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

Posts Tagged ‘sensorial perceptions’

We Started Gardening! Part II

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 7:09 pm | By Stephanie Woo

M and Dad are back from the mountains. First they have to mix the dirt they dug up from the mountains with store-bought organic soil to create the optimal soil mixture. M helps Dad cut open the package of store-bought soil with her Muji scissors.

M scoops in soil from the bag, while Dad dumps in dirt from the mountain. 

M crawls into the bucket to help mix the dirt and soil.

Dad dumps the soil mixture into the trough. M helps to smooth it out.

We’ve been collecting vegetable scraps for two days. They add it to the soil as worm food. It’s raining and M looks pooped in this picture, but trust me, in real life, she’s still going!

Dad adds the worms to the soil. Apparently, these red wrigglers help produce the best planting soil. We think we might even start a worm farm! Dad covers up the worms and food with another layer of soil. The worms need one week to do their magic before we start planting. 

The next day, we add more worms. Even B can’t resist getting involved – once you get past the ‘ewww’ factor, they are really fun. Even I’m hooked!

If you’re looking for a reason to plant with your children, consider these benefits:

  1. Sensorial exploration (wet, cold soil and wriggly worms)
  2. Gross motor skill development (treading wet mountainous soil while carrying a pail and shovel)
  3. Fine motor skill development (cutting, scooping, mixing, spreading vegetable scraps, picking up small worms)
  4. Appreciation for nature/cycle of life (composting, preparing the soil, planting)
  5. Language development (‘gardening trough,’ ‘composting,’ ‘prepping the garden bed,’ ‘red wrigglers,’ ‘starter plants,’ ‘clay soil’ vs ‘sandy soil’ – even I had to learn these!)

But my favorite part of this whole process is watching how much effort M puts into it. She uses her whole body to dig, transfer, mix and pat. There’s nothing better than watching young children use maximum effort to engage in tasks they’re interested in. And after a few hours of work like this, M (who usually hates napping) is out like a light-bulb at nap time and stays asleep for THREE straight hours! 

More gardening posts to come!

We Started Gardening! Part I

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 11:59 pm | By Stephanie Woo

I’m a city girl. As a child, I grew up in a condo building in Taipei. As an adult, for 20 years, I lived in New York City. So if you ever tried to talk to me about gardening, worms, dirt and nature in general, I would’ve tried to change the subject on you. 

Well, now that I live in Portland, I’ve decided to do “as the Romans.” Almost everyone here has a garden. If you are not composting, raising a worm farm and eating dinner out of your garden, then seriously, don’t you care about the environment?? 

So, after much research, discussion with seasoned locals and Youtube videos, we decided to give this ‘grow your own food’ a shot. 

First, we went to the famous Portland Nursery and bought a whole bunch of ‘starters,’ or baby plants. You just have to transplant them into your garden and they’ll grow into fruits and vegetables! I sat there envisioning a garden full of food I’d want to eat. We ended up settling on some strawberries, bok choy, spinach, carrots, scallions and napa cabbage. I really would have preferred some watermelons, figs, kiwi and chocolate cake, but apparently Mark thinks we should start with the basics. He’s soo conservative sometimes. 

Of course we decided to involve B and M (now 2 years, 4 months) in the process. And when I say ‘we,’ I mean my husband, Mark. I followed everyone around and took pictures. 

So before you plant, you need something to plant in. Mark decides to build our own gardening troughs. After a trip to Home Depot, he showed up with all these cedar planks and got to work. Whenever he builds things, he thinks of ways for the children to help. Here he is screwing in castor wheels and the girls are helping fetch the screw and lining them up in the hole.

B lines up the screw

 

B holds the screw in place

 

Dad uses an electric drill to screw in the screws

 

The finished gardening trough!

Next, we put on our rain boots, grab our pail and shovel, then go for a short 30-second hike into the mountains (right behind our house). Oh, by the way, we tried to buy dirt at the nursery, but they didn’t have any to sell! I’m not used to that. I’m used to New Yorkers who will selling you anything you ask for. Oh well. We decide we’ll go digging for our own.

B, M and Dad digging for dirt in the mountains

 

B had enough. She said, “Dirty. Brooke wants to go home.” Just like that, she picks up her pail and goes home.

 

Dad and M keep going. M is using the smallest shovel you’ll ever find in the stores. Small yet mighty effective!

To be continued…

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!