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The Dropper.

Presentation:  Water Dropper

Time for a new water tool!
I was thumbing through my toiletry closet for something and came across a simple but often forgotten about item:  The medicine dropper.
You know, those HUGE droppers they give you at the pharmacy when your kid gets an ear infection.  You take the dropper and think... there's no way that they could ever choke that pink stuff down.  But they always do, and the infection clears.  I was watching Zozie have a ball with some new bath toys, squirting away, and aiming for various bucket and water pails.  Hummmm.....dropper time!

Using the dropper to transfer fluids
Hand-eye coordination
Muscle control

Set Up
3 Same glass bottles
3 Color glass beads
Small water pitcher (Creamer)
Small Sponge
Clear funnel
Medicine dropper

1)  Ask child to bring tray to the table
2)  Place a colored glass bead in each glass bottle
3)  Place the funnel into the empty glass
4)  Fill the small pitcher with water
5)  Insert dropper into the pitcher with bulb PINCHED
6)  Release bulb, watch H2O rise
7)  Place the dropper into the first bottle, then SQUEEZE
8)  Repeat till the bottle is full, then do the same to the other 2 bottles
9)  When all 3 bottles are filled, then place funnel over the pitcher
10)  Pour each bottle in, the glass beads will be caught by the funnel
11)  Replace the glass beads back into each bottle
12)  Wipe any drips or spills with the sponge


The dropper went well for a week, then he wanted to pour again...
So here's the clip, with him pouring.  But fun nonetheless.



Off to Grandma Wallelah's (Loretta's) for Easter.
This is going to be special.
First flight alone with daddy.
First time doing ovo(s) in Provo.
First Girls-Get-Away Spa Weekend for mommy.
Everyone Wins.

Alrighty....let's see...they told me something about some eggs, a field, and running....  
Dance party @ Grandma's!!

Grandma Wallelah & Auntie Hannah!

Who needs bunnies when an elephant is around eh?

This is a warning...Step AWAY from the eggs.
A week earlier....a "Candy-Less" Egg Hunt with our Mandarin Mommy Group!
Stickers and toys galore! 

Who needs sugar eh?
Mommy doesn't.


Sofaline vs. Bounce-Aline

This is what happens when you don't have a trampoline in the backyard because you don't have a backyard.  (@ 35months)

And he watched the old school Seasame Street song "1, 2, 3, 4, 5...6, 7, 8, 9, 10..Eleven, Twelve!"

3 months later, he found a trampoline in Grandma's backyard, errr, I mean...a "Bounce-Aline"!!


Post Disney.

This is what a trip to Disneyland does to a toddler...

Humming to himself with all his best pals on the "Aladdin Magic Carpet" ride, a sweet morning surprise.


First Alphabets!

So I was washing dishes today and turn around to see this.
Looks like somebody is ready to write, eh?
"Are those A's Zozie?"  
"Yeah!  ALOT of A's mama!"

Interesting that Zozie should "start writing" just as I discovered my Cousin-In-Law's (is that a proper title?) Homeschool Blog the other day.  She did a feature called "Letter Weeks", in which she worked through the alphabet, one letter per week, and came up with various fun projects for her daughter to learn each letter.  The Homeschool Menagerie is a wonderful resource if you are looking to setting something up for your toddler at home.  Smart, sweet, and sassy...Adrienne is sure to keep you reading, and smiling, about her many adventures with her 2 cutie-patooties!  After seeing this chalkboard covered with the letter "A", I think I'm going to start my own Letter Week too...this kid keeps me on my toes!

An animal costume always makes homework more fun!

Now at 38months, Zo has progressively gotten better with signing his name since I first noted it a year ago.  The "O" was his first written letter, then followed by "E".  It use to be a vertical with 4-5 horizontal lines extending out.  Now, on good days, we get just a single line in the middle for "E" (see below).

last month's signature on a birthday card...

But the Big Surprise, after doing the board of "A's", is actually him writing "Little I's"!  2 New letters in one day on his own...I was floored.  I never showed him either letter, but  he has been able to sight recognize Capital letters for a while now.  The lower case letters is another story. 

So when he did this on camera for the first time ever...

"i is like a candle..."
Just like potty training, they are ready to be literate when they are ready.
He is ready.
Just not sure if I am.



Wonder @ Wondercon!

Zozie meets a new friend at the 2011 Wondercon!
It's always a blast to visit the annual comic convention with all it's various costumed patrons strutting their stuff.  We bumped into one of Zozie's hero's on the subway into the city.
"Look mama!  It's BIG Buzz Lightyear!!!"
Sure enough.  
There was Mr. BL, winking and giving Zozie a big thumbs up from across the train car.  It's always nice to have Z experience something new, especially something that holds alot of family history as his grandfather Ric, his own dad, and many of his uncles are in the film/visual effects industry.

Z's first Wondercon "Pro Pass" with daddy!
Even with all this excitement....Nap time RULES!

Z was completely mesmerized by the whole convention and especially by all the awesome costumes of robots and superheros.  We wondered along until he spotted this guy, his first Star Wars Encounter...

"Why he not say HI to me, Daddy?"
"Because he has no mouth & no words, Zozie.  He just makes beeps to talk."
"Give him a hug ok?"
"What his name?"
"R2D2, pumpkin."

The Wonder Continues.


RICE me.

Pour me ANOTHER!
On the heels of the last pouring post, here is an extension to that fundamental exercise.
This time, add a small wooden spoon and a funnel.

Pouring objects between containers
Hand-eye coordination

Set Up
2 Same glass tumblers
Handful of Rice
Small scooper or spoon
Clear funnel

1)  Ask child to bring tray to the table
2)  Place the funnel into the empty glass.
3)  Lift spoon to scoop some rice out of the other glass.
3)  Use the thumb, and 2 fingers to support the spoon.
*I tell Zo to hold it "like a pencil" and not fist grip it.
4)  Slowly tilt and pour out the content into the empty glass.
5)  Deliberately miss and have a couple pieces fall out into the tray.  Then clear the tray and tilt all the contents out into the glass. This is to show how to gather small loose objects on a tray.
6)  When the contents have been transferred, repeat & switch pouring directions.
7)  Allow the child to scoop as much as he wants, the let him pour the entire content for variety.

the pencil grip.

the transfer.
the confirmation.
 Let the pouring begin!

Zozie tries to gather the scattered grains with the spoon...then proceeds to make "eyes & a mouth" with the containers and the spoon.  A pretty simple "cause & effect" lesson.  Try with a variety of beans, grains, pebbles, or sand, anything that fits the funnel.  Nothing fancy but the fancy rice, premium grade.


(S) (M) (L)

Presentation:  Pouring Pitchers

An Oldie but Goodie!
The pitcher pouring tool is a CLASSIC in the Montessori tool shed.
We found our creamer "Pitchers" at our local Crate N Barrel outlet.
Also picked up some white coffee mugs in 3 sizes:  Espresso (S), Regular (M), and Big (L).

These days, we like having the same things in 3 sizes.  It helps Zozie understand the concept of Small, Medium, Large as it applies to our daily lives.  He often refers to me as the "Medium Mama" since large items are for daddy and small ones for himself.   
Now, we just need some warm porridge.....hummm.

Now back to the pitchers...
Pouring objects or liquide between containers
Hand-eye coordination

Set Up
2 Same Pitchers
Objects (Pebbles, marbles, grains, beans)
Or Liquid (Water, milk, juice)

1)  Ask child to bring tray to the table
2)  Lift with handle, elevate the first pitcher over the other one.
3)  Use the thumb, and 2 fingers to support the spout portion.
4)  Slowly tilt and pour out the content into the second container.
5)  If using objects, deliberately miss and have a couple pieces fall out into the tray.  Then use index and thumb and grab each stray object and place back into the pouring pitcher.  Repeat the pouring motion to empty the jug.  *(This is to show how to take care of spills).
6)  If using liquid, deliberately miss and have a sponge ready to wipe
7)  When the contents have been transferred, repeat with the other jug, switching pouring directions.

Take your pick at the various pitchers online.
Just DON'T GET PLASTIC.  The breakable ones feel more weighted, look more beautiful, and most of all, they are a reflection of the real world physics that a child should be exposed to rather than guarded from.  It's only a few dollars if broken, let them try the real thing and they will master how to function better...faster.

White Porcelain Pitchers.  We have these and they come in S,M,L sizes that will "grow" with Zozie's hands and muscle control.  The large spout is easy for pouring, as is the closed loop handle for shaky tiny hands.

Clear Pitcher.  This a great alternative so the child can see the liquid or objects inside and the various levels as a result of his pouring something out. Great for "cause & effect" lessons.
Pitcher with Lid.  The clear glass allows the liquid viewing, but the lid is a great "baby step" to Pouring Independence.  Minimizing spills, this is a great little pitcher to set out on a tray in the snack area of any homeschool classroom.  "Pour yourself some water!"  Being able to get your own drink is VERY empowering for a tot!

At 29 months, we started our pouring tool with some smooth river rocks.

A month later, we upgraded to milk and self-serve cereal.
Short Mini-Series Below:
 Reverse Dispense.

The "Pouring Skill" is actually really useful, more than I ever realized.  Zozie dispenses ALOT of things now with minimal supervision:  Laundry detergent, watering cans, measuring cups, and pouring of cereal into a bowl (& milk to follow).   A must try! 



"It's a big parteeee, mama!"
I found this group of random animals and little people gathering at the end of our narrow hallway.
Out of the corner of my eye earlier, I saw Zozie mumbling to himself, hovering over some figurines.  
Taking a closer look, I notice something peculiar.

Aerial View.
"Zozie, are these animals TALKING to each other?  At the Party?"
This is probably what he perceives at adult social events.
Everyone gabbing away, paired up.
And there seems to be some "logic" in the pairings.
Cows with cows.  Horses with horses.  Hippos with hippos.  People with people.  Sheep with chicken?  Alteast they were the same height.
Short rabbit and tall giraffe?  Our goofy boy.
He was running out of obvious matches.

All pairs except this TRIO.

Odd man is NOT out.  
"I Love your little party Zozie." 
"Oh!  Thank you mama."


Old Shoe?

Presentation:  Shoe Lacing

Want to buy THIS toy?
Save the $10 and just use ANY old shoe with laces instead!
It doesn't get simpler than this, or free-er?
The "TOY" version.

Practical life skill of shoe lacing
Hand-eye coordination

Set Up
One old shoe or any kind, with laces.

1)  Place a shoe on the table.
2)  Pull one lace up to the tip, slowly.
3)  Thread through the first open eyelet.
4)  Cross over to the other side.
5)  Thread through the opposite open eyelet.
6)  Pull other lace up to the tip and repeat.

We made this video clip @ 30months old.  It was still challenging for him to figure out the criss-cross idea, but he got the "feed the lace through the eyelet" idea fast.  I am seen correcting the cross overs, which is an indication of showing this a bit too early for him at the time.  (Less speaking & correcting is better.)  We are planning to revisit this one now that he's over 3 years old.  The Melissa & Doug Toy Shoes has larger holes and the shoe is "stiff" (wood) and makes it easier to lace.  But I'm all about using actual "life props" to learn practical life skills.  He uses glassware and china, he can use a real shoe to learn lacing.  So, grab a shoe and try this!
They seriously love it.