Homemade Mondays: Mirror Games

Mirrors are a simple way to entertain your child and help their development, too! Mirrors help strengthen social/emotional development, image tracking, body awareness, bonding, focus, and object permanence. They are a great way to practice writing skills as well as your child grows.

img_9581You will want to use a non-breakable, child safe mirror for these games.

For your preschoolers and school-age children, use a dry erase marker to have them practice writing their name, sight words, vocabulary words, and spelling words. Have them practice words that interest them. They can practice writing letters of the alphabet or their numbers. They can even draw pictures–ask questions about what they are drawing to help increase their vocabulary.

For younger children, use the mirror to play peek-a-boo. Point to different parts of baby’s body like the nose, ears, eyes, hand, etc. Say their names out loud. Make a face and ask baby to imitate your face. These are great games to get siblings involved by letting them hold a hand-held mirror.

For more fun activities with mirrors, check out Mirror Play for Infants and Why Babies Love Mirrors.

Here are some great books for you to read with your child about playing peekaboo!

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Thirty Million Words

Remember this post from two years ago (almost to the day!)? Well, talking to your child is still a trending topic. Last week, NPR posted an article based on the book Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain by Dana Suskind, MD.

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Read the article here. And check out Thirty Million Words the website here.

Not All Board Books are Created the Same…

Toddler Girl Reading a Picture Book, Isolated, WhiteBoard books are one of the most practical gifts you can give a child. They were created for young children (babies, toddlers, and preschoolers) with the idea that this age group can be rough with their toys: biting, stomping, throwing, sticky fingers, etc. Board books can typically stand up to this kind of treatment. But not all board books are created the same…

Board books are not cheap. They are heavy duty, glossy, multi-sensory (sometimes), and often, hefty. If you are spending the extra few dollars to give your child something that is going to last a little longer than that paperback book at the bottom of the toy chest, you want to make sure you are getting something that is beneficial to your child and something they will hopefully cherish as they grow older.

Keep in mind, board books are not marketed toward the child who is reading them; they are marketed toward the parent, grandparent, auntie, or friend who is buying them for a child. So while you may find a favorite picture book in board book form, take a peak inside and make sure it is a book your toddler will actually have the attention span to read or sit through.

Thankfully, Zero to Three has put together a great list of tips, so you can choose the right book for your child. Click here to see the list. And make sure you stop by your local library to check out board books for free before you make that big investment.

Reading with Wiggly Children

IMG_3643In honor of Read Aloud Month, we will be doing a series of posts on storytelling, reading aloud to your child, and sharpening your child’s narrative skills. Today, we will be discussing how to read with a wiggly child.

Picture this: A six-month old sits quietly in the arms of her father while he reads her favorite picture book, Night, Night Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton. She reaches her fingers to touch the colorful illustrations. She helps turn the pages. She is attentive. She can’t wait to see what happens next.

Now picture this: A six-month old wiggles restlessly in the arms of his father while he attempts to read a book. He cries as dad tries to read the rhymes and turn the pages. He won’t sit still. crying babyReading to a young infant, toddler, preschooler, or high schooler can be quite the task.

Sometimes you might experience the child who loves to sit quietly and listen to you read. Other times it may feel like you are reading to yourself.

Children, no matter what their age, are wiggly. And that’s okay. While there is no fool-proof way to keep your child sitting in your arms patiently while you read, here are some tips you can follow.

1. Read age appropriate books. While you may love The Polar Express, your two-year-old probably won’t appreciate it quite as much. Wait until they are in school before attempting a book of this length or stick to just talking about the pictures. Dr. Seuss is a great author…but wait until preschool. Babies and toddlers should experience books with colorful pages, simple illustrations, and basic vocabulary and rhymes.

2. Create a routine. Read at the same time every day whether it’s bed time, bath time, or playtime.

3. Change the sound of your voice as you read. This doesn’t mean you have to practice new voices, it just means reading with inflection. Read with a whisper. Read with a loud voice. Read with a silly voice.

4. Read while you are sitting in a waiting room or standing in line. Always have a book with you. Or point to the words around you and read them aloud.

5. Don’t worry if your child isn’t sitting with you for the whole book. If you have a toddler and she loses interest, let her. You can keep reading–chances are she is still listening. Or set the book down and try again a little later or the next day. The most important tip we can share is to make sure reading is a positive experience. We never want children to feel frustrated or upset that it’s time to read.