Last week was full of activities which are not very special as brushing teeth, eating, eliminating – we do them daily. However, they are quite important to talk about as they explain how human body and digestive system work, why we do certain things (wash hands, brush teeth etc.) and they also offer acquiring new vocabulary to everyday routines.
There was also another reason why I decided to cover these topics. Few weeks ago B. probably had a painful bowel movement which affected elimination for next weeks. I am not going to write more now as the whole thing resulted quite surprisingly, so maybe later in another post.
Digestive system related shelf activities
We bought this puzzle in Lidl. I chose to use a boy puzzle for now, although we have both – girl and boy. B. likes to play with it, he can relate to all the layers of the puzzle except the one with muscles. He is used to be naked as the puzzle boy, he can point at visible veins on his body as on the puzzle boy’s limbs and he can feel his hard bones on elbows, knees, skull as he can see it on puzzle boy.
I added bowls to the activity so the layers are not mixed. But that was just MY vision of order. B. has a different one. He takes the whole puzzle, flips all the pieces on the floor and keeps them like that until it is time to clean up. Just then the learning, talking and putting puzzle pieces together begin. We work on it together and it was intended like that.
Tastes – umami, sweet, sour, bitter, salty. Umami is B.’s favorite because he can easily pronounce it and it sounds great with those ms and three different vowels. Is it alliteration? I made this activity myself and I tried to choose pictures of food we currently eat quite often.
Small cards are supposed to be sorted into boxes according to taste. For now I attached cards with all the pictures of a particular taste to boxes. When we started with this activity B. had a problem to find a corresponding picture to the card he chose. I was surprised as he usually spots real objects and objects in pictures easily. So I helped him by pointing at the correct card attached to the box. Then B. and M. played with this activity and B. asked for help again. M. explained and showed him how to scan all the cards attached to the boxes from top to bottom. B. applied this skill and succeeded! Now it seems quite obvious what the problem was and how it was supposed to be solved…
Cards and taste table are color coded which can help to sort the cards into boxes or to self-check. After introducing this activity B. started to use words for tastes and he related them correctly to various kinds of food.
As we do not have a dental model I made this activity of paper egg box. “Bacteria” from the bowl are supposed to be put on and between “teeth” and brushed off by a toothbrush and picked by “tooth pick” or “interdental brush”.
B. immediately understood what to do and he indeed did with a joyful laughter. I even showed him how bacteria can be stuck between teeth what he naturally demonstrated for M. later on.
I printed out this set of teeth picture and B. placed “bacteria” stickers on it. My intention was to color it; however this was his idea and I have to say I like it even more.
Tasting citrus fruits
We happened to have six kinds of citrus fruits at home, so it was a great opportunity for tasting. This was one of few activities for B. completely created and managed by M. as they both are citrus fruits lovers. B. asked for lime first, oh, how funny his sour facial expressions were… Then red orange, orange, mandarin.
Then he asked for red orange again and again. It has happened his favorite for the afternoon.
Creating a figurine with digestive system
B. really enjoyed this activity, although for me it was a mess. But at the same time it was rewarding to see him being happy about what I came up with and what we created together. At first I traced his body on the cardboard.
Then we decorated it with hair, eyes, eyebrows, I made a simple tube for “digestive system” on the back side and we dressed the figurine in B.’s clothes. He could not wait until playing with it so I needed to put it up before the glue under eyes has dried.
I made B.’s walker wagon a toilet, ping pong balls were food. B. fed the figurine through the “mouth”, the ball fell through the tube on the back side and into the “toilet”. A funny model of digestive system. I made sure to emphasize enough that this is a pretend play and balls are food JUST for the figurine and the walker wagon is the toilet JUST for the figurine. We eat food at the table in the kitchen and we go to toilet in the bathroom.
This is how our bookshelf looked like for this week of digestive system. As usually it consists of books in three languages – native Slovak, then English and German. I often buy books second-hand – there are five out of nine here.
- Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt or The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Book touches several topics: butterfly life cycle, food suitable for various living organisms (in this case caterpillar and people), consequences of eating unsuitable diet (stomachache).
- Teeth Are Not for Biting by Elizabeth Verdick. Every week I try to cover also some personal growth or emotional intelligence books. It used to be an issue that B. bit us and things around him just for fun or when angry.
- Veselé zúbky (Happy Teeth) by everyvent s.r.o. and Miro Jaroš. This is a Slovak book with no English translation. It also explains how to brush teeth properly. The book is accompanied by a CD with a song. This is not my favorite book but B. loves me singing a song.
- Moje zúbky (My Teeth) by Iwona Radünz and Thomas Röhner. It is a Slovak translation, available in German and other languages (not English). The book has too much text for toddlers, therefore we just discussed the pictures which are interactive and sometimes funny (replace mother’s set of teeth by her daughter’s set of teeth).
- Prečo si musím čistiť zuby? or Why Should I Brush My Teeth? by Katie Daynes. This series with flaps counts into B.’s favorites; however, this Slovak version has some flaws in translation.
- Brush, Brush, Brush by Alicia Padron. Beautiful rhymes, cute pictures, simple explanation how to brush teeth. It became a part of our evening routine as it is easy to remember.
- Encyklopédia pre školákov or Encyclopedia by Anita Ganieri and Chris Oxlade (Available in German too – title Kinderlexikon). It is a book for much older children but I do not hesitate to include this kind of books on B.’s bookshelf as he can relate to many information in these books from his personal experience. There are two pages about food and digestion and there is a child sitting on a potty.
- You are here for a reason by Nancy Tillman. This book is not related to the topic, but as I mentioned I try to include personal growth books every week. My heart melts every time I read these lovely rhymes.
- Mein allererstes Buch vom Essen or My Very First Book of Food by Eric Carle. Just few words in this book accompany an activity to match an animal to an appropriate food.
This is my first post of our weekly activities. I have never thought that posts like this take so much time. I definitely will have more appreciation for posts of other’s that I use as inspiration.