Nonna's Favorite Quotes:

Nonna's Favorite Quotes: "The best way to make children good is to make them happy." — Oscar Wilde, author and poet

Friday, September 30, 2011

Learn The Sounds of A, B, C, D, E

Here's a clip from the "Nonna and Me ABCs" DVD. Children are introduced to the letters A through E and their sounds. Show this clip to your children/grandchildren and see how they react! It's entertaining and educational.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shoebox Theater

Children have wonderful imaginations. Give them objects and animals to play with and they will create their own stories.

Things you will need:
  • a shoebox (any solid box will do)
  • assorted wooden objects and animals
  • jumbo craft sticks (or popsicle sticks)
  • glue
  • a knife
Puppets: I bought my wooden objects and animals at JoAnn's but you probably can find similar items at any craft store. You can buy painted ones like I did, or plain wooden ones that your kids can color themselves. You could also make your own objects out of cardstock. 

I glued each object to a large craft stick. Now you have puppets! You could also use regular popsicle sticks, but the larger craft sticks are easier for little hands to grasp.

Theater: Turn your shoebox over and then cut several slits on the bottom to make a stage. (If you cut the slits on the lid, it will come off each time the puppets are removed from the slit.) Be sure to make the slits large enough for your child to easily insert their puppets and then pull them out again without too much effort.

Now sit back and enjoy the show!

When your children are finished playing with their theater, they can store their puppets in the shoebox.

Variation:  You can also use your puppets to teach readiness concepts. Ask your child to find all the dinosaurs or jungle animals. Ask them to find the things that crawl, or fly. Or they can group their puppets according to color or size.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Create A Child's Picture Book

Here's a great idea for building vocabulary, encouraging speech and developing language skills.

Here's what you will need:
  • Hard cover binder (Option: Get one that has clear pocket inserts on the front and back covers so you can personalize it for your child) The size of the binder will depend on how many pages you have in your book.
  • Clear plastic (poly) sheet protectors The number of sheets will depend on the number of pages you have in your book.
  • One 8 1/2" x 11" piece of cardstock or cardboard for each plastic sheet protector you have in your book. (Optional)
  • Photos, pictures, clipart, etc. Cut out or print pictures of your child's favorite people or things. You can use pictures or prints of family members, favorite TV characters, animals, objects, colors, numbers, etc. Your choices are limitless! Choose pictures of things that your child is interested in or can relate to. 

Cover: If you choose a binder with a pocket on the front cover you can slip in a picture of your child to personalize the book or you can use something that your child has drawn.

Inside sheets: Put one picture in the front and one picture in the back of the sheet protector. I also suggest putting a sheet of cardstock between the two pictures to prevent little hands from bending the page. This will also makes it easier for little ones to turn the page. Write or print the name of the picture on the page too. It's never too early to expose a child to the written word!

As children develop more language skills you can add adjectives or sentences to the pictures. Instead of "socks" you can put "two socks". When they have mastered that, go on to three words like "two big socks". When they tire of these pictures, change them out for new ones to keep it interesting.

As your child develops more language skills, you can put in more complicated pictures and have your child tell a story about the picture. Or insert pictures that demonstrate emotion and then you can ask questions like "Why do you think the boy is crying?"

I made a picture book for my grandchildren and I often find them reading the book to each other. These books are sturdy too. Our book has been around for three years and I've only had to replace three of the sheet protectors.

Another option:  Use Sign Language to teach your child the names of the pictures. Kids love to sign and it's another fun way to learn language. Here's a good website for learning simple signs for kids.

Have fun!

Monday, September 26, 2011

How It All Began

Never in a million years did I think I would have my own blog! But here I am...

When I attended Mercyhurst College in the 1960s, the last thing I ever wanted to do in life was teach. I knew that for sure. I was a Home Economics major and thought that cooking and sewing would be the appropriate things to study (considering the fact that all I wanted to do after graduation was get married and raise a family.) First semester Sewing was a breeze, but second semester Cooking was to be my downfall! I soon realized that it would be a good idea to choose another major... ASAP. (My husband wishes I would have stayed with the cooking class a little longer.) After reviewing my options with my Academic Advisor (few as they were at that time), the only thing I could come up with, to my dismay, was Elementary Education. But I figured that it would be relatively simple... ABCs...123s...etc. So I went on to earn my BA in Elementary Education in 1970.

After several frustrating years in a rural first grade classroom, I left teaching to raise my own family. My first child was born profoundly deaf, which really rocked my world. What did I know about raising a handicapped child? Well as it turned out, my choice of college majors was a huge help. I had already been thinking about getting my Masters Degree so I set out on a mission. I was going to learn all that I could about the process of learning. I knew I would have to play a big part in my son's education and be his advocate for many years to come. Fortunately, the curriculum allowed me to fit in classes in audiology, sign language, and testing, which became invaluable during his years in school.

Then in 2006 my first grandchild was born. Lina Jane was born prematurely and as she approached her 2nd birthday it was evident that she was experiencing some developmental delays in language. Here we go again! I drew on my knowledge and past experience in this area and started formulating ideas on how to best help Lina. I created "Nonna and Me" as a result of one of those ideas. It started as a simple PowerPoint presentation and then took on a life of its own.

I don't know what made me choose Education as a major back in the 60s, but it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The knowledge I acquired has been instrumental in improving the life of my son and granddaughter and hopefully others along the way. My hope is that the educational materials that "Nonna and Me" provides will be of benefit to preschool children for years to come. I invite you to visit our website and see what we have to offer. I'm confident that you will find "Nonna and Me" to be a great tool for the 21st century preschooler.