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Theme for the Week  - Australia!

Australia! G'day - In 1986 The Queen of England declared that all six states of Australia were now completely independent of Britain so this week we'll learn a little more about Australia and some of the animals who live on the continent.

The concept of a foreign country is probably a little advanced for your toddler but you can still have some fun learning about the animals of the continent, how to make a didgeridoo, learn some Australia phrases and much more! 

Letter of the WeekA  - for Australia. Point out things that start with "A" -  apple, ant, ape. Show your toddler a picture of both a capital A and a lower case a. Draw an A on paper and let him/her trace over it, or use your child's finger to draw it in the sandbox 
or dirt. Use bath tub or refrigerator letters to show him/her this letter as well. 

Number of the Week: 6  - For the 6 states in Australia. When you show your child anything say "6 apples" (or whatever you are counting). Count to 6. Write the number 6 on paper or show your toddler a flash card. Show your child 6 things at a time and count 
them - "one, two, three..."  - so your child gets used to the pattern. If nothing else, just to hear the number is good for him/her.

Songs of the Week:  G'Day - Here is a really cute, short song from MamaLisa with a link to a children's choir singing so you can hear the tune. 

Story of the WeekRod Campbell's Aussie Animals   - Super fun book with all kinds of animals and simple language. If you can't find this at your local library, you can try Amazon.com. Recently, I searched my local library on-line and placed holds on all the books I wanted and in a couple of days, they were ready to pick up.  Instead of trying to browse the shelves with a busy toddler, I picked them up, checked them out and was on my way.  Here's a link to public libraries in the United States if you'd like to see if your local branch is here. 

Snack of the Week:  Aussie Snacks Here are several different Australian snacks. The first one are like our rice crispie treats but chocolate-flavored! (Interesting Cheerios - our snack from last week - are actually tiny weinies like cocktail weenies that are dipped in tomato sauce.)

Language Words of the Week: Australian - australiano, kangaroo - el canguro, koala - el koala. Also check out the BBC's Muzzy from Early Advantage for teaching Spanish (or many other languages) to your child. They are fabulous! If you are familiar with the song Waltzing Matilda, there are several terms in that song that are Aussie phrases.  Here are the definitions for those: Swagman - A Tramp, Matilda - The Swagman's bedding or sleeping roll, Billabong - A drinking hole, Coolibah tree - An Australian native tree, Billy - Like a pot to boil water in over a fire, Jumbuck - A sheep, Tucker Bag - Australian term for a backpack, Squatter - A Farmer/Rancher, Trooper - A Policeman. Thanks to my mate Nick who lives in Australia for the Aussie phrases link!

Do It Myself: Bounce like a Kangaroo  - Jump up and down like a kangaroo around the room or outside. Show your toddler this short video of a kangaroo jumping

Activity of the Week: Make a Didgeridoo - Here's an activity you can customize to your child's level.  Maybe just a toilet paper roll to yell into is all that's necessary. If your child is a bit older, maybe coloring or decorating a paper towel roll works. You decide. Here's a video of a professional musician playing a real didgeridoo - fascinating!

Yoga PoseCobra Pose - There are cobras in Australia so that's why we chose this one. This is a great back stretch - it feels wonderful.  Thanks to Yoga Journal for this link.  PS - Our kids always liked the Yoga Kids series if you'd like more ideas for doing yoga with your toddler. 

Sign Language Sign of the WeekAustraliaKangarooSnakeKoala.   If your toddler is still learning how to talk, sign language can be a great way for them to communicate.  And as they get older, they'll pick up signs faster and it can be more of a fun thing versus a way to communicate. These links are from Signing Savvy .   

Remember to give your child a hug and tell him/her you love them. Hope you have a wonderful week!   

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