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. Thanks for stopping by!
I found a pair of toddler safety scissors at the dollar store. I've only worked with J a couple times so far on using scissors while at our PalZone play group craft time so I thought we'd do this a couple times. He tries to use them with two hands so I worked on showing him how to hold it with one hand. I put his fingers in and then put mine in with his and we were able to cut out pictures from a magazine together. Now whenever I'm using scissors, he wants to use them too (of course). So on another day while I was cutting out contact paper, I got out his scissors again and he was cutting up our junk mail. He was able to cut a couple pieces, but had a really hard time keeping his fingers in the hole properly. This will be fun to see him master this as we practice and practice.
This is a memory matching game, yet we do it with the cards upturned. A lot of the pictures are very similar, so I worked a lot on the idea of a perfect match. So he started off matching somewhat similar cards together, but then was getting the notion of an exact match. When we were done with that, I was able to get J to help me put them back into the container.
J pulled out our little foam pumpkins again this week. He was narrating while he was putting the mouth and eyes on. He told me he was making happy pumpkin faces.
Zoo Animal Pop-Up Toy
J has pulled out this toy a few times recently after not playing with it for several months. I think it was because we were reading Rumble in the Jungle and then watching Goodnight Gorilla. He liked naming each animal as it popped up and it was also a good counting exercise for him. It seems like it wasn't long ago (less than a year maybe) that he had a lot of trouble working the mechanisms to have them pop up. Now he can do all of them with ease.
Coloring in his coloring books continues to be a favorite activity. I have been printing pages off the internet lately and took some pictures of the Thanksgiving pictures he colored.
Reading to Himself
J got a set of Winnie the Pooh books from L's friend at work. He likes to take the box out of the cupboard and find a nice place to "read" them. These are the old classic Winne the Pooh stories.
Alphabet Flash Cards
I got out the alphabet flash cards and he played with them a little bit. Mostly, what he likes to do is identify the object in the pictures or talk about them. I also worked with him a little bit on letter identification. I also spent some time trying to hunt down a good alphabet puzzle. Somewhere I saw a puzzle where each letter has 2 halves that they put together like A for Apple and you connect the A part with the Apple picture. I haven't found what I'm looking for yet, in case anyone has good ideas to share.
Pal Zone Craft
Every Wednesday, we go to a play group called Pal Zone put on by our local Family Enhancement Center. The kids have a time of open play. They have tons of toys yet I'm often this week J was upset when anyone touched something he had played with. He would immediately want it back and get into a tug of war. After the open play, we gather in another room for a story and craft. This week we read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" at circle time. This was a rhyming book where on each page they meet a new animal. After the book, the kids got to make a bear mask. J loved coloring his and then helping me tape the stick to the back. Once his mask was ready, he went around to several of the kids and their moms making bear sounds while putting the mask up to his face. He loved growling and roaring and the moms loved growling back at him. (The picture above was once we got home.)
Squirrel with Acorn Size Matching
J couldn't wait for me to get this one ready. I finally did a printable activity! I've been wanting to do this for a while. My inspiration came from a post on The Ramblings and Adventures of a SAHM and the actual printable was from Teena's Teacher Tidbits. I don't have a laminator so I got contact paper so these are a little sturdier than just paper. He seemed to understand pretty well what we were up to when I showed this too him. First, I took the different-sized acorns and mixed them all together on the floor. Then I showed him we would take the acorns and place them on the paper according to size; small, medium and large. He started off OK, but then started mixing some of them up so I decided to explain it a bit differently. I explained that the small squirrel needs the small acorns, the medium squirrel needs the medium acorns, etc. Then when he'd put a large on the small page I'd tell him that acorn is too large for the small squirrel so he would find the right one. A couple times he got frustrated when I would correct him, and he'd start laughing and start wildly pushing the acorns all around the floor. He thought that was pretty fun too, to mess them all up and then start over. I think we'll have lots of fun with this in time to come.
Music and Color Naming
J got out his little piano but had trouble finding the mallet. Once he found the mallet, he played the xylophone and called out the colors he was hitting, "red, orange, green, yellow", etc. He hits it very hard, so it's just a bit hard on the ears.
The Berenstain Bears say Please and Thank You
The Day of the Dinosaur, Stan Berenstain
Going to the Zoo
Rumble in the Jungle
Two Blue Jays
Go Diego Go, The Great Panda Adventure
Handy Manny Big Race
Bing Crosby I Wish You a Merry Christmas
Songs Kids Love to Sing, 25 Sunday School Songs
Veggie Tales Favorite Lullaby Songs
A Child's Celebration of Rock and Roll
Just Plain Fun
We are members of our local Y (YMCA) and they have a fun kids time Friday night at in the gym. They have a large inflatable jumpity jump and a large supply of soft balls to throw around. I'm not sure which was more fun for J, running around the gym or playing in the water fountain.
Out for Pizza; True Italian
We invited a family to dinner this week. On a pretty regular basis, they volunteer to watch J for us so L and I can have a date night. The parents enjoy having a toddler around and their kids really love hanging out with him. So we treated them to pizza at Pizza Brutta, an authentic Italian pizza place where they make the pizza in a wood oven. Our friends are from France, and they love real Italian pizza. In the pictures, L had fun teasing J playing keep-away with his Nuk. For a while, we had him weaned off Nuk to just naps and overnight, but it has slowly crept back (as you'll notice in some of our Tot School pictures). J also was learning how to trace his hand with friend Katell.
Mommy's Favorite; Fluffernutter Face
Recently, I introduced J to one of my childhood favorites, Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Fluff; aka the Fluffernutter. He loves it! I snapped a picture of a day he got the marshmallow all over his mouth and was quite proud of it.