Sensory activites

This summer and fall we have doing several sensory activites.  All of my girls LOVED playing in the water.  When it was too cold to get completly in the pool we used a baby bath tub outside as our “water table”.  It worked great and the kids  had lots of fun!

Our discovery baskets

I kept forgetting to take a picture of our discovery baskets but I am going to write about them anyway so that I don’t forget about them! I used a basket that was about 1′ by 1′ and 10 inches deep for our basket. I then filled it with lots of objects from around the house for my daughter to discover. I used things like: a metal wisk, squares of fabric, ball of yarn, pine cone, wooden spoons, tea strainer, small glass jar, brush, etc. The idea is to have lots of different textures for your baby to feel and discover. I used this once my daughter was sitting up until she started walking. She loved to sit and go through the basket. I always made sure I was close by because not all of the objects were the best to have out unsuperviesed but I let her do the exploring. I got the idea from this article on Treasure Baskets.   This site, written by the woman who wrote the e-book on Treasure Baskets has some wonderful ideas for activites for young children.

Stop and pray

I have pictures of our activity from yesturday but I am going to wait and share that tomorrow.

I was reading a post about beautiful young lady who is turning 16 today.  One of the things her mother shared about her was that she “She has strong convictions and knows her mind, but she is ever gentle about it, never overbearing.”.  What a wonderful word picture of the character I hope my little girl develops.   (She is currently in the this is what I WANT  NOW stubborn stage:)  But this reminded me to look to her future and have hope that she is going to change and grow, and hopefully into a beautiful young lady.  And also, most importantly, I need to pray for her.  That God would work in her and shape her into a godly young lady.  I also prayed for wisdom to guide and correct her in a way that will gently teach and not hinder her.  Sometimes I just need those reminders to stop and pray and realize that my daughter is God’s daughter first and most importantly.

Dirty feet

On Sunday, Anna had a very hard time sitting in the worship service.  Daddy was preaching in two services at an retirement community so not only was it a lot longer of a morning, there was also no place to take a very tired little girl.

Right before the sermon of the second service I took Anna out.  I wasn’t sure exactly where to take her until I saw the gardens.  They were BEAUTIFUL.  As soon as were were outside Anna’s attitude changed.  She was thrilled to be out in God’s World discovering anything and everything.

After letting her explore for a little while I looked down and saw very dirty little feet poking out from her pretty pick dress.   My first reaction what to be upset that I had allowed her to get all dirty, but then I thought a second longer and realized that the dirt wasn’t going to hurt anything.  She was having a ball toddling around holding onto trees and picking up gum balls.  She was learning to love God’s creation – there isn’t much that is better then that.

When it was time to go back in an visit, I quickly wiped her feet off with baby wipes, dusted off her dress and you would have never known that  she had just finished playing in the dirt having a time off her life – except for the happy contented look on her face.  That was worth it!

Educational Philosophies…

As I have had time this summer I am exploring some of the different views on preschool educational thought.   It always amazes me how much I can learn from so many different views:).   For instance I have been exploring Montessori and I find some things that I disagree with and some things that I love.   The book I was reading talked about children being “incomplete human beings”.  And talked about the fact that parents and teachers have the job of enabling children to become completed human beings. I disagree with this underling principle.  All children are complete human beings that God has made in his image.  At the same time all children (and all adults) are completely flawed/fallen human beings.  We are not able to help children become complete human beings.  Only Jesus is able to help in this way.   Although I do not agree with these underling principals of Montessori, there are many practical applications of teaching children that I love.  Montessori also wants to teach children to be lifelong learners.  This aspect I totally agree with.  I really like the way that they break down how to help young children become prepared to be lifelong learners.  I will be sharing some ideas over the next couple of weeks.

Sleeping Update

I feel like I have been working on trying to get Anna to sleep through the night for forever without much progress. I read all the books I could find at the library and at Borders and none of them seemed to have information that would help me with Anna.   Part of this problem is that Anna is a good sleeper.  She goes to bed fine and she takes great naps – she just wasn’t sleeping through the night for some reason.  I had even tried slowly weaning her like the books said but she would still wake up.  We even tried letting her “cry it out” but she just cried and cried and then woke of 1 hour later crying again.  She was acting like she really needed the food to sustain her in order to make it through the night.

Well my mom bought me another book.  Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber. (My reaction was: “Mom, I have already read EVERYTHING!”)  Well I was wrong – this book was great. It had similar stuff, such as making sure that your child can fall asleep on her own (check), and slowly weaning them off eating at night (tried but not yet succeeded) but it had something else as well.  He wrote all about the different sleep cycles and that information was very helpful.

For one thing, I realized that Anna was currently suffering from having a “late sleep cycle”.  This means that she was getting fussy earlier then normal but then falling asleep a lot later than normal.  This had happened because we had had family in town and stayed out later than normal doing things a couple of nights and Anna had gone to bed late.  So now she was having trouble falling asleep at her normal time.  Thankfully this was easy to fix.  I did two things he suggested.  I woke Anna up at her normal time each morning, and I put her to bed 15 minutes earlier each day.  After three days she was back to normal.

That was the short-term problem I had to fix, then came addressing the long-term problem of not sleeping through the night.  After reading the book I realized that Anna was having a hard time distinguishing between night sleep and nap sleep.  She would go to bed for the night and then I would feed her again at around 10:30 to hopefully help her tummy be full for the night.  This was the problem.  Her body was getting used to waking up after only a few hours of sleep (just like at nap time) instead of going into deeper sleep.  And then she would wake up every few hours, and when she did she would be hungry.   This was a lot easier to fix then I realized.   I needed to wean her off that feeding.

The first night I fed her at 10:30 but shortened the feeding. S than woke up at 4:30-5ish and I fed her for 1 minute. Then she slept until 8:00.

The second night I delayed the feeding until 12:30 and only let her eat a few minutes.  She than slept until 7:30.

The third night I did not wake her up at all.  She woke at 5:00 and I fed her for 1 minute and then she slept until 8:00.  (That means she slept 10 hours straight!)

The fourth night she slept from 7:30 until 7:30 or 8:00!

She has been sleeping all night since then.  We have had interruptions  with teeth hurting or a fever but each time it was one interruption in the night and the following night she slept just fine.  So I needed to do two things to get her to sleep all night.  First, shorten each feeding, and second, lengthen the time between each feeding.   Now she is happily sleeping through the night.

Our Quiet Bag

Our Quiet Bag

Our Quiet Bag

It hangs on a peg by the door so I can grab it when we go out. I try to save it for when it is needed and I don’t use it everyday.  Today I was so thankful for this bag.  I had a doctor appointment for my daughter.  Whenever I take two children to the doctor I make sure I am prepared.  We use the double stroller, I take a sling just in case, snacks and of course the quiet bag.

What is our quiet bag?  A child size bag filled with anything that might engage a child (ie. quiet toys, objects, or books).  I purposely pick things that will not jingle or rattle and try to have most of the object soft so they would not make nose if dropped in church.  The contents change constantly.  If I see something that my child has really enjoyed playing with that would work well in the quiet bag I might add it when she is not looking.   The fact that the objects are not seen often, and that they are even the same collection of objects helps to make the bag special. I have one fabric book that stays in the bag all the time.  Each page has different learning activities for the child to do.  It is great.

The objects in our Quiet bag today

The objects in our quiet bag today: 3 books, a small purse, 2 people, a dog, a boat, and a ring

Our Quiet book!

Front of the book, with a snap on flower

Pockets and Laces

Snaps and buttons

Zippers and colors and shapes

The bag’s purpose  is to help engage a child in church, or while waiting for an appointment or even in a concert.  So I keep it by the door ready to grab when I might need it.

Today we waited in the doctors office for 45 minutes before we saw the doctor.  And then he talked with me for about 30 minutes more.  During that time I was constantly pulling out different toys to engage my little girls.  Because I was prepared, our long doctor visit was a learning playtime instead of a stressful, boring, time of trying to keep the children quiet.

So what do you do when you need to keep your children entertained and quiet? Please share!!!