Friday, June 22, 2012

Scrambled States of America

A while back, Jared and I purchased this puzzle for Emma. Emma loves puzzles, and we thought this one might be a fun way to introduce U.S. geography to her.

It ended up in the back of the closet for a while, but now with Emma's new interests in the states, we thought it might be a fun activity to do. I set it out the first day that we started working on the states, but there really wasn't any interest in it until yesterday. The story book that comes with the puzzle is really cute, Emma and I both enjoyed it.

Here is the puzzle put together. 

Some of the puzzle pieces are shaped like states. Emma really like those pieces the best. She also seems to still enjoy putting the state pages together. She'll usually ask a few times a day if we can go work on them. I am not sure if it's because she likes the work, or because I am actually working on them with her, but either way, we both have fun and learn a lot at the same time.

This morning, Emma got a new floor puzzle from Gramma. After breakfast, Emma decided to write Gramma a thank you note.

Now we need to get ready to go hiking in a little bit.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

US Geography

I am happy to report that I am finally getting around to updating everyone on Emma's study time routine. 

Better late than never right?

Anyway, Emma has enjoyed having something to work on most mornings. She really loves math. Like, really loves it. If we forget to set her up with something to work on in the morning, she will make up her own math worksheet. 

Jared is even getting into the morning routine. This was a worksheet he created for her on one of the nights I was to exhausted (from my new job) to come up with anything. 

His is a little harder to see, but you may be able to see it better if you click on it. 

The other day, Emma mentioned she was tired of math worksheets. I asked her what else she might want to work on. She mentioned that she would like to learn about the states. She suggested I have a map of all the states, and then have a separate paper with just the outline of a state and she had to figure out what state it was. 

I love when she has this much interested in learning, so of course I said yes. After getting her tucked into bed that night, I went to work. 

This site has great state maps. We printed up the map with the state names, then on the back of that page, printed up the map with the state capitals. Emma wanted a hint map, as in- I write a number on the blank map she has to identify and if she can't figure it out, she can look at the hint map and it will tell her the state she is looking for. 

Super Teacher Worksheets had exactly what I was looking for. Theirs was actually a worksheet for kids to fill in, but it works wonderfully for our purpose as well. This website does charge, but I believe it's $20 for the year. Well worth it in my opinion, as we have used a ton of their worksheets already. 

Anyway, the day Emma was going to start working on the states was my first day off (of 4 in a row!), so I got up with her so we could work on it together. 

Here is the blank page we are using. And here is what they look like filled in.

I probably should have scanned them for better viewing, but I am lazy like that. What I did was print out the blank pages (I printed double sided), then I searched the internet for images of the state flag, seal, bird, flower, seal and quarter. State Symbols USA was a fantastic website for all of that information. 

I do love one stop shopping :0)

Originally, Emma wanted to do 3 states at a time. After we finished Iowa, she decided that maybe one state at a time was better. Identifying the states was easy, but she hadn't accounted for all the extra work I was going to make her do like cutting, writing, thinking, and gluing. She did enjoy the activity though. 

This all happened yesterday morning. Emma enjoyed it so  much that as soon as Gramma was awake, Emma ran up to show her what she had accomplished.

Yesterday was also a day of celebration. Jared and I have been married for 8 years already. Wow. Our way of celebrating was to go to Rochester to the teacher store (it is actually called ABC Toy Zone, but we like our name better) and buy stuff for Emma. We were on the look out for any geography type things that might fit with what we are currently working on. Jared searched through all of the stickers to see if he could find state flag stickers. No luck, but what an awesome idea! What kid doesn't love stickers?

The other awesome idea he had involves this. 

The intended purpose of the My State Book is to find out lots of information about the state that you currently live in. Jared thought that this book might be a great way for Emma to get to know the state(s) that we will be moving too. We bought 3 so that if it works out, we can use it for our next 2 moves as well. 

This book is 30 pages worth of information to be filled in. Basics such as; State name, capital, land area, population, etc are on the first page. There are lots of places to draw maps of the state and town of residence, a place for tourist info, state government info, etc. Some may be more than Emma needs at the moment, but it will still be interesting to fill it all in. 

After Jared mentioned state flag stickers, I got smart and started printing out everything on the sticker paper I purchased a while ago and haven't used. 

We also got Emma a present for her 1/2 birthday (which is tomorrow). We love games and have gotten a lot better at playing them. So, we got Emma a new game called Lab Mice.


This game is all about strategy, which Emma really enjoys. The purpose is to match the colored mice to their colored cheese without crossing paths. 

Sometimes we all struggle to figure it out, but other times Emma can get them on her own. 

Anyway, that needs to be it for today as Emma and I have a date with Auntie Sara at the pool. 

Have a great day!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Swim Lessons- Take 2

(Waiting for her first private lesson)

There are very few things in life I feel that Emma HAS to learn, but swimming is one of them. She has always loved the water so I figured that swimming lessons would be fun.

We first attempted swim lessons last February (2011). According to this post, Emma loved them. Apparently I am not very good with follow up (though I will give myself a break because there was a LOT going on at the time) because Emma ended up HATING swim lessons.

We had signed her up for public swim lessons at the Y with a smaller group of kids in her age range. She absolutely loved the first 2 lessons. The class consisted of her and 2 other kids. The third class is when everything went south. We were running late, there was a new kid in the class, and the instructor looked different because her hair wasn't wet.

(Private Lesson #1- Holy Crap she put her face in the water!)

Emma cried and refused to do anything for the entire lesson. And for the next lesson as well. On the way to the 5th lesson, after listening to Emma cry off and on for the 30 minute car ride, I pulled over into the parking lot across the street from the Y and called Jared to ask if he minded if we quit swim lessons. Once I explained my reasoning, he was fine with it.

Here was my reasoning; I was running all over the country, stressed beyond belief and the little bit of time I was able to spend with Emma, I wanted to be good, not miserable for both of us. I also realized that she was getting nothing positive out of the experience, and she was not learning how to swim.

So whats the point.

I explained to her the reasons for us quitting ("not because you are crying, but because there are a lot of other things going on and right now and we just need to spend some time relaxing together- but you do need to learn to swim soon.")

She really seemed to get it.

(Lesson #5- She is swimming short distances with her face under water, which she started doing during Lesson #4)

And I am so glad we waited. As soon as we knew we would be living with my in-laws for a while before moving to Montana, I knew I wanted to sign her up for swim lessons. The fitness center has a great zero entry pool (the bottom of the pool starts out of the water and slowly gets deeper), and private swim lessons were about the same price as public lessons would have been in Ames.

When Emma was informed (like I said, one of the few things she really doesn't have a choice with) that she would be taking swim lessons, she gripped a bit, but when we explained that it really was about being safe around water, she said "Fine," (complete with eye rolling).

Of course that doesn't mean she did't tell Gramma that "I absolutely do NOT want to take swim lessons."

Once her private lessons started, she was singing a different tune. "I LOVE swim lessons, when do I get to go again!?"

Of course that doesn't mean she didn't tell Gramma that "I will NOT jump into the deep water."

(Lesson #5- Jumping off the diving board 

and being caught by her instructor Kaylee, which she started doing during lesson #3)

Now if you ask her what her favorite part of swim lessons are, she will tell you jumping off the diving board, but really, I can tell she loves all of it. The look of concentration on her face as she goes through her each lesson is just amazing to watch.

I am so glad we waited till she was ready.