Tag Archive | daily routines

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!




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!

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?”



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!

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.




Off to a Routine Start

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


Today’s Topic: The benefits of setting a routine for formal learning activities

Weather your personal style is to offer strict structure or loosely organized chaos, most parents and teachers have an awareness of a child’s need for routine.  The benefits of setting even a minimum amount of structured daily routines in your classroom and home are many and have been written and discussed in lengthy detail.  I’ve listed some of the benefits below:

  • Children do not have much control over what happens in their lives.  Having set routines can offer a sense of security, organization, stability and comfort because they know what to expect.  This can lead to more self-confidence.
  • When children know what is expected of them, it helps them to develop self-discipline and better behaviour.
  • Routines can help establish good habits (ex. brushing teeth at bedtime), responsibility (cleaning up after play) and even work ethic (helping do household/classroom chores).

Common Home Routines:

  • Morning
  • Mealtime
  • Napping/Bedtime
  • Clean up

Common Classroom Routines:

  • Morning
  • Lunch/Recess
  • Order of lessons/subjects to be taught
  • Clean up
  • Home time

There is one more routine I would add to both lists: A learning activity routine.

When children are encouraged to perform a learning task, there is a lot required of them (even through play-based learning).  They must focus on the teacher/parent, listen to and interpret the instructions, and then act on those instructions.  Having a routine that signals focus and action are required, will greatly benefit the process and enjoyment of the learning activity for all.

Home Learning Activities: Learning activities at home (even though they are based in play) are different from normal free-play because there is an objective and there are instructions to follow.  Having a routine for learning based activities will help your baby recognize when the type of play is changing; that is, when she is required to do something specific versus, doing whatever she wants.

Our home learning activity routine (wow, that’s a mouthful!) is pretty simple.  I gather the materials we need, decide where we will do the activity and tell the girls to come and sit with me in that spot.  I sit opposite them and tell them we are going to play a special game (or something to that effect).  We always begin with a few songs that use related vocabulary, next I give the instructions and demonstrate how to complete the task, then they give it a try.  It’s simple!  More importantly, the routine has made them innately aware of the need to focus, pay attention and follow instructions.

School Learning Activities:  Since every activity at school is supposed to be a learning activity, a school learning activity routine is not so much to signal that learning is expected to take place but, rather, what kind of learning is to take place, what kind of mental/physical effort can be expected.

I have had the pleasure to work with and observe teachers from all over the world.  When I am evaluating teachers who are struggling or have students who are struggling, I often note the lack of routine; a lack of overall classroom routine and more-over, a lack of routine for specific topics. Most teachers do a “pre-activity or warm-up” but often it is only loosely related to the concept, if at all.  I cannot go into great detail about this here because it would be pages and pages long, but I will offer a few simple examples of using routines in regular classroom activities:

  1. The most easy to understand example would be a physical education activity.  There is a strong routine of warm-up, play, cool-down.  The warm up often includes activities that involve the movements and skills  that will be required for play.  The benefits are not just to reduce injuries but also enable the body to perform better and even to put the child mentally “in the mood” for doing physical activity.
  2. Another example I often use is in the area of reading activities.  A routine of having a warm-up activity based on the reading topic can be beneficial.  For example, a discussion about the topic to be read before doing the reading will turn the child’s mind in the direction of the topic (vocabulary, concepts, associated memories) and will enable them to understand and actually read the passage better.  Routines can be set for what to do if an unknown word is encountered (look in the dictionary, ask a friend, ask the teacher, write the definition in a journal, Etc.)
  3. A visual arts activity could always begin with listening to different types of music or some kind of sensory activity to help get “the creative juices” flowing.  Routines for defining personal space, presentation of work and constructive criticism can be put in place (and of course, a clean-up routine).

In summation:

  1. Even the smallest amount of routine can help both ourselves and the children we care for.
  2. Setting a learning activity routine will help children perform better in tasks which will increase their confidence and skill sets.