Saturday, January 14, 2012

Teach Me Time Clock

Pinned Image
My son Zachary has always been an early riser.  He's been a pretty consistent 6:30 AM riser since he was a baby and continues to do so at almost 5 yrs.  There were many times when he went through phases of getting up at 6 or even 5:30. Those were not my favorite days.  We decided to enforce a rule saying that he needed to play in his room if he got up before 6:30 until we came to get him. We got him a touch lamp that he could turn on himself. 

After my daughter was born and they started sharing a room when she was 5 months we asked him to play in the game room if he got up too early. Adelyn slept a little bit later than Zachary as a baby and often does currently.  We had issues with him making a lot of noise when he woke up in the morning. Who is surprised?

Daylight savings definitely throws us off for a few days.  Around that time Zachary started doing the 5:45 AM wake time and I decided he really needed to stay in bed longer and at least make more effort to fall back asleep or just rest more.

I received several gift cards to amazon for my birthday and I came across this clock, the Teach Me Time Clock. It was 30 or 40 dollars well invested. I love it! The clock changes color from yellow to green when it's time to get up or get out of bed. Some people online complained that the yellow light at night was too bright for the room but the kids don't have a problem with it. It also has an alarm clock the kids can use when they get older.  

I am very thankful we decided to make this purchase.  We explained to Zachary exactly what time we had the color changer set for and although we do teach him about telling time and clocks, this is also helping him get a feel of time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Family Play and Learn

Family. We live in the same house. We surround each other all the time. We're stuck together! There are plenty of fun activities, play and learn style, that can be set up to teach children about their own families and how they are an important member. We came across several great books that show the wide variety of families here in our society and around the world.   Some children may know that they are unique but may not know that every family is too.

Here's the activities we had fun doing to learn about families! Some we came up with and some I found on Pre-School-Plan-It

Love is a Family by Roma Downey
A little girl is disappointed because her family is not like her neighbors family and they other kids in her class.  At family night at school she realizes that there are a large variety of families and none of them are exactly the same.  
A Family Like Yours by Rebecca Kai Dotlich Illustrated by Tammie Lyon

Me and My Family Tree by Joan Sweeney Illustrated by Annette Cable
A little girl explains how she is related to people in her family and extended family.
Mother's Day by Anne Rockwell Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
A story about what different kids in a class plan to do for their mothers on mother's day based on different traditions they have in their own home.

Molly's Family- by Nancy Garden
Molly learns that it's okay that she has two moms.

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont

In a House by Signing Time
Lean on Me by Bill Withers/Club Nouveau Listen on You Tube
Two Worlds- Phil Collins Listen on You Tube
The Family song- Listen and Watch on You Tube

Dramatic Play

  • Play House! (One of Zachary's favorite games.  He loves to play that one of us lives in Amarillo which is where Scott's parents live, and the other comes to visit with our dogs and babies whom all talk).
  • Make a baby bath center- I pulled out our old baby bathtub, washcloths, empty lotion/baby soap bottles, a brush/comb. 
  • Block houses- Design houses built out of blocks.
  • Make houses/huts out of cardboard boxes. You can use just one, make a tunnel with several or create something unique!
  • Draw a picture of your family.
  • Make a family tree. Paint a tree on paper and glue pictures of family members on it. This can also be made into a place mat.
  • Family Collage- Make a collage of the family using photos! 
  • Family Hand Print Chain-trace everyone's hand prints and write special things about each person on their hand print.
  • Make paper doll clothes-Design them to represent what each family member would like to wear.
  • Family Popsicle Sticks- Print full length pictures of each person , cut them out and glue on Popsicle sticks. 
  • Pictures from shapes-Have shape cut outs and put them together to make different structures.
  • Noodle Art- Glue noodles on drawings of houses. Paint the noodles different colors or dye them ahead of time with food coloring.
  • I Like Poster- Cut out things from magazines that each family member likes. PreSchool-Plan-It
  • Make a memory game using pictures of family and extended family members.
  • Finish the Sentence- We made a page with sentences starting with "I love my family because" and filled the page.  
  • Animal Babies- Learn the names of the different types of babies for each animal using pictures and discussion.  PreSchool-Plan-It
  • Feelings Discussion- One way to get kids talking about feelings is to have them finish the sentence such as this, "I feel happy when _____", etc.  Examples of emotions used can be sad, silly, scared, excited, joyful.  PreSchool-Plan-It
  • Finger Print Examination- Use paint to make finger prints on paper and examine them with a magnifying glass.  Compare with other finger prints to see how each one is unique. PreSchool-Plan-It
ASL for "Family"

Movie and Popcorn Day!

On Fridays we have "long" movie and popcorn day.  During the week I limit Zachary and Adelyn's TV to an hour.  On Fridays I extend it to a long movie for Zachary while Adelyn takes her nap.  Adelyn doesn't watch much TV except for Signing Time (I really want them to be able to sign with my mother in law). Zachary doesn't beg me for movies all week long because we schedule it in a special day and he has something to look forward to.

For our special snack we have popcorn from our air popper drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with lemon pepper. I love the taste even better than butter and the perk is that it's much healthier.

Share your special snack ideas!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Snowflake matching Game from Another Blogger

Home made snowflake matching game from I Can Teach My Child

Click on the above link to find out how to make the snowflakes out of coffee filters!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Tree Traditions

I love to remember the day of the year when my family gathered in the living room and pulled out the Christmas tree.  I went over to the stereo and put on Disney Family Christmas and then asked for hot chocolate (of course it never really got below 60 where we lived) while we pulled the branches of the storage box.  My brother Berch and I "fluffed" the branches as Dad put them on the pole and then we waited anxiously as he untangled the lights, replaced bulbs, and wrapped them around the tree.  Mom had a box of beautiful ornaments that came with the tree and then we also had our box of ornaments that we collected from the time we were born. Berch and I always enjoyed looking at all of them and then of course putting them on the tree.  Dad usually dropped out for that part but still stayed near the family as we decorated. Mom helped us get the ornaments in the high spots and then secretly made sure the ornaments were not all clumped in one spot.  :) As I got older I still loved getting everyone together to do that although it did get a lot harder.  I also continued to fix myself hot chocolate on that day as well. 

So now I drag my husband Scott into the living room each year to help with the tree.  It obviously is not his favorite thing to do since he did not grow up with this tradition and often accuses me of trying to bring back my childhood through this event but he obliges and joins us for the branches and lights.  Hmmm, sounds familiar, that works for me!  Scott even went so far as to have a hot beverage or as I would say, "something warm to drink" to participate more fully.

I suppose continuing my own tradition is special to me, but also I see the excitement in my son when he finds out it's time to pull out the tree again.  My daughter is now starting to understand and she enjoyed it too.  Events like this become special family time with the comfort of knowing we will all take time to be together (in addition to meal time) and something the kids look forward to each year.

What traditions do you do with your family for holidays throughout the year? Please share! I'd love to hear.

Adelyn and Scott

Scott and Zachary "fluffing" branches

Something warm to drink! 

Organizing the branches for us.

Hanging ornaments

Hanging and removing ornaments

Look Mom! We love our tree!