Early Learning

Virtual Family Place Playgroup: Child Development

During our virtual Family Place Playgroups, you will learn ways to spark learning and play at home with common household ingredients.

On February 10, 2021 Plano Public Library hosted the Family Place Playgroup: Child Development, a virtual workshop on Zoom featuring a hands-on activity, shared songs and rhymes, and questions and answers with child development experts in our community. In this blog post, you’ll find a recording of our activity, along with additional resources to help answer your questions.

Activity: Shape Pasting

Use shapes and colors to practice talking about how things are the same and different. Help your child sort the items you are using into different categories. This is a great way to use specific vocabulary and concepts, like size. Process art projects encourage your child to explore creativity and self-expression without guidance. Let your child lead the activity and see what happens!


Below is what you will need to participate in this activity:

  • Construction paper
  • Glue (bottle or stick)
  • Paint brushes (optional)
  • Paper or foam shapes
  • Scissors
  • Small bowls (optional)
  1. Pre-cut a variety of shapes for your child to use. For older children, you can let them cut their own shapes or tear the paper to create designs.
  2. Use a large piece of construction paper to create the base of your collage.
  3. Apply the shapes to the paper to create a collage. For younger children, apply glue directly to the construction paper base. For older children, you can practice gluing the specific shape.
Review and Extensions

Talk about the different shapes and colors that you are using:

  • How many colors did you use? 
  • How many different shapes do you have?
  • Did you create any patterns in your collage?

Noticing similarities and differences is an important step in identifying letters and getting ready to learn! Continue to explore collage with different materials. What do you have around the house that you can use to create? Craft poms, tissue paper, stickers, and aluminum foil all make great craft materials.

Ask the Expert

Each playgroup session includes a featured guest from our community. For this session, we were joined by Kandace Hartwick with ECI of LifePath Systems. She shared information about child development, including what parents can expect from important developmental milestones at different ages.

Here are some of the questions we talked about:

Question: What should I expect to see from my child’s language development between 14 and 18 months?

Answer: By about 16 months it is ideal to see children have between 5 to 10 words in their vocabulary. Language is not always verbal. Pointing to things, gesturing, and movements like waving hi and bye are good nonverbal communication milestones to be reaching in this age range as well. Remember, every child moves through language development at their own pace.

Question: At what age is it appropriate for children to begin reading and writing?

Answer: One of the most important things to ensure your child has the proper tools once it is time to begin reading and writing is to provide them with a rich environment where they are exposed from an early age to books, reading, and language. Provide your child the opportunity to play with crayons of various sizes; this will help them develop essential fine-motor muscles that will be needed for gripping later on. Remember that every child will progress up this developmental ladder at a different pace and it is ok if your child does not show up to kindergarten already reading.

Question: Is it ok if I let my child play on an iPad for a few hours a day?

Answer: Face to face interaction is extremely important for development in early childhood and with the increase in usage of electronics, a reduction can be seen in the usage of expressive language in children. There are certainly educational and developmentally appropriate and helpful apps that are available on iPads today, but it is important to limit a child’s solo usage of these devices and when possible focus on using these technologies together. This helps provide the much needed face to face time.

Do you have other questions? Be sure to reach out to our community resource professional for more assistance. You can learn more about ECI of LifePath systems on their website, or contact them at (972) 563-0331.  

Continue Learning

Explore some of these books from our collection:

All About Collage by Todd Oldham Request
Provides step-by-step instructions for ten children’s collage projects which employ various techniques to create such items as family portraits, graffitied t-shirts, and post cards.

The Big Book of Crafts & Activities by DK Publishing Request
This book is packed with crafts, recipes, games and activities for children who want to get creative and try new things-from growing tasty fruit and vegetables to customizing your furniture.

The Everything Toddler Activities Book by Joni Levine Request
Now you can play and teach your toddler at the same time with this book. Written by an experienced child-care expert, this informative and fun guide shows you how to stimulate your child’s development with age-appropriate, enjoyable, and educational activities.

Tinkerlab: A Hands On Guide for Little Inventors by Rachaelle Doorley Request
Features creative experiments designed to encourage young children to use their natural curiosity to explore, test, play, and tinker.

For more information and resources, be sure to download the session handout. You can find more about our upcoming programs by visiting our programming calendar or by signing up for our newsletter.

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