Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Toys and activities

Brooke Peels a Boiled Egg

Saturday, May 5th, 2012 3:18 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Every Wednesdays, we have soy-sauce braised chicken wings and eggs for dinner. It’s a delicious Shanghainese specialty. On those days, we boil many eggs and the girls help peel them. Well, ‘helping’ implies they save me time, but actually, right now, it takes more time to have them ‘help. ‘ BUT I know investing time now will pay off later when they can do it by themselves! We’ve been practicing for several weeks and luckily for Mama, I was able to capture the first time Brooke (16 months) peels an egg all by herself! I even let her eat it at the end, which I don’t always do.

She’s already broken the shell by tapping the eggs on the table. Here she is starting out.

She peels off the first couple cracked eggshells at the top.

Notice how she uses her thumb to peel away the shell. This took many demonstrations on Mama’s part! It takes a lot of control to be able to use ENOUGH strength to peel the shell but not TOO much strength so your thumb goes through the egg white.

She brings the egg to her lap to work on it.

She’s so concentrated at this point that when I said, “Brooke, turn the egg around,” she actually jumped. Don’t ever interrupt your child when they are engaged or concentrating!

A big piece comes off. Can you see how she just throws the egg shells everywhere as she’s peeling? We gotta work on getting it in the bowl!

The last little bit is left.

She takes it off.

All done. A clean egg!

She breaks the egg in half. No egg yolk for me, thank you!

Brooke enjoys the fruits of her labor.

This activity took a while for the twins to get the hang of. Whether they are successful or not depends a lot on the egg, some eggs are easy to peel and the shell comes off in chunks; some eggshell sticks to the egg and are difficult to peel even for an adult. I find bigger eggs are easier to peel than smaller eggs. However, they don’t care whether they are ‘successful’ or not – they just want to do it!

Even better than peeling is snacking on these organic, omega-3 eggs afterwards!

Does Your Toddler Know a ‘Tulip’ from a ‘Chimpanzee?’

Friday, April 20th, 2012 4:19 pm | By Stephanie Woo

B and M are learning so fast these days I have a hard time keeping up with them. I’m often turning to my Montessori training and community to see what else I can give them to keep up with their growth.

Children are in a sensitive period for language from 0-6. I don’t know how it happened: just a few months ago, they hardly showed any signs of understanding what I was saying, and all of a sudden, not only do they understand both English and Chinese, they know where to find the “rhinoceros,” “toothbrush,” “tulips,” “measuring tape” and “kiwi” in the house. They can follow commands like, “Please get your shoes,” “Bring the bowl to Daddy,” “Please get some tissues and wipe up this spill,” “Peel the banana and put it in the mixing bowl.” All of this happened so fast I think it’s fair to call it an EXPLOSION!

When I visited a Montessori classroom, I was very inspired by the way the children loved and absorbed the language material. I’ve adapted my own version. Here is a great way to give your toddler more language while enhancing their sensorial learning.

Get a couple baskets/containers and fill them with items from several different categories. Here are some examples:

Household items – you can include things like binder clips, pencil case, a set of keys, ruler, measuring tape

Items you need before you go out – include items like sunglasses, wallet, metrocard, bracelet, necklace, watch, scarf, etc.

Animals – I bought mine from a company called Schleich. Their animal figurines are based on real animals. They are awesome.

I added these baskets one by one over several weeks. This is how you can present it to them:

  1. First, prepare the basket and put in on their shelf the night before.
  2. When they first see the new basket, they would invariably rush to see what’s inside. Say, “Do you want to see what’s inside? Let me show you!”
  3. Pick up the basket with BOTH hands, decide where to sit, then clear everything out of the way, so the area is clean from other distractions. Then, invite them to sit down next to you.
  4. Roll out a small rug on which to place the items. Begin to take out each item, naming them as you lay them out from left to right. (Left to right gets them used to the direction we read and write in the English language)
  5. If they try to reach out to grab it because they’re so excited, say, “It’s my turn right now. When I am done, I will let you have a turn.”
  6. After you lay them all out, put each item back one by one into the basket, again naming them as you put them back.
  7. Repeat this 2-3 times.
  8. When you are done, let them have a turn. Then LEAVE THEM ALONE without interrupting them. Let them further discover the items on their own.
  9. Repeat this 2-3 times over the next couple days or as often as you feel they need.
  10. Note: Keep this basket in a place that is easily accessible to them at all times.

These baskets are very popular with our kids, as well as all the kids who come to visit us. We always take one of these baskets with us to restaurants in case we need something to entertain them before and after meals. And it keeps them hooked.

Mackenzie is going through her “purse” and trying on the various items

When you are choosing what to give them

If you can give them the real thing, don’t use a replica. Yes they will throw the banana a few times till it gets bruised and the sunglass lens will get a little scratched, but so what? Real items are more interesting and offer them so much more sensorial learning than plastic replicas. A real mango can be experienced with all five senses, a plastic one only looks good. While you’re waiting for the fruits to ripen, put it to good use by letting the children have a chance to explore them! In a similar way, children who are allowed to use real silverware, glass cups and bowls learn to be careful with them, whereas children who use plastics all the time have much less awareness. When Brooke was 13 months, she broke a glass. It was a scare, but we swept, vaccummed and everything ended up being fine. Since then, she always handles the glass with care, whether she is bringing it to the table to use or bringing it to the sink to be washed. We’ve never had a second broken glass since!

A fruit lesson – all real fruits! Even Nola, our little visitor, loved touching the avocado!