Monday, January 31, 2011

Bitty Baby School (5 Months)

Tot School
Gracie is 5 Months Old

Grace is a little young to be considered a toddler and definitely too young to do "school" with. However, I still like to loosely plan some activities for her and give her some one-on-one time with Momma!

Motor Skills 

Gracie has learned to roll over from front to back but not back to front. She's so close though! She loves to lay on her back on a blanket and baby gym and watch what's going on around her. Sometimes I'll shake a rattle or move around to encourage her to crane her neck and try to roll.

We also put her in the jumperoo for the first time this week and she loves it! She's able to look around and even enjoys bouncing.

Gracie in the jumperoo!

She's gotten very good at reaching and grabbing onto toys. She's really enjoying her bouncy seat. We've also tried the bumbo again now that she's sitting well when supported. I've put some of her rattles on the tray and she's had fun playing with them- or watching her big brother play with them!

Stories and Nursery Rhymes 

We've been reading some of Jonathan's old favorite books to Gracie. She loves sitting in our lap and looking at the pictures. She still enjoys the Hello, Animals book that we reviewed earlier. We've also been reading Sandra Boynton books (such as Moo Baa, La La La) and Brown Bear Brown Bear. Both of those were favorites of Jonathan when he was little. 


Gracie loves being talked to and sung to. We've been enjoying a CD by Kimbo Educational called Baby Face. It's full of upbeat music and the liner has instructions on games you can play with your little one. Lately Gracie has been enjoying the bouncing game and she always lights up when I put the music on. 

We're not doing anything too fancy, but I'm just seeking to be intentional about spending time with her. 

A rare picture of her laughing!
(She always frowns before the flash!)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tot School (24 Months)

Tot School

This is my first official Tot School post! I've been doing fun activities with Jonathan the past year, but now that he's two I decided to be a little more intentional about our time together. He actually already recognizes uppercase letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, but I don't think he has the attention span for focusing on more preschool-type activities. So this Spring my goals are mostly to reinforce what he already knows, help him start to focus on tasks, and just have fun along the way!

We did have a lot of fun this week, despite a cold that we all suffered from!

Gross Motor Skills 

As a mom of a two year old boy, I can certainly say he's very, very BUSY! I don't know if Gracie will be the same way when she's two, but Jonathan just loves to move. Even as a baby, he wanted to move and focus on gross motor skills more than verbal skills.

Living in Chicago, it is very cold here right now, so unfortunately that limits our outside play time. Sometimes we try to go to the local park district's open gym time. But this week, we had colds so we stayed inside. He still found several things to keep himself entertained:

One is his basketball hoop. He got this from Uncle Andy for Christmas and he just loves running around with his basketball and putting it through the hoop.

Yes, that is a mattress in our living room! :)
(We're moving bedrooms around.) 

Another is his tractor ride on toy. He received this as a present from his Gram and lately has just had so much fun riding it back and forth through the house. We have to tell him to "park" the tractor sometimes because he could just spend hours on it!

Finally, we've been working on somersaults this week. He learned to jump last month (and loves to be a monkey jumping on the bed). So now we've been working on somersaults. He mostly just rolls from side to side, but he can do it with help from mommy or daddy. It's a fun indoor challenge for him right now. :)

Fine Motor Skills

For Christmas and his birthday (Jan 6), Jonathan received several toys that are great for building his fine motor skills.

This week, he mostly gravitated towards his pattern blocks, puzzles, and our latch board that a friend passed on to us. He's figured out 4 out of 6 of the latches already!

Playing with the latch board
He does very well with the pattern blocks too- sometimes the triangles give him some trouble since they have different angles. He's learning how to rotate them to see where they'll fit. This is huge progress for him- a couple months ago he would have had a temper tantrum over this toy!

Playing with his pattern blocks
Practical Life

I'm starting to read some books about Montessori education, and I really would like to work in some practical life exercises for Jonathan. In the past week, we focused on pouring. I had the brilliant idea to put cheerios in a cup to practice dry pouring. However, I don't think I used the right types of cups/pitchers. All I had was a plastic water bottle and he didn't have the best grip on it. Hence, cheerios were everywhere!

Pouring Practice

I want to look around for a child sized pitcher. Any recommendations?

We also attempted some potty training this week- ha! What was I thinking? Jonathan has successfully used his potty, but not consistently. This week I tried putting him in cloth diapers, thinking that this would help him sense when he was wet. Nope. It didn't bother him in the least! So far, he doesn't really communicate when he has to go or when he has dirtied his diaper. I've tried putting him on the potty after he eats- and sometimes it seems that as soon as I let him get up he's pooped in his diaper! I've been trying M&Ms and star stickers, but I'm wondering if I should just put this on the back burner. He's only just turned 2...

Stories and Nursery Rhymes 

Jonathan has loved books since he was little, but he doesn't always want to sit still. I love it when he will snuggle in with me and read a book- then I know which books are a hit!

I hope to join a project called Reading My Library where we work our way through all the picture books at our local library. Right now, he doesn't have the attention span for long picture books so I'm going to start doing this toddler-style. I own a book that is basically a list of recommended books for babies and toddlers so we're going to explore some of the authors included in that book from A-Z. Then we may come back around to reading the rest of the picture books when his attention span is longer.

This week we checked out some books by Jez Alborough that I'll share in a future post.

Jonathan also received a LeapFrog Tag Jr. reader for Christmas as well as some books for his birthday. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd like the Tag reader. I'd rather read to Jonathan, not have a computer read to him. But he loves it, and it's not so bad. The Tag Jr. only has a handful of books available, so I'll still be reading the majority of his books to him. He's really been enjoying the Thomas the Train book as well as the Disney Cars book on shapes.

Music & Art

We love music! I usually have music playing in the background as we're playing. We're big fans of Kimbo Educational. I checked out the CD Musical Scarves & Activities from our local library and we had fun waving scarves around to the music this week. Our favorite was "Let's Go Fly a Kite".

Waving his kites
We also like the album Wee Sing Children's Songs and Fingerplays. We did a lot with the Itsy Bitsy Spider this week. This is the first song that Jonathan has tried to do the motions with!

At church this past Sunday, our worship leader sung "Happy Day" by Tim Hughes. I couldn't get the song out of my head so I downloaded it and we sung and danced to that one too. :)

Jonathan loves coloring. He had a phase a couple months ago where all he wanted to do was scribble with his crayons. For his birthday, I bought a coloring workbook that I saw recommended on Amazon. It's the Kumon Let's Color! workbook. Each page has a different activity to help him develop his fine motor skills and eventually be ready to write. We worked on the first two activities this week which were basically trying to scribble in a set area. He did pretty well and learned the word "omelet" from the first page. (Now if only he'd eat one!)

I really liked these activities because they required him to focus on what he was doing, but they also didn't take very long. He was very proud of his artwork!

So this was a busy week for us, even though we were sick the later half of the week. We had a lot of fun! See you next week!

My favorite shot of the week- my two little ones!

I am linking this post up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1. 

Disclaimer: Amazon links are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase an item through my link, I will receive a small percentage of your total order. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

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