Teaching Kindness

It's been a great start to the school year!

Todd and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this year on Sept. 16th.  It's amazing how fast the years keep coming.  Time flies when you're having fun, huh?  It's been a fabulous first 5 and I'm so excited for all that is to come!  

I've been taking Maren to toddler library and story time on Tuesday mornings while she and I are solo.  She really enjoys the songs and all the attention!  I love the undivided attention I can now give her while Maisy is at school a few mornings a week.  She is really starting to babble. It almost sounds like talking, but you just can't make out the words!  She is pulling up on everything and is getting more confident, but has yet to stand or take a step alone.  I'm down to nursing her just once in the morning, so it shouldn't be much longer until she is totally weened.  I'm not looking forward to having to watch what I eat again- the breastfeeding diet is about to end.  Booo!

Since Monday is our only day all together without other commitments, we try to do special stuff that we want to make sure to do together, like visit friends or the zoo.  Last Monday, we did both!

Maren at the zoo on Monday. It's our full day with sister, Maisy, to do fun stuff.  

Maisy petting a very brave and relaxed cat at the petting yard at the zoo.

Maisy has been going to a Nature and Science class on Wednesday mornings through Berkeley Parks and Rec. While Maisy is in class, Maren and I attend Wee Play at the same center.  I am so impressed with the high quality and the resources available to families in our community!  Wednesday's topic was bugs, bug finding and catching.  Maisy was so brave she even let an earwig crawl on her!

Maisy next to Ms. Denise and Coach Marvin learning about bugs with friend, Mila.

After nap I did a little extended learning with bugs and we learned about arthropods as a group and the sub-group insects.  I did this print out worksheet from Orkin where we cut out a bunch of arthropods and then put them into sub groups (arachnids, insects, crustaceans).  Then we learned about the different body parts of insects (exoskeleton, head, abdomen, thorax) and that insects in particular, only have 6 legs.  We also did insect coloring sheets from a blog I follow, 1plus1plus1equals1.com , and letter practice as well.

Learning her bug writing

Maisy has been doing so well with the start of her three morning a week program at her pre-school.  She's made a very good friend and her mom and I also get along very well.  Maisy has had a couple of play dates already!  We are going to swap kids every other Tuesday for play dates at each other's homes and the girls are thrilled. 

Today while walking home from school Maisy mentioned something about playing with some kids rather than others and I just wanted to make sure she was being kind and not excluding kids, so I decided today would be a mindful kindness teaching day.

First I cut out a LOT of pictures of people's expressions in magazines.  I did this during nap time.  When she woke up our "activity" for the day was to first sort all of the pictures of the people and the emotions they were feeling into different piles.  We ended up with:  Happy, Silly, Proud, Thinking/Thoughtful, Shy, Hopeful, Angry/Upset, Pain, Worried, Serious and Sad.  After she sorted, she glued all of one type of a feeling on to a page with the feeling written on top of it. 

Glueing down her feelings

Then we sorted the full pages according to how she likes to feel and what types of feelings she likes/dislikes.  We talked a bit about why some people may get sad/angry/happy, etc., but, just as if on cue Maren started crying and fussing amidst her happy alone playtime.  I went over and gave her a hug and showed Maisy how a hug might make a sad person happy.  But Maisy took it one step further and decided to bring her books and started a game of peek-a-boo with her using a fire hat, that had her giggling in no time.  

Peek- A-

BOO!

Sisters play

We finished up with playing a little board game I printed about kindness.  Maisy liked it.  Maren just wanted to try to eat the die.  

Yay she won! (Well, really I did, but I told her she did)

I plan on using these pages for further discussion about the feelings and what may make a person feel a certain way and on the pages that don't have many pictures, I want to do some free hand art with her to help express the emotions on the page. 

I have a whole list of kindness activities I dug up and saved today, so I'll be working them in regularly.

Tomorrow after school we are headed out on a road trip to LA.  We plan to visit the Mouse's House while we are in town (thank you Uncle Bob!) and celebrate baby cousin Evan's 1st birthday!

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