Friday, October 16, 2009

Ba-by.. Ba-by.. Ba-by Signing Time!

My twenty-one month old daughter has been singing "Ba-by Ba-by Ba-by Signing Time". It's hilarious. She's completely out of tune and the fact that she's attempting to sing when she's just learned to string words together speaks volumes for how obsessed she is with this series! She has been obsessed with Baby Signing Time since we introduced it to her when she was 7 months old.

Violet's first time watching Baby Signing TIme.


At 7 months, she would squeal with excitement and smile ear to ear (especially in between scenes when the black transitional screen would appear which I found interesting). Now she requests the videos by saying "I want Baby Signing Time". She is captivated by the video from beginning to end, often dictating what will come next and always requesting "more Baby" or "one more time".

There have been times when we wonder "how much is too much"? She requests it in the car and whenever she sees a laptop. We usually give in to her guilty pleasure on longer car rides and while getting dinner ready on occasion. As of lately she's averaging 1-2 viewings per day. More than I would like, but I have to admit she has learned a great deal from these videos. First off, she LOVES watching them. Her face lights up with excitement when Rachel introduces Leah, Alex and especially Hopkins. Not only can she identify and name almost every animal, she can sign them too! The best part.. it's not only tolerable to listen to time and again but I actually find the tunes really catchy.

So, my take on Baby Signing Time? Be warned that it IS crack for babies (if your child is anything like mine) but I think the benefits far out-weigh the neurotic behaviour that may ensue.. "You can share what's on your mind.. Baby Baby Baby Signing Time!" :)

(I highly suggest getting the audio cds as well for the car when the dvd is not an option.. it saves us on many long drives!)


Friday, October 2, 2009

Shh! Listen!

I've been using the line... "Shhh! Listen!" over the last several weeks long after we returned the book it was inspired by to the library. The book is called  How Loud Is a Lion? and it is a book worth buying! (I'm not getting paid to say that.. unfortunately.)

It has beautiful graphics made up of a stitched layered fabrics, not to mention it's key line has come to my rescue many a times when Violet is in crazy mode and unable to focus. After a loud "Shhh! Listen!" she stops immediately to listen. Every time I remember to use this line.. I thank the author of this book for writing it. It's seriously become a little tool in my 'how to calm my child' toolbox.

Here's a sample line from the book: "Parrots are feathery, porcupines are prickly, But how loud is a lion? Shhh! Listen!" Other reasons I love this book: it introduces several types of birds and animals, it introduces adjectives, it reads like a song, after a few reads my 19 month old was holding her finger up to her lips in anticipation of the "Shhh" part which was just precious!


Great Online Article

I just came across this article today called "Teachable Toddler Moments"! It hits on every reason I started this blog:

"Toddlers are like sponges, absorbing everything around them."
"The most important thing parents can do at this stage is maximize everyday toddler teachable moments."
"The toddler years lay the foundation for the rest of your child's life."

The article includes pages of tips for identifying and using everyday experiences as an opportunity to teach your toddler. Love it!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Lesson in Crossing the Road

This long weekend has been SO beautiful! Yesterday morning we especially took advantage of the lovely sunshine by taking a long family walk down to the lake. Taylor, with a coffee in hand, and I pulling the wagon with Violet sitting nicely enjoyed the brisk walk, making it to the harbour in no time. We enjoyed strolling along the river admiring the boats followed by a stop at the park to indulge Violet. It was at the edge of Lakeside Park where we released Violet's wagon strap and she was off! *Knowing the risk that she may not sit for the ride home.

She's been really cute at the park lately. She LOVES the swing most of all and often will say "I wait" since when it's in use, we tell her "you have to wait". She obliges happily and says "I wait" whether or not it is actually in use. After a little play time we were able to pull her away from the park by incenting  her to see the bunny. "I walk" she says. No luck getting her into the wagon. No problem (no surprise). We're not in a busy area, she can walk. We're practicing our patience, asking her to "walk this way, this way" or "how about your push the wagon", anything that keeps her moving in the direction we need to go in to get home. At this stage we're a little tired and she's tired no doubt and fighting any attempt to sit in the wagon or be held while crossing the street. A few blocks over we get to a busier area. I'm all for letting her walk rather than constraining her to a carriage or wagon when she's interested in moving.. but crossing the road has become an issue. 

From day one, I've told her you need to hold my hand or else i have to pick you up to cross the street. It hasn't quite sunk in. So yesterday, I turned it into a game. As we approached a stop sign (or any street crossing or large driveway entrance for that matter) I'd say "..and STOP" and sign 'stop' and come to a halt. Then say, "let's see if any cars are coming.." and when we confirm it's clear say "ok, let's go"! The activity of the stopping and actions seemed to occupy her enough to hold my hand through the street crossing and off we went walking home!

It's never too early to find opportunities to instill good habits. It's just on me now to keep up the 'crossing the road game' consistently enough that it becomes a habit.. and hopefully the novelty won't wear off too quickly..

A little video clip of our little walker/wagon pusher.
*Not to self: Remember to hold the camera in landscape mode!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


A cute little story about taking advantage of the bright full moon we had last night..

Background: Grandma (Nana) brought Violet a book about the moon that has a glowing crescent moon on it that lights up when you press it. She LOVES this book and loves pointing out the 'airplane' which is actually a space shuttle, but whatever..

Last night: We point out the full moon to distract her from getting grumpy on the way home from going out for dinner way too late. We get home and stand at the edge of the driveway pointing up at the moon, catching a glimpse of it shining between the tall trees. Both Taylor and I are repeating "moon, moon" and Violet says "sun".. lol! To her, the moon is a crescent and the sun is circular. We continued to say "moon" and when we admired it once more from her bedroom window before turning down the blinds she said "sun" again. Too funny! We tried, it will come..

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The Sticker Book is a huge hit. Here she is showing Daddy how the book works!

I thought I'd share a moment that helped inspire this blog. A few months ago in our drop-in baby sign language class, Violet approached the teacher holding a tractor as if asking her to tell her about it. The teacher stopped her lesson and showed Violet how to sign tractor before going back to her lesson and sharing with the other mothers: "This is what we call a teachable moment". 

I think it's natural for parents and caregivers to respond to children's interests but I also think there are times that we're just too busy with life and getting through each day. This blog is meant to be my inspiration to document and become more attuned to teachable moments and to fulfill those opportunities for learning.

“And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.” ~ Maria Montessori

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stickers (or di-da)

Most kids love stickers, no? The line up for a tiny little sticker at the end of storytime at the library says it all. So when I came across this sticker activity book yesterday I had to buy it. At the time I didn't realize that there was a place to put the stickers and started to wonder whether I'd be peeling stickers off of the fridge and the walls. But upon further reviewing the book, I realized that this was going to become a more enriching activity than I thought. 

The book contains hundreds of stickers of animals, airplanes, cars, kids.. and more. Each image is on a coloured background and is numbered. At the front of the book is a place designed for each sticker with the matching colour background, number and name of the image. It's certainly suited for older children, but I thought we'd give it a go.

This evening we sat down at the kitchen table and flipped through the book. The airplane caught her eye and so that is where we started. We put a post-it note on the airplane page and we put a sticker on the page where the stickers are placed that correspond with the airplanes and cars (for easy flipping back and forth). I helped peel the sticker and gave it to Violet to hold. I then let her tell me where the sticker should go by looking for the matching colour and shape. While doing so I called out the corresponding number so that I could match it.. although she's not looking for the number as I am, I think it helps her to hear different numbers spoken. She even repeated some of them.

We got through posting several stickers in their correct locations and her concentration was high. Here are a few pics... I love the last picture where she's thinking about the helicopter.






Parrr... (!)

...K! Parr-k. Violet learned how to say 'park' about a week ago (vs what she used to say which was 'Par"). She learned in the most unexpected bizarre way. We weren't going to the park, at the park or even necessarily talking about a park. We were reading a book called "My P sound box" where the girl with the letter "P" on her shirt walked around collecting things that start with the letter P to put in her box. We got about 5 pages into the book when she walked up to a sign that said 'park' - no picture of a park - just a wood sign with the word 'park' on it. 


From that moment on that book was known as the 'park book' and all she wanted from that book was to find the page with the park sign and point it out. That's what I call a teachable toddler moment. ParK it has been since then!

As much as I want to teach my little girl certain things, she will guide her own learning and rather than interfere with that, she will lead the way. To that end, I've created this blog to document and celebrate the little moments of discovery.  I hope you enjoy reading along and contribute your ideas to foster creativity, critical thinking and most importantly a love of learning for our children.