Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week and Weather Wheels

As we move towards the the LIttle Guy being 2.5 I've noticed some clear jumps in his cognitive development. Last summer he was working on grasping a sense of time. Recently it has changed to naming the days of the week and what we do on each day. To help clarify things a bit I made the Days of the Week Wheel that is on the right in the picture below.
It's really a simple idea that has saved us quite a bit of frustration! You could use a pointer to mark the day, I use a magnet since the wheel resides on our fridge.
Here is a simple look at our week:
Sunday - Church
Monday - Cleaning and laundry
Tuesday - Baby Signing Time Classes
Wednesday - Family Time
Thursday - Piano class
Friday - park, friends
Saturday - iChat (video conference) the Grandma and Grandpa

On the days that we need to get up and out the door it is very helpful to have the wheel to turn to. We can talk about what we did yesterday, what we'll do today and what the plan is for tomorrow. The wheel also comes in handy when plans get changed because he can see that even if today is different the overall week will follow the same routine.

The other wheel is for the weather. I had been debating for a while about making one... but last week I needed it for class which turned out to be the perfect motivation to get it done. (I think teaching a class with parenting topics really pushes you to be a more active parent!)
If you look closely you'll see that I only included the weather that we experience. The sun is the biggest area since we tend to have a lot of sunny days. Recently the Little Guy's morning greeting has become "It's a sunny day!". I wonder what he'll say if he wakes up and it's not sunny?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Books From English and Signing Classes

We are now a couple of weeks into the new year so the classes are returning to their normal pace. My remembering to post has not caught up yet though!
My Monday classes have moved to Tuesday and soon the Mommies English class will be replaced with a Baby Signing Time (BST) - Sing and Play class. The BST classes are really starting to get interesting and the kids become more active and start to sign.
So, here are the books we've used over the past couple of weeks. A thank you goes out to the students who were asking about them!
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Japanese translation: おやすみなさいおつきさま
Spot's Snowy Day by Eric Hill
And the new books in our Baby Signing Time class book basket:
These are part of the Sign About series by Anthony Lewis.

Friday, January 22, 2010

If Only We'd Give Them The Tools...

For the last year or so I've had tools (broom, dust cloth, towel) hanging where the Little Guy can reach them. On our last trip to Ikea he picked up this dust pan and brush. He even put it to use as we walked to the check-out.
Last week my huibiscus plant had a little accident and the Little Guy beat me to cleaning up the dirt!
It was a great reminder that kids want to be involved in all aspects of life. Often they understand and can do more than we give them credit for.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sign of the Week

On the Signing Time blog they've started offering a Sign of the Week. The first one is "eat". Take a look!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2 of the Best Toys

For this past couple of weeks this has been a very common sight in our house.

Every evening and sometimes in the morning too the little guy asks for help setting up his train set.  It's a combination of sets from Ikea with Duplo Legos to provide tunnels with a few milk and juice carton tunnels thrown in.  Sometimes the cars come out to watch the train go by.
Running the trains on the tracks is a great fine motor skill exercise.  The magnets which connect the trains provide an introdution to the positive/negative ends of magnets.  There are also endless oppertunities for creative problem solving and role play.
With a small assortment of well chosen toys and a bit of imagination you can be entertained for hours!
~ Houdini

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Train Worth Riding

Over the break we had the chance to take an overnight trip.  One of the best parts was riding on the Superview Odoriko train (スーパービュー踊り子) from Tokyo to the south.  We've taken the train before so this time we made sure to get an early reservation for one of the best seats on the train.

This is the view from Car 10, Row 1, Seats a, b.  Not only were we on the ocean side of the train we also had a front row (or back row) seat.  The Little Guy (and big guy) had a great time watching the tracks go by.  We also passed many trains, cranes, bridges and tunnels!

The other advantage of being in car 10 is that the first floor has a kids room.  There is even a private area for nursing and diaper changes.  When traveling with kids who don't sit still this room can be a life saver!
With all of the great features you'd expect this train to cost a lot but it is actually cheaper than taking the shinkansen (bullet train).
If you have time, why not enjoy the journey with a great front row seat?