Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


ABC Sticky Note Game

My three-year old is working on mastering beginning word sounds.  As his vocabulary and speech improves, he is able to associate more words.  My toddler and his grandpa play a game where they take turns thinking of a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet.  We made up a new game today!

I gave my toddler a sticky note with a letter on it – “A” then “B” and so on.  He took the sticky note and together we looked for things around the house that started with that letter.  Then he “stickied” the object by placing the sticky note on it.  Some objects where a little challenging, such as the cat, but he tried!  This game could be expanded to word ending sounds, middle word sounds, rhyming words or the entire word.  Of course, in the end there are stickies all over the house but that’s ok with me!

Apples (decorative), coconuts (a lamp made out of coconuts), and eggs (hard-boiled)!  Just a few of the beginning sound words that were stickied today!

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Distinguishing Sounds Activity

I believe there are several versions of this activity.  I’m curious how you would structure this game.  I took three noisy items (keys, bells, and rocks), showed them to my toddler (almost 3 years old) and then placed the items in three brown bags.  I shook each bag and had B guess which item was in the bag.  He had to guess based only on the sound.  He also had fun reaching into the bags, feeling the items, and naming them – so distinguishing the items based on touch.  This activity encourages your toddler to pay attention, listen, and distinguish sounds.

Do you have a similar distinguishing sounds activity?



Easy Busy Toddler Activities – Egg/Spoon Races, Moving Marbles and Sifting Flour

Grab a spoon and go!  I love our new game of racing plastic eggs on large kitchen spoons.  B yells, “RACE!”  And B can’t get enough of transferring marbles with the wooden, toaster tongs.  I keep watching him to see why he likes it so much.  Maybe it’s the shape and color of the marbles.  We have also been working on cracking eggs this week.  B LOVED cracking the eggs into a bowl and wanted to practice on all the eggs.  I had to explain why we needed to save some – it’s always for Daddy or Papa.  He’s okay with saving some for them.  Earlier in the week we sifted flour.  This activity keeps him busy for a very long time and he becomes completely engrossed (also covered with flour).  Also, B enjoys pictures of himself that I post on the refrigerator.  He likes to take them down and talk about them (himself).  These were the top hits for this week and they were super easy!  What are your kids playing with this week?

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Phonics and Science with Your Toddler


Half way through the third week of June.  B (almost 27 months) and I have been enjoying new activities together.  As described in my last two posts, I’m striving for a balance between structure and exploration type learning.  The free-form exploration type learning seems to be winning out.  For example, we are working on basic phonics and early reading.  I am following a simple phonics book called “First Reader” by Phyllis Schlafly.  You can find it on Amazon.  We used this book first as another tool for learning letters and now we are working on putting two letters together.  The first exercise is placing “M” in front on the vowels.  B thinks it’s fun and seems excited to read.  The fun went to a whole new level when I added wooden tile letters and let him take “MA” on a ride in his excavator.  He wanted to do it with all the vowels and made the sounds on his own without me asking.    You can see some of the pictures of this activity below.

In my first picture B is chasing bubbles.  We played with small and big bubbles at school and made tornados in soda bottles filled with colored water.  You just spin the bottle around really fast and it makes a tornado in the water.  We are having fun with simple science projects such as these this summer.  We have also transferred water between cups in a straw like a hummingbird would sip nectar from a flower.  Yesterday we picked a maple leaf and placed it in a glass of water with red food coloring.  We are now watching the food dye transfer into the leaf.  B also likes to discuss how water moves from the sky, into the ground, and up into trees.  I think he gets it.  Maybe.

You can see some other Montessori inspired shelf work ideas below.  Also, I am doing a video each week and posting it on my YouTube account.  You should be able to find them simply by searching for Adrienne Gilman on YouTube but here is a link anyway to my last video.


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At Home Montessori Toddler Activities

Here are some toddler activities that we have enjoyed recently!  My little guy is 22 months but there is a wide range of ages that would enjoy these activities.  What are your favorite toddler activities?

In this activity, B is matching colored chip clips with the same color cups.  He can pinch them onto the side of the cup or just place them inside.  This pincer exercise is a little easier than regular wooden clothespins and the color are interesting.  I found these chip clips in the grocery store and the cups are from Ikea.









Here is another pincer activity with chip clips.  If the toddler is just learning this type of work, he or she can pull the clip off and place them in the cup.  Ounce they have mastered pulling off the clips, they can work on putting them on the side of the cup or basket.










Here are two color sorting activities.  Since B is getting efficient at this activity, I added lids to the work.  The orange, yellow and green canister lids that I picked up at Michael’s are challenging but manageable to get off.  The second color sorting activity is a little more challenging because the bugs have some different shades and patches of other colors.  Also, bugs are just fun!

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Here are two practical life skill activities for your toddlers.  The first is placing stirring straws in two different shakers.  The second is a tea set.  B has really enjoyed the tea set recently.  He transfers water between the dishes.  He spills it all over the place but we clean it up together with a dish towel.














We have recently enjoyed simple memory games.  Here I put the red bear under a cup and let B find it among some other cups.  B thought this was pretty funny!  Silly bear.  It’s like advanced side and seek.









Finally, here are some fun pictures from around our work/play room and house.  B loves transportation so we count vehicles.  He also loves it when I put up new pictures that I have cut out from magazines.  He’ll point to pictures and we talk about them.  I also bought some sunflowers.  Just thought they looked pretty!  Come on spring!

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Strawberry Picking at Hall Family Farm!

Today I met a few moms for strawberry picking!  Hall Family Farm ( is a great place to take kids.  There were several different play areas for various ages.  There was a shaded, penned in area with toys, a water table, a small maze, and lots of tricycles.  You could enjoy chickens, a tractor ride and funnel cake.  The strawberry patches were a short walk away and there were lots of patches to pick with lots of room for everyone to roam.  Baby B took a little while to figure out what we were doing.  Ounce he figured out that he could pick a strawberry and eat it before I could stop him (or cared to stop him) things got messy.  And I got messy too!  Baby B loved squeezing the strawberries and ring out the juice.  He slurped drips as they ran down his hands and arms.  Pure bliss.  He smiled at me and showed off each new strawberry that he found.  I tried to point to the bucket and explain that we were collecting them but that seemed ridiculous even to me.  I finally resolved to fill our bucket as fast as I could or at least faster than Baby B could scarf down an entire row.  It was a blast!  I made up for eating strawberries by buying a strawberry smoothie and some honey.

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