Imaginative play can inspire young minds

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Anything is possible with a little imagination. The power of pretending can help your child be or do just about anything.  From ruling their very own kingdom to walking on the moon or even racing in the Daytona 500. Imaginative play is an integral part of a child’s overall development. As parents, we should always encourage imaginative play. Whether it’s as simple as playing superheroes with their friends on a quest to save the world or scientists traveling back in time to save the dinosaurs. Your child is limited only by his or her imagination.

The benefits of imaginative play

Imaginative or pretend play can help a child’s brain develop skills they will use in everyday life. This can include the development of decision-making skills, reasoning skills, and problem-solving skills. Pretend play can introduce children to new experiences in a fun and non-threatening way.  It can teach them how to deal with a variety of different situations. It can also help them tap into their inner creativity, which can stay with them thought life.  They are basically training their brains to think more creatively. Some of the most creative people in the world were big into imaginative play when they were children.

Improved language and communication skills, as well as motor skills, are additional benefits of pretend play. Just listen to your child interact during make-believe playtime. You’ll be surprised as to their language skills and so much more. Watch them build an airplane out of some old scraps of wood in the backyard and you’ll be amazed at their dexterity.

Most importantly, imaginative play is integral to the development of important social skills. When taking on a specific role during pretend play with friends, they learn empathy, how to cooperate with others and how to share. Imaginative play also helps them to develop confidence and self-esteem. All very important qualities in their journey through life. 

Encouraging imaginative play 

You can help encourage your child’s imagination by scheduling playtime into each and every day. Children’s schedules are usually as packed as most adults. Some even more so. Between team sports, dance classes, pre-school and more, there’s often little time left for good, old-fashioned play. We understand that structured activities and of course a quality education is important, but so is playing. It can be a very valuable learning experience as well.

Help your child think out of the box by providing them with tools they need to get their creative juices flowing. From sheets to use as superhero capes to old clothes for dress up or a pair of binoculars for their pretend African safari exploration. Something as simple as a cardboard box can turn into anything from a castle to a pirate ship. A ruler can become a magic wand that transports your child to another time or place.

Children are limited only to their imagination. You can help nurture it and help their imagination thrive. Plan playdates with their friends. Help them build their own pretend playsets. A mini play kitchen for the budding chef or a hospital for the aspiring doctor. You can join in on the pre-tend play fun as well. Be a co-pilot when your child takes off on his or her next big pretend adventure. Imagination is the door to your child’s future. Help them open it.

At Building Blocks Learning Center, we provide children with the tools they need to excel in a fun, safe and nurturing environment. From infant to pre-school programs, pre-k, and childcare, we strive to inspire them to explore, discover and grow their individual talents. Click to learn more about Building Blocks Learning Center. 



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How to keep your child healthier in daycare & preschool

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Childcare centers and preschools are fabulous for providing toddlers with opportunities to socialize and learn in a safe and nurturing environment. You may be considering enrolling your child in daycare or preschool but are concerned about the prospect of dealing with frequent illness. Fear not. While kids do pass things on to one another, there are precautions you can take to keep your child safe and help prevent the spread of germs.

Tips for keeping your child healthier in daycare & preschool 

  1. Teach your child about proper handwashing. This is their best defense against the spread of germs. They should always wash their hands with warm water and soap. Lathering and then scrubbing for about 15-20 seconds. Perhaps teach them to sing a song in their head or recite the alphabet as they wash to ensure the adequate time. They should then rinse hands under warm, running water and dry with a clean towel. Teach your child to wash frequently. This includes prior to eating, after using the bathroom and after playing.
  2. Stress to your children the importance of not touching their faces, putting their fingers in their mouths or biting their nails. This simple lesson will go far in helping to prevent the spread of germs.
  3. Be sure your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations and has regular checkups with a pediatrician.
  4. Be sure your child is getting plenty of sleep each night. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 1-2 years of age should sleep 11-14 hours per 24-hour period including naps. Children 3-5 should sleep 10-13 hours. Make sufficient sleep a priority for your entire family. You are a role model for your child, so set a good example. You should also reduce screen time around bedtime. Too much screen time can impair your child’s quality of sleep.
  5. Encourage a healthy diet. Just as getting enough quality sleep can reduce your child’s risk of getting sick, so can maintaining a healthy diet. Be sure your child starts each day with a healthy breakfast. Plan for healthy snacks and make mealtime a priority. Whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide many nutrients to a growing child.
  6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Hydration is as important as nutrition. We can’t stress this enough. Staying hydrated can prevent fatigue and improve mood and overall health. Promote healthy drink choices like water, sugar-free juice, and milk.
  7. Teach your child to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and to wash their hands afterward.
  8. Although you like your child to share, there are certain things they should never share. Tell your child not to share a snack or drink container with other children in daycare & preschool. Drinking from the same bottle or straw or eating a snack from the same bag can spread germs quickly.
  9. Encourage your child to get plenty of exercise. Exercise helps boost the immune system and prepares a body to fight off germs.
  10. Choose a clean childcare facility with a formal sick policy and adequate preventative measures. Be sure to do a site visit to the daycare/preschool prior to enrolling your child. Ask how often the toys, sleep mats, and other shared items are cleaned and sanitized. Ask about other facility cleaning policies, such as the cleaning and disinfecting of changing tables. Does the facility teach and encourage good hygiene habits on a daily basis? Are there adequate sinks for proper handwashing? Does the staff take adequate germ spread prevention measures? Hand washing is as important for staff as it is for children. Finally, ask the childcare facility about their sick policy. These are all important points when choosing the right daycare center.

When should you keep your child home from daycare & preschool

For an overview of Building Blocks Learning Center’s sick policy, please reach out to any of our center administrators in Wilkes-Barre, Mountaintop or Dallas.  Remember, even the healthiest children will get sick occasionally. How sick is too sick to send to daycare or preschool? If your child has a fever, a persistent cough, is vomiting or has diarrhea, you should keep your child home. If they have a contagious condition such as pink eye or head lice, they should also be kept home. If you have questions or are unsure, contact your childcare provider for their specific policies.

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Tips for Helping Your Pre-Schooler Build Math Skills

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Math skills are one of the most important things we can teach our children at an early age. Early exposure to math and math concepts can have a big impact on a child’s skill levels later in life. Learning math can help a toddler to develop the ability to solve problems. This is so essential to success in school and life in general. As a parent, you will find that your preschooler is naturally curious and already interested in math as it relates to his or her everyday life. The best way to teach your child valuable math skills is through every day hands-on activities, tasks, and games.

5 Tips for helping your toddler learn math skills

1 Count together. Counting everything together with your pre-school child is a great way to get started. Children love to count, so make a habit of counting all the time. Count crayons in the box, tiles on the kitchen floor, pictures on the wall and bananas in the bunch. Teach them to recognize and read numbers as they learn to count.

2 Make snack time a fun learning experience. Snack time is a great way to practice counting and other math skills. Your toddler will love counting the number of cheddar goldfish or animal crackers in a bowl. Teach addition and subtraction by adding a few or taking some away and having them count the new total.

3 Use toys and playtime to help your pre-school child count and sort. You can do the same with toys as snacks. Count, sort and categorize. How many matchbox cars are in the box? How many are blue? If we took away all of the blue matchbox cars, how many cars are left? The same can be done with blocks, dolls, or whatever your child likes to play with. Sort by color, type or whatever interests them. Combine categories or remove items to help with adding and subtracting. It’s always important to keep it fun. Playtime isn’t all about building math skills, but when made into a game it can be enjoyable.  Board games and other games can also be learning tools. Moving a certain number of spaces on a board or following the “Simon Says” directions of jumping four times can be learning opportunities as well. So can more or fewer games, sequencing games and building and counting blocks.

4 Use regular daily activities as teaching opportunities. Keep it simple and keep it fun. How many steps do we climb to get to the second floor or how many squares are on the sidewalk in front of the house? Make laundry time teaching time. How many socks are in the basket? Ask your toddler to sort the clean socks and put them into pairs. Sorting objects, putting them into different categories and then counting them again. The simple task of sorting and counting laundry can help a toddler develop problem-solving skills. Even setting the table can be a math skill learning opportunity for your child. It will help your child understand the one to one concept of one fork, one knife, one spoon, etc. for each person. Cook together and teach your child how to measure ingredients. It’s a great bonding experience, as well as a math lesson. Finally, make grocery shopping a teaching experience. Have your child help with simple shopping tasks. Ask them to put six apples in a bag for you or pick out five cans of soup. Teach strategic counting. How many Cheerios boxes do you see on the shelf? If you’re paying with cash, let them help you count out coins. They’ll love helping and learn to love math at the same time.

5 Help your child learn important math concepts. Math is about more than just counting. It’s learning concepts such as quantity (more or less), measurement and size (taller, shorter, bigger, smaller). This will help your child develop mathematical reasoning skills. Shapes and patterns are important as well. Learning and naming shapes and identifying patterns is fundamental to a child’s understanding of math. Practice recognizing shape, such as a square post-it note, a triangle-shaped slice of pizza, a cracker that looks like a rectangle, etc.

Enroll your child in preschool and let the learning continue 

Building Blocks Learning Center has preschool and daycare locations in Wilkes-Barre, Mountaintop and Dallas, PA. Our program provides an age-appropriate education curriculum that can help your preschooler excel. Building Blocks pre-k program will help prepare them for the transition to kindergarten. Learn more about all of our childcare and educational programs on our website.



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Building Blocks Announces Pre-Kindergarten Program at West Side CTC

Friday, October 25th, 2019

West Side Career & Technology Center (WSCTC) is partnering with Building Blocks Learning Center to offer a pre-kindergarten program at the WSCTC for the 2019/2020 school year. Pre-K Counts grant funding is available. If you qualify, the program can be free. Children who experience a good pre-k program are better prepared socially and academically for kindergarten and for their future school years. A quality pre-k program with a strong teaching staff will provide a child with cognitive, behavioral and social skills they can’t learn at home. Children who enter kindergarten with the skills learned in a pre-kindergarten program have the tools needed for academic success.

Pre-K programs make a huge difference in preparing a child for starting kindergarten. Children who enter kindergarten without the foundation of skills and socialization developed in a pre-k program may soon fall behind their better-prepared classmates. Children are not only learning the alphabet and simple math but also developing important social skills and independence.

The benefits of pre-kindergarten

  • Pre-K attendees are better prepared for school.
  • Pre-K programs provide children with a strong base of motor skills, cognitive skills, and language skills.
  • Pre-K children develop literacy, language, and math skills faster than children who don’t attend a pre-k program.

Enrollment in a pre-kindergarten program can help your child achieve his or her full potential when entering kindergarten. It will help them grow in confidence and independence. Most importantly, they will develop a positive attitude toward learning. Help your child kick-start their education by attending the pre-kindergarten program at the West Site Career & Technology Center in Kingston.

Building Blocks pre-kindergarten program at West Side CTC offers:

  • Small class sizes
  • Curriculum approved by the PA Department of Education
  • Literacy based curriculum
  • Breakfast, lunch, and snack provided
  • Before and after school care options available
  • Pre-K Counts Financial Aid/ELRC assistance available
  • Children must be 3 1/2 years of age

Building Blocks Learning Center is a fully licensed and accredited daycare, pre-school and pre-k facility that adheres to the highest standards in the industry. In addition to Building Blocks Learning Center’s pre-kindergarten program at the West Site CTC, we also offer pre-k programs at our learning centers in Wilkes-Barre, Mountaintop and Dallas.

For more information, or to enroll your child at Building Blocks pre-kindergarten program at West Side CTC, or to learn more about Pre-K Counts grants, call 570-793-1725. The right pre-k program can help your child grow in self-confidence and thrive academically. Learn more about the benefits of a pre-k program on our website.


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Summer Camp & Kindergarten Readiness Programs announced at Building Blocks

Monday, May 6th, 2019

What do you have planned for your kids this summer? A great summer of adventure awaits your children at Building Blocks learning Center. So much more than a daycare center, Building Blocks Learning Center has four distinct summer programs to fit your unique needs. Our summer camp offers a structured, social environment for children to learn, grow and develop their independence. It will enable them to develop necessary skills, build lasting friendships and gain the confidence they need to thrive in the years ahead. Summer preschool will enable your child to have a fun-filled summer while they maintain the stability and consistency of a classroom environment. Our Kindergarten readiness program and Kindergarten bootcamp will prepare them for that all-important transition to Kindergarten.

At Building Blocks, we realize the importance of keeping young minds active and continuing to develop throughout the summer months. Young children, especially those moving on to kindergarten in the fall, need to maintain a routine and reinforce and build on the skills they have learned. Whether you’re looking for a summer childcare option, a children’s summer camp, or a summer kindergarten readiness program, Building Blocks Learning Center has specially designed programs to fit your needs. These programs will engage your child in fun and interactive learning activities as well as introduce them to new and exciting experiences this summer.

Building Blocks Learning Center Summer Programs

All children’s summer programs run June 25 to August 16, 2019

  • Camp Leo Summer Camp for Kids – Calling all kids ages 6 to 12. You won’t want to miss this fun-filled summer camp. Our structured children’s summer camp offers exciting weekly themes and events, team sports and clubs. Before and after care is included in Camp Leo Summer Camp. Breakfast, lunch and a snack are also provided. Children ages 6 to 12 years of age are welcome to attend Building Blocks’ summer camp. It’s a perfect opportunity to introduce your child to a whole new group of friends and help them to build their self-esteem. We remember our fun days at summer camp, do you?
  • Pre School Summer Program – Ideal for 3 and 4-year-old children, our summer preschool program will help your child explore new interests and learn about structure as they follow a daily schedule. This age-appropriate program will inspire your child to interact with other children as they learn, help them to enhance their social skills, explore their creativity and develop emotionally. They will have fun with their peers while they learn important skills such as teamwork and cooperation. Best of all, they will develop their own sense of independence.
  • Prekindergarten Summer Boot Camp – Specially designed to better prepare children ages 3 ½ to 4 ½ for their transition into Prekindergarten. Pre-K summer bootcamp will keep children engaged with weekly themes focused on various skills and other areas of interest. Themes include reading, math, science, leadership, cultural awareness, cooperation, problem solving and health and wellness. Our interactive approach to summer learning will include subjects such as nature exploration, money concepts, computation, reading comprehension, environmental health, diversity, nutrition, physical exercise, creative thinking, conflict resolution, creative thinking and much more. Learning has never been so much fun!
  • SPARKS! Kindergarten Readiness Boot Camp – The staff at Building Blocks Learning Center will help prepare your child for that important transition to kindergarten. Each week, SPARKS! Students will be studying a carefully selected book and using the concepts of literacy and reading comprehension. Our SPARKS! Summer Kindergarten Readiness program will help your child further develop the following skills in preparation for kindergarten: self-help skills, social-emotional skills, visual skills, verbal skills, language development, listening skills, work habits, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. A selection of enchanting books will keep them engrossed throughout this 8-week summer program. Start the SPARK! In your child this summer!

Introduce your child to the emotional, social and educational benefits of the summer camp, summer preschool program or a kindergarten readiness program at Building Blocks Learning Center. It’s our goal to help them develop life-long skills, gain confidence and make great friends.

All programs run for 8 weeks, from June 25th through August 16th. Enroll your child in our summer camp or one of our summer learning and readiness programs by calling 570-208-2252 or fill out our contact form.

An amazing summer experience awaits your child at Building Blocks Learning Center. Learn more about our summer camp and other summer programs or enroll your child today. We’ll keep your child engaged and learning all summer long!



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