Child Central Station

Family Home Daycare and Educational Toy Store

Daycare Blog

This is a blog created to help document some of the activities taking place at Child Central Station.

view:  full / summary

Moving the Blog

Posted by childcentralstation on May 25, 2010 at 8:17 AM Comments comments (0)

After some thought and consideration, I have opted to move our blog. You can now read our blog posts at: The website here will remain as our website, but the blog will run through


Thanks for stopping by!

Making Music in the Yard: Part II

Posted by childcentralstation on May 20, 2010 at 12:22 PM Comments comments (5)

Today, we tested out our xylophone with our hands and a variety of different wooden sticks and spoons.


The next part of our project was to load up a 2x4 with various kitchen instruments. We are still in the process of completing this step, as the morning slipped away from us! The hot sun this afternoon will have to pass before we get started again.



We did have a lot of fun testing each lid as we attached it to the structure:

Pot lids make excellent cymbals!


And they also sound like "bells" when you hit them with a wooden spoon!



We're off to a great start! More to come as our music area progresses!


Making Music in the Yard

Posted by childcentralstation on May 19, 2010 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (3)

I've wanted to make an outdoor area for music for quite some time.  We had a new fence installed around the play area, and my thought was to put a HUGE xylophone on the fence, like the one we saw mounted on the wall at the U.P. Children's Museum.  However, after being inspired with additional ideas for an outdoor area through following Teach Preschool on Facebook, we have opted to create an entire section of our outdoor play space to making music!


The first project for our Music area was a Giant Xylophone. Here are a few photos as we worked to put it together.

This photo is of our temporary installation. Due to the size of the xylophone, we need to reinforce it with wood, as the string is not strong enough to account for gravity.


The xylophone is made out of scrap 2x4 pieces. We started with a 10" piece and cut pieces up to 40" long, each piece being 2" longer than the previous. The children had fun counting by twos.  Unfortunately, the camera battery needed to be charged when we started our project. A couple of children helped to measure the pieces to be cut with a circular saw. Then each piece was drilled 3" from each end to allow for the string to be thread. The sanding of the pieces was quite lengthly; Two different groups of children helped to sand all of the pieces over two days.





While we were working on sanding the pieces, some of the children opted to re-measure the pieces to make sure that they were cut properly, and deemed themselves "wood inspectors."  We spent quite a few hours sanding all of the pieces. 



Then when all of the pieces were ready, the next step was to put them in order, from shortest to longest. This was quite a process......



Finally, after comparing all of the pieces, and a little bit of help... WE DID IT!!!



The next step was to thread the rope through each piece, tying a knot after each one and leaving a little bit of space inbetween each board. We then mounted the long end of the xylopone to the fence with some hinges and put the short end on another 2x4 that we drove into the ground. We debated about mounting it directly to the fence but decided that it would be better if the children could use it on both sides. Gravity definitely took a toll on the install, the rope is having a hard time supporting the weight, and we will reinforce it with another board in the near future.


Tomorrow's plan is to make a metal one made from recycled broken coat racks. Additionally, there will be all kinds of lids from pots and pans, and various wind chimes added.  If you have any thoughts or ideas for addiitonal items, please let us know!



Vinegar and Baking Soda - More than Just Volcanoes!!!!

Posted by childcentralstation on April 17, 2010 at 11:18 AM Comments comments (3)

Everyone talks about the volcano experiments, using vinegar and baking soda.... but have you ever tried the same experiment to teach how to make the secondary colors????


This is one of my favorites, and the children's too:


Prior to the children becoming involved fill children's test tubes with vinegar- add food coloring (I use the Wilton pastes as they are much more vibrant) to make red, yellow, and blue.   Also,  mix food coloring into the baking soda (in bowls) making red, yellow, and blue. You can have older children help with this part of the activity, but I've found that for younger children, it is helpful to have this part complete prior to beginning the activity.


Gather the children, making sure to give each child goggles and lab coats, as they are going to be scientists for the day. (Old oversized white shirts work well for lab coats, but make sure if they are going to wear them that they are not so big that they will get in the way.)


We always talk about the process and write out the hypothesis for each child. "What do you think will happen when you mix the red with the yellow?"   


Then the children are given the opportunity to weigh a specific amount of baking soda, to give them the opportunity to use a scale and then you transfer the baking soda into another test tube. (If your children are too young to use a scale, you can just fill the test tubes up.) My children love using the scale and measuring how much baking soda they use.


Finally, you allow each child to mix the tubes by pouring the vinegar into the baking soda over a container to catch the mess.  I have yet to have a child who cannot remember what happens when you mix primary colors!!!   After we do this with the vinegar and baking soda, we try other experiments to see if the same thing happens with colored paint, water,  or color paddles/tiles, etc. But their favorite by far is the first one :)  They start asking all kinds of color questions, and you end up with a ton of child driven experiments having to do with color.


If you aren't sure where to find the children's test tubes, I think we purchased ours from either Learning Resources or Educational Insights. (They are plastic and have screw on tops). Of course you can do this without the test tubes, but in my opinion, if the children are using chemicals and conducting scientific experiments, they should have the proper equipment.





Caterpillar Fun!

Posted by childcentralstation on April 16, 2010 at 6:38 PM Comments comments (0)

Here is one of our recent math projects: Caterpillar Fun! The children had an amazing time putting together these little critters and learning about patterns while working on their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Make sure to ask your child about the pattern they created. This idea was sparked from a conversation with Karen Nemeth who recommended making snakes with the plastic eggs. We opted to make caterpillars instead. We will be making foam wings to velcro on them soon so that our caterpillars can turn into butterflies :).