It has a ladybug head, face.. without the dots
Yeah, but it looks like it has....
It's some sort of beetle

Children ran from stump to stump flipping them on their side then squatting down softly brushing mulch and dirt to the side, sifting through the earth until they saw signs of life.. a wiggle of a worm, a hole leading to the home of a cluster of ants, the rapid scurry of a centipede escaping the light. The excitement is thick in the air, so thick you can feel it as they run with such purpose seeming to be deeply engulfed in the mission to discover life; foreign or familiar each discovery is exciting and celebrated.1pic1

As the children experience the traits of the different life they find, I notice that they have collected data, compiled beliefs and examined theories, each time storing this new knowledge to use as a reference for the next bug encounter.

A natural tendency to sort and classify data unfolds. If you don't watch closely, their keen ability to file and store this new found data could go unnoticed. I am not even convinced that they know they do it. It's second nature as they play with and explore topics of interest.

The interwoven thoughts and understanding that each child shares only serves as an additional resource through which the children collect and investigate their ways of thinking. As they explore they openly share ideas, think out loud and contribute to the bank of thought acting as a member of a community of learners.

1pic2Through this process new thinking is developed, old thinking is debunked or confirmed. Children are in a state of flexibility, welcoming new ways of thinking new perspectives and letting go of old ways of thinking. Play and exploration provoke such an open-mindedness that allows new learning to plant seeds that grow over time into concrete learning that stays with the child into adulthood.

This process is all the more valuable when we allow natural curiosity to be the spark, catalyst, and conduit for learning.

This organic process can not be planned or recreated artificially because the true seed is born out of authentic interest. This deep connection to the experience is born the moment the child or children seek it out and fill the space where curiosity lives in their soul.1pic3

No paper bug project will grow this seed, it will only serve as a disconnection from the real thing. No plastic bug will water this seed, it will only serve as an experience once removed from the real thing thus pulling them further from the experience. No adult providing facts will shine light on this seed, it will only serve as a damper on the flame of their innermost urges to discover, explore, examine, think, hypothesize, conclude, question, test, re-think and repeat.

Keeping the Seed of Inquiry Alive

  1. Allow time, space, and permission for play.
  2. Do not hijack play. ( 
  3. Allow learning to unfold at the pace of the individual child.
  4. Only enter when invited or needed.
  5. Welcome ideas and processes of learning that may not feel comfortable or look like your own.
  6. Provide materials to support children as they deepen their understanding and question their thinking.
  7. Support, don't solve. Support the children through the process of solving their own problems do not solve their problems for them. Forgoing the process robs them of the opportunity to learn from it.
  8. Be present, engaged, and live in the spirit of inquiry in your daily work with children.
  9. Allow repeated exposure without rushing the child to the next phase, allow the timeline to be theirs.
  10. Accept all ideas as valuable.

Reprinted with permission:
Reid, Kisha. “A Seed Of Inquiry.” Play Empowers, 1 June 2017,

It is doubtful that anyone would deny that parenting is hard work. When parents and caregivers are busy working, paying bills, keeping food on the table and managing a household, keeping track of developmental milestones in our young children can be challenging.

The hard work of parenting comes with immeasurable rewards as our young children grow, learn and become unique individuals full of personality. We know children develop skills and reach milestones at their own pace and thrive naturally when given the proper support, but how can we be sure our children are developing in a healthy way and reaching important developmental milestones?

During the most precious stage of early brain development, parents and caregivers can ensure children are reaching those milestones through regular developmental screening. Parents and caregivers can gain a clear understanding of a child’s strengths, what to look forward to in their development, and what support services a child might need in order to ensure healthy development and school readiness.

The Ages & Stages Questionnaire® (ASQ) is a highly researched, valid and reliable tool for parents and caregivers to get a snapshot of a child’s development in communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving and personal-social skills. The ASQ takes about 10-15 minutes to fill out and can be administered at any time from birth to age 5 ½ years. Based on responses, results will help determine if a child’s developmental progress is on time and/or alert parents and caregivers to any potential concerns that can be shared with the child’s health care provider.

Developmental screening can help parents and caregivers:

  • Learn more about their child’s growth and development
  • Learn about their child’s strengths
  • Address any questions or concerns about behavior, growth and development
  • Identify if there are any areas of development that need more support
  • Get connected with local resources for children and families

4-C is pleased to offer free and confidential ASQ developmental screening for all children birth to 5 1/2 years old residing in Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Jefferson, Rock, Sauk and Walworth counties.

The ASQ can be filled out by parents or primary caregivers online or paper versions of the ASQ can be requested from 4-C at any time by email, phone or mail to:

4-C Early Intervention Specialist
5 Odana Court Madison, WI 53719
608-271-9181 x7029

We encourage you to take 10–15 minutes to check in with the Ages & Stages Questionnaire®. The sooner a developmental delay or special need is addressed, the better long-term success can be expected for a child’s overall well-being.

The following list contains many early childhood blogs that stand out above the rest. They are suitable for both parents and child care providers. Be sure to click on the links to check out the blogs and the many high quality, play-based activities they offer.

Pic1HANDS ON as we grow

Jamie, a mom of 3 young boys, created this blog to share simple, hands-on activities to do with kids. Many of the activities can be done with items that are already in your home. One of the most popular posts on the blog is 35 things to do with CRAYONS – pinned by 276,000 people. Jamie searches the internet to find the best activities and brings them together on this well-organized website.

Pic2The Imagination Tree

Anna, a mom of 4, early childhood teacher and play enthusiast is the creator of this site filled with over 700 ideas and activities for young children. She has fun recipes such as Homemade Moon Sand, The Best Ever No-Cook Play Dough, Edible Finger Paint, and many others. Why reinvent the wheel when someone like Anna offers so many great ideas on her blog?


RED TED Art was named the top Early Childhood Education Blog in both 2016 and 2017. The ratings were measured by how many site visits, site references and the growth in the number of visits to each site. Maggy, the creator, is the mom of two young children and loves all things crafty. There are a ton of ideas on the site in many different categories. One of the newest activities on the blog is Valentine’s Day Magnetic Clips which would be great to make with children to give as gifts to their parents this Valentine’s Day.

Holly’s blog has more than 62,900 members! She not only has many different creative activities to do with kids, she also offers quick and easy recipes and printables. Some of the newest printables include Valentine’s templates such as slime valentines, a winter paper doll template and printable play money. This site has a wealth of resources for anyone who spends time with young children.

Pic5Happy Hooligans

Jackie is a mom and a family child care provider. She works to help children explore their world through arts, crafts and good, old-fashioned play. Her blog has arts, crafts, activities, outdoor fun and more. One article that may be especially helpful for those on a budget is 70 {Awesome} Homemade Toys You Can Make for Your Kids.

Pic6Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Sheryl has been a toddler/preschool teacher for over 19 years. She has a passion for young children and her blog focuses on activities, themed units and resources for teachers. These resources include helpful topics such as preschool classroom design, dealing with big emotions in the classroom and tips for kids that can’t sit still at circle time.

Pic7Teach Preschool

Deborah is a preschool teacher who regularly shares ideas from her own classroom. She has information about literacy, art, sensory play, motor skills and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). She provides some unique ideas for how to incorporate STEM into the preschool classroom including: how to explore energy with energetic kids, exploring robots inside and out, a crazy cool DIY water and play stand and raindrop graphing on the flannel board.

Pic8Growing a Jeweled Rose

Crystal strongly believes in the importance of play as the core of early learning and her website focuses on fun and educational activities for kids. Take a look at: glowing snow paint (We all know that kids love things that glow in the dark!), how to make snow rockets and winter science experiments.

These blogs are just a few of the many resources on the web for parents and child care providers. Take some time to explore them-the young children in your life will surely benefit!

It’s time for a story today! (clap! clap!)
It’s time for a story today! (clap! clap!)
So come over here, and lend me your ear
It’s time for a story today, hooray!
It’s time for a story today. (clap! clap!)

It’s time for a story today! (clap! clap!)
It’s time for a story today! (clap! clap!)
Let’s take out a book and we’ll give it a look
It’s time for a story today, hooray!
It’s time for a story today. (clap! clap!)
(To the tune of Mexican Hat Dance)

How can you keep from singing when the tune is engaging and fun? The stress of transition time can be eased when the instructions are sung to a familiar tune. Singing slows down language, and gives young ones an opportunity focus. And since music engages both sides of the brain, singing together helps to reinforce important concepts. Songs with active movement, such as clapping or finger moving, help to keep children’s bodies occupied as they move from one activity to another.

To start the day with a warm welcome, I like to sing an easy tune which features each child’s name—this is a favorite, because clapping keeps everyone involved. Children are invited to dance in the circle after their verse:

Welcome song:

We’re all here today
We’re all here today!
Clap, clap, oh clap your hands
We’re all here today!

Jack is here today,
Jack is here today!
Clap, clap, oh clap your hands
Jack is here today!
Go Jack, go Jack, go JACK, JACK, JACK!
(To the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)

Keep your transition songs simple enough for children to sing by themselves. You will hear children singing the songs on their own, reminding themselves of the steps to accomplish a job.

Washing song:

Wash, wash, wash your hands,
Make them nice and clean.
Wash the germs right down the drain,
Make them nice and clean.
(To the tune of Row, row, row your boat)

Walking song:

We’re walking down the hall, we’re walking down the hall,
Let’s keep together friends, we’re walking down the hall!
We’re walking up the steps, we’re walking up the steps,
Hold on to the railing friends, be careful not to fall!
(To the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)

Singing a tune lends a light touch to instruction—especially when there is humor involved. Gather the children with a smile using this little song.

Gathering song:

Everybody take a seat, take a seat, take a seat,
Everybody take a seat on the floor.
Not on the ceiling, not on the door!
Everybody take a seat on the floor!
(To the tune of Shorting Bread)

Active learning is an important part of childhood—so I like to give students an opportunity to really move when they need it! Here’s a little spoken chant to celebrate our wigglers and help them focus for the next task.

Wiggling song:

Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes.
Wiggle them fast, wiggle them slow.
Wiggle them high, wiggle them low.
Wiggle them, wiggle them GO, GO, GO!
Wiggle them east, then wiggle them west,
Wiggle them together, then let them rest!

The NAEYC Position paper (2009) on Developmentally Appropriate Practice discusses the use of scaffolding to guide children’s behavior. Singing through transitions is an ideal example of this principle.

Scaffolding can take a variety of forms; for example, giving the child a hint, adding a cue, modeling the skill, or adapting the materials and activities. It can be provided in a variety of contexts, not only in planned learning experiences but also in play, daily routines, and outdoor activities.

Clean up songs:

Clean up time can be a challenge in any classroom. Some children might not be ready to give up their play time, and others just don’t seem inclined to be on the cleaning crew. My grandson Will’s class sings this version of "Twinkle, twinkle," which gets the job done and offers encouragement of fun the next time the children are together.

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
Stop and clean up where you are.
It’s time to put the toys away,
We will play another day.
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
Stop and clean up where you are.

Here’s another clean up tune which is light and fun and tells the children just what is expected. Change the words to include cleaning up after play (for example: . . legos in the bin!) Make up your own variations.

Everybody clean up, clean up, clean up,
Everybody clean up, after lunch.
Trash in the trashcan—recycle in the bin
When we work together we all win!
Everybody clean up, clean up, clean up,
Everybody clean up, after lunch.
(To the tune of Shortnin’ Bread)

Goodbye songs:

Saying goodbye at the end of the day offers particular challenges. Sometimes parents don’t all arrive at the same time, leaving children anxious. Here are a few tunes to lighten up the day.

Well it’s time to go, so we better check our cubbies
Singing doo-wah-ditty-ditty dum ditty doo
Well it’s time to go, so we better check our cubbies
Singinig doo-wah-ditty-ditty dum ditty doo
You look good (you look good)
You look fine (you look fine)
You look good, you look fine
We’ll see you another time!
Singing whooah, oh oh yeah!
(To the tune of Do wah diddie) (repeat with other getting ready to go chores—for example: Well it’s time to go so we better put on our coats . . . Well it’s time to go so we better put on our hats . . .)

I love watching little ones trying to wink when we do this tune!

It is time to say goodbye to all our friends (clap, clap) (2x)
It is time to say goodbye, give a nod, and wink your eye
It is time to say goodbye to all our friends. YEE HAH!
(To She’ll be coming ’round the mountain)

Your turn! What’s your most challenging transition? Don’t know a song for your situation? YOU be the song writer! Choose a familiar tune—Here we go ’round the mulberry bush, Shortening bread, The Farmer in the Dell, Row, row, row your boat, are all good choices. Then make up a rhyme—one concept per verse. You will usually need 8 beats to fit into the song—play around with it until your song is satisfying!

Here’s an example: The assignment—put on your boots, coat, hat and mittens when you go out to play in the snow.

The tune: The Farmer in the Dell
The lyrics:

We’re playing in the snow, Hurray!
We’re playing in the snow, Hurray!
Winter is a time for fun,
We’re playing in the snow. Hurray!

Put on your snow boots—tug, tug
Put on your snow boots—tug, tug
Winter is a time for fun,
Put on your snow boots—tug, tug

Put on your winter coat—zip, zip
Put on your winter coat—zip, zip
Winter is a time for fun,
Put on your winter coat—zip, zip.

Put on your cozy hat—whoop!
Put on your cozy hat—whoop!
Winter is a time for fun,
Put on your cozy hat—whoop!

Put on your mittens now—both hands!
Put on your mittens now—both hands!
Winter is a time for fun,
Put on your mittens now—both hands!

We’re playing in the snow, Hurray!
We’re playing in the snow, Hurray!
Winter is a time for fun,
We’re playing in the snow. Hurray!

See how easy it is to add new words to a familiar tune? I like to jazz it up a bit with fun sounds like hurray! zip! or whoop! to add more fun.

Some other scenarios to consider are tooth brushing, setting the table, putting on a paint smock, choosing a station in the classroom to play. You will notice that these are all tasks which move children toward independence, and singing the instructions provides a tool to help. Please add your tune in the comment box! And most importantly, have fun singing!

Hooton, Margaret. “Singing Through Transitions.” Community Playthings Blog, Community Products LLC, 3 Oct. 2017,

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