How to Celebrate the Week of the Young Child

Stacia Jackson is the Education Manager for Jumpstart.

It is no secret children love to celebrate. Happy Birthday! Happy First Day of Spring! Happy Fourth of July! Happy 100 Days of School! Every new day is a new possibility for celebration. Happy Tuesday! Happy Friday! You would be amazed at the number of holidays or special days you could celebrate with your children. With all of these special days, where is the one to celebrate young children?

That’s where the Week of the Young Child comes in. Starting today, April 12th, join the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in their annual celebration of the young learner in your life. Started in 1971, the Week of the Young Child has celebrated and raised the awareness for the needs of young children. Here at Jumpstart, we love to celebrate the preschoolers we serve. Every day is a new opportunity for learning and growing together. Across the county, Jumpstart Corps members are celebrating children every day, helping them prepare for success in kindergarten. Corps members and children can be found exploring the world of color while reading Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd or learning about shadows while playing with stick puppets. Together, they learn about how to observe an experiment and make predictions. Corps members and children play together and let their imaginations soar as they pretend to care for babies, go grocery shopping, or run their own ice cream parlor. During each session element, Jumpstart Corps members are celebrating children’s accomplishments and learning.

You don’t need to be an official Jumpstart Corps member to celebrate young children. All you need is the child in your life and 15 minutes each day. Ready to get started? To make this week extra special, we have compiled a list of activities for you!

Every day is a new opportunity for learning and growing together.

Get the week started off right as you shake, shimmy, wiggle, and roll to celebrate Music Monday! Put on your silliest socks and listen to Thingamajig. Learn about information questions, “who, what, where, why?” and some nonsensical, silly responses, like “thingamajig” and “whatmacallit!” Turn the music up and dance! Children will love these silly lyrics and spending quality, active time with you.

On Tuesday, join in for “Taco Tuesday,” a celebration of healthy eating and fitness at home or at school. Take a few minutes out of your day to celebrate with the child in your life. Find a copy of Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and learn what to do when dragons are craving this snack. Be careful not to serve these large reptiles spicy salsa or you’re in for some dragon sized trouble! When you’re done reading, grab some crayons and construction paper to recreate your favorite dragons from the book!

What to do on Wednesday? Work together, of course! On Work Together Wednesday, build something together. Does your child love the feel of play dough? Use these simple recipes to create your own dough! Find your child’s favorite book and recreate the characters or create your own critters. Use information questions to get the conversation going and encourage children to think and explore.

On Thursday, it is time to get messy! Start by reading Mix It Up by Heve Tulliet, a book all about mixing colors. Celebrate Artsy Thursday by creating and combining paint colors on construction paper. Use your fingers, a paintbrush, or find other materials to help spread around the paint. Leaves, pinecones, feathers, paper towels, forks, and straws can all be used to provide interesting texture to your paintings Want to avoid messy paint? Explore public art. Taking a family field trip is a great way to expose your child to new and different forms of art. You can find a children’s museum or search for museums with free or discounted rates.

Finish off the week with Family Friday. Settle in to read family focused books like, I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child, Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, or A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams. Spend some time looking at pictures, talking about the people, places, and things in each photograph. Be sure to include a photo or two of when you were little. Your child will delight in seeing you as a preschooler!

These ideas are just the beginning! Be sure to check us out on Twitter (@Jumpstartkids) and Facebook for more ideas during Week of the Young Child. Tweet us pictures of your celebrations using the hashtags #WOYC and tag us @Jumpstartkids.

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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