Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Toddler Tuesday February 15, 2011

 

Bitty Bug is 25 months old

For those who are linking up to Toddler Tuesday for the first time or who haven’t visited my blog before, welcome!  Feel free to comment, ask questions, and join in the conversation! 🙂

Like Monkey, Bitty Bug got out of her routine of having good work times in the school room.  Obviously, it wasn’t such a big deal to have  her not be down there–the only reason she is in the school room is because Monkey’s down there.  However, towards the end of the week, she was really getting into the work set out on the shelves. 

One of the biggest things we’re working with is trying to get Monkey to put her things back on the shelf.  If it was up to her, she’d just toss everything on the floor when she was done.  Clearly, that’s not such a grand plan. 😉   So, a lot of my time is spent going back behind Monkey and assisting her in learning how to clean up her work space and put her items back on the shelf.  I’d like to think we were making progress with that, but alas, I’m not sure we are.  In time, in time….  But in the mean time, there is a whole lot of me down on my knees (not to beg… LOL!  Just so I can be at her eye level), guiding her hands and modeling the appropriate conclusion to each activity.

When I wasn’t following behind the human tornado (and I mean that as lovingly as possible…), I did manage to snap a few pictures!

Using the dusting mitts to clean off the top of the shelves (while she doesn't like to put her work back on the shelves, she sure does like dusting!)

Bug really liked the seashell matching game. She wasn't really able to match up the pictures just yet, but she did love exploring all of the different shells and starfish.

As always, Bug *loves* to be a one man band!

Bug also liked this fishing puzzle. And much to my surprise, she was very good at putting the pieces back into the puzzle, even though there was no obvious guide, other than shape. I was really impressed at her work with the puzzle!

Her favorite work is still the beach sand box. She loves using the tongs to get the animals and the spoon to scoop the sand.

Working with the counting beads again. She's getting really good at sorting the colors and counting the beads!

Another sorting and color work. This one was a bit tricky for her because she had to line each shape up with the pegs. She eventually got all except the triangles on right!

If you did any learning activities with your toddler this week, please add the direct link to your post when linking up to Toddler Tuesday!



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Toddler Tuesday, plus a Child of God Advent activity December 14, 2010

Tot School  

Bitty Bug is 23 months old

As I started writing this blog post, I realized that a  month from today, my little Bitty Bug will be a great big 2 year old.  It’s hard to believe!  Well, I guess it’s just hard to believe it’s already been 2 years since she was born…it’s not really all that hard to believe that she’ll be entering the famous “2’s” stage.  She’s been a spunky, curious child with a fierce independent streak and a cute smile she uses to get herself out of trouble on a daily hourly basis.  She started out as the quiet baby who never cried…it’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2 years since we started to wonder how she would fit in to our wild crazy house because she was always so calm and quiet.  Turns out she was just spending her time observing and taking it all in because now she is the perfect fit! 

I don’t think I’ve ever found a more curious child either.  She notices *everything* and she can spend a long time just looking at a tiny bean or pebble or shell she finds…feeling it, looking at the shape and colors, and yes, sometimes even giving it a little lick. 😉  We constantly have to bring out new things for her to explore because she craves it.  She is a fun one to teach!

In addition to the regular Montessori work, I’m also posting a picture of Bug doing an advent activity (I didn’t get many pictures of them working with the advent stuff this week, so I didn’t want to forget to post the one I managed to get a picture of!)

Here is Bug looking at all of the winter matching cards

She found a match!

She also did a fantastic job with sorting seeds. Although she also wanted to sit there and hold each individual seed in her hand. 😉

Working with her new latch board. She really loved playing peekaboo with the animals behind each door! Obviously some of the latches were really difficult for her, but she did seem to understand a couple of the more basic ones.

Using little tongs to transfer yellow yarn (hay) into the toilet paper roll manger.

Then, when the manger was filled with hay, she put the little clothespin Jesus in it.

Beautiful little Bitty Bug ready for grandma and grandpa to come over for a Christmas gathering

Except less than an hour later, Little Miss fell asleep waiting for them. Isn't she just so sweet....

 

Montessori Monday December 13, 2010

Jedi is 7 years 0 months old, Monkey is 3 years 10 months old, Bitty Bug is 22.5 months old

Last week was one of those incredibly busy weeks, as those early weeks in December tend to be.  We had holiday visitors over this weekend, Tang Soo Do belt testing for Jedi and me (Monkey is doing her belt testing on Wednesday), and some sharp winter weather has hit Ohio hard. 

Jedi was home from school today because of the winter weather (you might remember that Jedi isn’t homeschooled at this current point, as it is not the best arrangement for him.  Sometime in the future he might be though!  He does attend an awesome Montessori school though).  So, Jedi decided he wanted to come join us today, even though the work is geared towards preschool and toddler…he took the work and made his own extensions though!  It’s nice when he’s home and decides to work with the girls because he gives the unique experience of the only person in the house who has actually completed the first three year cycle of Montessori work!

Here are some pictures from this past week:

I put out a keys and locks work this week.  I tried to find 4 different colored locks with matching keys because I had originally intended for Bug to work with this.  But Monkey loved it a lot!

Jedi working with the Lake and Island landform trays

With one of the continent boxes

Monkey also decided to work with the continent boxes

Transferring foam snowflakes with tongs

Monkey and Bug sorting seeds (I have sunflower and pumpkin seeds, mung beans, and white beans on the tray)

Using the winter matching cards

Musings of Me has this darling large gingerbread figure on her site, and I printed it, cut it out, laminated it, and punched holes around the perimeter of it to make a Christmas lacing work. Here's the link to her whole gingerbread curriculum: http://thoughtsofesme.blogspot.com/2010/11/gingerbread.html

This is another wonderful work from Musings of Me--Christmas shapes! Monkey would take a card that had a Christmas object on it, and then use various shapes to replicate the picture.

Can you tell I've been busy with my printer and laminator this week? I also downloaded Musings of Me's holiday patterning cards. Monkey still has a bit of a hard time with patterns, but she really enjoys trying them.

And the gingerbread counting work (can you guess where I got it from? I think here is a good place to say THANK YOU to Musings of Me for putting up an awesome free gingerbread themed Montessori unit! Monkey worked with it a ton this week (and Jedi's currently lacing the large gingerbread as I'm typing this!)

Using the Melissa & Doug bead sequencing set. I really really like this work. It makes Monkey think, a lot--especially since there is no set pattern. She really has to look at the card and concentrate on finding the right shape and color.

 

Montessori Monday December 5, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 10 months old

This week, Monkey jumped right back into things after a couple light weeks due to the holidays and illness.  She was really happy to get back into things as well!  I had quite a few new holiday-themed work out this week too.

Monkey and Jedi opening the day's door on the Lego advent calender. We don't usually do the themed ones, but Jedi is really into legos, and we couldn't resist having a new lego creation to build every day in December!

Using a spoon to transfer red, green, clear, and blue glass beads

Trying to feel which baric tablet is heavier and which one is lighter

Exploring the thermic tablets and sorting them by material

I put out three different types of boards that use screwdrivers. Monkey really loved working with these!

Another of the boards

Sorting Christmas buttons by color

Using the fraction skittles. She had actually used these in her homeschool co-op class, so she went straight to it.

This was a new work that I just purchased. Every numeral tablet is broken into a puzzle where the number of pieces equals the numeral in the tablet. This work is really interesting, but the first thing monkey did was tip the entire thing over without knowing what was inside. So, we spent a good hour putting all the pieces back together! Jedi tipped it over too on another day (nope, my kids don't wait for help with anything! LOL!) and even he found it really challenging, and he's 7. This might be something that goes back in storage for another year or two...we'll see if monkey wants to work with it this week, and if not, I'll put it up until she's a bit older.

Working with the spindle rods. Monkey really really was interested in these this week, so we worked on them a lot!

Working with the peg board

Monkey loves mixing colored water into new colors! She did this one a lot.

I also introduced the landform trays this week. Or rather, one landform tray. We worked on "island" this week. She loved making the fish go in the water and the animals on the land!

Decorating the mini Christmas tree. She loved this one too! She actually didn't want to take it apart again, but Bug wanted to work with it too, so we couldn't keep the mini tree decorated. It was a very popular work with the girls.

A clothes pin work. I glued shimmery foam balls to the end of clothes pins, and then cut a Christmas tree shape out of green felt. In order to decorate the tree, Monkey had to practice opening and closing the clothespins.

The December sensory bin...white felt strips, red/green/white pom poms, foam snowflakes, little penguin and snowman figurines, some clear red/green/clear "gems", red/green/gold pipe cleaners, and some more of the shimmery foam balls.

 

Montessori Monday November 14, 2010

Monkey is 3 years 9 months old

It’s hard to believe that we’re already 3 months into the school year, and the winter holidays are getting closer.  On one hand, it seems like we’ve just barely gotten started, but on the other hand, Monkey’s done so much and accomplished so many things in just 3 months.  It’s amazing to see this process every day. 

It feels like we’re finally making headway on the colors thing.  She’s been able to match them for months, but because of her processing issues, she has such a hard time naming colors.  She’s finally getting a couple of them, which is huge!  And once she got those, it seemed like she was then ready for so much more–for starting to learn her letters and numbers, etc.  She’s been so interested in those the past couple weeks.

Monkey also did really well with her Vietnamese lessons this week.  She learned the words for ‘baby’, ‘mama’, ‘daddy’, ‘hi’, ‘goodbye’, ‘fish’, ‘ball’, and ‘swim’.  She also learned the first couple lines of a song.  She was pretty shy for her tutor, but on the way home, she started repeating the words.  This week, I made her 3 part cards of the words she learned–that way she learns to read the words in Vietnamese (and it also helps me to remember the words as well. LOL!)

Here are some pictures from this week…

Sorting feathers by color

Using the hammering work to hammer shapes into the piece of cork

This was really really cool! The Olivia book was sitting next to her, and she decided to find letters to match the word Olivia and hammer them in. We were all really impressed by this!

Working with the geometric cabinet, drawer 1. Here she's tracing the outside, and then she traces the inset before matching them together.

This was something I came up with after seeing a printable on dltk-holidays.com. I printed the turkey color card from that site, then I laminated it. Monkey puts a colored button on each turkey (green buttons on the green turkeys, brown buttons on the brown turkeys, etc.) Then she counted the number of buttons for each color.

 

Learning how to set a table. I printed off a template for setting a table from the Martha Stewart site, and then taped it to the lid of the box that held the table setting work. She used that as a guide for setting the items on her work table.

Sorting items into "living" and "non-living". We talked about how living things eat/need nutrients and/or water, grow, and reproduce. For the rest of the week, every time we were in the car, she'd ask if various things she could see out the window were living or non-living, so I'd ask her if they ate, grew, and reproduced. She thought that was a pretty fun question game to play during car trips this week.

Polishing silver. I made a silver polish out of baking soda and water, so that it was completely non-toxic (Bitty Bug wanted to work with it too, so I had to make it completely non-toxic so that she wouldn't get sick if she tried licking it or something). I also set out a dish to hold the polish, a tooth brush, a soft sponge, and a wash cloth. She's polishing the goblets from my husband and my wedding (almost 8 years ago--we've never gotten around to polishing them!)

The 3 part cards I made after Monkey's weekly Vietnamese lesson with her tutor.

 

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Tot School Tuesday November 9, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:52 am
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 21.5 months old

Bitty Bug continues to gain a fierce sense of independence (except of course when you bring her into a room full of people she doesn’t really know…then she curls up and gets shy. 😉 ).  But, she is getting very good at telling you what she wants, telling you that she wants to do it herself, and telling you when she feels wronged.  And to a toddler with two older siblings, she feels wronged a lot…like any time they have something really cool in their hands that she really really wants at that moment.  So, this week has been a week where Miss Bug learns some frustration tolerance, sharing, and how to deal with her big emotions.  That’s a big job for any child, but when you’re a little toddler with a limited vocabulary, that can be very hard.  So, we’ve seen a lot of tantrums this week, but we’ve also seen a lot of progress where she comes right to us and tells us what’s wrong.  It might be hard to understand what she’s saying, especially when she’s so upset, but she’s trying really hard to express herself!

Here are some pictures of Bug’s week of learning….

Bug enjoyed a warm fall day by playing with sidewalk chalk with Monkey

Our little One Woman Band! Bug did a lot of exploring the various instruments in the music cupboard to see how the various instruments could be used together.

Working with the Autumn/Thanksgiving matching cards. She really enjoyed looking for all of the pictures of pumpkins, since she did a lot of work with pumpkins in recent weeks. There were also a couple of cards she could actually match up too! But in general, I wasn't going for matching...I just was happy that she was looking through the cards!

Bug still loves pouring water! It's probably one of her favorite works. Here, she's pouring from a creamer to a child sized tea cup.

I started Bug on color box 1. I was really impressed--not only could she match them up, but she could point to the correct color when I asked her to find yellow, then blue, then red. And she could name the yellow cards when I asked her what color those were.

Working with her shades & sizes peg board.

The bead after bead board was another one that was a big hit with Bug this week. She's really into counting and colors, so this work combined both of them. She can count to 5 without help and can count to 12 with help! She can also independently name "yellow" and "orange" (probably because we have been working really hard on colors with Monkey, who is still having a really hard time with them.)

Bug still loves the autumn leaf sorting activity. She can't sort the individual colors yet, but she can name some of them. She usually sorts the green ones in one cup, and yellow, orange, and purple in the other cup. This is also good for using the pincher grasp, since all the leaves are pretty small.

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Tot School Tuesday, plus Montessori-To-Go October 18, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:34 pm
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 21 months old

Poor Bitty Bug hasn’t felt well recently…as you might remember, she has Selective IgA Deficiency, and from October through April, she’s pretty much sick every 2 weeks on the dot.  This week, she had her first illness in quite a while…nothing bad–just a little cold.  However, a cold for her is worse than a cold for most people, and as a result, we haven’t gotten too many pictures of her this week.  She’s still wanting to do her tot school activities, but she just looks too miserable to have pictures taken.   She is still the same spunky Bug though…she’s so used to being sick half the year that it very rarely ever slows her down anymore.   But, we did get a couple of her this week…

Bug was rather amused by the spider work. She used both the tongs and her fingers to transfer the little plastic spiders into the muffin tin. She was very interested in the spiders, as she loves to pick up real spiders!

Bug loved coloring her haunted house with the markers. (She calls it a "ha-house". 😉 )

Perhaps Bug is actually part monkey... She frequently scales the fridge. Not quite sure why she does it, but she does. She's quite the goofball!

 

The next few pictures are of the Montessori-To-Go box I made Bug.  Because her brother and sister are both special needs children, we have a weekly therapy session that takes about 4 hours–the first hour is Monkey’s appointment and the  rest of the time involves a couple appointments for Jedi.  Poor Bug spends a lot of that time in the waiting room looking fairly bored.  There are other kids who are in the waiting room for part of the time she’s there, but they’re all quite a bit older than her and she doesn’t really understand what they’re playing.  So, I decided to make her a traveling tot school to keep her entertained.  It’s a bit big for carrying around to restaurants and brief appointments obviously, but it has to keep her busy for a good 3-4 hours at a time.  (Of course, I have smaller pouches in there that can easily be taken out for restaurant trips or anyplace a large box isn’t practical!).  The kit only weights about 4-5 lbs though, so it’s not really too heavy to carry.

This is the box when everything's stashed away in it. It's just a regular plastic box--a little bigger than a plastic shoebox, but one can use a plastic shoebox too. The size is due to the fact it will double as a sensory bin.

How everything looks with the lid open. On the bottom is a white board, then a bag of sensory materials (this time it's assorted beans & lentils), one pouch for sensory bin items and another pouch for small Montessori activities, and a book. The purple pouch contains several activities, and it's easy enough to grab for shorter waits.

Another view of everything that was stashed in the box.

The sensory bin. This time it's autumn themed, with lentils, plastic acorns, silk leaves, spiders, chopsticks, a little shovel, some scoops & tongs, a spoon, etc.

The other activities--a white board so she can color without using a ton of paper--she likes to only put a mark or two on each paper. There is also a set of buttons/shoelace to thread, some clothes pins to put on the rim of some sorting cups, and some cubes to sort by color.