Thursday, January 10, 2013

Color Dance: Recap

This week we read the book Color Dance by Ann Jonas.  It is a great book to teach beginning color concepts to preschoolers through Kindergartner.  For a 9 month old, eh. When we read the book this week I focused mainly on pointing to colors rather than the color mixing that is discussed.  We read it a couple of times throughout the day (and every day since).  I also gave her the book to explore herself.  Luckily she didn't rip it up because I don't think the library would have liked that ;)

Oh what does Zach see?

Back in December I took Caroline to a music class.  In that class the teacher had us dance with colored scarves.  I was really excited when she pulled them out to see what Caroline would do because I knew I had this lesson coming up.  Well back in December Caroline could care less and the same this week.  I tried a couple of different ways to get her interested.  Here is how it worked.
  1. Gather Materials: To start with I gathered up a bunch of my pashminas and some spare fabric (I like to sew so I have tons).  
  2. Introduce Lesson: The first way we tried was like the lesson plan I posted on Monday.  I knew this wouldn't work because it was too high of a skill but I tried anyway.  I brought over a bucket of scarves and started playing with them and talking about them excitedly.  She crawled away.  I tried again and put them in her hands. She crawled away.  
  3. Observe and Regroup: So I sat back and watched her.  In the past week she has started hands and knees crawling, pulling to stand,  dancing, and exploring.  She has even started cruising some too!  Yep all in one week.  I'm still getting used to a new parenting lifestyle now that she is on the move.  She wants to be independent and discover things herself so I took that into account.  I also reassessed what the goal of this lesson was.  What did I want her to get out of it?  Is she going to learn her colors at 9 months old, no.  Is she able to work on gross motor skills by waving fabric, probably not.  Is she going to understand prepositions like in, on, and under, no.  While a preschooler would be able to work on all these skills she isn't there yet.  Is she going to grow from hearing new vocabulary to describe her world as she plays, yes.  Is she going to learn about her world through exploration,  yes.      
  4. New Idea:  Thus I decided to stage the playroom by creating an Invitation to Play.  This idea is from a blog that I love called The Imagination Tree.  An invitation to play is when you set up play materials for your child to discover. It is open ended play.  It is kinda like a play prompt (think writing prompt but instead it is a play prompt).  To do this for my 9 month old I hid scarves and pieces of fabric around the playroom in buckets.  My thought was that as she explored her environment she would come upon containers full of fabric and maybe just maybe play with them. 
  5. Try Again:  I set up the playroom while Caroline was napping.  Here is what happened...

Enter the playmonster.
She went right over to one of her new favorite toys.
Thank you ReRa and Gran Dan!
(By the way those crazy names are referring to my in-laws.
My husband's family has a tradition of cool names for grandparents)
She played with him for awhile.
Next she headed over to the "built ins".
These aren't really built ins but they look pretty legit right? Thank you Target!
That's my girl, loving her books.
Man I should have put some scarves on these shelves!
Onto the gate and maybe the box of fabric?!
Nope just the gate.

Hmmmmm I'm thinking that I should attach a camera to her to see the world from her eyes with all this moving she is doing.  Is there a kid version of this dog one???
Look at how close she is to the scarves!

I had fun dressing her up to help her "dance".  I also did this to myself.   I pretended to be a bird. and danced around, she thinks I'm hilarious  The neighbors probably thought I was crazy.  
Then we played peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo ball!
Letting the Ideas Flow
As we played peek-a-boo I noticed how it looked really cool under the different colored scarves so I decided to make a fort!  I thought it would be cool to sit under and would be an incentive to have her crawl. Plus, who doesn't love a fort!  I've left it up all week.  Another invitation to play!

Fort!  I put the blankets on the ground because she is getting rug
burns on her knees from crawling so I thought the
blankets might be nice.  Plus I thought they would be fun to crawl on.  
Zach loved the fort!
Here she comes!

Look how the turquoise scarf is letting some light in?  So pretty.
We read the book in the fort.
And she is off!
Final Thoughts
As I first tried and failed with this activity I almost gave up with this whole website.  All I could think was, 'Megan this is ridiculous.  She is 9 months old.  You just need to wait longer and then you can do these activities.'  I had to remind myself that it is okay that she can't do very much, she is only 9 months old after all.  The point is I am doing something.  In the end that is the point of this website.  I wanted to make simple lesson plans to implement and let parents (mainly me) feel like I am accomplishing something meaningful each week with my daughter.  She may not be able to do it like a big kid yet but she is getting meaningful interactions with me and the world around her.  She is learning through exploration and listening to me.  

I hope that the lesson went well for those of you with older children.  I know that dancing with fabric is a fun activity that I will totally try it again with Caroline in the future.  Any future dancers out there?  Who else loves forts and wishes it didn't hurt so much to crawl around in them? #feelingold #myfortisbetterthanyourfort 



  1. I think you've hit the nail on the head! You may not be seeing much interaction with the materials yet but in time YOU WILL and not only are you benefiting your daughter with your wonderful enthusiasm but you're also enriching your own creative thinking skills (think: outlet!). I for one love this.. especially having her discover the scarves on her own. What a great concept!

    1. Thank you for the support Jessica!