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Where is the Green Sheep?

4 reasons you should add Where is the Green Sheep to your bookshelf.

(If you haven’t already!)

1. It’s just plain fun to read.

The sing song repetition of the story is delightful to little ears. It gives language a musical quality and the pattern of the sentences makes it easy for tiny kiddos to predict the language and remember what happens next. This sort of predicting and repetitive language is how your little love will learn sentence structure. A child’s receptive language is much stronger than their expressive language, that is they are able to receive the information they are hearing much earlier than they are able to use that language themselves. The more often you expose them to sentence structures and phrases, the sooner they learn to use them. (This is why it’s totally ok to read the same book over and over again!)

2. Simplicity

Where is the Green Sheep uses simple, toddler friendly language. It is vocal they are familiar with and a sentence structure you can help them practice in their every day life.

“Where is the blue block?”

“Here is the blue block!”

“Where is your drink bottle?”

“Here is your drink bottle!”

model language

3. Colour

We meet the red sheep and the blue sheep straight away, and can see the purple and yellow sheep joining the red sheep for birthday cake at the end of the story. The illustrations use bold colours that make it easy for little people to identify. Can you see the red train? The yellow car? What colour is her surfboard? What colour is the star. Questions like these are a great way of letting your little person practice their talking and sentence structures. For the tiniest babes, you asking and answering the question is a wonderful way to model language for your child. (Honestly – no matter how teeny tiny they are!)

helps reinforce colour

4. Opposites

For tiny kiddos, you can explicitly tell them, “Up and down are opposites”. For older kiddos you can ask them questions like “What is the opposite of up?”, or, “Can you think of an opposite for thin?”. Broaden this conversation into opposites that aren’t in the book, too. What is the opposite of big, tall, etc.

reinforces opposites

You can find more books to add to your bookshelf and activities for kiddos HERE.

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Lists for tiny kiddos

I can’t stress enough how much I believe the best thing you can do for your kiddos is to just let them be little. Let them play, let them explore, let them investigate and let them take their time. The less grown ups intervene, the better. Sometimes though, those energetic little bodies need to be gently guided into a more time/place sensitive activity, or maybe they need some help calming themselves back down after a particularly rowdy game. For times like these I love lists or repeated actions/steps. 

Shopping Lists

Need to go grocery shopping with an incredibly energetic toddler? Give them their own list of item(s) they’re responsible for. Make it something that they use, something they’ll value (aids in their ability to remember) and something that’s towards the last aisles you’ll visit (hopefully keeps them engaged longer!). As they get older, increase the list size to two or three things, you can even encourage them to ‘write’ their own list. They can draw the picture of the items they’re responsible for, and older pre school kids might even attempt their own writing. Trust your kiddo with a kid sized trolley? (Let’s be real, sometimes this is a great idea, other times it’s the worst idea you’ve ever had.) Let them push their own trolley of items around. Will it take longer? Absolutely, but hopefully by keeping your kiddo engaged it will pay off in a peaceful shopping trip.

Treasure Hunts

Make a Treasure Hunt in the backyard. In this heat you can do it in their room, in the kitchen, anywhere! Can you find something red? Can you see a circle? Can you bring me a leaf, rock, stick, ball, car?

Helper Hunts

Use this same concept and get them helping around the house, after all, being a member of the family means helping the family. Get them to help you with jobs like putting away the washing. Can you show me were your undies go? Can you put daddy’s clothes on our bed? Can you put the tea towels away in the drawer? You’ll be surprised at how capable they are of helping with these jobs, even when very young.

Packing up

Has their exuberance and energetic play left their room or the lounge room completely covered in toys? While it’s important to encourage them to help clean up the mess they made, no matter how young, if it feels overwhelming for you to look at, imagine how it must feel to a tiny toddler or pre schooler! Turn it into a game. “Let’s find all the blocks and put them in the tub.” “Now let’s get all the cars!” “Can you help me find all the puzzle pieces.” Make it easy and achievable for them and join in to demonstrate what it looks like to pack up, not get distracted by the first 2 things you pick up and start playing again..!

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Drawing and scribbling

Drawing scribbling and mark making are an early and important step in a child’s writing development. It helps develop strength in tiny little hands and engages muscles important for developing fine motor skills. It allows them to communicate ideas and to practice seeing themselves as writers.

Give your child opportunities to experience drawing and scribbling with different utensils and on different surfaces. This allows them to feel the different amounts of force and control needed. A piece of chunky chalk on concrete will feel different to drawing on a white board.

Letting your little one experience mark making horizontally at a table and vertically at an easel is an important strength building exercise. Mark making at these two different levels will require different strength and muscles to be used. There are lots of different easels available and most have some combination of chalk board and white board as well as a cupholders for painting. Let your little love scribble and draw using as many of these surfaces and options as possible.

A word of caution; I speak from experience when I say there will be a time in your tiny one’s life where setting up a lovely art station somewhere in their room or the house will be appropriate. There will also be a time when every single writing utensil will need to be placed high out of reach from your budding artist. If they are still to young to differentiate between “White board Ok, walls not ok”, please learn from my mistake and lock that stuff away. We still have the ‘artworks’ on our hallway and bedroom wall. Oh, and the ‘race track’ in the brick work in the lounge room…

Some writing utensils to add to your supplies:

 

CHUNKY CHALK

Crayola’s sidewalk chalk has a nice texture and bright colours

magna doodle

great for experimenting with different mark making using either the stylus or the magnets to make thin and thick marks.

crayons

Micador’s Early Start Softies are made from beeswax and feature a tri grip which helps older kiddos develop a correct pencil grip. (It’s important not to force this pencil grip too early, they need to move through the stages and different types of grips and develop strength in their arms.)

pencils

Micador’s Early Start Jumbo pencils are smooth to write with and a chunky size

felt tip pens

Micador’s Colour Fun markers are great, they last well, have lovely colours and have a nice sturdy tip that little hands can’t squash

Aquadoodle drawing mat

mess free drawing and scribbling! Fill the pen with water and the designs drawn on the mat fade as they dry. I loved using this mat with my tiny kiddos for how easy it was to use and pack away.

grasp crayons

A fisted or closed hand grasp is the first way you’ll notice your little one drawing and scribbling. They hold the pencil or crayon in a closed fist and move their entire arm to make marks. At this early stage, Faber Castell’s Grasp crayons are ideal.

Like everything else your little love learns to do in their crucial early years, pencil grips evolve and develop. It’s important to let them experiment in each stage and not rush them. They’ll get there in their own time, they always do! <3 

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3 reasons to add Brown Bear, Brown Bear to your book collection

Reading to your child every day is vital. Reading helps build their language skills and exposes them to new vocab and sentence structures, as well as new ideas and concepts. Before a child can learn to read or write, they must have good oral language. Mem Fox famously advocates for reading 3 books a day to your little one. It can be the same book three times, it can be three books in one sitting, it can be three books spread across the day.

On the last Tuesday of each month, I’ll be sharing some of my fav early childhood books and highlighting a few of the reasons why I love them from an Early Childhood educator’s point of view.

First up, 3 reasons to add Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? to your collection.

  1. The structure of the story is the same on each page. Read this story more than a few times and even the even the tiniest kiddo will start to feel like a reader as they are able to join in with the story. Which leads to number 2. 
  2. As your kiddo gets more familiar with the text they’ll be more confident predicting or remembering which animal comes next. This sort of success allows your little love to gain confidence and positive self esteem as a reader. Instilling a love of reading from a young age is a wonderful gift to give any child. 
  3. There is a strong emphasis on colour recognition in this story with a Brown Bear, Red Bird, Yellow Duck, Blue Horse etc, which is a simple way of introducing and reinforcing colour with tiny kiddos. You can extend this awareness by asking questions like:
  • Can you point to the yellow duck?
  • Can you see something in the room that is the same colour as the duck?
  • Your shirt is red, can you remember which animals was red in our story?

You can find a copy of the board book version, (great for teeny tiny babes!) at Book Depository HERE.

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Sensory play activities – TOUCH

The start of your tiny person’s formal education is a long way off, and I strongly believe that the best way you can help prepare your child for school is to simply let them be little. LET THEM PLAY!

However, given a kiddo experiences more brain growth and development in their first 5 years than they will for the rest of their life, there ARE things you can be doing to help support their development now to give them the best start they can have – and I guarantee you’re already doing them.

Check in each Tuesday for new activities or ideas to try and a brief explanation of how they support your child’s development.

SENSORY DEVELOPMENT

Sensory Development is how your child learns via anything they can touch, smell, taste, see and hear. Each time your child is exposed to a new sound, sensation, word, experience, smell, taste, etc, their brain is laying down pathways and connections, trying to make sense of the information that is coming in. The more times they are exposed to these things, the stronger those pathways and connections become.

Three ‘touch’ activities

1. Sand play

In the back yard, at the creek, at the beach. Drive cars and trucks through it and dig in it. Use spoons, shovels, sieves, bowls and buckets to move the sand around. Let them experience how it feels, how it moves, how easy or hard it is to manipulate depending on whether it’s wet or dry.

2. Make a touch and feel book.

Grab some paper and staple it together into a book. On each page glue a different ‘touch’. Older toddlers and children can tell you what they are feeling for you to write underneath the object. You’ve just made their own book for them to read! Some items to put in the touch and feel book include cotton wool balls, scraps of fabric (velvet, corduroy), cellophane, corrugated cardboard, sandpaper, etc.

3. Make a touch and feel bag.

This is a good activity for older pre-school kiddos. Grab a pillow case and poke a familiar object or toy in it. Without letting them see, ask your kiddo put their hands in and describe what they can feel and if they can guess what it is. (This activity also gives them an opportunity to practice their oral language!)


Got some ideas you’d like to share? Email hello@smallesttribe.com, we’d love to hear them!

FIND MORE ACTIVITIES HERE.

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