What are Infants and Toddlers learning through books?

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” – Emilie Buchwald

When books are introduced at the infant age it is not with the expectation that children will sit still to read them, but more with the purpose of introducing literacy and creating a “normalcy” to having books available.  Why do we have books for young children if they aren’t able to use them “appropriately” yet?

Books are used for a number of reasons.  Obviously the most important being literacy and language.  Books are a great resource for teaching vocabulary and language concepts, which in turn helps to promote cognition.  Before babies are even able to talk, they are benefiting from hearing you read and are internalizing the words that you are using.  As they get older they will start to learn that the words and pictures together are telling a story.

Books can be used as a great sensory tool, particularly for Infants and Toddlers.  Babies and young children like to touch and taste, so books with textures, sounds, moveable and pop up pieces can all incorporate meaningful sensory experiences.  Older Infants and Toddlers are developing motor control, which can also be incorporated as they learn to manipulate different pieces of various books.  Sometimes just being able to pick up the book and pretend to turn the pages is satisfying enough! Squishy, colorful and fabric books will particularly enhance sensory experience for young children.

Books can help support emotional development in children.  As I talked about in a previous post, children have a sense of accomplishment when they master something.  Books with repetition are one of the best way for children to master a story, and gain that sense of accomplishment.  This can strengthen their sense of self and build positive esteem, snowballing into that positive emotional development.  Books are also a great way to incorporate conversations about emotions.  For example by using the book “When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry…” by Molly Bang.  Conversation starters are almost built in!  “Why is Sophie feeling angry?” “What do you do when you’re feeling angry?”

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Another added benefit to reading with young children is the social aspect.  If you are reading individually to your child you are teaching them that they are important and you want to spend your time with them.  That individual attention can be invaluable.  In a group setting, reading stories with a small or large group can still give that individual attention and feeling of importance to children.  Sometimes children might look at books together, or sit near each other and look at different books.  Again, this gives that social interaction and shared experience around a love of reading.

When children observe adults reading for fun, they internalize that reading is fun, important and beneficial.  It is impossible to read too much to a child.  Remember to have appropriate books located in accessible and various locations.  The more you read, the more you will start to see your child gravitate towards books, even when you aren’t initiating the story time!

We cannot expect Infants and Toddlers to sit for a story like Preschoolers, so what exactly do we expect for them to do with books?  Tune in later this week for my explanation!

Time Flies!

On the Jetty, just after the proposal!
Well hello there! I cannot believe how much time has passed…it has been a whirl wind of a summer.  I’m here for a life update!  Many things have happened since February.  One of the biggest and most exciting…Brian and I are engaged!  He proposed in April on our Cape Escape 🙂  We walked way out on one of the Jettys during sunset, and he dropped down on one knee.  It was beautiful and perfect, and we couldn’t be happier!!
Back at the Hotel, ready to tell the world!
Shortly after, I was excited to come home and ask my girls to be in the wedding!  My older sister Katie, will be my Matron of Honor, and younger sister Becky is my Maid of Honor.  I also asked Brian’s sister and my good friend to be Bridesmaids.  I put a cute little tag on a bottle of champagne, and the rest is history!
Will you be my Maid of Honor?

Now the real planning has begun!  We have set a date of 10/13/13.  So far, we have the church, venue, photographer, and I got my dress!  Major things out of the way, since we knew Brian would have no time during wrestling season, but those are also the most expensive!  Stress over money has already gone into full swing.  But, we know that the day will be perfect, and that’s all that we can ask for!

This summer was also full of many more fun things.  We celebrated 4 years together!

Made it to Fenway, even though the Red Sox are not having the best year…

Visited the family in Maine for a short trip.  Even though the weather wasn’t great, we went Kayaking, and made it to a fun Wine tasting.

On top of all the wedding planning, we still had time to relax and have fun.  Which is hard to do, when you’re also working full time!  The summer felt like it flew by before I even blinked.  But I’m happy with all the memories we made and can’t wait for the year to come!

I’m now into my second year of teaching Kindergarten.  They are such a great age, but surely keep me on my toes!  We started off the year with one of my all time favorite “first day of school” classics, The Kissing Hand.  We made cute little hand prints, with our heart stickers in the middle, and a little poem for moms and dads.

We are now into our first full week, and I’m home sick 🙁  I can’t believe I’m sick already, but I’ve had some kind of nasty stomach bug.  I managed to make it through the day yesterday, but by 4:30 this morning I knew today would have to be a stay home and take it easy kind of day.  But I’m resting up and can’t wait to get back tomorrow.  We are on a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme, and I have lots of fun stuff planned!

Hope that you all had great summers too!  Glad to be back checking in!

Birthday, Pizza, and General Life Updates

Today is Brian’s 27th Birthday…and he’s been gone since Friday morning 🙁  But he should be back late tonight/early early tomorrow morning.  And he has a balloon surprise waiting for him….

27 balloons, one for each year, each with a reason why I love him tied on to the string.  Some how I managed to fit them all into my little car without any popping…and without the wind blowing me away.  But my hair was looking a static mess!!  I’m excited for him to read them 🙂

Since I knew he would be away we celebrated earlier in the week.  I cooked him one of his favorite dinners (we skipped the health train that night!) and gave him the new Kindle Fire.  I might have slight kindle envy….but I’m happy he liked it!

The weight loss challenge is still going right along.  I managed to shed 2 pounds this week, woot woot!  I had my mom and younger sister over, who are also participating in the challenge, and made a dinner that would help us get in those 3 servings of veggies!

We had a cold vegetable pizza and slightly soggy sweet potato chips.

I started with a dried ranch dressing and some other seasonings:

Added soft cream cheese, and greek yogurt (substituted the mayo for yogurt, healthier option and still tasted great!)  Once that was all stirred together I spread it onto a pre-made wheat pizza crust:

Then came the veggies.  I added broccoli, carrots, and peppers.  Another time I might add some grape tomatoes as well.

Then I let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Added a sprinkle of cheese on top, and it was good to go!

Definitely a recipe I will save.  It was really tasty, filling, and I felt good about eating it!  The sweet potato chips could have used a little work.  They tasted great, but the texture was soggy for sure!  Next time I’ll figure out what to change!

In other news, my Kindergarteners just celebrated their 100th day at school.  I think that 1 day took more planning and preparation on my part than a regular week of curriculum!  But they had a blast, and were so excited to have been in school for 100 days!  We did all kinds of activities, here is a quick picture:

As you can see, we were busy!  The ice cream cones count by 10, the gumball machines (adorable!) have 100 gumballs, we colored in a 100’s chart and found the Cat in the Hat, and we decorated our “We Are 100 Days Smarter!” sign.  And that’s just what is hanging on the wall…We also made crowns, made books, made a necklace out of 100 fruit loops, did 100 jumping jacks, had an ice cream sundae party…oh the list goes on!  What a day!

What have you all been up to?

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Playdough

Hey All, long time no blog!

The last few months have just been a little too jam packed for me to be keeping up with the blog regularly.  But I’m hoping to get on here every so often and start posting again.  I unfortunately don’t have the same kind of time to be tootling around like I used to, but I’ll be checking in on all of you as I can.

So if there was every a question of or problem with lack of inspiration, Pinterest has renewed any and all of my crafty brain synapses.  I’ve got the bug again!  If you don’t already have a Pinterest account I recommend you go out and request on ASAP, you’ll thank me later, believe me!

So while scanning Pinterest the other day, I found a really great recipe for home made playdough.  As a new Kindergarten Teacher, it’s hard to constantly be running out and buying classroom supplies.  The kiddos adore playdough, but since our last bucket never got covered properly…all we had left was hard crusty play dough chunks.  So when I saw this idea, I thought it was great!

All you need is:
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup water
Food coloring
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

How simple?!  I had all of that at home, minus the food coloring.  So I decided to get a little creative.

The first dough that I made, instead of adding food coloring to the water, I added some Raspberry/Pink lemonade powder mix to the flour.  I ended up with a really pretty, yummy smelling, pink:

When I was kneading out the dough, I added a generous amount of white glitter:

It’s hard to see the glitter in the end result picture, but the girls are going to go wild at school tomorrow!

 I made one extra batch, added some vanilla extract to make it smell nice, and then added green and red glitter.  The color isn’t the best, since brown vanilla made it a little muddy looking, but it smells good!

I loved this recipe!  It took less than 10 minutes total for me to make both batches, it’s nice and soft, cost me nothing since I already had all the ingredients at home, and I know that the kids will go just wild at school tomorrow!

I’d love to try this as a cooking lesson at school, but I can’t bring the kids to the kitchen, so I would have to do the stove part another time.  But it’s definitely a recipe I’ve bookmarked and will be using again.  Anything that saves a teacher money is well worth the at home effort!

Do any of you have good tricks for Kindergarteners?

Simply Living