Edmonds StrongStart

Expect Children to constantly surprise and amaze you!

Happy Spring Break

Spring Break is just around the corner! With two whole weeks of child-time ahead, having plans in place will make for a stress-free, fun, and memorable break.

Given the circumstances this year, Spring Break will involve more local activities, and what’s more local than your own home? Think of it as your very own homemade Spring Break camp.

Need ideas for home-based activities indoor and outdoor, that don’t include a screen?

Scavenger hunts. As early signs of spring pop up, make some time to discover some of them with your little one. Whether you make a more formal like spring scavenger hunt, a game of eye spy or a casual noticing of the early buds and blossoms, get out there and enjoy the day. For a simple spring scavenger hunt list check out teachingmama.org for a free printable list .  Have fun looking for signs of spring .


Spring foam window murals. Make an open-ended creative play activity on the window, fridge, or in the bath tub, using foam sheets cut into Spring shapes! It’s clean and reusable too? All you need is a packet of craft foam a pair of scissors and some water! Easily stick the pieces to the window by dipping them in a plate of water first.


Broccoli print cherry blossom trees. You need to cut a broccoli stem in half, as straight and evenly as possibly from top to bottom. Dip it into brown paint, lift up and press evenly onto paper to create a perfect tree print! (If you don’t have brown paint mix red, blue and green together.) Now add pink blossoms using finger tips or cotton swabs and dott the blossoms all over the tree branches. For fun effect you can use two shades of pink.

Grass heads. The kids will love to make these Mr. Grass heads and watch them grow! They can also give them haircuts. For instruction video please visit https://www.redtedart.com/kids-crafts-grass-heads/. You will need: old tights/ stockings, some compost or earth, grass seeds, rubber band or thread, for decorating – googly eyes, felt, and a pot for your grass head to sit in!

Rock painting. With warm, sunny days ahead, prepare to beautify your outdoor space with colourful, painted rocks. Decorate rocks with multiple colours, pictures, dates, and kids’ names.



Obstacle course. When designing an obstacle course indoors or outside, it’s all about movement. Crawl under an object, jump over an object, run around an object, slide between objects, and laugh!


Paper airplanes. There are so many ways to craft a super-sleek aircraft. Ramp up the fun by designing a landing strip. Can you fly your plane into a large pot, a large circle cut out of paper on the floor, or through a hula hoop?

Unlimited painter’s tape games. One roll of painter’s tape equals countless activities. Create a long jump “pit” with several spaced-out lines of tape and see how far kids can jump. Perhaps they get further each time they try! Fashion your very own indoor hopscotch court and used rolled up socks or beanbags as markers. Design a racetrack for toy cars, trucks, and trains.

Fashion show. Unleash your child’s inner diva with a raid of home closets and the dress-up box. Suggest categories for outfits such as stylish or silly. Don’t forget the runway, the music, and the flash of the paparazzi taking pictures.



Forts. Go old-school with pillows and blankets or create a full-day activity by picking up a large appliance cardboard box. Cut out a door, a window or two, and provide craft materials including paint, markers, glue, feathers, ribbons, and stickers for kids to make their very own stylish tiny house. Don’t forget to stock the fort with cushions, flashlights, books, and snacks.

Enjoy your time with your family and let me know what your funniest Spring Break adventure was!

Hands-on Play

  • Hands-on activities allow children to use their senses while learning. They see, touch, and move real objects to complete tasks. This means that , shapes, colors, and more are brought to life! Children begin to understand the meaning behind what they are doing.
  • Children will strengthen their fine motor development. They learn control, communication, concentration and dedication to finishing tasks and problem solving skills.
  • Children get excited and engaged because they are having FUN!
  • Hands-on toddler, preschool, and kindergarten activities help children to build a lifelong love of learning!

Hand print: Finger paint with your child on separate pieces of paper. Than create one to display with your handprint next to your child’s handprint. Talk about which hand is bigger? which hand is smaller? Use a sharpie to add some eyes, ears and tail. There you go, you created some great elephants.

For extra fun and learning , you can use  different colours on each hand. After making the handprints to the side of the paper rub the two hands together and print in the middle. See what new colour you made? Ex. Red hand and yellow hand rubbed together makes orange.


Wave your hands: Sung to “Row, row, row Your Boat”

Wave, wave, wave your hands (sing slowly)

As slowly as can be.

Wave your hands, wave your hands,

Wave them now with me.

Wave, wave, wave your hands (sing fast)

As fast as can be.

Wave your hands, wave your hands,

Wave them now with me.

Substitute other words, such as rub, roll, flap, clap for wave.


Mitten mates: Put several pairs of mittens into a box and mix them up. Help your child put on one mitten. can she find its mate? Play the game again, starting with a different mitten.



Open, shut them:

Open, shut them, Open, shut them
Give a little clap, clap, clap!
Open, shut them,
Open, shut them,
Put them in your lap, lap lap.

Creep them crawl them , creep them crawl them
Right up to your chin, chin chin.
Open up your little mouth,
But do not let them in!


Finger foods: Throughout the week, serve finger foods as snack. Your child is sure to enjoy such treats as dry cereal pieces, tiny crackers, fruit and veggie pieces, cheese cubes, or rolled ham .








Click on the blue links to sing the songs with me.

Happy Family Day!

Good morning!

I hope you all had the opportunity to spend some quality time with your families this Family Day.

Do you know that the family traditions we create with our family have a lifelong impact on our children’s life?

The family traditions help each family to better bond and form a unique family unit as it strengthens the connection between it’s members. Our children gain strength and security and build their self-identify through the warm and intimate atmosphere of family traditions.

In my house we like to play board games with the kids and look at Family Photo albums.

What family traditions do you practice at your house?








Here are some ways you can use family photos to encourage storytelling.

  1. Flip through pictures with your child and take turns telling stories about what you see. It’s OK if they want to tell the same one over and over.
  2. Print out some pictures from a fun occasion — like a birthday party, family vacation, or holiday — and ask your child to put them in order of events.
  3. Print out or show your child a picture of an event from your childhood or life before she was born, and ask her to make up a story using clues in the picture.
  4. Tell a life story in 10 pictures or less. Print out a number of pictures and have your child pick 10 or fewer to put in chronological order to tell the story of his life. Include all the major milestones and some fun little details too. It’s always fascinating to see what events kids choose to include. More than once, a birth of a sibling has been completely ignored! After putting the life story together, have your child tell you the story picture by picture.



Listen to children’s family stories by clicking on the links below:

   The Family Book by Todd Parr 

We Are Family By Patricia Hegarty

Community Support

Life can be busy when you have a young family to care for. Remember that you are not alone.

The Burnaby Primary Care Network has compiled a contact sheet with various supports from help finding a doctor, mental health support, or discrimination or racism supports.  Check it out here or click on the attached poster – multiple languages available online.

The Early Childhood Development Table has compiled a wonderful program resource for families – check out the poster to see fabulous free programing Burnaby offers for families and children from Mother Goose to Circle of Security, there’s something for everyone! Visit The Burnaby ECD Table at www.kidsinburnaby.ca or the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/BurnabyECDCommunityTable.

Want to remind you that at the top of the blog there are two more pages: Community Resources for Families and Parenting Place- Activities for Children. Check them out for updated community information and parenting topics and activities.

Happy browsing.


Research tells us that “children’s lovey objects/ blankies are like the first training wheels for telling themselves ‘you’re all right’. With a built-in sense of security, children feel safe enough to take small risks, explore and grow.”

Here are some ideas how you can play with the child’s favorite blanket.

MyBlanket: Ask your child to find his favourite blanket. Help him talk about how it looks and feels. then take a photo of him and his “blankie” and display it where he can easily see it.





Picnic  Blanket: Sit with your child on a blanket and enjoy a simple picnic .






Blanket tent: Create a tent by draping a blanket over a small table or between to pieces of furniture. Add a pillow or a stiffed toy, and invite your child to play inside the Blanket Tent.





Blanket Peekaboo: Let your child hide under a blanket. Pretend that he has disappeared, than quickly lift the blanket to find him. Or, pull the blanket off slowly as you say, “Oh, I’ve found a leg! Oh my, I’ve found another leg!” and so forth.






Little Blanket:

I had a little blanket,

It’s soft as soft can be.

And when I go

To Grandma’s house,

My blanket goes with me.


Substitute other names for Grandma.

Community Programs

Dear StrongStart parents,


Here is the info from our community partners about additional community support available to you.



Family Services of Greater Vancouver:  If you are interested in a free one-on-one consultation about your child’s development, behavior, parenting tips, tricks and education please email or call me, Anita Olson, Early Childhood Community Consultant to set up either a virtual appointment or a socially distanced visit in the community – aolson@fsgv.ca 604-723-9548 


Information Children will continue to offer 

  • Parent Coaching services – via phone or Zoom. These sessions can be booked by emailing us at info@informationchildren.com. We are available for Parent Coaching: 9-4pm Mondays, and afternoons Tuesdays-Fridays. 
  • Online New Parents Group in a six part series. Topics such as adjusting to your new baby, expectations, growth and infant development and self-care will be explored in the comfort of your own home via Zoom check out the attachment for more information or click the link below – New Parents Group – Fridays from Jan 15-Feb 19, 1:30-3pm https://www.informationchildren.com/event/new-parents-group/ 
  •  Online Family Storytime suitable for ages 18 month to 5 years old. Here is  link to more info: Information Children Online Storytime Jan 2021 copy (1) 


Burnaby Family Life continues to offer an assortment of virtual parenting classes and of course, children’s programs, such as circle times, play to learn, and mother goose. Registration is required for all programs – check out the attachment for their winter calendar or the links provided – https://bflgrowscommunity.org/ and WINTER 2021 – Parenting and Family Resource Programs Calendar 


Burnaby Public Library has had a website makeover! With a new look and reorganization, everything is easier to navigate and find. Check it out – www.bpl.bc.ca 


Burnaby Neighbourhood House is still staying apart right now to keep each other safe, but there is still much fun to be had with all the virtual classes and programs offered! Please join BNH for many online Zoom programs for people of all ages.  For more information and to register: https://burnabynh.ca/virtual-programs/ 

Warm Wishes for the Holiday Season

Dear Edmond Strongstart Families,

I’m wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season.

As always, in good times and bad times, in happy and stressful times, being with people you love makes for the best holidays no matter what you are celebrating! This is such a joyous time for children because they cherish every minute, they can spend with you. I am hoping that you are finding ways to create happy memories, share lots of hugs and laughter, get some well deserved rest and strengthen your family bonds.

As some of you are counting the days ’till Christmas, Click Here to join me for Christmas Songs a Rhymes.

Here’s wishing you all the joy of the season. Have a Happy New Year!

I look forward to reconnecting with you all on the first week of January.

Family Traditions During a Pandemic

Today’s blog was written by Anita Olson.

Many families celebrate traditions during the winter months – Diwali just passed, Bodhi Day, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s (secular) and many other celebrations are to come. Because of Covid, this year has been a significant year of ambiguous grief and loss: loss of freedom, time with family, of financial security, jobs and loss of loved ones, to name a few. It is no doubt that how we previously celebrated our beloved holiday traditions are going to look and feel differently this year as the pandemic lingers on.

Firstly, it is totally okay to feel that it’s not fair we can’t celebrate like we did last year, with parties and family gatherings – it isn’t fair. But we also recognize the importance of keeping our loved ones healthy and safe. We can expect that staying in for the holidays without the neighbours, the in-laws and the funny uncle will feel different, because it is. The family traditions we hold dear and celebrate are like long terms routines – and routines help us feel settled, we know what to expect and look forward to them in anticipation.

This year our family traditions, or routines, are hardly anything we were expecting – and that can cause uneasy feelings. Not knowing what to expect can feel scary. But luckily there are two sides to this unexpected coin. When we don’t have a set routine to fall back on, we are nudged to flex our creative muscles! Not having a set holiday script opens up opportunity to create special new traditions for this time of year. And it may be surprising that by refreshing old traditions, new found appreciations for the holiday season pop up.

There are lots of festive ideas on how to spend this winter holiday while easily following the BC’s health minister’s guidelines – here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing;

· Bake your favourite treats while singing along to your favourite music. Ask others to join virtually and have a bake off!

· Dust off those board games and play a few.

· Have a house hold clean-out – donate old toys, clothing, kitchen gadgets to your local shelter.

· Reflect back as a family on the events you are grateful for, write them down, put them in a gratitude jar and read them out loud on a holiday you celebrate over the winter. For more ideas like this and more, check out The Parenting Place blog.

No matter how you plan to safely spend the winter break, this year will most definitely be a memorable one.

Happy Holidays!


Anita Olson works for Family Services of Greater Vancouver as Burnaby’s Early Childhood Community Consultant. Anita shares information, strategies and practical tools with parents through this free program. Focusing on the parent/caregiver and child relationship, Anita’s work with families aims to create and preserve loving connection and curiosity. Anita holds a current ECE licence, BA and MEd from Simon Fraser University. Contact Anita at aolson@fsgv.ca or (604)-723-9548.

Why Talking is Important?

Talking and listening to children does lots of important things: 


  • It improves your bond with them 
  • Encourages them to listen to you 
  • It helps them to form relationships   
  • It helps them to build self-esteem. 


Did you know?
Some children need a lot of encouragement and positive feedback to get talking. Others will be desperate to talk to you when you’re busy doing something else. This might mean stopping what you’re doing and listening. 

Ten tips for talking and listening 

  • Set aside time for talking and listening to each other. 
  • Listen to your children when they want to talk, have strong feelings or have a problem. 
  • Be open to talking about all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety.  
  • When talking to your child, try to remember how it was when you were a child and how you were generally attracted to those people who really listened to you. After all, children think differently from grown-ups. There are a lot of things they don’t know and a lot of things they don’t have the words to talk about. 
  • Let your child finish talking and then respond. When listening, try not to interrupt or put words in your child’s mouth 
  • Watch your child’s facial expression and body language. Listening isn’t just about hearing words, but also trying to understand what’s behind those words. 
  • To let your child know you’re listening, and make sure you’ve really understood, repeat back what your child has said and make lots of eye contact. 
  • Show your interest by saying such things as, “Tell me more about …”, “Really!” and “Go on …”. Ask children what they feel about the things they’re telling you about. 
  • Avoid criticism and blame. Work together to solve problems and conflicts. 
  • Be honest with each other. 

Did you know?
If you talk and listen to your children from a very young age, you’ll all get into habits that will be very useful once they’re teenagers. A relationship where children feel comfortable talking about what they’ve been doing and with whom, will encourage children to tell you about the details of their life when they’re older. 


Bernard Waber captures a parent-child conversation in his book: Ask Me 

 “Ask me what I like,” a little girl asks her father as they take a stroll through the neighborhood on a cool fall day. And so, he asks, “What do you like?” The child answers, the father sometimes probe for more information, and they continue the dialogue over and over throughout the book. You can feel the child’s energy as she provides list after list of things, she likes each time she sees something different. This is a wonderful story that shows the special parent-child bond between a father and his daughter. 

 This story captures a precious moment in time every parent is bound to recognize. It reminds us of the innocence of childhood and all the wonders in the world they see, even when on a simple walk. 

The illustrations are delightful and colorful. A lovely read aloud and bedtime book. 

You can listen to Ask me by Bernard Waber HERE


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