Amy Beth

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The body mind connection

“In order for children to read, write and spell they must be developmentally ready. Some are ready at the age of four or five, some not for many years later. This readiness includes complex neurological pathways and kinesthetic awareness. Such readiness isn’t created by workbooks or computer programs. It’s the result of brain maturation as well as rich experiences found in bodily sensation and movement.”

From Reading Readiness has to do with the Body

This is one of several articles I’ve read in the past year or so explaining the link between a child’s cognitive and physical development. It’s fascinating and not something I remember hearing much about during all my education classes in college. But if you think about it it makes sense. The brain is used for EVERYTHING. Strengthening the neural pathways in one way (through movement) is sure to have benefits for any other task that uses those pathways.

Poppy’s therapists have expressed similar ideas. Development of gross motor movements lay the groundwork for fine motor movements. (Developing the strength to move her trunk from side to side improves her ability to move her tongue from side to side to help her chew.) Meeting certain physical milestones paves the way for cognitive or social skills. (Learning to sit up makes it easier to interact with toys or people. Better core strength makes it possible to use her hands to makes gestures or signs to communicate.)

This makes it even more important that our kids have opportunities to run wild and play freely. Lucky for me, that’s also a whole lot easier than trying to follow a reading curriculum with my preschooler just yet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Suncatcher Valentine’s Day Cards

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For much of my life, Valentine’s Day was not so much about romance as it was about the CARDS. As a very young child I insisted upon making a homemade Valentine’s day card for every person who had even the slightest place in my life. Grandparents and aunts and uncles, sure, but also neighbors, Sunday School teachers, and the bug exterminator man (we lived in Mississippi where the the bug exterminator man was of great importance).

In elementary school I can vividly remember the chore of writing all my classmates’ names on the store bought Valentine’s Day cards I had picked out, painstakingly trying to make sure none of the boys got anything overly flirtatious that might suggest anything more than a polite acquaintanceship.

In High School Valentine’s Day got a bit more awkward and I kept it’s place in my life pretty low key, but in college I started dating the man who would become my husband and picking just the right card to express my great love and affection was an activity that required standing in the card aisle of the grocery store for much longer than one should ever stand in a single grocery store aisle.

Then again as an adult I got back into the homemade card making business, using the holiday as an excuse to exercise some creative energy and express my appreciation for various family members.

So now as a mother, there is of course a great responsibility to make sure my children carry on the tradition and create homemade cards for their grandparents and aunts and uncles. That’s what the holiday is all about, after all!

I give you Suncatcher Valentine’s Day Cards.

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You start with some contact paper, some pretty translucent paper (tissue paper would work), and a card with a heart cut out of it.

Let your kid stick pretty paper scraps to the contact paper with abandon. If you have a child who is into using scissors you could let them cut out random shapes and scraps to stick on, or even have them tear the paper. Both would be a great fine motor activity. My child just wasn’t feeling the fine motor practice on this particular day so I cut some small hearts for him to use. Other ideas could be to use a hole punch to make lots of tiny colorful circles, get really messy and sprinkle glitter, or get some kind of shiny valentine’s day confetti at the party supply store to throw around.

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Once the contact paper is sufficiently covered with prettiness, top with another sheet of contact paper and cut into smaller pieces to fit behind the heart shape on your card.

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Decorate the paper as much or as little as you like and send the cards off in the mail to the people who mean the most to you! These cards are pretty anywhere, but they are especially nice when displayed in a window.

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Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Toddler Leaf Collage

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This little craft is a simple way to collect and display bits of the outdoors with your toddler. All it takes is a bit of contact paper and a short walk outside!

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I stapled a sheet of contact paper to a piece of cardboard so we would have a sturdy surface to work on. Then we took a walk with our board and picked up pretty leaves. When we found one it was simply a matter of sticking it on the contact paper. No glue, no tape. It was very easy and simple for little toddler hands to manage. By the end of our walk we had a nice collection of leaves.

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When we got home we stuck the contact paper to the glass of our back door so we could admire our work.

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Before sticking contact paper straight to glass I googled it to make sure it wouldn’t leave some sort of horrible sticky residue for me to clean off. In the process I found this blog post of a similar idea with flower petals that produced really lovely results. You should take a look if you want to see what this idea can become if you spend a little more time and effort on it.