A Dr. Seuss Celebration!

March 2 is a day for celebration. It is Dr. Seuss’ birthday (He would be 113 this year!) and Read Across America Day. In celebration of the day and the 44 books Dr. Seuss has written, I have put together 5 toddler-friendly activities paired with a Dr. Seuss book for each day of the week.

Monday: Start the week by reading a Dr. Seuss classic, Green Eggs and Ham. I love that Dr. Seuss wrote this book on a bet that he couldn’t write a book with fifty or fewer distinct words.

Then, make a tasty breakfast of green eggs and ham. In lieu of food coloring, check out the blog Family Food on the Table, for an all natural way to turn the eggs green.

Tuesday: Read Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? and model the sounds found throughout the book for your child to imitate. We used wrapping paper tubes, while reading the book, to amplify the sounds. The amplification made the sounds that much sillier.

Wednesday: Be sure to read Wacky Wednesday and then dress in wacky clothes in honor of Dr. Seuss and this book. Wacky Wednesday provides your child with the opportunity to talk about what is wrong in pictures. The task of discovering errors in pictures allows your child to demonstrate the ability to link visual and cognitive skills. Give your child time to inspect the pictures in the book and see if she can come up with any of the errors on her own. Some of the illustrations are so silly that it’s hard to miss!

Thursday: This year Dr. Seuss’ birthday falls on Thursday. What better way to celebrate his birthday than to play in Oobleck. Oobleck is a mixture of corn starch and water that exhibits non-Newtonian properties. This substance was named after the substance found in Dr. Seuss’ Bartholomew and the Oobleck. While this story is a bit over my daughter’s head right now, we love playing in various forms of Oobleck (just check out our Instagram account), and we love that this substance was named after the substance in Dr. Seuss’ book.

Friday: The activity of painting with our feet was inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Foot Book. This Wacky Book for Opposites is full of language concepts to describe what feet can do, how feet can feel, and how feet can look. When painting with feet, pull from the concepts in the book to talk about your child’s feet. Ex: “We are painting with your left foot,” “Your foot is wet,” or “I have big feet and you have small feet.”

Learning Body Parts with Goldfish Swim School

As a Speech Language Pathologist working in early childhood intervention, I often evaluate a young child’s receptive language (what spoken words she understands). Part of the assessment process examines if a toddler can identify body parts upon request. Typically, the ability to identify body parts begins to emerge between 12 to 18-months old. Around this age, a toddler will identify anywhere from one to six body parts when asked.

My daughter began swim lessons with Goldfish Swim School at 13-months old. At the time, she could identify her “tummy” but wasn’t consistent when identifying other body parts. When we asked her to identify a body part, she knew we were referring to something on her body, so she would touch a random part to appease her parents. Once she began swimming lessons, though, she was exposed to multi-sensory instruction involving visual models, movement, language, and touch; all of which focus on moving specific body parts to encourage swimming. During each lesson, my daughter observes different demonstrations from her swimming instructor involving a variety of specific body parts, she hears directions incorporating the body parts, and then demonstrates the movements involving the body parts. When she first started lessons, we would touch the body part and help facilitate the movement if she didn’t understand what was being asked of her.

After a few months of weekly swimming lessons incorporating multi-sensory instruction, my daughter began identifying and labeling a variety of body parts on her own. I was so impressed that at such a young age she could listen to an instruction and then begin moving that specific body part. The first five body parts she mastered (after “tummy”) include the following:

Hands: Clapping, pulling, and splashing are a few ways the hands will be used during a the swimming lesson.

Feet: Specifically, kicking. Naturally, there would be no forward motion when swimming, without kicking  your feet. Children are also cued to use “walking feet” when moving outside the pool.

Mouth: Before water is poured on my daughter’s head or she puts her face in the water, the cue “catch a bubble” is paired with the visual of closing the mouth. I find myself saying “watch my mouth” while pointing to it, as well. As you can see, she likes to mimic the visual cue, as well.

Back: Part of the swimming lesson focuses on back floats. Now, when my daughter hears “time to float on your back,” she leans back and assumes her otter back-float position.

Eyes: It is inevitable, water will end up in the eyes during a lesson. Throughout the lesson, I find myself talking to my daughter about her eyes and cueing her to close her eyes before she puts her face in the water.

The Details: We are currently in the Goldfish Mini 2 class at Goldfish Swim School. We attend lessons at the Goldfish Swim School in Dublin, Ohio. Check out the link for location, address/telephone details and how to sign up for lessons.

Disclaimer: We were provided free swimming lessons by Goldfish Swim School in exchange for collaborating blog posts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Columbus Winter Outings, With a Toddler, Pt. 2

It’s official; Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means we are in for 6 more weeks of winter. This can be the hardest time of year for active families. The lack of Vitamin D and inconsistent weather make for some very antsy and grouchy children…not to mention their parents! I started a list a month ago of some great places in Columbus for a young toddler to explore during this time of the year, Columbus Winter Outings, With a Toddler, Pt. 1. Below, I have continued the list with some additional ways toddlers can play, explore, and learn while out and about in Columbus.

Pee Wee Play Gym/Toddler Time: The Westerville Community Center offers open gym for young children, ages three-years & under. It’s called “Pee Wee Play Gym” and costs $3 per child/per visit. The gym is set up with a wide variety of large play equipment and smaller toys for developing fine motor skills. Pee Wee Play Gym is offered on Mondays, Jan 9 – Mar 20 and Toddler Time is offered on Fridays, January 13 – Mar 24. The open gym is located at the Westerville Community Center (350 N. Cleveland Avenue). 

Battelle Darby Creek Nature Center: We are so thankful for the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, even in the winter months! The Battelle Darby Creek Nature Center is a beautiful facility located in the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park near Galloway and completely free to the public. The Nature Center offers a “living stream” with toads and fish that can be explored from above, below, and beside. In addition, the nature center has interactive exhibits and a variety of animal pelts for children to explore. Outside, there is a heard of bison that roam freely within two enclosed pastures. If you are lucky, they will be in the pasture near the parking lot when you arrive! Finding your way there can be a bit tricky, so be sure to follow the signs off of Darby Creek Drive in Galloway.

Explore a New Library: Did you know there are 30+ library branches in Central Ohio? Not only do the libraries offer wonderful structured programming (story times/crafts), but a new library branch can be a destination in itself. We have spent many mornings exploring the newly renovated Main Library downtown on Grant Ave and the new library on Parsons Avenue. We have a blast checking out these new library spaces, finding new books, and playing with the interactive toys and exhibits. Best of all, these wonderful resources are free to the public!

Music & Movement: The Grandview Heights Public Library offers the only “drop-in” music class in central Ohio, that I’ve been able to find. (If you know of another drop-in music class, please share in the comments) This class is offered on Mondays, January 2 – February 27 (no class on February 20), from 11 a.m. to 1130 a.m., for children ages 2 to 5.  No registration is require and it is free to the public.

Franklin Park Conservatory: The Conservatory offers a balmy oasis when the winter weather is getting you down. You can take your coat off and explore three biomes (Himalayan Mountain/Rainforest/Desert), the Pacific Island Water Garden, the Showhouse, and the Palmhouse, to see the more than 400 species of plants on display. We enjoy taking the time to wander and often find something new each time we visit. If you are looking for something a little more structured, the conservatory also offers great family programming. Personally, I think the membership is worth the investment!