Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Survive the Longest Car Ride Ever with a Toddler

Baby L, Daddy B, Indigo, and I just got home from a SEVEN hour drive, coming back to Brooklyn from northern Vermont, and man am I tired!

Baby L hasn't slept in the car for quite a while now, so we figured we'd make the drive during the day when the two grown-ups had a little more energy. It was a good plan, I think. Much better than the seven hour drive in the middle of the night earlier this week, when Baby L didn't sleep much more than the last forty-five minutes. I think we learned our lesson from that one!

How to Survive:
1. Read lots and lots and lots of books to your child.
2. If there are two grown-ups, one person can sit in the back to entertain the little person. It makes life better for everybody!
3. Pack lots and lots of snacks that aren't too messy, and several bottles and sippy cups.
4. Allow your child to feed the dog her snacks, even though you usually don't.
5. Allow your child to watch TV shows on your iPhone, even though you usually don't. In fact, you don't even have a TV.
6. Don't stop unless you absolutely have to. If you absolutely have to, stop as soon as possible.
7. Three words: Music. Together. CD. (If you don't know what I'm talking about click here.)
8. Bring a big blanket so you and baby can hide under it from time to time.
9. Don't bring toys that make annoying sounds!
10. Don't plan on your child sleeping. It's probably not going to happen. But it might. If you are lucky. Really really lucky.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Leaf Collecting With Your Tiny Scientist

On your next walk outside, collect some leaves!

Try to gather up a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Your little one will have fun noticing the tiniest details.

Set up a box somewhere in the house where your tiny scientist can have fun taking leaves out and putting them back in. Babies love filling and emptying!

And for grown-ups here are some great sites for identifying trees! Once you look up your tree you can try using the name of the tree as you talk about leaves with your little munchkin:

What Tree Is It?

LEAF Tree ID Key

Tree ID App for iPhone

Make sure to use lots of descriptive vocabulary to talk about the size, color, shapes and textures while you're talking with your baby about the beautiful leaves you collected! Talking to your little guy or gal is a great way to keep them interested and immerse them in the world of language and words that scientists use.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby's Favorite Color!

The next time your little one is playing with her blocks, watch closely. Does she rummage through the box, taking out only the blue ones?

That's what Baby L does! Blue is her fave right now!

If you pour all of her blocks out, you can see that the blue ones are scratched and banged up, while the red, green, and yellow blocks are practically new. Personally, I think it's just about the coolest thing I've ever seen! Early on, babies will sometimes start to develop preferences and favorites. And it's not limited to colors. Just a few examples include favorite sounds, favorite toys, and of course favorite foods!

At first I wasn't sure if L was choosing the blocks because of the color blue, or if it was because of the shapes. So I started watching her more closely, to see if there was a pattern.

At bathtime, Baby L digs through the foam letters in the bath tub to find the blue ones!

When she plays with her links, she gnaws on her blue links and carries them around with her, casting aside the others haphazardly!

Before dinner, we always read a couple books. Of these three books, guess which one she picks?

You guessed it. The blue one!! As a matter of fact, 123 New York is one of her all time favorite books. Right up there with Where's Baby's Belly Button and Good Night Moon.

Preferences are a sign that your baby is beginning to form categories for things. That is, L. recognizes "blue" as a category. She can discriminate non-blue things from blue things; an early and important step in her life as a learner. Just as a scientist observes, classifies, and sorts his or her specimens, Baby L is beginning to notice that not all blocks, links, or books are the same. Sorting and categorizing objects by color is just one step on her long journey toward developing an understanding of the world around her. Go Baby L!

So have fun watching closely and listening carefully to your little scientists. See what you notice. Post a comment and share!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Newest Game: "Where's the..."

"L, where's the monkey?" I asked Baby L, pointing to her toys.
L grinned a big toothy smile and crawled over to her basket of stuffed animals.
"Aaah! Aaah! Aaah!" she shrieked (like a monkey).
"Yes! That's right! That's your monkey!" My heart swelled. My little baby was talking!
"L, where's the owl?" I asked. She turned immediately back to her stuffed animals, all business now.
Five seconds later she found what she was looking for.
"Oooh. Oooh. Ooooh," she hooted, pointing at her favorite stuffed owl--the one her babysitter made her for her birthday a few weeks ago.
"That's right!" I cried, "That's your owl that Ruby made for you! Can you find the other owl?"
L cocked her head at me, as if to say, "Huh?"
"The other owl, you know, the old one?" L dug through the stuffed animals. She cast aside a doll, a teddy bear, and two doggies. Finally, she held the owl she was looking for above her head and hooted, "Oooh! Oooh Oooh!"
"Oh, L, you are the smartest baby in the world!"