Monday, June 10, 2013

Shell Imprints

Today we spent some time playing with sea shells and play-doh. I had Jake roll out the doh and use the shells to make some imprints.
I had some shells from our last beach trip but I bought some at Michael's Craft Store as well. I wanted to do some projects with shells in addition to this activity. 

We made some observations of the imprints using our senses. We then talked about what we liked or thought was neat about the shell imprints. Lastly, we made predictions about what a shell imprint might look like before imprinting it based on other shells we imprinted.
Little brother tried some as well. He is much different than his big brother. Jacob was doing Structured Play Activities starting at 13 months old. Joey was NOT ready at 13 months! He is just a different kiddo but he is now slowly showing signs of readiness. 
Look what I made!

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I have switched my organization process a bit to make things easier and faster for me. I found these 5 plastic boxes at Costco for about $30. I thought they would be a perfect way to organize our monthly activities while all the while keeping them neat and out of the way. I have 5 labels for the boxes including; Reading, Pre-writing, Arts and Crafts, Motor Skills and Math. These are the areas in which we have activities every month. You can download the labels here. I print them as notes so that they are small and fit on the front of the box. They could also be larger and on top of the box.

What I am doing is preparing all of my activities for the month and placing them in the appropriate box. Each day when it is time to do our Structured Play Activities I ask Jacob to grab a box he would like to work on today. It has to be a box he has not done for that week. I have found that by letting him choose the box and the activity it cuts down on his lack of cooperation. Then once we open the box I let him decide which of the 4 activities to do. (One for each week of the month) This does give him a lot of control but at the same time I have chosen each activity to put into the box so I have already approved the activity. Then once he has done the activity I can remove it or leave it for another day. 

As you can see the boxes are larger than a piece of paper so fitting all of the elements of the activities is not a problem. I set up the rules to Jacob before we began so I would not have a fight everyday over which box he chooses or does not choose. We spend between 15 minutes to an hour on the activity depending on temperament and on the activity.

The Pre-Writing Box is the only box that does not change monthly. I have laminated a few items and I leave those in the box at all times with a box of dry erase crayons. Jacob's fine motor skills are not great and he has a lot of trouble writing so I do not push him. (at this age) Here are some links to activities I have printed and laminated for the Pre-Writing Box:

Handwriting Worksheets- Make your own pages then print them off. I just made a page with Jacob's name 5 times with dotted lines.
Printable Alphabet Tracing Cards- print, laminate and punch a whole. Then just put a ring around them!
Printable Number Tracing Cards- same thing but numbers! These are super cute and I tell Jacob to circle the  number he thinks looks the best on each card. He love that part! ;)
Writing Skills Cards- these are good as the first step pre-writing. They are just shapes and lines to practice skills.

All of these came from things I have Pinned check out my Pinterest Page by clicking the P at the top of the Blog on the right hand side.

Hope this gives you some idea of a way to organize your activities. Prep and organization is key to success!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Activities- Beach Theme

We are back on track, I hope! This month we are doing a Beach Theme. Please remember these important points:
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 a 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!

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