LEAP LEAP is an traveling early childhood enrichment program that teaches early literacy skills through play both at area schools and select locations.
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LEAP is an early childhood literacy program built on multi-sensory techniques and creative play. We recognize that learning to read means more than simply decoding print and believe that early literacy is a mix of experiences that involve all five senses. Using joyful multi-sensory strategies such as singing, acting out stories, skywriting, and the use of different mediums for art projects, we build the basic skills needed for successful reading. We aim to engage young children and build motivation and enthusiasm for literacy in a creative environment using age-appropriate activities.

Operating as usual

Almost exactly 7 years ago we held our first LEAP class. We saw a need for more multi-sensory play-based enrichment in e...
05/22/2020

Almost exactly 7 years ago we held our first LEAP class. We saw a need for more multi-sensory play-based enrichment in early childhood, and so we created our program. Watching the recent boom in sensory play and increased awareness to the importance of play has been magical, and we’d like to think we played a small part in that.

The time has come for LEAP to take a much needed break while we focus on new adventures. Thank you for an amazing 7 years! ❤️

xo, Sarah + Wesley

Almost exactly 7 years ago we held our first LEAP class. We saw a need for more multi-sensory play-based enrichment in e...
05/22/2020

Almost exactly 7 years ago we held our first LEAP class. We saw a need for more multi-sensory play-based enrichment in early childhood, and so we created our program. Watching the recent boom in sensory play and increased awareness to the importance of play has been magical, and we’d like to think we played a small part in that.

The time has come for LEAP to take a much needed break while we focus on new adventures. Thank you for an amazing 7 years! ❤️

xo, Sarah + Wesley

04/15/2020

We are still here!

Surely like most of you, we started off a month ago with colorful schedules and good intentions.

Now we are in survival mode...taking care of our 6 kids (3 each) and getting lessons uploaded and materials sent out to the students (80) enrolled in our program.

Although it’s meant for our students, all are welcome to check out our YouTube (LEAP Houston) videos we have been sending our families.

EGG HUNT• It doesn’t have to be Easter for an egg hunt! First things first...hunting for treasure is always fun! Second,...
03/30/2020

EGG HUNT• It doesn’t have to be Easter for an egg hunt! First things first...hunting for treasure is always fun! Second, popping open eggs is great for hand strength. Third, there are SO many ways to use plastic eggs. Today Ruby used them for PE, but here are some more ideas...
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•Put a small animal or dinosaur toy inside. Clap the syllables for the name.
•Put a CVC word inside. Have your child think of a rhyming word.
•Math Facts
•Sight Words
•Letter Recognition
•Put matching sound objects in eggs (i.e. two with rice, two with pennies, two with sticks...). Shake the eggs to find the pair with the matching sounds.
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #grossmotor #finemotor

Good morning! We will be doing a live Story Time TODAY, 3/22 @ 10:30 am (cst). Join us as we read The Very Hungry Caterp...
03/22/2020

Good morning! We will be doing a live Story Time TODAY, 3/22 @ 10:30 am (cst). Join us as we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and sing A Fuzzy Caterpillar.

Make sure to have your Storytelling Pieces if you made them last week!
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #storytime #kidlit #kidlitart #storytelling

PLAY DOUGH• We LOVE making play dough as much as we love playing with it! Scroll to the next pic to see our recipe.Remem...
03/19/2020

PLAY DOUGH• We LOVE making play dough as much as we love playing with it! Scroll to the next pic to see our recipe.

Remember...if it is sticky, add flour. If it is dry, add water. 😊
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #sensoryplay #playdough

Hey everyone! Join Ruby as she teaches you how to make play dough this afternoon!You will need:2 cups of Flour1 cup of S...
03/19/2020

Hey everyone! Join Ruby as she teaches you how to make play dough this afternoon!

You will need:
2 cups of Flour
1 cup of Salt
1 tablespoon Cream of Tartar (or white vinegar)
2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

Optional: food color, extracts/koolaid
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #sensoryplay #playdough

03/18/2020

COLORFUL SELF PORTRAIT• This activity is SO easy, fun for the whole family, and totally frame worthy!

All you need this is a printer, paper (card stock is best, but regular printer paper works), crayons, and watercolors. All supplies are available on Amazon or Target Drive Up if you don’t have them at home.
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #kidsart #kidscrafts

CONTACT PAPER•Today are we creating a mural using contact paper and any other random crafting supplies we have...plus st...
03/17/2020

CONTACT PAPER•Today are we creating a mural using contact paper and any other random crafting supplies we have...plus straws and cupcake liners).

Don’t have craft supplies? Go for a walk and collect leaves, blades of grass, flowers...a nature mural is just as beautiful.

Scroll to the second pic to see more contact paper ideas.
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #sensoryplay #preschoolcrafts

SPRAY BOTTLE + FOAM•This has always been a camp favorite! There’s something about being allowed to spray water that make...
03/14/2020

SPRAY BOTTLE + FOAM•This has always been a camp favorite! There’s something about being allowed to spray water that makes little ones so excited! 😆

Using foam without an adhesive back, cut out shapes. You can follow a theme or just cut random shapes...squares, rectangles, circles, triangles. Use a spray bottle (or sponge) to wet a window or easel. Stick the foam to the water.

We’ve always done this during bath time...now try it is regular play time!
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #sensoryplay #finemotorskills #grossmotorskills

AMAZON SHOPPING LIST•We are compiling a list of items to purchase now (if you don’t already have them) to help keep your...
03/13/2020

AMAZON SHOPPING LIST•We are compiling a list of items to purchase now (if you don’t already have them) to help keep your little ones busy while quarantined at home. Each day we’ll post different activities using these supplies.

•stickers
•Easter eggs
•roll of paper
•craft foam
•Tempra paint sticks
•contact paper
•Pom poms
•Egg tongs/whisk
•salt
•cream of tartar
•flour
•spray bottles
•distilled white vinegar (not pictured)
•baking soda (not pictured)
• masking tape (not pictured)
•food coloring (not pictured)
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #sensoryplay #preschoolideas #preschoolactivities #easykidscrafts

One fish, two fish, red fish BLUE fish! Happy birthday, Dr Seuss! This week we are having fun celebrating Theodor Geisel...
03/03/2020

One fish, two fish, red fish BLUE fish! Happy birthday, Dr Seuss! This week we are having fun celebrating Theodor Geisel Seuss and his amazing insightful yet wacky (in the best way!) stories! #readacrossamerica #drseussbirthday #drseuss

We came across an article by Joe Martin titled, Play Is Disappearing From Kindergarten. It’s Hurting Kids. It’s an inter...
02/24/2020

We came across an article by Joe Martin titled, Play Is Disappearing From Kindergarten. It’s Hurting Kids. It’s an interesting read highlighting not only the benefits of both free and guided play in kindergarten, but also why it’s a critical component of developing the whole child.
“Friedrich Froebel, a pedagogue of modern education, coined the term “kindergarten” in 1840 after recognizing the importance of play in the development of young children. Inspired by the idea of a garden, he designed a classroom where the teacher presented children with objects, which they were allowed to play with in any way they could imagine. When they lost interest in one object, they would be presented with a new one to spark curiosity and creativity. Children were encouraged to grow and flourish in this free form, play-based environment.”
Food for thought 🤔 Link in profile for complete article. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-02-04-play-is-disappearing-from-kindergarten-it-s-hurting-kids
📸: Anna Nahabed/shutterstock

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”Us too, Abraham Lincoln, us too! 😉📚————————————————...
02/21/2020

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”
Us too, Abraham Lincoln, us too! 😉📚
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Aside from building Lincoln Log cabins, we had lots of presidential fun this week in our school classes! ❤️🤍💙 From red, white, and blue, playdough, to voting on our favorite things, counting syllables with pennies, sorting coins, scooping red, white, and blue rice and making our very own flags! One fun (and easy!) activity we did that we didn’t get video of was crossing the midline by waving a flag from side to side while singing a patriotic song. DM us if you want the lyrics to “Wave the Flag” or you can just sing Yankee Doodle! We love any chance to help strengthen the neural connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Crossing midline influences everything, from gross and fine motor skills, to higher level academic skills such as reading!!! Check out our highlight for some pictures of these activities!

CHOCOLATE PLAY DOUGH•So yummy you could almost eat it! And it would be okay if you did...though not too tasty. 😛Our stud...
02/11/2020

CHOCOLATE PLAY DOUGH•So yummy you could almost eat it! And it would be okay if you did...though not too tasty. 😛

Our students absolutely love creating their own chocolates using chocolate play dough, an empty chocolate box ($1 at Dollar Tree and Walmart), beads and gems. Need a safe and small heart cutter...a heart shaped slinky is the perfect tool! Add multiple boxes, a cash register, a pad and crayon...and you have a chocolate shop! 🍫

It’s important to remember that sensory play is not just about the sense of touch. Sensory play should about involving as many senses as possible. When we engage multiple senses, we are able to process new information and build new pathways in our brain. 🧠 ♥️ Scroll through to see our chocolate play dough recipe. .
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #sensoryplay #finemotoractivity #playdough #learningthroughplay

The first week of February means Dental Awareness in our LEAP classes. Our crafts for this week were so so cute, easy to...
02/07/2020

The first week of February means Dental Awareness in our LEAP classes. Our crafts for this week were so so cute, easy to prep, and great fine motor practice. (Scissors are always a hit! ✂️) Scroll through for some more fun (and semi-cringe worthy 😜) tooth activities! Pro-tip: go to the dollar store for cheap electric toothbrushes! 🦷

TEETH PLAY DOUGH • February is Dental Awareness Month 🦷, so we wanted to share a couple of fun ways to incorporate play ...
02/04/2020

TEETH PLAY DOUGH • February is Dental Awareness Month 🦷, so we wanted to share a couple of fun ways to incorporate play dough into this lesson.

First is our red play dough with lima beans. Is it slightly disturbing? Yep! Do our students love it? Yep! We added bubble gum flavor to the play dough to give it a little extra POP!

Next is our green play dough with Duplos and flossers. Seriously, if we had a penny for every time a dentist has told us to floss 🤦🏼‍♀️. Well, here’s the perfect opportunity to practice flossing. Have you students dig out the green play dough using the flosser. We added mint extract to give this play dough a fresh toothpaste scent.
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #playdough #playdoughactivities #sensoryplay #learningthroughplay #preschoolactivities

This week in our after school LEAP classes, we focused on hibernation. We read various bear themed books, sang songs abo...
01/24/2020

This week in our after school LEAP classes, we focused on hibernation. We read various bear themed books, sang songs about bears, and let the kiddos explore many bear themed literacy based and fine motor activities. The 3s created precious maps after reading Going on a Bear Hunt then used their toilet paper roll binoculars as they went on their very own search for a bear! Our 2s made adorable fuzzy wuzzy bears using shedded paper after reading Bear Snores on. We used a parachute filled with felt bears as we sang “Bears are Sleeping” and ended by shaking the parachute up and down to wake up the bears! Our 4s painted bears using plastic forks instead of brushes. This created precious furry bear faces to take home! We have SO much fun in our school classes!!! #hibernationtheme #beartheme #goingonabearhunt #bearsnoreson #literacyenrichment #afterschoolclasses #houstonpreschools @ Houston, Texas

Act out SKIING FAST! 🎿Our Winter Movement Dice will be going out this week as part of the January Subscription Box, but ...
12/31/2019

Act out SKIING FAST! 🎿

Our Winter Movement Dice will be going out this week as part of the January Subscription Box, but this fun movement activity is easy to do even if you don’t have dice!

Simply write winter movements on slips of paper and put in a bowl. Then write FAST, SLOW, REGULAR on slips of paper and add to a second bowl. Have your little ones draw a slip from each bowl and act out the movement!

This activity is a great way to strengthen the big muscles in the body, but also offers opportunities to cross the midline, build vocabulary, and make connections.
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #leaphouston #shopleaphouston #earlychildhood #learningthroughplay #grossmotor #letthembelittle

We had the best time at Heart to Market this past weekend and are beyond grateful for all the love!
12/09/2019

We had the best time at Heart to Market this past weekend and are beyond grateful for all the love!

“Free play and exploration are, historically, the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control the...
11/06/2019

“Free play and exploration are, historically, the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control their own lives, develop their own interests, and become competent in pursuit of their own interests.” Peter Gray Ph.D. The Decline of Play and Rise of Children’s Mental Disorders Psychology Today
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #shopleaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #sensoryplay #moreplaylessscreentime #learningthroughplay

“Free play and exploration are, historically, the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control the...
11/06/2019

“Free play and exploration are, historically, the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control their own lives, develop their own interests, and become competent in pursuit of their own interests.”

Peter Gray Ph.D. The Decline of Play and Rise of Children’s Mental Disorders Psychology Today
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #shopleaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #sensoryplay #moreplaylessscreentime #learningthroughplay

This holiday give the gift of literacy + the gift of learning + the gift of play with a monthly LEAP Subscription.Each m...
11/04/2019

This holiday give the gift of literacy + the gift of learning + the gift of play with a monthly LEAP Subscription.

Each month, your child will receive a meaningful book, playful sensory bin filler, scrumptious play dough, an engaging literacy skill building activity, and a catalog of ideas for children 2yrs-6yrs.

Each box is purposefully thought out by two master-degreed teachers who believe that a strong literacy foundation begins at home.

Order by November 30 to receive the December Box!

🎶 Brown paper packages tied up with string...these are a few of my favorite things! 🎵Every month your subscription box c...
11/01/2019

🎶 Brown paper packages tied up with string...these are a few of my favorite things! 🎵

Every month your subscription box comes with a gift-wrapped book! Why? Because who does love opening a present? And, books really are a gift!
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #shopleaphouston #monthlysubscription #kidssubscriptionbox #subscriptionboxforkids #literacy #bookish #bookishplay #letthembelittle

We are busy 📦ing up all the November Subscription Boxes! 👆🏼Remember, tomorrow is the last day to order the acorn-themed ...
10/30/2019

We are busy 📦ing up all the November Subscription Boxes! 👆🏼Remember, tomorrow is the last day to order the acorn-themed box! (Ya’ll...it includes coffee...decaf😉...play dough!!!)
Photo cred: @haleystagephotography .
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #shopleaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #learningthroughplay #multisensorylearning #sensoryplay #monthlysubscriptionbox #kidssubscriptionbox #houstonmoms #mompreneur #entrepreneur #raisingbusinessesandbabies

A cute little girl is going to be handing out some cute little play doughs at her class Halloween party! 👻Let us know if...
10/29/2019

A cute little girl is going to be handing out some cute little play doughs at her class Halloween party! 👻

Let us know if you would like to order custom play dough favors or treats! They are a crowd favorite!
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #shopleaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #learningthroughplay #sensoryplay #playdough #partyfavorsforkids #partyfavors #houstonmoms

Stamping into play dough using acorns and a cookie cutter is fun and meaningful...but, making acorns out of play dough u...
10/28/2019

Stamping into play dough using acorns and a cookie cutter is fun and meaningful...but, making acorns out of play dough using acorn tops is even better! So, we included both in the the November Box! Order by October 31!
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#literacyenrichmentandplay #shopleaphouston #letthembelittle #letthemplay #learningthroughplay #multisensorylearning #multisensoryplay #sensoryplay #playdough

Come see us today 12-6 at Fall Fest!  @ St Cecilia The Catholic Community of
10/06/2019

Come see us today 12-6 at Fall Fest! @ St Cecilia The Catholic Community of

Did you know we teach a bridge class at a local Houston school? Our weekly class focuses on a different letter each week...
09/27/2019

Did you know we teach a bridge class at a local Houston school? Our weekly class focuses on a different letter each week. We read a story, skywrite the letter, write it using a different multi-sensory material each week, practice isolating the sound, identify objects that start with that, and make a precious letter craft that will compiled into a keepsake alphabet book to be taken home at the end of the school year. Phew! Busy, busy!

This is a long read but FULL of fabulous information. Many of the activities named are the types of activities that we i...
09/04/2019

This is a long read but FULL of fabulous information. Many of the activities named are the types of activities that we include in the monthly subscription box. We try to include how and why these types of activities are important. This post is a great resource for this. Our children need the opportunity to play and build a strong literacy foundation before we expect them to read and write. 🙌🏻

Another win for #play! It’s not just about preserving childhood; it’s a necessary part of becoming a functional and healthy human in an age appropriate way. There are good reasons why children gravitate towards play dough, finger painting, building blocks, threading beads, balancing on logs, and many other play activities before they become interested in handwriting.

Children experience progressive development of their hands and require development of postural control, grasp, fine motor skills, upper and core body strength, proprioceptor control and visual motor integration prior to, and during, the development of writing skills.

In an interesting conversation happening on Twitter at the moment, Ruth Swailes, a School Improvement Advisor and Education Consultant, has uploaded some telling x-rays of a child with developed hands at approximately 7 years old side-by-side with x-rays from a younger child during the Early Years Foundation Stage (0-5 years old in the UK).

Ruth writes: “An x ray of a developed hand (around the age of 7) compared to an EYFS age child’s hand is pretty informative. Also occupational therapists issue fantastic advice on how to develop handwriting in an age appropriate way matched to children’s physical development.”

You can find her tweet here: https://twitter.com/swailesruth/status/1149344734097264640?s=21. For those without Twitter, there are also some interesting screenshots of conversation included below.

Ruth’s other comments: “The physiology of young children’s hands needs to be taken into consideration. There’s a reason we don’t dress babies in suits.”

“There are physical reasons children go through the phases of palmar supinate, digital pronate, static tripod and eventually to dynamic tripod. Children also have to develop upper and core body strength and proprioceptor control in addition to fine motor control.”

“It’s worth noting that it’s not just the size of the child’s hand which changes. The younger child has cartilage which will eventually become bone through the process of endochronal ossification. This occurs around the ages of 6-8yrs.”

“We build on the learning that has gone before. There are lots of excellent articles and research papers on early mark making and writing, Also @Sue_Cowley’s brilliant new book! The dangers of introducing tripod grip before children are physically ready are well documented.”

“My advice would be to develop both gross and fine motor skills alongside mark-making skills. Children naturally progress through a series of grips before they achieve dynamic tripod and this is perfectly normal.”

“I was fortunate to work closely with OTs in my early career. They taught me a lot. Child development should be part of all teacher training IMO so that everyone understands the fundamental differences between ages and stages. 4 and 5 year olds are not just miniature 9 year olds.”

Here is also a link to a great resource shared by Ruth called ‘Children, Young People and Families Occupational Therapy Team - Handwriting Development’ by South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust. It shares lists of play and learning activities that children can enjoy that will help them develop prior to writing.
https://www.swft.nhs.uk/application/files/5614/5995/2571/handwriting_development.pdf

Full lists of play activities are in the pictures below and in the PDF.

Activities to develop Postural Control:
🥏 Playing on playground equipment such as swings, climbing frames and merry- go-rounds
🥏 Construct obstacle courses that require crawling and climbing
🥏 Play ‘Twister’ or ‘Simon Says’ (using odd body parts such as standing on one
leg, or balancing on one foot and one hand)
🥏 Play with balls or beanbags whilst the child is sitting, kneeling, half-kneeling, squatting and standing
🥏 Jumping on a trampoline

Activities to Develop Grasp and Fine Motor Skills:
🧶 Building blocks
🧶 Pegboard activities
🧶 Lacing or threading activities
🧶 Using tweezers or tongs to pick up small objects
🧶 Craft activities, including collages, paper mache, glueing and cutting

Activities to Develop a Tripod Grasp:
🛠 Placing clothes pegs/bulldog clips around the edge of a container
🛠 Picking up small objects using tongs and then tweezers
🛠 Threading beads
🛠 Picking up cards
🛠 Fill a medicine dropper (or mini turkey baster) with paint and drop onto paper

Activities to Develop Visual Motor Integration and Copying of Basic Pre-writing Shapes:
—Developing Copying Skills—
💭 Copy patterns using building blocks, matchsticks, coins, buttons, pegboards. Make it harder by taking away the original and asking the child to copy it from memory
💭 Copy basic shapes and patterns using playdough, drawing in sand, using pipecleaners
💭 Mazes
💭 Tracing activities.

—Developing Copying of Pre-Writing Shapes (using pre-writing shapes for the following activities):
🤾🏻‍♀️ Walk along a rope, string, or taped line
🤾🏼‍♂️ Follow-the-leader in different shapes
🤾🏽‍♀️ Making your own body look like the different shapes
🤾🏾‍♂️Finger painting with shaving cream, paint, cornflour and water
🤾‍♂️ Sand drawing with sticks, fingers, rakes, spades or even feet

Starting Letters:
—It is often useful to teach letters in family groups. This helps prevent reversals of letters and allows the child to practice one type of movement for several letters—
🔀 Anti-clockwise letters (a, c, d, e, g, o, q)
🔀 Clockwise letters (b, h, k, m, n, p, r)
🔀 Straight letters (i, j, l, t)
🔀 Under arch letters (u, y)
🔀 Diagonal letters (v, w, x, z)
🔀 Curvy letters (f, s).

#neurochild #childdevelopment #earlychildhood #childhood #powerofplay

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