Sunday, September 26, 2010

Motor Skills

Every child is born with some strengths and weaknesses. If parents find their children's strengths and build on them, through play and learn activities, a method by which children learn through their experiences and develop their skills in a stress-free, comfortable and fun environment, a child's confidence can increase many folds.

Here are a few ideas and activities for infants and toddlers to develop and improve skills and strengths.

Motor Skills
A motor skill is a cycle of movements that merge to generate a smooth, competent action in order to master a specific job. Basically, a motor skill is related with muscle activity or movement of actions. Motor skills can be categorized into two divisions;

Gross Motor Skills
Fine Motor Skills.

Gross Motor Skills
The word gross motor skill refers to the capability usually gained during babyhood and early childhood as a part of a child's motor development. By the time children reach two years of age, almost all kids are able to stand up, walk and run, walk up stairs, etc. These gross movements come from large muscle groups and whole body movement. Gross motor development usually follows a pattern. Gross motor skills include rolling over, balancing, crawling, and walking.

Activities that help develop Gross Motor Development

Ball throwing

Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements which happen with the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. The knack which involves the use of hands develops over time, starting with primary motions such as grabbing things and moving them to a position. Fine motor skills involve the capacity required to control the small movements of the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips, and tongue.

Activities that help develop Fine Motor Development

Playing with play dough
Putting puzzles together
Threading beads

Studies in primary schools have found that supporting children's physical development have positive benefits on their behaviour and learning. If parents create a fun filled learning environment for their little ones, it can mark a beautiful beginning to a memorable childhood.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Write down the letters 'ad' in colored ink on a flash card. Then, write down individual consonants as b, d, f, h, l, m, p, and s on separate flash cards. After doing so, place the 'b' flash card in front of the 'ad' card and read aloud the word, 'bad'.

b + 'ad' = bad

Now, replace the 'b' flash card with the 'd' flash card to make the word 'dad'. Say it aloud several times, till your child is able to blend 'd' and 'ad' sounds to make the word 'dad'

d + 'ad' = dad

Now replace 'd' flash card with 'f' flash card, and repeat the exercise.

f + 'ad' = fad

This exercise should be repeated with all the listed consonants and by the end of this excercise, your child should be able to read these words with ease :


You may have small reading test by asking your child to read these flash cards at random.

Dolch Words or Sight Words

Dolch words or Sight words are words that cannot be read using the letter-sound relationship, and may not follow phonic rules. They have to be learnt by sight and children have to memorize their spellings. Children, being great visual learners, can learn a lot of these simple words very easily.

Sample lesson

Write the word The on a flash card. Hand it to your child, and tell him that whenever you see word,The, say /the/. Try and show him The at various places like newspapers, billboards etc.

Dolch word for the day: Is

Once your child is confident reading all the above words, make some silly sounding stories, for the reading session to be a fun experience. Go slow. Once the session is over, practice it daily. By the end of the week, you will observe that your child is quite comfortable reading the story himself.

Silly Story for 'Ad'



Dad had a lad.

Lad had a pad.

Lad is mad.

Lad is bad.

Dad is sad.

Bad bad lad,
Mad mad lad,
Sad sad dad!

Have a nice weekend.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Miss A had been such a sweet baby until the day she started throwing tantrums. The next moment I found myself upset and all confused. I took a moment and tried recalling my mother’s advise, that the day you feel that your baby has started testing your limits, and you feel like spanking her, calm down and put yourself in her shoes and question,

· How does it feel to be so small when everyone else around is so big?
· To fall short of words to express your feelings, needs and thoughts?
· To have so little control over what you eat, what you wear, when you sleep?

Surprisingly, my reaction to above was anger, frustration, and boredom!

Immediately, I could see what my child was feeling and I was able to face those testing moments with more understanding, patience and effective actions.

Toddlers throw temper tantrums as a way of expressing their anger and frustrations. Small things, incidents and issues that may be insignificant to us, can be very important to children. If we can be considerate about these issues and keep a thoughtful mind, we can turn difficult situations into special bonding moments. By taking a step back, and comparing the small events in your kid’s life with the events of your life, you can build a safe and loving connection together.

And in those difficult moments, keep in mind, “This too shall pass”.

A lovely poem which is very close to my heart:

If I had my child to raise all over again.

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d finger-paint more, and point the fingers less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.

I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d teach less about the love of power, And more about the power of love.


Friday, September 17, 2010


Basic 3 letter words from the 'A' family include:


Let's begin with the 'Ab' family. Write down the letters 'ab' in colored ink on a flash card. Then, write down individual consonants as c, d, g, l, n, and t on separate flash cards. After doing so, place the 'c' flash card in front of the 'ab' card and read aloud the word, 'cab'.

c + 'ab' = cab

Now, replace the 'c' flash card with the 'd' flash card to make the word 'dab'. Say it aloud several times, till your child is able to blend 'd' and 'ab' sounds to make word 'dab'

d + 'ab' = dab

Now replace 'd' flash card with 'g' flash card, and repeat the exercise.

g + 'ab' = gab

This excercise should be repeated with all the listed consonants and by the end of this excercise, your child should be able to read these words with ease :


You may have reading test by asking your child to read these flash cards at random.

Make it fun. Illustrate a few cards for your child to color!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Baby development (21st to 24th months)

Your baby at 21 to 24 months is able to walk, talk, eat, run and climb with ease and is quite independent. She is able to use zippers, spoons, string beads, and can open doors with doorknobs. She has a stunningly questioning mind, but no knowledge of good or bad, correct or incorrect circumstances.

Let's understand the various aspects of her development at this stage.

Physical Development

  • Tries to kick a ball but merely walks onto it.
  • Loves to pull along toys on string.
  • Picks up tiny objects using a fine hold or grip
  • Walks well, goes up and down steps alone, runs, seats self on chair

How can you help?

  • Give toys and freedom of space for her to run around and play.
  • Take her out to a park to learn about the environment.
  • Give her the confidence to play on the swing, the Jungle Gym, climbing frames and in the sandbox.
  • Encourage her to play games like throw and catch with soft balls, to increase her co-ordination skills.
  • Help her with dressing activities like wearing socks, T-shirts and shorts. These activities will increase her synchronization.

Emotional and Social Development:

  • Very curious, but with limited sense of danger.
  • Demands a lot of attention.
  • Throws tantrums.
  • Loves to do household chores.
  • Highly possessive, especially with toys.

How can you help?

  • Encourage good behavior, be patient, clear and consistent with your rules.
  • Praise good behavior, teach through positive reinforcement.
  • Make her an active learner by participating in group activities.

Intellectual Development

  • Can handle things with care.
  • Can recognize people in photographs.
  • Can turn pages of a book carefully and can see finer details in a picture.
  • Understands the consequences of her actions and behavior.

How can you help?

  • Put things in and out of the toy-bin several times in a day. Take the opportunity to teach your child about different colors and shapes when it’s time to tidy things up.
  • Bath time can be the perfect time to teach about different body parts.
  • Encourage her to participate in your everyday even though it may slow you down.
  • Allowing her to scribble on paper with crayons or pencil. You may help her out in coloring a simple pattern on a coloring book.
  • Always praise her work, and provide reassurance whenever she is frustrated.
  • Providing her with age-appropriate toys are essential for her reasoning, thinking and memory skills. Providing the right toy at the right age is essential because if the toy is too advanced, it may frustrate a child. Ideal toys include building blocks, sorting and pounding toys, thick-paged picture books, and art materials like crayons.

Language Development

  • Listens and is able to follow simple instructions as 'Go and see who's outside'.
  • Is able to name her surroundings. Always full of questions!
  • Can Forms sensible sentences.

How can you help?

  • Talk to her. The more you speak to your toddler about what you are doing and what is around you, the more you build her vocabulary.
  • Expand your child’s language by adding to what she says. If she says “cat”, you may say “yes, the cat is tiny and soft”.
  • Select books that deal with your child’s interests like animals, vehicles or nature.
  • Encourage her to answer by asking questions.
  • Add songs and rhymes to many of your routines, at bedtime or at bath time.

And above all this, start your child's day with love and encouragement and end it in the same way.

Take care.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blending and Segmentation

The next step in our reading program is to learn three letter words. The foundation of  successful reading lies in the concepts of phonic blending and segmentation.

What is Blending?

Blending is the ability to join individual sounds into a word. With practice, your child will be able to blend individual sounds into larger words by taking syllables and then blending those syllables into words.

A Blending exercise:

Word : Bag

Place your finger on letter 'b', say it's sound /b/, then slide it slowly on letter 'a', say it's sound /a/, and then place it on letter 'g' and say it's sound /g/. Then, say the word 'bag'. Repeat this exercise a few times till your child is able to do it with ease.

What is segmentation?

Segmentation is the opposite of blending, using which,  a child is able to separate the individual sounds in a word. This increases the phonemic awareness of a child and giving him a better understanding of the entire process. Elkonin boxes may be used to help children segment a word better.

A Segmentation exercise:

Word : Bag

Say the word 'Bag' several times very slowly, till your child is able to tell the distinct sounds of /b/ /a/ /g/. Ask your child to say aloud each sound as you slide your finger from one box to another. The better the child's ability to segment the sounds in a word, the easier it gets for him to spell words correctly.

Next week, we shall read words of the 'a' family.

Have a nice weekend.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Baby Development (17th to 20th Months)

By this age, your little one is able to speak well and you are able to see her qualities through her daily dealings. She is able to walk freely and run around.
She is able to grasp a crayon and scribble on paper.

She has started developing her personality and is quite self centered. She is anxious when you are upset and is afraid when she listens to raised voices of family members. She pretend plays with her toys.

She is learning a lot by observation. This is a precious time for parents, since they get to see what impact they really have on their child’s growth, health and actions.

How can you help?

Toddlers love to imitate adults, so use games as 'Follow the Leader', to get her physically active. This is a great time for encouraging the development of gross-motor coordination. You may place a mirror and teach her facial expressions while having fun.

Alphabet blocks can be a child's favorite toy. Start out with larger blocks and move your way towards the smaller ones. The smaller the blocks, the more control, children need to handle them. Be careful not to introduce blocks that are small and complicated for their age, else they will get frustrated and give up.

Try playing with Beads and Thread. This activity involves control and a steady hand. It is perfect practice for fine motor development.

Introduce new words, talk about different objects, their shaped and size, color.

Provide resources like play-dough or paper to tear, that can positively engage her.

To teach concepts through play, you may use a stack of plastic shapes and have them sorted by shape. Start with objects that are alike in every way but not size or color to teach dissimilarity.

Be happy with her development, as these precious moments will pass very soon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vowel 'o' and vowel 'u'

After learning the combination with vowels, 'a', 'e', and 'i', the next step is to learn the vowel combination of 'o' and 'u'.

The vowel 'o' can be combined with consonants as b, d, g, n, p and t.

Make small flash cards and write these combination on them.

o + b = ob (as in cob)
o + d = od (as in god)
o + g = og (as in fog)
o + n = in (as in on)
o + p = op (as in cop)
o + t = ot (as in cot)

After writing each of these combination on separate flash cards, sit with your child and explain him how to blend these two different letter sounds to make one single sound. Start with putting your finger on 'o' and then say the /o/ sound and then slowly slide it to 'b' and say the /b/ sound and then finally slide it to 'ob' and say the /ob/ sound. Do this exercise several times and then encourage your child to do the same.

Similarly, vowel 'u' can be combined with consonants as b, d, g, m, n, p and t.

Make flash cards for the vowel 'u' and write these combination on them.

u + b = ub (as in tub)
u + d = od (as in bud)
u + g = og (as in bug)
u + m = um (as in sum)
u + n = in (as in sun)
u + p = op (as in cup)
u + t = ot (as in cut)

Using the above explained technique, teach your these combination. After your child is thorough with all the vowels, it's time to move on to three letter words.

Next week, we shall learn three letter words.

Have a nice weekend.