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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!

Neat & Tidy

Toddlers are at a perfect age to begin practising responsibility because they love to help you and mimic what you do.  A very simple way to get started (and make your life a little easier) is to begin by encouraging your baby to clean up toys independently.  Now is a great time to start putting one toy away before getting out another and making sure all is tidy at the end of the day.  Here are some tricks and tips to making toy clean-up simpler…..

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: African Animals

Activity DescriptionClean Up: After play time or doing an activity, encourage your baby to clean up independently.  Ensure it is easily done and do this daily.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional

Specific Skill: Being responsible

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 22 months + 2 weeks

1. The only warm-up to this activity is playing!!  This evening the girls had mainly two sets of toys out: puzzles and music toys.  When it was time for the bath, I asked them to clean up.  I don’t help them but I encourage them with praise and say things like, “I see one under the chair! Who can help get it?”

Before

Before

O gets started on the puzzles

O gets started on the puzzles

M helps with the music toys

M helps with the music toys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can I get my baby to clean-up the toy mess?

  • Make it part of your daily routine
  • Add an audio cue (sing a clean-up song, ring a bell, etc.)
  • Ensure that it is easy for your baby to put away the toys (Can your baby easily access the toy bins?)
  • Allow ample time for clean-up.  If you start clean-up five minutes before you need to leave, you’ll probably end up frustrated at the pace and manner which your baby cleans!
  • Praise your baby’s efforts to clean-up the toys (If you have a reward chart, include clean-up)
  • Toddlers love to help so say things like, “Can you help me?” OR “Who can help put these toys away?” OR “What a great helper!”….you get the idea…
  • Toddlers love to play games so try saying things like, “Can you be a lion who cleans up?” or you can be the ‘goalie’ guarding the toy bin and they have to get by you to put away the toys… be creative!
  • Don’t expect perfection.  Your baby’s thought process, effort and improvement in clean-up skills are most valuable so remember to complement and encourage those things, not just completion of the task.

What are the benefits of encouraging responsibility in young children?

  • Aids in teaching time-management skills
  • Makes daily routines simpler and smoother for everybody
  • Encourages independent thinking
  • Encourages problem solving
  • Encourages focus & concentration
  • Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Allows for meaningful contribution to the family and eventually society

 

Click here to see a helpful post about the benefits of rotating your baby’s toys

 

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

There’s Veggies All over Our Faces!

Have you ever been in the middle of reprimanding or disciplining your toddler only to get laughed at by him/her?  What’s that all about?  Well, of course there is the possibility that your toddler is being mischievous but it is also important to note that often our toddlers are not able to interpret our facial expressions; this is a skill learned over time.  There is research to suggest that children who have difficulty identifying emotion in faces are more likely to have peer problems and children who have better face-reading skills may be more popular among peers, raising their self-esteem.  While I don’t think we need to worry about popularity contests for our children, it seems that helping our toddlers and children identify facial expressions can only benefit them.

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: Vegetables

Activity Description Veggie Faces: Use cut up veggies to create different faces that show different emotions (use a round plate as the head).  After you’ve made your creation, name the emotion, make the expression on your own face, see if your baby will mimic and repeat with a different face.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional

Specific Skill: Identifying facial expressions

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 20 months + 2 weeks

1. To warm up, we reviewed and described the primary vocabulary for this week (peas, carrot, corn, potato).  I showed them their toy version matched up with a real version and let them explore the differences.

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2. Next we did some facial expressions with our own faces.  I would make a face and ask them what it is.  They say “happy” for a smiling face, “No” for an angry face, “Cry” for a sad face, and they don’t know scared/surprised…it just makes them laugh.  Because they are on the right track with “No” and “Cry”, I would say something like, “Yes, you’re right.  A person who is crying is sad.  It’s a sad face.”  This is obviously a very simplified explanation – there are many reasons why somebody might cry, but for our purposes this explanation of “cry” will suffice.  I also asked them to try to make the faces…they can do it sort of and we always end up giggling.

3. Next, I showed them a platter of vegetables and a plate and I explained that I was going to make a face with the vegetables.  I verbally described what I was doing.  For example, “I am going to use these two carrot circles for eyes and these green peas to make a smile”, etc.  I would ask them to identify the completed face and then they could eat some!

4. Lastly, I gave them each a plate and the platter of veggies and told them to make a face of their own.  This was too abstract a concept for them so I verbally told them to find two things to make eyes and put it on their plate, find something for a nose….etc.  This worked much better.

M's Veggie-Face

M’s veggie-face

O's veggie-face

O’s veggie-face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Another great aspect of this activity is that they ended up eating a tonne of raw vegetables for their snack (without any prodding or coaxing)!

M enjoys some broccoli

M enjoys some broccoli

M likes carrots

M likes carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O eating sugar-snap peas

O eating sugar-snap peas

O chomps on some cauliflower

O chomps on some cauliflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in other food related activities?  Click here!