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Friday, February 24, 2017

Pat-a-Cake by Trisha Roberts

Pat-a-Cake is a simple chant that has delighted young children for decades. It is one of the earliest surviving English nursery rhymes, with versions starting in the late 1600’s and early 1700.

 “Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Baker’s man, bake up cakes as fast as you can.  Roll ‘em and pat ‘em, mark ‘em with a ‘B’, throw ‘em in the oven for the baby and me!”

Pat-a-Cake is a simple game, requiring just the use of two hands, but teaches some fundamental skills.

Core strength improves when playing Pat a CakeSitting control is improved by playing Pat a Cake Children 6 months of age are learning to sit alone.  They first sit propped forward, supporting themselves by bracing their hands on the floor or their own thighs.  As they gain trunk strength and control, they are able to lift their hands and engage in play—holding a toy, banging blocks, or clapping their hands. This is an excellent time to introduce Pat-a-Cake.  It encourages a baby to free their hands and develop core control--strength and stability at the trunk. 

Pat a Cake can improve a baby's eye-hand coordination

Pat-a-Cake improves eye-hand coordination as your baby learns to coordinate the engagement of both hands to make a clapping sound.

Hand control improves with Pat a Cake and other early baby games

Pat-a-Cake leads to the start of memory recall. As care providers routinely sing the song and perform the motions, baby learns to associate the song with the actions. Before long, the adult will sing the opening words and baby will begin clapping their hands, as they now understand that those words mean it is time to play the clapping game!  This is an early demonstration of receptive language—the ability to understand and interpret the meaning of words.  It is also a major milestone of symbolic understanding that is needed for later exploration, language, and pretend play.  

Early Social Emotional Skills develop when playing Pat a Cake Games

Pat-a-Cake develops Social-Emotional Skills and interaction between the two players. Sitting face to face and laughing together builds emotional bonds. Your baby learns to read facial expressions and engages in joint or shared attention which leads to the ability to learn language and direct the attention of another.

Joint or Shared attention is improved playing Pat a Cake

     Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Dance Night by Trisha Roberts

Children learn to move to music at an early age

Our bodies were designed for movement.  We love music and rhythm—put on a lively song and watch everyone in the room.  Soon you will see feet tapping, fingers drumming to the beat, heads bobbing in time to the music. 

Dancing is a great way to get exercise, improve coordination, improve imitation skills, boost confidence, improve balance, and a great form of self-expression.  People who dance usually have a good self-image and handle themselves confidently in a group of people.  They tend to lead rather than follow.

Family Dancing Together

Girl and Dad Dancing A fun, entertaining, educational thing to institute for all families is a “Dance Night”.  Make it a consistent date—every Friday night, let’s say.  Maybe combine it with Pizza Night. Make it something everyone looks forward to.  Push the furniture to the sides of the Family Room, put on the music and encourage everyone to dance.  Try a "themed" night-- feature Big Band Music from the 1940’s, Country Western, Hip Hop, Latin American Salsa, a 1950’s Sock Hop, or show case music from famous movies or musicals.  The possibilities are endless.  Dance individually.  Dance as partners.  Do a Line Dance.  Learn a Square Dance.  Let each family member teach a new dance step—make them up if you don’t know one.  When children are older let them invite a friend or 2 over for dinner and the Dance Night. Have a friendly "Family Dance Off" competition.

Dancing Princess
Your house will soon be the center of your child’s social world (and you will know who your child’s friends are and exactly what they are doing on a Friday night!)  You will be known as the “Cool Parents”.

Dancing Boy  Children have no self-consciousness about dancing to music (or singing out loud, or pretend play or a host of other things!) until someone makes fun of them or belittles them. Don’t ever laugh at a child’s attempts to dance!

Encourage them, imitate their moves, cheer their creativity, make it fun!

Babies Love to Dance

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Writing and Playing on a Vertical Surface by Trisha Roberts

Writing on a chalk board, painting on an easel, playing with shaving cream on a bathroom wall, or manipulating  magnets on the refrigerator are all examples of playing at a vertical surface. Working in this position provides many benefits to your child.

Postural Control and Core Strength are improved, as children need to use their trunk muscles to maintain their equilibrium and to free their hands for play. This position encourages weight shifting from one foot to another and can help improve balance and stability for children with low muscle tone.

Increased Stability of the Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist because children can make larger movements on a bigger surface like an easel or whiteboard, thus strengthening the arms and improving flexibility. The wrist is in a position of extension which helps secure a crayon, pencil or paint brush with better control. This can lead to improved handwriting and better use of scissors in the classroom.



 I love using a Paint With Water Books for my young children.  It can be taped to a wall, refrigerator, or any other vertical surface.  I can encourage a squat-to-stand strengthening activity by placing a small cup of water on the floor for wetting the paintbrush, or I can place the cup of water to one side or slightly higher than the child's chest to encourage and strengthen reaching skills, crossing mid-line and challenging a child's balance. It is a fabulous, fun activity with very little mess, as the paint is impregnated into the paper and is activated by the water.


Visual Attention can improve, as children have a better view or aspect of what they are doing and can adjust the distance between themselves and their work, as needed. This can also lead to better eye-hand coordination.

Increased Opportunities to Cross Mid-line occur as children stretch and maneuver to reach all  the work space with their dominant hand.

Arms are Strengthened while painting

Improved Proprioceptive Awareness.  The internal sense that our joints give to our brain to tell us where we are in space is active in standing. Working in a standing position can help children develop a better sense of their body and how to make better-controlled movements.

Increased Attention to Task.  Working in a standing position can be helpful to some children who find it difficult to sit still.  They can move around and get increased sensory input to their bodies, which can help them focus better.

Chalkboard activities

Enhanced Understanding of Spacial Awareness, or the ability to understand directions like left and right, up and down, diagonal.  Children can relate the terms to their own body. 

Make a Maze on a Whiteboard

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Winter Picnic! by Trisha Roberts

Everyone loves a picnic, but who says that it can only occur in the summer!  Why not perk up the bleary days with a Winter Picnic?! Invite the neighbors or other friends.  Lay a large table cloth or blanket on the living room floor, set up a beach umbrella, or bring some folder chairs inside. Let the children draw pictures of the sun or a summer activity to hang around the room.

Plan a Menu:  

Enlist the help of your children to plan a healthy menu and enjoy making and assembling special treats together. Finger foods are great and easy to serve. Use a cookie cutter to make fun-shaped sandwiches. Slice fruit into small pieces.  Make hard boiled eggs into exciting shapes with our Star Wars Boiled Egg Shapers . Stuff celery with peanut butter or a soft cheese and cut into bite-sized pieces.  How about skewering mini sausage links or cut-up hot dogs alternating with cubes of cheese?  Be creative!

Egg Shaper Fun

Fun Peanut Butter Celery BitesKids Sandwiches in Shapes made from cookie cutters

Plan an Activity or Game:

Animal”:  Sit in a large circle and let each person choose an animal name.  Make sure that everyone knows their name and the name of each player.  Take a cardboard roll from wrapping paper or make a long roll from newspaper and masking tape. Choose a person to be “IT”.  IT will stand in the middle of the circle with the paper tube and approach a person.  Before IT can tap the person, they need to say the name of one of the animals.  IT will then rush over to tap that person.  If IT taps a person before they can say the name of one of the other players, that person then becomes IT.  This is a great game to build memory, laughs, and energize your kids!

Empty wrapping paper tube--use to play games

Herd the Cattle”: Let the children crumble sheets of paper into balls—this is a great exercise for building hand strength!  Place 10 or more balls on a line on one end of the room.  Let children take turns “herding” the cows to the other side of the room by kicking them.  Time each child to see who is the best cattle rustler!  Make it fun by having the kicker “moo” each time he kicks a “cow” forward.

Herd the "Cattle"--Crumpled Paper Balls

"Build Your Own Birdhouse":  Why not get a jump start on Spring by building your own birdhouse?!  Your children will have double the fun--building the house and enjoying the birds that will come!

Birdhouse to build

"Snow Globe":  There are great ideas on Pinterest and other sites for making Snow Globes out of plastic plates!  Enjoy a fun snow activity while staying warm and dry!

Snow Globe Project for Children

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.