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There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Today’s activity is a great example of how to add purpose and comprehension to an art project.  It’s illustrates exactly, how to turn fun into learning, how to engage and excite a child’s natural curiosity and how to prepare a child so that an activity is meaningful to them.  I hope you enjoy this post as much as we did!

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Ocean Animals

Activity DescriptionOceanic Wall Mural (Sensory): Get a large canvas or large piece of poster paper as the basis for your mural.  Gather bubble wrap (different sized bubbles would be great) and cut them into manageable pieces (suitable for your baby).  Paint the bubble wrap blue (use different shades if desired) and stamp it onto the poster paper to make the ocean back ground.  Then glue/stick/draw on ocean animals and plants to complete the mural.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative Development

Specific Skill: Making a print

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 24 months + 1 week

This activity had two parts (because we had to let the paint dry before we could add plants and ocean animals)

Part 1 – Making a print

1.  I briefly explained that we were going to make a big picture of the ocean to put up on our wall. It’s a new concept so they weren’t quite sure but they understood that it involves water.  So I explained to them that we were going to make the bubbles in the water for our picture.

2.  I demonstrated how to paint the bubble wrap and press it onto the mural. Then it was their turn!

O & M painting the bubble wrap

O & M painting the bubble wrap

O presses it onto our mural

O presses it onto our mural

Taa Daa!  O made a print

Taa Daa! O made a print

M makes a print too

M makes a print too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Once the background was dry, I added seaweed and coral and tried to explain what they are. Then we set that aside to dry.

Several prints later.....

Several prints later…..

Mom adds coral and seaweed

Mom adds coral and seaweed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2 – Completing the mural

4. The first part of our warm up involved looking at a plush globe we have (Hugg-A-Planet). I just tried to convey that the coloured parts are where people live and the blue parts are the ocean where the fish live.

Hugg-A-Planet - Thanks Auntie M - we love it!

Hugg-A-Planet – Thanks Megs – we love it!

M put the whale on the ocean part of the globe

M put the toy whale on the ocean part of the globe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. For the second part of the warm up, we watched the BBC’s Blue Planet (not the whole thing, I fast forwarded to relevant parts).  I tried to convey that the ocean is an enormous body of water that many, many fish live in.  I paused the documentary several times to further explain concepts (like showing the seaweed and the coral and how the smaller fish like to live/eat/hide there and the ocean animals).  They were really excited saying things like, “Look, yellow fish. Wow, really big!”blueplanet

6. Now that they had a pretty good understanding of the ocean and a lot of practice with the vocabulary (ocean animals), we started to complete our mural. I showed them the stickers we had and asked them to name each one. I talked to them about space on the paper (a concept they are beginning to understand) – because we didn’t want all the stickers in one little area.

The materials we had to work with

The materials we had to work with

7. Then I let them loose!

…fine motor skills at work

M peels the sticker backing

M peels the sticker backing

M delicately places an octopus sticker

M delicately places an octopus sticker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…..spacing and placing the stickers

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

An orange fish

An orange fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……the final product

A close up of one section

A close up of one section

Another section

Another section

We love our ocean mural

We love our ocean animals mural

 

 We had a great time doing this activity together! They were so excited to show it to Mr. Y when he got home; talking all about it! They really learned a lot!

 

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

Do the Crab Walk

Hey everybody, here’s a quick, do-it-anywhere activity to practice gross motor skills…..the crab walk!  The crab walk can help build coordination, strength, stability, balance and body awareness.  Plus it’s fun and provides for a lot of giggles!  I also included several ideas for differentiation in this post (making it simpler or more difficult depending on your baby’s needs).

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Ocean Animals

Activity DescriptionCrab Walking:  Practice crab walking (walking on your hands and feet with your belly facing the sky and your bottom off the floor).  Once this has been achieved practice going slowly or quickly.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Gross Motor

Specific Skill: Coordination and balance

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 24 months!!

***A quick note: We have nearly finished our time using the  Reaching Roses curriculum!  This means we will soon be moving on to the third curriculum, Leaping Lilies! Keep your eyes peeled!

1.  First, demonstrate how to get your body into position (crab walk – without the walk)..sit on your bottom, place your hands on the floor slightly behind you and push up, lifting your hips.

2. If your baby can copy you, great!  If not, place your baby in a sitting position and go through step by step how to get into position.  (It took our girls several attempts).  Once your baby can get into position, practice holding the position (still without any walking) for increasing increments (5 seconds, 10 seconds).  You can also do fun things like place a teddy bear on your baby’s belly  and try to keep the bear from falling.

Holding the position for as long as they can!

Holding the position for as long as they can!

3. Once your baby is comfortable with the main position, demonstrate how to do the crab walk.  Encourage your baby to try (it’s pretty cute!)  O didn’t quite get it today but M started taking a couple of steps!

O trying to figure out how to crab walk

O trying to figure out how to crab walk

M takes some small crab walk steps!

M takes some small crab walk steps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  If your baby easily masters the crab walk, try adding different elements: crab walk quickly or slowly, have crab walk races, crab walk on hard or soft surfaces, crab walk up or down inclines, crab walk with a teddy balanced on your belly!

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

Fizz-tacular Painting Activity

Looking for a fun and easy twist on your regular painting activity?  This one is a sensory delight!  It’s perfect for reviewing and learning colours, it includes elements of science and encourages artistic expression!  Perfect for all ages.

On alternating Fridays I blog about the final activity of our current theme 

This week’s Theme:More Colours

Activity Description: Science Experiment: Fizzy painting activity!

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Language, creative, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, social, emotional

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 24 months

1.  I explained to the girls that we were going to do a painting activity with ‘special paint’.

2. Prepare the paint:

In a container, I added the following: Juice crystals of desired colour, 1/4 cup of baking soda, a squirt of clear dish soap and I slowly added water to get the consistency that I wanted.  A thicker consistency of paint allows for more textured painting and can be sprayed multiple times for more fizzy-fun.  Our four colours this week are: pink (pink lemonade crystals), orange (kool-aid), brown (iced-t crystals) and purple…I used purple kool-aid but it was far from purple…more of a green I would say!

 

Home-made, scented, fizzy paint!

Home-made, scented, fizzy paint!

3. Review the colours & paint away!!

Mommy demonstrates

Mommy demonstrates

M goes straight for the pink

M goes straight for the pink

O painting with 2 brushes

O painting with 2 brushes

Mommy makes a lion

Mommy makes a lion

O adds some last minute touches

O adds some last minute touches

 

 

Voila!

Voila!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. This painting activity is not over yet!  Now for more fun, let’s make it fizz! (spray with vinegar)

Mommy demonstrates.  Oh wow, says M!

Mom demonstrates. Oh wow, says M!

M does some spraying

M does some spraying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O wants to make it fizz too!

O wants to make it fizz too!

Time-out! O found a sticker (which trumps EVERYTHING)

Time-out! O found a sticker (which trumps EVERYTHING)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fizz-tacular fun was had by all!

Fizz-tacular fun was had by all!

This painting activity kept them occupied for AGES!!!  They kept saying, “more paint mommy, more fizz mommy”. We will definitely be doing this one more often!

If you’re doing this activity in the winter, you could easily do it in a shower or bath! The mess would wash right down the drain!

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

Practice What You Preach

Although it can be super-cute when our babies mispronounce words, it is really beneficial to help them improve.  It’s not necessary to correct everything, all the time, but choose a few words or sounds per week to improve upon.  Choose words that your baby is confident with and uses frequently.  This is beneficial because it helps them to get what they need, to explain their thoughts and feelings and to develop their phonemic awareness (an essential skill for reading and writing).   Also, as more people begin to understand them, their confidence with language and oral self-expression increases and thus, their overall self-confidence increases.  Today’s activity is a very simple and quick exercise to practice pronunciation.

Our little twinkle toes practising her "cheese!"

Our little twinkle toes practising her “ch-ch-cheese!”

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: More Colours

Activity DescriptionWhat Colour?: Place different coloured balls into an opaque bag.  Reach a hand into the bag to pull out a ball.  What colour is it?  What other things are also this colour? Repeat what your baby says with correct pronunciation then practice the pronunciation of colours by singing about that colour. (Song from this week’s list of songs).

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Language Development

Specific Skill: Practice pronunciation

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 24 months!!

 

1.I decided to sing some songs about colours at the beginning of the activity because this is part of our learning routine.

2. We used cloths because we don’t have balls in all four colours (orange, purple, pink, brown).  I quickly explained what to do (put your arm in and pull out a cloth) and say what colour it is.  Simple!

Here are a few quick clips to demonstrate

This first clip shows the basic interaction of the exercise:

 

This next clip has more of an example of how to practice pronunciation (they didn’t have much difficulty saying brown in the video above):

 

The following video is an example of how to proceed if your baby can’t guess the colour.  Also, I chose “purple grapes” as an example of purple because they have difficulty saying ‘grapes’ and it is a word they use frequently (that only myself & Mr. Y can decipher):

 

***You can use this activity to learn any vocabulary (put in figurines or pictures) and/or any sound (put in objects that all contain the same sound.  Ex. pig, pot, princess, peas, etc.)

Want more language development activities?  Click here for 18-24 months OR click here for 15-18 months

 

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

There’s Orange on Your Face!

Halloween provides a wonderful opportunity to teach and reinforce the colour orange!  Today’s post is an amalgamation of two activities that centre around pumpkin carving. One is an emotional learning activity that involves looking at pictures of jack-o-lantern faces and interpreting the different emotions that are displayed in each (a template is provided in the curriculum package) – then choose one to carve!  The other is a social learning activity that involves reading a book to help explain sustainability concepts and how to reduce waste (this also becomes a part of the pumpkin carving experience – the reason I could not separate the two activities).  I chose to focus on the social learning activity for this post.

 

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: More Colours

Activity DescriptionStory Time: Before carving a pumpkin face [Today’s Emotional Learning Activity] read a book that explains how pumpkins grow and about what can be done with the flesh and seeds (instead of just throwing them away).  Roast some pumpkin seeds, make a pie, save some seeds for planting.  Book Ideas: Pumpkin Circle (Levenson), My Pumpkin (Noonan), From Seed to Pumpkin (Pfeffer), I Like Pumpkins (Smath)

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Learning about sustainability and reducing waste

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 23 months + 3 weeks

 

1.As the activity describes, we read some books together to discuss the life cycle of a pumpkin, the parts of a pumpkin and all the things that can be done with a pumpkin.  Here are two of the books we read.

Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson

Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson

From Seed to Pumpkin, by Jan Kottke

From Seed to Pumpkin, by Jan Kottke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  We began the pumpkin carving exercise.  For the sustainability/reducing waste theme, we focused on collecting the seeds for roasting/eating and for planting…..

The first glimpse…. I kept telling them, oooh, look, it’s just like in the books we read!  They were saying “seeds”, “seeds in here!”

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Scraping & separating the seeds…. “Yucky”, M kept saying.

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Washing & straining the seeds… “Clean the seeds now”, says M.  “Get soap?”, asks O!  “No, just water.”, I tell her.

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Set the seeds to dry… We will roast them once they are dry.  I don’t think they will be able to eat them (choking hazard) so I guess I’ll cut them a small piece to taste and then ask them if we should package the rest up as a snack for Daddy to take to work.  (I know they will say yes…anything for Daddy!)

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2.  After completing the emotional learning exercise described in the introduction of this post, we set to carving the pumpkin face.  They chose a happy face.

Daddy carves, we poke/pull out the pieces…

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Taa Daa!  We learned about emotions, about sustainability and reducing waste, we had fun, and now we have this mesmerizing  jack-o-lantern (our first ever!)

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Happy Halloween to all of our readers who enjoy this tradition!!

 

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!