June has come around very quickly for me! We've not been the healthiest during May, so I'm hoping we're back to busier days again and better thought out shelves to inspire my little one Floss.
Stacking, sorting and puzzles are still featuring very heavily as Floss's main interests currently. Her language skills continue to be moving on in leaps and bounds and each day new words are being used more and more. The current favourites are purple, blue, bunny and happy.
I love seeing her face light up when she comes downstairs after a toy rotation and the excitement of trying to decide what to explore first.
So, what's on our shelf and why?
Well the Grimms Natural Bowls and Rainbow are still out. These get used so frequently in so many ways. The bowls are mainly used to transport other items and for stacking inside of each other and the rainbows are used as slides for her toys with a 'weeeeeee' after they go!
Floss is only 20 months, but she is very aware of how others are feeling and this has a direct impact upon how she feels. On a recent trip to the hospital with her she'd been really happy walking down to the ward. As we got closer a little boy came out of the ward very upset. Floss stopped and as he walked past turned around to carry on watching the boy. She would not carry on walking. She was pointing towards the little boy with a look of serious concern on her face. The boy and his parents had stopped a bit further down the corridor and as the boy got more upset Floss began to have tears rolling down her face. I tried to explain that the boy was with his Mummy and Daddy and although he was upset, they would look after him and help him feel better. Nothing changed. It wasn't until the boy's Mum and Dad noticed how upset Floss was, and told the little boy that he began to calm down and so did she. The little boy walked away calmer and I gave Floss a big hug, yet 5 minutes later you could still tell that she'd been quite deeply affected by how the little boy was feeling. This is just one example, but there have been lots more. So, I decided to look for resources that I thought might help her to understand how people express emotions and that it's OK to have these feelings and help her learn how to cope with them.
The Hape Eggs have been a huge hit. She's really enjoyed having a go at making some of the faces and as I said earlier she's been using the word happy and smiling. The baby faces book is great as it has drawn faces that when you lift a flap show a real baby picture with that emotion. Floss's favourite is definitely surprised in this book and it's been really lovely to watch her do a surprised face!
We've used some homemade gluten free play dough to make different faces too. I'm hoping that by showing her different expressions and talking more about emotions that this may help her with her daily interactions with others. I don't think it will stop her from getting upset just yet, I think there is a lot of empathy in her, but I hope in time it will give her a vocabulary to be able to talk about these experiences.
Oh these are just LOVELY; they're the gorgeous Ocamora Teniques Stacking Game handmade in Spain. I've also added the Grimms Limited Edition Gem as they went so well together. These have given hours of fun, not just for Floss, but the whole family. They are so addictive. They are designed as a mindfulness game where you try and stack each of the beautiful wooden gems on top of each other. I haven't managed to complete it yet. Floss's Uncle T thought he'd made it and got very excited, until I asked about the one Floss had got in her hand - hehe! They're the perfect size for little hands and suitable from birth.
I'd found the puzzles we'd had in rotation, large chunky ones and ones with big pegs, had been a good level of challenge for Floss. Then, overnight, something must have clicked and the usual 10 minute plus challenge turned into a 30 seconds done. She's been really into bunnies and starting to show an interest in size, so after a little research I found a Hape George Luck Bunny puzzle. The level of challenge is spot on right now. She enjoys taking each of the bunnies out and trying to put them back in. It's trickier than the puzzles she's been used too as the designs are more intricate. She understands that the smaller bunnies need to go in first, but not yet able to do all 5 in order. It's a great language opportunity for size vocabulary and Floss has enjoyed ordering the bunnies by size outside of the puzzle case and also naming the colours as she goes.
Floss is still very much interested in colours. When we first started to do some colour matching activities it was all focused on putting the same colour with another one the same. Her play has very much moved forward and I love activities like this that clearly show you how your little one is learning. The focus of the activity is very much on the naming of the objects and colours that she is using in the matching process. You can also see her questioning shades of a colour now too. For example, if she shows me a colour and I say it's green then she holds up another green object that is much lighter in tone and I say green she has a questioning look on her face. Using light and dark before a colour seems to help, but I've started to use other words such as cornflower blue or sky blue and she seems much happier with this. It's funny how you think that you'll be complicating things by using too much language, yet actually I seemed to be confusing her more by using too little. Just because the language she verbalises at the moment is simple doesn't mean that simple language is what she needs to hear. Generally, I don't modify the way I speak and the words I use when I talk to Floss, yet here I had been doing exactly that. A language rich environment helps her to make sense of the world around her better, making connections and exploring new concepts. It was a very good reminder for me.
The flash cards are a brand called Miles kelly, super thick and sturdy. the cog puzzle is a Melissa and Doug and the balls are by Infantino Baby. If there's anything else you see that I haven't said where it's from them please get in touch.