J Week!

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Travis and I had just enough time between Christmas and New Years to fit in J-themed games and learning, as we continue our Letter of the Week journey. We found lots of joy in letter J words!

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Jungle: A jungle Duplo set from Santa was a timely gift to kick off our week, including elephant and tiger figures. We constructed a big jungle from all the pieces, and included green paper clip “vines” for the monkeys to swing on. Play with any other toys you have that feature jungle animals, whether stickers or puzzles…

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Or just dance around like jungle creatures! We like to shake maracas and pretend to be monkeys.

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Jump: We certainly got in exercise with jumping this week! You could set up bean bags or other jumping points along the floor as an obstacle course, or set up several books and jump from story to story before beginning storytime!

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Or just have a good old-fashioned jumping party.

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Jack-in-the-Box: A perennial favorite, but every time I pull out our jack rabbit in a box, Travis is further able to use the toy himself. He now winds through the whole song, and stuffs the rabbit back in to begin all over again without needing my help.

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Juggle: When we were done jumping on all those bean bags, we picked them up and juggled them. Tho Travis tried perhaps a few more than he could handle…

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Jeep: Pull out any toy vehicles you have that fit the definition of a jeep. We also have a neat jeep track, so of course that had to be set up this week. If you don’t have jeep toys, see if you can spot real jeeps driving around town!

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Jewels: We attempted to make homemade jewels with a salt and glue recipe I found in 365 Toddler Activities that Inspire Creativity. I made the mistake of purchasing kosher salt, however, not rock salt, which meant our jewels didn’t set enough for play! Hopefully you make the recipe correctly and can use the jewels once they dry, whether your child pretends to be royalty or a pirate. Nonetheless, it was good messy fun to make our jewels. To make your jewels, combine

2 cups rock salt

1/2 cup glue

Drops of food coloring

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Jars: Lids and jars never fail to amuse toddlers. We set up a few jars with quiet objects (ribbon, cotton balls), and some with loud (marbles, buttons), and shook them to decide which was which. As always, jar lids are great practice for fine motor skills.

And here are some weekly extras…

Fine art: A jellyfish craft was good jiggly fun. Travis’s favorite part was coloring in the body on a paper plate, after which we added string as the tentacles.

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Poke holes in the top of the plate and thread a final string through, so your toddler can jiggle the jellyfish around.

Food: Travis dined on jam on toast, and ate a few nut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Although normally not available in our house, juice was a special treat for J week, and Travis was delighted!

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Books: Our picks from the library this week tended to be interactive ones – Jump by Scott M. Fischer makes for great jumping play, and Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban is the perfect book to read over a jam snack. You might also want to act out any version you can find of Jack and the Beanstalk.

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Songs: As with our books, songs this week were very interactive! Jingle Bells was still timely, here only a few days after Christmas, so we played the song and shook jingle bells along to it. Another interactive song to try is Jack and Jill; using a xylophone, move up the scale as you sing each note of the following:

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.

Then descend the scale of the xylophone as you sing the following:

Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.

As you play, your child rises up on the first line, from a little ball until standing tall with arms up high. In the second line, he or she shrinks back down into a ball.

After that lesson on the octave, sing John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt for an easy introduction to dynamics – start out loud, and finish off with the verses in a whisper.

Finally, Travis fell in love with the song Hey Jude this week, completely by coincidence!

Math: My intention was to count jellybeans, but I didn’t have time to buy vegan ones before J week sneaked up on us. Instead, I dubbed a bag of Surf Sweets gummy bears as “jelly bears.” Travis started with a plate of 20 and got a kick out of counting down as he ate. “How many are left?” he’d ask, hiding one behind his back, before moving on to the next bite.

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In sum, a week of joyful fun. What other J games can you think of? Please share in the comments!

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