Monday, 30 July 2012

New baby art and an extension

I decided it was time to change the artwork above Baby J's change table.  He previously had these black and white stars.
I bought some more small canvases from the Dollar store.  With the help of my mom I painted L and Baby J's hands and feet and we put them on the canvases.  It was lots of fun for L and Baby J didn't seem to mind either.  He's a pretty easy going little guy.
We hung them up today but he hasn't noticed them yet.

Recently I exchanged the bells for this puzzle ball on an elastic for Baby J to start kicking.  Usually when I'm not using one I wrap it around the top of the tripod.   On this occasion the puzzle ball had come unwrapped.  Baby J wasn't much into hitting the ring until he realised that hitting the ring made the puzzle ball move as well!  He was hooked!  He lay there for at least 20 minutes hitting the ring just to watch the puzzle ball move.  Already making up his own extensions : )

On a side note the first time I hung the puzzle ball I put Baby J down and quickly went to the bathroom.  I came back to find L bouncing the ball off his head!  Thank goodness it's soft!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Gobbi mobile = JOY

The Gobbi mobile is the third mobile in the Montessori infant mobile series.  While making this mobile I had ideas of how I was going to write this post.  Let me say this is the most annoying mobile to make!!  If you are going to splurge and buy a mobile this is the one to buy for sure! 
 It is made by wrapping five graded shades of the same colored embroidery thread around five Styrofoam balls.  You make a hole in the centre of the ball and then wrap it around.  I've seen different easier versions using felted wool or just coloring the balls but I decided to use the embroidery thread because I like the way the light reflects off of them.   
So here I am all ready to post about what a pain in the neck this mobile is.... However when I introduced it to Baby J .....

 the mobile was met with this reaction.   PURE JOY!  That is the only way I can describe Baby J's interaction with the mobile.  Every time I place him under it he laughs, smiles and squeals.  He will lie under it for up to 20 minutes at a time.
All the work was sooo worth it!!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Reach out and touch this

One of the great things about the Montessori method for infants is it is so inexpensive.  Almost all of the baby equipment you see in the baby section of your mainstream mall is totally not necessary.  One prime example are those play gyms.  They range from the mildly overstimulating to the equivalent of Las Vegas for babies.
This is why I love the simplicity of the Montessori toy tripod.  Once your baby is ready to try to reach out for things you can set up a toy tripod with a wooden ring for the baby to try to touch and hit.  So simple and only one thing for baby to concentrate on and try to master at a time.
Originally I was planning to make the wooden tripod from this tutorial but my husband came up with a metal tripod from his work.  It's pretty tall but works like a charm.  At eight weeks I set it up with this ring hanging from a string.  Baby J took to it right away. 
I love the concentration on his face while he was trying to connect with the ring.

The joy on his face when he realised he was able to hit the ring.  He kept at it for quite a while with a huge smile the whole time.
Another option is to put a bell on a long piece of elastic.  I couldn't find a large bell so I used this bell bracelet from my music basket.  He likes to hit this and hear the bells although the wooden ring seems to be his favourite.  I have them both tied to the top of the tripod and alternate them. 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Solar System Part 2

Here are some more of our Solar System activities.

This was another "try it" from the book Starting With Space: The Planets by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson.  The purpose of this "try it" is to see how the clouds of Jupiter are constantly moving, swirling and changing. 
To create your clouds you need to put 1 cup of milk into a pie plate or something similar.  Then add two drops of yellow food coloring on one half of the plate and two drops of red on the other half.  Then add a drop of dish detergent to each of the drops. 

 Gently swirl and you get a wonderful effect!  L loved this experiment and was busy swirling and watching for ages.  Once everything was totally blended together she wanted to try it again.

Another activity that was fun and also had so many educational elements is the Planets Winding Word Puzzle. You have to follow the directions to find words that make up a clue about one of the planets.  It covers reading, writing, following directions, left and right as well as questions on the planets. This is from my new favourite blog Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational.  This blog totally rocks and has so many super cool activities that are right about L's level. 

I think this next activity was L's favourite.  Pin the sun on the solar system!  I found the page here that L colored and then cut out the planets.  I used a compass to draw the white circles on black construction paper, added the planets and then we took turns using the blind fold and trying to place the sun in the centre.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Topponcino=life saver

I first saw the topponcino in the Michael Olaf catalogue and thought holy overkill!  It is a small pad that you are meant to hold the baby on and also for sleeping.  After reading this post on the very informative The Full Montessori blog I decided to make one before the baby was born.
I made it out of thin foam and my mom sewed a cover for the foam and also a washable cover.
For a tutorial see this post.
For the first two months after Baby J came home we both slept in his room.  I had a mattress next to his floor bed.  At night I would put him on the topponcino to feed him on my mattress and when he was done just slide him on the topponcino back onto his bed.  This enabled me to not wake him as the warmth and consistency of his surface never changed.  It worked like a dream!

Now that I've moved out of his room he still sleeps on the topponcino and if he has a hard time settling I just hold and rock him on it and the transition into bed is so much easier.
I would now say this is an essential piece of equipment for any new parent!  So easy to make and inexpensive but a life saver.
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