Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tot School: Week of October 26

Tot School
Lauren is 36 weeks old. Her objectives for this week were:

  • fine motor control: squeezing an eyedropper, using playdough, stringing beads, lacing, spooning, painting
  • gross motor control: balancing while walking on a line, throwing a bean bag
  • recognizing and identifying letters (A,C,L,O,P)
  • counting up to six objects
  • identifying shapes
  • matching identical pictures
  • creative expression: painting, sculpting playdough
  • reciting songs and poems

    • Tot Trays
      For Tot Trays this week I followed Karen at Monkeyin' Around's idea and set the activities at each of the chairs of our kitchen table. Lauren moved around the table doing the activities that she wanted to do. This worked out really well! One day my older daughter, Julia, joined us for Tot Trays so you will see a few pictures of her.

      Painting with fall colors was a fun activity. An ice cube tray makes a nice paint tray. When Tot School was over I covered the tray with foil and put it away until the next day.

      Orange playdough with rolling pins and pumpkin cookie cutters are always a hit.

      I bought this puzzle at Target's dollar spot. She loved this tray and chose it everyday.

      Stamping pumpkins with orange ink was only slightly interesting to Lauren. Later in the week I put the stamp on the playdough tray and Lauren made impressions in the playdough.

      For this activity she used a spoon to transfer orange and green pom poms into a pumpkin ice tray.

      The idea behind this tray is to push the chenille sticks through the holes in the salt shaker and then put the beads on the chenille sticks. I got this idea from My Montessori Journey.

      Julia enjoyed pushing the sticks through the holes but did not want to add the beads.

      On the other hand, Lauren loved stringing the beads onto the sticks but did not want to push the sticks into the shaker. Either way, each girl enjoyed this tray and had some practice using that all important pincer grasp.

      This was a fun activity. Lauren chose a small pumpkin card and then used the magnetic facial features to recreate the pumpkin. I downloaded this from Kidssoup is a subscription site that I have used frequently this past year.

      For this tray Lauren paired the matching pumpkins. Later in the week I added three more pumpkins so she could match six. The pumpkins are very similar so she needed to look closely to make sure they matched. This was another Kidssoup download.

      Mommy Directed Activities
      She really enjoyed playing Latches and Letters. Here is a post that explains what we did.

      We sang this rebus shape song to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. I printed this chart from the Mailbox Magazine online companion a couple of years ago when I subscribed to the magazine.

      Lauren practiced counting to six during this activity. She rolled the die, counted the dots, and then placed the correct number of little gourds on the mat.

      She laced a paper pumpkin. She has lots of experience with lacing cards but usually she laces haphazardly. This was the first time I showed her how to lace around the card.

      For more Tot School fun visit 1+1+1=1.

      Thursday, October 29, 2009

      Latches and Letters

      In this activity Lauren was able to exercise her hand muscles, memory, and letter knowledge all at the same time. But don't tell her she was learning, she was sure it was just a lot of fun!

      To play this game we used our Melissa and Doug Latches Board, six sandpaper letters, and six small letter cards.

      Lauren chose a small letter card, identified the letter, and hid it behind one of the doors. She continued until all of the letters were hid.

      Then I showed her a sandpaper letter and she traced the letter, identified the letter, and searched behind the doors until she found the letter. She continued until she found all of the letters. I knew this activity was a hit when she asked to play it again the next day!

      Saturday, October 24, 2009

      Tot School Week of October 19

      Tot School

      I had more planned this week but illness in our family made this another light week for tot school. Lauren's learning objective this week were:

    • Fine motor control: pouring, tracing with finger
    • Balancing while walking on a line
    • Throwing and catching a bean bag
    • Understand that print carries a message
    • Tracking print from right to left, top to bottom
    • Identifying letters
    • Ordering objects by size

    • Here are a few pictures of this week's work:
      Lauren had fun painting pumpkins as part of our stART project.

      Here she is pouring beans into a cup.

      Lauren ordered five lids from smallest to largest...

      and then stacked them.

      She also ordered five pumpkin pictures from smallest to largest.

      She enjoyed walking along a six foot long piece of rope. This took a great deal of balance.

      It was even more challenging to walk the rope while holding an object. Lauren carried a bag and walked on the rope to me. Then she said, "Trick or treat" and I put a block in her bag. She liked doing this so much I thought she would never stop!

      Lauren tracked the print while we sang her Lauren Song.

      We also read our Halloween Pumpkins poem.

      She had fun using her finger to write letters in colored salt.

      After Lauren traced each of the sandpaper letters I named a letter and she held it up.

      When big sister Julia spent some time writing in her journal Lauren decided to join her.

      So, here she is "writing" in her journal. She worked hard making several rows of small, pink circles. I love the look of concentration on her face.

      Lauren also enjoyed a scooter ride along a local nature trail.

      For more Tot School fun visit 1+1+1=1.

      Thursday, October 22, 2009

      stART- It's Pumpkin Time

      Michelle at A Mommy's Adventures has a great weekly feature called stART. She reads a book to her little girl and then they do an art project. I've enjoyed seeing the great projects that other bloggers have done with their kids so I thought I would join in this week.

      For our story we read It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall and Shari Halpern. This simple story chronicles the growth of a pumpkin. The simple, bold illustrations inspired our project this week.

      We copied the style of the illustrator to make these pumpkin vine mobiles.

      We began by tracing pumpkin shapes on white construction paper. We used the medium sized pumpkin from Preschool Express' pumpkin patterns.

      The girls painted the pumpkins orange.

      Then they used a little red or yellow paint to add dimension to the pumpkins.

      I love the different colors of the pumpkins!

      To make the vine, the girls painted a paper plate green and then added a little yellow paint. They also cut out and painted leaves.

      We cut the plate into a spiral.

      We used curling ribbon to attach the pumpkins to the vine and hung them from the ceiling fan.

      To see what others have done for stART visit A Mommy's Adventures.

      Wednesday, October 21, 2009

      Halloween Writing Center

      We have some fun new Halloween themed additions to our writing center.

      The girls and I had fun making these glittery cards. We glued some white paper inside each card for the girls to write on.

      I used Microsoft clip art to make these. The girls can use them to make cards for their friends or they can write a short story inside. Download the cards here.

      We have several sheets of Halloween words bound together in sheet protectors.

      Here is a sample of what is inside our Halloween words book. I purchased these words from

      The writing station also has our usual materials: journals, blank books, story paper, pads of paper, and various writing and drawing tools. The addition of a few new, interesting materials always renews the girls interest in using the writing station.

      Tuesday, October 20, 2009

      Halloween Pumpkins Poem Chart

      The newest addition to our poem chart collection features simple text with strong picture/text match. The text is easy for my three year old to follow as she practices following text from left to right and top to bottom. This poem can also be used to emphasize descriptive words and opposites.

      Download a copy of this poem here.

      Saturday, October 17, 2009

      Tot School: Week of October 12

      Tot School

      I didn't have any written plans for tot school this week so we had to wing it. Here are some snapshots from Lauren's week:

      sorting letters on the white board,

      making a caterpillar c,

      cutting paper strips on the lines,

      gluing the cut paper and glitter onto an apple shape,

      using an eye dropper to transfer water,

      playing in the pom pom tub with friends,

      trying to make play dough balls,

      scooping and pouring rainbow rice from the rice tub,

      using a slotted spoon to scoop and shift magnetic letters from a bowl of rainbow rice,

      and making Mr. Potato Head's friends.

      To see what others did for Tot School visit 1+1+1=1.