Surviving snow days with a toddler

Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Snowmageddon in the New England area!Β 

Update: Things got in the way (namely my toddler and a terrible cold) so it’s now Sunday, February 12. Believe me or not, it’s still snowing outside and more to come tomorrow! Welcome to New England!Β 

Living in the New England area means having an unpredictable winter season. It’s only the beginning of February and we have had 8 snow days with today bringing the heaviest snow so far. Before having kids, snow days means a day of sleeping in and Netflix marathon. But since we are a minimum-screen-time family, I have to be extra creative to get through a (super windy and cold) snow day. Below are some of our favorite activities on a snowy day:Β 

Painting the snow:Β 

 

The set up is super easy: grab a bin, covered it with some snow, prepare a few cups of water + food coloring (or liquid watercolor for a more vibrant result) and brushes, and let your child make her/his design on the snow. I started doing this when Alia was 18 months old and it never gets old.Β 

Sensory bin:Β 

 

I wish I had taken more pictures of our snow sensory bins. But I basically fill up a bin with snow, add animal figurines that live in a cold environment and blocks for her to play with (left picture). You could also simple add some tools such as a spoon, measuring cups, molding tools for your child to create things using snow.Β 

Make a snowman inside:

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Gifts for your toddler 18 mo and 2.5 year old

Thanksgiving Day is next week and this means Black Friday ads are out! Many of you have probably started making a list of β€œwhat should we get for the kids?” so I thought I’d share a list of things that may be good for your toddler, who is becoming more adventurous, independent, talkative, and imaginative – it’s fun to watch their world expand πŸ˜€

If you’re looking for gifts for children age 12-18 months old, click here

Art supplies: 

There are so many independent activities and guided projects that you can with your toddler. Stock up on art supplies. Crayola often has some great deals on Zulily and Amazon (up to 60% off). Michaels has buy one get one off sales or use their store coupons to score some great art supplies. Here are what get used the most in our house:

  • washable kids paint, washable markers (pip squeaks markers from Crayola are small enough for toddlers to open and close the lids by themselves), colored pencils, crayons (the triangular crayons are good for toddlers to practice pencil grip), water color paint
  • smock
  • no-spill cups and brushes  as seen on the pics above (they contain the mess when you do painting)
  • construction papers
  • glue (we mainly use Elmer’s glue)
  • art easel and the rolled paper (preferably an easel that is height adjustable and foldable).

Fine motor skills, sensorial work, language development:

Many of the toys used to enhance her fine motor skills, senses, and language skills were bought when she turned 1 (see this post for more details). As she gets older, we have elaborated on how we use the materials. We began focusing on names and attributes of colors, shapes, sizes, emotions, animals and their features, etc. For instance, now when Alia plays with this peg board from Haba, she makes patterns or we take turns calling out on different colored pegs to put on the board. She now uses a pair of tongs to sort the pretend fruits (sorting material from Learning Resources). And we have used stickers in a more deliberate way like matching numbers.

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Learn through Play with Alia 12-18 months old

As of last week, Alia is 26 months. So clearly this post is hhmmmm… a year late :p #sorry But here we go, a recap of what we did a year ago.Β 

As a start, I thought I’d share some pictures from her first birthday. My parents came to visit for 2 weeks to join the celebration. We then traveled to Illinois to visit my mom’s host family, and Alia had another birthday celebration there #luckygirl.Β 

ManyΒ things happened after she turned 1. She took her first steps at 13.5 months old, began self-feeding and drinking from a regular adult cup (instead of dumping the entire content on her head :p), learned names of animals and their sounds, and asked us to sing the same song (5 Little Ducks in repeat till bedtime – I’ve avoided that song ever since :p) and read the same three books despite having a million children’s books at home.Β 

So in between nap time and meals, the following things happened (the age refers to when Alia started doing the activities; yours may be different #followthechild):Β 

Practical life skillsΒ (starting at 12 months old)Β 

When I was done with grad school and teaching, I had more time to read up on parenting methods. That’s when I discovered Montessori and decided to incorporate the philosophy and method in our household. One of the elements in the Montessori curriculum is practical life (more of it, click here and here) such as setting the table for meals, pouring own’s drink, and putting on your own clothes. All is done to instill independence in a child.

Click on the images to see the details: Image 1: getting her own outfit (I added a curtain rod to an old bookcase to make her dresser), 2:Β washing hands and brushing her teeth using a stool, 3: transferring items using a spoon, 4: wiping any spills, 5: another transfer activity using water beads on a lightbox, 6-7: putting on a jacket using the famous flip coat method.

Arts and Crafts (starting at 10 months old)Β  Continue reading