Search Results for: red is best

Red Is Best

A couple of notes before I begin today’s post. I decided to continue with the Primary Colours (+1) activity plan for a third week because I felt the babies could use more practice with the concept before we move on (another demonstration of how flexible the Clever Clovers Development Program is).  Monday’s colour has been yellow but since you have already seen a couple of yellow activities I decided to do Tuesday’s activities today (red).  Ideally, I would have dressed in red too but I only have red pj’s and since this is going on the web, I chose not to be seen in my pj’s!

Also, I have wanted to share a reading activity for some time now to demonstrate different techniques to effectively & interactively read a story with your baby; promoting early years literacy.  Today I attempted to do this, and was met with camera issues on 2 occasions (the first one ran out of battery and the second one ran out of memory) – poor planning on my part.  So I was only able to capture a fraction of what we did with the story but I hope it helps give a couple of ideas.  I promise to post more reading activities in the future.

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: Primary Colours (+1)

Activity Description: Read the story Red is Best (Stinson) and talk about it as you go.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional Learning

Specific Skill: Exploring preferences

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 16 months + 3 weeks


1. First, I sat with them and quickly reviewed their red clothing and gave a quick introduction about what the book is about. (Love it when M says, “la la la” to the word Elmo.  – if you don’t know, it’s part of his song)


2. In the clip below, you can see a few important things.  One, when M proclaims “ock” (for sock), I acknowledge her understanding and communication by repeating it with the correct pronunciation “socks”.  The second is that I am asking them to find the socks in the picture.  Sock is a word they know.  It would not be very productive to ask them to find something that they are not familiar with.  O points to something else first (either out of interest or as an incorrect response).  I still acknowledge her communication.  I don’t say “no, you are wrong”.  I give words to what she is doing.  I say, “this is the girl”, then continue back with the question, “can you find red socks?”.  Thirdusing the limited language they have, I am attempting to explain the concept of the story and today’s specific emotional learning skill (exploring preferences) .  I say things like “red, yes, yes, yes” with a smile on my face.  And when it is a different colour I say “no, no, no” without a smile.  These words are not in the story.  I am using the language that they already have an understanding of to help them understand the story’s meaning what it is to “like or prefer” something.


3.  The next clip shows an example of how to get your baby interactively involved with a story.  This helps with comprehension and gives them a break from sitting and paying attention.  (They get to move their bodies)

– Again, to begin, I only give them commands that I know they already understand (jump).  New commands can be slowly added in over time.  It wasn’t caught on camera but on another page I asked them to run.  They weren’t quite sure what that meant so I took their hands and ran back and forth with them, saying “run, run, run”.


4. The following is an example of changing the vocabulary in the story to suit your baby’s understanding.  In the story the word “jacket” is used.  My babies don’t know this word but they are familiar with “coat”.  So when I’m reading, I change the words.  You will also see me use an action when I say “cold”.  This helps with comprehension.  You will notice M pointing to her red sweatshirt at the end.  This shows that she is empathizing with the girl in the story and that she understands.


5.  The last clip I have, shows another example of changed vocabulary.  The story says “boots”.  I say, “shoes”.  You can’t see it because M is not on camera but she points to the top of her head, indicating “hat”.  I acknowledge her communication by indicating that the girl in the story has a hat but it’s not red.  In retrospect, I would have preferred to say something like, “yes, this girl has a hat, it’s green and white”.  (To frame it a bit more positively).


6. As I mentioned above, I was not able to catch the rest of it on camera but as the story progressed, they began to comprehend the “no, no, no” to other colours and “yes, yes, yes” to red.  They were nodding along and smiling when the colour was red. And shaking their heads and index fingers when it was not red. I hope some of these tips will help you engage your child more through reading activities.

Please leave me a comment to let me know how the tips worked for you!

Keen, Green, Dancin’ Machines

According to the activity plan Wednesday is  all about blue, but to give you some variety I decided to post about a green activity today!  Again, videoing was a bit difficult.  I couldn’t get them to do the activity while standing in the right spot, facing the right direction for the camera (cause what fun is that really?!) So they were all over the place and I had to put together snippets that were caught on camera.

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: Primary Colours (+1)

Activity Description: Rhythmic Gymnastics: Gather some green cloths, ribbons, silk scarves, boas, etc. Put on whatever music you’re in the mood for then jump, twirl & dance using the props.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Gross Motor

Specific Skill: Balance, coordination, large arm movements

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 16 months + 3 weeks

1.  First we did a warm up with the word green.  We sang a song and I asked them to repeat the word green (they can’t say it exactly).  Next I let them explore the green props.



2. I put on some music that they love (Lady Gaga).  I went to a Lady Gaga concert in Korea when I was 3 months pregnant….I’ve been wondering if that has anything to do with it!  At times I let them dance away, and other times, I tried to encourage them to do new movements (following my lead).  Here’s a montage (excuse my poor editing)


3. Here’s a little clip where I’m trying to get O to do some bigger arm movements:


P.S. Click here if you’re looking for yellow activities or red activities. 

That’s pretty  much it for today’s post.  Short & sweet!



Toy Rotation

Are you tired of cleaning up a zillion toys each day?  Tired of surrounding your tot with those zillion toys only to find there is little that arouses a sustained amount of interest?  Tired of buying a zillion more toys to entertain your tot?  I have a solution!  Really!  The solution to this dilemma is something I get asked about quite regularly so I thought I would repost this blog entry from March 11, 2014 (with some amendments).

On alternating Fridays, I blog about parent/teacher

hot topics & interesting info or Q&A


Today’s Topic: How toy rotation and changing our physical environment can benefit learning.

“Change can open our minds to new ways of viewing ourselves and our relationship to the world, and renew our pleasure in living.”  – Tarthang Tulku, Knowledge of Freedom


1. On toy rotation :

A lot has been written about this so I will not overwhelm you with fine details but I will write from my experience, the benefits of toy rotation and also how I approach toy rotation.

The benefits are many, here are a few:

  • Less clean-up
  • More engaged play with toys –> mastery of toys –> inventive use of toys
  • Toys retain excitement –> less boredom with toys –> less need to buy more new toys

When & what I rotate:  I do a toy rotation every two weeks and this coincides with the changing of our activity plan (visit our shop to view our curricula).  I choose toys that specifically relate to the topic we are learning, plus I have 8 staple categories I always include.  Our toys are available in bins.  We have 12 bins.

  1. Building toys (blocks, mega-lego, etc)
  2. Imaginary play (toy cars, figurines, puppets, dress-up, etc.)
  3. Problem solving toys I (puzzles, lacing, sorters, stackers, etc.)
  4. Problem solving toys II(puzzles, lacing, sorters, stackers, etc.)
  5. Sensory toys (balls, crinkly toys, squishy toys, play dough, etc.)
  6. Books
  7. Music toys
  8. Cause and effect toys (we have a few we really like: Peek-a-Shoe, Pound n Pop Carnival Elephant, Pop n Pals)
  9. Specific to topic and activity plan
  10. Specific to topic and activity plan
  11. Specific to topic and activity plan
  12. Specific to topic and activity plan

Our main play area

In the picture above, our weekly topic was colours so the four “specific to topic and activity plan” bins were one for each colour.

Since we first posted this we have added two new play areas: As children grow older, dramatic & imaginary play become a central part of playing (it becomes more and more complex and developed) .  To accommodate this growth in our children, we added a play kitchen area and a dress-up area.

Our play kitchen

Our play kitchen

Our dress-up area

Our dress-up area











(Also, since our girls have grown older, we do the toy rotation together. I get their input on which toys they would like to have out for the next two weeks.  I give the guidelines, such as building toys, then I let them choose which building toys.  Whenever it’s time to ‘change the toys’, they get really excited.)


2. On toy storage: I think it goes without saying, that if you’re not going to have all of your toys available in your play area, you need a place to put the toys that aren’t being used.


* Store toys in an area that your tot doesn’t have access to

Toy closet with child proof door knob

Toy closet with child proof door knob

*Ensure you have easy access to them (so that toy rotation is not a major ordeal)

I can get any toy with minimal effort

I can get any toy with minimal effort

*Ensure they are organised (so they are easy to find)

Chalk board toy organizers

Chalk board toy organizers

*If you feel you have no use for them any more, donate toys that are too immature for your tot’s age


3. On changing the physical environment:

This can range from changing the layout of furniture in a room to the actual décor in a room and in a classroom; the seating plan.  When possible/suitable, change the actual location of the learning environment such as going outside or to a gymnasium.


4. Why is change so beneficial for learning?

It’s not something that is easy for me to describe but I will do my best to be concise and not blabber on.  Weather we are people who like change or not, it is undeniable the everything inside and outside of us is constantly changing.  Embracing this simple principle can help us to lead less fearful and more fulfilling lives.  Offering change to your students and children, if nothing else, will bring about a certain amount of comfort and acceptance of change.  However, there are many more benefits.  Change brings with it, a lot of energy, momentum and creativity.  It can bring about excitement and stimulation as a result of the unknown or “newness” of something (it’s not stagnant).  Once a person begins to recognize the energy of change, it is possible for them to harness that energy and use it to achieve things they never thought possible……….

…………………….I would suggest that this possibility begins with you offering the gift of change in the first place (even if it’s as simple as changing a seating plan, toy rotation, or hanging new pictures on the wall).

Our Going to Bed Book

Being able to read or listen to a story requires a lot more than saying or listening to words on a page.  Reading/listening to a story in a meaningful way, requires something much more…..comprehension.  In short, reading comprehension is being able to make meaning of text.  One very important strategy for helping to develop reading comprehension is by making connections between the text (story) & self (your tot) so when you read stories together make an effort to point out or ask questions based on similarities or differences between the story line and your tot’s life.  And…… when you get the opportunity, make your own story books starring your tot and your family!  Your child will love to read these stories independently (and will be able to read them, because the link between the text and self is so strong).


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


This week’s Theme:Bedtime

Activity Description: Make a personalized going to bed book describing your bedtime routine

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 + 5 months


Lets get started!

  • Plan out your going to bed book! (Brainstorm with your little one)

Here’s what we came up with:

  1. Have a bath
  2. Put on our PJ’s
  3. Brush our hair
  4. Brush our teeth
  5. Read a story
  6. Kiss good-night
  7. Get tucked in & sing a lullaby
  8. Have sweet dreams!
  • Take pictures for your going to bed book! 
We have a bath!

We have a bath!

We put on our pyjamas.

We put on our pyjamas.











We brush our hair.

We brush our hair.

We brush our teeth.

We brush our teeth.








We read a story with Mommy.

We read a story with Mommy.

We give a good-night kiss!

We give a good-night kiss!








We get tucked in.

We get tucked in under our covers.

We get cozy in our beds.

We get cozy in our beds.









M fast asleep!

M fast asleep!

O fast asleep!

O fast asleep!













  • Make/find a book template and insert your pictures!  (The template below is included in the Leaping Lilies curriculum) 

O&M Going to bed book_Page_5O&M Going to bed book_Page_1






O&M Going to bed book_Page_2


O&M Going to bed book_Page_3







O&M Going to bed book_Page_4








  • Enjoy reading your Going to Bed Book for months/years to come!  (We have made a few books together that we enjoy reading over and over)

Click here to see another post about making a personalized book

Click here to see a post about how to read stories to young children


P.S….this has recently become a part of our bedtime routine!!!  Anybody else have to do this??

Bedtime Band-aids on non-existent boo-boos!

Bedtime band-aids on non-existent boo-boos!

 Have a great weekend, we’ll see you on Monday with a new theme and lots more fun learning!




Exploring Measurement: A Reggio Provocation

Here it is! Another example of the amazing results of a Reggio Emilia provocation.  No matter how many times I do this, I am in awe of what transpires.  A Reggio provocation is characterised by its unbounded, limitless potential – a true reflection of a child. It is just so exciting to watch unfold!  If I haven’t expressed it enough, PLEASE, try a Reggio provocation with the children you love – they will astound you in more ways than you could imagine! – In more ways than they already do!  Children have so much to express, give them the opportunity!

On alternating Wednesdays I blog about a Reggio Emilia Provocation

This week’s Theme: Bed Time

Description of Provocation: Exploring Measurement: Provide measuring cups, rulers, soft (tailor’s) measuring tape, numbers (plastic, foam, magnets, etc.), feathers (variety of sizes and colours)

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


Initial Topic (Observe and question your tot about a topic of interest)

  • The girls have shown a significant amount of interest in bird nests over the last couple of weeks.  Also, we went shoe shopping for Mr. Y, and the girls LOVED measuring their feet at the store.  Last, they really enjoy putting measuring cups in order.

Materials (This can include anything)

  • For the measurement component, I chose measuring tools (measuring cups (plastic & ceramic), straight rulers & a tailor’s tape measure)
  • I chose a variety of bird feathers because I felt that would relate to both the bird nest interest and our bed time theme (because feathers are often used to make pillows, blankets and even beds!)

Set-Up (This should be visually appealing and intriguing)

  • Where?:  I chose a space with natural light in a fairly open area.
  • Workspace: I defined the workspace using place mats.  I laid a ruler on the mat horizontally and I also placed some magnetic numbers vertically along the side of the mat.
  • Display:  I displayed the measuring cups on the wall using hooks – to add a 3D element – (plus they like manipulating things on and off hooks).  I displayed the feathers in blocks of colour on a clear plastic tray (or in small buckets)










Observation (Observe your tot interacting with the provocation you have set up.  Remember not to interfere or ‘teach’.  If you stay out of the way, you will be pleasantly surprised!)

  • What was interesting?  Initially, M was interested in the feathers and O was interested in the measuring tools
initial contact

Initial contact

"measure," said O

“Measure,” said O

O inspects the ceramic measuring cups

O inspects the ceramic measuring cups








"What is this?" asks M

“What is this?” asks M

M manipulates the feathers

M manipulates the feathers










  • What was asked? The only question I recall from them was M asking, “What is this?” (in regards to the feathers.)  I answered her and asked her, “Do you know what a feather is?”  “No,” she said.  So I gave a brief description (including that we use them to make pillows/blankets etc.) – this did not incite any interest at all.
  • What was said? So much was said, it’s really difficult to relay.  I think it’s best to illustrate some of the main ideas of what was said, into the ‘What was done’ section below.  This is why it is really important to take notes!  You cannot remember it all!
  • What was done? A LOT!!!  None of which I anticipated.  (I haven’t written them in order of occurrence, I’ve written them from smallest amount of interest to largest.)

#1 – Butterflies!  O makes the connection that feathers are used to fly and butterflies fly so we can make butterflies out of these feathers:

"I make a butterfly!" says O

“I make a butterfly!” says O


#2 – Time for a pedicure!  M decided to use the feather as a nail polish and then decided that the other feathers should be my toe separators!  (I can’t believe I’m showing the world pictures of my unkempt toenails…but in the name of education, and M’s brilliant idea, I am!)

M carefully places the toe separators

M carefully places the toe separators

M paints my nails green

M paints my nails green (I paint their toes green!)









# 3 – O’s invention.  O strung the measuring tape through the cupboard handle, stood back and said, “Watch!”.  Then she pulled the door open proudly.

O pulls the measuring tape taut

O pulls the measuring tape taut

1-2-3 Pull!

1-2-3 Pull!









#4 – Measuring.  This was mostly driven by me.  I asked O, “You said measure before, what is measure?”  She said, “I can measure all my things!”  “Yes you can!  But what does measure mean?”  “I don’t know,” she said.  So I gave a brief description, “Measuring is how big or small something is.”

I said, "This feather goes to 7, and this one goes to 4.  Which one is longer?"

I say,”This feather goes to 7, this one goes to 4. Which is longer?”

"Which measuring cup holds more?"

“Which measuring cup holds more feathers?”

M wanted to wrap the measuring tape around her. (6 times)

M wanted to wrap the measuring tape around her. (6 times)


#5 -IMAGINARY PLAY (this was the big one!)  They decided they were going to make a castle.  The play then revolved around Santa coming to visit this castle.  It went on for ages!  I got to sit back and watch.

"We make a castle here." (The measuring tape is the main structure)

“We make a castle here.” (The measuring tape is the main structure)

"We decorate the castle."

“We decorate the castle.”










"I make a map so Santa can find us"

“I make a map so Santa can find us”

"This is where Santa can sit"

“This is where Santa can sit”








"Shh! Hide under here. Santa will come and we can see him."

“Shh! Hide under here. Santa will come and we can see him.”


Extension (Based on your observations, add new materials as needed)

  • New Materials: Because the bulk of the initial interaction revolved around a castle, we did a bit of picture research on castles (Google Images search).  They pointed out their favourites – coincidentally, one they chose was a castle I used to live near! (I didn’t even see it until they pointed it out).  I also added blocks.  Next, I lessened the amount of feathers and measuring equipment.










  • What Transpired?: Castle building……
"This one the best"

“This one the best”

"This one my favourite"

“This one my favourite”









Castle #1

M builds

M builds

M adds 'flowers' to the castle garden

M adds ‘flowers’ (feathers) to the castle garden








M uses a green feather as a hose to water the flowers (making a sound effects as she did it)

M uses a green feather as a hose to water the flowers (making sound effects as she did it)

M is jumps  'because the castle is so strong, so it won't break when I'm jumping'

M jumps “because the castle is so strong, so it won’t break when I’m jumping”














Castle #2

O & M made this catle together

O & M made this catle together

O says, "this is where you skate" (I think she was referencing Disney's Frozen)

O says, “this is where you skate” (I think she was referencing Disney’s Frozen)













Castle #3

O explains "this is trick door"

O explains “this is trick door”

"I open trick door, people is coming out"

“I open trick door, people is coming out”








M adds Princess Ariel "to live in the castle"

M adds Princess Ariel “to live in the castle”

I mention that where Ariel is sleeping, looks like this bridge

I mention that where Ariel is sleeping, looks like this bridge (the castle that O said is the best)










…..after I said that….. O decides to make it.

Castle #4

O carefully constructs

O carefully constructs

The castle's bridge

The castle’s bridge

O's bridge (same rectangular shape)

O’s bridge (same rectangular shape)








The castle's door

The castle’s door

O's door (it has the same arched shape)

O’s door (it has the same arched shape)








O's towers (same cylindrical shape)

O’s towers (same cylindrical shape)

M came over with a tiaras for us to live in the castle.  So that makes me the Queen Mum! LOL!

M came over with tiaras “for us to live in the castle.” So that makes me the Queen Mum! LOL!












This is what I found when I woke up this morning:

O does some sorting

O had done some sorting


Once again, their ability to independently blend their creativity and knowledge astounds me!


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