language with infants and toddlers

When we think of the capabilities of infants, what comes to mind? Probably pooping, sleeping, eating, and spitting up. When we think of the capabilities of toddlers, what comes to mind? In addition to the list mentioned for infants, one would add walking, speaking (a little), and beginning to play with purpose.

What we don’t think of either of these groups doing, naturally, is reading. So how does literacy apply to children this young? The definition of literacy is the ability to read and write. Infants and toddlers can’t do anything close to these tasks. So what can we do with them to start that foundation of learning and loving to read and write? And let me be clear that reading and writing is about words and language, so I’m not suggesting a Your Baby Can Read program here; I’m talking about introducing your infant/toddler to the English language, spoken and printed, which will lead to words and sentences, spoken and printed.

Infants

  • Talk to your baby. There are a few ways to do this. For example, talking each step out while changing a diaper (“I’m taking off your diaper because it’s time to change you! Now I’m putting on diaper cream so you don’t get a rash!”). I like to do that some but not all of the time; I like to keep a more ‘natural’ (or as close to) dialogue with the baby while still being informative. (“You’re eating carrots for lunch and they’re orange. They’re also delicious. Scrumptious. Tasty. They grow in the ground!”) This point seems really obvious, but you will be silent and lost in your own thoughts and not even know it, so it’s good to be conscious when you do that, and instead share your thoughts with the baby! (“I’ve been thinking about growing out my bangs. Yes/no? I’m taking the spit up as a no.”) Speaking, even on nonsensical topics, exposes the baby to their native language and new vocabulary (which means, talk as you would talk to an adult. No baby talk.).
  • Sing to your baby, with or without music. Your baby is not a critic and will not judge you. This is not The Voice. If you don’t know a lot of children’s songs, look them up online or buy a CD of them. Don’t just sing lullabies right before bedtime. Sing all day! Sing to comfort, sing to express joy, sing to accompany your baby’s activities. Also, your baby does not have to sit and listen to you sing, either. Sing to them while they’re trying tummy time, on their play mat, or standing up playing by a shelf. With infants trying to learn to sit up, I like to (since we don’t have Bumbos at work) sit them in my lap in front of mirror and sing. That way they’re getting practice and they can still me as I sing. Once infants are about ten months, this is a good time to introduce hand motions with songs. Singing works the same as talking with language and vocabulary.
  • Babble back to your baby … as in, as much as you can, repeat the sounds you hear your baby making. This is not mocking your baby. This is reinforcing that the sounds they are making are valued and they should continue to make those sounds. When you respond to the baby in their “language” they will make the sounds back at you as well. They get more excited. Remember, the babble is not nonsense. It is your baby’s way of trying out their teeth/lips/tongue in a formation in an attempt to repeat the sounds they heard around them. Babble is the first step in a baby learning to speak.
  • Look at picture cards or flash cards together. This is DIFFERENT from reading a book together. A book has words in it, these will not. I suggest flash cards because one side is usually simply a picture. This is the kind you want. You can work with these in one of two ways. You can either put them in a basket on a low bookshelf and let your infant find them on their own, choosing a card and only then saying something like, ‘Is that a zebra?’ Point to the image only when you are saying the noun — in this case, ‘zebra’. Or you can sit down with the infant and show them cards of your choosing and go through saying, ‘This is a zebra! He has stripes that are black and white. They live in Africa. Zebra.’ This shows your child a realistic image and connects it to a word, beginning an early word association.
  • Alphabet blocks are a great way to do literacy. I would suggest plastic blocks for young infants, because they will put them in their mouth and wood blocks make me nervous with that. With blocks I just hold up letters and identify them; I also identify whatever letter block the infant holds up. I also make a word or name association – ‘D is for dog! D is for Dad!’. You can also do this with magnets, but magnets can be harder with younger infants.
  • And of course, read to your baby. A lot of people think that board books are the best books for infants because they’re so sturdy. But actually, after a few times of getting into baby’s mouth, the pages get a little gummy. My best suggestion for infants up to ten months is cloth books and bath books (I find bath books easily at Target’s Dollar Bin). At ten months, baby can better learn that books don’t go in their mouth and then board books are easier to turn pages with their little fingers. Okay, so once you have your books, establish with yourself that while reading the book is important, so is exploring the book. Let baby throw it, put it on their head, flip through the pages, and yes, put it in their mouths. (Bonus of cloth books — throw them in the wash after!) And DON’T just read to baby at nap or bedtime. Reading is any time activity, so have the books out with the toys. When they’re chilling on the Boppie, give them a book. When they’re practicing sitting up, give them a book. When you’re traveling in the car, give them a book. If you start teaching now that books are meant to be read at any time and are FUN, you’re starting the foundation for loving to read.
  • Once your child is about nine months, break out some baby sign language! I usually teach the kids ‘more’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’. Not overwhelming for either of us and they’re learning manners. But, make sure you are saying the word as you sign, so again, they are making the connection and they will eventually say and sign the words (I have sent kids to toddlers who had better manners in terms of these three words than the kids who were already there).

Toddlers

  • It is sooo important to talk to your toddlers, because maybe at this point they have a couple words and a great way to expand on that is to keep the conversation going. Unlike with infants, it is not necessary to give long, lengthy explanations for what you’re doing. Why? Because you want to give your toddler short words and phrases that they can start to learn. For example, when washing their hands, I say, ‘Water … Soap … Rinse … Dry!’ And I am telling you, the kids began to make that association between what I was saying and the actions they were taking (they were also learning the steps to hand washing!). Some eventually either babbled these phrases or actually said at least one of the words (usually dry). Talk to your toddlers while they are playing, during diaper changing, at meal times, etc. Ask them questions, wait a few minutes, supply answers. I know this is awkward, BELIEVE ME, but it’s important for kids to hear inflections in voice. A milestone for toddlers in talking is, even if babbling, showing an inflection in voice to indicate asking a question.
  • Sing, and get the toddlers involved! Keep up the hand motions even if it seems like they’re not interested in doing them. I’ve had toddlers who weren’t interested in hand motions until twenty months. Have some songs with hand motions, and some songs where you break out musical instruments (and honestly, rattles = maracas), and some songs where you just pat your knees or clap your hands. Encourage toddlers to free dance, but do not force your toddler to dance! They will join in when they feel comfortable and are ready. A great way to do literacy with singing is take a large piece of paper (dry erase board, chalkboard, etc.) and write the lyrics to the song on it. Post it on the wall and point to the words as you sing the song.
  • Acknowledge what your toddler is saying … even if they’re saying ‘Hi!’ for the millionth time. Positively responding to their speech encourages more. Simple but very important rule!
  • Play with a pretend telephone. ‘Dial’ a number to call someone or pretend the phone is ringing and answer it. I cannot emphasize this part enough … talk as though there is someone actually there. Model a ‘proper’ conversation — ‘Hello? How are you? I’m good! How is your day going? Really?’ Now you may think that toddlers don’t understand what you’re doing. Yes, yes they do. Transfer the call to them. ‘She’s sitting right next to me! Would you like to talk to her? The phone is for you!’ If your toddler sits there in silence, encourage her to say ‘hi, how are you?’, etc. If she doesn’t, that’s fine. A lot of my toddlers just liked walking around holding the phone next to their ear. Some did eventually get to ”ello Mom, ‘ow are you?’. This is still encouraging language and words.
  • Keep up with the picture cards and flash cards, but now, ask them what they’re looking at. What is this? If it’s an animal or something that makes noise, what sound does it make? Do you have this at home? Do you play with it? Try to find pictures (either cards or via online) that have a scene, and create a story. ‘What is this white stuff? Is it snow? Yes! They’re sledding in the snow and having a lot of fun. What are they wearing? Coats! Because it’s cold in the winter. Brrr.’
  • This is a great time to do magnets on the fridge. Again, buy at least two sets so you can do multiple words. Create simple words and spell them out. Create the names of people you know, like siblings and cousins’ names. Also focus on naming individual letters as well.
  • And of course, let’s read! Board books are good for toddlers to look at independently. If you read enough throughout the day, I promise you, your toddler will enjoy sitting down and looking through books independently. Have books that peak your child’s current interest (trucks, cats, colors, etc.). Some toddlers will eventually babble a story to themselves or look through a book to vocally label a specific picture. Both are good — milestones for toddlers at this age is to be able to turn the pages of a book and identify pictures of familiar objects. This is a completely fine age to have books with ‘real’ pages — just save them for when you have time to sit down and look through it as well. And always try to introduce toddlers to books of all kinds (fiction and nonfiction) as well as books with lots of words. My toddlers loved ‘I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More’ as well as ‘Brown Bear Brown Bear’ and they are wordy books. Try it once, try it twice, put it away for a couple weeks and try it again. Never force your toddler to sit through reading a book they have no interest in. Ask questions, encourage toddlers to finish sentences of books they know so well!
  • Toddlers who are able to independently sit through the reading of a book can attend story time at a local library or bookstore. Even if they’re almost able to do this, I would encourage you to take them. They can see other children modeling proper listening behavior and it’s (pretty) early practice for sitting and listening in a group setting.

 

Language is sooo important for these young ages. The key is to keep it consistent throughout the day as well as natural. Reading should always be promoted as a fun, enjoyable activity. My last tip is to model reading. When your toddler is looking at books, sit down and read a book of your own. Have books in the house. Show your child that reading is a lifelong activity.

the book snob.

I read … a lot. I reread books over and over. When I was in school, carrying around my stack of textbooks, my latest read was always sitting on top. I read before classes started and when teachers gave us free time at the end of a period. Even when I went to college, I still threw a book in my bag for in between classes and when professors were running late. I love riding the bus because I can read while I wait for the bus to arrive and while riding the bus. At least thirty minutes of my break every day is devoted to reading. I’ve brought books on errands with Husband, vacations, and even when we went to a UFC live event in Chicago (I knew there’d be wait time between fights). I do attest that my social life is as hermit like as it is because of my devotion to reading books. Yet my vocabulary is as immense as it is solely because of my extensive reading. I used the word ‘deign’ at work the other day and my coworker asked me what the heck I meant. 

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I think I started becoming a snob about reading once I realized, sometime in junior high, that I was really the only one who actually read books. I had been checking out books in towering, wobbly stacks from the library since I was seven (reading since 4), but I hadn’t bothered to glance around me and see if anyone else was doing the same. But in junior high, when we actually got library time, I was pretty horrified to see people acting like books were these mysterious, weird objects. A lot of the kids in my class didn’t know how to check out a book at the library or even what to get.

I didn’t get how people could NOT want to read. To this day, one of my favorite parts of reading is how much I can learn from books. Besides vocabulary, I was growing in my knowledge of obscure facts, science, history, and culture. There were some things that, even at 12, I knew more about than my older sisters because I had read about them.

In high school my book snobbery was at an all time high. Again, I was reading furiously and no one else in my class seemed to share my passion for reading. Or if they did, they had a single minded focus of what they wanted to read (like science fiction, or trashy romance novels). I really had no one to share what I was reading with. I was also frustrated because a lot of my peers would say things like, ‘Oh I love to read! To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite book.’ Yeah … it was also the mandatory fall reading for our English class. Has anyone NOT read this book?

On the flip side during those years, I knew a girl who was a worse book snob than I was. I didn’t really ‘advertise’, so to speak, with my teachers that I was book fanatic. I brought my books to class with me, and read whenever I could, but I didn’t hold up the book in front of them and say, ‘HEY! LOOK AT ME! READING VOLUNTARILY!’. But this girl … whew! She bragged (even when we were freshmen, barely 14) to our English teachers constantly about all the classic literature she read, ‘completely understood’ and loved … like Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice, and Catcher in the Rye. I don’t know if she was trying to impress our teachers or what, but she acted like she had read all these books in junior high (on her own). Even back then I believed this was a load of BS, but if she actually did this, then I guess kudos.

When I was in college, my book snobbery dropped significantly. I was really conflicted about what I was reading and whether it was good enough. The English program at my school was (for the first two years I attended) filled with really smart, above average kids who could analyze literature like nobody’s business. I felt out of my league. Then I got to junior year, and with the exception of Husband and a couple others, it was high school again. My class was filled with a bunch of girls who really liked reading To Kill A Mockingbird and wanted to share the one book they had ever bothered to read with the world. My book snobbery reigned supreme.

Fast forward to now. After a year or so of cable TV dominating my life, I am safely back in the comfort of snobdom. Last year I read 100 books, excluding the entire series of Harry Potter which I reread over the summer and the five or so I read in December, after I had hit the 100 book mark. I read many amazing, thought provoking books last year, and have in general over the course of my life.

And honestly? None of my ‘favorite’ books come from a school list. And that’s really where my snob radar comes in. I hate it when people list cliche books they had to read for school as among their favorites on Facebook. To me, that simply says that they never branched out in their reading to find something beyond what a teacher demanded of them. I roll my eyes every time my cousin posts a quote about being a ‘book nerd’ even though she’s read exactly ten books: the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series.

And don’t even get me started on GoodReads. For me, I love it. It’s a great, modern, stream lined way for me to keep track of everything I’ve read and wanted to read. My grandmother kept a specific book journal for all this; I have GoodReads. I love what it’s recommended to me, and the yearly book challenge. I like seeing what other people are reading and taking those suggestions as well. However, I DON’T like it when I see people jumping on GoodReads simply to fulfill a spot on their social media checklist. Definitely know people, and have just seen in general on the site, that some people like to use it as another friend collector site. That makes me sad, because it’s such a great site. I don’t know how many ‘friends’ I have on GoodReads (somewhere in the single digits, I’m sure), but that’s because it’s not what I’m there for. I’m there for the books. Because I love books.

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Currently, I am reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It’s the second longest book I’ve ever read (Anna Karenina is top honor), and it’s so good. [[Side note: GoodReads has it wrong; this book is 750 pages long, not 944.]] I’m learning a ton about the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and his Cabinet. It’s a prime example of how diverse my book selection is (another reason I’m such a book snob). I love Mary Higgins Clark and good YA authors like Deb Caletti, but I also enjoy adult fiction like Liza Palmer and Emily Giffin, and non fiction like the (amazing) Lori Gottlieb, Koren Zailckas, and Elizabeth Gilbert. Team of Rivals is my first serious foray into historical non fiction, I’m vowing to read at least one more this year.

So there you have it. I am a certified book snob — meaning, I am well read, I read A LOT, and I really dislike it when people consider themselves ‘big readers’ because they read one YA book every three months, or read only what their favorite author likes, or are still clinging to their To Kill A Mockingbird days.

But I have to say this — despite all this, I still have a soft spot for people who really want to read a lot, and actually make it happen. My (other) cousin was never bookish, but over the past year she’s been popping up on GoodReads about three times a month, polishing off another book and starting a new one. And each time I see this, I quietly ‘Yay!’ and do a little fist pump. Because it doesn’t matter to me what she’s reading … she’s reading not because the book is a new craze or required for school … she’s reading for joy, something I wish everyone could truly appreciate.

twenty-six.

I find myself, now at 26, at a point in life where I feel more like an adult. I don’t know if it’s because I’m swinging into the later twenties, or because Husband and I are finally zeroing in on important life decisions.

Surely picking up after myself regularly for the first time in my life must add to this feeling.

I was tossing around ideas for this post for the past few days, but now that I’m actually sitting here typing I don’t know what to exactly say about how I see my future.

 

I know I want to owe less, debt wise.

I know I want to keep up my non-existent credit card use, as well as the lack of television.

I know I’m enjoying being in a class again, even if it’s online.

I know my vision is still foggy on whether kids are in my future.

 

My life is good right now, and the year of 26 seems promising. I’m looking forward to my sister’s wedding, a new niece or nephew, a trip to Tennessee in June, and Husband’s milestone 30th birthday.

so this week.

So this week has been one of those weeks where I reconsider everything going on in life. It has been one of those weeks where I question my career, my future, and every step I take.

The flu has definitely hit my babies and there was a lot of vomiting, a lot of messy poops, a lot of sending home sick kids and dealing with unceasing, high pitched crying. There was a two hour meeting and observations and staying late and music performances. It was stressful.

There are and will always be weeks like this. Weeks where I don’t want to go back to work anymore, weeks where I can’t stand the thought of doing this job forever. But then I vent, and have a weekend of awesome, and everything settles down.

This is the plan.

body image.

Author’s Note: This post has been in draft for some time, and I keep coming back and editing, removing, and adding to it. It was definitely hard for me to write and edit, deciding what I actually wanted to say about this topic. Even with publishing this post, I don’t consider this issue closed for me.

I think I’ve made reference here at some point to the fact that I am not at all times completely satisfied with how I look. I know earlier in the year I made some sort of note that I was going to get healthier and/or lose weight. I made declarations about not drinking pop and drinking more water. I have definitely yo-yo’d with that. As a couple we spent a good deal of time eating out and regularly eating frozen meals. It was only within the past month that I really started meal planning and making healthy meals. I won’t say much about that because I don’t want to jinx it, except that Husband is pretty grateful because the older he gets, the more he tends to have a sensitive stomach (honestly, that was half the reason I started meal planning).

My eating habits consist of the following: no breakfast, a small bowl of whatever my center is serving for lunch, and then a regular sized meal for dinner. One or two pops each day, depending on how much energy I have. I’ve been sleeping from 9:00 to 5:45, roughly eight to nine hours each night. Even though I feel ‘elderly’ for going to bed so early (sometimes it’s 8:30 if I’ve had a rough day), I wake up less cranky and more alert for the day. One week I had a weird schedule on a Tuesday, and I didn’t get to bed until almost 11 that night. Wednesday was the worst day ever — I almost fell asleep several times on the floor. So I definitely know that sleeping for eight hours consistently every night works great for me. I haven’t had anything close to a night terror, and I zonk out and deep sleep with no troubles.

But all of this, of course, means nothing for positive body image. I can sleep well and I can make meals with actual vegetables (gasp!), but I know from yeeaaarrrsss of body hate that it is all moot if I don’t look in that mirror and like what I see. I can honestly say that since I hit puberty, I have struggled with loving what I see in pictures and in the mirror. Is any girl different? I don’t think so. I think loving what you look like — from your facial features to your hips and thighs — is the biggest challenge for women, no matter what size you are.

I am a size 10/12; my sisters are sizes 4/6 and 0/2. Now take a moment and imagine not only going through high school and college where people can easily compare you to your skinnier sisters, but also having a job with them and going out to the bars/clubs with them. I lived this life, and it was so so so so rough. All the pretty compliments, all the skinny compliments, all the single guys go straight to them. Before I met Husband, I entered a mini crisis in my life because I didn’t look or weigh anything close to my sisters, and I had pretty much determined that I was not going to ever find love. I don’t think my sisters really realized this, but I stopped wanting to go to clubs and bars with them because 80% of the night was guys hitting on and dancing with them. My first boyfriend told me, to my face, that my sister was prettier than me and if he hadn’t thought she was out of his league, he would have rather dated her than me. Now this guy was a complete asshole, but that thought buried itself in my brain and stayed with me for YEARS and thinking of it even now still upsets me. Two other guys I had crushes on told me after I admitted my feelings that they wanted to go out with my sister, not me.

Now honestly, could some of that last example have been personality? Most definitely. But when you’re twenty, and you like someone, the biggest attraction in the beginning is obviously physical attraction.

So what was my body image like when I was in my early twenties? Um, in the tank. I wore a lot of masculine outfits — jeans and shirts, khakis and button ups when I was ‘dressng up’. The junior high kids during my field observation thought I was a lesbian. I KNOW. I ate what I wanted and never weighed myself — I considered myself fat and felt like I would never be pretty enough for anyone.

I know at this point it would be pretty non-feminist to say that Husband changed everything for me. Luckily I am here to say he did NOT completely change how I viewed myself. However, he did start the change.

Husband tells me I am beautiful (or skinny, or sexy, or cute) at all times — when I come home from work with spit up on my shoulder, when I am dressed up for date night,  when I am in pajamas with wet, snarled and stringy hair. I don’t think anyone taught him this, at least as far as I know. I think it comes from a genuine place — he’s not saying it to ‘check off’ on a list of Good Husband behavior. One day I realized I was doing the same thing — I was waking up with him and telling him how cute he was, I was greeting him home from work, him decked out in sweaty bike gear, telling him how sexy he looked, and I was watching him doing something as mundane as shaving and feeling overwhelmed by how handsome he was. I think (and I realize we are still ‘newlyweds’, blah blah) this is true love — seeing the ‘on’ and ‘off’ times of your significant other and yet genuinely feeling that they look so cute, so hot, so attractive.

ANYWAY, because of this, I really started thinking, ‘I am hot!’ when I would get ready for work. I’d put on my khakis and polo and go, ‘Damn, this fits me right! Props to me!’ So Husband gets the credit for turning the tide of my self image. HOWEVER, obviously, there would still be a lot of times when I would feel overwhelmed by my size and a terrible body image.

Like a weekend in December 2012.

That weekend I stayed at my parents’ house because we were going wedding dress shopping for my newly engaged sister. Now if you’ve been married, or been a bridesmaid, you know that the wedding dress is a BIG deal. My oldest sister went to six stores, because she had an image in her mind of a plain wedding dress, and it was terribly hard to find because wedding dresses are all about the BLING. I went to only two stores and my wedding dress shopping was not harsh on my self image at all, because I did not have any fantasies about losing weight or wearing a certain size. Plus, size 12 is the average size of the American woman so I didn’t have to worry about sucking it in to try on a dress I really loved. SIDETRACK. BACK TO THAT WEEKEND.

My sister found her wedding dress at the first store, and we were all crying and it was a beautiful, special moment. Since we found her wedding dress so early, we decided we’d look for bridesmaid dresses at the next store. I wasn’t feeling anxious about it at all because my sister wanted us to have the same color, but not the same style dress, so my larger size was going to be accommodated and I could still look good.

Well then we got there, and the consultant decided that since my oldest sister was a size 4/6, and I have a large bust, she would zero in on me and spend all her time finding something that complimented me. (Let me say now that I understand this woman is trying to be helpful and make a sale … but she still upsets me.) I was trying to have fun and just try on dresses and see what looked good. We were not seriously trying to find dresses, since half the bridal party wasn’t there. But this consultant … she came in the dressing room with me every single time to help me put the dresses on. Now I want you to imagine trying on a bridesmaid dress, which isn’t really made to flatter you to begin with, but still trying to keep an open mind while the person zipping you up says (over and over), “This dress looks terrible on you. I mean it’s not even the right size, but this is all we have, and it doesn’t flatter you, and this looks awful. This looks awful. Can you suck in a little so I can zip this up? I don’t know why you’re trying this on. This is going to look terrible.”

Now imagine that scenario repeated for a hour and a half. No one else knows this woman is talking to you like this, so you have to just keep coming out of the dressing room with a smile on your face. By the time we were done there, I was ready to cry and my body image was in the toilet with shit. Then we got in the car and checked Facebook. My sister had posted a picture of the three of us in the dressing room when she had been trying on dresses. This girl who I don’t even know commented, “And then the prettiest of the [maiden name] sisters …” Now why does the comment of a stranger affect me so? I think it re-sparked a lot of my insecurities of how people compared my sisters and me.

I have a lot of stories like this. A lot of stories about guys bypassing me for my sisters, about sucking back tears in a dressing room because I can’t find anything on a shopping trip, about arriving at events to have people fawn over my sister’s appearance while I stand next to her, unacknowledged.

I’m almost twenty-six years old. Where is my body image now? I’m at the best point I’ve ever been with embracing and loving my body the way it is. And I know this because I actually posted a self portrait a couple times from Instagram on Facebook. On Instagram I will take pictures of everything but myself. So when we went on a date in December and I thought I looked good, I actually took a picture of myself and posted it. Doesn’t that sound so simple? However, it was a major step for me, and I was completely proud of myself.

It’s the little things like posting that picture which show that I have a healthy body image. I’m going to keep working on it. I started printing out outfits I Pinned, and for my birthday, I’m going to stores and buying the basic pieces so I can have cute outfits. I’m going to dress myself up when we go out because it makes me feel cute. I say aloud, ‘I look good in this.’ When I’m chilly, I’m going to put on a cardigan instead of a hoodie because it makes me feel more feminine. I started wearing a watch and/or bracelet because I’m not a big fan of jewelry, but even something that simple makes me feel put together.

Right now my hair is in the tiniest pony ever, I’m wearing glasses, and I have on yoga pants. I went in the bathroom to throw something in the hamper and smiled at the reflection in the mirror, checking myself out.

And the fifteen year old inside me applauded.

let it snow.

snow

One of the great things about teaching kids is all the different seasons. With younger kids, experiencing the season each year is almost brand new, because they can grasp more about it each year. Working at a daycare that excludes projects that center around holidays, seasons come into play a lot more. Snow is amazing, kids love it, and it’s great to work into projects. This post only focuses on toddlers.

Projects:

  1. Use blocks to build an igloo!
  2. Construct a medium or large sized snowman with paper; cut into pieces and tape on blocks; have kids construct snowman!
  3. Use paper plates to pretend to ice skate on floor! (I’ve tried this with toddlers; they love it and it works great on carpet or tile.)
  4. Put snow in sensory bin (add food coloring for fun) and add shovels, mini snow plows, and buckets!
  5. Cut out circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles in various colors for kids to put together to make a paper snowman!
  6. White paint with blue/black paper to make a snowy day/night masterpiece!
  7. Make white playdough and have kids ‘play in the snow’!
  8. Make ice and have kids play with it in sensory bin. (I’ve done this with toddlers and they actually find ice very entertaining!)
  9. Shred paper and fill sensory bin with paper, hiding woodland animals (foxes, raccoons, rabbits, etc.) or cold climate animals (penguins, polar bears, moose, etc). Have kids scavenge through ‘snow’ for animals!
  10. White paper, black paint, and animals or trucks/cars … tracks in the snow!

Books About Snow:

  1. Winter Snow by Liesbet Siegers
  2. It’s Snowing by Caroline Davis
  3. Counting on Snow by Maxwell Newhouse
  4. Baby Animals in the Snow by Various
  5. Snow Baby by Image Books

2013

For 2012 I wanted to:

1. Declutter

2. Not get pregnant

3. Write more

Well, two out of three ain’t bad!

For 2013 I really want to:

1. Write at least three posts a month here.

2. Be Director qualified by the end of 2013.

3. Not get pregnant.

4. Keep up with SheReadsTruth Bible study.

5. Put $1,000 back into savings.

And … break!