Letter Detective

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For 26 days, Travis has been playing detective. Letter detective that is!

For the assignment (a neat suggestion from his summer pre-k to kindergarten workbook), I purchased a small glass jar with a lid and set aside a collection of pennies.

Each day, he was tasked with finding one letter of the alphabet. Every time he notices it, a penny goes in the jar. Fair game includes magazines we read, food labels, street signs around town, and more.

When we started with A, he needed lots of prompting, but over the course of the day he spotted 8 As.

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8 pennies in the jar!

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Truth be told, it was hard for Travis to find the letter of the day as we drove; his recognition isn’t fast enough to keep up with the speed of a car. But at-home materials proved more fruitful, and the goal is to count up the pennies at the end and perhaps earn a small reward!


Community Matters

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I’ve moved three times since having children, and each time, there are two places in a new town that I head to first: the town library and the town recreation center. Both are a goldmine of information and opportunities – usually free or low cost – for children of all ages. They are also focal points of the community, which can be a great way to connect with other parents, find a way to get involved in the community, or just have a place to go on a rainy day for play.

To wit, Veronika and I have already found a baby yoga class at our new town library, a fantastic chance to connect with babies about her age. Make sure to pick up a local flyer or calendar so you know what’s coming up next: story hour and toddler singalong are both on our list!

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Rec centers usually have many options, too, and we’ll be checking out the open gym play for her gross motor skills in the fall and winter.

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What’s your favorite baby program in your town? Please share in the comments!

Share the Chores

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If daily tasks around the house feel like drudgery with your baby around, then it’s time to invest in tot-sized versions of some daily household chores. This not only keeps your little one entertained while you work, but will be so darn cute you don’t mind all that drudgery (truly!).

Today, Veronika joined me with her own little “laundry” machine. She loved everything about this; the felt paints and shirt she could put it in and take out of the washer over and over; the door to open and close; the spinning feature on the door that went round and round; the iron to zoom back and forth.

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Plus she had a laundry detergent bottle that could safely go to her lips!

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Meanwhile, I got all the folding done next to my little helper.

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Babies and toddlers love to imitate you and that’s what makes toys like this worth the investment; big brother Travis loved playing mini-me with toy vacuums, toy mops and brooms, toy dish washing sets and more, and Veronika can help with all of these, too, as she gets older. Toy oven sets are also perfect for this in the kitchen.

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Another idea, if you’re feeling bored of your chores, is to swap with your partner for a day or a week. If one of you tends to do one thing and one tends to do the other, consider a temporary switch. Truth be told, I prefer to do the lion’s share around the house, but I challenged myself to tackle a chore I’d normally hand off to my husband: hanging pictures that were idling on the ground still after a recent move. It was unexpectedly fun be the one wielding hammer and nails.

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So mix it up, and perhaps you’ll find a new task to make your own. How do chores get divided up in your house? Please share in the comments!

Coach Whistle

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The sports coaches at Travis’s camp have whistles… which means Travis needs one too! Well, it turns out that we couldn’t exactly make a whistle sound from this Highlights craft, but it was fun to make and Travis was so proud to wear it around his neck.

First, cut a strip of paper that is 1 inch wide and 9 inches long. I love letting Travis help with a ruler for sneaky “math” practice.

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Cut out the strip and cover in duct tape; we used a colorful blue. Cut a u-shaped notch in one end.

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Grown-up step: Hot glue two juice lids to the opposite end from the U.

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Roll up, continuing to glue, until there’s only a 1/4-inch gap open between the lids and tape. Fold back the U so it overlaps this gap. I knew we needed to get this exactly right for a true whistling sound, but because we were working in those quick minutes before camp, I had to sort of fudge it.

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Snip the end of the tape so there is an opening to blow into.

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Attach a pony bead to the back of the whistle with hot glue, and thread through yarn to go around your “coach’s” neck.

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As I mentioned, Travis did more of a hoot hoot into the whistle, and didn’t get a true whistle sound, but he loved it and proudly showed it off to camp counselors.

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