Thursday, March 27, 2014

ABC pointers

Last summer, I bought this bag of foam letters at a garage sale.  They are not stickers, just foam letters.  We have used them for a variety of things, such as a letter sensory bin, to spell words, and to make Little Guy's name, but this weekend I came up with a new idea.  I made ABC pointers!
All I needed was one of each letter (I only have capital letters), 26 popsicle sticks, and a hot glue gun.  I sorted through the bag and decided to make all the consonants blue and the vowels red, for future ideas.  I simply glued the letters on the popsicle sticks, pulled off all the annoying little strings, and here they are!

 We already started to use the letter T pointer this week in Tot School.  Little Guy is using it to point to the days of the week on his calendar as we sing.  Another simple way to reinforce the letter we are practicing!
What have you done with foam letters?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tot School- R is for Rainbow

Hello!  Can you believe that we are halfway through March?  Spring has now sprung!  I am ready for warmer days and picnic lunches.  What about you?  Last week we did R is for Rainbow in Tot School!  It makes me think of warmer days ahead (I try not to think about the rain that is needed)! Little Guy is 33 months old.

The first activity this week was the salt tray.  Little Guy really likes when we get this out, so I only try to get it out every few weeks so the novelty does not wear off.  Since we had a rainbow theme, I made a rainbow base, then put the salt on top.  I have some cards with the letters we have practiced that I also put out, so Little Guy can try to copy them in the salt.  We also do a lot of him pointing and Mama moving his finger in the salt.
A new activity for us this week was to make a letter out of Duplo Legos.  I found these pattern cards for capital letters at Wildflower Ramblings.  I printed them on cardstock and and then worked with Little Guy to copy it with the real Duplos.  This was hard for him, and so we completed it together.  Its nice to have a variety of ways to "build" the letters.
The next activity was to build a rainbow name.  Little Guy needed to cut each colored strip into small pieces, then we would glue that onto a letter in his name, with the first letter red, the next letter orange, then yellow, green, and blue.  However, we only got one letter done last week, so this will be in our work bin for this week, too.

The next tray was puzzles.  Little Guy loves puzzles!  There was a racecar puzzle and a rocket puzzle.  The racecar is from this Melissa and Doug set.  This is the first puzzle that Little Guy has done that has regular, interlocking puzzle pieces.  This was the first activity that he chose to complete, and I think he wanted to do the puzzles everyday!
 The next activity was simply gluing paper onto a large letter R.  I cut the R from a cereal box and had a basket of paper scraps.  Little Guy could cut the scraps up, then glue them onto the R.  I thought he would like this one, as he likes to use scissors and glue, but he really was not too interested.
 The last activity was a variety of printables.  This weeks printables came from Gift of Curiosity and from 1+1+1=1.  Again, these were hit and miss, and I think he completed 2 during the week.  He did enjoy the rainbow pack of dot markers we got out!
I hope you enjoyed the start of spring!  How is Tot School going for you?

We linked up to the Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=1!  (Little Guy was featured for last week!)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tot School- P is for St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We worked on P is for St. Patrick's Day last week.  Here is what we did!

The first activity was Little Guy's favorite activity.  It is from Mummy Musings and Mayhem and will help with crossing the mid line.  I drew a large figure 8, then put it in a sheet protector and sealed it closed with packing tape (I don't have a laminator).  I stuck it in a ziplock bag and squeezed some hair gel into the bag.  I closed the bag and sealed it with packing tape (I didn't want Little Guy trying to get it open!) and the activity was ready!  It was fun to squish the gel around.  We tried rolling a toy car and a wooden train, and the train was easier to move around.  I think Little Guy did this activity every day this week!
The next activity was making shamrocks out of hearts.  I got out our heart punch again.  Little Guy could punch 4 hearts, then if we glued them with their points together it made a shamrock.  He experimented with how to make the hearts (like holding the punch up in the air, using one finger to push, pushing with his entire hand, etc.).  Being purposeful about how we are gluing things on is also a learning task for him.  I think his final picture came out great!
We had more printables this week from the St. Patrick's Day pack at Gift of Curiosity and the letter dot page from School Time Snippets.  He seemed to enjoy them this week (his interest in these comes and goes).
A new letter practice idea was lacing the letter from No Time for Flash Cards.  I cut the P out of a cereal box and punched holes all the way around.  Little Guy could lace the P however he wanted.
Another activity from the St. Patrick's Day pack at Gift of Curiosity was a color sort.  Little Guy first had to cut all the items apart, then identify them and if they were green or yellow.  He did a great job cutting them apart, and struggled to identify a few (which is to be expected, since they are not common objects).  We did not glue them on, thinking that we could sort again later in the week, but of course never did.
We tried an activity we had not done for a while from the St. Patrick's Day pack at Gift of Curiosity- Shadow Matching.  Little Guy had to match the leprechaun to his shadow.  I was a bit surprised at how well he did.  He did this activity twice during the week.
The last activity was playdough!  We made new green playdough for this week.  Little Guy even helped to make it.  We used the letter P playdough mat from Homeschool Creations.  It is always fun to get out new playdough!
How are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day?

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

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tot School- D is for Dr. Seuss

Oh my!  What a week we've had!  Sorry this is late!  Hope you had as much fun celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday as we did!  It was a fun D is for Dr. Seuss week.  Little Guy is 32 months old.

The first activity was pattern blocks to make a D or a dog. Little Guy did not want to complete this task, and I finally got him to complete the dog on Friday.  Needless to say, pattern blocks will be put away for a few weeks.
The next activity was so fun, but we worked on it together so I don't have any pictures of the work in progress!  We made our own Dr. Seuss hats!  We glued red strips of paper onto a big white piece of construction paper.  After it (mostly) dried, we taped them to make a cylinder.  I cut a big hold in a paper plate and taped it on to make the brim!
 The next activity used this pair of kitchen tongs that we picked up off the clearance table.  Little Guy used the tongs to take the little rubber balls out of the muffin tray, and then put them back in.
We had some cutting practice, from the Dr. Seuss Cut It Out pack by This Reading Mama.  Little Guy chose this several times during the week.
The next activity was a name and picture puzzle.  I glued a picture of Little Guy to 5 tongue depressors.  After the glue dried, I cut them apart then used stickers to spell his name at the top of the tongue depressors.  When he works on the puzzle, he will also be practicing his name.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures!

The next picture used bottle caps to make fish to go with the book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish!  I got the idea from I Heart Crafty Things.  Little Guy picked what color for the tail and glued it on.  He picked out a bottle cap and I glued it on.  Then we added a googly eye and some glitter glue to make our fish!  This was his favorite activity of the week!
We happen to have a dog puzzle, so that was also included.  This one is a little tricky for him, but he is still able to complete it.
The last activity was printables.  He had to stamp the D on this page from 1+1+1=1.  For another component, I put 6 pictures of things that start with D on a sheet, which he had to cut apart and glue on a large D.  While he enjoyed the cutting, he did not want to stamp.
Whew!  We are moving through the alphabet!  What have you been up to this week?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Being real

Remember the Olympic Rings we made during O is for Olympics in Tot School?  The pipe cleaners are all beaded, but the rings were never made.  Neither were the paper plate fact, I think only 3 out of the 5 were even painted. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about living life authentically.  Letting people see what is really there.  Sometimes (like some ideas that you can see on this blog and what I choose to share in real life), things are good.  Projects are completed, we are dressed and out of the house everyday, and the dishes get washed.  But other times things go unfinished, like the Olympic Rings.  And it isn't only in Tot School that things are left un- or half done.  I won't even tell you last the time I swept, and don't mention the bathrooms. Definitely have not been keeping up with my cleaning schedule that I made for myself. And my couponing!!!! I still haven't cut out coupons from last Sunday, and tomorrow is Sunday again!

Things I do (most of the time) are plan for Tot School, so we have learning opportunities.  I now plan for Stroller Strides, since I'm an instructor.  Dinner still gets made, and trips to the grocery store have to happen.  But other stuff, well, sometimes it goes by the wayside.

A friend recently shared that in motherhood, you draw a triangle.  On one point is "Your Sanity," another point is "A Clean House," and the third point is "Kids."  Only two of those points can happen at the same time, and since Kids are kinda non-negotiable, you can pick sanity or a clean house!  Maybe I have little of each (and sometimes I feel like its neither)!

Anyway, regardless of how clean my floors are, or if Tot School projects are completed or not, my goal is for Little Guy to feel loved, my husband to know he is appreciated (working on this one), and for me to feel like I am doing what I can to be a good wife and mother.

What are your daily goals?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tot School- C is for Car

This week seems like we are re-establishing routines.  Have you ever felt that way, when after a trip or vacation it takes a week or two to get life back to normal?  Anyway, Tot School has continued this week with C is for Car (and Little Guy, whose name starts with C!).  Little Guy is 32 months old.

The first activity was buttoning the letters of his name, which I wrote about here.  Some of the letters were a little bit tricky for him, and I had to line the two pieces of felt up together so he could button them.  I did miss out on photographs of this one.

Little Guy's favorite activity of the week was (by far) the popcorn sensory tub.  I put a bag of un-popped popcorn in a bin with a few C's that I could find (a cookie cutter, a magnetic letter, and a foam letter).  Little Guy loved putting his cars into the popcorn.  At one point in time, I think there were so many cars in the bin that you could no longer see the popcorn underneath!  He used this bin everyday, and after the first two days I required him to do at least one other activity before he could choose this one.
This week we had a variety of printables.  I used some printables from 1+1+1=1 that had the letter C and the dot marker page from School Time Snippets.  By the end of the week, he had not chosen any printables to do (he loved that popcorn bin!) so I had him use the dot markers on the C and then stamp some C's on another sheet.
I love pattern blocks, and was excited to find pattern block cards for the entire alphabet at Confessions of a Homeschooler!  These will make a great addition to our Tot School activities!  As Little Guy was working with the pattern blocks, it was a great time to use specific language with him, such as "orange square" and "blue trapezoid."  It was neat to hear him start to use the same terms (and its pretty cute to hear him say "trapezoid!).
For some cutting practice and to associate words that start with C, I put various pictures of things that start with C on sheet (I used clip art in Microsoft Word).  Little Guy had to cut the pictures apart and then he could glue them onto a big C.  The cutting practice was great, although Little Guy did get a little scissor happy and cut the picture of the crayons into little pieces. 
 This next activity was from a game that Grandma A. got for Little Guy.  There are a series of pictures and you have to link them together in order from smallest to biggest.  The game is self-checking in that only the pieces that match will fit together and each set of three has the same background color.  A few of the pictures were a little tricky (tricycle, bicycle, car), but we were able to work through it.  Little Guy seemed pleased when he completed all three sets that I had gotten out and completed the activity a few times during the week.
 The last activity brought the biggest smile to his face!  I put out some paint and some cars, and his job was to roll the cars in the paint and make tracks on the paper.  We used three different cars to make different tracks on the paper.  Little Guy really seemed to enjoy making the car tracks on the paper.  I was surprised that he only wanted to do this activity once!
What are you up to this week?

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