Toddler Activities, Uncategorized

Learning Songs: Singing The Scales

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Most people know the classic Do, Re, Me for singing the scales, and there’s also an alternate version that can go both up and down the scales to further the tonal distinctions. Learning the scales is important for musical ability and cognitive development, but also for experimenting with more nuanced social cues. When talking to other people, different tones can indicate different meanings. A lower tone of voice can indicate seriousness, a higher tone might be more playful. When understood in conjunction to other social cues, such as a smile or gesture, a toddler can understand when another kiddo is asking to play even if they speak different languages by the tone of voice being used. Just like they can understand a stern voice might mean stop, or a soothing voice tone is all about comfort.

Do Re Mi 

Doe A Deer, A Female Deer (touch all fingers to thumb to create a deer face)

Ray A Drop Of Golden Sun (spread fingers wide to indicate the sun)

Me, A Name I Call Myself (point to self)

Fa, A Long Long Way To Run (have two fingers run along opposite palm)

Sew, A Needle Pulling Thread (pretend to pull a threaded needle)

La, A Note To Follow So (“roll” hand away from mouth)

Tea, A Drink With Jam and Bread (pretend to drink a cup of tea)

And That Brings Us Back To Doe, Doe, Doe, Doe (make deer face again)


This alternate version goes both up and down the scales, and you can point to each body part mentioned:

On My Toe

Is A Flea

Now He’s Climbing

On My Knee

Past My Tummy

Past My Nose

On My Head

Where My Hair Grows…

On My Head (now scales will go back down)

There Is A Flea

Now He’s Climbing

Down Over Me

Past My Tummy

Past My Knee

On My Toe

Goodbye Flea

Both of these are fun little finger plays and easy songs to sing at any moment in any day!

 

Toddler Activities, Uncategorized

Ice, Ice Baby: Ice Cube Fun

What better way to spend a warm Spring day then by playing with ice? I love to keep ice cube paint and ice animals chilling in our freezer to pop out whenever  we need something fun to do (or when I need to keep my toddler busy for an extended period of time, whichever comes first.)

Ice Cube Paint: 

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This is so super easy and really can keep a toddler or preschooler (or even an older kiddo) busy for quite awhile, which makes it worthwhile for that reason alone! It’s basically as easy as making a homemade popsicle, I even use old popsicle molds, but ice cube trays or small containers/cups work too.

How To:

Just mix some homemade or store-bought paint with water and a dash of liquid soap and pour into an ice cube tray or popsicle molds and freeze. Whalah, done! See how easy?!

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Paint Pop Tips:

I usually make larger paint pops by using the whole popsicle mold. This is super because my Bub will paint until the whole thing melts so obviously the bigger, the longer this project will last! It’s also easier to re-freeze the popsicle-sized ones if they don’t use the whole thing.

If you make ice cube sized ones, you can use popsicle sticks (or reusable popsicle handles, like I did) but crayons, pencils, and old markers also work well as handles and are also reusable!

About the paint…I used to make homemade, all-natural and organic paint all the time with my kiddo. But, super honest time: now we sometimes use store bought watercolor paint because the colors are brighter and it’s way easier since we do so much art it’s hard to keep up! (I still make it whenever possible, but for this post I used store-bought.) That said, there is zero judgement here so use whatever you want, it’s your project! Watercolors are great, but it can work with any kind of paint, really. (For thicker paint, add more water and soap to thin it out so it will freeze.)

This is better for kiddos that aren’t still mouthing everything, especially if you use popsicle molds, because who doesn’t want to eat a delicious brightly-colored popsicle?!

These can be messy, so you might want to have a tray or something underneath the paper for the melty-ness.

Ice Animals

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I always keep some icy animals in the freezer in all seasons. (and I love that my husband has never questioned why there are frozen animals and such in our freezer).  These are even easier than making the paint pops, just toss some mini animals in an ice cube tray (or bag), add water, and freeze. Done and done! I use waterproof reusable lunch bags, but any kind of bag  or freezable container will do the trick.

After they’re frozen, I just pop them into a tray or tub and give my two-year-old some tools so that he can help to free the frozen animals. The tools we use are kitchen utensils, a wooden mallet, and a small hammer, as well as kid-sized goggles and sometimes even a pair of mittens or “work gloves.” Then he can smash away at the ice until the animals are free, which can take a long, long time. Once they are out of the ice, they usually like to frolic in the icy tub, especially in winter if I add some snow. (Adding water to the tub on warmer days is also a ton of fun! Sometimes the ice cube animals like to swim around until they melt on their own.) You can also add other natural items to the tub for the animals to make homes with after they escape the ice, like small twigs, fallen evergreen branches, acorns, and the like. (This can even be an additional part of the activity: go on a nature search with your kiddo for items the animals might want to use for building or playing.)

Ice Animal Tips:

If you want to use the ice cubes in water, having smaller cubes is fun because it’s easier to hold the animals and have them “swim.” Bigger blocks of ice in water are MUCH harder to deal with and break apart because slippery. And icy water. So beware!

My general rule of thumb is: the younger the kiddo, the smaller the cubes. I also add more to the tub so that they don’t have to concentrate only on breaking the cubes apart, but can also build animal homes or just play with the snow or water.

Let kiddos add salt and/or warm water to the tub to see if it helps melt the ice faster. Have sponges, scrubbers, and/or warm washcloths ready to keep little non-mittened hands warm, or to help with melting and washing animals.

**Side note: I usually use plastic or reusable animals for this project but you could easily freeze pinecones or other natural treasures to avoid the plastic animals.**

**COMBINE BOTH ACTIVITIES FOR SOME FUN AND SILLY ART!** 

Why Try It?

Both of these are fantastic for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Using alternative art supplies is a super way to stretch cognitive and creative thinking.

Painting and using tools build spatial awareness as well as focus and concentration.

If your kiddos help to make these, there can be math and science lessons in there, when measuring out water and/or paint, filling up trays or bags, and waiting for them to freeze.

These can be completely all-natural and reusable in every way.

They are both suer easy set-ups but can buy you some much needed time! It’s also great to have an activity that can be made whenever you want and used at a later date when you need them most. Win-Win!

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Hope this keeps you cool and your kiddos busy! xo Meredith 

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Book Worm Wednesday: Farmer Falgu Goes On A Trip

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Farmer Falgu Goes On A Trip

Author: Chitra Soundar

Illustrator: Kanika Nair

Why I like this book:

The illustrations are fantastic! Really, I totally dig the illustrators modern style for a classic kind of tale.

The story is simple enough for a toddler to enjoy, but could also keep the attention of a preschooler with it’s easy rhythm and cool illustrations. Since there are a lot of characters in the book, it opens itself to different discussions about their lives and occupations. (My two-year-old is also into all things with wheels and farm animals, so it hits the mark for those things too!)

The idea of looking for silence but finding that sound has happiness in it too, is such an interesting concept that can be explored in may ways. It shows how both silence and chaos can be embraced and are necessary parts of life at times.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!: 

If you like Farmer Flag, there are a few other books that feature him! Check out Farmer Falgu Goes To The Market and Farmer Falgu Goes Kite Flying.

Keep It Going! Simple Expansion Activities: 

Math: How many people ride with Farmer Falgu? My two-year-old and I decorated clothespins and used them to illustrate each person that climbed aboard Farmer Falgu’s wagon. We clipped them to a wagon toy as each person got on board during the story. So many people got on, some had to ride in the wagon, but it made it even more exciting to see if it would overflow. (The life of a two-year-old really is a roller coaster of excitement!) After we read the book and got everyone on or in the wagon, we counted the clothespin people. Then we counted backwards as they got off the wagon at their stop. If you don’t have clothespins, you can just draw each person or use pieces of string to represent all the peeps in this story. (If you use clothespins but don’t have a wagon, a cardboard box is just as exciting, and makes a fabulous sound if you drop all the clothespins in and give it a few shakes!)

Art/Music: Playing drums like the musician or dancing like the dancers can be fun ways to think more about the characters in the story. You can also try to be the chorus of sounds that Farmer Falgu hears on his farm each day and night!

Self-Care: Take a deep breath and reach your arms to the sky. Breath out and reach to the Earth. Find some silence in your day through a few moments of relaxed breathing, gazing into the flame of a candle, or resting softly on a cloud (i.e. a cozy blanket, couch cushion, pillow fort, nap mat, whatever.) Even kiddos as young as two can find at least 30 seconds of silence within themselves and it really brings a calming energy that you might want to delve into at times when you’re feeling like Farmer Falgu and want to get as far away from the noise and chaos of your day as possible, but can’t find a bathroom or closet to hide in…or a wagon to ride away on!

Social Studies: Oh, this book is basically the crown jewel for starting more in-depth social studies with toddlers and preschoolers! As a teacher, my brain basically exploded with all the ways to fit this book into a social studies unit, from the relationships in the story, to the location and cultural studies, to mapping…hot diggity! (Yes, I’m a social studies dork. I will totally own that.)

For my two-year-old we talked about where Farmer Falgu and his new wagon-riding friends might live. I guessed it was India, and so we looked that up on a map and talked about what is happening in India (and in the book) that is the same as where we are (cows! music! dancing! wagon rides! farmers!) and what is different (clothing? methods of transportation? weather?) We found so many similarities, it really cemented that world connection. Same, same but different.

We also made a makeshift map of his route, which is basically a lot of marker scribbles. We added painted dots where each person or group might have joined in (dot makers are fantastic for this, but any paint or even stickers will do). We took a walk around our own neighborhood and made another scribbly map of our route, and added painted dots that showed where our favorite spots were, like the tractor barn and the boo boo trees that fell down in the storm. The maps looked pretty similar, which added to our list of similarities. Again, we are same, same but different!

For older preschoolers, you can really dig into these activities making more detailed maps and discussing where you think Farmer Falgu lives and why you came to that conclusion. Figuring out where he lives and finding it on a map or doing more reading about that area of the world could also bring the story further to life. If you decide to make a map of his route and a map of your neighborhood, you could add more details, including practicing letter writing by adding street signs or written details (i.e. Charlie’s House or Tree). Mapping for kiddos is a phenomenal activity, it gives me all the feels as a teacher, but also as a parent. I can see what is so important to my kiddo that he actually remembers it after the walk is over, and it gets me thinking deeper about who he is and what he finds interesting. And I know I find him interesting so I’m all about learning more about how his brain is ticking!

I hope you like this story as much as me and Kid K do, and find something out of these activities useful. Even if you don’t, the book itself is a fun read if you come across it. If you live in Burlington, VT I know it’s at the Fletcher Free Library so check it out while it’s hot! 

xo, Meredith 

 

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Join The Fun!

The workshops and playgroups have been a blast and it’s been fun meeting new families! Come join the tribe by signing up to attend yoga, Free Forest School, the playgroup series, or the Transition To Daycare workshop. Discover new ideas and make new friends for you…or just pat yourself on the back for getting out of the house! Pajama pants and coffee mugs are always welcome.

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Baby Tribe

When my son was born, I realized how crucial it was to have a supportive tribe to help us navigate all of the beautiful and challenging parts of starting a new family. Everything changed in ways I both expected and that totally blindsided me. Having a tribe around to answer questions, help out, exchange ideas, or just walk and talk together was oh so necessary and really wonderful.

More about me:

I was a teacher for 15 years before I became a stay-at-home mama to my son. Before teaching, I worked in daycares and as a nanny so I have the inside scoop on childcare providers and am happy to share! I have a BA in Health Arts and Science and a Masters degree in Education, where I specialized in child development and alternative early learning models. I’m also a certified Yoga Kids teacher and have a valid Vermont teaching license. I’m passionate about early learning, community-building, and being there for others. I would be honored to be a part of your tribe as you start-or continue-your gorgeous adventure of family hood.