Wednesday, July 29, 2015

BIG Tot School: Rainbows

We are still roughly following the themes of the Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum, but honestly, I am only doing a few of the activities.  The curriculum is fabulous, and I highly recommend it, but I wish I had started it with Sophie a bit earlier.  She's just ready for more! We'll finish out with a couple more of the themes I think she will enjoy and then we will move on.  I'll share more about our plans for the fall soon!

This week was all about Rainbows and God's Faithfulness.  Our story was Noah's Ark, and we basically just read it and talked about God's faithfulness to Noah and how the rainbow showed us his promise.

Memory Work
- Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.  She has this one nailed and gets excited to say it each morning during our morning board time!
- Ps. 56:3 (portion) was our new verse for the week.  " God I trust; I shall not be afraid..."
- Colors of the Rainbow (ROYGBIV) - I found this great video and song to help teach the colors.  We've been singing it all night! (She even requests it as her bedtime song).

Literacy Activities

Watercolor Letters and Circles. I made a page with her name in rainbow bubble letters for her to paint as well as a page with circles in rainbow colors to match.  She loves tracing letters especially, so this was a hit.

Print Awareness Activity. I don't have any pictures of this great activity from This Reading Mama's Rainy Day PreK Pack, but it was really good (and simple!).  Basically, she painted a rainbow (pretty much her favorite thing ever) and cut apart the words "I see a beautiful rainbow".  Then I mixed them up and as I read them to her, she rearranged them back into the right sentence and glued it down as a caption for her picture.  This was a really great listening exercise for her, as well as starting to see how words go together to make sentences.

Rainbow Rice Name Hunt.  I shared about this great activity on Activity Mom.  This was one Sophie pulled out every single day! 

Syllable Count and Clip.  Also from the Rainy Day PreK Pack, this was Sophie's first attempt at breaking words into syllables.  I didn't know what to expect, but after a few examples she was doing well.  It is definitely a skill we need to keep working on in the future, but she seemed to enjoy clapping to count the syllables in each word and then meticulously placing the clip perfectly on top of the correct number.  This poor perfectionist comes by it honestly...

Initial Sound Matching. From the Rainy Day PreK Pack.

We also did several other printables from the Rainy Day PreK Pack, including rhyming, "spelling" words with do-a-dots, and pre-writing tracing sheets.  Sophie really loves her activities, and so do I! (Not paid to say that or anything...just seriously like them!)

Math Activities

Rainbow Pom Pom Sorting/Fine Motor.  Using a set of tweezers, she sorted the pom poms into the correct cup.  The tweezers were just the right challenge for her!

Graphing with Skittles. Even though she really had no concept of graphing, she enjoyed this sorting and counting activity mostly because she got to eat the Skittles at the end! Get the printable here from Mom on the Move.

How Many Raindrops? This counting activity was from the Rainy Day PreK Pack.  Sophie would choose a card and then place that many glass beads ("rain drops") onto the mat.  Then, she would trace the number with a dry erase marker.  She really enjoyed this one and wanted to play for a long time.

Other Activities

Fizzy Rainbows.  This was, without a doubt, the star of the show this week.  I gave her a pan of baking soda and cups with colored vinegar and she used an eye dropper to drop the vinegar on the baking soda, causing a fizzy reaction.  She sat for almost 45 minutes doing this!  This will definitely be a repeat activity! (And a great one to keep her occupied if I need to do something like make dinner!)

Rainbow Do-a-Dot. From Gift of Curiosity

Sophie is wanting to do Tot School all day long at this point.  This week, she worked through all of the activities I had for the week by Wednesday morning.  I'm going to have to figure out a system that gives her plenty to do, but also doesn't require me to plan 800 things for the course of a week!  I'm trying out something new this next week, so we'll see how it works!

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tot School: Week 4 (Rainbow Colors)

Miles is 15 months.

Here's what was on Mile's Tot School shelf for rainbow week!

Shapes and Button Sensory Play. I added some colorful large shape buttons and some foam shapes to a tin and gave him a scoop and muffin tin.  (Big sister loved it just as much - maybe more!)

Rainbow Bell Shaker. He immediately started walking around the room shaking it, like we had done for our Fourth of July parade a few weeks ago!  I was surprised he seemed to remember that.

Colored Popsicle Stick Transfer. This was hands down the favorite.  These popsicle sticks went all over the house with him all week long.  I had a parmesan cheese container and an empty baby puff container and he loved playing with the lids and transferring the sticks back and forth.  He really impresses me with his fine motor skills and his persistence!  By the end of the week he was easily putting the sticks through the small holes of the parmesan cheese container. (Look at that concentration!)

Melissa and Doug Shape Stacker. He had really started to love his ring stacker the past couple weeks, so I thought this would be a hit.  He enjoyed doing it a few times, but really wasn't that into it after that.  I'll bring it back in a few weeks.

Playdoh and Stacking Pegs. That is a happy face in the picture, in case you can't tell!  He was seriously thrilled to gett to play with playdoh like big sister - most times he is so interested in what she is doing and I have to redirect him to something else. I wish I could have captured his face when I gave him a piece and told him he could play with some!  I gave him some pegs to put in the playdoh and make marks with.  Unfortunately, we had to call it quits because he just wouldn't quit trying to put it in his mouth!  Again, we'll try again in a few weeks.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

BIG Tot School: All About Me Theme

We jumped back in with the Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum themes this week.  It was all about the Good News of the Gospel with an All About Me Theme. Here's what we did in addition to some of the activities from that plan. 

 Literacy Activities 

X is for X Ray. We made an X out of q-tips and talked about how an x-ray shows doctors what our bones look like.

Uppercase/Lowercase Matching Puzzle. This fun puzzle was from the Target Dollar Spot.  She had lots of fun with this one and invented her own fun ways to play!  The first day she pretended it was a lake and she was a frog and had to jump over it to get the right pieces.  The next time we played the pieces were "pies" and she wanted me to pretend like I couldn't find the matching piece to make my "s pie".  Then we would come up with something yummy (or silly) that started with that letter to talk about what the pretend pie tasted like.  LOVE the imagination this sweet little lady is developing! 

Rhyming Word Mats.  Rhyming has taken off in a big way in our house.  She doesn't always get it right, but she is constantly telling me that two words rhyme.  She gets better and better every day, but she really enjoyed this activity from PreKinders.

 Name Puzzle. 

Math Activities

Body Part Patterning. We continued working on AB patterns with these body part pattern pieces.  She really got these figured out this week.  We will probably move on to ABC patterns next time! (I cannot for the life of me find these printables again!  I just reorganized my Pinterest and they are nowhere to be found. If you know the source, please comment so I can share!)

All About Me Puzzle. I found this clever idea to cut apart a picture and stick it to Duplos at LMNO Preschool.  It was a little challenging at first, so I started by giving bigger pieces (2 stuck together already) until she was ready.  Working a puzzle vertically was a whole new challenge for her, but she loved seeing herself and making a few intentionally silly pictures as well!

Melissa and Doug Dress Up Bears. We used these to talk about small, medium, and large.

I Am Special Book. I found this great printable All About Me book to use with Sophie.  We did it together, as there were several parts that were too old for her, but we enjoyed it.  This was really the first time I have seen her color something specific instead of just draw circles or lines around things.  She loved tracing the letters and did a great job with her drawings! 

Other Activities 

Body Part Puzzle. She cut this body puzzle apart and put it back together again - she wanted to call him Humpty Dumpty.

Investigating Fingerprints.

Lifesize Sophie. I had her lie down and I traced her full size.  Then we drew on her clothes, face, and colored it in.  She was so proud to hang it on the wall to show Daddy!

Next week we will learn about Rainbows! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tot School: Week 3

Miles is 15 months old.

I'm sort of attempting to have both of my kiddos using the same theme (for now anyway), so some of Miles' activities this week coordinate with Sophie's "All About Me" theme.  I figured this was a great way to focus on learning some body parts with Miles.

Here's what's on his shelf this week:

Dress Up Play.  I put some simple accessories in a basket for Miles to explore.  I included a couple hats, shoes, a slipper, some sunglasses, an oven mitt, a glove, and a mirror and then would encourage him to put the item on the correct body part.  He couldn't always get the item on independently, but he would attempt to put it in the right place.  We had fun with this one! 

Melissa and Doug Caterpillar Gear Toy.

Sticky Picture.  I shared more about this fun way to talk about body part vocabulary over at Activity Mom this week.  He liked sticking the balls on his picture, but he really enjoyed throwing the pom pom balls and letting them land there instead!

Paper Tearing. I loved his face whenever he realized that I was really letting him tear the construction paper!  

We also read lots of books about the parts of the body.  He's really proud of his new skill of identifying his eyes, ears, and nose!  And he points to his feet whenever we say its time to get shoes on, so I think this theme came at the perfect time for him!

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

BIG Tot School: Beach Theme

After spending the previous week at the beach with my family, I thought it would be a perfect time to do a beach themed Tot School week.  So, we took a break from the Fruit of the Spirit to enjoy some sun and sand!

Literacy Activities

Prewriting Practice. Using these great prewriting cards from Walking by the Way and some sand, Sophie practiced her prewriting skills.  

Alphabet Bingo. I loaded these fish bingo templates from PreKinders with some of the letters that Sophie has the most trouble with and we played Bingo! I just drew cards from a set of alphabet cards until she had put dots on every fish.  It was her first time playing, and she hadn't quite figured out that she had to get all of the fish covered to win - she kept saying "bingo!" after every time she covered a fish.  After a while she was just doing it to be silly, but we had a good time.

Phonemic Awareness. I laid out five seashells in front of Sophie and would say a "beach" sentence, like "Sophie looks for shells." I showed Sophie how to repeat the sentence slowly and move one seashell forward for every word in the sentence.  This will take some more practice, but was great for listening skills as well as pre-reading.

Same and Different Sounds. Also a pre-reading activity (with a musical twist!), I got out our triangle and wood block instruments and would hide behind the couch.  I would play two sounds in a row, and Sophie would tell me whether they were the same or different.  This was a fun game that she wanted to play often! We also just had free music play with the instruments.

Math Activities

Fish Bubble Counting Mats. Using glass beads and counting mats from Measured Mom, Sophie practiced counting and one-to-one correspondence.  She really enjoyed this activity - it was probably her favorite of the week.

Pattern Blocks. She played with her Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks and the fish template.  This was her first time using the "big kid" pattern blocks and they were tough on her perfectionism.  She got pretty upset when the pieces would move as she would add a new piece.  Poor girl comes by it honestly...

Sun Grid Game. Sophie rolled the dice (my latest Dollar Tree find!) and would cover the given number of suns on the grid (from Gift of Curiosity's Beach Printable Pack).  We used sun punches as markers (my super fabulous mom just gave me three boxes of sorted punches and cut-outs from her earlier card making days!) and played until she covered the whole card. 

Beach Pattern Practice. (from Gift of Curiosity's Beach Printable Pack)

Other Activities

Seashell and Sand Investigation.  Sophie loved getting to use her new magnifying glass to look at seashells and sand we picked up at the beach the week before.  We described the seashells and did some sorting. She looks so grown up in this picture!


1,2,3...By the Sea, A counting book. Dianne Moritz.
Clam-I-Am. Tish Rabe.
I Went Walking. Sue Williams.
On the Way to the Beach. Henry Cole 

Sophie has really taken to reading books lately.  She will sit and want me or Clay to read to her for almost an hour sometimes.  Love this candid shot of her "reading" on her own. 

Next week: Back to Fruit of the Spirit for an All About Me themed week centered around Goodness.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tot School: Week 2

Miles is 14.5 months.

I am having so much fun doing Tot School time with Miles!  He loves his special time and special toys that (in theory) are just for him.

Here's what was on his Tot Shelf this week:

Pound and Roll Tower.  He loves this toy!  It is relatively new, but our little "Bam Bam" (as he is affectionately called on occasion) revels in the opportunity to hit things without being told no.  He can put a hurting on those poor balls!  I love the glee in his face in this picture!  Later in the week, he started putting ping pong balls through the ball holes.  It was interesting to see him observe that they didn't stay put long enough to be pounded, but just fell right through the holes.

Family Member Photos.  I shared more about this on Activity Mom, but we used the photos to play a few games to work on identifying family members and say their names!  (Miles says "Momma" and "Dada", but doesn't have a name for Sophie yet.  He doesn't have to do much talking around here...he's got a big sister who is perfectly content to talk enough for both of them!) He really enjoyed playing with the pictures and could point to the correct picture easily.

Fish Stickers.  Since his sister was doing a Beach themed Tot School, I figured I would try to add a little ocean to his shelf as well!  This was his first time with stickers and he really got good with them by the end of the week.   

Ping Pong Ball Scoop and Transfer.  Super simple activity that even Sophie tried to hijack. Ping pong balls in a bowl with a scooper and a muffin tray.  Miles worked on scooping and stirring the balls, and then typically transferred with his hands to the muffin tins.  He did great with the one-to-one correspondence idea.  I was really impressed.  Sometimes he would drop the ping pong ball into a spot that already had one and he would deliberately move it to an empty compartment. 


Overall a fun week!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures of the week.  Sophie started learning how to take pictures on our camera this week and took this great one of me and my sweet little man!  (Side note:  Oh my stars, those cheeks!  I just want to kiss them all day long!!)

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