• Fall Activities for the Family

    Fall is a beautiful time of year when the weather begins to cool down and the leaves start to change color. It’s the perfect time to get outside with your family, now that the sweltering heat of summer has passed and the winter cold has not yet set in. What’s more, there are tons of fun things to do as a family during the fall, whether indoors or outside, in a large group or small.

    • Go apple picking or visit a pumpkin patch or fair. No matter where you live, you’re sure to find some place where there are fun activities like hayrides, bake sales, pumpkin carving, petting zoos, and more. Visiting some of these community events with your children is a great way to make memories.
    • Have a family game night. Family time doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Break out the board games, pop some popcorn, and enjoy each others’ company with a little bit of friendly competition.
    • Drink hot cocoa around a fire. Whether it’s a fireplace in the living room, a fire pit in the backyard, or a bonfire on the beach, there’s nothing quite so cozy as relaxing by the fire with your family.
    • Enjoy the autumn leaves. There are so many ways to make the most of the colorful leaves in fall! Go on a walk or drive to find the most beautiful displays of color, or collect leaves with your children to press between wax paper or incorporate into crafts.
    • Decorate with home-made crafts. Fall gives us many excuses to decorate, whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, or just the season itself. Decorate with leaves, pine cones, and gourds, string popcorn and berries into garlands, or make owls and turkeys out of paper bags and construction paper. There are tons of fun crafts to do with your kids, and it’s fun to decorate with childlike abandon.
    • Do some baking. What is more indicative of fall than the smell of fresh baked goods? Fresh breads, pies, muffins, cookies, or scones are all fun to bake together as a family, whether you prefer apple, pumpkin, pecan, or some other delicious fall flavor.
    • Have a picnic. Celebrate the cooler weather by visiting a beach or park for a picnic with your family. While you’re out, go on a nature scavenger hunt, challenging each other to find certain colors and shapes of leaves, rocks, shells, pinecones, or whatever else is handy in your part of the country.

    Fall is a fun season for spending time with your kids, keeping them engaged, active, and learning. If you’re in Succasunna New Jersey and you’re looking for a preschool program or after-school program that also focuses on those things, you owe it to yourself to check out Creative Learning Academy. Our most sought-after preschool and after school programs in New Jersey provide an integrated curriculum full of fun, engaging, safe activities. Tailored to suit each age, grade, and stage, our programs give children time to relax and interact while still ensuring that their homework is completed and their education supported. For more information, visit our website or call 973.541.8241 today.

     

  • Trick or treating safety tips

    Ask kids about their favorite holidays and Halloween will almost certainly be near the top of the list. What could be more fun than dressing up in costume and heading door to door to ask for candy? For parents, though, the night can be a little bit nerve-wracking. Danger can seem to lurk around every corner, and keeping your children safe can feel like a difficult task. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning, you can have a Halloween that’s both fun and safe.

    • Decide on your route ahead of time. Trick-or-treating is fun until it’s not, and walking too far from home is one way to suck the fun right out of it. Avoid sore feet and short tempers by planning your route before you leave the house, sticking to familiar paths so you don’t get lost.
    • Make costumes safe. Choose costumes in light or bright colors, and use reflective tape or stickers to make your kids more visible. Use face paint and makeup, because masks can obstruct vision and make the costume hazardous. Make sure costumes are the right size, to reduce the risk of trips and falls. Steer clear of any props or accessories that are sharp or could be dangerous, and make sure makeup is non-toxic and wigs are flame-retardant.
    • Keep it comfy. Costumes should be comfortable enough for kids to freely move around, but perhaps the most important thing to remember is to put them in comfortable shoes. Kids’ feet shouldn’t hurt by the end of the night, and their shoes shouldn’t slow them down or trip them up.
    • Stick together. Kids under 12 need parental supervision while trick-or-treating, but even when they’re old enough to go out without you, they should never be alone. Use the buddy system to help kids stay safe, and make sure everyone in the group knows basic safety rules.
    • Teach kids to follow the rules of the road. Of course, your children know to stay on the sidewalks, look both ways before crossing, and use crosswalks when possible. They probably also know not to run across unfamiliar lawns in the dark, but it’s good to remind them of all the rules before they start out on Halloween, because in their excitement they might forget.
    • Sort the candy before anyone eats any of it. To be on the safe side, throw away any candy that’s open or looks iffy in any way. Be cautious about choking hazards for younger kids, like hard candy or gum.

    Keeping your kids safe on Halloween is a matter of following some simple rules. Keeping them safe and engaged means finding the right preschool and after school program, and if you’re in the Succasunna, New Jersey area, you owe it to yourself to check out Creative Learning Academy. Our most sought-after preschool and afterschool programs in New Jersey provide an integrated curriculum full of fun, engaging, safe activities. Tailored to suit each age, grade, and stage, our programs give children time to relax and interact while still ensuring that their homework is completed and their education supported. For more information, visit our website or call 973.541.8241 today.

     

  • Finding an Afterschool Program that Works for You and Your Child

    As we head back into the school year, many parents are seeking a place for their kids to go after school. It’s got to be somewhere convenient, and optimally, the afterschool program will provide transportation from the school. If you’re like most parents, you want a place where your kids will have fun, but you also want them to learn. It can be daunting to decide which program is best for your children, but there are some definite attributes the right after-school program should be able to check off your list.

    When choosing the best afterschool program, look for a place with:

    • An atmosphere that seems comfortable for your child. If you have a pretty good idea of the afterschool programs you’re considering, take your children along when you visit them. After all, this is a place where they will be spending many hours, so it should be a place that they will enjoy.
    • A healthy and safe environment. Think about staff to student ratios, the age of staff members, the condition of the building and equipment, and the general cleanliness of the facility. If your child will eat food prepared onsite, ask to see the kitchen so that you can be comfortable knowing it’s up to par. Look at the playgrounds, classrooms, and bathrooms. You want to find a center that’s well-maintained and in good condition.
    • Competent, friendly staff that cares about the kids. Visit while students are present, and note the interactions you observe between staff and children. Do the children seem engaged? Does the staff seem attentive? Are staff members available to help with homework and school projects? Are activities well-planned and supervised?
    • Opportunities for academic exploration. School may be over, but your child’s learning shouldn’t stop upon leaving the classroom. Look for an afterschool program where creativity and curiosity are encouraged, and kids are given ample opportunity to finish their homework, work on projects, and engage in activities that stimulate their minds.
    • Opportunities for physical activity, both indoor and outdoor. Is there a playground available, so that kids can interact and unwind? Are there organized games and group activities? Is there a rainy day plan, in case going outside is not an option? Look for a program that gives kids a balance of structure and free play, with time to get to know each other and opportunities to exercise their bodies.
    • Enrichment activities. What does the program offer that goes above and beyond the average daycare? Are extracurricular options available? Is the curriculum designed to provide stimulation as well as keeping kids entertained?

    If you’re looking for a great after school program, you owe it to yourself to check out Creative Learning Academy. One of the most sought-after afterschool programs in New Jersey, Creative Learning Academy’s school-aged program serves kids from kindergarten through 13 years old, providing an integrated curriculum full of fun, engaging, safe activities. Tailored to suit each age, grade, and stage, our program gives children time to relax and interact while still ensuring that their homework is completed and their education supported. For more information, visit our website or call 973.541.8241 today.

  • Why the Creative Curriculum® for Preschool Should Have you Excited about Back to School

    At Creative Learning Academy, we have always been invested in helping children grow and thrive. That’s why we work hard to provide hands-on experiences in a safe learning environment, where kids can explore the world around them and learn to be independent thinkers. Now, with the adoption of Creative Curriculum®, there’s even more to love about Creative Learning Academy.

    Creative Curriculum® is a comprehensive, research-based curriculum that uses play to help children learn and grow. Designed to foster the development of the whole child, this curriculum focuses on four areas of development: social/emotional, cognitive, physical, and language. This program uses teacher-led, small, and large group activities centered around 11 interest areas, and the curriculum helps teachers to promote child development through classroom organization, best practice teaching strategies, and engaging families in the learning process. Using blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, art, books, sand and water, music and movement, cooking, computers, outdoor play, and more, teachers help children to develop and apply new skills. Regular child assessments show parents and teachers how students are progressing, and online record-keeping tools allow teachers to maintain and organize child portfolios and effectively plan to support each individual child’s learning. Creative Curriculum® seeks to:

    • Promote learning through exploration and discovery. Children develop a deeper understanding of concepts when they’re permitted hands-on experiences. When they can explore and discuss, like young scientists, their natural curiosity is sparked, and they learn and grow.
    • Help teachers create a high-quality learning environment. The support of the Creative Curriculum® program allows teachers to provide an atmosphere in which children can thrive, and online tools help them measure their students’ progress.
    • Provide hands-on learning through project-based investigations. In large and small groups, children, facilitated by teachers, work together to solve problems and complete tasks, learning through doing.
    • Build children’s confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills. When children are allowed to explore in this way, they become confident self-starters who use their imagination to find solutions. Learning to think critically is an important step in preparing them for a successful academic experience.

    Creative Curriculum® is a useful tool that helps Creative Learning Academy create an environment in which children of all ages can thrive. In a safe, fun, reliable space, children interact with each other, learning while they play. A healthy mix of games and academics leads to a balanced approach that helps children to succeed. If you’d like to learn more about our curriculum, call Creative Learning Academy. For more information, visit our website or call 973.541.8241 today.

  • Five Things to Remember as the Kids Head Back to School

    If you’re like most parents with kids heading back to school, you are probably preoccupied with the necessary busywork of parenting. The lists of school supplies alone is daunting, and on top of that, you’ve got to go through your children’s wardrobes and see what they need in terms of school clothes. You’ve also got school registration to contend with and other paperwork that can sometimes seem endless. With all that’s going on, it’s not uncommon for a few things to slip through the cracks.

    However, even in this busy time, there are some other things we hope you will remember.

    • Kids need a chance to ease back into school and other activities. It may all feel overwhelming to you, but remember, it can also be overwhelming for your kids. Try not to schedule too many extra activities for the first week of school, being mindful of the fact they may need a little bit of extra downtime right at the beginning of the year.
    • Your child may be anxious about things he or she hasn’t expressed to you. Try to set aside time for one on one interaction with each child, whether it’s during a walk while making supper, or over a friendly board game. Encourage your kids to talk about their hopes, fears, and expectations for the coming school year, and you may be surprised to learn some new information.
    • It may take some adjustment to get back into the swing of homework. Be patient in those first weeks, and encourage good organizational habits, like writing down assignments in an agenda, doing homework immediately after school, and checking the backpack every night to make sure nothing else needs to be done. Provide children with a well-lit, well-organized place to study, and a central location for notes, newsletters, and other important papers.
    • Some kids may need a listening ear after school. It’s easy to get busy in the afternoon and evening, but it’s important to remember that kids need a trusted adult in whom to confide. Make yourself available after school, letting your children know that you care what’s on their minds.
    • Healthy sleep and a good diet are crucial for back to school success. Starting a couple of weeks before school starts, get your kids back into the routine of regular bedtimes, regular waking times, and healthy meals and snacks. Remember, the average school-aged child needs 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night, teenagers need at least 8 to 10 hours, and preschoolers need anywhere from 9 to 16 hours, depending on age and the individual child. Planning your child’s schedule to accommodate this much sleep, and staying firm about bedtimes can prevent many health and behavioral issues.

    Another thing it’s important to remember as kids head back to schools is the importance of the right afterschool care for your kids. If you’re looking for a great after school program, you owe it to yourself to check out Creative Learning Academy. One of the most sought-after afterschool programs in New Jersey, Creative Learning Academy’s school-aged program serves kids from kindergarten through 13 years old, providing an integrated curriculum full of fun, engaging, safe activities. Tailored to suit each age, grade, and stage, our program gives children time to relax and interact while still ensuring that their homework is completed and their education supported. For more information, visit our website or call 973.541.8241 today.

  • Fun and Educational Ways to Ease out of Summer

    When it’s time to go back to school, you want your kids to be prepared. In addition to having the right school supplies, it’s important for their minds to be ready to jump back into the routine, easily getting back to completing schoolwork and homework. On the other hand, kids need time to relax during the summer months, not just physically but mentally. Fortunately, you don’t have to make your kids do heaving homework during the summer. In fact, there are some fun things you can do with them to promote learning and get them ready to go back to school.

    While educational games can be useful, games don’t have to be specifically educational to promote learning. Depending on your child’s age and stage of development, you can find fun games that promote various types of learning.

    • To teach strategy:
      • Clue
      • Mastermind
      • Monopoly
      • Mancala
      • Settlers of Catan
      • Chess
    • To promote literacy:
      • Boggle
      • Scrabble
      • Bananagrams
      • Hedbandz
      • Apples to Apples
    • To build math skills:
      • Yahtzee
      • Sequence
      • Rummikub
      • Qwirkle

    You can also promote your children’s intellectual development by engaging them in conversations and tasks that help them in everyday life. Talk about current events with older kids, encouraging them to express their opinions, draw conclusions, and problem-solve, thinking of creative solutions to the issues of the day. At any age, kids can help around the house and learn. Helping in the kitchen is particularly useful: measuring and counting, scooping, pouring, mixing and chopping help them develop math skills, reasoning skills, and manual dexterity. Another good way to productively interact with your kids is just to discuss the upcoming school year. In a low-pressure way, perhaps while engaged in a fun activity, talk about your child’s hopes, fears, and expectations.

    Making a habit of being active outdoors helps your children both mentally and physically. Being active together gives you and your kids an opportunity for quality one on one time, which strengthens your bond, builds memories, and allows you time to impart wisdom about the world. Being outside also helps kids connect with nature, and that is good for their brains. Unstructured time outdoors allows kids to explore the world around them, learning about the earth and receiving a kind of stimulation of their senses that they can’t get inside.

    As you’re preparing your kids to go back to school, don’t forget to enroll them in an afterschool program that’s challenging, interesting, and fun. Creative Learning Academy had one of the most sought-after afterschool programs in New Jersey, with a school-aged program that serves kids from kindergarten through eighth grade. Providing an integrated curriculum full of fun, engaging, safe activities, tailored to suit each age, grade, and stage, we give children time to relax and interact while still ensuring that their homework is completed and their education supported. For more information, visit our website or call 973.541.8241 today.

  • Getting Kids Back into the Groove in Time to go Back to School

    The summer is drawing to a close, and it’s time to go back to school- are you ready? You’re probably already in the middle of back to school shopping, looking for all the school supplies and new clothes necessary to make the transition a smooth one. Those things are important but even more important is taking the time to prepare kids’ bodies and minds to go back to school.

    • Preparing the body: This is probably the most obvious hurdle. All those lazy summer days make for late bedtimes, and day sleeping becomes more of a habit than it usually is. When it’s time to go back to school, it can be hard to get back on schedule. If you want to get a jump on things, it’s a good idea to reinstate bedtimes a week or two before school starts. After a couple of days of going to bed on time, start waking your kids up at the time they’ll need to be up for school, even if they don’t have anywhere to be just yet. They’ll grumble at the newly enforced schedule, but you’ll all be happier when school is back in session.
    • Preparing the mind: This is something not everyone considers, but the brain needs a minute to wake up after the summer, too. Hopefully, you and your kids have been reading- and reading together- all summer. If not, it’s not too late for a trip to the library, to get them interested in a book. Another fun way to get the brain working is by playing board games that promote literacy, math skills, or strategy. It probably goes without saying that you should follow up with your kids to make sure that they’ve finished their summer school work, but it’s a good idea to start preemptively limiting screen time as well.
    • Preparing the house: Your house is probably in full summer mode as well, but it won’t take long to whip it into shape! Before you hit the stores for school supplies and new clothes, clean out closets, cupboards, desks, and last year’s backpacks. This might end up saving you money, as you may find things from your list that you didn’t even realize you already had. Check out the school’s website, and transfer important dates to your home calendar. The end of summer is also a great time to designate the homework hub for the school year: a well-lit, well-organized space where kids can do homework, and important papers and notices can be sorted and filed.

    Being proactive about going back to school is a great way to make sure your kids get off to a good start this year. While you’re getting ready for the school year, make sure you find an afterschool program that supports their education and enriches their minds. At Creative Learning Academy, we have an afterschool program that uses an integrated curriculum for kids from kindergarten through 13 years old. Tailored to suit each age, grade, and stage, our program incorporates fun, engaging, and safe activities that give children time to relax and interact while still ensuring that their homework is completed and their education supported. For more information, visit our website or call 973.541.8241 today.

  • Healthy Kid-Friendly Snacks for Summer

    When the sun is beating down, and the air conditioner is running full-blast, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven. This creates a quandary for you as a mom, because you still have to feed your children, even when cooking seems out of the question. By supper time things may have cooled down enough for you to pull together dinner, but during the day, you can keep your kids energized with these simple, healthy snacks for summer.

    "

    • Fruit Necklaces are a snack and activity in one. Just sit kids down with a yarn needle threaded with elastic cord, and plates full of healthy fruit like strawberries, grapes, and blueberries, and set them to work making necklaces. This activity is so much fun it even works on a playdate, and if you want to make it a little bit tricky, challenge them to create patterns.
    • Apple Nachos are simple and delicious. Slice up some apples, drizzle on some melted peanut butter and dark chocolate, top with almonds and coconut, and voila! A tasty treat. Want to make it even healthier? Skip the chocolate, and kids will still gobble it up.
    • Peanut Butter Yogurt Popsicles are nutritional powerhouses. They require a little bit of work in advance of snack time, but by using just five ingredients, you reap a host of nutritional benefits. Fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein are all packed into these delicious, creamy, frozen treats.
    • Strawberry Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bark is another nutritious, cool, and scrumptious treat. It’s so simple that even the littlest kids will love to help you make it, and you can change the fruit to suit your mood. All it takes is yogurt, something to make it sweeter, and fruit.
    • Whip up some juicy Watermelon Slush in your blender. It only takes three ingredients and is so delicious you’ll want to skip the summer’s snow cones and just stick with the slush.
    • Pizza Kebabs are healthy and savory. Kids can’t live on fruit alone, and when you’re ready to feed them something not quite as sweet, these kebabs are a great option. All you need is whole wheat pita pockets cut into one-inch squares, mozzarella cubes, pepperoni slices, veggies of your choice, and pizza sauce. Give the kids some toothpicks, and let them design their own kebabs to dip in pizza sauce and enjoy. Pizza kebabs are equally tasty whether served warm or cold.

    In addition to keeping your kids healthy and strong with these nutritious snacks, remember to stimulate their minds with an engaging summer program. At Creative Learning Academy, our summer camp program in Succasunna, New Jersey, offers children a rich and varied experience. From swimming and sports to arts, crafts, music, and drama, to S.T.E.A.M. and computer activities, to field trips, our three, four and five-day program provide interesting and exciting activities for children from kindergarten through 7th grade. To learn more, call us at (973) 541-8241 or contact us through the website.

  • Five STEAM Activities to Try with Your Kids This Summer

    Is your child an innovative thinker? It’s important to nurture that creativity by providing opportunities to explore aspects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Think of the world’s most innovative creations: airplanes, refrigeration, the Internet, and smartphones- we would have none of them if it weren’t for cross-disciplinary learning. If you want your kids to expand their minds this summer, try incorporating some STEAM activities.

    What is STEAM and Why Does it Matter? STEAM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This integrated, interdisciplinary approach to learning encourages students to think broadly about real-world problems. Kids participating in STEAM activities learn how to ask questions, form connections, develop problem-solving skills, think creatively, and look for innovative solutions to problems. STEM is important because jobs in these fields are growing astronomically and the trend is expected to continue. So why is it STEAM? Because incorporating art helps kids hone their spatial awareness, shed their inhibitions and think creatively.

    Are you ready to make STEAM activities part of your child’s summer? Here are five great activities to get you started. Note: most of these projects do require a little bit of adult assistance.

    • Build Geodesic Structures. With just some straws and pipe cleaners, your budding architects can create domes and spheres in an exercise that involves geometry, building, and math. Tip: You’ll want two different colored straws to make this one simpler.
    • Make Chromatography Bags. This project is fun because each participating child ends up with a cool tote bag of their own design to keep. All you need to create these cool works of art is a canvas tote bag for each child, black water-based markers, rubbing alcohol, and an eyedropper, plate, and small cup.
    • Grow a Crystal Garden This classic science experiment requires little more than Epsom salt, food coloring, water, and clean glass jars. In order for the beautiful crystals to grow, the projects will have to spend the night in the refrigerator. In the morning, the kids can check out the results with a magnifying glass to really see the detail of each crystal.
    • Make and play with Flextangles. A little planning, a little folding, and kids will have made their own colorful fidget toys! The only supplies required are cardstock, a template, a pen, markers, scissors, glue, and maybe tape.
    • Watch some Tiny Dancers What’s more exciting than a DIY motor? This project incorporates a homopolar motor and wire sculpture for some creative fun that teaches kids about electricity and electromagnetism. Using just copper wire, magnets, AA batteries, crepe paper and hot glue, you and your little scientists will soon be watching your creations come to life and dance.

    At Creative Learning Academy, we recognize the importance of empowering kids to explore the world through creative projects. That’s why we offer STEAM activities as part of our Summer Explorers program in Succasunna, NJ. Contact us today to learn more or to enroll your child.

  • Tips for Making Summer Count

    When the school year is winding down, parents and kids alike daydream about the fun and freedom summer days will bring. However, it’s easy for summer boredom to hit just days after the kids get out of school. Is it possible for the summer to live up to your family’s expectations, and can your kids remain gainfully occupied when regular activities are on hold? Yes! You can keep your children engaged, happy and learning with these tips for making summer count.

    • Go swimming! A beach vacation may not be on your agenda, but hitting the local pool can be fun and rewarding. Besides being a skill that all children should learn, swimming is a proven stress reliever. Studies show that swimming produces relaxation responses and mental tranquility similar to those provided by yoga. Not only that but as any mom will tell you, it wears the kids out!
    • Visit a local science center. Science centers are great places to explore nature and learn new things. Check out the center’s calendar to learn which exhibits are going to be on display, and you might even find some cool events to interest your family. Near Succasunna, there are some great science centers to explore, including Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, Trailside Nature & Science Center in Mountainside, NJ, and Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, PA.
    • Grow a garden. Even little kids love to dig in the dirt and plant things that they can watch grow. Planning, tending, and reaping the rewards of a garden can help kids build a variety of skills, and you can boost the learning aspect by encouraging kids to keep a gardening journal. In this journal, they can write down questions and observations, keeping a written record of the growth of your summer garden. Gardening is a wonderful way to teach kids about healthy foods, the circle of life, and how to care for nature.
    • Read and write stories. Reading together is a great way to bond with your children while keeping their minds active. Writing together takes learning to the next level. There are so many great ways to inspire your kids to write. You can write a story together, encourage your kids to create a magazine, or show them how to start blogging.
    • Try geocaching. Geocaching is a cool outdoor activity for families: part hike, part scavenger hunt. Search for hidden caches using handheld GPS tools or apps, or try earthcaching, where you look for interesting geologic features. You can learn all about geocaching and earthcaching, and find links to even more information by visiting Geocaching 101: Family Fun for All, in Every Season.
    • Sign up for a summer program. Summer programs come in many forms, and you’re sure to find one to interest your kids. Whether you choose a sports program, an academic program, one that allows kids to pursue their artistic passions or some combination of more than one of these, summer programs are a great way to keep kids occupied during the summer.

    Creative Learning Academy offers a nine-week summer program in Succasunna, NJ for students entering kindergarten through 7th grade. We’re excited for this opportunity to provide kids with varied experiences, from the artistic to the sporty to the academic. Contact us through our website, or call 973.541.8241 to learn more.