Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September Sensory Box

Sensory boxes are a favorite of Jake's. He loves to pour and scoop and use his imagination. I love watching because this is really an activity he can do alone. I love to see what he does with the simple supplies within the box. 
The box is basic with: beans, a cup, bowl, measuring cups, apples, feathers. Jacob loves to scoop and pour the beans. He really enjoys 'cooking-up' his own recipes. 

I also added an egg carton with tweezers and balls. I want him to work on hand-eye coordination. He loved this but it took a lot of concentration. He was able to put them all in their respective spots before I pulled it away. I chose to pull it away so that he did not get frustrated or lose patience.
He did a great job but I expect to see him get better picking up the balls with practice. 

Classified: Mom

Monday, August 29, 2011

Apple Orchard

We headed out to the apple Orchard today! It was hot but so fun! Jake couldn't wait to be a 'worker' (farmer).
We picked up a wagon, a basket and headed out to the orchard. I showed him how to choose an apple and how to pick the apple. The apples were nice a big, for the most part, and the tree branches hung low so I really did not have to pick him up to pick!
He did a great job and did not want to stop. We had about 6 pounds of apples but that is OK because I am planning a lot of kitchen activities using the apples! 
I made sure to use important vocabulary words to reiterate the activity. I just want to make sure he remembers the process of obtaining apples; they come from trees, they must be picked from trees and it is hard work!
This is a great opportunity for real world experience! Go pick some apples!



Sunday, August 28, 2011

September: Apple and Farm Theme


This month we are going to be spending time learning about Apples and farming. I did the Apple Theme last year and have used some of the same activities upgraded for a 2 year old and added other activities.  

I want to reiterate a few points before the download:
1. My plans are not meant to be completed in any specific order. Each day is different and Structured Play time should be a fun learning experience. Pick an activity or activities that fit the mood of your child for that day.
2. Practice activities more than once because repetition is key to gaining new skills.
3. READ, READ, READ- Read everyday and reread stories to allows your child to 'read' the books themselves. This is the first step in literacy.
4. Walk Away- Try to keep Structured Play time 'fun'. If things get frustrating to you or your child, walk away and pick up where you left off the next day. Remember it is Structured PLAY, you are not preparing for SAT Exams. Enjoy every minute!


Please comment or send an email if you have trouble downloading plans. I am trying it on Google Docs to make it easier for everyone! 
I will Post about each activity to give further descriptions and pictures. My plans are just an outline for the month.

Friday, August 26, 2011

More Shape Practice

I have written about shape practice before. I have continued to do the same activity this month because he has not shown mastery of naming shapes. He does not have much interest in naming them but he can when asked. But this month he has been doing much better! 

Today I separated all the shapes by color and pulled one out at a time saying, "Here is a yellow triangle. Where does the triangle belong?" I did this with each shape for each color. He stayed focused the entire time and placed all the shapes in the appropriate bowl.
He even repeated the name of the shape after I said them! Woo hoo! I was so excited as was he! He even made some great connections. When he put the stars in the star bowl he would say, "sky" and point up at the sky. Then he would say, "moon" and point to the circle. I love how he connected the shapes to real world examples.
After we went through and put all the shapes in the bowls. I asked him to find the triangle. He was able to point to each shape when asked. My next step is working with him to say the shape when I point to the poster. He can do this with circle and square most of the time but I am working for mastery. 



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Counting Practice: Trucks

Today we practiced counting by using trucks to count. I figured using the trucks fits our Monthly Theme but it also sparks his interest. He does not like to do activities where he is told to do something. He rather just 'play.' So by using trucks he thinks he is just playing but we can actually practice a skill.
From my teaching experience, I found that children have a hard time remember which items they have counted when counting numerous things. To combat this I have Jacob move the items as he counts them. This works great when counting trucks because we can make it that much more fun by making the engines roar! When we are counting items in a book or an item that cannot be moved I make sure he points to them. This helps him remember which he has counted and which are left to be counted. Instilling these skills early and consistently will help with number association.
I pulled out 5 trucks to count because Jake is counting to three on his own so I want to work just above his level. He wanted to add his train into the mix so we practice counting to seven! It worked great! He counted the trucks by repeating after me, moving the trucks as he counted. He listened to me once then went on and did it on his own. He needed help with 5 and 6. He cannot say four but he tries! He stayed engaged and had fun! A perfect Structured Play day!



Construction Songs

I try to include songs every month that go along with our theme. This month I found some really cute songs and Jake has been enjoying them. He even asked me to sing the dig, dig song when he was going to bed. The full list of songs can be found on the Construction Theme Lesson Plans page.
Today as we were singing he grabbed his tools to act out the songs as we sang. 

SEE WHAT I BUILT TODAY!
Tune: “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

I just love to hammer wood,
Hammer wood, hammer wood.
I just love to hammer wood,
See what I built today!

I just love to saw the wood,
Saw the wood, saw the wood.
I just love to saw the wood,
See what I built to day!

I just love to sand the wood,
Sand the wood, sand the wood.
I just love to sand the wood,
See what I built today!
Jean Warren
Jake was up on his (ladder) stool and building his house (on the chair). He has such a great imagination! We add verses to the song to include more tools. We have been adding to the other songs as well. 



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Imaginary Play: Driving a Truck

I found the coolest book at the library this week. It was funny Jacob randomly pulled it off of the shelf and I saw the title so read through it. It is a great little book! It is called, "In the Driver's Seat" by Max Haynes. The story takes place with the reader behind the wheel. It tells you where you are going and which way to turn. I pulled out our Wii steering wheels and our imaginations!
I put the book on a chair and we each grabbed a steering wheel. Jake grabbed his stool to sit on a revved up his engine. He made it clear that he was driving a truck even though the book showed us a car. He was very animated while turning and racing through the pages. It could not have been more fun for either of us! 



The picture quality is not good because he was moving so much while driving his truck but you can see how much fun he is having! Check your library for this book and have a great time using your imagination!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Second Birthday Party

I usually only blog about our Structured Play time but since Jacob's birthday theme match this month's theme I decided to include a post about our fun little party!
Jacob's Dig Dig Birthday Party
It was a very nice party with just a few children. I had a table set up with small pebble rocks and trucks, cups and bowls to scoop with and a few construction signs. It is basically our Sensory Box for this month. I create hats and tool belts from Home Depot for party favors. I put out some coloring pages and truck books. We had a construction theme cake. The boys just had a great time playing! (Which allowed the adults to have a great time chatting!) Overall it was a fun get together!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Field Trip: Trains

 We headed out to check out a Train Exhibit at a local garden. This is not a construction theme field trip but trains are machines and what 2 year old does not love trains? It was so cute seeing him run around and chase the trains!
Just because it did not apply to our theme does not mean I couldn't make it educational! I asked questions as we watched the trains:
*What sound does the train make? What about the whistle?
*What makes the train go? (Steam engine, coal powered)
*What color is the engine?
*Which is your favorite train? Why?  etc...
The exhibit was really cool! They had about 5 trains and the tracks went through tunnels, over bridges, and through '"mountains." This provided the opportunity to ask more questions, this time about the tracks and how they were built. Here is where the construction theme comes into play.
*What was the bridge built from?
*How did the workers lay the tracks?
*What do you think was harder to build the bridge or the tunnel?   etc...
We even got to see Thomas the Tank Engine! Jake was excited about this, he does not watch the show often but has seen it. I think all the excitement was from just recognizing a train/character he knew. This is him making connections and making connections in the world will help him make connections when it comes to literacy later as he becomes a reader! 


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Building a House

Today we built a house! I started by reading this non-fiction book, Carpenters. 
Next we glued popsicle sticks on a small postal box. I made sure to discuss that the sticks were wood and we were making a wood house. This is a very simple project for a little one. This project could easily be made into a more advanced, creative project. With Jake's age I wanted to keep it simple enough for him to stay engaged. 
We used a glue stick to glue the sticks on the box. This is not the best option but Jake loves using a glue stick and if I pull out another form of glue he always tells me no and asks for a glue stick. I allowed him to use the glue stick, knowing that I would probably have to re-glue a few sticks down. 
After gluing down the sticks we let it dry for a while before painting. I asked Jake to pick the paint color and he wanted to paint the "wookas" (workers) house blue. 
Jake did great painting. I made sure to tell him that workers paint up and down when painting a house. He loved this idea and kept repeating, "up and down" while painting. I helped him out a bit to make sure the house was covered. 
Here is the final product. With the 'wookas' included. They fit nicely into the house. It is a small house but a perfect project for a 2 year old. Jake was able to stay focused without losing interest and complete the entire project. We could have made windows and a roof but he was finished at this level and I followed his ques. 





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day of Preschool

Today Jake started preschool. He will be going two mornings a week. He was super excited, if you cannot tell by the face! I decided to send Jacob to preschool for a few different reasons; he loves other kids, the baby is coming, and I believe in schools. I have nothing against homeschooling and feel it is the best option for many families but for Jake I know he will love school and flourish in that surrounding. 
Bye, Ma!
He was ready for a preschool program, although I do not know if I was! It was a little too easy for him! I dropped him off and he went right over to the trucks and started playing. I told him I was going to leave and he didn't even look up! He just said, "bye, ma" with a little wave. 
We did a lot to get ready for the first day of school. I started talking about school in general first. Just telling him about school and what kids do at school. I pointed out schools when we drove by them and talked about friends going to school. Next, I started reading books about school. This was followed by a lot of conversation. Then we talked about him going to school. I went through the whole process of mommy and daddy dropping him off and saying goodbye. I told him some of the activities he would be doing while in school and that he would play outside with friends. I told him I would pick him up after lunch and I went through what I would say, "Hi, how was your day? Did you have fun? I missed you!!"

We went through this whole process for months and the last few weeks daily. He was more than ready by the time school came this week. He spent the morning at school without tears! It was a great day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Real Practice with Toy Tools

Today we decided to pull out some tools that the construction workers might use. I started the activity by reading this cute story, I Love Tools by Philemon Sturges.
I then pulled out some of the same tools we read about in the book. I also had a block of Styrofoam and rectangle of floral foam wrapped in brown fabric (to look like wood), as well as 5 golf tees. I wanted Jake to have the opportunity to hammer and screw without hurting himself. 
I started by showing him how to hammer properly then held the golf tee and allowed him to hammer while I held the tee for the first few hits. I then removed my hand and let him hammer the tee in the rest of the way. He absolutely loved this activity! He hammered all five tees in and was ready to pull them out and start again! He was so proud of himself! 
The tees worked great as nails. They are sharp enough to get through the fabric and long enough to stick down into the floral foam. The top of the tees are wide enough for him to hit.
Next step:  
I pulled the Styrofoam box over and had Jake get to work. He drilled a hole in preparation for a screw. 
 Then I held the block and let him screw in the large plastic screw. He did not like to do this as much as hammering in the nails. I feel it is because of his motor skills. It is difficult to turn a screw driver and push down to get the screw into the block. This is still easier than in a piece of wood with a small screw. The important thing is that he learned how to properly use the screw driver and screw and his skills will grow with practice.
Jake took the activity a step further by grabbing his saw and sawing the Styrofoam square. I was very impressed with this initiative. He loves "cut, cut" (sawing) and I should not have been surprised but I was. He cut right into the styrofoam. It made quite a mess but in what other way would he be able to cut using a saw? What a great experience for a 2 year old.
We both had a lot of fun with this activity and I am sure we will be spending hours upon hours 'working' on making things! After playing for about 40 minutes (yeah, 40!) Jake put the tools into his wheelbarrow and pulled out a brush to "clean-up." In the book we read the father cleaned-up by brushing away sawdust. Jake must have observed this and made a note of it because he did it without any prompting at all. It was too cute!


Classified: Mom
I Can Teach My Child

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