Baby Reads: Too Many Books!

My name is Theresa, and I am addicted to collecting children’s books for my son.

It runs in the family. My oldest sister collects favorite children’s book and she doesn’t have any kids. Every time we see my mom, she has a stack of books for us to look through and choose whichever ones we want for Lewis. Most of his books, including those from Grandma, are thrift-store finds. He’s also received many as gifts and of course some we have purchased new.

Regardless of how we got them, we have a lot of books.

These are the ones I removed from his shelf today and put away in the closet to get out again at some point in the future:

IMG_0233There are about 30-40 books in that stack. I didn’t count. Most of these are ones that he either never chooses to read or won’t sit through more than a page or two if he does choose them.

These are the books still out on his shelf:

IMG_0232There are at least 40 more books there. This doesn’t include the 10 or 15 in the living room and his play area, or the 5 (or more) by the rocking chair, pop-up books which I keep out of his reach, or the seven books we currently have out from the library….

I think toy rotation (keeping most of his toys put away and periodically switching out which are available) is a great thing, and intended to rotate his books as well. I do rotate which ones are in his basket by the reading corning in his play area, although he often carries books out into the living room or play area which end up added to his basket. We also rotate the collection by the rocking chair, but again he has a tendency to grab books off the shelf and add them to the pile.

I do like that he is able to choose his books for himself. He recognizes many of them by the spine and if not he knows immediately what they are once he pulls them off the shelf and sees the cover. Recently he has been pulling out half the books on the shelf and rejecting most of them before finding one he’d like to read. This is what sparked my putting away so many of them – now it is easier for him to find one he wants, and also results in less mess if he does pull them onto the floor. Also, I can now return my own books to their shelves that were beginning to be taken over by kid’s books. Win-win.

I’ve thought about doing wall shelves with the books facing out, which is an idea I’ve seen all over Pinterest and the web recently. But, there is really no good place for it in our little apartment. We have hardly any open wall space. So for now we’ll have to continue with our current system.

IMG_0029Happy reading!

 

 

 

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In And Out

Lewis is really getting into the stage now where he likes to put everything into containers. He has been taking things out and of course dumping things for a long time now, and for several weeks he would occasionally pick up an object and put it into a basket/bowl/etc. Now just about anything he is holding he wants to pit it into something.

This means that he can and will now help us to clean up his toys. It takes some prompting to put things in the basket at the right time and stay focused to help pick up all the toys, and he is also fairly likely to put a few toys in, take a few out, put one back in, etc., but it’s still fun to see him “helping.” Last weekend we walked to the library with Daddy and there was a slightly older boy there playing. Lewis and the other boy played with the blocks for a bit, and when that boy was getting ready to leave Lewis helped clean up the toys with him (with some prompting from Daddy.)

Unfortunately this desire to put things in has also extended to wanting to put everything into the garbage can! All of our smaller trash baskets we have moved up out of his reach. (Love the trash sitting on the table with our plants and my crafting supplies. Really adds to the decor.) The big trash in the kitchen we can’t really move to anywhere else, but Chris found a way to put it up against the wall so that Lewis can’t open it for now. However, I don’t think that will last long as he is far too clever for his own good. (As I recently posted on facebook, he has now figured out how to pull the caps off of pens, Sharpies, etc. and had a fun time trying to eat some of my colored Sharpies yesterday!)

He has long enjoyed playing with the box of dominoes and dumping them everywhere. A few days ago he had stolen an olive jar from the recycling and sat down with it, very focused, to put dominoes in and out of the jar for a very long time. The jar is just big enough for him to reach his hand in to take the dominoes back out, but it isn’t a super wide mouth so it does take focus and concentration to put the dominoes in and out. Since it is a glass jar I took it away once he started walking around with it, for fear he’d throw/drop it on the hard floor and it would shatter. I replaced it instead with an empty Puffs snack container, which is similar in size. He liked looking down inside the container to see the dominoes at the bottom.

IMG_8597 IMG_8601Any clean plastic container from the recycling would be great for this. I found a link on Pinterest to a Chasing Cheerios post about using old fashioned clothes pins and a 2 liter bottle for a similar toy. Lewis doesn’t have quite enough coordination for that yet, but I’ll keep it mind for when he does! A milk jug would work great too.

We’re planning to buy him a shape-sorter as one of his birthday gifts. Probably a fairly simple one to start, with a lid that comes off and the options to put the shapes just in and out of the container since I know he isn’t quite ready to actually push the shapes through their slots. My mom also found this Crocodile toy at a yard sale which has pieces that can be put in and out as well as stacked (another skill that he is just beginning to work on – he can successfully make a tower of two blocks most of the time now). It will be a couple of weeks before we can get the toy from my mom, but I think he will have a lot of fun with it once we do!

As always, I am loving seeing these new skills developing and watching as he makes connections and finds new ways to play with his toys.

 

Pinterest Fail

Back when I was making the sensory bottles for Lewis I decided to try another baby sensory activity that I had seen on Pinterest. I originally found this post on 56 Sensory Play Ideas for Baby on the blog Growing A Jeweled Rose. There are a lot of awesome ideas here, and one of the ones I liked the look of was the Sensory Bags.  The ideas posts says that the sensory bags are “great for babies still putting everything in their mouth and they are mess free too! ” Hmm, sounds perfect for Lewis!

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The basic idea of the bags is that you take a ziploc baggy, fill it with something squishy such as paint, shampoo, lotion, etc. and you can also add extras like glitter or small objects. This is another activity that I had done a version of in my classroom, filling bags with paint and taping them down for the kids to draw and “write” on. For Lewis’ bag I squirted in some hotel sample bottles of lotion and shampoo that we had sitting around, and topped it off with a little extra baby lotion. I also added some green rice, since I had colored too much of it when I made the sensory bottles with rice. Since it is just food coloring on the rice the green color came off and colored the goo in the bag. The original post recommends sealing the opening of the bag with packing tape, to help make sure there was no leakage. I had some old ducky packing tape sitting around and this happened to be the first thing I found when looking for tape. Perfect! The bag was nice and squishy, and all sealed shut. Time to give it to Lewis!

IMG_4776Of course the bag went straight to his mouth and he had no interest in just squishing it with his hands. The original post seems to think this is ok, but I started to worry about the bag busting open. Unfortunately my ten year old ducky tape wasn’t as sticky as packing tape usually is. (Huh. I wonder why.) I took the bag from him, laid it on the floor and taped down two sides. I figured this way it would encourage him to explore with his hands and if it did happen to bust open at least he wouldn’t be getting a mouthful of lotion and shampoo.

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Lewis almost immediately was able to pull it out from the tape, and then I noticed that the bag was leaking a bit of green slime. I thanked myself for having the sense to do this on the kitchen floor and not our apartment’s cream colored carpets. From first handing the bag to Lewis to the time that I tossed it in the trash was probably about 5 minutes. The kitchen floor felt a bit slippery from the lotion for a few days, even though I wiped it up with a wet cloth.

I still think the sensory bags are a fun idea, and I have a few ideas for how to make them work a bit better when we try them again. My first thought is that maybe these really aren’t that awesome for a baby, and perhaps I should wait until he is a little older to do this. I also realized that I’d be a little more comfortable doing this with a young baby if the bag was filled with a food substance, such as yogurt, applesauce, or pudding. This way I wouldn’t be freaking out about the potential for a mouthful of soap or lotion. Food coloring could still be used to add some interest to the bag and/or add-ins such as oats, pasta (cooked or uncooked), or cut up fruit. And of course it would also help to have a bag with a better seal, and tape that was actually sticky! (No ten year old packing tape next time.)

This was a very short lived activity for us, but we will probably try again in the future and hopefully have more success with it.