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Get ready for Kindergarten with Little Hands Learning Company

Saturday, August 1, 2009
In late April, The Mom Entrepreneur ran a contest to find the best mom entrepreneur company written introduction. Members of our Online Support Group competed for a gift package valued at $150.

With 101 readers casting their votes, Traci Geiser, owner of Little Hands Learning Company, received more than 50% of the votes (58 votes total). Her winning entry was very creative according to feedback from voters.

Here is her company introduction:

Preschool and K our specialty!

Hands-on learning is our way!

For busy families on the go!

Children love it, you will see!

Play and learn and time will fly!

Little Hands Learning Company!

My youngest son is starting Kindergarten in the fall, so I caught up with Traci to learn more about what Little Hands Learning Company is all about.

What types of products do you offer?
Our Play and Learn Activity Kits are created for children 2-5 years old. Each kit is based on a quality children's book with a variety of math and literacy activities, an art project and child friendly recipe all based on the theme of the book.

We also have darling infant kits which include 2 books and 2 toys based on the age and development of babies. These contain a parent guide with activities using the toys and books in the kit to help baby master developmental milestones.

Our newest product is the "Are We There Yet?" Travel Busy Bag. It contains an assortment of reusable activities chosen specifically for keeping children 3-7 busy while traveling in the car, airplane, hotel or restaurant. We have received rave reviews from travelin' mamas who have used our kits this summer!

How do you help children learn?
I was an early childhood educator and teacher trainer for 20 years. I am also the author of 22 early childhood teacher resource books that were all based on learning standards for the early childhood years.

Our products are based on early learning standards (basically, a set of skills children need to learn at a particular age) and the series of kits provides children with everything they need to know for kindergarten.

Our mission is to make learning playful and fun so children don't even know they are learning. Every kit is unique and provides a wide variety of games and hands-on activities that are designed specifically to help young children master basic early childhood skills and build a foundation for learning in elementary school.

What makes your activity kits different from other products?
Most parents turn to workbooks and flashcards to help prepare their children for school. Many young children do not have the fine motor control to write inside the small dotted lines contained in most workbooks. Flashcards and workbooks usually don't hold the attention of young children, leaving parents frustrated and children with a bad taste in their mouth about learning.

Our products are designed for the way young children learn best, through hands-on and playful activities. Our kits include a variety of manipulatives that are used by early childhood educators such as felt sets, counting bears, tangrams, and letter tiles that provide hands-on learning opportunities for children.

What advice would you give parents to help their young children get ready for Kindergarten?
Read to your child every day, re-read favorites, and go to the library and explore the many wonderful books that are available. Ask your librarian for recommendations.

As for working on specific skills, try to make learning into a game whenever possible. Rather than using flashcards to teach letter names, take the magnetic letters off of your fridge, put them in a pot and make a simple fishing pole out of a ruler, string and paper clip and let your child fish for and identify letters.

Allow your child to count small crackers, cereal or other snack items into an egg carton with the numbers 1-12 written in each cup for fun counting practice. Have your child write letters, numbers, shapes and her name in shaving cream, finger paint or chocolate pudding.

Cover the bottom of a cake pan with salt or sugar and allow your child to write with her finger for textured writing experiences. Your child will have plenty of pencil and paper tasks when she gets to Kindergarten.

Focus on hands-on, multi sensory and most importantly FUN actives for early learning.

Since we're all over scheduled these days, can you please provide some advice about the benefits of just playing with children (as opposed to schlepping them to a million activities, lessons, etc)?
Sadly, many children in our society don't know how to play or entertain themselves because they are given so little time to do just that. Play is children's work and if you are not giving your child free time and allowing them to learn through play, they are missing an important component of their early childhood education.

Children build vocabulary and language skills, foster imagination and countless other skills through exploring and experimenting with simple toys like blocks, dolls, cars and dress up clothes.

I limit my girls to one activity at a time, which is more than enough to give them a taste of a wide variety of activities without over scheduling them and stressing them (and me) out.

Do children benefit from having "down time" and just using their imagination?

There are many research studies that show how stressed young children are in our society. When asked, children prefer to spend one on one time with their parents and family playing games, reading, even just talking rather than participating in outside activities.

Children also have very few opportunities to be creative and use their imagination. The art projects we include in our kits are always open ended and allow children to be creative. For example, instead of including a head, tail, ears and body for creating a particular animal ”craft" style, we provide feathers, glitter glue, paper plates, animal print paper, pipe cleaners and wiggly eyes and let children create!

Providing props for imaginative play will also spark creativity. For example, empty food containers, a cash register and play money can set the scene for a grocery store. Cater to your child's interests by providing a few simple props and set her imagination and creativity free!

Thanks Traci for the great information. Visit to learn how to play and have fun with your children and get them ready for Kindergarten in the fall!