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Showing posts with label Tot School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tot School. Show all posts

Monday, June 4, 2018

Learning Through Play

Learning Through Play


This post was created in partnership with PicassoTiles but all thoughts and opinions are of my own.

I absolutely love learning and am a huge advocate for early childhood education except I don't think learning has to mean sitting down doing worksheets or flash cards at the early age of two (and this is what they do in most day cares even before two, trust me I have worked in quite a few of them). Children learn by their environment and their surroundings and by playing. There is honestly nothing extravagant you have to do besides spend quality time playing with your young children.
 As you pick up toys to play with, you naturally discuss the object in hand which could be the color and shape of it. You can ask yourself questions that you of course already know the answer to but your child may not: "does it bounce?" "does it have wheels to push back and forth?" "does it make noise?" All these questions and discussions help build their vocabulary and overtime they catch on to colors and how to identify them. Children will catch on to the different basic shapes. There isn't a need to drill or give them a pop quiz on colors, numbers, shapes, alphabet, etc. During these early years, it isn't about mastering all the concepts as soon as possible or being the smartest two year old because trust me they will have plenty of time to master them. As parents, we want to foster a love of learning and how can that be done if we are constantly doing drills or pulling out the flash cards (not that there is anything wrong with flash cards as some kids really enjoy it). The point is to find your child's favorite activity, be involved and just make conversation with them as you play, even if you think it's over their heads. You don't have to "dumb" stuff down or talk in "baby language" use real words to help expand their vocabulary and their thought process.
This is where toys like PicassoTiles come in handy as their brand truly fosters learning by playing. Sophia loves building and while she is playing with her Alphabet Set Magnet Tiles, our conversations can go so many ways. We can discuss the letter that is on each individual tile, we can discuss the color of the tiles, we can go around the house and see what we can stick the magnets to. We can create 2D or 3D shapes. Our options are really endless as we are fostering early foundations in reading (alphabet), math (shapes, 2D and 3D objects), science (magnetic polars), creativity and imagination (open-ended play possibilities) all while playing.
Tip: You can easily add on to the magnetic tiles just like the bristle blocks I talked about last month as PicassoTiles sells different sets.

We also love playing with PicassoTiles Engineering Construction Set, to push Sophia's creativty even further as she can build whatever her mind can dream of (I have always joked that she is my future engineer since she loves building so much) and if you are stumped like me because my imagination is limited they do have an idea book to get your wheels turning. While you are creating and building, you can discuss the color and the amount of pieces you need: "I need one more yellow piece with three holes" as you grab the piece or "can you pass me that red screw" while pointing at the one you need are all great ways to continually build your child's vocabulary and helping them discover colors, shapes and numbers.
Again, you don't need to create a curriculum to last you through the year and you don't need worksheets galore, just get on the floor and play with your kid with good quality toys that have open-ended creative play like PicassoTiles.

If you know someone who would benefit from this post, please feel free to share. I also created a pinnable image so you can bookmark this post to come back to view later on.

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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tot School with PicassoTiles

Tot School with PicassoTiles


This post was created in partnership with PicassoTiles but all thoughts and opinions are of my own.

If you have been following my Instagram (I update that more frequently and it is "real time" whereas my blog posts are general lagged), you may know that I have intentionally started focused play with Sophia as a form of tot school. If you are unfamiliar with the term tot school, you can read more about it here.
I originally decided to carve out a focused play to help Sophia expand herself vocabulary as I noticed she wasn't using many words (her doctor wasn't worried as she said some children speak later than their peers especially if there was a new baby introduced which in our case there was). Even though I plan a certain activity and a book reading during this carved out time, I still allowed Sophia to take the lead. She is free to play with what I put in front of her however she wants and for however long (or short) she wants. I am a big believer in allowing a child determine how they want to play with items as this helps grow the imagination. If we are constantly showing them how to "properly" play with a toy then we close down that imagination and I want all of our toys to be open ended that way she never grows bored of her toys and can always use that imagination to find new ways to play with things. I have the worst imagination possible and am very much a rule follower so I personally like to play with stuff as instructed, haha, so this is a learning curve for me but I'm learning so much from Sophia and here I am thinking I'm teaching her yet she is teaching me!
Another factor that makes focused play and imagination play easier is using toys that were created with STEM in mind which is why I love PicassoTiles toys (if your an Instagram follower, you will remember how much we love our floor piano and how it makes us feel like we are reenacting the movie Big with Tom Hanks).
For the month of April, I am focusing in on the color blue (Autism awareness, totally unplanned that way but cool nevertheless) and naturally I chose to utilize the book Little Blue Truck. Therefore I planned for one of the weeks in April to be dedicated to a farm theme. We played with PicassoTiles Bristle Building Blocks Farm Set and a blue truck for our focused activity. Again as I read the story, I allowed Sophia to lead how she wanted to play and at the end of the story I joined alongside her to play. I love how this set from PicassoTiles incorporates farm animals because this is the perfect toy not only for building but also speech as I have read that speech therapists loving using farm animal sounds as the building blocks for language development.
I also try to incorporate a focused activity that involves her motor skills so this week we also focused on her gross motor skill using the PicassoTiles Soccer Hoverball Air Hockey. This one I did demonstrate the kicking motion as I wanted her to specifically practice kicking but I didn't explain soccer or proper kick techniques or anything like that. We just freely kicked it around the house which is why this thing is amazing. It has bumpers so it won't ruin any furniture or walls because it hovers slightly off the ground. It is the perfect indoor "ball" which we will definitely be needing more indoor play ideas once summer rolls around.

Side Note: it does NOT work on carpets or rugs. The main areas of our house is hardwood floors so this is not a problem for us.

Other activists we did this month include

Color focused bins (blue)
Shape focused bins (square)
Blue coloring
Square painting
Square play doh fun

Other books we read this week was

Do you have a set focused playtime with you toddler? Do you or are you planning to homeschool? Do your kids own any PicassoTiles toys?
ps. The larger pieces are perfect teething toys for younger ones who like to play with their older sibilings. Just be extra careful with the small pieces as they could be a choking hazard.

If you like these type of posts, I can try to rotate more Tot School into my editorial calendar as I am able to. Also if you know someone who would benefit from this post, please feel free to share. I also created a pinnable image so you can bookmark this post to come back to view later on.

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Stormie Ramirez
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