Early Childhood News
Happy Sun

Fun in the Sun

It’s finally summer! Time to spend more time outside with the children in your program. Following are some fun activities to try:

For Toddlers:

  1. Ice Bowling. Fill recycled plastic water bottles with colored water. Make a giant ice ball to knock over the bottles.
  2. Paint with chalk. Grate different colors of large chalk into separate bowls.  Add about a tablespoon of water. Mix and use paint brushes to paint the sidewalk.
  3. Lego Ice Rescue. Fill a plastic container about ¼ full of water. Add in Lego figures and bricks. Place in freezer overnight. Remove and add more Lego figures. Then fill to the top with water. Freeze overnight. Remove from freezer and place the container in warm water for a few minutes. Remove the ice and place on a tray with some excavation tools such as water squirters, mini tools, glue scrappers, brushes and spoons.
  4. Magnetic Fishing. Use small wading pool or water table without water in it. Place foam or paper fish in the container. Attach a paper clip to each fish. Attach magnet to some sort of fishing pole and have the children catch the fish.
For Preschoolers:
  1. Grab and Pull Letter Load. Tie a rope to a basket. Spread alphabet letters throughout the outdoor play area. Create a “load list” by writing letters on an index card. Have the children pick up the load by pulling the basket to each letter, then returning the load back to you.
  2. Yarn and shell connect the dots. Use rocks, shells, or anything that you can write on. Write the numbers 1-10 or higher on each rock/shell. You can either place the numbers in order or mix them up. Have the children connect the numbers by using yarn and placing the yarn under each number in order.
  3. Treasure Hunt. Hide a box with small treasures in the outdoor play area. With your help, leave clues around the play area for the children to follow. You might start by hiding a clue at the big tree. The clue might say, “The next clue will be found under where we line up” etc. Continue with clues until the last clue lets them know where to find the treasure.
  4. Obstacle Course. Make an obstacle course using tunnels, tricycles, scooters, the edge of the sandbox, etc. Have the children follow the leader through the course.

Hope these activities help get your own creativity flowing. If you would like some support with an activity, I would be glad to come to your program. You can contact me at:
Deb Bair, Child Care Consultant, dbair@garfield-county.com or 970 945-9191 EXT 3065
Garfield County
Department of Human Services
Child Care Program


Sun Safety for Babies 

Did you know sunscreen can be harmful to infants under six months of age? While sunscreen use is highly recommended for children and adults, babies are different. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. Tight weaves are better than loose. Keep in mind that while baseball caps are cute, they don’t shade the neck and ears, sensitive areas for a baby. 

Learn more about the best ways to keep your baby safe from the sun’s harmful rays this summer.

Stacy Petty, MS
Council Coordinator
Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council
Child Care Resource & Referral for Eagle, Garfield & Pitkin Counties


Food Safety in the Summer

Did you know that the incidence of foodborne illness peaks in the summer? There are two main reasons:

  1. Bacteria multiply faster at warmer temperatures. Pathogenic bacteria are naturally occurring in the environment, in the soil, water, food, and in the bodies of people and animals. Most bacteria grow fastest between 90-110°F and in high humidity, conditions which are common in the summer months.
  2. Preparing food outdoors makes handling food safely more difficult. Indoor kitchens provide several safeguards, such as thermostat-controlled refrigeration and convenient access to toilet and hand washing facilities.
Here are some helpful tips to stay safe when preparing and eating food outdoors this summer:
  • CLEAN: Washing your hands is the number one way to stay healthy. You can create a temporary hand washing station for around $20 by purchasing a water container with a hands-free spigot, soap, and paper towels from any grocery store.
  • SEPARATE: Prevent cross-contamination between raw meats and finished products. Use clean tongs, spatulas, and cutting boards for raw and cooked items.
  • COOK: Cook foods all the way through, especially for young children.
  • CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly! It can take less than an hour for food to become unsafe if left outside when it’s 90°F.

Credit: The ‘Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill’ logo and campaign were created by the USDA.

Natalie Tsevdos, MPH
Environmental Health Specialist II
Garfield County Public Health
2014 Blake Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Office: (970) 665-6375
Cell: (970) 366-2330
F: (970) 947-0155Anchor


Food Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a Food Assistance program in Colorado, formerly known as Food Stamps. SNAP provides food assistance benefits as part of a federal nutrition program to help low-income households purchase food. Currently, Pitkin County is significantly        under-enrolled in the SNAP program; meaning that, many individuals and families in Pitkin County who are eligible for assistance are not receiving it. Utilizing these benefits does not “take them away” from other people and are meant to help people provide sufficient and health meals for themselves and their families.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are issued to receive the SNAP benefits for a household. These cards can be used at most grocery stores to buy food with those SNAP benefits, ensuring that families have access to a healthy diet. SNAP recipients can purchase breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry and dairy products. A little know but interesting fact is that SNAP benefits can be used to purchase seeds and plants used to produce food the household can eat. Households with children under the age of 6 who receive SNAP benefits are also encouraged to apply for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program which multiple services for young children including supplemental foods.

If you would like more information or would like to apply for assistance, please come to the Schultz Health & Human Services building located at: 0405 Castle Creek Road, Aspen, CO 81611. We are located across the street from Aspen Valley Hospital and our hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm. For any questions, please call (970) 920-5244; we have bilingual staff available every day.   
You can also apply for benefits online at: https://coloradopeak.secure.force.com/


Samuel Landercasper
Economic Assistance Manager
Pitkin County Department of Human Services
Email: samuel.landercasper@pitkincounty.com
Office: (970) 429-6167


Hello from the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council (RMECC)

We hope this newsletter finds you well! We are looking forward to beginning another successful fiscal year in July. Below you will find some exciting things happening with state funds:
Funding applications are open for Colorado Shines Quality Improvement (CSQI)!
Programs must be at least a Level 2 in Colorado Shines and have an active CCAP agreement in place to apply for and begin receiving CSQI funds. 

Possible Funding:
  • Depending on funding you are eligible for, programs could benefit from ~$2,000-$10,000!!!
  • Level 2-5 programs who serve Infants and/or Toddlers can apply for up to $7,500 in Capital Improvement funds to help build fences, playgrounds, as well as many other projects
Allowable Expenses:
  • Use funds to work one-on-one with a highly qualified, credentialed coach
  • With coach approval, purchase brand new learning materials to raise program quality
  • Get reimbursed for substitutes
  • Professional Development expenses
Interested in pursuing your level 2 in Colorado Shines?
If you need help getting started please call or e-mail with the information below. Or if you are interested, but are unable to work towards your Level 2 due to a hardship, WE WANT TO KNOW about it, please call or e-mail us!

Kristin Sparkman                                                    Stacy Petty
Early Childhood Specialist                                        RMECC Coordinator 
rmeccspecialist@mtnvalley.org                                rmecc@mtnvalley.org
719-293-2378                                                           719-486-7273



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