For this past week, Mon Cœur (MC) and I have been adjusting into a new routine, one that has given me a little more “wake up” time and a little more calm before we start our day. An added bonus, it’s playful and educational for MC and we get a chance to bond.
I have been following the Coronavirus news too closely, and worrying about how we will be affected as it continues to spread through our nation, our world, and now for us, our local communities.
Despite the onslaught of unfortunate news, I have found the silver lining. In light of these unprecedented times, where schools are closed for indefinite periods of time and people are encouraged to stay at home, bloggers have reached out to their subscribers. They have written to offer tips, hints, and activities for kids and have shared links to fellow bloggers’ sites who have equally impressive and inspiring content.
I have recently become very aware of the truly remarkable bloggers in the areas of homeschooling, literacy, and enriching toddler activities. I am in awe, and, let’s be honest, a bit intimidated by these women and their focused blogs. I’ll be sharing these marvelous finds in another post soon!
A fresh start to our mornings
Over at Days with Grey, she has some amazing ideas for “Breakfast Invitations”. The author, Beth, found a way to get her kids engaged in an activity other than TV first thing in the morning. And I was hooked.
MC typically asks for TV before I’ve had a chance to finish my coffee. And depending on my energy level and creative juices, I may give in. BUT, magic this week! Taking some of the ideas from Beth’s website and making them for our mornings, MC has enjoyed her morning activities. These activities have put the TV watching off until evening time, and have given her something fun and educational to do.
As a bonus, since we are just starting these, and she doesn’t know yet how to do the activities independently (we want that and we are working up to it!), she is snuggling in my lap at the table, we’re having our coffee together and she’s completing the activities with some modeling and help from me. Below are activities we’ve tried this week that have been successful.
Shapes, Numbers, and Clockwork
MC received a really nice wooden clock puzzle for her 2nd birthday. We would play with it occasionally, but mostly she was shaking pieces out and I was putting them back. But now, she gets that the shape and color of each puzzle piece corresponds to where it goes.
One morning, I simply took the pieces out and put them next to a sheet of paper with colored dots. I had her organize the pieces by color. Afterwards, she asked where the clock was and she worked independently (smile!) on putting it back together for about ten minutes. We counted the numbers together and talked about the basic shapes.
Numbers and Counting 1-12
Another morning, I had made a numbers mat from one to 12 (to use with the clock number pieces), and I gave MC the magnetic numbers to sort. These numbers only went up to nine, but she sorted them very well on her own, I only needed to draw attention to a couple numbers she had placed in the wrong spot.
This morning, we used the same mat, but with the clock puzzle pieces that had numbers one through 12. This activity did not go over so well. Why? Maybe because we were up about an hour and a half earlier than usual. Maybe because the numbers on the mat didn’t quite match the same number style as the clock numbers (the ones in particular). Maybe because we hadn’t yet had our coffee. We’ll try again another time.
Letters and the Alphabet
We seriously haven’t worked with letters much, other than organizing a few by their colors, but MC really has taken to this, much like the clock puzzle. The first day we did letters, I had only written A-H and we did those letters together.
Later in the week, I had finished writing the alphabet on the paper, and I matched most of the alphabet. I asked her to help fill in about ten of the remaining letters. She enjoyed matching the magnetic letters to the alphabet mat and was able to do so fairly independently.
An added bonus for all of these activities I’ve tried and those featured on Beth’s site, is that the activities can be done in any language. Youpi! (Yay!)
How I am organizing and creating my materials
I love how Beth uses butcher paper and painter’s tape for a lot of her activities. I will eventually morph into that. For now, though, I am making resources that can be slid into a plastic sleeve protector and be reused.
These little sheets take less than five minutes to make, and require materials you probably already have at home: paper, a writing utensil (I’ve been using markers), rulers (if you’re a bit of a perfectionist) and sleeve protectors (totally optional, but help make the sheets toddler proof!).
I know that for the alphabet, numbers, and colors, I can reuse those sheets with different materials to make it fresh for MC. This will also give her the repeated exposure that will help make these important concepts stick. All of these sheets are finding a home on MC’s filing cabinets. Because they stay out and visible, MC at any given time may ask me if she can work with any of these activities.
As I add to these resources, I’ll be sharing the ones that work for us. If you have suggestions, questions, or want ideas for a particular topic or theme, please let me know!
Sending good vibes, warm thoughts, and hugs to you all. Stay strong and find the silver linings!
What do you think of this new morning routine? If you have any ideas, need ideas, or have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section!