Know When to Fold’em

When it comes to toddlers, we often think of cooperation as them doing what we want (but this is really just obedience); real cooperation is a joint-effort involving ‘give & take’ that is mutually satisfying.  In order to develop a cooperative spirit in your children, you can give them the opportunity to work together with yourself and others. Let your tot grow up experiencing first-hand, the benefits of working cooperatively; doing simple chores together is a super-easy way to get started!

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 This week’s Theme: Bed Time

Activity DescriptionI Can Help!: Your tot will love to help you fold up large sheets and blankets.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Working cooperatively to complete a task

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months

 

  • When to fold’em:  Do this activity when you are folding laundry, cleaning up from a fort/castle building session, after a picnic, or in our case after “we made a giant bird nest” -their words (on the living room floor, with every blanket that was in reach).  I kind of wish I took a picture of the “giant bird nest”, it was well-made & cute!

Practice: The girls are like most toddlers their age, in that they always want to help.  They have been folding blankets and sheets with me for a while now, so today was not their first time.  Get practising, your tot will love it!

Tricks & Tips: 1) It helps to start out with a blanket laid out on the floor 2) After each fold, you may need to help your tot adjust the hand grip (this is the trickiest part)

Start out on the floor

Start out on the floor

Fold completed. Now help readjust the grip.

Fold completed. Now help readjust the grip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Folding: This does not require any explanation so a quick few pictures should do it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……Just like that, the giant bird’s nest is tidied away (and the best part is, I didn’t lift a finger; they eagerly did the folding AND they were working cooperatively to accomplish something – which is lovely to see since there can be a lot of arguing some days!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Want to see social learning activities for 15-18 months?  Click here!

Want to see social learning activities for 18-24 months?  Click here!

 

It’s a Toss Up!

Playing physical games gives children opportunities to develop confidence in managing movement challenges.  One such challenge is being able to  perform basic ball skills.  Ball skills help children develop body control, strength and coordination.  Ball play also helps children to learn how to track objects as they move and to judge distance.  Today’s post is a bit of twist on a classic ball toss activity.

 

**Housekeeping:  Today we are beginning a new activity plan from Leaping Lilies with the theme of bed time.  A couple of weeks ago I explained that the first Monday of our two week rotation would now be a Reggio provocation, however, it quickly became clear that it doesn’t make sense to organise it that way because then I would not be able to share the projects that stem from the provocations (because those activities would take place on subsequent days).  That being said, from now on, I will post the Reggio provocation on the second Wednesday of our two week rotation.

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 This week’s Theme: Bed Time

Activity DescriptionToothbrush Toss: Gather old toothbrushes and try tossing them into bins (labeled with different numbers of points). Use a chalkboard, white board or piece of paper to keep a tally of points.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Gross Motor Skills

Specific Skill: Throwing to a target

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months

 

  • Set Up:  I explained the game to the girls and encouraged them to help set up.

Point Cards – The girls chose the numbers, I drew them, and they coloured them.

Helping make the point cards

Helping make the point cards

 

Bins – Using bins of different shapes and sizes can provide an extra challenge.  Also placing them at different heights can help make it a more dynamic activity.

Ready to get started

Ready to get started

     

  • Play!: Use tape to mark  a throw line and start throwing to a target!  Encourage your tot to be supportive of other participants’ efforts (including yours!).
That was a high throw M!

That was a high throw M!

So close O!!

So close O!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Adjustments: The way we set it up was too challenging for them, so we moved the throw line closer to the bins, which helped our success rate!
Good try M!

Good try M!

You did it M!

You did it M!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Keeping Score: Keeping a tally is a great way to practice counting and introduce early Math skills
Hooray, I did it too!

Hooray, I did it too!

Keeping a tally

Keeping a tally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for gross motor development for 15-18 months?  Click here!

Looking for gross motor development for 18-24 months?  Click here!

A Fish in Bubbled Waters

Wow!  We are already at the end of our first activity plan from the Leaping Lilies curriculum; Bath Time!  We’ve had a lot of fun learning over the past two weeks….and boy are we (and our dolls) clean!  Today’s post demonstrates how to turn any simple, one dimensional activity (like a craft) into a whole-learning experience.  (Meaning that all areas of development are being challenged or addressed in a meaningful way)

 

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

This week’s Theme:Bath Time

Activity Description: Make a soap fish to use in the bath

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): 2 years + 4 months

 

Lets get started!

  • Make your soap fish!

You will need:

  1. Wash cloth
  2. Bar of soap (oval shaped works best)
  3. Craft foam sheets
  4. Elastic band
  5. Piece of lace or ribbon
  6. Needle & thread (or crazy glue… I tried it for ease and speed – it seemed to work just fine)

Instructions:

Place the soap in the centre of the cloth

Place the soap in the centre of the cloth

Gather the cloth around the soap

Gather the cloth around the soap (Mommy helped!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secure with a strong elastic band

Secure with a strong elastic band

Cut out foam pieces for eyes, fins and mouth

Cut out foam pieces for eyes, fins and mouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secure foam pieces with a couple of stitches.  (I also tried crazy glue for ease and speed - it seemed to work)

Secure foam pieces with a couple of stitches.

Tie decorative ribbon around the elastic

Tie decorative ribbon around the elastic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taa Daa! Finished soap fish!

Taa Daa! Finished soap fish!

 

 

Excited to use these in the bath!

Excited to use these in the bath!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Use this activity to create a whole-learning experience

Language Development:

The entire process encourages self-expression and conversation.  Teach new words as they come up in context.  Make conversation around the parts that your tot finds interesting or curious.  Ask questions that require an opinionated response.

Creative Development:

Have your tot take participate in the creative process (as much as possible).  My girls chose the materials; the cloths, the colours for each of the foam elements, the ribbon and they helped assemble the fish.

Fine Motor Skills:

Manipulate the cloth (folding & gathering)

Manipulate the cloth (folding & gathering)

Scissor skills (cutting the foam pieces)

Scissor skills (cutting the foam pieces)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross Motor Skills:

Encourage your tots to wash themselves.  Give them instructions that are more physically challenging for them.  (Such as, wash the back of your neck, under your arms, the bottoms of your feet, use the opposite hand)

Emotional Learning:

Obviously your tot should never be left alone in or near a bath but there are elements of bath time that can be used to encourage self-reliance (such as, undressing independently, testing the water before getting in to see if it is suitable and self-washing).  Parts of the activity also help to develop patience (such as, waiting for and adult to do certain parts before they can continue).  This is also the appropriate age to start learning the importance of personal hygiene. (What is it?  Why is it important?)

Social Learning:

In our case, this activity provided exposure to new situations/activities because I am NOT overly competent with a needle and thread so it was something different for them to see me doing.  Also, I’m pretty sure they have never seen a bar of soap before (only liquid).  In story books, the soap is always pictured as a bar of soap and they are always confused when I tell them that the image/drawing is soap!

VERY interested in what Mommy is doing.

We’ve never seen this before!  VERY interesting!

Cognitive Learning:

First there is the sensory component (touching/feeling all the different materials, choosing colours, smelling the soap..and yes, one of them even tasted it, despite my warnings).  It is also necessary to follow instructions (several multi-step instructions) to complete this!  Finally, this is a great activity to develop awareness of sequencing (first, next, last) because this is a step by step process that is completed in a specific order.

The girls really enjoyed using the soap fish to wash themselves but, I chose not to share pictures of the girls in the bath.

 

Want to see culminating projects from Clever Clovers?  Click here!

Want to see culminating projects from Reaching Roses?  Click here!

Get Dolled Up!

Many caregivers underestimate the value of playing with dolls, especially for boys!  However, regardless of gender, playing with dolls teaches children valuable life lessons and provides growth opportunities in all areas of child development.

 

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 

 This week’s Theme: Bath Time

Activity DescriptionPlay Time (Sensory): Using a water table or sensory bin, give your dolls a bath.  Provide soap, sponges, etc.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional Development

Specific Skill: Developing self-confidence

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 4 months

 

  • Set up – Since this was an exercise in developing self-confidence, I had the girls take the lead in setting up.  I asked them to think of the things we would need in order to bathe the dolls and instructed them to collect the items.  They tested the water to decide weather it needed to be warmer or cooler, they added the bubble bath and swooshed it around to make bubbles and they placed towels on the floor to catch any spilled water.
    The girls set up most elements of this play area

    The girls set up most elements of this play area by themselves

     

  • Play – When playing with dolls, children often mimic their experiences and daily routines (this is what makes it a great confidence booster); it provides an opportunity for them to practice and demonstrate that they know what needs to be done and how to go about doing it.  You can see evidence of this in both the physical and linguistic components of their play.
"Time to wash your legs," says O

“Time to wash your legs,” says O

"Close eyes, I rinse the hair," says M

“Close eyes, I rinse the hair,” says M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I dry you," says M

“I dry you,” says M

"Get warm in a towel," says O

“Get warm in a towel,” says O

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extension – The girls actually extended this activity on their own.  They decided that after the bath was finished the dolls needed to get ready for bed, so they proceeded to carry out elements of their bedtime routine also.

O brushes the doll's hair

O brushes the doll’s hair

M puts the dolls to bed

M puts the dolls to bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
**We recently received these dolls as a lovely hand-me-down gift from a dear friend (Auntie A).  We hadn’t purchased this type of doll for them before and we were surprised to find how much they enjoy them.  They particularly like them because they can be manipulated into so many different positions.  In any case, it doesn’t matter if you have this type of doll (or wish that your children never play with this type of doll), all you need is a plastic-type doll whose hair you don’t mind getting wet!  You can even use action figures if you want!

 

Interested in Emotional Learning Activities for 15-18 months?  Click here!

Interested in Emotional Learning Activities for 18-24 months?  Click here!

Refresh Your Memory

Having a well developed Working Memory is a crucial skill that will encourage growth in all areas of your toddler’s life.  For example, toddlers who possess good memory skills can:  remember and follow instructions, apply what they have learned in a previous experience to a new task and they can sustain their attention throughout tasks.  In fact, these examples are just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.  Studies show that early training in thinking and learning skills improves long-term academic performance (particularly in math and reading skills).  Today’s post illustrates how practising memory skills using a memory game can be simple and fun.

 

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 This week’s Theme: Bath Time

Activity DescriptionWhat’s Missing? (Memory game): On a tray, place several items related to bath time (cloth, loofah, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, etc.)  Encourage your tot to look at the tray then hide his/her eyes while you remove one item from the tray.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Cognitive Development

Specific Skill: Improving memory skills

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 4 months

 

  • Setting up the tray – As a warm-up exercise to this activity, I enlisted the girls to help think of and collect items related to bath time.  They enjoyed doing this!  This is what we came up with:
    Our tray of bath time stuff (you can change the items to suit any theme)

    Our tray of bath time stuff (you can change the items to suit any theme)

     

  • Explain the memory game – We reviewed the vocabulary and I let them manipulate any of the objects they were interested in.  I explained to them the object of the memory game.  They seemed a bit unsure so we did a practice run.  They hid their eyes, I took away the toothpaste, they opened their eyes and I said, “What did I take away?  What is not here any more?”.  They both eagerly pointed to the area where the object was missing.  I said, “Yes, it was there.  Do you remember what it was?”  They both shouted, “toothpaste”.  “Hooray, you remembered”, I said, and I gave it back to them to place back on the board.  We did this several times.

     

    No peeking!

    No peeking!

    Hooray, you remembered correctly!

    Hooray, you remembered correctly!

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Differentiation

If this game is proving too difficult, try this:  If your tot can’t remember what was taken, have him/her  hide eyes again while you place it back in the same place.  Ask, “Do you see it now?”  If not, give verbal clues.  (Ex. You put it on your toothbrush)

If the game is proving too easy, try this:  Once your tot is consistently answering correctly, you could add more objects to the tray and/or try taking two items away  (I did this with the girls and it was a better challenge).  To make it even more difficult, you can take an item (or two) away and mix up the remaining items on the board (so that they are not in the same spot as they were before your tot closed his/her eyes.)

  • Extension – This game was very enjoyable for them, but proving only mildly challenging.  To extend the activity further, I had them play with each other.  This simple extension offers an opportunity to practice communication skills (Language Development) and  co-operative play (Social Learning).  If you are doing this with only one child, you simply hide your eyes and let your child lead.  In the case below, M instructed O to close her eyes.  She took the bath toy and instructed O to open her eyes, “What I take, O?”  O replied, “The hippo!”  “Great job O!” said M and hands the toy back to O.  (P.S. I totally love to watch them talk to each other!)

     

    M hands the toy back to O

    M hands the toy back to O

    O places it back on the tray to play another round

    O places it back on the tray to play another round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to see cognitive development activities for 15-18 months?  Click here!

Want to see cognitive development activities for 18-24 months?  Click here!