Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


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Using Puzzles for Scissor, Sorting and Tracing Activities

Maybe you don’t need to consign those old puzzles just yet…

This Melissa & Doug puzzle is not a challenge for my toddler anymore.  It’s perfect for my 8 month old.  I found a way, however, to expand its use and let my toddler get more out of it.  Here are some ideas for this puzzle…

Cutting 

1.) We drew shapes on construction paper so that the shapes and colors matched the spots on the puzzle.  First we practiced cutting the shapes to match the puzzle pieces.

Sorting 

2.) Then we matched the cut out shapes with the puzzle holes.  (You can also count them as you go.)

Tracing 

 

3.) Last we used the big puzzle pieces to practice tracing shapes with crayons.  The big knobs were very helpful!

I wonder what else we can come up with for our other puzzles!

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7 Months!

He’s keenly aware of his brother every move.  He scoots across the room as soon as you turn your back.  He thinks he can walk (he can’t) and insists on standing up (one second).  He pulls himself up on things and then topples over.  He has two bottom teeth, which he likes to grind into my shoulder.  He is DONE with baby toys – only big brother’s toys will do.  He either screams or sleeps in the car, there’s no in-between.  He sucks his thumb when he’s tired (pretty cute).  He’s tried mashed bananas and avocados so far and although he doesn’t appear to get any of it into his mouth (it’s straight into the bath after a feeding) his poops smell like, well, poop.  He’s SEVEN MONTHS!

 

My favorite things to do with my seven-month old:

Put him in my wrap and go for walks or go to the beach or pool.  (I have a regular wrap and a water wrap).

Roll a ball to him (he’s always amazed when it reaches him).

Try and read a book to him (before he eats it).

Watch him cover himself with mashed bananas (somehow cuter than mashed avocados).

Baby exercises!  (He sits on my stomach or around me for leg lifts, sit-ups, stretches, and squats.)

Introduce new things (primary colors, shapes, textures) in a small wooden tray Montessori-style.  (He usually tries to eat the tray.)

Let him check himself out in the mirror (he’s in love with his reflection – the brother he wishes really he had).

Swing in the baby swings at the playground (or with Daddy on the big swing).

Play peek-a-boo!  (Usually during diaper changes using a small blanket – otherwise he scoots away before we’re done).

Tickle-fest!  (He has the funniest laugh!)

Songs with musical instruments (usually something we can bang – BAM-BAM)!

Chase the cat, dog, or big brother (and grab fistfuls of hair)!

Bite Papa’s toes (the baby does that – not me – but it makes me laugh)!

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Boxes, Beach, Biology

We are off again on another adventure!  Last year this time we were packing for New York City.  This year we are off to St. Louis!

Check out our other recent travels around Georgia and Washington DC.  My friend took some amazing pictures of our travels which you can find on her blog, Stupendous Strouts.  She has a gift for photography and managing/mommying three adorable children!

Our next trip to St. Louis is for my new job.  I’m an attorney, doula, and now college professor!  I’m very excited to be heading back to my alma mater and teaching a subject that I’m passionate about  – ENVIRONMENTAL LAW/POLICY.  I graduated from Vermont Law School (the #1 environmental law school in the nation!) with a dual degree in environmental law.  I will be working in the BIOLOGY department which is where I spent most of my sleepless nights during college.  I was a biology (B.S.) and political science double major.  My husband and I actually had dates at the Science Center.  We would stay up late splitting a Reese’s peanut butter cup and working on homework.  He wrote code while I wrote papers!

Before I return to my beloved Biology department, we are hitting the BEACH!  We’ll be beach bums for the entire month of July.  My husband wants to try kite surfing but I think we should get a paddle board!

In order to accomplish all of the above, our house has been full of BOXES!  Traveling makes you appreciate your home but clearing clutter is refreshing and living in a new place is energizing.  Traveling can be exhausting but it’s worth it.  Here’s to enjoying the journey!

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Montessori Trays: Why they work

What’s up with the trays?  The first thing you will probably notice about a Montessori-inspired home or Montessori classroom is the TRAYS.  In our home, I use whatever is available – wooden trays, wooden bowls, woven baskets, plastics serving dishes, etc – usually picked up at a consignment shop like Goodwill.

I didn’t really understand the purpose of the trays until my three-year old had friends over who pulled everything off our shelves and threw things on the floor.  We actually didn’t mind but Boaz busily put everything back into their correct places.  Order and placement is ingrained into his habits and nature.

His learning experience begins when he enters the room.  How are things organized?  How are they grouped together?  The next challenge – can he pick up the tray with the activity and carry to his table or the floor to play?  This requires balance, coordination, and focus.  When he’s done, can he put it back without dropping it before getting a new activity?  Again – focus, attention, patience.

Don’t give up before they start!  At first, they may throw things on the floor.  After awhile they understand the process.  And this process – organizing toys and activities on shelves with trays or other containers – makes clean up quicker!  It also promotes continual learning development from the minute they enter the room.  That’s why we love Montessori trays!

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God’s curriculum is Nature

Do you ever need a theme other than nature?

We have been enjoying our playtime in nature during the recent warm, spring weather.  It’s difficult to tell who enjoys it more, me, Noah (5 mon), or Boaz (3 yrs).  I can’t say enough good things about my toddler’s reactions to nature.  I enjoy incorporating nature (sand, ocean animals, more animals) into our shelf work (Montessori-inspired).  Sometimes my toddler needs a little encouragement as we drive by the playground and head to the beach, woods, or water areas.  The playground equipment calls to him.  We go there too, after we play in nature.  Since I talk it up so much, I thought I’d show some pictures to prove we really do it!  You’ll see some pictures of a scenic park off of a lake where you can walk along the water, through the woods, and down to a beach.  We discovered a pair of ducks and built (rather destroyed) sand castles.  At home, I made activities with sand and toy animals – matching games, words games, and sensorial activities – to bring nature into the house and continue the theme.

I think that God’s curriculum is Nature.

 

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