Let’s Have a Ball!

The last few months we’ve been talking all about simple activity ideas, using our favorite things, books, blocks, and balls. Today we’re going to wrap up these simple activities by focusing on balls!

Balls have dynamics all their own:  they bounce, roll when pushed, soar when thrown, move unassisted down a ramp and come to a complete stop.  Because of this the dynamics of moving balls can help your child learn principles of physics and cause and effect.

Here’s some fun activities to try at home:

Quite the Catch: Using a variety of balls, try the following activities:

Drop the ball, let it bounce and then catch it.

Throw the ball into the air and catch it.

See how high you can throw the ball and still catch it.

Throw the ball into the air and see how many times you can clap your hands before you catch it.

Throw the ball against the wall and catch it.

Throw the ball back and forth with a friend.

Home Bowling: Using empty water or soda bottles, set up a small group of at least five bottles. Standing a few feet away, have your child roll a ball to the bottles and see how many he can know down. Make it a game with other people!

Balls in the Air: Hold the corners of a small blanket with your child to create a parachute. Place balls on the blanket and throw them up, trying to catch them on the blanket. Try different sized balls to add variation.

The Rhyming Ball Game: First have everyone sit in a circle. Hold a ball and say a word then roll it to the next person. The person who receives the ball then says a word that rhymes with your word. See how many words the circle can come up with, before picking a new word and starting again.

When you’re at Discovery Gateway next, be sure to have a ball in the Beehive exhibit in the Garden, the Magnet Wall in the STEAM Studio, the New Move It exhibit, and more!


Celebrate the Week of the Young Child!

Childhood is a celebration every day, but did you know that once a year we actually have a whole week dedicated to it? April 10 – 16 has been declared by the National Association for the Education of Young Children as the Week of the Young Child. During this week especially parents and families can make a special effort to celebrate the youngsters that surround us!

Here are a few ideas from the National Association for the Education of Young Children to make the most of this special week!

Music Monday!

Through music, children develop math, language, and literacy skills – All while having fun and being active! Find the beat to connect music, movement, and math. Practice clapping, drumming, or stomping to the beat of the music while counting.

Taco Tuesday 

Cooking together connects math with literacy skills, science, and more. Measure your ingredients while making your tacos! Ask children if they’d like the same or different amounts of each ingredient.

Work Together Wednesday 

When children build together they explore math and science concepts and develop their social and early literacy skills. Practice organizing blocks by size! Try building a block tower with large blocks on the bottom and little blocks on top!

Artsy Thursday

Children develop creativity, social skills and fine motor skills with open-ended art projects where they can make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands. Bring art outdoors! Offer dark and light paper, chalk and pastels, and suggest children create their own versions of the day and night sky!

Family Friday

Engaging and celebrating families is at the heart of supporting our youngest learners. Have a Family Friday breakfast, where you and your children can prepare and share breakfast treats while sharing memories!

Source: https://www.naeyc.org/woyc

To celebrate the Week of the Young Child Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, Help Me Grow Utah, and other community partners are having an April Baby Shower! Bring your youngest learners and enjoy fun and interactive party activities including a ball pit, sensory wall and crawl, hand-print art, and giant bubbles! Join us at Discovery Gateway April 14, from 12pm to 4pm. Free admission for children ages 0-36 months.

2016: Collect Moments this Year

Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah by Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

As we all know the start of the New Year generally means new goals, new experiences, and a new sense of determination. For me and my family, it’s also a time to reflect on the past year and dream big for the year to come. We love to reminisce about the happy times, talk about how much we’ve grown because of the hard times, and smile at all the times that brought laughter to our lives.

We do a lot of fun and memorable things as a family, but sometimes they can get lost in the bustle of everyday life if we don’t record them. One of my personal goals this year is to record and focus on the good experiences I’ll have throughout the year.

I decided to create a memory jar to collect memories throughout the year. One of the reasons I chose this method is because it’s something my family and I can easily do together and it’s as easy as writing just a few sentences (great for all of us non-journal writers out there)! I found the instructions for the jar we made here

On our slips of paper, we decided we wanted to record things like

  • Memories that make us smile or laugh
  • Fun things we did as a family
  • Experiences that we learn from
  • Life lessons that others teach us
  • Things that we accomplish, big or small

Doing something like this is a great way to get your children involved in keeping the history of your family. Make sure you help them record things that are important to them. I’m sure they will begin to love putting memories into the jar as much as they will love reading them at the end of the year!

Have any of you tried a memory jar before or something similar? How did it work for your family? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah: Time & Love

A friend recently asked me, “Tell me the most important thing I need to know about raising children in the next 15 seconds.” The question caught me off guard and I ended up responding with this, “Well, your child will start learning the moment they are born and the best way they learn is through play. Oh and you can never spoil your child with too much love!” My friend then responded, “Hmmm, time and love, I can do that!” Our conversation soon turned to other things and we carried on our merry way, but since then I have thought often of his question.

I am a firm believer that one of the most important gifts you can give your child truly is your time and your unconditional love. In the long run those two things will make more difference than anything else, and it’s those things that your child will remember.

With the holiday season upon us, I think we can all agree that no matter what you celebrate there is a definite feeling of love and family togetherness in the air. As a community we tend to be more kind, more patient, and have more feelings of gratitude for the people around us.

This time of year provides us with a chance to let those pleasant feelings spill into our family relationships. Take time this month to spend quality time with each of your family members, especially your children! Don’t hesitate to tell and show those around you that you love them. These really are some of the best gifts and you can give them all year long.

Happy Holidays!

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah: Routines

The school year is now upon us and getting back into a consistent routine is important for your family and quite possibly your sanity as a parent. Although they can sometimes be rough to establish, especially after a long fun summer, having routines throughout the day is something that children actually crave!

Routines provide children with stability and security, both of which help a child build a foundation for self-discipline. Having a routine can help eliminate the power struggle often associated with bedtime, mealtime, and homeworktime, just to name a few. This is because children know what to expect and it actually gives them a sense of control in their ever-changing world.

Figuring out routines that work for your family is up to you, every family is different and you are the best judge of what will work, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Be consistent! Your child may not take to a routine as quickly as you would like, but preserve!

Prepare for upcoming transitions. When the time to stop playing and start getting ready for bed is near, give your child fair warning to ease into the routine. Make this transition time a consistent part of the routine.

Accept that there will be times the routine fails. Whether its staying too late at a family party, being out of town, or the day is just not going your way. It’s ok to have those off days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue with the routine the next day.

Freetime is still vital! Not every moment of your child’s day should be structured. They need time to explore and make their own decisions about what they do. You can easily have routines while still allowing for freedom and growth.

Still have questions about routines? That’s ok! Help Me Grow is here for you. Call 801-691-5322 or visit helpmegrowutah.org to talk to a Care Coordinator about how to establish routines and the benefits of them.

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

Early Childhood Connections: Happy New Year


Happy New Year 2015!

Each new year brings with it new opportunities and approaches to lifestyle. It’s the traditional time to reevaluate and make needed changes in our lives. It’s also an ideal time to begin introducing this concept to your older children. Children ages 7 – 12 years are able to understand the concept of New Year’s resolutions and make their own, because they still be forming habits that are not yet set in concrete like many adult habits are. Making resolutions with your children can be fun. I’d like to share some helpful ideas.

Make resolutions age appropriate, simple, and easy for children to understand. Use a calendar to track progress. Also, allow time for children to adjust to the new resolutions, praise them for their efforts, and most importantly celebrate the successes. Review resolutions together at the end of the year, and begin thinking of new family resolutions to begin the next year.

A fun way to transition from the holidays to New Year’s Day is to create a family New Year Tree. Prior to New Year’s Eve, decorate a small tree with party horns, streamers, and any other New Year’s party items. Write your old resolutions on note cards and place them on the tree, and then replace them with the new resolutions on New Year’s Day.

Tammy M Spicer, MAEd | Director of Operations

Family Scarecrow Contest


Submit scarecrows:

October 22nd – 24th during regular museum hours

October 25th by noon

Click here to download a registration form.

Build a traditional free-standing scarecrow (at least three feet tall) and have it displayed in the Farm exhibit at this year’s Halloween Spooktacular. This is a great opportunity to show off your family’s creativity and teamwork!

Utah’s Own will visit the museum on Friday, October 25th to judge the scarecrow contest and will bring a bag of Utah’s Own goodies for the winning family! The winning scarecrow will be announced during Halloween Spooktacular on October 26th at 11 am.

Looking for some inspiration? Try these easy-to-follow instructions by British Blogger Penny Alexander.


We just can’t wait to see what your families come up with!