Parent’s Corner: Product Review

Crayola Beginnings
Triangular Markers

I am always on the look out for new art supplies that are geared towards the preschool crowd.
These markers have the suggested age of 24m + right on the box but I know many if not all of us usually subtract a few months off those suggestions because we all know how brilliant and advanced our kids are . So I thought I would buy them and test them out with my 17 month old.


Here are our findings.

  • What I liked: I love that there is no cap, as a teacher I would have killed for these. I hated chasing after the caps to all my markers. I also liked how vibrant the colors were and that the felt tip doesn’t stick out much from the plastic casing, this is great with my son who recently bit the tip off a regular crayola marker !
  • What I didn’t like : The markers are designed for children who are starting to use the proper writing grip, so obviously this is still a ways off for my son and really I have seen plenty of 3 year olds not ready for that yet either. So that was frustrating for him and that resulted in throwing them and they made a fun sound on the wood floor, another negative in my mind!
  • What my son liked: He liked the colors, he exclaimed ” Oooooohhhh when he saw how bright the Orange and yellow were! He liked how the markers didn’t roll away from him when he put them down . He also liked biting on the plastic casing, and the fun sound the marker made when it hit mommy’s floor!
  • What my son didn’t like : It was harder for him to draw and hold with little hands and the tip is too far up to bite off and give mommy a heart attack ( mommy disagrees that this is a bad thing) . Also I forgot to add that the ends look very similar so he would try to color with the wrong end and again get frustrated.

** Obviously my son was too young for these but overall I was pretty impressed, I will pop them in my cupboard and pull them out in the fall! If there is a product you are wondering about or have a review for please contact me and I would be happy to include it in the next Parent’s Corner !

Before you enroll {questions to ask child care providers}


child care questions


Here is a checklist you can use when touring and interviewing both center based and in home daycares.

  • Is the center licensed?

Ask to see the license- it needs to be on display. Look and see how many children the center is licensed for and what ages and make sure that this matches what the provider has told you.

Ask to see the last licensing visit notes. These are the notes the state licensor has made and noted on his or her last visit. The licensor makes notes of any safety hazards and other infractions the center may have been issued. They must by law allow you to see this.

  • Is there an open door policy for parents, can you walk in at any time unannounced? If not LEAVE.
  • What are the operating hours? Is there a late fee if you are late picking up?
  • When is the center closed? Holiday , staff training days etc.
  • When is tuition due? Does the rate changes as your child ages?
  • How is the daycare secured? Is there a code on the door? How often is it changed?
  • What is the policy if someone other than you or your spouse is to pick the child up?
  • In home care setting who else in the family has access to your child?
  • Are other parents left alone with children other than their own while at the center?
  • What is the teacher to child ratio?
  • Are children segregated by age?
  • How are employees screened? How long have all the employees worked for the daycare? Expect some turnover, focus on any long term employees which is a very good sign! What sort of training and certifications do the care givers have?
  • Is everyone in the building trained in infant and child CPR, First Aid and Blood borne pathogens?
  • Has everyone working in the building been tested for TB?
  • How are the staff trained throughout the year?
  • How do staff members communicate with parents and vice versa? Many larger centers will have a daily sheet that records what the child ate, how long they slept etc.
  • What are the children fed throughout the day? Do you provide food or does the center provide all meals?
  • Is infant formula included? Can you bring expressed breast milk?
  • Is the kitchen clean and tidy?
  • How does the center deal with allergies?
  • Where are babies fed? Are they held when they are eating? Are you free and welcome to come in to nurse at any time?
  • Is there a fridge in the infant/ toddler classrooms to refrigerate bottles without the teacher having to leave the room?
  • How are bottles labeled? What do they do with left over formula/ Breast milk?
  • How do they avoid bottle sharing among mobile babies?
  • Are there appropriate diaper change facilities?What is the cleaning procedure for change tables? Are diapers/ wipes provided?
  • Does the room smell? Are garbage / diapers pails emptied out more than once a day?
  • Are babies allowed to sleep in swings? How do they deal with colicky babies?
  • Are babies put on their backs to sleep? Are staff trained re: SIDS ?
  • Does each child have their own crib or sleeping cot if older? How often are sheets and blankets cleaned?
  • How often are toys sanitized?How often are floors mopped?How often are rugs vacuumed?
  • How are medications stored? Who is authorized to administer the medication to your child?
  • What is the sick policy- when must a child be sent home?
  • What if the provider is sick- are there subs to replace the teacher or does the center close for the day?
  • Are there routine fire/ earthquake /tornado /lockdown drills? Where is this recorded?
  • Ask to see the disaster plan. There should be a safe place designated and a plan of action in case of evacuation.
  • Are the hallways/ fire exits clear of toys, furniture and other hazards?
  • Are cupboards, storage closets, staff rooms and such locked and inaccessible to children?
  • What is the discipline policy?
  • How do they handle potty training? What about accidents in older children?
  • What do they do with children who bite/ get bitten?
  • Are there adequate toys? Are they in good repair? Do you see a lot of books?
  • What is the daily schedule? What sort of activities will your child be doing?
  • Ask to see a lesson plan if possible.

Tips for tours: Walk slowly and don’t allow yourself to be rushed through, stop and look at anything and everything. Look to see how teachers interact with the children, are they on the floor playing, holding infants or talking to them? Use all five senses: How does the center smell? Do you hear a lot of yelling? Is there music playing or books being read? Is there a lot of light? Ask to see the food that is served, would you want to eat it? Are the classrooms cheerful ? Are the floors soft and safe to play on? After the tour return to the directors office or somewhere quiet to talk- ask yourself if you are comfortable with this person caring for your child? Ask any questions you think of and don’t be shy! And finally ask if you can bring your child in and spend some time observing a classroom to help make your decision.

Most importantly how do you feel ?


Reader’s Corner by request!

Reader’s Corner

**Thank you to everyone who has emailed me with book suggestions , I have many on request at my library and am looking forward to reading those I haven’t read before! I will couple them with an activity to share with your children too- so stay tuned!**

I can not stress enough how important it is that you read to your child, even when it’s the same book about diggers for the 30th time!

Another email I got requested that I read some of “ Chica Chica Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault on Video- so here it is!

Unless you are THIS tall don’t try this at home.

Pasta Dyeing


For a lot of crafts, especially making pasta jewelry dyeing plain pasta is a great way to make it more exciting , and prettier. Also let’s face it if our kids are going to make us a necklace and expect us to wear it, we may as well choose the colors!

This is an adults only activity- the one time I did it with kids many many years ago, I had some very angry parents , their kid’s faces and clothes were red, purple and yellow for days. Live and learn!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water, white vinegar , food coloring , some bowls, pasta and paper towel.
  2. Put a little water ( I put about 2 table spoons) in your bowls and some food coloring in it. Add about a tablespoon of vinegar .
  3. Add Pasta- you just want to coat it, don’t let it soak long enough to get at all soft.
  4. Transfer the pasta to paper towel , mine is 4 layers deep. Stir them a bit on the paper so they don’t dry stuck to the paper towel. Let dry for 24 hours before using it for a craft. Also I like to test it for colorfastness before making anything, just in case .
  5. Oh and you might want to wear gloves, even after 10 years of doing thins I forget, and look! This is after 4 hand washings!

*** The same process can be used for rice too!


Stay tuned we will be making Valentine’s Necklaces with the Pasta tomorrow!