Gross Motor – After Dora had so much success with stilts in her gym class, I bought her a pair of stilts at Lakeshore Learning (we have a store near us). They did not work quite as well as the ones in the class as she did not quite grasp the way the Lakeshore ones work. She tried them a lot the first two days, but then has expressed no interest in them since. She continues to spend hours everyday playing at the park, in gym class, or running amok at home.
Fine Motor – Dora has spent a lot of time tonging and spooning the gems from her beach-themed sensory tub. She also has spent a lot of time playing with this magnetic color maze from Lakeshore Learning, which I got for a steal recently at a consignment store. I’ve been really happy with this maze as it really encourages her to use a proper pincer grasp to hold the magnetic wand.
Literature – I bought and checked out several books about summer, but Dora still keeps coming back to the series about the seasons from Scholastic, which I have mentioned previously. Each book has a simple storyline that describes things children do during the season. Each page is touch and feel, with a variety of textures. Even though Welcome Summer (affiliate link) has a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl as the main character, the series has a variety of skin and eye colors represented, which I particularly appreciate since we live in such an extremely multi-cultural area and I try to have our book and toy choices reflect that. Each book ends with the child feeling “safe and _____” in Mommy or Daddy’s arms.
Art – I bought these Faber-Castell Gel Sticks (affiliate link). They are unlike anything that I have used before. They are extremely creaming and coloring with them is kind of like coloring with a cross between a crayon and an oil pastel. The are encased in a plastic holder, so the material doesn’t get on your hands. Plus, the case makes the sticks wide enough that they encourage a pincer grasp. When you are done coloring, you can leave the picture as is, smear the gels with a tissue, or paint them with water, which essentially turns them into water colors.
Sensory Play – Dora has been gaga over the Moon Sand (affiliate link) from this month’s sensory tub. It is the first moldable material that she has really enjoyed working with. I’m seeing this as being an activity that I keep around to bring out over and over. We have used sand molds and other objects to shape and build with the sand and she has used her play kitchen knives and forks to experiment with creating different textures in the sand.
Board Games – As I mentioned previously, we went to the consignment store this week. We really cashed in an got many things for really good prices. I was really happy to get several board games I had been wanting to get her. In particular, The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Game (affiliate link) has been a big hit with her. It is her first experience with a spinner, which is reinforcing the concept that numbers have associated symbols (she knows how to count, but doesn’t know what numbers look like). She really likes to “feed” her caterpillar as she goes around the board. It has been challenging for her to distinguish between the different types of foods to feed the caterpillar (fruit, picnic foods, etc.). I have been working on categorizing with her, so this was good practice for her.
Apps – I have not found any good summer-themed apps, so I thought I’d just mention one of our all around favorite apps, Starfall’s ABC’s ($2.99). If you haven’t looked into it before, Starfall is wonderful free online phonics program. This app just lets you take one of their activities with you.
In the Kitchen – Dora’s new favorite thing to do in the kitchen is to help me make “pizza” with Boboli crusts. I’m going to look into their mini-crusts so that she can make them for lunch too.
Outside Activities – Dora started a new session of Kindermusik with the same teacher that she had before, whom she loves. She was really excited that we all sang and danced to Mr. Sun. She also has started a gym class. This class is a bit long for her age, one full hour. They do work on a lot of different things in it besides the usual tumbling and climbing. They have introduced her to zip lines, stilts, “dodgeball”, and more. She loves the class, but is a bit bonkers by the end of it.