Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mother Goose Time - The Art Studio

Mother Goose Time has been a blessing to Wes and I. Their curriculum has allowed me to spend quality special learning time with my son. It is an extremely gratifying experience to be able to teach and watch your child grow.

This month has been art themed. What an amazing experience to explore different types and styles of art with Wes. Here are some of our favorite highlights.

Water Lilies
We had a lot of fun making a Monet-inspired impressionist water lily art masterpiece! What I loved most about this particular activity was the variety of steps it took to complete it. We started with using glue to attach our water lily pads onto our "canvas". If you have kiddos that are great with cutting, you can have them cut out the lily pads, too!

Second, we scrunched up some scrap paper to dip and stamp our water on.

We then stamped green to add texture and dimension to our lily pads.

Wes didn't have enough "stamping" so I allowed his to extend this activity on another piece of paper. Practice makes perfect!

Next, we glued the bridge on!

Last, we added our crumpled purple tissue paper to finish our lily pad flowers.

Ta-da! Perfecto!

Framed Flowers
Another favorite of ours was the framed flowers project inspired by Monet's Chrysanthemums. This is another multi-step project that allowed Wes to work on a variety of fine motor skills, like cutting, manipulating small objects and squeezing the glue bottle.

We started out by cutting circles from our pink hued papers. I couldn't snap photos because I'm still doing hand over hand, but you know how to cut circles, right?

Next, Wes glued his flowers were he wanted them. He's getting so good at controlling the glue bottle.

Next, Wes "stamped" chrysanthemums all over the page with a pokey ball using white paint.

Last, we attached our "frame". Masterpiece complete!

Giving More than Money
I really enjoyed the activity where we talked about giving. We talked about some times we choose to give things like our time, our heart and things we don't need any more. Wes and I decided that we were going to go through his toys and give some of the ones we aren't using to those who may find more joy from it than we are right now. I explained that some children don't have toys like we do and it would be kind to make them happy.

We also talked about how some times just giving hugs is something we can give to make others happy. We are really starting to encourage the boys to think of random acts of kindness for others. Starting small like holding doors open for someone or buying someone a cup of coffee are ways we will begin to model this for Wes.

Flag of France Collage
We started out by finding France on the world map. I explained to Wes that people who are from France are called French and so is the language they speak. He immediately asked about French Fries! Hey, he's making a connection so I'll take it!

We started our collage project by tearing up pieces of red and blue paper. What a great fine motor activity in disguise!

Next, we glue a line of blue paper on one side of the map to serve as our guide. We filled in the remaining space with blue paper as well.

Next, we did the same thing on the other side but with the red paper. Wes gets so proud of his art pieces!

The Answer is No
Wes and I talked about some times Mommy and Daddy have to say no to his requests for toys. I explained that some times we need to use our money for other things that are important and that we cannot always get things we want at the moment. We talked about the things we can do when this happens. One example we focused on is how we can make a plan to save money for a toy. Another example is maybe thinking of a way to use something we already have instead. I love that we are able to discuss and role play scenarios while driving home an important life message for Wes.

Dot the Painting
We also made a dot painting of rain on an umbrella. We started out the project by picking out the perfect blue for rain drops. I modeled for Wes how to dot instead of drag a q-tip to make drops. We made "plop" sounds while we dotted to represent rain falling on the umbrella.

Now, Wes wants to carry an umbrella everywhere! But, with no rain in our future, I let him have the umbrella, headed outside and turned the hose on! That on-the-fly activity was actually quite the blast!

Too Much Stuff
I really love some of the end of the lessons Mother Goose Time includes in our days. We spoke about what having too much may feel like and how we can deal with those feelings. We started out with a bag of rocks. I had Wes put the rocks in a cup. I asked Wes if he had a lot of rocks or not enough. Of course, he said he didn't have enough (perfect segue, kid). I explained to him some times we may see we have too much and a lot of the time we don't. I asked him to close his eyes and hold the cup. I poured water over the cup until it overflowed and dripped on his precious toes. While he found it funny, I explained to him that some times when we don't SEE we have enough, it'll eventually overflow our "cup" and run over making quite the mess for us to clean up. Some times when we don't SEE we have too much, we will eventually FEEL it.

We went back to our discussions about Falco and our lesson of being content. We talked about even if we SEE someone has more than us, we should be content with what we have.

This is definitely a discussion we have revisited over the last week. Whenever he starts to throw a tizzy about not getting something at the store I ask him these questions:
"Do you have toys at home?"
"Do you NEED this or do you WANT it?"
"Maybe we can go home and do something to earn it"
"Or maybe we can go home and pick out a few toys to give away so that we don't have too much"

Paint Palettes
I realized that I never explained to Wes how to use a dropper before. So, it was quite interesting breaking this task down step by step. But, now he's a pro!

Wes punched out his paint palette. We decided on the color blue. I had Wes add water to our cup to thin out the paint.

Next, we went through the step of using a dropper. We came up with a sing-songy script of "Squeeze then dip" to fill the dropper and of course, he totally got the squirting the paint onto his palette!

He loved making "bubbles" on the page and of course popping them!

We talked about how even on our palettes, we can find art!

I cannot believe that we are now at the end of July! Next month's theme is Inventor's Lab and I cannot wait! 

Wes and I really, really, really enjoy the art projects this month. But, what I really enjoyed and appreciated were the lessons about financial responsibility and Falco's dilemmas. I think that while Wes is far from mastering skills like being disciplined or making choices with integrity and contentment in mind, it is definitely the foundations for life long characteristics that I want him to embrace. 

I have one more review post of the last week of our Art Studio coming soon!

If you would like more information on Mother Goose Time and their curriculum, please visit their web site at

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Whew...Made It Through This Week

WARNING: I try not to get all sappy and boo-hoo too many times in a short amount of time, but I'm just going to get it all out. 

All I can say is, "Goodness, I'm glad this week is OVAH". It's been a pretty tolling week for me. Well, let me rephrase this, it's been hard for my entire family. Brady started Kinder on Wednesday and a program called Brain Highways last Sunday. Both have been mentally, physically and emotionally demanding.

Our schedules are all haywire. To top off my nervous martini, Brady is now riding the bus home. I wait in my driveway with knots in my belly awaiting his return in the afternoons.

He has therapy until dinner. He asks me for a blanket, curls up on the couch reminding himself, "Brady don't fall asleep" waiting for bath time. He's exhausted. I'm exhausted. Brady feels it. I feel it. My hubby feels it. Wes definitely feels it, too. It's definitely been a doozy of a week.

By Friday we finally started to resume our groove. It was on Friday during my walk back to the car from dropping my sweetest lil' Brady off at school that I noticed Wes was wearing the OUTFIT - the one Brady was wearing the day he was diagnosed. The orange polo and blue plaid shorts. It made my heart ache to look at how little and innocent Wes is and recall that Brady was once that age. He was Wes' age when we had our lives shaken to the core. A-U-T-I-S-M. Like an earthquake, things never quite settled back to how they were before. It wasn't until I looked at the calendar today and realized that it has been EXACTLY 2 years since Brady wore that cute as a button outfit to that fateful doctor's appointment and I cried the ENTIRE way home. That's a lot of crying for someone who hardly EVER cries. I couldn't even speak to my friends. I was utterly crushed, deflated and devastated. I have never experienced debilitating hopelessness quite like that dark period of my life. It's emotional to even remember those days.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't slightly melancholy that day and perhaps all this weekend. I feel a pang of envy again, just like I did that day two years ago. Why him? Why us? What did I do to deserve this? Why was this happening to him? Why? Why? WHY? The only difference is that back THEN, the pain was debilitating. DEBILITATING. Now, I can reflect and know it isn't happening TO US, it just happens. Crap happens (Well, you know the REAL saying. Just keeping it PG, folks).

But, then I remind myself of all of the beautiful things that have happened BECAUSE of it. Stay with me people. It's going to get all huggy rainbow unicorns up in here. But, I speak my truth. I look at who I was pre-diagnosis. I'm much more proud of the person I am NOW.

I used to be some what self-absorbed and quite judgmental. I admit it. I judged and I judged a lot. Do I now? Sure, I think a little bit of judgment is just innately human. But, do I judge like I used to? NO. I have a lot more empathy for people these days. We are all struggling. Maybe not the same way and perhaps some are more apt at coping with their own struggles than others. I am definitely more capable of living with our struggles than I was two short years ago.

I know that life is not easy, but I do know that I have so much to be thankful for. SO MUCH. I live a fairly comfortable life. I really have no complaints. And, if I do, I try not to air them out too much (i.e. FACEBOOK) because that's just asking for sympathy and sympathy is not progress or helpful. I turn to my friends to get me grounded and back on my feet.

I feel much more connected with my husband. I think we were just kind of living the good life before our son was diagnosed. I think that it was a serious slap in the face that not only was life NOT easy, but really forced us to define who we really were and what are convictions were. I think before I was pretty convictionless (did I just create a new word? I think so). Now, I am pretty steadfast in what is important to me and what I will stand up and fight for. On the flip side of that same coin, I also know what is just not worth my time.

I think I'm also quite a better parent than I would have been without my son's diagnosis. Did I have any idea what the hell sensory play was or how important some of those development milestones were to my child's future? Um, no. I think I spent MORE time deciding what my son should wear, what diaper bag I'd carry and maybe if I should buy Pampers or Huggies. Seriously, if Brady was content (and he was extremely content), then I was doing a GA-REAT job. But, now that I know just how to be a better parent, I AM A BETTER PARENT. Not part-time, but ALL THE TIME. All who know me understand just how entirely I am committed to my kids. We are a pretty damn strong family unit.

I have found some of the very best friends to include in my support system. These friends include my virtual ones! I probably would have NEVER crossed paths with some of these people if my son hadn't received his diagnosis. Don't get me wrong - I'm never trying to FIX my son, but I try and HELP him achieve the very best and ensure he has the absolute brightest future. So, when I say I probably wouldn't have crossed paths with these fabulous friends, I wouldn't have if I wasn't searching out all of these resources. But, what has resulted is this beautiful web of confidants that I rely on for not only information, but emotional elevations in ways most people could not provide unless you walked the same path.

I know that Wes will be a better person for it. He knows nothing other than acceptance and kindness. He will only know compassion and understanding. He doesn't see that Brady is different and he idolizes him in ways a little brother should. He won't have the TYPICAL sibling bond, but perhaps it'll be stronger because we all fight for Brady and cheer him on. His goals are ours and we work WITH and along side him, which has made us all stronger.

I feel much more clear on where my life is headed and feel in possession of a very concrete purpose. Clarity is such a gift. I'm a helper and I've tried to help anyone who needs it. I don't need to be a leader. I don't need to be the planner. I don't need to be the coordinator. I just want to help, which some times is the more important role. If you need information that I have? You go it! Need advice I can lend? You go it! Need a book I have? You go it! Need to know it will all be okay? You go it! I now know I am a helper in every capacity of my life. And, I'm happy with that role.

Is having a child with Autism fun? Um, no. Let me repeat, it is not. Not at all. Is it challenging? Did it affect my marriage? Yes, in fact it sucked really bad at times (the challenges, not my marriage). But, it is also rewarding in ways that you could not even imagine. To have your autistic child accomplish something that you thought he'd never do is something like experiencing a miracle. Ever witness someone throw a dance party because their kid tried a new food? Call your husband in the middle of the store because he answered a question spontaneously!? Welcome to Autismland, where parties are ragers and wine flows! To have your child do something you were told probably wouldn't or couldn't happen is great. Especially when you can stick your tongue out and tell someone to suck it. Well, that last part may all occur in my head, but it's pretty gratifying even if it's just fantasy.

People...what I do know for sure is that I'm going to have sucky weeks like this last one. But, doesn't everyone? That's life. I'm just so thankful for all of the things that are so great, knowing that some times it's going to be a little rough and uncomfortable. Well, I may be wrong, but heck, that's what gets me through the rough patches ;0) So, people, listen here, because this is quite important...if you have a sucky week, try to put your life in perspective. The things that are challenging are not fun, but don't lose your shizz over it. These same challenging circumstances may be making you the BETTER person you want to be. Just breathe. Or drink wine. Works for me!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brady is Now a Kinder

School starts for Brady on Wednesday (I know! A WEDNESDAY, say what!?). And, the start of this school year has brought on a wave of intense anxiety for me. YES, for ME! (Hear the violins???) See, the start of school year is a very stressful thought for most ASD moms. Sure, all moms experience a little stress when their kidlets go off into school for the first time. But, let me explain to you a little more why I am sort of terrified about it.

First of all, if you don't know, Brady has Autism. You wouldn't know it if you saw us passing you. It's not something that he physically exhibits (well, most of the time, at least). And, he LOVES school. I am not terrified he will have a bad time there. I'm certain he will enjoy it and he will fall in love with his teacher. And, like everyone else, they will fall in love with him.

What I am most terrified of is that now he will be facing all those big kids. This isn't preschool anymore. All of those big kids that will probably make some comment about Special Ed (he's beginning the mainstreaming process this year) and God forbid, use the "R" word. I know, I KNOW with a certainty that they will not know the hurt they will cause by doing this. I know, because I was once a kid their age. But, luckily, Brady will probably not care one bit at this time. But, I WILL. I have yet to experience it, but I know it will not be easy. It's dreadful thinking about it. The last thing I want to do is be the mom who unleashed her wrath on a grade school child. Serenity now....

I know that one day Brady will be hurt by being excluded. That he will yearn to be "normal" and not know why he is different. He will wonder why he has extra work, therapy and all the things that "normal" kids don't have to endure. I will have to answer those questions one day. I'm glad I have some time to think it over a bit.

But, what brings on the worst anxiety is facing all the moms. YES! THE MOMS! The moms who just don't understand why I don't have time to do things like afterschool activities and volunteering. Why we can't just "skip" a day of therapy. Why we can't just be like them. It's because we are not. NOTHING like them. After school, Brady has therapy until dinner. UNTIL DINNER five days a week, people! He gets home from school and immediately has therapy. And, that's just ABA therapy. And, trust me, other moms will think it's a little over the top. "Why don't you just have LESS therapy?" Why? Because I want the best for my child and therapy is part of it. We don't do therapy because it's fun.

I will probably get the pity nod as I have to deal with a tantrum, because I'm sure it will happen eventually. But, really, I've been dealing with tantrums for a while, so they don't faze me. I'm sure I'll get a few, "Oh my! He's certainly vocal" comments here and there. Maybe I'll have to explain he has Autism. Maybe I won't. Depends on how tired and cranky I am.

But, what will be tough is dealing with the judgment. Judgment from those who have never walked my path. Judging my decisions, my actions, the tone and perhaps the fact that I will ignore some behaviors. Judging the amount of (or perceived lack of) discipline I have for my kids. I'll probably have to endure the torturous "Have you tried" suggestions. I'll answer probably seven billion times whether I think vaccines caused it, whether we are gluten free, is he like Rain Man, or "Have you heard of Temple Grandin". I'll annoyingly watch people talk to my son as if he is incapable of comprehending what they are saying (and just for the record, he DOES UNDERSTAND and you don't have to speak S-L-O-W). Just thinking about it kind of makes me physically and mentally tired.

I will be up at night thinking of what any new behavior means. I will wonder if services will be cut and if they aren't if he will be getting the appropriate level of services he needs. I will pray each day that his good spell of sleeping will not be disrupted by the stresses of not only a new school but a longer school day. I will wonder if his aides are nice to him, if he is scared or perhaps if all my worrying is for nothing. I will be conflicted with the amount of demands placed on him - for he is only 5. I will ponder if I'm doing the right thing, if I'm acting the right way, if I'm too hard or too lenient.

I know I bring a lot of this anxiety on myself. It's needless worrying for the most part. But, nonetheless, I worry. So, when you see me and pass judgment, remember, YOU, the mom giving me the judgmental glance (because we can all tell), are the LAST thing I need to worry about. But, for some damn reason, I spend time worrying about you. URGH!

Rather than side eye me, try this. Give me a smile. Give me some room. I want to be like you, but I can't. My circumstances don't allow it. I'm not bitter and I am over trying. Don't give me the guilt trip for not helping out at the damn bake sale. Don't think I'm lazy for not selling your magazines or participate in the next fundraiser. Don't think I'm being rude if I cut you off. It's probably because I can tell that my son is about to lose it because he has his head set on getting a sprinkled donut like I promised him and is growing impatient with my petty conversation. Don't get mad if I took up soooo much of the teacher/principal/fill-in-the-blank's time because of my kid's "issues". What you can do is understand that I don't want to be rude, pushy, flippant, whatever you think I am. I don't want to be on a perpetual soap box educating everyone about my son's Autism. It's not what I want to do. I just don't have the energy.

Know that I don't need your sympathy. My life is not horrible. It's far from it. We are happy and we DO have fun. Just not with you. Ha! Ha! I just had to put that in there.

Hey you other moms, what you can do is not tolerate your child demeaning another child for their disabilities. You can refuse to allow your child to treat another child - special ed or not - any differently than they would want to be treated. You can do this by doing it and modeling it for your kids. Your kids are a big mirror of yourself.

What I DO WANT is for my son to have the same experiences and memories of school as your child. I don't want to have to deal with the MOMS. So, with that, what you can do is just be nice. That's all - just be NICE. Simple as that. Oh, and don't take my parking space. I may just flip out.

So, THAT, my friends - that, in a large, long-winded nutshell, is why the start of school is stressful for me. WISH ME LUCK!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sensory Play - Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Playing is a kid's job! It is our job as their parents to make sure that they are good at it! Fun play experiences don't require that you dump a ton of money into toys. Some of the most fun things to do don't require a lot more than a good imagination. I love play products that are:
- Inexpensive
- Versatile
- Not complicated for me or the kiddos

Sure, I'm all in for Pinterest-style bake, mix and create type of activities. But, sometimes, the best fun is the kind you have when you are required to use your imagination playing with pretty ambiguous materials. With that, I introduce you to my new friend, Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

In my Mother Goose Time curriculum, Wes and I had a blast making these cool cactus plants. Making them wasn't incredibly complex. In actuality, they were pretty basic skills. But, for a budding mind, BUILDING, in any form - hard or easy, is extremely rewarding.

Wes loved the cactus activity so much, I quickly googled cornstarch pellets and found out that the cactus materials were very similar to biodegradable packing peanuts. I found a huge bag at Office Depot for about $11. And, when I say HUGE bag, it's about half my size and bigger than Wes. 

Packing Peanuts are extremely versatile! Since I purchased a GINORMOUS bag, we have played with them in many different ways. We use them to build most of the time. Wes absolutely loves to create things with them! Simply supply a pile of packing peanuts and a moistened paper towel (you can put it in a bowl) and let your kid go to town! Of course, you probably will need to model how to do it a few times, but Wes was really quick to pick it up and do it independently!



"I'm building Momma!"

Starting another creation

"Look Momma at what I make!"

"It's squishy!"
I am not quite sure what Wes created above, but he sure was proud of it. I think he said it was an octopus, not sure.

You could easily paint your creations, too! Simply create, dry and paint! These are also very easy to add to paper art - you can glue to a painting or drawing as clouds, boats or as Wes likes, SUBMARINES! Really, you can use them in so many ways!

Additionally, these little peanuts are a fun addition to a water based sensory bin. Or if you aren't sensory bin believers, just toss them in the water table outside. As you can imagine, they start to dissolve in the water. But, when they start to dissolve, they get gooey and smooshy. You know, if you have boys, anything SLIMEY is a good thing to play with! Heck, you can create something, like a snowman and let it dissolve in the water! So cool!

And, if you have time to kill at the doctor's office, local eatery, etc. bring some of these suckers with you in a bag. You can use a baby wipe or stick a wet paper towel in another snack bag for them to moisten the peanuts with. I don't know about you, but keeping a variety of activities keeps my kids pretty content when forced to wait!

Of course, if you have little ones that still like to try eating things, I'd skip it for now! They are biodegradable, but I'm not sure how they would do in little ones tummies!

I hope you try them out! Split a bag with a friend! Super cheap but super duper versatile for your little explorers. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mother Goose Time - Art Studio Week One

Last week we began our Art Studio Mother Goose Time curriculum. Perfect timing, too! Wes is really into making art!

As with all of their monthly curriculum boxes, this box included a lesson plan book, calendar and some other items for the month. I decided to hang our calendar and "art easel" in the living room where we spend most of our time. Wes and Brady really enjoy talking about what day it is and we start our day with the calendar!

Our art easel with our shapes of the day

Each day's piece for the calendar is a piece of art work, like the Mona Lisa for example. When we attach the calendar piece, we also look at the included art print so we can talk about it. Wes said Mona Lisa looked mad! (If you look closely, you'll see Wes' journal from last month's curriculum! He loves looking at it!)

New calendar location!

Falco the Featherless Falcon
I *heart* the Falco the Featherless Falcon activities for this month. Falco is a falcon that lost all of his wings looking for coins. Rather than being content with what Falco had, he become slightly obsessed with finding as many as he could get and with that he lost all of his feathers and his ability to fly. There's a story book that went along with the activities.

We made a nest for Falco, which we visit each day. I included a colored picture of Falco in the nest. I colored Falco and let me tell you, it is so therapeutic to color like a child for me! I haven't done that in ages, but man, it's still as cool as it was when I was a little kiddo! The nest is filled with his feathers, each of which talk about things like discipline, contentment and integrity to name a few. The feathers also contain little stories which we talk about. The lesson plan book contains some catchy saying to get the kids to remember the word and meaning. For example, "D, D, Discpline - Don't give up!"

Wes finding the "Discipline" feather - that's not it!

Finding the feathers also works on letter and color recognition in disguise!

Wes pretending to read the scenarios

Self Portrait
Wes made a self portrait one day. We proudly displayed his portrait and dated it, because you bet I'm saving that for his memory book!

Drawing his self portrait

Pretty good! I only helped with the eyes!

And, as a carry over from last month, Wes had to draw the letter "H" on the back. He's pretty much mastered writing "H"! It's so amazing since he's really able to write it legible now!

Hard to see but his letter "H"

Framed and ready for display
This week we also talked about the country Italy. We found Italy on our included globe beach ball. Once Wes was able to identify it independently, I would toss the ball and when I caught it we would try to find it together. I'm quite amazed, actually. Wes has pretty much been able to find Italy any time I've asked him.

Finding Italy 
One of the week's activities included making an Italian flag. I reminded Wes that we spoke about Egypt's flag a while ago and how every country has their very own flag. This activity was fairly easy, but I love how it gave him some practice on copying for an example (which I pulled up from Google). He was so proud of his flag we had to FaceTime with Grandpa to show it off!

Italian Flag

We also worked on printmaking. We started off by separating our foam rectangles.  We then decided to make some triangles from the rectangles to make our stamps more fun. With the included materials, this activity was fairly easy! We glued our shapes to our cardboard stampers and brushed the paint on and stamped gift tags and paper bags.

Making stamps for print making
Arranging our patterns

Our stampers

Painting on the "ink"
Our first print

Printing on a gift tag

Don't Get the Wolf
If you've been following our journey with Mother Goose Time, you know that I love using some of the activities on the go. I simply put them in a ziploc bag and slip them in my purse to keep the boys busy when we are required to wait. This is one of those activities. We adapted this game slightly since it was just the two of us. We made it sort of like a matching/memory type game, except whenever we drew the Italian Wolf, we had to run around and howl like a wolf! Then when he tired of that, we used them as flash cards. The cards were of Italian icons like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Italian flag and the map of Italy, to name a few.


He loved the Italian Wolf

Upside Mural
We also did a mural by taping paper under the coffee table and using our rolled and frayed foam "brushes", just like Michelangelo. It was super fun, but I didn't snap and photos because I was painting right alongside my little artist.

Girl with a Pearl
We also made Girl with a Pearl with the included materials. We used black construction paper, brown paper bag, a blue napkin and a white bean for the earring. We crumpled the paper bag for texture and folded the napkin to make it a head scarf. We used the actual art print as reference and tried to "copy" from the original. I have the admit, his "copy" was pretty good for a 2 year old! Well, he'll be 3 in a few weeks, but still - pretty impressive!

Crumpling for texture

Drawing on her facial features

Showing off his art

Finished artwork!

Book of the Month
The included book for this month is Bear in Sunshine. Wes really enjoys reading it each day.

End of Day Pay
Now, explaining financial responsibility is something I have wanted to begin young with the boys. I truly do believe that you can't do it young enough. With both boys, we have been very good about letting them know that you have to exchange money for the things you need, but financial responsibility goes far beyond just the exchange of money. I love that this month's curriculum also talks about this daily for the month. 

We have spent each day talking about how to earn money. We talk about that you have to do tasks and jobs to earn money you need. Wes earns $5 dollars each day if he completes all of our activities. At the end of the day, he earns his money and he places $1 in his Give and Save envelopes, and $2 in his Spend envelope. He gets to decide where the other $1 goes. He has to pay $2 each day for his art supplies.

We spend the end of each school session talking about topics like why we save, why we give and how we earn and spend on things we need like food and art supplies. We explain giving, saving and spending through play. For example, we will have him go through a bunch of gross motor drills like jump up and touch your toes. Each time he does something we give him a shape. Then we talk about earning and how daddy works to earn money so we can buy the things we need. Then we do the activity again, and instead of shapes, we earn money. There are similar activities each day to go over a variety of financial topics. The lessons are completely simplified - but we ARE dealing with a 3 year old! So, it can't be too complex!

I feel that while it is only introducing the topic of financial responsibility, it is definitely laying the foundation to continue our lessons about it. And, Wes LOVES to EARN his moola!

"Earning" a triangle
Our money envelopes

We are really enjoying the activities in the Art Studio box! It's spurred all sorts of extended activities for us!

For more information on Mother Goose Time, please visit their website

***And, in case you are wondering - we are still working on being solid with our potty training. That is why in most photos, you'll see Wes has his undies and no pants on! Trust me! We do not live in a nudist colony! I promise!

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