Written by The Mom
Here’s this week’s version of What’s On Our Bookshelf. I think these posts might evolve into different things… Some weeks it might literally be what is on our bookshelf, but other weeks it might represent activities or trips outside the home. My goal for the “our bookshelf” posts is to keep track for myself of what the kids are interested in and what they are learning and doing.
With that in mind, here’s what’s “on our bookshelf” this week:
1. A made-up math game
The big kids like it when I take a piece of paper and make a spelling game (Scrabble tiles are good for all sorts of word-making games!) or a math game.
For this game, I used a circle-shaped paper punch to cut out small colored paper circles. Then I used colored Sharpies to draw circles on a piece of paper. I drew three circles on the top row and three on the bottom.
On the top row of circles, I wrote one random number at the top of each circle so the kids could practice number-recognition by counting out the paper circles until they matched the number at the top of the circle. Miss C counted out six of each purple for the purple circle, four of each green for the green circle, and so on.
In the bottom row of circles, I put a simple addition equation and had Miss C use her paper circles to copy the equation. For example, in the 1 + 1 circle she put one gold paper circle on each side of the plus sign. Then she counted how many gold paper circles were in the gold circle to find the answer to the equation (two). In the red circle she looked at the 2 and chose two red circles for the left side of the equation, and matched three red circles for the 3 on the right side of the equation, and then counted all of the paper circles in the red circle to find the answer (five). And so on. She enjoyed the color-matching in this game as well.
I made this game because Miss C has shown interest in numbers lately and often uses her fingers to figure out simple addition and subtraction problems on her own. At this age, I make sure that any “learning” games we play are just for fun. Our only goal at this age and stage is to provide opportunities for the kids to explore what they are naturally interested in and to make sure they have fun learning what they choose to learn.
2. Drawing paper
My kids usually scribble and color more often than they try to draw but lately Miss C has started using a pen and paper to draw specific things. Both the big kids love dinosaurs and the solar system. One topic of conversation that comes up occasionally is how dinosaurs are extinct and what that means (we can’t see them at the zoo, they are all dead and aren’t alive or on Earth anymore, and so on). Miss C showed me these drawings she made: a dinosaur and the earth. She asked me to draw a heart above the earth for the dinosaurs, “To show how much we miss them.”
Books are always on our bookshelf! The favorites this past week have been two new books that Mr F got for his birthday- one about dinosaurs and one about space. Both of the big kids love these books. We spend time reading them together and they have also spent time looking through the books on their own. Mr F’s favorite dinosaur is a triceratops, which is probably the only dinosaur name he can remember (I don’t blame him). Also, it means “three-horned face”, and since he just turned three, he sees this as something pretty cool that he has in common with the triceratops.
Miss C has started what she calls a “rock collection”. She likes to find various rocks outside, examine them closely and then pop them into this box. I expect this will soon lead to her asking all sorts of questions about rocks that will have me running to Google, but for now she seems content to just carry the box around the house (and make her various toys sleep in it).
The kids have some play money and often pretend to buy and sell toys to each other with it. Recently Miss C (who has always been pretty shy) has been asking to pay for things with cash when we go places. We give her the money she needs and she hands it to the cashier, who gives her the change to give back to us. She’s usually so excited about being in charge of the cash that she forgets to be shy!
A month or two ago I found some preschool workbooks for about $8 each at Costco and grabbed a couple. At the time I bought them the kids didn’t show much interest so they were put away in our art cupboard. This week Miss C and Mr F found them and pulled them out. Miss C asked me to read the instructions to her and then she completed the pages accordingly (first two pictures). Mr F used his workbook for drawing and scribbling (last picture).
7. Solid food
Not to be left out, Little B has been learning lots of things, too! When he turned 6 months old he showed signs of being ready to try solid foods so he has been practicing using his spoon to feed himself goat yogurt. He’s also had some small finger-foods such as mashed peas and scrambled eggs (which we feel safe introducing slowly at this age as we have no history of egg allergies).
Baby B is cutting his first tooth, so his favorite “snack” at the moment is frozen breastmilk. He’s already familiar with the flavor and the cold feels good on his gums when they are sore. These are easy to make… I already had some breastmilk stored in breastmilk bags in the freezer. I chipped off some pieces and handed it to him frozen. They thawed quickly in his hands and in his mouth so I didn’t worry about him choking (although I did watch while he ate them just to make sure they were safe sizes for him to put in his mouth).
Other stuff we’ve been up to
The big kids always love helping in the kitchen. They help unload the dishwasher, measure ingredients, put bread or waffles down in the toaster, spread peanut butter on sandwiches… They especially love helping bake cookies since the end result is so yummy!
A trip to the zoo:
If you ever feel like answering a million and one questions, take your kids to the zoo! We all had a lot of fun and the kids learned a lot by watching and asking questions about each animal they saw. Their favorites were the zebras and giraffes, and they both were quite disgusted by the rhino because, “He is stinky.”
Miss C’s favorite thing at the zoo was the zoo map, which she carried around diligently the entire day. Each time we moved on from one exhibit she would place the map on the ground and study it extensively and then (more times than not) she would assuredly head off in the wrong.
A trip to the observatory
We recently discovered that our city has a little observatory, which is free. We took the kids there one evening. I think they were a bit disappointed to only see a little fuzzy star: they were expecting Saturn which, we were told, is not visible this time of year- and they were probably expecting it to be much larger than it would be through a telescope anyway. The whole experience is something they’ll get more appreciation from when they are a bit older, I think, but they have been asking all about telescopes for awhile and seeing the giant telescope was well worth it.
A new climbing toy for the yard
These lucky kids have a skilled grandpa who built them a climbing toy in the yard (with their “help”).
The design is an A-frame. On one side is a little climbing wall with hand-holds, and the other side has slats to climb up ladder-style. There’s a small platform on top for the kids to sit, and a bigger one underneath for them to hang out on if they want to. They both quickly learned how to scale it from either side and it has been a major hit.
And that’s what we’ve been up to this week!
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