You Design it, Good Makery Gifts Engraves it

I love Instagram! I find some of the newest and coolest places and activities in Columbus by perusing Columbus hashtags (#asseenincolumbus #lifeincbus #expcols). During a recent hashtag exploration, I found Good Makery Gifts (@goodmakerygifts). Good Makery Gifts is a new retail concept that allows children (or anyone, really) to choose and design one-of-a-kind gifts. Inside the shop, you’ll find a chalkboard with a message that succinctly explains the concept; “You design, We engrave.”

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A few weeks ago, Good Makery Gifts ran an Instagram giveaway. I entered the contest and won two $25 gift certificates for me and a friend! When I felt daring enough for extended ventures outside of the house with the newborn babe, I set up an appointment to check out the shop. My daughter and I were joined by my lucky friend and her three-year-old son. Leslie, the owner, currently runs the business out of her residence in Grandview Heights. Based on the residential address we were given, we were a little unsure if we had the right place upon arrival, but we knew we did when Leslie greeted us at the door with a friendly welcome. She then took us to the shop, which is set up in her dining room. The whole set up is well thought out and very cute. The shop is divided into different sections of goods that you and your little munchkin can design and engrave. It has just about anything one could imagine from journals and picture frames to jewelry and iPad cases.

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According to the website, the shop’s mission is, “…to engage children in the act of creating attractive, personalized gifts that give thanks to the most important people in their lives.” Not only can your child create a very cool, personalized gift, he or she can also build her receptive and expressive language skills in the process. Before you go make a gift you can prepare your child by asking who” and “what” questions. It is best to have a clear objective before heading to the shop. Make a plan by asking, “Who do you want to make a gift for?,” and “What do you want to make for that person?”

Once we arrived, Leslie gave us a quick tour of the shop and walked us through the steps of making a personalized gift. This provides a great opportunity for a sequencing activity! The ability to sequence is critical in children’s development of language skills, following directions/routines, planning skills, and reading comprehension. Sequencing helps a child understand the order in which events occur. Before you and your child begin creating your gift, you can discuss the steps needed to create the gift and then talk about each step you are completing while you are creating the gift. The steps are as follows:

1. Pick out a gift for engraving.

2. Take the card that corresponds to the gift and scan it into the computer.

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3. Design on the computer what you would like to be engraved on the gift. (My little girl is still a bit too small to design an engraving, but my friend’s son had a blast designing a cover for his daddy’s new journal.)

4. A machine engraves your child’s one-of-a-kind design on your gift of choice.

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  5. Gift wrap the item and fill out a gift card in the store.

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6. Give your specially designed gift to your special someone.

Once your child has given the gift to your special someone, you can prompt him or her into a recall activity to explain how it was made. Recall activities not only require your child to use his or her memory, but also exercise organizational and planning skills. To begin, prompt your child to recall the past events of the trip (how he or she created the gift) and then sequence the steps taken into a logical order to tell the special someone how the gift was made (“What did we do first?,” “Then, what did we do next?,” etc.). I’m sure your special someone will be all ears to hear your child’s story of how the gift was made!

Good Makery Gifts donates a portion of their sales to charity. During this quarter of the year, a donation from each purchase will be made to Flying Horse Farms in Mount Gilead, Ohio. If you would like to support this wonderful local business, you can check it out online at  Good Makery Gifts, on Instagram @goodmakerygifts, or by calling/texting Leslie at 614-563-7321. Thank you Good Makery Gifts for a wonderful experience!

 

 

 

What Are You Reading Today?

With the newest addition to our family, I have been thinking a lot about the best types of books to read to babies and young children. Reading aloud to babies and young children well before they are of speaking age is an important bonding experience because it encourages vocabulary development and improves communication skills. If you head to your local bookstore, you’ll find entire sections devoted to children’s literacy and language development. To help you save time sifting through the shelves, I’ve made a list of my four favorite (and effective) types of language development books for children.

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High Contrast Books

High contrast books are great way to introduce infants to pictures in books. The high contrast colors, shapes and patterns of the images give babies something simple to focus on and holds their attention for a brief period of time. Colors that have the greatest contrast (black/white) are the easiest for the baby to see. I tried Hello Baby: Flash Cards from Priddy Books with my one-week-old infant (see below) and was shocked by her attentiveness. I held the high contrast cards about a foot away from her in her line of sight. Initially, she held her gaze on the picture only briefly before looking away. However, the more I presented the cards to her the longer she held her gaze.

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Favorite high contrast books:

Look, Look by Peter Linenthal

Hello Baby: On the Go by Roger Priddy

Picture Books

Picture books are great for babies and young children. The illustrations and text are intertwined; working together to tell the story. In addition to reading the book directly to the child, I also like to “talk” about the books. “Talking” about the illustrations instead of just reading the text and flipping to the next page, allows you to follow your child’s lead and talk about what interests him or her in the book. When you child is given time to analyze a book’s pictures, he or she will be less of a passive listener and more of an active participant in story time. If your child is highly motivated by a particular image on a page, you are able to create a dialog about what is happening in the pictures, thus encouraging speech development.

Favorite picture books to “talk” about:

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

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Repetitive/Predictable Books

Repetitive/Predictable books are another great way for young children to be involved in the storytelling experience. The repetition in this genre helps children understand language and how stories are put together. The language patterns in the story will give your child the chance to anticipate what is going to happen next and allows him or her to complete the phrase or sentence.

When reading a repetitive/predictable book, simply read through the story first to help the child become familiar with the text. After finishing the book, immediately re-read the story. When reading the story a second time, pause before the last word of the repeated phrase. For example, in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, say, “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you (pause),” and then wait for the child to verbalize, “See?” If at first your child doesn’t verbalize “See,” don’t worry! You can model the desired word and have him or her repeat after you. The more you read, the more your child will hear and understand the language patterns in the story. Soon enough your child will begin to produce the word or phrase on his or her own.

Favorite repetitive Books:

Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

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Rhyming Books

Rhyming books are fun for parents and preschoolers alike! Not only can rhyming words be silly, but listening to the rhythm within a rhyming story can be soothing.  In addition to having fun when reading rhyming books, the ability to rhyme is a reading readiness skill. Rhyming words help a child notice and manipulate sounds within words and begin to help identify word families. When listing rhyming words the child will identify words that share common sounds. For example: hat and rat both end with -at.

Favorite Rhyming Books:

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Dinosaur Roar! by Paul  Stickland

My inspiration has arrived!

My inspiration for this blog has arrived!

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I have been a mother now for nine whole days. Miss Ingrid Rose made her grand appearance on July 27, 2015, at 6:49 p.m. She was a perfect 7 lbs., 5 oz. and 19.5 inches long.

My husband and I have spent the last nine days cat-napping (barely), eating (sometimes), staring at our little lady (always), taking hundreds of pictures (in between phone charges), and trying to figure out this parenting business (work in progress).

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Through her cries, Miss Ingrid came into this world ready to communicate with us. She does a great job letting us know when something is wrong. We just have to be smart enough to figure out what she needs! So far, her cries have let us know when she is hungry, gassy, in need of a diaper change, has cold feet or just wants to be snuggled.

I recently had a friend tell me that the days with a newborn can seem long, but the weeks will fly by. I have already experienced this in the past week. Where has the first week of her life gone?

I am excited for the adventures we will have around the city, but right now I am soaking up every ounce of her newborn baby sweetness at home! Many adventures will come…once we sleep more than three hours a night.