Monthly Archives: April 2012

Abc, it’s easy as…

DH had a great find today. One of those foam ABC floor puzzles for $20! So he brings it home and I get all excited and open it up, only to find that all of the pieces are not in order. Seriously! So my teacher/mommy craziness gets the best of me and I decide I need to remedy this right now and the only way to do that is to take the entire thing apart and put it together… right there in the front hallway. LO was having a fantastic time eating each piece as I took it out so it took a little longer than expected.


I stepped back to look at my fabulous masterpiece and newly found teaching tool… I had arranged all of the letters correctly in rows of 5… and then realized that I was going to have an odd letter out… Z simply would have to throw off the entire puzzle…  Unless I made a really long floor mat with 2 letters side by side with 13 down.

Couldn’t the makers of this puzzle realize that if this is supposed to be an ABC puzzle then we should have some corner pieces that didn’t have letters to balance the obvious faux pas of having an outlier letter? Maybe a decorative piece of some kind?

So my mommy brain won out over the teacher brain today and yes, the Z is happily hanging out on the end of LO’s puzzle, sticking out like a poor sore thumb!

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Rain, rain go away…

It’s raining again. On a Saturday. So unfair. LO and I were supposed to go do something fun with DH. No such luck. So what do you with a baby on a rainy Saturday? She decided to try to drink the dog’s water (Ew, gross!), so I revised that idea.

Indoor water play!!!

I set a towel on the floor and filled a Tupperware with about one inch of water (no more than that or when she dumps it on the floor it gets everywhere). I put a bunch of her toys in it and gave her the strainer. She loves water. She spent most of the time pulling the toys out and putting them back and then dragging the strainer around. Then she tried to climb in the Tupperware unsuccessfully.

Overall, so much fun!

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What you can do with a box

LO and I had a lot of fun today. I got home from work and she was super hungry. So into the high chair she went, and out of the high chair with her face dirty beyond recognition. Yogurt is apparently delicious when you pour it out onto the high chair tray and then dunk your face in it. So after her very necessary bath, she took her rubber duck with her into her bedroom to get ready for bed.

I have noticed that nowadays LO is very interested in the novelty of items. The things that used to be interesting no longer are, unless there is a new way to play with them. I watched her wriggle and squirm on the changing table, and decided to bring in some reinforcements to help me.

Fast forward a few minutes and add in some baby sized shoeboxes and we have a fully functional game to play. I took the two shoeboxes and in one of them went her rubber duck toy she brought from the bathtub. The other was empty. I said, “What can we do with a box?”

First, I let her open the lid and look inside the first box to find the duck. Next, I gave her the other box to see that nothing was in it. And of course, then we started mixing them up. She actually started to pick up the box and shake it a little to see if it was empty.

So… what did we do with a box?

We can open the box, we can close the box, we can find things in the box, take things out… the potential is really limitless…

What can you do with a box?

Laundry as a teachable moment…

They say that explaining everyday tasks helps a child to learn. Today, LO and I did the laundry. I opened the dryer and put the laundry in and she “helped”. She had a great time standing by the dryer and putting the clothes in one at a time. Granted, they were clothes that had been on the floor, but she was helping mommy with the chores.

It was a great teachable moment – I described the clothes that were going in the washing machine and then the ones that were being moved into the dryer (how wet they were – well, except for the ones she was putting into the dryer). We talked about how the washer and dryer works, we turned on and off the lights, and we learned from everyday tasks. Tactile sensory activities at its best!

Sorry, the baby is crying.

Never mind… I’m not really sorry.

News Flash for people who are somehow not understanding – I have a baby. She cries sometimes. Not that often, but sometimes. This is natural and normal. Why do people think they can tell me that she is a fussy or a cranky baby because she cried for a bottle or because she’s tired? Again, normal.

Story Time Activities

This week LO and I decided to go to our local library for family story time. I thought it might be a good way to meet other moms but unfortunately there were only three other kids who joined us, one about two years old and the other two about four years old.
The woman read two books and gave each kid, except LO, a pair of scissors and some glue sticks to make the craft associated with the activity. LO is still a little too young for this.
One of the four year olds got right to work, coloring with the crayons and then using the safety scissors to cut out his picture pretty well. The other four year old very obviously didn’t have a lot of experience with scissors. Her mom wound up cutting the picture out for her. This is such an important skill for this age. Children need to develop the fine motor skills associated with cutting things out. In fact, in kindergarten, they should already have worked with scissors.
Okay, end of rant…

Here’s how you can help your child develop this important skill.

  • First, choose an appropriate pair of scissors for your child’s age. Show your child how to correctly pick up and hold a pair of scissors. Smaller hole gets the thumb while the larger bottom hole gets the pointer and middle finger. It helps if you know what hand your child is dominant with.
  • Next, show your child how to open and close his or her fingers correctly while holding scissors.
  • Have your child try cutting large pieces of paper. Don’t give them something too small at this point. That can come later. Just focus on their being able to use the scissors correctly. Have them hold the scissors in their dominant hand and the paper in the other.

This is a good starting point for teaching your child to use scissors. There are lots of resources out there for this important fine motor skill. Try online or at your local bookstore for activity ideas.
One thing you can do if your child is too young to participate in story time activities is to come up with a way to include them. At the library, they had a finger puppet LO loved to babble to. We danced to the music and looked at everyone else’s crafts. We talked about each one and the different colors.
As a teacher, the best activities are those that include something that every kid is interested in. Music, reading, dancing, and talking with you and other kids and adults are all things your child loves to do. Try incorporating some of those with the activities you already do.
Remember, just because your child can’t independently participate doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t be involved.

Sensory play…

“I think my problem is maybe that I set my sights too high…”

“No way, you’re just a teacher mommy. You have to do it like a teacher.”

This conversation actually happened to me this week. I recently found out about a sensory class for babies in my area. My friend and I talked about going to the class, until we found out how much it would cost.  I told her I am a teacher… surely I can come up with some activities for us to do with our kids. I went around to various Dollar stores and came up with a sensory play ‘curriculum’. I looked around online and found a ridiculous amount of activities.  I had to differentiate instruction and create something that was way over the top!

This was just the beginning, but here are some of my creations:

I divided my finds into bins. Of course, with all of these, you have to watch to make sure they don’t try to eat this stuff.

  1. Spaghetti Bin – Cooked spaghetti to play with. We did this with LO in her high chair this time but I think next time, we need to branch out. I also found some ideas for coloring the spaghetti, which could be fun too!
  2. Water Bin – Items that can be submersed in water and are water tight. I also included a strainer.
  3. Music Bin – Anything that can make a cool noise. I included a crib toy (for the younger baby), an empty pack of wipes (which makes a really cool crinkly noise), a set of Little Tikes bowling pins that can be turned over to make maracas, a harmonica for mommy to play and try new sounds, and a bottle of water for squeezing too.
  4. Touch Bin – Anything that you can use to describe feeling (this is rough, this is bumpy, this is smooth, etc.) It’s amazing how many kindergarteners do not know these describing words. For this bin, I used a bottle of bubbles (you have to blow them to have something for them to touch obviously), a loofa shaped like a pig, a wool mitten (which LO did NOT like touching), a silk scarf with braided ends, a touch and feel book (of course), and one of DH’s ties. The water bottle and wipes pack could work for touching too.
    When LO is bigger, I would love to do this in bins she could step in. One of the teachers at my school gave me some great ideas for that too.
  5. Nature Bin – A pine cone, some leaves, flowers, seeds, etc. You can use this opportunity to go on a nature walk with your kids.

We started with the touch bin and the spaghetti bin this week. So fun!

You can always use things from around your house for these activities, just make sure they are kid friendly.