I love my weekly trips to the dollar tree! I'm always surprised at the activities I can put together for less than $5. In the school section I came across these multi-colored magnetic shapes. They came in packs of 10 mostly random shapes but a few squares and triangles were included. All I had to do was hop two aisles over to the kitchen section and pick out a cookie sheet that was big enough for all the pieces to fit on to.
He loved it when I introduced the concept of placing shapes together to form a different shape. It was even more exciting to see him recognize the names of each shape he was creating. It is so good for him as a hands on learner to feel what each shape feels like. I have notice that is has been easier for him to draw circles, triangles, and squares since this activity!
Once we finished I let him have a little free time to play with the shapes and look what he created. He said it was a dinosaur with a tail! I see it :) I'm so glad to have tracked these magnets down. Coop has had a blast and the best part is the clean up is ten times easier than legos!
I really hope that I am not alone in having to deal with store tantrums from my three year old. It doesn't matter how many times my husband and I are intentional about telling him that we are only going to Target to get his baby brother diapers we have a meltdown from him every time because he will want some random toy. At first we would cave and buy him a .95 cent car just to eliminate the staring and judging looks from other shoppers. We kept talking about how we wanted to raise him to be appreciative of what he has and not be greedy,but that is where it always stopped. We were all 'good intentions' but no 'follow through actions'.
One morning my husband called me from work and said that he had found something that he thought would be a lifesaver for us and a great learning tool for Coop. A Financial Peace University spin off for kids called Financial Peace Junior. We went through Financial Peace University, a wonderful program started by Dave Ramsey, when we first got married back in 2006. We learned how to manage our money God's way, eliminate debt and how to plan for our future without stress. The idea of an FPU for kids was interesting to me. I knew how hard the concepts were for me in the beginning as an adult so I wondered if it would be just as hard to change Cooper's idea of money vs. things. I then came to the hard realization that we taught him to view money and things this way......Ouch!
We ordered the pack and waited eagerly for it to arrive. The day it came I'm sure I was way more excited that Cooper. His excitement started with the fact that the package had his name on it! The pack included an activity book, parent guide, chore chart, money envelopes, and much more! We jumped in right away and introduced the activity book to him. He loved the main character in the book, Junior and wanted me to give him a distinct voice. He still talks to Junior like I'm not there when we read it! Junior introduced the concept of working in the first chapter. We pulled out the chore chart and stickers to pick out jobs for him Coop do around the house to make money.
He continued for a week or so doing chores and then I would pay him. He would put his money in his "spend" envelope and then go on to play or ask to do another job. He loved the idea of instant rewards and asking him to clean up became so much easier! I wasn't sure if the concept of working for money to buy the things he wanted was sticking until we went to the store with his envelope in tow. He had earned $2. When we got to the toy aisle I pointed out the things that he could afford. He looked around for a few moments and then said. "I want to go home and do more jobs so I can buy a bigger toy." I almost fainted. No begging, no fit. He understood at some level and we were forever grateful. Yes!! Success! We still have the occasional fit of course, but having these tools to teach him about money makes the fits much easier to smooth over and helps keep us from caving. It's a great feeling to arm your kids with tools that will save them and help them for a lifetime!