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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!

Walk a Brown Mile

We’re back!  Thanks for being patient with us during our hiatus!  It’s a shame we had to take one because we have done so many wonderful activities from the Reaching Roses curriculum that I wanted to share – but such is life, I suppose!  This week we are learning about colours again.  The ‘Colours’ activity plan from the Clever Clovers curriculum focused on blue, red, yellow and green.  This time we are using the ‘More Colours’ activity plan from Reaching Roses; we are learning about pink, brown, orange and purple!  Today our focus is on the colour brown.

 

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 DescriptionNature Walk: Go for a walk in nature and have your baby collect things that are brown.  Bring them home to share with others or use in other activities.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Awareness of nature

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

This is a pretty straight-forward activity that doesn’t need a lot of explaining.  Here are a few suggestions I do have though:

  1. Try not to be afraid to let your babies explore and touch things; that’s how they learn!  – When you see them touching something, ask them about it and comment on it (what is so interesting about this object that drew them to it?).  My girls still have a tendency to put things in their mouths when exploring so it is important that I stay close by when doing activities like this.

    O feels the brown tree bark

    O feels the brown tree bark

  2. Let your babies ‘lead’ the walk as much as possible.  – If they want to stop, stop.  If they want to walk in a certain direction, go that way.  Don’t rush them.

    Our leads the way

    O leads the way

  3. Bring a bag to collect items of interest. – This is really great because you can do a lot of follow-up activities with the things they find.  I allow most items in the bag, and if it’s not appropriate I don’t say “No”, I say something like, “Wow!  That is a really interesting giant stick you have found.  I can see why you want to bring it home, but it’s too big to fit in this bag, so I think we’ll have to leave it here.  Do you want to look at it for a while?  Do you want me to take a picture of it so we can look at it later?”

    Daddy carries a milk bag to collect things in

    Daddy carries a milk bag to collect things in

  4. Elaborate, elaborate, elaborate! – A toddler’s vocabulary, as I’m sure you have noticed, expands at a very rapid rate.  If your baby shows you something, talk about it – a lot!  For example, “Oh, cool!  You found some brown mud.  Do you know how this brown mud was made?  The rain fell from the clouds in the sky and made the dirt all wet.  Now the trees and flowers can drink the water from the ground.  Did you know that trees drink water too?”  – Talking this way helps to encourage a wider vocabulary and builds comprehension of words and concepts.  My girls often repeat what I said or ask questions about what I said which leads to even more conversation.

    "Brown mud!", says M

    “Brown mud!”, says O

When we arrived at the nature trail, we explained to the babies that on today’s nature walk, we were going to try to find things that are brown.  This doesn’t mean that we would ignore other interesting parts of our walk, just that we would make an extra effort to point out brown things and remind our babies to look for brown things.

Here’s what transpired!

M was all about the brown leaves….

 

Other brown things we found…

Some of our favourite pics of they day..

The ladies!

The ladies!

We love Daddy!

We love Daddy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O, deep in contemplation

O, deep in contemplation

 

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

Drop It Like It’s (a) Hot Potato

One of the most challenging social issues toddlers face is learning how to play with other children.  It takes a lot of time and practice.  There are two main facets to playing with other children; one is sharing and the other is playing cooperatively.  Many people think that cooperative play and sharing are the same thing but actually they are slightly different, so both skills need to be developed at this age.  Sharing, in essence, is taking turns or splitting something into equal parts. For example, there are some blocks; one baby plays with them and passes them on when finished or each baby gets an equal number to play with.  Cooperative play is working together in order to do something.  For example, everybody has access to all of the blocks and works together to make one big tower.  Today’s activity is a very simple way to begin practising cooperative play.

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 Hot Potato: Put on and sing the song “Hot Potato”.  Pass a potato wrapped in foil around.  When the song ends, the person holding the potato gets to unwrap a piece of foil.  The person who takes off the last piece of foil, wins a prize.  (repeat if you like)

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social

Specific Skill: Cooperative play

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 20 months + 3 weeks

1. To warm up, we read a book about potatoes.

2. I showed them the foil ball and explained how to play the game.  In the first round we had no problems passing the potato.  When the song comes to an end, the person holding the potato gets to take off a piece of foil.

Passing the potato

Passing the potato

O takes off the first layer of foil

O takes off the first layer of foil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Once it was realized that part of the game is taking off a piece of the foil, that is the part of the game that interested them the most.  So the next several rounds required a lot of encouragement on my part to get them to pass it along (rather than take off all the foil).  This is exactly where the cooperative play comes in.  If any participant stops doing what is required, the game falls apart; everybody has to do their part in order for the game to be successful (which in this case is simply passing a potato until the song is over).

O contemplates passing it or taking off the foil

O contemplates passing it or taking off the foil

With a lot of encouragement, she passes it

With a lot of encouragement, she passes it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….the final layer of foil….lands on M…

The final reveal!

M gets to peel the last layer!

O spots something and has to get involved.

O sees something and gets involved

Look!

Look!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potato!!  Yells, O!

Potato!! Yells, O!

Yay! M wins!

Yay! I found a potato!

Wow. A potato.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anybody this happy to see a potato.  So much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. We played the game several times making sure that everybody won a sticker at least once.  As they realized that they would have plenty of opportunity to peel a layer, it required less and less encouragement for them to pass it along (at which point we added other elements like passing it really fast or really slowly)