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4 Recipes for Celebrate National Potato Month with the Family

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Being an integral part of the food supply of many countries, a world without potatoes is unimaginable! This month, we have more reasons to take in our favorite vegetable and make wonderful recipes because September is National Potato Month!

To help you get started, here are some great potato recipes that you can make at home to celebrate National Potato Month with the entire family!

Chicken and Potato Pot Pie

Chicken and Potato Pot Pie is an excellent meal for when everyone’s already starving and you’re running short on time. It is a fast and easy comfort food for both kids and adults alike. The following are the ingredients you need.

  • 2 medium sized potatoes or 3 to 4 small potatoes
  • 1 can of cream chicken soup
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup frozen vegetable blend
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 package refrigerated pie dough

Directions: Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and the chicken breast should be cut into small cubes. Mix the potatoes, vegetable, chicken, soup and a soup can of water together in a 1-quart microwave-safe dish. Top the mixture with pie dough. Brush the dough with egg. Microwave for 20 minutes or until chicken and potatoes are completely cooked.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes don’t have to be boring. Just when you thought you have tried every possible variation, this recipe introduces you to mashed potatoes with a twist. The ingredients for the roasted garlic mashed potatoes include:

  • 5 pounds of russet or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 8 ounces of softened cream cheese
  • 1 and ½ sticks salted butter
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • Heavy cream
  • 3 to 5 heads roasted garlic
  • Salt and black pepper

Directions: Prepare your oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Cut the potatoes into cubes and boil it for about 30 minutes until tender. Drain and mash the potatoes for 5 minutes while allowing steam to escape. Then add the cream cheese, butter, cream, half-and-half, roasted garlic, salt and pepper. Mash and mix them together.  Once done, spread the potatoes into a large baking dish and leave a slice of butter at the top. Bake for about 30 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

Potato Salad Cha Cha Cha

Potato Salad Cha Cha Cha is going to be your next family’s favorite potato recipe. Why? Because aside from offering a good mix of flavors, this recipe is also healthy. So, without further ado, here are the ingredients and steps to make this dish.

  • 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 2 and ½ tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 and ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. bottled mild jalapeno sauce
  • 15 oz black beans
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 7 oz can vacuum packed kernel corn
  • 1 and ½ cup sliced green onions

Directions: Cook potatoes in 2 inches of boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, drain it and allow to cool. Meanwhile, whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add salt if desired.

Twice baked potatoes

Twice baked potatoes is a recipe that your family will surely love! It features an explosion of flavors including fresh green onion, crispy bacon bits and gooey cheddar on top of hollowed out potato halves. Check the list of ingredients below.

  • 8 baking potatoes
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 green onions

Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the potatoes with canola oil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for an hour or until they are well cooked. In a large mixing bowl, place slices of butter in and add the sour cream and bacon bits. Then, remove the potatoes from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Scrape out the insides and add them in your mixing bowl. Make sure not to tear the shell. Then, place the hollowed out potato halves on a baking sheet. Meanwhile, mash the potatoes into the mixture of butter, bacon and sour cream. Then add milk, cheese, seasoned salt, green onions and black pepper. Fill the hollowed out potatoes with this filling and top each potato with more cheese. Pop them into the oven for 15 minutes and they’re ready to eat!

Now that you have these exciting potato recipes, you’re on your way to having a blast this National Potato Month! So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get messy in the kitchen and enjoy a wonderful meal with the family!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Teach Kids About the Great Outdoors—National Great Outdoors Month

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June has been proclaimed as the Great Outdoors Month. This is a perfect time to share the glory of nature with your child!

There are plenty of reasons why you should pack your stuff and enjoy the Great Outdoors with your kids.  Here are just a few of them:

  1.       Manage Your Kid’s Excessive Use of Technology

There are so many distractions these days competing for your child’s attention.  Gadgets, video games, the Internet, you name it, they’re all out there. And you know, once your child gets their hands on any of it, they give it their undivided attention.

There’s nothing wrong with exposing your kids to technology.  But too much of anything can negatively impact your kid, physically, socially and emotionally.

What is alarming though, is how children spend so much less time outside the home and seldom interact with kids their age. (Sometimes, they don’t even talk to their own parents!)  Technology is creating a reclusive generation who’d rather spend time in front of a mobile phone or a computer monitor. Even recess has been reduced or eliminated at many schools, further reducing the time spent outside.

Want to prevent this gloom and doom horizon? You can, if you manage how your kids use technology. Giving them interesting alternatives such as exploring the Great Outdoors tops the list.

If you have limited time because of work, look into having your child attend a child care program.  There are child care centers that offer outdoor activities in their curriculum.

  1. national great outdoors month

    Explore the Grandness of Mother Nature

The US is well known for its majestic outdoors. Go explore some of it! Kids can learn a lot from actual, experiential discovery. Going camping, fishing, or just playing catch in a neighborhood park? Being outside gives you and your child the opportunity to be one with nature.

Imagine your child responding to a live butterfly flying above her head, instead of watching some video about insects on the web.  It’s amazing to see your child discover new things about nature. Better yet, you’re there to teach your kid about nature itself!

  1.       Bonding with Family & Friends

This June is the best month to bond with your child together with friends and other family members. During the National Great Outdoors celebration, there are plenty of fun activities you and your child can enjoy, such as:

  •         Boating
  •         Camping
  •         Family Fun
  •         Fishing
  •         Hiking
  •         Stewardship

Ask the director of the child care center your kid is attending if they offer any of these outdoor activities and how you and your kid can make the most of it.  Child care centers often align their activities with the Great Outdoors Month celebration, by including field trips to parks and other outdoor activities. And most centers need and appreciate volunteers to join them on these field trips, so ask how you can help!

Spending quality time with your kid this month while being out in nature is a wonderful and enriching experience.  Your child is guaranteed to enjoy endless opportunities for adventure, recreation, and renewal of family ties.

  1.       Health Benefits

There’s no denying taking long walks outside can result in long lasting and far reaching health benefits.  Nature offers an opportunity to explore and get active while strengthening our bonds with family.

The health benefits are not just limited to physical health.  Sure, climbing a steep hill or backpacking with your kid builds endurance and improves overall physical well-being. But there’s more to physical health when you enjoy the great outdoors, including:

Mental Health Balance

Spending time with your kids outdoors is also beneficial to your own mental health.  It’s a wonderful stress reliever especially if you work in an office all day. Hiking, biking, and climbing can help relieve you of the stress that you deal with on a regular basis.  

Social Bond Strengthening

People who love the great outdoors or any kind of outdoor activity usually do well at group work.  Outdoorsy folks improve their social skills over time and they do so while learning how to effectively work with others.

Imagine what it will be like for your kid.

Encouraging your kid to enjoy nature also gives them important skills, such as team building and problem-solving skills. These will be extremely valuable when she grows up.  

Increased Productivity

Believe it or not, people who spend more time outdoors are more productive in their job and personal life.  Kids who spend more time with friends playing in the park tend to show more IQ and EQ than those who spend more time tinkering with their gadgets.

They are more motivated to get involved in activities and they bring this “grit” to solve life’s riddles and challenges.

Healthy View of the Environment

By exploring the world, kids develop a deep appreciation of nature.  Teaching your child about nature opens their eyes to how important and interconnected the environment is.

Talk to your child about simple, but pressing, environmental issues of the day and teach her how she can make a big difference in her own small way.  Besides, big changes take place with small steps.

  1.       Contribute to the Local Economy by Boosting Local, Small Businesses

Last, but certainly not least, exploring the great outdoors with your kids can bring great value to local and small businesses in your area.  Every time you go out to enjoy nature, you contribute to your local economy’s coffers.

The Great Outdoors Month of June is a time for everyone to share what nature has to offer.  It helps heighten your child’s understanding of nature and their place in it. Plus it’s just a great place to relax in!

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Summer Camp Calendars

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You and your child won’t want to miss any of the action packed, energy filled and educationally amazing activities happening during The Apple Tree Learning Centers Summer Camp!

So click on the links below to see what is happening!

CLICK HERE for our JUNE Summer Camp Calendar

CLICK HERE for our JULY Summer Camp Calendar

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How Can Infant Care Lead to a Bright Future?

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Many parents wonder if preschool is actually a necessity. It’s a difficult process finding the right infant care center and the costs are far from cheap. According to Facts for Life, a child’s brain develops rapidly in his or her first five years. This is a period when they learn fundamental skills for life. These skills include motor, emotional, social, cognitive, and linguistic skills. In fact, a child’s brain grows to 90% of its adult size by the time the child is five years old. If that hasn’t convinced you, here are five reasons other to invest in infant care.

Reason #1: It Helps Your Child with Social and Emotional Development

tucson child care Apple Tree Learning Centers There is more freedom in infant care than a traditional school setting. As a result, children will be able learn the necessary social skills to interact and communicate with others. They will also learn how to express and manage their emotions which are essential skills they’ll need to succeed as adults. Many parents report that this helps with separation anxiety and improves communication. This sets the stage for a more positive parent-child relationship.

Reason #2: It Prepares Your Child for Kindergarten

Kindergarten becomes academic quickly.  That’s why it’s helpful to teach children pre-math and pre-literacy skills. You can see the difference in the performance of elementary school children that have received this education. To find a school that will will prepare your child for kindergarten, look for a Tucson preschool or Tucson child care center with great teachers and teaches art and sports for a well rounded education.

Reason #3: It Helps Your Child Develop Fundamental Motor Skills

The motor skills your child develops in an early age will give them a strong foundation. This foundation will help them excel in things like sports, dance, and other physical activities as they get older. There is a lot of cognitive learning happening when it comes to physical activity. The cognitive skills your child learns will benefit their formal education.

You will find that good Tucson infant care centers incorporate  structured physical activity into the curriculum. Many infant care centers understand the importance of physical activity in a child’s development. Some infant care centers have early level sports programs. These programs teach the fundamentals of sports. In addition, they teach skills like team work, sportsmanship, following rules and staying organized.

Reason #4: It Stimulates Your Child’s Creativity

tucson infant care Apple Tree Learning CentersMany infant care centers have programs that foster creativity in children. Most Tucson infant care centers will use activities like drawing and using building blocks as creative outlets. However, there are others that introduce a wide range of creative classes from music, painting to writing and acting. This will expand your child’s horizons and open up many channels for your child to express and create all kinds of art.

If you are looking for a Tucson infant care center that places an importance on developing creativity, do your research. Look for a center that has culture that cultivates creativity. For example, do the teachers encourage creativity?  A creative infant care culture will give space to allow for creativity without any restraints.  At the same time,  providing a structured education for learning art.

Reason #5: It Teaches Your Child Structure

Structure is an important part of academic success. Your child will learn how to stay organized, follow directions, and set schedules. These skills will prepare them for elementary school and beyond as it translates to every level of their schooling. Parents often find that their children become more manageable as they learn these skills.

What’s great about preschool education is that it doesn’t feel structured and emphasizes having fun. Under the right Tucson child care programs, you won’t have to worry about your kids getting bored or feeling frustrated in a strict setting. Look for signs that your child or other kids in an infant day care or preschool are not responding well to the curriculum. That can often show that the child care center may not be the right fit for your family.

If you’re looking for an outstanding infant care center, come visit The Apple Tree Learning Center. Our center has age appropriate curricula for infants, toddlers, and prekindergarten children. Because we have both before and after school programs, our center is a flexible and affordable infant care choice. Schedule a visit today and get in touch with us.

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Summer Camp Programs for Summer Fun!

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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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Learning Games for Kids

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Before classrooms, desks, notebooks, before writing even, there was play, games and sport. Parents have always intuitively understood that play and games are good ways for their children to learn about the world. Indeed, that was the way they learned a great number of things. And now science and modern theories of education are finally starting to catch up.  Learning games for kids are, more and more, seen as a legitimate way to teach a young child.

Even biologist and animal behaviorists have noted that nearly every mammal on the planet learns to sharpen their instincts for survival through play and games. Why should humans be any different?

We aren’t that different. We humans obviously have different priorities, though. Learning games for kids, toddlers and infants are divided into two main categories: intellectual and cognitive skill games and socialization games. Of course, there is some overlap, but it doesn’t erode the differences.

Learning Games for Kids: Cognitive and Intellectual

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Games and play are essential to early childhood education

Learning games for kids, including preschool age kids, which flex their cognitive and intellectual abilities are usually of the board game type or are the interactive computer game type. Games like puzzles, shape and image mapping games work out their spatial and memorization skills. Computerized math games can add a layer of fun and excitement to an otherwise bland subject. Most of these games are single player and teach the child to not only get the correct answer, but to see it through to a reward or goal. There are a number of great online games of this type that you can use at home to hone your child’s reading, math and spatial and memorixation abilities. Check out some of these great learning games for kids that can keep them occupied on a rainy day.

Learning Games for Kids: Socialization

Children learn a number of social skills in a supervised free play environment. Allowing them to use their creativity and imagination with other children teaches them to respect others and coordinate activities.

Structured games are also a great way to improve their social skills. Games such as the name game, in which one child is given a ball in a group of children and then asked to say the name of the other person before rolling the ball to them, teach children the importance of identifying others by name, a critical social skill. Games like Simon says and red light green light teach children impulse control and how to follow directions and rules during play.

Learning Games for Kids

The Apple Tree Learning Center Believes games are vital to learning.

Learning Games for Kids at The Apple Tree Learning Center

At Apple Tree Learning Center, we believe in the power of learning games for kids, free play and socialization activities to prepare your child for a future of learning, laughing and loving. Our preschool childcare programs incorporate games into the early childhood education curriculum. And our nurturing and experienced early childhood education staff are dedicated to fostering a lifelong love of learning in your child. The Apple Tree Learning Center also has an excellent set of extra curricular programs, including a dance, Spanish language and a music education program. Stop by and visit us or contact us online today! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Why Is Childcare So Important?

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Group activities help children in so many ways!

Researchers found that attending any pre-school, compared to none, predicted better results at GCSE overall, and higher grades in GCSE math and English, as well as the likelihood of achieving five or more GCSEs at grade A to C.

Further analysis carried out by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that children who attend pre-school will be $26,800 better off over their working lives, or around $36,000 for an average household. This was calculated to equate to a benefit to the Exchequer of $16,000 per household.

Other key findings are:

  • The quality of pre-school is particularly important for children whose parents had low qualifications.
  • The longer children spent in pre-school the higher their GCSE grades, with those who had spent two to three years in pre-school – whether part-time or full-time – achieving higher GCSE grades overall.
  • Boys, in particular, attending a medium or high-quality pre-school achieved ‘significantly higher’ grades in math GCSE, than those in lower-quality or not attending pre-school.
  • High quality pre-school is linked to better self-regulation, pro-social behavior and lower levels of hyperactivity.
  • Positive parenting and especially ‘a more stimulating home learning environment’, especially for young children, helps to promote better outcomes.
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Fun with putty play!

The Apple Tree Learning Centers, like other early learning programs, is important for children who receive little to no stimulation at-home. Furthermore, the researchers also suggest that in addition to early learning programs, children may benefit from programs designed to help parents boost at-home stimulation for their children.

Childcare was seen as a luxury and now it is a necessity. It is a necessity for both the child and the parents. Of course we know that childcare is the place where we drop off our children and we go to work, but it has become a key element of the physical growth and educational growth of the children.

The High Reach curriculum that The Apple Tree Learning Center provides, helps students learn to use rhythmic speech in movement multi-tasking exercises. This helps them develop fluency in speech and movement.

As students engage in the rhythmic movement exercises, they must listen and respond, on-time, to alphabet and number prompts. The use of rhythmic speech in High Reach curriculum exercises helps students hear the sequences of phonemes in words and requires them to elongate and over-enunciate consonant and vowel sounds.

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What to Teach Your Kids in Case They Get Lost

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The Apple Tree Learning Centers Bad HabitsAll parents have stories they rather not recall—a time when a child hid under a rack in a department store, wandered off at the beach, or just took off in an instant. If you can relate (and most parents can), then you know the indescribable panic of losing your child, even for a few seconds.

While a lost child can get hurt or, worse yet, abducted, the good news is missing children are most often found and reunited with their caregivers quickly and unharmed. Even with a safe return, getting lost can leave scary, indelible memories for both child and parent.

Most parents experience at some time that sickening moment when they realize that they have lost sight of their child when they are out and about. By taking a few precautionary measures, parents and caregivers can minimize the risks and have a plan for what to do next.

The Apple Tree Learning Centers wants to help you the parent, with some helpful tips which can eliminate a higher risk of your children getting lost.

  • Always impress upon youngsters the importance of staying with the group and not wandering off alone.
  • When you reach your destination, decide on a designated meeting point that children can find easily should they become detached from the rest of the party.
  • Write down your cell phone number and put it in the child’s pocket before you set out. Let the child know that it is there and that he/she should give it to an appropriate person if they get lost.
  • Advise children that if they need assistance they should only approach someone such as a security guard, police officer or someone who is clearly a member of the staff.
  • Always take careful note of what children are wearing before you set out, or better still, take a photo of them on your cell phone.
  • If you are going somewhere that is very crowded, try to ensure that children are wearing something bright that will help them stand out from the crowd.
  • If possible, provide older children with a cell phone and youngsters with a walkie-talkie so that you can communicate with them.