Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Children’s Finance

First Children’s Finance provides loans and financial technical assistance to child care business owners, both family child care and center based, who want to expand or improve programs in 10 states, including Missouri.   Their loans can be used to open new programs, remodel or expand facilities, purchase equipment, or to make improvements necessary to fulfill licensing requirements.

The organization also has free online Business Resource Centers for family child care businesses and center based child care programs.  You’ll find information there to help you with starting a new business, marketing your business, keeping records, filing taxes, legal issues, money management, and insurance.

To apply for a loan or to utilize the many free resources online, visit their website at

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cool Summertime Ice Play

Here are a few ice play ideas we’ve recently pinned to our Pinterest boards at

Magnetic Ice Fishing:  For a fun way to use your magnet play materials, put a magnet in each segment of an ice cube tray, add water, and then add a few drops of food coloring.  Once the ice is frozen, take the ice outside, or add it to your sensory table, and let children explore using the magnetic wands.
Ice Boats:  To make the boats, freeze larger chunks of ice in re-purposed containers (yogurt containers work well).  Add food coloring or liquid watercolor to the water before freezing.  When the ice is about halfway frozen, add a “sail” from paper taped to straws or toothpicks.  Let children play with the ice boats in the water table and explore the floating, melting, color mixing, and more.

Monster Ice:  This can be done using ice cube trays for smaller “monsters” or larger containers for big ones.  Cook some spaghetti, and then make it different colors with food coloring.  For each “monster” add wiggle eyes and spaghetti “hair” to the ice cube tray, then cover with ice and freeze.  Children can play with the “monsters” outside and explore the feeling of the frozen spaghetti thawing.
Ice Chalk:  Mix one part cornstarch and one part baking soda with two parts water and a few drops of liquid watercolor.  Freeze in ice cube trays, and then let the children draw with the ice chalk on the sidewalks.  For an extra thrill, put some vinegar in a spray bottle, and let them spray their drawings and watch the chalk fizz.

Jell-O Ice:  You can freeze Jell-O cups purchased from the store, or mix up a box of Jell-O and put it in the freezer rather than the refrigerator.  This makes a colorful, yummy-smelling, and non-toxic sensory play material.       

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Local Family Child Care Business Owner Wins National Award

We’d like to congratulate Meg Kocher of Kocher’s Family Child Care in Holts Summit, Missouri who was one of 50 early care and education professionals selected to win the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol® National Child Care Teacher Award.  Applications are encouraged from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Military bases and installations around the world, and four child care professionals in Missouri were selected to receive the award this year.

Meg’s application included a classroom enhancement project proposal she called “Science Squad:  Explore, Expand, Apply.”  The entry earned her $500 to implement the project in her child care business, and an additional $500 award for the teacher herself.  Meg used the money to purchase a sensory table, binoculars, magnifying glasses, magnets, and other science materials for the children to use.  The families Meg serves wrote letters of support and encouraged her to take time off work for an all expenses paid trip to Philadelphia to receive the award in person.

For more information about the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol® National Child Care Teacher Award, or to apply for the 2014 award, visit