Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tot School - Squares

Sophie is 20 months old.

It has been so great to get back into the swing of Tot School these past couple weeks.  I am constantly remind of how beneficial it is both to Sophie and myself.  I love the dedicated one-on-one time (when I don't allow myself to try and multitask our time together - something I definitely should do more of!) and Sophie loves having "new" things to explore each week.

Forgive the pajamas in almost every picture - it was cold outside and we didn't leave the house much.  Sometimes a girl just wants to play in her jammies!

Sensory Bin


Our sensory bin this week was filled with square items I found around the house.  Honestly, I have a harder time with these shape bins than I anticipated!  This bin included wooden squares from a neglected craft project long ago, some letter tiles from the game Up Words, squares from the Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks set, some foam squares, and a couple square boxes for transferring.

She didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the circles, because she had a more difficult time getting the shapes on the spoon.  You can't make square soup if you can't scoop the letters.  That's just a fact. ;)  She did explore it quite a bit and enjoyed finding all the letter tiles and putting them in the box.



Tot Trays


The first tray this week was making popsicle stick squares.  Not such a hit at this point for Sophie.  She liked playing with the sticks, but had no desire at all to match them up to the square template.  So we just counted to four instead. 

Her second tray was by far the winner of this toddler's affections this week.  I pulled the game board and a container of letter tiles from the game UpWords.  If you are unfamiliar with this game, it is similar to Scrabble, but the tiles can stack on top of one another to modify words.  It was a last minute find in my closet and I knew from the second I saw it that she would absolutely love it.  She loved putting the letters on the board and stacking them into towers.  She was also very interested in the letters on the tiles, and would repeat after me each time I told her the letter name.  I need to remember these tiles when we move on to the alphabet!


The next tray was sorting little and big blocks.  She enjoyed this tray, but I think it was mostly because it included some of her rubber blocks that I had put away in exchange for some of her "big girl" blocks.  This was the first time we have really explored the concept of little and big.  By the end of the week she was saying the words and (when she felt like it) putting the blocks on the correct sized squares.  Not sure she really understands the concept yet, but she could definitely match up the blocks.  This will definitely be a concept we keep exploring together.



Her fourth tray was putting pipe cleaner squares onto a dowel.  She liked this one and we said the color names as she put them on as well.  And, when you get tired of putting squares on, the dowel rod makes a great microphone to practice singing.  Not kidding. ;)


The fifth tray didn't get touched - probably because it looked too much like chores. ;)  I put out some square wash cloths to fold, something she usually likes attempting when we are doing laundry, but apparently wasn't fun enough for Tot School.  Oh well!

The final tray was a simple DIY shape sorter using a plastic container with a square and circle cut into the lid and her small foam shapes.  She liked this one alright, but honestly was too interested in the others to want to keep going back to it.


Other Activities

Music Time:  I had planned to sing the shape song we did last week using both squares or circles, but honestly the week went by and it completely slipped my mind!  We'll have to do it next week.  But there is always plenty of music in our house!  Sophie learned "My God is So Big!" this week and absolutely loved it!  She caught on really fast and soon was taking the word "Big!" as her solo part.  So much fun.  Check out the video if you are in the mood for some non-square related adorableness!

video

Arts and Crafts: I'm pretty sure this is Sophie's favorite part of our Tot School activities and I need to be better at integrating more into our day.  This week we kept it pretty simple with a square Do-A-Dot page, putting stickers on a square template, and making a turtle shell by gluing square (an idea I found at Intentional by Grace).



Tot Notebook:  I added two square pages to Sophie's Tot Notebook this week:  the square page from this printable shape quiet book and the square page from this traceable shape book.  The quiet book pages haven't been as much of a hit as I expected, but she loves drawing and "writing" with the dry-erase marker on the traceable pages.



Out and About:  We tried out a local gymnastics place's Preschool Open Gym this week and Sophie had the time of her life!  She loved jumping and running around and was talking about "nasteeks" the rest of the day.  It was especially nice in such cold weather (for here anyway - it was below freezing in Florida!) for her to get a chance to run around and burn off some energy.


Next week: Triangles!


For tons more ideas be sure to visit these sites I'm linking to this week!
Teaching Tuesdays at Intentional Homeschool
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum
Link and Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Show and Share Saturday Link Up at I Can Teach My Child
Tender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers at The Chaos and the Clutter 
Sunday Showcase at Learn Play Imagine
TGIF at 123Homeschool4Me
For the Kids Fridays at Sun Scholars


Thursday, January 23, 2014

DIY Toddler Wallet - The Activity Mom


Be sure to check out my latest post at The Activity Mom - a DIY Toddler Wallet!  If you are looking for inexpensive and easily portable toddler entertainment, this post is for you!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tot School - Circles

Sophie is 20 months old.

I feel like it's been forever since I posted!  We took a couple weeks off of formal Tot School for a Disney trip with my family as well as a week to recover from that "vacation"!  That doesn't mean we stopped learning though!  Be sure to check out my post here to see some of the great learning that took place without even trying while we were traveling.

"Formal" Tot School started up again this past week and we started learning our shapes.  This week was all about circles!  Sophie could identify a circle before we started this week, but it seemed like the most natural place to start anyway.

Sensory Bin


Her sensory bin was full of all kinds of round "trinkets" from around the house.  It included ping pong balls, wooden balls, pom balls, round glass stones, colored spike balls as well as a few other random circular items I could find around the house.  We used lots of bowls and pots and pans to play with this as well.  Sophie got a kitchen for Christmas and so we "cook" everything now!  She made some delicious circle soup to sample. :)


Tot Trays

Her first Tot Tray was her Melissa and Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set she got for Christmas.  It didn't get much play time, simply because she had been playing it frequently in her kitchen the previous week.  And probably because she knew you couldn't make cookies without an apron and an oven.  Because it is just too cute, here is a picture of her using it with Grandma on vacation.  Please notice the adorable apron and pot holder my awesome mother made to go with it!



Her next tray was PlayDoh with circle cookie cutters and circle "stamps" (foam shapes).  This was by far the favorite of all of her trays this week.  I'm pretty sure we played with it everyday.  The girl is currently obsessed with PlayDoh.



The third tray was her Ladybug Color Sorting Game that we've played with in previous weeks.  She is completely capable of matching the colors, but doesn't seem to have much interest in doing so.  She pulled this tray out a couple times, put one ladybug on the leaf, and wanted to move on to something else.


Her fourth tray was a magnetic build a snowman activity.  I cut out some circles of different sizes as well as a hat (what would a snowman be without a hat?!) and put magnets on the back of them.  I used an old pharmacy magnet and just cut it into small pieces - free!  I also made a sample snowman (because we haven't seen very many of these in our area!) as a model.  I'll be honest, I'm a little disappointed she didn't even want to explore this one.  I thought if nothing else she would like the magnets, but I guess it just didn't catch her attention.  (Honestly, I think she just wanted to play PlayDoh!).


The next tray was putting spools of ribbon onto a dowel rod.  She liked this one and played it several times.



Her last tray was her velcro cube we used previously during one of our color weeks.  She really liked taking all the pieces off of the cube, but didn't really care so much to attempt putting them back on.


Other Activities

Music: My original degree was in Music Education, and my husband is a very talented musician, so music is an integral part of our daily lives around here.  Sophie loves music and sings and dances pretty much all day long.  However, since it is so important to our family (and life in general!) I want to make sure I include some intentional music activities for us to share.  This may include songs, instruments, movement to music, or rhythm and rhymes.  This week we learned a song that we will be doing throughout our shape unit that I found here.

(To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Hold your circles high,
Circles touch the ground.
Put your circle on your head, 
Then let's turn around!

I cut out and laminated circles for us to move to this song.  She LOVED it!  We did it multiple times a day, and she wanted to show Daddy.  I'm glad I made three circles because she wanted Daddy to do it with us. Precious.

We also played "circle instruments" (the tambourine and cymbals) from our Melissa and Doug Band in a Box.  She loved playing the tambourine while Daddy played the drum! (Please forgive the unfolded laundry in the background - at least it's clean!)



Arts and Crafts: Sophie loved these activities! We did a Do-a-Dot circle, another where she stamped using a foam circle, and glued circles to make a Caterpillar similar to one I saw at Intentional by Grace. I was super impressed with how carefully she started out with the do-a-dot circle.  She quickly realized it was much more fun to paint on her own, but even then she did all of her painting inside the circle.  I had no idea what to expect giving her a more structured paint project, but she really did a good job and seemed to enjoy it!  Gluing the circles for the caterpillar was by far her favorite, though.  We will definitely be including more gluing in the coming weeks!  




Tot School Notebook: I added another new element to our shelf, because Sophie has really taken an interest in drawing and "writing."  She asks to "draw" every time she see a pen and paper.  So I decided to start her a notebook/busy book so she can have an opportunity to draw with the theme of Tot School if she chooses.  This week it only included two pages, the circle page from Moms Have Questions Too's Shape Book and a traceable Shape Book printable from Itsy Bitsy Learners.  She really enjoyed getting to use the dry erase marker.  

Next week we'll look at squares!  

For tons more ideas be sure to visit these sites I'm linking to this week!
Teaching Tuesdays at Intentional Homeschool
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum
Link and Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Show and Share Saturday Link Up at I Can Teach My Child
Tender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers at The Chaos and the Clutter 
Sunday Showcase at Learn Play Imagine
TGIF at 123Homeschool4Me
For the Kids Fridays at Sun Scholars