Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's All About Me - For Toddlers

Zahavah, just like her brother, started "school" this week. It isn't really school at her age (she is turning three in December) but she likes to call it so to be like her big brother! :) Unlike her big brother though, her attention span is not fully developed yet and she is not always excited about what she finds on her shelves. :) 

Our first theme called for "personal exploration", mostly body parts but also feelings and emotions. Overall, little "Z" is pretty good at letting us know how she feels and knows her body parts very well so this theme allowed me to ease in some Montessori presentations a bit better (tray carrying, rug unrolling, etc.).

In terms of theme-related activities, here's what we did this week:

Mustache Matching Puzzle
Mustache Matching
Considering the amount of time "invested" in making this "puzzle" (and unlike the Iowa's Farmer's Wife whose idea it originally was to make a mustache puzzle with magnetic strips and hardened felt, I simply cut mine out of felt after drawing them!), Zahavah was quite fast with this tray and more or less interested. She is actually quite good at puzzles (already working with jigsaw) and so this was, to her, no challenge at all...although she did giggle at the sight of the mustaches! :)

Boy or Girl
Boy or girl?
Zahavah has long know that she is a girl and that Adrian is a boy. She can also tell about mommy and daddy but what about strangers? Her curiosity being there (she does ask when we have guests!), I cut out some pictures of children from a catalogue for her to sort into two trays. I made sure to include people of different backgrounds too.

Action Pictures
Language: What is Zahavah doing?
A very popular activity this week consisted in a basket of pictures showing Zahavah doing something.  Doing what? That depended on the picture. On one, she is eating, on another, she is sleeping. Zahavah had to use her words and describe the action photos to me. 

Body Parts Stickers
Where's that Body Part?
Ah ha! Now that game was enjoyable. Anything with stickers is always a winner in this house.  After reading a book about body parts, we revised them this way: I called a body part and Zahavah had to put a sticker on that body part. Of course, my little girl thought it was hilarious but at times, she was also unsure whether she was right or not...

Emotion Matching Game
Emotional Matching Game
Matching games can be easy and difficult. For Zahavah's "first" matching game, I chose a somewhat difficult one. It was composed of boys and girls showing a different range of emotions. Zahavah had thus the opportunity to narrow down her choices in many ways when it came to matching cards: boy versus girl, hair color, emotion expressed, or simple frame color. At first, it was a bit difficult because there were a lot of cards to match and some kids expressed more than one emotion, but in no time, she understood the concept and matched all the cards perfectly. I made my matching cards using I Love ABA!'s Emotions Poster.

Matching Eyes
Pairing Eyes
Human eyes come in different colors so I picked out a few famous faces with beautiful eyes and printed them, then split them up. After they were all matched, we discussed the less obvious colors such as grey and hazel. We also looked at our family members to see what color of eyes they have. 

First School Handprint Footprints
Art: Handprints & Footprints
What a difference a year makes! Last year, I remember trying to convince Zahavah to paint her foot for a ghost footprint art piece. Needless to say...that didn't go too well. Fast forward to this September and getting dirty isn't an issue least when it comes to pink paint! For her first handprints and footprints, we did nothing fancy; we simply used a foam brush and pink paint; applied it and pressed it on the paper. Knowing that she loves "painting" and "printing", we'll be able to do more elaborate activities involving both from now on...

Sorting Eye Color
Math: Sorting Goggly Eyes by Color
Sorting by color is a math readiness activity I love. Zahavah isn't much into sorting yet but after presenting this bowl filled with colorful eyes and showing her how I sorted them by color, she ventured to sort them. Once. It didn't seem like she enjoyed it much and I guess that is why she never sorted them again! :)

Book Selection All About Me
Language: Zahavah's Picks
Books about body parts and emotions abound. Zahavah checked out a few this week and although she did not manage to borrow all of the books she originally intended to, she did find some worth recommending to other toddlers, namely:

Baby Mood Swings by Jocelyn Jamison
("ask your mama to make the faces like the baby, or make comments to go along with the faces and it will make the book EVEN better," says Zahavah, who owns the book and reads it daily)

Feeling Happy/ Feeling Angry/ Feeling Sad by Helen Frost 
("do not get "Feeling Scared", it looks scary with the picture of a thunderstorm", says "Z"")

My First Body Board Book by DK Publishing
("It has lots of "real" babies in it, body parts, emotional faces, actions, etc.")

Toes, Ears and Nose / Where is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz
("Who doesn't like flaps? I read it so much I now know the answers before lifting the flaps!")

How do You Feel? by Anthony Browne
("Big book but not long. The monkey feels hungry and full too sometimes!" )

Honorable Mention: Duck and Goose: How are you Feeling? by Tad Hills
("Loved this book but then got scared of thunder one night and...there's a page where Duck and Goose are scared of it too... *sigh* Now I find it a bit scary but I used to love it")

As for me, I was surprised she did not like "How are you Peeling?" by Saxton Freymann more. Pff. Oh well... Maybe as she gets older. :) It does have a lot of pages for a toddler but the text isn't long and the produce cut to show emotions is simply stunning. I bet my Kindergartner would love it (oh wait...he DOES!).

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  1. I love your creative and tactile ways of teaching skills, great blog!

    1. Thank you Tameika! Very sweet of you to take the time to stop by and comment. Have a great day!

  2. Hello! Your blog is so sweet and I've already used some of your ideas with my own daughter, who is just a bit younger than your daughter. We're currently living in Hungary where it's practically impossible to find English books for children so I was wondering how you got yours?
    Thank you for sharing all your great ideas!

    1. Hi Liron, Thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. Most of our English books are from our private collection. We own a lot of books and the children are also usually gifted a few through the year by us, friends and family. I usually order ours online (same goes for French books). When it comes to borrowing, we have a small local library that allows us to borrow a few books at a time. There is not a bit selection compared to when we lived in NY but it is better than nothing. :) Bookstores also sell some English books here for children but not a lot either. Good luck and don't forget ebay...People sell book lots for cheap sometimes! :)

  3. I love your Name that Body Part game. I also love the What is Zahavah doing game. My toddler would love to see pictures of himself and describe him. His vocabulary could definitely use some development, so a tray like this might be coming up on our tot trays soon.

    1. Toddlers love seeing pictures of themselves and other babies. Zahavah's attentione went to that tray immediately. :) Games of course are always fun. Last year, we also had a body part cube to roll and we would then point the part it'd fall on and use that part (hands=clapping for example). She loved it.

  4. These are some great ideas! My daughter would benefit from these activities as well!

    1. Thank you. I think most toddlers would love these activities. Mine loves "school" and always wants more! :)

  5. I absolutely love all these ideas! You inspired me to put some parts of the face activities together for my 15 month old. Here's the link to my post: Naming Parts of the Face

    Thanks so much!

    1. Great! I'm always happy to see people leave my blog feeling inspired and ready to do some activities with the children in their life. I'll go check out your blog! :) Thanks for stopping by Anne!

  6. keep going on your great effort! greetings al away from kuwait ;)

    1. Thank you. I'll do my best to keep up the blog as long as possible! I appreciate you taking the time to comment today! Have a great day!