Neetu has committed much of her professional career to serving others, and sharing her compassionate, loving nature to improve the lives of those around her. She has 10 years experience teaching in India before receiving her Early Childhood Education from Humber College. She has also worked as a personal support worker for the elderly. Now, she extends her compassionate nature to helping the families and children of Creating Together.
In a blog we posted last April about the importance of traditions, we pointed out that around the world, traditions and rituals in family life are linked to increased happiness, emotional well-being, and a greater sense of identity in children. Whether it’s Sunday dinners, birthdays, or family game night, having routines that you do as a “family” is important on many levels.
The Autumn Equinox September 22nd also marks the first day of fall! This makes for the perfect time to honour the turn of another season with your child. If you’re interested in sparking a love of autumn through some family fun, here are a few ideas:
1. Learn some fun facts about the Equinox
The word equinox is derived from Latin, meaning “equal night.” On each equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are said to be equal. The equinoxes are considered a day of balance because day and night are approximately the same lengths. One equinox happens in March (Spring Equinox), and the other in the fall (Autumn Equinox). Here are some fun activities to do with your child, to help them understand the meaning of the fall equinox: https://www.kidzworld.com/article/2526-autumn-equinox
2. Create a seasonal rhythm for the home
Use this time to create a seasonal rhythm in your home – this will help you get things done and create balance in the home. Children thrive on routines. Some are daily, some are weekly, and they can also be seasonal. Equinoxes are a great time for getting rid of clutter, letting go of those unused toys and giving away the outgrown cloths. Once those things are let go of, a seasonal bucket list is great way to get everybody involved in what they’d like to do the coming season.
3. Have a fall scavenger hunt
4. Create a fall nature table
Nature tables give children the opportunity to play with objects found in nature, helping them notice the little changes that happen when a season shifts, and connect with the natural world. They also create a sensory experience for the child, and can be used for pretend or imaginative play. Consider what the season represents for your family’s culture, values, beliefs, celebrations. Then, go around your home with that in mind and you’d be surprised what you can find (rocks, leaves, sticks, acorns, pine cones, seasonal art and crafts, silks and candles in the season, fall books for kids, etc)! Put these together, and voila!
*Of course, include only objects that are safe for your child to handle. Keep small and breakable objects off the table until you think your child is mature enough to handle them.
5. Go on a family nature walk in High Park
This is a great opportunity for young ones who need to get out, and are no longer using a stroller (but you can carry babies in a carrier of course). “Grandparents, parents, teens, children and babies alike will love this chance to discover the natural wonders in High Park’s incredible savannahs, woodlands and wetlands. Walks are led by our amazing nature interpreters, as well as the High Park Rangers and the High Park Eagles Youth.”
Toronto is filled with some incredible places to take the kids. Whether you go with some friends and family or hop in a bus for a trip coordinated by your community, after every adventure, the little ones return home more engaged and curious about how the world works. Here are a few benefits of field trips which we have found on the trips we experienced with our community this summer. Each trip most certainly left a positive, lasting impact the children (and their caregivers and parents as well!).
1. Learning about their community
Field trips give children the experience of learning about their community or their city in a way that they remember. Consider what kinds of trips you can make in your community, to increase their awareness of what’s going on around them, or even give them an opportunity to contribute. Some examples in Parkdale include the fire station, hospital, local businesses, and homes for the elderly. Each month for instance, the children of Creating Together go to a local home for the elderly for Circle Time. Here are some pictures of our visit to the Fire Station this summer!
2. An Introduction to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts
A destination like the Science Center can be more obvious for this, but you can even introduce STEM concepts at something like miniature golf. For example, get them to count their strokes, talk about the angle or force needed to get the ball in the hole. Many destinations these days also incorporate engaging technology applications designed especially for children to enhance their STEM skills. This picture here was taken at the Science Center’s “Kidspark”.
3. Interactive, Hands-on Learning
Children learn in a more hands-on and interactive way when they are out on trips. The Royal Ontario Museum, for example, has displays that the kids can touch to help them understand the material that is being covered. The High Park Nature Center and Toronto Botanical Gardens give kids an up-close experience of animal and plant life.
5. Better Connection with How the World Works
In this world of online information, one can get everything they need through the web. However, visiting a petting zoo to learn about animals, or a farm to learn about vegetables, kids get a clearer idea about how the animals live, and how plants vegetables grow.
6. Sparking New Passions
On field trips, kids learn about the world outside of the one they know, including different jobs, ideas and opportunities. It can spark the desire in a child to try new things, pursue a new dreams, and follow a new interest.
7. Improving Team Spirit / Belonging
When a group of children go out together from one destination to experience another outside of their own community, it gives them a chance to socialize while also promoting team spirit and group identity. It’s a great way to create memories to last a lifetime!
We were all in wonderful company and the weather was on our side, at this year’s annual Summer Picnic at Fuller Park.
An old African proverb comes to mind: “it takes a village to raise a child“.
Certainly, when so many families and caregivers come together from different backgrounds to interact with the children of Parkdale, it creates an amazing experience for these children, of safety, happiness, and community.
There was a wonderful turnout, as family and friends of Creating Together gathered from all over Parkdale for an afternoon of feasting, games, face painting and splash pad fun!
It was the perfect way to celebrate an eventful summer, and the incredible community that Creating Together has created for all of us.
Thank you everybody for coming out and
making this such a wonderful day!
There’s something super fun about paint splatting, and this outdoor activity courtesy of “Buggy and Buddy” gives an added dimension…Tape!
- Some white paper (e.g., thick watercolour paper)
- Paint brushes
- Paints in various colours (e.g., BioColor, Tempera)
- Blue/Green painter’s tape
- Place pieces of painter’s tape all over our blank paper. Your child may be able to tear their own tape and use the pieces to make a pattern.
- Prepare paint in plastic cups and added a brush to each.
- Set up your materials outside so the kids can feel free to create without worrying about making a mess. Tape them to a log or weigh the corners down with rocks. Set up the paint cups of paint nearby.
- Offer a demonstration in splatting and have the kids take it from there!
- Allow the art to dry
- Bring the artwork inside, remove the tape, and reveal your designs!