Me and My "Guys"

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Book About Me!

Toddlers and Preschoolers love to learn about themselves and their families. Their focus on the world only involves what's around them. One of the best ways to teach them language, word recognition and that print has meaning, is to make a little book about them. I did this with Andrew starting about the time that he could sit up. I took pictures of him throughout the day and in all the activities that we loved to do, typed up some text and made a book about it. I just made one for this upcoming year. I will keep adding to it over the year and then make a new one for each year.

It's simple and pretty cheap. Wal-Mart has mini photo albums for 1.00. I use those. I take pictures of Andrew involved in doing things he loves to do and that are part of our daily/weekly routine and print them out. Then I type up text to go with each picture and just use scotch tape to attach the text to the picture. These are some examples of the text I put in his most recent book:
Andrew is cooking.
Andrew is riding his trike.
Andrew is playing with dad.
Andrew is sitting with grandpa and grandma.
Andrew is eating.
Andrew is getting his hair cut.
Andrew is at the zoo.
Andrew is swinging at the park.

You can make the book chronological with events starting in the morning and ending in the evening or you can make it random. For his first book during his first year, I did it chronologically throughout the day because I wanted him to learn the daily routine also. For this book, I made it random and just put the pictures in any order.

Of course, you could always get fancy with it and make more of a scrapbook. I just wanted to keep it simple. I make a scrapbook layout for each of his birthdays of pictures and events throughout the year, and that is something that he will have that is special for him. For daily use, I wanted something simple and something that he could take anywhere and was a little more hands on. The purpose is to help him learn language, that print has meaning, and possibly a few sight words along the way. It's also a good way for him to develop a sense of self and family - seeing pictures of himself doing things he loves with people he loves and having that reinforced often.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sweet, sour, bitter

Andrew has been learning about tastes. He initiated it from things he's read in books. We made a chart today listing foods that are sweet, sour, and bitter. We are going to add salty and cheesy tomorrow. I just wrote the words and drew the best picture I could that would represent it. We have the chart hanging on our stove so that we can talk about it when we eat.


One of mine and Andrew's new favorite things to make is smoothies. He loves making and drinking them and he gets so excited when we are going to do it. This is how I made the recipe accessible to him. I found pictures online that were free to print out. I printed them, cut them and covered them with clear laminate. Then he and I made the recipe chart together.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Muffin Literary link...

To add a literary link to making muffins, read If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joff Numeroff. You can also do this with:

cupcakes: If you give a cat a cupcake
pancakes: If you give a pig a pancake
cookies: If you give a mouse a cookie

Just read the book and make the yummy treat! Remember, it will help your kids with word and number recognition if you write the recipe out using simple words and pictures.

Blueberry muffins

I used to think you had to follow a recipe exactly. I was also the one who's 8th grade Home Economics teacher said, "She's the only one I know who can burn water". I never liked to cook. I've started to like it gradually over the years, and especially since it has become a necessity to keep others alive!

Today Andrew and I made Blueberry muffins. It started out with the recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious, but I didn't have some of the ingredients, so we experimented with doing them a little differently and they turned out delicious!

Here is the recipe I used:
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
4 Tbls. butter or margarine (I used I can't believe it's not butter)
1 c. blueberries
1 large egg
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 container Yoplait Strawberry Banana Yogurt
1/2 - 3/4 c. buttermilk (I just dumped it in until I liked the consistency. I didn't measure.)

Mix together and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. So good.

Here's a link for Jessica Seinfeld's recipe:

Mine probably aren't as healthy as hers, BUT not too bad! And Andrew and I had a great time making them together.

Zebra Habitat update...

David suggested that every night some of the zebra's food "disappears" because the zebra ate it during the night. He must have gotten hungry. We are trying it today at nap time for the first time. I was wondering what to do with all the extra twigs, bark, and leaves that Andrew was collecting. We are also going to make terrain out of clay for the zebra! Also David's idea.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Zebra Habitat

We started learning about zebras. Here are a couple of links for some ideas:

My favorite:

To help Andrew learn about zebras, I read up on what they eat. We made a little "habitat" for the plastic zebra he has. Together, yesterday, we collected leaves, sticks, grass and bark for the habitat and we made it out of the bottom of a diaper box. We also added blue paper that we cut up to show water. Today my little scientist did a little exploring of his own. He found some leaves, some grass with roots and some tree "roots" for the zebra's habitat. He spent a good 30 minutes exploring and finding things for the habitat. We also checked out informational books from the library about zebras. Since he knows that cows eat grass, too, we made a little graph that shows what animals we know about that eat grass. We put up a picture of a zebra and a cow from our visits to the zoo and a local farm. In order to show that people don't eat grass, we also made a chart showing that and put a picture of our family on that one.

To make the charts: use two different colors of paper - one for "Who eats grass?" and another for "Who does not eat grass?" On the first chart, tape a little bit of grass to the top so they remember what the chart is for and have them help tape pictures of animals up. On the second chart, I put a picture of our family to show that people don't eat grass. Add to each chart as you learn about animals that do or do not eat grass.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We've upgraded...

We went from pouring paint onto paper to finger paint, to paint cups and brushes. My son wasn't really interested in the fingerpainting part of things. He mostly just wanted to see how things worked when he poured the paint out. We tried different kinds of bottles - all of them interesting. I really didn't mind, as long as he used sponges or sponge brushes to spread the paint around a little after it came out of the bottle, usually in a pile of blob form! He loved it! I decided it was finally time to buy some paint cups and brushes so we took a little trip to Lakeshore Learning in Ahwatukee. I was very happy with the purchase and the price. The brushes were 6.95 for 10 and the paint cups were 9.95 for 10, all nicely color coded. Another nice thing about the paint cups: They claim to be spill free and so far that has proven true!
So far they have been a big hit with my almost two year old and much easier to clean up than our old way of doing things!

Here is the link for the cups: (They do not come with the nice carrier.)|2534374302098812~~.jsp

Another tip: A friend suggested I use a tarp underneath our painting area and it works perfectly. I never even wash it up. I just let it dry, fold it up and put it away. It has saved a lot of mess and time.

How much fun can a box be?

(Please ignore the amateurish photoshop eraser job!)

Thanks to my husband, my son has discovered the wonders of a box! I didn't know a box could be so much fun. They have made houses, car ramps, bridges that wobble, and slides, among other things. Not only does he get quality time with his dad (his favorite buddy) doing something that he loves, but he is learning all sorts of things about how cars and other objects roll, how his body feels when he walks, stands, sits, or slides on different objects, he is learning about construction, and we have done puppet shows out of his houses so he is learning stories, language and a little bit about theater. Plus, it's been great bonding time for our whole family. You can't beat that.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Time Out

You know how it goes...When you have young children, discussions about discipline often come up with friends who also have young children. I had one such conversation the other day. We were talking about how we use time out. She puts her daughter who is just over a year and a half in a time out chair for a certain amount of time. I send my almost two year old to his room, "Until you are ready to listen" or "Until you are ready to be nice", whichever phrase is appropriate for the circumstances. If you use time out, how does it work in your family?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January To Do List

I don't know about you, but after a BUSY 3 months and especially the last two weeks, I am READY for a little break. January is recovery month for me. We are taking things easy. I am not planning any major activities or projects. To make it fun for my toddler, I am going to focus on what he is interested in. For him, right now, that means bikes. We have several informational books checked out from the library about bikes. He got a trike for Christmas. We are just going to have fun riding and learning about bikes.

To connect it to other curricular areas:
1. Wheels are circles - so the shape of the month is circles. When we paint or color, I will have him paint on circles. I will have circles cut out that he can glue or tape on other pieces of paper.
Also, a circle will be posted with "circle" written on it so he can begin to recognize words.
2. Counting - Print out, color and cut out pictures of four bikes that we can use to count with. He has one-to-one correspondence for three objects so for him, we are working on four.

1. How does the wheel work? If I can, I am going to get an old wheel from a junk yard that we can put out back and he can explore with.

1. Have different sizes of circle blocks in the block area that he can explore with.

Letter of the month:
B - I post it in a place where we can talk about it and he can recognize it. Along with that, I will post a picture of a bike so that he can make the connection between the letter and the object.