Your pediatrician, your mother-in-law, your child’s teacher, your best friend, your child care   provider--  all these people may have mentioned to you or your partner the importance of routines in your child’s life.  So what’s the big deal?  Are routines really that necessary for children? Simply put, yes.  Routines involve repetition. Repetition involves predictability. Predictability involves stability. Stability involves security.  Kids crave routines because routines make kids feel safe and secure.  On a very basic level (keeping in mind that is how young children function) routines reassure children that their needs will be met. Routines also provide opportunities for children to experience success in what they are doing, which then promotes self-control and self-esteem.
Dr. Laura Markham, on her website www.ahaparenting.com outlines the following “benefits for using routines with your kids:
1. Routines eliminate power struggles because you aren't bossing them around.  This activity (brushing teeth, napping, turning off the TV to come to dinner) is just what we do at this time of day.  The parent stops being the bad guy, and nagging is greatly reduced.
2. Routines help kids cooperate by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone.  We all know what comes next, we get fair warning for transitions, and no one feels pushed around.
3.  Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities.  Over time, kids learn to brush their teeth, pack their backpacks, etc., without constant reminders.  Kids love being in charge of themselves. This feeling increases their sense of mastery and competence.  Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to rebel and be oppositional.
4. Kids learn the concept of "looking forward" to things they enjoy, which is an important part of making a happy accommodation with the demands of a schedule.  He may want to go to the playground now, but he can learn that we always go to the playground in the afternoon, and he can look forward to it then.
5. Regular routines help kids get on a schedule, so that they fall asleep more easily at night.
6. Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations. If everything is a fight, parents end up settling: more TV, skip brushing teeth for tonight, etc.  With a routine, parents are more likely to stick to healthy expectations for everyone in the family, because that's just the way we do things in our household.  The result: a family with healthy habits, where everything runs more smoothly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Women In Philanthropy

Welcome Baby has many wonderful community supporters. One organization we'd like to spotlight that has always been a great supporter of our program is Women in Philanthropy.  Recently they hosted a wonderful fundraiser luncheon to help us raise money to purchase children books to support our goal of early childhood literacy.

Women in Philanthropy's mission is to "Build an influential force of women philanthropists who develop financial resources, unite in service and stand as advocates for programs, initiatives and community affairs that benefit women and children in Utah County."  We are very fortunate in Utah County to have such a wonderful group of women advocating and actively participating in making Utah County a stronger community.

From their generous donations they were able to raise about $800 and from that money we will be able to purchase about 500 books.  Those books will go into the homes of the families our trained volunteers visit and to the families who attend our free parenting classes.  We are so grateful for their support and generous donations.

Helping our children love reading and assisting them to read is a priceless gift not only for our children, but for our community. Stephanie Anderson, our Early Childhood Literacy Specialist, spoke about the importance of reading to our children. She read a wonderful book, King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood and captivated the whole audience with her own love for reading.  She quoted Tony Steed by saying, "Listening comprehension precedes reading comprehension."  So one of our goals at Welcome Baby is to get books into the homes of our families here in Utah County and encourage reading as a means of parent/child bonding and reading development.

Again, we would like to thank Women in Philanthropy for their support!

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July Activities!

Utah Symphony at Sundance July 1, 2011 8:00pm Out door amphitheater Sundance Resort, Provo, UT
Freedom 3v3 Soccer Tournament July 1, 2, 2011 Firday 2- 8pm, Saturday 9 am – 2pm Sertoma Park Fields/Centennial Middle School 400 E 2320 N, Provo
Freedom Days July 1, 2, 4, 2011 Varies Daily Center Street off University Avenue, Provo UT
Milestones of Freedom: Many Nations, One America® July 1, 2, 4, 2011 Varies Daily SCERA Park Pavillion, 600 S. State St, Orem
Colonial Days July 1, 2, 4, 2011 10:00am Daily Crandall Historical Printing Museum, 275 E. Center, Provo
Balloon Fest July 1, 2, 4, 2011 6:30am Bulldog Field, 1100 North Freedom Boulevard, Provo
Stadium of Fire July 2, 2011 8:00 PM BYU LaVell Edwards Stadium
Freedom Run July 4, 2011 7:00am Kiwanis Park (820 N & 1100 E), Provo, UT
Grand Parade July 4, 2011 9:00 AM University Avenue, Provo, UT