Practicing Writing Letters (ABC’s) with My Toddler

Pencil and paper…not always so easy for little hands.

Plus, not nearly as FUN!

Let’s try shaving cream instead!

Simply add a big dolop of cheap shaving cream to a plate/half a styrofoam container/baking sheet.

If desirable, add a few dabs of food coloring (today is Flyer Red Friday, so we added red).

Then have your child mix the coloring into the shaving cream around the container with the paintbrush.

Give them time to “play” with the shaving cream and enjoy the “newness” of it.

Once enough time (you decide based on your child’s age and attention span) has passed, begin to ask them to draw certain letters with the paintbrush in the shaving cream.

If you are comfortable with it, they can even use their fingers to draw the letter.

Start with letters in their name.

If they are young toddlers, like Anthony, begin with a lower case “i” or an “x” or a “t”.

Teaching My Child Colors

I like being efficient.

I like working on multiple skills at the same time.

So to help the children learn about colors, I made books from construction paper.

I made the cover orange, and the inside pages an off white color.

On the cover I wrote “_____’s Color Book” and drew 3 balloons for them to color any way they wanted.

The next page I wrote “My favorite color is __________.”

I drew a flower in the middle of the page and put directions on the bottom of the page:

“Color the flower with your favorite color.”

I used the color that they selected to write in the name of their favorite color.

On each of the next pages in the book, I wrote the name on the top of one of the colors:

red
orange
yellow
green
blue
purple
pink
grey
black
white
brown

Each day, we review the pages we have done, and work on 1 or 2 new colors for the day.

These will remain as learning tools throughout the year.

They will be able to take them home, but also read them here during the day to review what they have learned and created.

Apple Pie for Kids to Make

Well, ok, it’s not edible, but heck, it’s a ton of fun!

Easy clean up for you, and lots of fun for the active toddler.

What you need:
A paper plate for each child
A paint brush for each child
3 bowls for each child
red paint
cinnamon
sugar

Directions:
I prepped the table first by setting out the supplies. Leads to more attention on the actual project rather than the kiddos waiting around at the table.

Put a blob of red paint in a small bowl for each child.

I used small prep bowls and added enough sugar to fill about 1/4 of the bowl (one for each child)

I used a small bowl (but would have used a prep bowl too) with freshly grated cinnamon from the stick.

Since I used freshly grated, I actually put a small piece of the cinnamon bark in each of their bowls as well.

Set out the above with the paint brush and the plate in front of each child’s seat.

We started out by smelling the cinnamon and saying “cinnamon”. We described it.

Then I had them dab their finger in and taste it. Their description words were “spicy” and “delicious”. What colorful words!

Had they used words like “good” or “bad” I would have asked them to think of a more colorful word to use and guided them along.

Next we repeated the same process with the sugar. I bet you can guess their reactions! πŸ™‚

Finally, we followed a “recipe” and added the paint the plate first, followed by the cinnamon, and finally the sugar.

After all the ingredients were added, they mixed away!

Once their pies were ready, we placed them in the “oven” to “bake” (dry). πŸ™‚

We followed this up with a tasty snack of freshly sliced apples from the orchard.

Apple Art Project for Toddlers

Here’s a simple easy project I did with two toddlers yesterday during our September month of apples!

First, I took red construction paper and tore it into small squares.

To avoid them having to use the scissors, I was going to have them tear, but during their naptime, I felt it would be better for me to tear, as 1 is 2 years old and the other is 3 years old.

You always have to consider attention spans.

I put the torn red paper into two small bowls.

I gave them both a paper plate.

I had them dab and rub the glue all over the back of the plate.

Then, they covered the back of their plate with the red papers.

At the end, I gave them a leaf and a stem, and had them glue those on top.

Ta Da!

To modify for different ages:

*Have them tear/cut the paper

*They can cover more/less of the plate

*They can draw out the stem and leaf

*They can use marker/crayon to color in the white spots

What Did They Learn?

*They worked on following directions AND motor skills (gluing and placing)

Cheap Activities to Do With My Child

Water, buckets, paint brushes.

Can’t get much simpler or FUN!

Target had all of their summer toys on clearance last week, so I bought:

three buckets
three spray water bottles
a little mini watering can
5 paint brushes
A paint roller

This has provided hours of fun for Anthony and his friends over the last week and continues this week! πŸ™‚

Just fill the buckets with water and let them “paint” the sidewalks!

We made letters, shapes, and just wet everything in sight!

Best part about cleanup…the sun dries most of it up! πŸ™‚

When Should I Start Asking My Child To Help Around the House?

I believe in the power of lists.

I believe that children learn to be responsible and to do tasks on their own when given a chart with goals.

This is the beginning of life training for Anthony.

Here’s the chart I made for him this week.

Don’t go out and buy anything! It’s super simple to make and use!

Anthony’s 2 1/2, so I made this with 8 simple tasks that he can do daily.

On the bottom I placed a picture of him “painting with water” outside to remind him…once he gets all of his tasks done, we can go out and play. πŸ™‚

His simple tasks are:

Go to the bathroom
Brush Your Teeth
Eat Your Breakfast
Make Your Bed
Help Empty the Dishwasher
Vacuum
Calendar
Get Dressed

Each of the 8 tasks are labeled with a different color and arrow.

Once he finishes the task, he moves his star to the other side of the arrow as “completed”

How to make the stars:
You know those magnets you get from pizza places, etc that are taking up a ton of space on your fridge?

Use those up!

I placed a post it note on top of it and then a silver foil star on top of that magnet and cut them up. Then I put packing tape over that just to keep it secure. πŸ™‚

Games for Toddlers

Simple and fun way to take a preschool game and play it with your toddler!

Teaching My Child To Share!

Woah….

BIG topic!

For parents of only children, this is even more important.

One of the biggest lessons that can be learned before school starts that has to do with socialization is SHARING.

Toddlers are innately selfish. That’s just the way they are.

Think about animals…they have that survival instinct in them.

I sort of compare that to how toddlers are.

They are wrestling with their independence and getting what they want to survive. They want to be on their own…until they need something. πŸ™‚

As a mom of an only child, I am always conscious of this. How do I insure that Anthony learns the idea of sharing at an early age so he is prepared when he goes to school?

Here are some ideas:

1. Taking turns playing with toys. Even if Mom and Dad don’t want to play with the xylaphone that Anthony is playing with, we can take turns with it, so he begins to understand that we all get a turn.

2. Making choices. It’s easy to let the “baby” in the family make all the choices as he/she is the “baby”. However, that makes life difficult in school! Let everyone have a turn making the choices.

3. Be a good example. If Anthony sees Mom and Dad sharing, then he will learn by example. This is so true. We pray before our meals. Always have, always will. Anthony has learned by WATCHING this…and now reminds us to say our prayers and says the prayer along with us. Don’t underestimate the power of observation!

4. Play time with other children his age. Whether it be playing with cousins, neighbors, friends, or being enrolled in a class at the park district, being around other children and learning by being in situations where he needs to share is a great way to learn!

How do you help your child learn how to share? Please comment below! I’m always looking for more ideas!

Reading Aloud to Children

Is it ever too early to start reading to your child?

Is it ever too late to start reading to your child?

Are these questions that you have contemplated?

Well, as a former teacher, and now stay at home mom, I can tell you from experience on both ends, the answer is “no” to both questions.

I started reading to Anthony when he was still in my womb.

Yes, I know..it sounds silly…and trust me, reading Curious George and the Bunny to him in an empty room sitting in a chair seemed quite silly to me too.

I know the studies show such great things from this, but honestly, studies don’t mean anything compared to a mom with experience.

We only have one child at this point in life, but are praying God blesses us with more some day!

Regardless, I can tell you, from the moment he was born, he has had a fascination with books.

I read to him as an infant…we’d both lay on the bed and I’d hold board books with bright colors up in the air so he could see the picutres as I read.

I continued to read to him as he has grown.

At an early age, they learn the beginning reading skills:

*Reading from left to right
*Pictures on the page correlate to the story
*Turning the pages continue the story

As your toddler reads more and more with you, they will begin to memorize the stories, which is another step in developing readers!

What can you do to make this even more beneficial to them as they grow?

Work on connections. Ask them questions that will connect something they see in the book to something they know in their life.

For example, “Anthony look at what Mickey’s putting in the pot. What do you see?” “Yes, onions! Who cooks with onions?” “Correct! Grandma uses the onions when she makes the salad!”

Your child we be prepared for kindergarten by doing these small things every day!

I read today that only 53% of kids at home are read to every day. Help make that statistic rise and help your child achieve more while developing a love for reading!

What are some of your child’s favorite books to read? Please post below!

Going on a Picnic Game (no supplies needed!)