Toddler School

Purple Octopus {Number 8 & Paper Cutting}

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I searched and searched the internet for an Octopus printable you could cut to give 8 legs, but alas, I had to make my own! For August we are doing a Pirate Theme in Toddler School and we’re focusing on the color purple, the number 8 and of course pirate things like an octopus! This lesson in particular focuses on the counting for us. We’ve been pushing the numbers pretty good around here and these digits were made extra exciting because he got to touch scissors! Cash has been fascinated with the treacherous instruments because mom has had them out a lot lately with the surge of crochet hat orders off of Etsy. We are also doing the Click for Babies Campaign with our local hospital {since this month is all about purple} so he sees them a lot. I decided to take the plunge and let him handle them in a very micromanaged environment with me so that perhaps, like all other things, he might lose interest… reveal below….

Lesson Goals: 
Technique Redirects
Corrective Modifications
Esteem and Mechanical Awareness
somewhere in there we’ll talk about numbers and colors
We started off introducing
this lesson like all others, I presented it on the Mess Mat in the morning so
that when he wakes up he goes there and makes his own learning discovery. This
morning he stopped to do Sticker Letters before he noticed I put scissors on a
reachable surface.
Pencil Grip and
Physical Technique:
Once at his desk we talked
about purple and used his purple crayons I set out to do some coloring. Focus
here is pencil grip and holding a writing instrument correctly. You can see
that Cash, like MANY toddlers, holds the crayon from the bottom. I step in here
and coach a bit of technique by modeling with my own crayon by exaggerating
some modifications. I am very careful to never use the word “wrong” because he
won’t know I’m exclusively talking about his grip…. He’ll think I mean his
coloring is wrong and no longer want to do it.
Coaching Corrective Modifications
I say things like “I’m going
to color like this” “This makes my hand feel better” “I have so much more
control and can even draw shapes like this!” “Look what I can do with my crayon”
“Would you like to try my crayon? It likes to be held like this.” I actually
give him a NEW crayon in the correct grip instead of correcting the grip he has
on the current crayon he is holding. Why? I do this because the association for
the behavior is that something new and exciting is happening and I better pay
attention! As opposed to “Mom has her hands all up in my business AGAIN and I’m
just going to hold this crayon however I darn well please! She can’t take it
from me!” But he if wants to try MY crayon, that I can do all these cool things
with {which he totally does} then he has to do it my way. My redirects are full
of “Remember how that crayon likes to be held?” Cash gives a big smile and nods
quickly then chokes up down to a 3-point finger hold so as to please the
exciting crayon…. This works much better than, “Oops! Nope, you’re doing it
wrong again, let me FIX you” If an adult kept saying that to you how long would
you last? I’d probably throw my crayons at them….
We switch gears per Cash’s
request to water coloring. It doesn’t matter why. Cash doesn’t want to use the
crayons, so be it. My lesson isn’t changed by switching the medium. I can still
reach all of my educational goals with a paint brush and if he is going to be
more creative and enthusiastic about paint, that is his choice.
*Mom Notes: NO! Cash did NOT
paint this octopus, I did! He’s only two… I basically covered up the marks he
made. Under no circumstance am I trying to pass this off as, “look how awesome
my kid is at painting” nope… he still eats paint brushes.:)
Self Esteem & Mechanical Awareness
Now comes the scissors…. I
brought out two kinds from my craft archive. One set is a safety set that
Kindergarteners use the other is a craft cutter with a wave edge (I thought the
octopus needed it). I cut the first straight line as Cash watched and he
immediately wanted to try. He grabbed the scissors with two hands, one on each
handle. LOTS of corrective technique here and honestly words went out the window.
He was begging for help…. I would cut with my scissors and he, holding the
other pair, kept trying to cut with two hands unsuccessfully. Here is what is
GREAT about his failure:
He realized a limit: Up until now he has been pretty self confident and successful {to
his standard} at just about everything he’s ever done… except flying, and
running through walls…. But my favorite thing about my kid is that I know he
won’t give up. Yes, he walked away frustrated, sucked his thumb and asked for
milk so he could go pout on his Boppy, but about an hour later he was hunting
in the Mess Mat asking for scissors. He wants to conquer it now. He also knows
what they are supposed to do and how they are supposed to be held, with ONE
hand, not two. Even though I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on where I
set down my craft projects {not like I don’t already} I’m glad his brain grew.
I’m glad that ever since, when he sees me making a hat with the scissors out he
crawls up on the couch and studies me cutting. He asks, “Cash try?” and yes
buddy, you can try! I have had the opportunity to talk to him about safety too
of course so now these scissors aren’t some magical unicorn he wants to play
with. He knows that they are a tool with a correct and difficult use that he
needs to learn, or he can’t use them. Once he does know them and can handle
them, they won’t be a mystery or a desirable “toy” they’ll just be another
thing mom uses, like the remote, my phone, my hair brush, a roll of tape, or
all the other things he would grab and run off with because they were forbidden
fruit. Now they’re just ordinary and sort of boring.
** I have absolutely no pictures of our scissor experience because I had to keep both hands free with no camera 🙂 
Oh yeah, and we talked about
colors and numbers too….
You can print your own
Octopus and discover new things about your toddler too!


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