Some ways to help self-regulate and manage all the mixed emotions.

With all the uncertainty around us, many of us as well as our children may be feeling all kinds of emotions and may need support and extra reassurance.  Some helpful ways to encourage this and name, validate, and work through their feelings are listed here.  If you have been trying out other ways at home and would like to share what has worked, please email me to share.

Using the palm of your child’s hand you can start by showing them to breathe in as they move up tracing their thumb then out as they go down and back in all through each of their fingers, keep repeating as needed.  Another great way to do this is  to place a little stuffy on their belly and have them take in deep breathes and ask them to watch the stuffy move.

To try some 7 minute HIIT self-regulation with your children you can follow the animal moves below, use a timer if you like and encourage each movement for 45 seconds, take a 15 second break in between:  For the first one do frog leaps up and down, then do a bear walk, hands and feet on the floor, walk left and right. Next do some gorilla squats by doing a low sumo squat then use your hands to balance and shuffle around the room.  Now do a starfish, jump up and down with your arms and legs spread wide. Now be a Cheetah and run as fast as you can in one place, then do a  crab walk by sitting and placing your palms on the ground behind you then lift your hips and crawl on your hands and feet.  Finally do an elephant stomp by marching in place and stomping the ground with all your strength.  In our own family we having been trying to do some yoga in the evening and practising positive affirmations like: “I am strong”, “I am capable”, “I am Ok.”  We all need to remember to recognize how we are feeling and model this to our children so they can learn how to handle all these big emotions.

To share a mindfulness story together as a family click here


Do you have a favourite Strongstart toy you miss?

Here is a wonderful photo of Hana playing with her favourite Strongstart toy, a geoboard that her family made using wood and nails.  Does your child miss playing with any particular toy?  Below you will find a  few of my favourite ones that are really great for hand-eye co-ordination, colour recognition/sorting and pincer grasp strengthening.  There is tracing shapes using glass beads or rocks, colour sorting pom poms in egg cartons using your fingers, tongs or chopsticks, tracing letters in salt or sand.  I have also included a small list of non-food sensory  play materials that you could fill a small bin with and let your child just explore with measuring cups, spoons, bowls and small toys you have at home.  Here is the list of non food sensory play: pom poms, cotton balls, straw or grass, packing peanuts, epsom salt, water, shredded paper, leaves, rocks and buttons.  Keep exploring and sharing all the fun you are having.

Boxes and endless imagination…

Looking to be inspired and do some fun family projects together just using boxes, paper and other recyclables and materials you have around the house, check out what some of your friends have been doing:

Jericho and his family  made these penguins using egg cartons, markers, construction paper and glue.  They also are working on this doll house  below using a cardboard box, tape, paper, markers and crayons.  Madeline and Atticus have made a containment chamber for hazardous space materials.  They added dyed rice, chickpeas and lentils with spoons and magnifying glasses. Very cool projects!  If you want to be inspired by more ideas click on the book link below Not a box by Antoinette Portis and let your imagination go.  Don’t forget to share with me and your friends, we would love to see what you come with.

Click here to hear Not a box

The Story of Huckleberry

I sure miss our wandering Wednesday fun so I thought I would share some fun I had in the forest some time ago. One day I noticed some young huckleberry bushes just starting to grow and I looked really closely and saw that they had square branches!  Can you believe that?  Have you ever seen a tree or bush with square branches? so I sat and thought about this for a while and came up with this story:

The Story of Huckleberry by Ms. Marianna

To listen to me reading this short story

click here



Once upon a time in a magical land Father Wind came and knocked Cedar down.  Flying above the forest, Hucklefairy noticed majestic Cedar had fallen on the ground and felt terribly sad.  She gently patted Cedar’s bark to comfort him.  The warmth from this comfort released the seeds from her heart in a desire to keep life in the forest.  From Hucklefairy, Huckleberry was born.  A secret gift from Cedar to protect Huckleberry was to have square and grooved branches.  This gift allowed Huckleberry strength to endure Father Wind and hope to mature. When Summer came she could give back the gift of love and friendship shared with her by bearing fruit to share with those in need coming to the Forest.  Have you ever tried a Huckleberry?  I love them.  They are ready to eat  when you see them turning reddish, but always ask first before trying anything in the Forest.   Hope you enjoyed the story and if you have a story you think of as to why Huckleberry has square branches, please share with me.  Stories are a great way to be brave by sharing our ideas and keeping our imaginations strong.

Our potato plant

Do you remember planting our seed potatoes before spring break? Look at them now!  they are so healthy and tall.  Since we will not be having our potato harvest party this year, I was wondering if you could all send me some of your favourite potato recipes and we can create a book of recipes to share out.  Please email me if you are interested at Do you also remember we took guesses as to how many potatoes would grow?  What do you think now, how many will we harvest in June?  Write the number down and I will tell you how many there are.  I wonder which class will have the most: Ms. Doust &Ms. Singh, Mr. Sinclair or Strongstart? Let me know what you think.


Making the ordinary extraordinary

Here is a fun way to the make the ordinary more extraordinary.  To children much of the world is extraordinary, but as adults we may take for granted what is more familiar to us.  One example would be dandelions which we see so many of at this time of year.  I can still remember making garland necklaces and bracelets with dandelions as a young child.  I also remember blowing on them to make a wish and so as way of marking this extraordinary time we are experiencing now, I thought a fun family activity could be to record what each of your wishes are in a memorable way and put them together into a book.



Materials needed:

A paper towel roll or toilet roll, scissors, a brush or q-tips and white paint for this activity as well as a tray or cookie sheet to place all the materials in.  For  younger children you can help them to cut little slits on the ends of the paper towel roll as shown in the first photo below. You can also sprinkle a little table salt once your done onto your picture for a cool effect or use a few q-tips wrapped in elastic to dab around your dandelion for the seeds. I did this activity with my youngest daughter and you can see her wish is to see her friends.  What do you wish for?  Send me photos, I would love to see them.  Also, to listen to an audio recording of me reading  I wish you more by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lightenheld please click below the storybook photo.