Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


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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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Road Trip Ideas for Kids

Summers are all about the road trips.  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  

The real question is how to keep the kids busy until we are there, wherever there may be.  Beach?  Grandma’s house?  Camp?  We’re about to finish up our adventure in Washington, D.C.  Then we are off to the beach in a few weeks.  In the fall, we’re visiting St. Louis.  Whew!  I don’t even like to travel!  How is it that I travel more with children then I ever did before they were born?

Since I try to minimize screen time, I was very excited about this little find at the library – Playaway.  You can rent these all-in-one recorded book devices at the library or buy them online (playaway.com or Amazon).  The handheld devices are light and easy for my toddler to start and stop.  One device usually has one recorded book but some have a collection of short books.  You can get all types of books – children’s, young adult, classics.

My toddler has been enjoying listening to books via Playaway in the car and it’s a great activity for a long car trip.  Since your child uses headphones to listen, that means you don’t have to listen.  Sometimes I like to listen to music and stories with my child but sometimes mommy needs quiet time!  My favorite part is hearing my toddler burst out laughing in a seemingly random way when everything and everyone else is quiet.  It’s almost as good as hearing him talk to himself.  You could give your child an actual book to hold while they listen or just let them listen without any visuals.  Either way is fun.

What are some interesting ways to keep kids busy in the car?  Have any long car trips planned for this summer?

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Toddler (Spring) Fever

Springtime is like a toddler.  One moment a lamb and the next moment a lion.  Quick to change, a whirlwind of activity, excited about everything, and ready to begin again and again and again.  My toddler is about to turn 3 and just like the 2 year old lion we met at the zoo – he’s found his roar!  (Lions develop their roaring capability after they turn two.)  Just like I’ve completely given up on the weatherman (because who can blame him, the weather changes every second in the spring – rain one minute, sun the next, 70 degrees back to 50 degrees in a day), I have given up predicting my toddler.  My 3 1/2 month old is more predictable!  I DO know that summer will arrive eventually.

This past week I retreated to my parents house at the beach for a respite (or as close as I’ll ever get!).  My husband is away traveling and in addition to that disruption we have dealt with stomach bugs, sore throats (me), runny noses, temper tantrums, and the usual travel conditions – new routines, new foods, new places, new temper tantrums (did I mention that already?).  When I think about all we’ve done, it seems that my toddler has weathered the storm quite heroically.  Through it all I have continued a learn-on-the-go, Montessori-inspired, education philosophy.  The beach is one HUGE sensorial bin.  I have “followed the child” down the beach for an aimless, toddler walk.  We have discovered nature at the zoo and listened to grandparents reading stories.

So, my question…how do you keep education rolling along when everything else is constantly changing?  School work during trips?  At the grandparent’s house?  At the beach?  On springbreak?

Pictures from our trip to Nana’s and Papa’s at the beach…

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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?

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Toddler Letter Activities

I am always working on letters with my toddler (almost 3 years old).  The general learning pattern so far has been 1.) identify letters and the phonetic sounds 2.) learn beginning sounds of words 3.) learn to sound out words and 4.) learn ending sounds of words.  Sounding out the ends of words is still very challenging.  Even though he is learning to sound out words, we still go back and focus on specific letters to encourage mastery.  It is very motivating for him to work on things that stretch his learning as well as things that he has mastered.  And of course, the number one learning activity for letters is READING out loud together!  We read everyday and visit the library every week.  Here are some shelf work ideas involving LETTERS.

How are you teaching letters and early reading to your little ones?

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Homeschool Field Trip to Nature Museum

My toddler (almost 3 years old) attends a Montessori school three days a week.  On our days at home, I enjoy the opportunity to take “field trips” around the city.  And, let’s be honest, mommy needs to get out of the house.  Yesterday we took a trip to our city’s Nature Museum.  As a Montessori parent, I’m a strong advocate of hands-on learning.  I think we all remember and learn better using different types of media and senses (aka sensorial learning and Montessori sensorial bins).  At the Museum, which is designed for young kids’ play, we saw an opossum and chicken up close.  A worker brought the animals out of their holding areas and talked to the kids about them.  When I later asked Boaz what he liked at the Museum he remembered and was able to talk about the opossum and chicken at dinner which proved to me that the hands-on type of interaction was memorable and best promoted learning.  The snakes, frogs, bugs, and other animals in their cages were not as memorable, although I’m sure he learned something from them.  To underscore how kids learn using hands-on experiences, Boaz still talks about a science fair that we attended in New York during the summer.  He often recalls seeing the homemade rockets and talks about how they flew in the air.  Time to make our own!

Do you take homeschool or weekend field trips with your kids?  How do those trips promote learning?

Pictures from our trip to the Nature Museum.  Boaz LOVED watching the chicken and met a friendly opossum.

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