Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - July (Activity a Day)

July - Water Fun

1st - Draw a star on a piece of paper. Have your child color the star blue.
2nd - Trace the letters in July.
3rd - Visit the library. Check out a book about celebrating July 4th.
4th - Count the number of stars and stripes on the American Flag.
5th - Name and point to parts of the body; eyebrows, neck, chin, ankles, and thigh.
6th - Play hopscotch. Say the numbers as you hop on them.
7th - National Chocolate Day! - Make something chocolate and enjoy.
8th - Play a game of leap frog together. Measure how far your child can hop.
9th - Paint the side of the house, drive way or sidewalk with a bucket of water and a sponge.
10th - TV Off Day! - Read a favorite book or play a game together.
11th - Talk with your child about ways to make new friends.
12th - Do exercises together. Reach for the sky, touch the ground, twist around.
13th - Pour water back and forth from different size cups over a sink or outside. What happens?
14th - Practice spelling you last name. Then practice writing it.
15th - Hold a can of soup in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. Which weights more?
16th - Go outside with a bucket of water and a sponge. Toss the wet sponge back and forth.
17th - Make a list of words that start with the sound of /w/, like water.
18th - Practice using scissors. Cut pictures from ads to make a summer collage.
19th - Play "I Spy" outside. What can you spy that is blue?
20th - Find shadows outside. Trace your child's shadow with chalk on the sidewalk.
21st - National Hot Dog Day - Eat a hot dog with all the things you like!
22nd - Sing the Alphabet Song.
23rd - Play a hiding game. Take turns hiding objects in, on and under things.
24th - Star gaze at night. What shapes can you see?
25th - Make your favorite colored jello together. Try blue - do you like it?
26th - Bounce a ball. How many times can you bounce it in a row?
27th - Do jumping jacks. How many can you do?
28th - Make a list of summer words like flip flops, sand, popsicle, and sun.
29th - Go outside and blow bubbles. Use different size wands to experiment.
30th - Sing Row-Row-Row Your Boat

Don't forget to share your favorite activities!

posted by:
Cara Retz

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - June (Teach)

June - Safety First

Teachable Moments

A teachable moment is an unplanned event during the day that adults can use as a learning opportunity for children. When a child displays an action or behavior that can be used as a learning tool, parents and providers should capitalize on the moment, and provide the opportunity to extend or expand the child's learning.

Teachable moments are important for children because they provide meaningful contexts to introduce or expand on something you want children to learn about. This way they can be used to open conversations with children - to find out what they're thinking about. Conversations with the children will help in the development of their language, communication and reasoning skills.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - June (PE & Health)

June - Safety First

Physical Education and Health
Responsible Personal Heath and Safety Practices

Adults need to model, guide and encourage a safe life style for young children in the areas of physical activities and experiences. By doing so, children develop a sense of personal care and safety - which begins to create independence.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - June (Safety)

June - Safety First

Safety and a Preschooler

Safety is a very important subject. If children are not aware of how to do things properly, they could hurt themselves or others. Children need to understand this is why we have rules like, "Don't cross the street without looking both ways" or "Don't run with sharp objects".

There are several different areas of safety that you can talk about with your child. Use the list below to help start some great conversations around staying safe.

-Calling 911
-Dogs and other animals
-Bikes, scooters, skates

posted by:
Cara Retz

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - June (Books)

June - Safety First

Books To Read This Month
Please Play Safe! by Margery Cuyler
The Busy Body Book by Lizzy Rockwell
Watch Out for Banana Peels by Sesame Street
What Pete Ate from A to Z by Maira Kalman

Websites to Visit

Parent Tip of the Month
Read the story Little Red Riding Hood. Talk about strangers and safety.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Have to Share

Ok, I have to share a couple things with you...

First, I have to say, I LOVE Melaleuca! Such great products and a great company. They are a debt free company, which is just awesome, I think. And they really help you and celebrate with you as you become debt free as well.

Their cleaners are great and have worked so nicely to clean our home. The laundry detergent smells so good and cleans our clothes really well (even gets out stains I couldn't have before!). And I don't have to open the windows and turn on a fan just to clean our bathroom. No awful smells. I feel comfortable letting my boys use the cleaners, which I wasn't too much before. So, that's a big help and they actually enjoy doing it (sometimes).

I like the vitamins too. Even though I don't take them as regularly as I should (though I'm working on it), they have still given me lots more energy. I actually want to do the stuff I need to do around the house. I'm just feeling so much better! I'd LOVE to share Melaleuca with you and see what it can do for you and your life as well.

Second, I just finished reading this book (no I was asked to write a review or given any compensation for this). It's called The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt. It's about this girl who lives in New York. She is in her late 20's had a good job, a good boyfriend, a nice apartment and good friends. One day her world is turned upside down. She looses her job, her boyfriend, her apartment and her dog! Her faith in God is put to the test. It's a modern twist on the story of Job.

For me, this book made me think of my relationship with Christ and how I would react if all this happened to me. Would I be able to forgive those who hurt me so much? Would I be able to maintain my relationship with Christ and lean on Him in my time of deepest need? I think that I would and I have forgive some very difficult things in my life. Things that have hurt me deeply and changed who I am and how I relate to others. I have had to lean on Him through difficult times. But, without having everything stripped away like Jane did, I can't say 100%, but I do feel like I would.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for something new and different to read. I'm not much of a reader, but very much enjoyed this book and I hope you do too if you decide to read it. I can't wait to read another book by these authors.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - June (Snacks)

June - Safety First

Snack Time!

Cut a watermelon into slices. Ask your child, "How many seeds do you think are in each slice?" Count the seeds together as you are enjoying the watermelon.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - June (Play Time)

June - Safety First

Play Time
Memory Book
1st: Take pictures or make drawings on one of your outings like on vacation, during a trip to the park, a walk around the neighborhood or a family get together
2nd: Make a story book using the photos or drawings
3rd: Have your child explain what is happening in each picture and write it down at the bottom of the page
4th: Re-read the story at story time

Flame Paints with Marbles
Use: Marbles, yellow and red paints, small cup or bowl, box lid and paper
1st: Place piece of paper in a box lid
2nd: Spoon out one to three small blobs of paint on the paper and place one or more marbles in the lid
3rd: Tilt the lid slightly. Watch the marbles roll around through the paint and make a "flame" design
4th: Add more paint if you want to increase the colors.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - June (Look & Listen)

June - Safety First

Things to Look & Listen For

Color: Red
Number: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
Letters: S, s and C, c
Shape: Octagon
Sight Words: me, look, stop
Words to Talk About and Use: Cooperation, equipment, compromise

Quote of the Month
"Childhood should be a journey, not a race." - Anonymous

posted by:
Cara Retz

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Who Am I?

I am somebody!
I am bright, capable, and lovable.
I am teachable and learn easily.
I tell the Truth and am a gentle listener.
I respect myself and others.
I am cooperative and responsible for my feelings and choices.
I see the highest and best in myself and others
and support that with my thoughts, words and actions.
I use time wisely because it is valuable.
I am the best me I can be each day.
I am somebody!
I am love.

From the book Healing Children - Loving Children by Julie Haverstick.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - June (Activity a Day)

June - Safety First

1st - Parent: Draw any size octagon on a piece of paper. Child: Color the octagon red.

2nd - Trace the letters in word June.
3rd - Talk about all the things you can do with your hands; clap, wash, wave, draw, etc.
4th - Talk about why we should wear sunscreen and a hat when playing outside.
5th - What shape is a door? How many doors are in your house?
6th - Count from 1 to 20. Can you count any higher?
7th - Write your first name. Remember to start with a capital letter.
8th - Sit outside at night and listen to all of the sounds. Make a list of the different sounds.
9th - Why do we wear seatbelts?
10th - Are your child's immunizations up to date?
11th - Help your child learn their address and phone number.
12th - Walk barefood in the grass. How does it feel?
13th - Make up a story with your child as the main character.
14th - Jump over a rope or line in the sidewalk.
15th - Take a bike ride. Wear your helmet.
16th - Make a list of things in your house that starts with the sound of /s/, like sink.
17th - How many smoke alarms do you have in your house? Make sure to check the batteries!
18th - Play at the park. Practice pumping your legs on the swing.
19th - What are the safety rules for your house?
20th - Spell your last name then practice writing it.
21st - Go on a shape hunt. How many circles can you find?
22nd - TV OFF DAY! - Read a favorite book or play a board game.
23rd - While driving in the car, talk about the different colors of a traffic light and what they mean.
24th - Play follow the leader, take turns being the leader.
25th - Sing the alphabet song.
26th - Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
27th - Can you name 3 safety rules?
28th - Practice crossing the street. Always look both ways.
29th - Pretend to be an animal that: hops, jumps, flies or crawls.
30th - When on a slide, talk about being at the top and going to the bottom.

What fun things did you do with your child this month to re-enforce safety rules? Share about the activities you did. I'd love to hear your stories!

posted by:
Cara Retz

Monday, May 30, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - May (Sharing)

May - Rhyme Time

Learning to Share
Some children share without being asked and without being taught. However learning to share is harder for most children. Here are a few tips to help support your child as thy learn to share:

-Read books about sharing to your child. Your local children's librarian may be able to suggest some books and videos about sharing.
-When playing "taking turn" games, be sure that everyone has a chance to go first and be last.
-Support and praise children when they share. For example, say, "I liked the way you let John play with that toy. You must be proud of yourself."
-Set a good example. Talk about sharing and share something with your child.
-Sharing is important. Children need to try it to learn it.

What other tips do you have to help your child learn to share?

posted by:
Cara Retz

Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - May (English)

May - Rhyme Time

Quote of The Month
"The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering." - Benjamin Spock

Snack Time
-Serve healthy snacks and differenty types: crunchy, soft, chewy, smooth, hot, cold, sweet, sour, bland, spicy
-Never offer foods as a reward for good behavior
-Plan snacks as part of tthe daily food plan
-Let your child help pick out fruits, vegetables, and cheeses; they'll be more interested in eating them.

English/Language Arts
Word Recognition, Fluency, and Vocabulary Development
Children understand that speech is composed of sounds and begin to develop the ability to hear and play with those sounds. Letters make sounds. Sounds make words. Words make sentences. Sentences tell stories.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - May (Story Time)

May - Rhyme Time

Story Time Tips
Books help children build confidence as they join in with a repeated rhyme. When reading a familiar rhyme, stop before a rhyming word and encourage the child to fill in the word

Children love to hear the same story over and over again, that's how they learn stories and words which leads to reading!

When reading a familiar story, stop before the last word and let your child finish it.

Books to Read This Month
The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke
R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet by Judy Young
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson
Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky

Websites to Visit

Parent Tip of The Month
As you read, move yoru finger left to right under the words.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - May (Play Time)

May - Rhyme Time

Play Time

Musical Shaker
Use - plastic bottle and uncooked rice, popcorn kernels, dried beans, pebbles or old buttons
First: Clean and dry plastic bottle
Second: Fill bottle with a little or a lot of an item
Third: Securely close the lid
Fourth: Use the shaker to keep the beat as you say rhymes.
Experiment with different bottles putting different amounts and items in each bottle. Which sound do you like best?

Tug A Bug
Use - Egg carton, cotton balls, crayons, pipe cleaners, color paper, glue, yarn and any other fun materials.
First: Using the egg carton as the body of your insect, have adult cut apart the egg carton
Second: Decorate your bugs however you would like
Third: Add a piece of yarn and tog your bug around town
Fourth: Add several pieces of carton together with pieces of yarn to make a longer bug

Things to Look & Listen For
Color: purple
Numbers: 1-10
Letter Sounds: H, h & M, m
Shape: circle
Sight Words: the, big, ten
Words to Talk About and Use: rhyme, music, vocabulary

posted by:
Cara Retz

Monday, May 2, 2011

Reluctant Entertainer Give-A-Way

I just heard about this blog today on the radio. It's called Reluctant Entertainer. She also just wrote a book my the same name. It has inspired me to start entertaining more in my home. Now, to get my husband on board!

While I was looking around the blog, I found a give-a-way and wanted to share it all with you. It's for a copy of their new book, an apron, and more! Check it out at:

And check out the blog, even if you don't want to enter the give-a-way!

posted by:
Cara Retz

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - May (Activity a Day)

May - Rhyme Time

1st - Parent: Draw any size circle on a piece of paper. Child: Color the cirlce purple.
2nd - Make up silly words that rhyme with your name.
3rd - Make a list of words that rhyme with big.
4th - Trace the letters in the word May.
5th - Cinco de Mayo - Learn to count to five in Spanish
6th - Check out a nursery rhyme book from the Library
7th - Can you list 15 words that start with the /h/ sound?
8th - Dance to fun music. Clap to the beat.
9th - Start a nursery rhyme and have your child finish it.
10th - Play Simon Says. Focus on moving different parts of the body.
11th - Go outside and hop like a bunny, jump like a frog.
12th - Limerick Day - Check out a book of limericks from the library.
13th - Brainstorm words that rhyme with May.
14th - Go on a letter m hunt! How many did you find?
15th - Jack jumped over the candlestick. What can you go over and under?
16th - Practice tying your shoes.
17th - Count groups of 10. Use different objects like pennies.
18th - Memorize a nursery rhyme. Recite it for a friend.
19th - Circus Day - What animals might you see at a circus?
20th - Use magnetic letters to spell your name on the refrigerator.
21st - Name foods that are purple.
22nd - Point out letters from your child's name as you read a book.
23rd - TV Off Day! - Read a favorite book or play a game.
24th - Praise your child when you see them sharing.
25th - Help fold clothes and count how many you have folded.
26th - Play a card game such as Memory or Go Fish.
27th - Print this list off. Circle the word rhyme on the list. How many did you find?
28th - Find things around the house that are shaped like a triangle, square and circle.
29th - Sing the alphabet song.
30th - Make up a sentence with as many /m/ words as you can.
31st - Practice saying your phone number and address.

I'd love to hear about all the activities you did together throughout the month, so be sure to leave your comments!

posted by:
Cara Retz

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring Toy Cleaning


Do you have too many toys? Here is a solution.
First, please read through this list and pick your top 6/7 questions that are most important to you.
  • Are children learning from the toys you currently have?
  • Are all of the pieces there? Is it broken?
  • Will it be missed if it is out of the child’s sight? Is the toy played with at least once a week?
  • Is the toy age appropriate? Does more than one child play with it?
  • Does the toy take up too much space?
  • Can you bribe your child with the toy?
  • Does it have a lifetime guaranteed?
  • Has it been recalled? (It should be thrown out for safety)
  • Is there a prescribed way to play with the toy (or does it use their imagination)? Can the child learn from it by
  • using more than 3 concepts? Do I have other toys that teach the same concept(s)?
  • Can you get replacement parts for the toy?
Then start with three piles:
1. keeping – answered “yes” to more than 4 questions

2. undecided – answered “yes” to 3-4 questions

3. give away – answered “yes” to 2 or less questions

Ask the 6/7 questions of each toy and place it into one of the three categories based on the number of “yes” responses to each question.

***If toy not missed (can be put away for more than a month), then donate it.

You will get the most from your toys if you rotate them. Make this simple. Rotate a third to a half out at the beginning of each month and put them back in at the beginning of the next month. Try to have a mix that do different things.

posted by:
Cara Retz

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - April (Books)

April - Going Green!

Books to read this month:
Looks Like Spilled Milk by Charles G Shaw
Nature's Paintbrush: The Colors & Patters Around You by Susan Stockdale
I Can Save the Earth! by Alison Inches
ABC Nature Riddles by Susan Joyce

Websites to Visit:

Parent Tip:
Listen Carefully to your child's questions. Spend time together to find out the answers.

Quote of the Month:
"One thing you can't recycle is wasted time." Author Unknown

posted by:
Cara Retz

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I found Melaleuca about a year ago and LOVE their products!! They have everything to clean your home (laundry, kitchen, bath, etc) and take care of yourself (toiletries, vitamins & supplements) and it's all naturally based products!

If you are interested in naturally based products and want to make your home safer for you and your family or if you want to improve your health and wellness, then this might just be the right thing for you.

I'm having an in-person presentation this Friday (4/29) at 7pm at my home. I'd love to everyone to come and check it out. I know that not everyone will be able to come, so there are also live webinars that the company does. I can hook you up with one of those or we can get together and talk about it when it's convenient for you. Just give me a call or send me an email and we will set a date!
I am loving their products and want to share them with EVERYONE and I can't wait to share them with you! I'd love to answer any questions you may have so feel free to call or email me any time. Also, be sure to check out my website at for a little more information.

Have a wonderful day! :)

posted by:
Cara Retz

Getting Ready for Kindergarten - April (Playtime)

April - Going Green!

Play Time

Sandbox Fun - Here are some activities to use when playing in the sandbox. If you don't have a sandbox, fill a box lid, pie plate or small tub with pebbles, water, packing peanuts, salt or bird seed.

-Pour items from one cup to another.
-Guess how many handfuls, cupfuls or spoonfuls it will take to fill different size containers.
-If using sand, smooth and flatten out. Practice writing letters, numbers or shapes with a stick or fingers.

Touch and Talk Walk - Take a walk. Touch and talk about stones, leaves, puddles, and flowers. Take the time to look closely and explore all of the details of the different things you see on the walk.

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce - Use plastic water or soda bottles, twig, string and bird feed.
First: Punch holes on either side of the plastic bottle, near the bottom.
Second: Stick a twig all the way through with its ends sticking out for perches.
Third: Poke several more holes nearby each perch for the birds to pull the seed out.
Fourth: Fill the bottle with bird seed.
Fifth: Hang the bottle by taking a spring around the neck of the bottle making a loop.
Enjoy watching the birds that will visit your feeder!

posted by:
Cara Retz

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten (Science)

April - Going Green!


Physical Setting and the Living Environment
As a natural scientists, young children need opportunities to use their 5 senses to learn about the world around them. Giving children time to explore different materials and objects helps them gain scientific awareness. Children in the pre-school years are eager to learn more about their living environment. Animals and plants are some of the first things.

Learning Science is Fun and Easy!
Children learn by doing, by trying new ideas and challenging old ones. This doesn't just happen in school. You can help your child learn by providing him with safe, interesting learning experiences in a supportive atmosphere. Here are a few things, that while doing them, you are teaching science:
-See how long it takes for a flower bud to burst into full bloom.
-Watch the moon as it appears to change shape over the course of a month and record the changes.
-Look for stars in the night sky.
-Bake a cake.
-Figure out how the spin cycle of a washing machine gets the water out of the clothes.
-Take apart an old clock or mechanical toys - you don't need to put it back together!
-Sort your recyclable items: paper, plastic or glass.

Don't forget to share what you've done with your kids to get them ready for Kindergarten!

posted by:
Cara Retz

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

So, we just went to Kindergarten Round-Up for my youngest. Sad day for me, but excited for him. Got lots of info and fun things to do during summer to prepare for it. Some really fun things and I'm going to share some of them here, so stay tuned for 1 or 2 posts a week for fun things to do with your child to get them ready for Kindergarten. I'm going to post several hear because we are over half way through the month. I'd love to hear about what you do with your child this summer as you both get ready for it.

April - Going Green!

Things to look and listen for:
Color: green
Numbers: 1-20
Letters: P, p and L, l
Shape: triangle
Sight words: see, at, nine
Words to Talk About and Use: recycle, environment, Earth

Snack Time:
Plan snacks and serve them at the table. If you're away from home, find a park bench or a building's hallway bench. Treat snacking like other planned mealtimes.

A Fun Song:
I'm a Little Dandolin
(sung to "I'm a Little Teapot")

I'm a little dandoline tall and slim
(Stand on tiptoes)
Here are my petals
(Place hands on side of head and wiggle fingers)
Here is my stem
(Hold arms down at sides)
When the sun comes up
(Make sun with arms)
And the rain comes down
(Flutter hands to floor like rain. End in a crouching position.)
I grow, grow, grow up from the ground!
(Slowly stand up and raise hands over head.)

posted by:
Cara Retz

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Make a shamrock to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

Make a heart and trace it 4 times to look like this picture. Talk about how many hearts a shamrock has. Have your child count them. Talk about what color it is.

Talk about being Irish and explain what that would to your child.

Have a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

posted by:
Cara Retz
Team Leader, Discovery Toys

Friday, February 4, 2011

Learn New Concepts

Have some of your child's Christmas gifts seemed to have "lost their luster"? Maybe you can help your child enjoy the toys by looking at other ways to use it, and at the same time learn new concepts.

If your child has a lot of cars, trucks, and construction vehicles, have you child gather them into one place. On a piece of paper or with plastic alphabet letters, spell out the word "vehicles". Tell your child that is a word you can use fro all the toys that are use to move people or things.

Try to think together (you might even make a list on a piece of paper) of all the things different vehicles can move. A car moves people. An ambulance moves sick or injured people. A bus moves people (school children) and packages and suitcases. A dump truck moves dirt, sand, gravel, scrap metal. A construction vehicle moves lumber, steel, bricks, cement. A transportation truck moves cars, trailers, boats.

Have your child sort the vehicles by colors, sizes, number of wheels or other things you notice that could be used as a category.

If you have any books about vehicles, read them to your child and ask if they have a toy like the one in the book.

Let your child draw a story about vehicles, drawing different kinds, or drawing where the vehicles might be going, i.e. ambulance to a hospital, school bus to a school, dump truck full of sand to a new road being built, farm truck full of pigs to a farm, gas truck to the filling station.

What other toys does your child have that you can do these kinds of activities with?  I'd love to hear your ideas and what you did with your child's toys!

Another great way to make toys "new" is by rotating your toys every few weeks. Get some plastic bins and store most of your toys in the bins out of sight and reach of your child.  Leave our 10-12 toys.  Every few weeks, get "new" ones out and put the "old" ones away.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Team Leader

Monday, January 17, 2011

Make A Book!

Need something new and fun to do inside on cold days?  Help your child make a book!

Have your child draw pictures, or help your child cut pictures from magazines, catalogs, newspaper ads, of something he or she likes.  It could be a toy, a favorite food, a person, a pet, or something seen out the window.

After each picture is on a page, have your child tell you about the picture and write what is said on the page. Read it back to your child, pointing to each word.  Ask if that is what your child wants it to say.

If you have more than one picture, do the same for each.

If you have construction paper, put a piece on the front and back and staple or hole punch it and string the pages together. Ask your child what they want the name of their book to be. Write that on the cover.

Tell your child that she is the author, as you print her name on the book.

Explain the name of the book is the title, and the child's name is the author. This is the beginning concept for your child to learn. As you read books to your child, tell them the title is.... and the author is....

Have fun with books!

posted by:
Cara Retz
Team Leader, Discovery Toys