Friday, May 29, 2009

Tot School-C week

Tot School

M&M is currently 35 months old

I've seen a lot of people doing workboxes with their children when they do homeschooling. I wanted to take this idea and make if fit for what I am doing with M&M in Tot School. I tried it this week and it worked really well. It gave M&M a chance to choose what activities she wanted to do in whatever order she wanted to do them in. I'm trying to give her choices in everything I can in things that don't matter so that she can exercise her independence as much as possible. I don't have a shelf to put the boxes on yet so they are on the floor for now. Also, I have not read anything about how the actual workbox system works, I'm just taking ideas of what I see and putting them into ways that will work for me. This system keeps me organized as well and makes it so that I put together all materials needed for one activity into one box.

I had a lot of activities planned for the letter C this week. We started off reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. Bubba joined us for this part.

I found this flannel board story for The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the DLTK website. I put felt on the back of them, but they don't stay very well, but I got a lot of great comments saying to use sandpaper instead and I think I'll try doing that next time. At first I read the story while she put the pictures on the board and then I told her to read the story and I would put the pictures on the board. I was amazed at what she remembered from the story after just reading it a couple of times.

Then we colored a mini coloring book about the letter C that I found at the ABC Teach website.

I guess I didn't get a picture of it, but we made a letter C out of cotton balls. M&M enjoyed doing this and she asked to make something else with the cotton balls so I had to think quickly and came up with drawing an outline of clouds on blue paper and then she glued more cotton balls onto the clouds to make white and fluffy.

Next she chose to do a counting activity using little pompoms. I found this activity on the Childcareland website. (Scroll down and look under Pom Pom counting book for the actual activity.)

I threw in a flannel activity that my mom brought down when she came to visit a few months ago. It's really cute because it's a house that has pictures of different rooms. You are suppose to cut out each room and put it all together in a book, but I decided not to do that yet because M&M has enjoyed playing with it like this. There are tons of pieces to go with it from people to toys to furniture.

She made up a story on the flannel board with some of the pieces. I think that the people's faces are covered because there is a dinosaur and they are scared of it. M&M had to cover her face too. My mom used to work with kids a lot doing therapy and she would call this Play Therapy. M&M is acting out her own life through the flannel people.

Another day we did workboxes again.

She started off doing size sequencing with using circles. I found this idea on the Childcareland website as well. I was so happy because this time she understood what she needed to do. Thanks to the book called, "It's not easy being big." It's a Sesame Street book about Big Bird who is too big to do some things, but Elmo is too small to do other things, but they end up helping each other at the end to accomplish a task. The book also includes pages that talk about "big, bigger and biggest" and "small, smaller and smallest." I reminded her of this book and she figured out what to do with the circles based off of what she learned from the book.

Then we made a colorful caterpillar that I found here.

A Paper clip color matching game was her next pick. She had a really hard time doing this one because it's hard for her to get the paper clips on. The strips of color are made out of foam, but I've seen it where they can just be strips of paper laminated. I think I will try that because it might be easier to get them on the paper as opposed to the thicker foam. She did make piles of each of the colors though.

Next I had her color pieces for a cow puppet and then helped her put it together. Well I can't seem to find where I got this exact one from because I printed it out right when I found it. I did find some other ones over at DTLK though.

This car puzzle came from ABC Teach.

More caterpillar fun. Found here.

Another C activity not shown was a another colorful caterpillar paper activity that came from DLTK.

Extra activities include a bulletin/cork board, thumb tacks, play hammer and stapler remover activity. Warning: Do not leave child alone while doing this. I was with M&M the entire time she did this because she is handling sharp and dangerous objects. I would poke the thumbtacks into the bulletin board slightly and then she would hammer them in the rest of the way. Afterwards she used the stapler remover to remove the thumbtacks. She liked doing this a lot. I've had this activity in my head for a VERY long time and I can't remember where I got it from.

This next activity was a kit I got from Michaels for a little butterfly suncatcher. Again I was with M&M the entire time because it has such small pieces. The package says to cut one end of a straw at an angle to scoop the little bead things. This was hard for M&M so I got a little scoop out that I already had. The package says this is for 8+, but M&M liked doing this and of course I helped her a lot and we have a pretty thing to hang in the window now.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ABC and 123 Picnic Table Talk Introduction

I found this great website that is doing a fun thing this summer called Summer Prize Picnic and I want to participate. To start off I need to do an introduction. To learn more about this click here.

About our family: There are four of us. Mom, Dad, "M&M" and "Bubba". M&M will be 3 in a couple of weeks at the same time that Bubba will be turning 6 months old. My husband has a wonderful job that allows me to stay home with my kids. I spend my days, feeding, clothing, having fun, and taking care of owies. Somedays that is all I accomplish, but most often I spend my time playing with my kids and doing Tot School with M&M while Bubba sleeps.

How long have you been reading ABC & 123?: For about two months now.

How did you come up with your blog title?: I wrote a post about this very thing. To read it click here.

What activities do you most enjoy doing with your children?: I love to do anything with my kids that makes them happy. At the moment some of these include playing outside with bubbles, sidewalk chalk, swimming, and jumping on the trampoline.

What is your favorite picnic activity and food? BBQ all the way! Hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, steak. Potato salad, watermelon and ice cream. Our favorite activity is swimming.

What are your summer plans?
M&M will be in a Mother's Day Out program one day a week. Swimming lessons another day and maybe a Kindermusik class. (More about this to come.) The rest of the time will be spent swimming at Grandma's house or in the backyard. Anything to do with water to keep cool! We have two family reunions and another trip to visit family. Hopefully we will do some weekend trips as well. Anywhere there's time will be spent doing Tot School.

Links to some of your favorite learning activity posts:
I just barely started doing this blogging thing for learning activities so I don't have much but here are a few.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom week

Letter B week

Random fun

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I have some paper flannel board pictures that I've cut out and that I want to put something on the back of so they stick onto the flannel board. I spray glued some felt to the back of one set, but it doesn't seem to stay on the board very well. Does anyone have any ideas of what else I could put on the back of the rest of them to make them stick better?

Life + Little ones = Chaos

This will be the first of what I will call ramblings or confessions. I just need to be able to write some things down so that I don't go insane. This one will definitely fall under confession.

Right now my house is a disaster, my 3 year old is watching Caillou and my 5 month old is sitting quietly in his swing for the most part. Every once in a while he will make some noise, like, "I'm still here, remember me?" He is my angel baby, and one of the things that is keeping me sane right now.

So I felt bad for Bubba and decided to go put him in bed for a nap.

As I was saying, my house is a disaster. I can't seem to keep up with it. I asked my husband to help me clean last week saying, once I get it all clean I just need to maintain it. HA! The weekend happened and it is a mess again. We went to the lake yesterday so all of that junk (i.e. towels, swimsuits, beach toys, half eaten snacks) is strewn everywhere.

My 3 year old is attention-starved so she has to be everywhere I am and most definitely won't go play by herself for at least 15 minutes. I believe this has stemmed from the time that Bubba was born and M&M has realized that he's here to stay and she won't get all of my attention all of the time anymore. I have been trying to give her all the attention I can though. That is why I started Tot School; to give her one-on-one time with just me, doing fun projects and enjoying time together. So far I haven't seen any difference.

Two weeks from now she will start a Mother's Day Out program once a week and I'm concerned about what is going to happen when I have to leave her somewhere that she is not familiar with. I'm doing this because I think that this will ultimately prove helpful for both of us, but it's going to be very hard to begin. In the fall she will do preschool two days a week, but that will be with people she is more familiar with. The thing is, I don't plan on homeschooling M&M. I think mother's that do are AMAZING, but it's just not in my plans. Putting her in a MDO program is just the first step to transitioning her into a school atmosphere.

Don't get me wrong about M&M. She is the sweetest, cutest, most animated little girl that I know and I wouldn't change anything about her. She is very active and has lots of energy. I just need to figure out how to channel that energy into something good.

My problem is that I can't seem to do anything else until my house is clean, but I can't get my house clean because I have two kids to take care of and that need my constant attention. (I know, some of you that read this have more than two and can handle it just fine.) It's a constant cycle. I need to learn to dismiss the dirty house for a while so that I can enjoy doing the other stuff. *Sigh*

On top of all of this I REALLY need to potty train M&M because she's ready now. Also I need to wean Bubba because it's affecting my diet and I can't take the allergy medication that I need.

Well, I hesitate in posting this because it is so personal and real to me, but I know I like reading the blogs where I can identify with the person and what they are going through. Hopefully I'm not the only one going through these same problems. The whole premise of this blog is to learn how to be a better wife, mother and person. The first step to becoming better is identifying what needs to be changed, right? There you have it.

Haha. As I reread this I realized it is very random and sporadic. But I guess that is just who I am and the way my thoughts are going right now as I try to make sense of life as I know it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tot School May 18-22

Again another random week, but I am planning out the next few weeks so that we can do some letters of the week. I plan to do letter C next week and letter F and R in the next few weeks. I thought I would do the letters in order of the alphabet, but I decided not to because the activities that I want to do now correspond with random letters in the alphabet. We finally got some sun here and some warm weather so we spent a lot of time outside. I got some flowers for Mother's Day and M&M wanted to go water them. She's a lot better at remembering to do it than I am. She practiced pouring water from the pitcher into her watering can.

In an effort make healthier meals for M&M and myself, I tried to make it fun and interesting by making little fruit kabobs with toothpicks. I used grapes, slices of banana and strawberries. We both gobbled it up.

I've seen a lot of Wikki Stix and Bendaroo activities floating around and so I got some and we tried them out this week. We made a rainbow. We also made our family by using the picture on the front of the box.

I saw this activity somewhere. I still forget to write down where I get every activity sometimes. I guess this would be a sensory tub. I hid little plastic ladybugs in the rice and had M&M dig for them. She loved putting her hands in the rice and feeling and scooping and pouring. To be honest I liked putting my hands in it too. The ladybugs were little buttons that I found at Michaels I think.

I've had this activity in mind for a while now, but found a great opportunity to do it this week. It's a Montessori inspired activity using a water dropper. She's suppose to transfer the water from one bowl to the other using the dropper. She got frustrated with it because she couldn't figure out when to squeeze and when to let go in order to get the water in the dropper. I think I need a bigger dropper. She got bored with it because she wasn't getting very much water at a time and there was probably no end in sight for her. It was also probably very frustrating for her that she had to be so precise and clean with the water. She loves to splash and play with water anytime she can get her hands on it. Hopefully going swimming this summer and playing with water in the backyard will help get that out of her system.

Next we did an activity using Magic nuudles found on the Childcareland website. (It's the first activity on this page when you click on the link.) I have used several activities from this site because I love all of the ideas they have on there. They provide you with links to all of their paper activities as well which is really helpful. M&M made letters using the nuudles and I introduced her to patterns. She basically just copied what I had put on the paper.

Again another activity found from Childcareland using popsicle sticks. (Scroll down on the link.) I wrote capital and lowercase letters on the colored popsicle sticks to make a matching game. As I learned from another letter matching game I tried earlier I didn't put the whole alphabet out at once. This was too overwhelming for M&M. I gave her about 4 groups of letters. She did really well with this and finished it.

Then we did some classic bead lacing. I found these beads on clearance at Walmart for like a dollar. This little girl loves pink and purple so these were perfect for her and renewed her interest in something that she has already mastered.

I've had this birdhouse for a while as well and brought it out this week for M&M to paint. I used to paint wood a lot with acrylic paints and so I had a lot of colors. I usually only let M&M paint with washable paints, but I didn't think that would go so well on wood so I let her choose some colors from my collection. She loved being able to paint with "mommy's paints" because it is usually a forbidden activity. Of course she chose 2 kinds of purple to paint with. Everything has to be purple. She used some dot paint brushes to do the dots on the roof. She really enjoyed this and I think it turned out pretty cute! She wanted to put bird seed in it right away and hang it up outside for the birds. Unfortunately, I didn't have any birdseed or anyway to hang it up so I will figure out another kind of birdhouse that we can do that with next week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blog redesign

I've had a lot of fun "decorating" my blog. I went through a lot of sites that offer free templates/backgrounds and found one I really like on The Cutest Blog on the Block. I had also seen all of those 3 column blogs out there and thought that would be great for organizing all of the things that I wanted to put on the sidebars without having one big long strip on just one side. I had gone through thinking about having someone I know do a custom site for me, but I knew that if I looked hard enough I could find a way to do it by myself. I found a great tutorial on how to do it on a certain website, but I can't find it now. I feel really bad because I can't give credit where credit is due. I did find the exact same instructions on The Cutest Blog on the Block though for those that are interested. It's really pretty simple. If I can do it, then anybody can do it. I'm going to look into how to change fonts as well.

I got my "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me" and "I belong" buttons from One Cute Blog and "My Families are Forever" blinkie from The Cutest Blog on the Block as well. I didn't use anything from Simply Fabulous Blogger, but it has some really cute backgrounds as well. If you are looking for a change or want to upgrade your blog check these sites out.

I feel empowered that I can do some of this stuff on the computer and find that it is very fun and rewarding. I think that if I could do school over again I would have enjoyed taking some classes on graphic design. Even though I am done with school I can still continue my education through the internet, books, community classes, etc. I am grateful for all of those out there that are willing to share what they know.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tot School

Tot School

M&M is currently 35 months old

Tot School was pretty non-existent this week, but we did do a few things. With a sick little girl, we really didn't feel up to doing much. I'm still trying to figure out how to best make this work for us as well.

I made an I Spy Bottle this week. I've seen these are several blogs and thought that it would be something I could handle making. A few weeks back we made colored rice. I don't have any pictures of that, but here are some pictures of what I did to make the I Spy Bottle. I pulled this out for M&M, but it didn't work out. She wanted to open it up and take everything out. I hadn't glued on the top yet so I'll bring it out again next week and see what happens after I glue the top on. To find out better directions on how to make this click on the links.
Since that didn't work I had a few more activities up my sleeve such as tracing M&M's body outline onto poster board. I found this idea here. She really liked this a lot and I knew she would because she asks me to trace her feet and hands all of the time.
We had just painted her toe nails so she had to add in the purple on her toes.

She added the details and I was so impressed to see that her drawings actual resembled body parts. She told me the oval below the head is her "tummy and there's another scribble that is her heart. I love the hair that she drew.

She wanted to draw a doctor. I guess since we were doing stuff about the body she thought we needed a doctor around. I was so impressed with her picture! This is the first time that I could actually see a person in her drawing.
M&M L.O.V.E.D. this next activity. We played hide and seek with letters. (Scroll down after clicking on the link to find the actual activity) Sometimes with things I have a hard time getting her to finish it, but with this we played it twice. To play I put cards with letters in a paper bag. She would pull one out and then go find it. You can make this yourself or print them off from the link above. I didn't really hide the letters I just put them around the room and she would have to go find the right letter. While she waited for me to hide the big letters she lined up the cards in her playroom. After she found them all she wanted to hide them so that I could find them. She kept saying that this was her "letter factory." Compliments of the Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD she is beginning to understand the sound that each letter makes.
Then we made a contact paper collage. I taped contact paper up on our window and then I gathered up some crafty items such as: feathers, beads, pom pom, confetti, gemstones, and foam shapes and put them on a plate. She loved doing this and got everything put on with a little help from mommy. It looks green because of the grass in our backyard.

We had some good ol' playdough fun as well. I brought out some laminated letters but she only did two of them, which is fine.
Lastly she wanted to use the "counting thing" as she calls it which is my ice cube tray. She wanted to count balloons this time. That led to sorting them by color and then we did the same thing with pompoms.

So after doing this post I realized we did do a lot this week, but I guess it was just pretty sporadic.


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