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Showing posts from August, 2012

Play to Write- Week 3

We participating in a Wednesday Play Group called Play to Write over at Cherrios and Lattes. This is week 3- Write/Spell Your Name.  We started this week's practice with some name tracing. Cherrios and Lattes provides the printable for some dotted letters. She suggested doing rainbow writing with this sheet. I showed Jacob but he was more interested in writing all the Jacobs. I started by modeling on the first name. Then I held his hand and we did it together. Finally I let him do the last three on his own with only my verbal prompts.  He took this very seriously and was very proud of himself! I was surprised at how much he liked doing this activity. He has a long way to go but he did pretty well! One thing I had to repeat was not to go around the o and a more than once. He wanted to go around and around. This is an activity that I think he will want to do again! The next activity was Missing Letter Name Practice. We started by singing a little song I sing for Jake to teach him h…

Let's Create

Today we did some painting! I found the cutest little project that I knew Jake would love over at Kids Craft Weekly. It is a digger (Jacob informed me that it is a front end loader) that you can put together. Knowing Jacob's not so gentle touch, I decided to do something a little different with it.  He started by painting the loader. It was the first time I have seen him take care while painting/coloring. Usually he just scribbles with the paint brush or crayon but this time he was very careful to stay in the lines the best he could. It was fun to watch him with such focus. Now that he has turned three I see him really changing.  He painted the wheels black and painted around in a circle to fill them. He was not perfect but he certainly took more precision than usual.  While we let the loader paper dry, Jacob decided that he needed to draw some dirt on the paper for the loader to pick up. I then cut out the loader and helped Jake put it together. To put it together there are lett…

Play to Write- Week 2

This week we were were asked to make a Sensory Gel Pad by our Play to Write play date over at  Cheerios and Lattes. Check out the great explanations and tutorials over there. We have already made one so we just pulled it out. Jake does not love to use it. I think he feels he needs a bit more structure to be able to write the letters with his fingers. One option might be to create the gel pad that is clear.
He does try and that is all I can ask for! Playing tic-tac-toe was a great idea. That maybe all we need to help Jake learn to like the Sensory Gel Pad! We also did some more line tracing practice. Last week Jake was less than enthusiastic about this so this week when I pulled it out I made sure all my focus was on him (sorry no pictures because of this). I did a couple pages just to give him the idea. He participated and did a great job so much so that he did not need any help. (It is all about the attitude with this dude!) Another option for practice writing letter with fingers is…

Dig, Dig Park

We are blessed, here in Nashville, to have great Parks! One of Jacob's favorite parks is one he calls, The Dig, Dig Park. It is an area in a local park that is fenced off with dirt in the middle. There are shovels, buckets, trucks and all kinds of material to use on the dirt. There is also water to create mud!

I try every month to hit at least one field trip every month. Now, of course, we go more than one place a month on outings but my idea of a Field Trip is an activity in the community that relates to our Monthly Theme. I want to make connections from our activities to the community/world. 

This particular space is the perfect place to practice construction. Jacob gets right to work when we go there. He works on digging holes, building with (wooden) bricks, and mixing with mud. No better way to learn about construction than to actually do it! Getting your hands dirty is always fun and great motor skills practice! 

Truck Memory

We played a little game of Memory or Concentration. I bought some truck stickers and stuck them on card stock paper.  I make my own Memory games because Jacob really does not have the patience to play a whole game plus this way I control the pieces and can keep him excited about playing the game. He loves trucks so this game was right up his alley.  This time I made 5 pairs so there would be a winner with more pairs than the other. I wanted to see how Jacob would handle this if he did not "win." As you can see above he was a great sport and clapped for me for getting the last match. Hope this lasts! My theory is to ease into it and have a great attitude myself and hopefully he will mimic my behavior. 
Concentration or Memory is an excellent game to play with your children! It is a skill builder in so many ways including; memory, patience, taking turns, matching and being a good winner/loser. Jacob was just able to start formally playing within the last few month but we did …

Pre-Writing Practice

As stated in the Sunday Showcase, we will be joining a Wednesday Play Group with Cherrios and Lattes: Play to Write- Write to Read.

Our first week's assignment was some skill building with line drawing and a writing prompt. Both of these are activities we have done before so we were ready to hop right in. I took two pieces of construction paper and drew wavy lines, jagged lines, castle lines and straight lines. We did our Structured Play time after nap and Jake was a little grouchy. I read a few books first to attempt to loosen him up but he was still not exactly cooperative. I asked him to trace the lines. I helped him with the first line and then he deliberately drew straight over the second line, trying to get a reaction. I just said, "Wow, you did not do as I asked but you drew a straight line, that is really good. I wonder if you can draw a wavy line too?" He didn't exactly jump right in but he did participate.  And on to the next side of the paper... you can se…

Alphabet Truck Game

I saw this activity on a blog post over at Little Family Fun. I knew it was something we had to do. I thought Jacob would love it! So I made a version of my own. I put my version in a file folder. I wrote the capital and lower case letters at the top and put a road and dump truck at the bottom. I then stamped 2 inch circles with a large hole punch and wrote capital and lower case letters. I chose to do the capital and lower case letters on the same color paper to help him identify the letter matches. I will change this as his skills grow. He is not a guy that likes to work on letters so I do not want to frustrate him. I pulled only the first 5 letters of the alphabet for him to work on today. I drew a line at the bottom of each letter to help him line the letters up correctly. I told him to make sure the line was on the road and he was able to do it without difficulty. He enjoyed this activity with it limited to a few letters. If I extended it he would have lost it! I will do this da…

Truck Puzzles

We love these Truck Puzzles made by Toddler Approved. They are great shape, color, spacial sense and self control practice. I just printed the color and black and white copies and cut the color copy up to use as the puzzle pieces.  Jake gets a little frustrated if the pieces move around but it is good practice of self control. He really loves these especially because they are trucks so I can keep him engaged even if he gets frustrated. We discuss the parts of the trucks as well as the colors and shapes used to make the trucks. I started introducing the concept that shapes make up everything. After doing the puzzles we looked around the room and pointed out shapes we saw in the furniture. The idea is that we will then practice drawing for ourselves using basic shapes.  Check out Toddler Approved for these free printables. 


We read Demolition by Sally Sutton this week.. The whole book is about the knocking down and cleaning up of a building. We have a crane toy with a wrecking ball so we got the toys out after reading the book to recreate the story. We went page by page and practiced each part.  Jake was soaking it all up. When he is learning something he is straight faced and very sullen. He is just making sure he gets it all in. I know that he will be reenacting this over and over in play. I have many parents do not remember how to play or they do not know how to teach play to their kids. It is not about teaching but modeling. Kids naturally pick up toys and move them around to play but it is taking play into a deeper level (getting lost in play) that is what kids really need to learn to do. Play starts from experiences- small children play what they see or what they have done. Using literature to extend experiences is an excellent way to extend play. Jake played with this scene for over an hour. And …

Let's Build a House!

Sorry the posts are missing for this week we had company! We still enjoyed Structured Play activities, I am just late to post!
We have these floor mat squares that look like wood. Jake and I decided to use these squares to build a house. We worked together doing this project. He likes to work with someone! He plays on his own very well but when he is "working" he wants a partner. Sometimes he tells me he is the boss and sometimes I am the boss. Today I was the boss! Safety is always first on Jake's mind! He usually wears his vest, hat and goggles. He started by stacking the squares to get them where we needed them.  I found a Crayola Dry Erase Book with a Construction theme. It is line practice workbook for pre-writing skills. Jake saw it and fell in love! The cutest thing is that he thought it was "Blueprints." We have been talking a lot about the process of building. He is fascinated by plans and blueprints. Before I could introduce the book he had picked it …

Sunday Showcase- Cherrios & Lattes

This week's Sunday Showcase is a blog  have followed for a while. She has great ideas and activities but beyond that she periodically does terrific posts giving insight into the world of Education for those who do not have an educational background.
This week's post is about reading and writing. She makes a very important commentary about good readers being good writers and vice verse. I found that writing is a key element to teaching reading and more obviously reading a key element to writing. We are going to join her; Play to Write-Write to Read Wednesday Play Group! I look foreword to sharing our progress here on Structured Play! Check out Cherrios & Lates today!

Using Trucks for Number Practice

We have been practicing counting for quite a while and Jake is great at counting and seems to enjoy numbers in general. I saw this activity on Deceptively Educational. This is an exceptional blog. Please take some time to check out her amazing activities!
We started by gathering some trucks to use as reference. We pretty much have every type of truck so this was not difficult!
Next, I showed him our supplies. Deceptively Educational provided a printable. I printed it and glued it to a file folder. I then pulled out a round stamp and stamp pad. I told Jake we would need to count the wheels in the picture and that we could use our toy trucks to help too. Then we would stamp the amount of wheels for each truck. He quickly picked up the correct truck (of course) and started counting the wheels. He is very careful to point to each wheel as he counts. I emphasized pointing while counting when we began counting and he usually does it without prompting every time.  Next we stamped! I continu…