Friday, July 31, 2009

Playful Learning-Tot School

Tot School

(Sophia is 15 months old and Marcus is 32 months old.)

We had a great week of playful learning at our house this week.

First, we had a little "life school" when we visited the zoo. We are very blessed to live 20 minutes from the world famous Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Which, by the way, was recently rated the number one zoo in the USA thanks largely to Dublin, Ohio native Jack Hanna! (Go C-BUS!!) Sorry, I just had to plug our hometown!

Last weekend we made a trip there to visit the newborn baby elephant. The baby elephants official name is Beco, but Marcus told me that he wants to call the baby elephant Jumbo Jr. (I personally think that he came up with a great name too!)

And...of course, the kids favorite, the MERRY GO 'ROUND!!!

Today, we did our first official day of Tot School. A big hit today were our Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks. I love this toy. It teaches the kids so many things. When I first brought this toy out (several weeks ago), I have to admit that it didn't really hold Marcus's attention. But,I didn't give up and kept just bringing it out and now he loves it. He is too young to really understand sequencing the letters or numbers. But, he is learning about basic architecture (straightening the blocks to make the tower more stable) and also about size differences.

Sophia also enjoyed the blocks. I am noticing that both of the kids are making leaps and bounds in their hand eye coordination and fine motor development.

Another big hit was stacking up the blocks, and then having our stuffed spider man tackle the tower to knock it down. We had a couple of sibling fights over this when Sophie tried knocking down Marcus's tower with Superman too. Finally we had to make a rule that you were only allowed to knock down towers that you had built. :)

After the blocks Sophia had some fun lacing the beads.

She still needs a lot of help with this. But, I know from past experience with Marcus that one day she will just amaze me and be able to do it on her own.

Marcus played with his dress up bears. He still needs some guidance to get the pieces into the proper places. But, he loves to tell stories using the puzzle which I think it very fun. I love that it encourages narration because is so great to hear the different things he makes up about the various outfits, facial expressions, etc. This toy also teaches different emotions. (We work on labeling the faces as happy, scared, sad, angry, sleeping, etc.) And it also teaches about weather and dressing. We talk about why the bear might want to wear his rain coat vs. his PJs for example.

Next we pulled out the stack and sort board. I can't say enough good things about this toy. First of all, it is wildly engaging. The kids LOVE it. Secondly, it is so easy to learn from. It teaches colors, shapes, counting, sorting by color and shape, etc. I would even go as far to say that this is probably the best toy you could buy for 10 bucks!

Sophia doesn't quite understand sorting yet. But, she was VERY good at lining up the pegs into the shapes holes. She did that like a pro.

I was also proud that her big brother was trying to teach her how to sort by shape and color.

And here is Marcus doing the puzzle for the 11th time that morning! He loves this toy.

Another favorite in our house is their pound and roll tower. Marcus loves this toy. And Sophia is just now catching the "pound and roll fever"! We use this toy to discuss colors, "Hand me the blue ball Sophia!" and to practice our hand eye coordination.

After naps we went outside and made some "feelie goup". This was a BLAST. I probably enjoyed this as much as the kids did even though it made a huge mess. We all had so much fun! Here is a picture of the messy fun!



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