Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


Letters and Numbers For Toddlers and Pre-K

Here are some letter and number activities that we enjoyed this week.


Counting bears (purchased used on Amazon) are a great activity and can be used in many different ways.  When I first introduced them to B, I only put out a few bears and only two colors.  Now, at 2 1/2 years old, he gets all of them.  And, yes, they go all over the place.  I think he enjoys the sounds of them falling and the feel of them as he mixed them around.  At this age, he enjoys when I have the bear “talk” to him.  He smiles and helps the bears find their “home” in the right color cup.  We count and sort the bears.  I ask him to hand me a certain number of bears or we see how many can ride the train or fit in the airplane.  We do basic addition – one yellow bear + two blue bears = ?  Although I also give him plenty of time to do whatever he wants with the bears, we usually do these activities together.


B also enjoyed pouring the alphabet into an empty orange juice container and opening and closing the lid.  A BIG hit was spelling out his name was magnet or wooden pieces.  And he does very well with sounding out the beginning of words and matching the letters.  I hold two objects, such as animals, in my hand ask which starts with a certain letter.  You can do this anywhere – like playing eye spy.  It’s a great game for the car or, in our case recently, the subway.

Happy Labor Day!


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Exploring History with Kids and Toddlers

As we begin the new school year I wonder: When is the right time to start teaching my toddler about history?  I did not expect to introduce my toddler, now 2 1/2 years old, to history so soon but we stumbled upon this theme because it was of interest to us (my husband and I).  I recall history being a boring topic for me as a child but I was pleasantly surprised that my toddler was interested in the historical places we visited last week.  Admittedly, everything is an adventure to a toddler but that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning.  Learning for them is like breathing.  They just inhale the world around them.  And I love seeing things through my toddlers eyes – all new again.  During our explorations, B was completed captivated by a 30 minute movie on the history of NY City at the Historical Society and played for hours on the Intrepid.  I’m not sure he understood what the 9/11 Memorial was but he took it all in.  I think hands-on exploration is one of the best ways to learn, don’t you?

Are you teaching history to your children?  If so, how?  Movies?  Field trips?  Books?

Below you will find pictures of our trips to the following places:

1.) USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier, docked off the Hudson River and museum.

2.) Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorial

We also visited:

3.) New York Historical Society 

Other Resources about history for kids:

Fun Books about History for Kids from The Measured Mom

Apples4theTeacher on Social Studies

Other favorites?





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Technology Under 2?

I came across this extremely interesting blog post from Healthy Beginnings Montessori that linked to an article in the Huffington Post entitled “10 Reasons by Hand-Held Devices Should be Banned.”  The article and the blogger advocated NO TECHNOLOGY for children under the age of TWO.

What do you think?  Too extreme?  Probably right, but too impractical?  Or, right on?






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Homebody or World Traveler? With Kids?


Are you are traveler or a homebody?  Do you prefer a staycation or a trip to a new country?  Have kids changed our perspective?  

I find myself traveling WAY more with my toddler than I ever did or wanted to before I had a baby.  This is the COMPLETE opposite of what I expected.  I still would not categorize myself as a globetrotter.  I don’t enjoy traveling like I know some people do.  And I really haven’t traveled very much.  But now I kind of want to that change.  I never had that urge before.

It is WAY more fun, at least for me, to explore and sightsee with my child.  My toddler (almost 2 1/2) is still an unconscious learner.  That means he absorbs his environment.  It’s not something you can quiz him on.  It just becomes a part of him.  I have the amazing job of showing him new environments.  That makes traveling for me pretty exciting.  Where before I focused on the hassle and inconvenience associated with travel, now I think of the sights and sounds my toddler feels – the wonder and richness.

I am the first to admit that we haven’t traveled very much and I still consider myself a homebody.  And yet, we HAVE visited Miami, St. Louis, Savanna, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands).  Now, we’re in New York City.  Where should we go next?  I’m thinking Costa Rica.  Then, Europe?

Do you LOVE to travel?  What are your secrets for a success trip?  How far would you go with your children?

Below is a bit of a collage of our exploration of NY city.  A hodgepodge of what we have been up to recently.  You’ll see that we visited a beautiful church near Central Park, biked across the Brooklyn Bridge, visited the fountain and carousel in Bryant Park (near Times Square and the Mid-Manhattan Library), and learned to cook and make art projects in a tiny apartment.


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Inspiring Blog Nomination

I’m very grateful to have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by The Pinterested Parent.  She has a wonderful site and I highly recommend it!  I am always inspired by the wonderful people I meet through the blogsphere.  There is a strong and active community ready to inspire you.  Although there are many more than listed here, I have listed 15 very inspiring blogs I enjoy reading and feel are very deserving of this award.  Please check them out.









Here are the rules:

The Rules are simple:
-thank and link the mommy or daddy who nominated you
-list the rules and display the award
-share 7 facts about yourself
-nominate 15 other wonderful blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated
-*this is optional: you may display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you, spread the love!

7 Facts about Me

1. I’m pregnant!  Yes, I’m expecting my second baby boy around Thanksgiving.  What an interesting time to be due!  My 2.5 year old is slowly catching on to the new activity but I don’t think either of us is fully prepared for the change.  We never are, right?

2. I love reading and my favorite book right now is “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.  I try to crave out time every day to read something.  Recent books I’ve enjoyed are “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home” by Gretchen Rubin.  I can’t wait for her next book coming out soon called “Habits.”  I’m also reading “The Book Thief” and I just finished the “Divergent” series.

3. I’m an “obliger”.  Recently, I’ve enjoyed watching clips on YouTube where Gretchen Rubin talks about her new book “Habits.”  I’ve learned from her talks that I’m an “obliger.”  That means that I tend to obey outer (world) rules but not inner (self) rules.  You can also be a rebel, a questioner, or an upholder.  Check out her talk on YouTube called, Four Ways to Successfully Adopt Habits.

4. I am addicted to everything Montessori. When I started sending my toddler to a Montessori school, I become completely fascinated with everything to do with Montessori education.  It has been so helpful and meaningful to me as a new parent.

5. I grew up in New Jersey. Anyone else out there from New Jersey?  I only think about it now because I’m visiting NY city and it brings back some childhood memories.  I get to visit my old home after Labor Day and I have mixed feelings about it!

6. I love soy chai lattes. This is a favorite treat of mine.  I don’t have one everyday but it is my special treat.  I love that my husband and I share this treat together.  We have fun finding the best chai lattes in new places that we visit.  Still working on NY city.

7. I hate TV.  I like watching TV, sort of, but in reality I don’t like THE TV.  I don’t like having it on, especially when I’m not watching (which is a majority of the time).  I find it loud and irritating.  I DO watch movies occasionally but usually only with my husband.  I know – it’s weird.  I’m missing all those reality shows!  😉

My Nominations:

1. sixtine et victoire

2. care craft cook

3. nature study in the city

4. shelfwork

5. atlanta mom of three

6. simple life mom

7. go school yourself

8. montessori philosophy

9. busy little bunnies

10. raising natural kids

11. stupendous strouts

12. my mom thoughts

13. cooking with a wallflower

14.toddler tales

15. be a good mama


Just ONE Box

If you could keep just ONE box of toys or activities for your child, what would you keep?  I’m not talking about the essentials, like clothes, food, diapers, etc.  I’m talking about the extra things that keep our kids busy, usually called “toys” but not necessarily.  Some people need to make serious decisions about what to grab from their house, such as in the case of a fire, flood, or tornado.  But at that point, you aren’t thinking about toys as much as family momentos or essentials.  Luckily, I did not experience such a dire situation.  I did, however, find myself in a situation where I could only bring one box of toys for my toddler with us on a trip.  And they had to last us for about 3 months (and a few long car trips).  My husband is working on a 13 week project in NY city and I decided we (B and me) should go too.  That meant leaving our big house for a tiny apartment in the city.  What could I bring to keep my toddler busy for 3 months when I only had room in the car for only ONE medium size box of toys?  I had time to plan but in the end time didn’t matter.  I ended up waiting until everything else was packed and we were actually getting into the car to leave before I packed the toddler “toy” box.  I picked a few things (the educational activities) and let B choose the rest.  We are one and a half weeks into our trip and so far so good.

Here is a link to my YouTube video where you can see what we decided to bring.  It’s not much!

What would you bring for your kids if you could only take ONE box?  What are your children’s favorite toys or activities?  Have you ever had a similar experience?

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A Cricket In Times Square

Has anyone read “A Cricket in Times Square” by George Selden?  This was a favorite book of mine when I was young.  I couldn’t help thinking about the story during our exploration of Times Square and Rockefeller Center this past weekend.  I’m not a shopper so I think I’m done with this area of NYC.  Sensory overload!  We visited the Lego store, the M&M store, the Hersey store, and FOA Schwarz.  My favorite was the Hersey store and mainly because they handed out free chocolate.  Daddy and B loved the Legos and large stuffed animals.  I loved hearing B talk to the stuffed animals!  Too cute.


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