Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Tot School Tuesday November 29, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:13 pm
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 22.5 months old

As you saw in yesterday’s post, Bitty Bug participated in all of the Thanksgiving prep last week, along with her big brother and sister.  She wasn’t able to use the butter knife to cut bread yet obviously, but Bug was able to scrub sweet potatoes.  She *loves* doing that job and will concentrate on it for quite a while.  She climbs right up onto the Learning Tower in front of the counter, and was scrubbing sweet potatoes right next to me while I was preparing other food.  It’s amazing to watch a toddler helping with kitchen prepwork even before age 2!  And it’s such a confidence  booster for her as well. 

I  posted most of the pictures last night, but here are a couple more that just focus on Bitty Bug.

Helping to make the decorations--she was filling the bowl with the little gourds.

Scrubbing sweet potatoes

Rinsing the potatoes off

Taking a break from the cooking to play with the pumpkin spice play dough


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.


Tot School Tuesday August 31, 2010

Tot School

Bitty Bug is 19.5 months old

Since Monkey started her official homeschooling this past week, Bitty Bug got to join in.  She loves joining in Monkey’s work time!  Even though I have specific shelves set up for Bug, she doesn’t limit herself to those shelves.  In fact, she almost always chooses to work on something I’ve set out for Monkey.  One of the interesting things is that I’ve noticed she will put her own spin on the work, making it more age appropriate for a 1 1/2 year old.  It’s interesting to watch her adapt the work herself!

Bug did several things with the shells and bowls. Here, she is pouring them from one dish to another. She also would take them one by one, inspect them, and transfer them to the other dish.

Bug is more than excited about the life cycle of a butterfly figures. She didn't quite know what to do with them, but she knew what the caterpillar and butterfly were, since we have those living in the butterfly pavillion in the kitchen. She also loved just touching and exploring the different textures. **Warning: Obviously, that egg is small and round. I was standing within a foot of Bug when she was using this, watching her very carefully. Please use your discretion when allowing children under 3 to explore small objects. *

I found a bunch of wallets at a consignment store for $1 each, so I picked out a few of them. One had a zipper, one velcro, one a buckle, and one a clasp. She loved trying to open and close each one of them.

Here, Bug is spooning the rubber pom poms into the small cups.

Bug really *really* wanted to do the pouring activity. As you can see, the first time she tried, was not a success. But, she was really surprised to see all of the rice fall out when she tried. We cleaned it up and she tried it again, and each time she spilled less and less!


Tot School Tuesday: Cooking with Tots August 24, 2010

Filed under: Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 7:34 am
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Tot School

Bitty Bug is 19 months old

It never fails that the second I go into the kitchen to cook a meal, at least one child will be hopping up on the counter to help/ask for a snack/etc.  Bug’s really been getting in on the action lately, since she’s become proficient at climbing up the Learning Tower.  She usually always wants to help…and not just some fake help (I used to just give her a bowl with flour and water and had her mix it, even if I wasn’t using flour or water that day).  Now she wants to *really* help.  She notices now if you didn’t use what she “cooked” for the meal. 😉

This week, I was making some sauteed red potato slices with herbs, and it’s amazing how much of the process can be done by a toddler!  Sure, it takes longer (*cough* a lot longer….), but actually, it worked out well…she kept busy and I could prepare the rest of the meal without having to stop every 5 seconds because she wanted to be picked up/wanted to empty every cabinet in the kitchen/wanted to have a snack/etc.

The first thing I had her do was wash the potatoes. I did the same set up I did a couple weeks back, giving her a bowl of potatoes, a bowl of water, a scrub brush, and a towel. She washed the entire bowl of potatoes herself!

Next, I did the chopping…Bug is not quite ready for chopping potatoes yet. 😉

Next, I gave Bug a pan and the cutting board full of potatoes. She put each potato clice in the pan (after examining each slice. LOL!)

I measured out some Earth Balance and some herbs and put them in cups for Bug. She then dumped each of the cups into the pan with the potato slices.

Finally, Bug stirred everything up so that I could put the pan on the stove and finish the process.

Bug *loved* helping make the potatoes (and ate every last slice on her plate afterwards. 😀 )  There were a lot of hidden learning items in just the simple exercise of letting a child cook with you…we counted the potatoes, Bug had to follow a process when she was washing the potatoes, she did transferring with a whole hand when she moved the potatoes to the various bowls, she used the pincher grasp for moving the slices to the pan, wrist turning with scrubbing, stirring, and dry pouring.  She also learned a little bit of independence and a whole lot of pride. 

And a random picture of Bug observing the caterpillars…

Watching the caterpillars climb up the side of the dish.