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    Storytelling

    Storytelling

    Storytelling encourages and stirs a child’s imagination, while also calming their bodies.

    The wonderful thing about storytelling is the endless possibilities and adventures that can be created with your words and in a child’s mind. This magical listening experience keeps children entertained in a smart, screen-free way! (I know we are always looking for those!) And while you might not see yourself as a natural storyteller, children can be our least discerning of audiences, often captivated by the simplest or silliest of stories. Here are some tips to bring out the storyteller in yourself:

     

    1. Make your child the lead or best supporting actor in the story! Maybe your story starts with your child and her favorite super-dog, Bugsy. Children get a kick out of imagining themselves or the characters they know in the story. 

     

    2. Keep it simple. Story-time is often used for the purpose of unwind or signaling bedtime. Your stories can be a single event or account but just make sure to give a few details that children are familiar with like color, shape, or animal.  “Once upon a time there was a happy purple fish named Bob. He was very hungry so he went the the market to buy some food. That is when he bumped into a goldfish named Shirley. She was new to town. Bob and Shirley became great friends.” That simple! 

     

    3. If fantasy doesn’t fly off your tongue, use stories you already know or possibly non-fiction from your own life or family! If the Three Little Bears is the story you know best, tell it! Children love familiarity and being able to predict and know what happens next.

     

    4. Ask your child to participate—filling in details or deciding what happened next! Did the Unicorn go into the forest or to the mall? This is opportunity to encourage their creativity or confidence. 

     

    So next time find yourself with your little one in quiet waiting room, or a too long airplane, or bedside, tell a story! 

     

    Natalie 

     

    What is a 2x Daily Opportunity for Boosting a Child's Confidence?

    What is a 2x Daily Opportunity for Boosting a Child's Confidence?

    Self-Dressing: A Stepping Stone to Independence

    Watching my children learn to dress themselves will often bring me proud moments of seeing them discover their independence and personal style, other moments of laugher when they have their shoes on the wrong feet, and many moments that downright test my patience when I want to jump in and say, “let me just help you.” 

    When we take a step back and examine all that is involved in self-dressing, we can see the incredible benefits that make it worth the little extra time and patience called upon. Self-dressing is a physiological and emotional milestone that can lead to a more confident, independent and coordinated child and that is why at Snickerdoos we love encouraging it! 

    Below I explore some of the benefits of self-dressing, as well as share some tips! 

    It all starts with a child’s discovery and selection of what they like and what they want to wear. What is their favorite color or style and how does it make them feel? Next comes the cognitive exercise and understanding the sequence of putting on clothing and to think of how seasons, temperatures and activities affect what should be worn. Lifting their arms up and legs in specific coordinated motions to get into shirts over head or pant legs on call upon gross motor skills. Sports aren’t the only exercise! ;) And then being able to use their fingers to manipulate small objects like zippers, buttons, laces, and buckles, they will be practicing their fine motor skills. 

    With each step of self-dressing, frustrations can arise—clothes do not always fit the desired way or a child can become challenged by a pesky zipper or too tight sock. This is the time to offer praise, encouragement and helpful guidance, giving them the opportunity to show us and themselves that they can indeed do hard things. 

    A few tips for supporting a self-dressing child: 

    1. Offer Limited Choices: Offer a few appropriate choices from a few tops to a few bottoms. This will minimize the amount of time it can take a child to select an outfit. 
    2. Minimize Frustrations: Look for loose fitting clothing and avoid zippers and laces for the early stages of self-dressing. 
    3. Break Down the Tasks: Think about the steps to put on pair of pants and help by gently guiding them or offer an arm to balance on. 

    At Snickerdoos, we love taking opportunities to encourage a child’s independence from experimenting with self-dressing to exploring pretend play. That is why all of our costumes are one-piece designs from easy pull overs tops to slip on rompers. No to limited parent participation needed here!

    4 Steps to Encouraging Imagination at Home

    4 Steps to Encouraging Imagination at Home

    "The power of imagination makes us infinite." -John Muir 

    It’s the start of summer and our family has already enjoyed a wonderful mix of adventures thanks to travel and exploring the outdoors but I admit, when at home we've succumbed to TV more than I'd like, so I've been researching activity and exploration to encourage a child's imagination and playfulness at home.

    1. Have materials on hand! We love having a craft drawer full of crayons, paper, stickers, and play-dough, but I'm also constantly on the lookout for materials that can be recycled and repurposed into art. Water bottle caps can be the perfect start to googly eyes, and empty toilet paper rolls can transform into bracelets, building materials, or a pretend telescope. Leave it to a child’s imagination to create something new, beautiful, and fun!

     2. Encourage pretend play -- the Snickerdoos specialty! Pretend play is a remarkable tool for learning and growth. From using new vocabulary to practicing cooperation, we love witnessing the transformative power of play as children create stories and characters with their vivid imaginations. It can be helpful to provide props like tea cups, a children’s cash register, or a Snickerdoos costume to spark and encourage pretend play. 

    3. The next one is simple and no tools or materials are necessary: Ask questions!Children are great at being naturally curious and asking questions, and it is fun to flip the script and be curious with them, too! Ask them about their feelings and experiences. What do you love to do with your friends? Tell me about your favorite adventure? You will be expanding their use of vocabulary and getting a peek into their mind.

     

    4. Spend time outside! The great outdoors provide us with an incredible landscape for learning and calming. While outside in your own yard, dig in deeper with a scavenger hunt or by initiating collecting and sorting of leaves, flower, rocks, etc. Both scavenger hunts and collecting provide opportunities for children to discover and adventure in a familiar place while stretching their views and interests. 

    Who Am I?

    Who Am I?

    Did you know that by reading and telling stories, children begin to tackle some of life’s big questions: who are we and how did we come to be? 

    In the playroom and in social settings, children begin to develop their identity through storytelling. Children often recount meaningful life experiences and events that both define and excite them. One of my daughter Louise’s favorite stories to tell is of the day we ran into a friend at the mall and then later at the beach. “It was craziest day ever!” This wonderful form of self-expression and communication helps children begin to manage their self-identity. 

    But where does story-telling all begin?

    One of the most valuable ways in which children begin to understand storytelling and story structure is by being read to by their parents, caretakers and teachers. Fairy tales are full of moral obligations, what is right and wrong, this where children begin to gain feeling of conscious and therefore self-worth. Fairy tales are also filled with enchantment and wonder, painting an imaginative world where a child is able to look inward and identify their own feelings and emotions. Ask your child: Why did that story make you so happy? 

    Here are some of my favorite children’s books: 

    Raise Your Hand by Alice Tapper

    This book encourages girls to be brave, to be bold, and to participate! We must note that Alice Tapper was only 11 years old when she penned this beautiful book! 

     

    Stand in my shoes Kids Learning About Empathy by Bob Sornson, Ph.D. 

    This book introduces the concept of empathy and noticing the feelings of others. Do we need to say more!? 

    Moody Cow Meditates by Kerri Lee MacLean

    Kids can meditate too! This is a wonderful book for children and parents to share together and discuss the concept of mindfulness.  

    What Do You Do With an Idea? By Kobi Yamada

    Wow! Do we love this book! When we were developing Snickerdoos, we felt like we were going through all the same emotions as the lead character in What Do You Do With an Idea? From toddlers to adults, it can be scary to share our ideas and feelings; and Yamada beautifully helps to illustrate that is completely normal! 

    And of course, you know my favorite costumes for supporting and enhancing a child’s story-telling: Snickerdoos! 

     

     

     

    Be Childish. Yes, Childish!

    Be Childish. Yes, Childish!

    What Can We Learn From Kids?

    Some kids are dare devils—naturally curious and up for adventure at every turn. Some kids are observers and hesitant to dive in until they are familiar and feel safe. Most are honest (or really really bad at being dishonest) with their feelings and experiences. But what most kids have in common is that they are fully present seeking out only things that make them smile.

     

    I believe as adults there are many opportunities to look to children as our teachers and inspirations.

    1. Believe in possibilities. “Irrational” and “impossible” are two words that are not in a child’s vocabulary until it is introduce with time and age. Children are inspiration with their aspirations and hopeful thinking. If something has to be  dreamed before it is reality, isn’t this a great place to start!?
    2. Be fully present. To me this is the most challenging and the most important. I love Oprah’s Supersoul podcast that she opens with the simple reminder “I believe one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time. Taking time to be more fully present.” 
    3. Nurture friendships. Children find joy in playing with friends and making new ones. Never hesitant to go to a new park and find common ground with others—often on the monkey bars.  
    4. Be Courageous. At wedding or local fair isn't usually the youngest who boldly find a spot first on the dance floor-- embracing joy and the opportunity for fun.

    As the founder of Snickerdoos, I love a child’s natural curiosity that shine in role play and their boldness to experiment and create a new world around them. 

    Be bold, be present, and be childish! 

    -Natalie Smith

    Illustration by Lisa Congdon