January 2022
Fun activities, aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, to help prepare children for school success!
We're learning in the kitchen!
Give a clean kitchen towel to your baby to play with as you work in the kitchen. Encourage them to wave the towel, feel it in their hands, explore it with their mouth, or use it to cover a small toy on a highchair tray. Further develop skills by covering objects with the towel. Allow your baby to explore what it feels like with and without the towel over it. Explain what you are doing as you play with your baby and use words to describe the objects. Read more. 

Your toddler can use foods, like crackers and slices of cheese to build a tower. Can they make it taller by adding a layer? What happens to the tower if they eat a layer? If your toddler has difficulty building a tower vertically, try making shapes or patterns on the table horizontally. Describe the colors, sizes, and smell of the food. Help expand their vocabulary by saying or signing the items, colors and shapes in the patterns. Read more. 

While your preschooler helps set the table, help them count the number of plates needed. How many forks will be needed? How many different ways can they fold a napkin? Does one person get a tall glass and another person a small cup? Once your preschooler has finished setting the table, have them assist with the meal. Encourage them to look at the recipe and say the numbers as you point and count the steps to make the meal. Find photos of the foods in magazines or online and matching words. If your child communicates with sign or is learning braille, make a recipe card using an alternate form of communication. Read more.

Use cooking to talk to your kindergartner about how food can change. What changes do they see when cookie dough is baked? Or eggs are scrambled? What happens if ice-cream gets too warm, or if cereal is left in milk? Encourage your kindergartner to help mix ingredients and observe changes. Provide opportunities for them to touch and smell the ingredients at each stage. Expand their imagination by painting a visual picture as you perform each step using rich descriptive words. Add the sign for each new word to your family dictionary. Read more. 
10 Books About Being in the Kitchen
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle
The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna F. Cook
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
We Eat Dinner in the Bathtub by Angela Shelf Medearis
Lunch by Denise Fleming
Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
A Chocolate Moose for Dinner by Fred Gwynne
The Wolf’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up by Mollie Katzen
Eat Right When Money Is Tight
Are you struggling with your food budget? Are you looking for ideas for healthy, budget friendly meals and snacks for your family?

Take a look at the SNAP-Ed Connection page of resources on the USDA's webpage, Eat Right When Money's Tight. It has meal planning and budgeting tips as well as links for food assistance resources in your area. You can also find helpful information on the Stay Safe and Healthy at Home page.
Power Kids: Pennsylvania's Electronic Library
Do you know about Power Kids, Pennsylvania's electronic library? With Power Kids, you and your child can access things like:
  • BookFlix: Watch videos and read books
  • CyberSmarts: Learn how to be a safe, responsible and smart citizen with eBooks
  • TrueFlix: Learn about people, places, nature, history and science from videos and eBooks
  • Chat with a Librarian

In addition, many libraries throughout Pennsylvania offers their members access to downloadable or streaming eBooks and audiobooks through Axis 360 and Hoopla. Enjoy new bestsellers and old favorites on your compatible digital device! Check with your library for additional info.
2022 Pennsylvania Farm Show
PA Farm Show Complex and Expo Center logo
​The 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show will be held Saturday, Jan. 8 through Saturday Jan. 15, 2022, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. Check out the Schedule of Events to help plan your visit.

PA's Promise for Children has activities and resources relating to the Farm Show you can use at the Farm Show, in your community, or in your home to help your child learn.

Activities to do relating to the Farm Show
  • Cows and other animals: Count the legs on a cow. Help your child identify what other animals have the same number of legs as a cow. Can you find an animal with two legs?
  • Quilting: A quilt can have many different colors. Help your child identify the different colors on a quilt. A quilt can also have different shapes of fabric. Help your child identify the different shapes, like square, rectangle, star, or circle.
  • Sheep, Pigs and other items: A sheep may feel soft, while a pig may feel rough. Help your child identify other items that may feel soft (like a blanket) and items that may feel rough (like a piece of wood). What other words can you use to describe items? How about smooth, wet, or cold?

  • Here is a Beehive (hand game): Here is a beehive, but where are the bees? (clench fist). Hiding away where nobody sees (point to fist). Here they come, crawling out of their hive (open fist, one finger at a time). One, two, three, four, five!
  • Animal Antics: Children can imitate the sounds that the animals make. Adult can prompt them to, “Moo like a cow, neigh like a horse, cluck like a duck, etc.”

  • Sensory: What did you see, hear, smell, and touch at the Farm Show or your home or community? What surprises did you find?
  • Shape and Color Identification: Shapes and colors can be found everywhere around the Farm Show, your home or community. Help your toddler look around and identify the different shapes and colors that can be found.

  • I Spy: Have an adult or your preschooler describe something they spy in the environment. Use descriptive words (like round, or tall or blue) and have preschoolers guess what is being described. 
  • Comparing Size: Preschoolers can start learning about size differences by comparing the sizes of the animals, tractors, etc. Be sure to use words like: smaller, smallest, bigger, largest, etc.

  • Growing Food: When exploring the food, prompt your kindergartner by asking, “Who grew it? How did it get from the field to our plates? How long does it take to grow the items and then sell the items?”
  • Scientific Thinking: There are many living and non-living things. Explore the differences between the two and talk about how plants and animals grow and change.

Books Related to the Pennsylvania Farm Show

Looking for a book relating to the Pennsylvania Farm Show? Pennsylvania's Promise for Children has a variety of books about butterflies, horses, cows and more!

Find your favorite book list, then visit your local library and ask your librarian to help find the books from the list. Use the books to explore your child’s interests or introduce them to new ones.
Search at the Farm Show

Who loves a treasure hunt? The Pennsylvania Farm Show is full of treasures and PA's Promise for Children has searches to help you and your child find some of them.

Download Search at the Farm Show, then help your child find each item on the list. Cross off or circle each item as you see them.  

Not visiting the Farm Show? No worries! Visit your local library for a book that contains the items. PA's Promise for Children has Book Recommendations that contain the items from Search at the Farm Show. Look through the books with your child to locate items on the search. Which item is the most challenging to find? Which is the easiest to find?
Coats and Car Seats
Winter means keeping kids warm, but did you know that babies and young children in car seats should NOT wear puffy coats or snowsuits when in their car seat? The video below shows how a coat or snowsuit can compress under the harness of a car seat, sometimes up to four inches! This compression can cause the straps of your child's car seat to not fit properly, leaving a dangerous situation. Sleeping bags for babies can also add extra slack under the harness, creating an unsafe ride for your baby.

How should you keep your baby or young child in the car seat warm when it's cold?

Try these tips to keep your child warm and safe while in their car seat:

  • Dress your baby or young child in snug layers, like onsies and leggings. Add long pants, a long sleeved shirt, a hat and shoes and socks. You can even include a jacket.
  • For babies, use covers specifically for car seats that are designed to give warmth. These covers should be approved by the car-seat manufacturer for your specific car seat. 
  • For older babies, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners, after securing them in the car seat, turn their coat around and put it on backwards (arms through the armholes) so the coat is on top of the harness, or use a blanket in the car. 
January is National Mentoring Month
Do you know a grandparent, a special teacher, a pastor, a friend or neighbor? Anyone can be a mentor! Mentors can give advice and suggestions to help another cope or improve their skills. They can also show how they do something and provide encouragement and support. 
Want to make germs disappear? Try this!
Information About Your Child's Development
Early Learning GPS logo
What should you expect your child to do at a specific age? Would you like ideas on how you can support your child's development?

The Early Learning GPS is a free online tool to help new and experienced parents and caregivers get information about their child's development and ways they can help their child learn. Create a free account, answer a few questions about your child, then get resources, tips and other information to support you and your child.
Our Favorite Pinterest Pins
Do you have a Preschooler?
Did your child start preschool? Sign up for the FREE monthly Kindergarten, Here I Come eNews! Each month get activities, tips and resources you can use to help your child prepare for and transition into their Kindergarten year. 
The PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) provides families access to high quality services to prepare children for school and life success. 
Find more information about Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania
We are where you are.