Monday, July 25, 2022

Early Learning with Newborn Number 3

 Hello! It's been a while, and it will probably be a while yet before I post regularly again, but I thought I'd do a quick newborn update.

Baby Juniper has now been with us for almost 6 weeks! Having a c-section this time was definitely a different experience and did affect how quickly I could do much with her. In general, she's still an unpredictable little newborn, so we never know how long she will sleep or be content. She's still tiny and our true focus is just keeping her healthy, happy and loving on her, so our "learning" goals are pretty loose and simple.

Newborn goals:

  • Face to Face Time - we try to make sure we spend some time making eye contact and talking to her (and how could you not want to have lots of chats with your new baby?). We smile at her often and she's starting to smile back, especially if I use a silly high pitched voice. Her brothers love getting in her face (probably a little too close) and chatting with her. Surprisingly, she particularly seems to like when Archer chats with her, despite Xander being much calmer and gentler with her.
  • Stimulating both sides - she's too little to truly do a lot of activities that cross the midline, but I do make an effort to stimulate both sides of her body and encourage her to practice turning her head. I rub her head, arm and leg on while I'm nursing, and then do the opposite side when she nurses on the other side. We shake rattles on one side of her head until she will turn towards it and then try the other side. She's not ready to follow with her eyes directly, but we will get there.
  • Tummy Time - We do a lot of tummy time on a family member, which she seems to prefer. We also get some tummy time in on the crawling track or just on the floor. The amount of time she will be content there varies, so we just follow her lead. Also, she has started rolling from front to back, so it is now harder to keep her on her tummy. I also try to make sure she is barefoot, if not barelegged so she can get that sensory input and grip into the surface better. 
  • Visual Stimulation - we try to provide lots of high contrast "interesting" things to look at. She has various black and white cards and toys to look at. She also really seems to like looking at windows or being walked around the house in the evening to see the different light fixtures.
  • Freedom of Movement - so this is where we are kind of mixed as far as early learning goes, at least for this age. Ideally, she would always have freedom of movement for her arms and legs. While I do avoid "baby holders" for the most part, we do swaddle her at night. Without it, she just can't stay asleep and she's too cranky to enjoy her awake time (and so am I). She also really likes being worn in a wrap, which holds her pretty snugly against my body. I tend to wear her when we are out and about, since it is safer than keeping her in the infant car seat. I also wear her during the day if she's cranky and can't seem to calm down for very long. To me, it is about balance. 

Tummy time on the crawling track. We don't put her on as often as a full Doman program would recommend, but we do try to get her in there at least a couple of times a day.
She prefers tummy time on a family member.
She really seems to like being outside, so I've brought her mats out there for her.
Lots of high contrast stimulation available for her (and some big brother snuggles). We also have a couple of mobiles for her, but I don't think her eyesight it quick good enough for them yet. She definitely prefers her cards down at her level.

I'm definitely looking forward to doing more activities with her as she grows. For now, we'll take it slow and try to enjoy the snuggles and newborn noises.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Spring Theme: Plants and Garden

A few weeks ago I posted on how we were doing so many spring themed activities that I divided them up. You can check out the post on Bugs,  Bees and Butterflies Activities Here. This post will focus on Plant and Garden activities.
We have been working on counting money, so I put coins into tiny flower pots from the craft store and added some cheap flowers. You can print the recording sheet here.
I used the same little flower pots and some letter flower beads to do a sight word scramble.
We did some raindrop word family sorting.
I made a garden playdough kit for him. I made some cocoa powder play dough (recipe from The Imagination Tree) which made the whole playroom smell very yummy. I included little pots, flower buttons and cookie cutters, fruit buttons, the flower toob and the food toob and some general tools.
Archer planted some veggies with Daddy at a relative's property.
Making some patterns with  flower beads. You can print the template here.
Flower hole punching activity from Early Learning Ideas
Garden Vocabulary Cards. While he has been able to read these words for years, I hadn't had him match them in a long time, so he enjoyed it.
Flower vocabulary cards. I showed him a Little Reader lesson I made to go with it a few times first. Then I gave him the cards and the flowers to match. It was tougher than most of these activities for him, partially because several flowers look similar.
Some plant and garden books. How do Flowers Grow? is his favorite of this group.
I got out this Spanish Mini-Book for him to read and color.
Parts of a Plant Worksheet from Amanda's Little Learners

We also watched several YouTube Videos on Plants

Check out some other Spring and Garden resources:


Friday, June 3, 2022

Flower Math Printables

I decided I needed some themed versions of some of our common math activities to go with the plant and garden things we have been doing. Because I used the Vegetable Garden Addition and Subtraction Printables to cover those skills, I only made two activities with flowers.

First, I made this patterning sheet for to use with flower beads. The top has different types of patterns for him to make and then he uses the beads to make the patterns on the pots.
Fine motor
Digging flower beads out of therapy putty to make a graph and answer question. I changed up the recording sheet just a bit this time. I also still have a sheet for answering questions.

Check out some other Spring and Garden resources:

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Vegetable Garden Addition and Subtraction

Archer is really good at math conceptually, but needs to practice with memorizing his basic addition and subtraction facts before I let him move on to more advanced concepts. Since just flashcards are boring, I made him the vegetable garden activity.
I made little garden signs with numbers and then a bunch of vegetables with math problems that equal those numbers. To make it more interesting, and to add in a bit of fine motor work, I laminated the vegetables and used a hole punch so we could connect them with learning links.
Hands on math
Because there are fewer equations that equal the lower numbers and because they are easier, I started with 6 and went to 12. 
We started off with him doing it all independently. Eventually, he got worn out and asked if I would link them together for him. Once he could just answer each equation, he plowed through them pretty fast!

Check out some other Spring and Garden resources:


Monday, May 16, 2022

How to Teach Your Kids About Life's Hard Times

 How to Teach Your Kids About Life's Hard Times

It's hard to teach kids about hard times when you don't know how to cope with them yourself. But, it is necessary. The reality is that they will experience hardships in their lives and they need to be prepared for it. They need support in order to navigate life's hard times together. We’re going to take a look at this in this post today.

How Do I Teach My Child About Difficult Issues?

We have all been there before. We are trying to teach our children about things that are difficult and they don't understand. It is natural for us as parents to want to shield our children from the world's harsh realities, but it is important that we teach them how to deal with those realities when they come their way. When they’re asking what the funeral urns from glass or why bad things happen, it’s hard to know what to do. Here are three strategies to help you.

1. Modeling For Your Kids

Parents should model for their kids how to handle themselves during tough times. This will help them become more resilient and better equipped to handle difficult situations in the future. There are a few ways that parents can model for their kids during hard times. One way is by being present and available for your children. Another way is by talking about what's going on in your life, so that your children know you're not perfect either. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It is not just about providing for your kids and sending them to school, but it is also about teaching them the right values and morals.

2. Show Your Concern and Compassion

The first step in showing concern is to listen. You have to be able to hear what the person is saying and understand that they are feeling a certain way because of their experience. The second step is asking questions about what happened, what they are feeling and why they feel that way. The third step is giving feedback which can be done by summarizing the conversation, acknowledging emotions and making sure that you are not judging them for their feelings.

3. Embrace Optimism And Encourage Optimistic Thinking From an Early Age

Optimistic children are more likely to be successful in the future. The positive outlook that they have will help them overcome obstacles and challenges. Children who are optimistic about their futures are more likely to grow up with a healthy self-esteem, higher academic achievement, and better social skills. We should encourage optimism in young children from an early age because it has been proven that it can have a lasting impact on their life.

4. Make Sure They Know That You're Always On Their Side

Grieving children and parents are often in a state of shock, and they may not be able to articulate their feelings. It is important to be understanding with them, and make them feel like they are not alone. The best way to help grieving children and parents is by being understanding with them. They may not be able to articulate their feelings because they are in a state of shock. It is important to make them feel like they are not alone in this difficult time.

This is a contributed post.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Spring Theme: Bugs, Bees and Butterflies

Lately, we have been doing several Spring Themed activities. Since there are so many fun spring ideas, I decided to divide it out a bit. Here are the activities we have done related to buys, bees and butterflies. These are only a few quick things on the topic. Sometime in the next couple of years I'd like to do a bigger unit where we can go a bit more in depth.

Butterfly math spinner game (from my spring math printables)
Math boxes with butterfly, dragonfly, bee and lady bug erasers.
Insect 3 Part Cards with Toob Insects. We've done this in the past, but it has been so long that it felt new to him.
Buggy Playdough. For this kit I used our Garden Bugs rollers, some bee and hexagon cookie cutters, some textured wooden beads, some flower and bee decorative buttons and some flower buttons.
prek math
Butterfly bead pattern making (from my spring math printables).
Fine motor activities
Digging butterfly beads out of therapy putty to make a graph and answer question. Graphing sheet can be printed here.
To go with the "bee" theme I put a black piece of paper at the bottom of a tray and added some yellow sand. He then used a straw to write his spelling words (his finger would have worked better, but he chose to use the straw).
Caterpillar hole punching activity from Early Learning Ideas
Honeycomb memory game (from my Bee Tot Pack).
Bee 3 part cards (from my Bee Tot Pack).
Sorting bug lifecycles (from The Pinay Homeschooler). I ended up adding a book on ladybugs.
Same activity with butterflies instead.
We have lots of books about bugs, spiders and butterflies, so I only put some on the shelf. From this shelf the favorites were What Makes a Bug a Bug? and Peep Inside Bug Homes.
This shelf had some of our bee books, including Look Inside The World of Bees and Why Do We Need Bees? (I ended up becoming a UBAM consultant because Archer likes these Lift-the-Flap books so much).
Bee and ladybug crafts he did at preschool.


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