Saturday, March 17, 2012

Making Learning Fun

It's been a busy weekend for Vada and I. Justin is on days and Jasmine and Kiliegh are at their dads, so that leaves me and Miss Squish. 

I have been on the search for some new learning activities to do with Vada and I have been in the process of making some of mine own to use with her but two days ago I read this blog post which lead me to this blog and then I became really excited with the new ideas that I had found! I also thought that reading how these other two mothers are teaching their children through play was not only interesting but really helpful as well. 

One of my favorite stores to shop for the girls (toy wise) is called Teacher's Aide. We actually have  two in the area, which is really nice. They sell one of my favorite brands of toys there which is called Learning Resources. Learning Resources is the makers of the Smart Stacks Count'em Up Popcorn that Vada is playing with below.  Smart Snacks Alpha Pops (the Popsicle) and the Smart Snacks Rainbow Color Cones that is also being shown are made from Learning Resources as well. We also have the Smart Snack Sorting Shape Cupcakes which is a great one to have but we didn't get those out today. The cupcakes and the ice cream cones have been a huge hit in our family and I want to say that we have had them for several years and they still look brand new.

Right now, with the "popcorn" I ask Vada to put the popcorn into the bowls. I count out loud while she does it. I also do the sign for "popcorn". I dont make her count only five for the number five bowl or four for the four bowl. Right now I am just focusing on counting and her doing small tasks thats being asked of her. Together we also try to stack the bowls (upside down) and then we put them away, which is one of Vada's favorite things to do (putting things into containers). While we are doing the popcorn activity I try to continuously count out loud to her, whether I am counting how many she is holding, how many is on the floor or in the bowl, just so she hear the number process. During anything we do, I also emphasis on sharing, manners and feelings, like saying "please" and "thank you", "I dont like when you do _____", "touch nicely", and so on. 

The "Popsicle" are a newer toy that I got for Vada. We have just started working with them recently. Each Popsicle has an uppercase letter and an lowercase letter, one on each side, making two letters total. They pull apart at the middle, kind of like those popper bead toys. 

Vada has to really focus at getting them apart, let along together! It takes muscles but she can do both. Later we can use them for color matching and letter recognition.  

These I made. Well, I bought two separate
 sets of color posters and I cut everything out, laminated them, added magnets, and there you have it, Vada's Color sorting magnet game. I can switch this game up a bit by using pom poms with magnets glues to them or I have Color Pet Counters and Fruity Fun Counters. (Keep in mind that my oldest is twelve and a half years old, I have been collecting this stuff for quite awhile.)

I put the magnets on the primary and secondary colors last night. I still need to finish with the others but today was the first try for Vada and she. blew. me. away!!! It was like she already knew the colors. I swear all this child needs is a little push and she will do the rest!

These pictures are not staged at all! I handed her a color and said what the picture was and what color it was and then I tapped on the color square. She did the rest. One time only, did she put the wrong color on a mismatch! When Justin came home from work I had to show him. Last night he kind of giggled at my excitement over this project so I wanted to show him how I was already using them. He was impressed and excited after seeing our girl in action. 

I have already gave examples on some extra ways that these magnets could be used but we will really be able to expand on it by adding the other colors, maybe some flash cards or even the Wooden Pattern locks which are also colored but for now, those things will remain in storage and in the back of my brain for further use.

Look at her go! Man, I am thrilled and so stinkin' proud!

We use the ice cream as pretend food (the same with all of the other food-like learning toys), color recognition and for stacking.

Today I sat the colors around Vada but still out of her arms reach and asked her to get them for me. So she would go get one, I would say the color "Great job Vada, you grabbed the pink ice cream." and then I would ask her to bring it to me and put it in the bag. We did this together for three whole rounds. She got quicker and more excited each time and then half way through the third time she was clearly pooped! It was fun though!

What do I have planned next? Well I will give you some hints... Three projects. The beans stay in the bags. The spaghetti is getting cooked. And I have three books and a to of laminating and cutting to do!


Ilisa Ailts said...

You are one busy lady! How fun too!

My Little Wonders said...

I love all the activities you have been doing! I need to click on the links for Learning Resources (though maybe not ... it might be an expensive click! LOL). It's funny ... I have the second board book all photocopied; now I need to laminate it (isn't laminating addicting?!) and cut it out for more matching fun.

We Can Do All Things said...

I love those popsicles, I need to find those. You are near my all time
favorite educational store Constuctive Play Things it is in Skokie on Dempster if I remember right. I sent you a note the other day I just wanted to double check if you received it? I have had some people not get them when I do a responce.