JRI First Connections Blog

3 min read

Go! Go! Go! Stop! Video and Activities

By Ellie Springer on May 26, 2021

Go! Go! Go! Stop! 

Cherise Mericle Harper 

Video of Ms. Ellie reading the book.

  • Vehicle painting: this book is a perfect fit with one of my favorite activities. Put some red, yellow, and green paint on plates, let your child drive cars and trucks through the paint and then on paper to make some cool art. 

  • Play Red Light, Green Light: this game could get pretty cut-throat in elementary schools, but with younger children it is a great

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2 min read

The Napping House and activities

By Ellie Springer on May 14, 2021

The Napping House 

Audrey Wood, Don Wood 

Video of Ms. Ellie reading The Napping House

  • Pile in the bed: let your child collect a bunch of their favorite stuffed animals and/or dolls and see how many you can pile on top of them before they all fall over. 

  • Retell the story: print out this page, let your child color it, and cut out the characters. http://www.kizclub.com/storypatterns/napping.pdf Your child can retell and act out the story with the cutouts. You can tape

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3 min read

"What's This? A Seed's Story" and activities

By Ellie Springer on May 11, 2021

What’s This? A Seed’s Story 

by Caroline Mockford 

Video of Ms. Ellie reading the story.

  • Sensory play: fill a bin with soil, some bigger seeds like sunflower, pumpkin/squash or beans, and small buckets and shovels, or you can fill a tub with grass or bird seed. If you have a magnifying glass, these are great to add to a seed sensory bin. If there are different types of seeds in your bin, your child can sort them in a muffin

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3 min read

"Owl Babies" activities

By Ellie Springer on March 8, 2021

Owl Babies

Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson 

  • Fun facts about owls: Owls are nocturnal, meaning they are awake and active at night and sleep during the day. They eat bugs, snakes, and small animals like mice. Owls cannot move their eyes, so to see things on their sides they have to turn their heads—almost all the way around in a full circle. Owls have very good hearing. A group of owls is called a parliament.  

  • Short video of owls and their calls (they

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12 min read

Talking about race and racism with young children

By Ellie Springer on June 8, 2020

Race and racism are tough for adults to talk about in this country, and many adults think that by not talking to children about race, they will grow up "color-blind" and not racist. But the truth is that children begin to notice racial differences as early as 6 months, and because racism and biases DO exist in our society, children see it and learn it. By the time they are preschool age, children can internalize racial biases

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4 min read

COVID 19 resources for parents

By Ellie Springer on March 19, 2020

We have a blog post with sites for you to find activities for your children, but what about the grown ups? We know this is a very stressful time, and you may be experiencing more anxiety than usual. You may also be wondering about the safest way to feed your baby, especially if you become sick. So we have put together some resources for parents: information about feeding your baby, talking to your children about

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4 min read

Quarantined with kids online resources

By Ellie Springer on March 18, 2020

I know there are a lot of posts on social media about websites, apps, videos, etc. to keep kids busy and learning during the coronavirus quarantine, but I wanted to put together a list of some of the best ones I found that were really good for young children. It is of course not comprehensive, but hopefully it gives you a place to start. And I would be remiss if I didn't say that nothing can

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4 min read

What to expect in a playgroup

By Ellie Springer on December 23, 2019

What should I (the caregiver) do during playgroup?

First, be present and engaged. Please do your best not to be on your phone.

Play with your child and talk to other adults in the group. Connect with other adults in the room, those you know and those you don’t yet—remember you are all caring for young children and may have ways to support one another.

Follow your child’s lead and let them show you what

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7 min read


By Ellie Springer on November 20, 2019


You have probably heard about transitions being hard for young children. Or, if you haven’t heard this, you have probably noticed that some of the hardest times with your child are times when you are moving from one activity to another—getting out of the house, going to bed—or when any big changes happen in their lives. Transitions are hard for all children, and they can be especially difficult for some children, depending on their

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6 min read

All Feelings are Okay

By Ellie Springer on July 3, 2019

A teacher I know and respect very much says, "We don't stop happy, why do we stop sad?" I love this saying, as it highlights how we as adults often try to stop children from expressing "negative" emotions like sadness, fear, or anger. Our culture in general discourages us all from expressing those feelings. But we all have a range of emotions, and we can't be happy all the time!

To help children grow up to

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A Blog to Connect Families with Resources to Foster Healthy Parenting

Our mission at First Connections is to equip parents with tools, practical strategies, and connections to other families and their communities to foster healthy parenting and guide them through the first years of the parenting journey.

We offer support groups and play groups to families with children from birth to age 8 in the communities of Acton, Bedford, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Hanscom AFB, Harvard, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Sudbury, and Westford.

Featured Posts

Choosing a preschool or child care

The first time you drop your child off at school or child care can be full of mixed emotions--for you

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Dialogic Reading

What is Dialogic Reading?

Some of you may have heard or read about dialogic reading in materials from First Connections

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JRI Service Navigator

Do you have a question about JRI services?

Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.