Sunday, September 15, 2013

Orange Goldfish Week (22 Months)

Orange Goldfish Week was very fun as it is a favorite color around here!  Being the last week of our BBBBWDYS book, we wanted to make it a good one!  Mr. Little Man was finally on the mend after being sick so by day 2 or 3 of this week, he was back to his charming, happy little self. Tot School (& life) is way more fun when we are both feeling well!

In prep for the week, I set up our fish & or orange books.

As with each other week, I left his BBBBWDYS book open to the Orange Gold Fish page as well as some stacking blocks.

We had a felt board out for the week with various orange shapes.

Lastly, I had his National Geographic Little Kids magazine that had a feature with orange foods.  He loved pointing and naming these with mommy and daddy this week... "What is dat!?"... adorable little guy.

The set up stuff is things that I leave up all week, things he can do on his own quietly with or without me. He loved his blocks this week... lots of stacking, 'counting' & knocking them over like Little Man-Zilla.


Throughout this week our lessons and trays were tons of fun!  Most were a hit but not all of them.  We did another sensory box that was full of various orange colored items.  As it had last week, he really didn't have much interest in this.  He did spend 3-5 minutes pulling everything out, climbed into the box, refilled it all on his lap, cleared it again and then left. This was much more interest that last weeks sensory box.  I think we will come back to this type of box in a few weeks as the rice/pasta/bean trays are a favorite.


We did some coloring with our same BBBBWDYS printouts since they are in plastic sleeves.  He was very studious this week with writing and coloring.  His concentration in this next picture is just unbelievable.

Another day we played with orange play dough and some orange foam blocks.  These were fun to squish the play dough and roll etc. He enjoyed the combo.

Our next tray this week was a play on the fish theme... I found a baby toy from when he was little that looks sort of like a worm, even though its supposed to be a caterpillar.  This week, it was a worm. Since his daddy enjoys fishing I thought it would be fun to share that you use a rod with bait to catch fish like daddy.  This was our "bait".  We matched the circle blocks to the colors of the worm.  He liked playing with these toys but my stretch of a concept went over his head. I think a toy rod would have helped... I think of this now, as I am writing and wish I had thought of this days ago because we have a toy rod! A well, we have a fishing week upcoming in a few months :)

A favorite tray of the week was this sticker & fish picture.  I drew a sketch of a fish and put some circles on this fish's back. The idea was he would put the orange circle stickers in the drawn circles. I did the first one for him and then he jumped right in.

Here is a picture half way through the activity. My camera died after this so I didn't get a final picture or an action photo.

We went on two field trips surrounding our theme this week!  First we went to Pet Smart to see some real gold fish... he loved this!  Me must have spent 30 minutes looking at the fish, birds and turtles.  He went crazy when he say an orange goldfish... I was so happy ot see him make the connection that that was our special theme! He loved the fish but was thrilled ot see a real orange fish swimming around.

We also went out for ice cream for the last time of the summer as fall seems to be creeping in.  Mr. Little Man got an orange sorbet and loved it... while he recognized it was orange with a smile, he really just loved getting to eat his yummy treat!


What We Sang:
We watched and sang a new song that neither of us had heard before this week by The Laurie Berkner Band called The Goldfish.  He enjoyed watching this music video and listening to the cute song. We used his goldfish puzzle pieces while listening so we could 'swim' along. We also sang Baby Beluga all week... he is obsessed, especially when I sang the song alongside the book.

Practical Life Lessons:
Learned to spread peanut butter on his crackers... he loved getting to use a (butter)knife like a big boy. We also practiced peeling an orange and breaking off the pieces to eat.  He loved this so much, we must have practiced at least 4 times this week.

What We Read:
Mr. Little Man did not want to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I was a little sad but also a little thankful... we must have read that 1000 times since we started this BBBBWDYS tot school color adventure. I think now that we have completed all of our colors from the book I will put the book away for a while and hope it is greeted with the old excitement once the "Mom, I'm so over this book" wares off for Mr. Little Man.

Some of the other  books we read were:
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
Baby Beluga Illustrated by Ashley Wolff* definitely the favorite of the week
Rainbow Fish To The Rescue! by Marcus Pfister
Good Night Denver of Our World of Books
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Robots, Robots Everywhere! by Sue Fliess

Check out the Tot School Gathering Place! & The Crafts & Early Learning Link Up!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Black Sheep Week (22 Months)

The first half of Black Sheep Week was spent on vacation.  We had a wonderful time!  We spent a lot of time hiking and playing with long-lost friends. Tot School is all about child led learning through play and that is exactly what we did for 8 days in the beautiful state of Colorado including the zoo, botanical gardens, mountains, trains, planes, trolleys and the list goes on...

While away our "sensory box" was a giant sand box in the mountains. Mr. Little Man loves digging and was thrilled that he had a giant place to play in the sand.

Our condo rental was in an amazing village.  There were all kinds of fun things going on, a street fair, street circus, life size Jenga & connect four (so cool!).  We also stumbled upon this giant chess set!  Since our vacation started in White Dog week and ended in Black Sheep week, we combined the two a lot during our trip.  This was the PERFECT black/white combo.  While he didn't care much for moving them around, he was amazed at the knights... we would say, where is the black horse/white horse.  He loved this game.

We also found this animal display and Mr. Little Man was amazed. He must  have stood and looked at them for 5 minutes.  I'm sure his little mind was thinking, where are their faces!? He loved the bear, even tried to hug it as we left.  Black Bear, Black Bear, Where is You Face?... beginning of a new EC book!? No?

I set up put tot school on the fireplace ledge.  We had the Tot School On-The-Go kit in the basket, our BBBBWDYS book, a portable chalkboard and some flashcards of black/white animals.

He finally showed some interest in the heads&tails flashcards from Carisa's printables.

We went to the Denver Zoo which was absolutely amazing!  Mr. Little Man loved the animals but did not love the carousel.  Well, he liked the Panda Bear... until we started going up and down.  I thought it was cute that out of all the animals he chose the black/white animal to ride! Coincidence? He LOVED seeing "brown bear"... a combo phrase we say a lot and got to see in real life.  This bear really posed like this... how funny!

Flash forward a long day of travel and too many delays to speak of and we were home! Mr. Little Man was sick with a really high temp and not himself. He enjoyed some some activities with me but he mostly spent the last few days of Tot School drinking water, sleeping and snuggling mommy.

We played hide & seek each morning with our Black Sheep... this still hasn't gotten old!

For his anytime play, I laid his BBBBWDYS book out as usual with the Black Sheep on display.  I also left the white/black balls from last week (White Dog Week) out.  Lastly, I made some pipe cleaner necklaces for his little stuffed black bear.  I thought he would enjoy putting them on and taking them off since he often grabs the necklaces at school and plays with them, but he was not into this at all.  I don;t know if it was too easy, boring or if it was that fact that he was sick but he didn't even bother to play with this for the 3 days it was out.

We are loving the quiet time basket when Mommy cooks/cleans the kitchen.  One evening I  had it all set up with the alphabet and he pretended to count each letter, "da-da-da-da-da-da" etc.  He enjoys playing with these a lot.  By the weeks end, he had discovered the art of throwing them and watching them slide on the kitchen floor. Hence, I will restock the quiet time basket for the upcoming Orange Goldfish Week.

One day I made him a play space in a giant box that had a black themed sensory box inside and cozy blanket. He loved the giant box and had little to no interest in the sensory box. This was the first time I had ever done a color themed box of items like this.  I see them on Tot School blogs all the time and other children always seem to enjoy them so I thought it would be a nice thing to try.  Unfortunately, he didn't care for it at all.  Because he is so sick, I plan to try it again with Orange week next week.

I did try unpacking the box and it did make him come back over, climb in his giant box and sit down to look.  That was about as far as he got besides picking up a few flashcards.

We also did a lot of chalk board drawing on our chalkboard table.  He used white chalk and practiced his circles and lines again and again. 

What We Sang:
We sang our song for the week, Baa Baa Black Sheep, quite a bit this week.  He really likes the song and danced along, 103 degree temp an all...
What We Read:
BBBBWDYS- for the 1000th time  
Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day
Carl's Snowy Afternoon by Alexandra Day
Go, Dog. Go! by P.D.Eastman
Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton
Panda Bear, Panda Bear What Do You See? by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr.
A Few Parting Notes: 
I have read a few posts where moms have explained that there are days, sometimes weeks where you feel like all your efforts with your children seem to be going right over their head.  They speak of moments where their child make s a connection and it is just an amazing experience.  Well, while we were gone, Mr. Little Man started to find signs around us, especially in the mountain village, and would run his finger under each word and say "what is dat?" I would read him the word and he would then ask me about the next one.  This was a cool moment for me where i saw that a love for learning and reading was beginning... so awesome.  He also, started to 'write his name'. He makes three symbols on the paper, the number of letters in his nickname, and then would run to us with the paper and say "I did dit!"  I am so proud of my hardworking, fun-loving little man and look forward to seeing more light bulbs go off soon!  Cheers to Tot School!

Linking To:
Tot School Gathering Place

Thursday, September 5, 2013

White Dog Week (22 Months)

White Dog, White Dog, What do you see? This book is ingrained in my head at this point...

This week the plan was to explore the color white and dogs.  Half way through the week, however, we were leaving for vacation so mommy got to get really creative and strategic about tot school activities for the trip. I planned to focus on exploring the new place that we were going and all of the fun of traveling but thought that some white dog (and black sheep since we would be there for the first half of this week) activities may be a nice things to have as well. See the Tot School On the Go post to see more about this here.

Our set up was only utilized for a few days since we left but it was a hit for those few days. I laid out his BBBBWDYS book open to the white dog page and we played hide and seek every morning with our white dog poster.

I went ahead and set up some anytime items to explore like I had the week prior. I included 3 white golf balls and 3 black/white colored balls in an egg carton.  He loves to throw balls, kick them, etc so I knew laying out some white ones on his shelf would be fun. Interestingly, he was drawn to the colors and designs before he felt the urge to throw, roll and kick them.


I made a food item sorter game for Mr. Little Man using his wooden food and some quick drawings. He played this a few times a day for each day.  He found this pretty easy after I demonstrated one food match upon our first attempt.  Regardless of it being easy, he seemed to enjoy it... well, once each time and then he'd move right along.  Later, he'd see it and complete it again... Then move on again.

We also had a tray with a few nautical ropes.  This was something I hadn't thought much about but thought it might be a good opportunity for him to get creative. As i handed him the tray, he looked wideneyednand then eagerly grabbed the rope. immediately, he laid out the rope and walked along it. It was so cute! I went ahead and followed, and we walked the rope again and again.  We also tied the rope to his stuffed puppy and he "walked" the dog around the house. His puppy got jealous I think after seeing Mr. Little Man walk a stuffed puppy for 10 minutes. Lastly, we used the rope as a tug of war tool.  This didn't last long but caused a ton of giggles! 

We had a rice sensory tray this week and he really enjoyed it. I put the tiles from our Bananagrams game into the tray and he had fun seeking the tiles.  I used letters from his name and the word "dog". I also made a strip of paper with his name on one side and "dog" on the other. I felt this may be over his head but that it was worth exposing him to the concept of matching letters since matching the food items was so easy. He did recognize that the symbols of the paper should be matched with a tile but didn't grasp the letter to letter matching. This will be a fun thing to try again and watch his progression. 

Our last lesson before we left on vacation was something I'd created in a pinch... I needed to make some snacks for our trip and Mr. Little Man was not interested in playing on his own.  I set up a blanket  outside of the kitchen and put a tray out for him. The tray had a box of Bananagram letter tiles and an empty wipe box. He had so much fun putting the tiles in and then pouring them out. He used the little box, the wipe box, the tray... And he loves the white tiles. He also found a little white card in the box and was fascinated... It is the little things in life! 

I decided I need to have a basket in the corner of the dining room (where the dog is in the picture above) where I would keep an activity he can safely play with while I cook. I plan to change this up every few days. I folded the blanket and put this tray above in the basket after I finished cooking. Later, I found him laying out the blanket and setting up the activity again just like I had... And then he had round two of play.  This is an idea that causes me to pat myself on the back! I got the kitchen cleaned after making a trips worth of healthy snacks and he couldn't have been happier!

On our vacation we used our Tot School On the Go kit a few times during the last few days of White Dog week.  He particularly loved playing with the pipe cleaners and really loved that I used the white dog flash card as our hide & seek dog while away on vacation. 

We spent most of our time enjoying the beautiful outdoors. We found some natural white objects and we met LOTS of new dog friends! Here are a few pictures of our natural play & learning... White animal statues, hiking the Rockies and some fragrant flowers from the mountains. 

Practical Life:

This week we really dedicated time to putting used dishes in the sink or dishwasher.  I realized inserting things into the dishwasher properly was a challenge but a fun one at that.  This is something we will work on for another week at least since we left for vacation mid week. The fun part was, each friends house we visited on vacation, Mr. Little Man would put his dishes in the sink and dishwasher (when it was open) without even being asked. I was so proud of him using this new skill even away from home.

What We Read:
Go, Dog Go by P.D. Eastman
Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day
Carl's Snowy Day by Alexandra Day
First Words by Bright Baby
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? By Eric Carle

What We Sang:
We spent the week singing BINGO but using our dogs name... DUKIE... he LOVED this!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tot School On the Go!

We are heading off on vacation in a few days and will have 8 days in the beautiful state of Colorado. My husband and I knew Mr. Little Man had an amazing week ahead of him and would be exposed to all sorts of new things.  He would have so much fun to have flying, being in the mountains, seeing old friends and more. I didn't plan to do Tot School while we were away but did want to bring a few things for those moments when Mr. Little Man has some down time and may just need something fun and familiar.  I decided that since we would spend half of white dog week and half of black sheep week on vacation, I would bring a little of each and teach them together while we were away. However, with all of our fun tot school activities to choose from, this momma was worried she'd go overboard and over pack when TS was not going to even be a big focus for us.  SO... that's when it hit me!  I would bring a travel sized TS kit, full of fun things he really loves to do. 

How did I do you ask?  Let's just say, there were over a dozen activities in a kit about the size of a jar of peanut butter.  I'm so happy with how it came out and can't wait to have these fun favorite activities in the hotel for Mr. Little Man. 

So... Here is the kit!

I figured it was hard to judge the size so... here it is next to a jar of peanut butter.

Here are the contents of the kit...

Inside our TS On the Go Kit is:
1. 10 black pompoms
2. 3 white pipecleaners
3. 4 picture/alpha/numerical blocks (with dogs and black/white items depicted)
4. 12 flash cards (6 white/6 black)
5. 1 bowl
6. 1 colander
7. 10 dried red kidney beans
8. 1 can with a hole in the lid

Here are some up close pictures of the contents:

We will use Carisa's printables, both the head&tail ones and the picture flashcards from her BBBBWDYS printable pack (see here).
 A wooden bowl from Mr. Little Man's play kitchen and 12 black pompoms for counting or matching to the flashcards or most likely throwing :)
 OK, so this is what got me hooked on this project: the steamer tray from our baby food maker happens to fit like a lid on the kitchen bowl.  This was discovered by accident one day while playing! Here there are three white pipe cleaners to play with the 'collander'.
 Four wooden blocks to stack, count, name the shapes and seek for them too (which is his favorite!)
I knew if I was going to travel with a few key TS lessons, this HAD to be one.  I use coffee cans and buttons, beans etc. at home and Mr. Little Man absolutely loves this activity.  The coffee can seemed like a big waste of space so I looked through my pantry and I realized one of our baking powder cans was sitting in the back of the pantry and very old... so I poured out the contents, made a cross shaped hole and added some kidney beans.

And there you have it... a kit to allow us to continue with some familiar and favorite lessons while 2000 miles away.  I will of course bring some books too and in his carry-on, we'll have crayons, paper and our new travel chalkboard. I had so much fun making this I just had to share in case anyone else may have use for some TS fun on the go. I sure had fun making this, if you can't tell, but we'll see what Mr. Little Man thinks in a couple days!

Linking to:
Tot School Gathering Place