Monthly Archives: September 2012

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Sensory Box: Colored Rice

Wednesday of last week we gave another sensory box a try. I found instructions online on how to dye rice in fall colors. It’s surprisingly simple: Measure out as much rice as you would like into a large Ziploc bag. Put in a couple generous splashes of rubbing alcohol and some squirts of food coloring. Close up the bag and massage and shake the rice around. Once the rice is all evenly coated and as brightly colored as you want it to be ,dump it out onto waxed paper to dry.

My red rice turned a little pink as it dried, but Cam didn’t care. She was super excited to get in there and throw the rice around. She also sampled a handful, after which she made a face and didn’t do it again. I did notice that the rice will leave a dust of food coloring on your hands, so be forewarned. I had Cam play in this in just a diaper and I wiped her hands afterwards. All in all, a winner. Now I want to find some small fall items (apples, pumpkins, spiders, etc.) and hide them in the rice.

Toilet Training: Early Stages

When Cam was about six months old I read the book Diaper Free Before 3. The woman that wrote the book advocates early potty training and I agreed with her ideas and her method. I should note, it is something that fits well with my parenting style, so sticking to it hasn’t been too difficult despite the fact that it’s a bit labor intensive.

You begin by having a small potty chair either in your bathroom or the nursery and just sit the baby on it from time to time. She suggests starting young (six-ish months) in order to get a habit and association formed, plus they can’t run off yet. Slowly you work up to sitting them on the potty each time they wake up, after every meal, and whenever you notice them going. This continues to build the association of going potty in the potty, as well as building “potty breaks” into their routine. At a year or so, you put the child in training pants to begin teaching them the sensation of when they have gone pee.

This is where we are now and I’ve been gradually introducing the training pants (we don’t wear them outside of the house). Sitting Cam on the potty is like trying to pin down a cloud now, but there are times when she picks up the books we keep in a bin by the potty and she spends some quality time on the pot. It’s pretty funny to see actually. To support the potty training we’ve installed little potties in each of our two bathrooms and I set up a “getting ready” area in her bedroom. This is where we change clothes and sit on the potty in the morning and after naps. As a precaution, I laid down an old bath mat to prevent accidents from occurring on the actual carpet. Her clothing drawers are near by and the hamper is behind her. I’m hoping this transitions into the toddler years for teaching her to dress herself.

Sensory Box: Oatmeal

I recently read about sensory boxes and realized I had already done one with water. Per the blog post I read from Pink and Green Mama, I decided to try out some more. I went over to Walmart very early in the morning to avoid the crowds and bought a huge tub of oatmeal as well as a plastic bin and some plastic measuring cups with colorful handles. The day before I had found some large plastic spoons in the dollar bin at our local hardware store. I dumped the oatmeal into the bin and placed the spoons on top.

Cam was thrilled to run her fingers through the oatmeal and scoop it up. She also had a grand time dumping it on the floor. I had my handy little dust pan and whisk on standby, so clean up wasn’t difficult. Cam also tried eating some of the dried oatmeal and fed me a few grains, but that didn’t last long. All in all, it was success and we’ll be doing this again soon. On to colored rice next.

Wonder Boxes

When Cam was about nine months old, maybe even eight, I began putting together what I call Wonder Boxes. They are just little bins of things she can paw through and explore and examine. They’ve been so popular I have kept them around and continue to add to them. Any container will work. I happened to have closet/dresser organizers from IKEA that I was using to organize things in her room. They come in several sizes so I was able to have some smaller and larger Wonder Boxes. I filled them with anything and everything. The box in the kitchen has all kinds of kitchen items that I either had duplicates of (wooden spoons and spatulas, for example) or items that I rarely use (a sushi press I don’t think I’ve ever used).

 

It’s been really interesting to watch which objects become more interesting to her over time. For awhile she was really into cards so the box from her room has a lot of Starbucks gift cards. Currently the orange spatula from the kitchen box gets carried around A LOT. My husband just found it by his side of the bed the other day. The little pie crust punch, seen in the picture below, has also been a particular favorite.

I feel compelled to note that Cam has always been pretty good about not putting things in her mouth, so I went with some smaller items. However, if you try this, be aware that items can pose a choking hazard.

Sensory Box: Water Play

On Monday I put together a sensory “box” with water for Cam. We have done this several times before and it has always been a big hit. The first time I gave her a bowl of water with some measuring spoons she banged them on the rim and “sang” along. This activity always ends in a huge puddle on the floor and soaked clothes. But it doesn’t matter, Cam loves it. This time around I got smart and put down a huge beach towel before putting the bowl down. It didn’t keep her clothes or the floor from getting wet, but it did keep the puddle to a minimum.

Items for water play:

-plastic balls

-measuring spoons

-plastic spoons

-bath toys

-rubber ducks (a favorite in our household)

-nesting cups

-bath time books

-bottles

-straws

-anything that is water proof!

Encouraging Independence: Toothbrush

Toothbrush

Since Cam recently turned a year old we went to the pediatrician for a visit. This resulted in a few shots and a discussion about brushing teeth. Cam has seven teeth right now and the doctor recommended that we try using a tooth brush on her. He did note that it could be quite a battle and, if that was the case, not to worry about it for awhile. I believe his words were, choose your battles. :-) Being the first-time parents that we are, we immediately bought her a toothbrush at Target. I wasn’t thrilled with our options since they all seemed to be designed to market some T.V. or movie character, but beggars can’t be choosers and there weren’t any other options. We ended up with an Eeyore toothbrush.

When we got it home I thought about trying to brush Cam’s teeth myself, but I had a feeling that would be, shall we say, a challenge. The pediatrician had said plaque comes off children’s teeth easily so having her swish the brush around in there would be totally adequate for the time being. That fit perfectly with the Montessori philosophy of “never do for the child, what the child can do for herself”, so I went for it. Now to figure out how to get her to put the brush in her mouth and move it around. Cam is a good mimic and that came quite in handy. We now brush our teeth together each morning. She finds the activity quite funny. Go figure.

Nursery Rhymes Update

Nesting Tray

A quick update on what we’ve been doing: Going along with our theme we did several finger rhymes “Where is Thumbkin?” (which I found to be little long), “Eensey Weensey Spider”, “Two Little Blackbirds” (which I was able to do with our awesome raven puppet), “Whoops! Johnny”, and “The Squirrel”. “Whoops! Johnny” was the favorite just because it’s loud and rather silly. To break the finger plays into more interesting bits I did one a day and plan on repeating them to her next week.

I also put together a fun activity tray (is that what you’d call it?). I had good intentions to pick out some nursery rhymes to go with it, but I did not end up having time. I did, however, leave it on a shelf in her room so she (or I) can choose to easily do it again.

Once a week we go to a German-language play group where we sing songs, count, and talk about animals, numbers and the like. This was a good tie-in with the colors we began learning so I was able to say the color in both English and German (and Arabic). I’m not sure she’ll really pick up the other languages, but it’s good exposure for her ear.

Nesting Cup Mania

Nesting cups have long been a favorite in our house. We have two sets that are designed for babies and while making dinner Monday night I realized I had a great set of measuring bowls that nest inside each other. I collected the three sets, covered my only other cookie sheet with a placemat, and placed the three nesting cup sets on the tray. It was a huge hit. Cam must have spent most of the day playing with the cups and carrying the different sets around. She also got a kick out of knocking over the towers I would make with them. While she has enjoyed mouthing, touching, and banging the cups for months now, but I noticed she has started studying them intently and (correctly) nesting them together.

Year One: The Beginning

My daughter just recently turned a year old and I also finally got around to reading a bit about and discussing the Montessori Method. While I still feel very much in the dark I am hoping to begin working with my daughter in a thoughtful and deliberate way. Which isn’t to say we’ve had an anything-goes attitude before, just that I was inspired by what I have learned so far about Montessori and would like to begin applying some principles and ideas to the activities we do.

My goal for starting this blog is simply to document what we’re doing. I’m a librarian and I am partial to the idea of sharing knowledge and ideas, so to do this in a public forum seems like a good thing. I would hope that there may be inspiration for someone out there, but I am also hoping just to have a record of how my daughter has progressed through her interactions with and explorations of the world.

I thought to ease into this new year of life and new approach to learning I would give a theme a try. Cam is still a bit young to be really overly interested in any one particular thing except walking, the new love her life, so I chose something broad and familiar. I decided on Nursery Rhymes. Nursery rhymes are great because they give the child an ear for all the workings of language. They are also easy for me to remember! Many of them can be sung or chanted and they have good rhythm and rhyme for clapping or banging pots and pans to. I put together a bin of nursery rhyme books that we have quick, easy access to.

Here are some ideas that I will be working in to our weekly activities:

  • teach her finger rhymes. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • nursery rhyme object tray
  • counting rhymes
  • body part rhymes
  • use finger puppets to act out rhymes
  • field trip to Fairytale Town
  • daily read alouds of nursery rhymes

I suppose that’s enough for my very first post. I hope you stay tuned for the rest of the journey!