Friday, 30 September 2011

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Montessori Activity: Balancing Weights




Age: From 3 years old

Activity Duration: 5 minutes

Objective(s):
1. To teach the concept of heavy and light in a fun way
2. To teach the law of gravity in a concrete way

Materials:1. 1 see-saw balance scale
2. 1 bowl filled with fanta colour pegs or dry beans

Directions:
1. Add a few of the pegs or beans in the left container one at a time until the container begin to sink.

2. Tell your child that weight of the pegs will lower the container down and lift the empty container up.

3. Add a few pegs or beans to the other container one at a time, until the containers balance each other.

4. Tell your child that equal weight will balance the see-saw scale.

5. Encourage your child to try and experiment.

Additional Information:
I tried this with Joshua, but made the mistakes of making it complicated with styrofoam, marbles and pegs, and Joshua lost interest. He could not see the purpose of this game. I then make this simplified version with only pegs, but I still don't think he Joshua is developmentally ready for this. I think I will try again when he is 3 years old.

References:
http://nurturingthetenderyears.blogspot.com/2011/05/homemade-balance-for-learning-about.html

Thursday, 29 September 2011

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Montessori Activity: Pegging Clothespins




Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 10-15 minutes

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Objective(s): To develop the child's muscular coordination.

Materials:

1. 6-12 clothespins in a container
2. 1 basket
3. 1 tray

Directions:

1. Demonstrate to your child by taking the clothespins one-by-one from the container and peg it to the basket as shown in the picture.

2. Show your child how to open a clothespin.

3. Remove the clothespin and put it back to the container.

4. Encourage your child to try.

Total Cost: Any clothespin will do, but I bought my mini pegs from IKEA’s children section.

Additional Information:

J tried this when he was 2 years old, but he could not do it, nor was he interested. Today, he (2Y6M24D) picked this and he could complete it. He also counted the clothe peg, and could count to 10. He seemed to be able to count all 12 clothe pegs, but he wasn't sure how to say 11 and 12.

8.12.2011 Updates:

J (2Y9M3D) enjoyed this today, and could  now do it with ease by pressing to open and releasing to close, although he still have some difficulty removing them.



References:
http://montessorihelper.com/montessori-pegging-lesson-activity/
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J Summary (2Y6M24D) - Said "Mor, jeg savner dig"

J was calling for me in the wee hours of the morning. I had a hard time getting out of bed. Then I heard him saying, "Mor, jeg savner dig", meaning "Mommy, I miss you." Immediately, I found the energy to get out of bed to hug him. I asked him if he missed Mommy in Mandarin. He said yes.

The next thing I did was to teach him to say it in Mandarin. Usually, when he speaks Danish, I will pretend not to understand. So, I made an exception here, but I have to teach him how to say that in Mandarin :-)

I asked Daddy if he taught J to say that. Daddy told me that it was some days ago. J's Danish is developing very fast. He is not lacking behind Danish kids, at least according to the teacher. Now, I worry for his Mandarin.... ya... i am a worrier right :-)

J can count up to 10 objects, and seemed to be able to count up to 12 objects, but didn't know how to say eleven and twelve yet.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

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Reflection: Courage to Take the Blame

Today, God is teaching me one thing during my Quiet Time with Him and the following words just came into my head that I had to jot it down:

When things go well, it doesn't matter who takes the credit. God knows your efforts, sweat and tears.


When things go badly, it also doesn't matter if you take the blame. God knows your efforts, sweat and tears.


Have the meekness to let others have the credit, and have the courage to take the blame.

It puts a lot of perspective to my life.

To the world, it does not make sense... it is called the loser mentality. But to God, it makes a lot of sense. Christ came to take the blame on our behalf, even dying on the cross for us, that we may live.

Dear God, it is so hard for me to develop the attitude of Christ, to rise above all that and learn to be gracious. Thank you for not giving up on me. Help me to turn my mourning into joy.

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Montessori Activity: Printing Shapes with Poster Colours


Age: From 2 years old

Objectives:
1. To teach shapes in a fun way

Materials:
1. A few different plastic shapes (square, round, triangle, star, heart shape) from shape sorter.
2. Poster colours
3. Paper plate as pallet
4. 1 A3/A4 size plain paper

Directions:
1. Demonstrate by dipping one of the plastic shape into the paint and stamp it on the paper.
2. Say the name of the shape.
3. Encourage your child to try.

Additional Information:
J (2Y6M22D) tried this activity this evening, and enjoyed it quite a lot.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

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J Summary (2Y6M20D) - Full of Opinions

Today, Daddy walked down the stairs. He turned back, J wasn't there. J walked to the lift and took the lift down by himself to the ground floor (we have a lift at our place, although there are only 3 storeys altogether).

We were very amused and at the same time, not quite sure whether to rejoice at J's latest ability to take the lift successfully without being afraid or to be angry with him for not telling us his intention. I think we should be firm about insisting obedience, but at times like this, we failed.

This morning at the flea market, J wanted to lead the way, and play with all the toys at the different stores. Gone were the days, where he was happy to look, while we shopped. Now he has an opinion on which toys he wanted, which stall, he wanted to stop by and he wanted mostly junk toys!!! I mean those toys void of any educational value or broken.

In this aspect, I do not totally follow the Montessori's philosophy of following the child. Taken literally, we may be following the child blindly. I still think that we know better, and we direct.

This morning, he wanted to bring Monkey Mommy, Monkey baby, Rabbit Daddy, Teddy Bear and Patrick down for breakfast. I told him that he could only choose two. He counted his stuff toys correctly from one to five and said he wanted to bring all fives down for breakfast. I insisted that he could only bring two. Two... five... two... five, but finally Joshie relented. He was willing to pick two. He chose Monkey Mommy and Monkey baby. The first thing he did was to go to the playroom and made two plates with fanta colour pegs for them for breakfast, before he went to the breakfast table.

Two days ago at bed time, J asked to pray for my sis, GW, Amy, YL, granny and grandpa.... and I started praying... and in the middle of it, he said amen amen... almost signally that I was too longwinded... arrrgghhh!!! My sister (who was here visiting me from SG) and I laughed and laughed. And Joshie laughed along non-stop. He can be really funny at times. What a character he has become... he is really no longer a baby...
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Montessori Activity: Making Musical Scales with Glass Bottles



Age: From 3 years old

Objective(s):

1. Introducing the child to high and low pitch and the idea that harmonics of sound work only in a certain order.

Materials:

1. 5 - 8 glass bottles or glasses filled with water at an increment of 1 inch of level of water for each bottle

2. Teaspoon

3. Food colouring (optional)

Directions:

1. Place the bottles in front of you in a row.

2. Say "I am going to show you how to make a musical scale".

3. Say, "I am going to find the lowest pitch". Pick up the teaspoon and gently tap the sides of the bottles to find the lowest pitch. When you have found the right bottle (which is the bottle that is completely full), take it out and place it on the left.

4. Say "I am going to find the next higher pitch" and repeat the action in step 3.

5. Shift around the bottles and let your child try.

Tips:
According to the book "Teach Me To Do It Myself", if your child comments on the different bottle sizes or the water in them making a difference in the pitch of the sound, let him experiment with these ideas.

Additional Information:
Bottle caps, food packaging, milk packet, egg cartons, jar caps, jam jars, toilet roll cardboard, old magazines, shoe boxes, styrofoam... and the latest to add to the collection are beer bottles... I am fast becoming a professional garbage collector... hmmm.... i think i should myself a Green Recycler. That sounds nicer:-)

I tried this activity with Joshua, but J wanted to turn it into a pouring activity. He was not developmentally ready for this yet. I will put it away and try this activity a few months later.

This is a fantastic book providing hands-on guide on Montessori activities that is practical, simple and easy to follow. The book also provides lots of ideas on using simple equipment that you can find at home. I found this idea in this book:


http://amzn.to/1NGSy8P


References:


Teach me to do it myself by Maja Pitamic

Updates 28 Dec. 2013 (4Y9M23D)




Saturday, 24 September 2011

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Celebrating Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (Also called Moon Cake Festival)


More pictures here:
Materials:
1. Lanterns
2. Moon cakes
3. Chinese Tea

This year, we celebrated the Chinese Mid-Autumn with J for the first time. It brought back many fond memories of my childhood carrying those lanterns, and I am very glad to introduce it to J. We celebrated with some Chinese friends. After dinner, we lighted the lanterns and walked around the courtyard, as we did when we were children on top of a hill. J walked around the courtyard carrying his lanterns several rounds with the other children and towards the end, alone for 2 rounds.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival, takes place on the eve of the first full moon during the 8th month on the lunar calendar. A major part of the festivities centre on admiration of the moon, which at this time of year is usually round and yellow, like a giant egg yolk. Eating moon cakes with their pastry skin filled with sweet lotus paste and a round salted duck’s egg yolk, which resemble the moon is a must during this time. Families often cut the mooncake into wedges, and share its rich sweet flavour as they admire the moon and drink tea.

In China, Singapore and Taiwan and all parts of the world where the Chinese celebrate this festival, parents will light colourful paper lanterns in the shape of animals such for children to carry them on the end of a stick after dinner and walk around the courtyard.

Folklore behind the festival:

According to http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/Festivals/78311.htm, folklore about the origin of the festival go like this: In remote antiquity, there were ten suns rising in the sky, which scorched all crops and drove people into dire poverty. A hero named Hou Yi ascended to the top of the Kunlun Mountain, drew his extraordinary bow and shot down the nine superfluous suns one after another. He also ordered the last sun to rise and set according to time. For this reason, he was respected and loved by the people. A person named Peng Meng lurked in them.

Hou Yi had a beautiful wife named Chang'er. Empress Wangmu presented to him a parcel of elixir, by taking which, it was said, one would ascend immediately to heaven and become a celestial being. Hou Yi, however, hated to part with his wife. So he gave the elixir to Chang'er for safe-keeping. Chang'er hid the parcel in a treasure box at her dressing table when, but was unexpectedly seen by Peng Meng.

One day when Hou Yi led his disciples to go hunting, Peng Meng, sword in hand, rushed into the inner chamber and forced Chang'er to hand over the elixir. Aware that she was unable to defeat Peng Meng, Chang'er made a prompt decision at that critical moment. She turned round to open her treasure box, took the elixir and swallowed it. As soon as she swallowed the elixir her body floated off the ground, dashed out of the window and flew towards heaven.

When Hou Yi returned home at dark and learned from the maidservants what had happened, he was overcome with grief. Hou Yi looked up into the night sky and called out the name of his beloved wife when, to his surprise, he found that the moon was especially clear and bight and on it there was a swaying shadow that was exactly like his wife. He tried his best to chase after the moon. But as he ran, the moon retreated; as he withdrew, the moon came back. He could not get to the moon at all.

Thinking of his wife day and night, Hou Yi then had an incense table arranged in the back garden that Chang'er loved. Putting on the table sweetmeats and fresh fruits Chang'er enjoyed most, Hou Yi held at a distance a memorial ceremony for Chang'er who was sentimentally attached to him in the palace of the moon.

When people heard of the story that Chang'er had turned into a celestial being, they arranged the incense table in the moonlight one after another and prayed kindhearted Chang'er for good fortune and peace. From then on the custom of worshiping the moon spread among the people.

Youtube videos:

Songs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNynB2LbpTE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4w2yN-3qDQ

Story in Mandarin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyZAWq5Qnxc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC6uJM5yWdQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LmigiGzzKw

Story in English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXczHYZcRvo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otU5Wjb0A7Q&list=PL666FC2FE89E7E57C&index=2




Friday, 16 September 2011

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Montessori Activity: Squeezing Washcloth/Klemme Vaskeklud/挤面巾


Age: From 2.5 year old

Activity Duration: 5 minutes

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Objective(s): To train fine motor skill development.

Materials:

1. 2 basins with 1 half-filled with water
2. 1 washcloth
3. 1 tray

Directions:

1. Put the washcloth into the basin of water and show your child how to squeeze the water out by twisting it, saying, "this is how you squeeze a washcloth".

2. Encourage your child to try.

Video Demonstration:


Additional Information:

J (2Y6M11D) was showing interest in squeezing washcloth during shower, so I let him try this today. He didn't have the strength to squeeze and couldn't do the twisting, but he was trying hard and doing his best :-)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

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Montessori Activity: Scooping Rice/Øse Ris/舀大米


Age: From 2 years old

Activity Duration: 5-15 minutes

Preparation Time: 3 minutes

Objective(s):  To train the child’s fine motor skills.

Materials:

1. 2 pots or containers
2. 1 spoon
3. A cup of rice
4. 1 tray

Directions:

1. Demonstrate to your toddler by scooping the pasta from one pot to another.
2. Encourage and let your child try it.

Video Demonstration:


Additional Information:

J (2Y6M9D) tried this on today and he could scoop the rice, but sometimes he spilled it. Towards the end, he got impatient with the slow pace of scooping the rice and decided to pour the whole pot of rice into the other pot instead.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

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Pretend Play: Playing Store


Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 15 minutes

Additional Information:
My friend Yang Li told me that kids at this age would enjoy playing with cash register. I didn't think so. She gave Joshua this cash register from the flea market. Boy, what a hit! Joshua pretended to tbe the cashier. Then he pretended to be the shopper. He ran the "packet milk" on the conveyer belt, put them into the basket and gave it to me, including the change! How right my friend was! I haven't been sensitive to it, but my friend Yang Li was more observant and more sensitive to the critical stage of a child's learning than me. I didn't think that 2.5 year old can be ready to play with such completx concept, that least that seemed to me, but I was wrong!

It then donned on me that recently, maybe a month ago, Joshua started talking about buying oranges, when we ran out of oranges at home. Nowadays, he will remind me to buy biscuits, fish, etc. for him. It seems that he has an understanding of the concept of money and using money to buy things.


You can find something similar from Amazon:


Monday, 12 September 2011

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Learning Toys are Complements & Not Substitutes


Like most parents, one of the questions I ask myself is "should I rely on learning toys"? I have been pondering over this for quite a while, and I have now come to a standpoint that it all depends on whether it has become a complement or a substitute in my child's learning development life.

In general I am try not to over-rely on learning toys such as educational DVD, applications for iPad and iPhones, although my favourite is Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD, which in my opinion is an excellent production. I allow Joshua to watch it once in a while, but complement it with other fun alphabet learning activities such as Hitting Letter Balloons.

Learning toys such as are in my opinion complementary to and not substitute to Montessori activities, which emphasizes strongly on using hands-on and real-life objects, rather than software applications. "Hands-on learning is minds-on learning" according to a certification course that my friends attended on Children's Ministry. Active learning through hands-on playing is superior to passive learning in front of the computer, TV or iPad and iPhone. This is because the brain collects data through all the child's senses, and all the more at such an early age, when sensory learning is critical and vital - i.e. through eye, ear, taste, touch and trying out themselves - "on the job" learning.

Having said that, I think modern learning toys are important as they expose our children to IT, i.e. how to operate a computer, how to use an iPhone, etc.

However, in my opinion, many parents use them all too often as convenient substitutes to entertain their children, rather than actually spending time with the child, and letting the child learn to play on their own during Room Time.

For me, my objective is a 80/20 rule. 80% on hands-on Montessori activities, and 20% on DVDs, computer application, etc. learning. You may have your own ratio, but whatever you ratio prefer, you may want to make sure that learning toys is not reaching 100% of your child's learning and playing time.

So the next time I am thinking of turning on the iPhone, I need to think of whether it is still a complement or whether it has become a substititute to the other mediums of learning in Joshua's world of playing.
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Planning Ahead in Child Development

As Joshua gets older, I am seeing my own inadequacies. I am increasing finding the need to revisit my old Science and Maths textbooks to refresh my conceptual understanding. Boy, having a second childhood playing and discovering Montessori with Joshua is great fun... but having to "go back to school" is no fun...

What is it with school system that is so dreadful and boring? The joy of learning at home from toddlerhood should continue to childhood at school.

I've got to find a way to make school fun for Joshua and most importantly - for myself - since we will be going on this journey together... until the day he is independent.

Increasingly, the Montessori activities and lessons that I am preparing is including Maths and Science lessons underneath all the fun. With a bat of eyelid, Joshua is already 2.5 years old, and I am beginning to notice that he is showing increasing interest on his own in Maths and Science without any pressure from me and the ability to focus and concentrate. I've got to capitalize on his interest and passion now. He told me the other day, that mommy had money to buy things, but Joshua did not have any money. He had a lof of fun learning about floating and sinking objects. I need to be able to explain a little more, during the activities. I need to plan ahead, so that when Joshua is ready, I am ready too.

People ask me how I manage to spend the 6 weeks of annual leave I have. I actually don't have a single day to waste. I use my annual leave to take time to reflect and plan Joshua's development programme, like I am doing now in the wee hours of the morning.
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Montessori Activity: Pasting Pictures of Denmark with Glue


Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 15 minutes

Objectives:
1. To train the child's motor skills.
2. To train the child's hand eye coordination.

Materials:
1. 1 blank piece of paper (write a title if you wish)
2. 10 pictures cut out from magazines
3. 1 stick of glue
4. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Show the child how to put the glue onto the back of the picture.
2. Show your child how to paste the picture onto the paper.
3. Encourage your child to try.
4. Talk to your child about the pictures he has pasted.

Additional Information:
It was a big success with pasting pictures of Singapore with glue. As part of Heritage Education Programme that I designed for Joshua, I have decided to repeat this activity with pictures of Denmark. I have cut out some pictures of Copenhagen from tourist brochures that I took for my sister's visit here. The first picture that Joshua (2Y6M7D) chosed to paste is the picture of Tivoli.

I noticed that what attracted Joshua to this activity were the attractive, full colour and well-designed brochures of Singapore and Denmark. This seemed to prove Maria Montessori's hypothesis of only using pleasing materials when educating children, although I am still more of a functional and pragmatic type of person that would not sacrify function for design.


Saturday, 10 September 2011

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Montessori Activity: Floating & Sinking Objects/浮沉


Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 15 minutes

Objectives:
1. To teach the concept of why some things float and some sink.

Science Concept:
• Buoyant Force is an upward force exerted on all objects in fluids/water.

• Gravity pulls things down.

• If Buoyancy is stronger, an object floats, if gravity is stronger, an object sinks.

• The bigger the area of the object that’s touching the surface of the water the more likely it is to float.

• Objects full of air are more likely to float too because air is lighter than water.

• The huge cruiser liner ships made of iron and steel float because the hull (the bottom of the boat which is underwater) is full of air. It’s the air that enables the ship to float. If the hull were made of solid metal the ship would sink because it would be heavier than the water’s up thrust.

• If you are using a sponge, your child should see that the sponge will initially float, but as it becomes heavier, as it absorbs water, it will sink.

• Children may come to the conclusion that heavier objects generally tend to sink in water. However, make sure that children understand that weight is not the only factor.

Materials:
1. A basket containing objects that float (e.g. apple, orange, wooden block, pencil, bathtub toy, tennis ball, ping pong ball, styrofoam, plastic container with lid, plastic cup, popsicle stick, cork, eraser, feather, plastic bottles, paper, plastic plate, fanta colour peg, hazelnut, leave, etc.) and objects that sink (e.g. metal teaspoon, key, stone, pebble, marble, coin, chalk, sponge, lego brick, rubberband, rubber ball, oil pastls, etc.)

2. Large container or bowl half-filled with water

3. 1 paper written with the title "Float"

4. 1 paper written with the title "Sink"

Directions:
1. Put all the objects neatly in front of your child with the bowl of water behind them.

2. Tell your child that he is going to find out which objects float and which sink.

3. Demonstrate by picking up the first object and say whether you think it will float or sink. (In the next round, ask your child, whether the object will float or sink."

4. Then drop the object gently into the water and see if it float or sink.

5. If it floats, put the object on the paper entitled "Float". If the object sinks, put the object on the paper entitled "Sink".

Tips:
We put a stone into the container with lid, and closed the lid. It floated. So although stone sinks, it floats, if it is put into a plastic container with lid.

Video Demonstration:

Additional Information:
Joshua tried this on 11.9.2011 (2Y6M6D) and he enjoyed it a lot, because it was an activity with water!

This is a fantastic book providing hands-on guide on Montessori activities that is practical, simple and easy to follow. The book also provides lots of ideas on using simple equipment that you can find at home. I found this idea in this book:



References:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/digger/5_7entry/8.shtml
http://www.suzy.co.nz/suzysworld/Factpage.asp?FactSheet=90
http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/lessons.php?BenchmarkID=4&DocID=164
http://savorthedays.blogspot.com/2012/02/konos-trust-floating.html
http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/education/sci-enviro-ed/early-years/pdfs/floating-sink.pdf
Teach ME to Do It Myself by Maja Pitamic

soda-bottle cap,
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Montessori Activity: Stringing Small Beads/Snor Perler/穿珠子[chuān zhū zi]



Age: From 2.5 years

Activity Duration: 10-15 minutes

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Objective(s): To train the child’s fine motor skills

Materials:

1. 1 handful of small beads
2. 1 thin nylon string or fish line
3. 1 tray

Directions:

1. Tie a knot in the string with a last bead.
2. Show your child by picking up the string with right hand and moving the bead from left to right.
3. Encourage your child to try.
4. Remove the beads and repeat the activity if your child is interested.

Special Warning:

Supervise closely with the string. Remove and store away immediately after activity.

Cost:

2 packet of small beads: 10 DKK (2.50 SGD) from Tiger
2 rolls of nylon: 10 DKK (2.50 SGD) from Søstrene Grene

Additional Information:

J (2Y6M2D) tried this today. He practiced for 3 minutes and then got tired of it. I think a girl would enjoy stringing beads more, but because this is so good for fine motor skills training, I have introduced this activity to J. This is not an activity that I will introduce so often as the fineness of it (thin thread etc.) can be rather demanding on eye-sight.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

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J Summary (2Y6M1D) - Language Explosion

Language Development

The teacher at the daycare told Daddy today that J is undergoing language explosion. There was a quantum leap at 2 years old, and there seems to be another quatum growth spurt now at 2.5 years old. She was very amazed that considering J's age (2.5 years old), his gender (being a boy) and his background of being exposed simultaneously to three languages, that his Danish language ability has not slowed down or hampered, but on the contrary, his Danish language ability has become very advanced, perhaps even a little more advanced than most Danish kids his age. She told us that J is using time adverb, space adverb and some rather complex phrases for his age. I am amazed how 6 months can make such a great difference!

I hate to admit it, but I am starting to feel that I am beginning to learn new vocabulary from J Danish expressions such as "at tygge af munden" meaning chew your food.

J's teacher was also amazed at his ability to understand abstract concepts, such as when he was shown an apple, he could point and say that the apple came from the apple tree outside. His sense of direction is very good. For example, when asked where Amy's home is, he could direct us in the right direction from our living room.

Food

J has started eating apples, banana and bread again. I was very pleased that this evening, he asked me to cut him an apple.


Monday, 5 September 2011

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J Summary (2Y6M0D) - Could Juggle Many Things with Hands

Daddy told me that at the daycare today, the teacher told him that she was very impressed with J's fine motor skills. J could carry many things in his hands. Daddy thought that it was the Montessori activities that J practise at home, but did not tell the teacher that.

J seemed to understand the concept of simple subtraction. At breakfast, I will ask him long many raisins are left, after he has eaten them one-by-one. He could answer correctly quite often, although it is not totally consistent.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

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Montessori Activity: Zipping & Unzipping Zippers


Age: From 1.5 year old

Activity Duration: 3 - 5 minutes

Materials:

1. 1 purse with zip
2. A small thing to put inside the purse to attract the child
3. 1 tray

Directions:

1. Show your child how to zip and unzip the purse.

2. Encourage your child to try.

Additional Information:

Last night, Daddy FECS and I were cleaning out our shelf and we wanted to throw away this old purse, but it too was screaming out "Montessori, use me! Use me!". I thought before we throw it away, I will turn it into a Montessori activity teaching zipping. I am excited to try this activity with J!

Updates on 4.9.2011 (2Y5M30D):
J tried zipping and unzipping the purse today, and he could do it well.

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Montessori Activity: Buckling Belt




Age: 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 minutes

Objectives:

1. To train fine motor skills.
2. To teach the concept of buckling in a logical and targeted way.

Materials:

1. 1 old belt with plastic buckle
2. Something to buckled on such as a pillow or cushion.

Directions:

1. Show your child how to undo the buckle and buckle it around the cushion.

2. Encourage your child to try.

Warning:

Supervise closely as the long belt can be dangerous.

Additional Information:

Last night, Daddy FECS and I were cleaning out our shelf and we wanted to throw away this old belt, but it was screaming out "Montessori, use me! Use me!" I thought before we throw it away, I will turn it into a Montessori activity teaching buckling. I am excited to try this activity with J!

Updates 5.9.2011 (2Y6M0D):

J tried this today. He was very impatient as usual and couldn't wait for me to demonstrate it. I had to show him in between his trials. He was very persistent and really enjoyed it. He buckled and unbuckled the belt until he was a pro at it. Once he became good at it, the novelty was gone, and thus we are finished with this Montessori activity. He now knows how to buckle and buckle a belt with no problem.

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Montessori Activity: Pasting Pictures of Singapore with Glue


4.9.2011 (2Y5M30D) - The collage completed by Joshua with my guidance
Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 15 minutes

Objectives:
1. To train the child's motor skills.
2. To train the child's hand eye coordination.

Materials:
1. 1 blank piece of paper (write a title if you wish)
2. 10 pictures cut out from magazines
3. 1 stick of glue
4. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Show the child how to put the glue onto the back of the picture.

2. Show your child how to paste the picture onto the paper.

3. Encourage your child to try.

4. Talk to your child about the pictures he has pasted.

Video Demonstration:


Additional Information:
The pasting tray has been lying on the shelf for some time, but Joshua showed no interest for it. Yesterday, he took it out and asked to work on it. He enjoyed it very much.

Last night, my Superstar and I were doing some spring cleaning on an old book shelf. We cleared out some old literature, amongst which some old travel brochures on Singapore. I decided to use it for the pasting activity by cutting out some pictures of Singapore, and thus adding some heritage education element into this activity.

Recently, Joshua has been mentioning about taking the plane to Singapore. It would be good to introduce him the scenes and sights of Singapore through these pasting. The materials are prepared, and I wrote the word Singapore on the blank paper.

After breakfast this morning, the first thing he picked from the shelf is this activity - yeh!



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Montessori Activity: Tracing Letters with Dry Erase Activity Center


Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 10 minutes

Materials:
1. Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center

Cost:
Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center 12.58 USD

Additional Information:
This is a good learning tool to help Joshua with practising his hand-writing.  when he is older. I can just slip in practice sheets like pictures, letters, math, telling time, etc. Joshua (2Y5M28D) hasn't shown any interest in tracing letters yet. I will introduce it later when he is older.



I bought the Dry Erase Activity Center from Amazon:


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Montessori Activity: Practise Pencil Grip with Tracing Pictures


Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 10 minutes

Objectives:
1. To develop pencil grip

Materials:
1. Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center
2. Colouring pictures from Tiger

Cost:
Colouring book 10 DKK
Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center 12.58 USD

Additional Information:
Joshua (2Y5M28D) tried this for the first time today. This is perhaps more suited for 3 years old, as at the age of 2.5 years old, Joshua doodles rather than trace, and grip the marker with a fist, rather than using the pincer grip, but nevertheless, it is still good practice for him. This is something he can grow with.

This is a good learning tool to help Joshua with practising his hand-writing when he is older. I can just slip in practice sheets like pictures, letters, math, telling time, etc.


I bought the Dry Erase Activity Center from Amazon:


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J Summary (2Y5M29D): Loves Thomas the Train Books

J loves Thomas the Train books now. I don't know how much he understood, since it was in English, but he was really interested in it. Today, he walked around with two of the Thomas-the-train books, but unfortunately I didn't have time to repeat it. But I have read one of the books to him yesterday's morning.

J loves sushi now. He also started to eat pears and apples again. Yesterday, he asked for a pear from his snack bar, although he didn't finish it. Today, he asked for an apple. I hope he will ask me for avocado one day, going back to his baby days... when he loved avocado.

At 2.5 years old, J really loves books. I don't have to offer him books. He will pick them and come to me and ask me to read to him. I sometimes do feel guilty, as I don't have so much time to read to him, being a working mom. When he comes to me with books, how I do wish I am a stay-at-home mom, and just put down all and just sit with him. I cherish all these moments, and hold it close to my heart, and hope that it will last.



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Painting with Water-Colours


Age: From 2 years old

Additional Information:
Today was a huge achievement for me, because today was the first time Joshua (2Y5M29D) painted with water-colours at home. This is a huge step for me, as I am such a neat-freak. I really cannot stand mess, but I am glad I have made progress :-)
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Montessori Activity: Opening and Closing Boxes



Age: From 2.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 10 minutes

Materials:

1. 2 boxes each with something interesting inside such as a fridge magnet.
2. 1 tray

Directions:

1. Shake the box to attract the child's interest.

2. Show your child how to open the box to take the thing out.

3. Close the box and encourage your child try to open it.

4. Show your child how to put the item into the box and close the box by folding the 2 flaps followed by the cover.

5. Encourage your child to close the box.

Additional Information:

Before throwing away the boxes containing the cream I bought, I thought why not let J practice opening and closing boxes. He (2Y5M29D) had some problem trying to find the opening, until I pointed to him the side to open. He then managed to open the box, but part of the cover was torn. He then tried to close the box, but didn't know how to handle the flaps. After showing him, he was able to close it well. After several tries, he was good at opening and closing boxes. The whole activity took 5 minutes.



Friday, 2 September 2011

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Pretend Play: Making "Dough"


Age: From 2 years old

Materials:
1. 1 Toy hand-mixer
2. 1 pot containing colourful pegs or dried beans

Additional Information:
Joshua loves playing with his toy kitchen, so I expanded it with a hand-mixer, which was a hit with all children. I bought this from the fleamarket.
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