Mom 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: 
Pencil Grip
Scissor Grip
Physical Technique Redirects
Coaching Corrective Modifications
Self Esteem and Mechanical Awareness
…and 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!
Good Luck!

Welcome to Mom School! This post is one of many Homeschool Preschool Lessons with #MySweetandSticky {Cash & Wyatt} As a former educator, I wanted to give them their best start before heading into public schools. (Which we LOVE!) On occasion, and throughout the summer, we continue our At-Home Learning. Cash is my Science Guy and Wyatt can’t get enough Sensory Play. Join us for every Sweet & Sticky moment.

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