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Toddler - Week #57

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Five Weeks and One Year: My Hat Goes On Here!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           Every week I wonder if there will be something new to write about. When babies are little, they seem to change daily, but as they grow older, the milestones can go unnoticed if you are not watching carefully. This week as I pondered what would develop, I watched as Evan picked up a tee shirt off the floor (yes, laundry on the floor-forgive me -I am a mom of four!) and was able to put his head in the head hole and each arm in the right arm hole. That was amazing to me! It may seem simple to others, but I wrestle that alligator each day to dress him. This is no easy feat! Yet, this week it has become slightly easier as he has begun to help a little. It also is incredible to me how such a young person quickly learns what items are meant to be used for. Evan's sister had "Hat Day" at school, and as we were scrambling around to pick out the perfect hat for her, Evan was trailing behind with one of his older brother's hats. He knew to put it right on his head. Perhaps your 57-week-old baby helps get himself dressed or knows to put the sunglasses he just ripped off your face onto his nose. He is developing into his own little person while still wanting to be just like you.


Creating Good Readers:
           This week's book was perfect for practicing my drama skills. Most books do give the reader a chance to be very dramatic-to yell, cry, laugh, use an accent, or something fun. Don't be shy when reading to your child! Add that flair to make the book more interesting for your child. Your child is a captive audience when you are reading and will love to be entertained. You want your child to really believe books are completely pleasurable. If he believes books are an exciting adventure full of action and drama, he will always be drawn to books.


Book of the Week:
            Caps For Sale

       By: Esphyr Slobodkina       

       As soon as I saw Evan put that hat on his head, I knew which book I was digging out this week! Caps For Sale is an old folk tale that illustrates the old adage "Monkey see, monkey do." The book begins with a peddler who has caps stacked on his head as high as the clouds. He has all sorts of colors and they are for sale. But as business is slow, he decides to head into the woods and take a nap under a tree. However, he is unaware that the tree is full of mischievous monkeys who steal his caps as he naps. When he wakes and sees this, he is very angry. He yells, shakes his fists, and stomps his feet-but they will not return the caps. Instead, they copy everything he does to them. They yell, shake their fists, and stomp their feet. In exasperation, he tosses his own cap on the ground and begins to walk away. The monkeys then copy this motion also and all the caps float to the ground. The peddler is then able to gather them back up, restack them, and head back into town to try to sell his caps again. It is a classic tale full of humor, brightly colored pictures drawn by the author herself, and numerous chances for the reader to express some drama!


           We had lots of fun with activities based on this book. We played a game of "Monkey See, Monkey Do" in the fashion of "Simon Says" for quite awhile. We patted the tops of our heads and said, "Monkey pats the top of his head....you do, too." We kept going with fun little things like stomping our feet, banging on the table, shaking our fists, patting our bellies, and more. It is a simple game of copying Mommy, but it is lots of fun.       

       We also made a nice art project this week. We used body painting again! I know I do this very frequently, but it is because Evan likes it very much, and it also always creates a wonderful keepsake. When I look back at all of the projects, I can see his hands and feet growing. This week we painted hands. I painted Evan's hands with green poster paint and pressed them on white construction paper. I did this several times until all the paint was off each hand. I also did my own handprints and my daughter's, too. The more handprints this time, the better! These green handprints became our tree leaves. I cut them out once they were dry. I then cut a basic tree shape from a brown paper shopping bag and taped the hand leaves onto each branch. A nice twist could be that each family member gets his or her own branch of hand leaves. For some reason, I couldn't convince my sixteen-year- old or my twelve-year-old to make any handprint leaves!       

       After our tree was constructed, we made our caps. I cut simple hat shapes from different colored paper. The caps in the book are basically a circle, so anyone can make this pattern! In the book, there were only solid colored hats with the exception of the peddler's own hat which was checkered. We made polka-dot hats using our Bingo markers. While sitting in the high chair, Evan stomped the hats in blue, purple, and pink polka-dots. We hung them on the tree and put up a sign that read "Caps for sale-fifty cents apiece!" It came out really cute.


Rhyme Time:
           The tune "If You're Happy and You Know It" is a good song for copying motions. You sing the title phrase and add on a motion like clapping your hands. After each verse is sung, the motion is completed. Your baby will copy your motions as you sing. He may not complete every motion each time and he may be slower at copying some, but the song is still very fun.       

       "Five Little Monkeys" is another fun rhyme to go along with this theme. You can add to the enjoyment of this rhyme by making it a toe-play tune! Use baby's toes as you chant the rhyme:

        Five little monkeys swinging in a tree

       Teasing Mr. Crocodile...

       Can't catch me!

       Along came Mr. Crocodile quiet as could be...

       And SNAP!

       Four little monkeys now swinging in the tree....

       As you chant the rhyme, swing baby's foot like swinging the tree, wiggle each toe to tease, and then "chomp" down on one toe as though it has been bitten off!


Evan's Opinion:
           This week gets a two thumbs up rating! Evan loved the book because I read it like I was on a Broadway stage! I shook my fists, yelled, and stomped my feet. I made the monkey noises as loudly as I could. If my neighbors had looked in my window, they would have had a good laugh! But it was worth it for the laughs I received from Evan!       

       Our tree also is a prize! We had fun, as always, painting ourselves, and the handprint leaves are a keeper! I also love the Bingo markers for painting. They make virtually no mess. Even when Evan smashes them down on the paper as hard as he can, only a perfect round dot of ink comes out! His polka dot hat was adorable as a result!       

       As far as all of the copying games and rhymes-copying is what Evan does best! Talk about "Monkey see, monkey do"!  That is the name of the game at this age! I think his favorite is having his little monkey toes bitten off though! It is hilarious to have your toes bitten off when you are a one-year-old!


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "Is he too young to watch television?"       

       As I wrote up the activities section, I almost included watching my favorite monkey on television as an activity! Curious George is a great PBS television show that fosters math and science learning for young children. But then I thought to myself, how young is too young? Some people feel young children should watch no television at all. The American Academy of Pediatrics put out a study that made recommendations regarding television viewing. One of the statements made suggests children under the age of two should never watch television. They claim babies this young need interaction that fosters brain development like playing together, reading together, and singing. This is, of course, quite true as we know, so what about television shows for kids that are about books and songs? If you have only one baby, perhaps you can avoid all television. In our home, television seems unavoidable. Our children range from sixteen years old to one. Our older children watch television and even Alice at four years old watches television. Obviously, we try to limit the amount and the content she watches. Sometimes busy parents utilize the television to get some time to do things like housework. If you do put the television on a little here and there, choose programs that are interactive and attempt to teach. Many of today's shows talk to the child, ask questions of the child, sing songs, and incorporate books. So I guess the answer to my question is yes, he is too young for television, but if it is going to be on, I must be vigilant about what he sees and hears. It seems the television is like everything else in baby's world-a source for curiosity that must be supervised, a little like that silly monkey, George!


Clean Up Time
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

         At a year old, most children are able to stack things and put objects in containers. This is the perfect time to teach your little one about cleaning up. You can teach him or her how to stack their books, put their food back in their bowl and put toys in the appropriate baskets or containers. Often children will learn to do these things on their own just from watching you, but if you make clean up time fun, they will be more likely to continue helping out. Singing a song about clean up may keep your child attention longer. You may even decide to create a song which details where certain objects belong. Remember to keep it simple. Your child is young and too many unfamiliar words may impair their understanding of where to put away their toys, books or food.

Do You Hear What I Hear?
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           Noise, noise everywhere, and not a drop of silence! Does that statement describe your house? The toy market has gradually become one deafening "shout." No longer are parents told that simple, non-talking dolls are quality toys. Instead, we are bombarded with the message that just because a toy yells out the "ABC Song," it must be educational and better. You know you are on noise overload when your child chooses to play with his stacking blocks or grabs a quiet Pooh Bear and your body relaxes.       

       It is time that parents take back the toy market. There are quality toys out there that do not require batteries. Search the Internet for such toys and you will find that there are many safely designed, inexpensive alternatives. Check out your local baby store and find several good choices. Of course, not every loud toy is bad. As a parent, you may just limit the offering. Placing one or two "noisy" toys out at a time would be less offensive on everyone's ears and still allow your child the learning experience of choosing.       


Providing the Right Tools
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

         Austin loves to color and paint. He loves getting his hands dirty and covers them in paint, but he saw me using a paintbrush and was curious. I gave it to him figuring he could not possibly get any messier, so why not? He absolutely amazed me. He put the brush in his right hand and got to work. I gave him a new sheet of paper and dropped spots of different color paint all over the paper. With much thought, Austin mixed colors and took his time with each stroke. He was mesmerized by his new tool and the masterpiece he was creating. I was taken aback by how well he used the brush and how picky he was about every movement he made with it. He normally takes about three minutes to paint an entire sheet of paper with his hands but spent about twenty minutes and left whitespace! He actually started adding texture by pushing the brush down and spinning and dabbing it. It goes to show that sometimes babies are ready for new things far before you think they will be!

Out, Out, Red Spot!
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           Being first time parents means that our toddler son is a totally new learning experience for us. This week, Nate has some odd spots on his neck and ankles. There was no fever, no pain but some little red bumps. Are they bug bites, the measles, chicken pox or some mysterious disease? We still do not know but we have called in the expert, Grandma. The doctor will be next.       

       In the back of my head, I know if we have another child that I probably will not be as worried or paranoid. I could tell that when I explained the situation to my mother over the phone, she was not as concerned as I was. She did not drop everything to rush over to look at him but said that she would be over later.       

       In the meantime, I am taking pictures so as to be able to tell if the spots are growing in size or number. I am constantly checking Nate's body for more. Poor Nate.       


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