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Tuesday Giveaway: Raising a genius
January 24, 2012 6:00 am | by

I recall my delight when my first child spoke his first word. It was exhilarating and exciting. Finally, we had signs of being able to communicate with this new little baby that didn’t involve one or both of us crying.

What I didn’t realize in those early days was that one day that sweet little voice would learn the magical word “Why?” Any of you who have had a child reach that wonderful toddler stage know exactly what I’m talking about. Toddlers and preschoolers have an amazing way of learning about the world all around them, and it usually involves repeating this magical word more times a day than most of us care to hear.
Eventually, I discovered the more experiences I presented my little genius with, the less likely I was to hear the word “why”. The challenge can be to find age appropriate experiences that let your little one explore the world around them safely.
For today’s giveaway blog post, we’re celebrating and encouraging the little genius(es) that we are all raising. We know that one day, they will have a great impact on the world, so how do you let them safely explore that world? Even more challenging, how can you do it during the winter, especially if you live somewhere the cold weather limits outdoor exploration?
To enter our contest today, share with us your favorite activities for encouraging your little genius. For bonus entries into our contest, be sure to read check out the contest widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Three winners will each receive a Cotton Babies prize pack that includes a new bumGenius Freetime cloth diaper in a Genius print (your choice of Albert or Lovelace) and an “I’m A Genius” cold cup to remind you that you have all the answers your little genius needs.

Eligible entries must be posted no later than midnight Eastern time, Wednesday, January 25, 2011. U.S. Residents only. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win. Winners will be drawn at random by Friday, January 27, 2011 and notified via e-mail.

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.



  • Katie Lady said...
    January 29, 2012 at 9:37 am

    When my baby is looking playful I like to play classical music like Baby Mozart and dance with my baby around the house. My other favorite thing to do with my baby is read stories and watch the expression on her face when I do all the voices and sounds. She looks like she’s thinking so hard and figuring the story out for herself, its pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen.

  • veronicasitao said...
    January 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    We have reading time everyday before bedtime. On the car-ride to our sitter’s house I practice Chinese with my 6 months old as she’s starting to babble, plus I want her to grow up to be a bilingual kid! We also have music time since I play the piano and my husband plays the guitar. We sing songs and have great family time every night!

  • Danielle said...
    January 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

    We do reading after lunch almost every day. We read aloud from Winnie the Pooh, Little House on the Prairie and the like. My favorite time of day.

  • Carrie said...
    January 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Books books books!!

    I love how my 3yo asks tons of questions about the stories we read, and my 6 month old clearly enjoys story time, too!

  • Nicole said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Since we are inside and our 20 month old has taken an interest, we let her take off her diaper and use the potty. She has been exploring with her clothing options and babylegs have been a lifesaver. She says “potty” and “self” and all of those other amazingly bossy toddler phrases and words. We also have a book basket dedicated to her new venture! We credit her cloth diapered bottom and also the encouragement from her bigger brothers, after a dicey conversation about having a seat first! πŸ™‚

  • Novogoratz said...
    January 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    My 10 month old is picking up words quickly and is able to tell us what she wants. We explain everything to her, tell her what everything is, and teach her how to ask for things through words and signs. Today she asked for her bottle by saying “Ba Ba” and pointed at the fridge to her daycare teacher! When she was still hungry after dinner, she asked for a Mum Mum! Soon she will be doing Calculus and writing novels! πŸ˜‰

  • Ashley (polen) Ellis said...
    January 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    We try to do tons outside, but kid lead not adult guided play. They learn so much through exploring themselves throwing leaves watching them fall to the ground, digging,building mini houses out of sticks, using their imagination and being inventive! Inside is pretty much the same playing in the sink (when allowed), constructing things from left over boxes, I leave art supplies out and available to them to do what ever their hearts desire. For my little guy who is 6 months he can help sometimes too, letting him feel the texture of my play dough or noodles even an ice cube is a new sensation and lots and lots of talking too him. I believe we expose our kids to as much as possible and they can figure things out pretty well πŸ™‚

    Ashley Polen

  • Madame said...
    January 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    We talk to our 4 month old all the time about what we are doing. We explain all the mundane tasks and name everything as we show things to her

  • Team Ford said...
    January 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    He is only 2 1/2 months old so I give him lots of loving!!!

  • Michelle said...
    January 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    We read a lot of books and I encourage her to explore and learn about her environment.

  • lgibson said...
    January 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    We go to mosi and we read alot. I am always trying to show them things even at stores

  • us in a nut shell said...
    January 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Children’s museums are GREAT for getting the kids learning without even realizing how much they are learning! Great for the winter months!

  • mama said...
    January 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    In South TX we still manage lots of outdoor time, even in the winter. On rainy or cold days we build tents, read books, bake, color, paint and “play pretend”.
    With four little ones, we’ve yet to run out of excitement!
    Andrea Wheeler

  • Auntie Em said...
    January 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I read to them πŸ™‚

  • Lisa said...
    January 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    We just discovered the children’s museum here in Indianapolis. We’ll be back! Other than that, crafts and books. lisadotfelch@gmaildotcom

  • Carolyn said...
    January 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Indoor museums or the indoor pool!

  • jkirb said...
    January 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    My LO loves to “help” me do everything. The other day I asked him if he wanted to help me do laundry and said “let’s go to the dryer.” He started army crawling and went straight to the dryer. He also loves dancing and playing with the buttons and knobs on the stereo and watching the lights. He even knows how to turn it on. I just have to make sure to be close by so he doesn’t turn it up too loud!

  • Anonymous said...
    January 24, 2012 at 11:29 am

    We go outside as much as possible rain or shine and I let my son explore to his hearts content. We also try to have a lot of play dates so that he can learn how to relate with other people, big and small!

    Thanks for this opportunity! I would love to sample a freetime diaper!

    habcharlene at gmail dot com

  • Eco Baby Mama Drama said...
    January 24, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I always let him lead activities and make sure to make a BIG deal of his accomplishments
    sabrina radke
    sradke1024 at gmail dot com

  • Anonymous said...
    January 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I have a few little smarty pants! My 4 yr old can spell read and do math! She’s also a little smart in the attitude, if you know what I mean!!

    Stephanie Reda

  • Della and Ollie's Mommy said...
    January 24, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I encourage questions from my 3 year old! We also do special pre-school activities and read a lot. I let her help me with some of my chores around the house like dishes and laundry. My 21 month old loves to roam and discover everything. Not to mention he loves to try to do anything his older sister is doing. When we do something fun like go to the Childrens Museum we discuss everything we did and what we liked the best.

  • boyzrule said...
    January 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

    We just read, read, read! Oh and talk to them a lot, too!
    debnmike moretti

  • Pause in the Little Things... said...
    January 24, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I’m amazed at how much our kids will take in just by being out in nature. That’s probably my favorite way to learn with them. Although reading and coloring are super fun as well. πŸ™‚

  • kbmom said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:56 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Laura L said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:54 am

    We encourage our children to learn through reading, doing arts, play time and watching educational tv!

  • kbmom said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:54 am

    We constantly explain what we are doing with our LO. We also interact with him and his learning toys. We are teaching him sign language as well so he can communicate with us before he learns to talk.

  • Joy (McCahon) Geaslen said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

    We encourage Zoe to learn by taking her on walks (in my ergo carrier or a stroller, she’s only 6 months old) and by playing with her a lot! She loves to splash water around at bathtime!

  • Heath and Rebecca said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

    My daughter is just entering toddler-hood and while she doesn’t ask “why” yet, she definitely asks for an explanation of most thinks by pointing and grunting. She wants everything named and described. So we read lots of books. She will point out everything in the book for me to label. We also build with lots of blocks to encourage motor skills and problem solving skills. It’s amazing how fast she learns!

  • Olga Gintchin said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’m raising a couple of incredibly cute geniuses by encouraging my three year old how to spell and trying to give my five month old new experiences and stimulation. My three year old doesn’t quite know what he’s spelling. This morning it was, “D-H-A….. Oatmeal!!!” I also love cooking with him. He enjoys cracking eggs (or just throwing the whole thing in the mixing bowl) and measuring ingredients. He is also great with his little brother and has inherited my habit of quizzing. “What’s this baby boy?… You’re right! That’s a caterpillar!”

  • Candace A said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

    We always put on music and get up and dance around the living room to get our blood pumping! It’s too cold to go outside, so we gotta stay active some how! Our 22 month old loves it, and my 5 month old thinks it’s pretty funny.

  • Samantha said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:33 am

    My 1yo and I go to the library, Gymboree Play & Learn, do art projects- he really enjoys finger painting & coloring. I also created a sensory bin for him to explore different objects & textures. Right now it is filled with “snow” (cotton balls) and I plan on changing it out for real snow or crushed ice later. My son is a great observer, he loves to watch whatever I am doing, you can see the wheels in his mind turning all the time.

  • Stephanie C said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Sorry, the last comment (Anonymous) was mine and I wanted to make sure my name was with it.

  • Anonymous said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:28 am

    My daughter loves to sing and dance, so we do a lot through song. She is also starting to use her imagination more. Pretend play is a big part of her learning-kitchen, dollhouse, Little People, and trying to take care of her little sister.

  • Rachel G said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:23 am

    We love to encourage reading and love to explore new things that way things don’t get too boring

  • Tara said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Our DD is almost 2 and she loves to explore. She asks “what’s that?” quite often as well. i always try to explain what everything is and what it does even when we’re just walking around the mall. We play color games as well as count and say abc’s regularly. She also likes to “help” us work on things around the house (and “helped” me put together her toddler bed).

  • HoggWrangler said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I love watching my 10 month old son figure out a new toy. I just give it to him and watch! He’ll chew it, shake it, talk to it and figure out how the toy is fun, whether it is the intended purpose or not! He tends to like “toys” that aren’t really toys. Scarves in a wipe container for peek a boo, cups for making noises , etc.

  • Rockettsmom said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I encourage him positively through play. Being encouraging is key.

  • Deidra said...
    January 24, 2012 at 9:11 am

    My favorite thing to do with my 3 year old and 1 year old is learning new signs. My 3 year old always wants to teach her daddy what we learned when he gets home.

  • hayleylashea said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:54 am

    My daughter is only 6 months old but we encourage her to learn and play with everything. We read to her books and let her hold and touch them. Recently we took her to a mall that had a museum in it with mechanical art. She just stared and stared at the moving art, following it with her eyes and head. She loved it! We try to explain what things are that she sees and how it works. Hopefully we are encouraging her to be curious about why things in her world are like they are!

  • Caroline said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I’ve been using flashcards with my 3 year old to help him with his letters. We also play games! He’s very into games at this age…it makes for a lot of fun!

  • Hana said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:49 am

    We love reading and exploring outside together.

  • Alisa said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:39 am

    My favorite activity with my 8 mo. old daughter to encourage her is to let her play on this little toy keyboard– she has so much fun learning that pushing the buttons makes a noise- and then clapping and saying “yaaay Ava!” and watching her eyes light up and then clap along! It’s so neat to watch them learn more each day!

  • Rachel B said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:39 am

    We read, sing songs, turn on music and dance, and go to story time at the library.
    rachelnbrown2009@hotmail dot com

  • Catherine said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:35 am

    We cook together, using our (homemade) learning tower!

  • cellijenni said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I am trying to teach my 18 month old as much as I can through pretend play. Whether we are whipping up some kind of fantastical soup in his play kitchen, putting babies to sleep in his circus tent, or having an invasion of zoo animals on the train table, he is making connections to how different people, animals, and daily tasks fit into life. Even if it is a crazy, whimsical life right now πŸ™‚

  • Cammie said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Lots and lots of art projects keep my little ones busy! They learn about colors, shapes, textures, recycling, etc. they also learn about cleaning up!!

  • Gabriella States said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

    My son and I do alot of arts and crafts. If we are not coloring, we are cutting pictures out of magazines and making cologes. We also clean, and cook (he washes the veggies. Ive found that this way he is more likely to eat them.) And we have play time where i pull out our box of toys and put them on the carpet on the living room floor to play with my youngest. Then, story time in the early evening. Those things keep him pretty busy most of

  • michele said...
    January 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

    We read a lot. I talk to her in adult words to expand her vocabulary. We have baby Einstein flash cards that have interactive questions. We go to weekly story time at the library.

  • Gina M. said...
    January 24, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I am a teacher and education is very important to me. I have helped teach 3 of my nieces/nephews how to read. Teaching reading is one of my favorite past times. My unborn baby is read to each night. We also requested books for his library for my baby shower. I can’t wait to teach him how to read!

  • Jon Marquis said...
    January 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

    We have a playroom that is definitely designed to foster learning and creativity. Our daughter also loves to be read to and explore the pages of books so we do a lot of reading and playing with books. Social interaction is fun too. So we are part of an awesome playgroup made up of about 35 babies and we often invite friends over for playdates.

    Jon Marquis, Maine

  • Bethany and Olivia said...
    January 24, 2012 at 7:38 am

    My 8 month old and I read books every night and go to the local story time at the library. Daddy who is deployed reads a book while being recorded and sens it to us so we can both listen and see him.

  • Megan said...
    January 24, 2012 at 7:37 am

    My little guys is two and a half. He loves to play in the kitchen and pretend to cook using anything he can get his hands on. (Cupcake liners, oven while cold, sprinkles, oranges, spoons, pancake griddle, toaster oven…the list goes on!)
    So I try to include him in cooking whenever possible. He has a stool so he can watch and help me make dinner. And last night he helped me stir some brownie batter before it went in the oven. Then he licked the spoon! πŸ™‚

  • Sarah B said...
    January 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

    My 2-yr-old son and I “check out” the local library. Once a week, like most libraries, they have Toddler Storytime or a time where they can dance to music and play toddler-appropriate instruments. Then we go to the children’s book section and I let him pick out a few books. Then we come home and snuggle on the couch while we read his new books. Having something new to read keeps us both entertained.

  • EmineYanindayΔ±m said...
    January 24, 2012 at 7:31 am

    books books books! She is learning 2 languages at home, so if I can I’ll get the same book in both languages, so Daddy can read one and I’ll read the other, and hopefully she’ll make connections.

  • Kitschy Mommy said...
    January 24, 2012 at 7:29 am

    My little one is still very young, but I read to him, carry on conversations, explain everything I am doing, call out colors and names of objects. Once he hits a year old we’ll start with music time, arts and crafts, and puzzles too. I want to try and make it so he is constantly learning. We will also not be introducing TV until much later, like 5.

  • Lindsey Vork said...
    January 24, 2012 at 6:47 am

    We are involved in many play groups during the winter that keep us busy. The biggest impact was gymnastics class for my 3 year old. Her confidence level skyrocketed once she found that using a slide or jumping on a trampoline was fun and not scary. It has boosted her confidence in other areas and she is willing to try new things.

  • Korey said...
    January 24, 2012 at 6:35 am

    My daughter is still pretty young so we don’t get asked ‘why’ but she is very curious. She loves computer cords and no matter where we move them she seems to find them. I joke she’s just like her Daddy (tech guy).

    Just out of curiosity does living overseas as a military member disqualify you? It says U.S Residents only and we have an APO which works just like living in the States.

  • Davina said...
    January 24, 2012 at 6:07 am

    We read a lot! I also have a notebook that I have made for him. I cut out pictures from magazines and tape it into the notebook. He loves to flip through it and ask me about different pictures. We then talk about what is in the different pictures. If it is an animal we talk about what sound it makes and where it lives. This helps a lot on days that we can’t get outside to explore.