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!
Playing with Blocks
J picked his alphabet blocks to play with today. First he was lining them all up together in a square shape on the floor. Then he brought them to the window shelf and was stacking them. As he put on block on top of the other, he'd say the name of the object inside. He'd see how high he could stack them until they fell over. Sometimes, he just knocked them over himself.
This week we read a book called Mouse Paints. Our teacher Birch covered up all the tables with white paper and the kids got to paint. We used shaving cream and red, yellow and blue paint. J had such a great time blending and mixing the colors together with a craft stick. He and one other girl were the last ones to leave the activity. Birch started cleaning up so I was telling J it was time to finish, but Birch let them keep going. He said there are usually 1 or 2 kids who get so into the activity and the sensory experience of it that he just lets them go. So J stayed a bit longer. He had fun painting his hands and then mixing the colors with his fingers too.
Christmas Sensory Bin
We made a trip out to the crafts store so I could get a sensory bin together with a Christmas theme. Some of the things in it were mini Christmas trees, wreaths, presents, ornaments, jingle bells all in a cute Christmas box. J liked digging in to the box and seeing what he could find. At first, he played with the stickers just pulling them off the page. Then he discovered the mini presents. He came running to me with some Styrofoam and I saw that he learned how to unwrap these tiny little gifts! You'll see the picture where I caught him doing it and then the next picture he had a sinister laugh when he found out I wasn't mad.
One morning J got asked if he could put his toys in the sink. That was fine with me, so I helped him pick out toys that were water-friendly. He did this in the past with beads, but I think he liked this even more. He liked trying to predict what would float and then loved narrating what was happening as he placed different things in the water. Then he got a shovel so he could stir and he wanted me to stir a bit too.
We worked a little bit with learning how to blow bubbles. In the past, J has been more interested in chasing and popping the bubbles, but today he did work on blowing them. It took him a few times, but then he was getting the hang of it.
Titus Mom's Group
This is a group that meets at my church. Every other week, we have a play group that meets in the gym in the fall and winter. It is a great time for moms to meet and talk and J loves playing with all the different toys everyone brings to share. Not only is it hard for J to share what he's playing with at the play group, but it's hard for him to see others playing with his toys that we bring to the group. To help with that, a bit ago I started having him pick out with me the toys that he would feel comfortable sharing. Today he was really excited about the things he wanted to share and he knew what he wanted to keep at home. He fell in love with a race car helmet and wore it the majority of the time. It was good to see him on the big wheel too, as we don't have many riding toys for him to play on.
I saw dozens of different Advent calendars on various blogs but I didn't get around to making my own. Instead, a friend gave us a chocolate Advent calendar which is the kind we opened when I was a kid. To add to the experience, I found a downloadable Advent Celebration book from a blog I follow called Holy Experience. I read each day's one during my quiet time, then when daddy gets home we talk about the verse of the day, the meaning behind it and how it relates to the coming of Jesus and then J opens his Advent door on the calendar. One day, he was more interested in The Little Drummer Boy book by Kristina Rodanas. Each page has the words to the song of the Little Drummer Boy with beautiful illustrations. I sang the song while describing what was happening in the pictures, telling the story to J.
Christmas Tree Matching Game from Musings of Me
I am finally doing more printables and it's great to see J enjoy them. This was a good matching test for J. The Christmas tree patterns were pretty similar and once J got started he did miss a couple. I would point them out and he'd put them in the right place. I took a little video of him since it was so cute the little commentary he had while he was playing.
Magazine Picture Collage
While I was reading my Parents magazine, I had the idea to cut out some of the cute kid-related pictures and have J make a collage. I wanted to try some new activities and give him the chance to work on using the glue stick. This was a great activity for him and I actually had a lot of fun putting it together and then seeing which pictures he liked best. By the end, he knew to put the glue on the back of the picture. In the beginning, he was putting the pictures on top of one another, but then he was following my instructions and learned to space them out across the page. He loved naming the objects and talking about them as he placed them across the page. I love how in the last picture he looks so satisfied with his work. We will definitely do this one again.
Christmas Tree Shape Identification from 1+1+1=1
This is a game where you put the large shape picture with the Christmas tree that has that matching ornament shape on it. I wasn't sure how J would do with this since the ornament shapes are fairly small. This was very easy for him so he did it pretty quickly, but then he cleared them off and did it a couple more times too. We took some time going through each shape to see if he could name them. He's gotten better at identifying his shapes, as he knew all of them here except for the rectangle and pentagon.
Dumping and Sorting
I was organizing our Tot School area and putting small things into little jars. J found a couple jars and asked if he could dump them out. One was marbles and one was black stones. I had no problem with this and could see it turning into a sorting activity. So I had him dump them into his dump truck. Then he dumped them onto the floor and had fun with that part. Next, I guided him in sorting the marbles and the stones putting them back into the jars. At first, he just grabbed handfuls and was shoving them in willy nilly. It took me a few times of giving the instructions to him and he started sorting them into the right jars and was really excited about it. Then he got to dump them back out again.
See the fun things other moms are doing at the Weekly Wrap Up, another place I link up.