Sunday, August 29, 2010

What we did all day...

 (Marcus is 45 months old and Sophia is 28 months old)

Here are some of our recent adventures learning and playing--

On the Learning Shelves:
*To see more information on how we use our learning shelves, please visit this tot school post here.
I rotated the following toys/activites out on the shelves this week:

1)  3D Feel & Find--  This was a HUGE hit with the kids this week.  Sophia and Marcus would just crack up laughing every time we brought this out to play.   To play this game, you put the different 3D shaped blocks into the "mystery bag".  Then, you try to feel around and find that block that matches your tile.  To make it easier, I started out with only 3 shapes that were very different from each other.  By the end of the week they seemed to need more of a challenge, so I added in a fourth shape. 

3D Feel & Find

2)   See & Spell Puzzles--  This was another activity that both kids enjoyed.  I liked this activity because they had enough letters and puzzle tiles for both kids to play at once.  I started out the week with all of the letters and puzzles out.  However, I could tell that it was overwhelming for Sophia.  She was having problems finding the correct letters.  So I put away all of the longer word puzzles and left out only the three letter word puzzles.  I also only put out the letters that worked with the puzzle.  Sophia had a lot more success this way. 
Melissa & Doug See & Spell

3)  Bead Sequencing Set--  I have to admit that I was not happy with the quality of this activity.  The wooden cards are really difficult to get into the slots.  You have to really cram them in.  No way could a child do this by themselves.  Also, we seem to be short a purple bead that is needed to complete the first pattern.  I need to contact the manufacturer...but, you know, it is just annoying that I have to do that.  The kids enjoyed this activity very much.  They didn't seem to get the idea of following the patterns, but they did enjoy building "towers" by stringing the beads.  We will continue to work on the patterns later on.  I just brought this out as an introduction.
Melissa & Doug Bead Sequencing Set

We are doing a very laid back apple unit study this month and next.  So I made a red play dough scented with real ground cinnamon to go with the apple theme.  This is my new favorite play dough recipe.  The smell is indescribably.  It has an amazing texture unlike any other dough recipe I have tried before, AND, it has a great shelf life.  My kids have left this play dough out and uncovered for hours and hours this week.  All I usually need to do is kneed it a few times, and recover it and it is good to go.  Gotta love that!  You can view the recipe here.

5)  Wedgets
The whole family had fun playing with wedgits this week.  I have to admit that Doug was much better at building with these than I was. 
I put these out on the shelf in a basket/tray thing, with a building board, and a few of the easier design cards to give them some ideas.  The kids didn't care much for the building board or the design cards.  They had a lot more fun just building with them on their own. 
WEDGiTS Deluxe Set - 30 Piece Set

Nature Study:
We went on two nature walks this week.  The first was throgh a wooded area and then metro garden.  The second trip was a visit exploring a stream.  You can read about our adventures and why we study nature here.

Litterature & Reading with Mommy:
You've heard of Oprah's book club right?  Well, Sophia and Marcus have their own little book club .  I let them pick the books they want to read during the week.  Here are their picks for this week.   You can check out their past choices by looking at the "weekly reading" labeled entries. 

Field Trips:
We also went on a field trip to the post office.   We actually did this a few weeks ago, but couldn't blog about it until now because I didn't want to give my grandparents a chance to read their letters before they had a chance to open them!  :)   

We were reading in the book What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scary about how post offices work. 
Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day
Fantastic Book! 
The kids decided that they wanted to receive some mail of their own.  I told them that in order to receive mail, they needed to write a letter to someone.  So we wrote to their great grandma and grandpa.   I let them pick the colors of paper and marker that they wanted to use.  On one side they drew them a picture  (Their "writing")  and on the other side they dictated a letter for me to write to them.

Here are Sophia's letters:

Sophia drew some pictures for Great Grandma and Grandpa

Sophia (aka She-She) then dictated what she wanted to write to Grandma and Grandpa.  These letters cracked me up.  My favorite line is "You're Grandma.  I She-She." I like this in a letter, sometimes we need simple reminders like this.   I also thought her letter to Grandpa was very sweet.    Also, can you tell that she likes Winnie the Pooh?  :)

Here are Marcus's letters:
Marcus took "writing a letter" very literally and literally wrote the letter M on one page.  The orange page is what he said was the "number 10".  I don't see it, but that is what he says he wrote.

Unlike Sophia, Marcus did not beat around the bush in his letters.  He got right to the point and asked his Grandparents to "write him back". 

Here are some snaps of taking the kids to the post office to mail their letters.  Sure I could have just put the flag up on our mail box...but this was more fun.

I found some Easel Art Pages on the blog "Making Learning Fun".  The idea is that kids paint simple objects by following graphic instructions.  I printed out an apple to go with our theme.  (Also becasue an apple is one of the more simple designs to print.)  Marcus showed no interest in wanting to paint on the easel.  Sophia was very eager to try this.
I laid out three baby food jars filled with red, green, and brown paint.  I also gave her three matching paint brushes so the colors would stay separate.  

Here is Sophia and the apple that she painted in the background.  If you can tell, she tried to paint a red circle, a brown stem, and a green leaf. 

I honestly regret introducing this art project to her.   I showed her how to follow the instruction and paint the apple.  (Which she did.)  But it seemed to take a lot of the joy out of her painting.  Before she would just go wild and cover the board with dripping paint.  But after I showed her the instructions she seemed to second guess everything she painted and wanted to know if it was "right" or not.  That kind of made me sad.  So I have decided that I like the unstructured art activities a lot more for now.  I won't be doing another one of these easel projects for awhile.  I would rather her just have fun and experiment with the process of painting at this age.

Well, if you have made it this far..  CONGRATULATIONS!!  Sorry for such a long post, but we had lots and lots of fun to share. 

Also, please check out the Ultimate Alphabet Craft Collection on my blog.  It is a collective of many, many great ideas for teaching children letter recognition and sounds.

To see what other tots have been doing this week, please visit this blog here.

Thanks for reading!!
Friday, August 27, 2010

Notable Entries to the Ultimate Alphabet Craft Exchange--Part 1

  The Attached Mama’s Ultimate Alphabet Craft Collection

A huge THANK YOU goes out to all of the people who have linked up their ideas to the Ultimate Alphabet Craft Collection.  The collection keeps growing and growing.  It truly has become a one-stop-shop for great alphabet craft ideas thanks to your help.  I have gained so much inspiration from all of the great ideas.  I hope you have too.

ALL of the ideas linked up are fantastic.  I wanted to share with you my personal picks for the letters A-H today:

Letter A

I love this idea from the blog Inspiration Astounds Creativity Abounds.  It is a great idea to get all of those large muscle groups involved in learning the alphabet.  Playing off of "A is for Acrobat" she made a huge letter A out of masking tape on the floor.  The kids then play a game where they have to walk the letter A like a tight rope.  I know my kinesetic learners will love this idea.  This game and other ideas are available for download on her blog.

Letter B

Check out this cooking craft for the letter B from Mama Jenn.  It is an edible Bird's Nest.  Isn't it lovely?  And I bet it tastes delicious!

Letter C

For those that know me, I love cardinals dearly.  So I know we will have to try this "C is for Cardinal" idea from the blog The Fantastic Five.

Letter D

If you haven't checked out the blog, Our Life you are missing out!  It is a beautiful blog full of many great ideas.  I love her Letter D crafts and activities.  Her family learned that D is for Dirt.  (How fun is that?!) And they made a cute "D is for Dots" craft.

Letter E
Totally Tots has a complete collection of both upper and lower case alphabet crafts.  This is one of my favorite as I think it turned out adorable.  It is an Egg for the lowercase letter e.

Letter F
The blog This and That has a whole page of Letter F activiites and crafts.  I liked this "F is for Feather" craft that they did.  I think that the tactile element of this craft would make it irrestible for most kids.

Letter G
Brimful Curiosities made a GIANT Giarff from the letter G.  Didn't it turn out amazing?

Letter H
I think that this is such a cute letter H craft.  This comes from The Sellers who learned that H is for Hearts.

So these are my personal picks for the week.  What are yours?   If this collection has been a blessing to you, please leave the blogs a comment letting them know you appreciate all of their hard work.

To see the complete collection of Alphabet Crafts visit this page here.

I will be highlighting some additional crafts next week in part 2 of this entry. 

Thanks for reading!

This post is linked up to Preschool Corner!  :)
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

 There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry.
~ Emily Dickinson ~

 Here are just some of the books that Sophia and Marcus picked out to read this week...
1)  Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Harry the Dirty Dog

2)  Curious George in the Snow by H.A. Rey
Curious George in the Snow

2)  The Emperor's New Clothes by Susannah Davidson
The Emperor's New Clothes: Gift Edition (Young reading)

3)  The Snow Queen based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen, Illustrated by Alan Marks
The Snow Queen (Usborne Picture Books)

 4)  Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad Together (I Can Read Picture Book)

This entry is linked up to:
Read Aloud Thursdays and
What my child is reading


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