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Northumberland Child Development Centre

Since 1979, Northumberland Child Development Centre has provided programs and services for children who require additional support to succeed, and their families. Our services have evolved throughout the years to include the developmental needs of children from pregnancy to Grade One.

There is no cost to families living in Northumberland County for any of our offerings.

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The Gift of a Home-made Gift! by Melissa Cranston

home made giftsEveryone loves a home-made gift, whether it is for a birthday, house-warming or Christmas present. Making home-made gifts is a great way to show someone you are thinking of them and the following gifts are great projects that can be done by the whole family.



Cookie Mix in a Jar



  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar



COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Place flour mixture in 1-quart jar. Layer remaining ingredients in order listed above, pressing firmly after each layer. Seal with lid and decorate with fabric and ribbon.

Make this recipe card to attach to the jar with a pretty ribbon:
PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Beat 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter or margarine, 1 large egg and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until blended. Add cookie mix and 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional); mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


Sugar Hand Scrub


Take two cups of white granulated sugar, mix in 1/4 to 1/3cup of olive oil. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. After mixture is combined pour into a jar.



Bird Feeder


Take a large pine cone, spread peanut butter all over it, roll the coated pine cone in bird seed.

Tie on a piece of string to be hung out on your tree.


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Volunteering! by Anne Harrison

volunteersVolunteering is the act of doing work without getting paid. People volunteer for different reasons and through many avenues such as; non-profit organizations, charities, schools, hospitals, food banks, churches or faith groups and sports leagues. The benefits of taking the time out of our busy lives to volunteer are enormous, including; helping you to meet new people, allowing you to explore a passion, assisting you with building marketable skills and creating a connection with your community. You can volunteer on your own, with a friend, as a couple or as a family. No matter your ability, mobility or skill, there is an opportunity out there for you. Whichever you are considering, the information in this article will help you to get started!

Why Volunteer?

Volunteering can Help you Meet New People

Especially if you are new to an area, volunteering can help you to meet new people.  It provides opportunities for socialization and is one of the simplest ways to connect you with others with similar interests and a desire to help out.  Volunteering can also help to develop existing relationships through sharing a common activity,

Volunteering Allows you to Explore a Passion

It is never too late to learn new skills, volunteering can provide you with a safe place to explore a new or existing passion.   It provides you the opportunity to connect with experts in the field; you can develop relationships with these experts and learn from the best. Through volunteering you can practice your skills, you never know, you might discover a skill you never knew you had.

Volunteering Helps you to Gain Marketable Skills

Volunteering provides you with additional skills as many opportunities provide training to their volunteers. It is a great way to gain work experience in a field of interest and can help advance your career. If your skills and passion meet an organization’s needs, volunteering could potentially lead to a career with the organization you are working with. If you are thinking of a new career or a change in position, why not get your feet wet by volunteering?

Volunteering Allows you to Create a Connection to Your Community

Volunteering allows you to create a connection to your community through helping others.  We all receive very much from our community and what better way to give back than through volunteering?  While volunteering you will be connected to many different people from many different backgrounds, you will gain valuable insight to your community.  You will learn more about community resources and supports.  Volunteering provides you with the opportunity to have an impact in your community.  It is a wonderful way to get to know your neighbours.  Whether you want to try something new or give back using a honed skills, get out there, meet some new people and have fun!


Where can I find out more about Volunteer Opportunities?

  • Library Bulletin Boards
  • Church Bulletin Boards
  • Newspapers
  • School Newsletters
  • Local Organizations



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Dear Santa! by Lucinda Cull

Dear Santa:

Here is my wish for parents who are shopping for toys this Christmas.santa list

Wow! It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just six weeks away! Preparations are all ready underway for many families. Children are busy with the task of making their “Christmas Wish Lists” and “Dear Santa Letters”. This year there is even an “app” for the Sears Christmas Wish Book. Consumerism is evident everywhere. Our children make this ever so clear when we look at the toys they have on their wish lists.

Parents want to make their children’s wishes come true and often give in to the world of mass marketing. As a parent, choosing appropriate toys for your child is an important job - not only for safety but to maximize the value of play to enhance your child’s development; and for those families on a tight budget to maximize value for their dollar as well.

When I think back to my favourite and most coveted toys as a child, I remember toys like dolls, wooden blocks, mechanics sets, art kits, “Mr. Potato Head” and of course play things for outdoors. I would play for hours with these items and often found new ways to play with them over the course of a few years. They were sturdy, stood up and their “playability” seemed to grow with me over time. These toys provided open ended play opportunities that extended beyond one narrow age group. They were safe and appealing.   Today these are still qualities that we should look for when purchasing toys for our children.

If you are interested in becoming a more informed toy consumer click the link below to Earlychildhood NEWS article “Toy Selection”. This article lists fifteen guidelines to make toy selection easier. Happy holiday shopping!

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What is Resiliency? by Lisa Clark

resilientWhat is resiliency you may ask? Well, one thing is certain, you can’t buy it, but it can determine your success in life. In one word, resiliency means survival. Resiliency is developed through experience, through strong role models, and some of it is engrained in our personality.

You may look at the current economy or perhaps at your own personal situation and wonder how you are ever going to make it. You may also worry about the future of your children and how they will make it through life in the future. You know it’s been done, that people have made it through catastrophic situations. We have heard unimaginable stories that family members have told you about “walking 15 miles up hill both ways in bare feet to school” and may have even joked about it. Living through job loss, or illness brings us all back to the reality that it can happen to anyone and worst of all it can happen to you. Some of us may lay awake at night wondering how we will pay the next bill or worse yet how we are going to feed ourselves. If you have ever struggled in your life for whatever reason, and made it through the other side, you have developed resiliency. So how can you be resilient to adversity nevertheless teach it to your children? Hopefully the following suggestions will help:


1.  Teach your child how to manage disappointment and delay gratification.

Life doesn’t always go the way we expect it to. Provide empathy and understanding and teach your child about making a plan. Explain to them that it’s normal to feel angry/sad etc., but a plan can help them to figure out what to do next. While shopping your child may want the latest toy. Suggest that they take a picture/write it down and add it to their birthday/Christmas list or wait until it goes on sale. Older children could learn about earning and saving money.


2.  Teach your children the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Having supportive people in our life can make the difference in the success we have in our lives. In unfortunate circumstances some people can make us feel unhappy and further discouraged while others can lift us up and encourage us to try new things.


3.  Teach your child to problem solve.

Allow them to struggle with new activities/situations. Avoid always rescuing them. Older children can be asked how they could resolve their issue; for example, “You would really like that toy truck, there’s no money in the bank or in my wallet. How are we going to get enough money?” Encourage your child to brainstorm ideas. Younger children could be provided choices.


4.  Help your children to learn from their mistakes.

Teach them it’s Ok not to be perfect and admit your mistakes. Natural consequences can be a very effective discipline strategy. For example, when your child goes outside and refuses to wear their mittens, don’t engage in a power struggle. Instead, place the mittens in your pocket and allow your child the opportunity to feel the cold. After a few minutes, offer the mittens again. They will soon learn it feels better when their hands are warm.


5.  Resiliency for your children.

Avoid overprotecting your children. Let them try new things and take calculated risks. Change is difficult and we all fall down once in a while. Teach your child what confidence is through example. In adversity, accept your feelings, brush yourself off and keep trying.


Resiliency is a learning process and sometimes we may feel we have more of it on one day than another. Stress is unavoidable and it is a part of our everyday life. By teaching your children resiliency, you can feel at ease knowing they have the skills to make it through. Have the confidence to believe in yourself for the children in your life.

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My Kid Is! by Cheryl McMurray



Great reader


Night owl

Good friend




Baseball player


Monopoly marvel

Avengers fan

Knock knock joke champ


What words would you use to describe your child? Our children often suffer from bouts of uncertainty and poor self esteem. We all do! Well here's an exercise in reassurance and optimism and love. Go to and enter the words that describe your child. Be sincere in your description, and it’s ok to be honest and funny. Be positive too! Stubborn = persistent. Bossy = born leader. Over-the-top and long lasting emotional displays = dramatic. You get the idea... Wordle tips: when you repeat words, they will display in a larger font; to keep phrases together, use a tilde ~ between the words. Have some fun and surprise your child - they just might surprise you with a wordle in return!


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An Apple A Day by Katie Simkins

National Apple Day is on October 21st and is mainly celebrated in the United Kingdom. It occurs near the time for the harvest of apples. So as the leaves change and the temperature changes, a new realm of fun family activities presents itself. Welcome Fall with a trip to the local apple orchard….from wagon rides, to jumping in bales of hay, to getting lost in corn mazes; to, most importantly, picking bushels of apples….what a fantastic way to spend a weekend with loved ones!

And as the kids pile out of the van, and we bring our healthy treats into the kitchen one question remains………… ‘WHAT can I do with ALL of these apples?’ Plain and simple, get baking!!! Having homemade treats readily available makes preparing lunches and quick snacks-on-the-go simple and easy.

Try some of these fantastic apple recipes, which are not only healthy, but also delicious!


Apple Brownies

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 baking soda

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 large firm apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 cm cubes (about 2 3/4 cups)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray an 8 x 11 baking pan.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together butt, sugar and egg with a mixer until pale yellow in colour - about 2 minutes. Add walnuts and apples and stir by hand until combined. Add flour mixture and stir till combined. Batter will be quite thick and lumpy. Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake till golden brown and slightly firm, about 40 minutes. Let cool, cut into bars and enjoy!


Cinnamon Apple Chips

2 cups unsweetened apple juice

1 cinnamon stick

2 apples


Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Combine apple juice and cinnamon stick in a pot; bring to a low boil while preparing apples. Core the apples. With sharp knife, slice off 1/2-inch from top and bottom of apples and discard (or eat!). Saw gently crosswise into very thin (1/8-inch) rings, rotating the apple as necessary to get even slices. Drop the apple slices into boiling juice; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until slices appear translucent and lightly golden. With a slotted spatula, remove the apple slices from juice and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange the slices on cake-cooling racks, being sure none are touching. Place the racks on the middle shelf in oven; bake 30 to 40 minutes until apple slices are lightly browned and almost dry to touch. Let chips cool on racks completely before storing in airtight container.


Apple Butter

2 apples (1 tart such as granny smith or wine sap, 1 sweet such as golden delicious or fuji), peeled or unpeeled

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 tablespoon apple juice, cider or water


Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Cook for 15 minutes, covered or until apples are soft and tender. Smash apples with a potato masher or back of a spoon. You want the apple butter to be slightly chunky. Cool and serve.


Apple Muffins

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon apple pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup shredded apple with skin

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

1 tablespoon butter


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, baking powder, apple pie spice, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork; stir in buttermilk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in apple. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way. In a small bowl, combine pecans, flaxseeds, and remaining brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spoon pecan mixture on top of muffin batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack 5 minutes; remove from cups.


Crock Pot Applesauce

10 medium apples (peeled cored and sliced in wedges)

3/4 cup water

juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons butter, diced



Place apples in your crock pot. Toss them in lemon juice and dot them with butter. Add water and close crock pot. Cook on high for 1.5 to 2 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Use back of a spoon to break up apples and stir in cinnamon to taste. Serve warm.

If you like your applesauce sweetened you can throw in a generous handful of brown sugar with the apples.


Let’s not stop at baking, let’s also get crafty:


Apple stamps

Cut an apple in half horizontally instead of vertically, it makes a nice stamp with a star shape in the center. Use different sizes of apples and stamp on paper, fabric or picture frames.


Cinnamon Apple Spice Play Dough


2 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 tsp cream of tartar

5 tsp apple pie spice

4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups water

2 tbsp. oil

red food coloring


Combine dry ingredients into saucepan. Add water & oil. Mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until dough forms. Remove from heat & allow to cool. Knead dough & store in ziplock bag


Apple Votive

1. Place the tea light over the top of the apple, and trace around its circumference with a paring knife, inserting the knife vertically as deep as the tea light is tall.

2. Set aside the light, cut the circle into sections, and scoop them out with a spoon.

3. Squeeze lemon juice onto the cut surface to keep the apple from turning brown, and insert a tea light. Repeat with remaining apples.


Check out the October fun happening right here in Northumberland:


Burnham Family Farm Market

Location: The market is located on Highway 2 between Cobourg and Port Hope (map).

Open May 3 - Dec 23, 9-6 Mon to Sat, 10-5 Sun

So far this season we've picked our Empire, Spartan, Cortland, McIntosh, Lobo, and Honeygold. Soon to come but not yet available: Honeycrisp, Royal Gala, Ida Red, Mutsu (Crispin), Red Delicious, Ambrosia, Northern Spy, and Russet. Come on out to taste test and find a new favourite, or give us a call to see when your old faithful is ready.


Moore Orchards

RR5, 1497 Moore Orchard Rd.

Cobourg, ON K9A 4J8

Telephone: (905) 372-3911

Approximately 5 km east of Cobourg on Hwy. 2. Turn south on Moore Orchard Rd.

Call for regular hours

We grow strawberries, raspberries, apples as well as pears and blueberries. PYO as well as ready picked (straw., rasp., apples only for PYO)


Pieter’s Appleyard

13516 Northumberland 2

Colborne, ON K0K 1S0

Open Daily Mid August to October 31


(905) 355-5725


Pick Your Own Apples or Pre-picked

Wagon Rides (on weekends only in September and October) available for a small fee

Picnic Tables for your picnicking pleasure

Walking trails

Magnificent views of Lake Ontario


Cricklewood Farms

3km west of Brighton Ontario on County Road 2,

by GPS Lat 44.031500 & Long 77.773900



Aug 3rd to Nov 10th

9:30 to 5:30 Sun to Fri,

9:30 to 6:00 Sat

Corn Maze

Sat., Aug 3rd to Nov 4th

9:30 to 4:30, Sun to Fri

and 9:30 to 6:00 Sat

Twilight Walks

9:30 to 9:00 on Aug 31st,

Sept 28, October 12, 19, 26

Monster Hunt

Toward the end of October


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Happy Halloween by Karen Roussy


My kids love Halloween, especially my son. And it is not even so much the trick or treating that he likes, it is the fact that he gets to dress up. He likes to dress up in a scary costume and then hang out on my mom and dad’s front porch. He usually takes up a position in one of the chairs – won’t move a muscle until the kids are on the porch thinking that he is a manikin and then he will make his move! I must say he is very selective because he is very good at not scaring the little ones! He generally waits for the older ones and especially loves to scare the teenagers.

Here are some tips for a safe Halloween:

  • Don’t use masks! Masks can be dangerous if they slip down over the eyes and sometimes they limit peripheral vision. There are hypoallergenic make-up and non-toxic products available or you can go old school and use what you have in the kitchen. Want a creepy, withered look – make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the face – as it dries it will crack a little giving it a nice ‘withered’ effect. If you want to, you can add a little food colour – maybe green for a witch or red for a devil – just remember to keep it away from the eyes.
  • Find places on the costumes where you can stick a pieces of reflective tape – on the back of the costume, bottom of pants or back of arms so that your child can be easily spotted by drivers.
  • If your child is going out without you this year, make sure they are going with a group of their friends and you know what route they are taking. Carrying a flashlight is always a good idea and make sure they know not to eat anything until they get home.
  • For those with children too old to ‘trick or treat’ but still love Halloween have them dress up and hand out the goodies at the door.
  • If you are giving out ‘home made’ treats this year, make sure you include a label in your package that has your last name and address on it so that parents know where it came from.

Looking for great Halloween ideas check out the following links:

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Creating Lasting Memories by Jessalyn Cranley

Thanksgiving is around the corner and I know that every year at this time the one thing I am so very thankful for in my life is my family. My family and I spend a lot of time together and as we get older I am always thinking about how we can make the most of this “together time”. What activities can we do, what traditions can we create that will continue for years to come?

Creating lasting memories to me means enjoying the simple things in life. I think that if we asked our children what they remember from days gone by, we would find they enjoy the little things too. For children, walking on a trail through the forest to see all the leaves that have changed or helping with cooking a family meal will be a memory they cherish. Children are always happy to be involved and help their parents or family.


Here are some ideas for you, your family and friends to create lasting memories:


Enjoy your town’s events.

This time of year there are always festivals and fairs in our communities. Take time to check out the local events in your town.


Create your own family adventures.

Fall is the perfect time of year to get outside – go apple picking, choose the best pumpkin for Halloween or plan a Fall scavenger hunt. Take your camera with you to capture pictures of your family and nature. Create frames to display your pictures.


Plan a baking day or just let your children help you plan a family meal.

Ripe for the picking! Apples make a delicious treat, why not make candy apples or apple crisp. Give your children the opportunity to find a recipe, make a list of all the things you need, and then be apart of the baking.


Enjoy the outdoors together.

The days are getting shorter so take the time to just be outside with your children and friends. Play a game, roll around in the leaves, go for a bike ride or when night falls gather around a camp fire.


As you enjoy these activities with family and friends, notice the things that make your children laugh or the way everyone works together. Notice that everyone is having fun, children get to be children, and that you too have a little bit of a child inside you. Too often we spend our lives rushing, trying to fill our days with all things we ‘have to get done’ and our minds are in another. We need to slow down and create these lasting memories with our families and friends. I know that when I look back at the days that have past I want them to be filled with these moments to cherish. Take time this Thanksgiving and do something with your family and friends that will create a lasting memory. I know I will!

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"In the Same Boat" Sibling Rivalry by Terra Mucci

“Mom, Dad he’s poking me.” sibling rivalry 2

“You poked me first!”

“Mom, Dad he’s flicking me!”

“Stop looking at me then!”


Do these conversations sound familiar to you? Are your children constantly bickering? You and any number of families are experiencing the same thing. The more you understand about the causes of sibling rivalry the better you will be able to channel the children’s growth and positive relationship building. The website has outlined the reasons for sibling rivalry very well. Sibling rivalry is a rite of passage, at some point between infancy and adulthood (and sometimes well into adulthood) all children experience this, no matter what the age difference. Some research shows that sibling rivalry is more intense when the children are less than three years apart, but it is normal and inevitable at all ages. There is a natural progression of sibling rivalry and strategies that you can use at all the stages to help, but not end, it.


Generally ensure that no one is being teased or put down constantly, encourage and model conversations about feelings and listening to each other. The more children understand the other person’s point of view, the better their ability to empathize and understand the results of hurtful actions and words. Avoid comparing the siblings.   It’s important to know that fighting is cooperative, it takes both sides to start and continue a battle, and the fighting will or will not continue based on your response. The behaviour is a way for your children to move away from feeling inferior to, in their mind, a position of security.


The strategies:  

  • Make sure you have set ground rules for appropriate behaviour and managing conflicts and big emotions. Have the children work out some of those rules with you in a time of calm.


  • Ignore - no matter how much you try to be fair, one side or the other will feel like you are taking sides. Walk away. Let them know you will be back when they have chosen to get along again. It’s important to impress upon them, that it is their choices that are keeping you away, nothing else. If you are worried about seemingly abandoning them see for some great lines that encourage cooperation.


  • “Put them in the same boat”. Let them know that if they can’t cooperate they will get no where, the consequence will be the same for both and that both will affect the resolution. In putting them in the same boat they will then try to cooperate rather than fight.


  • Don’t be afraid to separate the children until they are calm. Take five minutes quiet time and if the conflict is still too volatile, remove it to a later time, at a family meeting or over dinner.  


  • Get professional help if the conflicts are so severe that it is affecting the parenting partner’s relationship, when there is serious risk of physical harm to any family member or if it’s damaging the self-esteem or psychological well-being of any family member.

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What's on my Bookshelf?

bookshelfDo you like to read? Do you have time to read? I realize as I write this that reading a book for information purposes is a tad  dated. Research indicates that the overwhelming majority of folks with questions go on-line for answers. None the less, I wanted to share some of the tried and true resources I use and recommend when talking to parents about concerns they have for their child’s development, be it sleep issues, behaviour problems, social skills or anxiety.  These books have earned the spots they hold on my bookshelf!


Raising Your Spirited Child: a guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent and energetic – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka


Kids, Parents and Power Struggles: effective strategies that will help you stay connected with your child, bring down the intensity, understand why your child is misbehaving, stop the tantrums and win for a lifetime! – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka


Sleepless in America: practical strategies to help your family get the sleep it deserves – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka


Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s website:


The Explosive Child: a new approach for understanding and parenting easily frustrated, chronically inflexible children – Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.


Lost at School: why our kids with behavioural challenges are falling through the cracks and how we can help them – Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.


Dr. Ross Greene’s website:


Helping Your Anxious Child: a step by step guide for parents – Ronald M. Rapee, Ph.D., Susan H. Spence, Ph.D., Vanessa Cobham, Ph.D., Ann Wignall, M.Psych.


Cool, Calm and Confident: a workbook to help kids learn assertiveness skills - 40 simple, fun activities to teach kids to handle teasing with confidence, stop bullying in its tracks, build self esteem – Lisa M. Schab, LCSW


A Volcano in My Tummy: helping children to handle anger – Eliane Whitehouse and Warwich Pudney


Seven Steps to Improve Your Child’s Social Skills: help your child form meaningful relationships with others, evaluate your child’s social skills, teach empathy, communication, respect and other friendship making skills, build your child’s self confidence through social success – Kristy Hagar, Ph.D., Sam Goldstein, Ph.D., Robert Brooks, Ph.D.


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Keep Active!

The nights are getting cooler, nightfall is sneaking upon us a little bit sooner each day and children are returning to school. All these things are signs that point to the impending fall season and the time to get back to routines and schedules that we often let relax during the summer months. It also means that outdoor swimming and traditional summer sports are winding down. However, this doesn’t mean that we should wind down our physical activities. Physical activity is important no matter what the season. It is important for our children’s growth, development and overall health. It is no less important for the adults in our children’s lives as it can help to relieve stress, increase energy and help you sleep better.

Children are naturally energetic from the time they are infants. Interactive floor based play with your infant will encourage them to be active several times a day. This could be tummy time, rolling and playing, reaching and grasping toys and crawling to explore their environment.

Toddlers and preschoolers should be active for at least 180 minutes a day (ParticipAction).This can be at various intensities and spread throughout the day. Being active for the toddler and preschooler involves getting moving; playing outside, running and climbing to explore their environment, climbing stairs and moving around the house indoors.


As children grow they need more energetic play and should progress to 60 minutes of a moderate to vigorous intensity of physical activity each day. (based on info. from the Heart & Stroke Foundation)

60 minutes of physical activity each day can:parents walking with children

  • Improve health and build healthy hearts and bones
  • Help children do betterin school
  • Improve fitness
  • Be fun an dprovide opportunities to play with friends and family
  • Make you feel happier
  • Improve self confidence
  • Help to learn new skills and improve movement skills

Although children are naturally energetic they may need encouragement so that they don’t become inactive. These days children spend a lot of time sitting in school, on the bus, using computers, playing video games and watching T.V. Be a role model for your children. If they see you enjoying physical activity and making it a regular part of your day, they will want to copy that.

There are lots of outside activities the whole family can enjoy even as the colder weather approaches. Take walks around the neighbourhood or go to the nearest conservation area. A scavenger hunt around the neighbourhood, park or in your own backyard can be even more fun in the snow. Play traditional summer games like soccer or baseball in the snow. Build snow sculptures and blow giant bubbles and let the kids chase them. The following bubble mixture is good for any season. (water, glycerine and Dawn dish detergent. Mix together and let sit for a few hours before using.)



  • Try an obstacle course using pillows and blankets, toy bins and furniture to make tunnels, run around or jump into.
  • Hop, skip or roll from one room to the other.
  • Dance to action and silly songs.
  • Do simple yoga moves with your kids.
  • Play balloon ball where the balloon can’t touch the floor.
  • Set up a bean bag toss.
  • Do jumping jacks and wall pushups.

Encourage your kids to get moving by:

  • Creating safe places and spaces for them to play.
  • Dressing for the weather and exploring the outdoors with them. (Keep hydrated no matter what the season.)
  • Making time for physical activity with friends and family.
  • Playing music and learning action songs together.
  • Getting to where you need to go by walking or riding a bike.

Visit your local Public Health Unit to learn more about their Eat Right, Be Active Guide pertaining to your child’s age group. It is full of information and ideas for healthy eating and keeping active. Check out the Participaction website below as another helpful resource. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines

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“To tie or not to tie…”

Learning to tie shoes is difficult. There are a lot of steps and little muscles involved, is it worth your time to teach it? There are all shoe tyingsorts of different types of shoes, Velcro, bungee laces, and so on available at stores, so really your child may not ever have to tie their shoes; but they will need to be able to dress themselves, hold utensils for eating, writing, playing, working. Tying your shoes is really in the same realm as these other skills because they are all fine motor activities.

Fine motor skills are the ability to manipulate and use tools with our hands and fingers, and like all skills it takes time and practice to master them. So how do you start? Remember “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “I’m a Little Teapot”, “Rolly Polly”? They are all rhymes with actions, manipulation of our bodies, they are motor development tools. Introduce these songs at home with your toddlers, break them into small steps, repeat them, add to your repertoire, repeat them. Children thrive on repetition and consistency, it helps develop their ability to think step by step and execute a plan.

As your toddler grows, let them get dirty, play in the sand, finger paint with pudding, do lots of arts and crafts. The arts and crafts projects don’t have to be complicated just some macaroni noodles or pieces of drinking straws on a string or create structures with miniature marshmallows and toothpicks.   Dollar stores have lots of great little items your children can pick up with tongs or tweezers. Enjoy your time together playing, and at the same time develop fine motor skills.

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Life-Long Learning—Continued Education in Northumberland County

In Northumberland County, clients who are seeking Continued Education Support Services, have several Community Agencies to assist them in achieving their educational goals for a sustainable future!

Clients may be seeking supports to complete their high school diploma; or, perhaps, they are ready to move forward and would like to upgrade prior to applying to a College or Apprenticeship program—whatever the requirement, clients have many options—some agencies offer one-on-one supports while other programs are self-directed. Clients have the option of working correspondently from home, while others may opt for an adult classroom setting.

For those seeking supports to complete their high school education and achieve their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (O.S.S.D.)—widely recognized by employers—the Centre for Individual Studies (C.I.S.) can assist clients 18 years of age or older who are not currently enrolled in a high school, free of charge. Clients can access C.I.S. Programs at:

Credit achievement is attainable for every client; no matter how many credits they require! Clients can contact C.I.S. to register in the L.B.S. (Learning Basic Skills Assessment) Program and then move forward toward credit achievement for life experience with the P.L.A.R. (Prior Learning Assessment Recognition) Program. Through P.L.A.R. clients can achieve up to 26 credits toward their O.S.S.D. by simply engaging in this guided process: the final four credits required for an O.S.S.D. are completed through coursework. Clients can access the L.B.S. program at:

The main Northumberland Centre for Individual Studies Campus is located in Cobourg; C.I.S. Outreach is available throughout Northumberland County in the following locations on the following days:

Northumberland Campus (Primary contact for all C.I.S. Outreach)
Monday – Friday, from 9:00 – 2:30
700 D'Arcy Street, Unit 30, Cobourg
(905) 372 - 1697

Port Hope
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 9:00 – 2:30
Community Service Hub, 38 Walton Street, Second Floor

Wednesday, from 9:00 – 2:30
Alderville Learning Centre, 11696 Second Line Road

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 9:00 – 2:30
37 Margaret Street

Clients who are self-directed and comfortable with computers also have the option of earning their high school diploma by independent study, via Quinte Adult Education, through Contact North in Port Hope.
38 Walton St., - Second Floor

Clients, who are seeking supports to upgrade, have the option of Academic Upgrading at Fleming College's Cobourg Campus. This Academic Upgrading Program is intended for clients who would like to refresh in preparation for a college program or apprenticeship.

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Am I What I Feel? Teach Your Children About What Feelings Are

When young children begin learning to express their feelings, they often say things like “I am sad”, “I am temper 2 pout angry”, or “I am lonely”. Once, a 6 year old declared “I am so sad, and I am going to be sad for the rest of my life.”

It is important to help young children recognize what feelings are: temporary states, not permanent traits. Feelings are like the weather, changing constantly. An emotion may come and go in 90 seconds. You may feel a certain way at a given time in a given situation, but it does not mean you are that feeling, and it does not mean you will feel that way forever either.

It is important to teach young children to express their feelings by using statements such as “I feel sad right now”, “I feel really mad”, or “I feel lonely”. Help them understand what makes them feel that way by simply being curious, “I hear you feel really mad now. I wonder how come?” Use the words “I wonder” or “how come” instead of “why”. Asking “why” is very direct and less inviting. Asking “how come” sends a message that you are interested in the child’s story and perspective. Allow the child to tell the full story. Do not interrupt or attempt to speak for your child.

Use curiosity again to invite your child to express what he or she has done with that feeling, “Now I know why you are so mad. I wonder what you do when you feel that way.” Again, allow your child to tell the whole story. Empathize with your child about his or her attempt to express his feelings and needs even though it was not an ideal way, “I can see how mad you felt, and how much you wanted to tell your friend what he did was hurtful.” Then explore with your child the outcome of his action, whether it was hurtful as well, either to others or to himself. This is the time to teach your child about morals, through conversation and a caring approach. With your attitude of accepting, curiosity and empathy, your child will feel that you understand him or her, and you are willing to help them find a good way to not only express their feelings, but also find ways to change the situation and outcome as well.

One last thing: Don’t forget the power of modeling. What you say and how you act in difficult situations will have a much stronger impact on your child and their learning. You are your child’s best teacher. So teach your child what he or she will need in order to have a healthy and joyful life.

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Is Your Child Struggling With A Proper Pencil Grasp or Holding Scissors?

Check out these 5 tips:boy cutting


1.  Pencil work, colouring and cutting with scissors can be serious business – it takes two hands to get the job done! The hand that holds the tool (pencil, crayon, scissors) is the ‘worker hand’. The hand that holds the paper is the ‘helper hand’.


2.  A child who is switching hands – holding the crayon in one hand then the other – hasn’t yet determined which hand is dominant. Notice which hand your child uses most often in non colouring tasks like eating or stringing beads. That is more likely to be their dominant hand – start to label it the ‘worker hand’ and remind your child that this hand holds the tools. A sticker on the back of ‘worker hand’ can help remind them too!


3.  If your child is using a fist grasp, offer them smaller pieces of crayons – pieces that are no more than 2 or 3 cm long. To use a crayon like this, your child must pick it up using their forefinger and thumb (a pinch) and this more closely replicates a tripod grasp. Remember to strip the paper off these crayons and place them in a special box or bag – these are special crayons! No one wants to colour with a broken crayon…


4.  When your child is using scissors, remind them that the thumb of the hand holding the scissors should be on top – pointing up to their nose! A great beginner activity for scissor use is to cut drinking straws. The straw makes a great popping sound when it cuts and it is easy for you and your child to see when the scissors in the ‘worker hand’ get too close to the ‘helper hand’ holding the straw – remind your child that the ‘helper hand’ needs to move down the straw.


5.  If colouring or using scissors does not interest your child, you can still encourage good fine motor development by offering these kinds of activities:

  • Stickers that they pull off the sheet themselves (more forefinger and thumb work at play)
  • Playdough
  • Stringing just about anything – beads, macaroni, straws
  • Water in a spray bottle – they can spray the plants or grass outside (great hand movement that replicates the muscle needed for scissor work).
  • Clipping clothespins onto a string, a piece of fabric, or the sides of a box.


These tips are from Handwriting Without Tears©  For more information and strategies in helping your child learn to print and learn their letters and numbers, watch the Northumberland Cares for Children calendars for Print Write Parent Workshops.



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Helping Your Children Grow...A Garden!

Well we finally made it. Spring time! I’m sure some of us thought it was never going to get here. I don’t know about you but I love to garden. There is nothing better to me than getting outside and working in the garden, sunshine, dirt under my nails...I love it. My children have become quite the gardeners as well. They prefer working in the vegetable garden as opposed to the flower gardens though. I think that has something to do with actually eating more in the garden than they bring in for me to prepare in the kitchen.


Not only is gardening with your children a healthy, fun activity it provides a good opportunity for bonding. It is generally quiet and working side-by-side offers great opportunities to chat. Children develop new skills and learn about science and nature from growing their own food and there are all kinds of activities they can be involved in, like planting, mulching, weeding and even helping in the kitchen with preparing a salad from their harvest.


I found that giving my children their choice of what they would like to grow works well. They pick one of two vegetables and those are their responsibility (with a little help from me throughout the season). By letting them choose they are more likely to be interested in what they are growing. My son loves cucumbers and my daughter loves beans, so this is what they tend to grow. If I were to try to get my son to grow broccoli it wouldn’t turn out well as this is probably his least favourite vegetable. It also keeps it simple for them, they are not overwhelmed with having to look after the whole garden, just their little patch.


If you don’t have the space for a large garden, try container gardening. Just about anything can be grown in a container, from flowers to vegetables, even pretty ornamental grasses.


Ideas for getting children interested in gardening can range from growing interesting plants such as sunflowers, strawberries, cherry tomatoes. Try using a trellis or a tepee to grow beans. If you are planting a flower garden, involve your children in the planning and design. Plant flowers that will attract butterflies or hummingbirds. Find some old clothes and make a scarecrow to protect your garden.


If you need ideas for your garden, try visiting community gardens, or even your nearest farmer’s market.


There are a couple of safety items to keep in mind when gardening with children. Use lightweight, appropriate sized tools. Keep sprays and fertilisers out of reach; garden organically whenever possible and do not use chemicals. Secure fences and gates. Encourage children to wear a hat, sunscreen, and suitable clothing.


Happy growing!


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Attune With Tunes

What does it mean to be attached to your child? According to Dan Hughes it means the PLACE theory; be Playful, be Loving, show Acceptance, show Compassion and Empathize. There are other qualities in "Attachment-Focused Parenting" as well, like being curious, sensitive, regulated, reflective, but most of all be attuned.

Attuned parenting means, know what your child wants and needs. Even if they don't speak, they will let you know. Get down to their level to make sure that you see what they see and move to what they move to; pay attention to what they're paying attention to, use body language, tone of voice, eye contact and words to communicate.

Children of all ages love songs and music. These can also be great tools to bond with your child over. Sing nursery rhymes, children's songs, make up your own songs to familiar tunes. The web site Kid Diddles is a fantastic resource for children's songs from around the world and don't forget old favourites like Raffi and Sharon, Lois and Brahm. Your child will not care if you can carry a tune or not, the time that you spend with them over the song is what's going to matter. They will accept you.

Most children's songs have book versions that you can read together as well. Visit your local library and ask the Librarian.

Once you have found out what your child's favourite song is, do an arts and crafts project on a rainy day based on that song; create a paper bag puppet or just draw a picture, it doesn't have to be complicated. The social web site, Pinterest, has fantastic ideas for arts and crafts projects. Work at the table or on the floor, but do it together.

You know your child best, maybe they would rather get up and dance or act-out the song; put a dance routine together and let loose, it'll be an amazing way to help yourself regulate your stress too. Have some fun and play!

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Building Resiliency In Our Children

I was in the audience to hear Dr. Ron Clavier, neuroscientist, psychologistand author, speak about parenting. He asked the crowded auditorium what they wanted for their children. What did they want their children to be when they 'grew up'? Hands went up; we heard 'happy', 'loved'... I leaned over to my neighbour and whispered 'I just don't want them living in my basement at the age of 30!' Dr. Clavier listened to all the answers and then said 'Independent.' Amen. We all got ready to soak in the magic words. Independence comes from being self-reliant. What are the skills they'll need 20 years from now? In this fast-paced world how can we possibly prepare them? Our duty as a parent is to teach our children resiliency. How?

When children do chores, get dressed on their own and help out the family... those are their first good deeds. In addition to giving children a sense of belonging, doing chores gives them survival skills. By teaching our children a habit of responsibility at an early age, we give them the confidence to take on ever-more complex challenges as they grow older. And helping out at home raises self-esteem! When we teach and follow through, it lets them know they are not just loved, they are needed. The other day I read that humans are the only creatures that devote energy to making their offspring happy. The rest of the animal kingdom is devoted to fostering competence to survive in the world. Children deserve more than devotion. They deserve to be taught how to fend for themselves and eventually contribute to society. When we think about it this way, chores are not extracurricular activities, they are the basics.

Who would have thought pouring juice was a survival skill? Sometimes it's quicker (and cleaner!) to just do it ourselves. It's true that many of the tasks very young children can do won't really save us any time, but if we look at them in terms of our child's future self-reliance, it may help us slow down and encourage their early efforts. Three year olds can start to take some responsibility for dressing themselves, feed themselves with a fork and pour juice from a small jug. Preschoolers can water plants, help sort laundry or wipe the table. Four and five year olds can put their toys away and put their clothes in the hamper. And most little ones love to help out around the house when they get you for company!

Children learn by doing. This is where consistency is important, and patience a virtue! Within reason, let children decide how to get a job done. Be there to encourage and suggest. They will develop their own unique style of dressing, cleaning their room, or preparing food. If we demand that they do it exactly our way, we take the creativity out of the task and increase their resistance to it. My daughter finally learned to dress herself, when I finally learned to stop picking out all her outfits. Catch them being responsible and mention it. "You put your shirt on all by yourself!"

When we bring home our little bundle, we monitor everything that goes into their mouths and comes out their bottoms. We feed them, bathe, cuddle and sing to them. We put up baby gates and put covers over wall sockets. We provide constant care and protection. As our children get older, we need to back off from smoothing their path. We need to give them a chance to make some thoughtful or sometimes thoughtless choices. By giving them this, we teach them how to withstand the bumps of life. It is with this practice that they will mature into resilient, self-reliant adults.

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Spring Time Tunes

Spring has Sprung!!!
It's that time of year when we all come out of hibernation from the long winter. We want to get outside in the warmer weather and feel the sun. Flowers are starting to bloom, the grass will soon start to turn green and the birds are out singing their tune.

Singing a little tune always seems to put me in a great mood. The following songs do just that, while keeping in the spirit of spring. Each of the songs is also accompanied by some movements we can do. What better way to get rid of our winter blues than to get up and move along with these songs to celebrate spring? Have some fun with your family with the music and movement!

The movements to the song lines are in brackets.

Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Five green and speckled frogs, (wiggle five fingers)
Sat on a speckled log, (squat down to pretend to sit on your log)
Eating some most delicious bugs, (pretend to eat your bugs)
Yum, yum! (Rub your tummy in circles)
One jumped into the pool, (jump forward)
Where it was nice and cool, (wrap your arms around you and shiver)
Then there were four green speckled frogs (wiggle four fingers)

Continue the same words and actions counting down from five.
When you have no more speckled frogs the last line of the song will be:

And now there are no green speckled frogs (put your hands out to show no more)

Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout (using your right finger to left them and left finger to right thumb, walk your spider up the spout high above your head)
Down came the rain and washed the spider out (use your fingers and wiggle them down like rain)
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain (Hold your hands together above your head in a circle to show your sun)
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again (walk your spider back up the spout)

Baby Bumblebee

(Cup your hands together like you are carrying your bumblebee, swinging them from side to side)
I'm bringing home my baby bumble bee,
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm bringing home my baby bumblebee,
Ouch! He stung me! (Look at your hands and then shake them)

(Clap your hands together and turn your hands in opposite directs to squish your bee)

I'm Squishing up my baby bumblebee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm Squishing up my baby bumblebee.
Ewww, He's all over me! (Look at your hands like he is all over you)

(Now wipe your hands on your pants to get rid of your squished bumblebee)

I'm wiping off my baby bumblebee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm wiping off my baby bumblebee,
Now my mommy won't be mad at me (Smile and look happy your bumblebee is gone)

Oh Mr. Sun

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, (Hold your hands above you head in a circle and move them back and forth)
Please shine down on me. (Straighten your hands above your head and bring them down to your sides, stretching them out in front of you)

Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, (Hold your hands above you head in a circle and move them back and forth)
Hiding behind the trees, (Put your arms out above your head and speread you fingers like branches of the tree)
These little children are asking you, (point to yourself)
To please come out so they can play with you.

Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun Mr. Golden Sun, (Hold your hands above you head in a circle and move them back and forth)
Please shine down on, (Straighten your hands above your head and bring them down to your sides, stretching them out in front of you and repeat this for two more lines of the song)
Please shine down on,
Please shine down on me!

Brown Squirrel

Brown Squirrel, brown squirrel (squat down like a squirrel)
Shake your bushy tail, (jump and turn to shake you behind)
Brown Squirrel, brown squirrel (squat down like a squirrel)
Shake your bushy tail (jump and turn to shake you behind)

Wrinkle up your little nose, (point to your nose and wrinkle it)
Drop a nut between your toes (pretend to drop your nut to your toes and wiggle them)
Brown Squirrel, brown squirrel (squat down like a squirrel)
Shake your bushy tail (jump and turn to shake you bum)

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Spend Some Time on the Floor

The floor...this is where we begin...

Spend twenty minutes on the floor playing with your child – this is what we are asking parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to do. Let your child know you respect and value what he is interested in and you want to join and understand him. Children with ASD tend to perseverate on a particular interest or activity and may have impairments in the areas of communication/language, and building social relationships. How do we begin? Rather WHERE do we begin improving these developmental areas...on the floor!

Wondering how to get started?

How do we join in repetitive activities such as staring at a fan, making a train move continuously back and forth or walking around in circles? Remember a child's seemingly aimless activity is a window to his interests and feelings. The answer is walk back and forth with him, move the train back and forth with him. By getting on the floor and meeting a child at his level you are communicating to him that you are interested and want to share the same joy he is experiencing. Therefore enter the child's game – follow their lead – this will ignite the parent-child interaction and lead to increasingly more complex interactions. By you joining in their activity the child may be less likely to avoid, remain self-absorbed or flee the situation; instead you may receive a glance or even a warm smile – the first step to joining together in a shared world. We want children with ASD to join our world with pleasure and excitement and with real inquisition.

The therapy technique I am describing above is 'Floortime'.

Floortime defines six developmental milestones crucial for emotional and intellectual growth:

1. Self regulation and interest in the world – having shared attention and mutual engagement
2. Engagement in human relations – having interest in another person and the ability to form relationships
3. Two-way intentional communication – partaking in simple back and forth interaction
4. Complex communication – using continuous social problem-solving
5. Emotional ideas – engaging in pretend/symbolic play
6. Emotional thinking – bridging ideas

What is Your Role?

Be a play partner that is engaging and fun and tune-in to the child's interests! Play in a way that entices the child to engage with you in a playful manner and turn a solitary activity into a two-person interaction.

Remember the first step in Floortime is to follow the child's lead. The second step is to willingly and joyfully pull a child into a shared world to build relationships and partake in 'circles of communication'. Circles of communication refer to the back and forth communication between a child and adult. Through such circles, the adult can enable the child to connect her emotions and intent to her behaviours in purposeful ways.

Where to go from here....


  • Your child is moving a car back and forth. Where to go from here...
    • Insert yourself into the repetition creatively. Put your hand in front of the car so he has to drive over top, bang your car into his, place your hand like a tunnel so he can drive through. Now the activity is no longer repetitious and the child doesn't have to give up the car but he DOES have to deal with you - this creates a shared interaction.
  •  Your child gets out of the bath tub. Where to go from here...
    •  Do not provide him a towel. Question – 'What do you need?', 'What towel do you want?'
  •  Your child is playing trains with little regard for you. Where to go from here...
    •  Get a train, 'choo- choo' up the hill, then fall off, cry for help. Or remove a piece of track and model the train jumping to the next piece of track while saying 'weeee'

Remember to ask yourself 'How can I creatively build on that?', 'How can I join in?'

Spend all of our time on the Floor?

NO – Floortime can be done anywhere such as a bed, outside at the park, while grocery shopping or during bath time – Floortime is a specific therapy technique that can be performed anywhere anytime.

Some key notes when engaging in Floortime:

  •  Forget appropriate play – think outside the box. Trains really can hop up stairs and balloons really can growl!
  • Talk less – gesture more with increased affect
  •  Make it simple and fun
  •  Play dumb – let your child work a little bit harder to communicate to you
  •  Engage in communicative temptations – whereby you are playfully obstructive
  •  Set aside 20 minutes of undivided floor time, multiple times per day

As a caregiver/parent/therapist/teacher we tend to evaluate the child and where they are at on the developmental ladder. We also need to assess the child's sensory processing differences and whether the child is under-reactive or over-reactive to touch and sound and adjust our role as a play partner accordingly. Is your eagerness and energy overwhelming the child, are they holding their ears, and fleeing when you approach? Or is the child unengaged and withdrawn signaling a need to increase your energy, volume and appeal?

Don't be afraid to make a mistake, as Dr. Greenspan reaffirmed continuously 'The only mistake you can make is NOT doing it, NOT showing up'. With each interaction, the better you become – therefore PLAY, PLAY, PLAY!

Children with autism spectrum disorder as well as other developmental delays have showed significant positive change in their emotional and intellectual growth using the Floortime Approach. To learn more about Floortime, Jake Greenspan, son of the late Dr. Stanley Greenspan founder of the DIR/Floortime Model, will be presenting a 1 ½ day professional workshop and a ½ day parent workshop at the Best Western in Cobourg May 8 and 9, 2013.

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