Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tot School- W is for Winter

Its still cold here!  Learning about winter made for our next theme- W is for Winter!  Little Guy is 31 months old.
We had a fun week.  Little Guy's favorite activity was the salt tray.  I put blue paper in the tray, so that when he wrote in the salt, the blue showed through.  Sometimes he practiced writing letters (copying the ones I did) and sometimes he drew pictures and circles.  I am okay with either, as it is getting him practicing the same type of movements.  I did write the letters he knows on index cards for him to try to copy in the salt, and he really seemed to enjoy copying those letters.
Making circles in the salt.
We practiced some counting this week with the Winter Counting Book from the winter pack at 3 Dinosaurs.  Since Little Guy has one to one correspondence to three, I printed out the pages up to the number five, to stretch him a little without overwhelming him.  We practiced counting the number of items on each page.
I can count 3!
Of course, we had some cutting practice.  These strips were from the winter pack at Gift of Curiosity.
Holding the paper while cutting.
We have been working on playing the game Memory (or concentration).  The time we spend during work time was a good time to focus on learning the game without many distractions.  When he tries, Little Guy can be successful!  We started with 4 pairs, and by the end of the week were using 6 pairs.
I matched two backpacks.
Do you want my pair?
To practice the letter W, I drew the outline of a large W, then covered it with sticky paper.  I put out pattern blocks and cotton balls for him to stick in the shape.  I am always disappointed with his reaction to sticky paper, as he does not really seem to enjoy it, and only did this activity once during the week.
My fingers are more interesting than this W.
Another way we practiced W was by stamping it.  I think that this activity will be a staple for letter practice, but I will mix up what he stamps on.  This week, I made a couple of little booklets with blank pages for Little Guy to stamp in.
Stamping purple W's.
This activity shows the value of trash things that no longer serve their original purpose.  I had a pepper shaker that had a pour hole on one side and shaking holes on the other side.  Little Guy had to sort the toothpicks and tiny pom-poms into the correct holes.  This was another favorite activity.
The toothpick goes in here.
The last activity was a sorting activity from the winter pack at Gift of Curiosity.  Little Guy had to cut apart the pictures and then sort them by winter clothes or winter activities.  This week, I did not have him glue the pictures the first time he sorted, so we could complete the activity more than once.  He did glue them at the end of the week.
Cutting apart all these pictures!
These are winter clothes.
How is tot school going for you?

We linked up to Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=1!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwing Practice

What do you do on days that it is so cold and damp outside that you just can't bear the thought of bundling up to play?  We have had a few of those days lately, but Little Guy still needs a way to get out some energy and work on some large motor skills.  We recently practiced our throwing!

All you need is a collection of balls and/or beanbags and a laundry basket. 
 We have been talking a lot about taking turns lately, so Little Guy and I took turns choosing an object and throwing it into the basket!  We did this for at least 20 minutes, filling the basket 3 times!
Aiming for the basket...
...almost made it!
This activity took almost no time to set up and was fun for both us!  What large motor activities do you do in the winter?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tot School- S is for Snow!

Do you have snow?  We had some last week, which made for a great snow-themed week in Tot School!  Little Guy is 30 months old.

This is the first week of our letter themes in Tot School!  As you can tell, we will not be working on the letters in alphabetic order.  My plan is to make them work with themes that make sense. 
This week we tried again to start each day of Tot School by reading.  These were some of our favoirte books from the week!
Two of the activities this week practiced buttoning!  Little Guy had to button things onto a snowman and onto the letter S.  Read more about these activities here!

Another way we practiced the letter S was by stamping it.  We used the letter stamp that Little Guy received for Christmas and stamped it onto Dot Marker sheets from 3 Dinosaurs.  This was a fun activity for Little Guy to complete.  (I printed 4 different sheets, and Little Guy could complete one each day.)
Putting S's all over my snowman.
Another great activity from 3 Dinosaurs was Roll and Count.  This one had different types of winter clothing.  We completed this twice during the week, using a different color stamp pad to tell which was the new game.  Little Guy still struggles to complete this game.  He gets about half way through, then wants to be done.  This week, I took over stamping at that point in time, so he could just roll.  One thing I am emphasizing in Tot School is that he has to finish an activity before going to the next one.  I don't want him to start the habit of giving up in the middle of an activity.
I rolled the jacket.
 The next activity was spooning marshmallows into a mini-muffin tin.  This was similar to the jingle bell spooning that he did before Christmas.  He really enjoyed this activity, and when he had all the cups filled, would pretend to bake the marshmallows!  It was really cute!
Spooning out the marshmallows.
Would you like one?
 Next was some ABC practice.  Using an ABC chart from Royal Baloo and a pointer I made (I glued a foam snowflake onto a popsicle stick), we would sing the alphabet song and point to the letters as we sang them.  This helps with one-to-one correspondence, directionality on the page (moving from left to right and top to bottom), and letter recognition, all of which are important pre-reading skills.
 Little Guy had free-play with his tall stackers this week.  He loved it!  I think he pulled them out everyday.  Several days he made towers as tall as he could, leaning the tower against the refrigerator when it could not longer stand on its own. 
Look at my tower!
 The next tray was completing the book "Dressed for Snow" by Becky at This Reading Mama.  Little Guy had to start by cutting out the items.  This was great practice for him, as I usually just have him cut straight lines.  Then he had to glue them onto the correct page in the book as I read it to him.
Cutting carefully on the dotted line.
What a great job cutting!
Gluing the scarf into the book.
 The last activity had two variations.  Little Guy could use his tweezers to put one sugar cube into each muffin cup or he could stack and build with the sugar cubes.  I saw this idea on H is for Homeschooling.  I did require him to use the tweezers each time he chose this activity.  He really liked using the sugar cubes.  When he stacked them, he made a variety of shapes, including some tall towers!
I can get it!
Carefully adding one more to my tower.
 What have you been up to in Tot School?

We linked up to the Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=1!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

3 Buttoning Activities

Little Guy has been fascinated with buttoning lately.  Anytime he sees a button, he wants to try it out.  So, I thought I would make some buttoning practice for him, so he could be successful with it!

Since we are in winter, we started with a snowman.  I saw the idea on H is for Homeschooling.  This activity also practices snapping, as there is a snap on the hat and on the scarf.  As you can see, this one was a big hit!
To go along with the snowman, we have been practicing the letter S.  So I made an S out of felt with 5 buttons.  Little Guy had to match the colors to the buttons and then button them on.  All the pieces of felt are also different shapes, to give us more to talk about as he is working.  I hot glued the S to a piece of cardboard.  This did make some of the buttons difficult to do, as there is no movement or give in the S.  Little Guy enjoyed it none-the-less! 
The last activity isn't quite finished yet.  It will be name buttoning practice.  I cut out the letters of his name, twice for each letter.  One of each letter will have two buttons, and the other will have the two button holes.  He will match the letters of his name up and practice buttoning!
I made all my buttoning practice activities out of felt, since it doesn't fray and provides a little thickness for Little Guy to hold onto.

How are you practicing buttoning?

We linked up to School Time Snippets!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tot School- Snow!

Last week we were back in full swing with Tot School!  It was nice to be back and have things return to normal.  I think that Little Guy enjoyed getting back to work, too!  Little Guy is 30 months old.

We did make one change to Tot School this week.  I tried to start our work times by reading with Little Guy first.  This gave us some great snuggle time before work started.  I'm hoping that this will help him to work a little more independently.

The first tray was play dough.  I made a new batch of white play dough and printed out this snowman mat from Gift of Curiosity.  I was surprised at how much he enjoyed this!  We got out several of his play dough tools also, but working on the mat seemed to inspire him and he had a great time with the play dough (not to mention that I love when he works with play dough, as it is so great for the muscles in his hands).
Imprinting a triangle nose.
In his next tray, we had to put his new tweezers to work.  There were six pom-poms in 3 different sizes.  Using the tweezers, he had to sort the pom-poms into the labeled cupcake tray.  This was a great introduction to the tweezers, and there were few enough pom-poms that he did not get frustrated if they were hard to pick up.

The next might have been his favorite, inspired by Moms have Questions Too.  I drew simple snowflakes onto blue paper.  Little Guy then had to put glue on the lines, and together we would sprinkle glitter on the glue.  We worked on these several times over the week.  After we finished them, we turned them into thank you cards.  Little Guy dictated a sentence to me  ("Thank you for the...") which I wrote on the back.  He then "signed" his name (drew squiggles) and they were ready to be mailed as thank you cards!
First put on the glue.
Then sprinkle the glitter.
All done!
The next tray put another Christmas gift to work.  I traced some of the pattern blocks to make a snowflake, then Little Guy's task was to put the correct pattern blocks onto the sheet.  He did a great job with matching them up (for some reason I was surprised at how well he did) and seemed so proud of himself when he was done!
This block goes here.
Look at my snowflake!
The next tray was reading and coloring the book "My Winter Things" by Kirstylee Moody at Moms Have Questions Too.  This is a simple pattern book, and Little Guy quickly picked up the pattern.  As he was coloring, he would say the first part of the page and wanted me to complete the sentences!
I am busy reading!
The next activity was a name discovery jar.  I put the magnetic letters for his name into an old peanut butter jar along with some of our blue rice.  He had to shake the jar to find the letters in his name.  This was a nice short activity, as it lasted as long or as little as he wanted it to last.
What letter is that?
The next tray was one-to-one correspondence with snowflakes.  Little Guy had to place a foam snowflake on each white snowflake (this sheet is from the winter pack at Gift of Curiosity).  He is getting better and better at making sure he covers each item.

We have continued to practice patterning, although it is still a little advanced for Little Guy.  In this activity from the winter pack at Gift of Curiosity, he had to simple copy the pattern from above.  He was successful with this activity.
Working on my pattern.
The last tray was to make "shape-men" from the winter pack at This Reading Mama.  First Little Guy had to sort the shapes onto the correct sheet.  Then he had to place them in order from largest to smallest to make a snowman.  This was a great way to practice the names of the shapes and to talk about sizes.
This is a circle snowman!
Stay tuned for more snow activities next week!  What are you working on?

We linked up to the Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=1!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Letter Biscuits!

This morning, we decided to practice our letters with our breakfast!  We made letter biscuits!  After we made the biscuit dough (we used this recipe from Kitchen Simplicity), werolled it out and used cookie cutters to cut some letters.  These might be the yummiest letters we have practiced with!
Look at all those yummy letters!
Taking the first bite (and not happy about the camera)!
 What yummy ways do you practice letters?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tot School Gifts!

I want to share some new things that Little Guy received for Christmas that will make some appearances in Tot School.  I had created an Amazon wish list for him and included things that would be helpful!  (We took the last two weeks off from Tot School for traveling and family time.  We started again yesterday, so check back next Tuesday to see what we have been up to!)

Santa Claus left him two tweezers in his stocking.  I am excited to have these, as they will fit his hands and make it possible for us to do some new fine motor activities.
Trying out the tweezers on some pom-poms.
Little Guy got his first set of pattern blocks.  They are wooden with pattern cards to go with them.  I can't wait to try these out with him!
Look how the pattern blocks stack!
I can copy the picture!
A gift he will grow in to is upper case letter stamps.  These will be great as we begin working on letter recognition.  I will start using them to practice his name.  I had a set similar to this in my kindergarten classroom and the students enjoyed using them for a variety of purposes, so I know we will be able to use these for years to come!
I really like my green stamp pad!
He also received stacker pegs and a pegboard.  The pegs come in several colors, so we can use them for sorting, stacking, copying patterns, counting, and the list goes on!
Filling in the holes on the peg board.
Look how tall my tower is!
He also received a set of wooden magnetic numbers.  Since they are magnetic, they will stick to cupcake pans and cookie sheets, which will be helpful when practicing counting and recognizing numbers.
Playing with my new numbers.
I received a silicon ice cube tray with extra large holes.  Since we have an ice machine, I am already picturing how we can use it for one-to-one correspondence (I think the tweezers will come in quite handy with this)! 

What gifts did you receive that will be incorporated into Tot School?