21 Months 1 Week – Using Size Descriptor Words

Roman Happy A great way to achieve 2-3 word phrases is to learn words other than nouns. This can include prepositions, adjectives, etc. This week we will talk specifically about using size descriptor words to expand phrases.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Roman big and heavyThe first step as always is modeling what you want your child to say. In terms of size, “big” always seems to stand out. Try to find huge items in the home or outside such as big chair, big slide, etc. to comment on.  A tip is to also make a big deal about it in order to emphasize it – “Wow look that’s a big moon!”. They may initially imitate the word “big”, so keep adding onto that word by verbally modeling such as “Yes it’s a big step”, “You’re right that’s a big orange”, etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Roman loves targetOnce they get the hang of that you can target the opposite “small”.  We like to target this by starting with a big piece of fruit and cutting it up into smaller pieces to show them the difference. It’s a great activity to do with play dough as well! And feel free to use synonyms such as “tiny” when you’re teaching size. Other size concepts later on could be short vs. tall, wide vs. narrow, etc.

Kids Food Fest NYC March 6

Sunday March 6, 2016

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Join Gift of Gab with Cricket Azima, Founder of The Creative Kitchen at the Kids Food Festival.

The Creative Kitchen presents the Kids Food Festival, a weekend full of flavorful fun at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park NYC on March 5th and 6th, 2016. The Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices to help create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents. The weekend-­‐long event offers a host of family-­‐friendly activities including cooking classes, food demonstrations, live entertainment, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt for kids, food sampling, giveaways, and more! The event is free and open to the public for General Admission. 

The Kids Food Festival collaborates with the James Beard Foundation to host hands-­‐on cooking classes for kids in the Future Foodies Pavilion. Tickets for the James Beard Foundation Future Foodies Pavilion can be purchased at http://bit.ly/1bLIb0U for $25 for one child and adult companion.

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18 Months – Best Building Toys to Encourage Fine Motor Skills

Roman developing fine motor skills.

As speech therapists we are obsessed with building toys.  Not only does it encourage fine motor skills, but we also get a lot of language out of our children.  They can ask for “block” and “more”.  They can practice prepositions such as “on top” and adjectives such as “tall”.  Here are some of our favorites!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Mega Blocks by First Builders

Mega Bloks by First Builders – they are big enough for tiny hands and your child can build the tallest towers without help!                                                                                                    

LEGO DUPLO My First Lego SetsLEGO DUPLO My First Lego Sets – these are smaller, but still appropriate for our toddlers (with supervision due to size!)… they are great since they have themes such as ice cream, transportation, animals, and lots more!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

WedgitsWedgits – we loves these due to the wedge like shape… it makes it easier to stack and children are mesmerized by them!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Magna-TilesMagna-Tiles – these are more appropriate for 3 and up, but we find that toddlers love that they are magnetic… you can show them how to build a tower or basic house – so many possibilities!  They’re also great on a light table since you can see through them!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Tegu Magnetic Wooden TilesTegu Magnetic Wooden Tiles – the key is magnetic AND wooden here – we love how they are made and they are easily manipulated by teeny tiny hands!  Paint one of your walls with magnetic paint and use these against the wall.

17 Months 2 Weeks – Cooking with Your Toddler

Roman making an english muffin Around this time your child is becoming a pro at pretend play, especially when it comes to eating and cooking. They may pretend to feed you with a spoon or cut fake vegetables or play dough.  So why not start making basic recipes together in the home!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Roman and peanut butter. To start, we highly recommend getting a Learning Tower from Little Partners.  It’s a safe way for them to stand and reach the counter.  If you don’t have room for one, getting a high chair that hooks onto your dining table or can be pushed into the table is also a great idea.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Roman with a smore.You then want to pick easy recipes such as making salad, English muffin pizzas, avocado toast, cookies, quesadillas, peanut butter jelly sandwiches, and smoothies. It is the perfect opportunity to encourage language such as labeling the ingredients, talking about actions such as cutting and mixing, sequencing, following directions, and so much more! Don’t be afraid to let them cut with parent supervision as long as you are using a plastic knife – it’s a great fine motor skill to learn!

And watch out for our latest iBook ‘Little Chefs’ coming out soon with awesome no bake, vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free recipes perfect for toddlers!  Now just give them a chef’s hat and let’s cook!   

17 Months 1 Week – Teaching Toddlers How to WAIT

Roman in subwayIt seems like wherever we go we have to wait whether it be at a restaurant, supermarket, toy store, circle time, on the subway, in the car, during a commercial, or anything else for the matter!  Your worst nightmare comes true when your child decides this waiting is unbearable and throws a tantrum.  To avoid this, there are many things you can do!

Roman in park Your toddler may be young, but we advise parents to talk about what to expect because they understand more than we know.  For example, if it is holiday time and plan to see Santa the lines could very well be LONG.  To avoid any meltdowns explain to them beforehand that seeing Santa, might mean waiting behind other children in a long line.  While on line we can look at the decoration, at a book, etc. and before you know it you’ll be on Santa’s lap.  This is great for redirecting any negative behavior.  If it is a very long line we recommend even bringing a sensory toy.  For instance, we made holiday ones by saving water bottles, filling them up with water, and putting red, green, and gold glitter in them.

There are other techniques you can use by repeating “nice waiting” while showing them a picture or word of WAIT so they know they have to be patient.  Some families even like to make a visual schedule or show photos so their children can understand what the waiting entails.  Waiting is a great skill and patience is a virtue like they say!

17 Months – Encouraging a Sense of Humor

"TAG”Do you have a jokester on your hands?  Kids at this age tend to really start testing their limits and boundaries.  While they are doing so they develop quite a sense of humor on their own.  And there are many ways to encourage a healthy sense of humor as well!

We find a lot of “Uh oh” situations tend to lead to lots of smiles and laughs! You can do super silly things like put a ball on your head, pretend to sneeze, and make it fall down.  Try even making silly faces, making your hair all messy, doing silly dance moves, and more.  They will try to copy all of your models and be the funniest kid on the block.

Even at this age, playing peek-a-boo and hide and seek is a fun activity especially when it involves loud noises and funny movements.  My son tends to love seeing things that do not belong with each other.  For example, he loves putting his gigantic train on his train table with the rest of the small trains.  Or he pretends to sit in a very tiny chair that he knows he will not fit on.  You can even do the same with puzzles or shape sorters (e.g. – making the fish puzzle piece go where the cat is supposed to go).  There are so many possibilities!  Just keep laughing and having fun!