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Showing posts from 2011

Questions and Answers

I have had a few questions asked multiple times and I thought I would share them on a post. Jumping into a Structured Play program can be very daunting. If you have not checkout my Getting Started Page, you should do so. It will give some further guidance. Here are a few Q&As about Sensory Boxes...
1. Do you wash and dry all the beans/stones items in the box first?
No, I do not wash the beans, rocks or other 'filler'. We wash hands after and they do not make too much of a mess with a little dust.


2. Won't your child spill those beans "outside" the box and how do you manage it?
I have a very strict rule with our Structured Play time and space. I have just always started this way and continue to enforce the rules. They spill out of the box and that is uncontrollable for the most part. If they spill, he and I just pick them up. If he spills them on purpose to break the rules I put the box away. He knows this rule and for the most part he follows the rule unless he…

Car Mat and Unstructured Pretend Play

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This is the car mat I made for Jacob for Christmas. I actually made it last year but he has enjoyed it so much lately I thought I would post about it. I used examples from more than a few blogs to put this together. I included all of our favorite places and some places I thought would be fun. There is a gas station, train station, farm, bakery, fire station, car wash, library, police station, grocery store, zoo and neighborhood. 
Jake uses all sorts of vehicles on the mat, even some of his big trucks. He loves construction and brings his construction equipment over to "work" on the area next to the mat to build a road or building that is not yet there.  He is using blocks to build a building. Notice he has his "workers" and his trucks. This play mat is a great example of pretend play. When he started playing with it he used the provided buildings and we would drive around visiting each one. The pretending was very surface level. Now he has moved up developmenta…

Daddy's Christmas Present

Pin It Jake and I made a Christmas gift for his Dad this year. I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be a perfect gift! See you take an undershirt and fabric markers and draw roads on the back. We drew roads in addition to our favorite places around town.
I left some spaces for Jake to color as well. He told me what he was coloring and I wrote words describing them. 

What a perfect gift! Daddy gets a message and a much needed nap while Jake gets hours of fun with his cars. This really is ideal because Jake is still in his parallel play mode. He wants us to sit with him but once we do he enjoys doing his own thing. This way he feels someone is there playing with him!
He even added to the shirt by driving up his Dad's legs with the school bus to pick kids up on the "mountain!" I got in on a little action too! It felt great and no bribery for a massage! ;)




Puppets

Puppets! Jake is really into puppets right now because they are used at our Story Time at the library. We have an amazing library that provides story time twice a day, 3 days a week. There are two actors at a time and one goes behind the stage to "be" a puppet while the other reads a story. Jacob gets so excited for the random puppets to come out and he will sit memorized the entire time.  Although I have tried to act out stories with the puppets, Jake only wants to use the puppets to read stories as they are done in the library. Whenever I read a story he pulls out the puppets and uses them to talk about the story. Then after I am finished he hands me a puppet and he reads a story. He has even started changing his voice for the sound of the puppet. He mostly copies things the puppets at the library say but it is all part of the learning process. I love that he relates the puppets to reading and that he wants to take turns with the puppets and the reading! Fun times!!

Top 5 Posts for the 2011

Can you believe another year is coming to an end? It is hard for me to think about my little guy growing up so fast. As I view the top posts for 2011 I look back at what we have done and see my little angel's sweet baby face thin out. It is a time of reflection and makes me even more happy that I have this time with my boys!
Top 5 Posts for 2011 Name Recognition 

Snowman Felt Board
Rainbow Fish
Learning Shapes
Dramatic Play- Hanging up Clothes
I can't wait to continue another year of Structured Play with Jacob! I love seeing him grow and learn. He has taught me so much and watching him learning new things is the best reward! I love being able to work with him and play at the same time! We have a good time!

My favorite activities had to be in August when we did the Construction Theme. This was my favorite because it was Jake's favorite! He loves Animals, Christmas and everything else but construction is his thing!
Thank you all for following! I truly appreciate all of you that take …

Fun in the Kitchen

I feel it is very important to include Jacob in food preparation. I think it makes a differences in a child's life to know where their food comes from and how it is prepared. Jacob loves being in the kitchen with me and helping whenever he can.


I try to include a kitchen activity at least once each month and what better better thing to make this month than Christmas cookies. We made sugar cookies, rolled them out and cut out shapes.
Baby Joey helped with moral support! He was so busy "talking" that he kicked off his sock! Making the cookies was a good time but the real fun came when we iced them!
 That is Jake "sampling" the icing. He didn't bother licking the spatula he just stuck his hand right in! I, of course, told him not to do that but it did not stop it from sneaking a bite or two! :)
Jake had a great time decorating. He was so focused on decorating that he barely said a word. I suggested that he use sprinkles and cinnamon circles. He got a little ca…

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Since I was a kid my family has always participated in a gift exchange for Christmas. We all give everyone a gift. It doesn't have to be anything expensive but at least something for everyone. I wanted to include Jake in this gift giving tradition. Last year we started by making coasters for everyone. This year we are making ornaments. We mixed together some salt dough and rolled it out. He did a great job using the cookie cutters. I moved them to a cookie sheet and poked holes in them. I used a straw to stamp a hole and let me tell you that is the way to do it! Super easy and perfect size holes. We also made some hand prints. I saw the hand print Santas on Pinterest and knew I had to make some! I baked the ornaments until they dried out. We painted them the next day.



After the paint dried we used paint sticks to paint on faces. We then strung them with red yarn. I had Jake decide which ornament to give to which family member by showing him pictures of each person. We live away from …

Christmas Carfts

More Christmas Tree crafts and more gluing!  This week's craft activity is gluing decorations on a Christmas tree. This decorations are confetti and very hard to pick up. I thought they would be good to help with motor skills in addition to crafting.  Jake did a great job decorating the tree. He got frustrated trying to pick up the confetti but figured out a clever way to pick them up. He used the sticky glue stick! He still had some trouble taking the confetti off of the glue but it was good practice in patience and perseverance.  Here is his finished product. Just another example of a crafty Christmas activity that helps a toddler with motor skills, understanding a holiday and patience! In other words, the small things we can to that can teach so much more. Get crafty today!

Introducing the Game Concentration to a Toddler

Jacob is 28 months old and not quite ready for Concentration. Other toddlers may very well be ready for a game of Concentration (also known as Memory) but he is not, at least not the traditional way of playing. 
Concentration is a great game for kids to play to build memory and observation skills. Not to mention the basic skills games teach; patience, taking turns and being a good winner/loser. I saw cute erasers at the Dollar Store that came in a package of 12 with 6 different designs. I turned them upside down and put them into rows and columns.  Jake saw these on the table and wanted to come check them out right away. He wanted to flip them over. I let him flip one over and we talked about it. I made sure to point out details in the shape of the eraser in hopes that he would learn to keep an eye on details. Yes, this is giving it away but this is a modification to the game and a way to teach the game. I then told him to look at the shapes of the erasers to see if he could find anothe…