Thursday, August 29, 2013

Free Spirit Kids Toddler Language Cards with Giveaway!

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows how much I love Montessori and early learning. Toddlers are so much more capable of learning than some people give them credit for. And, for toddlers, learning is still fun. 

To keep learning exciting, I'm constantly looking for products that help Henry explore the world around him in fun ways. I was thrilled to find Free Spirit Kids, an Etsy Shop that combines Montessori activities and everyday objects into beautiful and fun learning opportunities. 

Free Spirit Kids' Toddler Cards are perfect for little learners everywhere. They come beautifully packaged, are about the size of an index card, and are laminated. The rounded corners, big pictures, and simple font make these cards accessible to even the youngest toddlers. Free Spirit Kids offers these cards in a large variety of topics including farm animals, seasons, kitchen, and gardening. 

I was lucky enough to try out the Fruit and Vegetable toddler cards with Henry, and they have been a HUGE hit. I've seen his interested in vegetables increase and his vocabulary expand. It's great hearing him shout names of fruits and vegetables in the grocery store.

So, how have we been using our cards? Here are two simple ideas:

Recipe Cards 

I had Henry help me make chicken salad for dinner one night. As a way to help him, I had one Free Spirit Kids card out for the available ingredients. Henry was then able to match the card to the real life ingredient to help him know what to add. 

Henry had a blast doing this, and {bonus!} actually ate some of his dinner!

Vegetable and Fruit Sorting and Marching

Here I gave Henry a pile of the cards and helped him separate them into fruits and vegetables. Then, he ran to find the matching play food for each card. It turned into a giggly, fun, gross motor game all while helping him put concrete names to his food. 

The possibility for learning and play with these is really endless. Free Spirit Kids has been awesome enough to offer one lucky reader a free set of BOTH the Fruit Toddler Cards and the Vegetable Toddler Cards. Just follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win!

As an added bonus Free Spirit Kids is also offering a 10 percent discount on all orders over $10.00 to Kavanaugh Report readers! Use discount code KREPORT from now until the end of September!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I did receive the cards to review, but all opinions are my own.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Minnesota State Fair 2013

It's State Fair season in  Minnesota! So, time for my annual photo dump. Last year Henry hated the state fair with a passion. Thankfully, this year was a lot different and we had a wonderful time. 

I mean, what 2.5 year old doesn't love a day that starts with mini donuts?

But, lets just forget his reaction to the Pronto Pups {corn dog}.

The horses {read the horses poop} was a huge hit. Actually, poop seemed to be the most exciting part of the day for Henry all around. 

Of course I took entirely too many pictures of roosters {and other adorable animals}.

And, exactly one picture was taken of me.

But, all good things must come to an end, and Henry was ready to go. And with streets this packed, so was I.

Until next year, Minnesota State Fair!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Letter P Tot School

{Henry is 29 months old}

Over the last two weeks we have focused on the letter P at tot school. Unlike the letter O tot school trays, Henry really enjoyed all the activities and asked for tot school time much more frequently. Prior to this week, Henry could identify and say the letter P.

On our first tray was a pattern matching letter P. Here, there were little foam blocks in different shapes and colors that Henry could build a P. I've seen these blocks all over, but we got ours at Michaels.

This activity was pretty easy for Henry, but he loved it. He would do it over and over again. He was so proud to see the P he had made.

On the second tray was a set of P-words that Henry could spell out. Each word and its letters was color coded to help. This activity was harder for Henry and he didn't have the concentration to sit through the whole thing. However, we had some friends over for tot school, and the one of them is closer to 3, and he did great. So, I may bring something like this back in a few months. 

On the final tray was a combination sensory bin and size matching activity. It was three different sized pigs in a basket of corn. There were three different sized {big, medium, small} included. This way Henry could play with the pigs in the corn or sort them by size. 

Henry really enjoyed this tray, and it was by far his favorite for the weeks. He started out by just sorting the pigs, but by the end he was enjoying a lot of pretend play in the corn. It also led to some interesting discussions about the difference between "daddy" and "mommy" pigs, thank you Schleich for the anatomically correct animals.

Other things we did this week included: 

Small box of Animal Flashcards: Turns out a lot of animals start with P. Henry enjoyed pulling these out and talking about them. Especially the pandas.

Pig Chalkboard: I had found a wooden pig at Goodwill and I painted it with chalkboard paint and paired it with pink and purple pastels. This was a huge hit although, ended up being really messy.

Magnet Board:

P-Word Sorting: On this tray there were penguins, pandas, a policeman, and pirates. Henry could then sort them out. Henry occasionally liked to sort these, but mostly just wanted to play with the figures.

Letter P Sensory Bin: The sensory bin has been ignored a lot lately so I changed it up by putting it in a larger basket. That sort of worked, and Henry did pull it out and play a couple of times.

Tot School
Montessori MondayFor the Kids Friday The Weekly Kids Co-Op at B-Inspired MamaTuesday Tots