Monday, February 28, 2011

Who cut the cheese?

Practical Life : Lessons are used to develop concentration, attention span, fine motor skills, eye-hand co-ordination, decision making power, patience and independance.

In other words - practical stuff you need to learn how do do.

Today's lesson - using a knife. Today's snack - cheese. Today's Punk - Thrilled beyond belief.

Using a knife is Big Boy work. And he craves the Big Boy title so bad it hurts. He's well on his way. And I am so proud of him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bed Time Cards

The "how this came about" part of the story is long. But suffice to say we have been having some bed time struggles. And this is what we came up with to help us work towards a solution. Not exactly a chart, more of a Step 1., Step 2. kind of plan. And so far so good!

At night we go into the Punk's room and pull out his cards. He follows the steps, and (without a fight, tear, screaming match or threat) he does everything he needs to do before bed. Hallelujah!

And at the end of all the steps he gets a bead. A regular old orange Pony Bead. Why? He doesn't know. He just knows he wants them. We have two jars of orange beads labeled "Mom and Dad" and "Punk". He really wants Mom and Dad's beads, so he does everything he needs to in order to earn the beads. In this example 1 card = 1 bead.

We plan to use the beads like currency, but we haven't seen the need to trade beads for anything yet - he's just happy to earn them. And we are ALL happier at bed time!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lazy Days

Some days we are just plain lazy. The Punk will ask to watch "my shows" (meaning any cartoon on any channel) and we lounge around in bed way beyond school work time. And I love those days. Not because I don't have to figure out what lesson we are going to work on - but because I get to look over and see this face from the other pillow looking back at me.

I feel like we still learn a lot on lazy days. We learn to connect with each other, slow down, relax and just be happy. Those are lessons I think everyone needs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buttons on a Wire

Pipe cleaners (Do people actually use these to clean pipes? And who still smokes a pipe these days?) and buttons are wonderful. The Punk sat for 30+ minutes this morning lacing buttons onto a pipe cleaner.
Look at that concentration!

And it was beautiful. The best part (to him) was destroying it! Taking all the buttons back off induced a fit of giggles that were on the edge of maniacal. I love this kid.

Snip Snip Snip

New Scissors Day! I have a passion, nay, obsession with office supplies. If the Punk was a girl I really wanted to name him Avery. It's bad. When I worked outside the home I was the person in charge of ordering office supplies. It was Heaven.

Now my fondness for office supplies is turning into a "What new thing does the Punk need for school? Yep. Totally sad. But my most recent purchase is AWESOME! Scissors. Yeah, he already had scissors. Scissors that cannot cut anything but paper. Scissors that are proven (by the advertisement and ME) to not cut hair. That is important to me (after growing up seeing kids with chunks of hair missing). But... the Punk can't use those scissors well. Not yet at least.

So I bought some new ones. And I am thrilled. They have a springy mechanism that helps them bounce back to the open-position. And that is exactly what he needed help with. Our cutting work went by so smoothly today - no frustrations, no "I can't do this.". I love these new scissors.

Today we practiced cutting construction paper between the happy face stickers.

And then patterning those stickers! A two-for-one activity.

The Punk wanted to cut some more (he's loving these new scissors too!) so we practiced with more strips of construction paper.

And then a page from one of his Kumon books.

Can you spell STALL?

What do I do when the Punk is ready for school work, and I am not?



Give him a puzzle.

See the rack of them in the background? I heart wooden puzzles. And they give me time to go grab things I need (like pipe cleaners) while still keeping him occupied and happy.

I don't know what I'd do without Melissa and Doug.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thank You Umizoomi?

I can't stand Dora. She screams, I cringe. The Punk hasn't ever watched an episode of the show because I think she's annoying. Not to say he doesn't get to watch TV - just not shows I find shrill or useless (like Wubbzy. Ick.). He has found a new "favorite" show that he requests when he earns a few minutes of TV time, and that is Team Umizoomi. At first I wasn't too impressed. The way-too-bright colors and sing-songy mannerisms didn't appeal to me. But then, I'm not 3.

When the Punk started lining up his Hotwheels in color patterns, and said "Just wike Miwwy and Geo!" I started paying more attention. He really IS picking up bits of Math here and there. So now when he earns an extra TV show for the day, I am now prepared with Team Umizoomi on the DVR.

Pattern Power!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Greater than Three this Craft!

The Punk and I made hearts for Valentine's Day today. This craft took me to a happy place. Melty plastic, bright colors, hearts... love! They are called Perler Beads at most craft sores, but I (of course) bought ours from IKEA. We also bought the shapes set that goes with the beads. I sat up late last night and picked out only red, white and pink beads and sorted them on one of the Punk's crafting trays. We got started right away, and we both had a lot of fun picking out each bead to go in each spot. This is a GREAT way to work on fine motor skills, and it's fairly difficult (even for me) I was proud of him for having the patience to stick with it.

After we set our beads in place I melted them. The Punk was safely in the living room playing Hotwheels, and I went at it. Parchment paper, iron and a washcloth was all I needed (The IKEA directions just show a stick figure and an iron, so I Googled some better instructions).

Paper under, paper over, press with a hot iron.


We ended up making 3 hearts today. I am thinking about gluing some magnets to the back so they can have a bit more purpose.
We talked about patterns, colors, heat, all kinds of interesting stuff. And while he's not able to do the magical-amazing-melting part of the activity, I can still see it being something we work with again and again.

Spelling BEE

Today we tried a new activity using the Punk's magnetic letters and his cookie sheet. I printed and cut out words (with pictures) for the Punk to practice spelling. He had a blast! He would find the correct letters and hold up the sheet when he was done.

I hadn't realized my (midnight) mistake. I had used a letter twice! Oh no! We only have one set of the magnets, so when I gave him the word BEE I silently prepared to fumble through some sort of lousy explanation... but I didn't have to. The Punk found the first two letters and JUMPED up. He ran through the kitchen and and grabbed an E from his LeapFrog set on the back door! I was so proud of him, and I could tell he was proud of himself too.

My little spelling BEE :)

B is for Rabbit

I brought out a stamp and ink pad for the Punk today. I said "B is for ____?" and he said "Wabbit." I explained I was going for the word Bunny, and he said "Ok, fine. But it looks like a Wabbit to me."
After stamping, we cut some B's into a Box. He switched the scissors between his hands after every 3rd or 4th cut. Either these scissors don't work well for him, or he's still experimenting with the dominant hand thing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bumble Bee (The Day I Scarred My Child For Life)

Today we worked on B is for Bee. We drew some paths to the beehive, and traced a big letter B. Then we crafted a Bee from a plastic Easter egg, felt and pipe cleaners. The Punk DID help me with this craft, it was just hard to hold the camera and the egg...

Then we sang the Bumble Bee song that we learned at the library Story Time when the Punk was just a baby.
Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee
Landing on my Nose
Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee
Now he's on my Toes
On my Arm
On my Leg
On my Elbows
Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee
He lands and then he goes...

Then I sang "Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee".
And that is the exact moment I broke my son's heart. In my version of the song (I have since learned there are kinder ones out there) the baby bee gets squashed. It's not pretty, but I used to think it was funny. It brought the Punk to tears. He thought the song was "Beary mean and wrude to dat poor wittle Bee."

We all kissed and made up. And now I feel rotten and will forever dislike the mean kid in the Baby Bumble Bee song.

Monday, February 7, 2011

B is for Buttons

I have a few jars of buttons that I bought a year or more ago. I sorted the giant plastic bag into jars by size, and then put them up to "craft with some day". I pull them out on occasion, but put them back thinking that I don't want to waste them on this or that. Today it dawned on me that the reason I bought the buttons was to use them with the Punk. For him to feel them, and sift through them and pick and choose colors. I bought them with him in mind, but kept putting off the use of the buttons for just-the-perfect-craft.

That was silly. They are just buttons. And B (we are working on this week) is for Button. So we made a Button B. And it is perfect.

And lastly is a scanned version of it after drying. Scanning his art makes me feel like I can keep it forever (I don't know why I don't feel the same way about photos?) We had a great time making this. Sticky glue, colorful buttons, and a 3 year old boy = Bliss. And that starts with a B as well. Looks like Mommy learned a lesson today too.