For Christmas, Sean Patrick got some great toys for cognitive and gross motor development. The teacher that I am was excited about everything he received from friends and family because I could picture exactly how I was going to teach to that toy/book.
I know I am a nerd and I am probably sucking all the fun out of Christmas, but I was genuinely excited about the things that he got that would maximize our time spent at home. I was also excited about the gifts that were geared around his current interests (like his dump truck) because dramatic play is such a necessary part of his social development as well.
But one thing that I have incorporated into his “schedule” (that I will share soon!), since Christmas, is INTERACTIVE book time. We have reading time a couple times a day, but now I have a purposed time for books like the following, and I will share some ways I am using them now, and how I plan to use them in the future:
1) A counting book that comes with a writing tool
Before reading this, I take a little picture walk with Sean Patrick and we talk about all the things on the pages that are familiar to him, and I point out things that I know are not and name them. Then, I trace each number with my finger and say it’s name, then take his finger and do the same, and then write the numbers on the etch-a-sketch. In the future, I would have him draw or write a number story about each number and take a picture of each and make our own book out of the pictures.
2) A musically interactive book with a “legend”:
I love this book because the selection of shapes is the legend that you will use as you turn the pages to identify the shapes and then select the matching shape to play the coordinating song. Sean Patrick and I sing the songs with hand-motions that I make up and then I follow my finger along the words to model reading (even though he doesn’t know that words represent meaning yet).
3.) A personalized book:
My dad gave Sean Patrick this book and it has a place on the inside back cover where you place a photo that is used as the face of the child on every page. Personalized books are so meaningful because children are egocentric (even more than adults haha). So books like this make reading comprehension so realistic and applicable.
There are many other types of interactive books but I wanted to share a few that were a part of our Christmas. Enjoy your interactive reading time with your little ones!
I love making my niece’s Christmas gifts because it gives me the chance to make them something they can use for their learning adventures. This year I decided to make personalized clipboards because little ones feel so grown up using a clipboard and it encourages writing practice. My niece’s get so excited about the handmade gifts which makes it so worth my time!
It was as easy as this….I bought a wooden clipboard from walmart:
Bought an alphabet stencil at Hobby Lobby and painted my little niece’s name on the front:
And I painted the entire stencil of abc’s and 123’s on the back:
Finally, I put a little paint on one of my baby’s wet wipes and brushed it over the surface to give it the distressed look I wanted it to have:
Bah humbug! I definitely bit off more than I could chew! I planned to share my “schedule” in the making for my little one and even more Christmas activities this week, but the dash to get things done in time for Christmas has completely consumed my time and energy!
I have been MAKING most of my gifts because I am in the house a lot with my little ones, and so all of my nap time minutes have gone to use.
Here is part of daddy’s gift that I have spent a lot of time on:
16 x 20 canvas with three vertical 5×7 pictures and two 4×6 horizontal pictures
Sean Patrick knows a lot of letters but the letters “D” and “A” must be ENGRAVED on his mind after an hour’s worth of pictures trying to get a good “D” and “A” shot of all the different possibilities to assemble for the D-A-D Christmas shot. I am still not sure that it turned out the way I pictured it, but it is the thought that counts.
I will share my niece’s gifts tonight or tomorrow….they have turned out so cute.
I can’t wait to share my activity ideas and schedule that I am setting up for my little one, as well as another great giveaway on the way!
In the meantime, here is a freebie that I made for your little one to practice drawing sets of objects. Don’t just hand your little one a set of crayons/markers and say “get busy.”
First, lay the Christmas Tree Counting Printable on the table with something small and colorful (like skittles) that you and your little one can use to practice counting sets together.
Then, point to one of the trees and show your little one how you might “decorate the tree.” “Ooh, this tree has the number nine on the star, I’m going to decorate the tree with nine colorful skittles! One, two, three, four, …..etc.”
This is a great way to model the directions by showing your little one how to recognize the number and count out that given quantity, AND by modeling one-to-one correspondence (counting one object per given number).
After you have your little one complete the hands-on round of the printable, on their own (assisting and prompting where necessary), then explain that instead of skittles, this time they will draw the number of ornaments (circles, candy canes, snowflakes, or whatever shape he/she wants). Before they begin, model an example of how to do this on a separate sheet of paper. And that’s it; now you have purposefully used a printable 🙂
When I was teaching in the classroom, I had literacy, math, and open-ended stations that would each accomplish different objectives. My literacy stations were: 1) reading comprehension, 2) listening comprehension, 3) fluency, 4) phonics, 5) phonemic awareness, and 6) computer skills.
I am going to start planning weekly learning station activities that I hope to post as often as I accomplish this. I really want to bring back the structure of having activities planned and provided for; that way my little one can start working on skills in an even more fun and meaningful way.
Just like you, I want to make time at home purposeful when my little one isn’t purposefully playing outside, with toys inside, or going about our daily routine.
So, in the meantime, until I post lots of Christmas activities next week, I wanted to share my “winter wonderland” template with ya’ll.
It is SIMPLE. It is a simple template that I handmade- which you can undoubtedly tell by looking at it. But, it allows your little one to cut out the images (use fine motor skills), identify shapes (shape recognition), and assemble the images to make a picture (practice spatial skills). You can help your little one come up with a sentence about it (oral vocabulary), and help them write it (to practice his/her writing skills).
First, he or she will assemble the template however they think it might make a picture, and before gluing it, help them brainstorm where the items might go or what other features they might add (nose, arms, etc.)