Archives for March 2013

What we’ve been up too…

We’ve had a busy past two weeks! We celebrated St. Patricks day by painting with green paint, and painting (and eating) with green cool whip (just add food coloring!), among other things.

We celebrated the first day of Spring by enjoying some Rita’s Italian Ice and by making spring chicks! 
We also had a rare Spring snowstorm. I brought some of the snow in and allowed the girls to play with it on their high chair trays.
We made a birthday “card” for the girls’ mom – a pretty handprint garden.
We’ve also been doing our regular library trips as well. What have you been up to?


Aly

Tipsy Tuesday

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another tip! Today’s tip is to rotate toys. Take toys away that your child doesn’t play with frequently and put them into a container. Store that container in the garage, attic, wherever for a month or two. After a month or two has passed, empty the bin in the play area and fill it up with other toys. Watch your child’s face light up as they get “new” toys! Not only does it keep your child more entertained, but often they can come up with new ways to play with their “new” toys that they hadn’t been able to two months ago. 
Note: It’s probably best to pack up the toys while your child isn’t in the room or is sleeping. Otherwise they tend to suddenly want to play with every toy you’re packing up.

Aly

Guest Post

Be sure to check out my guest post over on Amanda’s blog! It’s all about the importance of sensory experiences!

Aly

Tipsy Tuesday

Welcome to the first installment of a new weekly series here on my blog. Tipsy Tuesday (no, not that kind of tipsy…but hey, sometimes we all need a drink, so feel free to grab yourself one while you read!) is going to be a tip or technique I use when working with children that could help you out with your little ones. 
Today’s tip is to allow your child to make choices. The more often, the better. Especially older infants (9 or 10 months and up, depending on the child) and young toddlers. These ages in particular are all about wanting to and proving they can do things on their own. This promotes self confidence, independence, and even problem-solving skills.
However, be sure to set boundaries to these choices. Don’t give your toddler free reign to their closet or dresser and allow them to choose their outfit for the day unless you’re prepared to walk around with a child in pink striped pants, navy blue shirt with white polka dots, one green sock, one purple sock, a light blue scarf, a yellow hat, and perhaps some mittens for good measure. You can’t give them a choice and then once they choose tell them they can’t have what they chose. That’s just not fair. Also, this and not allowing them to do things they are capable of (within reason of course), and not allowing them to make choices at all will eventually lead to self doubt, low self esteem, etc. Instead, pick out two or three outfits for them and allow them to choose between them. 
Other easy choices to allow your child to make – Do you want strawberries or a banana with your breakfast? Do you want to go to the park with the big slide or the park with the swings after nap? Do you want water or milk in your sippy cup? Allow them to choose the books they read before nap and bedtime. For the children who aren’t capable of speech yet, you could put the options in front of them (like the fruit example), or for ones (like the park example) you aren’t able to show them in person you could make small flashcards or pictures and allow them to point or take the one that corresponds with the choice they want to make.
Giving them the opportunity to make choices and show their independence when they can usually helps the children be much more agreeable during the times when you can’t give them options.

Aly

Flour & Water

While I’m anxiously awaiting St. Patrick’s day to get a little closer so we can begin the explosion of all things green, I wanted to do an activity to take up some time and give the girls a sensory experience. So, we went upstairs and I dumped some flour on their high chair trays. They played with this for a few minutes, using their fingers to move it around and even slapping at it and watching what happened.
Once I could tell they wanted more to this activity, I dumped some water on their tray. Not only did they like watching the water splash onto their tray (I poured it from 8-10 inches above their trays) but when they started mixing the flour and water the real fun began. They did it with their hands and then I gave them each a paintbrush. They loved mixing it together and watching it form a sticky paste.
We didn’t have any food coloring on hand but I did have some pink frosting left over from Valentine’s Day when we made muffins (I had to add pink somehow, so each of the girls’ muffins were topped with a pink heart). So, I ended up adding that.
E apparently somewhat enjoyed the taste and kept licking her flour/water/frosting covered paintbrush. M took one bite, made an awful face, and decided she didn’t want to try it again. They played in this for quite a long time. Eventually I added more flour and then more water. I would have probably been able to wipe it off their hands and arms when they were all done but E showed M how to paint it into her hair. So in the end, both had to get rinsed off in the sink. For easy clean up wherever you do this table (it needs to be contained, so I’d recommend doing it in a highchair) have a sponge near by. Paper towels didn’t make much of a dent once it started to dry, but a sponge took care of it easily.
This is definitely an activity we’ll be doing again!

Aly

Clean Painting and Color Mixing

Ever wanted to let your child paint but didn’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning up the paintbrushes, their hands, their clothes, the table, etc? That’s how I felt today. It was creeping up on lunch time, but I wanted to do an activity with the girls. I knew if I let them paint the regular way lunch would be insanely late and more than likely I’d have two cranky-because-they’re-hungry toddlers on my hands while I cleaned up. No thanks. I have done a variation of no mess painting before with two year olds but not with young toddlers. With the two year olds, I taped two pieces of wax paper together with paint in the middle. I knew the girls would be a bit rougher with whatever material I used to contain the paint. Plus we’re still working on understanding “gentle” so I couldn’t really tell them to be easier on it like I could with the two year olds. In the end I decided on using plastic baggies.
I put red and yellow paint in one baggie and yellow and blue in the other (one color in each bottom corner). I gently squeezed the air out without mixing the colors, closed it up, and then taped over the seal to make sure it wasn’t going to open. {Masking tape or painters tape would probably be your best option. I’m not sure how well scotch tape would hold up} I decided instead of putting it flat on a table, I’d tape it to a glass door instead. It was nice and sunny out {sadly still too cold and windy to play outside and really enjoy the sunshine} so it was perfect!
The girls loved it! We talked about the colors in each bag, and eventually as the colors mixed, we talked about what colors they were making. E mainly stayed in front of the bag she initially walked up to, while M got super giggly and would squeeze her bag and then toddle on over to E’s, squeeze it, and then run back to hers. They were both pretty excited. M is so used to having paint up to her elbows each time she paints that I saw her checking her hand – probably wondering why it was paint free – on more than one occasion.
E ended up ripping a small hole in her bag. It was a really easy fix. I just pulled down that bag, put it into another bag (with the seal sticking out the top since it wouldn’t fit in and lay flat because of the tape) and then taped the seals of the bags together to keep the old bag from wadding up in the bottom of the new one as they pressed and squeezed. Then taped it back up to the door. Problem solved!
No, you don’t get any artwork you can really save, but if you wanted to, you could always put a piece of paper in the bag {use less paint} and take it out to dry when they’re finished painting with the bag. This was more of a toddler-friendly science experiment – a way for the girls to really see how blue and yellow make green or how yellow and red make orange and something they could do on their own. We’re definitely entering into the “I want to do it on my own” stage with the girls, so the more things I can do with them that allows them to assert their independence, the better.
I left the baggies up while we ate lunch and while the girls napped and then we came back to them later in the day. Still some interest, but not as much as earlier in the day. Overall, this is a fun activity to do with toddlers!

Aly

What you should be doing…

Ever wonder what you should be doing with your infant or toddler? I can help you out with that one.
Turn off the television. Seriously. Just turn it off. Don’t leave it on as “background noise”. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television or other media (computer, etc) for children under two [source]. Recent research at “Children’s Hospital in Seattle found that the more television a child watches between the ages of 1 and 3, the greater his or her likelihood of developing attention problems by age 7. More specifically, for each hour per day of TV time, the risk of concentration difficulties increases by 10 percent, compared with that of a child who views no TV at all” [source]. Babies who watch television are more likely to have delayed cognitive development and language at 14 months [source]. Do I think an hour or hour and a half a day of TV while you get ready or put dinner on the table are going to immediately give your child ADD? No, of course not. However, I do think it does add up. Why not wear your child instead while you put dinner on the table? Or if they’re old enough, have them help you.
Sit on the floor and have uninterrupted play time with your children. Build a tower with blocks, read 10 books in a row, play cars, act silly, have a dance party, climb pillow mountain, build a fort, need I go on? Be 100 percent available. Interact with your child without distraction. No TV, no phone. I understand everyone’s busy and has things they need to get done during the day or once they get home. However, at least try to give your child a solid, uninterrupted, 30 minutes (at least – the more the better) of your time a day. After all, aren’t they the most important part of your day?
Read to your child. Frequently. As I’ve said in another post, books are so important to a young child. They help develop the child’s vocabulary, introduces them to concepts including numbers, letters, shapes, colors, they stimulate imagination, etc. Don’t get frustrated when a child turns the pages prematurely or wants you to read the same book over and over again. Read the words on the page that’s open and read the book they want you to read. Avoid making reading a negative experience in any way. Make it part of your routine. Read before nap time, read before bed time. Read whenever the child wants you to. Reading can never be a bad thing.
Talk. Constantly. Tell your child what you’re doing before and as you do it. Why are you changing their diaper? What steps are you following to change it? Are you making their lunch? How? Do you need to wipe their face? Tell them before you do it. Talking to your child builds vocabulary. It also teaches them how to talk. They watch your mouth move and begin to imitate that. Soon, they start to imitate sounds you make as you talk. Don’t baby talk them. I don’t mean you need to talk in a monotone voice to them. Use inflection, talk in a high pitched voice, talk in different voices. Whatever you please. I mean if they are asking for a “ba ba,” say “you want your bottle?” back to them. Teach them the real word for things. 


Aly