Sunday, July 4, 2010

Learning and Playing: Our Week in Review

 Here is an overview of what we did this week.  We use the Sonlight P3/P4 curriculum supplemented with some Montessori based tot school.

Learning Trays:
I had the following learning activities on the shelves for the kids--  (Note:  You can see more information on some of these activities by clicking on the links.)

1)  Cutting Practice (post coming soon!)

2)  Magnifying Glass Picture Match
 3)  Snake Counting Game
 5)  Lacing Beads
  6)  Pom-Pom Color Match (post coming soon!)

How We Use Learning Trays:
I keep the learning trays on a shelf in our "library".  When I first put out an activity I will show the kids how to "play the game" and how to put it away when they are finished.   Then, I leave them to it!  When they want to get out an activity, they are allowed.  If they are not interested, they can play with whatever they want instead. 

The green roll that you see in the top shelf is a rug that we use with the snake counting game.  I teach the kids how to roll it up and put it away when they are finished.  Sometimes that is more fun for them then the actual game. 

Some of these actives are repeats from last week.  I like to leave an activity out until I notice that they are no longer interested in it.  Why switch it out if they are still having fun with it?  Right?

Besides our Learning Activities, we had a lot of fun and playful learning moments at home and away.
Here is what we did this week.

The kids went to Nana's house to play at the pirate fort.    They also played in their swimming pool and had fun pouring and dumping water.

On Monday, we went to a special tot school themed playgroup hosted by a friend of mine.  (For more information on our tot school play group, check out Barefoot in Suburbia.)    The kids read some books, played with sidewalk chalk, water, and various tot school toys.  Sophia enjoyed covering a page with stickers and Marcus found another little boy to play star wars with.  I enjoyed some GREAT conversation and company.  So all in all, it was a great day.

 (Photo courtesy of barefoot in suburbia) 
The kids got out their Learning Trays in the morning.  Sophia worked on sorting by color, and matching with her magnifying glasses.  Marcus was interested in playing with the fishing puzzle and stringing some beads on a shoelace.  (He said he was making a necklace for Nana.)

We also spent lots of time cuddling on the couch and reading books together.  My kids love to be read to and I strive to create a literature rich environment for them.  One of the great tools that I have found to do that with is the Sonlight P3/P4 book list.   You can read more about what we read this week here

We spent some time working in the garden and harvested our first ripe tomato, along with some GIANT habenaro and jalapenos.

In honor of our first ripe tomato, I read the story The First Tomato by Rosemary Wells. 

Wednesday is our library day.  We usually go to the library as a family and all pick out some new books to read for the week.  After the library, we had a picnic lunch at the playground and did some playing.  Then, we went to dairy queen and ate ice cream.  This has become a weekly tradition this summer.  The kids enjoy it and really look forward to it.  It is so fun to create special memories like this.

When the kids woke up from their nap, we met some friends up at the park for the local outdoor summer concert series.  This week they had a juggler.  It was Marcus and Sophia's first time seeing someone juggle.  Afterwards, they did a lot of pretending that we were juggling.  I packed a picnic dinner and we enjoyed it together as we watched the concert.  It was such a fun time. 

After the concert, we went followed our friends to another park and played until almost 9:00PM at night.  We are really enjoying these long summer days! 

I realized later that we had eaten every single one of our meals under the blue sky on a picnic blanket.  How wonderful is that?  We are very lucky to have such beautiful weather that allows us to do this. 

The kids wanted to get out their learning trays again in the morning.   Here they are playing with the magnifying glass activity.

Then we read some more books.  After their nap, we went back to the park and played, played, played. 

On Friday we stayed home and played with our toys and learning trays.   Here Marcus is working on the lacing beads.  He said he was going to make a necklace for his Nana.  He loves his Nana.  :)
 And here is Sophia with the cutting tray.

We cuddled on the couch and read some books together.

The kids also worked on their letter A crafts.

Sophia made an Alligator in the shape of an A.
Marcus made an Alien in the shape of an A.

We went to the pool together as a family.   The kids enjoyed hot dogs, chips, and ice cream at the pool.  What is more American than that!?

In the afternoon, we were all very tired from swimming.  So, the entire family took a long relaxing two hour nap together. 

When we woke up, we made a special Independence Day craft.  You can read how to make it here.

 At night we went and watched the local fireworks together.  This has been a family tradition since before Doug and I were married.  It is even more fun now that we have some children to share it with.  We set up a place on the field with some lawn chairs.

 We also bring a blanket and pillows so that we can lay down and watch the fireworks together.

We got there early and played on the playground.

Then, we laid on the blanket in the field and watched the fireworks in the field.

 To see what some other kids are doing this week, check out:

Tot School

preschool corner


Fiona said...

Looks a great week-I like those trays! How do you find it having a 16 months gap. I have an 18 month gap with my two and it is hard as they have such different abilities and attention spans

Terra said...

I'm jealous that ya'll get to eat outside and play at the park all the time. It's just way too hot down here (Southeast Texas), plus we had lots of rain recently from Hurricane Alex.
I love the trays. I really need to implement the trays into our routine.

Our Family said...

Looks like you had a fun-filled week. Where did you get your trays?- they seem a little bigger than other ones I've seen.

Giggly Girls said...

Looks like fun!

We use those bug catching tongs for pom poms too. LOL

Cathy said...

Hi Jessica,

Our trays are from Old Tyme Pottery ( They are more baskets than trays. They are very strong and they hold a lot. My kids use these to stand on all of the time. :)

If you have one of these stores near you, I highly recommend them. They sell lots of cool stuff for very little money. You can get baskets, dishes, candles, pitchers, trays, rugs, etc. etc.

Cathy said...


To answer your question, having children 16 months apart can be challenging! However, I think that in some ways it is easier for me because my youngest is a girl. (It looks like you are the other way around, right?) Girls tend to mature a little faster in some things (like fine motor skills, etc.) So she can do many of the same things that her brother can. She at least makes an attempt to do it. ;)

The downside of having a boy as the oldest sibling is that most boys are not very into helping with a new baby.

Anyway, that is my experience. It is nice to get to meet another mama with "2 under 2". :)

Keep in touch,


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