Friday, October 30, 2009

Favorite Books for Under-Two-Year-Olds

By the time M turned two we had spent a lot of time at the library and had accumulated a lot of books from garage sales and as gifts. This is our list of favorites- the ones that got read over and over and stayed enjoyable to both Mom and Baby. They are listed roughly in order of age-appropriateness.
Babies: Great for it's small size and pictures that capture even a 6 month-old's interest.
Animal Sounds: Any animal sounds book is good, but we especially like this one.
Pat the Bunny: So interactive and sweet!
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?: Great rhythm and fun sounds. I prefer the board book version; the full version goes on too long for a young toddler's attention span, I think.
Goodnight, Moon: Soothing bedtime classic.
The Foot Book: Again, for young toddlers, I prefer the board book, shortened version.I'm as Quick as a Cricket: Capitalizes on a child's enjoyment of comparing him or herself to different animals. I prefer the full-size version of this one (not the board book which is missing one of our favorite pages)
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb: Great rhythm!
Where's Spot?: Simple pictures and easy to open flaps. Kids seem to like books about hiding!

Going to Sleep on the Farm: Beautiful pictures, especially showing the interaction between a father and his son; simple, lulling words.

Does a Cow Say Boo?: Wonderfully fun book for kids who know their animal sounds and are ready to enjoy a spot of mischief.
How Do Dinasaurs Say Good-night?: The other books in this series are fun too.

Green Hat, Blue Hat: Capitalizes on kids' enjoyment of wearing clothes on the wrong body parts.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Wonderful, suspenseful classic written for older kids, but also enjoyable for young toddlers
So...those are our favorites. I'd love to discover other good books for this age range by hearing your recommendations!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One Trick for Toddler Educational Activities

I don't know about you, but when I'm working with my toddler on learning games I occasionally run into one of two problems:

1. Sometimes she will be afraid to answer because she is apprehensive that she will get the answer wrong (not that I ever punish her or try to make her feel badly- just seems to happen sometimes)

2. Other times she is feeling silly and gets a kick out of purposefully giving the wrong answer.

I don't want to push the learning games too much when she's really not in the mood for them, but occasionally I persevere using a trick I've found to work amazingly well. Instead of playing the game with M, I will ask her to bring her doll over to me and I will play the game with the doll while M holds her and moves her hand to point to the correct answers.

This trick seems to completely eliminate any fear-inducing pressure to get the answer right when the game is difficult (after all, it's the dolly getting the wrong answer-- so nothing personal :-) If I suspect that the game is maybe a little too easy, I'll ask M to teach the dolly the information (or her baby sister if she's awake and nearby) which usually sobers her up and eliminates silliness.

So far, this approach has been almost entirely successful. I'm sure that the novelty will wear off sometime though; do any of you have any other tricks to suggest for helping toddlers with learning games?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Great Daddy-Toddler Toy: Measuring Tape

I was really surprised this past Saturday morning to see how much enjoyment my husband and M got out of exploring a measuring tape together- well over a half of an hour! M had fun pulling it across the room and watching it as it zipped closed.

Fun with Newspaper Inserts

A couple of weeks ago I bought three Sunday newspapers because I knew that the coupons that week were going to be worthwhile. Here are some things M and I did with all those extra glossy ads we had around the house as a result.

Swimming: we spread them all over the playroom floor and pretended we were in a swimming pool of newspapers.Crumpled paper war: we grabbed hand fulls of papers and tossed them at eachother."Falling Leaves:" Using a chair I piled as many papers on top of the ceiling fan as I could and then turned on the fan. M had so much fun standing under the papers that were billowing down that she wanted her little sister to get in on the fun too. At her suggestion, we moved G's bouncy chair under the fan, and we all enjoyed the shower!

It's Playtime!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Upper/ lower case letters card game

Lately, M and I have been working on matching lower and upper case letters. To help her practice, I've made a set of cards that have upper case on one side and lower on the other. This is how our little game goes:

I spread four or five lower case letters in front of her.

Me: Can you find the baby (B)?
M: (points)
Me: Let's see if you're right
M: (turns over the card)
Me: Is that a (B)?

If she is right then we leave it upturned. Once all of the baby letters are capitals M gets the fun of smearing them all around while we say, "Yay! You did it!" (seems to work as a motivator :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baby's First Laugh Party

I read recently that the Navajo traditionally throw a party to celebrate a baby's first laugh. Doesn't that sound like a fun idea?