This involves all different types of learning: creativity, organization, gross and fine motor skills, language development, music, and educational (letters, numbers). We spend time each day doing activities in almost all of those categories. Now I'm not a crazy home-school, stay-at-home-mom kind of person (though sometimes I wish I were!). I find that these activities unfold organically as a part of our daily lives.
From the time the boys were born, I found that I just spoke out loud to them ALL the time! I didn't even realize it until my brother-in-law pointed out that I was always talking to the kids. I have also sung and we have played music and instruments for them since a young age. We read books every day. We have lots of educational toys where they are seeing and hearing the alphabet and numbers. We spend time on puzzles, activity boards, cup stacking and blocks. We do sensory play and art a few times a week.
I just love watching the boys learn and grow. I think the developing mind is such a fascinating thing! As a counsellor, I have seen the effects when stages of development are missed at an early age. A teenage boy I saw actually stopped talking for months at the age of 18 months due to fighting and abuse at home. Needless to say, it has affected his social interaction and language development to this day! Apart from that being terribly sad, I find that story highlights how crucial a time this is for teaching and giving the kids positive learning experiences.
As Easter is approaching, I am using the opportunity to draw the boys attention to colors and shapes. We haven't done too many activities yet, but here are a few I have tried. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think my boys are just slightly too young (17 months, and premature) to be getting a lot from these activities, but I find that if I put it away and take it out a few weeks later, they often have caught up and really enjoy it.
One of the first activities we tried was matching pom-poms to coloured toilet paper rolls. A while back the boys loved dropping pom-poms through a paper towel roll that was taped to the wall. I hoped they would catch on to the colour matching, but they did not. They liked putting the pom-poms in the rolls, but eventually just began stuffing them in their mouths instead. Game over.
The next one I tried was a matching game involving construction paper shapes. I spent an evening cutting out shapes, tracing them onto butcher paper, and taping the paper onto the window for the boys to "pin" up the shapes. Unfortunately, before I made it to showing them the activity, RJ found the paper and just ripped it off the wall while I was busy changing MJ's diaper. Fail. I still think it will be a fun game, so today I re-did the butcher paper and taped it to the floor in the kitchen. We'll see how it goes.
Finally, another sensory bin I made with "cloud dough" and Easter eggs. The dough was just made with oil (I used olive, but I think vegetable would work better), food coloring, and flour. MJ didn't spend long on it, but RJ had a good 20 minutes playing with the dough. First we stirred it. Then we transferred it from one bowl to the other with the spoon, then with our hands. Finally we scooped it up with the eggs. It ended up being quite messy (I should have taped the cloth down) but it was fun. Next time, I'll take it outdoors too.
|What mess mom???|