Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dog's Colorful Day Activity

This has been one of our favorite books as of late Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd. It is a sweet little story about a dog getting himself spotted with messes along his day. I think little kids just like the idea of messes in general, because they are such a natural, unavoidable part of life. I think Buga likes that she can commiserate a little with this character in that way! :) As we read the story, she colors the spots on dog using a dry-erase crayon or washable marker.

This is a great way to teach colors, numbers, build listening skills, and following directions. We have also played AFTER reading the story as a way to retell the events that occurred in the book - which challenges memory and comprehension skills. At the end Buga gives Dog a "bath" by wiping him clean with a sweat-pant-fabric mitt I made for her. She loves doing this activity, even though we have done it several times already.

I like seeing how differently Dog's spots come out in each drawing she they were more like circles than spots. Sometimes they are merely dots. Other times they are smears, smudges, cute.

You can download the .pdf for this activity HERE

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flower Shop

Our Spring Time theme certainly brought out the flowers! We have been reading a lot of stories about gardens, flowers, and colors. We have also been watching the flowers bloom around us. When I bought a rainbow of flowers for Buga's sensory bin I made sure to buy extras for this little "store front business". Buga is the owner, operator, and manager of her own little flower shop. We use colorful flowers to reinforce color identification as well as build our counting skills...all the while working on following directions and communication skills. I love how versatile and fun this play set has become. We both enjoy creating bouquets - our business sure is blossoming!

Here's Buga taking Phone Orders. We have a pretend phone to take orders, a notepad to keep track of the orders, and a cash register for the customers to pay for their bouquets.

Each type flower is categorized in its own cup and labeled with a corresponding picture / color / and price tag. This enables us to keep track of our inventory while sorting colors and keeping things organized - making it easier to fulfill orders!

Each flower is currently 1c each - to help reinforce 1 to 1 ratio, counting, and numbers. When Buga gets a little older (or maybe the next time we play) I will make some of the flowers cost more so she begins to associate bigger numbers with more money. For now we use pennies to count and pay for our bouquets.

I made and laminated customer order cards to keep in the bin. Buga can take out a customer order card and build a bouquet with these visual "recipe cards".

"Can you make a bouquet with these flowers...?"

I drew pictures of the flowers, added their numeral, and marked their color in written form so Buga can begin to associate the words with the corresponding objects. It has been a great way to understand symbols and reinforces direction-following. Due to the structure of the cards, she doesn't even need me to read or interpret them. She can do it all by her little business self!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Likes Her Bike

I can't be more grateful for the nice weather we've been having. Winter really drains me. The sunshine invigorates and inspires me. We recently were fortunate enough to have Daddy around to enjoy the sun with us! We went to the river and had a picnic. My little girl LOVES being outside - maybe it's her aquarian nature. She loves the sunshine, the grass, the water....and she certainly Likes Her Bike. We gave this to her last Christmas, but I think she was a little too young for it. Living in the city, she hasn't had much practice on it....but I knew she would like it when she had the opportunity to ride, so we brought it with us. She loved being able to move on this bike. I am so glad I was able to find a gently used one on ebay when I did. We will be using this A LOT this summer!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly

We recently read "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly" illustrated by Pam Adams. Buga loved it because it's a story she has heard in song, so she was able to see along, anticipate the next words, and repeat the refrain.

I made a set of comprehension cards for her so we could talk about the story and retell it. They are also made from smallest to largest so she can play with size relationships as well.

I drew a large picture of the Old Lady so we could put each picture in her "belly" as she swallowed the fly.

I also laminated the picture so Buga could color it, or draw the animals inside her tummy, with dry erase crayons and we could erase them when she was done.

I love the idea of playing with the books we read together. It's a great way to aid in comprehension and further discuss the topics in a book.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quadrilla Marble Set

I am so excited to finally get to use and play with this Quadrilla Marble Set. I had it stored (or hoarded) away for a rainy day....for months now.

I had been wanting to get one since seeing it at a toy boutique but Buga wasn't old enough and it was expensive. I recently found it at Toys R Us in the Clearance section and purchased it for half the price - and was able to use a coupon on top of that! So store it for a rainy day, I did. Because I have been so pregnant and the weather hasn't been that nice, we have been cooped up inside longer than I would like....longer than Buga would like. So after a short walk about the neighborhood before the rain, we came inside to play with a surprise. It was a delight.

I think it's a little over her head because it takes a lot of patience to piece together - and can easily tumble - if she is not REALLY careful about how she moves her body around (I had to fix it about 6 times!) but we worked together and color coded, and followed directions, and mapped it out, and pieced together - all great hands on skills. I know that we will have lots of fun with these durable, heirloom pieces (and I know her Daddy will love to play with them, too!)

Looking forward to more building adventure!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Silly Putty

We recently made Silly Putty as a "birthday present" for Daddy. I always try to have Buga get involved in drawing or making something for birthdays. She likes to help out and I think it's important to teach the notion of giving to others. Daddy likes science a lot and I thought this would be a fun little something they could play with and enjoy together.

This Silly Putty could more accurately be named "Gak" or "Goo" as it was a little sticky. Needless to say it was a lot of messy fun for my little one - who isn't too big on messes! She kept wanting to get the goo off her fingers, but once clean, she wanted to play with it all over again.

Here is the recipe if you are interested in a science experiment!

1 cup white glue (Elmer's)
1 cup liquid starch
food coloring

Put glue and coloring in plastic container. Add starch a little at a time, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until mixture holds together like putty. If too sticky, add more liquid starch in small increments until smooth and rubbery. Have fun pulling and stretching this concoction as you watch how liquid parts turn into more of a solid. Store in an airtight container.

I recently read that storing it in the refrigerator cuts down on the "stickiness". I just kept adding liquid starch to the mixture, and her hands, which helped keep it from sticking on her fingers.