Sunday, April 5, 2015

Language lessons with loquat fruit



I had a little bit of extra time the other day (which is unusual but I hit every green light in town!) before we had to pick Big Sister up from school and I saw a beautiful loquat tree full of tiny, plump yellowy-orange fruit ripe for the picking! I don't know who's tree it was (thank you to whoever planted it on the side of the road!) but since the ground was littered with fruit that had fallen I figured it was a neglected tree and needed some love!

   

We pulled over and reached for the fruit. Originally I had planned on three total loquats as we are working on counting to three with Little W, but they were so delicious looking I couldn't stop. So we grabbed a bowl from the car and started collecting.


 

While we worked, we talked about so much more than just counting to three! Vocabulary is one of the most important language areas to work on. This gives children the foundation for communication. It is a huge component of reading and comprehension, too!


Here are some of the vocabulary words that we (I) used while we were harvesting loquats:
  • actions (verbs): pick, harvest, drop/place, collect, grab, pull, smell it, get
  • descriptions (adjectives): yellow, soft, yucky (for the rotten ones), sweet
  • concepts: high, low, gentle, 1-2-3, full, in, out of
  • objects (nouns): loquat, tree, leaves, bowl, (plus motorcycle and truck while they went by!), ground, grass, sidewalk


Since Little W is 2, he should be combining 2 words consistently. He has some phrases that he likes, but mostly he communicates with one word. So we are working on two-word phrases. Here were the phrases that we used:

  • get it
  • drop it
  • find it
  • want it
  • fall down
  • reach up
  • reach down



After we picked Big Sister up and got home we enjoyed our harvest.





One of the coolest things about loquats is that they have large seeds and each one contains a different number of seeds. Sometimes one, sometimes two and sometimes three. Last year, we had two that contained five seeds. We did a special loquat-5-seed dance. It was great! But this year most of ours contained two or three seeds each.

I cut each one (cut the stem side off, then slice around the fruit not through it), I would hold it out to Little W. He would say "open it" and I'd open the fruit slowly and dramatically to reveal how many seeds were inside. I'd pop them out and we'd count them. We got to practice counting a lot!

With Big Sister, we talked about predicting. We'd look at the size of the fruit and see if we could guess the number of seeds. We also worked on waiting her turn (she wanted to call out the total number of seeds each time!).

It can be challenging to come up with language development activities for a 2 year old and a 5 year old at the same time, but this activity worked great!  With even older children you could have them help you cut open the fruit and take out the seeds.

Once the bowl was full, we enjoyed our harvest!





On a safety note, I have heard that the seeds can be dangerous if consumed (in quantity, but why chance it!), make sure your children do not eat the loquat seeds! Do something better with them...plant them! We are soaking ours right now to see if any of them will start to grow. It would be great to have our own loquat tree out back!!


Do you have a  loquat tree or access to one? What do you do with all of your fruit?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Baby turned 2 today! What communication skills are next?


Times flies! I feel like just the other day I held this little helpless baby in my arms and then I blinked. Now, he's 2! When we hit major milestones it's a good time to review what developmental skills we should be working toward. So, what should a two year old be able to do? I'm so glad you asked! :)


Before I can look at what skills are next, say over the next 12 months, I need to make sure that he is doing what he needs to be doing at his current age. The communication skills that a twenty four month old should have mastered include:

Comprehension / Understanding

  • points to major body parts (arms, legs, head, back, tummy/stomach, etc...)
  • follows simple one step directions ("get the car!" or "pick up the book")
  • understands simple questions ("where is daddy?" or "what's that!?")
  • listens to simple stories, nursery rhymes and songs (books with one word or one simple sentence on a page)
  • points to common objects in books

Expressive Language / Talking
  • has a growing vocabulary (has a word for most family members, friends, favorite foods and preferred toys, and possibly favorite TV characters)
  • asks simple questions ("ball?" uses rising intonation to ask where the is the ball or "where bear" using simple wh- question words)
  • combines two words (more grape, want truck, get dog, go potty)
  • uses a variety of consonant sounds at the beginnings of words (may not say sounds at the ends of words consistently yet)

On his second birthday, Little W seems to be doing ok...with the exception of asking simple questions. Although, his favorite game is where he says "Sissy" and I ask "where's Sissy?" and he announces "koo!" (school). He'll do that little exchange with me at least 20 times, probably more than that if I'd keep playing along. Sometimes he'll even add in "daddy" "where's daddy?" "koo!" "No, daddy is at work." So, maybe he is asking questions with one word, but not using the rising intonation. We'll work on it.


But what's next? For 24-36 month olds, here is a list of communication skills that should be developing:


Comprehension / Understanding
  • opposites (big/little, cold/hot, on/off)
  • follows simple, two step directions (where you have to do the first part of the direction in order to do the second part, example: Pick up the cup and give it to me or Get the bear and put it away)
  • listens to longer stories or more than one story in a sitting (two-three sentences per page is a good length for this age)

Expressive Language / Talking
  • has a growing vocabulary and can name most common objects even if he doesn't encounter them every day (or every week)
  • combines two and three words consistently
  • asks questions what, where and why questions (yikes! why questions!)
  • speech is understood 50-75% of the time by caregivers, although strangers may not understand
  • will indicate a desired object by naming it


I have to say I am excited about the skills that he'll be gaining over this next year!

Come back soon to see some of the activities that we are doing at home (and you can too!) that address these skills!


Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How to play a game Dice Free!



Yikes! Today I had a moment of panic! I had pulled out a therapy game to play with a kiddo and realized that I just upgraded my phone and had forgotten to put the dice app back on. So there I was with a super fun game to play and no dice. What's a person to do?!

Well, I realized that I had all I needed right there with me paper, scissors and a writing instrument (and the scissors are really not totally necessary since you can just rip the paper if you need to!). I created Paper Balls!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

25 Books of Christmas - Christmas Hunt


We enjoyed this book so much more this year! Little W had gone to bed as we were out quite late. So it was just Big Sister and me.

We spent a little bit time reading the story, but mostly we spent time looking for the hidden pictures! We used good language skills to describe the little pictures we were looking for. We looked for a light brown suitcase with 4 stickers on it and a purple present with yellow stars and red ribbon tied up in a bow.

If we found an object that was similar we would discuss the similarities and differences. Like oh that's a star and it's yellow but it's center is missing and we are looking for a yellow star that is solid with a rainbow tail.

We did not read the whole story, it would have taken quite a while. But we enjoyed it for a little while as we did our bedtime reading routine.


To read our mini-review of this book from last year, click here (book 22).


To get your own copy of this book, you can purchase it here:



If you like hidden pictures or where's Waldo type books, this would be a great book to add to your collection!

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, December 20, 2014

25 Books of Christmas - Clifford's Christmas Present




Wow! We really enjoyed this book this year! Both kids got excited about lifting the flaps! Little W just lifted the flap and was excited about the fact that there was a picture under there! Big Sister had a good time looking for the answer to the question in the story.

It turned into a competition! Who could find the "right" picture under the flap. Obviously it was total luck but they enjoyed the game :)

This is a great book for answering questions: What would Clifford like? A bone! Where is the tape? Under Clifford's tail. What is Mrs. Howard doing? Making cookies!

So fun! We even asked other random questions, like what do you think we should give to Precious (that's the grandparent's dog)? or What do you think would be fun to do in the snow?

Instead of rushing through the story, we slowly went through each page. Everyone had a blast!


To read our review of this book, click here (book 14).

To purchase your own copy of this book, click below:




We have begun to love Lift-the-Flap books! Do you have any favorites?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

25 Books of Christmas - On Christmas Morning




Little W was in a very silly mood during book time tonight. He was "reading" the book by putting it right up to his nose!

This is a sweet story about a family getting ready for Christmas morning by completing traditional activities like baking cookies, hanging lights and wrapping gifts. On Christmas Eve, the family stops to read the Christmas story.

The story is written in a poem style and has wonderfully engaging illustrations.

We talked a lot about colors: white snow, green tree, red wrapping.

In one part of the story, the family visits less fortunate neighbors. I like that they brought it from commercialized Christmas to a service oriented Christmas and reminded us that Jesus is the reason we celebrate.

If you would like to purchase your own copy of this book, click on the book below:






Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

25 Books of Christmas - Corduroy's Christmas Surprise




We've been in a "talk about actions" kind of mood around here! Little W is beginning to combine words and a good way to increase the length of a child's statements is to add an action word to a noun (either action-noun or noun-action! for more information check out this post here).

So, as we went through Corduroy's Christmas Surprise we talked about all the things that Corduroy was doing. Even the first page gave us a good idea of what the book would be about "Corduroy's list of fun things to do at Christmastime went on and on and on." A book full of actions!

We did some paired reading with Big Sister, where I would start the sentence and she would finish it. Paired reading typically works best with rhyming books that are very familiar to the child. However, in this story there are some sentences that can easily be completed by using the picture. I would start the sentence "He had little gift for his guests, so he pulled out the -" and I pointed to the wrapping paper, the tape and the ribbons as Big Sister named them. On another page she finished the sentence: "and they were -" singing!

Not the perfect book for paired reading but it worked for us.

To read our review on this book, click here (book 15).

If you'd like to purchase this book for your own library, you can get it here:




Enjoy this heartfelt story about generosity and friendship!

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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