Thursday, May 19, 2016

Take A Break Box

A few weeks ago I was speaking with a friend of mine and she was telling me about their new 'behavior plan' for their children. I LOVED IT. I stole it. One of the greatest things of having friends that also have children is learning from them. As I have said before, some ideas work and some ideas do not. Every child is different.

The glorious idea I copied is the Take A Break Box. When E1 or E2 is having a tough time, whining too much, getting frustrated, being sassy, etc I simply say, "You need a break."

This is their cue to go take some time to themselves. This sentence, "You need a break." is not the starting point for negotiations. It is not the starting point for a conversation of what behavior needs to stop. The sentence is a statement which needs no response. If I have said, "You need to take a break." E1 has learned that really means, "Get the hell away from me before I lose my shit because you are acting like a jackass."
Side note: At what age can I actually say that to my kids? 

My friend has a Take A Break Box for each child in her family. I only made one (for now). In the Take A Break Box a parent should place items that are quiet and will refocus, recenter, and calm the child. Every child is different so the Take A Break Box items will differ. Ideas for your child's box: play-dough, silly-putty, coloring books, books, legos, paper and pencils, flashcards, anything independent that will allow the child to calm down and help them change their behavior. 

Our Take A Break Box has crayons, stickers, construction paper, books on both their reading levels, Super Mind for E1 and Mighty Mind for E2.

So far this new behavior plan is working. It provides an outlet for the girls and gives me time to gather my thoughts before talking to my child about the situation that led to taking a break. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Coffee Filter Flowers

There are so many activities you can do with coffee filters and today, while I sat on hold for a gazillion hours with the toll road authority (don't even ask) E2 needed something to do.

I put a coffee filter in a pan lined with foil, put out bowls and a cup filled with water and food coloring (a few drops), put a dropper per bowl, and voila - an art project is ready to go. E2 loves to use droppers which is great for fine motor skills. Plus E2 loves to watch colors mix and do any project that has a "cool factor." Painting without brushes is "cool" in E2's book.

She LOVED dropping colors on the coffee filters. E2 had a great time and really enjoyed making designs on her coffee filters. After they dried, we attached pipe cleaners and E2 had her very own bouquet of flowers.

Super easy. Not messy. Occupied E2 for awhile. Major win.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bally Ball

It is almost summer! Summer time means arts & crafts, playing, learning, baking, etc in this house. I will still post funny stories, but we are coming up on the time when the majority of posts will be activities I am doing with my kiddos.

Yesterday I purchased a bouncy ball at Five Below. I love this store! So cheap and better quality than the dollar store.

E2 loves to play catch or "bally ball." In an effort to help her motor skills, eye hand coordination, and speech I created a new version of bally ball and she cannot get enough.

With blue painters tape I created two squares on my tile floor.  The two people playing bally ball stand in their designated squares. You then bounce the ball to one another. Yep, catch. The painters tape made it more fun for E2, so I rolled with it....I still call it catch, but whatever.

During bally ball, you can bounce the ball ONCE, TWICE, THREE times etc to your partner.
During bally ball, you can stand IN, NEXT TO, BEHIND, and IN FRONT of the square.
During bally ball, you can stand to the LEFT or RIGHT of the square.
During bally ball, you can bounce the ball HIGH or LOW.
During bally ball, you can COUNT to 20 before you throw the ball.
During bally ball, you can recite letters, color words, stand one foot, hop while the ball can do anything that seems fun.

Bally ball, a simple game of catch with a simple twist.

E2 was a kid that could barely catch the ball and the blue squares helped her understand her body movements within space. The squares were a visual cue that were able to help her engage her entire body. It only took a few times before she started catching the ball 100%. She realized with her feet in the square how to move correctly to catch the ball. E2 learned how to take only one step to reach the ball vs running towards a moving ball and then not being able to catch it. E2 gained motor knowledge she clearly needed.

Blue squares to the rescue.
E2 is a proud winner of bally ball.