Written by The Mom
What a crazy month it has been! We seemed to get hit with a couple of bugs this past month that have been going around and of course that passed through everyone in the family. Throw in a trip out of town to visit family and I haven’t had time to keep up with the “What’s On Our Bookshelf This Week” posts. Maybe the name should be “What’s On Our Bookshelf This Month”!
Even through it all, the kids have continued to amaze me with how much they learn from day to day. Learning at their age is like a machine that goes… You can’t stop it, even if there are weeks where it slows down (such as when you’re sick in bed!). It makes one wonder what eventually slows or stops this momentum that is such a drive even in the youngest babies… This urge and desire to learn. Why do so many adults seem to lack something that seems to come naturally to children? Why do children seem to slowly lose this drive once they start going to school?
I have a hunch, of course. But perhaps that’s a post for another day.
Here’s what we’ve been up to:
1. Math, math, and more math
The kids are fascinated by numbers lately. We got a few books from the library about numbers and counting. The favorite was “Counting” by Sara Pistoia, which talks about counting and grouping by 1s, 5s, and 10s. One of the pages shows images of buttons as examples so we got our buttons out and followed along with the book.
First we counted out 30 buttons. Then we sorted them into 6 piles of 5 buttons each and counted them by 5s. Lastly, we sorted them into 3 piles with 10 buttons in each pile and counted by 10s. I counted by 5s and by 10s all the way up to 100 and the kids were impressed by how much faster it was to count by 10s.
Learning can happen at any time! This counting book was intended to be a bedtime book while the kids were eating their before-bed snack. It turned into a bedtime game but we couldn’t pass up the chance to learn hands-on.
The kids have also been asking how to read math equations aloud when they see them written somewhere (“Mommy, how do you say 4 + 3 = 7?”). One morning they laid down across each other and said, “Mommy, we made a plus sign!”
Our discussions about numbers turned into discussions about money. The kids asked where their money jars were (something we haven’t looked at our added to for quite awhile). We brought them out and counted their change. Mr F. lost interest quickly but Miss C wanted to know what she could buy with her money or how she could save it for something bigger if she wanted to. She decided to use it to buy a cake pop, so we counted out $2 together. I told her four quarters is one dollar, and reminded her which ones the quarters were. She counted out four. When I told her that equaled one dollar and that we needed another dollar, she disappeared with her money jar and came back with four more quarters. So with our two dollars, we went to Starbucks where she stood in line, asked for a cake pop, and handled the transaction herself.
The next day we took a trip to the learning store near us to buy some bills for the kids to play and practice with. Their money jar only has change in it. They’ve enjoyed using the play money to “shop” for things from their play kitchen.
We also recently set up a chores/allowance system where Miss C can make some money for helping out with extra chores around the house, like feeding the dog and wiping the kitchen table. If she gets tired of the system we won’t force it on her, it’s not a “must do” list. But she’s been very eager to help out and we also want to encourage her interest in handling and saving money as long as she wants to learn more about it.
3. Size and patterns
The kids have been experimenting with size and patterns quite a bit. Legos and Unifix cubes have so far been used the most for this.
Another find at the local learning store was some tiles with words on them. The kids can’t read yet but they’ve had a blast putting sentences together for me to read aloud. Most of the sentences don’t make sense which they find hilarious.
5. Library books
The more time we spend at our library, the more impressed I am with what a resource it is. There are so many awesome fiction and non-fiction books for every level and age, and of course, all free! The kids love picking out whatever they want to take home. We bring one of their little back-packs on wheels and load up! The kids like to pick their own books but I also walk around and find topics relevant to what the kids have been talking or asking about. This week it’s mostly habitats (something they’ve been talking about all month) and weather.
6. Planting a garden
This is completely foreign to me so I’m learning right along with the kids. Our first attempt at a sunflower garden failed miserably: we had two sprouts and both were pulled out (probably by birds) soon after they popped up.
So, take two: we are learning from our mistakes and attempting to remedy them. Plant more seeds, cover with nets, and start the waiting process again! Hopefully this time we get some sunflowers. The kids didn’t seem too disappointed that the first round failed, they just love the prep work and helping to plant and water the seeds.
7. Roller skating
This is something Miss C has been begging to try for quite awhile. When we finally brought some roller skates home, she was very motivated to learn and did quite well. Of course after falling a few times she lost some of her motivation, but it’s typical of her to give up for awhile and then revisit later. I think this is something she’ll keep revisiting until she catches on. It’s fun to see her tenacity and ability to learn a new skill. Mr. F always watches for awhile and then tries when no one is looking.
Little B (formerly known as Baby B, but he’s growing up fast!) is learning some new skills, too! He’s finally figured out the crawling thing:
9. More cooking and baking
Miss C has mastered making sandwiches and has eagerly taken on scrambled eggs!
I’m sure there is more… They learn more than I can even remember from day-to-day. Watching them learn has been one of the most rewarding things about parenting for me so far.
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