Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12 from 2013

Happy New Year!
Here are 12 of my favorite photos from 2013!
January- Snow day from school!
February- Bundled up to play outside!
March- What's in this egg?
April- Dressed up for Auntie L's wedding!
May- Family vacation to Hawaii!
June- Working in the garden!
July- Riding my new bike!
August- Working on Granddaddy A's bike at Speed Week!
September- Checking out the hot air balloons!
October- My first pony ride!
November- Enjoying the first snowfall!
December- Reading with Mommy on Christmas!
Praying for a wonderful 2014!

Tot School- Christmas Activities Week 3

Merry Christmas!  I know this is about a week late, but now it is all ready for next year!  We had a fun time with this last set of Christmas themed tot trays!  This week several of our trays had a nativity theme.  Little Guy is 30 months old.
This first tray was the biggest hit!  Little Guy had to spoon the bells from one bowl to the other using an ice cream scoop.  Simple to set up and so much fun!  He came back to this activity every day, and would do it multiple times in a row.
The bell goes here now.
The next activity was coloring a set of Nativity themed printables from 3 Dinosaurs.  Little Guy did not choose to do this activity.  Oh well, now I have them for next year!

We have not done much with stamps, so the next tray was fun.  I pulled out some Christmas stamps and made some cards out of colored paper.  Little Guy stamped to his little heart's content!  He enjoyed this activity as well!
Make sure to get lots of paint!
The felt numbers came from an idea on Pinterest from The Pleasantest Thing.  We did not play the game, but Little Guy simply had to put the correct number of stickers on each number.
1 sticker.
Practicing counting to 5!
 I found more foam shapes from the dollar section at Target, this time in the shape of ornaments, so of course we made a threading activity.  Little Guy liked them so much that we hung them in one of our windows.
Pulling the shoelace through.
 What set of trays would be complete without some cutting practice?  Little Guy enjoyed gluing them on paper when he finished cutting the pictures apart.  This was cutting practice from the Nativity pack at 3 Dinosaurs.
Is this enough glue?
 Little Guy also practiced more sorting with different sizes of baby Jesus from the Nativity pack at 3 Dinosaurs.
This is a medium baby Jesus.
 For the next tray, I traced some of my small Christmas cookie cutters on white paper and then cut out the shapes.  I glued them onto a piece of red cardstock and Little Guy had to match the cookie cutter to the shape.  He resisted doing this activity for the first couple of days, but when he actually did it he seemed to enjoy it.  Kirstylee did a similar activity for Halloween at Moms Have Questions Too
I think this shape matches.
 The final tray was almost always the first one that he chose.  Using an angel from the Nativity pack at 3 Dinosaurs, Little Guy had to put one chocolate chip in each circle to practice one-to-one correspondence.  Of course, when he was done he could eat a few chocolate chips.
One chocolate chip in each circle.
 I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tot School- Christmas Activities Week 2

This was a fun week of Tot School.  Little Guy is starting to get a little more about Christmas and it is such a fun time!  Little Guy is 29 months old.
This weeks Tot trays begin with a puzzle from Gift of Curiosity.  Little Guy had been getting frustrated with 9 piece puzzles made of paper, but I thought we would give this one a try since it was only 4 pieces.  It was not too bad.  He did not get as frustrated, although I can tell he would prefer to always use "real" puzzles.
This is the last piece.
I pulled out the painted wheels that I had used in fall tot school for Little Guy to make a snake.  In keeping with a Christmas theme, I only got out the red and green wheels.  Little Guy enjoyed this activity again.
Walking his snake.
Next was the shadow match from the reindeer pack at Royal Baloo.  He seemed to enjoy this one, and we had a great time talking about the different objects and people.
Here's Mrs. Claus.
We did another sort this week, from the Christmas pack at Gift of Curiosity.  This sort involved sorting ornaments and presents.  We did not have many presents under our tree yet, so this on involved discussion on that.
This one is an ornament.
Of course, we had some cutting practice!  This was actually 2 tot trays.  One was simply cutting practice from the Christmas pack at Gift of Curiosity and from Christmas themed packs at 3 Dinosaurs.  The other was cutting practice then gluing the pieces into a pattern.  The cutting pages from the reindeer pack at Royal Baloo had all the same items across the strip, which made it great for patterning practice.  At this point in time, Little Guy is not doing patterning on his own, but I am modeling how to do AB patterns with him.

Recognize our wreath materials?  This is another activity that we did in fall tot school, but revised for Christmas.  I put out Christmas ribbons to make a new wreath.  I also added a bell to the wreath once Little Guy was done weaving.
Our beautiful Christmas wreath!
This last activity was by far Little Guy's favorite!  I gave him a Parmesan cheese container that had a lid with one big hole on one half and 3 little holes on the other half.  Little Guy had 5 big pom-poms and 5 little pom-poms (in Christmas colors, of course).  He had to push the pom-poms into the bottle through the hole that matched their size.  He LOVED this!  He chose this activity to do do nearly everyday, and would do it multiple times in a row!
This one goes in this side!
I hope you are enjoying Christmas themed Tot school as much as we are!  Next week will be our last week of Christmas themed activities!

Friday, December 13, 2013

What do you do all day?

What do you do all day?  This question is posed to me often now as a stay at home mom.  I get it especially from former colleagues who work all day.  So here goes!

We still get up early.  Daddy gets up around 6, and I try to get up around then.  He likes to see Little Guy in the morning before heading off to work, so Little Guy is up for the day around 6:45.  We get dressed and head downstairs for breakfast.  After we finish breakfast, we do Tot School.  I try to have about an hour for this everyday.  After Tot School, we get ready and head out!  Once we are out of the house, we are usually gone until lunchtime.
All loaded up in my car seat!
This is what we we do:

Two days a week we head to Stroller Strides for a great workout for mama and then playtime for Little Guy.  (If you have not heard of Stroller Strides, you should check it out! It is such a great workout for me and Little Guy is content in his stroller for the hour it takes. Plus we get to meet other mamas and kids.) One day we go to story time at the library, and one day we head to church for a bible study.  This leaves one morning a week with no set plans. We fit the grocery story, stops at the playground, other errands, and play times with friends around our plans! That means we stay pretty busy every morning!
Ready for Stroller Strides!
Little Guy still takes a nap every afternoon, which gives me time to shower (on those Stroller Strides days), read my bible study, and do work around the house like cleaning or food prep. Sometimes I eve get a chance to sit a relax for 5 minutes (until I remember the laundry that needs to be folded).

After nap we tend to stay home so we are here when Daddy gets home. This is a great time to get out sensory materials like play dough and oatmeal or get outside and play for a little while. 

It is amazing how busy we stay. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to stay at home with Little Guy!

What do you do all day?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Toddler Countdown Chain

This time of year, many kids may be making a countdown chain to mark how many days left until Christmas.  In our house, with only a toddler, this didn't seem like it would have much meaning.  So instead we made a countdown chain that counts the days until Little Guy will see his grandparents!  Little Guy  keeps telling us "I want to see Grandma and Granddaddy" and "I want to see Grandpa and Grandma B."  This is a way that we can show him we are getting closer to seeing them. 
 All you need to do this is some paper (cut in strips), a stapler, and stickers (optional).  First, figure out how many links you need.  We started with 17.  I used red and green paper (which was a great way to model some simple patterning).  Little Guy put stickers on some of the strips (about 5 before he was done with the stickers), then I stapled the chain.
Every morning Little Guy and Daddy take one link off the chain.  (The first day, Little Guy went back on his own and took off another link!  He is excited for the chain and to see his grandparents.)  We are all excited to see the chain getting shorter!
What are you counting down to?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tot School- Christmas Activities Week 1

Hello!  I hope that you are starting to get in the Christmas spirit!  We sure are around here!  Last week's tot school had several Christmas themed activities.  I hope you enjoy them!  Little Guy is 29 months old
The first activity was an elf and reindeer sort from the reindeer pack at 3 Dinosaurs.  Little Guy had to cut the pictures apart, then sort them.  He has really been enjoying glue lately, so of course he had to use it on this activity!  Luckily, he hasn't (yet) gotten glue all over!
Hmmm. where does this one go?
Ever have an idea that you think they will love, and turns out they don't?  This was one of those ideas for us.  I have been saving bottle lids (mainly from milk).  For this activity, Little Guy needed to sort the lids into the same colored bowl.  I thought this would be easy for him and also fun.  He really did not like this activity, and only completed it once during the week, on the last day.  Who knew?
Here's another blue lid.
The Christmas tree decorating activity was lots of fun, especially since it involved mini M&M's!  This was  from the Christmas pack at Gift of Curiosity.  Little Guy had to place one M&M on each star on the tree.  This was great one-to-one correspondence practice.  He really enjoyed eating a few M&M's at the end.
I can't wait to be done with this!
Beading was the first activity he chose, but he never came back to it!  I pulled out all our red, green, and white beads from our bead collection, along with 3 pipe cleaners.  This was pretty simple, in that he just needed to put the beads on the pipe cleaner.  When he gets older, we can repeat this activity with the addition of making patterns.  For now, it is great fine motor practice.
Concentrating hard on those beads.
This next activity was one he kept returning to over and over, but it was also one I had to modify a few times.  We used sparkly pom-poms in four sizes and a 4 compartment tray (I picked it up at Target the day after Halloween for only about a buck).  He had to sort the pom-poms according to their sizes.  The first time he did the activity, I had too many pom-poms out, so he got frustrated.  For the next time, I limited it to 5 pom-poms of each size.  Then it was almost too easy for him to sort.  So then I added the tongs.  This seemed to be just right!  I made it a little harder to use the tongs, especially on the small puffs, without being too hard.
Its hard to work to squeeze the little pom-poms.
The last tray was lacing snowflakes.  This is a great activity that he enjoys, and is easy to switch up seasonally or thematically.

In addition to the tot trays, he had some printables in his binder to work on.  From the reindeer pack at 3 Dinosaurs, the pages were the Rudolph color by size and prewriting practice. Instead of Little Guy coloring the different sizes of Rudolph, I asked him to circle all the big reindeer, or small reindeer.  We also used pages from the Reindeer pack at Royal Baloo.  These were the matching page (seen below) and the ABC mat with capital letters.  The ABC mat was great for pointing to as we sang the ABC song.
The line goes here.
What Christmas themed activities have you been up to?

We linked up to Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=1 (we were featured last week)!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our Advent Calendar

For Advent this year, I wanted to make an advent calendar.  I've thought about it several times since last Christmas, but finally made it over the weekend (nothing like waiting until the last minute!).
I used felt to make the calendar, and then cut scrapbook paper to put into the pockets.  I wanted this to be about family, so on each piece of paper will be an experience or a family activity.  Here's the list:
  1. Decorate the Christmas tree.
  2. Go see Santa.
  3. Make cookies with a friend.
  4. Decorate a paper candy cane.
  5. Read This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten.
  6. Color a Christmas picture.
  7. Drive downtown and look at the state Christmas tree.
  8. Clean out closets and donate coats.
  9. Make peppermint play dough.
  10. Read Frosty the Snowman by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins.
  11. Make a card for Mama's parents.
  12. Sit in front of the fireplace and drink hot chocolate.
  13. Decorate sugar cookies.
  14. Pick out a new family ornament.
  15. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  16. Make a card for Daddy's parents.
  17. Take a Christmas themed bath.
  18. Go to a Christmas themed playgroup.
  19. Read Follow the Star by Rachel W. N. Brown.
  20. Make rice crispy treats that look like trees.
  21. Get ready to see grandparents.
  22. Play Roll a Christmas Tree.
  23. Read the Christmas story from the bible.
  24. Read The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.
  25. Merry Christmas!
What activities are you doing this advent season?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tot School- Thanksgiving and Turkeys

Can you believe that Thanksgiving was last week and now we are into December?  We had a fun week last week in Tot School working on Thanksgiving and turkeys.  Little Guy is 29 months old.

Our first tray was to make feathers for a turkey out of beads.  I saw this idea on Pinterest from Stay At Home Educator.  I used part of a toilet paper roll and the beads that we had on hand.  Little Guy made one feather the first day, then on Thanksgiving we worked together to make a few more feathers.
How will this feather go on?

Gobble, gobble!
Little Guy really likes clothespins, so I can up with the next idea.  I painted clothespins different colors for the turkey's feathers.  I cut out a circle from some poster board and glued a picture of a turkey head on it.  I colored rectangles on the circle to match the clothespins up to.  This was a favorite activity that Little Guy came back to several times. 
The orange goes here.
We had more two-piece puzzles from the fall pack at 3 Dinosaurs.  Little Guy is pretty good at completing these and doesn't choose to do these often.

The next activity practiced one to one correspondence with chocolate chips!  Using the turkey dot page from the Thanksgiving pack extras at 3 Dinosaurs, Little Guy had to place a chocolate chip in each circle.  He really liked this activity, and wanted to snack along the way.  I did make him wait until he was done before he could have a few chocolate chips!
Adding another chocolate chip.
Ready for my sweet reward!
This week we again got out our pumpkin pie spice play dough.  I also got out his roller and the cookie cutters for the letters in his name.  I thought this would be a fun activity to practice those letters.  Instead, he found the magnetic letters for his name and requested that I hide them in the play dough for him to find.  Oh well, at least he was looking for his name!

He completed a food and people sort from the Thanksgiving pack at 1+1+1=1.  I left the sorting pictures in groups of two so he would have to cut them apart first, then he glued them on. 
This is food!
We played Roll and Count Thanksgiving from the Thanksgiving tot pack 2 at 3 Dinosaurs.  We have enjoyed the variations that Cassie at 3 Dinosaurs has created!  It is fun to roll and talk about the pictures and to count how many we rolled at the end.  Today the turkey won!
Ready to count the turkeys!
Another printable from 3 Dinosaurs was the 9 piece puzzle.  Little Guy still struggles with laying the pieces on without them moving, so I think we will take a break from these for a little while.

Our last tray was to make another turkey using a pine cone and feathers.  This one required more help from mama.  I ended up needing to hot glue all the feathers into the pine cone.  However, Little Guy still seemed to enjoy it.
Gobble, gobble!
In addition to our trays this week, we also had a lap book. 

Included in the book were two mini coloring books, Leaf Shapes (continued from last week) and Color the Leaf, both from the leaf pack at 3 Dinosaurs. We did not get to these this week.  It also had cutting practice from the Thanksgiving pack at 3 Dinosaurs and turkeys from the Thanksgiving Cut It Out pack at This Reading Mama.  Cutting is always a huge hit.  Little Guy also had the challenge of gluing the turkeys back together after he had cut them apart. 
I see the turkey.
 There was a turkey size sequencing and a shadow match, both from ABC's to ACT's.  Little Guy is getting better at matching the shadows to the pictures.
This is the turkey's shadow.
 How did you spend your Thanksgiving week?