Dinosour Dig

I’ve been wanting to do some gelatin sensory play with Trevor for awhile.  Since he doesn’t eat food dyes he’s never been exposed to the unusual texture of Jell-O, and using it in play is a great way to let him explore it.

What You Need:

  • Gelatin or Jell-O
  • Water
  • Small dinosaurs or other toys
  • Container

How to Make it:

  1. Mix up the gelatin/Jell-O according to package directions.
  2. Pour into a container.
  3. Add in your toys (I wasn’t sure how Trevor would react to the texture of the gelatin so I left the dinosaurs partially exposed so that he wasn’t overwhelmed right away, but you can completely bury your toys too).
  4. Put in the fridge to harden.
  5. Once the gelatin is set, loosen the sides with a butter knife and slide it out onto a cookie sheet or whatever surface you are going to use.
  6. Let your kids dig for dinos!

Trevor had a lot of fun with this activity.  He wasn’t a huge fan of the gelatin texture, but he was willing to touch it, so that is a victory in itself.  I was surprised with how long he wanted to dig for dinosaurs considering he didn’t really like touching the “goo”.  We will definitely be doing this type of project again, maybe with colored Jell-O and different toys.

Dinosaurs set in the gelatin:

The dinosaurs set on the cookie sheet and ready for him to explore:

Checking it out:

Trying to get the dinosaurs out without actually touching the gelatin:

Studying:

Having fun:

Playing:

Proud he got them all out:

Close-up of the dinosaur dig:

Advertisements

Pool Noodle Marble Run

I saw this activity on Pinterest and thought it would be a great way to work on Trevor’s fine motor skills.

What You Need:

  • Pool Noodle (another great steal from the Dollar Tree)
  • Duct Tape
  • Serrated Knife
  • Marbles
  • Bin or Bucket

How to Make it:

  1. Because Trevor is only 33 months old I first cut about 1/3 or so of the pool noodle off to make the marble run a little more his size.  You could skip this step if your child is older.
  2. With the remaining 2/3 I cut the pool noodle in half, lengthwise, using the serrated knife.
  3. When your two halves have been cut out, put them side by side with the curved edge facing up and tape them together using the duct tape.
  4. Your marble run is now ready to use!  Find a spot a few feet off the ground to angle the pool noodle and put the bottom into your bucket/box/bin (we did this activity at our ottoman and at Trevor’s toy box).
  5. Drop the marbles down the grooves in your pool noodle marble run.  You can even set up a race since there are 2 “tracks”.

Getting the marbles into the tracks the inside of the pool noodle makes is a great way to encourage your little one to use their pincer grasp.  Trevor has a great pincer grasp when using his left hand, but struggles with his right.  He usually uses more of a whole hand grasp, but this activity forces the child to be more precise.  Plus, it’s fun!

All set up and ready to go:

Dropping marbles down the track:

Look at that great pincer grasp:

IEP Update

This post is a few days late, but I was under the weather for a little bit and am just now feeling well enough to sit down and write.  Trevor’s IEP meeting was on Monday.  I was a nervous wreck going into the meeting.  I had prepared myself to fight for certain accommodations for Trevor (namely 1-on-1 support on the playground and a Rifton chair for him to sit in at table time).  However I didn’t end up having to fight at all.  Not only that, but the accommodations I was nervous they’d deny were both brought up by Trevor’s school PT before I could even mention them.  The IEP team really seemed to have Trevor’s best interest in mind.  They’re even going to provide a visual schedule for him to help ease his anxiety over transitions and the unknown.  I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly the meeting went.  I’m very hopeful that the school year will go great.  I’m still a little nervous about sending him off to school four mornings a week, but I’m much more at ease with the whole idea now.

Preschool Bound (and Mommy’s a Nervous Wreck)

We had Trevor’s evaluation meeting with the school district today and found out he does indeed qualify for services when he turns 3.  It’s crazy because for months I’ve been nervous about whether or not he’ll qualify and I really felt in my heart that preschool would be the best thing for him.  But instead of being filled with excitement I’m now filled with dread.

I was able to visit his preschool classroom today and to meet with his teachers and reality finally set in.  In September my baby boy will be gone from me 4 mornings a week and it terrifies me.  I’ve always been there to help him and now I’m going to have to trust complete strangers to have his best interest in mind.  I know all parents go through this type of emotional roller-coaster when they send their kid off to school for the first time, but for me it’s different.  I also have to worry about his safety.  Trevor can’t safely navigate stairs, or the playground, or even sit in a regular chair yet.  I’m going to have to have faith that the school, and not me, will be able to protect him and teach him these new skills at the same time.  Also, Trevor struggles with self-regulation due to his SPD.  Right now I’m very adept at recognizing when he’s overloaded and can help calm him down.  These new teachers will have to learn these signs so that they can help him learn to self-regulate.

When I first left the evaluation meeting I wanted to call the whole thing off – cancel his IEP meeting and say I’m keeping him home with me.  But while I’m truly uncertain whether or not preschool will be the best fit for him right now, I also don’t want my own selfish mommy emotions to cloud my judgement.  We are definitely going to go ahead and try preschool.  If he struggles and it’s just too much for him we can always pull him out and home school.  I know that option is there.  But since his social/emotional skills were the lowest scores out of all of his test results (in the first percintile, yikes!) I know that the only way he’ll be successful come kindergarten is if we work on getting him in a classroom environment now.

The next step in this process is the IEP meeting.  I’ve heard some horror stories when it comes to IEP meetings, so I’m a little nervous.  Hopefully we’ll have a good experience and the school will be easy to work with.  The IEP meeting is set for Monday, so wish us luck!  And if anyone has great advice regarding IEP meetings I’d love to hear it 🙂

Pirate Water Play

I’ve always loved Melissa & Doug toys.  They’re educational and a great way to work on motor skills with Trevor (the latches board is awesome).  This summer I found a new reason to love the Melissa & Doug company – they started a program called Camp Sunny Patch.  It’s a virtual summer camp filled with all sorts of activities to do with your kids.  The first week’s activity was making frozen pirate ships.

Water play is a great sensory activity and one Trevor loves so much, so I just knew we had to make these frozen pirate ships!  I also added beaded necklaces, gold coins and gems to the water bin and told Trevor it was sunken pirate treasure that he had to discover.  It’s always great when you can combine sensory play, pretend play, and a fine motor skill activity all in one!

Filling up what I lovingly call our “redneck water table” – a plastic under-the-bed storage bin set on top of our patio table:

Playing with the frozen pirate ships (we added food coloring to make it a little more interesting):

The one negative part to this project is that the sails are made of paper, so they don’t last that long in the water.  Trevor still had fun, but the next time we do this I’ll use a different material for the sails:

Picking up sunken pirate treasure:

After the pirate ships melted he requested “more ships”, but since they take awhile to freeze I just brought him some ice cubes to play with.  He loved that too:

Enjoying dumping water with a cup:

All in all this was a lot of fun.  Trevor had a blast playing with the frozen ships and it was a great way to talk about the concept of cold too.  Last night in the bathtub he requested “more pirate ships”, so we’ll be doing this again soon.  The next round of ships are freezing right now 🙂

It’s a…

…GIRL!  Trevor is going to be having a little sister 🙂  We went to the perinatoligy clinic for our genetic counseling session and ultrasound yesterday and found out that baby #2 is a girl.  She looks healthy so far, although we may end up doing another ultrasound to get a better look at her heart in a few weeks or so.  She wasn’t completely cooperating and they didn’t get as good a look at her heart as they wanted to.  But so far everything’s checking out okay.  The genetic counselor even said that it’s hard to get a better result from the NT scan than we did.  Here’s hoping baby girl is happy, healthy, and typically developing!

Sweet little profile shot:

Cute hands over the face:

 

I was a little unsure as to whether or not we should do extra testing with this pregnancy or not when we first got the news that we were pregnant again.  We decided to do any extra testing that was recommended as long as it wasn’t invasive, and I’m glad we did.  Although this testing won’t show whether or not this baby has the same chromosome disorder that Trevor does, I do feel more confident than I would have if we hadn’t done any testing.  Meeting with the genetic counselor was nice too.  Although without testing Todd and I can’t be 100% certain that one of us didn’t pass Trevor’s duplication on to him via a balanced translocation she gave us a better understanding of why the geneticist thinks it’s unlikely that we did.  Due to the location (being interstitial) it is highly unlikely that Trevor’s mutation was passed down, so we’re almost certainly looking at a de novo mutation.  That is pretty encouraging.

And as far as big brother goes he seems to be picking up on the fact that mommy is going to be having another baby.  It’s so cute – if you ask him “Who’s going to be the best big brother ever?” he smiles and yells “Trevor!”  I just hope he’s still excited about his little sister once she’s actually here 🙂

Making a Scarecrow (Just Like Georgie)

I started reading Trevor books right after he was born.  He’s always loved hearing about Curious George’s adventures, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when he started watching TV at 2 that he’d fall in love with the Curious George TV show on PBS too.  It is by far his favorite show and he asks to “watch Georgie” every day.  You should hear the squeals and see the cute flappy arms fly when he sees the intro to the show!  Having Trevor watch Curious George has been great.  After watching an episode he tries to imitate George, which has been a great way to work on his pretend play skills (like we did when we made the Car Wash).  Recently we watched George build a scarecrow for his garden, and since we had just made Trevor his very own garden, he decided it needed a scarecrow.  So of course we made one!

He asked to make a scarecrow right after watching the show, so I just threw things together on the fly.  You could use whatever materials you have on hand, but this is what we used:

  • Empty 1/2 Gallon Jug
  • Paint
  • Water
  • Permanent Marker
  • Plastic Cup
  • Stickers
  • Googly Eyes
  • Glue
  • Duct Tape
  • Clear Tape
  • Utility Knife
  • 2 Paint Stir Sticks

How We Made It:

  1. Rinse out the plastic jug.
  2. If you’d like to color the scarecrow’s body then you can mix some washable paint (Trevor chose red) with a little water.
  3. Add the thinned paint to the inside of the jug, put the lid back on and shake to coat the inside.  (This takes a little while to dry, so you could either wait for it to dry or just leave the lid on while you finish making it and let it dry when you’re done decorating the scarecrow).
  4. Turn the jug upside down so that the hole is at the bottom.
  5. Glue on googly eyes.
  6. Draw a nose and mouth.
  7. Cut around the top few inches of your plastic cup, then flip that piece over and place the bottom of the cup inside of it to create a brimmed hat.  Use clear tape to secure.  Trevor decorated the hat with stickers, but you could paint it or decorate however you choose.
  8. Use duct tape to tape the hat to the top of your scarecrow.
  9. Cut two slits in the side of the jug for arms, then slide a paint stir stick all the way through.  Trevor also had me use the marker to draw hands on the arms.
  10. Remove the lid and let the paint dry if you haven’t already.
  11. Then once it’s dry, put the other stir stick into the hole of your jug and “plant” your scarecrow in your garden.

Like I said this was all thrown together last minute so I’m sure you could come up with lots of other materials to construct your scarecrow with.  Our scarecrow may not be winning any awards for looks or quality, but Trevor loves it and is so proud of it 🙂