Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What We've Been Up To

Aidas especially loves playdough, so he was in heaven when he saw the new animal cookie cutters I had. I haven't invested in other playdough materials yet, such as a roller. As you can see by this picture, it is pretty ridiculous for them to use this huge honkin' roller!

I usually flatten the playdough for them. Noah is getting pretty good at pressing the cookie cutters down to make a shape. Aidas can now roll the playdough with his hands. He likes to sing Roly Poly while doing this.
We decided to go to Indigo in Bloorwest Village one afternoon. (The rain had stopped, but the playgrounds would be too wet, and there were no drop-ins on that afternoon.) They enjoyed playing at the Thomas the Tank Engine table. Aidas was understandably upset that he could not play with ALL the toys he saw in the store, including the packaged ones. Luckily they were easily redirected. They really enjoyed sitting on these steps, looking at one book at a time, putting that book back on the shelf, getting another one, sitting on the steps, etc. The staff at Indigo praised their efforts to keep the store tidy. Cleaning up is something we are
working on at the daycare. When we finally did leave, Noah had a MAJOR meltdown - screaming, cavorting his body in the wagon, etc., etc., etc. It's hard to leave, and I really felt his pain. We'll have to go back for another visit sometime.

On the way home, we decided to feed a squirrel some cookie. It was nice having the squirrel up close so that we could talk about it. At some point though, Aidas realized that he needed the cookie more than the squirrel did and stopped sharing. That was the signal to "move on"!

A visit from an old friend.....J!
J. was at our daycare for a few days, and it was like she never left! Noah and Aidas welcomed her. She had a great time playing at the wading pool, the playground, and around the apartment with the boys. She is as delightful as ever, and we hope to keep in touch!
I call the picture above "The reunion".

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Row Row Row Your Boat

ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT (Like I said, many songs I'll add will be old favourites. The only action for this song is demonstrated in the video.)

video
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see a crocodile
Don't forget to scream! (kids love to scream at this part!)

Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream

If you see your mommy or daddy
Don't forget the squeeze (hug!)

Five Plump Peas

FIVE PLUMP PEAS (from the OEYC)

video

Five plump peas in a pea pod pressed (Make a fist with both hands and touch them together)
One grew....POP! (pop up your joined thumbs)
Two grew...POP! (pop up your joined index fingers)
And so did all the rest (pop up the last 3 pairs of fingers)
They grew and they grew (start spreading your hands apart)
And they grew and never stopped (keep moving hands apart)
They grew so fat that the pea pod (arms should be stretched out at sides now)
POPPED! (clap hands together)

Boom Boom Ditty Ditty

BOOM BOOM DITTY DITTY (A song we learned from Indian Road Public School's Early Literacy Centre. Thanks, Leslie! Noah and I demonstrate in the video below.)

video

Down in the valley by the itty bitty pool
Lived old mama ________
And her little _________ too
Swim said the mama (swimming motion with hands)
Swim if you can
And they swam and they swam
All over the dam

Boom boom (slap both hands on legs twice)
Ditty ditty (clap twice)
Whadom (slap  both hands on legs twice)
SHOO! (swimming motion with hands)

Boom boom
Ditty ditty
Whadom
SHOO!

Boom boom
Ditty ditty
Whadom
SHOO!

And they swam and they swam
All over the dam (swimming motion with hands)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Painting with Kids Under 2 Years Old

The kids have occasionally painted at one of the drop-in centres we go to, but until a few weeks ago, we had not attempted it at the daycare. They were just so young. Now, with Noah at 22 months, I figured I should introduce painting at the home daycare.

Here are a few tips for running a relatively stress-free painting activity.


  1. You don't have to buy paint smocks. You can use old shirts you were planning on getting rid of anyway.

  2. If it's summertime, you can always have the kids in their diapers only, with the paint shirt on. This way, there is absolutely no risk of ruining clothing.

  3. Buy washable paints. Crayola makes some good ones. Or, you can make your own paints (see "painting" label for finger paint recipe).

  4. Expect that they may try to eat it. (Some like to use pudding to introduce finger painting to toddlers, since they can go ahead and taste it. Personally, I don't want to try this. I think it may confuse them. They may be more insistent on tasting when trying real paints!) Just make sure you are at least using a non-toxic paint, and monitoring the activity very closely.

  5. Use small amounts of paint, and refill when necessary. When painting with brushes, I give the kids each a little paint in a throw-away bowl. This makes clean-up that much easier. (However, the greener alternative I would like to switch to is using small tupperware containers from the dollar store. Clean-up of the paint would then entail putting the lids on the containers and rinsing them off, until next time.)

  6. Some people like to use newspaper or a drop-sheet (if painting at the table). Then you can simply throw the newsprint into recycling and not have to worry about cleaning the table off afterwards. This is a great idea for older children. However, due to the young age (developmental level) of the kids in my care, playing with the newsprint or drop-sheet would be an interesting activity in itself, and would actually double the clean-up for me!

  7. Keep a few facecloths at the table for when you need to clean the kids up. When they decide they are finished, they mean NOW! (And sometimes they all decide that they are done at the same time!)

  8.  Have a sheet of paper out for yourself, and model what you can do with the paint (e.g. dots, lines). Show that you are having fun! Finger paint seems especially daunting to the very young. Some children can be wary of putting their hand in goop. Keep attempting the activity weekly or bi-weekly, encouraging them by modelling your enjoyment in the activity.

  9. Keep the child's painting so that they can see the finished result. Later, you can talk about their painting, and show your appreciation of art by posting it on the fridge, or having them show it to other members of the family.
Noah would barely touch the finger paint. As you can see by his painting, I tried to get him into it. Aidas loved it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When You're One & The Good Morning Train

In this post, I have put a video clip of us singing each song, since I could not find them on You-Tube. Expect a lot more songs to come. I want to have a super-huge list. It looks like I will have to make videos for many other songs as well, since I either can't find them on You-Tube, or they're just not sung the way that we sing them.

WHEN YOU'RE ONE  (This is another one we learned from the Early Years Centre.)

video
When you're one one one (Index finger)
Tap on your thumb thumb thumb (Use your fingers to tap on your thumb)

When you're two two two (Hold up two fingers)
Tap on your shoe shoe shoe (Tap on your shoe, or your foot if not wearing shoe)

When you're three three three (Hold up three fingers)
Tap on your knee knee knee (Tap your hand on your knee)

When you're four four four (Hold up four fingers)
Tap on the floor floor floor (Hit the ground with your hand)

When you're five five five (Hold up five fingers)
Dance the jive jive jive (Dance!)

When you're six six six (Hold up six fingers)
Put down your sticks (Pretend to put down sticks)



THE GOOD MORNING TRAIN (Again, OEYC, though it's to the tune of 'She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes'.  It's a good song for kids to learn people's names, and they love to hear their own name in a song! It works really well at the very start of circle time, to make everyone feel welcome.)

video

The good morning train is coming
How are you? Choo Choo! (Pull your arm down for 'Choo Choo')
The good morning train is coming
How are you? Choo Choo! (Pull your arm down for 'Choo Choo')

The good morning train is coming
The good morning train is coming
The good morning train is coming
How are you? Choo Choo!

And we say hello to _______
How are you? Choo Choo!
And we say hello to _______
How are you? Choo Choo!
And we say hello to _______
And we say hello to _______
And we say hello to _______
How are you? Choo Choo!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hurry! Hurry! Drive the Fire Truck!

HURRY! HURRY! DRIVE THE FIRE TRUCK! (Song we do at OEYC - the You-tube video is slightly different, but has the same tune)



Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck
Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck

Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck (Pretend hands are on wheel - driving motion)
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding! (Pretend you are ringing a bell with one of your hands)

Hurry, hurry, climb the ladder
Hurry, hurry, climb the ladder
Hurry, hurry, climb the ladder (Use your arms and legs as if climbing a ladder)
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding! (Pretend you are ringing a bell with one of your hands)

Hurry, hurry, spray the water
Hurry, hurry, spray the water
Hurry, hurry, spray the water (Pretend you are spraying water with a big fire hose)
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding!

Hurry, hurry, save the baby
Hurry, hurry, save the baby
Hurry, hurry, save the baby (Cradle your arms as if rocking baby)
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding!


Slowly, slowly, back to the station
Slowly, slowly, back to the station
Slowly, slowly, back to the station (Sing slowly and pretend to drive slowly)
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding!

Sunny Days

Photos taken at Vine Parkette

We have been enjoying the summer sunshine in all its abundance. Even though it's been stinking hot, we've managed to stay cool by spending a  little time at the wading pools. We pack a bag of sandbox toys, and toys for the wading pool, and head on over to the park after their naps.

Above photos taken at Lithuania Park

They were a little wary of the wading pool at first, but are becoming much braver each day! I get my bathing suit on and go right on in with them. Apparently this is weird, since I have seen no other parent or caregiver do this. Why not? I'm there with them anyway. I may as well cool off too! Actually, it wasn't until Aidas saw me splashing my face and wetting my hair that he decided to splash around and cool himself off. Hopefully, modelling comfort in the water may help them to become more comfortable in the water too.

It's great that the wading pools are right next to playgrounds. That way, they never spend too much time in the sun. Here they are on one of the play structures, having a snack and a drink after a swim.

After the kids left today, I took Noah back to the playground. As of today, he can climb onto the tallest part of the play structure at Lithuania Park. This horrifies me. He seems to be doing very well and is cautious around the edges, though. As you can see in these pictures, he is VERY proud.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Dream in High Park - Romeo and Juliet

We have been living in the High Park area for about 7 years now, and have made it a summer tradition to see whatever Shakespearean play has been on at the High Park Amphitheatre. Last year I didn't attend, since Noah was only 10 months old. Performances are open to all ages, but I just couldn't bring myself to possibly ruin others' enjoyment with a screaming baby. This year, we figured, Noah may actually enjoy the performance. After all, he did pretty well sitting with us for the concerts at Harbourfront on Canada Day.

If you haven't been to the 'Dream in High Park', let me give you the lowdown. Admission is free for kids 14 and under. There is no set cost for the rest of us. You are expected to "pay what you can". The customary donation seems to be $20 per person, but it is well worth it! I mean, what a cool experience to sit under the stars and watch a play! Most, including us, usually pack a picnic (though you can buy a snack on-site), and some even bring wine. It's a good idea to pack a blanket as well (and even pillows, if you are so inclined), since you are sitting on the hard ground with your back up against cement.

So tonight we packed a picnic and went to see this year's production: Romeo and Juliet. We decided to sit right at the front so that Noah could walk around on the grass a bit. We also thought he'd be more interested if he were up close.
Hmmmm....maybe it wasn't such a great idea to bring a 22-month-old to the show. It started out great. He loved when the actors were warming up, and was totally grooving to the music. He sat on my lap nicely and watched the first 20 minutes of the actual play. He has an amazing attention span to do this much! I knew he wouldn't watch the whole play, but I was hoping he would quietly look at the toys and books I brought for him. Silly me! He wanted mommy's involvement. To keep him quiet I was forced to indulge him in whatever endeavor he chose.

There was the whole 'water bottle routine' which he enlisted my help in. It went like this: Take the cap off the water bottle, take a sip, put the cap back on, put it in the diaper bag. REPEAT 30 times.

Then it was time to hide crackers under Daddy's bum.

After that, he demanded that I read him poems from Eric Carle's 'Animals Animals'. He was satisfied with me whispering them in his ear. I'm sure the cast didn't appreciate him singing the "Happy Mooday" song from the book though.

Finally I had to take him away from the play for a little walk. I didn't really get to see much of the play, but we knew it was a gamble. There were many other children there, and I saw at least one baby (about 5 months old) who didn't make a peep! I guess the parents lucked out with a sleeping baby. We were hoping Noah would conk out, but no such luck. We'll try it again next summer.

For more information about the Dream in High Park, visit this website: http://www.canadianstage.com/dream

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is Canned Tuna Safe for Toddlers?

I used to love canned tuna. I can remember my mother making tuna sandwiches for lunch, and it remained a comfort food into adulthood. All that time, I believed that I was enjoying a food that was also very healthy for me. However, I gave canned tuna up years ago after hearing warnings about the mercury levels contained in it. And until this week, I have not dared to serve it to my child. I have been downright paranoid about mercury poisoning, and for good reason.

Consider this information taken from Health Canada: A child's developing nervous system is particularly sensitive to methyl mercury. Depending on the level of exposure, the effects can include a decrease in I.Q., delays in walking and talking, lack of coordination, blindness and seizures. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/merc-eng.php (Note: Methyl mercury is the type of mercury found in fish that is the cause of concern.)

Methyl mercury is greater in fish which are higher in the food chain: tuna is one of these. Does that mean it should be avoided altogether? This was my previous thinking. But recently I have been reading about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids in child brain development. Fish, as most of us know, is a very good source of this.

So how much tuna is safe? The U.S Environmental Protection Agency advices that children "eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week" of canned light tuna. Since albacore ("white") tuna contains more mercury than canned light tuna, children should eat no more than 6 ounces per week.
http://www.epa.gov/fishadvisories/advice/ (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has interpreted information about mercury from the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA. It has created a table that shows how much (of both kinds) of canned tuna is safe to eat for your child's weight. It can be found at: http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/tuna.asp

Health Canada, on the other hand, makes no recommendations on the restriction of canned light tuna. For canned albacore tuna, they recommend that a child between the ages of 1 and 4 get no more than 75g per week (1/2 a cup). http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/_2007/2007_14-eng.php

Taking these recommendations into consideration, I finally served Noah and Aidas tuna sandwiches today. They wouldn't touch the tuna! Still, this isn't saying a whole lot since their tastes seem to change from week to week.

I would really like to look into different recipes with foods that contain omega 3's, that a picky toddler would approve of.  "The best sources for omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, canola oil and soy." http://nutrition.about.com/od/askyournutritionist/f/omegacooking.htm

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Morning at Lithuania Park


We had a fantastic morning at the playground. Noah and Aidas are getting pretty skilled on the equipment, so they are able to do more now.

They are both starting to get the idea of making a sand castle now! Noah actually made one all by himself using the little cup pictured here. They know to fill the pail up, use their hand to go "pat, pat, pat" and then "flip it". They always immediately destroy a sand castle once it is made. That's the fun in it, for now!


They both took turns driving what we called the "boat". Sometimes we sing The Wheels on the Bus when they start driving. Too cute!

Below are a couple of videos of Noah and Aidas in the playground tube. They are BFF's! Or, as Aidas's mother put it, they're having a "Bromance".
video
video

Go Bananas and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

GO BANANAS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVR8xoyph2Y (This version is a little different. The version I have here is taken from the Parkdale Ontario Early Years Centre. The most important thing is to jump around like a crazy lunatic at "Go Bananas". The kids love the build-up to this. Make sure you are standing up for this one!)

Bananas Unite! (Clap hands above head)
Bananas Split! (Slap hands down at sides)

And you peel bananas (Move one hand in circular motion)
Peel, peel bananas (Move other hand in circular motion)

And you slice bananas
Slice, slice bananas (Make a slicing motion using both of your hands)

And you mush bananas
Mush, mush bananas (Clap hands together in vertical motion)

And you eat bananas
Eat, eat bananas (Put your hand to your mouth)

And you.....
GO BANANAS!
GO GO BANANAS!
And you GO BANANAS!
GO GO BANANAS! (Jump around with your arms in the air!)



ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQmcNizE6Dg (I realize this video is a little annoying, but it is the closest to the way we sing it at the Early Years Centre. We like to start standing up, crouch down for the countdown, then jump up at "blast off".)

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
We're going to the moon
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
We're going to the moon (March on the spot and slide your hands past each other, like a sliding clap)

If you want to take a trip
Climb aboard my rocket ship (March on the spot and move your arms and hands to pretend you are climbing)
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
We're going to the moon (March on the spot and slide your hands past each other, like a sliding clap)




In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (Crouch down)
BLAST OFF! (Jump up! For very young children you can throw them up in the air for this part. I used to do that with Noah and he loved it.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Break from Home Daycare - Son and Mom time!

Noah and I were on 'vacation' this week, simply because the other children in my care were on vacation. It was beautiful to have some 1-on-1 time with Noah, and to spoil him with all my attention.

On Tuesday, we went to meet Dan (AKA Daddy) downtown for lunch, and spent some time at the Eaton Centre afterwards. I showed Noah the Disney Store, so he could see his beloved Mickey Mouse - er - I mean "Mi Mow". He loved it and was very upset, crying for Mi Mow as I pushed him away from the store in his stroller.

We stopped by Indigo and that is where we spent the next couple of hours. Okay, I don't know if we actually spent 2 full hours in there. I lost track of time. But wow, that is the longest I've ever been parked in a store! It's quite the play place. I don't remember it being quite that elaborate the last time I took him, and I've never seen another Indigo store with so much for children to play with. First Noah played at the Thomas the Tank Engine train activity table. He later moved on to the kitchen.


Then the shopping cart. Oh, he also loved going in and out of that giant tea cup you see there on the left.


Then he moved on to the Easel.

On top of that, he had fun pushing a lawnmower around, and playing with balls (though he never discovered the basket-ball hoop - maybe next time). But seriously, it is insane how a store can be so much fun for kids!

This wasn't a day when I needed to do much shopping. However, I will remember this for the next time I am wheeling him around in the stroller on a major shopping trip at the Eaton Centre (particularly at Christmas time). There is always a point during one of those types of shopping trips when I get a case of Mother's guilt for having him in the stroller so long. This will definitely be a great place for a pit stop, even if I do have to endure a major meltdown when I put him back in the stroller!

In other news, Noah has become quite the little fish at our apartment swimming pool. He is kicking his legs and moving his arms more, and loves to be dipped under water.
Here's a shot of him waiting for the elevator. In his hands are the toys he loves to bring in the pool with him. Actually, I think he has conceptually merged them into one toy, called the "choo choo boat".

On Saturday night Dan and I went to "Rock of Ages" while Noah's big sister, Emily, babysat. She had a little help from Jacob and her boyfriend, Dave.


Emily is our ONLY babysitter. We have never even considered anyone else because we feel so reassured when she is looking after Noah. I know, at some point we will need to relax and have at least one back-up! I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.


Today was the perfect day. We went to Sunnyside Beach and Noah had a blast! He is at the age now when he can really enjoy playing by the shore. He had fun mucking around, collecting stones in his sand pail, and tossing stones into the water.
He had many admirers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Action Songs "Roly Poly" and "The Wheels on the Bus"

*Okay, so these pics are a few months old and have nothing to do with my post. But they're cute, okay?!  And it's MY blog. So there!

This week I had Noah all to myself since the other kids were on vacation. Since I have no daycare news to report about, I am hereby starting my compilation of songs that we enjoy singing, whether in music circle or at other times throughout the day. I expect that in time, this list will become quite extensive. Some of the songs that are on, or will be on this list may seem silly to include because they are so common. However, I want this to be an area of my blog that anyone, regardless of culture or language, can access and learn from. Better to include too much information than not enough. You-Tube videos are included any time that I can find good ones to match the songs we sing, but actions will be written too, for any of you who wish to print the songs. 

I will start of with a few of our favourite action songs. Only the words to the songs are in bold.

ROLY POLY (sung to the tune of Frere Jacques) 





Roly Poly, Roly Poly (Make hands into fists and roll over each other in a circular motion)
Up, Up, Up
Up, Up, Up (Stretch arms in front, raise a little with each word)
Roly Roly Poly, Roly Roly Poly (same as first Roly Poly)
Down, Down, Down
Down, Down, Down (Stretch arms in front, lower a little with each word)

Roly Poly, Roly Poly
Out, Out, Out
Out, Out, Out (Hands in clapping position, move hands outward, a little more with each word)
Roly Roly Poly, Roly Roly Poly
In, In, In
In, In, In (Bring hands in, a little more with each word)

Roly Poly, Roly Poly
Fast Fast Fast!
Fast Fast Fast! (Keep arms in the rolling position but move them very fast)
Roly Roly Poly, Roly Roly Poly
Slow, Slow, Slow
Slow, Slow, Slow (Move arms in rolling position very slowly, but also sing the word slowly - like "Sssslllloooow, Slllloooow, Slllloooow")

Roly Poly, Roly Poly
LOUD, LOUD, LOUD
LOUD, LOUD, LOUD (Cup hands around mouth and sing loudly!)
Roly Roly Poly, Roly Roly Poly
Soft, Soft, Soft
Soft, Soft, Soft (Bring index finger in front of mouth and whisper the words)

This song, as with a lot of children's songs, rhymes, stories and board books, deals with opposities. You can use any opposites that fit what you may need to teach, and make appropriate actions to go along. (I have heard people use Happy and Sad, and Big and Small, for instance.)


THE WHEELS ON THE BUS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2PZJ01W4pI
The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round, round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round (Make fists with hands and roll hands one over the other in circlular motion)
All through the town (no action)

The doors on the bus go open and shut
Open and shut, open and shut
The doors on the bus go open and shut (With hands in clapping position, move them apart for "open" and together for "shut")
All through the town (no action)

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish
Swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish (Arms bent with hands in front, move them to one side with each word)
All through the town (no action)

The driver on the bus says "Move on Back!"
"Move on Back!" "Move on Back!"
The driver on the bus says "Move on Back!" (With hand in thumbs up position, swing your thumb behind your shoulder, stopping at "Back")
All through the town (no action)

The people on the bus go up and down,
Up and down, up and down
The people on the bus go up and down (Each time you say "up", sit up taller. Each time you say "down", slump down.)
All through the town

The babies on the bus go "Waah, waah, waah!"
"Waah, waah, waah!" "Waah, waah, waah!"
The babies on the bus go "Waah, waah, waah!" (Close hands in fists and move them back and forth in front of eyes, as if crying.)
All through the town

The mommies on the bus go "Shh, Shh, Shh"
"Shh, Shh, Shh", "Shh, Shh, Shh"
The mommies on the bus go "Shh, Shh, Shh" (Index finger in front of mouth)
All through the town

The daddies on the bus say "I love you"
"I love you", "I love you"
The daddies on the bus say "I love you" (Point to self for "I", cross hands over chest for "love", point outward for "you")
All through the town

Monday, July 5, 2010

Teaching a Toddler to Swim


Yesterday I took Noah swimming. It had been about 8 months since he last entered a pool. I was a little unsure about how he would react. His second cousin, Hudson, loved the water at age one. When his mother took him swimming 1 year later, he hated it! I thought the same might happen with Noah. I let out a sigh of relief when he started giggling uncontrollably after getting into the pool!

Anyway, I thought I would list a few tips for teaching a toddler to swim. Some of these I learned from the Parks and Recreation swimming class I took Noah to. Other tips are from reputable websites that deal with teaching babies or toddlers to swim.
  • "...for each month your child is not in the pool, it takes approximately 1 to 2 days to return to their previous level" ( http://www.babyswimming.com/FAQ.htm )
  • At Parks and Recreation, they told us to count "1, 2, 3", and then blow in the baby's face before dunking them underwater. You should go underwater at the same time as them and make sure your face is happy and relaxed when you come up. If you're not doing it and having fun, it may be hard for your child to relax about it. Some recommend teaching the child to blow bubbles in the water first ( http://infanttoddlerdevelopment.suite101.com/article.cfm/teaching_preswimming_skills_to_toddlers ).
  • Teach your baby/toddler to kick their legs. First, get them used to what kicking is by placing your hands on their legs and making their legs do a kicking motion. To do this you need to get yourself and your baby into position.
  • Back Float Position - You should be up to your shoulders in the water. Your baby should be facing away from you. Put your baby or toddler in a back float position with their head resting on your shoulder. (Your child may not want to lay his or her head back, but at least you are in the general position.) You can then stretch out your arms under them or beside them, and hold onto their legs to make them kick. Only move backwards when you are making the kicking motion with your baby's legs. Repeat "kick" as you are doing this, so that they understand what kicking is. Eventually they should be able to kick when you say "kick".
  • Front Float Position - Flip your baby or toddler over so that his or her chin is resting on your shoulder. The rest is the same as the Back Float Position.
  • You may find (as I have found with Noah) that your baby refuses to kick, and wants YOU to do the work. You can encourage them to kick by throwing a pool toy in the water, and having them kick to move towards, and get the toy. (You kick their legs for them if they won't kick.) I find this a good technique because it teaches your child that they cannot move if they do not kick their legs.
  • Many websites that focus on teaching a baby or toddler to swim warn against aggressive teaching methods. Thus, do not force your child into any position. Encourage them and help them, but don't force them if they are clearly fearful. Although this may sound obvious, we do live in a competitive society that is intent on 'getting the job done' (in this case, teaching the child to swim). If so many websites have to explicitly condemn aggressive teaching methods for swimming, these methods must not be uncommon. A positive attitude towards the water comes first and foremost.

Friday, July 2, 2010

O Canada


Happy 143rd birthday Canada! Dan and I were determined to do something a little more fun than what we did last year: attending Gerrard Kennedy's picnic in High Park. What beautiful weather we had for this year's Canada Day, which made it all that much more enjoyable.

Noah loved watching all the different boats go by and the airplanes land at the Island Airport. Here's one of the ships from the Tall Ships exhibit that is going on (until July 4th).

Noah actually sat on my lap in the ampitheatre for about half an hour, listening to Jim Galloway play jazz, and sipping his water while mommy and daddy sipped a beer! He clapped and said "Yey" at the end of each song. 

Later on in the day, Noah's big brother Jacob (also known as Babop, BeepBeep, Beefy, Bacee) biked over to Harbourfront to join us. As you can see, they are very close. Lots of love there.

After a nice dinner at Il Fornello, we went back to the ampitheatre to watch Sarah Slean. Noah was so exhausted by this time, without a proper nap. He finally fell asleep when she was singing "Day One". And it was ironic because as I looked at him falling asleep in my arms, his face just looked just like it did when he was a little baby. I felt a little sentimental, like I was taking a look back to 'day one', or at least the early days of his life. So beautiful.

Exit sentimentality, enter cool rock and roll band. Have you heard, or better yet, have you seen The Sadies? The main guitarist is unbelievable! I don't think I've ever seen anyone play guitar like that!
Here is Harbourfront's website, in case you are interested in going. http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/ Their kids' programs are for children aged 5-12.