Sara's Favorite October Picks!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Dear friends,

If you have followed my blog posts at all for a while, then you're probably familiar with the fact that I change my child's "Learning Nook" out every season for new indoor learning possibilities. I base my choices off of what I know about her interests and also put extra things in for her to try out. Even as a baby we began with many Montessori type things and had a Montessori nook for her for quite some time. She is an incredible child with incredible interests...including planets and the inner workings of the human body. Don't worry...she also has a huge imagination and loves fairy tales and everything else! However, we do take keen notice of these interests and I believe 100% in nurturing interests when they are present. Why wait until a certain age or grade to introduce something or to look into it further when the interest may not be there later? Do it while it's present! When there is a true interest in a child, it means that there is a small fire in them just waiting for extra fuel and flaming...we are the flames for our children and must find ways to fuel those interests.

The latest nook consists of a huge array of art options because that is a BIG thing for us in our home. I also noticed that before (last season), she was less likely to explore all of her art options unless she had a number of them right at her fingertips while she was sitting. I did realize after observing for a bit that it wasn't laziness, but that when she was ready to sit and create, she was in a zone and just wanted to be able to move as little as possible to complete her task. Sooooo...we attached hooks to her table and I picked up little buckets at our craft store to hold her crayons, scissors, glue, paint brushes and sponges. I also added an art "caddy" with a variety of little things for her to glue, stick and create with like pom poms, jewel stickers, hearts, flowers, etc. I added a LOT to the paper collection by finding a booklet of small scrap book papers, thick craft paper, watercolor paper for our painting (which she loves and it finally doesn't soak through), a coloring book for when she wants to color characters (which is rare) and more. I added extra clay and markers and a big circle punch. I honestly could not have made better decisions! It changed EVERYTHING! She gets her items from the "art house" and sits down to be in her zone. Since her crayons, glue and everything else are hanging on her table now, she is good to go! I have been absolutely amazed at the art pieces that she has created using the circle punch, pom poms, glue, everything! I also have sewing mats for her with large yarn needles that she asks me for when she wants to use and big buttons that she can work on.

She has a large interest in words and how to say them and what they mean. The bigger the better for her. She has already told us that she wants to learn to read (at age 3) and she WANTS to do phonics sometimes or sight words...we just let her take the lead on that one. For now, I follow her on that, but we do have a small word of the week that we keep up for spelling and sounding out.

For her science interests she now has a human body model that has squishy parts that are all removable. It comes with a booklet and even a chart to match up the parts when taking it a part. She LOVES it and has learned so much from it already! She received a planet projector (not shown) for Christmas from family and that stays in her room so that she can sleep in the stars! It's amazing! We also have a Moons and Blooms calendar that I purchased from Amazon that not only shows us the phase of the moon for every day of the year, but also which blooms to expect to see when throughout the seasons!

Lastly, I wanted to address books and body learning. Now, we have a basket or tray of books in almost every room of the house because I always want them to be accessible for reading whenever she likes! Last year (at age 2 1/2) we began the basic process of talking about "tricky people" and not wanting to be touched, etc. My first bit of advice on introducing these things is to KNOW your child. How does this need to be explained for THEM? Every child is different and needs to understand things on different levels. Our methods of explaining worked perfectly for our child and she gained (at a very early age) a good understanding of what to do and not do and when to make sure she asked Mommy and Daddy and so on. At age 3, we moved on to learning the body...actual parts because she is very literal and always wants to know what something truly means and how it works. It really is best to use actual terms with kids so that there's never confusion as to what something is called. I HIGHLY recommend these books. Especially the " Who Has What" book by Robie H. Harris.

It is completely toddler friendly and age appropriate if you are looking for something to introduce true info and true body terms to your young child. Very well done! My other bit of advice would be to not wait until school age to start talking about it. Not every child is ready at a very young age, but the benefit of just beginning to chat about it on a very simple level such as telling them that no matter what, "Always check with Mommy or Daddy (or whoever) first." Begin the chats while everything is still very factual so it doesn't become scary. The more factual it is, the more it might just stick like glue, like any routine you might have. And we have ALWAYS told her that she NEVER has to let anyone touch her. We have never made her hold hands with cousins or friends or even forced her to hug family or sit on someone's lap or tell them that she loves them. We leave that up to her. If she doesn't want to do something, we have taught her to simply say, "No thank you. I don't want to do that." We don't force each other as adults to hold hands with another adult friend...why is it any less awkward or invasive for a child? Now, if she wants to then that's fine, but we don't make her. We also let her decide if she wants to tell someone her name when she is asked randomly in public by an admiring adult. If she doesn't want to, she does not have to and I simply tell them that we let her decide if she's comfortable telling someone her name that she doesn't know. Most of the time, she has felt comfortable, but there have been times that someone asked and she didn't want to say...I didn't make her and they took no offense to it. In fact, the times that happened, those people actually told me they thought that was very smart and totally understood.  I don't want my child to EVER feel like she HAS to talk to someone she doesn't know, she NEVER has to let someone touch her and she can ALWAYS use her words when she doesn't want something or doesn't like something.

This may not be something you want to do with your own child, but I know that ultimately I'm raising my child to eventually live without me (sniff, sniff) and be independent and I want her to have confidence in her feelings, words and intuition from the start. It is NEVER too early (in my opinion) to begin building confidence and nurturing intuition.



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