Monday, December 10, 2012

Mystery Letters

Mystery Letters is a fun activity to practice letter recognition. What you do is write letters on paper with a white crayon. Then have your toddler use water colors to paint the paper. And watch to see their excitement! Jake thought this activity was "Magic!" He really enjoyed painting to find the letter.
The papers were stacked in alphabetical order. I did not expect him to finish them all in one sitting but he did finish in one day. He took a little break to play but came back to finish up. We will use the papers to spell his name and other common words. As well as putting the letters in order. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

December Activities

Hard to believe it is December already! We are spending December talking about Christmas. I hope you join us for this busy month! Remember repetition is key so activities should be repeated throughout the weeks.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November Story Board/ Pre-writing Practice

This simple Story Board was created two years ago for Jacob to work on putting together a turkey. It was an easy little way to introduce story boards. Now a couple years later, I decided to take this to the next step.
I had Jake put together the turkey and then tell me a story about the turkey. For a pre-writing add on I wrote the story as he told it to me. I did have to prompt him slightly to extend his story and include story elements.
Of course, as a pre-writing activity, it is a very simple story but one just to get the idea started that this is how to write a story. By using the Story Board it helps spark inspiration and can be used to stretch the story by adding more detail. 

Game: Leaf Cards

I bought these paper leaves at a teacher store. I have hung on to them for the last 3 years with our Structured Play things. This year I did something a little different with them. I laid them all out on the floor. I told Jake we were going to play a matching game. Each leaf had three matching leaves.
This was a nice change to make Jake slow down and look for three matches. The leaves were multicolored and really took taking your time to look for the matches. The shapes were similar as well. Again, just what a busy toddler needs to help him slow down!
Jake enjoyed this game and did not protest. I think partly because it was a movement game, he had to move around the room to pick-up the leaves. We took turns collecting matches. 
We both had fun playing this game and played repeatedly. There are all kinds of way to make games out of unsuspecting objects. Get creative!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November Sensory Box

Our November Sensory Box includes corn kernels as the base. I have leaves, pumpkins, acorns and scarecrow and pilgrim faces.
Both boys enjoyed playing in the box. Jake (3) pretended he was a farmer and was using the corn to "feed" the animals. Joey (13 months) practiced pouring and dumping the corn and the acorns. It is great practice and a fun playing prompt for both boys. But I will warn you, it makes a MESS! 
I have used the same Sensory Box materials for 3 years. I have 12 plastic shoe boxes that I use as storage. I have pulled the shoe boxes out and filled the Sensory Box each month for 3 years. Jake does not remember the box from year to year and still has fun with the material although it is fading slightly. When you are thinking of creating these boxes, 12 to use over and over for at least 3 years does not seem so bad! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Motor Skills Practice and Sorting

Today we did a little motor skill practice while sorting people and food. This is a fun little printable from 1+1+1=1.
I let Jake cut out the people and food cards. He loves to cut and is getting much better but skill needs a little supervision. The best way to introduce cutting is to allow your child to cut blank paper. Having them cut lines are great but not a first step. Let them get the feel of the scissors and get used to opening and closing the scissors. 
After each piece was cut out I let Jake go to it on his own. He knew just what to do and glued each piece int he correct spot. While he was working we discussed Pilgrims and Native Americans. He does not really have a reference for them or really for Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Leaf Graph

Today we took a nature walk and picked up some leaves. The leaves are just gorgeous right now in Tennessee. We were able to find green, red, yellow, brown and orange leaves. I encouraged Jake to pick up only the ones he loved, the ones he thought were beautiful!
We picked about 30 leaves or so before heading home. Once at home I had a graph ready for us to do as an activity. Jake was not into it too much and decided that he needed to cut the stems off of the leaves before we could start the graph.
I thought this was a great idea, he would practice motor skills and use his focus to settle down a bit after the walk. He loves cutting so I told him to just cut the stems and not the leaves.
Next, we sorted the leaves and started the graph. I held the brown leaves and moved one in front of him as he colored each box. I did it this way at first to help him understand a graph and what how we create one. (Excuse the scribble on the paper. He did that as he was waiting for me to get started.) This leaf graph was created by 2 Teaching Mommies you can find it here.
When we got to the green, Jake insisted on using marker. I outlined the boxes and asked him to make sure to stay within the lines. Markers can easily take over a paper. I HATE markers but Jake, like all kids, love them and really tries to use them whenever he can. 
Here is the finished product! He is getting much better at coloring within the lines. Of course he is not there yet but it is getting better. I think he really understood the graphing concept which surprised me a little. I asked him to look at our graph and tell me which color we had the most of and least. He answered without hesitation. I would not be surprised to see him "graphing" when he is playing in the coming days. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Plans

Welcome to Autumn!
 We are finally feeling cooler weather to match the changing of the leaves. Fall is upon us and we are loving it! While the leaves are changing around us we are going to take time to enjoy nature and all of its changes. Won't you join us?
November Plans

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Candy Corn Craft

Today we sampled a little candy corn for the first time then made a big piece of candy corn! I cut out the shape of a candy corn on a black piece of construction paper. Next we ripped construction paper in white, orange and yellow. Jake loved ripping up the paper. He thought it was fun after I initially showed him how.
I then drew lines on the black paper to separate the sections and covered one section with glue. Jake knew what to do and got busy filling it up. I made sure to tell him to fill the space completely so that there was no black showing through. I showed him the candy again and asked if he saw any black. This helped him understand what completely covered looked like.
He did one section at a time and filled the section pretty well. We had motivation with a view pieces of candy corn!
This is a cute little project and by ripping the paper it makes it a little different and really fun!

Name Practice

To do a little name practice this month I decided to put the letters of his name on little pumpkins. I had the pumpkins sitting out on the floor and just asked him to use the letters to spell his name. He just stared at me and told me he didn't know how to spell his name. I reminded him that he could in fact spell his name. We sang his name song to remind him:
There was a boy that mama loved and Jacob was his name o',
And Jacob was his name o'!
He then chose to participate and pick the letters in order to spell his name. For some reason he always forgets the A when spelling his name. I give a gentle reminder and he squeezes it in. After he put is name together, I left the pumpkins out. Occasionally I would walk by and switch them up not saying anything. When he noticed the first time he said, "That is not my name." And proceeded to correct it. From then on I would walk by and rearrange two pumpkins to try to catch his eye. Just a little added practice.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Roll- Number Recognition

I found this fun Pumpkin Roll activity at Young & Lively Kindergarten. I printed it off and grabbed one of our large die. I had Jake roll throw the die and count the dots. He then had to color the corresponding digit on the pumpkins. He really enjoyed completing this activity. His coloring is not a scribble mess but rather his coloring. I was kind of frustrated with his coloring until I recently saw a little 3 year old girl coloring the exact same way. I am sure there are 3 year olds that have better motor skill control and better coloring but this is Jake filling in the entire pumpkin, to the best of his ability and attempting to stay in the lines. He really tries to take his time and stay in the lines but this is what happens. It is just what he is capable of at his ability. 

As far as the number recognition goes, he totally surprised me! He new all digits, 1-6, without any assistance  We have worked on letters but I was not sure of his mastery. Today I know, he has mastery of recognition of digits 1-6!! Now I have to work out an activity to see how much mastery he has for higher digits as well. I love when an activity proves to be an assessment as well! 

M&M Math

Today we used Pretzel M&Ms to do a little math today. I started by having him sort the M&Ms by color. We then counted the number of M&Ms in each circle. Next we counted the M&Ms all together. 

Lastly, we ate the M&Ms! I had him count them as we subtracted the M&Ms by eating them. He cannot count backwards yet but he did not mind recounting each time he ate one of the candies!

Paint the Alphabet

As a fun and different way to practice the alphabet I had Jake paint the letters. He really just traced the letters with paint and a q-tip. I wrote all the letters and then had him trace over them. He is not ready to write  all the letters on his own so this is a good way to practice. He gets frustrated with his lack of motor skills when writing so I thought it would make a little practice exciting.
Paint makes it much easier to trace and helps build confidence. He really enjoyed this and did not get frustrated at all. He tends to scribble over the letters when using a crayon to trace letters. This did not happen for most of the letters. He did great!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Let's Make a Book

Book making is great for emergent readers. It really helps them understand the elements of books and helps them to practice "reading." They memorize the book and can retell it over and over. Today we make a book from First Grade a le Carte.
I cut out the pieces and construction paper ahead of time. I then laid everything out in front of us. We read the cards and created the book pages as we went. I let him glue the cards on the pages and color them with the corresponding color. 
He did great and enjoyed himself gluing and coloring. But he liked reading to his brother the best. 

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin

free downloads
I downloaded and printed these Life Cycle of at Pumpkin cards at Montessori for Everyone. I cut and laminated the cards. After reading Pumpkin by Ron Fridell I laid out the cards and had Jacob put them into order.
To keep Jake's interest I told him we were going to play farmers. I told him that the cards were our "plans" and we had to put them in order so we know what to do next. That worked, he was excited to start his farm work so he put the cards in order quickly. 
I feel it is important for him to know where his food comes from and to know the process that farmers go through growing crops. These cards are a great visual for learning the phases. 

October's Sensory Box

This month I threw in some beans as a base, little pumpkins, puff balls, cups, unifix cubes, flowers and some leaves. For the first time in 2 years, Jake showed  no interest in the Sensory Box. He didn't want to play in there even when I sat and explored. I think he has out grown the box or at the very least needs a break from it.
But the good news is Joey has stepped right in! He really enjoyed the box for the first time. He has just turned 1 year old so he is just the age when I started Structured Play for Jake. Jake and Joey are completely different kids and it is fun to see! Jake never made a total mess out of the box but let me tell you Joey had a great time throwing those beans as far as he could. Ugh, it was a total mess. BUT, it is part of the learning process. I cannot take away the box and say, "nope you aren't ready!" Instead I need to teach him how to use the box.
He did take some time to explore in a more delicate way. He picked up some items and looked them over. He thought the pumpkins were balls and enjoyed throwing them. Funny thing was, Jake (when he was 1) thought they were for eating and his little teeth marks are still in them. It is a picture of their differences right there!  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

October Plans

Fall is here and it feels oh so good! Windows open, cool breeze flowing!
This month our Theme is Pumpkins. We will spend time on alphabet and number practice as well as spending time working on motor skills and the always fun crafts! Keep checking in for free printables and examples of each activity.

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