Tag Archive | social learning

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

 

Feet Are Neat!

Today’s post is about feet!  I didn’t do a great job at documenting the activity today – sorry, sometimes, it’s difficult to do that!

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: Hands & Feet

Activity DescriptionAnimal Feet: Animals have feet too!!  Play with toy animals and make special mention of their feet!

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social/Emotional

Specific Skill: Making connections between self and others

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months + 3 Weeks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

1. Today’s warm-up was reading the book, Who Has These Feet? by Laura Hulbert.

book title

 

2. Next, we sat together and reviewed what we have already learned about feet.

 

3. Moving into the more formal part of the activity, I explained again that animals have feet too! (The first time I explained this was during the story).  I introduced the animal toys and we talked about their feet.  I gave them the toys so they could manipulate & interact with the feet too.  I compared the animal feet to their baby feet to help them make connections between themselves and others (skill focus).

(This video is a bit slow but it shows how I explain the concepts and how they are focused and processing the information.  If you’re looking for a lot of action, this one’s not for you!)

 

4. Lastly we had free play with the animals.  During this time, I narrated what they were doing and made mention of the words “duck feet, frog feet, turtle feet, etc”.  (whenever applicable)

 

Remember not all activities have to have a tonne of action and excitement to have an impact.  During parts 1&3 of this post, I could really see them making the connections; that these animals/toys were similar to them in some way.    Being able to make connections between self and others is a bridge to showing/feeling empathy – which is an important skill in the upcoming stages of learning!

P.S If you’re looking for more animal activities click here 

OR

If you’re looking for more emotional learning activities (ages 15-18 months) click here

Down on the Farm

We have come to the end of the Farm Animals activity plan from Clever Clovers.  What better way to culminate all of our mooing, baaing and cock-a-doodle-dooing, than by visiting a farm!  The weather was a bit more frigid than anticipated and the pig pen was dismantled, but other than that, we had a lovely time!

On alternating Fridays I blog about our final activity (starring my twin babies)

This week’s Theme: Farm Animals

Activity Description: Visit a farm, petting zoo or winter fair (where livestock is present)

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Cognitive, Gross Motor, Language, Social, Emotional

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months + 1 week

1. We had to drive about an hour to get there so when we were in the car, I was explaining to them that we were going to a farm, where they could walk around and see ducks and cows and sheep!  They were excited.

2. When we arrived, as we were walking towards the farm, I was saying, look!  There is the big, red barn.  (I’m not sure how much they heard because they saw a bunch of Canadian Geese and starting yelling “duck & quack, quack!”)…. LOL!  If you’re not familiar with our visit to feed the “ducks” a couple of weeks ago, click here.

Sitting outside of the big red barn
Sitting outside of the big red barn

Here are some pictures from our visit:

O was waving "hello"

Curious beings

O being brave with the "horse"

O being brave with the “horse”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M's favourite: Rooster (it wasn't even one of our weekly words, she picked it up through stories and such.

M’s fave: Rooster (it wasn’t one of our weekly words), she picked it up through stories.

Cock-a-doodle-doo!  The rooster is the only fowl that she doesn't refer to as a duck.

Cock-a-doodle-doo! The rooster is the only fowl that she doesn’t refer to as a duck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O spies some baby chicks.

O spies some baby chicks.

 

Quack, quack, M says (even though they are chickens)

Quack, quack, M says (even though they are hens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M liked the cow but was tired and wanted to be carried.

M liked the cow but was tired and wanted to be carried.

 

M with the ducks (and other birds)

M with the ducks (and other birds)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So where are the videos you ask?  It seems that when I thought I was recording, I was not.  AND when I thought I was not recording, yup, you got it….I was.  So there’s a whole lot of feet and ground footage….I am pretty disappointed because there was so much excitement that I thought I was capturing.

I think taking children to a farm or petting zoo is a pretty common thing to do and obviously provides so much opportunity for exploration and learning.  But, because we have been learning about farm animals for two weeks, this outing was even more beneficial to learning.  That is, because the target language was needed/used in context (in a fun and natural way), this will help solidify their understanding.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

If It Looks Like A Duck and Walks Like A Duck…..(we’ll call it a duck, even if it’s not)

Okay, so we’re moving on to the Clever Clovers Farm Animals activity plan.  Today is all about ducks!  My girls are pretty familiar with ducks already (one of their favourite books from birth was a book about ducks that makes a quacking sound).  I also feel like I didn’t document this activity very well with relevant videos and pics.  It was bit difficult to keep them together, off the ice and video and take photos and push the stroller and answer everybody’s questions about twins who wanted to stop and talk to them and….. you get the picture.

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: Outdoor Activity: Go for a walk in your local park and feed the ducks

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Caring for others in your community

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months

1. Our warm up activity was done in the car; we sang Old Macdonald and I explained to them that we were going to go to the park and they could walk around and that we have some food to feed the ducks because they are hungry.  I knew quite well that they understood because when we got there and I opened the car door M was shouting “duck” and when I tried to put O in the stroller, a tantrum ensued (I had said that they could walk).  I had to explain to her that she could walk around after we got to the duck pond….

2. In this lovely park where we take walks regularly, there is a pond that is ALWAYS FULL of ducks (even in the winter).  Hmm….well, we went there today full  of excitement and there were no ducks to be found!!!!  But there were geese, which the girls referred to as ducks, so I just went with it.  I don’t think it matters at this point if they know the difference between a duck and a goose.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
O pointing at the “ducks”

3. So, um,….. the activity was to feed the ducks…. but there were no ducks and we didn’t feed these geese because I have seen them be quite aggressive……..unsuccessful activity?  NO WAY!  It is important as a teacher and parent to be flexible; work with what is presented to you in each moment.

4. They were so excited to see the “ducks” and explore their surroundings.  It was amazing for me to watch them seek and discover things.  Social learning at its best……..

Here are the words I heard them using:

  • duck
  • quack
  • water
  • Wow!
  • hello & bye bye (to passers-by)
  • dog (there were several dog-walkers)
  • and of course…uh, oh

Here are the new words I was able to introduce in context (as a result of our surroundings):

  • fly/flying
  • wings
  • sky
  • ice
  • dirt
  • bicycle (there were a few cyclists)

Here are some other things I saw them do:

  • explore textures with their hands and feet (touching the mud, dirt & gravel, and seeing what it is like to walk on them)
  • actively look for the “ducks” (through fences, trees, up in the sky, etc.)
  • react to and recognize sounds (barking, various birds)
  • interact with other people
  • communicate with me and each other about what they were experiencing
  • Oh, and at one point M was attempting to count the “ducks”  (just amazing, I thought to myself, with a smile)
M watching the "ducks"

M watching the “ducks”

M enjoying herself

M enjoying herself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of small videos to help illustrate our adventures today:

1.  The video below will demonstrate how to add language to what your baby expresses an interest in.  In this case, they hear and notice a bird flying through the sky.  So I put words to what they are experiencing.

Your baby will notice and take interest in so many things each day, narrating what they are experiencing and feeling is a wonderful way for you to acknowledge their communication and to teach them language.

 

2. This next video shows general interaction.  I acknowledge and put words to what O is trying to express when she says “uh oh” and I try to get them to use the focused language (duck, quack) in context (to their experience).

The way you hear me speak to them is not exactly how I would normally communicate.  I slow my speech slightly, I annunciate more and I use words they are more familiar with.  It may seem like a lot of work but it is just a habit.  Get into the habit of communicating with your baby in this way and you won’t even need to think about it, it will come naturally.

 

Leave a comment to tell me about your attempts to communicate this way (& the outcome, of course!)