The Thriving Twos

IMG_5790What’s adorable, messy, frustrating, sweet, and unpredictable all at the same time – a two-year-old!  Often described as “The Terrible Twos” this stage of life has earned its esteemed title with good reason.  If you have ever dealt with a two-year-old, I’m sure you know about their drastic mood swings.  Mine is like a time bomb waiting to go off at any second.  One day bananas are the only food he will allow his lips to touch, the next day the mere sight of a banana induces a massive fit of yelling, screaming, and throwing himself to the ground.  A minute or two later the tantrum will be done, and my son is cuddled in my lap with his chubby arms wrapped around me.  He will look into my eyes and tell me he loves me, and all is forgiven.

 

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Working on scissor skills, while listening to a story.

As frustrating as this roller coaster of emotions is, I remind myself how difficult being a two year probably is.  Two-year-olds are caught in between two stages of life, baby and big kid.  They want to act and be treated like a big kid but don’t have the means to do so yet.  Many two-year-olds are still learning to communicate, they have a ton to say, but don’t have the words to say what they want.  In reality, two-year-olds are actually doing so much learning and growing, the “Terrible Twos” should really be referred to as the “Thriving Twos”.

 

Throughout the summer I have watched my little guy grow both physically and mentally.  If you have read my previous posts, you know that I have been taking advantage of Mother Goose Time’s toddler supplement, Little Goose. If you have not had a chance to read my posts about Little Goose yet follow these links – A Day with Little GooseToddler Diversions.  Here are some of the highlights from our Camping unit.

Exploring Nature

During the camping unit, we learned about many aspects of the natural world. What better way to learn about something than to experience it in real life?

 

Manipulative Fun

Each month we get two sets of manipulatives to use with the daily lesson plans.  One of the manipulatives we received this month was a set of three-dimensional shapes, which have been a huge hit with my two-year-old.

Art Time

My son’s favorite part of the day is completing the art project with his older siblings.  He loves getting messy during the process too, often ending up with paint all over his whole body.

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Dramatic Play

I found a TeePee at a local consignment store and knew it would be perfect for our camping unit.  It has been a great addition to our dramatic play area, and the little guy is a huge fan.

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Learning New Vocabulary

The high-quality materials that are provided in each Mother Goose Time box help to captivate and motivate toddlers to learn new words and concepts.

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My son is learning how to say Racoon and also spotting other creatures on the monthly theme poster.

Being able to incorporate my busy toddler into our daily activities has been wonderful this summer.  He is learning so much while he is participating in activities alongside his older siblings.  I look forward to continuing to with him during the school year.  Most importantly, I am excited to watch him continue to thrive with the Little Goose program.  If you have any questions about Mother Goose Time or the Little Goose supplement, let me know in the comment section.

Join us next week as we don our capes and soar into the Superhero unit, and of course, expect more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

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Hiking with Little Ones

IMG_5349.jpgLast week we went on our summer vacation to Vermont, which surreptitiously coincided with our Camping unit.   One of my family’s favorite things to do when we venture northward into the much cooler climate of Vermont is to go hiking.   The area we visit in the Green Mountains offers tons of options for every type of hiker.  I should preface this post by telling you that I am not an outdoor expert.  In fact, a few years ago (13 to be exact)  I wouldn’t have been caught dead hiking, camping or participating in any outdoorsy activities.  Luckily my husband (an avid outdoor enthusiast) came along and showed me the errors of my ways.

IMG_5287Unlike me, my kids didn’t need to be convinced about the awesomeness of nature.  You could say that they were born wearing hiking shoes and carrying backpacks.  They love being outdoors in nature, learning, and playing as they go.  They have no qualms about hiking up huge mountains, going to the bathroom in the middle of the woods, or sleeping in a tent with animals all around.  Being outside seems to transform my children, instead of sibling squabbling, they begin to help each other, the whining stops, and they have a great time.

IMG_5367Watching all of my kids simultaneously enjoying themselves is great, but when I can sneak some educational time into the mix, it’s a win-win for everyone.  A few weeks ago, as I was flipping through my Mother Goose Teacher guide, I came upon the Trail Map day.  I knew it would tie into our trip perfectly, so I pulled out the daily bag, gathered the necessary materials, and threw it in my suitcase.   The lesson was easy to work on throughout the trip, as we hiked our way through Vermont. The kids learned how to read actual trail maps and how to follow trail markers while they were on the trail.

One of the daily activities, called Color Trail,  had the kids hunt for different colors in nature. It’s now my kids’ favorite hiking activity.  Although we didn’t complete all the activities from the lesson plan, we had fun applying the lesson in a real life situation.

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My Daughter was super excited to find all of these different colored wildflowers.
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An upside down red/orange mushroom we found on one of our hikes.

 

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The rest of our finds during the search for different colors in nature.

Tips For Hiking with Kids

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Hiking with my kiddos is an awesome experience, and I learn something new each time. Here is some of what I’ve learned thus far.

#1 Know the trail-  Do your research ahead of time so that you know what you are getting into.  I like to use an App on my phone called AllTrails, which will tell you trails nearest to you and also rates their difficulty.  It’s a good idea to hike the trail on your own before your kids are in tow, that way you know what to expect.

#2 Pack healthy snacks-  Pack some fruit, fruit leather, or trail mix for the kids to eat during the hike.  If you kids are anything like my kids then they are hungry all the time.

#3 Bring lots of water-  My kids each have their own Camelback Pack, which is a backpack with a built in water reservoir.  They can drink water whenever they need to and we don’t have to constantly stop to pull out water bottles.

#4 Hype the Hike-  Let your kids know about all the amazing sights you’ll see as you hike, and get them excited!

#5 Pack some treats-  I like to bring a bag of M&M’s in case my kids need extra motivation to keep moving.

#6 Let them Lead-  Let them take the lead and follow the trail markers on their own.  It helps them gain confidence and it’s fun to be in the lead.

#7 Have FUN!

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We had a great vacation and had lots of fun exploring Vermont.  It was wonderful to be able to do Mother Goose Time on the road and tie our learning into family activities.  When we decided to homeschool our children this year, being able to educate them beyond the confines of a classroom was a big selling point.  Mother Goose Time is extremely flexible and easy to use in almost any environment and has helped us fulfill this idea, and we are so happy to have discovered such a wonderful curriculum.  While we had a blast, we are glad to be back home and back to our normal routine.

Come back next week to read more about camping unit and of course for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

Let’s Get Packing

Amidst all of the fourth of July hoopla this week we did manage to squeeze in a little Mother Goose Time.  We started our Camping Unit, which my kids couldn’t be more excited for.   My family loves being outdoors and experiencing nature.  The kids love camping, me not so much, but I’m working on it…So this unit is right up our alley.

Our Day

We talked about backpacks on our first day and discussed how they are used when you go camping, and what you might want to pack in them for a camping trip.  We made our own backpacks using a paper bag and read a book about Curious George going camping.

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Letter Review

Much like Alphabet Island, our camping unit also features a letter of the day to review. Today, the letter was ‘B’ for backpack.  The boys also received a letter journal this month, so they get to practice their handwriting skills by working on the featured letter of the day page. IMG_5171  I am so grateful for this extra review, as it will certainly help my little guy when he heads to kindergarten in the fall. IMG_5198 Mother Goose Time also provided us with some flash card sized Alphabet Cards this month, which I laminated for extra durability.   The cards are used in different activities throughout the month, but my son has enjoyed using them as flash cards.  He knows almost all his letters but still gets caught up on a few,  so this is a great way for him to become more confident with all his letters.  Each day we try to decrease the number of letters he doesn’t know by one.

STEAM Station

Our last activity of the day was featured in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) station of the daily lesson plan.  Every day Mother Goose Time features a new idea for a station or activity that deals with one or more of the above subjects.  The activity is normally done independently, and its always fun to watch how my boys handle things.  IMG_5183Today I set out a backpack and a few items that one may take camping and a 6-sided die.  The boys had to roll the die and could then put that many objects into their bag.  It was a great way to teach them how to prioritize what they were packing.  My son’s most important item was the flashlight followed by food.  My littlest guy just had fun throwing things in the backpack and running around the house with it.

Although we are only a few days into the camping unit, I can tell that it is going to be one of the highlights of the year.  I’m hoping we can culminate the month of July with a mini camping trip in our backyard or perhaps even a real camping trip.   As always, if you have any questions or comments please let me know, and join me next week for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

What’s in the Box?-August Edition

I know it is only July, but I just received my August box today and thought I’d give you a sneak peek. The theme for August is Superheroes, and my 5-year-old is super excited about this unit.  After looking through all of the materials I am excited to and I think all of my kids will really enjoy all of the activities and wrapping up the summer learning about superheroes (both fictional and non-fictional.)

Teacher Tools and Circle Time Materials

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Manipulatives

 

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These are magnetic wands and letters.  My son immediately pulled these out of the box and occupied himself with them for much of the afternoon.

 

Family Picnic Celebration Kit

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Week 1

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Week 2

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Week 3

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Week 4

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If you are interested in trying out Mother Goose Time for yourself, check out their website www.mothergoosetime.com.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know.   Lastly, join me here on Chaos on the Creek for more fun stories about homeschooling my preschoolers.  See you soon!

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

 

A Carefree Summer

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We wrapped up our Alphabet Island unit this past week, and have officially adopted our summer way of life.  We sleep later, don’t really have a schedule, and occasionally hang out at the pool or on the boat all day.   It’s a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the school year.  For the first summer in a long time, I didn’t enroll my kids in camps, we are fully embracing a carefree summer attitude this summer.  Not only is it super expensive to put four kids in various camps all summer but it is exhausting to drive them all over town to their various adventures.  I did let my older daughters pick one camp to go to, and they both picked the same one at the same time, which was a huge blessing.  Other than those 3 days, all 4 of my kids will be home with me all day.  So far they seem to be enjoying the carefree way of life.

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However, in order to stave off the inevitable boredom that will ensue in a week or two, we have been using Mother Goose Time to provide some structured activities here and there.  Since it’s summertime, we don’t have a strict schedule that we adhere to every day, and to be honest there are some days when we don’t do any ‘school’ activities.   I also am striving to make our ‘school’ time be more like camp time and we’ve just been having fun with it.  While Mother Goose Time is designed for preschoolers, I have found that my school age children love participating in most of the activities.  Of course, they don’t get excited about alphabet review and shape review, but they love the art projects, games, and the science experiments.  They also really enjoy helping out with their younger brothers and playing teacher.

This past week we have been a little distracted by the pool, but nevertheless, we squeezed in a little Mother Goose Time.  IMG_4957One of our favorite activities was featured on Surfing day and involved balancing on some sort of pillow and simultaneously picking out a foam letter from a basket.  I happened to have a balance board on hand, so we substituted that for the pillow, and every one of my kids had a great time.  It was a great way to work on both gross and fine motor skills at the same time.

Lastly, we have been creating lots of masterpieces.  If there is one thing my kids all love it’s art.  They had lots of fun making their own mini surfboards, which they plan to put to use with various stuffed animals.

IMG_4979We read a great book entitled, The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, by Tommie De Paola.  The story was about a young Native American whose special gift was painting the stories of his tribe.  His culminating masterpiece was a painting he did of the sunset.  The kids enjoyed being able to be just like the character in the story, by creating their own paintings of the sunset.  As an added bonus we got to use glitter, and any project involving glitter is a hit in our house.

We have all enjoyed the Alphabet Island unit, and have found it to be the perfect way to transition from our hectic school year schedule to our laid back and carefree summer schedule.  We can’t wait to start the camping unit later this week, and hope you will come along and read about our adventures and of course for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.