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!

Organized Work Space

Speaking of school (check out my post here), I decided it was high time to get an organized space going.  Since moving back in the with the folks last spring, my space is somewhat limited.  But with Sister #2 off at college, I decided to commandeer her desk area, and give it a little inexpensive face lift.

Here’s what I started with:

Gotta love the outdated calendar and the Gandhi Poster!

A little messy, since it is full of things she didn’t need at school with her.  I did a little shopping at my go-to spot, Ikea!  I picked up a plain white magnetic board, some fabric – I needed less than a yard, but have plans for the left over fabric! (I loved the blue and white pattern with the small hints of orange – this was my color scheme), magnets in orange and white (they matched my fabric so perfectly, it was unbelievable!),  small magnetic boxes, matching orange and white magazine holders, and a couple paper boxes in the same shade of orange.  Overall I spent just around $50, which I was more than ok with.

Home I went, happy as could be with my organization goodies.  First thing I did was iron the fabric to make sure there were no wrinkles.

Next up, it I plugged in the trusty old glue gun, and let it heat up.

Then, I measured my fabric and cut a piece big enough to cover the magnetic board.  Then I spread out the fabric, put the magnetic board on top and glued around the edges.  Once I got to the corners, I trimmed the sides and wrapped like a present, gluing as I went.

Wrap the corner like a present

 I had decided to prop the board against the wall, rather than hang it, but I took the time to trim off the fabric where the nail holes were incase I decide to hang it on a wall in the future.

If you plan to hang your board, steer clear of the nail holes

Here it is all wrapped and finished.

And the front view, propped against the wall.

Sorry for ALL the crooked pictures…it’s my lack of picture taking abilities, the room is straight!

And now with the matching magnets…I love it!

See the subtle hints of orange in the fabric?

Here is my finished board, covered in the essentials.

Again with the crooked picture taking…ahhh

I added a magnetic box on each side, one to hold things like a ruler, scissors, tape and the other to hold extra magnets.

Because my board is propped against the wall, the boxes are resting on the table, but they have hefty magnets and would stick to the board if it was hanging on a wall.

Then I have a couple pictures, coupons, and a weekly meal planner.

And of course a monthly pad of paper to jot down quick notes and make lists.  Pretty soon I need to go find my February list…yikes!

On each side of the board I added my magazine holders.  I love that the orange and white help tie everything together.  One side holds cooking magazines, like the Food Network and Everyday with Rachel Ray goodies.

The other side holds decorating and household magazines, like Veranda, and Good Housekeeping.

Then I put together and added the cute paper boxes on top of the wooden filing cabinet (sister #2 painted that herself!).  One box holds craft supplies, the other holds school papers.  I still need to label them, but I like the nice and organized way to hide some of my mess.

Here’s an overview of what my small area of the desk looks like.  Much better huh?

And we can’t forget the Easy Embroidery Project I made here.  And the Even easier Yarn Wreath I made here.

Now I just need to get started on some more crafts and school work…yippee!

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