I love doing Tot School with J! We are very laid back and so far I don't really plan anything. I keep a lot of things visible to J and let him lead when it's time to do some focused learning-play. We had a fun week!
J wanted help to get out his Melissa and Doug dinosaur puzzle. He likes to lie on his tummy and work on fitting the pieces together. This is a more chunky puzzle that he can work mostly on his own and loves my encouragement when he finds a piece that fits. He did ask for help a few times. I just coached him by telling him how to turn the puzzle pieces he was trying to fit in. We were working together pretty well, but then he got his mind set on putting a piece where it didn't fit. He got a bit pushy when I tried to show it didn't fit and pushed my hand away. So I told him I was taking a little break. He didn't end up finishing it.
L has a penny jar he has been keeping for at least a couple years now. J loves putting pennies in it. We found a few that he was able to put in. Not too long and it will be full! It'll be great to see how much is in it.
I was building a shelf for toy storage and right away J says, "I'll help!" He wanted a screwdriver so I gave him one and he pretended to help put the screws in. He said "I'm building momma!"
J has been playing with the real screwdriver a few times since and pretending to "build" things. Also at our playgroup PalZone, he was really interested in playing with the tools and workbench like I haven't seen before. I've been wondering what I might get him for Christmas and I am thinking of a toy tool set with tools and a construction helmet.
I also needed to use a hammer for my shelf. J of course said he could hammer, and I remembered we have a little hammer and peg board so I got that out. J sat hammering away right next to me while I built the shelf. Even after I was done, he kept hammering away having me take the pegs out so he could start over again. He got this out several times throughout the week to hammer away. I tried to teach him he could get the pegs out by turning the board upside down. This worked for him some of the time and other times he'd just ask me to help.
My friend brought over her son again this week so she could substitute teach. The boys did pretty well together since I was there to referee when there was a squabble. We played inside before lunch and then got outdoors to enjoy some of the wonderful weather we had this week. They didn't even need coats. They enjoyed things like sidewalk chalk and bubbles. They also spent some time just running around too.
J was looking for something to do and was asking for one of his puzzles but I couldn't find it. Then I remembered I bought a few bags of beans we could play with. So I dumped red beans, black beans and yellow split peas into a bin. I got him a couple shovels, containers to transfer into and also a stacking cup to use for pouring. He did the scooping and transferring for a while then turned to pouring. Then I started hiding little things in the beans and asking him to find them. He was really excited about this. He'd say, "What is it? It's a surprise!" I hid a stacking ring, then his little animals, then a pair of his sunglasses. At one point, I hid 4 little animals for him to find. He said, "I have work to do!" and got busy searching. He experimented with what he could hide in there too. His Mickey Mouse stuffed animal and blankie were too big though.
J wanted to get in my storage cupboard where I've been keeping a flower arranging project for a while. I got this idea from another Tot School blog, The Toy Box Years and J really wanted to try it. I found some flowers from the craft store along with some styrofoam to stick them in. I let J do all the arranging but had to help a bit to get the flowers in deep enough to stand up. As he went, he kept talking about "the contest" saying "this is for the contest". I don't know where that idea came from! He was very proud of himself when it was done and wanted to do more, but we had used them all so he just pulled them out and started over. When he was all done, he admired his work saying "I won! Ta Da!"
We had some fun stacking and knocking down (or pile driving really) dominoes. J started out with the idea that we would match dominoes, but then had more fun knocking stacks of them over. We both were stacking and J was knocking over his own, but once he noticed I was stacking mine too he couldn't resist knocking mine over. I gave him some instructions to see how high we could stack them before knocking them down and he did hold back a bit. It was so tempting for him to knock them over though since he got into making sounds effects and sort-of pile driving them all over the place with both hands. I tried to get a good before and after shot with them all over the place.
On one of the days that was nice out, J wanted to go outside and do some bowling. It's been a while since we did this but we always enjoy it. I set the pins up and J helps with that a little bit. Then I let him knock them down. This time he preferred to keep holding onto the bowling ball as he knocked the pins over. I let him know this wouldn't pass at a real bowling alley! He kept saying, "Go away wind!" since the wind knocked some pins down a couple times too.
We also took some time again for one of our favorite nature activities, feeding the birds. This time, J got a couple small buckets so he could help distribute seed. He would fill his bucket from my big bucket, and then pour it into our larger wooden feeder. He also had fun picking out the peanuts and putting them into a little seed holder on the ground (no picture). While we were filling the feeders, we were blessed to have a chickadee come and land about 3 feet away from us! He was waiting for us to finish (no picture since we stood stock still, well at least I did - J tried).
Handy Manny Cookie Rescue
The Nose Book
One Drowsy Dragon
Please say Please! Penguin's Guide to Manners
Sounds Around Town
Ralph S. Mouse and more exciting animal adventure stories (A Scholastic video)
Barney and Friends - Just Imagine
Handy Manny - The Big Race
Just Plain Fun
On the day my friend's son was over playing, J decided it would be fun to put his mom's bag on his head. He sat there laughing while I ran for the camera and was able to snap off a few pictures. This one turned out the best.
I bought some really cute big boy underpants as one of the things I'm doing to encourage him to start using the potty. He was interested at first, but now he's kind of forgotten about them. So I got them out and was just plain silly putting them on his head to see what he'd do. He thought this was really funny too and ran around the house with them on his head.
One night, J was not tired at all for bed. We had friends over earlier in the evening and he was pretty wound up. He took out a bunch of toys and I found them all lined up on the couch (too bad his eyes are half closed here). Then he found this honey dipper thing and was using it like a conductor's wand and was singing his heart out. He sang the ABC's, he made up a song about the animals and toys that he loves and sang Where is Thumbkin. (I'll be adding a video of it to my Tiny Talk Tuesday post next week ;)