Teaching a Toddler – Colours

Well August has been a terrible month for us. We have been sick with an awful cold that neither of us could seem to get over and a growing boy who is testing every fiber of my patience and the boundaries we have given him. For a kid who is only 18 months old he sure is acting like he has joined the ‘terrible two’s’ already.

Needless to say all my usual planning, prep work and routine has gone out the window and has been replaced with a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants attitude and way to many grumpy days. Although to be honest most of the grumpiness has been from me and not Mr B, oh whom I kidding, all the grumpiness has been from me šŸ˜¦

Anyhoo, spring has sprung down here in Australia and I’m determined to get over my grumps and move on.

We did get round to doing some afternoon activities. OurĀ theme this month was all about colour, which was great cause everywhere you go you see colour. So every outing was a chance to reinforce what we were learning at home. Throughout each activity I pretty much just let my son do whatever he wanted and while he worked/played I would talk about the colours and what he was doing. Most of the activities were about fun and playing rather than about dedicated learning šŸ™‚

Monday: Colour Wheel

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This was pretty easy to make. I took some plain paper and divided it into 8, then took some colour markers and coloured in the triangles. I then cut smaller triangles out of the scraps, coloured them in with the same colours and attached them to pegs with some tape. Since these activities only get used a couple of times they really don’t have to be very fancy or long-lasting. He loved this, but I think that may be more due to the fun of putting pegs on paper that the matching colours together.

Tuesday: Bicarb and Vinegar (OUTSIDE!)

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This activity speaks for itself and was lots of fun. We’ve done something like this before but it never gets old šŸ™‚ All you need to do is add some food colouring to some vinegar and mix it with bicarb of soda then stand back and watch…or in my son’s case, get messy. I should warn you to put on crappy clothes as the stupid food colouring stained everything, which I knew would happen but I wasn’t prepared for him to literally sit in the middle of the path and then pour vinegar all overs his legs.

Wednesday: Colour paper tubes

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I took 5 pieces of coloured paper andĀ tore them in half. One half I rolled into small tubes and just taped them closed while the other half I tore into 3 more pieces and scrunched them up into little balls. I then taped the tubes to our pantry door and placed all the little scrunched up pieces of paper into a small basket. We had lots of fun talking about the colours and placing the right colours into the tubes. I’m not sure Mr B understood that the colour of the tubes is what I was referring too as he still can’t identify colours but he can say all the right words, so we are half way there šŸ™‚

Thursday:Ā Matching sets.

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This is really easy to play and lots of fun, I walked around the house picking up different coloured items and putting them into his basket. Then I set out some butchers paper (seriously invest in some if you haven’t got any yet) and picked out items from the basket and asked him to match them to a colour. This really didn’t work at first but I think he got the concept by the last week although I wasn’t expecting him to get them all right at all. If you do this activity make sure you choose items that are predominantly that colour otherwise your kid might not get what you are asking of them.

Friday: Drawing

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Drawing is pretty new to us, even though I have exposed Mr B lots of times, he still hasn’t got the hang of it. I do all my prep work while he has his afternoon nap, that way I can put away other toys and it’s all ready for him. I drew small squares in different mediums (markers, crayons and pencil crayons) and gave him markers to try to match the colours. It was really fun and he loved scribbling everywhere, we have tons of sheets of butchers paper which I just stick to our coffee table with some tape so it doesn’t move while he is drawing.

Reading:

Reading is really important to me and my husband so we want to nurture a love of books in our children right from the start. When our son was first born my husband would read to him every night and we have kept that up ever since.

During the month we include books to our reading time with the theme we are doing at the time. Our local library is great when it comes to finding fun educational books however they are mostly for older kids and have a minimal range for young kids which is disappointing. But we love to challenge Mr B so we’ve introduced books that require him to sit still just a little longer and try to concentrate a little more, which are just a bit above his level. This means we’ve done a mix of difficult library and easy home books this month so he didn’t get frustrated with reading time.

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Teaching a Toddler – Zoo Theme

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To kick off our Teaching a Toddler series we did a Zoo theme through July. Although we don’t stick seriously to it, our days all have a pretty similar routine and these activities fit into our afternoon after a nap. … Continue reading

Teaching a Toddler

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Teaching a Toddler

So recently I’ve been inspired by some great teachers turned moms to be a bit more proactive with what I’m teaching Billy.
Once he hit toddler-hood I never really felt like I was doing enough when it came to teaching him even the simplest things like animal names or colours etc.

I started small by creating ‘invitations to play’. These were basically little scenes I would set up each night using the toys we already have. Mostly these were just things like a little farm or the train set and I would build the same little scene every night or whenever I was doing a little cleaning up. It helped me make sure I was rotating our toys regularly and keeping him interested in his toys.

Now that he has turned 15 months I have decided to up my game a bit and do more structured games/lessons. He is way to young to do anything for longer than 10 minutes, so I have kept the activities really simple and most importantly if he isn’t interested or doesn’t ‘get it’ I don’t push him or try force the game. Mostly I have to try to remember that this is not about me and my need to control every situation (I’m a way to much of an A type personality). The other thing I keep in mind when is that at this age repetition is key, so we reuse, redo and recycle most of our activities.

I have chosen to do a different theme every month. Not really for any other reason but the fact that it gives me a guideline so I can think up ideas, activities and outings.

Personally I like routine, I enjoy planning and packing what we will need the night before and that feeling of being on top of my day before it’s even started. If I forget or don’t do it for a few weeks I can see the difference in how I react to situations and how I feel a bit overwhelmed and seem to be a bit more short-tempered with everyone.
I try to menu plan every Sunday night so it’s pretty easy to know which snacks I’m going to pack and what we will be having for breakfast. Our day can start anywhere from 5:30 -7 am, although 7am wake up is very rare, we then have breakfast and have a play with whatever I set up the night before. Pretty much everyday we try to spend the morning out of the house, we are part of a few playgroups in our area and we meet up with some amazing other mommy friends that we’ve made. If we have nothing planned we might just head down to the part of go into town for a coffee. By about 12:00 we are home having a small lunch and heading to bed for an afternoon nap. I’ve been really lucky with how we do naps and B pretty much always sleeps for 2 hours (on really busy days it can be 3 hours). When he gets up from his naps we cuddle on the couch for about 15-30 min either watching ABC2 or just sitting together quietly while B wakes up fully. Then it’s on to our activities (which I don’t put any time limit/expectations on) and after that I start on dinner or if that’s all prepared already I might do some work while B plays independently. We generally have dinner at 6pm and its straight off to bath and bed afterwards which usually means B is in bed no later than 7:30.

This routine works for us and I try to be really flexible with it, it may not work for you or your child. Before he was 1 yrs we never really had a set routine I would always just take the days as they came or see how we felt. Some days I can tell we should just be having a day at home or he may be having so much fun in the back yard that we don’t end up going anywhere or doing anything else. But now that he is a bit older I have noticed that routine seems to suit him much better and he naturally fell into eating and sleeping at the same times everyday so I worked this out around him rather than try to change what he was already doing to suit me.

Where Would We Be Without Help

When we first fell pregnant I must admit I was pretty scared of all that meant to us, the fact that we were very new to this and that we will quite literally have someone’s life in our hands! But through our journey so far we have has so much help, advice and love that it has helped build our confidence and made what we are going through so much easier and the bad days so much better.

Keep calm

From the start of our pregnancy Sean’s and my family have been so wonderfully excited for us and been so great with checking how I was feeling and if everything was ok. But what we also appreciated was how much they helped out with the thingsĀ I couldn’t do like assisting with moving house, helping me get ready for bubs arrival etc . Now that he is here they are even more fantastic, I know Sean’s mum and dad are only a phone call away if there is an emergency.

We signed up for midwife care at the local hospital where we had planned to give birth (ShoalhavenĀ hospital) and that was when we were introduced to the amazing midwives. I didn’t even bother going back to my GP cause the care I was receiving was so wonderful, from their concern for me and my well beingĀ to being able to answer any questions I had. Not to mention how fantastic our antenatal classes were! It made the preparation for little Billy easier and more efficient.

Then when William decided it was his arrival date we were introduced to our birthing midwife, Katherine, she stayed with us from the moment we went into labour, when we needed help and she had to call the obstetrician and even up till he was on my chest and we were trying to get him to breast feed. She never left our side and was instrumental in keeping me calm and giving me really helpful tips about breathing, staying focused, changing positions to work him down etc. The day after William had arrived she came back on shift and even spent some time checking on us In recovery. Her care was amazing! The obstetrician she called was great too, he initially wanted to prepare me for a caesarean but as soon as we started to object he did everything in his power to tryĀ something else first, which is why we ended upĀ using the Kiwi Cup and I am so happy he did that for us. He was encouraging and also a little mean to me, which was a good thing causeĀ even though I was trying really hard toĀ push William out naturally, it wasn’t hard enough for theĀ problem we were having with him.Ā In fact my whole care at Watson House was great. The midwives who were looking after my recovery couldn’t do enough to assist us and teach us how to swaddle him, bath him and settle him. The day after the birth we had a student midwife and they must be doing a great job teaching them at the Wollongong University because she was fantastic and for a student she really seemed to know what she was doing. I was really happy to have her as part of my recovery team.

When we got home I was lucky enough to have my sister stay with us for 2 weeks and I can’t rave enough about how phenomenal she was!

The midwives also offer follow-up care when you get home, they come to your house to weigh, measure and check baby is doing well and they check on how mum is going, if I was healing alright, any signs of depression, was I supported etc it was fantastic. I had all my questions answered, they checked we were still feeding well and even made sure William was getting to the hind milk in all his feeds.

After we saw the midwives (they came twice before discharging us) we were passed onto the community nurses. We had one home visit from them and our next one will be at their facilities. Again I cannot rave about their service enough or begin to tell you all how much they put me at ease with what I was doing and what I needed to still do.

They even have a breast feeding support group which I was grateful to be able to attend as by the 3rd week he was really struggling with how much milk I was producing and how fast the flow was. The midwives were so patient, encouraging, supportive and helpful. I really felt like they understood what I was going through and how much of a novice I was to this whole experience.

Of course my favourite support and helps comes from my darling husband. If I am having a tough time, even in the dead of night, he will take him from me just so I can have a few minutes extra sleep. He always does the first nappy change of the day and the bathing and settling ritual for the first big night sleep. But more importantly he listens to me, when I am frustrated, when I am happy even the odd sad moments he is there for me. I am SO lucky to have him in my life, asĀ the fatherĀ of our beautiful son,Ā my partner and as my best friend!

Our next bit of excitement/help is coming in the form of a 3 week visit from my mom and stepfather… We are beyond excited for their arrival!