Baby Shower Games — Printable & Customizable

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Now available at thelittledabbler Etsy shop: Customizable Printable Baby Shower Games

Have fun with this set of 5 baby shower games at your next baby shower!  They are customizable and printable, making this an excellent, cost-effective choice, especially for those who aren’t afraid of a little DIY.

Check them out!

Customizable Baby Shower Games -- Digital Printable Download -- 5 Games  ||  thelittledabbler.com

FREE Easter Rabbit Wall Art

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Easter is less than a month away!  While we don’t celebrate it religiously, I enjoy celebrating this time of year.  It’s a season full of birth, regrowth, sunshine, and promises of warmer weather ahead.  Tomorrow, I’m pulling out my decorations and sprucing up this freshly spring-cleaned house!

Are you decorating for Easter or spring, too?  Why not put a little wall art on display!

Click the image to download this adorable, free bunny wall art.

Bunny Wall Art Image from thelittledabbler.com

Note: Rabbit silhouettes were obtain from this website  (http://www.clker.com/clipart-rabbit-silhouette.html) under the terms that it was part of the public domain.  If the owner of this image should object to my use of it, please contact me and I will remove it.

Teaching the Alphabet to Toddlers (in 7 Simple Steps)

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Teaching the ABCs to Toddlers: 7 Simple Steps from thelittledabbler.com

My son had just turned 16 months old and we were sitting in his room playing with his wooden alphabet magnets when I casually asked him where the letter B was.  I wasn’t expecting him to know; it had only been a month since I introduced him to the alphabet.  To my surprise, he looked through the jumbled box of letters and pulled out the B.

I thought to myself, “This is just a coincidence.  He must like that letter.”  Testing this theory, I asked him for the O.  Sure enough, after a few seconds of searching the box, he pulled out the O.  We did this over and over, me trying to prove it was all coincidence. But, it wasn’t.  He had actually recognized all the letters!

Because he acquired this skill astoundingly quickly, I decided to share with you some of my tricks I used to teach the alphabet.  If you use them with your child, maybe he/she will surprise you, too!

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 Teaching Your Toddler the ABCs

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1.) Draw the Alphabet

Teaching the ABCs to Toddlers: 7 Simple Steps from thelittledabbler.com

My son’s first introduction to the alphabet was this drawing I made for him a month before he astounded me with his new skill.  The first step to teaching the alphabet is introducing your child to it.  Draw the alphabet, or print the free printable below, and show it to her.  Point to each letter as you sing the alphabet song, making sure to e·nun·ci·ate each sound.

Then, and this is critical, display the alphabet drawing in a high-traffic area of the house.  I put mine at toddler-level on the refrigerator.  Any and every time your child brings you the picture, sing the alphabet as you point.  You’ll be surprised how often she brings it to you.  She’s not trying to annoy you; she wants to learn!

Free ABC Wall Art from thelittledabbler.com

2.) Use Manipulatives

If your child hasn’t yet mastered drawing with a crayon, the best way for her to get hands-on with the alphabet, feel it, change the letters around, and explore it is through manipulatives: foam, wooden, magnetic, or any three dimensional letters.  My son loves his magnetic wooden letter set from Melissa&Doug.  He also has some foam letters, at least what’s left after the cat ate them, that he loves.  Even the plastic magnetic ones found in the kitchen aisle at Walmart will do.

3.) Educational Shows and Closed Captioning

Expose your child to the written word at any chance you get.  PBS has a great show called Super Why that teaches about reading, spelling, and letter recognition.  Parents across the country rave about it, and I do as well.  It’s amazing to see my child, at less than 1.5 years old shouting out the letters as they appear on screen.

Something else my husband and I started doing to reinforce the alphabet was turning on the closed captioning any chance we get.  My son delights in shouting out the letters as they pop up on screen.  It also helps him make the connection that the sounds being spoken can also be written–that letters make sounds.

4.) Alphabet Books

READING IS ESSENTIAL TO LEARNING!  I have several posts on that subject (find a list of them here or at the bottom of this post) but I thought it needed said again!  Reading to your child is critical to language development!

For the purposes of learning the alphabet, I can’t recommend A is for Apple by Georgie Birkett enough!  My son received it as a gift for his first birthday, and in a month’s time we’ve had to sure up every page with packaging tape because he’s read it so many times!  Each page introduces your child to the capital and lowercase version of each letter with lift-the-flaps that show two objects that start with that letter.  Your child can run his finger along the letter’s tracks (which are essentially engraved in the page) to learn how to write them.

 

There are plenty of other alphabet books out there, but this is the one I recommend.

5.) iPad Apps

It’s amazing how children today are so in-tune with technology.  My son figured out how to swipe through pictures on his grandmother’s iPhone before he could crawl.  While it’s best to limit screen-time for young children, it doesn’t hurt to harness their aptitude for technology and present them with educational, but FUN, programs.  I recently had my son try this alphabet app on the iPad:

ABC Alphabet Phonics iPad App

Search “alphabet” in the App Store and the app’s icon should be one of the first.

The object of the app is to identify the correct letter.  The app will say “Find the letter M”.  When the child touches the correct letter, the app will show a green check-mark and praise the child, saying variations of “Good job” or “Great work”!  If the child gets the answer incorrect, the app makes a “bonk” sound.  If your child can point, she can play this app!

6.) Find Letters EVERYWHERE AND IN EVERYTHING

My son’s favorite thing to do at the grocery store is read the letters on the handle of the shopping cart and the product packaging.  We encourage finding letters everywhere we go, especially when we see signs with big letters!  Ask your child the next time you see a McDonald’s sign to find the M.  Spell out the letters on the cereal box as you pour your daughter some Cheerios.  Serve alphabet soup and say each letter as your child eats it.  This can be a fun activity, especially on road trips, if you get creative!

7.) REINFORCE!

When your child incorrectly identifies a letter, such as calling an X a K, correct him.  Say, “No, that is an X.  Can you find the K?” You don’t have to praise your child every time he gets the letter correct, but well-placed and appropriate praise, as well as corrections, goes a long way in encouraging and exciting your child to keep practicing this skill.  When your child feels accomplished, he’ll want to learn more!  How can you do better than raising a child who loves learning?

RELATED ARTICLES:

50 Fantastic Alphabet Books For Kids by Allison McDonald

Choosing the Right Books for Babies (0-18 Months Old)

Book Recommendations for:

Newborns

0-9 Month-Olds

10-18 Month-Olds

Language Development: Major Dos and Don’ts of Reading With Baby

Here I answer your language development questions such as: How do babies acquire language? Can I read anything I want to baby?  Why can’t I just talk to baby?  When should I read to baby?  … and much, much more.

Top 10 Tips to Help Children Love Reading by Free Little Words

Baby Milestones Aren’t Supposed to Be Food for Your Negative Commentary

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Everyone always said to WATCH OUT when my son started walking (as if it were a bad thing). I can honestly say I am SO glad he can walk and is independent. Now I hear the same thing when I say I can’t wait for him to talk. Talking isn’t a bad thing. I CAN’T WAIT for him to be able to tell me precisely what he needs. Sure, we can communicate with him through gestures and various grunts and and glurbbles, but nothing can beat actual formed words. How can I not be excited to have conversations with my child, to ask how his day was, to hear from him about his favorite things, and to hear him say “I love you”? Why does every milestone have to be made out to be such a bad thing?

Pampers Rewards + Bonus Codes

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If you use Pampers products and haven’t signed up for the rewards program yet, it’s time you did!  It’s completely FREE and you can earn amazing rewards from Shutterfly, Diapers.com, and Melissa & Doug.  Right now I’m only a few points away from a FREE 8″ x 8″ photo book from Shutterfly (Pampers even covers taxes and shipping).

Every package of Pampers products has a rewards code on it.  The points add up fast, and you can even find extra points if you Google search them or check out the Pampers page at RetailMeNot.com.  The great thing about finding these points online is you can earn rewards without actually buying Pampers products.

Sign up now and get 100 points FREE!

Here are some codes for bonus points: 

JOINNOW4REWARDS (for 50 pts.)
PRWELCOMEU10PTS (for 10 pts.)
DM13PA4NRWPRE14 (50 pts.)

Contains a referral link.

New Item in My Etsy Shop!

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This adorable elephant invitation is completely customizable.  Choose different colors, fonts, and even size if need be.  This is a digital listing, meaning I design it and you print, so the cost is incredibly low: ONLY $5.  Included is a download for matching thank you cards.  Check it out now and Pin It if you love it!

 

Custom Invitation and Thank You Card Digital Download Set - Yellow and Grey Elephant   ||    thelittledabbler.com

Book Recommendations (10-18 Months Old)

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Book Recommendations for 10 to 18-Month-Olds  || thelittledabbler.com

Why did I choose these books?

These books follow the 5 rules for choosing an appropriate book for infants.  Also, they are tested and approved by my rambunctious son!

Now, between 10 and 18 months, is the time to start adding books to your library with educational value.  Choose books that introduce body parts, letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and common animals.  Around 15 months old, your child will become engrossed in learning about these topics.  You’ll notice him or her sorting items by shape and color without your prompting.  She’ll point to letter and start mumbling what sounds like the alphabet.  Books that reinforce these concepts will become instant hits with your little one!

Choose books that focus on these concepts:

Common animals and their sounds:

Say Moo! By Sharon Streger

Say Moo! by Sharon Streger

Days of the week, numbers, colors, food, and cause and effect relationships:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Letters, numbers, colors, and shapes while working on fine motor skills:

Busy Bunny’s ABC 123 By My Toys

Busy Bunny's ABC 123 by My Toys

Site words, beginning letter of simple words.
Learning to trace, identify, and say capital and lowercase letters:

A is for Apple By Georgie Birkett

A is For Apple by Georgie Birkett

Sight words:

Any book from the Bright Baby series will be great because they have photos of object in real life instead of abstract drawings!  Here are some great options:

Sight words AND repetitive/rhyming sounds:

Green Eggs and Ham By Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

For more information on the following topics, click the titles:

Book Recommendations

Newborn

0-9 Months Old

Choosing the Right Books For Infants (0-18 Months Old)

Language Development: Major Dos and Don’ts of Reading With Baby

Here I answer your language development questions such as: How do babies acquire language? Can I read anything I want to baby?  Why can’t I just talk to baby?  When should I read to baby?  … and much, much more.

Teaching the Alphabet to Toddlers (in 7 Simple Steps)

Top 10 Tips to Help Children Love Reading by Free Little Words

Be Careful Who You Hire to Watch Your Kids

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**WARNING: explicit language in the images.**

I’m pretty sure most of my readers know to do a full search on any person they hire to work around or watch their children, but it seems the people posting job-wanted ads haven’t got the memo that their Facebook profile is just a click away.

Case and point, I saw this ad on a local Facebook flea market page: (more…)

Leave It In the Cart: Online Shopping Tip

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Shopping Cart

Have you ever put something in an online shopping cart only to decide after shipping and taxes were included that you didn’t want it after all, especially for that price.  Here’s a brilliant tip: leave it in the cart.  Lately, I’ve been adding things to my cart on several store’s online shops, but I haven’t followed through with the transaction.  All of a sudden, I’m getting e-mails saying things like, “You left something in your cart.  Here’s a coupon to sweeten the deal.”  So far, I have gotten this from Toys R Us, Target, and Angie’s List.  I checked online coupon database RetailMeNot for the coupons I was sent and found they were unique.  So, give it a try!  I’m totally going to go add some more things to my carts and see what I get!

100 SALES!

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100 Sales

A year and 10 days after opening my Etsy shop, I finally reached 100 sales!  I couldn’t have done it without the support of my loyal followers and my awesome customers!

As a thank you to my customers, use coupon code “100SALES” in my shop from now until February 10, 2014 to save 20% off the listing price for any order!

Thank you again!  Here’s to another 100!