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IEL Tip Sheets: Family Fun!

Originally published:

young mom and dad with a toddler and an infant sitting in front of a window

The IEL website hosts more than 200 Tip Sheets written for parents, teachers, and caregivers of young children. They present helpful suggestions and information on children’s social and emotional development as well as physical development and health. You can also find information on parenting and family life. For example, there are Tip Sheets that address managing asthma, helping siblings get along, and many ways to have fun at home with everyday objects and routines.

Illinois has learning standards for infants and toddlers and for preschoolers. Many of the Tip Sheets provide suggestions to support your young child in reaching these standards. The tips are written to support you as your child’s “first” teacher and suggest activities you can do at home. Have you thought about counting and planting seeds and over time watching them sprout? What a great conversation you can have as plants begin to grow. Or consider using snack time to measure and mix liquids and solids that can be eaten as mixed, or baked. Children enjoy doing things with adults who are important in their lives. The Tip Sheets help you think about ways to have fun and learn at the same time.

The Tip Sheets provide ideas and you can adapt them to meet the developmental stages of your child. They can help you think about words you want your child to hear and say. A fun Tip Sheet for winter is Say Yes to the Mess! Snow Time. You can introduce new words, such as blizzard and snowdrift. You can measure how deep the snow is, talk about how cold or wet or dry it may be. You can learn about melting when you bring snow indoors on your boots. Outdoor play in the snow requires warm clothing. You can find and label all the items your child needs to stay warm (boots, mittens, scarves, hats, coats). If your child doesn’t use words, you can provide pictures of these items and ask your child to find the clothes that match. You can practice putting on the clothes in an order that makes sense. After playing outside, you can practice putting away the clothes where they belong.

Each Tip Sheet has a list of resources for more ideas. These may include videos, pictures, books, or more suggestions. Think about how much support your child may need to participate. What can your child do independently, or with just a little help? Children often love to repeat activities that are fun and each time may be able to do more with less help. Children learn through play. The Tip Sheets help caregivers and families think of playful ways to teach and learn.

The Tip Sheets are a single page and are available in English, Spanish, and Polish. Some are translated into other languages as well. You can use the search engine to find Tip Sheets that you’d like to use. Enjoy!

Susan Fowler

Susan Fowler

Dr. Susan Fowler is a retired professor of special education at the University of Illinois. Susan’s doctorate was in developmental and child psychology and she was one of the pioneers in early childhood special education and developmental disabilities. She also is a parent of a young man with exceptionalities.

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Home

Intended audience(s):
  • Parents / Family
  • Teachers / Service providers

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
Reviewed: 2022