Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Worldless Wednesday: Rub-a-dub-dub, CJ's in the tub!!

CJ decided she wanted a bath instead of a nap. She took matters into her own hands and this was the result:

Teaching the Alphabet

I've been asked how I taught CJ the alphabet.  Honestly, it wasn't something that I intentionally set out to do.  It was more of a pleasant surprise when she started showing us that she understood what those crazy symbols we call letters mean.  Here are just a few of the things I used:

V-Tech Touch & Discover Alphabet Town
CJ has loved playing with this ever since we got it for her.  (She even takes it to bed sometimes.) We first noticed that she understood letters when the game would ask "Press the letter W...Press the Letter H..." and she got most of them correct!
Alphabet Magnets
I bought both the uppercase and lowercase letters at Lakeshore Learning but you can find them at Wal-mart or Target.  When playing with our magnet board, CJ would put the letters up as I told her what letter it was and what sound it made.  This was pretty informal and I didn't think she was really paying attention.  I guess I was wrong.

Meet the Letters
Although adults may find the "Meet the..." series to be dull and repetitive, CJ is always glued to the TV when it's on.  The DVD shows both upper and lowercase letters but doesn't include the phonetic sound they make.  We first borrowed the DVD from the library and bought it once we realized how much she liked it.  We also bought the complete collection (Meet the Shapes, Meet the Colors, Meet the Numbers, Meet the Sight Words 1, 2 and 3).
Meet the Letters

A great website for teaching the alphabet and early reading skills is starfall.com. Click on a letter to hear its name, the sound it makes and different words that start with that letter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Bargain Bonanza!

I love shopping at our local thrift store for books for the girls.  Not only do I always find a huge selection but the books are usually in good condition and the prices can't be beat!  I've never spent more than a dollar for a book before.

My latest trip was no exception.  I walked away with 61....yes, that's right...61 books!!  The best part was that I only spent around $40!

These aren't all the books but some of my favorite finds.  Some of them are advanced for their age but I'll set them aside for later.  I bring them out a little at a time so they always think we have new books and don't get bored of them right away.

A look at the big box of books that I got.

One of things that my husband and I want to instill in the girls is a good set of values, solid character, and healthy self-esteem.  I'm always on the lookout for books that have some sort of moral or life lesson that can be taught.

ValueTales were books published in the 70's and 80's.  There were 43 total books in the series but I only could find 23 at the thrift store. (I'm sure I could find the rest on eBay if I wanted to complete the collection.)  I seem to remember reading some of these as a kid so my mom probably still has some in her garage.  I can't say how good or bad they are because I haven't read them yet (as an adult at least).  Hopefully, they aren't too old-fashioned or too weird.

A childhood favorite of mine was The Bernstein Bears.  I was thrilled to find 8 books that talked about issues such as telling the truth, strangers, bullying and getting into fights.

More books that fit into the character/values/self-esteem theme.

Another big thing we want to teach the girls is safety preparedness.

You can never tell your kids too much that you love them.

A couple of great books for bedtime and morning story time.

Now I just have to find a place to store all of these along with the TONS of other books we already have.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tot School

~CJ is currently 33 months old.~
Tot School

Our week started with a trip to the airport and a follow-up art project.  You can read about our Airplane Adventure here.

I admit that I'm slightly obsessed with the painted wood decorations that can be found at most craft stores.  I have over 100 and can't get enough!  I glue a magnet to the back and turn it into a fun, educational prop for CJ to play with.  

While I normally try to incorporate a lesson with the play, this week I just let her have fun and free play with them. She likes trying to match things up and you can see a little bit of it here.  She put the dog next to the doghouse, all the frogs are together at the bottom, and the boat and anchor are together.

She'll even try to find matches around the room for her magnets and loves showing me.

She was excited that the bee on her shirt matched her wood bee.

She told the dogs to sit in the rocking chair and watch her play.

Check out the Angelina Jolie lips!

CJ has been crazy about puzzles lately and I brought out some new ones for her to play with. Please note that I took all the pictures on the same day (you can tell by her shirt) but we played with them every day.

A simple foam number puzzle found in the dollar bin at the grocery store. She'll say the number as she puts them in and I've been teaching her how many fingers to hold up for each number.

I bought this Alphabet Train puzzle a year ago but I finally felt that CJ was old enough to attempt putting it together.  She would find the letter in the pile in front of her, say the letter and the sound it makes and we worked on identifying the object in the train car that began with that letter. I didn't know how long her toddler attention span would last but she surprised me!  We probably spent a good 30-45 minutes on this.  

CJ is a little backseat driver and will yell at me to stop whenever she sees a STOP sign.  I decided to make a Road Sign Game* to teach her more about the signs we see while driving.  This week we focused on matching the signs to their shadows.  Later we will talk about what the sign means. I tried to include the basic shapes (octagon stop sign, triangle yield sign, circle railroad crossing, etc)

She's been working on 4-piece puzzles.  This is an wood alphabet puzzle that consists of 13 double-sided boards.  She did really well and only asked for help a couple of times.

*If you would like a copy of the Road Signs file-folder game, click the following links:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Airplane Adventure

What started off as a mundane Monday ended up being a pretty exciting and educational day!  I forgot that CJ didn't have gym class this week and she was disappointed when we got there and couldn't play.  Instead of taking them back home, I decided that we would take a field trip to the local airport.  The airport has a great observation area.  Not only could CJ see real planes but they had a great displays to teach about the various airplane parts.  

CJ checking out real planes.  This didn't impress her as much as I thought it would.

All those buttons, levers and dials and a toddler just dying to get at them!

After we got home and the girls took their nap, I started thinking of an art project to go along with our trip.  Here is what I came up with:
  • blue construction paper
  • white paper airplane (I cut mine out using my Cricut Expressions but you can print out an outline of an airplane or draw one freehand)
  • something to color with (I originally planned on using crayons but CJ decided that she wanted to use her Dot Markers instead)
  • cotton balls
  • glue
CJ wanted to fly the airplane around before coloring it.  I used this opportunity to ask her where the various parts of the plane were (wings, tail, etc)

She loves mixing colors with the Dot Markers and seeing new colors she comes up with.

She hates when she accidentally makes a mess on the table so I let her clean up with a baby wipe.

Apply glue and cotton balls.  I had to do most of the glue to keep it in a "cloud" shape.

The finished product!!

Finally, we read Planes at the Airport to finish off our spontaneous Airplane Adventure!

Planes At The Airport

Friday, August 20, 2010

FirstWords: Deluxe GIVEAWAY!! (EXPIRED)

I am thrilled to announce that the makers of FirstWords: Deluxe have offered 5 of my readers a free copy of the app.  (You can read my review of FirstWords: Deluxe here.) 

Giveaway Rules:

  1. The first 5 people to leave a comment to this post will get a code for a free copy of FirstWords: Deluxe.
  2. Please subscribe via email or follow my blog by clicking on the link on the right side of this page.
  3. Please leave a review of the app on iTunes.
Giveaway Information:
  • Please leave a way for me to contact you in your comment otherwise another winner will be chosen.
  • The code can only be redeemed at the iTunes App Store.
  • You must have an iPad, iPhone or iPod to use this app. (iPods and iPod Touch requires headphones if you want to hear the sounds)
  • The code expires on 9/17/10 and must be redeemed before then.
Disclosure:  Learning Touch  provided me with a free code to FirstWords: Christmas. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Does Mommy Say?

CJ never ceases to amaze me with how smart and funny she can be.  The other day I was talking to her about the sounds that different things make.  I thought I would give her a trick question to see how she would answer.  Her reply had me laughing but wondering why she picked that answer.

Mommy:  What sound does a train make?
CJ:  Choo Choo!!!
Mommy:  What does a doggie say?
CJ:  Woof Woof!!
Mommy:  What does a snake say?
CJ:  Sssssssssss!
Mommy:  What does Mommy say?
(and without skipping a beat)
CJ:  MONEY!!!!

So my daughter apparently thinks I'm Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants.  I've asked her the question a couple of times since then and she still gives the same answer.  How do they come up with this stuff?! HA HA!

Friday, August 13, 2010

App Showcase - FirstWords: Deluxe

*Disclaimer:  All applications showcased on this blog have been personally used by either myself or my family.  I have received no financial compensation and have fully paid for all apps reviewed.

The first app that I purchased for my brand-spanking new iPad was FirstWords: Deluxe by Learning Touch.  What drew me to this app was the bright and colorful graphics as well as the simplicity of the app itself.  CJ already knows the entire alphabet and I wanted to encourage her to start putting letters together to create words. 

FirstWords: Deluxe is a bundle of smaller FirstWords apps.  
It includes the Free Sampler, Animals, At Home, Vehicles, 
and the new Shapes and Colors word collections.
Available for iPhone and iPad.
Retail Value: $4.99


  • Educational:   Not only does this app help teach kids the names of different items but it helps reinforce their knowledge of the alphabet.  When selecting a letter tile, a voice says the name of the letter.  If you press the picture, the word is named.  After completely forming the word, the letters and name of the object are repeated. (Think of a visual spelling bee: "D-E-S-K, desk")
  • Easy to use!  It's truly a matter of dragging and dropping letter tiles into place.  CJ learned how to use this app in a matter of seconds!  The only problem she had at first was how much pressure to apply to the iPad when sliding the tiles but that wasn't the fault of the app itself.
  • Inexpensive!  If I bought all 3 previously released apps separately, I would have spent $5.97 ($1.99 per app).  Colors and Shapes were added to to the bundle so the actual cost of all the apps sold separately would be $9.95.  You save a total of $4.96!!  You can't beat that price!
  • Fun!  CJ plays this app almost every day and never seems to get bored of it.  For a game to hold a toddler's attention it must be great!!

I can honestly say that I have ZERO negative things to say about this app (besides the fact that I have to wrestle the iPad away from CJ when she's having fun). Before I purchased FirstWords: Deluxe, I read the reviews for the Deluxe version and the individual apps.  The only negatives that a few reviewers had is that the app doesn't say the phonetic sound of the letter (just the letter name itself).  While I agree that learning phonetics is important, it would be difficult to implement in this situation.  For example: if the word HOUSE was being spelled, should they pronounce the "e" sound at the end even though it's silent?  I think it would confuse children more than help them.

FirstWords: Deluxe is an absolute must-have for toddlers!!  It's cheap, fun and educational all in one.  CJ give it 2 big thumbs up!


Related Posts with Thumbnails