Sunday, May 30, 2010

Puzzle Time

Last week the Little Guy was recovering from a bad stomach bug. Since he was into doing things that didn't include running around we were able to have some nice, quiet puzzle time!
These were his first puzzles. I can remember him really having to think about how they matched. This time it took him about 1 minute to do them all!

He's becoming more and more aware of the alphabet and recognizing a few of the letters. This puzzle has been waiting in the closet for the past year. He can only handle one line at a time right now. It is good to see him actually have to work to solve a puzzle!

This is how I store the puzzles. They are each in a case of some kind to the pieces don't get lost when they are put in the closet drawer.
This shape puzzle was a challenge a few months ago but now it's simple as can be. The next step will probably be working on learning the names of the shapes and matching them in various activities.

This is the "too advanced" category. I got a couple of puzzles from the 100 yen shop which have great pictures and content but way too many pieces for now. The Little Guy very energetically took the puzzle apart but just couldn't muster the focus to put it together again. Maybe in another half year or so?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Washing Strawberries

We are finally starting to get back to a routine with Montessori work around here. Since moving to a new house a month ago much thought has gone into how to make this place liveable for all 4 of us. Thankfully we have a couple of months before the baby (#4 in 4 of us) is due to arrive.
This week the Little Guy has finally been able to get back into the kitchen. I found this great cutting board, strainer that fits over half of our sink. When combined with a box to stand on it makes a great kitchen work space in a kitchen that doesn't have a counter!
As you can see he has the apron on and can easily reach the water faucette.
Washing the strawberries went like this:
1. Carefully place them in the strainer.
2. Turn on the water
3. Rise the berries gently
4. Return them to the berry container
5. Eat!

I think it was a rather successful and yummy bit of work!

U-Play Mat

Have you ever heard of the U-Play Mat? There is a set of mat, cards and other goodies in the Signing Time Academy Store right now. When I saw it I knew that we could make good use of it!
Here is one activity that the Little Guy enjoys. We place cards in the pockets (this is the U-Play play set) and then he looks for objects that we have to match each of the cards.
Another favorite activity is matching the cards. Each U-Play set comes with doubles of the cards specifically for this purpose. There is even a booklet that comes with the set which outlines 10 activities to do.
We changed it up a bit by having the card "reader" sign what is in the picture on the card. The other person then points to the object that was signed. If the correct card was chose then the signed card is placed on top of the card in the mat pocket.
Another activity I'd like to try is putting alphabet cards in the pockets and then having the Little guy match letters (upper case/lower case) or letter sounds.

There are so many possibilities!!!!
The clear pockets on the mat are just the right size for the Signing Time and Baby Signing Time flashcards. I can see this mat coming in handy with a class of crawling babies as a way to keep the flashcards for going into their mouths!
Here is the post abotu it over at the Signing Way Blog.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I've noticed 3 types of climbing going on recently.
The first is the climbing out of necessity - climbing on a chair to get into the fridge, climbing on a bench to reach the light switch, etc.
The 2nd is climbing to test my limits. The Littel Guy knows of to get on my nerves so when he's headed to the top of the couch I know it's because he wants attention... or to annoy me!
And the 3rd is the climbing to see if he can do it. We found a neighborhood park last week with this rather interesting climbing implement.
He asked me "what is it?" and you know what? I really wasn't sure! A tree? A spider? A stump? I appreciate that it isn't bright colored and plastic and I do think they were going to a treehouse design... but through the eyes of a 2 yr old it wasn't very clear!
As you can see it wasn't really built for toddlers but that didn't stop the little guy from giving it a go (with me spotting him). He really does enjoy having a chance to challenge hi body through climbing and balance activities!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Non-Example

Here is a non-example from earlier this week. It could also be called an example of what not to do...
The Little Guy loves poring and trasferring exercises. I'm happy to have him do them in a controlled enviroment. This however, was not so controlled.
For starters, in countries that depend on rice as a staple food using it for an activity like this can be grounds for war - or at least a household fight! Thankfully my husband is indulgent from time to time.
The tea set is within reach of the toddler so it is ok for him to use. Using it for a pouring activity doesn't work well though.
The story goes that the bored toddler was rummaging through the cupboards looking for something to do. (It's kinda fun to see what he'll come up with) He found a rice bag with about a half cup of rice left in it. The rice for some reason became his "tea" so he wanted to "drink" it. Thankfully, a tray was waiting near buy to catch the "tea" because he soon started pouring it onto the saucers and then went in search of a spoon to try and scoop it back into the cup. He really tried to scoop and pour but the flat saucers just weren't working with the spoon so he resorted to picking up the rice with his fingers and in the end created a big mess.
The activity ended when we reviewed how to sweep dry rice off the floor into the dust pan.
I'm sure there was a lesson learned in all of this - just not sure what that lesson is!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shape Matching

One of the fun parts of moving is rediscovering old activities. Here is one that we picked up last summer when the Little Guy was too little to really enjoy it. I knew that some day he would understand what to do and it seems that the day has come!
This is the 3D Feel and Find from Guide Craft. エド・インターに似ているの物あります。
The set comes with durable, wooden pieces which each have a matching plate with a cut-out of the shape.
Here you can see the Little Guy reaching into the bag to take out a piece.
He then matches the piece to the plate on the table. To add a little more challenge we then worked together to separate the pieces into living and non-living categories. In the Little Guys's mind it was "shapes" and "zoo things" since you can see animals, trees and people at the zoo.
When he finished sorting the stacking blocks came out. Hmm... what's up?
Aparently after sorting the shapes they needed to disappear! In my mind that would include putting them bag in the bag and into the closet. In his mind that meant covering them up!