Monday, August 18, 2008

More of Toddler Lessons

So, I'm sharing some more of our "school" time. My DS loves to help unload the dishwasher. He brings things and says "Thank You." as he hands it to you, because that's what we always say to him as he gives it to us. It's too cute. The problem with this? Oh, yes there is a problem. When I'm trying to LOAD the dishwasher, he comes running saying "Thank You! Thank You!" Because he wants to UNload the dishwasher. It's a minor problem, and worth the life lessons involved in helping out the family.

Some things he knows where they go and can put away himself after he retrieves them from the dishwasher.
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Most important of all, imaginative play with the farm (we are learning the signs for farm, and the animals).

And there was just something so very wicked witch of the west about this that I couldn't help but share it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Transferring Activity

We didn't get to do beans the other afternoon, I realized I only had small beans. While my DS isn't big on putting things in his mouth anymore, it still presented too much of a choking hazard for me to let him play with them..on the off chance he might put them in his mouth. Now, if I had been planning on sitting there with him, that would have been a different story. But, one of my goals is to get him to do more things independently, so I didn't want to sit there. Well, this morning he got out our transferring bowls again, and I was searching for something around the house that he could transfer without me worrying about him. I then found the container of buttons! I knew these would be a HIT as he is ALWAYS asking to play with them, and I've never allowed it before (mostly because they would just be scattered everywhere, and I didn't want to deal with that).

You need two bowls (Montessori methods prefer glass or wood....but I don't have any of those yet, so mine are plastic). A large spoon. And, whatever objects (buttons, large beans, pom poms, dried wagon wheel noodles, or anything else you come up with) you are going to transfer. It's also best to have a workmat, you see that I'm using a placemat as our workmat. It keeps the bowls from sliding around.
Here is the setup:

And then I did the presentation, I unscrewed the lid of the jar. I said "Don't touch, watch mama." I poured some of the buttons into the first bowl. I picked up the spoon, I scooped a few buttons up and dumped them into the second bowl. I repeated it three times. Then I asked if he'd like to try. "Uh huh!" (He never says yes or no, uh huh and uh uh.) I handed over the spoon, and he was able to do it successfully. Another 30 minutes!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What We Did Today....

I think I'm mentioned in previous posts about our collection of jars. I have several, although I just found out this morning when my toddler pulled them out that my husband threw out almost all of the lids! So, now I have to start collecting AGAIN, so I can have jars with lids. SIGH. Anyway, we managed to have a very productive morning without them. My son often asks me to open the cabinet that has the jars in it (it's in one of the few baby proofed areas). I almost always oblige. This morning, he got them out (my involvment is usually simply opening the cabinet door..then he chooses how many/which ones he wants and goes on his merry way) and took them to the table. You'll notice he also grabbed the bowls we use for transferring objects. He spent nearly 15 minutes (he is only 19 months old, so that's a good amount of time) playing with the jars alone! He put the smaller ones into the larger ones, and attempted to put the large ones into the small ones. Then he had to work some to get the small ones back out. The jar you see that is painted purple is part of our sound jars set (there are jars with different content and when you shake them they make various sounds, and there is a matching set). After he had lost interest in playing with them alone, I decided to show him how to take the lids off. I took the only two I have with the lids (which is fine for him, because he's small and has a short attention span...but my 4 yr olds student really enjoyed this activity as well, and now he'll have to wait til I have restocked the collection), I cleared the table off and sat the two jars up. I told him not to touch, and to watch Mama. I picked up the large jar, and slowly showed him how I twist my hand to take the lid off (to which he delighted "OFF!"). I sat the jar and the lid back on the table, and picked up the smaller jar and repeated (again to a very delighed "OFF!"). Then I put the lids back on, and asked him if he wanted to take them off. He said "uh huh" (with the best inflection on that huh you've ever heard). The first time he couldn't do it, so I demonstrated again. And, to my surprise, on his second attempt with the large jar he was able to unscrew the lid! The smaller jars lid takes a bit more effort to twist, and he never did successfully get it off, but hey, there was still victory! And, the fantastic pronouncement that it was "OFF!" (Off is currently his favorite word.)

After such success with my jar activity, and a messy snack necessitating the need to wash hands, I decided I could do a second presentation on hand washing. So I set up a towel, a bowl, the soap pump, and a small towel to dry with. I did a presentation on washing hands (another favorite activity btw, although we had never done it this way) and to my surprise he REALLY copied me almost exactly. I was impressed. Then of course, there were cries for "wata" "wata", so I got him some fresh water in his bowl, gave him a second bowl (for pouring you know) and funnels, scoops, large spoons, a baby bottle, a glass jar, and let him play in the water. I showed him how to use the jar to scoop water from the first bowl and pour it into the second. He was relatively successful. My oldest daughter (10) came to play with him while I helped my younger daughter (8) with her language arts activities, and she showed him to just pick up the first bowl and pour it into the second bowl. He loved that. He did that three times before we ended up with the water spilled everywhere. I gave him one more fresh bowl, and he continued to play. This bought me a good, happy 30 minutes!

When he wakes up from his nap, we're going to try another transferring activity. Beans in bowls. :-)
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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Blue Squares

Our newest goal is learning the color blue, and the shape square. Here he is coloring with a blue marker.

I drew a square, and we talked about the name of it, and he repeated the name. Then I drew a second square for him to color blue.

Then he figured out it was much more fun to actually just keep taking the lid on and off the marker.

Finished project.

I also made a set (2) of blue felt squares to play with on our felt board. I chose blue for square for continuity. Our shape sorter set has blue squares as well.
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