Difficulty: Easy Things You’ll Need:
- Educational toys
- “Purple Place”
Even when I was pregnant with my first child, I looked for educational and development toys. I think because I was born with severe Cerebral Palsy, I ALWAYS worked to get strength and through that I learned since my birth. I had the “benefit” of going to Easter Seals and having Physical Therapy and having Occupational Therapy and even Speech Therapy. So, when I look for toys, I look at the “Development Awards” and the “Parent’s Picks” section in stores and online. I also go into The Discovery Store for my kids. The Discovery Store is for ALL ages.
On web sites and in stores, all toys have written age ranges that are suitable for kids. But I think it is best for the store’ s website to be EXTREAMILY helpful and / or the stay at home parent really think of buying the toy in the store. If you more than likely buy from an online store, examples of great web sites are Walmart.com and Target.com. You know Walmart.com has that start rating system and also the buyer’s comments. And you see this before you even buy the product.
For ALL my unborn’ s baby shower registries, I ONLY registered at Target stores. And I did this because among Kmart and Walmart and Target, Target has the best quality of items YET Target has more of their sold items ONLINE. You go visit ANY Target store, and they will have slim pickings of what is offered online.
Personally, I would rather buy a toy in person. And basically, one of my things of being the best mom that I can be is that I think if my specific child can do this toy AT THIS MOMENT and how much TIME and JOY will my specific child have with this toy. Here’s the thing…, toys have recommended age appropriate ranges, but that’s not enough. My only son, who is now three and a half, has ALWAYS been developing faster than his age range for ALL his little life. I mean, he was born in early June, and October started to crawl.
And, on Christmas Day that same year, he was crawling EVERYWHERE REALLY FAST. Also my son comprehended things that people were saying early on as well. Now, my daughter, I thought she was having development process problems because she was not able to do things when her brother could. And I asked the pediatrician about it and it turns out that my daughter is at her age range and fine. Nicholas, my son, just ALWAYS developed progress faster. And how long a child will find joy in a toy is individualized too.
When grocery shopping, I’m a BIG labels reader. I look at the Nutrition & Vitamins DETAILED section. You have to remember that in school, toddlers and up in age can switch brought from home lunches with their buddies all the time!! At home at a YOUNG AGE, is YOUR ONLY TIME to KEEP your kids AWAY from sweets and “too much of a good thing”!! And that’s what Step 2 is all about.
When my son was old enough to eat regular food, I stacked up on apple sauce and milk and Gerber infant foods that is to melt in the infant’s mouth. And now that my two youngest are toddlers, I read the labels of foods. My husband wanted our kids to have cereal. And cereal to me at their age or a little older was for the prize in the box and the characters and colors on the box. So, that was my first real thing at looking at the Nutrition & Vitamin section of foods. I bought General Mill’ s Cinnamon Toast Crunch because it had the most of vitamins that I saw on a still appealing cereal to a toddler. The only thing BAD about CTC, moms, is that when you clean up your toddlers, they WILL have a mix of sugar and cinnamon ON MOST of THEIR BODY!! My husband then one day went to grab another cereal and I said, “What are you doing??” and he said that our kids needed some variety in their cereals. So I put BACK the cereal he got and went label shopping again. And the cherrios commercial with the infant and the father eating breakfast really made me think in the grocery store. And I looked at the label as well. But then I thought of the Honey Nut Cherrios, with the flavor of honey. I got tired of cleaning cinnamon and sugar off my kid’s body so my husband once bought Apple Jacks. And at first, I hated the thought, but then it wasn’t that bad. So, now we trade off on Honey Nut Cherrios and Apple Jacks. On thing though, I DO NOT give my toddlers milk in their bowl. Because ANY infant and toddler learning how to eat their own food, will be a MESS. And then you have the toddlers who think that swinging food around and emptying food out is fun. Milk in a bowl just added to the clean up mess!! Buying Breakfast Bars, I buy Neutri -grain Granola. Its a jelly filled bar and they have all sorts of fruit flavored boxes. Personally, I buy apple cinnamon. And I buy that because you have NO CLUE if you get THE REAL FRUIT or just the fake filling stuff. So, at least there is a real spice my kids are getting. Juices, its either / or / and Mott’s Apple Juice and Juicy Juice’s.
Monday through Friday, from the time they wake up until six at night, my kids are ONLY ALLOWED to watch PBS. At that time is “PBS kids” and its really educational shows with no commercials. You have the old favorites that cover everything educational like Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. There’s even Arthur that teaches a little bit of everything from manners to friendships. And then you got Curious George and Zulu Patrol and Cyber Space – all of which deals with math and science. Word World and Between The Lions and Word Girl all deal with spelling and grammar. I make it a five day a week thing at that time because when they are older, they would be learn at school then.
ANY infant or toddler is NEVER EVER too young to learn. With no commercials on PBS Kids, you never get rid of that attention span. Which is also a super plus. I started my son out when he was an infant with Baby Einstein videos. And, that and when I started my kids on PBS Kids, I got frustrated when my kids would NOT sit in one place and stare at the TV. It was THEN soon after that I realized that infants and toddlers learn from ALL their senses.
I HAD TO ACTUALLY REMEMBER HOW I LEARNED at Easter Seals was the feeling and doing. In speech I learned most not just by looking at the teacher’s mouth but hearing as well. So, like if my kids today are doing something else, but in the same room – for example playing together or coloring – I DO NOT click the mute button. The only time that mute button is off is if my kids are upstairs. Because even downstairs in different rooms, you can hear things.
And the only time, though some are educational too, I let my kids watch the Disney Channel is on weekend mornings!!! And I try to make that cable channel AND SPECIFIC TIME a point too because Saturday mornings you have so many options of negative cartoons for youngsters to learn from! Its scary! And Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network, you have a Christmas and birthday wish list start up as soon as you see a commercial!!! My husband is a kid at heart and he lets our kids watch those channels when he gets home from work!! ALL my husband hears now between the shows is, “Daddy I want that”!!!
Activities are so essential for everyone, but especially for growing minds and growing bodies. The building legos thing for instance in step one is a thought process of organization. You know kids have to think if so many legos and their shapes are going to balance to be the tallest building. And then lego builders like my son now are advanced at thinking, “oh I need the lego with wheels on it to make a car. Then, I need to find that lego man to drive the car”. Its learning at play.
Another way of learning through play is computer web sites for kids. My husband is a computer geek and our son would be in his dad’s arms as an infant and watch his dad on his laptop. I had to buy myself a laptop a few months ago, because our son was “mastering” my desktop. And we gave him a “limited” account with his own wallpaper and home page. Now because the computers, the desktop and my laptop, are both downstairs we have yet to set parental controls. But that would be a best bet too.
Never less, we have his home page as www.Nickjr.com Oh yes, and we have a “Password” for Nick’ s account. And with the password COMBIND WITH THE LIMITED ACCOUNT (I believe), the administrator needs to type the password in every time. TO make sure of this though, SHUT DOWN the limited account – THEN you will need to put a password in! On with www.Nickjr.com. I know in step three I said no to the Nickelodeon channel.
But the website www.Nickjr.com is different in the way that it IS LEARNING THROUGH PLAY and its really the cartoon shows of the channel only. You think of how to do this and how to do that to win a game. There’s also “radio” and “video” and “art” and “stories” on the website. My two and a half year old, has just “mastered” the desktop some weeks ago and she will be on Nickjr.com by herself with little help and she LOVES the “art” section.
Its fun and you have an option of printing out copies to color as well. I mean, you can have stories for you to read or you can hear different songs on the radio over the website or you can click and drag things in games or you can click and re-click on different colors to paint an outlined picture. There are SSOO many things you can do on www.nickjr.com that has you think in order to learn.
We also downloaded for the kids “Purple Place”. Its three games in one “package” (Purple Place).
Of course, look at your community and look at the walk able playground parks. As always its FRESH AIR & real physical
Tips & Warnings
There are things in the steps that I could not cover because I just ran out of room to write. They give you limited space here!! Anyhow, if you need those additional things that I could not cover, please contact me here. I will personally answer each email. Thank you.
Observe your child as much as possible. The more you observe, the better you will feel CONNECTED WITH YOUR CHILD. Daycares and babysitters while you are at work, will know how your child is BETTER than you. If YOU HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY to KNOW your child and COMPREHEND your child 24/7, DON’T give that up. I hear you loose that in their teen years and maybe before!!!! I am Learning to get in touch with my “Inner Child” by being a stay at home mom AND NEEDING TO STAY HOME!!!!