Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tot School - The Letter Q

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday! We spent lots of time relaxing and enjoying our family and the nice 4 day weekend my husband had off from work - it was wonderful to have him around so much!

We did do some Tot School stuff earlier in the week though - this week we hung out with the letter Qq...

Art & Music:
We made a "quilted" Q. James wasn't really interested in placing the squares, but was more than happy to be on glue detail, so we worked as a team that way. :)

James painted with Q-Tips. This was a big hit!

Aside from our weekly Kindermusik class, we didnt' do much in the way of music. Well, unless you count listening to TONS of Christmas music!! We set up our tree this weekend and had a blast dancing around to Charlie Brown - James thinks it's hilarious when Mommy and Daddy get jiggy with it!

Letters & Numbers:
We read a.lot. of Thanksgiving books as well as the Q book from our AlphaTales series. James played with one of his alphabet puzzles and also worked on a simple Q sounds matching game I found on Kidsoup.

I got this pumpkin pie counting activity idea from Kidsoup. It's meant to be used with a pair of tongs, but James couldn't be bothered, so he used his hands instead. He did a great job putting the correct number of cotton balls (whip cream) in the pie tins.

I made these turkey manipulatives for James to sort into popsicle holders. He loves these and really enojys lining them up and counting them.

Science & Nature:
We went on a nature walk to collect leaves for a rubbing project I had planned (and never got around to doing). James was fascinated by all the different trees. We saw an avocado tree full of avocados, a palm tree full of coconuts and a Kisskidee sitting atop another trees (don't know what kind it is - if you do, let me know!).

Practical Life:
James has gotten really good at washing his hands, so I thought it was high time he wash something else... a mini pumpkin! He l.o.v.e.d. this and spent a good 30 minutes scrubbing this little pumpkin clean!

I pulled out the ol' button turkey. James is getting a bit better at buttoning, but still has a ways to go. He's more entertained with the turkey itself. Wait till he sees the button Christmas tree I made!

Quesadilla starts with Q, so I thought it would be fun for James to make a quesadilla all by himself! Well, I prepped everything and put it in the microwave, but he sprinkled the cheese on the tortilla and added the top tortilla (after taking a bite out of it 1st) when he was finished. Yum!

I saw a link on Activity Mom's blog to get this cute Max & Ruby placemat. James is a big fan of M&R, so I knew this would go over well. I set up a basket of table items for him to practice with. He liked this so much he did it many times over.

Other activities:

We tried money sorting. (yes I washed the money 1st!) James usually likes to play with the coins in my purse, but for some reason he just wasn't digging this activity. He looked at the coins and got a kick out of how Bermudian coins have pigs, birds, and fish on them, but that was the end of it. Ah well, we'll try it again another time.

I special ordered pegs just like these from the States because I could not find them anywhere on the island. So, they arrived and I packed them away for Christmas, and then wouldn't you know I found them at a flea market for 50 cents the other day! James LOVES these things!! I highly recommend them!

I printed out this Thanksgiving sequencing activity from Kidsoup (my go-to place, can you tell?). James did a great job at this and I plan on doing more of these kinds of things in the future.

James (and his fake gecko) enjoyed the last week of his autumn themed sensory tub. On Tuesday I'll post my Christmas tub!

You'll never guess who came to Bermuda last week - The Queen of England! And during our Q week, too! What a treat! Of course we (and everyone else on the island) went to see her at Dockyard. We got pretty close to her, too. :)

We spent Thanksgiving at the beach, enjoying the sun, sand and a picnic. It was so relaxing!
Despite our taking a few days off for Thanksgiving, we managed to have a fun-filled Tot School week! Some people have asked me how we fit everything in each week and the truth is I'm always surprised at how much we get done. I never push any of the acitivites on James and we always do things at his pace. Fortunately he wants to do Tot School stuff all the time. I just have to make sure I'm organized and ready to go with activities!

Click the button to the left for more Tot School ideas.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Frugal Friday

Since I go to the thrift store once every couple of weeks or so, I thought I'd start a routine "Frugal Friday" post all about the thrifty things I find. :) I love a good deal, don't you?

This wee little squirrel was all of 50 cents! I've already used him for this nut sorting activity.
This basket is much sturdier than it looks and for only $1 I couldn't pass it up. It has pretty woven flowers all around the sides.

I was so happy to find this cute little fish tray. I have the *perfect* activity to use this with!

I saw this silver sorting tray on Montessori Services, and was thrilled to get it for only 50 cents! The silver leaf and the corked bottle will be used for sorting work, and the two pouring cups have already been used for... you guessed it - pouring!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Puzzle Crazy

We LOVE puzzles and, thanks to the wonderful world of E-Moo (Bermuda's online classifieds), we've managed to obtain quite a supply of them for cheap. I wrote a post here about one particularly good purchase.

I think puzzles make fantastic gifts, so with Christmas coming up, I thought I'd take a few minutes to write up a post about our favorite puzzles. I've provided links for your shopping convenience. :) Coincidentally, all of them are made by our favorite toy maker, Melissa & Doug (love M&D!).

First up:
The alphabet puzzle. This thing is priceless - we use it for so many activities! The nice chunky wood is perfect for little hands.

This sea life puzzle is James' all time favorite toy right now. He carries those chunky puzzle pieces with him all around the house. We've used them in lessons outside of the puzzle board, too.

Pattern Blocks. These are fabulous! An excellent way to learn about shapes in every day objects. The set comes with 10 puzzles (front and back).

Magnetic animal puzzle book. I found this for $2 at the local thrift shop! You can take the book apart and focus on one or two puzzles at a time, if you'd like. We also put them on the refrigerator. Unfortunately, I couldn't find this exact one online - I think it's been upgraded to this version.

Ok, so maybe not technically a puzzle, but still a must have for anyone with kids. This See & Spell set is the bomb! There are 16 words and loads of letters so kids can fill in several at a time. I love that the letters are lowercase, too.

The following are puzzles James has mastered, but he still enjoys playing with them and I highly recommend them for ages 2 and under.

Mix n Match Vehicles. What I love about this is that the shape is consistent, so the pieces will fit anywhere, but they are color coded so the child can easily see if they mislaid a piece.

Chunky Shapes. This was our very first puzzle! :) James learned shapes very early on thanks to this puzzle.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Button Tree

I know what you're thinking... "she made another buttony-type thing?!" Yep, I did! I just can't stop making them. This one was completely done out of my own head. No pattern, I decided to just wing it and see what happens. I'm pleased with how it turned out, though I wished I had less boring buttons to choose from. Thankfully I have a lovely stash coming in a few weeks (more about that later)!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tot School - The Letter R

~James is 31 months~

In addition to our usual fun, we focused on the letter R this week.

Art & Music:
We had fun making this rainbow R out of tissue paper. James has gotten much better with his gluing skills (i.e. he doesn't pour half the bottle on the paper anymore!).

I was thrilled to the gills to walk into our art class last week and find out we were going to learn how to make felt! It was a really interesting lesson (though I think James might disagree). We made a small square piece, but I'm thinking a little kid or kitty ran off with it because I can't find it now. :(

Earlier in the week we made a rainstick! This was an art & music lesson all in one. I can't remember where I found the tutorial to make this, but it wasn't very good anyway. The directions were really vague and I had to wing it quite a bit. As a result, the instrument doesn't sound very authentic, but we had lots of fun making it and that's what counts, right? Process, not product.

We danced to Bob Marley and James sang about his two kitties. :)

Letters & Numbers:

We read this book from our AlphaTales series and James worked on his R drawer from our alphabet box (rhino, rock, ring, ruler, rocket, rabbit & ribbon).

We had so much fun with these number bean bags. We played catch with them while calling out numbers, we tapped on them with rhythm sticks, we even played hide and seek with them. I left them out for James to enjoy throughout the week and one afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to see he had done this:
Notice how the numbers are arranged in sets - 8 and 18, 5 and 15. I thought that was pretty cool!

I found these cute acorn calendar thingys (my technical term) and James had fun sticking them in the pockets. It was a great way to encourage number sequencing.

Science & Nature:

We took a trip to the Royal Naval Dockyard one day. We had a wonderful time, just me and my boy. We watched the dolphins, shopped, and walked around enjoying the sites. James was ecstatic to find a rooster and a kitty wandering around.

On our way home from the Dockyard, we saw this beautiful rainbow. Honestly, it was the most vibrant I've ever seen. It was such a treat to see one of these this week considering our featured letter and the rainbow craft we'd already done.

Like his daddy, James is really into space & astronomy. We watched the launchings of the Saturn 5 and Apollo 11 rockets on YouTube. James was using his little toy rocket to mimic what he was seeing. It was SO cute!

Practical Life:

We made rainbow rice! James had fun shaking the baggies to mix the colors. After it dried, I put together this pouring work for him, which he LOVED!

Spooning rocks. Another favorite this week. Don't you just love that little ladle? So tiny! James did a fantastic job and, to my surprise, had the patience to scoop out every last rock in the bowl.

Grace & Courtesy:
We've been noticing a lot more role playing in James' world lately. For example, the other day I spied him serving food to his teddy bear and he was saying, "Is that good, Teddy?" Another time he was talking to his (fake) gecko, and showing it something out the window. I guess whatever he was showing him was a bit scary because James said, "No worries gecko, James right here". Melts my heart, that little guy.

Other activities:
James picked out this coconut at the grocery store and it made for a fun sensory lesson. He wasn't thrilled about its hairy exterior, but thought the sound of sloshing milk inside was pretty neat. And when I asked him what it smelled like he casually replied, "cookies". :) Cracking open this puppy wasn't at all easy. I had no luck with the more refined methods, so I finally decided to open it up the old fashioned way - by throwing it against the driveway. James thought this was the BEST!

We collected red items for the I Spy book I'm going to make (idea from 1+1+1=1).

Click the link button to the left to see what others are doing with their children.


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