Saturday, April 14, 2012

First Few Days of "Preschool" activities

Ok, so T is now three as of March. And yes, it's April, not August. But he is so used to having educational toys and activities around, and he'd finished our old toddler binder. He's been begging for more. I decided to go ahead and start him on the newest binder and other activities I've collected. You can see some of the resources I'm using for preschool on the right hand sidebar.  
Here are some highlights of this (short) week! 

T working on the creation story from our Bible Treasure Chest.

T reading books, "George Shrinks" and "Peter Rabbit", in our reading & music corner. 

Preparing to practice cutting.

Continuing his cutting project from the previous day.

Making lemon-scented play-dough. Yes, I'll be sure to post about that one. It smelled great!

Knobbed cylinders. This set is changes by width from skinny to fat, but the same depth.

Building with blocks. Oh, by the way, that mat? Yes, that's his work mat. He unrolls it whenever he wants to do an activity.

Alphabet puzzle

Pouring activity with rice. He spent most of yesterday doing this actually. 

While I didn't get a picture of it, my personal highlight happened yesterday. We were out in the back yard (as we are many hours of the day despite my allergies) when he came and sat down under a tree with me. We sat there, watching the birds. Suddenly he jumped up. Dashing off towards the house he called out "I need to get the bird book!" referring to our state bird field guide. :) 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wee Wonderings: T at Two: favorites from the past year

In March T celebrated his third birthday. Despite the ups and downs that go along naturally with toddlerhood (or is it, just naturally with being human?!) we had all in all a lot of fun together. We sang. We read. We cooked. We colored. We explored. We went to the library. Traveled to the southwest desert and to the east coast. We went to an aquarium, were frequently at the zoo, and explored the local nature center at every opportunity. We visited with friends. It was a pretty good year.

I drew from a wide variety of sources. I used and finished up my copy of My Montessori House, continued working through Slow and Steady Get Me Ready, was inspired by many blogs, and also the Little Hands book series. We started out the first part of his year supplementing the hands-on Montessori activities with some letter of the week style activities. As the year progressed I moved on to simply doing interesting themes. Here are things we did together over the past 12 months. Looking back I think I'd have enjoyed a resource like Flowering Baby better than letter of the week since I was impressed by a friend's copy when I recently looked through it. Just would've been more to my taste. Although I did have fun finding my own resources. :) I wonder if I ever am blessed with another child how similar or different his or her 2 year old experience will be.

Age 2 Resources I Drew From:

 Bibles Used: The Rhyme Bible, The Big Picture Story Bible

Memory verses were based on Children Desiring God older toddler (love it! It's a nursery program that's actually a ministry, starting in infancy, with songs and prayer- praying scripture!- and Bible stories) and Great Commission Publications Sunday school memory work.

ExplorationSlow and Steady Get Me Ready, My Montessori House, ideas from online, and Playtime Rhymes*

Williamson Little Hands for activity ideas. These are terrific. They are simply loaded with fun ideas to explore and create, inside and out. Math Play, Mudworks, Fun with My Five Senses, Science Play, and Nature Play are all appropriate for 2 year olds. We had so much fun with them! They're easy to find too. I've checked them out from the library but seriously, in the end, had to buy them for myself. Just kept using them time and time again. Amazon, Barnes and Noble has them, but I also found them cheap on That's my favorite place for buying books on the cheap.

Music of the month-- Create a Pandora channel for:  folk music, jazz, Broadway, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, cello, piano, violin, etc. Also enjoyed Raffi, and Ella Jenkins CDs

Reading Themes: The first 26 weeks I chose activities and books based on a letter of the week with a corresponding number of the week (I didn't find all the tot box ideas on Confessions of a Homeschooler until later, but do like them and wish I'd tried some of them when I was doing letter of the week). I realized I'm not a big "do one letter each week" person and didn't continue with the curriculum once I made it through the preparatory level.

The rest of the year I simply chose a theme that lasted two weeks and read books about those themes, which included: Farm, Forest, God Made Me, Got Put Me in a Family, Loving My Neighbor, God Gives Us Homes, God Gives Us Food, Being Thankful, Transportation, Jesus is Born, Jobs, Feelings, Pets, Birds/Bugs/Butterflies, Water, Earth.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. A handful of books I recommend because we enjoyed it (*means already reviewed on Wee Wonderings):

Touch the Art: Make Van Gogh's Bed and Brush Mona Lisa's Hair
Mini Masters: Quiet Time with Cassatt
The Ants Go Marching by Dan Crisp
Orange Apple Pear Bear by Emily Gravett
Birds by Kevin Henkis
Letter Birds An ABC Bird Book by Pam Spremuli
Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long
Brown Bear Brown Bear by Eric Carle
Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
Baby Baboon*
Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand*
In My New Yellow Shirt by Eileen Spinelli*
The Little Auto by Lois Lenski*
I Howl, I Growl by Marcia Vaughn
Song and Dance Man 
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
Just Me by Marie Hall Etts
The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons*
Have You Seen My Duckling* by Nancy Tufuri
Ten in the Den*
In The Small Small Pond*
Bear Snores On*
Who's in the Forest*
I Spy Colors in Art*
Ella Sarah Gets Dressed*
Good Night Feet*
All by Myself by Aliki*
Thank You For Me!*
Museum ABC by the Metropolitan Museum of Art*
Blueberries for Sal  by Robert McCloskey
Very Hungry Caterpillar
Strega Nona (this was a favorite of his) by Tomie dePaola
Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
Growing Vegetable Soup
Pots and Pans by Anne Rockwell
Eat Your Peas Ivy Louise
Thanksgiving a the Tappletons by Eileen Spinelli
Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks
T is for Turkey
The Little Airplane by Lois Lenski
Big Book of Things that Go by DK Publishers
Little Red Caboose by Marion Potter
Fire Engine Book by Tibor Gregoly
Wheels on the Bus by Raffi
Freight Train by Donald Crews (had to replace it, we read it so much!)
Mr Grumpy's Outing by John Burningham
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
---for Christmas I found illustrated versions of Christmas carols, like "Holly and the Ivy" "Friendly Beasts" "Silent Night" etc---
Day in the Life Of series by DK

Elizabeth Verdick books for feelings and behavior

Dog, Cat, and others by Matthew Van Fleet
Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day
Rain by Peter Spier

The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks (read towards the end of the year)
The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth
Baby Baluga (Raffi)
What Can You Do in the...series by Anna Grossnickle Hines (never reviewed, but check out many times)
Hands Can by Cheryl Willis Hudson (we so often talk about what they can't do. This is a very positive book!)