Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

“I love … BOOK!”

on September 26, 2012

Baby Bear turned 17 months old today. More significantly, she uttered her first self-constructed sentence today, and with it confirmed that she is indeed our child. (Not that we had any doubts!)

She’d gone from Big Sister to Daddy to Mommy to Daddy again, telling each of us “I love YOU!,” when she suddenly stopped, picked up one of her books, held it high in the air, and declared, “I love … BOOK!” And love books she does! We read at least two dozen board books today and read some of those several times over. In fact, her second new word/sentence of the day was the imperative “Read!” … uttered repeatedly as she chased Mommy around the house, with a book in each hand.

On a more mundane note, we spent much of the morning outside. The girls collected magnolia “cones,” examined them, and compared the mature fruit to the immature ones that had fallen off the trees before producing seeds. Most of the cones beneath our tree were small and immature. Little Bear counted out 20 of the immature cones and arranged them into various shapes and designs, while Baby Bear contented herself with picking them up, putting them in her bucket, dumping it, and filling it again.

Inspired by The Puddle Pail, a gentle tale of two brothers who loved collecting things, Little Bear looked for more things to collect. By the time we came inside, the girls had amassed piles of rocks, leaves, and twigs (which Baby Bear delighted in sorting from shortest to longest) along with their bucket of magnolia cones.

The girls watched an episode of Sesame Street while I spent the better part of an hour on the phone 45 minutes on hold and about 2 minutes actually talking to a Gymboree customer service representative about issues with Gymbucks redemption. Sigh. I love Gymboree’s clothing, but getting the head-to-toe cuteness at my <$18/outfit (and preferably <$12) budget costs me at least as much time as money! (On the plus side, most outfits survive two kids and still emerge in good enough condition to resale!)

After lunch, we did a couple of jigsaw puzzles, read some fairy tales at Little Bear’s request, and sang some songs before Little Bear retreated to the bedroom to build with Duplos and Zoobs while I tried to get Baby Bear down for a nap. Only afterward did I look at the calendar and realize that today was Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. Oops! Guess we’ll be reading about Johnny Appleseed and baking apple pie tomorrow!

Little Bear did some cutting, tracing, and coloring activities while Baby Bear napped and I cleaned the kitchen. She then asked for a blank sheet of paper and surprised me by drawing and cutting out a recognizable castle. Unfortunately, she took her castle outside to show her friends and converted it to a paper airplane (aka “trash”) before I snapped a picture. Of course, taking her castle outside to show her friends evolved into another hour and a half of active outdoor play, along with the end of planned learning.

We wrapped up our day by testing Lauri Phonics Center Kit-Word Families, a hands-on activity that helps children recognize rhyming words and identify spelling patterns. Little Bear had eyed the box with eager anticipation all day long and begged to try it out before bedtime. I was more reluctant, in part because I envisioned Baby Bear demolishing the card stock word family mats and turning all 70 foam picture tiles into chew toys. (Instead, she did her best to join in the fun and match tiles to cards. More on that later …)

Ultimately, we agreed to tackle just five of the included word families, one for each short vowel. The objective was straightforward: Little Bear drew a picture tile, said its name, and placed it on the correct word family mat. Tired as she was, though, she initially seemed to “miss” the idea that word families consisted of rhyming words, and after painstakingly sounding out and spelling about 10 words, she was ready to give up. It probably didn’t help matters that her Baby Sister “beat her” three times over, pointing to the correct word family mat while she was still trying to break words down into letter sounds. I’m pretty sure Baby Bear’s luck was just that — luck. Little Bear, however, found it somewhat disconcerting.

Instead of letting Little Bear quit, I pulled five pairs of word tiles, placed them upside down, and encouraged her to match the rhyming words. From there, she quickly figured out how to match the rhyme pairs with the correct word family mat. She placed the remaining tiles on the boards, then read all of the words on each card before we packed the activity away. In the end, she was left begging for more — always a good sign! — and wanting to know when I planned to let her tackle the “harder” word families.

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