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Showing posts from November, 2010

December Theme: Christmas

Well, no surprise here, December's theme is Christmas! I am saving the snow theme for January so it will strictly be Christmas without an emphasis on snow. Jake did experience snow last year but I am certain that he does not remember! We will wait until we get some first hand experience to explore the snow theme.
A few notes before you download the plans:
*Because Jacob is so young we will not be getting into other religious holidays this year. I do think this is very important and we will explore other holidays in the coming years. I feel this is an important way to help instill tolerance and understanding of others.
*We are going to attempt gift making. These are simple activities that Jacob can do alone for the most part. I want him to make and then pass out the gifts to experience the joy of gift giving.
*I have decided to make another mobile for this month. Jake loved the leaf mobile last month and walked under it allowing it to brush against his head daily. This month I deci…

Reflections

Just wanted to take some time and reflect on November's activities. I have seen some real growth in Jacob's skills this month. Toddlers are sponges and grow and learn so quickly it is important to take time to reflect on this growth.

Sensory Boxes- I am quite happy with the skills these Sensory Boxes have strengthen. Jacob is spooning/scooping very well. He takes time and really observes items and he has shown his imaginary skills by doing a lot of pretending.

Crafts- Jake loves to color, paint and glue! He is an artist and loves to create. Giving him the opportunity to do so almost daily fosters creativity.

Games- Jake is learning through game playing that one needs to take turns and to share. He is really doing well with sharing!

Reading- I have never spent extended time with toddlers but in the time I have spent with toddlers I have never seen a child love reading as much as Jake does! I think I am enjoying this the most! He reads all day long. I love watching him pick up b…

Thanksgiving Leaf Place-mat

Today we decided to put together our Leaf Place-mat! We collected leaves on this month's Field Trip: nature walk. I place the leaves in between the pages of a big book to allow them to dry out flat. It is advised to leave them smashed between the pages of a book for at least a week. We left them in a bit longer just because we have not had the time to make the place-mat yet but the leaves were good and dried and nice and flat!
I used a piece of construction paper 9" x 12" hoping that it would fit in Jake's highchair tray. Next, I spread glue all over the paper. I thought this would be the best way to cover the paper but still have him participate.  I spread the leaves out on the table to allow him to pick them up. I picked one up and placed it on the paper then pushed it down dramatically to make it look fun! I added Jacob's favorite phrase, "bang, bang," when I pushed it down. I did this hoping he would find it funny and want to participate. He jumped ri…

Leaf Cookies

Today we went into the kitchen for a little dramatic play! We made some sugar cookies then used a cookie cutter to cut out leaf (and pumpkin) shapes.
Jake loves the kitchen! Come on, it is where we keep the food that he must constantly be feeding himself! :)  He really likes to 'help' me cook and clean. I thought this would be a favorite activity for November. From the beginning Jake was right in the mix! Can you hear the "Brrrrr?" Jake loved listening to the motor of the mixer. Although he still needed to stir the batter after it was mixed! "Playing" in the kitchen is A LOT of work! It can be a joyous time and create memories of a lifetime but one must truly let some control go to allow this to happen! Case in point, above, I was rolling out the dough and trying to have Jake help me when he took over! He has never used a rolling pin and did not truly know how to use it but he HAD to have it and try! This is when you give-up control and let him experiment. It w…

Reading with a Toddler

Reading is something that we all do daily, but trying to read to and with a toddler is not the reading we are used to doing. Exposure to reading and to books is key for toddlers not the story line or comprehension of the text. At this point, reading might  not even include 'reading.' It is very hard for adults to accept that we can open a book, look at pictures and even talk about a book when we do not read the words. Many times I find myself reading Jacob's stories after he walks out of the room just because I want to enjoy the story.
When going to the library weekly, I always have a list of books to look for from our monthly theme list. But I also try to find books that might spark interest in my son. These are books that have pictures that Jake can identify. At this point in his development he is not interesting in listening to stories but rather looking at the pictures and naming the items that he knows. *That does not mean that I do not read the stories to him!
So here…

November Sensory Box

This month's sensory box includes popcorn kernels as a base. I have silk leaves, plastic acorns, scarecrow and pilgrim faces, foam pumpkins, and a stuffed squirrel and turkey. There are measuring spoons and a bowl as well.  I introduce the box by letting Jacob explore on his own for a few minutes. Then I start pointing out different items in the box. I show him what he can do with them and I model observing each item to learn more about them.  My goals for this sensory box are: 1. Practice fine motor skills by scooping popcorn kernels with spoons
2. Imaginary play by pretending to feed squirrel acorns
3. Identify facial features and 'hats' on scarecrow and pilgrim faces (He is pointing to his own mouth instead of the one on the pilgrim)
4. Free play and Having Fun! 

Hide the Turkey!

Jake really gets a kick out of 'finding' things. So this month I decided to include a game where we do just that! I made a little toy turkey out of some supplies from the craft store; a small puff ball, foam pieces and googly eyes.
I started by showing Jake the turkey and repeatedly calling it a turkey so he learned what it was (he gets stuck on balls so when he saw that it was made using a ball he just wanted it to be a ball!). Next, I closed my hands around it and asked, "Where is the turkey?" He laughed and pulled my hands apart. Then we started being more creative, hiding it up our shirts, in our pockets and behind our backs. Finally, I moved on to around the room; behind the chair, under the window and inside of the book. Each time I would hide it in front of him then ask, "Where is the turkey?". He would go and get it and I would emphasize vocabulary such as, "Yes, you found the turkey inside of the book, you found the turkey under the window, beh…

November Finger Painting

Today I decided to do some finger painting. As in the monthly plans, the plan was to paint Jake's hand and arm and stamp it on the paper to represent a tree. Then to finger stamp leaves on the tree and falling from the tree. After painting a few times we have learned to be prepared! As you can see from the picture above I have everything ready before we start! All my supplies are out; paper, paper plates, WIPES, paint, brushes, and a smock. The smock was a new addition. It was like $6 for this little smock but well worth it! It as long sleeves with elastic around the wrists to keep clothes out of the way. It is long but not cumbersome. 
I started by painting his hand and a bit of his arm. He loved this, laughing and squishing the paint in between his fingers. I held his arm the entire time so he could not paint the walls! As soon as I stamped it down I wiped it off with a baby wipe. It all came off with one wipe and without any trouble!  Next we added some leaves. In the plans I, or…

Leaf Mobile

We decided to put together the Leaf Mobile today after reading a few of our Leaf Books. Our leaves are fading fast around here so I decided to use paper leaf cutouts that I picked up at our local teacher store instead of real leaves. 
I just used thread to string the leaves to the hanger. (Real generic) I knew I would be doing this craft and that he would not pay too much attention to the details. I did decided to put two of the same leaves together when stringing them so that you can see the leaf from both sides.  Jake did not help much during the time of putting it all together, although he thought he did. He would take leaves and throw them up at the mobile. He also held the thread as I cut pieces off.  As we were putting together the mobile I tried to reiterate the vocabulary; leaves and falling. I kind of made up a song as I went:
To the tune of Frere Jacques Leaves are falling, Leaves are falling, To the ground, To the ground, All the leaves are falling, All the leaves are falling, Down to…

Dramatic Play

Raking Leaves We are doing many of our outside activities right away this month because we do not know how much longer we are going to be able to enjoy the outdoors with winter at our doorstep!  We headed outside to rake some leaves. I chose to add this activity to our plans for a few reasons:  1. It is an outside activity where we can practice gross motor skills 2. Jake LOVES sweeping and raking is the same idea so I knew he would enjoy this activity 3. It gives us time to practice vocabulary words; leaves, falling, raking, tree... I started by giving Jake a small rake while I took the bigger one. I then raked a small (in comparison to the yard, big in comparison to him) pile of leaves. You can see that he really enjoyed himself! He did not understand that we could jump into the pile and have fun too! I had to do it first to model it for him and then he still was not too sure. I walked into the pile and he liked that much better.  We took time to throw the leaves around too! It was a lot of…

Field Trip

Our Field Trip this month includes a Leaf Walk. This can be done at a park, through your neighborhood or even at the zoo! We took our walk around our neighborhood. We take a daily walk anyway but for this 'Field Trip' I wanted to make sure Jake was experiencing the leaves so he walked! Usually he rides in the stroller and we usually take the dog. I did take the dog, next time probably will not, it was hard managing the dog and a walking toddler. It was a very slow walk, as it should be, we took time to notice leaves on trees and on the ground. We picked up leaves and we stomped leaves. Jake enjoyed the walk. It was like his first walk because he was actually walking. He was so proud of himself! He was taking my lead by looking at the leaves and taking time with them! He would pick one up, look at it, then bring it to me to share! Through the process, he found a few nuts and even a stick he wanted me to see. I was very happy about these discoveries, because he displayed that he …