How to Introduce Puzzles to Toddlers?

How to Introduce Puzzles to Toddlers?

How to Introduce Puzzles to Toddlers? – Our way of doing it.

You know puzzles are good, but have no idea which one to pick from the umpteen options amazon shows?

Are you clueless on how to introduce puzzles to your little toddler?

I was once there too and I needed help in picking up the right ones for my little peanut 🙂

Did you know that puzzles help the child in so many aspects from logical thinking, hand eye coordination, decision making skills, grasping skills, pincer grasp and most of all PATIENCE ?

So, we as parents have a huge responsibility of introducing the appropriate ones, easy yet challenging enough for the child’s age.

When I decided to introduce jigsaw puzzles to my boy- we started with this 9 piece jigsaw puzzle which is like a copy puzzle.

I call it a copy puzzle because it has the same image below and the little peanut has to match each piece with its objects.

On the first day, he and I sat through as we spoke  about various objects we found in the picture and matched with the jigsaw pieces.

Once he cracked the way of doing it, we finished another 4 different picture puzzles in one go 🙂

This morning we revisited our first puzzles and I thought I should share our puzzle journey with you guys. And my search for complex puzzles began from here. 🙂

P.S: It is okay if your little candy doesn’t get to crack his first puzzle in the first go. In that case, pull it back from the play shelf and introduce later 🙂

In my next post in this series, I will share my best puzzle finds from Indian stores.

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Why should children get bored?

Why should children get bored?

Why should children get bored? My thoughts

As a parent we think it is important to keep the child active and busy, for we have been told an idle mind is devil’s workshop. In pursuit of keeping the child busy are we limiting their natural inclination to access simple things available around them and find the ‘fun ‘ in it.

Yes it is important for me to keep my child busy with different activities, it is equally important for him to be bored and try his hands out on unstructured play. This thought was a revelation to me through my firsthand experience.

There are days I am too tired to engage myself in creating activities, on one such days my son was done with the activities that were on the shelf. I had energy only to sit and watch him. But watch him do what? I was clueless. It didn’t seem to be a concern for my son, he casually picked up old decoration balls lined them up color coordinated, then he decided to experiment those balls by removing the glitter.
He was excited to see the texture changing, the curiosity reached the next level when he scratched the surface and saw there was something else inside. I let him do what he wanted, the next thing I saw was a thermocol ball waved in front of my face between those little fingers.

Gleaming with excitement with the discovery, he now wanted to see play float or sink. And the game went on for some time.

In all the tiredness I found the energy to smile and get excited that a simple decoration ball lying in one corner of his toy box kept him busy. More importantly it gave me time to sit back relax and enjoy, plan something for the next day.

I wasn’t able to capture those moments to share. All I could do was to happily watch him play.

After that instance we have been having many such moments of free play where he uses whatever is available at his disposal

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A glimpse of it below in which he tries to balance his cars in the basketball net.

Now you tell me, how much of free play do you encourage? How long does the free play happen?
Meanwhile take a moment to join our support group Early Learning for Toddlers India and find your mom tribe 🙂

Why should children get bored?
Baby and Montessori Interlocking Discs

Baby and Montessori Interlocking Discs

When I was pregnant with my second one, I looked up on the internet for newborn materials.

And these Montessori interlocking discs was my most desired of all.  I had ours handmade for I couldn’t find them here in India.

As this would be doubling up as a teething material, I wanted to make sure a wood that is safe for the kid was being used.

I like this best because the baby could hold this in different angles, also it is lighter in weight and it can be brought to the mouth effortlessly.

I love that this simple toy can bring so much excitement to a newborn.

When my little peanut was close to two months, he struggled to hold these…no surprise there 🙂

So, we introduced it a little later and he could just grab them for a few seconds and then drop it down.

A couple of weeks later he was able to hold them for much longer.

And then one day he surprised me by transferring the material from one hand to the other.

Now that he is 6 months old he finds joy in banging them up on the floor 🙂

And you know the best part- when tapped casually, this material rolls off gently encouraging the child to crawl to reach it.

When my lil peanut first saw it roll, he seemed so surprised that his eyes almost popped out 🙂

P.S: I intend to make it available in the shop sooner. Keep watching out this space if you are expecting a newborn or have one in your hands already 🙂

And say hello to little Peanut 🙂

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Why you should also read paperbacks to your kids?

Why you should also read paperbacks to your kids?

If you have been following us and surfing through our website, you would have known that my toddler boy and I absolutely adore books.

We introduced books to him when he was 18-20 months old. We took him to the bookstores and kept browsing for books, while he got to touch the books and explored them.

Serious reading started few months later and he was introduced to a variety of picture books. What I realized was that most of the picture books came as board books.

While we moved on to story books, I was surprised that there were very limited options in board books category. That is when we fell in love with paperbacks.

Take it from a bookseller who comes across a 100 books each day – that paperbacks are the best. The best children books that I have found have always been in paperback format.

Paperback Children kids books

Here are some reasons why you should introduce paperbacks to your kids

1.Reading a paperback teaches them how to be gentle with books.

2.It makes them feel trusted and responsibl.

3.When your child tears the paper pages you could use that as an opportunity for problem solving.

4.Children learn know that papers tear and cannot be fixed. This is also one of the reasons why they use glassware in Montessori spaces.

5.If your kids go to traditional schools this would be a perfect precursor to notebooks.

6.Because they save space.

And last of all, paperback books are priced low when compared to board books or hardcovers. It is light on the pocket 🙂

Tips on handling paperbacks:

1.Show them how to turn the pages and how to care for the books.

2.Show them how to avoid dog ears in the page corners.

3.Slowly transition from board books to paper backs. During the transition period, you could do paperbacks for reading together and use board books while your child reads alone

Happy reading guys. Check out some of our loved paperback suggestions on the pictures below. And drop a comment on what is your favorite, I would like to get some lovely book recommendations as well 🙂

To buy books from us , click here

 

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Egg Shell Cracking and Slicing Activities

Egg Shell Cracking and Slicing Activities

I must have been 10 or 12 years when I cracked the first egg for my omelets.

As a child I always thought that eggs were to be handled by adults.

Oh boy, how wrong was I.

My little ones tryst with eggs began when he was 18 months old and he is more of a pro now.

We do have our hit and misses, nevertheless he generally does a clean job 🙂

I decided to take it to the next level and introduce an egg slicer to him.

Montessori Egg Peeling and Slicing Activities for toddlers

This egg slicer from amazon is pretty sturdy and the wires line up charmingly with the base.

It is a simple to use one which is safe for those little fingers 🙂

The best thing is that the eggs don’t get smashed when the child cuts it.

So I got the boiled egg, two bowls-one to put in the peeled shell and the other one for the sliced eggs.

I presented him the trick of breaking the eggs the good old fashioned way- by slightly cracking it on the kitchen counter 🙂

He then carefully peeled the egg shells manipulating the egg on all angles.

He had a deep concentration while his fingers worked and I and my husband observed it in silently.

I could very well say that this could be the best fine motor work that you can practice in the kitchen 🙂

He was told to place the egg in the slicer and gently press the top to the base 🙂

Voila, he was extremely amused to see how the slices came out from it.

Anything for that smile 🙂

I asked him if he wanted to make a quick egg sandwich for his dad.

But we finally had a meltdown and he ended up eating that sandwich 🙂

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Want to tell me about your experiences with egg? Does your little one know how to crack the eggs? Would you do this with your child? Drop in a comment about that 🙂

How to prepare your toddler for a new baby?

How to prepare your toddler for a new baby?

If you have been following this blog, you must have noticed that we welcomed a cute bundle of Joy a month back.

In this post, I wanted to talk of how you could prepare your toddler to make the entire episode a happy one.

It is such an awesome news that the family will grow, but it is quiet overwhelming and challenging for your toddler.

Here are some tips that we used that kind of eased or transitioned our toddler well.

1. Let your toddler know the good news right from the beginning. My toddler knew he was going to a brother when I was 2 months pregnant.

2. Take your toddler along to the hospital visits and scan appointments. My boy was present during all scans and he got to watch the little baby on the scan monitors.

3. I let my little boy apply stretch marks cream on my tummy and had him gently stroke the tummy.

4. We spoke positively about the baby and told him when the baby is here he would have company to talk and play.

5. We took advantage of all newborn visits in the friends and family circle. While we were there we told him that is how our new baby would be.

6. We took him while we shopped for our newborn.

7. I told him his birth story of how he was born and how I instantly fell in love with him. I kept reminding him of how new baby would come in from my tummy as well.

8. We spoke about how we would get to stay in hospital for a while when the baby comes in.

9. We shopped few toys to keep him busy during hospital visits and we wrapped a car for him. We told him that baby got him this gift 😉

10. We told him that we would move to my parents place and prepared him that his grandma and grandpa will take care of him.

11. When he first met his brother we asked him to kiss the baby gently.

12. Once we came home with the baby, we got his help in reaching out for diapers, massage lotions and other things.

13. I asked his preferences of the two choices of dress we would dress for the baby. Sometimes the combinations were funny but it gave him a sense of belonging and contributing to the baby 🙂

While this was all done we made sure he got enough attention during the whole pregnancy and after the baby’s arrival.

Afterall that would be the only time your toddler will be your only child 😉

We made sure he does not feel left out and I and my husband tried to him undivided attention.
Honestly with a newborn it was tough but we did our part 🙂

P.S: Below are the things I wish I had done differently.

1. I could have weaned my toddler during my pregnancy. Tandem breastfeeding got difficult while my little one started cluster feeding at 4 weeks.

2. I wish I had let my toddler stay in the hospital on the first day of baby’s arrival. That was our first and only night away from me.

3. I wish I had read books about the baby’s arrival.

4. Finally, I wish we three had gone on a tour  or something which would have been memorable 🙂

And good luck to you on your new arrival. Also if you have ideas and inputs on this, please leave it on the comment and I will add those pointers on this post 🙂

8 Ideas for Montessori Pre-Reading Activities

8 Ideas for Montessori Pre-Reading Activities

Learning to read is not a race while there is so much emphasis on phonics these days.

The child has to be ready before they start reading on their own, if not it leads to frustration.

Pre-reading activities or reading readiness is like a warm-up before you start exercising.

I have a curated list of free printables which you can directly download from the websites.

Montessori explains that the sensitive period for language is from 0-6. Reading aloud books and associating objects to words are all started from birth, while these activities can be started anywhere from 3-6 years.

1.Reading Aloud before Bedtime:

My son loves to read and I read aloud to him before our nap time while we snuggle together. We started with picture books with few sentences each page and then moved on to books with more text. Now we read books like this at 3.5 years.

2.Sorting by Category:

Sorting is an important skill that cannot be taken for granted. This blog beautifully explains why sorting is essential in the part of growing. In the later part of the blog there are plentiful ideas to sort by category. If your child is young and you want to begin then concrete objects are the best to start with. Check this post for young children less than 3. I would like to try all of the sorting ideas in our future work. For now, we tried a few of it and I have attached the links of free printables below. Don’t forget to download and practice them.

3.What does not belong?

Once children learn to sort they start noticing how things are alike and what is different. You can read on how to do this activity here and download your set of cards from below.

4.Pattern Cards:

Sequencing is an important life skill by itself. Here Children learn to move from left to right like how we read on print and also

The printable can be downloaded from below.

5.Story Sequence:

This is an extension work of pattern cards, the story sequence helps to observe and recall events.

You can start with something as simple as “Jack and Jill” Rhyme (printable link below) and ask your child to arrange them in order.

The one we used is a bit complex which explains the story of a snowman. This printable comes with a control card i.e. Montessori way of the child to know if he has done the work successfully. The printable link is mentioned below.

6.Picture to Background Matching:

This activity is to help one prepare for figure ground perception. This helps in focusing on one piece of information from a busy background. In simple words: looking for a particular word/line on a book page.

“I Spy” games can be done to work on this. We did some simple picture puzzle downloaded from a website. Link is given below.

7.Using Magnifying Lens to Focus on an Object:

My son is now fascinated to use his magnifying lens and I took that to advantage by giving him some matching work with the help of the lens. While he was working on this, I understood he enjoys using the lens a lot. In the coming days we hope we do a lot more of magnifying lens activities. The printable can be downloaded from below.

8.Look alike cards:

This teaches the child to move from left to right and top to bottom. You can read on how to present this activity here. The printable link is mentioned below.

Join our Instagram, Facebook page and Facebook group to chat and get inspired as a community 🙂

Printable download links:

http://www.montessoriforeveryone.com/Language-Materials_ep_60-1.html

https://www.montessoriinspiredprintables.com/products/montessori-pre-reading-what-does-not-belong-activity

http://www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/JackandJillSequentialOrder.htm

http://www.totschooling.net/2014/09/fall-leaf-shadow-matching.html

http://www.kellyskindergarten.com/science/science_center_activities.html

 

Reference links:

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/matching_and_sorting_are_early_stages_of_math_development

https://mindmoves.co.za/articles/article/PreReadingAndSpellingSkills.pdf

http://www.howwemontessori.com/how-we-montessori/2013/08/why-matching-sorting-and-categorising-is-good-for-their-brain-development.html

http://girlfriendscoffeehour.com/2013/11/14/4-benefits-sorting-activities-young-children/

http://carrotsareorange.com/pre-reading-lessons/

http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/figure-ground-perception.html

A Happy Positive C-Section Birth Story

A Happy Positive C-Section Birth Story

It’s been two weeks since I had a newborn.  I wanted to share my positive C-section story with you all. C-section and happy positive in the same sentence? Well, I did have one 🙂

Three years back when I was pregnant with my first born, all the pregnancy books I read spoke about vaginal birth (vaginal birth only).

I was so confident that I would have a vaginal birth and C-section was not the word for me. I assumed and envisioned my birth story like this- Water breaks (from all the English movies I had watched), followed by rushing to the hospital minus the crazy car drive, swishing through the labor room in a stretcher and having the baby within few hours. Who was I kidding?

What actually happened? Water broke early in the morning, we packed our hospital bag of whatever we could grab in our close reach, visited a couple of churches, registered in the hospital reception, walked to a room were people kept doing internal examinations on me and then contractions began but I didn’t progress.

Six hours later while they kept me waiting, I suddenly blacked out and there was panic all over the room. They all pointed to the baby heart rate monitor and spoke louder. Apparently, the baby was going through distress and I was following the doctor’s command like a robot being keyed to do things. There at that moment, my birth plan had gone for a toss out of the window and it took me a full year to get over my traumatic birth story.

Now when I analyze why it took me so long to accept my C-section birth, I have only one answer. I was not prepared for a possible C-section for I was told and made to believe that it was not the norm.

This time around I have a different story to say 🙂

Though I wanted to have a VBAC tried, I also had a birth plan for a C-section if things don’t go as I wanted.

  1. My Ob-Gyn and I spoke about my birth plan and I explained all my expectations to her.
  2. We spoke about the pain management after birth.
  3. We spoke about my fibroid cyst and if they would remove it or let it be.
  4. We spoke about how we could manage the visitors and how to get enough rest in the first few days.
  5. My anesthetist and I discussed about the anesthesia options and the pros and cons of having a general anesthesia.
  6. More importantly, she explained my mom about the 4th day baby blues which was new to her.

On the 18th morning when my VBAC plans was not happening, I gave up and said I am a having a C-section. They drove me to the operation theater. While they moved me on the stretcher, I waved bye to my husband, lil boy and my parents.

They lay me on the bed and gave me five minutes to settle down (like I was going to take an exam ;-)). My anesthetist came in and gave my spinal. The nurses already knew my phobia for the needles and helped me calm down before that. And then the anesthetist talked me through the entire surgery.  My gynae told me that the baby should be out in next two minutes and I started to wait like a hawk.

There came the little man and they immediately put him on my breast. I got to touch his forehead, noticed that he had loads of hair and was immediately smitten. J The skin to skin and delayed chord clamping made the C-section worthwhile 🙂 What followed is a blurred memory.

I remember the nurses giving the baby again to me while I was in the recovery room and two nurses put the baby on my breast for his first feed and kick started our breastfeeding journey. The golden hour of breastfeeding is what I read on the internet and insisted that I have it done before they shift me and baby to our room.

The second day the catheter was removed and they had me walking inside the room. I took all the pain killers given and was discharged to home in the next three days. Overall, things were under control and everything went as per plan 🙂

I made peace with my C-section and my scars when I understood that the result is more important than the process when it comes to a newborn. All I wanted was a baby- a healthy baby. I don’t care of how I brought him to this world which would not be a question in ten years from now.

There after three years of mind struggle- I have learnt to let go 🙂

Tips for a positive C-section:

  1. Write your birth plan down and find a gynae who would support it.
  2. Read about delayed chord clamping, skin to skin and breast crawl and see if that is what you would want.
  3. I requested for my gown to be one arm free and open on top so they need not struggle to remove my gown to have skin to skin.
  4. Get to know the anesthesia options and figure out what works for you.
  5. If you would like your partner to be with you, check for the feasibility in the hospital
  6. Let your medical team know prior about your breastfeeding plans.
  7. Take all the pain killers offered to you.
  8. Sit and walk sooner after they get your catheter removed.
  9. Take enough fluids and make sure you rest your back enough.
  10. This new mom pads and the pad fixator made my life even easier.

And finally remember, it is not a failure if you had a C-section and you can have a positive C-section experience too 🙂