Archive: May 2010

May 19, 2010

Toddler iPad Adventures

To share or not to share that is the question– do we let our little ones get their hands on our new iPad. As you might guess from my previous, Screen-based media (10/28), post I do believe that there is a responsible way to explore almost anything that a baby can get their eyes, ears, nose, or hands on. Tools and devices such as the iPad will be an increasingly important part of our child’s world so why not let them get a jump start if they show an interest. And my daughter Whitney definitely showed an interest in what daddy was doing with that electronic thing in his hands and wanted to get her hands on it. So I downloaded a few Apps targeted at her age & stage and let her have at it. Wow, was I impressed with how quickly Whitney mastered the interface and figured it out. Computers, iPads, mobile devices, DVDs/VOD boxes are truly our children’s machines and I think we need to rethink our ideas about No Use policies with an open mind and creatively figure out the best uses of these machines at each age and stage of development:

The problem solving required to figure out the machine and the Apps on these machines is wonderful. As demonstrated in the video, Whitney quickly figured out the on/off button, the way you finger scroll to get to different Apps, how to stop the scroll and then touch the desired App to launch it. She then quickly mastered the featrues of each App, even how to make it bigger and smaller on the screen (which BTW took me a lot longer to figure out). Our infants and toddlers are not intimidated in the least. They want to jump right in and give it a try. If we provide the minimum support our babies need and scaffold them appropriately for their age and stage, there are no limits to their discovery.

May 12, 2010

Baby in the Kitchen- Mixing and Mashing

After the garden the next step along the food chain is letting a baby help out in the kitchen with the preparation of the meal. Again there are lots of developmentally appropriate ways to get babies involved in the preparation of their meals. We like to say if you can mix, mash, oosh it or goosh it, you can get your baby involved. And once again, mama’s little helper has a much better chance of eating it if she was involved in making it!

Here Whitney gets involved in stirring the batter for a waffle mix:

Mixing not only exercises Whitney’s fine motor skills while controlling the tool and stirring the batter, she is learning lots of vocabulary with the different ingredients of vanilla and cinnamon. She then turns her attention to art and becomes Jackson Pollack with her dripping batter creating circles and other designs. Learning can be taken in so many directions from this simple base and it is easy to follow a child’s lead.

eebee’s Adventures has a book called Mix & Mash Adventures that give lots of ideas for baby friendly recipes and ways to turn toddlers into active helpers in the kitchen. Here is a clip done with Parents TV that shows some of the fun learning opportunities in the kitchen:

May 4, 2010

Baby Gardening Adventures

Just like all the indoor nooks and crannies to explore, there are lots of worlds to explore outside the house as well—take the garden & gardening. It is easy to get babies involved in some developmentally appropriate aspect of the gardening process depending on their age. Having a family vegetable garden is a great long term project with rich learning over lots of years because despite most evidence that food comes from a grocery store, whenever possible creating small gardens will help our children develop a deeper appreciation and relationship with plants, foods, and the elements that go into a meal– the foundations for nutritional intelligence and healthy eating practices.

For the younger set, it does not have to be to complicated. “What’s dirt” is a great adventure for a infant. They love getting their hands in it and discovering the properties of earth. Watch this baby video I found on youtube; the baby is enthralled by exploring the dirt and why he can’t get it off his hands. Wet dirt can be very sticky– she is discovering.

Here is an older toddler, my daughter Whitney, discovering the joys of harvesting the Rosemary:

Lastly, at 2.5 years they can get involved in more complicated tasks for the garden, like painting the square foot gardening box:

Participating in as many aspects of the family garden as possible gives your baby a great start in their relationship with food and eating habits. If they helped make it, there is a much better chance they will eat it!!