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Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow Day!

It finally stopped raining and there's a coating of snow on the ground.  Not a better ending to a dreary, cold week!  Most of the kiddos are home from school today playing in the snow.  Do some writing in the snow.  Write names, letters, even funny messages.  Instead of a regular snowball fight, challenge your kids to an educational match.  Take their homework folders and find something they're learning in school (spelling words, math, geography quiz) and ask them questions pertaining to that subject.  For each answer they get right, they get to throw a snowball at you.  For everyone they get wrong, you get to throw one at them.  Hopefully, for your sake, they don't get them ALL right!

Snowball Fight

For the younger ones, this may not be the best idea.  Gentry took her token "first snow" picture, but I doubt she'll want to hang out in it all day (especially since I had her looking like the Michelin Man).  Instead, we are going to make up imaginary stories with her toys.  Too often parents only read to children.  Well, let your children tell you the story.  Pick some of their favorite toys and have them act out a scene or two.  This is great for developing your child's imagination (as if that needs help) but also for understanding plots.  Try to help your child figure out a problem/solution scenario, like most fictional stories.

If you could only hear the story Gentry came up with this morning...

For the REAL young ones, you do the story telling with their toys.  Modeling for them at this young age will only help them as they learn to do it on their own!  Gentry told me to knock of the story telling and just get to playing...  Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rain, rain go away... No seriously

Yep it's still raining here. I can't imagine having a mobile kid in this situation but my mobile dog is certainly hating this/driving me CRAZY!

I thought of some more movement activities for today because we all need movement this winter! Using blocks, stickers or even letters cut from newspapers/magazines, "hide" each letter around the house next to an object that starts with that. For example, hide the R underneath the rug, or the T next to the TV.  Let your child try to find them all.

For the younger babes, go on a texture scavenger hunt. Your baby is probably loving reaching out and touching everything.  And with the flu going around, you're probably trying to stop that at all costs.  Well your house is (hopefully) less germy than public places, so let him/her explore there.  Find all cold things, hot things, soft, hard, squishy, prickly, smooth, rough.... make sure you group alike textures together and repeat the adjective that describes them.  Sounds silly, but your child is taking in more than you think!

Hope everyone is having a great week.  The weekend is ALMOST HERE!  Anyone doing anything fun with or without the kiddos?

Of course I have to leave you with a baby picture or this wouldn't be a complete post.  Gentry only wanted to spell HER name and work with those letters this morning.  But, she sat up for a few minutes on her own for the first time so I let it roll.

She scolded me for showing you a work in progress.  Here is her finished product:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rainy Day Fun

Why is it STILL raining?  We are on Day 3 of rain and it is really not ending until Friday.  At least tomorrow night we may get some snow.  I don't know about you but cold rain is the WORST!

I'm sure most of you moms are going crazy not being able to get out much, whether you're here or somewhere else experiencing this weather.  Gentry and I went on a scavenger hunt this morning with her toys that I thought some of you with older kids could easily do.  Instead of just playing with toys today, why don't you go around the house and try to find objects that start with the same sound.  Here Gentry took her snowman and matched it up to a sofa.  Yup, she did it all by herself.

Other variations...

  • Find objects that end the same as the toys
  • Find objects that end the same as the toy's beginning (snowman and pants) or vice verse (snowman and nail polish)
  • Collect small objects that start the same/end the same or rhyme.  Just make sure these things are SMALL and then play "Race the Clock" to clean up the collected items before the clock runs out.
Hope everyone finds some good, educational indoor fun today!  If you do, PLEASE share!

The dog even found something fun to do... Gentry lost this tug-of-war.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Busy Moms or Far away Grandparents

You've probably seen these around

Recordable Storybooks.  My parents get the grandkids these every Christmas.  You can find them here:

OR here:

My mom gets them straight from the Hallmark store.  They are GREAT, not only for Gentry to hear my parents' voices any old time she wants (because she is very demanding), but for those late afternoons when frankly you are just too tired to get words out!  We are very fortunate to have BOTH sets of grandparents in town, so technically Gentry can have them read to her whenever.  But, those of you across the country from your parents, this is screaming your name!

Here's a quick clip to show you how they work...

You see why board books were invented for kids?  I'm a little weary of giving G some of the nicer paper books she's been given!

Other suggestions for these books:

  • Have an older sibling record for a younger

  • YOU record

  • For older kiddos, have them record for themselves

  • For readers, YOU record, but mess up a word or sentence.  Have your child listen to it to figure out what is wrong.  This could turn into a fun" I Spy" game.

  • For non-readers that may have memorized the book, do the same thing above and see if your child can pinpoint where the story deviates from the original.  

Don't fear repetition.   In fact, children learn better by hearing the same stories over and over and over and over.  I know how boring it gets to reread the same story.  I realize you probably start to have nightmares with the characters in those stories your child just can't put down.  Well this book give YOU a break!

Repetitive reading helps non-readers recognize patterns, learn directionality, rhymes, sentence structure and a whole lot more.  It helps readers with fluency- the rate of reading- and expression.  The intonation you use when reading happens without you realizing it, but your child needs to learn how to do that.  Whether they're hearing your perfect reading over and over again, or learning the words themselves so they can then practice expressions, it's helping!



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Edible Books

Gentry wants to put EVERYTHING in her mouth.  I guess this is her way of showing interest. I love chocolate and I can't seem to keep that out of my mouth so maybe she loves books?! A friend of ours gave us some soft books that she can chew on and she LOVES them.  If you can't get your young one to sit still listening to a story then try these.  It may not seem like a literacy activity, but it's getting your child acquainted with books.  And, maybe like osmosis, by "eating" words, your child may learn them?
Of course when I try to capture her on film eating the book she won't, but instead she decided to read it to you.  Hoping her holding skills progress in the future...

I found some of these online:

They all claim to be vinyl-free.  Most of the bath books out there are made from vinyl.  I'm sure it's fine for the little amount of time kids actually have it in their mouths, but I'm trying to be as chemical free as possible with the little one.

Anyone with any other recommendations for edible books? 

What's something you do to get your kids excited to read?