Foundational Skills with Fundanoodle {Video + Giveaway!}

In lieu of our regular Muscle Mover Monday, Max and Alphie want to take this week to share our new instructional videos with you! And because we are so excited, why not offer a giveaway too?! Just check out our new short informational videos and share the link via Facebook or Twitter and you could win your choice of Fundanoodle product!

First up is our Foundational Skills video in which our CEO April explains the differential learning approach used across Fundanoodle products to develop everyday foundational skills children need to be successful in and out of the classroom.

Just enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below and leave a comment on this blog post with either your Facebook or Twitter username (whichever you used to share!) and what product you would choose if you won.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check back on Wednesday for another video and another chance to win!

Providing Positive Experiences for our Children

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Wofford at our philanthropic partners The Lunch Project and discusses the importance of not only nurturing our children beyond their physical development. Rebecca is a former lawyer and law professor, founder and Executive Director of The Lunch Project, giving kids the fuel to learn in Tanzania, East Africa and Charlotte, a blogger at www.thechickenmama.blogspot.com and mom of Sam and Cate.

lunchproject

As parents, we want the very best for our children. We want to teach them and help them become the very best people they can be. At different developmental stages, children have different needs.

When they are babies, we are concerned with our babies most basic developmental needs. Our pediatricians help meet our parental concerns through established developmental milestones. As long as our babies meet these milestones during each visit, we breathe a huge sigh of relief. As our babies grow, the visits to the pediatrician become less frequent and the milestones grow with them but perhaps not in a holistic way. My son and daughter are 10 and 9 and I know, from their pediatric visits, that they continue to meet their height and weight milestones. However, I have wondered if they are meeting emotional milestones.

Although physical development should be measured and we should help our children meet these developmental goals through nutrition, physical activity, etc. we should also strive to meet their emotional needs and development. Providing love and safety meets the most basic emotional needs but as children grow their emotional needs grow with them. Our goal is for children to develop empathy. Kids as toddlers begin to develop empathy through basic concepts of sharing with others. This concern for and connection to another child should provide a positive experience.

I believe, as parents, we should continue to provide positive experiences for our children to connect and empathize with other children and that this will empower them to become good global citizens. This is the primary goal of The Lunch Project’s Summer of Service. Summer of Service introduces children to the lives of kids in Tanzania, East Africa, and specifically their goal of receiving an education. Kids also learn that this first generation of kids going to public primary school did not have lunch at school before The Lunch Project helped their community develop a lunch program. They learn that they have a lot in common with these kids but that they also face different life circumstances. Kids here empathize with kids who have struggled to learn on an empty belly. All kids understand the need to have food at school so you can learn.

How do kids view the Summer of Service? As a fun challenge that helps other kids. We challenge kids to create a family project that will raise $85 to feed 900 kids a hot lunch at school. Kids do what they love — whether it is baking cookies and having a cookie and lemonade stand to playing basketball or soccer with friends in a tournament — and ask for a donation from their friends or for customers to pay for their product. They learn the basic concepts of being a social entrepreneur. Because of the generosity of our sponsors, including Fundanoodle, our SOS families have been provided “I am The Lunch Project” t-shirts and car magnets, so they are also raising awareness about the global work we are doing as a community and, most importantly . . . with our kids. Because our SOS kids connect and empathize with kids across the globe, SOS kids rise to the challenge and with their accomplishment comes empowerment. These kids are changing the world and have met an emotional milestone of empathy in action along the way.

To learn more about The Lunch Project or ways you can get involved visit them at www.thelunchproject.org.

Muscle Mover Monday…Uppercase D

It’s Monday morning!  Let’s get a move on!

Start your week with Fundanoodle’s award-winning Muscle Mover cards! Children can act out the movement from the cards to get the wiggles out, and then the fun continues by tracing the letter on the back of the dry erase card. Make sure to continue the blended learning by encourage the child to say the stroke movement out loud when they practice forming the letter.

We are going through the letters according to our I Can Write Uppercase! activity book and today’s letter is Uppercase D!

Zoom Down

Hop to the Top

Buzz Around

D_DogBack - Copy

Dig like a Dog!

D_Dog

Therapist Thursday: Breathing Exercises for Kids

Today’s Therapist Thursday comes from Mira Binzen, E-RYT, RCYT, a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance, a certified iRest Yoga Nidra teacher and a professional Integrative Yoga Therapist.  She holds a degree in Child Psychology from The University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development and is co-founder of Global Family Yoga which offers training courses approved for AOTA CEUs. Mira originally shared this post on MamaOT.com. Thank you both for sharing!

Full, even breathing can soothe the mind and body while evoking a sense of calm.  It’s an easy, effective strategy that is often overlooked.

Conscious breathing (simply being aware of the breath) is one of the best tools we have to regulate the nervous system, the home base of sensory processing. We all feel “dis-regulated” at times and it makes sense to have breathing strategies in place.  The more they are practiced, the easier it is to turn to one in time of need.  When a child feels overwhelmed from sensory input, is frustrated with a task, has low energy or too much energy for the situation, or is just feeling a little grumpy, a few conscious breaths can make a big difference.

This is not news to most, but anyone who has asked a child to “take a deep breath” may have come upon some resistance.  It’s kind of like trying to feed a child broccoli.  There has to be a little enticement, a little fun…a little magic.  Here are three simple ways to get your child breathing better.

1. Be a Balloon

Breathing exercises to help kids calm and focus

Crouch down and hug your knees.  Reach the arms up and out as you come up to standing, filling your balloon (that’s you).  Then, let all the air out as you flutter to the ground like a deflated balloon.  Repeat a few times.  Fluttering and flopping to the floor adds proprioceptive input (body awareness) that can also be soothing to the nervous system.   Engage your child by asking what color the balloon is or what you may be celebrating with balloons.

2. Open Your Wings

This can be done sitting or standing.  Just as the name suggests, invite your child to reach their arms out to the sides and up overhead just as a majestic bird opens its wings.  This process stretches the intercostal muscles and invites in a fuller breath.  The breath comes in as the wings go up.  The breath moves out as wings come down.  Repeat several times.  You don’t even need to mention the breath.  The movement facilitates breathing.  Engage your child by asking what color her wings are, what kind of a bird he is or to where she might fly.

3. Sleeping Crocodile

Breathing exercises to help kids calm and focus

A crocodile waits, still and quiet by the edge of the lake… For details on the Sleeping Crocodile please see the original post on MamaOT.com.

“Conscious breathing for just a few minutes a day, several times a day can empower both you and your child to handle fluctuating moods, energy and focus. Full, even breathing is the foundation of well-being.” – Mira Binzen

Muscle Mover Monday…Uppercase S

It’s Monday morning!  Let’s get a move on!

Start your week with Fundanoodle’s award-winning Muscle Mover cards! Children can act out the movement from the cards to get the wiggles out, and then the fun continues by tracing the letter on the back of the dry erase card. Make sure to continue the blended learning by encourage the child to say the stroke movement out loud when they practice forming the letter.

We are going through the letters according to our I Can Write Uppercase! activity book and today’s letter is Uppercase S!

Buzz around.

Buzz around.

S_SnakeBack - Copy

Slither like a Snake!

S_Snake

Therapist Thursday: Core Strengthening for Kids

Today’s Therapist Thursday comes from Lauren at The Inspired Treehouse. Lauren is both a Mother and Pediatric Physical Therapist so she is definitely an expert on how to get children moving! Check out these great ideas on core strengthening.

core-strengthening-pinnable

Core strengthening isn’t just for adults.  Kids need to have a strong foundation of strength in the center of their bodies too.  Core strength fosters all kinds of developmental skills from bilateral coordination, posture, and stability to balance and endurance.  All of these skills build on one another, contributing to strong gross and fine motor skills and promoting healthy child development.  The core muscles are the muscles in the abdomen, back and pelvis.  Signs that a child may need extra help with core strengthening include but are not limited to w-sitting, poor posture in standing or sitting, or a delay in motor skill development.  The key to core strengthening for kids is making it fun — like a game!  Issue a challenge, give the activity a playful purpose!    Here are a few core strengthening exercises to help you get started.  And be sure to check out our round-up of Great Toys and Games for Core Strengthening!

1. BRIDGING Have your child lay on his back with his knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  Have them push hard through their heels to raise their bottom up off the floor.  Be sure that they are keeping their head and shoulders on the ground (see photo above).  Can they hold it?

HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:

  • Try having the child lift and lower with control (up for a count of 3, down for a count of 3).
  • Put a stuffed animal between the child’s knees and have them squeeze while completing the bridging.
  • For a BIG challenge, have your child place his feet on a pillow or small ball and try to maintain stability while bridging.
  • Zoom some cars underneath — How many cars can you get under the bridge before it falls?
  • Find a few small, stuffed animals and walk them under the bridge — Don’t squish the bunny!

2.  SUPERMAN  Have your little one fly like the superhero and strengthen his back!  Have him lay on his stomach on the floor and try to lift his arms up off of the floor so that his upper chest comes up too.

HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:

  • Can he lift his legs?  How about arms and legs at the same time?
  • Can he hold a ball between his hands or his feet while lifting up?
  • Place a stuffed animal on the child’s back and see if he can complete this exercise with enough control to keep the animal from falling.
  • Make it fun by having the child reach up for you to hand him pieces of a puzzle or to place stickers on the wall.
  • Make it even more fun by trying it on a swing or a large ball

3.  KNOCK ME OVER  This has always been a favorite of the kids I see for physical therapy.  It can be done with smaller children on your lap, or with bigger kiddos on a large therapy ball or even with them kneeling on both knees.  The goal is for them to maintain enough stability through their trunk to stay upright!  If you have a small child on your lap, sit on a couch or bed for a soft landing surface.  Bounce them up and down a few times (maybe sing “I’m a Little Teapot) and then try to knock them over.  The first few times, they will fall for sure…it’s funny!  The goal — to see if you can gradually increase the pressure that it takes to knock them down.   And…getting up is part of the core workout too!   See if you can decrease the amount of assistance it takes to get them back to a sitting position.

HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:

  • Have the child in a tall kneeling position on the floor and play catch with balls of varying sizes and weights.  The heavier the ball, the bigger the challenge to the core.
  • Just sitting and bouncing on the therapy ball is a core workout in itself.

plank-pinnable

There’s more! For 3 additional ideas, please read the original post on The Inspired Treehouse!

Muscle Mover Monday…Uppercase Q

It’s Monday morning!  Let’s get a move on!

Start your week with Fundanoodle’s award-winning Muscle Mover cards! Children can act out the movement from the cards to get the wiggles out, and then the fun continues by tracing the letter on the back of the dry erase card. Make sure to continue the blended learning by encourage the child to say the stroke movement out loud when they practice forming the letter.

We are going through the letters according to our I Can Write Uppercase! activity book and today’s letter is Uppercase Q!

Buzz around to the top

Hop Down to the middle

Zoom Out

Q_QuailBack

Whistle like a Quail!

Q_Quail