Category: Child Development Lessons

Celebrating Mister Rogers: The Man Behind the Neighborhood

I remember watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood on PBS when I was a child! I had no idea then that I would grow up and become a child development teacher, nor did I fully realize the influence and impact this man had on children’s programming, education and development! The following lesson is a tribute to this man and contains a variety of activities that can be used all together or completed individually depending on your time and classes. Even if you don’t use this lesson, I highly recommend watching the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” if you grew up with Mister Rogers like I did!

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Digital Version: Human Reproduction & Anatomy Breakaway

Always wanted to do a breakout but didn’t have the locks or boxes to do so?  Now, thanks to Sahvanna Mease and Mary Mullikin of Colorado, you can do just that using Google Forms!  How cool is that…less prep, less expense, but just as fun!  Even cooler, the same materials are used as in the original version of Human Reproduction & Anatomy Breakaway!  Thank you for the adaptations, ladies!

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Characteristics of Development: Station Activities

After teaching about P.I.E.S: The Areas of Development, I move directly into the characteristics of development because they tend to go hand in hand. This concept seems to be a bit more difficult for my students to wrap their brains around, so to help them better understand, I have  interactive stations set up throughout the room that they work through, completing activities that mirror each of the characteristics.  Students must utilize their notes to help discern between the answers. Students enjoy completing the activities and after discussing correct responses and showing the connections, most students have an easier time with the practice scenarios that follow.

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Kids in the Kitchen with Children’s Book Inspired Recipes: A Literary Feast!

It does my heart good to see young children helping out in the kitchen!  Back in the olden days, children learned to help out in the kitchen and even cook and bake at a fairly early age.  Today’s children, not so much! One thing that I have noticed about my incoming 7th graders is that their culinary skills are severely lacking!  Sadly, many students aren’t allowed in the kitchen to cook or experiment with food preparation, others simply can’t be bothered because “convenience” is easier and has become a way of life. Lastly, many may want to learn, but have no role models in their lives that can or will teach them as their parents and even grandparents just don’t cook!  This lesson combines literacy and food prep as students learn the importance and benefits of why young children should be in the kitchen, helping to prepare foods with their parents. It also shows them how creating fun recipes can be an extension of the very books the children love to read.  So, take literacy and food prep to a whole new level and show students how they can enjoy a literary feast!

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Caring for Children: Symbolism Stations

With the start of school right around the corner, I bet you’re looking for an interactive first day activity to use that is super low prep and easy to use in your child development class! This is a great activity, if you’ve often got a revolving door of students coming and going as schedules get adjusted, because you’re not getting into important nitty-gritty content and notes yet!  It’s just a moving activity where students have to independently think outside the box, team up with other students for small discussions, collaborate on an brief oral presentation and complete a quick exit slip based on the activity/presentation….easy peasy!  Did I mention that it’s super easy to prep?  All you need to do is print off the pictures and the answer strips and you are set to go!  If you like it and plan to use it with several classes, you may want to laminate the pictures for durability.

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Family Dinner Matters

One tradition that my family practiced as I was growing up was eating family dinner together regularly! I have wonderful memories of that dinner table; the fun and laughter as well as difficult conversations that ensued between my sisters and parents. This important tradition continued while raising our own children!  How my husband and I will miss this daily routine as we rapidly approach the empty nest stage of our lives. Below you will find a lesson that promotes eating together as a family and the benefits along with a variety of engaging activities and projects that can be implemented in the FACS classroom. Hopefully, students will carry this concept to their home life so it  becomes a recurring practice and a potential tradition with both their present and future families!

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Importance of Motor Skills

There seems to be a lot of concerns about motor skill development or the lack thereof when it comes to children being school ready.  Normally, I teach about motor skills and the difference between fine or small and gross or large to my students.  This year I took it a step farther and had my students explore the connection to academic success and motor skills.  Below, you will find the lesson and activities that I used with my students to open their eyes to the importance of motor skill development in relation to a child’s academic success.

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Young Children & Screens

Several months ago a Texas FACS teacher, sent me a message suggesting that I create a lesson on this topic. I loved the idea and immediately had ideas swirling in my head.  However, before sharing, I  wanted to try it out with my own child development students to make sure everything went as I envisioned. Thankfully, The lesson and activities went according to plan and students had a lot to say about this topic and some great discussions ensued!  If you have suggestions for future lesson and/or activities, send me a message and I’ll take a look!

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Age Appropriate Toys– Activity

What child doesn’t like playing with toys?  When my children were young, they received a lot of toys from family and friends.  Some of those toys were appropriate and safe for their age and abilities and others were too advanced and were put back for a later time.  To some people, toys are toys and safety, age and ability play no part in their selection.  I like to provide my students with an overview of the types of toys recommended for each age and stage of a child’s early years.  After discussing some criteria to keep in mind, the best way to evaluate or analyze a toy for age appropriateness is to actually play with them. So, the toy stations go up and the big kids “play” and utilize their resources to help them determine the toy’s age/stage and justify their answer.  This is always a fun activity as students see and explore new toys they’ve never had or played with, along with reminiscing about those they did play with, as youngsters!   No toys?  No worries as I’ve included an alternate activity to accomplish the same thing!

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DAP: Developmentally Appropriate Practice

If you teach child development or a related course where students are learning about or developing materials for young children, you are most likely teaching about developmentally appropriate practice.  We all know as educators that children and activities are not all created equal!  This lesson introduces students to this concept with an interactive introductory activity and then continues with student exploration of the concept and what it entails.  Students also explore what can happen when developmentally appropriate practices are ignored.  Finally students participate in a variety of activity stations to determine if DAP or not!

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