Activities to do at home with Children - Wild.Kind. Compassionate Playschool

It can be challenging to entertain children all day, so we’ve put together an ideas list of activities to do at home.

Children operate well with structure and routine. With changes to a usual routine under current circumstances, we recommend creating a timetable at home to minimise disruption to daily life as much as possible. A daily routine, incorporating 4-5 main activities, can be displayed visually on a wall. Consider including allocations for arts and crafts, creative play, reading, learning and quiet time.

Activities to do at home with children

Reading/Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a brilliant way for children to get immersed in a story, while giving you some much needed free time to do something else.

We love Story Nory, which offers free audio downloads of classic fairy tales, world fairy tales, fables, 1001 Nights, and more.

The International Children’s Digital Library offers online books and audiobooks in different languages.

More recommendations can be found in our top picks.

Educational
Yoga – Cosmic Kids offers yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specially for kids aged 3+.

Language learning – DinoLingo offers language lessons, books, games, stories, songs, downloadable worksheets and flashcards to encourage children to learn a language.

Audiobooks – please see above in the Reading section

Physical/Creative activities
Garden treasure hunt – how many things can be collected from the garden? Use a raisin box or empty plant pot to gather up ‘treasures’ outside

Dance shows – encourage children to put together a dance routine to their favourite song (implement ‘practice time’ to provide you with some free time before the ‘show’)

Role play and dress up

Sports in the garden, for example a potato and spoon race

Building a house from a cardboard box

Painting or making animals from stones – for example a tortoise using a large rounded stone, four smaller for legs and a slightly larger for the head!

Arts & Crafts
Make play dough (try our easy, no-cook recipe)

Painting and drawing

Create a puzzle – draw a pattern of jigsaw pieces on a piece of paper. After your child has drawn a picture on the other side, cut out the pieces together

Make a mask – there are lots of animal templates here

Write or draw a story – encourage children to write, or draw, a story to read or tell you at bedtime

Potato stamps – slice the bottom off a potato and carve shapes. These can be dipped in watercolour before stamping on to card

Leaf painting – collect leaves in the garden and paint them before carefully pressing onto paper to create beautiful natural art

Cooking
Baking or cooking with children is a great way to keep children entertained. Give them the responsibility of choosing a recipe or ask them to help with preparing a meal as an inclusive way to cook and eat together.

Quiet time
Quiet time benefits you as well as your child. Every day, set aside time for ‘quiet play’. This can be as simple choosing an activity together that allows your child to do something they enjoy doing on their own such as reading their favourite book or playing with a favourite toy.

This can be challenging for younger children, so positioning it as a treat for them to have time just to themselves is important. It may take some getting used to at first but is certainly worth the effort all round! Finishing ‘quiet time’ with spending ten minutes together afterwards to talk about what you both did can also be very effective. The skill of learning to play without relying on a parent’s constant company also teaches children independence.

We hope you enjoy our suggestions of activities to do at home with children. We’ll be posting more ideas soon, please keep an eye out or feel free to contact us with your own suggestions for us to share with the Wild.Kind. community.

 

Audiobooks for children - Wild.Kind. Compassionate Playschool

Audiobooks are a brilliant way for children to get immersed in a story, while giving you some much needed free time to do something else.

Here’s our list of top picks to get going with!

Audiobooks for children: our top picks:

We love Story Nory, which offers free audio downloads of classic fairy tales, world fairy tales, fables, 1001 Nights, and more.

The International Children’s Digital Library offers online books and audiobooks in different languages.

Best long tales and stories for kids includes ten long stories:
* The Beauty and the Beast;
* Cinderella;
* Donkeyskin;
* The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods;
* The Story of the Youth who went forth to learn what Fear was;
* The Nightingale;
* The Ugly Duckling;
* Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves;
* Sinbad The Sailor;
* The Jellyfish and the Monkey(ancient Japanese tale).

The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favorites by Dr. Seuss, narrated by Kelsey Grammer, John Cleese, John Lithgow, Billy Crystal, and more.

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, narrated by Peter Dennis

Frog and Toad Audio Collection by Arnold Lobel, narrated by Arnold Lobel

If you’re looking for more ways to entertain children at home, visit our blog post on activities to do at home with children.

Play dough recipe - Wild.Kind. Compassionate Playschool

When you’re looking for ways to keep children away from being drawn to screen entertainment, open the kitchen cupboard and try this easy play dough recipe.

Throughout their early years, children use all their five senses to discover the world around them, so it’s important to encourage their development with creative activities. Play dough provides the perfect opportunity for children to actively use their senses whilst playing, offering benefits such as fine motor development and early cognitive learning.

Our no-cook play dough recipe is so simple to make and children can be part of the process, too.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 cups salt
1 cup warm water
2tbsp vegetable oil
Food colouring (optional, but definitely recommended to make it more fun!)

Method
Add the flour, salt and oil to a bowl and mix well with a fork, adding in most of the water. If it’s a little dry, add some extra water – and if a little wet, add extra flour. Once combined, you can knead it with your hands until a soft dough forms.

The dough is ready to use – or can be coloured by dividing it into sections then adding food colouring (5-10 drops) to a bowl and kneading it in. This part can get messy so have a sink of warm soapy water ready for cleaning hands after! Washable paint can be added as an alternative.

To keep it from drying out, the play dough can be stored in bags or containers in the fridge for up to four weeks. If you’d like to preserve what you’ve made, the dough can be baked.

If you’re looking for some activities with play dough, this website has some great ideas (activities are listed roughly in order from easier to more challenging, for your convenience).

Have fun!

If you’re looking for more ways to entertain children at home, visit our blog post on activities to do at home with children.

Most parents can probably relate to the nervous feeling of leaving their precious newborn with another person for the first time. Understandably, there’s a huge amount of trust involved for the parent to feel secure that their baby is being looked after by someone who will keep them completely and utterly safe. This need for complete trust in caregivers is, of course, sought throughout a child’s life and incredibly important in any setting, including a playschool.

Caregiving is also so much more than just babysitting. It’s about communication, mentoring, role modelling, training, experience, strategy and qualifications. Caregivers play an enormous role in a child’s general happiness, emotional and physical wellbeing, and development. That’s why we are incredibly vigilant with our recruitment process to ensure only the very best people are employed at Wild.Kind. Compassionate Playschool.

We’re proud of our team of exceptional caregivers and their roles in keeping children safe, as well as positively encouraging them to be the best versions of themselves. One of the main ways your child will learn about social interactions is by example, and we therefore believe in being the best role models we can for them. Children are not just learning what we teach them, but are also watching everything we do.

We believe that fulfilled child is one that finds something he/she loves to do, is generous, empathetic and compassionate, committed to respect the world and its inhabitants, shows creativity, grit and the ability to collaborate and can take constructive criticism. To help aid their development, we instill a number of strategies, which include:

– Sharing and promoting kind interaction with each other, with nature and all other inhabitants of this earth, whether two-, four- or even multi-legged
– Encouraging children to develop inquisitively and courageously through life, all in harmony with nature and the diversity it has to offer
– Encouraging children to follow their interests, because we believe that fulfilled child is one that finds something he/she loves to do
– Leading by example with respect, care and compassion for ourselves and each other.

Our caregivers are passionate about their work and honour their roles as positive influencers on children, helping them to develop into who they are and eventually becoming active participants in our communities.

To find out more, please visit the Our Team page.

Teaching children personal hygiene - Wild.Kind. Compassionate Playschool

It’s important for us to encourage teaching children about personal hygiene.

Hand washing is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to prevent illnesses and stop germs from spreading.

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that frequent (and thorough) hand washing with soap and water can reduce the number of illnesses and infections in children under five years old by at least 50 percent.

Teaching children about personal hygiene is, therefore, crucial and our duty as a parent or carer.

Here are a few ways to help encourage your child to wash their hands:

  • Make it fun by singing a song. 20 seconds – the time recommended by scientists to eliminate up to 99% of germs – can seem like an eternity for a child. Make it more fun by singing two rounds of a song, like Happy Birthday.
  • Teach by example – wash yours too! Children are visual and kinetic learners – they learn best by seeing and doing.
  • Create a routine and ensure hey know when they should be washing their hands – for example, after going to the toilet, before eating, and after playing with pets
  • Help them understand why it’s important by explaining that germs can make them sick – it can be made fun (there are plenty of story books on this topic) and doesn’t need to be a horror story that gives them nightmares
  • Create a hand washing chart that they can tick off throughout the day to see visual results of their efforts.

We acknowledge there is a lot more fear and anxiety floating around the world at the moment, and are doing everything we can to help you feel supported and safe during this time. You can contact us if you have any concerns.

Free Play: the benefits

The importance of Free Play has been well researched, and it plays a crucial role in child development. But why?

Healthy brain development is reliant on Free Play, because by using their creativity, children develop imagination, agility, cognitive and physical abilities. Those skills, in turn, support children in their academic learning.

Many studies, including the following excerpt from a paper published by NCBI, back these research findings:

“In play, children learn to navigate their physical and social environment, while also imagining and constructing new realities. They practice solving problems, testing out how to love, what is wise, and what is safe. One study found that, neurologically, play can stimulate the “fight or flight” response without triggering cortisol (the stress chemical usually accompanying fight or flight) — a useful way to practice handling danger.”

Free Play can be described as “unstructured, child-initiated activity that allows children to develop their imagination while exploring and experiencing the world around them. It is the spontaneous play that comes naturally from children’s natural curiosity, love of discovery, and enthusiasm”.

Examples of free play include dressing up, creating stories with toys, drawing and painting, making a den, role playing, creating new games, building Lego – and anything else that derives from a child’s imagination.

How does Free Play benefit child development?

  • Encourages creativity
  • Develops decision-making and problem solving skills
  • Fosters independence by teaching children to think for, and entertain, themselves
  • Develops motor planning skills, helping the child to create and carry out ideas and activities
  • Develops collaborative social skills, teamwork, compassion and kindness
  • Provides an opportunities for children to discover their interests and skills

It’s a well-known fact that children are highly motivated to play! As they’re growing up, it’s important to provide a caring environment that allows children to explore academic and social concepts freely.
Almost all cognitive and physical learning and development comes through play, and the more access given to Free Play, the more a child’s way of playing will grow in complexity.

So, how do we apply this at Wild.Kind.? The importance of Free Play is key to our structure. We ensure that children have lots of time to move, explore, use their motor skills and interact through Free Play. We believe that by having the freedom to do these things, children will have richer experiences in their childhood. And if they are happy beings, they will better be ready for school and all the exciting challenges that come with growing up. Find out more in our philosophy.

“The ultimate end of education is not a perfection in the accomplishments of the school, but fitness for life; not the acquirement of habits of blind obedience, and of prescribed diligence, but a preparation for independent action.”
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Nutrition: the early years

Nutrition: Early Childhood Years – the way children eat fundamentally shapes their overall future development, health, growth and learning achievements.

In the first five years of life, your child’s brain develops more and faster than at any other time in their life, and during the first six years of their lives the brain is twice as active than that of an adult’s.

As caregivers, it’s our responsibility to be good role models and help children to develop healthy eating habits early on in their lives. 60% of nutrition is used by the brain during the first year of life, and 30% by age three. Let that sink in. That’s huge! This is why what children eat is so crucial and why early learning exposure to nutritious food plays an essential role in fostering mental development.

Alongside genes and the environment, nutrition is one of the three biggest factors that impact a child’s development. Research studies show that nutrition in a child’s early years is linked to their health and academic performance in later years.

That’s the main finding of a new study from two University of Pennsylvania researchers: Jianghong Liu, an associate professor in Penn’s School of Nursing and Perelman School of Medicine, and Adrian Raine, the Richard Perry University Professor of Criminology, Psychiatry and Psychology. They published their results in the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition.

This information is further backed by many worldwide studies, including an in-depth paper cited on The National Centre for Biotechnology Information, which states:
“The pre-school years (i.e., 1–5 years of age) is a time of rapid and dramatic postnatal brain development, i.e., neural plasticity, and of fundamental acquisition of cognitive development i.e., working memory, attention and inhibitory control. Also, it is a time of transition from a direct maternal mediation/selection of diet-based nutrition to food selection that is more based on self-selection and self-gratification.

During this time, children’s spoken vocabulary increases significantly; they gain greater motor coordination, and they are able to engage in tasks for slightly longer periods. Additionally, this age period is characterised by a time of transition from direct maternal control of infant nutrition to indirect maternal control in which infants do not procure their own nutrition, but they begin to assert increasing autonomy regarding what they eat. The toddler and preschool years are generally considered to be the most difficult phase of life to study because toddler performance is influenced by factors that are outside of experimental control such as emotional state, motivation, persistence, and comprehension of instructions.”

Providing nutritional choices and encouraging healthy eating habits is crucial to ensure development in a number of ways for your child, including:

  • Emotional and social – to mature and form relationships with others.
  • Cognitive – to make connections, develop language skills and gain short and long-term memory
  • Physical – including height and weight.

Nutrition: Early Childhood Years
With all this in mind, at Wild.Kind., we attach importance to seasonal, regional and organic ingredients to provide a biologically valuable vegetarian diet for all the children. 
Good things from nature taste great and make us feel great! For more information please contact us.

Sustainability Education: Creating a Better Future for our Planet

Sustainability Education: We believe that it’s vital to teach children from a young age about their environment and the impact they have on creating a better future for our planet.

“Within the last decade, there has been growing recognition of the importance of Environmental Education for young children. Because of the importance of early childhood education in laying a sound intellectual, psychological, emotional, social, and physical foundation for development and lifelong learning, Environmental Education for young children is described as having enormous potential in fostering values, attitudes, skills, and behaviours that support sustainable development”. {Ref – MDPI}

According to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index, Switzerland is ranked number one in the world for its achievements in sustainability and environmental conservation”. It’s important that we, as a community, continue these great efforts to keep our country as sustainable as possible.

Sustainability education can be fun, engaging and empowering for children. It nurtures their knowledge, skills, values and motivates action, also allowing them to take responsibility for their own actions and contribute to a sustainable future. It also encourages connection with each other and the environment that they live in, increasing awareness of their footprint on earth and setting a foundation for an environmentally responsible attitude into adulthood.

Some of the ways we encourage sustainability at Wild.Kind:

  • Discussing and practicing recycling
  • Spending time in nature every day
  • Herb growing projects
  • Serving vegetarian meals of mainly organic, seasonal and regional origin
  • Talking about, and practicing, conserving water and energy
  • Encouraging sharing and giving away toys, clothes and other items that the
  • children no longer use – participating in charity projects for children
  • Providing only vegan and animal cruelty-free hygiene products
  • Using non-prefabricated and natural play materials
  • The materials we use are recycled, ‘up-cycled’ or from sustainable sources

We continually add ways to teach children about being more sustainable, and creating a better future for our planet. For further information, visit our Philosophy page.

Our reference quote is from MDPI. A pioneer in scholarly open access publishing, MDPI has supported academic communities since 1996. Based in Basel, Switzerland, MDPI has the mission to foster open scientific exchange in all forms, across all disciplines. 217 diverse, peer-reviewed, open access journals are supported by over 35,500 academic editors.

There are many reasons why teaching compassion is important for childhood development.

Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy for another who is affected by misfortune or suffering, coupled with a powerful desire to alleviate that pain.

Teaching children compassion is a vital part of their childhood learning journey – and a skill that will help them throughout their life.

Through learning the importance of compassion, children will learn how to be kind to themselves, others and help those in need. As part of a broader skill set, compassion will help them think creatively in situations, make decisions that inspire their personal journey, and pursue life with purpose.

Helping children understand what others are feeling, the impact of their own actions and the reasons behind why someone might feel a certain way is a valuable life skill for children because it:

  • Encourages kindness, patience, acceptance and tolerance of the self and others
  • Cultivates a better understanding of others
  • Builds stronger relationships with other children
  • Promotes social harmony and, as a result, lowers risks of bully-ish behaviour.

How do we help children develop compassion at Wild.Kind?

First and foremost, we provide an environment that encourages care and compassion for ourselves and each other. We also share and promote the passion for kind interaction with each other, with nature and all other inhabitants of this earth, whether two-, four- or even multi-legged.

We also take the time to:

  • Encourage children to talk about their feelings, which helps them understand themselves as well as others
  • Be open with children about how they’re feeling and why, to help them express their emotions through language
  • Encourage care for animals and plants to help children understand their important role in helping other living things survive, thrive and be happy
  • Teach children why negativity towards others can cause negative outcomes, which helps them learn about taking the perspective of somebody else and how to empathise
  • Deepen their understanding of how to care for the environment by encouraging their involvement in the playschool’s paper and plastics recycling program.

We truly believe these are just a few of the reasons why teaching compassion is important for childhood development. You can find out more about the Wild.Kind. philosophy on this page.