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A Year of Trying to be a Better Mom

Day 36: Snacklet May 24, 2010

A snacklet is a bracelet, made out of snacks. It could also be a necklace (but would then be called a snacklace). It’s fun because it’s an educational activity, but you can eat it!

Today’s supplies:

Cereal with holes (like Cheerios or Fruit Loops) and pipe cleaners

I admit that I bought the Fruit Loops solely to do this project. We don’t normally serve them here, so needless to say we all went crazy with cereal eating and 2 days after I bought them, they are GONE. LOL! What a treat. But, I managed to save enough to do this. Cheerios work just as well, skills wise, but the Fruit Loops just make it look so much more festive and colorful (and teach color). I could have used string instead of pipe cleaners for this, but I wasn’t sure how easily Zach would be able to get the cereal on the string, so I started off easy. Next time, I’ll use string or yarn, he did pretty well with this today. I read about this activity HERE. It helps him with his fine motor skills. As I mentioned, the Fruit Loops can provide a lesson in colors. And you can count each piece as you put it on. We didn’t, but if you wanted too, you could also teach pattern (Red piece, blue piece, green piece. Red piece, blue piece, green piece, etc.). It’s also a nice after nap snack.

So, basically, I just had him slide the cereal onto the pipe cleaner. It was a little difficult to convince him to not eat the cereal first, but as soon as I did one as an example for him and showed him he could eat the cereal later, he was in.

Showing Zach how to lace the cereal onto the pipe cleaner

After doing a few pieces for Zach, I held the pipe cleaner and let him slide the cereal on.

Figuring out how to get the cereal on the "stick", as he called it

Then, after we filled the pipe cleaner up, I tied it to his wrist and let him eat from the snacklet. He thought this was pretty fun.

Tying the bracelet to his wrist

What a fine looking bracelet, I mean, snacklet

Yum!

Then he decided he was confident enough to do the next one himself.

Doing it all by himself

And, if you’re wondering why his face is so messy, it could be because he decided to eat his lunch like this today:

Eating like a puppy

Talk about an imaginative kid! He was pretending to be a puppy this afternoon. And uh, no, I didn’t clean his face before nap. Oops.

What did Zach learn today? He worked on fine motor skills, counting and colors. And he got to eat some yummy (forbidden) sugary cereal (notice I also included some healthy Cheerios too though!).

What did Mommy learn today? How fun it is (however messy) to watch my child pretending. He’s so silly!

 

Day 24: Letter B May 12, 2010

Filed under: Craft,family,Games,letters,numbers,patterns — Erin Brambilla @ 5:03 pm
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B for Bee. And B for BONUS–Uncle Chris Visit!!

This morning Uncle Chris had a meeting for work not far from our house and afterward he came to hang out a little bit. After being corralled into “Here-play-with-the-kids-while-I-attempt-to-clean-please duty”, we tried to teach Zach to play Hide and Seek. I think Zach got the seeking part down. The hiding he wasn’t so good at. Mostly because he was way too impatient to wait to be found. If Mommy hadn’t been there, physically holding him in the hiding spot, he would have popped out on his own to start chasing the seeker. But, we did attempt to play for a while.

First, Uncle Chris would hide, then Zach and I would count to ten and say, “Ready or not, here we come!!”. This is the part Zach liked, he’d count to at least 3, then start RUNNING while saying, “Ready or not!”. As soon as he found Uncle Chris, he’d start giggling and then would run away. Zach loves to be chased. He always has. These days though, chase ends with, “Superman!”

Found ya! Superman!!

After Uncle Chris had to leave, I decided to do today’s activity, hoping to distract Zach from being upset that he was gone. But well, the letter B doesn’t really compare. At least I tried!

What I have learned, after our Letter A lesson, is that even if Zach doesn’t seem into the lesson/craft, he’s actually still soaking it in. As was demonstrated a few days ago when, completely unprompted, Zach pointed to his Letter A picture and said, “Letter A, Ah!” to his Daddy. We were shocked and amazed! I had left the picture taped to our fridge and he has been passing by it for over a week now. I hadn’t really given it much thought. But just randomly, he pointed it out and named it. Yay! I DID teach him something. So, I will most definitely be moving forward with this letter of the week thing. This week’s letter being letter B. For Bee. Bumblebee.

Supplies:

Yellow, black and white construction paper, glue, scissors and a black market

I cut half of each piece of yellow and black paper into strips. I also cut the other half of the black paper to make some wings and some antennae. I then called Zach over to help me. I thought that this letter lesson could also start off in teaching him about patterns (as well as colors). I took and glued the first 3 strips onto some plain white paper in a yellow, black, yellow pattern. I explained the pattern to Zach and asked him which piece of paper came next. He didn’t get it. And I didn’t really expect him too. But I told him we would do the black piece next and glued it down. Then I asked him which he thought came after that. He still didn’t get it. And that’s OK, he’s never done this before. So I said the yellow piece. And so on and so forth. I did let him help me glue and stick the pieces on. He did so half-heartedly.

Gluing the strips down

After gluing a piece or two, he got a very important phone call on his cell phone.

Oh, sorry mom, I gotta take this

He said he was talking to "Weah". Leah is a little girl at our church. She is the pastor's daughter. Zach either has his first crush, or Leah plays with the cool toys in the nursery. Though in 2-year-old world, that's probably the same thing.

So, I pressed on. I finished gluing the strips down. Then I took the black marker and made a big letter B, cut it out and glued on the wings and antennae I had made earlier. I told him what I was doing the entire time, and once in a while he would glance in my direction.

It looks like a bee, right? I mean, it's better than my "Animal A"

Then I glued the B to another white piece of paper and wrote, “B is for Bee” on it. I debated if I should write “B is for Bumblebee” but I didn’t.

B is for Bee

After that I taped the B Bee next to the A Animal where I hope he will see it over the next few days and recognize what it is. I’ll be sure to point it out!

Fridge art: how you know you are the mom of a young child

Besides continuing the Fridge Phonics song we learned with the Letter A, but sung with the Letter B this time, I also sang a verse of a song I remember singing with my parents as a kid. You can do this song with every consonant in the alphabet, but today we just did B.

B-A Bay
B-E Bee
B-I Biddy Bi
B-O Bo, Biddy Bi Bo
B-U Bu, Biddy Bi Bo Bu

He hasn’t been an enthusiastic singer today, but that is actually quite unusual for him. I’m confident he’ll sing this with me throughout the week.

What did Zach learn today? How to play Hide and Seek (which teaches counting, patience, looking for things, problem solving, etc.). He also learned some phonics of the letter B.

What did Mommy learn today? Gah! That despite what I have told myself my WHOLE life, I guess I am not as cool as Uncle Chris!

To answer your question: No, Zach does not like to wear pants. Yes, I let him run around in a diaper and a t-shirt. No, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, unless we leave the house that is.

 

Day 16: Flowers May 5, 2010

Filed under: colors,flowers,patterns,planting,sensory,water play — Erin Brambilla @ 12:14 am
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It’s that time of year. The time where flower boxes are being planted in a frenzy to complete some NEED within us to beautify our spaces. This is more challenging for me than others. I have what is not the opposite of a green thumb, but close to it. This will be the 3rd summer of flower box planting for me. The first summer was pretty near disastrous. It got so bad that I pretty much gave up on my flowers and thenĀ  my father in law came over for a week and replanted for me! I was equal parts embarrassed and grateful (thanks Wally!).

Last summer, it went better. Not awesome. But better. I planted a few varieties of flowers in each box and they were colorful and lovely. But in the end the ONLY flowers that survived were the Geraniums. I think those things could survive nuclear war. So this year, I just went with what works. ALL Geraniums. Pink and Red.

Given how much Zach likes to play with dirt, and that I still can’t share our super secret craft projects yet this week, we have another planting/playing in the dirt activity today.

To begin, Zach was helpful. He was there with shovel (and dump truck, of course) to help me take the dirt out of the bag and get it into the flower boxes. These pics will probably look a lot like when we planted the marigold seeds!

Home Depot's finest Geraniums

Getting the dirt (he looks a lot like Pete in this pic, I think)

It's like we have our own excavating company!

After a little while though, this was a “been there, done that” situation for Zach and I still had 2 more boxes to plant. So, I set him up with his next favorite thing: bowls of water. I thought this was a good idea because it was kind of hot sitting on the deck in the direct sunlight and the water would be nice. Well, I should have SEEN where that would get me. Dirt. Water. 2-year-old. There is only ONE place it COULD go…MUD! But mud is fun, right?

In this one I showed him what happens when he uses the old flower pots w/ the holes as a "scoop", all the water runs out like a shower. He was AMAZED and delighted by this.

And then the good, "clean" fun turned into MUD

He is completely covered.

As dirty (and possibly scary looking) as that was, I’m glad I let him do it! One, he loved it, obviously. But two, it was kind of a science experiment for him. I talked with him about what was happening to the water when the dirt went in. About what happened to the dirt when it got wet. We talked about how different the mud felt from the water and the dirt. Luckily he kept it pretty much contained and didn’t fling it! Now that I think of it, his brother and sister were sleeping dangerously close by this little experiment!

While he played away, I continued on with the other 2 flower boxes. And well, they honestly got done much quicker without his assistance. I also tried to point out to him the colors of the flowers and their leaves. I planted them in a pink/red/pink/red pattern and tried to talk about that too. But at this point in time, mud had his full attention (and that’s OK!).

At the end of it all, the flowers were planted and one dirty boy got his second bath of the day. Oh yeah, and we tested out the “super secret Mother’s Day project” and it works fabulously.

With Aqua Globes and all

All clean again. I asked him to smile, this is the look he gave me. At least he's looking at the camera!

What did Zach learn today? What happens when dirt gets mixed with water. Some color and pattern lessons.

What did Mommy learn today? If you give a boy dirt, he WILL make mud. And that I could probably have squeezed one more plant into each flower box, but I didn’t have the flowers and wasn’t going to wait to get more!