Sunflower Room Update

April 23rd, 2020

Sunflower Staff are making household items fun!!

The Sunflower Room has 10 infants, cared for by 3 educators. We have an older room than usual right now, with babies aged between 12-16 months. We miss our daily interactions with our little friends! To help them, and their mommies, get through the days, which are sometimes lonely or confusing, we have been providing them with a variety of activities that they can easily do at home. So far we have been focusing on exploring their senses and getting them moving!

Rita, Barb and Coreena are the three staff in the Sunflower program. During our closure they have been creatively using household items to illustrate to our young clients that you don’t need a lot in order to help your child develop and have fun. The Sunflower children are beginning to walk and are still using all 5 senses to explore their world.

Barbara showed our moms how to use various items around the house to encourage their babies to explore their 5 senses by smelling, tasting, touching, seeing and listening. She demonstrated how to make “smelly” bottles or bags and suggested moms introduce a variety of different tasting foods/spices/condiments to talk about sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Touch can be explored by finding different (child safe) items around the house that may be soft, squishy, hard, rough, prickly etc. Seeing and listening are so easy! Barb reminded the moms that just opening a window or going for a walk exposes their babies to so many new sights and sounds! Other educators have also provided activities that include singing and reading stories, great listening exercises! Barb finished off with a short video demonstrating some different, and easy to make, shake bottles. It’s important for our little ones to still be able to see us so they remember how much we care about them.

sensory items on table

barb doing a video
One of our moms commented:

“J will love this, can’t wait to try it out with him! Great idea :)”

One mom tried some sensory dough experiences that Barb sent to her individually and shared pictures with us!

“Sensory dough. Today we tried making dough. We made three different ones one with flour, one with corn starch, and one with baking soda. The girls were very interested and loved feeling the different doughs K even gave one a little taste. Thank you so much for giving us this cool sensory activity to do at home ️”

Coreena illustrated with her own children how to use couch cushions to develop motor skills and keep the little ones busy and entertained. There are so many things that you can do with couch cushions. She provided many different ways to keep the little ones active and keeping them busy in a planned activity. Coreena’s children enjoyed participating in the activity and as they were moving on from one activity to another, her children created different things to do! It was a child led play! It was an activity that did not take much to prepare and as Coreena was creating one activity, her kids would find another. It was great to see all the different things that can be done when many work together. Not only was it an activity to keep the kids busy it was also an activity to help develop gross motor. Gross motor is the use of the large muscles in your torso, arms and legs. These muscles help our bodies with everyday tasks, such as, walking, standing, running, jumping and even sitting. Lets face it, we could all use a little break from our everyday lives right now, find a good book and build a fort to read in or curl up with our kids and read to them!

child under cushion

Child on couch cushions

One of our moms commented about how much her son loves having fun with couch cushions!

And then ended up posting a photo of her little boy sitting in his own little ‘man cave’ that she created for him, so he could have a space for himself!

Love it!! J is also a fan of throwing all the couch cushions on the floor and jumping from one to another. He has so much fun. We haven’t tried building a fort yet, so maybe we can do that today!

Rita did a demonstration about how to use kitchen utensils to make MUSIC. She put out a selection of items such as pots, pans, plastic bowls, plastic cups, spatula, spoons, and strainers. She reminded the moms to be careful with what they chose and to make sure that the items are safe and not glass or choke size. She played a few songs, such as the very popular Baby Shark song with them. By using common things you find in your kitchen the goal was for the moms and babies to play with items that are not normally able to. This was well received and some clients headed right to the kitchen to make a band out of pots, pans and utensils.

rita doing a video

The response was wonderful for the clients. Some of the clients comments were:

“I loved watching this video and yelled at it telling more music while yelling Rita will be doing this for sure! Thank you Rita! ”

“M had a blast with banging the pots around. When it would get louder he would act shocked and then giggle and repeat soft to loud haha. Thanks for the great idea! ”

“When D saw you on Rita she was very happy almost made me cry but we went to the kitchen and grabbed everything we needed and D play a show for the whole family and neighbours haha”

A few other ways our staff have stayed connected with our mothers and littles are:

Mom’s wiki

  • We uploaded our daily schedule so our mom’s can loosely follow a daily routine to give some structure to their babies day.
  • We added a few activities such as edible slime and Cheerios find to help them use things they have at home to entertain and teach their baby.
  • At Easter we sent an Easter songbook to help them celebrate the day.
  • We uploaded some simple signs to help with language acquisition .
  • We continue to update and add new activities every week as our mom’s send requests.

Weekly activities:

Our teachers make sure that they send an activity each week to our moms and babies that is individually tailored to their development and needs. Some of these activities include:

  • Edible sand recipe
  • Ball drop
  • Hide and seek
  • Sensory path
  • Bubble songs and painting
  • Sock balls
  • Standing play
  • String painting
  • 2 ingredient playdough
  • Telephone play
  • Recording sounds and echoing
  • Sign language introduction

Our staff are also involved in professional development through webinars and online courses. We are becoming very adept at using technology to get the most of our time away from our centre. We are all ensuring that we are Infant Mental Health certified, AFWI Brain Story certified, trained in Conscious Discipline and are working on our College of E.C.E. continuing professional learning goals.

Some things staff are also doing are:

Rita has learned how to take selfies in a mirror so if you have a message it is not backwards. It sounds simple but it took a few hours of figuring what way her smart phone had to be held and which mirror in the house was best able to accommodate it. It was difficult but not impossible. Taking videos to send to clients has been a task as well. It definitely gives you an appreciation for these influencers and web cast personalities.

Rita

Rita smiling

Coreena is juggling being a parent to some little ones who need home schooling and working full time. She is doing an amazing job of getting things done and keeping her family happy and taken care of.

Coreena w children doing school

Barb is in the midst of selling her house and has been doing a remarkable job of getting her work done, selling her home, packing and trying to organize a move when most companies will not take customers and boxes are difficult to find.

Barb sold sign
The Sunflower Staff are committed to helping our clients remotely through this time and can’t wait to get back to our wonderful building and beautiful babies as soon as possible.

Barb, Rita and Coreena
Sunflower Early Childhood Educators