Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


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…


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.


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



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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Eerie Images of Kids Watching TV

Did you see these pictures on CNN?  The photos of these kids watching TV are eerie…yet revealing.  At least, it validated my concerns about screen time for young children.  Let’s get outside this summer!  Read in the grass, hike, explore, swim!  How’s your summer going so far?



Curriculum vs. Unschooling for Homeschools

As my little toddler (26 months) grows, I am becoming more and more interested in education systems and philosophies.  The latest one I am researching is called “unschooling.”  I won’t try to explain it because I am still learning about it.  I will say that is has my full attention at the moment and I am eager to learn more.  Have you heard of it?  Here are some resources I found so far:  1.) ; 2) public vs. homeschooling Youtube video; and several interesting blogs including an Unschooling Life and Racheous on deschooling.

These ideas made me rethink my last post about a Summer Curriculum and opened me up to a more flexible learning approach.  I kept my Shelf Work Chart and Weekly and Daily Goals because I like structure but I’m not as concerned whether everything gets accomplished.  Maybe it will go soon.  I like the idea of letting my child lead and following what he is interested in learning.  It’s less stressful to consider myself a resource rather than instructor.  I still work very hard to make an appealing, attractive work/play room with rotating, learning activities.  I also found after 1.5 weeks that the Shelf Work Chart is helpful for me to see what things we do regularly and what we tend to skip.  I can easily see that art and science do not get done often and that we consistently read books everyday.  This is helpful for planning the next day activities.  As I said, I am still learning all about different teaching methods.  I have decided, however, that “curriculum” is probably not the word I want to use from now on.  What do you think?  What do you think about unschooling?  Do you prefer a curriculum?

Although summer may not have started for you next or you may actually be going to fall (the other side of the world folks), our summer started the first week of June.  After about 1.5 weeks, here are some shapshots on what we have been up to.  We found a snake at the back door – yikes!  B knows alot about snakes now.  We have started learning about states, planets, and world monuments.  B really likes our planets poster.  We have been working on phonics.  We started with vowels and are now on “m” and linking vowels with “m”.  He can now read “ma”, “me”, “mi”, “mo”, “mu” and “mi”.  He seems really excited to be reading.  We are working on numbers 11-20 and B has started saying these numbers aloud.  B really loves all the practical life skills activities like scooping beans, pouring water, and sifting flour.  We went to our first children’s play and B loved it!  We also road on the lightrail for the first time.  We joined our library book club and start vacation bible school next week.  We have been swimming or biking or walking almost every night.  Next week, I want to play more in the woods near us (as opposed to parks) except I get poison ivy easily.  I also want to learn more about unschooling and how I can integrate those ideas into our home.

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Summer Toddler Fun

What are you up to this summer?  Here are some pictures showing our outdoor May activities.  For our  2-year old, it’s all about movement, especially running!  I hear “no, me” all day.  Okay, have at it kid!  There is still plenty of time for books, numbers and practical life skills with this rambunctious routine!  Even today, B had fun cutting his own fries at lunch.  We count everything that we can think of – button on shirts, mailboxes, cars, people, etc.  If B says “no” to reading a book, I pick it up and start reading it to myself, which elicits another “no,me!”  Can’t wait for more summer fun!  We’re going to join our library’s summer book club, check out some kid-friendly shows and outdoor plays downtown, visit a few museums, check out a few farms, and continue our Montessori work at home.  Should be exciting!

These pictures show play at a summer music concert, watering our herb pots, play at a fountain, and rides at a kiddie park.

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More about Charleston, SC









We stayed an amazing hotel in Charleston called Market Pavilion.  They were recently ranked #1 for small city hotel for the U.S. and Canada and #52 in the world.  We stayed on a floor that a had a concierge lounge which provided breakfast and snacks throughout the day!











Baby B loved most of the food.  Who doesn’t love an endless supply of cookies?!     










We ate at Magnolias.  A great restaurant in downtown Charleston.









We enjoyed walking by the water.








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We visited the Charleston Aquarium.

























Not sure why the aquarium had a lemur but it was cool.




















We enjoyed pastries at the Bakehouse.








We picked up some local artwork.

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We visited Fort Sumter.









On our last day we visited Patriots Point and the USS Yorktown.

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And of course lots of beach time!!