Friday, 23 May 2014

Our road trip to Austria

900 miles to get there, a bit more on the way back due to somebody's poor navigation skills....

Five countries in 12 days...

Beautiful scenery and memorable experiences...
If you happen to be planning a road trip with a young child, I recommend stocking up on CD stories. We loved the Julia Donaldson CD collection but 10 stories were nowhere near enough to sustain Finn during this very long journey.
I also highly recommend Rotraut Susanne Berner's In the town all year long, a big visual book with lots of details and quirky characters. This book really did entertain Finn while sitting in the car.
What I DO NOT recommend, is giving your child Lego in the car, especially if they are tired!
Do you have any holiday plans? Any advice for families planning long road trips?

Monday, 5 May 2014

Our not-quite-sandpaper numerals

 I've been making a lot of resources lately, and one of them is this set of felt numerals. I don't like tracing sandpaper numerals and was not looking forward to cutting a sheet of sandpaper so I decided to go for felt instead!
The idea behind using sandpaper is that the child absorbs the shape of the numeral through their sense of touch while tracing them. Tracing felt is smoother, softer, more enjoyable and it does leave your fingertips tingling slightly. This set of numerals was a test to decide whether or not I want to make letters in the same way. And I think I do!
I used foam board (3 for 2 discount at Hobbycraft) which cut like butter with a craft knife. I didn't even measure, I just cut my A2 size board in half, then in half again, and again, and again. This gave me large tablets, exactly what I wanted.

 I took a picture of my hand so you can see how large they are. I glued my felt numerals on the left hand side of the tablets so that Finley can hold them using his right hand while he traces them with his left hand as he is left-handed.
If you do this, you should know that once you have put your tacky craft glue onto the back of the felt numeral, it will be really floppy to hold and it will be difficult to position on the tablet. After realising this I left the numeral facing down with the glue on top and applied the tablet on top instead. It wasn't so easy to get the numeral where I wanted, but it worked.

I finished them with a border of white electrical tape to cover the rough edges.

I'm quite pleased with the result even  though Finn has shown ZERO interest so far. And yet, he's only 2, but I should say that he can count to 9. Yes: Two, three, nine! Easy peasy!

Have you made textured numerals? Are you planning to? I'd love to know how you made them.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

The magic of salt

I had close to no expectations when I set up a wooden tray with a thin layer of salt on Finn's shelves. I was inspired by this post but didn't think that a 2-year-old would get much out of it and probably wouldn't really engage in the activity. How wrong was I! He immediately spotted it and made marks in the salt with his hands. He then grabbed a dinosaur and used it to make tracks. One idea led to another (his or mine) and he emerged from his play SIXTY MINUTES later! I have rarely seen him so focused and I love that he surprised me today.

Have you tried salt play with your children? What did they enjoy doing most with it?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Baby-Led Potty training

I have been wanting to share our love for Baby-led Potty Training with you for a while, and what better time to do this than the EC Awareness week (28th April to 4th May)?
I first found out about Elimination Communication (EC) on this website well before Finn was even conceived. I became fascinated by it and I was lucky that I didn't need to convince my partner to give it a try as he saw it as the most natural way, just like I did.
Two weeks after Finn was born, I removed his trousers and nappy and laid him on a towel on the floor. I sat with him and observed. A minute later, he started wriggling and making "eh eh" sounds. Then he did a wee. That was all I needed to do to know that when I heard that sound, he was about to wee! We also noticed that, from birth, he would always grunt while passing faeces. So naturally, when we heard him grunting, his nappy came off and he was held over a potty.
In the next months, most of his poos and half his wees went into the potty. I really felt like my baby could communicate with me and I was able to respond to him. I felt empowered as a mother and ecstatic that my baby did not have to soil himself.
When Finn was about 7 months, we started going to the wonderful Nappy Free baby workshops where we met like minded parents. Finally, I wasn't the only one!
Have you ever dressed your baby with a nappy OVER their trousers? I cut the crotch off of the trousers so we didn't have to take them off to use the potty and put the nappy on top for backup and warmth!
We were always day-ECers but one night, as Finn was 8 months old, we had a big surprise. He cried and cried, and when we realised his nappy was dry, we sat him on the potty. He did a big wee and went back to sleep. That's how he taught himself to be dry at night. I can't remember many night time accidents since that day! He actually stopped wearing nappies at night many months before he (or we!) was (were) ready to give them up during the day.
We decided to switch to training pants when Finn was 15 months old. By the time he was 19 months, he was always able to communicate his needs with us and never had an accident.
Have you tried Baby-Led Potty Training (EC) with your child? How did it work for you? Please share!
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