… little bit of this, little bit of that, a whole lotta about the kids

Category Archives: Kidlet & Baby L

 This week I am focusing on the “buh” sound (which is one of the first 6 sounds that children usually vocalize) with Baby L, so I’ve picked activities that will afford me lots of opportunities to use B words.

Baby L is 14.5 months

Tot School

Contact Paper Collage.  The first one we tried a couple weeks ago was such a success that I decided to do another one with her. Like last time, I created a cardstock paper frame for the contact paper to keep it from curling and to make it easier to move around.

I gathered a bunch of blue papers, pictures and objects.  To make a more interesting tactile experience, I included things other than paper this time, like feathers, rhinestones, etc. The baby was pushing buttons on my camera to entertain herself yesterday and apparently changed the picture quality, which I didn’t notice, so these photos are all pretty small.

She discovered pretty quickly that (unlike the last one, which was mostly tissue paper and was stuck for good once she put it down) she could re-position objects.  I just let her choose what she wanted from the pile, and place it wherever she wanted and move it at will, and just narrated what ever she was doing.

When she lost interest and it was looking pretty full, I covered it with a second piece of clear contact paper to seal it.  I hung her art at toddler eye level on the glass door in the family room.  Her finished work remained on display on the door for about 20 seconds before she pulled it down. 😉

Vocabulary: Picture, Sticky, Blue, B, names of the pictured items

Basket of shaker bottles.  I filled recycled plastic water bottles with a variety of dry materials.  Baby L helped with the rice, using a funnel. 

We ended up with bottles filled with marbles, rice, metal bits, pom poms, glass gem vase filler things, and left one empty for comparison. I sealed (lets’s hope!) the lids with glue before we played with them.

Baby L enjoyed shaking the bottles to hear the different sounds.  The more full ones took more effort to get noise out of them (had to turn them further) and she got so proud when she managed to make the bottles dance and sing.

Her favorite way was by “drinking” from the bottles and getting the filler to rush down at her face.  LOL

Vocabulary: Bottle, shake, music, loud, soft, noisy, quiet, empty

I had meant to do a sensory box with dried beans and some “Three Bear Family Counters” (I bought them at a local Learning Palace, and paid about half what they are on Amazon though) along with our measuring cup scoops.  I think the counters will be great in the future for comparing sizes and making patterns.  Anyway, I discovered that I only had one little tiny bag of dried beans, so instead I used some bear shaped pasta that I had picked up for bento. 

I gave her two plastic containers and a scoop on a sheet pan and showed her how to scoop and transfer from one bowl to the other.

This is by far my favorite picture of the week =)

Vocabulary:  Bear, Bowl, Dig, Pour, Scoop

Alphabet Letters.  I picked up a tub of large magnetic letters at Learning Palace and set them up in a basket along with a small magnetic wipe board.

We started with just the two B’s, but she wanted to dig into the bucket.  I just let her stick them on and pull them off, making the letter sound for each one that she picked up.

I spelled out her name for her and gave her the final “L” to put in a row, but as you can see she didn’t get the lining up of the letters and just put it where she liked it instead 😉

Vocabulary: letters, alphabet, letter names & sounds, stick, lift

We also spent some extra times playing will balls.  She likes the o-balls as well as the holey wiffle ball style colorful balls I picked up from Gymboree a few years back.  A lot easier for her to grip and manipulate, I guess.  I hung some of them on a piece of yarn and strung them between 2 offset door handles and showed her how to move them to the high side and let them slide down. 

She moved them back and forth for a while, and then started to get frustrated that she couldn’t get them off.  I had to go track down a couple more balls to give to her to play with on the floor. 😉

As normal for the summer, we spend some time outside every day.  In keeping with reinforcing the “buh” sound, we blew bubbles and played with buckets and boats at the water table.

New sign: Bear – Cross your arms and claw your chest a couple times.

Books we read this week (in addition to lots of other reading we do daily): Going on a Bear Hunt, More Bugs in Boxes, Boats, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, Belly Button Book

Find more terrific tot school posts over at 1+ 1 + 1  = 1

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not putting a lot of emphasis on learning over the summer for kidlet, but I have been fitting in things like writing practice and doing a lot of introductory chatting about food groups, mainly in “sneaky” ways.  As we come to the last few weeks before school begins, I’m planning on including more “formal” learning time, a little bit more each week, to get him back into the habit.

I have some serious concerns about kidlet’s weight, so I’m preparing to move beyond just learning the food groups into the food pyramid, servings and sizes, and focus more on why some things are more healthful choices than others.  I will not talk about weight or do anything that will imply different body shapes are “bad”. 

Anyway, as I was creating a rough outline for a lesson plan for next week, I realized that  a lot of the materials could be used in simpler activities for tot school, and decided to use food as a focus for tot school as well.

To supplement the things that I do have that will work for baby L, I made these fruit and vegetable stick puppets for us to play with.  I thought they came out very cute!

Kidlet and I had painted about 50 sheets of white cardstock in various shades (practicing color mixing and to have painted papers that would lend themselves to creating the collage-y look of Eric Carle or Lois Ehlert) and I used that cardstock, which is what gives the pieces that paint-brushy texture that you can see in some of the colors especially well.  I cut out the produce shapes, added the faces and a few little lines and such for accents and then glued them to popsicle sticks.

It can be overwhelming to parent at times.  I want to be a great mom and give my kids as much as I can.  I buy so many books, research so much on the internet, collect ideas.  Sometimes it seems that I can’t even work my way through everything before my kiddo is out of the stage I’ve been studying!  I know I barely scratched the surface of my infant books and here Baby L is already a toddler! 

I’m going to try and particpate in Tot School.  I spend so much time collecting and implementing the ideas and far less time on documentation, but at the end of the day I’m never confident that I’ve done everything I could and should have done, so I thought I’d try keeping track for a while to (hopefully) show myself that I am not slacking off on the parenting =)

Baby L is 14 months

Tot School

Baby L still isn’t doing much talking at 14+ months, so I continue to try and talk to her as much as possible, narrating if nothing else.  Truthfully, it gets tiresome, and sometimes I feel a little silly, but she needs to hear it!

Putting stuff into other stuff.  Wooden puzzles with handles.  Blocksters.  Buttons into recycled can.

The blocksters are a pretty good toy.  The blocks are brightly colored with various animals printed on them.  A number of them “do” things (rattle, mirrors, roller, etc).  They are easy to grip and baby L likes to stack them (3 high is about as far as she can manage so far).  The carrying box acts as a simple shape sorter, which is what she has been enjoying doing lately.  She just beams with pride when she gets one into a hole where it fits!

In addition to the shape puzzle, we have the crab/turtle/fish puzzle also with big grip handles by Melissa and Doug as well.  She still struggles getting those into place. 

Vocabulary: in, out, circle, square, triangle, turtle, crab, fish, button, red, green, blue

Tissue Box.  Every time we change her diaper, baby L wants to pull out all the wipes, so this week I picked up a few tissue boxes just for her and tot school time.

When she emptied one box, we gathered up the sheets and shoved them back in for her to pull out again, but she didn’t enjoy pulling them the second time nearly as well since a new tissue didn’t pop out conveniently as they do on a fresh box.

Vocabulary:  Pull, push, in, out

On Thursday during scheduled Tot School time, she didn’t want to focus on our planned activity, and ended up bringing me one of her brothers DVDs (Fantastic Field Trip to the Planets, which is old and still gives Pluto planet cred 😉  I think they have released an updated version; I may have to pick it up because both kids really like the video (even though its pretty cheesy and you just KNOW the child actor that plays the lead is totally embarassed for anyone he knows now to know he made the video! lol), and its actually got a nasty crack in the inner hole and it flakes a little more every time we play it, and I suspect it’s life span to be short), which I think she likes because the planets have human faces transparently super imposed on them and they all sing catchy songs. 

So I just went with it.  I hardly expect my 14 month old to learn the planets, but after all, tot school is really just about exposure, and if I’m sitting there with her and we are singing along and talking about celestial objects, how can that be a bad thing, when its what she wanted to do?!

Vocabulary: planet names, Sun, Space, Sing

Rice Box.  We don’t have a sand box, and I haven’t been able to convince my (relatively) unhandy husband that he could easily build one with plans off the internet, so this box filled with 40 pounds of rice is our sustitute.  This is the first time Baby L had seen it, and although we started out inside on a rug that I could pick up and shake out, she was tossing rice way out beyond the rug borders, so I moved us outside.

You can see that she climbed right in.  When she tried to get out, her wiggling would just move the rice out from under her so she sank down further.  Finally she just sat down all the way and played in the box for a while =)

We used measuring cups and glass stone gem things (vase filler) for scooping, digging, pouring and burying.

Vocabulary:  Rice, Dig, Pour, Scoop, Bury, Find

New sign: Cheese ( I probably have an ASL vocabulary of about 50-60 words, and I use them throughout the day, but I’ve been choosing one a week to really focus on and she if she will pick it up.  So far she has “more” (but she does it with open palms instead of pressing the fingers and thumbs together), “all done” and “milk”.)

Find more terrific tot school posts over at 1+ 1 + 1  = 1

Daily: Read, Walk, Outside/Water Table, Dance (she really likes the “hold still — wiggle, wiggle, wiggle” song from Yo Gabba Gabba),

Yesterday Baby L did her first real art project.  I took clear contact paper in a cardstock frame (I had leftovers from the Frank Lloyd Wright presentation I did for art lit) and a box of styrofoam, textured paper, and tissue paper hearts and strips (leftover from the collage card project I did with Kidlet’s class for their friendship party) and set her up in her high chair.

I let her pick a few things at a time from the box and showed her how to stick it to the contact paper and press it down.  I just let her go until she got bored with it. 

The finished project.

I did occasionally rotate the paper to put a more unfinished area closer to her.  Suprisingly, I didn’t really have to trim anything from around the edges.  She placed a few items so that they hung over a little bit, but mostly kept to the sticky bits.

I dunno why you want to spend so much money on toys mom!  I’ll happily move old buttons into a recycled canister for hours.

(please ignore the fact that the playroom badly needs vacuuming!)

A few styrofoam balls from an old planet mobile kit, the inside of a garbage can lid.  Wheeee spin the balls.

It being summer, kidlet is well aware that it is his vacation from academia.  He has no tolerance for map worksheets or math problems or anything that he recognizes as “school stuff”.  Still, I don’t want him to lose any skills from lack of use, and he really does need to work on his handwriting, as he was definitely in the bottom few in his kindergarten class for legibility.  So, I have had to be more creative in coming up with ways to get his handwriting practice done, reinforce accumulated knowledge, and introduce new ideas as well.  We write letters to out of town grandparents, play pirate and draw treasure maps to keep track of where we have hidden our booty, etc.   I keep thinking I need to research “unschooling”, since I envision that method of homeschooling to be about always teaching without formal materials or structured time for academia.

He is still just learning about the 5 food groups so today I offered him one of our kid cookbooks (Pretend Soup, which is geared towards preschoolers and a little young for him, but I realized today that I really don’t have any good ones for the 6-8 range; I’ll have to rectify that!), and asked him to look through it and pick out a recipe he wanted to eat with at least one food from the fruit group and one from the dairy group that we could make together this weekend.  (I pre-scanned and found several made with fruit and yogurt, milk, cheese or cottage cheese.)

Once he picked his recipe (Number Salad – cheese in a fruit salad.  I think that sounds weird, but he thought it sounded divine), I asked him to make a shopping list so we could buy what we needed. As scraggly as this is, it is so much better than even a few months ago.  We’ll just keep plugging along at it. Anyway

He worked at it a little while and handed it to me, “I’m done!” — only the first line was on the paper at that time.  I said, “but I can’t read this, what does it say” and he informed me that it was secret code.  Upon closer inspection I realized that his super sekrit code was devised using the first and last letters of each word.  “Nice shorthand,” I offered, but explained that I might have a hard time figuring out what he meant when I went to the grocery with this list.  I might think that he wanted me to buy OnE AwesomE BandanA and MeaN GrasS instead of an OrangeE, ApplE, BananA, MeloN and GrapeS.  After pondering that he conceeded the point and re-wrote the list with actual words.

In addition to the various fruits, he also included two “must have” items for his snacking needs:  “Pepowne” (pepperoni) and “Kota Ceese” (cottage cheese). 

All in all, I was pretty happy with the effort.  He did some reading and writing while we talked about the food groups and nutrition, and he didn’t even realize he was doing “school stuff” 😉 So, do any of you moms out there have ‘tricks” for educating your child with work disguised as fun?

There are times when feeding the kidlet can be a trial.  I get quite tired of hearing “I don’t like that” at dinner time (usually referring to some kind of non-processed, non-ground meat).  On the other hand, when I asked him what he would like for lunch today he asked “Well, do we have any broccoli?  And carrots?”  I said “That can’t be all you want, that doesn’t sound like a filling lunch” and he responded “I want some mango too, mom” (with a tone that suggested “Duhhhhhh!” ;)).  It’s hard to get too irritated and to complain about a picky eater when the first thing he asks for  at meal time are vegetables and fruit.  He may not be open to every food out there, and his diet might seem boring to me, but the fact that he eats fruit and veggies (even if its the same ones) every day puts him far ahead of some. 

Baby L is becoming quite a good eater as well.  She has 12 teeth already at not quite 13 months.  She actually prefers things with more texture to things that are gooey at this point.  She shovels in diced chicken, happily crunches on lightly steamed veggies.  It takes a little coaxing to get her to eat avocado, banana, mango, etc.  Once I get her to taste it, then she’ll keep eating it, but if I don’t help some into her mouth so she can see how good it is, she will touch it and recoil and leave it on her tray, heh.

She is also starting to communicate and you can see a real little person with her own personality developing now.  She says “DaDa” and “MaMa” and “book” (well, its more like OooK).  She says “ess” and nods her head once sharply for “yes” and is signing “more”, “done”, and “milk” — although to be fair, her signs aren’t what you call precise, and she tends to use them even if they don’t quite fit.  She’ll do “more”, when she is hungry before she has had anything, so technically its not really *more* its just *some* 😉

Sleep training Baby L has been a total dream compared to what we went through with the Kidlet.  Of course he had a lot of other issues given his early life.  I put off the sleep training for as long as I could, partially in dread, but mostly because I’m a believer in co-sleeping and attachment parenting.  Still, within a couple days her agitation at being put down was down to minutes.  After two weeks it is down to a few seconds of fussing.  She is also sleeping through the night and not needing feeding at all, so, in theory, I should be getting more sleep. 

Except of course I am not getting my naps.  Today when the baby went down, Kidlet and I cleaned out the homework corner.  It’s amazing how much junk accumulates in our drawers there.  We also culled out all the materials that were too easy for him.  I’ve always supplemented his out of the home education.  Much of it is a bit of the “unschooling” approach — “sneaking” in education while playing.  He doesn’t realize the mathematical applications of baking muffins, science experiments are just cool fun, he loves art projects (today he was doing some coloring and he says to me “I think I’ll do this one like Marc Chagall and use crazy colors”, it gave me a little glow :)), helping me write shopping lists for the foods he wants, etc.   But we also have file folder games and workbooks, piles of reading materials and so forth.  Most of what we put away was actually geared for first graders, and he is beyond it already =0  I kept out a grade one reading comprehension workbook (flash forward reading) although only the second half looks worth using, and one on maps (from scholastic); the rest of it is now shelved and waiting for the baby to get there.



They are both growing up so fast.  One minute they were BOTH lil things in my arms, I blink and now look at them!  Next thing you know I’ll be packing two bentos 😉

Using materials from Take It To Your Seat Math Centers (K-1) from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers (just this activity is available for download for just a few dollars as well),  some extra bugs that I’m sure I downloaded on 4share.com, but can’t find now, contact paper to “laminate” and improve durability, and markers to decorate, I set up this file folder game. 

Bug jar 1

I made way more bugs than we would need for Kidlet’s purpose (early addition), because I figure someday baby L can use them for sorting and creating patterns (things that kidlet is well beyond needing practice at doing)

Bug Jar 2

Kidlet takes a handful of bugs and puts them in the jar, counts how many of each type there are, and writes that in the box, then repeats it in the number sentance at the bottom, and totals it up.

I’ve gotten a FFG done for subtraction as well.  I’ll see about getting that one posted shortly.

Kidlet has already been exposed to the idea of states of matter.  We’ve talked about solids, liquids and gases for a while now, done experiments with water, ice, gelatin, and so on.  I created this folder to review, and to quiz him on his understanding of states of matter.

States of Matter 1

The labels for the envellopes came from Instant Display.  I glued them onto the envellopes, and then attached the envellops to the file folder using double sided foam tape to raise them up slightly and make it easier for the tokens to slide into place (below)

states of matter 4

states of matter 2

The tokens came from all over the place.  Some were individual images that I sought out with google image search (when I was looking for a specific thing like “clouds”), others came from an image search for “states of matter” where I snagged a few collections of images, and still more came from a different FFG posted at 4shared (only a few of those those; the resolution is kinda yucky on them).  Most are images with a caption written on them, some are simply the name of an item that he has to read to sort (ie “Apple Juice” you see in the picture) and a few are even more difficult — a written description of a property of a solid, liquid or gas (as in “this state has a definite volume” token you can see in the photo). 

He has had no trouble sorting these at all.  Occasionally he’ll have to think a little bit (like where does he put the Sun, now that TMBG has told him that its plasma, not gas LOL), but overall, he has got the concept down.  I guess next its time to talk about the water cycle, or changing states of matter.