Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cleaning Pennies

I didn't plan to do this activity. Nicholas found four pennies on the pavement and spent the day carrying them around, putting them in and out of his pocket, playing with them...

I decided a great way to keep him contained for a few minutes would be to let him 'clean' his pennies. I gave him a small pot with a dribble of white vinegar and a cotton bud and left him to it.

As suspected, I was left in peace to clean the dinner dishes! Once he had finished scrubbing, I sprinkled some bicarbonate of soda on one his tray and let him enjoy the fizzing when we added vinegar. He was very excited to see the reaction. Unfortunately I was too busy helping to get pictures of his face!

Finally, I gave him a cloth to clean up the bicarby-vinegary mess.

Unfortunately, the coins were no cleaner when we finished, but at least Nikki had fun!

Linking to Montessori Mondays

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Nicholas has surprised me with his choices and abilities this week.

The buttons tray was a flop. A few months ago, Nikki would spend all day spooning if I gave him the chance, now he is not interested. Apparently it is a skill he considers mastered.

I did persuade him to play a couple of times - he liked to struggle with the box, but only wanted to use the spoon for stirring the buttons, which he poured from pot to bowl. I managed to get him to follow my instructions for a total of about two minutes!

... finally spooning!

Tonging pompoms was a big favourite. He wasn't so much interested in matching the colours, but his control of the tongs is excellent now. He completes the whole exercise in a minute and asks to do it several times a day.

I was surprised with the pattern board. I thought it would be too hard for him and we would just arrange the shapes randomly on his tray. Nikki chose one of the harder patterns and  completed it almost independantly on his first go. I now know that he can match similar shapes (he normally refuses to) - obviously he just didn't have the right shapes to match! All I really needed to do was hand the shapes over one at a time to let him focus on the one in his hand, and re-place the shapes if he knocked them or the board to prevent him getting frustrated.

I was equally surprised when Nikki started not only matching the sound balls, but telling me 'this one is quiet' when he picked up the quietest ones!

He also insisted on independently reading his Russian book and practicing the exercises I have been doing with him with a mix of mostly-English and Russian. This at least prooves that he understood the Russian enough to translate back to English.

Linking up to 1+1+1=1

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nikki's Deks

I mentioned a while ago that I gave Nikki my old desk (or 'deks' as he calls it). He still has his small table and chair tucked under it, but lovesthat he has his very own cupboard and drawer. He was so excited by the cupboard that he spend a day filling it with all his clothes! Recently, I bought him a great big pinboard to hang over the desk. Later, this can be used for school work or art pieces, but at the moment is is a safe place to keep posters from being destroyed!

Nikki's dad brought him a set of Russian and English alphabet posters when he visited. They fit perfectly on the new board and as they are so massive, they can be clearly read by Nikki from almost anywhere in his room. He likes to point out the digger.

English and Russian alphabet posters

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why We Are Running...

Little boys shouldn't wear mascara!
This little monster visited this morning. The temptation of my handbag was too great and he turned it out. Other than eating the few bribes (small, wrapped chocolates) loitering in the bottom of the bag and (I suspect) my lip balm, he decided to try and put on my mascara. Unfortunately, it was brand new and came out a bit thick...

Later, I found this cheeky monkey in my tumble dryer! He was very helpful (see the emptied lint trap in his hand - that is usually Nikki's job) and insisted on playing peek-a-boo before eventually being persuaded to leave.

Later still, a rather naughty imp broke his way into the stockpile of Easter eggs. Fortunately, I found him before he had done much more than unwrap and smash one of the eggs. Unlike the one that broke in last week and ate through half the chocolate before he was caught!

Running Program

Now that Nicholas is running everywhere, I have decided to start a Doman-style running program with him. It has been something that I've been thinking about for a while, but the weather and finding a suitable place to run has put me off.

My reasons for doing this are many. The most important one at this point in time involves burning up that endless supply of little-boy energy which otherwise turns into mischief and mayhem! Perhaps even to the point of re-instating the afternoon nap! Running will develop Nikki's gross motor skills, which are still a little behind average for his age. It is also a good way to keep fit (for me!) and will strengthen his lungs, improving his speech and hopefully preventing another winter of chest infections.

The route I have chosen is not quite a mile in total and safe for him to run independantly. Nicholas is quite happy walking a mile - most days he walks at least half a mile, more if we detour to see the ducks. We will start with several short runs over a mile long course (probably no more than a couple of hundred yards in total) and slowly, slowly build it up. If we follow Doman's suggested increase of 250 yards/month then we should be running the full route by the time Nikki turns 3.

To make sure Nikki is super-eager (not that he ever resists the opportunity to run) I have bought him some super-cool Thomas the Tank Engine running shoes, complete with flashing lights! I suspect they will really slow us down when he stops to look at the lights every step... but he will be happy!