Like Zoe!

My toddlers love to read books.  They have easy access to their bookshelf and are allowed to choose the book they want to read.  My only condition for them is to put the book back on the shelf before getting another one.


My best friend gifted Jade with a Little Blessings book.  Upon seeing the book cover, she immediately exclaimed, “It’s my favorite book!”  I presume it is because she can relate to the little girl pictured in the cover. They are after all similar in many ways. 

The book written by Melody Carlson is about a little girl who discovers that she can do new things; things that big kids can do.  She can fix her bed, get dressed, eat by herself, brush her teeth, comb her hair, fiddle, take care of her fish, bake cookies, pack away her toys, and so much more. 

Each glossy page is also filled with pictures of things we see at home.  Elena Kucharik’s illustration delights my toddlers.  These pictures are great for vocabulary building also.  Sometimes, I name objects and ask the toddlers to look for them in the page.  Other times, I let them point at objects and we name them together.

We have read this book countless of times, but the toddlers never tire of listening to the story.  Jade still declares that it is her “most favorite book ever.”  It has also helped encourage Jade to be more independent.  Whenever she does something that Zoe can do, she says, “Like Zoe! Mama, I’m like Zoe!”  It’s not only Jade who loves the book.  Jakei loves it also.  He loves looking at the pictures and naming them.


Since the toddlers love this book so much, we also want to get a copy “I’m Jack!”, another book in the series.  I still can’t find any in the local bookstores though.

I’m Jack! I Am Made to Run and Play (Little Blessings Picture Books.)

Toddlers’ Interactive Learning Fun With Ed Mouse at Time4Learning

Time4Learning is an easy to use online learning system that can be used for enrichment or as a curriculum for homeschooling. We were given a free 30-day trial and were able to make full use of the program for an entire month. The toddlers love Ed Mouse and have learned much using the program that we are planning on continuing our subscription.

The animated story telling and interactive lessons keep my three-year-old in rapt attention. We started out at Pre-K1 but quickly progressed to Pre-K2 level for some lessons like alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes as my daughter has already mastered some of the basics. From the second week onward, we were shifting from Pre-K1 to Pre-K2 depending on the lessons we’ve scheduled for the day. I limit our computer use to a maximum of one hour per day. So after our learning session with Ed Mouse, we answer printed worksheets which I’ve prepared beforehand.

My two-year-old son’s attention is still quite difficult to hold for more than a few minutes but we’re able to go through several lessons at Time4Learning for about 15 to 30 minutes at a time. We’re able to work on some of the Pre-K1 lessons, but most of the time he’d just be guessing which one is the correct answer. He really does like Ed Mouse but would rather be running around than sitting on my lap in front of the computer.

I tried having the toddlers go through the lessons together but it just proved too distracting for my daughter and too wearisome for me so I just had them take turns using the computer. Of course, I was always with them during their respective Time4Learning sessions.

Although my toddlers are still unable to maneuver the mouse by themselves, they are able to provide me the answers to the online activities by pointing to the correct images. This program would be perfect if it works on a touch screen computer. That way my toddlers can just tap on the correct images.

The Time 4 Learning Parent Community and Forum also provides great support for those who need help with the program and with homeschooling their children. As a new user, I was able to find answers to my queries and also got plenty of ideas for additional learning from other parents. I was actually surprised to see topics about meals, nutrition, Christianity and special needs. It’s quite nice to know that you can talk about almost anything with other parents who are also using the Time4Learning program.

Overall, the program would greatly benefit children who are already in school or are being homeschooled. Time spent with Ed Mouse is definitely more productive than time spent playing videogames or watching TV. Those who are interested in home schooling would also find that Time4Learning could be used as a core curriculum.

As for those who have toddlers like me, Time4Learning is also a fun way to bond with your tots. My little ones have been missing Ed Mouse for a couple of weeks now so I really need to renew our subscription soon. My husband and I are going over our monthly budget to include the monthly subscription for this program.

Art Fun with Old Medicine Droppers and Homemade Paint

For our Wonderful World of Wednesday activity a few weeks ago, we tried using old medicine droppers and food coloring to make colorful paintings. Again, it didn’t exactly turn out the way I envisioned it but the toddlers were able to create their own unique artwork. Aside from enhancing their creativity, this activity is also a great exercise for developing their fine-motor skills. Jade turned three years old this month and is already quite adept with her pinching skills. She was able to handle the medicine dropper quite well. Jakei needed more practice but was able to use the dropper with minor assistance.

If you would like to try this activity with your little ones, make sure that they are wearing frocks or old clothes and that their work table is covered with a thick stack of old newspapers. Prepare the following beforehand:

Used medicine droppers. We used the ones from their empty vitamin bottles. If your kids have long-said goodbye to medicine droppers, you may try using drinking straws.

Homemade paint (blue, red, yellow). I made ours by adding a few drops of food coloring to a mixture of water and vinegar. The vinegar makes the color more vivid. You may also add some cornstarch to make the paint thicker.

Oslo paper.

Old newspapers for covering the work table and cleaning up spills.

Once you’re all set, instruct the kids to use the dropper to drop paint on the paper and create whatever comes to mind. The paint I made was a little runny so we ended up smudging and slushing the paint around instead. We tried blowing on the small puddles of paint that Jade “accidentally” spilled on her paper but she still couldn’t blow hard enough. I think it might work for bigger kids though.

This was (again) a pretty messy activity but the toddlers had lots of fun the entire time. We also mixed the colors together and they had fun watching the colors change.

Artwork by Jade

Artwork by Jakei

Counting with the Caterpillar

Our Thinking Tuesday session today lasted only about thirty minutes!  Boohoo!

The little boy stubbornly refused to sit still in our dining table cum study table and was quite obstinate at insisting that we go upstairs instead.  Crayons, pencils, and his other toys were to no avail.  It seemed that he was on a learning strike.  As I was not one to  force them to go through the worksheets and planned activities, I finally gave in and packed away our worksheets.

Jade was able to finish one of the counting activities though before her little brother acted up.  She was able to place the numbers 1 to 10 in correct sequential order through the caterpillar’s body. For this activity, I printed a caterpillar template then wrote the numbers 1 to 10 on colored sticker paper.

 photo countingcaterpillar.jpg

 photo countingcaterpillarjade.jpg

We were able to finish two more worksheets after this activity. Jade has almost mastered identifying which item does not belong in a group. She has also showed great progress in completing patterns. However, as Jade was starting on her third worksheet, Jakei became restless and started pestering his sister.

Not one to give up that easily, I facilitated a “Count Me” game when we went to the bedroom upstairs. The toddlers didn’t even realize that we were still learning math since we were just playing with the cards. So, I guess even if we didn’t finish the worksheets, Thinking Tuesday was still a success after all.

WWW: Leaf Imprints

For our first Wonderful World of Wednesday art activity, we made leaf imprints on paper.  This activity was inspired by an episode in Special Agent Oso where his special assignment was to help a little girl make some leaf imprints. Their three special steps were:

  1. Place a sheet of paper on the table.
  2. Place the leaf on the paper with the bottom side facing up. (the side where the veins can be clearly seen)
  3. Place another sheet of paper on top and make the imprint using crayons.

The materials were inexpensive and easy to acquire.  Bond paper is a staple in our home, crayons are aplenty, and leaves abound Lola’s potted plants.

materials: assorted leaves from the garden, bond paper, and crayons


Once we had all the materials, the toddlers were all set for their very first leaf imprinting.

arranging the leaves on her paper

first attempt

best work (with mama's help though)

I found out though that Jade was still a little too young to make the imprints as she couldn’t manage to properly hold the crayon and place just enough pressure to make the imprint appear on the paper.   It was still a great turn out for our first attempt on making leaf imprints.  With plenty of practice wielding the crayon, Jade would soon be creating marvelous leaf imprints all on her own.

playing with the leaves

leaf imprint sans the leaf ^_^

Quite expectedly, Jakei’s work was missing the leaf imprint.  He is after all barely two years old.  He was actually more interested in putting the leaves inside his mouth than in making imprints of them.  I finally took the leaves away from him and just let him scribble with his crayons.

See the star on the left side of the paper?  He unintentionally drew that while scribbling and when he saw it, his eyes lit up and he said, “Star!!!”.  My little boy wasn’t able to make a leaf imprint but he was able to draw a star.  That’s all in a day’s work for a toddler.