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11 Remarkable Ways Playing Outdoors Benefits your Children

| Admin

Playing outdoors has been the main activity for children around the world, throughout most of human history. Only recently, with the advent of cheap technology and electronics, that kids have been inclined to stay indoors and ignore the natural pull of the outdoors. Denying that natural impulse has undeniable consequences to children. Even society and the health of the planet as a whole is affected. Here are just 11 remarkable benefits of playing outdoors.

1. Fresh air.

health benefits of playing outdoors The Apple Tree Learning Centers The air outside can be considerably better for your child’s developing lungs and body than the air inside of a house. Indoor air can not only be stale recycled air, but it can be full of allergens, impurities, and dust.

Unless you live in a densely populated metropolitan with poor air quality, going outside to play with your kids has great health benefits.

 

2. Being outside encourages activity.

Going outside is itself energizing and invigorating. Being in the sunlight stimulates a gland in our brain to secrete hormones that keep our rhythm in tune.

Going outside not only encourages kids to run around, get exercise, and be active and healthy, but it also helps their bodies know when its time to go to sleep. Encouraging restful sleep  causes proper development and a healthy immune system.

3. Increases immunity.

One of the health benefits of playing outdoors and touching the earth, trees, and bits of nature means that your child is exposed to more bacteria and viruses than they are indoors. This is not a bad thing. Consistent and gentle exposure in this way is natural.

Their body is being introduced and primed to recognize harmful pathogens. This can prevent severe illnesses later on down the road and make for a healthier child.

4. Being outside is inspiring.

The natural world is full of wonder. Revealing this world to your kids will provide them with an endless source of inspiration.  This will become a part of who they are. Being able to turn to nature for inspiration and serenity is one of the greatest gifts that a parent can pass on.  Kids will always remember that they have this, and be grateful for it.

A sense of outdoor inspiration is subtle.  Outdoor play is also linked to other areas of learning and development.

5. Creativity is sparked outside.

Tucson infant care The Apple Tree Learning Centers When kids go outside, they see a wide world full of possibilities and curiosities. There are so many things to grab their attention.  Their senses are tickled by lots of different stimuli.  This in turn affects their brain by inspiring creativity. The world is their oyster, when they are outside. Kids are free to create anything they want, as the environment becomes free reign. The porch can become a pirate ship, or a running hose can become a waterfall.

Letting your kid express their creativity outside is flexing your child’s brain.  They will grow into better, more creative adults because of it.

6. Science takes place outside.

Just as creativity is spurred outside, so is scientific curiosity. Kids see how the world works, in person. This is stimulating to their curiosity. If they see something, they will want to figure out how it works. With you by their side, they might learn more than they would in a classroom. This is the very basis of the scientific process. They can observe and interact with wild animals and learn to care for them and the environment as a whole. They can see how weather and seasons affect the natural world, and the rhythm of the planet.

It is crucial for a child to understand and care for their planet.  Without going outdoors, this part of them will never develop. A side effect of less outdoor play is the decline of environmentalists in society.

7. Playing outside is calming.

Kids are full of energy, to an excess. Releasing that energy outside during playtime helps them burn some of that excess energy. Kids get exercise and become healthier and become calmer and easier to manage for their parents and caretakers.

The outdoors is a place where even the most energetic and inattentive child will find the endless stimuli that they crave. Encouraging them to spend their energy on outdoor activities is a great way to funnel that energy.  These activities will build a strong foundation for a healthy adulthood.

8. Better vision

There are scientific studies that show that exposure to natural sunlight enhances a child’s ability for distance vision.   It can also lower their chances for nearsightedness. Sunlight stimulates portions of the human brain in ways that are crucial to development.

Exposure to sunlight also promotes a healthy circadian rhythm.   This rhythm is important to a healthy sleep cycle.

9. Better physical coordination.

It has been proven that playing outside greatly benefits kids who are still developing their coordination. Playing outside and in a natural environment exposes them to uneven and unstable surfaces.  This requires proper balance, agility, depth perception, and dexterity. Tucson infant care centers that let kids that play outside grow into kids with better coordination.

Without introduction to natural surfaces, a child may not develop a good sense of balance and may later suffer from poor coordination and vertigo.

10. Better grades and classroom performance.

There is evidence that shows a strong connection between outdoor activities and good performance in school. Studies show that kids who spend time outside do better in all academic subjects.  It also increases critical thinking skills.

Schools that incorporate outdoor activities in their curriculum show a drastic increase in learning outcomes. One study shows that engagement in hands-on outdoor science programs increased student understanding of science by 27 percent.

11. A sense of stewardship.

The Apple Tree Learning Centers

Summer means more time outside! Yea!

By introducing your child to the outdoors, they will learn to love it and care for it. Take it a step further, and teach them the names of the plants and animals that live around them.

The natural world is full of wonder.  It sparks endless wells of curiosity. It can be a place where children can fully engage themselves, body and mind. Tucson infant care centers with outdoor play have shown an increase in kids who love nature.

Passing on knowledge of the natural world introduces the next generation to a sense of stewardship for our planet. Our planet needs more protection every day. Playing outdoors on a regular basis can make your child into a better human being. What a great benefit that can be!

Look for a Tucson child care center that incorporates outdoor time. Your child and family will benefit in many ways. If you are starting early, look for a Tucson preschool that has caretakers trained to incorporate the outdoors into care and play. You will notice the immediate benefits, as well as throughout your child’s life and development. There are so many benefits to playing outside, go ahead and get started now!

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Fun Summer Games for Kids

| Admin

Spring is here and summer is on the way! Soon, you and your child will be out of school and enjoying the beautiful weather and shaking off the chill of winter. But as the novelty wears out, the long summer days can bring complaints of boredom. You know the refrain, “Mom/dad, I am bored.” It’s an annual seasonal complaint that you are by now very familiar with. To help bust up the boredom, we have put together a little list of fun summer games for kids that you can use this summer. These fun summer games for kids are sure to get them laughing and smiling!

Liquid Limbo

fun summer games for kids

Shake off the winter chill with these fun summer games.

Add a summer splash to this classic party game with liquid limbo.  Use the stream from a water hose as the stick for a high-stakes game of limbo. If someone hits the water jet, the one holding the hose gets to spray them until their soaked!

Backyard Bath

If you have little ones, toddlers, a great way to introduce them to summer activities is to take a relatively familiar activity, bath time, and turn it into a fun summer experience. Fill a kiddie pool with water, bath toys, and bubbles and turn a chore into a delight.

Ball Blast

Exercise your child’s hand eye coordination with this fun race against the clock. Use ropes to create a circle or square on your lawn. Place balls of varying sizes and weights inside. Give your child a hose and challenge her to push the balls out with the water in less than a minute.

Balloon Babies

A summer game for kids that tests patience and care. Fill up a water balloon and draw a face on it with a dark marker. Wrap it in a paper towel, then hand your kid (4 and up) his new “baby.” See how long he can take care of it before it breaks. If there is more than one child, make it a friendly game of competition and see who can keep their balloon longest. (Note, this game has been known to last several days.)

Squirt Gun Tag

This clever twist on a classic summer game for kids is pretty self-explanatory: Have everyone get in bathing suits and play tag. Whoever is “It” gets the water gun and tries to tag the other players with a cold blast of water.

Sponge Bucket

This is a great game and a challenge of perseverance and patience. Give each of your kids two buckets—one filled with water and one empty—and a sponge. Instruct them to transfer the water from one bucket to the other using only the sponge. Whoever does it the fastest gets first choice of ice-cream or popsicles. Solo kids can also play by racing against the clock.

Summer Games for Kids at The Apple Tree Learning Center

The Apple Tree Learning Center Loves Summer Fun! We offer a special summer program where kids of all ages can come to laugh, love and learn. At summer camp, kids get to enjoy the outdoors and fun summer games. Come check out our summer camp program and contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Summer Camp Programs for Summer Fun!

| Admin

Summer is coming up fast. Soon your child or children will be out of school and ready to soak in the warm summer weather and all the awesome activities it brings. However, experience may remind you that after a few weeks of summer fun the “I am bored” complaints begin. Good news! Summer camp programs can keep them busy and give you a break.

On top of the boredom that can accompany the long, sweltering days, is your need of good childcare for your little ones while you are at work. Child care summer camp programs can solve both of these issues. Summer camp for your child can give you a break from 24 hour care and gives your child fun and exciting things to do. Let’s take a look at some of the great benefits of summer camp!

Say Goodbye to Boredom  with Summer Camp Programs! 

Summer camp Programs

Summer is a time to learn outdoors!

As the novelty of the summer weather wears off and kids get bored, they can often become fixed to their computer and video games and end up spending a good portion of the summer indoors. For us who spent a lot of our summer vacation outdoors exploring, playing and having fun, seeing our children stuck to the screen for hours on end makes us worry that they are missing out on being a kid! Summer camp and other summer programs offer your children fun and engaging activities that will get their body moving, mind thinking and curiosity piqued, and it allows them to be a kid again!

Hands on Learning in Nature

Summer camp and summer programs are a great way to teach kids that not all learning happens in the stuffy classroom. While at summer camp, kids will soon discover that real learning can mean dirty hands, wet clothes and exploring nature. Summer camp can teach your child outdoor skills and will allow them to experience mother nature’s classroom to the fullest.

Unstructured Playtime

Along with structured activities to get a child’s mind thinking and curious, summer is the time for free, unstructured play and exploration. Summer camp allows kids to relax away from the classroom and explore their interests. Summer camp will give your child the ability to explore their inventiveness in play, problem solving and learning.

Social Skills

summer camp

Banish the boredom with summer camp!

Summer camp not only brings kids to nature and great activities. It also brings kids to each other. Summer camp activities are designed around group learning and problem solving. They learn to cooperate with other children, share resources and participate in group learning that prepares them for both the classroom and the real world.

Independence

Summer camp gives kids the opportunity to make choices and decisions as individuals away from their parents. Whether it is a day camp or overnight camp, the time at summer camp is spent learning to be themselves.

Summer Camp Programs at The Apple Tree Learning Centers 

If your children are bored during the summer, they sure won’t be here! The summer programs at The Apple Tree Learning Center are sure to keep them busy having a good time. Let us help you discover that you have what it takes to be a kid with character! Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility… these are the important skills and values you will practice and learn through fun activities, service learning projects and team building activities during summer camp! Come check out our summer program and contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you!

 

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4 Easy to Make Musical Instruments for Kids

| Admin

The Apple Tree Learning Centers knows the benefits of introducing music into a child lives as early as possible. Some of the benefits are:

• It will boost their brain power
• It will improve their memory
• It helps them socially
• It’s a confidence builder
• It teaches patience
• It’s constant learning
• It’s a great form of expression
• It teaches discipline
• It fosters creativity

We know that children love music as much as they enjoy making things here at The Apple Tree Learning Centers. We think we the best course of action is to join these two creative forces and make one or all of these fun and easy musical instruments to encourage play and creativity!

tambourineTAMBOURINE

  • 2 paper plates
  • stapler or glue
  • hole punch
  • string
  • jingle bells
  • crayons

Staple or glue two paper plates together, facing each other. Using a hole punch, make holes around the plates and tie jingle bells to the holes with string. Decorate the tambourine with crayons. Shake to play.
Note: Heavy duty paper plates may be more durable for this craft.
Safety note: If using a stapler, an adult should do this. When finished be sure to cover the staples with scotch tape.

drumsDRUM

  • empty oatmeal box with cover
  • yarn
  • pen
  • 2 pencils
  • 2 spools
  • construction paper
  • crayons

Before beginning, you can decorate the oatmeal box with construction paper and/or crayons for a colorful effect. Place the cover on the box. Use a pen to make a hole in the center of the cover and in the center of the bottom of the box. Through these holes, pull a piece of yarn long enough to hang around child’s neck and down to their waist. For the drumsticks, place the spools at the ends of the pencils, secure with glue if necessary.

xylophoneXYLOPHONE

  • tall glasses or jars
  • water
  • mixing spoon

Fill the glasses or jars with different amounts of water. The more water in the glass, the lower the pitch will be. Having less water in the glass or jar will raise the pitch. To play, gently strike the glasses with a mixing spoon.
Note: This instrument should probably be played by older children in “the band” because of the use of glass.

guitarGUITAR

  • empty shoe box
  • rubber bands
  • ruler or stick

Remove the cover from the box. Stretch the rubber bands around the box. Attach the ruler or stick to the back of the box on one end to act as the arm of the guitar. To play, strum or pluck the rubber bands.

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Homemade Play Dough

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The Apple Tree Learning Centers

Squishy squashy fun!

What kid does not love play dough? The Apple Tree Learning Centers has not found one child who does not like play dough! Squishy, cool, bright, and so fun to play with.

Even better, it helps develop fine motor skills and imagination Instead of going out and buying commercial Play Doh, try making it at home!

Its super easy, inexpensive, and a perfect project for the kids to help with. We love making our own play dough here at The Apple Tree Learning Centers, and after trying a handful of different recipes we finally found a winner.

This play dough comes out in beautiful, soft shades, smells delicious, and feels the closest to store bought Play Doh of all the recipes we’ve tried.

You will need:

  • white flour – 1 cup
  • warm water – 1 cup
  • salt – 2 tbsp
  • cream of tartar – 2 tbsp
  • cooking oil – 2 tbsp
  • Jell-O – 1 3oz pack

Even though it makes for a longer process and a lot more clean up, our teachers at The Apple Tree Learning Centers have found that the little ones have a great time doing the measuring and mixing! They learn so much from helping in the kitchen, and it’s really fun for them. Keep mixing until most of the lumps are gone.

Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until it thickens into a ball of dough. This step does take a little while. Just keep stirring, you’ll know it’s ready when you won’t be able to stir anymore.
Once it has finished cooking, place the dough onto a silpat matt or floured cutting board and wait for it to cool.

Once it is cool (at least 20-30 minutes) let the little ones knead it, adding in flour until it is no longer sticky (about 1/2 cups). At this point, you can add in extra food coloring to make the colors more vibrant, or even add glitter.
This recipe makes a lot of play dough. You could easily cut the recipe, and there would still be plenty to play with.

Now let their little imaginations run wild. The children at The Apple Tree Learning Centers will literally spend hours playing with their play dough if they could. We love seeing what games they come up with, and what tools they pick out to use with it. We don’t have special play dough tools, we let them rummage through the center and use whatever plastic container or other child safe object we find. Ms. Tammie our center Co Director always brings in a variety of coffee creamer lids because they are perfect for pre writing skills.

When you are finished playing, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep for at least a few weeks in the refrigerator, with daily use. If at any time it starts to be a little sticky, just add more flour.

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Get Your Irish on for Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations!

| Admin

shamrock by slfGet Your Irish on for Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations with us here at The Apple Tree Learning Centers!

Even if you aren’t of Irish heritage this is a wonderful day to celebrate and learn about the culture. The Apple Tree Learning Centers teaches children the various cultures to help them understand the importance of cultural diversity. For families St. Patrick’s Day offers a wide range of different options that can easily be adapted for kids of all ages from toddlers through to teens.

Of course, green is an essential element of this day, so designing a family T-shirt that is green in color and features different St. Patrick’s Day symbols such as shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold or even those magical rainbows is a fun activity before the event. The Apple Tree Learning Centers will be using various symbols to help the children identify these symbols as part of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Learning about the Irish symbols and learning their meaning is a great activity for children that they can share with the rest of the family.

A Treasure Hunt

Kids of all ages love to look for treasure, so why save this activity just for Easter? Moms and Dads can hide gold wrapped chocolate coins around the house and yard and let the children go searching for treasure.

If chocolate isn’t a good option for your family consider buying gold gift wrap or foil and individually wrapping healthy snacks for the kids to find. You can also buy some plastic coins and spray paint them gold for a real treasure hunt.

Gold coins can then be traded in for special prizes that are, or course, located in Mom’s and Dad’s lucky pot of treasures. You can include coupons for Mom and Dad to do special activities for the kids such as cook a favorite meal together or have Mom or Dad clean the kid’s rooms for a day.

Make an Irish Meal

Food is always a great way to celebrate a culture and there are a lot of iconic foods associated with the Irish culture. You may want to prepare a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage or put together a hearty beef or lamb and vegetable stew matched with Irish soda bread.

Colcannon, a vegetable casserole that features potatoes, cabbage, parsnips and leeks is a wonderful side dish or perfect for a vegetarian main course. Finish off the meal with the classic Irish apple cake that is not too sweet and you have the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

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Marana Pumpkin Patch 2014

| Admin

The children at The Apple Tree Learning Centers had a blast at our first pumpkin patch field trip. Our preschoolers enjoyed the “Jumping Pillows” as well as train rides at the event. The children were having fun while being in a safe environment.

The smiles crossed from side to side! To cool down and simmer down a little, they enjoyed kettle corn popcorn and yummy snow cones. We are glad to have done this trip and give joy to your children.

Some of them mentioned that they have already carved faces on their pumpkin at home. Definitely looking forward to doing this next year!

Smiles, Juan and Carmina Mariscal

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Free Play or Soccer Practice?

| Admin

The Apple Tree Learning CentersThere has been plenty of hand-wringing in recent years about the “overscheduled child.” With after-school hours increasingly dominated by piano lessons, soccer practice, and countless other planned activities, many of us have a nagging sense that kids are missing out on something important if they have no time for unstructured play.

The Apple Tree Learning Centers found new research from Germany that suggests these fears are justified. It finds people who recall having plenty of free time during childhood enjoy high levels of social success as adults.

A team of three psychologists from the University of Hildesheim, led by Werner Greve, conducted a survey of 134 people. Participants were presented with a list of seven statements and reported the degree to which they conformed with their own childhood experiences (that is, ages 3 to 10).

Our teachers are aware that free play allows children to develop the flexibility needed to adapt to changing circumstances and environments—an ability that comes in very handy when life becomes unpredictable as an adult.
The statements included, “Looking back, I tried many things and experimented a lot by myself”; “From time to time, I set out on my own or with friends to discover the neighborhood”; and “My parents always were in fear that something could happen to me, so they did not let me do many things by myself.”

They also expressed their level of agreement or disagreement with 10 statements designed to measure “social success.” These included “Friends come to me for advice”; and “If something goes wrong, I have friends by my side that support me.”

Additional tests measured their ability to be flexible in light of life’s setbacks, and their overall level of self-esteem. The researchers found a significant positive correlation between ample time for free play during childhood and adult social success. Free time as kids was also linked with high self-esteem and the flexibility to adjust one’s goals. Free play, they argue, allows children to develop the flexibility needed to adapt to changing circumstances and environments—an ability that comes in very handy when life becomes unpredictable as an adult.

The Apple Tree Learning Centers works with their High Reach Curriculum. The curriculum allows teachers to have a structured and step-by step lesson plan, but the free time is a daily activity that never has a set schedule, and the children love it!