Category Archives: Toddlers

Tot Time: A Week of Montessori and Good Potty Reading

Bellingham Bay 3The big event of our week was that we went to Secunda’s freshman orientation for college in Bellingham, WA! We spent two days there and Dora hated sleeping in a hotel. We all came back completely exhausted! Above is Dora on the boardwalk, below is a view of the bay. I forgot to bring my good camera, so these was taken with my phone.

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I had a package arrive from Montessori Services and Dora was there when I opened it, so we spent the week focusing on those materials.

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I ordered a sorting tray and some wooden buttons. I’ve tried to get by with cheap sorting trays, but this one works so much better. It has the main holder with three small holders for sorting. The wooden buttons are very nice and we sorted them by size. This task challenged Dora some, but once I helped her get going, she was able to finish it on her own with just a little prompting.

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I also set up a pouring/water play area for her. Most of the glasses and pouring containers, we already owned, but the larger white 8 oz. porcelain pitcher was new. She pours water back and forth from containers and glasses. I have introduced a funnel and turkey baster, but those don’t really interest her. Sometimes I color the water with these fizzy color tablets from Steve Spangler, but she is really quite happy pouring just plain water. I have her keep everything in this dishwashing tub so that we don’t have a total mess.

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She spent hours playing with this tiny music box and knew what the song was right away (Twinkle Little Star). She occasionally has to be reminded which direction to turn the handle to get the box to play. It is such good fine motor work!

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Finally, I brought out her open-close basket again, and added a few new containers. I put finger flashlights in the containers to encourage her to open them. She enjoyed it a couple of times, but I really need to find some more advanced containers.

Oddly, Dora has developed a fear of dolphins! Nothing anyone says will convince her that she has nothing to fear from dolphins, especially while on dry land. She will suddenly run up to me and cling to my leg, because “dolphins are chasing her”. When you have five children, sometimes you start to think you’ve seen it all. Then your toddler becomes terrified of imaginary dolphins and you realize you will never see it all. Smile

I think Dora may be gearing up to potty train! She has been having us read all of our potty books over and over. The ones she has enjoyed the most are (all of these are affiliate links):

Do you know of any other good potty training books for girls?

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Labels: High School, Montessori, This and That, Toddlers, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Astronomy-themed Sensory Tub

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This month, we are finishing up Gohan’s year of earth science with an astronomy unit. I thought it would be fun to tie in some of Dora’s work with his studies, so they’d both be “studying” astronomy at the same time.

I started with our August sensory tub, which I made space-themed. For the filler/base I used blue Bubber, which is made by the same company that makes Moon Sand. It is expensive, but after having an opportunity to play with it last fall, I have been eagerly waiting for an opportunity to use it. It is very light and airy, like Model Magic. If you squish it, it just kind “melts’, but at the same time it can be molded like play dough.

I also added some miniature planets, astronauts, and rockets that we had around the house. I had found a set of glow in the dark-stars at the consignment store that I also added. I purchased some glow-in-dark bouncy balls that I thought looked like stars. Finally, I added some colored finger-flashlight.

It was a great hit with Dora, she spent about two hours playing with the tub today!

Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–Transportation Unit

This month, we are focusing on transportation. I’ve been amazed by how many preschool resources there are for transportation!

Literature: There are tons of books about transportation, but this week’s top pick has been a favorite of Dora’s for some time. Freight Train (affiliate link), by Donald Crews is so enticing with it’s rainbow of colors and simple story line. We also read and greatly enjoyed several of his other books about transportation.

In addition, we had fun reading Philomen Sturges’ “I Love ________” books about transportation.

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Art: I really wanted to capture the rainbow of colors from Freight Train in a craft project. Then I saw this cool color wheel gecko craft from That Artist Woman. So I decided to incorporate it into our craft this week. Dora isn’t old enough to understand the color wheel, so she just painted the paper plate a variety of colors. We haven’t attached the plate yet, since I didn’t have any brads on hand, but once we do, Dora will be able to turn the plate such that the middle box car changes colors.

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Fieldtrip: We focused more on trains this week because we had tickets for a very special field trip, Day Out With Thomas! Dora really liked riding the train, but didn’t care for any of the other things at the event, which was fine by me, as everything was horribly overpriced.

Gross Motor: Dora finally was well enough to attend her gym class again. Unfortunately, she was super tired because I switched her class time to a noon class, because she had been sleeping very late the last few months, but of course, on gym day, she woke up very early. She started getting a bit wild and running around without looking where she was going and all of sudden, whamo!. She ran into another little girl, which left them both in tears. She was so distraught that I had to take her home.

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Sensory Play: I set up a transportation-themed sensory tub. I used black beans for the base and added traffic cone candles, various vehicles, and miniature traffic signs that we had on hand. Dora did a lot of pouring and dumping with the beans. She also took all of the signs and vehicles out of the tub and played with them on our Thomas floor mat.

Pretend Play: In addition to playing with the vehicles on the floor mat, Dora also played with some Playmobil 1-2-3 vehicles. For her, these are the best vehicles because she likes to have people in addition to the vehicles. In fact, if Dora plays with vehicles without people, she has the vehicles “talk” to and play with each other.

How about you? Do you know of any fun transportation-themed activities? I’m linking this post to:
  Tot School play academy
We Play 


Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–Strawberry Fun

I haven’t blogged much about what I have been doing with Dora the last couple of weeks, partly because the weather has ruined several of our plans and partly because Dora has been so sick. Whatever she had is really going around, the pediatrician’s office was completely overwhelmed with the number of kids who came in with majorly high fevers. Dora, who normally only sleeps 10 hours a day, slept about 22 hours a day while she had this thing. It was quite scary really, but then her fever broke and she was fine.

So this week, we got back on track and explored strawberries.

Literature – We read Jamberry and The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (affiliate links), both of which are old favorites.

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Art – We made a strawberry patch using gems for the berries and tissue paper for the leaves. Dora was completely fascinated with crumpling the tissue paper, so her strawberry patch had a lot more leaves than berries. I guess I need to do more tissue paper art projects with her.

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Board Games – We played this fun strawberry game from Lakeshore Learning. Dora already knows how to count to 20, but she doesn’t know the numeric symbols. After playing this game this week, she now knows 1-3.

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Fieldtrips – We also went to a strawberry patch, despite the rain. We picked a total of 12 pounds of strawberries (Secunda and Tertia also helped). Dora probably ate three pounds of strawberries by herself! We then tried making strawberry jam. I have never made jelly before, in fact I have never done any canning. So far, the jam we made is too runny. After reading lots of the comments, it sounds like I didn’t let it boil long enough or hard enough. I’m going to try it to see if it tastes okay. If it does, we’ll pick some more berries and try making it again, but less runny. Dora absolutely LOVED picking berries.

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In the Kitchen – We also made some pickles, using that was posted on the Homeschool Village. I’ll have to get back to you to let you know how they turn out, taste-wise. They look good so far…

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Apps – I do not know of any good strawberry-themed apps, but Dora has really been enjoying playing Go Fun, which is a free puzzle app that uses a Montessori approach (unfortunately, it does have ads and it does not appear that you can by a full version to remove the adds). The puzzles are quite varied, there is a clock, dinosaurs, a plant life cycle, space, animals, etc. Some of the puzzles say the letter or object’s name once the child places the pieces. In particular, Dora has been very obsessed with this fruit and vegie puzzle, which actually does have one strawberry in it.

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Fine Motor – I got this fun idea from 1+1+1=1. You just give your child swizzle sticks and an empty parmesan cheese container. Your child will probably just take it from there, but the idea is to work on fine motor skills by having your child stick the swizzle sticks in the small holes. As an FYI, I found swizzle sticks with the plastic cutlery and straws in our local Target. Dora also likes sorting the sticks by color and playing various other games with them.

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Gross Motor – Dora took a while to recover her energy from being sick. So, we have not been going to gym class. We’ve also not played at the park much due to her being sick and the weather. She has started using her stilts a lot and is able to walk with them by herself now.

What about you? What have you been up to with your little one lately? I hope everyone else is having better weather than we have been, though I must confess that today was gorgeous and they are saying that we’re going to have a lovely 4th of July, which is pretty rare around here.

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Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time– Starting Summer and Cashing in at the Consignment Shop

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.

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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.

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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.

Starfall 010Apps – 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.

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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.

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  Tot School play academy
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Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

June Sensory Tub–Beach Play Place

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I apologize for being AWOL this last week. Dora’s sleep schedule has been wacky again and I have been dealing with some health problems, which while not life threatening, are certainly energy draining. Between the two, I have been falling asleep at night as soon as I get Dora to sleep.

This week, we started our June theme, which is summer. I set up a sensory tub/miniature play place for Dora that was beach-themed. I used Moon Sand for the sand and blue, white, and clear gems for the water. I then added miniature plastic cups, a plastic rake and shovel, beach/ocean animals, shells, and some other little beach-themed accessories.

At first Dora wouldn’t have anything to do with the Moon Sand, due to her not liking the feel of it. After a while, however, it grew on her and she began to play with it a lot. At that point, she started mixing all of the gems and animals into the sand, such that the sand wouldn’t hold its shape anymore.

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So I finally, took all of the gems and animals out of the sand (which took a really long time, let me tell you). This made it much easier to play with and shape the sand. The other interesting thing that happened then, was Dora then started using the gems as a completely separate play item. She mostly  used them to make “soup” in bowls and play pots, using spoons and tongs to transfer them. She also, however, has spent time sorting them in our sorting tray.

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Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–A Motley Crew of Activities

Dora has been cutting her bottom two-year molars. This has meant that she hasn’t been sleeping well or feeling herself, so her behavior has been just a tad bit off all week. Several nights, I found myself trying to entertain her at midnight, because she couldn’t sleep. As such, it seemed like we explored a much wider variety of activities than usual.

Outside Activities – Last week, I did not blog a weekly wrap-up, because we had spent much of the week at Great Wolf, which is a hotel with an indoor water slide park. Dora was a bit nervous to play in the water at first, but once she warmed up to it, we had to bribe her to get her to leave. She also finished up her Kindermusik class, which she has absolutely loved. So, I signed her up for another mini-session, as well as some summer symphony playdates. Finally, she also started a gym class. I was a bit hesitant about the class at first, for a variety of reasons, but Dora really enjoyed it and has spent much of the week practicing various skills that she learned in the class.

Gross Motor – Dora started riding her bike on her own! She is using training wheels. I had hoped to use a walking/balance bike instead, but she wasn’t having anything to do with that.

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Fine Motor – I bought Dora two pairs of scissors. They had just been sitting on my desk, unopened for a while, when Dora decided this week that she wanted to use them. She was able to cut paper on her own with both pairs! She was so excited! She has been wanting to use scissors for some time now. She was so happy to use them, she was cutting up any paper that she could get her hands on. So I set up a basket with some heavy duty scrapbooking paper, which I cut into smaller pieces. The papers I chose were very stiff, so she was able to manipulate them much more easily than everyday craft and printing papers. In addition, I chose papers that had some texture to them, thinking that the extra texture would give her more sensory information to help her coordinate the whole process of holding the paper and the scissors at right angles to each other, while also manipulating the scissor.

The first pair of scissors is called My First Scissors and is from by Faber-Castell. It does not have any holes to put fingers in, so requires less coordination. At the same time, hand strength and coordination are still being built. The only negative about the scissors is that they are a bit harder to control for fine cutting (I tried both pairs). The second pair, Maped Koopy Spring Scissors, has holes for the fingers, like traditional scissors, but has a spring which causes the scissors to open as soon as pressure is released. This  is what Dora was really having trouble with before. These scissors require more coordination and sometimes Dora would start using them like they are a pair of the My First Scissors (not putting her fingers in the holes).
 
Literature We finally finished up our farm theme. We read several good books about farms and farm animals, but the two that stood out this week were:
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox – this book reminds me a lot of a Dr. Seuss book. You have a “near sheep”, “far sheep”, “brave sheep”, “scared sheep”, and so on. It teaches about opposites, descriptive words, and rhyming. It doesn’t, however, actually teach anything about sheep. Dora absolutely loved this book and likes to pretend that she is reading it as she has basically memorized the whole thing.
Giggle, Giggle, Quack by Doreen Cronin – we read this whole series, but this book was Dora’s favorite. In addition, last week at Great Wolf they read this story at story time, which excited Dora so much! The whole series is just really, really silly. The books are about a farmer who has some problems with his animals not knowing their proper places. In this particular book, Farmer Brown goes on vacation and leaves his brother, Bob, in charge. He warns Bob about Duck, but Duck still manages to have the last laugh.

Games – Dora also decided to start really playing UNO MOO with me. Up until this last week, she just liked to carry the farm around and play with the pieces. All of a sudden this week, she wanted to play the game, including actually taking turns and using a bit of strategy. I modified the rules some, we did not use the skunks as they are intended to be used, instead we just treated them as another animal. She still could only handle taking turns for a short amount of time, but it was really rewarding to see her so happy when she won for the first time. Equally rewarding was seeing her reaction when I won, she smiled just as much as when she won, clapped, gave me a high five, and said, “Good job Momma, you did it!”
 

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Apps – Finally, she enjoyed this Old MacDonald app from Duck Duck Moose. Not only is each page interactive, but you can change the music to be vocal, various instruments, no sound, or record your own. I had all of our family record one chorus of Old MacDonald. Dora really loved being able to listen to her loved ones singing when they weren’t around. She especially liked to listen to her daddy who got very silly with his singing. This app also has some fun and unusual things on the farm, such as frogs and construction vehicles.
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Science – Our ladybugs finally completed their lifecycle and we were able to release them. Honestly, this activity was pretty big bust, since Dora was afraid of them (that is Gohan’s hand, not hers). They essentially became extra creatures for me to feed, water, and care for. Unfortunately, two of the ladybugs never emerged from their pupa stages (kind of like cocoons).
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In the Kitchen – For some reason, we did a lot of baking this week. Dora helped me to make this coffee cake, which I really liked because it combines cinnamon with a subtle chocolate flavor. We also made lemon fool, which is essentially lemon curd mixed in with whipped cream and served with waffle cookies. I think lemon fool makes for an awesome summer dessert. It is also fairly easy to make, but looks pretty impressive.
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And, if you are not sick of hearing about apps, we found this wonderful baking game app, called Cookie Doodle from Shoe the Goose. Kids  can make cookies with the app. The ingredients are very realistic and the child “adds” the ingredients by tilting, pinching, or shaking the phone. Then the child “rolls” the dough, “cuts” the cookie with cookie cutters or a knife, and “bakes” the cookie. The cookies can be decorated the cookie with frosting, sprinkles, candy, and/or writing. Then the child can “eat” the cookie, which is Dora’s favorite part. We have wondered if the recipes are real or not and plan to try one to find out.
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So that is a rough summary of our week. How about you? What have you been doing with your child?

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Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time at the Funny Farm

This week Dora was sick, so we stayed home most of the week. She was not so sick that she didn’t have a lot of energy, so we did a LOT of reading, playing pretend, and gluing (yes, she is currently obsessed with gluing).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         We are still “studying” farms. Since she is so interested gluing right now, I had her work on this adorable Farm Fun Pack from Musings of Me. Dora is on the young side for some of the activities, but she really liked completing the patterns.
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She also liked gluing the right number of ducks (or are they chicks?) to the coop.
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I modified the roll a farm scene and just had her glue the pieces on a background that I made. I didn’t quite understand her explanation as to why the pig was in the cloud….

A book that we read this week and was new to me was Barnyard Banter (affiliate link). I thought I had read it before and didn’t like it, but if I had read it before, I missed the whole “find the goose” element. Dora really enjoyed going back and looking for the goose on each page.

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I also was looking for some new apps for Dora and thought I’d try some farm-themed ones. Her favorite farm-themed app has been Moo, Baa, La, La, La! which is an animated version of the book by Sandra Boynton. The thing I like about this app is that each page has a lot to do on it. Some even have things that you miss the first time around. For instance, on one of the pages, you can “shoot” the dogs off the page and the dogs’ collars will fall down. If you turn the page and come back, you can shoot the dogs more than once. Eventually, you will have several collars on the ground. Well, if your child then turns your iPhone to the side or upside down, the collars will bounce around or slowly float to the bottom of the screen. They don’t just flip with the scenery, but act more like the snowflakes in a snow globe.
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That’s our week in a nutshell. What about you? Did you do anything exciting? Have you had any of these nasty spring colds that have been going around? I guess we’ve been lucky that this cold has been so mild, compared to what other people have been going through.
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Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–Fun on the Farm

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This month we started a new theme, farms. Coincidentally, Counting Coconuts also started the same theme and our sensory buckets look almost the same, though neither of us knew about the other’s beforehand. Counting Coconuts is doing lots of cool Montessori activities for her farm-themed unit, and I highly recommend you check out her blog if you haven’t already.
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Dora really enjoyed her sensory tub for a while, but her enthusiasm has since waned. I think part of the issue is that as our weather has improved, she just wants to be outside. The sensory tub is filled with corn feed, farm-themed figurines, a couple of tractors, and a miniature pitch fork and broom. While she was playing with the sensory tub, Dora was using the corn feed to to do a lot of spooning, and dumping. She also used it for a lot of imaginary play and I am kind of toying with the idea of trying to start combining sensory tubs with miniature play scenes, like the ones that I saw over at Childhood 101.
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I also mixed up Dora’s open-close basket, yet another wonderful idea that I got from Counting Coconuts. I added some horse harness clasps, a brown bottle, and some bolts with nuts on them. Unfortunately, these were really too hard for Dora to manipulate. I am looking for more containers for Dora to work with, but have not found anything too wonderful. The items that came with the open-close basket when I bought it from Montessori Services, were so nice, I just can’t seem to find other items that work as well.
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We visited a working farm that is part of one of the local parks. I had hoped for us to attend their annual sheep shearing event, but the line for the shuttle was just too long so we left. Who knew that sheep shearing was such a poplar activity? So we went to the park later in the week with my parents instead. We saw some piglets, horses, rabbits, ducks, and chickens. The sheep, mysteriously, were no where to be found. Maybe they were recovering from the shearing event? Without a doubt, Dora’s favorite farm animal is chickens. Previously, we saw some two-day old chicks at a store and Dora could have watched those chicks all day if I let her.
Dora’s favorite farm-themed book of the week was The Big Red Barn (affiliate link) by Margaret Wise Brown. I love this book’s sweet story and cute drawings, it has been a favorite of several of my children.
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Not in keeping with our farm theme, our ladybug larvae finally arrived. Sorry this photo is so blurry, my camera is on its last legs and really struggled to focus on something this tiny. Dora is absolutely terrified of the ladybug larvae. They are a bit creepy looking…. So I am raising ladybugs by myself. Coincidentally, in her Kindermusik class, she made a ladybug out of paper plates and construction paper.
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Speaking of music, music is really Dora’s passion right now. She spends a good portion of the day singing, playing instruments, dancing, and listening to music. I don’t want to pigeon hole as “our musical child”, but her passion for music greatly reminds me of Tertia’s passion for animals at this age and Tertia is currently attending a vet assistant program at the local college, volunteers 2-3 days per week at a local shelter, and works another 2-3 days per week at a doggie daycare/boarding center. Not to mention, spends countless hours with our own dog and cats and frequently pet sits for our neighbors. I never pushed Tertia in her interest in animals – I am not personally a big animal person, though I like them well enough. She just seemed to come out of utero as being passionate about animals and Dora seems to be the same way about music and dance. None of my other kids had the same level of passion about a particular subject. I suppose there could be some sort of “passion gene” that runs in my family as my father was supposedly equally passionate about planes from an extremely early age and then went on to be a pilot. Certainly, I was never so passionate about any particular subject. I would also mention that I am not particularly fond of music or dancing, though my husband used to be a professional musician. So if Dora continues with this interest, it will all be new territory for me.
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What about you, were you passionate about anything as a child? If so, are you still passionate about it? Are you children passionate about anything? I personally believe that homeschooling makes it easier to have passions, since homeschooled children have more time to pursue their personal interests.

Have you been doing any farm-themed activities? Or do you live on a farm of your own? I’d love to operate an urban farm (at least in theory I would). I’d particularly like to raise chickens as I’d love to have fresh, organic eggs.
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Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–Easter Week

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This week, we finished up with our spring/Easter theme. I’d like to say we were done with our insect theme, but our lady bugs still have yet to arrive. We went to a place called Tulip Town this week. I’m not sure exactly why, but the Skagit Valley is sort of an agricultural epicenter for bulb plants. In the 16 years that we have lived in the Seattle area, we have never once made it up see the Tulip Festival that the Skagit Valley hosts annually. So I took it upon myself to bring Dora by myself, which really wasn’t one of my brightest ideas. Dora just wanted to stay home and sleep late, but we were supposed to be meeting some people from an attachment parenting group that we belong to. Unfortunately, by the time I herded Dora out the door, we were already late. Then she just couldn’t handle driving for 90 minutes with no one else in the car to distract her. So I had to stop at a rest stop for a while and we totally missed our group.

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Upon arrival, we were greeted by this windmill, which was blaring really cheesy music (Dutch music I am guessing). Next to the windmill, stood….

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…the Statue of Liberty! Don’t ask me why the Statue of Liberty is at Tulip Town next to a windmill. Really, the whole thing was very surreal. It was like a bad stereotypical theme park portrayal in a bad TV show. Thankfully, once we got past the entrance, the tulip fields were blessedly calm and definitely breathtaking.

 

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Of course, this week’s craft project, was dying Easter eggs. I used this recipe for vibrant Easter egg dyes. I had planned to try some other methods of coloring eggs with Gohan, but by the time we blew 16 eggs, mixed these dyes, and dyed two eggs with Dora, I was at my wits end. After having five children, I’ve concluded that dying Easter eggs with young children is one of the most stressful parenting tasks there is (up there with teaching kids to drive is). I noticed that a lot of bloggers dyed their eggs outside and I’m wondering if that is the secret to making the whole experience pleasant for everyone involved.

One thing I learned this year is that it is much easier to blow eggs with a syringe than your mouth. I haven’t tried blowing eggs in many years as I used to get so lightheaded doing it. Next year I may look into getting a Dremel tool, which several people online recommended using to make the holes in the eggs.

Though we did a lot of reading this week, we didn’t read any themed books or even any new books. Dora really wanted to read some of her old favorites. Her new thing is that she likes to “read” to me, which of course, works better when she knows the story.

What about you? Did you dye Easter eggs? If so, what method did you use? Was it stressful or do you have some secret for managing a toddler during this messy endeavor?

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Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff