4 Ways Nursery Rhymes Promote Toddler & Preschool Development

developmentThis post is sponsored by Nursery Rhymes TV.  As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

As a school Speech-Language Pathologist, I’m always on the hunt for fun and creative ways to engage my students in language learning.  My pre-school students have a wide variety of skills.  From language delays to severe apraxia, it can be challenging to find an activity that everyone enjoys and participates in.  When I’m having a creative block or just need a quick five minute transitional activity, I use nursery rhymes.  

Over the years I have created finger puppets, felt boards, and manipulatives for my students to role play nursery rhymes.  They love this type of multi-sensory play and learning.  

In a time period of IPad apps, over scheduled activities, and dual working parent families, I find that many children are not exposed to nursery rhymes outside of the classroom setting.   Here are a few of the many benefits of nursery rhymes.   

1.  Language Development- 

Nursery rhymes are a wonderful way for children to be exposed to the interaction of sounds, including rhyming and blending.  Nursery rhymes also help children hear pitch, volume and vocal inflection.  My favorite part about teach children nursery rhymes is the new vocabulary words they are exposed to.  

2.  Physical Development-

When children recite nursery rhymes they are practicing the way certain sounds are made, which is called oral motor development.  Nursery rhymes that involve body movement such as “I’m a Little Teapot”, help develop gross motor (large muscle) skills.  

3.  Cognitive Development-

Nursery rhymes are one of the first ways children begin to develop memorization and recall skills.  They also teach children about math concepts, including size, weight, and numbers.  These basic math foundations are necessary as they head into Kindergarten.  

4.  Social-Emotional Development-

Parents and educators can strengthen a bond with a child through a shared interest.  Nursery rhymes encourage positive physical touch including clapping.  This skill is vital for developing appropriate physical skills.  Nursery rhymes also help children develop their sense of emotions and empathy, as a child identifies with characters in the rhymes.  

One of my very favorite nursery rhyme resources is Nursery Rhymes TV.   This adorable YouTube channel has many, many animation and song nursery rhyme videos for toddlers and preschoolers. The songs are catchy and the animation is very colorful.  

I use Nursery Rhymes TV as a free choice activity at the end of my therapy sessions, as a reward for hard work. All my preschool students just love it!

Stay tuned for more speech and language development posts.  After a year break in this series I have decided to bring this series back.  I would love to hear suggestions or questions you may have about your child’s speech, language, voice or feeding development.  You can reach me on Facebook. Please check out my archived speech and language topics.

The Day My Boobs Almost Got Me Out of a Ticket

The story of how I got pulled over by a state trooper while breastfeeding and still got a ticket!

In my post about how my boobs started a Facebook war, I mentioned that I was pulled over while pumping when I was commuting to DC several years ago.   It’s time to share the full story after it’s been sitting in my “drafts” folder for months now.  

It was a morning like any other week day morning.  I over slept, the toddler did not want to get dressed for daycare and the baby just wanted to nurse. After rushing around like a crazy lady, I finally got all six of our bags out of the house and the boys strapped in the car with matching shoes (a small miracle on any given day!).  I then drove the two blocks to daycare, lugged both of them and their stuff inside, kissed them good-bye, and hopped back into my car. At that point, I hooked myself to my breast pump like any other day and drove off. On my way out of our neighborhood, I fiddled with the radio station looking for actual music to drown out the monotonous hum of my Medela Freestyle pump.  I am mommy, cow on wheels, hear me hum.  I swear in total silence the breast pump is talking to me, “moooooore milk.  must make milk.” over and over again.  

At the time we just switched over our car registration from Oklahoma to Maryland, since my husband transitioned from active duty military to reserve. Oklahoma is a state that only requires 1 license plate on your car and Maryland requires a front and back plate.  We had both plates but had yet to put the second plate on.  It was just one of those things we kept saying we needed to do but didn’t get around to.  

About 10 miles into my drive I suddenly see blue lights behind me and my heart drops into my feet.   I think to myself, “Gah, what did he nail me for?  How fast was I driving?”.  I was just going with the flow of traffic and really had no idea if I was speeding or not.  My second thought was, “Oh boy, do I unhook my boobs from my pump?  Do I even have enough time to do so?!  Gosh, I sure hope I have my registration and insurance in the car!”.  So many things running through my head and seconds to act.

 I look in my rearview mirror to see the state trooper headed toward my car.  Well, no time now.  I slap my cover over my boobs and reach into my glove box for my registration.   A fair amount of warm milk spills out of the bottles I am in the middle of pumping, as I search through the glove box..  My heart is still pounding loudly.  I finally find the registration just as the state trooper approaches my window and quickly shut off my pump.  

“Good morning, ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?”.  he asks me peering into my car.  He looks rather young, maybe mid twenties.  

“Um, I’m not really sure.” I feebly say, hoping he will let me off with a warning if I was indeed speeding, but knowing he won’t.  Maryland state troopers do not mess around and hardly ever believe in such “warnings”.  

” Well in Maryland you are required to have 2 license plates on your car and you just have the back one on.”  he states in a stern tone, pausing for a moment.  

“What is that all about? he asks referring to my cover up.  

I fumbled on my words and ramble out, “I’m breast pumping for my baby.”  

By now I’m sure my face has turned three shades of red and I want to cry.  He then turns red and ignores my explanation altogether.  I hand him my license, registration and military and id (out of habit).  He hands me back my military id stating that he does not need it and returns to his car. 

My heart is still racing as I go through different scenarios in my mind.  Will he let me off with a warning out of sheer embarrassment?  Will he give me a ticket for being distracted driving while pumping?  How much is a ticket for having just one license plate on my car?  Why the heck were we so lazy and put this off for so long?!  

The minutes slowly tick by as I realize I am going to be very late for work at this point.  I then see the State Trooper approaching my car again and roll down my window.  

“I would like for you to put on that license plate as soon as possible ma’am.  It’s state law and we are required to keep the roads as safe.”,  he states as he hands me my ticket, but looks away instead of directly at me.  I can tell he feels extremely uncomfortable about the entire breast pumping scenario.    He does not mention anything about my cover up or pumping thankfully.  I tell him I will put on the license plate today after work.  He then wishes me a good day and walks away.  

I then adjust my pump flanges, turn on my pump, and drive away, feeling thankful the trooper did not make a big deal out of my breast pumping, but annoyed I still got a ticket.  It turns out that even when a state trooper is beyond embarrassed they still deal out the tickets.  Hard core.  

My encounter with a state trooper while pumping did not stop me from pumping in the car.  I continued to pump to and from work while commuting into DC for the next 8 months.   Are you a working mom who commutes long distances and pumps in the car too?  Check out my essential products for pumping on the go.  



Photo Blog: Winter Snow

It’s the middle of January and we still haven’t gotten a big snow storm, yet this past week we already had a snow day from school. The area I live in does not prepare for snow removal like they do in other parts of the country. It’s a bit ridiculous and it still boggles my mind.

The boys love playing in any amount of snow.

Catch the Moment 5-365









Xander in snow

Have you had any snow in your area yet?

An Open Letter to My Still Estranged Mom

Dear Mom,

There are times when I think to myself, “I sure wish my mom could hear this guys little giggle.  It would make her smile so much.”.   Thoughts of you pop into my mind at random times throughout any given week.  I sometimes wonder what you are doing to fill your days.  I wonder how much you think about us or if you think about us.  These are my better thoughts.  

When major holidays, birthdays, and milestones come and go my thoughts are bitter.  I am angry.  I want to just write you out of our lives like you have us.  I want to yell and scream.  I want to call you on the phone and curse.  

Really, most of all, I just want to be able to call and let you know just how much I miss you.  I want you to see how amazing your grandchildren are.  I want them to know you.  DSC_4959A few months ago Xander was flipping through a photo album from when he was a baby and he came across your photo.  He asked who you are and where you lived.  This was really one of those moments I have been dreading for a while.  I had rehearsed what I would say in my mind over and over, ready for it.  Yet in that given moment I was speechless.  I fumbled through some explanation and quickly distracted him with another photo.  His attention was easily diverted, typical of any five-year-old, yet I know this won’t be the first or last time he asks me.DSC_4978 As the boys get older they will wonder what happened to Grandma Bubbie.  Where is she?  Why doesn’t she talk to us?  Why doesn’t she come and visit?  Then what will I say?  What excuse will I give?  I don’t believe in lying to my children about the big things in life, but how do you explain mental illness and estranged relationships?  Why do I have to explain it?  It’s not fair.  

This holiday season I focused on the good in my life.  I kept holiday things simple and we stayed home for much of our two weeks off.  I found myself lost in my relationships with my boys.  Lost in the moment of their happiness playing with their toys or just cuddling in my lap.  DSC_4887Getting through the loud moments. Breaking up the fights. Trying hard not to yell when they don’t listen. Praising them when they do.
Catch the Moment 3-365They are growing up so fast. You are missing it all. As much as I would like to I still can not pause time. I can not keep them this small forever. I just hope one day you will wake up, shove aside your fears and emotions, and come back. Until them you are missing this…
DSC_4976DSC_4970DSC_5015They will bring you joy when you are ready for it.

Linking up to Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop for her topic of “scarred”.

The First Stavish Christmas Party

I’m still playing catch up on Christmas posts. This year we decided to host a small neighborhood Christmas party for the first time ever. Adrian goes all out on decorating the house, so this year it was time to let others enjoy the festivities. I had such a great time planning the food and craft activity. Unlike the birthday parties I plan for the boys, I kept this party simple. I served cookies, gingerbread trifle cake, and other small snack food. I also had a hot cocoa bar, which was so good!
hot cocoa bar

As the guests arrived I directed the kids straight to the craft table, where they made simple popsicle stick snowman ornaments.Stavish Christmas Party-2Some of the kids had no time for crafting. They were all about the sweets. DSC_3870Others enjoyed reading a few Christmas books. Stavish Christmas Party

Before I knew it was time for our special guest to make his surprise appearance. The excitement from the kids was electrifying.Stavish Christmas Party-4 Mr. and Mrs. Claus’ arrival was quite the display. Santa entered the house playing his bag pipes and Mrs. Claus looked stunning as always.
Santa ClauseSanta Arrives Stavish Christmas Party-3
Santa quickly settled into his chair and took out his nice and naughty list. The kids were glued to his list, anxious to hear if they were on the nice list still.DSC_3805peices of santaSanta then entertained the kids with some tricks, a story, and he even made snow.Santa Claus makes snowDSC_3803santa watchingwatching santa 2DSC_3787Finally all the kids had a chance to meet Santa and take pictures. It was so nice that he was able to spend a bit of time with everyone.DSC_3830DSC_3845DSC_3821DSC_3837DSC_3848Before we knew it, it was time for Santa to say good-bye. Most of the kids followed him out to see him on his way.DSC_3860
The Stavish kids, young and old, all had a wonderful time hosting our party. We are already looking forward to it next year.

If you live in the DC area and are interested in having Santa attend your event next Christmas, please visit Commonwealth Santa. This was not a sponsored post, we just are huge fans of Mr and Mrs. Claus.