Tag Archives: Summer

Preventing Summer Learning Loss

summer-homework

School’s out for summer, but learning shouldn’t be on vacation, too. “Summer slide” occurs when children forget skills they learned the previous school year, and it’s a concern for many parents, especially parents of children with learning difficulties. Here are some ways to engage and support children at any age to retain those skills and even give them a leg up for the next school year, while still having fun and enjoying their time off from school.

Elementary school:
• Try and find some time daily to read with your children. You can start a fun summer book club with a few of your children’s friends and rotate homes where you can meet and discuss the book of the week. You can also stop at the library before your summer road trip or longer vacations for books to take along with you. Set 20 minutes aside daily for some quiet reading or shared reading pleasure. Nothing like a great book for the beach for you and your child!
• If your younger child (pre-k to 1st grade) struggles with reading, it is even more important that you read to them every day. Have them try and pick out words they recognize (sight words) and begin to use their phonetic skills to “tap out” or sound out more challenging words.
• For this young age group, you should also review and practice the sequence of the alphabet. Sing or say the alphabet whenever you can – in the car, on a walk, while taking a bath. Fun activities include scrambling magnetic plastic letters of the alphabet and asking your child to sequence them as he or she says the letter names.
• You can also practice the alphabet with a game–it can be something as simple as jumping rope while reciting the alphabet, and coming up with a vocabulary word based on the letter you stop jumping at.
• Rhyming games can also be fun. Say four words and ask your child to tell you which word does not belong. Make up silly words to get them even more engaged!
• For slightly older children (first grade and onward) start to talk to your child about a book before you even get into the text with them. Ask them questions about the cover, read the chapter headings, and have them hypothesize what they think the story will be about. After reading a chapter, pause and have them reflect and predict what they think will happen next in the story. Review and discuss the different characters and have them start to form inferences about what will happen as you move along in the book with them.
• If engaging your child in a book is a struggle, try graphic novels instead. They have proven to be appealing to students who have not yet developed a love of reading.
• Strengthen your child’s number skills by incorporating fun math activities into your summer routine: count the seashells on the sand while you’re walking, or add up the number of birds you see flying overhead.
• You can include practice with measurement by having your child engage in cooking or baking and having them take charge in following the recipe.
• For kids who are having difficulty making their handwriting legible, summer is a great time to work on that skill, or learn to type. Look for programs or apps that can help make the process fun.

Middle and high school:
• If your child struggles in a particular subject, like math, try to find out what’s coming up in the class next year. That way you can start previewing the upcoming new concepts early.
• Writing demands increase as we enter the higher grades. Finding opportunities when older students would be interested and willing to engage in writing practice can be hard. One way to incorporate writing exercises is by coupling them with fun adventures. Visiting local museums, finding a fun landmark to research while on a trip, and even conducting an interview with a relative or someone in the neighborhood can be used as opportunities to foster journaling and writing.
• As your children transition into middle and high school, organizational skills and independence become even more important. Help your child get a head start on organizing their notebooks for different subjects and scheduling due dates for assignments.
• If your child is anxious about starting at a new school, use the summer to engage in helpful social activities. Look for ways they can meet peers early on, visit and walk around new school grounds to diminish anxiety and increase confidence.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that helping your child keep up over the summer shouldn’t be costly, either in terms of a financial burden or by straining your relationship with your child. There are so many resources in our environment to employ and ways to continue to promote and foster learning that are present as long as we’re creative in thinking about how to include them.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Daniela Montalto, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, a part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital. She is the Clinical Director of the Child Study Center’s Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement.

 

Summer Sun Safety for Kids

Sun protectionWith summer rapidly approaching, everyone is thinking about fun under the sun. Whether it’s a trip to the beach, getting ready for camp, or simply playing in the backyard or park, everyone needs to know how to protect their family from the sun. The simplest solution—staying inside—has obvious drawbacks, but you should do all you can to limit exposure to harmful sunlight. Here are some helpful tips for safe summer fun:

Try to be indoors or in shaded areas between 10am-4pm, when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.

Use sunscreen. Remember, you can get sunburn even on cloudy days. Use enough to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet, hands, and even backs of the knees—and rub it in well. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors.  This allows it time to absorb into the top layers of the skin. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours, as well as after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel. Also, while we are focused on the summer, be aware that one can get sunburn even in winter.

What is SPF? A sunscreen’s efficacy is measured by its sun protection factor, or SPF. SPF is not an amount of protection, but instead indicates how long it will take for UVB rays to redden skin when using a sunscreen, compared to how long skin would take to redden without any protection. For example, if it takes 10 minutes for skin to redden on its own, it will take 15x longer with a sunscreen of SPF 15 applied.  An SPF 15 sunscreen screens 93 percent of the sun’s UVB rays; SPF 30 protects against 97 percent; and SPF 50, 98 percent. But regardless of an SPF number, sunscreen needs to be reapplied often.

How to choose? The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) recommend that all sunscreen you use should provide broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, have an SPF of 30 or higher, and be water resistant.

Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight and under shade. If an infant is out in the sun and protective clothing and shade are not available, use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face.  For babies older than 6 months, apply sunscreen to all areas of the body, but be careful around the eyes.

When possible, dress yourself and your children in cool, dark colored, and loose clothing that covers as much of the body as possible.  Good examples include lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts, and broad brimmed hats. Select clothes made with a tight weave; they protect better than clothes with a looser weave. If you’re not sure how tight a fabric’s weave is, hold it up to see how much light shines through. The less light, the better. Or you can look for protective clothing labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). The higher the UPF number the better. For a good comparison, a white cotton t-shirt has a UPF rating of 6.

Look for child-sized sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection.

If all your protection efforts fail and your child gets sunburn: most sunburns are mild, but ALL are real burns, if only superficial. Cool compresses, pain relief medication, rehydration (with water or 100% fruit juice), and staying out of the sun are usually all that is needed for care of 1st degree burns. Severe sunburns are classified as 2nd degree, and can be accompanied by severe blistering and pain. Any child who develops fever and severe blistering or cracking of the skin should call their pediatrician and/or seek immediate medical attention.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

David Shipman, MD, is a pediatrician and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Medical Center. He sees patients at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

NYC’s Best Summer Programs for Kids are Here!

Yesterday marked the first day of June and the beginning of the summer season (ok, the first day of summer is June 21 but we’re definitely not counting). Many new classes and camps in NYC are starting this week and throughout the month, and there are lots of summer programs for kids of all ages, whether your little one is dying to get outside for soccer in the park or hit the gym for tumbling and strengthening. See some of our summer picks below, and check out Kidz Central Station for a full variety of classes!

standard_Teeny_Tumblers_2Jodi’s Gym. This Upper East Side program has it all when it comes to gymnastics for little ones. These weekly classes will get kids running, jumping, singing, and tumbling all summer long, and offer just the right exercises and activities for every age and skill level. There are three different summer sessions available to accommodate busy summer schedules, and classes are for kids age eight months to five years. The first session of summer starts this week!

Evolution Enrichment Center. Whether you’re looking for summer drop-in classes or a weekly camp for preschool-age kids, Evolution Enrichment Center has it all. Classes include unique offerings such as Science Ninjas, Yoga, Jewelry Design, and their signature class, Rhythmic Gymnastics, or you can opt for their Preschool Summer Program, which includes a variety of these fun activities as well as daily lunch for campers. Starts June 29.

Kids ‘n Codingelementary school students in computer class. In today’s world, coding is an important skill to have, and the earlier you learn it, the better off you are. Kids ‘n Coding is a great kids’ coding program located in downtown NYC, where your little ones can get a leg up and learn all of the coding basics. During the month of July, the program is offering two one-week sessions for kids as young as six years old on Coding Robots—basically a step-by-step coding intro through fun games and activities with robots!

Music for Aardvarks. Music is always super fun for kids, but when it’s outdoors during summer in one of NYC’s beautiful parks it’s even better! Music for Aardvarks’s summer session of outdoor music classes starts June 23, and it includes the same singing, dancing, instrument jam sessions, and music storytelling found in all of their upbeat classes. You can find them everywhere from uptown in Central Park to Rockefeller Park in Tribeca, and there are tons of times available so you’re sure to find one that works.

Tennis Innovatorstennis boy. The perfect choice for sport-loving kids, Tennis Innovators’ Summer Camp session not only includes tennis lessons (with stroke development, private instruction, fun drills, and games), but its daily schedule also incorporates soccer, basketball, and baseball on nearby outdoor fields! Camp starts June 15 and runs through September 4, and parents can register kids for weekly sessions in the morning, afternoon, or all day long!

Wait, there’s more! Visit Kidz Central Station and search summer programs by age, location, date, neighborhood, and more!

10 Ways Kidz Central Station Will Make Your Life Easier

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If you’re new to Kidz Central Station, or if you’ve only visited us a few times, you may not be aware of all of the things we can help you do to make your life easier. We know NYC parents don’t have a lot of time to search through the hundreds of of kids’ programs that exist, so we created the site so that you can search, find, and enroll in NYC classes and activities all in one place. In an effort to help all of you busy parents out there, here is a list of 10 things you can do on Kidz Central Station that will help you and your little ones make the most of the site and find the best activities for spring and summer!

  • Search classes, activities, and birthday parties by age, date, type, budget, and neighborhood to find exactly the right program for your child.
  • Enroll your little one in semester and/or drop-in classes at hundreds of local programs. Choose what fits your busy schedule—we’re adding new summer classes daily!
  • Send a direct request to any of the amazing birthday party providers on our Kids’ Birthday Party Finder, get for more information about their parties and request a party date.
  • Use our homepage event calendar to find one-time classes and activities. You can click on whatever date you are looking for something to do, and TA-DA!!, a list of activities for that date will appear.
  • Sign up for classes that have started at a prorated price! Just because a class has already started doesn’t mean your child can’t join the fun.
  • Still haven’t decided on a spring semester class or want to try something out for summer? Search for a trial class and get a taste of what it would be like if your child was enrolled for the semester. Once you try, you can easily come back and buy the class.
  • Read class reviews from the people you trust most—other parents. We think it’s important that parents review programs and classes on our site so that other parents can get an accurate view of the class and how their children will like it.
  • Share your findings with friends! You can email or share classes via Facebook from every activity page.
  • Purchase Kidz Central Station gift cards as birthday presents! Parents will love that their kids can try new classes, and will be especially grateful that it doesn’t take up any room in an NYC apartment!
  • Buy classes and save! Kidz Central Station awards Kidz Rewards points for every purchase, so by booking with us you‘ll earn discounts on future classes. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Finally, we are here to help you all day, every day. If you have any questions at all—about using the site, new classes, or anything else—email us at info@kidzcentralstation.com and we’ll email you back as soon as we can!

 

 

 

From Sun and Sand to Back to School

phpO96nKfPMHow do you go from endless summer days filled with sun and sand, watermelon and corn on
the cob to backpacks and lunch boxes, pencils and crayons? The answer is simple—it’s not easy! As much as I try to hold on to the joys of summer, every year at this time the little voice in my head starts whispering a hefty to-do list. So, in order to enjoy what’s left of summer vacation, how do you prepare for the busy season ahead?

Ease back in to back to school shopping. I used to carve out entire days for back to school shopping, but I’ve learned over the years that it’s easier to get back into the school mindset gradually by picking up different items at different times. If there’s a sale on school supplies somewhere, my kids and I will head to that store and get what we can. If I can’t get everything at once, it’s okay. This way my kids have their say and I can finish up at my leisure. In my experience, kids are much more concerned about choosing their lunch boxes and backpacks than anything else! Which brings me to my next tip . . .

Invest in a good backpack! For parents of older children, it’s worth investing in a really good—sometimes expensive—backpack. It will hold up better throughout the year and can easily go in the wash. As my kids got older, they used their backpacks for more than just one year, and even swapped backpacks with cousins and friends for a little variety. As for lunch boxes on the other hand, don’t overspend—you’ll want to throw them out at the end of the school year or maybe use them for camp if you’re really lucky.

Start implementing a regular bedtime. Especially if your children are in pre-K through primary school, decide on an appropriate bedtime and start putting it into practice. Don’t start a new bedtime all of a sudden; ease it into your kids’ schedules so that those first few school days aren’t disastrous. For parents of night owls, by the end of August it will start getting dark out earlier, so that should help with getting your kids into bed at a reasonable hour. If you are fortunate enough to have good sleepers, start getting them up earlier in the morning.

phpb1sKaDPMSchedule check ups and physicals. This one’s simple. You child will definitely need a physical for school, so by planning for it now when things are a little less hectic, you won’t have to switch your whole schedule around just to get to the doctor’s office.

Take even just one of these tips and put it into practice, and you’ll be way ahead of the game! You’ll still have plenty of time to head to the beach, put your toes in the sand, and enjoy the last of summer.

Children Approach Museums with Excitement and Know-how!

Claire’s Creative Museum Adventures Brings Children’s Art Education to NYC’s Museums and Galleries!

Are you a NYC family wanting to expose your children to the fascinating world of art around you that they can enjoy?  Do you have friends or family members traveling through NYC seeking a truly memorable cultural experience together?

We all know that New York City is known for its culture and the arts.  It’s world-class museums and galleries provide an extraordinary opportunity to learn!  So how can your child take advantage?

Creating unique professional artist or theme-based visits that are educational AND entertaining is not an easy feat!  First, children tire easily.  Even getting to the artwork can be intimidating in large museums, especially those like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  And how do you know where to begin?

There are ways to demystify not only the museum, but also the art processes, while making them easy to understand and fun to learn!  Following a few simple rules can help.

For many museums, just getting to certain galleries can be a hike.  First, know where you are going before setting out.  You don’t want your child to see it as a chore if you have to cover too much ground.  Pick a small section each visit to explore more fully.

Next, select just a few pieces that are in close proximity with each other, which provide ample learning opportunities based on one theme. Locating the artists with something in common helps to bring home specific ideas, without wearing out your child.

Many artists may seem too sophisticated to share with kids.  Not so!  Breaking down the art processes of artists and making them easy to understand and fun to learn can be exciting!  Of course ages and special interests are important to consider for each visit; Explaining color theory to a 4 year old by using the Impressionists may be too much, however, Ellsworth Kelly or Roy Lichtenstein is a great start.  Balance and line exploration using Calder’s mobiles, or even metal-working with pieces from David Smith and John Chamberlain, is a pragmatic way to teach.

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Kids don’t want a lecture!  Since there is no teacher like doing, actually making artwork in front of a piece of art is instrumental for kids!  Knowing what materials work best, and which ones are appropriate in a public space, is also not easy.  That’s often where experts come in.  You may not feel comfortable bringing in recycled materials to discover El Anatsui’s magic, however, you can never go wrong with pencils, colored pencils or wire for your first endeavors as a parent.

Be sure to switch it up:  construct, collage or create colors with separate visits.  Since a child’s attention span is short, each project needs to be divided into simplified steps, and include more than one simple hands-on project.

Some great first galleries I would suggest are the modern painters at the Met.  There are beginning discovery lessons in line, shape and color here like no other!  Then those lessons can be applied to more artists, once digested.

Keep it simple and fun.  You want your child to be eager to not only go to see art, but excited by the process…  and if you become a learner with your child along the way, you’ll see them making connections and coming to their own conclusions you would never have thought of!

Don’t miss out on the amazing educational opportunity to discover art with your child by using your city’s resources.  You may also wish to take advantage of an experienced and engaging tour leader to illuminate your experience.

By Claire Munday, Founder of Claire’s Creative Adventures, LLC for kids ages 2-12.  Museum and Art Adventures uses NYC’s modern, contemporary and multicultural art resources to go beyond school curricula to “demystify” artists and their processes. Children (and their accompanying adults) are introduced to modern and contemporary artists as well as diverse cultures, based on current exhibits from the myriad of NYC museums and galleries, providing all of the supplies, education and entertainment while actively engaging the children in the fantastic world of art from museum arrival to departure… Click here to book your next tour or class!

 

 

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Kids

Playing outside every day is good for the body and the mind.  Being outside for playtime has many benefits for children and we listed a few of our favorites here:

  1. Children can see the community they live in.  By going outside to play, children see other people who may be the same or different from them all living in one area.  You can even pack some gloves and a trash bag and pick up trash on your way there and back.  Children feel more included when they helping pitch in.  Of course, never let your child pick up any sharp objects, even with gloves!
  2. Children are encouraged to use their imagination.  With everything made in miniature version, it is fun and healthy for children to use their imagination to create a “cake” by mixing “ingredients” with a “spoon” they found outdoors.  This is actually an early form of problem solving!
  3. Children have the opportunity to exercise.  Everyone, even children need exercise.  While we go to the gym for an hour (more like forty minutes) our kids need room to run and jump and climb and there is no better place than outdoors in your local park!
  4. Children learn social skills.  The park and playground are for everyone, which means children must learn to take turns, wait and play by certain rules.  This is something we can tell our children, but really this all takes practice.  An even better bonus?  There are new and different people every time you go, so your child may have to learn different social adjustments each and every time!
  5. Children learn to try new things.  Remember the first time you went across the monkey bars alone?  This is a great chance your child to feel accomplishment when they master something that was challenging.  Nothing builds self-esteem like real accomplishments.  Just remember, it’s important that your child feels a tad frustration to feel like he/she accomplished something!

So now with a few reasons why being outside is a must, make sure your child gets some time every day to play outside!

By Shannon Drummond, founder of The Play Champs.  The Play Champs offers outdoor classes to build child development in local parks throughout New York City.

5 Must Have Items to Always Have on Hand This Summer

4800995010_6ae6cb95b5_zWith the summer season almost officially upon us, the temperatures are starting to heat up. With the kids out of school and the gorgeous weather, that means that you will be spending most of your time outside. Whether it’s a trip to the beach for a family vacation or just a picnic in the park, you want to make sure that you have a bag of essentials with you at all times. These items will get you and your children through those hot summer months.

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