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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Toddler Fun and Expanding Tri-Lingual Vocab

Hubby's next college semester begins on Monday- fun's over folks. I'll see him again when it's about time to stuff the turkey and trim the tree... What am I going to do all day long with a high energy toddler who just wants to learn and explore and move about constantly? Especially when the weather turns too cold for much outdoor play? Well... I have a plan. We're going back to school too! School in the comfort of our own home, and with sort of a pre- preschool spirit. I've been getting prepared this weekend and I am so excited!
I researched a little on where my daughter should be in her growth and development and brainstormed what I thought our goals should be based on what she enjoys, and what she is picking up on lately. I knew I wanted to include a spiritual aspect as it is important to me that my children know God loves them. And I knew I wanted to encourage her vocabulary as she is really starting to communicate efficiently. We speak English (obviously) in our home, Hubby speaks Spanish fluently, and I am fascinated by sign language- so I thought, heck, lets include them all! Our daughter has picked up on a few already- she knows most body parts in Spanish and many commands in ASL. Among other things, she's always signing socks and shoes when she wants to go outside, and she signs more, please, and thank you as appropriate at snack time. So, I know she can handle it! Next, I compiled a "Fun and Learning" notebook, a color box, and a weekly learning chart to stick on the fridge.
This "learning chart" is simply a piece of paper that I wrote our learning categories on:
Once slipped into a plastic page protector, it became a dry erase chart!
I made little plastic page protector pockets to slide ASL images into and used velcro to attach them to the chart.
I have no intention of forcing my wiggly 18 month old to sit through a formal lesson. I just hope that this chart is a friendly reminder each time I see it of things to reenforce through out the week. Maybe I will point out the letter A when we see it while reading a book, sing the weeks hymn as I lay her down to nap, repeat the word of the week three times (once in English, once in Spanish, and once with its ASL sign) each time it comes up in conversation... 
This weeks color happens to be red. So far, colors are proving to be a very difficult concept for my daughter, so to help her learn red I collected red toys and red household items to put in their very own toy box. 
During the day, I'll try to emphasize red/ rojo when we play with these toys. And, maybe when it is time to clean up, she will be able to help me sort the red items from the rest and place them here in their special box.

This "Fun and Learning" binder is more for me than it is for her. It's a resource tool and also a place to record what we've learned as weeks go by. 
 It begins with our 18 month to 24 month goals, which are personal to our family. But, after much inner debate about receiving reader judgements, I've decided to share them:
1. Nurture spirituality
·                 Become familiar with hymns and primary songs
·                 Introduce scripture reading and regarding the scriptures as very special
·                Become familiar with pictures of the temple, Jesus and President Monson
2. Let her grow up
·                Introduce the idea of using a toilet
·                Transition to a toddler bed
3. Let her be little
·              Activities she enjoys: Stacking, puzzles, knobs and drawers
4. Learning
·                Numbers and Letters
·                Increase understanding of and speaking vocabulary in English, Spanish, and ASL
    - Body parts
    - Animals
    - Clothing
    - Food
    - Colors

Next up in my binder are the resources I used to figure out what the average 18 to 24 month old should be accomplishing. I really recommend the Medline Plus website as I found it incredibly informative, not only for their article on general child development through the years, but also for their specific pages regarding both 18 months and 24 months.   

Then the fun begins! The remaining pages are colorful and will be used to record what we learn as the weeks go by. In the future, I hope to add to my binder pages I could call, "Kids Crafts" or "Recipes for play dough- silly puddy- or science projects!"
 We've dabbled in using Spanish words (palabras en espanol) and ASL signs for a few months now, so I was excited to already get to write a few palabras down in the binder, and to fill the attached envelope on the ASL page with a handful of pictured signs we already use each day!

Well, like I said, I'm sure excited about this project. Nothing like a little bit of focus and organization to lead the way through my first time growing up an 18+ month old! 

I will be linking this post up to a few mommy support link parties this week. Will let you know which ones as they happen, because of course, I can't remember details like that off the top of my head!

In the mean time, I just linked up at Flamingo Toes!
Also linked to: the girl creative,
the dedicated house 


  1. what a great idea! I want to teach my daughter another language too and had no idea where to start

  2. what fun! You are such a good mom. I have a lot of file folder games if you would like to copy any of them. Also check out my friends blog, she's homeschooling her kids, including lots of fun for her 2 year old. She mentions where she gets the ideas for him, they are really cool. http://www.momgoneteacher.blogspot.com/

  3. Hey! Found you through the Mom's Monday Mingle and am your newest follower! Looking forward to perusing your site--looks like we've some things in common (my husband's in school too and we rarely see him, I love sewing when I get a chance AND we've got a new baby on the way too). :) Feel free to stop by and enjoy some of our adventures.
    -Rachael from The Rehomesteaders

  4. Hi, stopping by from the Friday Chaos Blog Hop, i'm your newest follower and absolutely LOVE the blog. I'm new to blogging so would love a follow back? www.littlelovesblog.co.uk Thanks, Vikki xxx

  5. Hi new follower from http://craftyhousemom.blogspot.com and I would love it if you would visit!

  6. This is great! I am going to have a toddler on my hands soon and I am always looking at ways to keep him entertained. That's tough! (Stopping by from the Monday Mingle.)

    I hope you'll stop by for our link up- http://www.five4fivemeals.com/main/2012/9/7/friday-five-sept-7-and-five-things-i-love-about-baby-boy.html

  7. I love how organised you are being, I'm sure your daughter will learn and grow so much!

    I'm your newest follower on GFC (from the Monday Mingle). Hope you'll come by and say hi, and perhaps follow back :)


  8. I love what you did here, Jessica! The visual reminder on the fridge is great for the whole family! And your binder is great too! Love the toy box full of focus toys for the week! Great job!

  9. Wow, great idea! Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  10. This is so great, Jessica! You put a lot of work into this, and I love your approach of reinforcing these concepts but not forcing her through a formal lesson. Have you worked as a preschool teacher in the past? You organized this just like I would have for my students a few years ago :)
    Kayleigh turns ONE tomorrow! Pretty soon, I'll be working on some school system, too!

    ♥ Bethany