Friday, September 25, 2015

Miles' Tot School: Yellow

Miles is 16.5 months.

I don't have a picture of the shelf this week, but here are some of the activities he enjoyed!

Dropping buttons into a slot.  This simple game was a huge hit - probably because it made a really great noise when it hit the bottom of the container.  We used jumbo lacing buttons and an old sour cream container. 

Coloring. He loves being able to color when Sophie is doing other table work.  He gets this look like he is so proud of himself for being so big!

Yellow pom poms and paper tubes. He liked to stand the tube up and try to pour poms into the tube.  I think he just liked them going all over! :)

Clothespins on a cup. With a little assistance, he could get them on the cup.  But he mostly liked pulling them off and giving them to me to put them back on.

God Made Everything Color Book. We are in the "can't get a candid shot" phase.  He does this cheesy grin every he notices the camera.  I love it! So stinking adorable.  He used dot paints to paint his yellow sun for his God Made Everything Color Book. We also played more with the felt board, but I don't have any pictures.

Water Play.  Please ignore the toys all over the kitchen floor! He played with these sponges and little bit of water for almost thirty minutes.  By the end, all of us were soaked, but he had a blast!  And my kitchen floor was essentially mopped.  :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Preschool Letter F and Firefighters

When I wrote about my preschool plans for Sophie, I said that I would probably alternate BFIAR with some other general high interest or seasonal themes. This week we did a Community Helper focus on firefighters.  I'm still working to figure out exactly how much I should plan for a week to keep her interest and keep me from going crazy.  This week we barely had enough (she really doesn't like repeating actvities - any suggestions?? Somethings are a lot of work for doing something one time!  Some things I will just bring out another week, but, man, it sure would be great for planning purposes if I could get her interested in doing something more than once.)  And, as I mentioned in Miles' post this week, I'm learning that if I don't have something completely prepared at the beginning of the week (as much as is feasible), I am REALLY BAD about following through with it!

I also struggled a bit this week with how much was too much content-wise for a three year old.  I had planned on doing some fire safety things, like talking about what to do if you hear a fire alarm, stop drop and roll, etc., but Sophie is very much in an easily scared phase right now.  I was very concerned about giving her something to be afraid of.  I mean, honestly, I can see her being terrified of the smoke detector because it had the potential to be noisy.  So, I went with my momma gut and decided to hold off on some of the things we had planned for the week.  I will share some of the links at the bottom of the post, because there were some great ideas.  I just didn't feel comfortable doing them with Sophie at this point in her life.

Bible and Character

For Bible, we read about God creating people.  We are working our way through My First Hands On Bible. We are keeping a Bible journal together, and I think it may be one of my favorite things.  I got the idea from Wildflower Ramblings

We also continued memorizing Psalm 23 and Psalm 139:14.

This month, we are focusing on attentiveness as our character trait.  Pretty much this has just meant using the word and demonstrating what this means, but also brushing up on our ability to pay attention by playing lots of Memory! She loves her Disney Princess Memory and her Dr. Seuss Memory games. 

Reading the Alphabet Letter F

This week we mostly just did our Reading the Alphabet curriculum, with a few swaps to include more firefighter activities.

Sight Word Poke. She takes this very seriously. She loves getting to use a pushpin.

Rescue the Alphabet Game. This letter identification game was a huge hit! I put our alphabet magnets on the refrigerator and told Sophie she was a firefighter who had to rescue the letters from a fire.  She would stand on the opposite side of the kitchen and I would say, "Quick! Rescue the T!" She would run, find the T and bring it to safety on the dishwasher. She got really into it!  Miles played with his magnets, too.

Practicing F.

Melissa and Doug Firetruck Puzzle.  Miles "helps" making the puzzle super challenging. ;)

Syllable Count and Clip Cards. 

Sight Word Maze. 

Firetruck 20 Grid. She rolled the dice and added the appropriate number of unifix cubes.  Once again, she made the pattern totally on her own.

Firefighter Patterns. She has the AB patterns down great now, so I introduced ABC patterns and she picked it up right away. This is from the Firemen Printable Pack at Homeschool Creations.

Firetruck Craft. Sophie loved painting this firetruck and then putting it together.  This was the first time she decided she wanted to paint something particular instead of just free paint, and both of us were really proud of how it turned out. 

Additional Links - free apps, activities, and more! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Miles' Tot School: Blue Week

Miles is 16.5 months old.

Sensory Play

Miles was a HUGE fan of sensory play this week!  Beyond his color basket, which he mostly put a blue foam dice on a plate and gave it to me to "eat", he LOVED playing with the bin of pasta.  This kept his focus for almost 20 minutes at a time on several occasions.  He really surprised me with his lack of attempts to eat it, maybe I can allow him to have some more "big kid" sensory bins now.  

 Other Trays and Actvities

Coloring with "Big Kid" Crayons. Sophie was not satisfied to let him only color with blue and kept giving him more and more crayons to use. Pretty much he just enjoyed putting them back in the tin more than he did actually coloring.

Blue Stickers on Blue Paper. He is getting good at stickers, and really likes them.  

Blue Playdoh. He loved playdoh again this week.  (And every time I get the camera out, he wants to smile at me.  Gosh, he's adorable.) He started breaking the playdoh into little chunks this week, which I hadn't shown him at all. I love getting to see him figure out and try new things!

God Made Everything Color Book. I had planned for him to use do-a-dot paint on this page, but he saw glue on the table and let me know very clearly he wanted to glue.  So, I cut some construction paper squares and let him glue on the page.  He loved helping move the glue stick around on the paper square.

Shape Sorter. I took out the star and the cross shape, and only gave him the square, circle, and triangle to make it simpler.  This was his first time playing with this toy because it had been out of the rotation for a while.  After a few days he could get the circle every single time, and he could get the square and triangle about half of the time.  He would try and then just set it on the top of the sorter if it wouldn't go in, and just look at me, like "hey, I did it Mom! Aren't you going to clap and say yay?" 

I had also planned for a fun sponge and water play bin, but I didn't prepare it.  And I am learning very much, that if I don't have it prepped at the beginning of the week, it just isn't going to happen!  I will push it further and further back on our plans until we are just way past it.  I need to just take the three extra minutes on Sunday evenings when I'm pulling everything together to gather all of the materials I need for things like this.  Because I know he would love it.  Ah, oh well.  Who says the water has to be blue? Maybe we'll just save it for another color week. 

For more Blue Theme Tot School activities, see Sophie's Blue Week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Jesse Bear What Will You Wear (BFIAR) and Letter T (Reading the Alphabet)

This was our first week of Preschool activities and I think we both really enjoyed it! Like any great Pinterest-loving mom, I got a first week of Preschool picture (taken unapologetically during the second week of Preschool...).  She looks so grown up.

Before Five in a Row (BFIAR): Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

So I think we are going to really enjoy using BFIAR. This week was a lot of fun.  I was worried how Sophie would take to reading the same story each day, but she really liked this one, so it wasn't a struggle.

These are some of the activities we did beyond the ones suggestions in the curriculum book. 

Shape Stamping. 

Dressing the Bear Family for the Weather. She really liked this activity.  We love our Melissa and Doug Bear Family, but we added the weather "spinner" (ha, without the spinner...) to tell her how to dress the bears.  She did this for a long time.

Measuring Jesse Bear's Lunch. And other printables from Homeschool Creations and HomeschoolShare.

Bear Pancakes.  No pictures, because I don't want to end up on a Pinterest Fail compilation, haha. But my children loved it so that's all that matters!

Reading the Alphabet - Letter T

We followed the Reading the Alphabet curriculum almost exactly this week. Sophie really enjoyed the activities and was super proud of herself when she could read the Letter T Reader (with sight word "a"). 

Poke Page. She felt so grown up getting to use a push pin!  

Tracing T.

Syllable Count and Clip. This activity is just the right difficulty for her right now - its challenging without being frustrating, and she is so proud of herself when she figures it out!

Sight Word Maze and Word Search.

Letter T 20 Grid Math Game.

Letter T Reader Pocket Chart.  She loved working on reading the words using the pocket chart. The magic wand sealed the deal. And who can use a magic wand without a tiara? Not my daughter.

Turtle Number Matching. She is really great at recognizing numbers up to ten, but those tricky teen numbers are throwing us for a loop!  We are trying some activities just for exposure right now.  She drew a number card and had to find the match on the turtle.

I am definitely excited to see how this curriculum is going to work out for us.  At this point it seems like a great fit for Sophie, who, skill-wise seems on the verge of learning to read, but maturity-wise doesn't seem too interested in learning how yet.  We'll take our time and explore some sight words and play with phonics with this curriculum and pick up more when she's ready! 

Linking up at 1+1+1=1 Tot School Gathering Place, Homeschool Creations PreK and Kindergarten Community and Teaching Mama's Everything Early Childhood

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Miles' Tot School: Red Week

Miles is 16 months.

It is kind of fun to start Miles on some of the themes I've already done with Sophie - and it makes planning activities much easier! Miles is a few months older than Sophie was when I started color themes, and their strengths and interests are different.  Some of the activities will be the same, but others will be new for Miles. 

Sensory Play

The red sensory basket was a collection of red items from around the house including a baseball hat (GO CARDS!), some Hawaiian leis, oven mit, bean bag, shiny red gift wrap "grass", and a few other odds and ends. The gift grass was the favorite part, and he didn't even really bother with anything else. It was just too fun to pull out all the grass and make a mess. 

On the Shelf

Pool Noodle Stacker. This homemade ring stacker was definitely the favorite activity.  I used a pool noodle cut into slices.  It took him a few tries to hold the noodle just right so he could put it on the rod, but he ended up playing with this for 15 minutes at a time. Multiple times a day.  Big hit.

 Counting Bears 1-to-1 Correspondance. He really liked playing with these little counting bears. He would put them in and out of a cup and try to drop them onto the tray (something Sophie would have never come up with! I love seeing their differences like this!).

Red Duplos. Not even touched.  He was way too interested in the other trays to even bother with some old blocks.

Other Activities

Red Shape Stamping. Sophie was doing some shape stamping, so Miles joined in stamping some red hearts from a foam shape block. Not long after this picture it became finger painting, which was fine by me! But then he realized his hand was messy and he decided he was done. :)

Red Playdoh. He sees Sophie do this all the time, so he loves getting to do anything she does. He still wants to eat it, so playdoh time is usually short lived.


God Made Everything Color Book and Felt Ladybug.  I'm excited to get to start Miles on his very own God Made Everything Color book. We made it with Sophie and it is something she still enjoys looking at and playing with. He really enjoyed painting with the Do-a-Dots, but liked putting the cap on even more. Gosh, I love that sweet concentration face. 

For more Red Theme Tot School ideas, see Sophie's Red Week.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

BIG Tot School: Transportation

This will be Sophie's last "BIG Tot School" post.  We are finishing up the Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum and will start our new curriculum next week.

Bible and Character

This week was all about self-control - a big one in this three year old's life right now (and her momma's for that matter!). Using a transportation theme we talked about having self control using a traffic light - STOP-THINK-OBEY. With Miles, we made traffic lights to remind ourselves.  She also made and ate a traffic light snack made with graham crackers, icing, and M&Ms.

We also read and played about Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.  This (oldie but a goodie) video is one of her favorites!  For our memory work, we continued working on Psalm 23.

Literacy Activities

Name Train. Sophie really enjoyed making this name train craft, and it turned out really cute! I wrote the letters in her name onto the cars with pencil, and she traced them and put them in order.

Uppercase/Lowercase Letter Sort. Using our letter cards, Sophie sorted uppercase and lowercase letters.

Do-a-Dot Activities. From Homeschool Creation's Transportation Preschool Pack.

Math Activities

Number Train. Putting the cars in numerical order.  From Homeschool Creation's Transportation Preschool Pack.

Three Piece Vehicle Puzzles. From Homeschool Creation's Transportation Preschool Pack.

Transportation Pattern Block Mats. Sophie is really enjoying these pattern block mats from PreKinders.

Dump Truck Counting Mat. From Measured Mom.

Other Activities

Will It Roll? I gathered a variety of small objects, and Sophie experimented to see what would roll down a ramp.  We got to talk about why some things roll and others don't.  She really enjoyed this, and it reminded me that I really need to add some more science things into our plans - she really loves when we do!  PreKinders had a printable recording sheet where Sophie drew one item that rolled and one that didn't.  

We also played with some transportation stamps and did some cutting practice. We had planned on doing some painting with toy car wheels followed by a "car wash" (with both kids!), but honestly, I chickened out of the mess. We had a rough week and I just wasn't up for it!  But we will try it again another week...I wish I hadn't bailed.

Linking up at 1+1+1=1 Tot School Gathering Place and Teaching Mama's Everything Early Childhood.