Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Make a Simple, No-Sew Neck Collar (for Baby Gymnastics Activities)

How to fold a simple neck collar for balance activities

My adorable nephew (age 8 months) sports a simple neck collar[/caption] In Glenn Doman's "Fit Baby, Smart Baby, Your Baby" (and "How Smart is Your Baby"), he outlines some fun, playful balance activities that you can do with your baby.

 The first set of activities is for newborns, and the second set of activities is for slightly older babies up to walking age. Because of the more playful, motion-heavy nature of the activities for older babies, Doman recommends using a simple neck collar to support the baby's neck during all of these activities as a safety precaution.

 Doman says of the neck collar,
"This should fit like a thick collar on a turtleneck sweater and keep his neck in a stable position."
To create this neck collar, Doman has a pattern for sewing one out of padding, cloth, and velcro. However, if you don't have the time, money, or skills to do this, or simply don't want to, you can simply use a "rolled towel". Here are the instructions on how to make one in just a few seconds:

How to fold a simple neck collar for balance activities

A perfect size "towel" for this is a Gerber (or any brandprefold diaper. I have always had these around even though I have never used them for diapers - they make great burp rags, cleanup towels, or pads to place under your baby while potty training.

Lay on the floor and roll towel into a tube. Bring it together in a circle, and gently wrap it loosely around baby's neck (again, it should fit like a turtleneck sweater: in the proper position to support baby's head, but it should in no way restrict breathing or motion).

To hold it together I simply used cloth bandage tape. Cloth bandage tape is the perfect material for holding this together, as it's:
  • Sticky enough to hold very well, but not so sticky that it is hard to reposition or take on and off.
  • Strong, cheap, safe, and reuseable. You don't need to get new tape every time you take it on and off - just unhook the tape and it can be reattached multiple times over.
Whatever you do, please, please never use safety pins or other potentially dangerous objects to hold your neck collar together!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Crafts with Purpose: Lasting Crafts that Teach and Grow

Crafting with a Purpose

I am not a big fan of your typical preschool-ish crafts. Why?
  • They take a long time to plan, prepare, do, and clean up after, but don't have much lasting value for the effort put forth.
  • There may be some temporary benefits to the activity (small motor skills development, sensory experiences), but these benefits can be achieved by other, much simpler and less time-consuming ways.
  • I hate clutter, and they create a lot of clutter.
  • I also hate being wasteful, and throwing away something that you put so much effort into seems pretty wasteful.
So what is my solution to this? Never doing crafts? No. But the crafts I like to do are a little "different", and have to meet certain criteria.
When I do a craft its purpose is to teach a concept and serve as a visual aid in further learning.
What do I mean by this? Take for example, this craft we did about the seasons:
  Learning About the Tilt of the Earth

This met my description of teaching a concept and having a lasting learning purpose as a visual aid for further discussion and instruction.
  • While we were assembling the craft we were able to talk about the concepts being introduced (the tilt of the earth and how it makes seasons by giving different amounts of sunlight at different times of year; how seasons are opposite when you are in different hemispheres; the names of equinoxes and solstices and what they mean; the concept of a center axis of the earth, and much more)
  • When the craft is finished, it serves as a visual reminder of these many concepts that we introduced for months or even years to come. When further discussions come up, we can refer to the craft (which we used as a poster). It is not something that has a purpose for an hour and then gets thrown away as it is no longer needed later.
Some benefits of doing this as a craft, rather than referring to a pre made illustration:
  • While we assembled the craft, it really reinforced the learning in a hands-on, deep way.
  • The child is very proud of the creation that he made, and it will be very special and meaningful to him (and therefore, further encourage learning, discovering, memory, and discussion). 
 This is what I am going for when I go to all the time and effort of putting together and executing a craft! Here are some other examples of crafts that fit this description:

Days of creation craft

This days of creation craft to help in memorizing the order of the Genesis 1 chronology.

Galaxies craft 10-03

Learning about the different types of galaxies.

Sun craft 10-03 002

Learning about the sun and solar storms: prominences, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, sun spots, and more.

Star classification craft 10-03

Learning about star classification.

Color wheel craft

Learning about the color wheel, the concept of color order, primary and secondary colors, and so on.

Passover Placemat

A passover placemat to learn about history and religion.

We've done many activities like this, and I know both of us are really proud of the end result: definitely more meaningful and worth our time.

What kind of "crafting" parent are you? Are you a big fan of the typical preschool slew of cute crafts, do you avoid crafts all together, or do you do certain "crafts with a lasting purpose" as mentioned here? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Updated Collage Banner

I updated my home page with this collage. I remember when I first started this blog, I wanted to make a collage like this showing some of the many different aspects of "Doman" parenting: reading, math, physical excellence, swimming, encyclopedic knowledge, etc.

But I couldn't because I didn't really have any of my own images and didn't want to infringe on anyone else's copyright. It really felt good to finally put one together and have a plethora of my own images to use that I have taken throughout the years.

What do you think?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Naming Numerals 0-20 at Age 22 Months (Video)

Naming Numbers

A couple of months ago (around age 16 months) Damien wasn't really interested in math. Whenever we would get out our flash cards, which he loved, as soon as I brought out the math dots he would protest and ask for some of the other cards: animals, reading words, phonics sounds, shapes, geographical features, whatever, just not the math dots.

I can't exactly pinpoint where he made the turnaround, but at this point in his life (age 22 months) and for at least the past two months, he has been in love with math (and, ironically, has lost interest in the alphabet letters. *sigh*).

He asks for anything math-related constantly, loves to count anything and everything, names numerals, loves playing math games. He is just on a roll.

He is catching on very quickly to many concepts, including naming numerals. He really seemed to quickly memorize the numerals 0-13 as soon as I labeled our stairs with these numerals.

The higher numerals (up to 20) I actually had no idea he even knew: when I was filming this video yesterday, he surprised me by recognizing most of them! I think he must've learned them from watching the Leap Frog videos on Netflix (Let's Go to School, Numberland, Numbers Ahoy, & Math Adventure to the Moon are all math-related and on instant streaming).

I love how much he loves it.  

Damien is currently 1 year, 10 months old (22 months)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Damien Doing Addition (Video)

Damien Doing Addition

Damien (22 months) has been watching some simple math videos I made for him (available for free viewing on YouTube here) for some time now. Maybe two months? I'm not really sure. But has LOVED the videos and asks for them many times a day.

Then a couple of days ago I made some printable cards that go hand in hand with the content of the videos.

At his first introduction to these cards, he showed no interest in playing with them the "right" way, which was unusual of him. But even later that day he played along a little bit, and today he played along even more!

He happily picked the first three correct answers within seconds, and also correctly answered the last two answers, however those took him a bit longer as he was more interested in counting in random orders, talking about their size, saying the three was "bad", and all kinds of other random stuff he could come up with.

Clearly, he was done.

Regardless, I was very happy to see him learning with these cards. I love teaching little ones!

Damien is currently 1 year, 10 months old (22 months)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Math Equation Strips Introduction: Doing His Own Thing

Playing with equations

Damien, 22 months, doing his own thing exploring the new equation strips I printed out for him.

He is usually totally captivated when I introduce him to "academic" materials and plays along, but today he had his own plans.

He shuffled through them, named a few numbers, and kept saying "Plus one!", "Basketball!", and carrying on elaborate conversations with dad while he watched. He was totally possessive and didn't want anyone else to touch "his" numbers.

And that is totally ok.

Another time, or day, we'll play "the right way". It's all about following the lead of the child.

Damien is currently 22 months old