Friday, October 28, 2011

Baby Brain Map

Welcome to the Baby Brain Map, a ZERO TO THREE Web exclusive The Brain Map was adapted in 2006 by ZERO TO THREE from BrainWonders, a collaborative project (1998-2001) between Boston University School of Medicine, Erikson Institute and ZERO TO THREE.

this is an example of what you might see on the page when you follow the link:

The link is also posted under Development on the right side of the page.

Are You Dreading the Piles of Candy?

I found this article called 25 things to do with leftover Halloween candy. There are some good ideas in here, maybe not all 25 are right for you but there might be one or two you can use.

Happy Trick or Treating!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Child Development and the Delayed Child

Many of us have and or work with children who are developmentally delayed. And as parents, many of you give up reading child development books and looking at the charts. The thing to remember is that the books and charts still apply. Your child may not walk between 12-15 months or sit up around 6 months, or crawl 9-11 months. But that doesn't mean your child won't do these things. The steps on the developmental path are the same for every child, some are just a bit slower than others. So instead of looking at the ages that children should reach certain milestones, just look at the next couple of skills they need to master. That way you can help them move along the developmental path and not get quite so discouraged at how "behind" they are. And yep, here it comes: try not to compare your child to other children their age or how their older siblings used to be. I totally get that it is hard, I have to stop myself with my own daughter all the time. Actually I still struggle with it. She is almost 5 and my nephew is almost 4. They are 13 months apart but he was talking very intelligibly LONG before my daughter was and I admit I got a bit freaked out by that. But then I started comparing other aspects of their development: her motor skills were WAY beyond his, her ability to problem solve was a bit scary if you ask me. Her sense of rhythm is amazing (and that's not just the proud mommy talking, that is also an observation from a few different musicians we know). She is oh so very much more social than he if you are going to compare (and you will) remember to compare all aspects of the children, not just the one that you see as a failing. You might be surprised at how much your child CAN do. As a society we are conditioned to look at all the negative things in life and we forget to see the whole picture, see your child as a whole picture and don't fret, they'll get where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. (Wow, how's that for a deep philosophical thought way to early in the morning?) And don't forget that even typical children develop at different speeds, don't fret about when your child hits certain milestones just help them work to achieve them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fantastic Baby/Toddler Toy!!!

Does you child LOVE to pull all the Kleenex or wipes out of their boxes and make a huge pile around them? Mine has, thankfully, grown out of that stage (mostly). But I made this for one of the kids in my classroom and it was such a huge hit that I thought I'd share it. I found the idea on one of the many web sites I peruse through.

I used an empty wipes box because I thought it was a bit sturdier and would hold up to the use I was hoping I'd get out of it. Cut some fabric into squares (size doesn't really matter but I measured the width of the box and cut my square that big). Cut with Pinking shears so that you don't have to worry about fraying. You can stuff them all inside, you can tie corners together to make one long string of them. I opted to fold mine like wipes so that when one was pulled out another would pop up. I have to tell you that my 5 year old loved this toy. :) Who knew? I made one to keep at home and she came to me and said "Mommy, they're like little kleenex, just my size." So now we have a box of reusable "kleenex". I just toss them in the hamper and wash them with the laundry. I put them in a sock bag just so I wouldn't lose them all.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Multi-Sensory Bath Time

Ok, this is just so cool and fun I had to share it. I found this through a facebook post from 

Add a little food coloring to your bath (it won't stain your tub or you child's skin! yay!) The gal on Imagination Tree also added scents, head on over to her site and see this in action (she has pictures).

We did this at home over the weekend and Autumn had a blast. We did green (and I did add the eucalyptus that she did due to colds in our house) and she decided it made a great swamp for her dinosaurs and alligators.

Now she wants to try a blue bath for her sharks and fish and rays. Unfortunately she only gets a bath once a week so she'll have to wait till Saturday. :)

We did discover that the coloring also tints the bubbles if you do a bubble bath.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pool Noodle Fun on Dry Land

Wish you hadn't bought quite so many pool noodles (to replace the ones you put away last fall and couldn't find until you bought new ones)? Here are some fun ways to use those noodles all winter long (now I wish I'd bought a few this summer!)

1.  Tunnel Fun: Line up a few chairs facing each other, a few feet apart. Lay pool noodles across the chairs to make a tunnel. Children can crawl underneath the noodles or through the tunnel. Children develop upper body strength and spatial concepts while having fun!

2.  Tug of War: A great partner activity for parent and child.  Each person holds onto an end of the noodle and tries to pull it from the other.  Vary positions to increase the fun and benefit. Try sitting, kneeling, and then standing.  Try kneeling while your child stands. Challenge him/her to pull you over—you will both have fun when you fall over! This activity increases muscular strength and endurance.

3. Rocket Ships: Cut a pool noodles in half or into thirds. Count 1,2,3 Blast Off! And then throw the pool noodle high in the air. Try to catch it. Or, throw the noodle high in the air and call out an action to do before it lands (i.e.  jump, touch the ground, turn around).

4. Ride’em Cowboy! Put on your imaginary cowboy hat and spurs. Pretend the noodle is a horse and gallop.  Add some fun by giving signals to go fast/slow or start/stop.  Get creative. What other animals might you like to ride and how do they move—walk, crawl, run, waddle, etc. Children can experience a variety of locomotor patterns such as sliding from side to side; twisting back and forth; and walking in straight, curved or zig-zag paths.

5. Let’s Go Bowling: Tape 2 pool noodles parallel to each other approximately 1 to 2 feet apart from each other as bumpers in a bowling alley. Line empty water bottles at the end of the two noodles. At the opposite end, encourage children to roll a ball down the “bowling alley” to knock down the pins. To vary the activity, provide different size balls and bottles weighted with water to encourage children to use a variety of speeds and force when rolling the ball.

6. Threading and Patterning: Cut your noodle into 1-2" width rings, provide a string with a taped end (tie the other end around one of the rings to provide a stopper) and let your child go to town. You can show them how to make patterns or just let them play and have fun.

7. Counting Caterpillar:  You could also write numbers 1-10 on the noodles and help your child string them in order, make a cute face on one and it will be a fun counting caterpillar.

8. Pool Noodle Printing: This one I've done with my daughter and she loves it. I took some noodles that were cut into 1" rings and we printed with them using tempera paint and paper. We also did it with mud and the side of our house (and then hosed it off later).

9. Marble Run:  This is an easy take on a classic game. Cut a pool noodle in half and race your marbles! One of my cousins sent me this picture thinking I'd get a kick out of it. How fun is this?!

So, don’t put those pool noodles away until next summer. It’s time to play! I'd love to know your ideas, so please share them in the comments section.