Thursday, February 25, 2010

Teaching by Senses

I just had a great session with Kids on the Move.
(Lincoln qualified for services due to his hearing problems), 
but he is getting tubes next Tuesday! (cheering).

As we were setting his goals, we were focusing mostly on Speech and Language.
Because Lincoln cant hear, we have an inability to communicate (if babies don't hear you speak, they don't learn to talk).
He absolutely loves signing time videos, but he hasn't picked up on any signs, 
so he isn't able to communicate that way either.
In my mind, nothing could be done until he got tubes.

Marsha Lima, my good friend and employee of KOTM, taught me a valuable lesson:

Teaching by Senses
This particular experience is regarding Receptive Language (communication your child 'receives'),
but is a great tool for teaching in any area:

Kids learn best 
when they are able to experience something  
using all of their senses:


Since Lincoln isn't able to hear, we focused on communicating through other senses.
We brought out a few toy balls to start.
Lincoln was able to see the ball, touch the ball, and because he puts everything in his mouth he could taste the ball.
While he was observing, I would repeatedly say and sign "ball".
I feel the need to emphasize the importance of repetition.
We did this over and over again.

Our main goal is to make Lincoln's process of 'catching up' easier.
Once he is able to hear, if he already knows what an object/word is; whether it be what is looks like, how it sounds, what the sign is, what it tastes like, smells like, etc., it will be that much easier for him to connect the object with the word/sound.

Another important element is to try it with things/objects that he shows interest in.
The longer your child stays interested, the more time you will have for repetition.

The next morning, we got a toy car that winds up and drives by itself in one of our cereal boxes.
I let Lincoln hold it, and let him watch as I wound it up and it wheeled around the kitchen.
He thought it was pretty awesome.
I repeatedly said 'car', as I signed the word.
After two or three tries, Lincoln actually made fists and excitedly moved them around.
(You sign 'car' by making fists and moving them like they are clenching a steering wheel).
We did it over and over again.
Each time the car would stop, he would look at me and shake his fists, with a big smile on his face.

I was naturally excited, and so was he.
For the first time it felt like we were actually communicating.

I put the car away for a few hours.
When I showed it to him later that day, he came running, waving his little fists.

So... if you are struggling to teach your little one something, 
I would recommend trying to incorporate the idea of sensory teaching.
Either way, I thought it was worth sharing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bean Box

Does your kid love the sand box?  Too cold or wet to go outside?  Make one for the indoors!
Yet another great idea from Kids on the Move.

Bean Box

Materials Needed:
- dried beans, rice, legumes, etc.
- small cups, containers, spoons, etc.
- large plastic container with lid
- small toys or trinkets (optional)

Here's How:
Start by gathering your dried food items.  I used dried pinto beans, white rice, wheat berries and lentils (about 10 cups total).  Just use whatever you have in your pantry.

Pour them all into a large plastic container.
Toss in some cups, spoons and containers...
and you're done!
You can put some toys or other small objects in there for them to dig around and find later on if you want, but my kids didn't really go for that.

Cannon just needed some other containers to scoop them up and dump them into.

This has provided several hours of combined play time at our house.  Cleanup is fairly easy as well... just sweep up the strays.

I don't know what he loves so much about it, but it isn't just him.  His cousin Dallas always asks to play with the 'beans and rice' when he comes over.

And the best part?  It is WAY better for you than sand!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

TP Binoculars

My husband keeps finding toilet paper rolls around the house, and wonders why I hold on to such things...

TP Binoculars

Materials Needed:
- two TP rolls
- one 8.5x11 colored paper
- scotch tape
- hole punch
- string

Here's How:
I started by letting Cannon draw on his choice of colored paper.

Next, cut the paper so you have two 4.5x6" pieces

Wrap each piece around a tube, then tape together

Then tape both rolls together
(I used masking tape - I thought it would add to the look)

Use your hole punch to punch two holes at the top, one on each roll

Measure your string so it will be long enough to fit over your kids head (like a necklace).
Tie each end of the string through the holes

And You're Done!

The perfect set of children's binoculars!

But PLEASE, PLEASE be mindful of the choking factor!
We don't want any chillin's getting injured...
Just leave off the string if you have concerns

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alphabet Snake

Cannon goes through stages of obsession.  Toys, Movies, Food, you name it.  He gets stuck on something and can't live without it until it is replaced with the next best thing.
Right now he is on the alphabet.  He has started to spell out words he sees around the house, so I thought we'd fly with the idea while he was still interested.

Alphabet Snake

Materials Needed:
- green craft or construction paper
- printer or black magic marker
- scissors
- laminating (optional)

Here's How:
- Use your computer or an oval stencil to trace out the ovals
(I used Microsoft Word and positionedeach letter in the center of each oval. 
I have spent a while trying to figure out how to attach a PDF file to a blog post and haven't figured it out yet, so I can't include a link to what I've already done :( 
If you know how to do it let me know and I'll attach a copy, which could save you quiet a bit of time.  Or you can request one from me and I'll email it to you).

- I printed the ovals with letters on them out on two shades of green craft paper
- You can print out the letters or do it free hand with a black marker (or have your kids do it)
(I did the complete alphabet, with additional vowels and other letters so he could spell words, make his name, etc.)

- To make the head of the snake, I used the same size oval and stuck on two smaller black ovals to make the eyes.
- I cut out the tongue from red craft paper.

As always, I like to laminate things so they last longer.
Most of my kid projects are laminated with packaging tape, like this:

- I lay out long strips of packaging tape, sticky side up
- Fold over both edges to secure the lines of tape to the table.
- Stick the snake ovals to the tape

Be sure and put the lettered side face down (on the sticky part).  It will ensure that the good side is smooth and has a nice finished look.
Next, take another strip of tape and lay it on top
- Start by attaching the end of the tape to the table, just above the attached piece of tape.
- Use a credit card to smooth the tape pieces together as you put the top layer of tape on

You will most likely get ridges and bumps, but they will be on the back side of the snake, so it will still look nice.

Then cut them out; make sure the tape is atached around the outside of each oval.

And You're Done!

Now go spell something...

Or write your name...

Or whatever else comes to mind!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Child Developmental Play Chart

My Cannon was born with schizencephaly, an extremely rare birth defect characterized by slits in the brain.  We discovered this just before his 1st birthday, and ever since then he has been involved in early intervention schools/programs, and taken to several specialists.
Little Lincoln has massive fluid build-up in his ears which is causing delays in his hearing and speech.  And so, yet again, our family is jumping on the bandwagon of early childhood intervention.

When you find out one of your kiddles has a delay of any kind, I think the common question to ask is "what are the normal developmental stages for children?"

I have been asked this question by countless moms.
I like to think that I would have caught the signs a bit sooner in both of my children had I known what to look for, and today I am providing an answer!

Even though this isn't a post about a particular activity, there are several appropriate toys and creative play ideas included for each age group.

And so, for those of you who are wondering if your little one may be behind in some way, or just want a better idea of what to look forward to, I give you the:

Child Developmental Play Chart
courtesy of Kids on the Move

Age Range: Birth to 1 month

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Holds head in prone position

  2. Anticipatory behavior at feeding

  3. Visual fixation and visual following

  4. Stop crying with novel stimulus, holding and rocking.

  5. Alert response to light and sound
Babies like to:

  • Suck

  • Listen to soft sounds

  • Stare at movement and light

  • Be held and rocked

  • Hold things placed in their hands
Appropriate toys and Creative Play:

  • Mobiles and contrasting colors

  • Lullaby recordings

  • Human voices and close warm touch

Age Range: 2-3 months

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Social smile with mother and strangers

  2. Controls bottle with hands

  3. Midline hand use

  4. Prolonged visual tracking
Babies Like To:

  • Focus on movement, especially hand actions

  • Reach and bat for nearby objects

  • Smile

  • Wave their fists and watch them
Appropriate toys and Creatie Play:

  • Soft musical toys

  • Cuddle toys

  • Chewable rattles

  • Dangling toys to reach for

Age Range: 4-6 months

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Increased social smile with mother

  2. Becomes more quiet and subdued with strangers

  3. Voluntary hand use

  4. Vocalizations plus play to invite reciprocity with familiar people

  5. Learns cause and effect
Babies Like To:

  • Grasp things and let go

  • Kick and grab feet

  • Laugh

  • Roll Over

  • Play Peek-a-boo

  • Gum objects
Appropriate toys and Creative Play:

  • Rubber suction toys

  • Play pen attachments

  • Crib gym- Unbreakable mirror

  • Use of household objects; cups spoons, pot lids and wire whisks

  • Squeaky toys or ball

  • Teething toys

Age Range: 7-9 months

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Mild separation anxiety

  2. Says Dada/Mama

  3. Increased hand-eye coordination

  4. Use of extended index finger in touching and exploring
Babies Like To:

  • Sit alone

  • Use fingers and thumbs

  • Notice cause and effect

  • Pivot on stomach

  • Throw, wave and bang toys

  • Creep and pull self up on things

  • Play pat-a-cake

  • Pull self up on furniture
Appropriate Toys and Creative Play:

  • Bath tub toys

  • More squeaky toys

  • Safe floor to explore

  • Move kitchen things

  • Jack-in-the-box

  • Peg baord

  • Unbreakable mirror to distinguish happy/sad face

Age Range: 10-15 months

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Walking

  2. Reaches out for, grasps and manipulates

  3. Attentive to parents

  4. Says "No", but goes ahead with activity

  5. Play and initiation increases

  6. Problem-solving and investigation increases
Toddlers Like To:

  • Poke and prod with fingers

  • Put things in other things

  • Mark on paper

  • Lower self from stand

  • Drink from a cup and try to feed self

  • Use 1 or 2 words
Appropriate Toys and Creative Play:

  • Cloth books

  • Motion

  • Container with objects and different shapes inside; ie: clothes, pins, large craons, and cheerios

  • Baby-proof house for full-proof exploration

  • Stacking blocks

  • Big outdoor toys: sandbox, pail and shovel, balls, things to push

Age Range: 16 months - 2 years

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Says, "No" and responds to "No"

  2. Use of about 20 words

  3. Feminine identification for both sexes, interest in dress, shoes, and baby

  4. Separates from parent - explores and returns

  5. Solitary play with small objects

  6. Imitation and vocal inflection

  7. Tantrums to be expected
Toddlers Like To:

  • Squat down

  • Carry things - lug, tub and drag things

  • Rough house

  • Use sand and water

  • Oppose you with no

  • Climb on things, stairs, and furniture

  • Dance to music

  • Identify parts of themselves

  • Have things their way

  • Take things apart, sort, and turn pages

  • Run
Appropriate Toys and Creative Play:

  • Push/Pull toys

  • Water/Sand toys

  • Adult approval and floor interaction

  • Cloth picture books with body parts and common objects

  • Toy telephone

  • Carrying case to put things in

  • Big crayon and paper with superision

  • Simple puzzles

  • Toy to ride

Age Range: 2-3 years

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Parallel play along side peers (2 1/2)

  2. Cooperative play (3 years)

  3. Two to three word sentences

  4. Creative use of speech

  5. Toilet training (2 1/2 - 3)

  6. Accepts reasonable limits

  7. Talks to self

  8. Tantrums to be expected
Toddlers Like To:

  • Move around

  • Problem solve

  • Imitate and pretend

  • Construct things
Appropriate Toys and Creative Play:

  • Playground activities; balls, bikes and slides

  • Shape sorter/puzzles

  • Interlocking links, blocks

  • Finger paint and bristle color

  • Use musical instruction

  • Read simple story books with adult

  • Play and listen to music video

Age Range: 3-4 years

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Cooperative play with peers

  2. Creative use of speech

  3. Special skill and talents displayed - Dance and Music

  4. Some leadership and organizational skills displayed
Preschoolers Like To:

  • Move more skillfully

  • Pretend

  • Build

  • Create

  • Play games

  • Talk, report on day events and joke
Appropriate Toys and Creative Play:

  • Puzzles with laces, threading

  • Puppets, dress-up and props

  • Construction sets

  • Art supplies in abundance to enhance creativity

  • Simple board games

  • Sensorimotor play and equipment

Age Range: 5 years

Developmental Milestones:

  1. Enjoy group activities

  2. Comfortable being away from home for part of the day

  3. Interestin parent's work

  4. Learning skills develop

  5. Can play catch well and solve simple puzzles

  6. Detailed dreams
Appropriate Toys and Creative Play:

  • Books of all kinds, fairy tales and non-fiction

  • More outside activities (Can't get enough at this age)

  • Moving, dancing, and climbing

  • Legos/Building toys