Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tot School

Tot School

Star is 28 months old.

This week we played a rather interesting game called "pass the cold" in this house. It wasn't really a horrible cold, it just made you feel a little crummy. Because of this we had a very unstructured week for tot school. Mostly it consisted of watching educational videos, reading books and drawing. But we did do a few things. We read the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which Star somewhat enjoyed, but then one day I got a spurt of energy and we baked cookies and made mouse ears. Now she really likes the book because she thinks it means she gets cookies. Here are some pictures...

We also read The Big Green Pocketbook and did some of the activities for a lapbook from here. She REALLY liked the paper pocketbook with all the things inside. She walks around the house waving it saying "hello bus" and taking the items out and putting them away.

We also made the memory game with crayons.
I did have two days where both of us were feeling pretty decent and we had a more thought out Tot School time. First we sorted letters,
Then we pounded them in
We played with the rubber band thing (I still don't have a name for it) This week she figured out how to make a triangle with the rubber bands on the nails.

We made binoculors out of toilet paper tubes. This was just for fun, no real lesson connected to it
We matched colors with clothespins
We also did some mini puzzles from a set called I Can Spell I got at Sam's Club. We then went in search of matching items in the house
I have decided to try and only introduce two new tools a week to keep tot school exciting, but also so that we are still utilizing the old tools. I don't know if I can restrain myself this way for long because there are so many great ideas out there. Here were the two new tools for this week.

I made these letters using different textures. I got the idea from here. I only used three this week so that I don't overwhelm Star. We used them to learn letter recognition and letter sounds using a Montessori technique.

I also introduced this measuring/spooning excercise. We learned the words big, medium, small, largest and smallest.

After completing the task the way I asked her to, I let her experiment with the tools, which looked like this...
It ended with the rice just about everywhere, but she sure had fun. And that was our week. To see what others did for their week of Tot school, click here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tot School

Tot School

Star is 27 months old
Well, it has been an interesting week filled with excitement, new things, sickness and potty training. I am one tired Momma. I was able to take a few pictures along the way. The week started out strong and I had many new ideas for tot school. Star has been extremely interested in flowers and was very excited when I recieved some and she got to help me put them in a vase, so I bought some fake flowers and gave her a vase of her own. She was so happy. She literally has played with this every day. She puts the flowers in the vase, then takes them out. She puts them in upside down, or she takes all the heads off. This is the point where I usually hear "!" because she can't quite get the heads back on the stems.

We also used our number circles. Each circle has a number and stickers corresponding to that number. She puts the clothespins on to each of the stickers then she counts them as she pulls them off. I saw this idea on another blog, but I can't find where I saw it, sorry.
I made these puzzles for her out of a cereal box. You are supposed to match the uppercase letter with the lowercase letter. She tried it for about 20 seconds and then wanted to move on. Maybe next time.
One activity I made up that she loves, I call the letter chase. We use her aquadoodle and I write four different letters on it. Then we sing this song, "we're gonna run around, run around, run around (this is the part where we run around the coffe table) then we will step on the letter...." (at this point I shout a letter out and we have to run over and stand on it). Usually this game ends when I'm out of breathe.

At the end of tot school on tuesday I decided we would have a tea party, using real tea, milk and sugar. My mother gave this tea set to Star a while ago, and this is the first time we used it. It was great.

She got to practice her manners as well as her pouring and scooping.

When we were finished she learned how to wash the dishes as we cleaned up her tea set. Overall it was a lot of fun.

There wasn't much art done this week, but we did cookie cutter painting

We also played with playdoh (sorry about the shot with undies, potty training had started)

We also were able to do something that I have wanted to do for a long time, which is pancake art. All you need is one of those generic plastic squeeze bottles that you can put ketchup or mustard in. You fill it with pancake batter and then you can make any design you want for your pancake. I made Pink hearts for Valentines day.

The day before I made letter pancakes and smiley faces. All you have to do is draw the face in the pan, let it cook a few moments, then fill it in. The parts that cooked longer will be a darker color than the part you fill in, making the face show up. Sorry I don't have a picture of it, but here is another smiley face.
For what others have done for Tot School this week, check out this website.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Moments of Exploration

We have been unusually blessed with warm weather the past few days. Which is wonderful since last month we only had one day above freezing. We took advantage of the warmth and went outside. We played in the yard which absolutely thrilled Star. Even the cat seemed extremely excited.

The cat is in the tree avoiding an extatic and screaming toddler.

We decided to go for a walk which led us to the end of our road, where there was an interesting noise. Star quickly discovered a small river ending into a storm drain. Being the ever curious toddler she wanted to see what was making all the noise.

We looked in the drain.

We poked at the water. We watched things float down stream.

And as you all could imagine this was not enough for Star. She needed to be IN the water. She needed to splash.The splashing quickly led to running up and down the river all the while splashing.

Now at this point my mother brain is in high gear. I'm thinking Oh no, think of all that muddy water and having to get the clothes off in the house, then wash them. Plus she might fall and hurt herself, this should probably stop.

This is the point where I always struggle. As a mom it is hard for me to just sit back and let things happen sometimes. I mean really, what harm is a little mud going to do. And how injured could she really get. She was having a lot of fun, do I really need to stop it. It was at this point in my thinking that I noticed something. My daughter wasn't just randomly running back and forth in the water. She was actually conducting an experiment. She had noticed that when she ran toward the drain, it created enough force to cause more water to pour into the drain creating a larger, louder splash. She was doing this over and over again waiting for the big splash. Well, I learned my lesson. Sometimes we as adults hinder our children for what we may think is their better interest. Next time, I think I'll join her.
I did happen to catch this all on video, if you'd like to watch. I know its my child but it sure put a smile on my face. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tot School

Tot School

This is my first post to Tot School. I've been doing it for a while now, but it took a little bit for me to figure out how to write a blog. My daughter "Star" is now 26 months old, and here was our week.... We started out doing a lot of imaginary play but unfortunately I didn't have my camera so I don't have many pictures. We played doctor and fixed up several of her dolls. We also played with her paper doll set as well as her snake and her lizard(see previous posts). I was able to get a picture of her exploring a "cave" a.k.a. the dining room table.

I introduced several new Tot Tools. My father made this one out of a scrap of wood and some nails. Star loves to stretch rubber bands over the nails

My father also made this tool. I got the idea from here. The hardware didn't cost much at all and I think she loves to use it because she's using real equipment she has seen me and her father use.
I finally was able to make her a set of Bottle Top Names. Basically I had to wait until I had enough bottle tops. I plan on adding more names as I get more bottle tops to keep Star interested in it. And Yes she is wearing a Christmas dress over her pajamas. She insisted.

We also did several crafts. Here is a monkey for the letter M
We also did spaghetti art. Basically you overcook spaghetti, let it cool, then lay it on a piece of paper in different designs. We also worked on a few of our letters with the spaghetti.
And then we ate the spaghetti. Star really enjoyed it, and so did I since there was very little mess.
For our other project I drew a simple picture of a tree with a sun, clouds, and flowers. We ripped up pieces of tissue paper, crushed them into a ball, dipped it into glue and put it on the picture.Some of our other activities included stringing foam beads from the dollar store,

Playing Alphabet Land I got from the GoodwillWe sorted shapes on her felt board

I also made a relay race where Star had to carry homemade pompoms, bean bags and various other balls on a spoon and drop them into a laundry basket.

And finally I gave her a tub with smaller tubs of water, eyedroppers, sponges, spoons, etc. Basically anything I could find in the house that can be used to move water from place to place. Then I just sat back and let her explore. Thanks to The Four Little Penguins Blog for the idea.
All in all, another great week. Now its time for a nap.
To see what other Tot Schoolers have been up to check out the website for 1+1+1=1

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blissful Moment

Oh how children can make you smile. Recently my daughter has started to notice money and I've been teaching her the differences between pennies, dimes, etc. So I decided that we would have a little mother/daughter bonding time and go shopping together. I put two dollars in her purse and off we went to walmart. We went to the section where the dollar toys are and I told her she can have anything she wanted. What did she choose....
Worms!! That's right colorful, squishy worms (actually they're caterpillars, but whats a Mom to do). She loves these things. I really didn't mind since she seems to love sorting and counting them. Two blue worms...One purple worm, etc. But the really funny part is what happened two days later. Again we are in a store and again I let her pick something out for herself. (She was feeling sick and was being a good sport letting mommy drag her all over the place) And again she surprises me and picks out...

A big squishy green snake, which she now sleeps with and is best friends with her lizard she got a few months ago. The best part was when we were walking through the store everyone we passed stopped and stared because there was this cute red haired girl walking with a long snake dangling in her hands. We got quite a few comments. Ahhh, the joys of toddlerhood.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Things

This week has already been a flurry of new things in this house. By far, the most exciting new thing is our new bed. For the past five years my husband and I have used a full sized bed. It was given to us for free, so we can't complain, but trying to fit two adults plus the random toddler, it gets kind of cramped. Well this weekend we were abundantly blessed with a king size bed. That's right, KING size. We love it. Thanks to my hubbies Grandma for giving it to us.

A few other new things this week are that I made some new learning tools for Star. She's really going to like them. Also I've decided that this week during our Tot School time I'm going to try to focus some more on creative and imaginative play. It's easy for me to focus on the ABC's and 123's, but its also important to help build a child's imagination. Some ideas I have include paper dolls, dress up, pretend grocery shopping in the kitchen and building a fort. I hope to have sme pictures to post. We accidentally left our camera at a super bowl party. Hopefully I can get it back soon and take some pictures of our week. Here is one picture my father took yesterday.

I found this great project here. It's basically a paper doll set with a pair of cats. She loved it.