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Theme for the Week: Camping! (or at least getting outside) 

It's been really rainy in Colorado but that just means more beautiful flowers and green plants to enjoy.  Usually by this time of the summer, everything is brown and dried up so let's get outside, no matter where you live and enjoy the summer!

If you can't get away for a night of camping, you can just go to the park for a picnic or take a hike, either on a trail nearby or just around the block! Point out all the things in nature that you see - birds, squirrels, rabbits, trees, flowers, etc. 

Letter of the Week: C - Find things that start with C to show your child, such as cat, cup, cabin (or cab if you live in the city), cactus, and cacophonous for the truly exceptional child.  Point to the object and say "C" and the word. Show them a picture of a C. Better yet, buy some of those bathtub letters or refrigerator letters and show them that letter. Or if you are outside, write the letter in the sand or dirt. Don't worry if they don't repeat it yet; they still hear your words. 

Number of the Week: 2 - When you show your child anything say "Two Cats" or "Two Cabins" and show them a picture of the number 2. Write the number 2 on paper. Show them 2 things at a time and count them - "one" "two" - so your child gets used to the pattern.

Songs of the Week: Home on the Range - a great song to sing if you do make it camping or you can sing it to them at naptime since it is a quiet song.  The link is the lyrics and the tune. I also love SpongeBob's Campfire Song Song - It's catchy; you'll find yourself singing it over and over. 

Story of the Week: Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle -  If he/she won't sit still for the whole book, just show them a couple of pages and let them turn the pages of the book on their own. Find it on Amazon by clicking on the title.  You can find it as a board book or a picture book but at this age, I'd recommend the board book for pretty much any book you are going to show your child.

Spanish Words of the Week: el arbol = tree, el sol = sun, la luna  = moon, acampar = to camp. If you need pronunciation, please google "Spanish dictionary" - I could not get the links I found to work so I'm not including any here. You can begin to use Spanish words to your child, assuming Spanish is not your first language. I also recommend the BBC series Muzzy for introducing a foreign language to your child. Even the youngest kids will enjoy the big blue fuzzy Muzzy and the songs are so catchy! 

Snack of the Week: Trail Mix - age-appropriate, of course.  If your child is too young, please don't give them peanuts or M&Ms since that's a choking hazard.  I'd recommend a small mix of goldfish, chex cereal, possibly raisins if your child can chew them and chocolate chips or carob chips, if you prefer.  Again, please be careful of any small food.  An alternative snack would be marshmallows, in honor of the camping theme. 

Do-It-Myself Activity: Pack a snack! Have them put the trail mix, or marshmallows, cheerios or goldfish into a sandwich bag or reusable container to take on your "hike", even if it's just a hike around the block. Even my 14-month-old son likes to put things in bags (and take them out too...)

Craft of the Week: Gathering things from nature - acorns, leaves, rocks. You can give them a paper bag to put these things in as they gather them. 

If your child is a little older, you can help him or her make pinecone bird feeders.  Gather a pinecone - the larger, the better - and smear some sort of nut butter on it, such as peanut butter or soy nut butter.  Roll the pinecone in birdseed and tie a string loop on the top to hang it from a tree branch.  

Yoga Pose: Butterfly - the link includes a description among other animal poses your child may enjoy.  My older kids always liked the Yoga Kids series.  

Character Component: Putting things away.  In camping, you must always clean, dry and put all of your things away very carefully so the tent, sleeping bags, stove, etc. are all ready for you next time.  You can teach this at the most basic level by having your child put his dishes in the sink after meals, putting her clothes in the hamper at the end of the day and putting the toys away when they are finished playing. You can help, of course (or it mostly likely will not get done exactly the way you'd like it!).  Make it a game - "let's see who can put the socks away first!"

Holiday of the Month: Camping week! 

Most of all - give your little one a hug and say "I love you" as many times a day as you can think of! You can never give them enough love. Talk to them, even though they may not talk back and read to them everyday - even if it's the cereal box at breakfast. Enjoy!

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