Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful For Turkey

This is an excellent idea that will help bring the 'spirit' of Thanksgiving to your house all month long (or however long you would like).

The idea is to put a picture of a turkey up on a wall in your home.  We put ours on the front door, so the boys would be reminded of it often.

You could draw your own, or just print one from the internet.

We colored our printed turkey, then we cut out several feathers, in coordinating colors.

Once a day, we would talk about things that we are grateful for.  We would then pick one blessing, and write it down on a feather.

We started at the beginning of the month, and had Cannon do one feather per day, but this could easily be done in a single day or over any amount of time.

This would also be a good Thanksgiving Day activity; especially if you were having a large group of people.  Everyone could have a feather and write down something that they were thankful for.

I think this is going to turn into an annual tradition at our house.  I am really enjoying it so far!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly Puppet

Cannon's preschool class focuses on one book each month, and coordinates their activities around it.
They just finished There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.
The main concept they were teaching was size.

He came home with this puppet, and told me the story over and over (and over) again.
I was amazed at how well he had picked up the details.

I've included the story, if you don't have the book.
Either way it would be a fun craft to recreate at home, and a great way to teach small vs. big, big vs. bigger, etc.

I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly

They decorated paper bags by adding a head, cotton balls for hair, and tiny decorative balls for earrings (which were my favorite part).

On popsicle sticks they attached the individual animals:

You will need a fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, goat, cow and horse.

Like I said, it was easy to practice sizing them up...

 The little old lady's head was only secured to the front of the bag, so the animals could be eaten.

 He loved loved loved this!

I did some researching online, and found this website that has some printables if you want to make your own.
Here is the story, if that is all you need.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Motor Development

This is yet another handout I recieved from Kids on the Move.
It specifies the development of motor; what comes first, how old the average child should be doing what, etc.
I like checklists such as these so parents can determine where their child is, but more importantly what they can focus on to help further their development.

Motor Development
First Steps and Beyond

Standing Balance
Child will:
- Spend a lot of time standing and playing at a chest high surface
- Stand with back support (against a couch)
- Stand facing a flat surface (fridge, wall or cabinet) so trunk is not supported.
- Stand in the middle of the room holding onto a common toy.

Cruising (9-13 months)
Child will:
- cruise at different surfaces - starting with chest high

Encourage cruising by:
- moving a toy farther away, forcing them to move to it
- shift weight at their hips to encourage leg movement
- remember to help child to cruise in both directions

Cruising Gaps
Ecourage by:
- starting with furniture together or very close to build confidence
- increase gaps as able
- set up cruising opportunities if there aren't any already (use a kitchen chair, ottoman, etc).

Walking with Support (10-12 months)
- Once child can balance, hold hands at child's side (no higher than chest).

Encourage by:
- Progressing to one handed support by having child hold a toy (for a short distance).
- Push a push toy, weight it down if needed.
- Push a chair, laundry basket or box
- Walk with an object you hold (like a hoop)

Walking Unsupported (11-13 months) 
Child will:
- walk to a parent or couch and let go for the last 1-2 steps
- stand with back against the couch and then try to step forward from there
- may do better with or without shoes

Early Walking Tips (13-15 months)
 - walk on different surfaces (tile, carpet, grass, cement, sand, mattress)
- walk between surfaces; if indoor use blankets, pillows, cushions, etc.
- walk wearing big shoes

Early Walking
 - walk up or down small inclines or curbs
- carry light toys or pull toys on a string

Standing from the Ground Without Support (12-15 months)
 Child will:
- get onto hands and feet and push up into standing
- more mature pattern is to go into a half kneel and push from the floor to stand

Encourage by:
- putting their hands on a slightly higher surface like a cushion, box or bench

Backwards and Sideways Walking (14-15 months)
Encourage by:
- playing "Ring around the Rosie" to walk sideways
- pull a toy on a string to walk backwards
- walk backwards away from getting tickled
- rearrange furniture so that you have to walk sideways to get through
- you push a box while child pulls and walks backwards

Rapid Walking/Running (14-18 months)
Encourage by:
- holding childs hand and pulling him to encourage a faster walk
- play chase
- "run" down a small incline (this encourages a rapid walk)

Walking Upstairs With One Hand Held (17-19 months)
 Encourage by:
- trying to step up onto a small curb, box or stool
- showing them how to hold onto a rail or wall
- not always holding the same side

Alternating feet is not important at this stage.
Kids may lead with the opposite leg of the hand you are holding onto.

Walking Upstairs Alone (24-25 months) and Alternating Feet (30-34 months)
Encourage by:
- starting with a curb or small step stool to practice stepping up unsupported and build strength
- to alternate feet start with physical support and a lot of verbal cues
- put red and green stickers on each foot and match them to red and green cut outs you put on the stairs
Walking Downstairs with a Rail (24-26 months) and Alone (25-27 months)
Encourage by:
- starting with a curb, a few stairs or a child size stair case
- you can stand in front and hold one or both hands, remember not to show a worried face
- place childs hand on the wall so that they use it for support

Kicking a Ball (18-24 months)
- start with a large lightweight ball like a beach ball
- start by walking into a ball and then encourage kicking when standing still
- remember to use both feet

Running "Fairly Well" (18-24 months)
- arms should swing in alternate pattern with legs
- both feet are leaving the ground
- pull holding onto a hand to encourage a faster pace or chase

Climbing Onto an Adult Chair (18-21 months)
- a couch is the easiest, then a chair with arms, then a kitchen chair
- you can start by stepping onto a slightly higher surface like a bench or box or taking a cushion off
- help them raise one leg up, then hold it there

 Picking Up a Toy from the Floor (19-24 months)
 - start with picking up a toy from a slightly higher surface (cushion, bench, box or your hand)
- make sure the child is bending his knees to sqaut

Jumping in Place (22-30 months)
Encourage by:
- bouncing to music and encourage knee bending
- jumping on a trampoline, a mattress while holding onto the headboard, the crib holding onto a rail, or the sofa holding onto the back
- wait for child to initiate the jump and then help so that feet leave the ground

 - jump to pop bubbles, bubble wrap, or jump into or out of a hoop
- jump off of a small step, curb or box; hold hands and help both feet leave the ground if the child is stepping down
- watch "tigger" videos, sing jumping songs

Standing on Tiptoes (23-25 months) and Walking on Tiptoes (25-30 months)
Child will:
- reach up for a toy on the counter, a picture on a wall or a ball you are holding

Encourage by:
- holding hands and pulling up to encourage getting onto tiptoes
- pretend games - tiptoe past the sleeping dolls, pretend to "grow"

Walking with More Mature Gait (23-30 months)
- walk between lines that are drawn or taped on the ground (they should get as narrow as 8" apart)
- walk on a plank of wood
- walk along a long piece of toilet paper

Catching a Ball (24-26 months)
- blow bubbles and have child try and "catch" or pop those that are blown towards them (start in sitting position so balance is not an issue)
- encourage child to trap ball against body
- catch a large balloon, light beah ball or gurdy ball
- start closely placing the ball in childs hand and then move further back

Running with Control (24-30 months)
- play chase around a large obstacle in the room (chair, trash can or a tree outside)
- gradually decrease the size of the obstacle to the size of a book, increase the number of obstacles
- play "red light, green light" to stop quickly

Balancing on One Foot Briefly (24-30 months) and for 5 Seconds (30-36 months)
- stomp on bubbles or bubble wrap
- stand to put on an adult's shoe without assistance or while getting dressed
- play "Simon Says"
- kick a ball
- walk up stairs with support
- put a ladder on the floor and step over the rungs
- try to lift up a bean bag that is placed on the foot

Riding a Tricycle (32-36 months)
- find a trike that allows the child's feet to reach the pedals and has a long lever arm
- strap in feet if they do not stay on the pedals
- push the trike with feet on the pedals so that child feels how the pedals move, start on a small incline

General Motor Planning
- encourage playing in new ways so that the child has to problem solve to do the task (go to a park)
- climb over small obstacles (like the ledge into the ball pit) or onto something unstable (platform swing)
- use play equipment for combining activities like crawling in tunnels, climbing, sliding and jumping

Red Flags - When to Consult with a Physical Therapist
- neglect of one side of the body - strong favoring of one arm or leg or leading with one leg
- not pulling to stand by 11 months or walking by 17 months
- can't stand without furniture 1-2 months after walking
- up on toes more than 50% of the time
- severe in-toeing or out-toeing that doesn't correct with time
- severely "flat" feet (pronated)
- clumsiness is so severe that it effects function