Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

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....

 

Tot School Tuesday December 7, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 22.5 months old

Because Bitty Bug is almost 2 now, she really seems to be able to comprehend and get into the holidays.  It is so awesome to watch her fascination with the Christmas tree (and especially the train that runs around it!) and the Elf on the Shelf!  And yesterday was her first time seeing snow that she could remember (last year, she was just turning 1, and I don’t think she remembers the big blizzard from that time!).  She’s also just noticing the lights on people’s houses as we drive around in the evening.  Just seeing how big her eyes get when she sees a new holiday things is absolutely wonderful!  So of course, once I put some holiday work in the homeschool room, she naturally flocked straight to it!

Here is her December travel sensory bin for when we're waiting in waiting rooms--some white felt "snow", little penguins & snowmen, various Christmasy pom poms, gems, & pipe cleaners, and the usual assortment of scoops, chopsticks, and cups.

Also in our travelling bin...the book Everywhere Babies (which is one of her favorite books), some snowflake and igloo bocks, a polar bear and penguin Animalz toy, the white board (this always keeps her entertained for hours! She loves the white board!) and a couple wooden vehicles.

Bug was so thrilled every time she made the toy elephant "drink" the water!

Working on the animal puzzle

Using a spoon to transfer the glass beads

She loved the island landform tray--here, she's making a whale swim in it.

Playing with her beach sand tray

Bug was really intrigued by this! I demonstrated the first playdough ball "cherry" on the pie, and she did the 2nd one. I'm not sure she knows what cherry pie is (I don't even know that we've had it in years? Now I feel the need to go make a cherry pie!) but she thought it was funny!

Bug's favorite animal is an elephant, and one of her favorite things to do is bounce. So, when she came across this bouncing elephant in the basement this week, she couldn't be separated from it! She decided she was then going to bounce everywhere!

 

Tot School Tuesday November 9, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:52 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

***Have you entered our giveaway yet? Enter to win a free set of Montessori albums and a training course by Karen Tyler! http://tinyurl.com/2euh3tm ***
***Do you like what you are reading on Barefoot in Suburbia? If so, please consider voting for us in the 2010 Homeschool Blog Awards–we have been nominated in the Best NEW Homeschool Blog category! http://hsbapost.com/ ***

 

 

Toddler Tuesday November 2, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 21.5 months old

This year was the first year Bitty But was really able to get into Halloween…last year she was just a wee baby.  It was *so* fun watching her get into the season…apple picking, pumpkin picking, painting her pumpkin, dressing up as a ghost (and walking around the house after she put a little bucket on her head, and yelling “oooooooooooh I a GHOOOOOOST!”  LOL!)…and she would point out decorations of “ha house” (her word for haunted houses), ghosts, mummies, and black cats.  She really loved it all!  I can’t wait until Christmas…if she loved the sights of autumn, she’s going to absolutely fall in love with the holiday season.  It is awesome watching toddlers become so aware of their surroundings and discover thigns for the first time!

Even though Bug was so excited for the Halloween festivities this week, she also did a lot of good playing and learning this week as well!  She even counted all the way to 13 multiple times this week!

(I just realized, she’s rarely ever wearing clothes in any of the pictures.  I swear this child has a wardrobe that overflows her closet…but school time always happens right after breakfast. She always decides to strip naked before breakfast and never agrees to having her clothes put back on.  LOL!)

Using her stacking cups

Bug loves to explore the instrument cabinet. She's constantly searching through it and figuring out new combinations of instruments to play!

Opening and closing the wallets from her zipper/velcro/button/snap/buckle basket

Playing with all of the animals on the Land/Water/Air tray. She didn't understand the concept of land/water/air of course--she was just practicing naming the animals.

Flipping lids with a spatula. (Note the awesome headband...she put that on herself. LOL!)

Building a tower with the yellow knobless cylinders. Each piece she picked up, she'd yell "ye-wow! ye-wow!" She really knows 'yellow' very well!

She apparently thought it was really interesting to look at her magnetic ice cream cone with a magnifying glass. 😉 She came up with that work herself. LOL!

Building a rainbow with her wooden rainbow arches.

 

Tot School–a couple more pictures October 26, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:42 am
Tags: , , ,

I forgot to add a couple of pictures to the last post.  Last week at Monkey’s homeschool co-op, The Bug Lady came in to give a presentation to the older kids.  One of the co-op teachers invited Bug to come see the presentation as well since we were just playing in the nursery.  Now, here’s where she lived up to her blog-name….she *loved* the bugs.  Loved them.  The presenter made me hold a cockroach (yeah.  ew.), and Bitty Bug was all about petting the thing.  I’m pretty sure she would have taken it home as a pet if she would have been allowed to.  And then the tarantula came out, and she got really close to it (I wouldn’t let her pet the tarantula because she’s been known to grab spiders by the legs…I really didn’t want to upset the poor tarantula by having a curious toddler amputate it. 😉 )

And then…the snake came out.  Leave it to Bitty Bug to run right up to the thing and pet it.  Clearly this child has not developed any fear of nature what-s0-ever, which is probably a good thing.  The older kids in the room squealed and shrieked and stepped back a lot, and Bug was more afraid of the other kids shrieking than she was of the actual bugs and snakes. LOL!

She really liked this tarantula. Which means she's officially her brother's sister. Jedi wants a pet tarantula, and I think Bug would very willingly offer to pet-sit it.

Yep, she's petting a snake. She didn't get that trait from me, I can say that with a lot of certainty. 😉 I'm glad she has such a heart for nature though--it is a wonderful trait to have. Even if it means she's constantly bringing me spiders to me with her bare hands. And she does that a lot...

 

Tot School Tuesday

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 6:15 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 21 months old

This week, Bug spent a lot of time soaking up the last of the nice days.  It seems like lately, summer has clashed with winter, with some days near the 80’s and 90’s and days where it was below freezing at night.  Thankfully the nice days have outnumbered the not-so-nice ones because Bug really loves getting outside to ride her plasma car around the neighborhood.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s her *favorite* activity….and she’s pretty fast too.  Of course, she rides it like a ride on toy and not like a plasma car (so she uses her feet for momentum), but she can get around the entire neighborhood pretty quickly!

Another thing Bug is finally getting into is puzzles.  Before this week, she didn’t really want anything to do with puzzles.  She didn’t understand them and didn’t care to try.  But, all of the sudden, this week she began to pull puzzles off the shelves and work with them! 

Working on her shapes puzzle. She was really happy when she finally figured out how the pieces go in (and she loved peeking at the picture of the pizza underneath the triangle!)

She also tried her hand at the butterfly puzzle. It was a bit hard for her, but she did like trying!

Spooning the glass beads

Bug's still loving the sensory bin!

Building a tower of blocks with Monkey

 

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

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:34 pm
Tags: , , , ,

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.

 

Tot School Tuesday October 12, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20.5 months old

For a while this past week, we actually thought autumn might arrive.  The temperatures were nice and cool, the leaves started changing, the pumpkin farms are crowded, the fields around us began to be harvested.  And then, it got right back up to 90 degrees again.  Gotta love central Ohio!  Regardless of summer’s refusal to let go, Bug enjoyed working with a lot of autumn themed work this week.  She also loved going on walks almost every day since the weather has been so warm again…and she even decided to do a little exploring of the edge of a newly harvested field.  It’s amazing how long some empty corn cobs can entertain a toddler! 😉

Bug using our Melissa & Doug shapes puzzles.  There are about a dozen different ones, but she always goes straight for the dog one!

This toy is a really good one--you have to sort by color and number. She gets the sorting by number part really well, but usually the colors end up mixed up by the end. She loves this toy!

Putting clothes pins on the rim of a basket. At first, she had a really hard time lining up the gap in the clothespin with the rim of the basket, but after a few minutes she got it. You could tell she was so proud of herself once she did!

Using her fingers to pick up dried corn kernals and put them in the bowl. She stuck with this for a surprisingly long time. Or maybe it's not so surprising considering her love for tiny objects. LOL!

Monkey was using the geometric solids, and Bug decided that they were pretty interesting. She enjoyed trying to figure out which ones could roll.

And apparently she had time to dye her hair this week... 😉 Just kidding of course...she has been playing in the dress-up trunk a lot. Monkey and Bug spend most of their day in various costumes now.

Our autumn sensory bin--Indian corn, corn kernals, some tweezers for pulling off the corn kernals, silk leaves, corn silk, corn leaves, fall colored pipe cleaners, various scoops (and later, we added some corn cobs we found on our nature walk)

There are also some spider rings and spider toys in there too. Bug really liked the spiders. For some reason, she also loves real spiders and picks them up by the legs to carry them around. Such a sweet and curious kid!

Bug's treasures. All of these had been flung out of the nearby field during the harvest. There are some leaves, a stalk, some corn plant roots, a couple empty corncobs, and a full one. All of these went down to the sensory bin.

 

Tot School Tuesday October 5, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 7:48 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20 months old

This week was Tot School Lite in terms of taking pictures.  I didn’t really have the  camera near me for most of the week.  But she did have a lot of learning opportunities this week of course.  Bug is soaking in the last of the nice days before winter and going out for nature walks almost every day.  It’s starting to get a bit chilly here during the day, but she doesn’t really seem to mind much.  She loves being outdoors! 

Bug’s other favorite activity is helping out in the kitchen, so at least 2 or 3 times a day every day, she’s up in the Learning Tower helping to cook.  She washed apples, scrubbed potatoes, and mixed cookie dough, among other cooking activities this week.  This girl loves to help cook!

Bug’s other big accompishment in the past week is deciding that she wants to potty learn.  We don’t potty train our kids, and instead, we just leave potty chairs in rooms they frequently play in and just let them decide when they want to potty learn.  So far, it’s worked–both of the older kids potty trained completely in a day or two, around 2 1/2 years old, w ithout any  help from me.  It seems like Bug is wanting to learn even earlier.  She hates wearing clothes and diapers anyhow, so I guess I’m a bit happy she likes to use the potty chair a lot. 😉  Now, I don’t have any disillusions that I’ll have the 2 year old that’s potty trained by her birthday, but hey, if she wants to try, I’m not going to stop her. 😀

And here are the couple pictures I was able to take this week:

A few weeks ago, Bug used the cheese shaker and pipe cleaners to poke the pipe cleaners into the holes of the lid. This time, she didn't want to do that--instead, she wanted me to name all of the colors for her while she repeated the names.

Bug decided that she wanted to put beads on the pipe cleaner, next. Look at her concentration! She was really working hard on this. She had gotten the entire pipe cleaner covered in beads, but then knocked most of them off before deciding she wanted a bracelet.

Her finished bracelet!

Here, she's using her fingers to put beads in each of the holes of the snail tray. She has remarkable eye-hand coordination and pincer grasp!

 

Tot School Tuesday September 28, 2010

      Tot School

Bitty Bug is 20.5 months old

Bitty Bug continued her fierce independent streak this week.  She’s at the stage where not only does she want to do everything herself, but when she wants something, she wants it *right now*.  Poor Monkey is usually at the brunt of that one–every time Monkey has something to play with, Bug thinks it’s so interesting that she has to take it from her then and there. 

And of course, this independent streak has lead to some not-so-fun events….  For example, ever since she’s started solids, she’s sat in a booster seat at the dining room table.  At 12 months old, we took the tray off the booster seat and pulled her up to the table.  When she’s finished, we take her out of the chair.  Sounds fine, right?  Until recently.  She decided that now, when she’s done, she will stand up and wait for someone to get her.  We tried to nip that in the bud, but it didn’t work–strapping her into the chair made it worse because then she’d pull herself out of the straps.  This week, she stood up in her chair and so I ran over to get her…but before I could get there, she’d tried to jump down herself and had fallen head first out of the chair (and I was only sitting about 10 feet away from her…it happened that quickly). 😦  It was really scary to see, but she’s ok, thank goodness.  But that was the end of the booster seat at the table thing…something that worked so well for the first two children did not work quite so well for Bug. 

So, this week, we introduced the children’s table.  Now, I will be the first to admit that the idea did not sit well with me at first.  I like everyone eating at the same table…I don’t like children segregated to their own table.  But, when the choice was between that, getting a high chair for the first time, or risking another nasty fall, we went with the children’s table idea.  In the dining room, we put a smaller table next to the regular table.  And it’s worked well!  Bug is so happy with her new table (Monkey choses to sit with her as well).  She can get up and down independently, AND she actually sits longer and eats more at her small table than she ever did at the regular table.  Preparing her environment with child-sized furniture and allowing her the choice of how long to sit at the table, and giving her the independence to get up and down increased the amount of time she actually sat.  In her booster, she’d sit for about 5 minutes, pick at a few bites, and then cry to get down.  Now, she’ll sit through an entire meal happily.  I think that a lot of the time, even the smallest kiddos cry out for some independence and choices, and when allowed to make those choices and be a bit independent, the results can be very good!  So, that was a very positive result from having a prepared environment.

The table setup--a small table with a little rug underneath and two chairs. And actually, the chairs aren't really chairs--we could not find any child sized chairs during our quick trip out, but I did find these storage ottomans. These actually work very well because I can store the spare little rug, bibs, napkins, etc. in them.

Eating her taco

This basket sits in the corner (along with a picture series that shows the process of table washing). The spray bottle is filled with water, white vinegar, and lemon juice. There's a small duster and dustpan in it for crumbs, along with the spray bottle, towel, and wash cloth. Monkey and Bug are excited when they get to wash their own table after meals.

 

And a review of Bug’s other work this week:

Bug loved the Sock Monkey Jack-in-the-box. We bought this for her before she was born, and now she really loves it. Every time we put the monkey back in, she says "bye bye monkey!"

Here, Bug's transferring little glass beads with an Asian soup spoon

Bug was really good at using the tea set! She only let one of the cups overflow before she learned to stop before it gets to the top.

Bug and her daddy with the hand bells

Pouring water with creamer pitchers

Bug was using the whole hand movement to transfer the fruits and veggies between the baskets. We also worked on naming all of them. She's really good at naming the apple. 🙂

Whisking a bowl of sand

But was so excited to sprinkle the glitter on her glue (she's making the Asian dragon dance dragon that was in yesterday's Montessori Monday post)

After a long day at work, apparently it was nap time. Under a shelf. Silly child.