Tuesday, January 13, 2015

First attempt at shaving cream

The little guy got to play with shaving cream today. He wasn't thrilled, but he wasn't disgusted either. I love shaving cream! It's such a fun thing to have on hand.

 Big brother was very very excited to play in it and he helped Adam not be so timid about it. After all arms and hands were heavily painted we washed up and smelled so fresh.

James' Latest Book

I'm giddy with excitement about James' new book. He worked so hard on this story and it represents 2 weeks worth of writing work. He wrote it, drew the pictures, took the photographs, and put the book together.
We did something a little different with this book and it worked great. I had him write all he was interested in and then dictate the rest to me. So for each superhero he wrote 2-3 sentences and then told me what to write for the rest of it. This gave him a great story and helped him say all that he wanted to without causing him to resent the writing. I learned this from a Charlotte Mason blogger. I love it!

Me and the writing process have a love hate relationship. I hate to do it each day, but I love the results. My boys are turning in to some fine writers. 

Tubs-Body Parts and Counting to 5

Adam has been quite ill the past few weeks and our tubs and activities have sat lonely on the shelves just waiting to be explored. He's slowly starting to act like himself again, busy and curious, and has found his new tubs to be quite fun.
He's been obsessed with counting and with identifying body parts and so we've been doing lots of games that help with those things. We've got lots of simple counting books that we read and we've taught him how to point to the pictures while we count. He doesn't make any noise usually but he nods his head with each object. I honestly think if he could say the words that he could count to at least 4. It's so cute!
This tub was made to help him learn how to use tongs and to guide him in counting two objects. He uses the tongs to transfer the ping pong balls to the other bowl and we count out loud as he does this. He can't figure out how to release the ball once he's picked it up so he usually pulls it out with his hand.  
This picture shows him doing it again on another day. He will take the bowls off the shelf and bring them to wherever we are. Some people have their kids keep their tubs in a certain area, but it works best for us to drag things all over the house. Whatever works best for you is what you should do.
 This tub was given to him for fun. We dump out the pom poms, which he will actually touch now, and then help him sweep them into the dustpan. Then he dumps them into the bucket. He's not great at sweeping so pom poms end up flying everywhere, but he loves to play this. I got that little baby broom at dollar tree. Isn't it cute?
 He still loves to color, draw, and do stickers. I captured this picture of him making his Daddy a birthday card. He's obsessed with using a pencil, which makes me very nervous, but I let him try when I'm close by.
I bought him this coloring book at Dollar Tree because each page has a cute picture of a kid doing something fun. We use it to practice pointing out body parts and other objects and then he colors in it or puts stickers in it. I've begun telling him specific things like, "put the sticker on her nose" and he will follow the short commands like that. I labeled it his art book ;)
See the pictures are so cute and they allow us to talk about different things. "Look at this boy. He has  a frog on his head!!! He's happy to ride his skateboard down the street". Then we may put a sticker on his foot or on the frog and then he scribbles in it and we're done. He likes it. James would have never liked something like this. He's always thought coloring and art was a giant waste of his life.

Walmart had this little baby for sale for $5 and Adam just fell in love with him. He loves the little fox on his shirt and he loves to poke him in the eyes. We use him all throughout the day to practice identifying body parts and being gentle and loving with a baby. He pats him, rocks him, sings to him, feeds him, throws him and shoves his finger in his nose. He loves him!
 My brother gave me these giant foam blocks and they have been so perfect for gross motor skills, wrestling, and building. Adam loves to climb around on them and has even started using them as stools to climb up on the furniture. Ha! When James was little we would use laundry baskets and pillows from around the house to create obstacle courses for him. So even if you don't have these fancy smancy blocks you can still do some great gross motor skills indoors.
 This is another counting game we've done this week. I made one for each day. I put five stickers on a piece of paper. He then points to each sticker and we count them. Then he uses a dot paint to stamp each sticker. We usually end up with about 20 dots of paint all over the paper because he can't quite stamp it on the sticker, but it's fun nonetheless.
 Sorry about the picture of my big wrinkled hand, but this is our other counting game that Adam actually started. We've been singing the "Where is thumbkin" song, thanks Barney, and he loves it and that has lended itself to counting mommy's big fingers. When he touches a finger I say the number and then hide the finger. This is grand fun, people!!! That's what I love about babies. They get so excited about the simplest things.  
 We busted out our old faithful doctor kit this week, too. It's been a great conversation starter and wonderful for teaching body parts. He's been to the doctor so much the past few weeks that he already knows all the tools and their uses. Not really, but it feels that way.  
Other things we are doing for body parts are: giving him a washcloth in the bath and having him wash certain parts, looking at books and pointing out facial features and body parts (which has also spurred us on to talking about emotions and facial expressions), and finding body parts on our stuffed animals.  
I hope you are having fun learning with your little one.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Tubs

We are in TUB HEAVEN over here at our house. Adam loves them all and has enjoyed having learning activities of his own so much. I've put together a few Christmas tubs for him this week and he's already explored the tinsel sensory tub and the garland game. He gives them both two thumbs up! (Most everything was purchased at Dollar Tree so these are not budget busters. Plus, I will bag it all up and use it again next year)
This is his sensory tub for this week. The base is tinsel and then I added several Christmas items: large bells, bows, cookie cutters, and plastic candy canes. The tinsel sticks to his slimy baby fingers and makes him really work to dig through it. It's loads of fun!

 The garland is not only a fun texture, but I will use it for many things. I can wrap him in it, he can wear it as a necklace and we can tie it up to play games with: baby limbo (crawl under it), drag the toy around the house, and his new favorite which is hanging the plastic candy canes on it. I strung it between two chairs and gave him the candy canes and he figured out the rest :)
 There are 6 of each of these items for him to place and hopefully try to sort into muffin tins. He hasn't really sorted anything on his own yet, but we still practice.
 These are thick cardboard cards and we dump them out and just talk about them. Great little vocabulary game.  
He's obsessed with doing stickers and coloring. He makes at least 2 of these papers every day. I bought him lots of letter stickers and every time I hand him a sticker I just tell him the letter and a familiar word that starts with that letter and he sticks it on his paper. Perfect for fine motor skills and letter help for down the road.
Since he loves stickers so much, I got him a foam bell and some Christmas stickers and he will make an ornament for our tree this week.
 He is still a little turned off with pom poms so I've hidden his favorite jingle bell necklace in the bottom of this pom pom sensory tub and he gets a big reward for plowing through them.

This season is so fun!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekly Tubs

Adam's first week of tubs went so well. He loved having activities he could do that were new and challenging. I found out two things this week: Adam has a sensory issue with pom poms and the tissue paper into the water bottle was WAY too hard. I'm not sure what Adam doesn't like about the pom poms, but he gets this hilarious disgusted look on his face when he touches them and then after he lets them go he shakes his hands as if to try and shake off the feeling. It's really funny. I've made sure to include more pom poms this week so that he can begin to get use to them.
His first new tub for this week is another muffin tin tub. I have 6 balls that fit perfectly inside and I've matched the colors to see if he will even attempt to begin matching. We'll see how he does.
 I'll be using the smaller muffin tin again this week, but with a new sensory tub. I chose pinto beans this week because he's never played with them before and he loves, loves, loves his noodles. He'll scoop the beans into the tin. He's just now started trying to use a fork or spoon at meals so I know he'll love this tub.
 I decided to put this particular tub in the kitchen so that he has a fun thing to do while I cook. I taped the some contact paper onto the fridge (sticky side up) and have a basket of odds-n-ends nearby for him to stick to the paper. He immediately found this tub and wanted to do it. The first time he tried he couldn't get anything to stick. He was basically throwing the things at the paper and not pressing them on to the paper. He has finally figured it out and now loves to put  things up there while I cook. Below is a video of him the 2 time he tried this tub and you can see he's got it figured out. I also put his name in magnetic letters up above the paper just as a conversation piece. It never hurts to start teaching them to recognize their name.
 Here's the basket up close: magnetic letters, tissue paper squares, and pom poms.
Hope you can use some of these ideas at your house. We are really enjoying this new phase of learning. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Adam Begins Tubs

I've often wondered when Adam would begin doing tubs like James did when he was a tiny tot. I remember the winter of 2010, James was about 19 months old and we were trapped inside for a week. This is when we officially began doing tubs. I was desperate for activities. He was longing to explore and learn. Tubs worked great at meeting both of our needs.
I'm kind of in the same place with Adam. He's super curious. He's very smart. He extremely active. This cold weather has trapped us in more than usual and so tubs are a perfect solution to our problem. He's still very young (15 months) but his skill level is high and he adores learning new things. So here we go!
Let me first explain the term "tub". A tub, by my definition, is an activity that when introduced is done with a parent and then eventually (if possible) will become an independent activity. Many tubs can quickly become independent, but some cannot.
This week he will work on several new tubs and keep some of his puzzles, games and his sensory tub from past weeks. The muffin tray will be a new tub for him. This will never be an independent tub for him because of the glass stones (choking hazard); however, he will adore this tub because he loves putting things into compartments. He has used large muffin tins before, but this little tin will be new for him as well as the stones. They are slippery, which will cause him to use a little more fine motor skill, and they are hard and glass, which makes for a very fun noise when dropped in the tin.
 I cut an old formula can lid for his next tub. He will stuff pom poms into the lid and then most likely turn it over and shake them out. If this is too easy I will cut another lid with a smaller hole that he actually has to poke the pom poms into. We'll see how he does first. This will definitely be an independent task before long.
 His next tub is tissue paper and a water bottle. He will stuff the tissue paper inside the water bottle and that will be it. I have 7 stacks of tissue paper cut and 7 water bottles ready in case he likes this and wants to do it each day.
 This banging toy has been available to him for a while and he loves it. I will keep this out on his shelf this week as an independent game he can play. He loves to bang on it, but he also loves pulling the pegs out and putting them inside his milk jug (seen below).
 This milk jug has been a favorite of his for a very long time. He changes up what he puts into it, but here lately he has loved dice. Don't message me and tell me about the choking hazard of the dice. It doesn't matter how many times I hide the dice he finds them. He's obsessed! He carries them around the house constantly and loves throwing them across the hard tile. He's good to not put them in his mouth so for now he can keep them.
 This is a new puzzle I got for him that he likes. It will stay on his shelf this week.
 This is the pegboard from Discovery Toys. I adore this toy more than most. It has SOOO many uses and for now Adam loves dumping it out, putting the pegs into the holes, and leaving it scattered every where. We will one day use this for color practice, counting practice and patterns, but for now he just loves to explore it. I probably see him play with this about 6 times a day.
 This will stay out as well. He has had this sensory tub for about 6 weeks and he plays with it multiple times a day. We scoop, we throw, we taste, we rub, etc. I have spoons and cups close by for him to do whatever he wants with it. I am in the process of making him a new tub with dried beans and some fall toys. I'll show that on my next tub post.
Hope he loves his tubs this week. I'm so excited that he is ready for this fun phase of learning. I've missed having the little tubs to make each week. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Carnival Time

Our little crew spent yesterday afternoon at a local carnival. There was fun had by all and I am so thankful our Daddy got to go with us (typically he would miss things like this because of his old job).
 The old timer car show was the highlight for Terrance. He drooled over all of them!
 The Chummy-Chum and his favorite person on earth.
 Terrance is by far the bravest ride rider in the family. He rode all the crazy rides!

 While Adam was riding the carousel, these two were happily standing on the sidelines encouraging him every time around. I love Terrance waving in this picture. He's the best big brother EVER!

 James got brave this year and actually rode a ride besides the ferris wheel. He and I rode the Dragon Spinner.
 Terrance ended our time on this crazy thing. I took about a million pictures of him on it because I could not believe what a wild ride it was. Wow!
 Here it is when it starts making it all the way around. At one point he hung in mid-air upside down.
 Here's Adam watching Terrance with a bit of concern.