Monday, June 27, 2011

Parents = Toy Experts. Meet Michelle from A Mommy's Adventures

This week we're hosting another teacher turned stay at home mom. For our previous interviews, you might want to dive in into our archives and collect tips and ideas to help you out with your own toddlers!

Share a story about Michelle.
Here is a funny story about me and how expectations can really change your taste for something!!
When I was teaching one very generous mother brought in bagels for all the teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. I was SO excited because I love bagels! I was even more excited because this mom was extra sweet and got all different types of cream cheese and I love bagels with specialty cream cheese even more. Of course my favorite type of cream cheese is Strawberry Cream Cheese which caught my eye right away. I spread the yummy pink cream cheese all over my Cinnamon Raisin Bagel and brought it up to my classroom to enjoy it. After I had everything set up for the day I finally sat down to take a bite of my favorite bagel combination a yummy Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Strawberry Cream Cheese...and it was HORRIBLE! Instead of sweet strawberry cream cheese my mouth was filled with an unexpected salty taste. To my surprise I had covered my bagel in Lox Cream Cheese, which would have been delicious (well maybe not on a Cinnamon Raisin Bagel) if that is what I had been prepared for, but instead surprised me! At first I thought the cream cheese had gone bad, until I realized what it really was. My 4th graders and all of my friends had a great big laugh at my bagel fiasco that day. In fact whenever I get a bagel my husband will still tease me about it. So there is a completely random story about ME :0)

What things you learned as an elementary teacher helped you with your own kids the most?
As an elementary school teacher I learned that all children are different and learn at their own pace and in their own ways. As a mother I try to give each of my children opportunities to learn and explore so that they can discover new things in the way that best suits them. I also learned to be patient, if at first they don't succeed try and try again. This was helpful in everything from feeding and trying first foods to learning colors and numbers to now even beginning to read. Learning is a process that takes time and exposure and should be fun!

Share with us how you came up with an idea for StART. And why you picked co-relation between story and art?
I LOVE doing art projects with children and I love reading books. I came up with the idea for stART when I noticed that many of the projects or activities we were doing were related to a book that we were reading or have read. So it kind of just came naturally.
Keeping kids, specially younger, focused on a project can be tempting sometimes. Any tips how to make crafting successful, fun and completed with toddlers?
I find that the fewer expectations that I have for the completed project the more successful it is. When working with toddlers more open-ended projects that focus on a process rather than a product are often the most fun and rewarding. Giving your toddler more control over their project and understanding that they may have a much different plan than you originally set out is important to keep in mind. I love setting out paint and brushes and letting them create, or glue and collage materials and seeing what happens. If you use washable paints, markers and glue then you really don't have to worry because the mess with be able to be cleaned up with some water and soap!
What are you kids favorite toys? Or books?
My kids favorite toys are Duplos, both Emily and Juliette could spend hours building a creating with their huge collection of Duplos. They often create a structure with their Grandpa and will keep it together for the week and use it to play with their Little People (another favorite toy). Emily really likes her doll house and as she has gotten older likes setting up the rooms and making up stories with the dolls. Juliette loves to play Perfection and Zingo. Both of these games were purchased for Emily, but Juliette constantly asks to play them, and she really does play them!
Wow, trying to think of our favorite books, there are so many I could go on forever. Emily really loves to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Go Dog Go!, The Giving Tree and most recently any of the books in the Little Critter Series. Juliette loves word books. She likes to point to the pictures and say what they are. She also likes the board books by Karen Katz, such as Where is Baby's Belly Button.

Thanks Michelle for great tips!

Make sure to stop by A Mommy's Adventures blog and join in the StART project! :)


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