Sunday, August 4, 2013

Brown Bear Week (21 Weeks)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle created an addictive book with that one.  Mr. LM just loves this book!

For our first week of tot school, I was planned and excited but also prepared for things to get flipped upside down and need adjusting... this is time with my sweet 21 month old after all!  We happened to have a trip planned to our family house in New York so I was extra glad I had activities planned! I could just pack our stuff and Tot School could come with us on our trip!  This way, Daddy could do tot school with LM while I was working.

We read our Brown Bear book a few times each day, as well as many other books!  I had gone through our collections of books and gathered all books that dealt with brown and bears.  I keep small crates in areas that LM hangs out and try to rotate the books weekly.  This keeps them fresh and keeps him interested in reading. Since I had chosen to have our Tot School surround weekly themes, I decided to rotate the books weekly, and incorporate the theme when and if possible.

We use our cardboard blocks for stacking and building but we also discovered "dominoes".  This was such a fun activity and LM was instantly hooked!

Another day, I taped a long cardboard mailing tube to the wall in our play area and we spent time rolling cars down the tube.  After 10 minutes or so of playing with the tot school activity, those cars soon turned to some found balls, blocks, you name it.  LM decided to gather these and try them out on his own.  It was amazing to watch him look curiously at items when they were too big to fit... at first he seemed frustrated but then he would put the big item down and find something smaller... it was so cool, to watch him learn this concept of size and space.

We also played with colored pipe cleaners and our colander. This was a frustrating activity at first.  He spent his time holding the far end and found the hand eye coordination tough to get the other end in the holes.  After I observed for a few minutes, I decided to join the fun and made sure he could see that i was holding the pipe cleaner closer to the end I wanted to stick in the holes.  He slowly moved his hand down and after 10 minute or so from when we started, he had mastered the concept.  I could tell this was an activity that made him tick... he loved this and I knew we would need to do more.

As we took of for our trip, I packed stamps, coloring pages, and brown pom poms.  We found that we spent most of our time outside and ended up having one of our tot school "lessons" be hiking though the woods and gathering brown items.  This was fun, especially because our family was together and outdoors; something we love!

Here was LM's Brown Bear Printable (I googled this "brown bear printable" and printed this picture, please note the destination is listed on bottom of the picture)

Lastly, We read more books. One book that was a true find was an old book from who knows how many years ago... it had no spine and the pages were full of dust in an old box at the house in NY.  The book was full of children's stories and rhymes.  This one naturally caught our eye that week:

Other books we read that week:
Bill Martin Jr./Eric Carle's Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?
Allison Ritchie's Me and My Dad!
Michelle Meadows' Hibernation Station
Miles Kelly, I Love Bears, First Facts and Pictures
Nancy Tillman, On the Night You Were Born
A Disney Classic Pooh board book called Pooh Loves

Overall, the first week was pretty successful.  I was happy with LM's interest in having a specific time we worked on activities together. We tried to do one activity each day after his nap and mid-afternoon snack. By day 4 he was looking pointing to the color brown when asked and climbing on tables to get to the TS supplies.  I did feel like I got my feet underneath me and that the concept of TS was going to work for us.  I also felt inclined to plan more activities for each week to give me more to choose from and give me more flexibility.  I was so excited to start our next week and try some new ideas that I decided to wake up early and set up for Red Bird week! Cheers to next week being even better!

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