Thursday, July 29, 2010

:: unraveled~ a toilet paper experience ::

I got this idea from a Bev Bos workshop.

I stuffed three rolls of toilet paper (the fourth had somehow escaped on the way from the house) onto a shower rod that I tied to the canopy shading our deck and got the roll started.

Check out the hand/eye coordination needed for this catch:

I think he's trying to shake it off his foot in this one:

He got it off and observes the puddle of paper:

I love the surprised face as the wind keeps blowing it around (forces of nature):

It feels pretty good (sensory):

I thought he would have unraveled all the paper, but he stopped after this. Perhaps it was just the time of day. We just came back from two hours of running around. I'll try again tomorrow and see what he does.

The end !

:: this little (click) light of mine ::

J loves lights. Probably because there is this nifty little switch that you can pull to turn them on, off, on, off, on, off, on, off, on, off...well, you catch my drift.

But if I am going to be honest, holding the little sack of potatoes while he gleefully flicks the light on and off has gotten a little old, not to mention tiring. So I bought a little click light for him. I applied a piece of tape over the battery cover as it was flimsy and seemed like it might pop open.

This little light is a great tactile learning tool for cause and effect and opposites (off, on).

Since it was the middle of the day, I brought it into one of our windowless bathrooms:

He liked it!

The end!

:: the biggest shaker of them all ::

Daddy doesn't know we did this yet. We bring these water cooler jugs back for refills. But it was sitting, empty, in the corner and lil' man cruised by and picked it up

I thought, why not make that into a shaker? I added all sorts of 'shakey' things like buttons and bolts and taped it securely shut, due to the choking hazards. Then I left it on the carpet for J to find.

Here is a little video recording the way it sounds:

I am pleased with the noise it makes when you pick it up and shake it, but It doesn't sound  as good if you roll it across the floor. I wonder if I could make a rain stick out of this....

The end!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

:: lil' man falls off his trike ::

My 14-month-old doesn't have much of an attention span. He wanders around from room to room, fiddling with something here and there, dumping things out, throwing them around, and then wandering off to the next object that catches his attention.

This morning, after a two hour epic screamfest, (we're weaning him from bottles and he's not very happy), he indicated that he wanted to go into the basement. I brought him down and he began to play on his trike.

He played for roughly 13 minutes. For him, that's a record breaker. But he took some risks, and fell off. Below I will post the video in double time, slowing down when I hit some key moments. Here are a few times to note:

  • 1:03- He climbs from the back of the bike to stand on the seat. Notice his face afterwards. He looks a little amazed at the world from this height, and very pleased with himself.

    • 3:47- I began to pull his bike away from the play station. I shouldn't have. I stopped immediately as I felt him use his legs to push himself away. I would have felt awful if I had denied him this moment of discovery. 'Rescuing' children is not good for their sense of self esteem and does not allow them to solve their own problems. 
      • 10:45- The inevitable happens. He slips off his bike (and I have a mini-heart attack). At first I thought he might have hit the table, but he didn't. He is not hurt, but he is very angry with the objects around him and tosses them about. I don't make a big deal about the fall, and after about 30 seconds he gets back on his bike.

      I'm not going to lie, the way he was climbing on it made me nervous. But I believe that children won't learn their own limitations if they are not allowed to take risks. Now he knows that if he stands on the bike seat, it may fall over if he looses his balance.

      It's still scary. I wouldn't have let this happen on the pavement for sure, but it's too hot outside to play on a metal bike and the basement is carpeted, and it was a controlled environment. Next time (when he is not stuck) I will scoot the bike away from the table a little farther (a little too harrowing for me).

      As I write this, he is taking a nap and I may go have myself a nip of liquid courage...

      The end!

      Tuesday, July 27, 2010

      :: old wallet and gift cards ::

      Oh, how intriguing this wallet is to my child!

      When he could pull himself up he would dig through my purse, pull it out and take out whatever he could get to (yikes!). After upgrading to something a little more attractive, I decided to let him have it. Inside I put old gift cards and a few infrequently used reward cards and let him have at it.

      I set it out, closed, on the carpet in invitation, and he runs right over to it and unsnaps the flap:

      has a seat and begins to pull out a card:

      when he gets one, he takes off again:

      He will come back later for another one. It keeps him occupied for a few minutes and works those fine motor skills.

      The end!

      Monday, July 26, 2010

      :: sensory play: rice ::

      Similar to my post about refilling the bird feeder, I let my little guy play with rice. Children learn about the world through their senses, so I try to provide as many sensory experiences for them as possible. My preschool children love when their sand table has rice in it as well. It just pours so well, and it is great for digging little hands into.

      Here is lil man in his typical set up:

      Tipping a little over (or creating chaos out of order)(physics: gravity):

      Digging hands in (you can tell it feels good by the little smile):

      Experimenting to see if he can fit inside the bowl (he couldn't which angered him)(social/emotional)

      The end!

      :: peek-a-boo! ::

      J was sitting on the patio chair sans a booster seat having a snack

      when he realized the low seat/high table was a great opportunity for one of his favorite games: peek-a-boo!

      First he ducked his head under the table.

      Where's the baby?

      Peek-a-boo, I see you!

      Too cute!

      By spontaneously playing this game with me, J is showing his mastery over object permanence, which typically develops around 9 months. And to think, I would have completely missed this adorable cognitive display had he sat in his booster seat. :)

      The end! 

      Thursday, July 22, 2010

      :: BOOM! Following the interests of a toddler PART 2 ::

      A colleague suggested that J try dropping objects on different surfaces (physics). I was going to wait a few days, but little man took it upon himself to continue the project.

      He decided to take all of his BOOM! materials and throw them off the deck onto the concrete below (gravity):

      Here are all the objects he gathered up and dropped:

      He also learned that not all objects he found would fit in between the railings, which caused some frustration (spacial awareness/social-emotional):

      That is, until he realized that now that his table is cleared off, it makes for great climbing (gross motor).

      The end!

      :: inverted light table ::

      We don't have a light table at home, but we do have a glass table with a light above it, so I thought, why not make an inverted light table?

      Here is the table in question: 

      I took away the chairs, added a comfy blanket and cushions underneath to make it more cozy, and then added colored tissue paper to the top of the table.

      Then I waited for the sun to set so it was nice and dark. I turned on the overhead light and voila!

      Little man enjoying the experience(light/color):

      Trying to touch the color (that is the fishbowl in the middle, I blogged about it here):

      The end!

      :: refilling the birdfeeder ::

      My lil man loves birdseed. A while ago I let him put his hand in the birdseed container and he cried when I put it away. Today I decided to set up an experience where he could help me refill the feeder. 

      First, I set a tin full of birdseed into the baby pool (nature). It drew him in immediately.

      He really dug his hands in (sensory): 

      Then he decided to dump the seeds out (hence the baby pool)

      After we made the mess, on to the business of filling the feeder (but first we must manipulate all the moving parts of the feeder) (motor)

      He helped me put seeds in, and out, and in, and out, and in and out (opposites & fine motor). 

      He took a close look, just to be sure...(observation)

      J then helped me clean up the ones that got away (responsibility):

      But then decided it should go back on the deck (independence):

      The end!

      :: field trip to Plum Creek ::

      It was early and it was hot. What better way to cool off  than a walk through the forest preserve and a trek through Plum Creek Nature center.

      First we hiked through the Trail of Thoughts (love the name). Then we explored the prairie flower trail (he was more interested in the gravel and bird feeders than the flowers)

      He didn't care too much for the large turtle shell:

      or the branch building blocks:

      he liked the bees:

      spared a passing glance for the owls:

      he didn't want to let the magnifying glass go, but I was afraid he would break it:

      All in all it was great way to spend an hour before morning nap, even if he was a little tired (hence the bottle never leaving his mouth)

      :: first experience with play-dough ::

      Play-dough is wonderful for children. It's mushy and malleable. It strengthens little fingers. It provides a sensory experience that is both calming and engaging.

      I make play-dough every week in my pre-k classroom. It's a great science experiment, figuring out how much water, oil, and flour to add to make it just the right consistency. And once we get it right, we sing a song while we manipulate the dough. The children pick the verb and we act it out.

      "insert verb" (repeat three times) the dough...

      I sing the song in the video with J. He expressed interest in poking the dough so I sang (and please excuse my  voice):

      Poke, poke, poke the dough
      Poke poke, poke, the dough
      poke, poke, poke, the dough
      poke poke poke the dough dough dough

      I think we spent a good 20 minutes in class once coming up with different verbs (poke, pull, squish, pinch, rip, put it back together, twist, turn, etc). From Bev Bos I learned that it is important for children to be able to manipulate songs and make them their own. Great for creativity. And what is creativity if not critical thinking?

      Here is the video of J with his play dough (please excuse my dirty child, I swear I bathe him every night but he sure plays hard during the day):

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