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Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Tasks

 One of my biggest goals currently is to work on their fine motor skills so they can write their own name. A lot has to happen before they are able to do that thou, they will need a lot of fine motor practice to work on getting their hand muscles working well enough to be able to hold a crayon and pencil correctly. They will need to be able to follow directional lines, and they will need to learn how to trace. So currently we are working on coloring in coloring books.
I will also be printing out these amazing highway letter papers that can be found at one of my favorite websites: Making Learning Fun
http://www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/RacecarABCcards.htm

I have some little vehicle erasers that I found at the Dollar store and I will have Veronika and Gavyn practice running the car along the letter highway. There are so many things that can be done with these letters and I can hardly wait to get started. 
 We are also working on color matching. With Veronika I can set out all the cups and give her several bears at a time and she will sort them into the correct color, often signing the color as she places it into the cups. Gavyn needs more guidance with this activity. I want him to feel successful and not stressed out about it so we only do two cups and one bear at a time. If I see him starting to put the bear into the wrong cup, I will tell him the color of the bear and cup it goes in and help direct him to the correct cup, then we clap for him. I think his favorite part is the clapping.



 This is a little game Veronika got for her 3rd birthday a few days ago. It can be played many different ways. For Veronika, we had her open the shoot and take out the chips and match them to the correct color and animal on the fence. She was able to take out each piece, look for the correct color fence for the chip and find the correct animal that went on it.
 When she was finished we had her put them back in to work on those skills as well.
 With Gavyn, we focused on one color fence at a time and I needed to help him match it by pointing out where the piece would go. Once I showed him where it went, he would put it in the correct place.
 Another skill we are working on is matching shapes and putting them in the correct hole. We got this Melissa and Doug shape sorter. While I am normally a big fan of Melissa and Doug toys the box on this is not very child droll proof. I will be having my husband stain this toy and coat it with a water resistant coating to protect it and also make the lid that slides on and off a little more harder to pull off. Currently the lid comes off a little too easy as you can see in the first picture where Veronika is trying to get her shape in and the lid moved on her. Other than that, we love the shapes and it is proving to be wonderful for their shape recognition.
 Veronika is just learning her shapes so we are working on two at a time. First I will flip the the flash cards once or twice telling her the names of all the shapes. Then I will put two down on the table and ask her for a certain shape. I will either ask her to point to the shape or hand the shape to me.
 She is very good with all of her colors so we do three colors at a time.

Gavyn is working on his colors so I will offer him two and ask him to give me the correct color. 
For shapes, since he is just learning, I only put down one shape and ask him to hand me the shape. Using the name over and over and having him hand it back to me makes him aware of the shape, it's name, and works on following directions.
 Another great activity is the Mellisa and Doug beginner pattern blocks. The more advanced pattern blocks have a flat surface but these are great because it works like a puzzle with the space the shape goes being indented.

 Of course, exploring is also lots of fun and very educational so a trip to our local Children's Museum is a wonderful addition to our learning time.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Videos

Many people have asked how we do things, so I thought I would put together a video. Today was not the best day for videoing but I am not sure when I will have another chance.


Normally I aim for a time where there are little to no distractions so I can focus on one child at a time and I find a quiet place so they do not keep getting distracted.
That however was not going to happen today. But this does give you a general idea of how we do things.
Keeping in mind that both Veronika and Gavyn are only 2 years old I think they are doing very well.
Yes they can get distracted, and yes sometimes they do not want to do something but, I keep them moving along. Sometimes we have to change things up, sing songs, or do whatever we need to so we can work for up to 30mins-1 hour at a time. Sometimes they get bored with what we are doing so we need to find something new, or sometimes we just need to take a little snack/drink break.

Gavyn has a harder time staying on task and focusing. I am not sure if it is just because that is his personality, or if it a boy thing. Whatever it is, we just work with it and work through it. We know he IS learning, and while it might not be at the pace of Veronika, he is still doing great and we are very proud of him. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Crazy Busy

So, since my last post we have journeyed to another country, spent three weeks there, and gotten home and have been adjusting to having two 13 year old girls with Down syndrome at home. Our adoption is not complete. We still have two more trips to go, but thankfully they were able to fly home with us on a visitor's visa.
Since they are not adopted yet we are not able to share them with you at this time but by October of this year we should be able to!!

Finding our groove and figuring out when to do things has been interesting, but somehow we make it work.
Here are some of the things we worked on today with Veronika and Gavyn.
 crumpling paper to use as a flower
 using glue
 signing flower, and counting the flowers
 Working on her ABCs matching upper case and lower case letters

 For this, we did not work on recognizing the numbers or quantities, it was just about being able to put the pieces together
 Gavyn was very happy about making his four flowers
Working on reading. Since Veronika and Gavyn are not talking yet, I read the words while they point to the words as I say them. If they get a bit distracted and just want to bang the pointer, I will do hand over hand with them

Here is a video of Gavyn doing some of his signs. I should have asked him to sign cracker last since after that sign he was only focusing on wanting a cracker, lol


Veronika is babbling and saying bye bye now!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Preschool Everywhere

This month we have had a chance to get out and about with our learning. 
With two year olds it can not just be all work and no play. A lot of the time, learning comes from play. 
We took a trip to the Children's Museum and Veronika and Gavyn had so much time playing and learning about water and how it works by moving the little white plastic plates that acted as a dams. 

Next we went to check out the dig pit. It was wonderful because instead of sand that fills your shoes, it was made out of recycled tires. They got to practice digging, scooping, and filling their buckets using different tools. 


We also got enough sun that we could go hang out at a local park. Gavyn and Veronika worked their muscles by hanging on the bars.  


 And walking up and down ramps
 And walking on a balance beam
We still found some time to work on some fine motor skills with coloring.
 Some cognitive skills with working on letters. I would show Veronika two letters and ask for  her to hand me the letter I asked for, or to point to the letter I wanted. This also worked on her listening skills. She did great! 

 Gavyn loves to look at books and took full advantage of some extra time before bed to look at some.
 Veronika enjoyed looking at this book and signing some of the words/pictures she saw. 

They are both working so hard, but we always make sure there is time for play and fun and just being little kids. They love to do flash cards and look at books so they make teaching them so easy. 
So proud of them!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Short One

Our house has been a bit crazy lately planning for our upcoming adoption of two 12 year old girls who have Down syndrome so we have not been able to post as often as I would like. So here are just a couple of things we have been doing lately.
Number Puzzles

 And color sorting! She has gotten so good with her colors that she will usually sign the color before she puts it down. I tried to make it a bit more challenging by putting the red, orange, yellow, and white close to each other but it didn't phase her a bit! She was able to sort the colors all on her own!.




 Matching blocks to the picture
 Mommy asked if she could copy a tower mommy made and she did!
Gavyn did great matching the blocks to the pictures!
 Gavyn worked with both hands to put the beads into the muffin tin cups



We read books ALL the time and one of their favorite books is "We're going on a Bear Hunt". Normally they act out almost the whole entire story while we are reading in the rocking chair, but today since they were sitting so close to each other they were a bit distracted. It was so cute thou, I just had to post it...


 Working on putting puzzles together. The goal was not match the letter to the picture in this case but to build the coordination of putting two pieces together. Up until now, all the pieces just fit inside a puzzle cut out, so actually having to put something together that can not just slide together meant they would have to work to figure out how to insert on piece into the other.