DIY Items for Little Ones

Read, Write, Build: REPEAT “An Easy Number Activity for Toddlers”

The Florida Morehouse family had an exciting and eventful weekend! Little Johnny saw Sesame Street Live, which was the best experience we have had with him yet! Big John had many classes going on over at our gym (Glory Martial Arts) and I was even able to sneak in a fun DIY project that I will share on my #diyfriday post!

So with the busy weekend behind us, we’re ready to tackle the week ahead! I have decided to share with you all a fun, easy, and engaging activity that our 1 year old has really enjoyed!

“It takes a big heart (and A LOT of PATIENCE) to teach little minds”. This statement cannot be any more true, don’t you think?! Did you know that as a parent you are your child’s first teacher? We tend to get caught in the norm that teaching is done in a classroom and at a specific age, which is definitely not true! We can find teaching moments throughout everyday life, especially when we have little ones running around us!

“Don’t underestimate the power of little minds. Toddlers will surprise you when given the opportunity to showcase their learning capabilities”

Recently I have noticed how Little Johnny has been so interested in numbers, especially with counting. He loves all the songs that have to do with counting…you know the ones (5 little monkeys is a big hit!) His little “counting” finger goes up in the air as he points it out and tries his hardest to keep to the beat. It made me think that I should probably start some type of counting activity that we can “try” to incorporate everyday into our routine.

Here’s the thing about toddlers…they love anything that is repetitive! But seriously, why?! As a parent I tend to get bored with the same things over, and over, and over again…although, there is so much good behind those “repetitive behaviors” Below is a great article explaining the reasoning behind why toddlers crave repetition and adults love variety.  It really helped me to understand that repetition is okay and I just need to “get over myself” with always wanting variety. 🙂

Why Toddlers LOVE Repetition

I had to actually stop myself from overwhelming my little guy because I’m totally guilty of using Pinterest and I pin so many cute activities, but then I have to remember he’s only 1 years old! So, while these activities may seem fun, I always have to ask myself “Will this overwhelm him?” I’m trying my hardest as I teach my little guy to remember this simple statement. “Less is MORE”, especially when teaching basic concepts.

So, I decided to revert to my old teaching days and incorporate the concept READ, WRITE, BUILD using simple tools such as flash cards, white board, and Legos. We try to do this everyday (although some days get the best of us). I keep the supplies away in a bin with easy pull out drawers so I don’t have to “hunt down” for the supplies. Plus, it gives met he opportunity to have another bin in the house, I’m a tad obsessed with all things related to bins, containers, and baskets…it’s a serious problem! haha

**NOTE: The key words here are “easy” & “REPEAT”! 🙂

READ, WRITE, BUILD: REPEAT

“An Easy Number Activity for Toddlers”

 


I started off slow introducing this concept to him, but as we continued it each day Little Johnny started to anticipate what came next and I am now able to provide less help so that way he can become more independent with it. This activity also teaches little ones “one-t0-one” correspondence meaning that the numbers actually have a value! Example: 1=1 dot 2=2 dots 3=3 dots… and so on. As he gets a bit older I will introduce the number zero, as it’s a difficult concept to understand that it actually means “nothing”.

The key here is to “build upon” learning the numbers. I started at the very beginning only teaching the number “1” until I saw that he was starting to understand the concept. Then I added on number “2” and so on… We are currently ready to move onto number “4”. Here’s what I look for:

  • with some support can trace the number on the flash card using his finger
  • independently point to the items as we count
  • independently recite the numbers (Johnny needs a little more support with this, but I can see he is definitely trying)
  • with support write the numbers on the white board (hand over hand approach)
  • with support build the numbers using Legos (This concept will move onto a more independent approach as he progresses and it is one of the hardest concepts, which is why teaching them as toddlers is beneficial.)

{Supplies}

1. Flash cards with numbers and corresponding numbered objects

  • I bought mine at Target in the Dollar Section, but I found some similar on amazon. Here’s the link! —> number flash cards

2. White board & dry erase marker

  • You can purchase one or make it out of a picture frame from the Dollar Tree! I added the color construction paper as the “background” because we’re currently working on the color green and I can switch it out depending on what color we are learning about. Also, I like that it has edges on the side to prevent those little hands from drawing all over the table. It acts as a “bumper” for them.

3. Legos

  • blocks will work too, or really any type of toy you can build with!

{Activity} 

READ


First, start with reading the number by saying the name and counting the objects. These were the best pictures I could get of us in action! 🙂 I do use my hand at times to help guide him.

WRITE


Next, use “hand-over-hand” approach and help your toddler write the number with the corresponding dots. Little Johnny loves to draw on the dry erase board, so I give him time to “practice” writing it himself. Then we say “bye bye (and state number)” which he then erases it with a paint brush. Did you know that will do the trick with acting as an eraser for a dry erase board? We didn’t either and just found that out! haha 🙂

BUILD


Last, use Legos and have the flash cards laid out to “build” the numbers. There is a lot of support given here!

Repeat this process with each number along with trying to incorporate it each day and your little one will soon start learning their numbers in a fun way!

**NOTE- Make sure you are in control of the supplies. I like putting them off to the side and bringing them out one by one so that way he is not distracted.

What are other counting activities you have tried at home with your toddler or preschooler?

P.S. We have an easy shape activity, letter activity, and color activity that I may be sharing in a future post!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday~ turning your fridge into a learning center

This week I’m bringing you another fun activity for toddlers! The season of back to school has approached here in Florida, and not sure if I’m missing that feeling of getting a classroom ready, but I thought it would be so much fun to incorporate an interactive learning center for Little Johnny!

We live in a small place so I’m always making use of every square foot! This leads me to our fridge… We have open space there and it’s a great place for a learning area because it’s a huge magnetic board, so that’s a plus to start with! We also always seem to be in the kitchen, anyone else feel that way?! Another bonus is it’s very easy to hang things on the fridge. I’m a big fan of command hooks, so I totally used them within this project.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “Will this last after “rough” toddler hands play with it?” The answer is, not sure…but I’m willing to find out. Even if it just lasts a couple months it’s totally worth the “little” effort that went into making the area.

Exposure is great at this age and even though Little Johnny isn’t the biggest talker I can tell he is definitely soaking everything in, consistency is key (along with a ton of patience). So I’m hoping this exposure will help to boost those language skills! 🙂

Most things I already had at home, but we did recently go on a “Target Dollar Section” run, and oh my! So many fun educational things, especially since it’s back to school time! I could get lost in that section!

DIY Fridge Learning Center 


Before going into detail about the items, please excuse our old fridge! Not very pretty for pictures, but it does the job. 🙂

This area is our “water painting” and dry erase board. Little Johnny loves paint brushes and the idea of just using water to paint indoor is genius! Sometimes we draw on our chalkboard paper and then water paint over it. You can see the chalk disappear and it’s a neat reaction for little ones. I used a mason jar with velcro on the back to store our paintbrushes and dry erase marker. So far Little Johnny hasn’t taken it off yet, but we’ll see how long that lasts. 😉 Doesn’t hurt trying, right? As for the dry erase board, I had a picture frame that I bought from the Dollar Tree a few months ago. I placed bright green construction paper in there to give it more color. I used an adhesive tape that holds up to 10 pounds and stuck it on the fridge, so far so good! This is probably Little Johnny’s favorite activity!

These were our fun finds at the Target Dollar Section! The letter board is great exposure in learning vocabulary terms and when Little Johnny gets older we can use it for blending cvc words. I used velcro to attach it onto the fridge, that way if we wanted to we can take it off and use it else where. The small storage bin was something I bought at the Dollar Tree a while ago and just spray painted it a pretty slate blue color. As for the chalkboard paper, it’s another Target Dollar Section find! I used a white bucket to store the chalk and command hooks to hang the items.

I made this easy shape activity a while back and it’s been tucked into a bin, which we haven’t used in a while.(By the way, excuse my “chicken scratch” handwriting!)  I wanted to bring it back out and when it’s exposed the more use we’ll get out of it. I added songs on the back so we can sing about the shapes and build the shape using popsicle sticks. It’s a fun interactive activity. Command hooks along with a binder clip came in handy when attaching it to the fridge.

Little Johnny received a leap frog magnetic number learning activity for Christmas that we still use to this day! I love the one-to-one correspondence with the numbers, so this is our “numbers” area. I have always wanted to make him  a felt board and instead of going out and buying felt material I actually had a felt blanket that we don’t use and just re-purposed it into a felt board. The transportation felt set was another Target Dollar Section find.

Little Johnny in Action! 

This was an exciting project for me! My hope is that I will instill in Little Johnny that learning is fun because “the best type of learning happens when you’re having fun!” I don’t have a checklist and I haven’t isolated any numbers, shapes, or colors we’re simply just enjoying the exposure to these educational items! Little Johnny leads in his play and sometimes it lasts for 5 minutes, other times it can last longer, and as well all know it definitely depends on the day.

We’re making learning interactive and fun in our household!

What are some activities you have incorporated into your home? Please share! It makes me so happy to hear others share their creativity or just ideas they hear of. Even the simplest ideas are much appreciated! I will say that if you share a suggestion I usually end up doing it because I’m all about trying out new things.

Wishing you well,

~Amanda