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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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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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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