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2019年10月16日
COLUMN

5 Fall Activities that Help Develop your Child’s Sensitivity

The Fall is a great season to enjoy the outdoors with your child. Fall is the perfect season to enhance your child’s sensitivity. While at the park or on a walk around the neighborhood, your child can stop to explore the fallen leaves and acorns around him/her. This experience with nature is an important part of children’s development. In addition to your regular outdoor play, try exploring the nature of the Fall season with your child as well.

5 Fall Activities that Help Develop your Child’s Sensitivity

Playing outside during the Fall gives children the chance to develop their sensitivity

In the Fall, children can find signs of nature all around them. The changing leaves, acorns in a variety of sizes, the fruit of various trees and even the sounds of singing worms. Exploring outdoors with their 5 senses will enable them to see colors they don’t see on a screen and hear sounds they don’t hear in videos first hand.

In this article, we will introduce 5 fun Fall Activities to enjoy with your little one.

Fall Treasure Hunt

Go on a small Fall treasure hunt with your child and bring along a magnifying glass and picture book.
How are the color of the leaves changing? How are acorns connected to the trees? What happens when silver grass sways in the wind? How do clouds move in the Fall sky? Help your child observe the nature around them while remembering what happened during the Summer. Children will become more interested in the nature around them when their parent gets involved. Try listening to the sound bugs make with your child. Parents can ask their child what sounds they hear.

Fall themed Bingo Game

With older children, parents can create a Fall themed bingo game. Parents should draw 9 or 16 boxes on a piece of paper. In each box, they should write a color, shape or sound and have their child look for them in the outdoors. Children should be encouraged to fill in as many boxes as they can and try to get BINGO. Parents can also prepare a map and have their child record where they found each item.

Playing with Dried Leaves

Have children gather all sizes of fallen leaves and leave them out to dry. Then put the dried leaves in paper bags. Try changing the amount of leaves in each bag. When children shake each bag they will discover that the sound changes depending on the number of leaves in each bag.

Making a Tower with Acorns

Children can challenge each other by trying to make the highest tower of acorns without allowing them to fall. It is easier to pile up acorns that have been dried out. Encourage your child to think about how he/she can best pile up the acorns to make a high tower.
It is fun to take turns making towers and see who can make the highest tower.

Creating a Fall Wreath

For children who like crafts, creating a wreath of dried leaves and acorns is a fun activity to try. Parents can cut out a circle out of cardboard and have their children decorate it with fallen leaves, acorns and other items from nature.

We introduced 5 fun activities to try during the Fall season but there are many other fun things to do during this season. Parents should take advantage of the beautiful weather outside to expand their child’s imagination and learn about the natural environment around them. Attending classes where children can explore nature with children their own age is also effective.

5 Fall Activities that Help Develop your Child’s Sensitivity
2019年10月11日
COLUMN

Why parents should encourage their child(ren) to like reading and how to do it 

Although adults are aware that reading has many benefits, in recent years we have seen an increase in the number of young people who do not read. In many families, parents read books to their child before bed. However, what can parents do to encourage their child to read on their own? In this article, we will go over the benefits of reading and what parents can do to promote reading at home.

Why parents should encourage their child(ren) to like reading and how to do it 

The Benefits of Reading for Children

Through reading, children not only gain knowledge but they also improve their concentration skills, vocabulary, memory skills and grammar. Reading also stimulates the brain and helps relieve stress from daily life and is helpful in maintaining a stable mental state. However, one of the most beneficial aspects of reading is that books expose children to a variety of topics and help broaden their interests.

When Do Many Children Stray Away from Reading?

Children become more independent when they enter the 3rd grade. This is also the time when the amount of homework they receive increases and they become busier with after school activities. As a result, many children stray away from reading at this time. The % of children who read 5 days per week decreases to 35% in Grade 3 compared to 57% in Grade 2. As they become more busy children tend to limit reading so they have time for other activities.

How Parents Can Encourage a Habit of Reading

Provide an environment where books are easily reached

First, parents should make sure books are left in a place that is easy for children to reach. It is best to have a choice of about 100 books that are meant for your child’s age and fits their interests. However, it is important that parents do not tell their child which book to read but instead let them choose the book that interests them at that time. This will encourage your child to like reading.

Continue reading to your child

Many parents stop reading to their children once they can read on their own. However, there is a difference between the number of words that children can read on their own and the number of words they can understand when being read to. Also, many children may enjoy listening to books more than reading books on their own. Reading together is a great way to communicate with each other so parents should continue to read with their children whenever possible.

Utilize the time between other activities

As children get older, they have less time to spend on reading. However, it is important for them to make use of the time between activities to read, even if it is only 2-3 minutes. This can be before dinner, before their after-school activities, in the train and before they go to bed.

Parents should act as a role model

Parents should remember that they are their child’s role model and it is important that their child sees them reading. Parents should enjoy reading as well and find ways to make time in their busy schedules to read. Reading magazines and newspapers instead of books is fine as well. It is also effective to share articles you found interesting with your child.

Read the same book as your child

It is fun to read the same book and share your thoughts about it. Asking your child questions about the book will not only improve your relationship with him/her but also help you confirm his/her mental growth.

Do children who like to read have high academic skills?

Children with good grades are said to continue to read when they are adults and receive good salaries. People often think that the time available for reading decreases when study time increases. However, children who like to read tend to finish their homework more quickly so they have time to read. Reading is an important tool for improving one’s knowledge. Let’s try to encourage our children to get in the habit of reading from a young age.

Why parents should encourage their child(ren) to like reading and how to do it 
2019年10月4日
COLUMN

5 Popular Children’s Games from Canada

Children’s games in Canada (which has different weather and environment) are different than the games kids play in Japan. Japanese animation and toys are popular as well, but in this article, we will introduce some popular games only in Canada.

5 Popular Children’s Games from Canada

The Play Environment in Canada

In Canada, children under the age of 12 are not permitted to play without grown-up supervision. As a result, you will not see children playing outside by themselves. Also, given the beautiful natural environment of the country, you will often see families playing outdoors on the weekends and holidays.
During Summer Vacation (which is usually from the end of June for 2 months), many children go to summer camp. Some children participate in more than one short-term summer camp.
In Canada, many schools have mixed age classes and different cultures, toys and study materials are combined. Teachers are open-minded with children and children have many opportunities to talk with the teacher. In Canada, children are free to explore nature and different cultures while being protected by adults.

5 Games that are Popular with Children in Canada

Splat

A group of children form a circle and one child is in the middle of the circle. The child in the middle, shoots the other children with a water gun while saying “Splat”. Children who are shot with the water gun crouch. Children who are unable to crouch are out of the game. The children next to the child that crouches both say “Splat” and the first one to say the word wins. The child that loses takes a turn in the middle of the circle.
This game is popular because it can be played in any park, even those without play equipment.

Canadian Football

Canadian Football is similar to American Football but some of the rules are different. The maximum number of players in the field for American Football is 11 and for Canadian Football is 12 people. There is a professional league for Canadian Football and it is the 2nd most popular sport in Canada after Basketball.

Ice Hockey

The Canadian Winter lasts from November to March. During this period, children cannot play in the park so they instead enjoy skiing and skating. Most housing complexes have an outdoor ice-skating rink and they are often full of children.
Ice Hockey is the National Sport of Canada and the sport is very popular among boys. In Canada, when people hear the word hockey, they think of ice hockey.

Skating

Ice Hockey is popular among boys and figure skating is popular among girls. During the cold winters, most children enjoy skating in the public rinks.

Bouldering

In Canada, due to the long winter season, there are many indoor bouldering and trampoline facilities. Families enjoy using these facilities from when their children are a very young age.

How was it? In Canada, families enjoy playing outside in the park and going camping. The variety of nationalities and cultures make Canada an exciting place to live and visit. It is important for children to be exposed to nature and various cultures from a young age. In Japan, attending classes and international school will give your child the opportunity to interact with nature and people of various cultures and backgrounds. This will support their development and prepare them for the future.

5 Popular Children’s Games from Canada
2019年9月26日
COLUMN

5 Easy Educational Activities to Try with Your Child at Home

There are many educational toys and lessons. However, there are also many kinds of play activities that you can do at home as a family which promote learning and communication.

In this article, we will introduce 5 activities that do not require special props and can be easily done at home. Please take them into consideration the next time you are looking for activities to do at home as a family.

5 Easy Educational Activities to Try with Your Child at Home

Pretend cooking with clay
Most children enjoy pretending to cook with clay. You can try making fruits, vegetables and even bread. Then pretend to cut them up and cook them.
Depending on your child’s age, you can also prepare play knives, pots and pans to make the activity more realistic.

If parents start by explaining the recipe (steps) and ask their child to follow your instructions, your child will gain memory skills and learn how to listen and follow directions Also when pretending to cook for a group of people your child will be able to learn about numbers and counting when dividing the food among the people involved.

Creating “amidakuji” (ladder lottery)
Creating “amidakuji” (ladder lottery) is a traditional Japanese activity that is said to support the development of logical thinking.
It is an easy activity to learn. Simply write an “amidakuji” on a piece of paper then from the spot you choose determine which line you should draw to reach the goal.
Parents should add random lines and allow their child to decide which additional line is needed to win.
You can play with the same “amidakuji” more than once. All you need to play this game is a paper and pencil.

Sewing with felt
Sewing with a needle and thread requires children to use their fine motor skills and concentrate.
For younger children, it is a good idea to start with a needle with a larger hole.
For really young children you can make holes in paper or felt with a hole punch and have them use yarn to go through the holes.

Making and observing colors with paint
Prepare three colors of paint (red, blue, yellow) and explore mixing them to make new colors. Children can experiment to figure out how much of each paint they should add to make the color they want. After many trial and errors children will realize which color can be made by combining each color. This activity supports the development of imagination and exploration skills.

Make your own stories using the characters in picture books
Using the character from your child’s favorite picture book, pretend that your child is that character and have him/her make their own story. This activity will make your child excited about reading and books. You can ask your child what he/she would do if he/she was the main character. This will help him/her develop his/her imagination. By incorporating these activities into your daily family life, play activities can become more educational. On days that you are unable to go out please consider trying some of the activities introduced in this article.

Make your own stories using the characters in picture books
2019年9月25日
NEWS

Join us for one of our Baby Events this November!

We will be holding our popular Baby Events (for babies 6-10 months and their parents) on Nov 9 (Sat) from 15:30 at our Motoazabu site and Nov 10 (Sun) from 15:30 at our Jiyugaoka site. Please join us and find out how much fun you can have with your little one at Gymboree!

2019年9月20日
COLUMN

5 Educational Effects Children Gain from Using Blocks

Most parents are aware that the use of blocks has educational effects.
A survey published by Lego Japan in 2018 found that about 70% of Tokyo University students played with Lego.
In addition, the majority of those 70% of Tokyo University students answered that they gained various skills from playing with Lego.
What educational effects can parents expect their children will gain from playing with Lego? Let’s take a look.

5 Educational Effects Children Gain from Using Blocks

What are the educational effects of using blocks?
Concentration Skills
In a survey of Tokyo University students, when asked the question “what was the most important skill you needed to get into Tokyo University?” 75% of the students answered “concentration skills”.
A majority of the students surveyed also stated that playing with Lego as a child helped them gain “concentration skills”.

Playing with small blocks requires children to concentrate carefully and use their fine motor skills.

Memory and Cognitive Skills
Playing with blocks requires children to use their fingertips which is said to activate the cerebrum.
The cerebrum is in control of our memory and cognitive skills so while playing with blocks children can develop these skills naturally.

Spatial Awareness
Chukyo Gakuin University Junior College Department of Childcare, Associate Professor Osamu Kawada found, according to his 2017 survey, that students who played with blocks when they were young have good spatial awareness skills. Playing with blocks requires children to build and consider how high and big their structure will get when adding more blocks.

Creativity
When playing with blocks, children can build something according to the instructions or use their imaginations to create their own design.
It requires to think about what they can create with which combination of blocks and use their imagination and be creative while trying to build their design.

According to the survey results from Lego Japan, 90% of the Tokyo University students that played with Lego when they were young often made their own designs and creations instead of following what was written in the book. This type of block use supports children’s in developing creativity.
These skills will be helpful in the life both inside and outside of school.

Problem Solving Skills
When using blocks, children use trial and error to create the structure they imagined.
They learn to challenge themselves and not give up until the structure has been created correctly. This helps them develop problem skills.

Using blocks with peers helps children learn how to work as a team
Children can play with blocks on their own and in a group. At schools and during classes, children often work together to decide what to create and how to work as a team to create the final product.

Playing with blocks has many educational effects and we recommend that all children have the opportunity to use them while young.

Raising children who respect individuality
2019年9月13日
COLUMN

How to get your child interested in science

When parents ask their child if they like science, some children say they love it and other say they hate it.
These days, it is said that more and more children dislike science. If children begin to dislike science in elementary school, they tend to be bad at it in junior high school and high school as well.
In science, through experiments and observation, children cultivate an inquisitive mind and creativity.
If possible, parents want to maintain their child’s curiosity and bring out their interest in science.
In this article, we will consider what actions parents can take to encourage their child to like science.

How to get your child interested in science

What parents can do to encourage an interest in science
The first step in gaining an interest in science is being given the opportunity to observe science in action.
It is a good idea for parents to go to the neighborhood park with their children and observe insects and other living things. Observing insects and plants in real life may encourage children to gain an interest in science and how the world works.

The second step is visiting the zoo or aquarium and observing animals or fish that children don’t see in their daily lives.
Through observing in person living things that they see in picture books and encyclopedias, children become even more curious about the world around them.

Once your child begins to show interest in science, it is a good idea to bring them to the museum for an event or special exhibit.
Parents should choose an event or exhibit that is meant for their age and that they can understand. Science experiments often catch the attention of younger children.

If it is hard to leave the house, you can try popular science toys and games at home. Watching science documentaries and doing experiments at home are also good ideas.

Whichever method, it is important to stimulate your child’s curiosity and encourage them to be interested in the world around them.
If you are not interested in science, it is a good idea to put them in a class where they have the opportunity to explore nature and science with their peers.

Raising children who respect individuality
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