July 20, 2016

Play Elevator

Every child likes to move in the elevator, for sure! Though this one is not a real moving elevator, A enjoyed with this immovable elevator through some fun conversations that we had through the play.

Materials required: package box, scissors, pen.

More than the end result of any play, journey through the play time plays an important role. A spoke quite interestingly all the while she played with this. Pressing UP/DOWN arrow, pushing herself inside the box, pressing any number, waiting for the elevator to reach and door to open and then moving out of the box and also making some funny conversation - we had a good time playing together.

This is supposed to be the door for elevator.

Marked UP/DOWN arrows.

Written numbers/symbols indicating levels.

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Play Washing Machine

Like any usual toddler imitating her parent, A is always interested in doing all that I do starting from washing clothes, utensils, to hanging clothes on the string.
I have always kept thinking of making miniature versions of all household tasks and this is one of it - washing machine.

Materials required: package box, wall hooks, thread/rope, scissors, some pairs of sock, pen

Just cut open a square/rectangular opening from the box that acts like front door of a washing machine.

Draw some symbols and numbers indicating power, start/stop and the time of wash. Explain the same to your child.

A starts putting each sock one by one into the washing machine. Closes. Waits for sometime as she says that it is in running mode. Then opens it and removes each sock for hanging to dry.

This is how she hangs each sock to dry them up.

 Then waits for sometime as the socks are drying up. Removes clothes pin and puts all the socks back into washing machine. This repeated for at least 10 times continuously. It was a fun way for passing time.

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Counting and Reverse Counting

A finds counting very interesting and I wanted to try introducing the concept of reverse counting. Though it was something new to her and she didn't quite understand why I was singing numbers in reverse order. Then I tried to come up with some interesting sticking/colouring activity that makes her understand that reverse counting is only a matter of sequence.

I drew the following and made a story about it.  I said the ones coloured in blue is 'road' and the cat needs to walk on the road moving right and left accordingly(showing the same with my finger moving around).
Now, the cat wants to go out of her house to the park, what is the route it takes?
Next, the cat wants to return home from park. What is the route it takes?
There, she started counting numbers 1 to 5 in the reverse order and started liking it while also making a tune out of it.

Second involves her favourite activity, sticking. Stick the numbers in correct order starting from snake's head to tail. And then, start calling out numbers from both the ends one after another. One is the normal counting and the other reverse counting.

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Sticking Activity

The last couple of weeks, we have been doing too many sticking activities as A shows interest in sticking various parts of a particular item and then colouring it.

Following are some of them:

Made-up story: This one is interesting to me. Without any talking, I only asked A what she wants to stick. She said tree. I asked her what shall we put on the tree for which 'monkey' was the reply. Then, she also wanted fish, so, I asked her where the fish would live for which she said water. Then, I stressed upon fish lives in the water and boat goes on the water. By then, it was time to make-up a story out of these characters while A was completing her activity.


Elephant: I roughly drew various body parts of elephant and asked A to stick in appropriate positions. She then drew eyes for the elephant.

Train: Again, roughly draw the parts and keep them aside. Try to ask some questions to your child like: how many compartments you would like to have for this train? Where do you want the engine to be? Then you can tell her which direction the train is moving depending on position of engine. In the end, your child can colour the wheels and join the compartments in a sequence.

Cat: I roughly drew various body parts of cat and asked A to stick in appropriate positions. She then drew eyes, nose, mouth and whiskers for the cat. She also decided that the cat would have a violet coloured tail.

Bus: Again the same procedure as above. Roughly draw various components and ask your child to stick each of them appropriately.

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July 14, 2016

Try to understand your child's intention

Every time A knocks on the main door she keeps holding on to the bolt and moving it across both the sides while we are waiting for the door to be opened.

And whenever the bolt reaches the other end due to which it gets locked within it, I keep explaining her that if she pushes the bolt further into it, then the door cannot open because it locks both the sides.

This action of hers and my explaining to her kept repeating every single time we knock on the door.
I never gave it a serious thought until two days back when I understood what A was actually trying to do when moving the bolt. If we actually ponder over what kids do, why they do and understand them while they do anything, their thinking actually amazes us. We ought to learn something from their behaviour. If my reaction to her action of moving the bolt was any one of - getting irritated, showing irritation in my tone, yelling for locking the door that way and wasting time - any of these, then I would not have understood her real intention behind what she was trying to do.

Just two days back, she managed to push the bolt to a little extent into the other end and told me what she noticed. That exact thing really surprised me. It was her urge to reach her goal that kept her trying every time she stood knocking on the door.

And, this is what she did each time we waited for the door to be opened.

The position of bolt right when we reach is this. Notice the length L1.

She tries to move the bolt while observing the lengths L1 and L2. This is when I start explaining to her that pushing it further in will lock the door and it cannot be opened. But only after knowing what she is actually trying to do, I realised that my explanation was irrelevant to her at that moment. It was not needed. Instead, all that she needed was encouragement and explaining her how it could be achieved. Any way, I am happy that I was always positive towards what she had been trying to do, never yelled or anything and that kept her going and in fact, taught me about her. Also, with consistent trials, she understood how she could achieve that she wanted, all by her own. Positive environment is all that kids need while learning how things work.

To reiterate, she tries to move the bolt while observing the lengths L1 and L2 like in the image below:

It was only two days back that she managed to push the bolt little further and make the two lengths L1 and L2 equal when she exclaimed loudly 'Look here, this and this are same' while showing it to me. THIS is the moment I realised her actual intention behind the action of moving the bolt here and there.

Based on this scenario, I would like to highlight few points:
  • A parent should never outrightly negate any idea or action of the child.
  • Try to ask as many questions as possible.
  • When the actual intention is not communicated from child to mother, it is only that either the child lacks ability of conveying in precise words (that is very common with early childhood) or the parent refuses to understand child's perspective (which should not be the case, but, unfortunately, this can be seen in many day-to-day instances between parent and child).
  • Have a vigilant mindset. Realise the point that, the action you are seeing is not the only event that is happening. It is the result of certain thought pattern that the child has developed and continuously developing in her growing brain. 
  • What the child does at any moment does not come out of nowhere. It comes from her developing mental image of environment around her. This includes the behaviour of immediate family members towards others and herself. 

You may read a related post here: Are you teaching or controlling your child?

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July 13, 2016

Explaining our intention to toddler

This is one conversation that I had with A some time back and which emphasises the vast amount of difference that exists between what we wish to convey and what children perceive from our words.
Whenever, there is a conflict of thoughts or actions between an adult and child, the parent ought to spend some time to think over from child's perspective, child's level of mind development and thinking ability, instead of screaming repeatedly at the top of one's voice to make the child do what the parent intends her to do.

(Me and A playing with kabuli chana seeds. I ask her to line the seeds in groups of increasing number count. 1 seed, 2 seeds, 3 seeds, etc.)

A: Counting 1 as she places a seed on floor

A: Counting 2 as she places two seeds on floor

Me: (Noticing that she is placing 2 seeds closer to the single seed already present, moved the seeds away from single seed) Put these two little farther from the single seed.

A: No, I want to put them together(moved them back closer to single seed)

Me: No, we are arranging a sequence, 1 seed, 2 seeds, 3 seeds, 4 seeds. Hence, we want them to stay little farther from 1 seed. (moved them away from the single seed)

A: No, no, I will put them together(moved them back closer to single seed)

Me: In that case, while we want to make a sequence of 1 seed, 2 seeds, 3 seeds, 4 seeds, we won't be able to see 1 seed and 2 seeds. (moved them away from the single seed)

A: (Moved them back closer to single seed as she questioned me) Oh, do they become 3 seeds if I move the 2 closer to 1 seed?

Me: (With a huge smile and widely opened eyes) Yes !!! They will now be counted as 3 seeds, neither 1 nor 2 and we want to arrange them in sequence by groups of 1 seed, 2 seeds, 3 seeds, 4 seeds. What you said is right. Thank you A.

A: Smiling and laughing away, arranged all seeds according to our initial plan.

Though it takes a little while to hit the child's brain with your intention and reasoning, everything is worth a try as long as there is peace and learning among individuals. Isn't it?

So, the next time you are explaining something to your child and she doesn't seem to get it right at the first time, try to be as elaborate as possible while using various voice modulations to catch their attention.

You may also read a related post here: conveying your message to a toddler

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