Thursday, March 14, 2019

9 Months Learning Activities and Shelves

Nine month activities have been pretty similar to the previous month.  Still trying hard to follow Archer's lead.  He loves the stimulation, and I feel like the days we don't do any focused learning activities feel longer.

Physical Development:
Just encouraging Archer to explore (like we could stop him)!  He is into everything and doesn't want to be held back!  I recently took him to a play place, and he crawled right over and started chasing all the big kids.
We have to be very careful to leave the shower door closed or he will crawl right in.
The local museum was great for providing different types of physical opportunities.  He'd never really crawled down stairs or ramps and it was a lot of fun to watch him figure it out.
Enjoying the big piano.
He loves to play in Xanders room or dig through Xander's books.


 Reading:
Reading is pretty similar.  We do one set of English words flashed three times a day.  He watches Your Baby Can Read or Meet the Sight Words maybe 3-6 times a week.  We try to do one English Little Reader Lesson several days a week.  He really enjoys Little Reader now, so I'll keep encouraging it!
I've started getting out two of his Meet the Sight Words Books a week to read to him, and sometimes get stuck reading them over and over. We also try to read lots of other books throughout the week.
Spanish:
We flash a set of Spanish words three times a day (our modified Doman method).  We are doing one Spanish  Little Reader Lesson several days a week.  He does not have as much patience for these as the English ones (probably because the words are less familiar), so we only do the multisensory parts, not the entire lessons.  We read some of the early readers I made, and I try to get out one math early readers to read a few times a week.  He also occasionally watches a Kids Start Spanish DVD.

Learning Shelves:
Oops, I forgot to take a picture of the shelves as a whole.
One shelf had our cutting food.  Archer isn't ready to "cut" the food with the knife, but he really enjoyed taking it apart and trying to put it back together.  It was his first real experience with Velcro.

Our Rainbow Color Cones got tons of use!  Archer likes the texture.  He really enjoyed taking them apart and trying to stack them.  He thought it was great when we put them up on his cube so he could stand on the steps and play.
Another shelf had a xylophone. He understood the concept, but had a little trouble with execution.  He'd try to hit the notes with the stick, but usually hit them with his hand instead.

 
Another shelf had our circle puzzle (the green one is missing, though).  Archer liked carrying the pieces around and would try to put them on the base, but had trouble with orientation.  Definitely something to grow into.
The last shelf had some little plastic spools and a couple of empty containers.  We practiced sorting them and naming the colors (I did the sorting and naming, he watched).  He also really liked putting them into the containers and dumping them out.
 
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Thursday, March 7, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Photoshoot

A new month means a new photoshoot at our house.  Since it is March, I decided to do St. Patrick's Day.  Luckily, I was able to pull it off relatively inexpensively!
Setup:
For the background, I taped a light green sheet I had to the wall.  Now I steamed it first, to get out most of the big wrinkles.  As you can see, there are still definitely some, but I did my best to get them out.  I found some sparkly foam shamrocks at Hobby Lobby, and randomly taped them to the sheet.  I put a piece of baseboard down to cover the bottom.
For the floor, I decided to try a roll of Better Than Paper (White Wood).  I'd never used it before, but ended up being really happy with it.  It was a nice long piece and didn't tear or scuff.  I took some pictures of our cousins, so had little girls twirling on it and you can't tell.  I'll definitely be able to use it again.  From the picture below, you can kind of see that it wanted to curl a bit from being rolled, but it didn't show in any of the real pictures.  Letting it sit with the weights longer probably would have helped also. 

For decoration, I just scattered some more foam shamrocks and some little gold coins.
Archer wore a sparkly hat I got at Party City (Dollar Tree had them cheaper, but I happened to go there afterward) and little bow tie from Dollar Tree.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti Printable Activity

Since I try to do books instead of candy for holidays, Archer got the book Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti for Valentine's Day.  It has cute little rhymes and then these "mouth" openings with felt teeth on each page.  As I was reading it to him, I thought it would be so much fun if he could actually "feed" the animals through the mouths.  Here is what I ended up making.
I made a free printable you can get here with a picture of each food mentioned in the book.  Initially, I was just going to laminate each disk.
After some thought, I decided to put them on wooden disks to make them last longer.  I got 2 inch disks from Hobby Lobby and then used Modge Podge to secure them.  I did have to cut out closer to each picture to have enough room to get them to stick.  I used one coat on the bottom of each picture to "glue" them to the disks, then I did 3-4 coats on top.
Archer is so young, that he just feeds any disk through the mouths.  As he gets older, I'll probably have him pick the food that goes with the rhyme on that page.  (Taking a picture using the disks proved to be a bit difficult.  Usually, I have him on my lap.) 
We found it worked to stand the book up and have him feed the disks through that way.
You could also easily "feed" the disks through the wrong side of the page, you have to for feeding the kale to the whale anyway.

Now I'm on the lookout for other fun book activities to make.  Let me know if you have any ideas!



Thursday, February 28, 2019

Gratitude Shamrocks

In February we started a new tradition of putting a heart up on Xander's door every morning until Valentine's Day.  On each heart, I wrote one reason why we love him (thank you Pinterest).  Xander looked forward to seeing the new hearts every day and Archer enjoyed trying to get them off the door.  
For March, I decided to put a shamrock on Xander's door every day until St. Patrick's Day.  However, this time, I am going to have Xander write something for which he feels luck on each one.  This lets me encourage gratitude and also create a fun tradition.
To make it easier, I created this shamrock printable that already has the "I feel lucky because..." printed on each one.  I just needed to print it on green paper and cut it out.  I put them in a little basket with markers and painters tape, so they're all ready to go! You're welcome to download it here.
 If you're interested in other St. Patrick's Day materials, you can download my St. Patrick's Printable Pack here.

Monday, February 25, 2019

8.5 Learning Activities & Shelves

I know that we cannot be the only ones feeling cabin fever!  Keeping up with this little guy is getting tougher!  He constantly wants to experience new things and I'm dying to be able to take him outside!
Physical Development:
He's becoming a master at pulling himself up on things.  His balance is getting better and he does not need the support nearly as much as he used to.  However, he absolutely does not want to walk.  If I try to hold his hands up and have him walk towards me, he immediately sits down.  I know he will eventually get there, so am not forcing him at all. I am just trying to provide him opportunities to stand and practice his balance (honestly, he takes the opportunity, whether I want him to or not).
The foam steps we are borrowing are still a huge hit.  He likes to get toys from the top or put toys up there.  He's getting more confident at climbing them.
Reading:
Reading is pretty similar.  We do one set of English words flashed three times a day.  He watches Your Baby Can Read or Tweedlewink maybe 3-6 times a week.  We try to do one English Little Reader Lesson several days a week.  He really enjoys Little Reader now, so I'll keep encouraging it!

I've started getting out one of his Meet the Sight Words a week to read to him.  Sometimes he looks at the words while I read and sometimes he doesn't.  I like that they have large bold print.  We try to read as many books as he wants.  Hi current favorite is Furry Friends (one of Xander's favorites too).
Spanish:
We flash a set of Spanish words three times a day (our modified Doman method).  It takes about 5 seconds a session. We are doing one Spanish  Little Reader Lesson several days a week.  He does not have as much patience for these as the English ones (probably because the words are less familiar), so we only do the multisensory parts, not the entire lessons.  We read some of the early readers I made, and I try to get out one math early readers to read a few times a week.  He also occasionally watches a Kids Start Spanish DVD.

Learning Shelves:
These are the shelves in our play room, where we spend a lot of our day.  

This basket has toddler sized magnetic balls and sticks. I was lucky enough to get these second hand, and he really enjoyed them.  He tended to carry them all around the room with him.
We also found that hanging them on the triangle made for a fun game.  We'd hang them and he'd pull them down, laughing about it.  He also thought running them along the bars to make noise was good fun.
The Lollipop Drum was a big hit with Xander and I love that now Archer is enjoying it. It was fun to watch his reaction when he got it to make noise.  Something about the texture of the mallet must be enticing, though, because both boys enjoyed chewing on it.  

One shelf had a little magnetic dry erase board and some really big magnets.  Sometimes I'd put the magnets on the little board for him to take off and sometimes he would put them on himself.  I also got out the big dry erase board for him to try.  

The shelves themselves are fun to sit in also!
I got back out his pound and roll toy again.  It is one we get out frequently, but he really enjoys.  He's getting better at using the hammer, but prefers to use his hands.
 We got out his house knobby puzzle for the first time.  I wasn't sure how it would go, but he really enjoyed it.  He loved taking the pieces out and carried them around the room.
He also thought it was fun to put them in the triangle.  He had to figure out how to turn the piece in order to pull it back through.  Someday, we will actually work on putting pieces back into the board. :)
A basket had a bunch of sensory balls.  Both Archer and Xander used these all the time the last two weeks.  The were rolled and eaten a lot!  We also put them up in the triangle and Archer had fun trying to knock them down.


A tray had the pop up monkeys that go with Archer's musical train set.  He is not quite ready for the full set, but loved the little peg monkeys!  He enjoyed watching me make them pop.  He also liked pulling them out of their holes and loved the shape of them more.  He crawled around with them, put them in the triangle and, of course, chewed on them.
The last toys out on the shelf break my normal no batteries rule for toys.  I got these little guys and a tree house for them off Facebook Marketplace for a steal.  Archer doesn't care much for the ramps, but really enjoys the animals.  They provide great incentive to crawl or climb his stairs.

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