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Feet Are Neat!

Today’s post is about feet!  I didn’t do a great job at documenting the activity today – sorry, sometimes, it’s difficult to do that!

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

 This week’s Theme: Hands & Feet

Activity DescriptionAnimal Feet: Animals have feet too!!  Play with toy animals and make special mention of their feet!

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social/Emotional

Specific Skill: Making connections between self and others

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months + 3 Weeks

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1. Today’s warm-up was reading the book, Who Has These Feet? by Laura Hulbert.

book title

 

2. Next, we sat together and reviewed what we have already learned about feet.

 

3. Moving into the more formal part of the activity, I explained again that animals have feet too! (The first time I explained this was during the story).  I introduced the animal toys and we talked about their feet.  I gave them the toys so they could manipulate & interact with the feet too.  I compared the animal feet to their baby feet to help them make connections between themselves and others (skill focus).

(This video is a bit slow but it shows how I explain the concepts and how they are focused and processing the information.  If you’re looking for a lot of action, this one’s not for you!)

 

4. Lastly we had free play with the animals.  During this time, I narrated what they were doing and made mention of the words “duck feet, frog feet, turtle feet, etc”.  (whenever applicable)

 

Remember not all activities have to have a tonne of action and excitement to have an impact.  During parts 1&3 of this post, I could really see them making the connections; that these animals/toys were similar to them in some way.    Being able to make connections between self and others is a bridge to showing/feeling empathy – which is an important skill in the upcoming stages of learning!

P.S If you’re looking for more animal activities click here 

OR

If you’re looking for more emotional learning activities (ages 15-18 months) click here

We Heart Pig

We are moving nicely through the Farm Animals Activity Plan from Clever Clovers.  The girls are enjoying themselves very much.  We have been watching Babe during our TV time and the girls have been so excited to see the animals interacting on the screen.  I can’t wait to take them to the farm! BTW…Friday’s post will be delayed because we have decided to visit the farm over the weekend as a family outing.

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

 This week’s Theme: Farm Animals

Activity Description: Toy Time: Find a toy sheep and play with it in such a way that you are taking care of it. For example, feed it, give it a bath, give it kisses and cuddles, etc.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional Learning

Specific Skill: Being affectionate and nurturing

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months + 1 Week

1. Our warm up activity was singing, using the farm animal figurines as props.

2. We used our stuffed pig because I couldn’t find our stuffed sheep.  We also had a stuffed cat – (which often appears in farm related things so I thought we could use it, but M soon refused preferring a baby doll she had).  I explained to them that these are our babies and we have to take care of them and love them.  On their own accord they hugged and kissed the toys but after that, I came up with all the different ways to take care of our “babies” (except for the last).

M kissing and hugging the baby

M kissing and hugging the baby

 

  •  Brushing (hair and teeth)
O brushing the pig's teeth

O brushing the pig’s teeth

M brushing the baby's teeth

M brushing the baby’s teeth

O brushing the pig's hair

O brushing the pig’s hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Strolling
M taking the baby for a walk

M taking the baby for a walk

O takes the pig for a bumpy ride!

O takes the pig for a bumpy ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually O’s pig fell out and she ran over it saying “uh, oh, uh, oh”.  It was a good opportunity to say “ouch, the pig is hurt.  Can you help the pig?” After stepping on his head  3 times (accidentally; it was entangled in the stroller)  she eventually gave the pig a hug and kiss and placed it back in the stroller.

 

  • Feeding
O gives her pig some water

O gives her pig some water

....then she ran to give the baby water too (this seemed quite important to her)

….and to the baby too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to keep reminding M that she was feeding the pig and not herself :0)

I had to keep reminding M that she was feeding the pig and not herself :0)

...she gives it a try!

…she gives it a try!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...a bit lower O, good try though!

…a bit lower O, good try though!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Soothers (you can’t really see the soothers, their hands are covering them)
M shares the soother between them both

M shares the soother between two

O gives the pig a soother

O gives the pig a soother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bathing

This was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, I had a bit of a problem with O.  She kept taking M’s baby out of the bath which was turning into a bit of tug-o-war between the two of them.  I was saying “that’s not gentle” and all of that kind of stuff but what I finally came to realize (thanks to O’s persistence – albeit grumpy/screamy persistence) was that O was trying to take the baby’s clothes off for the bath!  How clever!  I didn’t even know that they came off.  Second, after the “bath” O pointed to the hand towel and then gestured toward the pig.  Other than the hugs and kisses at the beginning of the activity, this was the only time that they initiated some caring action toward the pig/baby (the rest of the ideas were mine – which is totally age appropriate so don’t worry if your baby does the same!)

M puts soap on the pig

M puts soap on the pig

O rinses the soap off using the cup

O rinses the soap off using the cup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O attempts to wrap the pig in the towel.

O attempts to wrap the pig in the towel

..a little help from Mom and the pig is dry & warm

..a little help from Mom and the pig is dry & warm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This activity is a wonderful way to incorporate emotional learning into play.  It is imaginative play which they are beginning to understand and it helps them practice being gentle, nurturing and caring.  It was a very timely activity for us because they have started to argue with each other more and they have been throwing toys too.  The concepts and language used in this activity can be brought forth when I need to help them settle disagreements or explain to them why they should not throw their toys.

 

 

 

If It Looks Like A Duck and Walks Like A Duck…..(we’ll call it a duck, even if it’s not)

Okay, so we’re moving on to the Clever Clovers Farm Animals activity plan.  Today is all about ducks!  My girls are pretty familiar with ducks already (one of their favourite books from birth was a book about ducks that makes a quacking sound).  I also feel like I didn’t document this activity very well with relevant videos and pics.  It was bit difficult to keep them together, off the ice and video and take photos and push the stroller and answer everybody’s questions about twins who wanted to stop and talk to them and….. you get the picture.

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

 This week’s Theme: Farm Animals

Activity Description: Outdoor Activity: Go for a walk in your local park and feed the ducks

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Caring for others in your community

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months

1. Our warm up activity was done in the car; we sang Old Macdonald and I explained to them that we were going to go to the park and they could walk around and that we have some food to feed the ducks because they are hungry.  I knew quite well that they understood because when we got there and I opened the car door M was shouting “duck” and when I tried to put O in the stroller, a tantrum ensued (I had said that they could walk).  I had to explain to her that she could walk around after we got to the duck pond….

2. In this lovely park where we take walks regularly, there is a pond that is ALWAYS FULL of ducks (even in the winter).  Hmm….well, we went there today full  of excitement and there were no ducks to be found!!!!  But there were geese, which the girls referred to as ducks, so I just went with it.  I don’t think it matters at this point if they know the difference between a duck and a goose.

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O pointing at the “ducks”

3. So, um,….. the activity was to feed the ducks…. but there were no ducks and we didn’t feed these geese because I have seen them be quite aggressive……..unsuccessful activity?  NO WAY!  It is important as a teacher and parent to be flexible; work with what is presented to you in each moment.

4. They were so excited to see the “ducks” and explore their surroundings.  It was amazing for me to watch them seek and discover things.  Social learning at its best……..

Here are the words I heard them using:

  • duck
  • quack
  • water
  • Wow!
  • hello & bye bye (to passers-by)
  • dog (there were several dog-walkers)
  • and of course…uh, oh

Here are the new words I was able to introduce in context (as a result of our surroundings):

  • fly/flying
  • wings
  • sky
  • ice
  • dirt
  • bicycle (there were a few cyclists)

Here are some other things I saw them do:

  • explore textures with their hands and feet (touching the mud, dirt & gravel, and seeing what it is like to walk on them)
  • actively look for the “ducks” (through fences, trees, up in the sky, etc.)
  • react to and recognize sounds (barking, various birds)
  • interact with other people
  • communicate with me and each other about what they were experiencing
  • Oh, and at one point M was attempting to count the “ducks”  (just amazing, I thought to myself, with a smile)
M watching the "ducks"

M watching the “ducks”

M enjoying herself

M enjoying herself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of small videos to help illustrate our adventures today:

1.  The video below will demonstrate how to add language to what your baby expresses an interest in.  In this case, they hear and notice a bird flying through the sky.  So I put words to what they are experiencing.

Your baby will notice and take interest in so many things each day, narrating what they are experiencing and feeling is a wonderful way for you to acknowledge their communication and to teach them language.

 

2. This next video shows general interaction.  I acknowledge and put words to what O is trying to express when she says “uh oh” and I try to get them to use the focused language (duck, quack) in context (to their experience).

The way you hear me speak to them is not exactly how I would normally communicate.  I slow my speech slightly, I annunciate more and I use words they are more familiar with.  It may seem like a lot of work but it is just a habit.  Get into the habit of communicating with your baby in this way and you won’t even need to think about it, it will come naturally.

 

Leave a comment to tell me about your attempts to communicate this way (& the outcome, of course!)

 

These Little Babies Went to Market….

Tuesdays I blog about parent/teacher hot topics & interesting info

 

Today’s Topic: Getting the kids out of the house doesn’t always have to be at a kid-centred place.

 

We’ve been holed up at home quite a bit lately because the weather has been so cold.  There are a handful of indoor places we take the babies regularly and we visit friends and family but to be honest, we’re getting a bit bored of the same old – same old!  That being said, we still have to get the girls out of the house!

The Story:

The other day we were really pressed for time.  We were going to take the girls to the Children’s Museum (for the umpteenth time this winter) and then stop on our way home at a grocery store to pick up the items we needed for dinner.

The Dilemma:

Well, I was tired of being in a constant rush, and was thinking that by the time we got to the grocery store, the girls would be tired and cranky;  there would have been no pleasure in hauling them in and out of car seats to grab a few groceries (all the winter gear makes it even worse) – sooooo one of us would have had to make a mad dash into the grocery store while the other one stayed in the car with the girls while they probably complained loudly.

The Epiphany:

Mr. Y suggested not going anywhere and one of us going to the grocery store.  It was an easy option but I really felt we needed to give the girls an opportunity to get out of the house as we had been there a lot lately.  It suddenly dawned on me!  ………………

Our family outing will be to the grocery store!

Mr. Y was less than enthusiastic about the idea.  “Come on”, I said!  “It will be great!  We won’t just plunk them into the shopping cart and try to appease their complaints with snacks!  We will let them walk around and explore things and get things to put in the basket…and so on!  We’ll feed two birds with one crumb.” (Get the girls out & get the grocery shopping done without having to rush!)  He sceptically agreed and we were off!

The Outcome:

It was a tremendous success!  The girls LOVE LOVE LOVED it! (& I didn’t have to race around the store like Mario Andretti).  There were times, of course, where we had to steer them away from certain items…(I may have pretended not to see M sitting on a loaf of bread and O almost dropped a can of tomatoes on her toes & there was the constant explaining that we didn’t need 2 of each item -one from each of them) but overall, it was pleasurable…did you hear that?  I said grocery shopping with twin babies was pleasurable! …..even Mr. Y agreed!

The Secret to Success

It was successful because we gave them the opportunity to be involved in the process.  They were engaged the whole time and thus, enjoying themselves; and learning!  I will remember this in the future; instead of thinking how to fit the errands into our schedule, when possible, I’m going to include them as an activity for the girls instead!

P.S.  I wouldn’t do this if we had a grocery list a mile long.  It was a reasonable number (10 or so things).

Here are some pics I took of the shopping:

Putting beans in the basket

Putting beans in the basket

 

M with the sour cream, O reaching for the jello!

M with the sour cream, O reaching for the jello!

M placing the sour cream into the basket.

M placing the sour cream into the basket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a bit of a line at check out so to keep them from running away and grabbing things I asked them to show me what was in the basket:

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And last but not least….holding the bags open to help Mommy bag the groceries!

Our little helpers!

Our little helpers!

 

 

We Count on Sharing

Today was a very busy day for our family.  Mr. Y did several of today’s activities with the girls but did not take any pictures! I wanted to post something so I modified today’s social learning activity and made a video of it.

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

 This week’s Theme: Counting to 5

Activity Description: Using toys related to numbers and counting, model how to take turns playing with the toy.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Sharing

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 15 months + 3 weeks

1. As stated above, we were a bit pressed for time today so I decided to make a quick video that shows how we combine counting and sharing.  We have been practising this sharing technique for about one week now and they are getting pretty good at it!

2. The sharing technique is simple.  If they begin to fight over something, we give that thing (water cup, toy, book, hair brush, etc.) to one of the babies.  The baby who is waiting then counts to five.  At five, the baby with the item kindly gives it to the other baby.  Then repeat for as long as they are both interested.

3. We chose 5 seconds because they are learning to count to five and also because this seems to be a good amount of time for them to wait right now (it’s challenging, but not overwhelming).  Some toys require longer than 5 seconds to play with before passing it along, in this case, we either count slowly or use a different technique.

3. On occasion, the baby who is supposed to hand the item over, will decide to run away instead of sharing.  In this case, we bring that baby back to the sister who is waiting and ask her to hand the item over and praise her (even though she ran away the first time).   Note, we don’t get the item and give it to the waiting baby ourselves.  We still require the baby who ran away to share.

4. Also on occasion, the baby who is handing the item over, will club the waiting baby with the item (yes, I mean hit the other with the item!).  So far, this has been purely accidental as they can sometimes lack the coordination to pass things back and forth.  Even though it is accidental we still stop the interaction and explain to pass the item gently and kindly.

So here it is…. they were quite interested in the camera (especially O) so you don’t get to see the interaction as naturally as it usually takes place.  Normally, they pass the item back and forth several times; (the one who is waiting usually jumps on the counting as fast as possible – basically as soon as the item has touched the other baby’s hand so they can get it back faster!).

P.S. We totally love how they can only manage to use the one index finger to count!  They both do it.  What they are trying to do is show the right amount of fingers for the number that is said.