What are some fun activities to do with children in child care?

Posted by Care Courses

Jul 29, 2016 12:00:00 AM


Child care providers are always on the lookout for fun activities for kids.  Having fun and engaging activities for the children in your care is part of creating a joyous child care program.  Care Courses offers a free one-hour course called  A Joyful Life of Caregiving, which will give you great ideas for adding more joy to your child care program. 

If you’re looking for fun activities to do with children in your care, try this one from A Joyful Life of Caregiving called “This Ain’t No Piano.”


Explain that you want to build an instrument out of the children. One by one, have the children lie on the floor on their backs – side by side or zig-zag with each child’s head on the stomach of the previous child.  As each child is placed, ask, “What is your sound?”  Any Sound that the child can make with his or her mouth is OK.  The child must keep the same sound throughout the activity.

When all are placed, you are ready to play the instrument.  Children make their sound when you touch the foreheads and continue the sound as long as you are touching them.  After children are familiar with the procedure, let them take turns being conductor.

This activity can bring teachers and children together for a simple and fun musical game!

In addition to this activity, students who have taken the course have shared their favorite activities in the comments section of the blog!  Here are some other great examples:

  • “I chose bubbles for the most joyous activity! There are lots of really great homemade bubble recipes on the internet. We store bubble liquid in clean glass spaghetti jars. For maximum fun, we enjoy blowing and chasing bubbles outside with my 3 - 5 year olds. The chasing/bubble blowing will keep children engaged for at least 20 minutes. Adults may have to hold the jars or make certain they are safe and stable. Also, be ready to wipe hands so children do not wipe their eyes with soapy hands.”
  • “We call it "the sleeping game"(pantomime game). I call out to all the children to fall asleep and then sing a small tune. In the song, I tell the children what they will 'be' when they wake up and then the tune ends, telling the children to wake up. Once 'awake', the children act out/move around/make sounds/etc to imitate the thing that they 'are'. This is great for different themes (i.e. ocean theme you could have them wake up as a fish, octopus, shark, etc) and requires no equipment. It can be played indoors or outside so long as there is enough space for the children to move about. Toddlers to School aged enjoy this game and you can make it more or less challenging as appropriate for your group; special considerations would be to make sure all the children in the group know what it is that you're telling them to be (sometimes the children have requests of what they want to be next and it becomes a turn-taking game as well!). No time limit, you can tell when they have lost interest in the game. The children really enjoy the movement aspect and using their imagination in pretending to be something else, they especially enjoy taking turns calling out what they want to 'be' next. I enjoy seeing the different ways the children express their ideas of how to be something different and it is fun and can be challenging thinking of something new for them to 'be'.”
  • “We act out our favorite books. Each student gets to be a different character, they act out the actions as I read the story. They are allowed to interpret them in their own way. We use props made from things we find around the room(blue paper for a river, blocks become a bridge).”

Check out other recommendations from our students and share your own in the comments section!

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!


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Topics: Care Courses Questions

What are some activities to promote integration and cooperation in child care?

Posted by Care Courses

Jun 27, 2016 9:03:34 AM


Many caregivers often wonder how children need guidance to learn how to travel outside their familiar circles to get to know others from different backgrounds.  At Care Courses we offer a course called Everyone Welcome!, which can help early childhood professionals understand how to incorporate children from varying ethnic groups.  It can also teach child care providers how to provide services and opportunities to members of all groups equally.

Integration has three main advantages. First, everyone has opportunities to participate in what the bigger group is doing. Second, pooling everyone’s resources gives the entire group a competitive advantage in getting things accomplished. Third, learning to work and play together as equals instead of separately can dissolve the problems of prejudice and nurture the seeds of friendship.

Here are two activities that would promote teamwork and cooperative play among the children in your care:

Example 1: Duck, Duck, Goose Name Game

Everyone is familiar with the “Duck, Duck, Goose!" game, but in this game the child will say the child’s name, followed by the word duck.
For example: “Tristan duck, Petra duck, Ramen duck, Nonie duck,” and so on. With this way of playing the game, everyone helps with the challenge of understanding and remembering names.

Example 2: Snow Ball Fight

With this activity you need to hand out paper and pencils and ask each person to answer several simple introductory questions like these:

-What is your favorite color?

-What season were you born in?

-What sport do you enjoy the most?

- If you were a famous person who would you be?

Now, everyone will crumple up their paper into a ball. When everyone is ready, someone calls out “Snow Ball Fight” and everyone throws paper balls at each other. Now each person takes turns opening a snow ball, reading the answers out loud and trying to guess who wrote the answers.

In our Care Course, Everyone Welcome! , we discuss a variety of ways to help children learn to do things in unison, stay with the group, and follow directions. Want to learn more? Find this course on our website!

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!





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Topics: Care Courses Questions

What's a good activity to encourage communication and cooperation in children?

Posted by Care Courses

Jun 13, 2016 12:00:00 AM


Looking for a group activity that helps improve cooperative task completion, communication skills, and body awareness? Try “Cooperative Spider Web” from our course “Conflict Resolution in Child Care.”

You will need a ball of string and a large enough area for the children to sit in a circle.  A thicker (heavier) string will work best.

Explain to the children that you are going to make a giant spider web, but that this will only work if everyone does their part.  Have children sit in a circle (close enough together so that the children can roll the ball to one another.)

Start with one child.  Hand them the end of the string and the ball.  They should use one hand to hang onto the end and the other hand to hold the ball.  The child then rolls the ball to another child in the circle, who will also hold onto the string with one hand while rolling the ball with the other.  Continue in this manner. 

You may have to remind the children frequently to hold on, because if everyone doesn’t hold on to the string, the entire web will collapse.  Continued movement of the string will result in a web. 

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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Topics: Care Courses Questions

If You're Happy and You Know It...

Posted by Care Courses

Jun 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM

If you need a fun and engaging activity to do with the whole group of children in your care, try this suggestion from one of our students!

I love to do ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It.’  This works great inside and outdoors.  Keep in mind though that the different activities you do with the song might be different if indoors.  I normally do this with the 1 year olds, but you could do it with the older kids as well.  Simply give them an instruction like ‘If you’re happy and you know it touch your head.’  If you’re outdoors change it to something more physical like ‘If you’re happy and you know it, run.’

If  you try this activity with the children in your care, share your experience in the "comments" section!

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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How do I get a National CDA?

Posted by Care Courses

May 31, 2016 12:00:00 PM

We hear this question a lot here at Care Courses!

All the information in this blog post applies to earning the Family Child Care CDA, the Preschool Center-Based CDA, and the Infant Toddler Center-Based CDA.

For information on the Home Visitor CDA, which has different requirements, please click here: Home Visitor CDA Requirements. Thanks!

Here are the four steps to earning your national CDA:

Care Courses timeline for the National CDA credential

As a National CDA candidate you will prepare for your application, you will complete the application process, and then you will demonstrate your knowledge in order to earn your CDA Credential.

First: Prepare to apply for the National CDA

Before applying for your CDA (these items can be done simultaneously):

  • Receive your high school diploma or equivalent.

Required time frame: Must be completed before applying for your CDA.

  • Complete 120 hours of formal childcare education covering the 8 CDA subject areas.

Required time frame? None! Take as long as you need to get this training done. However, we strongly recommend that you get your training done no more than five years before you apply. You will want this education fresh in your mind when you take your final CDA Exam and have your Verification Visit.

  • Work 480 hours with children whose ages are consistent with your CDA setting: Infant/Toddler*, Preschool**, or Family***

Required time frame? Within 3 years! You must complete this work within 3 years before applying for your CDA. Your work experience cannot be more than 3 years from the date you apply for your CDA.

  • Purchase a Competency Standards book from the CDA Council for your setting
    (Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or Family). Once you get the book, prepare your portfolio (which is described in detail in the book). Steps involved in creating your portfolio:

o   Create a cover sheet for your portfolio

o   Complete your education summary sheet and assemble your transcripts and/or certificates from your 120 hours of formal childcare training

o   Distribute and collect family questionnaires

o   Complete your family questionnaire summary sheet (after reading the family questionnaires you collected)

o   Complete your reflective dialogue sheet

o   Gather your resource collection items

o   Create your professional philosophy statement

Required time frame? Within 6 months before application! You must complete your professional portfolio within 6 months of applying for your CDA, so be sure to order the book with plenty of time to complete the requirements. Your portfolio cannot be completed more than 6 months before you apply.

  • Complete “Director’s Permission Statement.”

o   Candidates applying for Center-Based CDAs: Have your director fill out the permission statement portion of your application as you will be needing their permission to conduct your verification visit

o   Candidates applying for a Family Child Care CDA: Fill out the permission statement portion of your application yourself. If you are submitting online, you must include an email address that differs from the one you use to log in.

Second: Apply for your CDA

Applying for your CDA includes the following tasks:

  • Select your Professional Development Specialist
  • Submit your finished CDA application and the $425.00 assessment fee. You can submit your application online (the fastest method) or by US Mail.

After your application is received, the Council will send you a ready to schedule notification. This notification will allow you to schedule an appointment with your Professional Development Specialist.

Third: Demonstrate your abilities and knowledge

Once you’ve received your ready to schedule notification from the Council, you will schedule your Verification Visit and your CDA Exam for a date within the next 6 months. You can do either the exam or the visit first – there is no order in which these have to be completed.

The Verification Visit and CDA Exam provide you opportunity to demonstrate your childcare knowledge, skills, and practical experience.

And Finally … Earn your CDA!

Learning whether the Council has awarded you a CDA Credential is the final element to the credentialing process. The Council will notify you of their decision to award or deny your CDA. This typically takes 10 days to 2 weeks from the date you complete all the requirements.


* Infant/Toddler: This age group is defined as children aged birth to 3 years. Your work experience must include experience with each of the three infant/toddler sub-groups: young infants (birth–8 months), mobile infants (9–17 months), and toddlers (18–36 months).

** Preschool: This age group is defined as children aged 3 through 5 years.

*** Family Home CDA candidates must work with children aged birth through 5 years.


Care Courses provides support throughout your CDA training and after. We are here to help make this experience pleasant and rewarding!

Please let us know how we can assist you further with the CDA process! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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Topics: The National CDA

When is a child ready to learn how to use the potty?

Posted by Care Courses

May 10, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Toilet learning is an important milestone in a child’s life, but a child’s transition out of diapers can be a stressful time for parents and childcare providers. And if handled improperly, this transition period can be damaging to the child.

As childcare providers, it’s important to work with parents to provide a supportive environment in which the child feels comfortable and confident.

To help you understand how to foster that environment, Care Courses offers the course, Toilet Learning. The course discusses when toilet learning should begin, how to prepare the child, effective techniques, and tips for collaborating with parents.

Perhaps the most important step in the toilet learning process is determining if the child is ready to begin. If you start too soon the child may not fully grasp the concepts being presented to him or her and it may make for a more stressful process for both childcare providers, parents, and the child.

Toilet learning should begin when the child

  • Can control bladder and bowel muscles
  • Can recognize the need to urinate or defecate
  • Shows an interest in being dry
  • Knows how to manage his or her own clothing in order to sit on the toilet
  • Shows an interest in using a potty seat or toilet and is willing to begin toilet learning
  • Can give a signal to the caregiver or walk to the bathroom unassisted
  • Can sit on a low potty chair or climb a step-stool to a potty seat attached to an adult toilet unassisted

The most important indication that a child is ready to begin toilet learning is the desire to want to learn to use the toilet. If the desire isn’t present, then it is not time to begin because a child should never be pressured, urged, coaxed or bribed to use the toilet.

Once you have determined that a child is ready, that’s when the real work begins! To learn techniques and tips for creating a smooth transition from diaper to toilet, be sure to check out Toilet Learning on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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Topics: Care Courses Questions

Why is fitness important for young children?

Posted by Care Courses

May 3, 2016 12:00:00 AM


Caregivers often wonder why fitness is so important in a child’s development. At Care Courses, we offer several courses having to do with the subject. This blog will look at a few concepts from our course, Fun and Fitness: Addressing Childhood Obesity.

The increased rate of childhood obesity in recent years has been found to have a direct correlation to the increased rate of serious medical conditions. These medical conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and poor health overall. These conditions are preventable with the proper diet and physical exercise that comes naturally with being an active child.

It is your responsibility as caregivers and teachers to offer children only healthy foods. This means no soda, no fast food, and no heavily processed snacks. Getting the parents involved eating healthy will go a long way to model the proper eating habits.

Physical activities should come naturally to children of all ages. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to have children watch a movie or television show and play on a phone or computer to keep them occupied.

It your responsibility as a child care provider to ensure that children stay active by providing many opportunities for them to move and be active, both indoors and outdoors, every day.

Infants like to bat or kick dangling objects as well as reaching or crawling toward an object. Roll balls with them or even let them slap a shallow container of water while seated on your lap.

Toddlers can have a bit more structure with their physical activities, such as throwing or kicking a ball and running around. Children of this age also like to dance to music as well.

Preschoolers benefit from several hours of physical activity each day. This also starts to include games such as hopscotch and obstacle paths.

In our course, Fun and Fitness: Addressing Childhood Obesity, we discuss the benefits of physical activity and proper diet and this blog addressed a few. Want to learn more? Find this course and others on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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Topics: Care Courses Questions

How can you teach children the rules of nonverbal language?

Posted by Care Courses

Apr 8, 2016 1:08:39 PM



Many caregivers want to know how they can help children develop their nonverbal communication. Here at Care Courses we offer a course called Teaching Nonverbal Language Skills, which can help early childhood professionals assess and develop children’s nonverbal communication skills.

Did you know that only seven percent of emotional communication and meaning is actually expressed with words? This is why it is key for caregivers to know how to teach children the rules of nonverbal language.

The first step in assessing children’s nonverbal language development levels is to familiarize yourself with the grammar of nonverbal communication. Nonverbal language is categorized into six areas:

  • Paralanguage (such as tone, intensity, and loudness of voice)
  • Facial expressions
  • Postures and gestures
  • Interpersonal distance (space) and touch
  • Rhythm and time
  • Objectics (personal hygiene, style of dress)

It is also extremely important to let children know what you are doing, especially if there is a deficit in their understanding of social relationships. You will need to exhibit the same amount of patience and support that you show when the child is learning verbal communication.

One way to informally assess the child’s nonverbal language skills is to select a satisfactory TV program showing substantial interactions between children and adults, turn off the sound, and ask the child to tell you what they think is going on as they watch the screen. Be sure to turn up the volume every so often to evaluate the child’s accuracy. Focus on details such as what the characters’ facial expressions indicate and how their facial expressions are used in combination with their postures.

Whether you use the above method or another technique, keep in mind that your evaluation of the child’s nonverbal communication skills should include the child’s ability to:

  • discriminate among nonverbal cues
  • identify the emotions presented in nonverbal communication
  • express emotions through various nonverbal channels
  • apply nonverbal information to interpret what is happening in diverse conversations.

In our Care Course, Teaching Nonverbal Language Skills, we discuss a variety of techniques adults can use to help children improve their nonverbal communication skills. If you’d like to learn more, the course can be found on our website.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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What do I do if my CDA has expired?

Posted by Care Courses

Apr 4, 2016 2:51:00 PM


Has your CDA expired? Are you wondering if you should renew or reapply?  People call every day with questions such as "Can I renew my national CDA if it expired?" or "When does my CDA expire?" or "Is it too late to renew my national CDA?"  

With so much to keep track of during busy days (or years!) it can be easy to lose track of dates. Make sure to take note of the date you received your CDA and the date it expires. Remember that all CDAs issued after June 2013 must be renewed every three years.

Click Here to Renew Your CDA Using Care Courses

If your CDA has expired, you may still be able to renew it depending on the date of your credential. Before June 2013, the Council allowed a two-year grace period to renew a CDA after it had expired. For CDA credentials issued after June 2013, the Council eliminated their grace period.

Therefore, your first step should be to call the CDA Council (1-800-424-4310) to determine the status of your credential. If the Council says that you are eligible for renewal, then download the CDA Renewal Procedures Guide and begin the renewal process.

If the Council determines that you are not eligible to renew your expired CDA, you must complete the CDA process again to get a new CDA credential. This process will include: Getting 120 hours of formal childcare education, purchasing a new Competency Standards booklet, preparing a new professional portfolio, reapplying for your CDA, and scheduling a verification visit and final exam.


Whether you need to renew your existing CDA credential or get a new CDA credential, we’re here to help! Care Courses offers CDA renewal course sets to meet the required education hours. If you need to pursue a new CDA, we also offer CDA training course sets.

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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Topics: The National CDA

How can I meet Maryland childcare training requirements?

Posted by Care Courses

Apr 1, 2016 10:40:00 AM



Do you care for children in Maryland and need Core of Knowledge training hours? Well, you have come to the right place! Care Courses is an approved Maryland training provider. Whether you want hours for annual training, need courses for your Maryland Child Care Credential, want to pursue or renew your CDA, or want to satisfy other specific state childcare training requirements, Care Courses may be able to help!

Click Here to Learn More About Using Care Courses in Maryland!

Almost all our 70+ Care Courses can be used towards annual training requirements in Maryland. Our courses cover a variety of topics so you can pick a course that interests you. If you are looking for training to cover a Core of Knowledge Area, be sure to check out our fantastic Core of Knowledge course description pages and handy printable chart. With the help of these pages and chart you won’t need to guess what Core Area your course covers.

We often receive calls and emails asking if we are accepted for Maryland’s Child Care Credential – and to answer that question, yes we are! Care Courses is an approved trainer for levels 2-4 of the Maryland Child Care Credential.

Interested in getting your CDA in Maryland? Check out our new CDA-101 Tutorial that explains all the ins and outs of the CDA process. And yes! You can use Care Courses to both get and renew your CDA.

Now let’s talk about state specific Family Home and Center training that Maryland requires of you. Care Courses offers training to help satisfy Maryland requirements for both licensed daycare centers and family homes.

  • For family home child care providers we offer the 24-Hour Pre-Service Training, 45-Hour Infant/Toddler Training, and the Maryland Family Child Care First Year Training.
  • If you work in a center we offer the 9-Hour Communication Training and the 45-Hour Maryland Child Care Center Director’s Initial/ Pre-Service Training.
  • We also offer the Pre-Service Orientation Course for Teacher Aides.

For more details on these special requirements, please visit our Maryland childcare training page.

Looking to fulfill your SIDs and Shaken Baby Syndrome requirement? Look no further – our course Infant Safety satisfies that requirement!

Do you have questions about your training, requirements, CDA, or where you should go from here? We here at Care Courses are very friendly and we love helping our Maryland neighbors!

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!

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Topics: Training For My State

About Care Courses

Care Courses has been providing distance learning courses for early childhood professionals for over 23 years. Our courses are delivered to you either via US Mail or on your computer, and can be used for the CDA and many state training requirements. We offer over 80 excellent, convenient courses in a wide variety of interesting, helpful topics, and our courses have no time limits. Do them wherever and whenever you wish. Visit our website to access our course listings.

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