Sunday, June 22, 2014

15 Months: All About Daddy

Father's Day was last Sunday, but we continued thinking about Daddy all week long. I decided to do something a little different this week...I didn't fill the shelves. Instead, I brought the activities out when we wanted to do one. We also read some great books about Daddy.

The Daddy Book by Todd Parr
Daddy Hugs 1 2 3 by Karen Katz
Just Like Daddy by Cecilia Johansson
Father's Day by Anne Rockwell
Daddy Adventure Day by Dave Keane
Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea
Driving Daddy by Hope Vestergaard

Make a Father's Day Card
Little Cutie gets very excited when she sees me get out a crayon and paper. In the past, we tried giving her more than one crayon at a time and it was too overwhelming for her. She loves to color scribble. Unfortunately, she still occasionally puts things in her mouth, so the actual coloring doesn't last very long. Daddy liked his card from her.

Hape Pound and Tap Bench
Daddy loves woodworking and fixing things around the house, so this toy fit perfectly with our Daddy theme. Little Cutie can hit the balls with the hammer pretty well,  but can't quite hit them hard enough for them to fall through. She does love to play the xylophone and make loud music!

Laugh & Learn Learning Lawn Mower
Daddy mows the lawn in our household and Little Cutie loves to watch him from the windows. I have never seen her play with this toy as much as she did this week. I showed her how when you push it, the balls spin around in the top. She probably spent more time dragging it backwards around the house, but occasionally went forward. We noticed it works better on surfaces with more traction (like the carpet). She danced when it played songs and we pretended to mow the letters on our floor letter mat.

Daddy loves sports, but the weather was too hot in our neck of the woods to get outside, so we opted for some indoor bowling! Little Cutie was more interested in throwing the bowling balls and pins and hearing the noise they made when they hit the tile floor. She didn't play for very long.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

15 Months: Numbers

Last week, we focused on all things numbers. A little bit of number recognition as well as counting. Here were our shelves:

My Very First Book of Numbers by Eric Carle
123 Beep Beep Beep: a Counting Book by Brian Biggs
My First Numbers: Let's Get Counting! by Dawn Sirett
Numbers by Xavier Deneux
Eight Silly Monkeys illustrated by Steve Haskamp
I Spy Little Numbers by Jean Marzollo
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Count with Dora! by Phoebe Beinstein
Counting in Candyland (Hasbro)
How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? by Jean Yolen & Mark Teague
Five Little Sleepyheads by Andreas Nemet and Hans-Christian Schmidt
John Deere: Farm 1 2 3
1 2 3 a Slide-and-Seek Book by Claire Henley

Little Cutie was so excited when we got these out. So excited in fact, that she was banging on the case of dominoes and they flipped over and all fell on the floor. She liked the sound they made when they hit the tile floor and ended up continuing to throw them on the tile. I was afraid they would break, so we put them away. She helped me pick them up one at a time.

Outdoor Foam Number Hunt
This wasn't as successful as I thought it would be. I popped out the numbers from our foam alphabet mat and scattered them around our backyard. I was thinking Little Cutie would go around the yard and pick them up, but she wanted nothing to do with it. Apparently, my child has not been exposed to grass enough in her life because that was all she was interested in. We ended up moving the numbers to the patio and after a few minutes of just running around, she started to pick them up and hand them to us. We talked about what number she picked up.

Counting Stickers
She did not like the stickiness of the stickers, so I ended up peeling them off the sheet for her and holding them over the space on the paper. Then, she pushed them down onto the paper to make them stick. She walked away as we started the fifth row. (I created this sheet to fit the stickers we were using, but you could really use it with anything. You can get a copy of it HERE)

Stacking Cups
This lasted maybe 1 minute. She does normally love the stacking cups, but I think she just wasn't feeling it at the time. I stacked them all up, she got really excited, knocked it down, and walked away.

Poms in a Container
To say that Little Cutie loved this activity is an understatement. She still occasionally puts things in her mouth, so I kept this one in a container until we were ready to play. At first, she didn't really know what to do with everything, but when I showed her how to put the pom through the hole in the container, she giggled. She did this activity over and over again. We counted the poms as she put them in the container. I think we played with this every day of the week.

5 Little Ducks
We sang the nursery rhyme 5 Little Ducks and used five little rubber ducks and one larger rubber duck to show the ducks not coming back. I was sitting behind our red ottoman and Little Cutie came around the corner to look for where the little ducks were going. We also read the Raffi book 5 Little Ducks and then I let her play with the ducks. She loves rubber ducks and when they squeak.

B. One Two Squeeze Blocks
We started our play by putting the blocks in a pyramid and Little Cutie knocked it over. These blocks come in a little zippered bag and she loved taking them out of the bag and putting them back in. Each block has a different number on it (1-10) with animals and different designs that add up to that number, so we spent some time counting those and talking about the animals. She also enjoyed throwing the blocks all over the room.

Stirring with a Bowl and Spoon
I took a small mixing bowl from our kitchen, three sippy cup lids, and a big spoon and let her stir the lids up. She absolutely loved this activity. She carried the bowl all over the house and added other things to stir in.

We didn't quite get to read every book on our list, but other than that, we had a good week with numbers.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

15 Months: Shapes

I know it's June and many people are winding down from school things for the summer, but we are just getting started in our house! We began with the simple theme of shapes last week (just circles, squares, and triangles), and used many toys that we already had at home. Here's what our shelves looked like:

We tried to read at least two books each day and do two activities each day. There wasn't really much structure or plan. If Little Cutie seemed like she was looking for something to do, we would go pick something from a shelf.

Brainy Baby Shapes and Colors
Shapes and Sharing (Ark Angels) 
Baby Mickey's Book of Shapes (Little Golden Books)
Shapes (An Educational Lift-a-Flap Book)
Abby's First Book of Shapes (Sesame Street)
Big Bird's Guessing Game About Shapes (Sesame Street)
Architecture Shapes by Michael J Crosbie 
My Very First Book of Shapes by Eric Carle
Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong
Little Critter Shapes by Mercer Mayer
The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss

Triangle Peg Game
This is like the game they have on the tables at Cracker Barrel. I knew it would be the most challenging of all the activities this week. Little Cutie couldn't quite figure out how to get the tees in the triangle, but she had a lot of fun playing with the tees in the container. She also would take the tees out of the container and put them back in one at a time. This kept her occupied for probably 30 minutes.

In the past, she has kicked little balls around the house, but I think the size of this soccer ball intimidated her. We would kick it to her and she would follow it around and then pick it up. She was more interested in the grass and rocks.

Square Mega Bloks
She loves Megabloks. She can put them together pretty well by herself. We added a container to our play and she took all the pieces apart and put them in the container and shook them around. She loves to make noise!

Stacking Rings
Little Cutie is pretty good at stacking rings. She sometimes puts the wrong one on, but realizes there is a gap and takes it off and searches for the correct one. She would take them off and hand them to me, then take them from my hands and put them all back on.

Plates and Food from LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket
We have had this toy for a while and she used to play with it all the time, so I think she got bored quickly (hence, why there is no picture of her playing). She can match the shapes in the plate pretty well though.

Circle/Ball Box
I basically just put a bunch of round things together in one container. We had plastic balls, wooden balls, poms, frisbees, links, an Oball rattle, a crinkly baseball, and a bumpy ball. She liked the Oball rattle the best because it made noise. She enjoyed emptying the container.

Shape Sorter
First Little Cutie took the lid off, put each shape in the box one at a time, and put the lid back on. Then took them all out, one at a time. And repeat. I showed her how to put the shapes through the holes and she tried it but was mostly unsuccessful in choosing the correct hole. After she couldn't figure it out, she would hand me the shape to put in the correct hole.

Square/Cube Box
Our box had some wooden ABC blocks, some B. One Two Squeeze blocks, and little containers I found in the dollar section at Rite Aid. We stacked the blocks, made other shapes out of the blocks (like a pyramid), and put the ABC blocks inside the little containers. She was able to take the lids off of the little containers and put them back on. She also would pass me a block, I would create a stack, and then she would knock it all down.
Shape Song Swingalong by SteveSongs
This is a book with an audio CD that goes with it. There are 3 songs: two instrumental and one that you can read along with the book. The tune is very catchy and Little Cutie had fun dancing while I turned the pages as the story was sung. It was a little fast to look at some of the pages, but she was listening more to the song and dancing rather than looking at the book anyways.

Overall, it was a successful week for us. Next week, I hope to get a little more creative than using toys she's already been playing with for months!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Preparing for Toddler School

This was a familiar scene in our playroom. One of the first courses of action I took to prepare our home for toddler school was to clean up the toy clutter. As Christmas and Little Cutie's first birthday came and went, the toys started to pile up. I used baskets (and even diaper boxes) to corral it all and would clean it up every night before I put Little Cutie to bed. I finally decided enough was enough.

First, I went through all of the toys and put the baby toys into storage (like teethers and car seat toys). Then I moved some bookshelves around our house. At the time we had a small bookshelf with 3 shelves in the playroom for books, while a larger 9 cube shelf was in her bedroom (with more books, but also miscellaneous storage). I decided to switch them so we could have more shelves in the playroom.

This is the current state of our playroom. I would eventually like to get a child sized table and chairs, but our red ottoman will do for now. As we start "school," we may find that a different arrangement will work better and we'll move things around.

I will be switching up what is on the shelves every week, depending on our theme. Right now, I just put a few of her toys on them. I think she has enjoyed having some of her toys on display. She plays more with those then all the ones stuffed into the baskets. As we get ready to begin, most of these toys will be going into storage to be rotated with other toys.

Our first theme is going to be shapes and I can't wait to get started!