by CBB Reviews Editor Teba
The love of my life turns two-years-old today and though Iam up to my ears in Elmo-themed party supplies, I thought it would be a greatopportunity to do a roundup of some of her favorite things.
Colors, Counting, Shapes & Animals Stacking Blocks
These days (and for quite some time now) we are huge fans ofblocks in our house. My husband and I wake in the morning to one command:Blocks! When I get home from the office, I barely have time to take my jacketoff before I am ordered to sit on the floor and stack blocks. Whenever we have company over, they are givena kiss hello and hustled over to the playroom floor so they too can get a goodlook at Catie’s blocks.
Indeed, when my husband’s godmother gave her the Colors,Counting, Shapes & Animals Stacking Blocks as a Christmas gift lastyear, I am not sure she quite expected her gift to be received with this muchadmiration. As it turns out, however,stacking blocks are The Best Thing in the Entire World (next to Mommy, ofcourse) especially because after stacking them they can be knocked down. What ablast!
These blocks not only entertain her (on her own – quite thefeat) for the better part of the day, but they’re also quite educational (theseparticular ones teach colors, numbers, farm animals and shapes) and help withhand to eye coordination. I also likethe fact that they nest and come with a storage box for easy cleanup.
There are a bunch to choose from, but I found this great seton amazon that will only cost you $6!
Signing Time DVDs
I learned about how well babies respond to sign languageeven before a baby was even a thought in my head. When my little cousin startedshowing signs of speech delays, his mom started aggressively teaching him howto sign and I watched as he went from a frustrated toddler who could notverbalize his wants to a content little boy who could easily ask for what hewanted with his hands and expressions.
We started signing with Catie almost from the instant shewas born and by 10-months she knew her basic signs (milk, eat, water and, muchto my husband’s delight, daddy). Just around her first we bought thefirst three Signing Time DVDs and experienced a sign language explosion. Now attwo-years-old, she knows nearly 200 signs. ASL is so prominent in our household that I often find myself saying and signing words to kids whose parents never taught them ASL at all.
Catie loves her Signing Time DVDs and so do my husband andI. The stars of the series include Rachel, her daughter Leah and her nephewAlex. Each DVD has a “theme” of sorts(right now we are working on DVD 9, which is Zoo Animals) and teaches you basicsigns. All three of us learn our signs withina few viewings of the DVDs.
Signing has not only helped us abate the tantrums that stemfrom a toddler not being able to verbalize his or her wants (Can’t say grapes?Don’t get frustrated; just sign “Mama/Want/Grapes.” It works – I swear it!) butit has also helped tune her fine motor skills in a big way. Aside from allthese benefits, it has also brought another beautiful language into our alreadymulti-lingual household. I have been completelyamazed by Catie’s ability to not only learn all these languages (she hearsthree languages, as well as ASL on a daily basis) but to also register whospeaks what (she no longer signs with her grandparents, for example, becauseshe knows they only speak Spanish…though she will often teach them signs)!
I could go on and on about how great these DVDs are but youshould really check out the Signing Time site. I always buy mine from ChildSigning.com because I find their prices aregreat and the shipping is free.
After seeing all the kids fight over who would get to push Anya’sdoll stroller I decided to buy Catie her own. I ended up “splurging” for a $7 stroller at Target. Let’s just say it was the best $7 I’ve spentin a long time! Catie loves this stroller and wants to take it everywhere,including parking it in front of the potty when she has to go. Her baby doll sometimes gets to come alongfor the ride but more often than not you’ll find me and Catie walking down thestreet while she pushes her empty baby stroller. It’s just that much fun!
In hindsight I do wish I had spent the $20something that Anya’sMaclaren doll stroller costs but I had no way of knowing we would get this muchuse out of it. I’ll also point out here that this is a great gift for littleboys too. I feel like people don’t ever buy little boys strollers for whateverreason (they’ll want to grow up to be mommy??) but I find that all kids lovedoll strollers regardless of gender.