The holiday season is upon us, and so we’re thinking about the things that families can do together to inspire creativity. Whether preparing hand-made gifts for loved ones or participating in family holiday traditions, young children can express their creativity in different ways that encourage the signature trademarks of a creative mind—adaptability, independent thinking and imagination.
Creativity is a trait that we usually associate with children. However, researchers have found that environment plays an important role in influencing creativity, and early experiences can greatly encourage—or discourage—a child’s creative thinking. A young child who has been given ample time to draw, make crafts, explore their environment and engage in fantasy play often shows greater creativity in the school years. Parents can support their children’s creative thinking from infancy by encouraging babies to explore their environments and offering safe items for play that can be used in different ways.
With that in mind, this week we thought it would be fun to give you a run-down of creative ideas that parents and caregivers can undertake with their little ones—from babies to toddlers! By offering positive reinforcement that encourages their children’s imaginations, parents and caregivers can help their children develop flexible thinking that will boost their early learning.
- If you’ve run out of wrapping paper, this neat little DIY recipe is fun for both kids and adults. Great for young toddlers who may REALLY enjoy driving their toy trucks over non-toxic paint and paper.
- Three seasonal recipes that will help foster creativity in toddlers!
- And 50 creative play ideas for any time of the year can be found here!
- From baby dance parties to learning math with play dough, the ideas in this blog post should get your creative juices flowing.
- Finally, remember Silly Putty? You can recruit your little one to make your own version here. Then, copy newspaper print or roll it up into a ball and bounce it around (*not recommended for children who put toys or other items in their mouths).
As the holidays draw near, we’re asking you to share your favorite holiday traditions and moments involving quality time with the kids in your life, whether it’s reading books together, singing holiday songs, or simply spending quiet family time.
Starting Monday, December 22, use #SmallTraditions on Facebook or Twitter to share your most treasured moments. Don’t forget a photo! We will share our favorites, too.
At White House Early Learning Summit, Partners Commit to Reaching Millions of Hispanic Families with Information, Tools and Resources to Promote Early Brain Development, Strengthen Early Literacy and Early Numeracy, and Reinforce the Benefits of Bilingualism
WASHINGTON, DC— Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America, announced a new commitment in partnership with Too Small to Fail, a joint effort of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, to help Hispanic parents and caregivers boost early brain development and improve early learning among Hispanic children from birth to age five. The commitment, unveiled in conjunction with today’s White House Early Learning Summit, builds on “Pequeños y Valiosos” (Young and Valuable), the joint campaign launched by Univision and Too Small to Fail in February 2014 that has since reached millions of Hispanic families with messages, tools and resources.
Univision and Too Small to Fail will deepen and strengthen “Pequeños y Valiosos” in 2015 by:
- Introducing new programming that integrates messages about early numeracy, the science behind early brain development and the benefits of bilingualism;
- Expanding reach to be more inclusive of fathers, grandparents and other caregivers with more than 200 million media impressions reinforcing the importance of talking, reading and singing to young children and highlighting the benefits of bilingualism;
- Providing no fewer than 100,000 Hispanic families with materials, tools, and resources on early literacy, early brain development and early numeracy, through digital content, a new interactive text messaging platform, mobile apps, and dozens of Univision-sponsored community events across the country;
- Developing and implementing new tools to empower Hispanic parents to better navigate relationships with childcare providers and assess the quality of childcare centers; and,
- Increasing the number of Hispanic families who have pledged to spend at least 15 minutes every day talking, reading or singing to their young children to over 35,000 families – representing at least 3.5 million hours pledged to these activities in 2015.
The expansion efforts will be greatly enhanced by a new collaboration between “Pequeños y Valiosos” and Vroom, an early learning initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation, to integrate Vroom’s positive brain-building messages, parent tools and technology into “Pequeños y Valiosos” in 2015. Vroom and “Pequeños y Valiosos” will empower families with actionable information about the science of early childhood; provide timely prompts to encourage brain-building interactions between parents and children; and deliver tools to help parents develop early numeracy skills in toddlers, as well as tips about how to incorporate more talking, reading, and singing to their children into their daily lives.
Throughout 2015, “Pequeños y Valiosos” will continue to provide Hispanic parents and caregivers with the latest news and information about early brain development and early learning, through regular news features produced by Univision News, special programming and public service announcements produced by the award-winning Univision Contigo community empowerment team, as well as free online resources for parents from Univision and a range of community partners at www.univision.com/educacion.
“Pequeños y Valiosos” is part of Univision Contigo, Univision’s community empowerment platform that delivers programs to support the U.S. Hispanic community in the areas of education, health, prosperity and civic participation. The Heising-Simons Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation provided financial resources to support the production of the “Pequeños y Valiosos” campaign in 2014.
This is the second time this year that Too Small to Fail has worked with the White House and early childhood community leaders to support early learning and help close the “word gap” — or, the disparity in words that children living in lower-income families hear and learn compared to those in higher-income families. In October, Too Small to Fail joined the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Urban Institute, U.S. Department of Education, and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to highlight the ways that communities across the country are tackling this serious but solvable challenge.
Talking is Teaching in Tulsa
In March 2014, Too Small to Fail announced its first local campaign in Tulsa, Oklahoma, titled “Talking is Teaching”. The campaign was developed in partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, as well as several other community organizations, businesses and individuals that are dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in the local Tulsa community and elsewhere.
This November, our partners rolled out the campaign with the help of hundreds of faith-based leaders, pediatricians, business owners, nurses, and medical facility administrators. These trusted messengers will educate parents about early brain development, and share why talking, reading and singing with children every day from birth is important to their learning and well-being. They will also distribute thousands of materials like books and clothing designed to increase communication between parents and their young children.
During the next few weeks, we will highlight some of these trusted messengers’ efforts on our Facebook page and on our website. Voices like that of Dr. Amy Emerson, a dedicated pediatrician who is also a champion of early literacy programs like Reach Out and Read. In our Q&A with her, Dr. Emerson explains that the best way that parents and caregivers can promote and support early literacy and language development is by integrating it into a daily routine.
There is much to be done in Tulsa and in other communities across the United States to ensure that all children can experience healthy, balanced lives and are prepared to enter school. But we know that with the help of dedicated community leaders—and the efforts of parents and caregivers—more children can meet their potential and succeed in the 21st century.
Dr. Amy Emerson describes how pediatricians are prescribing reading books to children to improve brain development and benefit children’s well-being. >>
Using Every Day Moments to Inspire Early Math Skills
Early math, like early literacy, helps build a foundation for later learning that prepares children for success in school and beyond. Many studies have shown that children who are exposed to math early in life do better in school and apply the math skills they learn to other learning. In fact, it appears that math—more than any other subject area—is a better predictor of future academic success.
The great news is that parents and caregivers can inspire a love of math in their young children using everyday moments. And it doesn’t require flash cards or rote memorization. Math is all around us, and parents and caregivers can use simple tools and activities to share with children important math concepts like shapes, sizes, number order and counting.
Even very young babies get basic math concepts like quantity and space, and are interested in understanding the math around them. Professor Deborah Stipek of Stanford University explains that young children learn best during playful, everyday activities, like counting toes at bath time or buttons on a shirt. At meal times, a parent or caregiver can point out shapes in their baby’s food or in the kitchen. Reading books and singing songs that have basic counting or rhyming patterns also help familiarize children with basic math skills.
Older toddlers enjoy learning math from fun activities like shape hunting or counting games. Once they learn basic skills like counting to ten, children enjoy being asked to find a set number of safe items around the house that match a certain number or shape.
And it is never to early—or late!—to get started. Parents and caregivers can help build math confidence and skill whatever the age of the child.
Resources for Sharing:
- Build early math skills with these simple math activities!
- Dozens of ideas from PBS on how to engage babies and toddlers in math activities.
- Information and ideas about how to build early math confidence, from ZERO TO THREE.
- Univision and Vroom announce a special collaboration with Too Small to Fail to improve early math, literacy and brain development among Hispanic kids from birth.
Early math experts explain why it’s important to help children discover a love of math in this sweet, original Too Small to Fail video. >>