Toddler lesson: corn 🌽 🍿

After our very first toddler lesson at home focusing on pumpkins, I received some feedback for which I was very grateful.

The kids has a blast, and they learned and retained a lot of the material we covered.

Attention

Our focus is simply to grab the kids’ attention. They’re so little and have trouble paying attention. And when the kids are put in an environment that’s different or new there are so many distractions, everywhere. It’s unavoidable. But, we try to minimize them.

Corn Lesson Plan

Sticking to the autumn theme, this past week’s lesson was focused on corn! There are a lot of things made out of corn so we ended up shucking corn after watching a YouTube video about Corn on the Cob. And then we did a few sensory activities while we read some books.

Here is a picture of my lesson plan board!

Toddler lesson plan board focusing on CORN

Corn Structured Play

Our biggest class yet. Five kids vs. three kids made a difference! Just a lot going on all at once…good noise of course!

Also, there were a lot of activities to cover, but the transition was nice because I tried to plan it so the kids had a few songs and then books and then back to some sort of craft so they didn’t get bored.

Overall, it was a very fast-paced lesson focused on play.

Here is a printout focusing on the letter C, corn, and the Chinese character with pinyin for corn.

C is for Corn

Once we finished with the lesson portion of the lesson, we went upstairs and munched away on corn snacks!

Corn snack ideas!

  • Corn muffins
  • Corn chips
  • Tortilla chips with salsa
  • Corn on the cob with or without butter
  • Spanish corn snack called Quicos (found at Whole Foods)
  • Popcorn

Popcorn Flavor Station

Why not make it fun and interactive for your toddlers and friends? You can create a popcorn station where kids can experiment with different types of seasonings. I whipped out my seaweed and other spices from my spice rack, as well as some mainstream spices, such as cinnammon with sugar

Popcorn with flavor station

Get your own brown paper bags and shake ’em up with your favorite popcorn seasonings. Of course, my child went for it and made a pile of “Bangkok Blend” seasoning along with Chili Powder!

Mixing different flavors for popcorn seasoning

Hopping Corn

Oh and if you’re wondering about that large glass vase on the left-hand corner in the above picture, that was our hopping corn activity we found on www.onetimethrough.com.

Here is the link if you’re interested! http://onetimethrough.com/hopping-corn-science-activity/

The AftermathPopcorn lesson aftermath - homeschooling my toddler

Popcorn galore!  Yes, there were popcorn and kernels everywhere. It smelled like a movie theatre once we were finished with our lesson for the day! Lots of cleaning post-lesson. Thankful for all of the helpful moms in the group <3.

Welcome to parenthood. Done messy!

I hope you enjoyed reading and browsing through pictures:) Until next lesson….

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Ten Red Apples Felt Board Activity Prep

For my toddler homeschooling lesson this fall, I organized an activity that encourages participation!

Turn your lesson prep into a FUN time with your kids:) That’s what we did.

Ten Red Apples

After checking out some books from our local library, I selected Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins (ISBN: 0688167977) for our apple-themed felt board activity.

Preparation

Kai, my two-year old son, and I had a blast making the cute cut-outs for the hand-me-down felt board I inherited from my husband’s Aunt Linda. She used to teach pre-school, and she passed along all of her material to me. I’m so blessed and thankful for all of the resources! Thank you.

Here are some pictures from our activity.

I searched for clipart images of all of the animals in the book, from a horse to a donkey to a hen and a duck! Then, I printed them out on regular paper. I also printed out a large tree and some apples and the farmers.

Afterwards, I used Mod Podge Original 16-Ounce Glue, Gloss Finish Party Supplies, 16 Oz, 12 Pieces with some paint brushes to stick them on thick paper (cardstock).

I asked Kai to help me paint over the images I printed out. Definitely don’t be shy with the glue. I painted underneath the images and then Kai took over! After there was a nice coat over the images, we lay them out to dry for a few hours.

Then we started cutting them out. I used a hot glue gun and glued felt on the back of the images. To stick the apples on the tree, I used mounting putty, so they could easily be removed from the tree as we counted down from 10 to 0.

The Activity

For the actual felt board activity during the day of the lesson, I asked a parent volunteer to read the book as I assisted with the images. It was a semi-success. Some kids were very focused while others were not.

You win some and lose some.

We had so much fun with the whole process though:) and hope you enjoy!

Boston Children’s Museum Day Trip

Boston Children’s Museum Day Trip
Friday, August 10, 2018

Sometimes going on day trips and taking advantage of where your home base is, is the best way to explore.

Explore locally.

So my husband took a guys fishing trip to Key West, Florida for about five days. Oh I’m really hoping he will write a short post about his trip…or maybe I’ll do an interview! Anyways, while he was away, I had planned a few activities to keep my toddler and me busy.

Preparation

My friend Paolina and her one-year old Isabella met up with us.

We both had planned to pack our own lunches. This always takes a little time. My go-to: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:) well I made one PB&J with the crusts cut off and cut into triangles for Kai. I also made one ham and cheese with mayo sans crust for him. I made myself a buffalo chicken sandwich with mustard, and I brought some baby carrots dipped in hummus with pine nuts (so tasty)! One thing Kai loves is his milk.

I always pack a change of clothes and underwear for Kai. And, extra shoes too! Since he was going to do a lot of walking, I made sure to put on socks and sneakers for him. I did notice there were some rooms with water, so I packed sandals for him too!

The Trip

We met at the Boston Children’s Museum, and we both drove into Boston. I live in Rhode Island, so Boston is about an hour north of me. Paolina lives north of Boston, so we met in a good location.

I left my house around 10am to try and avoid the rush hour traffic into the city. It worked out pretty well!

Parking garage options are listed on their webpage. We opted for the one located at: 280 Congress Street, Boston, MA.

The rate: $20 for the day with a validated parking ticket from the museum.

Kai and I got to the parking garage around 11:20am. Paolina had just parked, so she waited for me in the elevator area while I got all of his stuff together.

Stroller ride to the Boston Children's Museum

Thankfully we brought our stroller with us. It was quite useful when commuting from the parking garage to the museum itself.

Navigating the Museum

Here is the link to the museum floor plan. The museum is fairly large compared to the one in Providence, RI.

Once we were there it having the stroller was a little bit of a hassle, but the museum had ample stroller parking space alongside or outside of the exhibits.

This was both of our first times here at the museum.

Because I have a family plus membership to the Providence Children’s Museum I was able to get a 50% discount for up to six guests in total at the Boston Children’s Museum. You should check your local museum to see if they participate.

Here you can find a chart listing museums participating in the reciprocal program! This way, if you get a membership to your local museum, you are able to get a 50% discount to other museums:)

Food First!

Our first stop after purchasing tickets was to find a lunch area where we could eat our packed lunches. We ended up having to around to the cafe (Au Bon Pain) which was to the right of the ticketing area. Food for purchase was available, but since we brought our own lunches, we just ate that.  The cafeteria is a really cute space with ample high chairs if your child needs one.

We started from the top and worked our way downstairs.

Third Floor

There is a large construction play area, filled with trucks, tracks, and large working equipment for children to play on! There are costumes for the little ones to play dress up, and there were areas for them to climb on; bridges to walk across. It was as if you were in a large city environment in a construction zone.

We didn’t get a chance to see the Japanese House because they were doing guided tours every 15 minutes or so, and the timing just didn’t work out when we were there.

One thing we enjoyed was the large dinosaur they had on display. You were able to use the controls and push the buttons for the huge mechanical dino to move its head and arms. It also roars loudly.

Second Floor

The play space for kids 0-3 was a nice and contained area for the younger ones to explore and play! There were little areas for kids to play pretend and use their imagination. There is also a little playground area for the little ones to climb up and slide down. There is a scarf station that uses a vacuum.

Kids playing in water area at the Boston Children's Museum

I believe the water area is on this floor too!

First floor

To your left, after you purchase tickets, you will notice a large jungle gym. It is the same type of jungle gym/maze that the Providence Children’s Museum has outdoors.

There are a lot of sensory activities for kids to partake in. Kai especially enjoyed playing with the golf balls and rolling them down the ramps.

The bubble room was very entertaining as well. There is an interactive exercise area where kids are able to use a pulley system and pedal on stationary bike to race. It’s all about ‘energy’, and it was fun.

Right before we left, we decided to catch one of the kids shows at KidStage: Three Little Pigs. The performers were so entertaining. They asked for seven volunteers: three little pigs, three houses, and one big bad wolf.

Everyone did an amazing job.

Conclusions

Will we come back? It’s definitely likely, since you can really spend a lot of time here. My only concern would be how germ-infested it is during the winter months when outdoor playgrounds are of no use since it’s freezing in New England…but that’s everywhere I guess.

This museum will wear you AND your child out. Paolina and I thought it was necessary to get a caffeinated beverage from the Starbucks across the street when we left.

If you parked in an affiliated parking garage, don’t forget to get your ticket validated by the museum!

Thanks for reading about our day trip.

Little Passports

Weather by Kai

We live in New England so we are fortunate to inevitably experience all four seasons.

It’s winter! Every day I take Kai and our dog Stanley for morning stroll.

Yesterday, I thought about a cute idea to teach Kai about the weather! On my way to my tennis match, I picked up a few pieces of felt from a local craft store. I also got some felt letter and number stickers.

Here’s the final product!Weather by KaiIt’s “Weather by Kai”. My plan is that every morning, after our walk, I will ask Kai to tell me what the weather was like outside. He can use his words, but I also want to add another element so he can be his own show and tell meteorologist.

I drew and cut out a yellow sun, rain, snow, and white and gray clouds. I also put together the words: cold, hot, warm, and windy. I ran out of letters to spell humid, but I will get to it once summer rolls around:) Kai is supposed to select and display what he thought the weather was like on our walk.

Once I try this brain-building interactive activity for a week, I’ll share my thoughts on the whole process.

Do you think there are ways I can improve what I’m trying to have my toddler convey and communicate and learn?

Update – 2/8/18
It’s officially been a week since I introduced this activity to Kai.

Words, Words, Words…
A few days into learning about how to describe the weather, Kai really liked to use his words to say: cloudy, sunny, bright, cold, windy, snowing, and raining.

His favorite word to use has been cloudy! When I ask him what the weather is outside, his go-to word is cloudy. Although we were visiting Grammy the other day, and we asked him what the weather was like that morning, and he accurately described it as sunny and cold! I was so pleasantly shocked it wasn’t even funny.

When I was walking Stanley and Kai in the afternoon one day this week, we noticed a beautiful orange sunset! Now, every time Kai walks past the pond where we saw the sunset, he recalls the “橙色 clouds”. I’m happy to hear him using his words.

Incorporating Books, Media, & Resources
We were watching Curious George, which is one of daddy’s favorite shows to watch with Kai and the weather episode just so happened to be on! It was nice for him to see that George enjoys trying to predict the weather.

I was talking with a friend of mine, and she gave me an idea. One of the local libraries has a weather board for the kids where they also added a thermometer! I didn’t ask if it was a real digital thermometer or if it was a makeshift one where kids can just add numbers themselves.

Regardless, I think this is a wonderful idea to incorporate into this mini learning project. I think I’ll add both! A real mini outdoor thermometer to our house and create a felt thermometer and add it to our felt board:)

After our cruise, I’m hoping to find some books about the weather too!

Improvements and Challenges
Overall, I have noticed an improvement in his language usage and association with the weather outside. What I haven’t yet had him actually do is stay focused long enough after our walks to put the descriptive felt figurines and words on his weather board.

I might need to figure out a way to display all of the pieces out in front of him without Stanley causing a ruckus and stealing the sun or clouds and running away with them.

Don’t be Afraid of Being Creative
The day I was preparing this activity, my parents were visiting. I was asking Kai to help me stick the letter stickers on the felt. He, of course, was just sticking them wherever and then pulling them off because he was simply having fun. My father was telling me that Kai is too young to understand these concepts and that he’s just a baby. I got very frustrated at him. Thoughts running through my head at the time: Frustration, Negativity, Anger, It doesn’t hurt to try. Kai is a pretty smart kid overall. Why not just give it a whirl?

My mom had to intervene and explained to how Chinese parents are not creative, etc. While I understand where she is coming from, I don’t think this generalization is accurate because I’ve seen many creative and non-creative parents in general, Chinese or not.

While I got frustrated at my dad, I know his intentions were good. He doesn’t want me to put in the extra effort if it’s a nuisance or a chore for me since he thinks Kai has no idea what is going on. I mean we are all learning together, one day at a time.

It’s okay to have different parenting styles. Everyone is unique, with varying levels of education, backgrounds, cultures, foods, languages, etc.

Don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone and sometimes go against cultural norms to be creative and your own person and parent.

Catch-22
Don’t let your parents define what kind of parent you are. Although sometimes it’s hard to not get influenced a little. I know it sounds weird but, sometimes I look back and try to think about what my parents did and try and do the exact opposite with my child.

Ahhh, that means they’re still influencing my parenting style.

Experiential Learning
When I was growing up I don’t recall having lots of toys or an over abundance or learning resources available to me. I went into elementary school very unprepared and was very behind in reading and writing. I recall being put in a smaller group with other struggling kids to work on language skills, etc.

I’m hoping to be an active and involved mom to Kai. I want to encourage him and facilitate a safe and open learning environment for him to be able to flourish. And if he doesn’t want to blossom, that’s okay too. At least I know I tried.

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s what we decide to do with them that makes the difference.

Thanks for reading this update!