Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tot School: Independence Day

Sophie is 13.5 months.

If you read about our Fourth of July, you know that we had plenty of indoor play time this week for Tot School!  We had the exciting privilege of having Daddy home with us on Thursday and Friday, so he got some Tot School time in with Sophie as well.  I love seeing Clay interact with her in this way - and she loves it!  He always comes up with different ways to engage her than I did and his ways become the favorites (we all know who the favorite parent is! ;))

All of our activities were Red, White, and Blue themed, which provided a good way to talk about the holiday as well as good review of red and blue!

Sensory Bin

I took the plunge into giving her a more genuine sensory bin this week.  I have never been afraid of messy, just the fact that she still loves putting things in her mouth.  Our bin was full of white rice, red beans, blue and red pom poms and white ping pong balls.  She had two different kinds of scoops and some cups and bowls.  She had a fabulous time trying to scoop the rice (and improved greatly in this skill as the week progressed - still one we need to keep practicing though!).

The first day I was a little naive and put too much trust in the ability of my vacuum cleaner to suck up lots of rice, but I wised up by the second day!  We brought in her kiddie pool (we weren't getting any swimming time in this week anyway!) and put the sensory bin inside of it.  She could play to her heart's content and scoop from the bin to other containers without rice going everywhere.  But she did a really good job and had a great time.  She even got to play this with her little cousin who was in town and they both had a great time!

I also made her a sensory bottle with blue food coloring and patriotic colored beads and glitter.  She really liked it once she found it on the second day!  I made the mistake of putting two drops of food coloring in - next time I will only do one so that the beads are easier to see.  She still enjoyed shaking it (and I am really thankful I decided to super glue the lid on because this thing took a beating!).


Sophie got a new table last week!  I got it from Ikea for only $20!  SO worth it!

She really loves it and because of this, I am going to leave a puzzle out at all times instead of tying it to Tot School.  I may save some puzzles for our Tot School time, and I will still rotate them out, but I think it will be easier to just leave one out to play with as she wishes.

Tot Trays

The first Tot Tray was definitely the least interesting to her.  I had a red star-shaped ice cube tray with  blue pom poms for one-to-one correspondence (or just filling and emptying!) and she really didn't want to bother with it.  I don't know if it was because she got to explore the pom poms in the sensory bin or what, but this tray was only touched a couple of times and then only for a few seconds.

The second Tot Tray included red and blue counting bears for sorting.  I know that sorting is still beyond her, but I figured it at least provided good opportunity to talk about the colors.  And moving items in and out of cups is one of her favorite ways to play, so I knew she would enjoy it.  She scared me a bit when she first started playing, because the first three or four bears were put in the correct colored cups!  But I soon realized it was just a coincidence and we just enjoyed talking about the colors and shaking up cups full of bears. :)

The last Tot Tray was foam "beads" (slices from a red pool noodle) and a strand of blue beads.  Actually threading the beads was difficult for her, but she definitely tried to put the bead strand through the larger beads.  She really like playing with the foam and stacking the foam beads.  When she did Tot School with Daddy, he discovered that the maraca from the music bin made a perfect rod to stack the beads on.  This was how we played with this tray for the rest of the week.  Stacking onto a rod is her new favorite activity!  (Her ring stacker she got for Christmas got new love and appreciation this week after discovering this game with Daddy!)

Music Bin

I added a new bin to our shelf this week!  Sophie LOVES music.  She comes by it honestly as both Clay and I are very musical (and Clay teaches guitar out of our house).  Between guitar lessons and practicing singing and play for church, she is exposed to music all the time and naturally explores it with her play instruments and Daddy's real instruments.  But I wanted to create some intentional time to enjoy music together, especially when our theme provided such a great opportunity!

I put her red and blue maracas, a set of bells, and several American flags in the music bin this week.  When she wanted to explore it, I would put on a patriotic march and we would play our instruments or wave our flags to the music.  I didn't get any pictures of her in action, because, well, I was too busy playing the maracas or waving my own American flag!  We loved this time together and she wanted me to play the marches over and over again.  We'll definitely be doing more intentional music time together!

Other Activities

We also celebrated by eating a red and blue snack of blueberries and strawberries and painting an American Flag with our red and blue Do A Dots.

Next week we'll do the color green, and I am super excited about the fun things we have planned! :)

Want to see how other families do Tot School?  For tons more ideas be sure to visit these sites I'm linking to this week!
Tot School Tuesday at See Vanessa Craft
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum

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