Book Study -One Smart Cookie

[This post is first published in the Asian parent]

Reading is one of our favourite past time and recently, I decided to plan learning activities based on the stories that we have read. One of the titles is ‘One Smart Cookie’ and boy, did we have fun!

I must say that the content of this story is a tad difficult for a 3-year-old but we can always improvise. I like it that the illustration is clear and that there are values that we can learn from the story. We read the story once through before the commencement of each activity. Don’t worry, the kiddo doesn’t mind rereading the book.

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One smart cookie : bite-size lessons for the school years and beyond
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Available in NLB
Call Number: English ROS

Practical Life

Faith and I had a baking session after reading this book. Since it is about cookies, I got the girl to help me bake a batch of buckwheat cookies. During the process, I introduced her to the names of the various equipment as well as the ingredients. The little girl was proud to be able to assist her mother and definitely enjoyed the cookies after they came out of the oven!

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Values

One of the words in the story that I want to highlight to Faith is ‘Kindness’ and that means giving some of the cookies to her friends. I got her to pack them in a bag and give it to a family whom we were visiting the other day. The word literally came alive!

Art & imaginative play

Faith loves to play with playdoh and it would be fun to get her to cut out various shapes from the cookie cutters and decorate the cookies herself. It was followed by a time of pretend play in which she ‘baked’ the cookies in her own kitchen oven and then offered the baked goods to her furry friends, the soft toys. So much conversation was taking place!

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Math

Numbers and counting can be boring on paper. Why not use food to make it more interesting? After printing out pictures of cookies, I laminated them and have Faith count and put the specific number of M & Ms needed onto the cookies. There was so much energy and motivation from the little girl. Who says Maths is boring? 😉

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Language arts

C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me

Oh, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C

After reading the story, I got Faith to think about words that start with C and to revise the initial sound ‘C’ with Faith.  Scaffolding is needed and I thought the video on C is for Cookie helps to set the stage for this activity.

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What would the next title be, I wonder?

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Friday Flips: Books on fruits and vegetables

:: Coop #4 & 5

Our coop has moved on from the Chinese New Year theme to Fruits & Vegetables. It’s a refreshing change and one which I welcome because our girl has some issues with greens recently. Hopefully, she will have less resentment towards them by the end of the few lessons! *fingers crossed* image   We would always start off the session with the Welcome song and introduction of the fruits and vegetables. Following that, one of the mummies would read a book aloud and the mummies were happy to note that the children could sit through and enjoy the story. Mind you, the story wasn’t short at all! I must say Mummy Ade has good storytelling skills! image For craft, the children pieced up the pictures of the fruits and vegetables and labelled them accordingly, obviously with the help of their mummies.

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We also got the children to grow their own beans and to track their growth. They were so excited upon receiving their beans. How fun!

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Our children have grown! It’s always a joy to see them play and learn together. May they continue to enjoy learning and exploring.

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For Practical Life, the children worked on their motor skills and coordination, just to name a few. We got them to pick up balls using training chopsticks, pour beans onto cups, stack blocks according to the sizes, threading and matching of cards.

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The mummies decided that we should not change the stations every week as we want to track their progress in the various stations. Makes sense!

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A few months back, Faith would have absolutely no idea on how to stack these blocks based on their sizes. Now she could, with the knowledge of her numbers. It gave me joy to see that she has progressed at her own pace.

These are some of the books that are related to the Fruits and Vegetables theme. Faith and I read the books a few times and we could talk at length about the story based on the pictures. The story itself isn’t long but there’s much to discuss! And, all these books could be found at our local libraries.

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You could sing to the tune of ‘Old Macdonald Has a Farm’ but what I like more about this book is that we can talk about urban gardening. We don’t have space in this city state but there are certainly ways in which we could grow our own herbs, for example.

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Oh, I love Farmers’ Markets! Sadly, we don’t have a lot of that in Singapore. The closest one that I think resembles that one that I’m familiar with is the Farmers’ Market at Loewen Garden. Go check it out one day!

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Granted that this is not really about fruits and vegetables but there is information about the orchard and fruits that you can talk about with your kid. This book makes me think about the farm and the apple-picking session that I have had visited and experienced. I want to go back again!

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans

Just a simple Christmas tree

Following the wreath, the next Christmas craft that I got Faith to do was a simple Christmas tree. We didn’t have the space in our apartment to put up a real tree and I thought a DIY one would be more meaningful.

Bought a stack of huge origami paper from Diaso and cut out the shape of a tree using green against the red paper. All Faith needed to do was to paste the coloured circles (from Diaso again!) on the tree. Easy right? It’s definitely good for getting her to practise peeling off the stickers but to get her to paste the coloured circles randomly tested my patience.

20141203_154523-1The little girl would paste the same coloured circles in a linear fashion, much to my frustration. I tried as much as possible to let her do it her way but the perfectionist in me could not stand it! So, halfway through her attempt, I directed her to paste the stickers in a more spaced-out manner so that the colours are more evenly distributed. ;p

20141203_160831This is a very achievable task for toddlers and probably takes about 15 minutes?
😉

20141204_090452-1The completed Christmas tree!

20 minutes in the loo

If you are one of those moms whose child insists on following you to the bathroom when you do your thing (and she clings on to your leg for her dear life), perhaps you can try these activities. They kept Faith occupied for 20 minutes, good enough for you to do some business.

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It’s easy for us to pour water but that is not the case for young children. Their motor skills are not refined enough and more often than not, they will dampen the floor as they endeavor to pour the liquid into the cups. This activity requires concentration and hand-eye coordination. Faith spent the bulk of the time trying out this activity and she likes it. It’s waterplay after all!

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As with all children, their attention span is soooo short and soon it’s off to another related activity. Add some balls and have the little one catch them with a scoop. Motor skills again.

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Last activity. Add some homemade ‘fish’ with clips and you turn the activity into fishing! This definitely tests patience and concentration. I’m just short of putting water beads in but I reckon I could save them for future use. The fish are made from felt material and I attached a clip at the end. After that, I wrapped the fish in clear bag so that they can survive being in the water.

“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” -Dr. Maria Montessori

So there you have it, this set of activity lasted 20 minutes. It probably can last longer if I get down on my knees to play with her.

Ask a lot of questions and converse with the kid as she goes about working on them. Play time is extremely good for language development.

Faith: 20 to 21 MO

The little one will turn 2 years old in a few months’ time and I’m not sure how to feel about it.

She is growing up too fast! There are so many things that I want to teach her and I feel there isn’t enough time. She is learning rather quickly in recent times and I need to seize that opportunity! I’m also enjoying being with her now (of course, there is ALWAYS the occasional tantrums) and I’m really not sure how I would take it as she enters the terrible 2’s phase.

I thought I should record what I do with her at home for future reference and for you, readers, if you are interested.

I’ve always wanted Faith to hone her motor skills and impart our family values to her. So, I do spend a lot of time doing stuff that helps her in those areas. So, if you ask me if I flash cards at her. Nope. Not until I went for the recent Glenn Doman’s seminar did I realise that there is some worth in getting Faith to recognise words via this method.

Reading is an activity that we will always do and getting her in the outdoors is a must-do too.

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Here are some activities that she engaged in at home during her 20th month:

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Faith loves jigsaw puzzles. A month ago, she got frustrated because she couldn’t piece those puzzles together but now she enjoys it so much that it’s almost a routine that she would pull out that box of puzzles to play with them.

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This is another set of 2-piece puzzles but with more complexity. You can teach rhymes with them and it trains the little girl to look for the related pieces. Of course, once she has finished, she MUST pack those puzzles back into the packet or box that holds them. I’l sing, “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share!”

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Another set.

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Snake buttons, She still loves to play with it. I like this because I can soon get her to button her own jacket; she’s quite good at it now. Can teach colours and shapes too with the snake button.

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Scoop and pour.

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Sorting. It didn’t take me long to explain before she got the idea. I think somehow in her own playtime, she knows there’s certain order in place and thus it’s not a big problem for her wrt this activity.

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Pretend play. She pulled out containers from the drawers and played with her ‘friends’. I just watched…

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Pretend play again and this time round, I got her to identify the various farm animals.

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After farm animals are the usual animals we see in the zoo. A trip there is well worth it because the little one came back, excited to see these miniature ones. And for the first time, I decided to link them with words. Let’s see how well this will go.

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Life is not all about playing. Faith is very much involved in helping out at home. I didn’t force her ah…she wanted to help out so might as well! A trip to the wet market or supermarket is the norm every week. I want her to interact with people (stallholders, strangers, cashiers, whoever she meets on the street) and to greet them. Basic courtesy, no? In the market, it’s a good opportunity to teach her the names of the various goods.

So, these are some activities that she engaged in during her 20th month.

Do you have any to share?

😉

Rainy day on an outdoor playdate

Once a week, some moms and I would plan outdoor playdate for the kids. Prior to that day, we would pray hard that it wouldn’t rain but obviously we couldn’t control the weather and this week, it rained cats and dogs.

What a dampener!

We had wanted to go to Jacob Ballas but adjourned to seek shelter at Food for Thought at the Botanic Gardens. We love the restaurant for its wide space and a playground just outside the premise where the children could play.

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There were about 10 children on that day and what could we do to occupy the energetic kids?
We were disappointed that the restaurant doesn’t provide colour pencils and paper for the kids anymore but hey, there’s bound to be someone in our midst who brought something for the toddlers!

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The kids went out to play once the rain had stopped.

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Lester and his mummy.

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How long can they be content with the small playground?

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“Mama, I’m bored!”
Mama panicked.

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Yay, someone brought the bubbles!
All the children perked up!
Moms went ‘phew!’

Lesson learnt: When you are going on an outdoor activity, always bring the busy bag along and storybooks. Playing with bubbles is fun for the kids, so always have it in the bag.

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These pictures make me smile.

*Thank you to the one who brought the bubbles for the children to play with.
* Nicer pictures taken by one of the moms, Trisa. The not-so-nice ones are taken by yours truly.

(Handmade) Toy of the moment

A month or two ago, Faith loved to play with the homemade toys – pom pom stuff it in and pipe cleaner. She could spend minutes into it and each time I brought them out, she would not get sick of them. Now, she has moved on.

At 20 months old, she is ready to improve on her fine motor skills and currently, this toy enables her to practise her pincers grip, hand-eye coordination and definitely train her to be more focused.

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Similar in concept to the button snake, Faith has to ensure that the string goes through the holes in the blocks. Easy for us but challenging for them and it does require the child to concentrate on the task. Somehow I feel these blocks are easier for Faith to handle than the felt material used for the button snake. (The blocks can be bought from Toys ‘R’ us by the way, according to my friend). I love the bright colours on both and you can definitely teach shapes and colours with these toys.

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Wonder how long Faith will be interested in these toys before she moves on to the next.

* If you have read our weekly playdate activities, the wooden blocks and string is included in one of the Practical Life activities.