Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tot School – Sept. 13, 2009

Tot School
Matthew is 36 months
It was another fun week in Tot School land. :)  I know it looks like we do a lot, but I want to stress that we normally spend about one hour “doing school” on Tuesday mornings, with only a couple more planned activities thrown in here and there if M asks for them on other days, which he normally does lately.  We try to spend time every day on an art project too, but other than that M’s time is spent mostly in self-directed play; normally I try to let the art project be very self-directed too.  Sometimes his free play time is with me or Daddy (and if it’s a definite learning-type activity I try to capture it with some pictures) and very often on his own, or with a friend.  Regardless of what it looks like we really don’t spend all our time on school! :)
Ok, now that that is out of the way… here’s what we did this week. :)
I showed M the new letter H file I put together for his ABC book.  I posted about this here and made it available for download. :)
First, He put helicopter and “H” foam stickers on the Hh templates:
Letter H ffg1 letter h ffg 2He pretty much insisted on putting the stickers around the letters instead of on them. :)  Simple as this was, M absolutely loved doing it.
Then he practiced tracing the letters.  He wants to draw his letters so badly, so I included this activity in the file (you can see his tripod grasp is pretty non-existent, or was on this day anyway):tracing letter H
We played a tic tac toe game using Hard Hats and Hammers:
tic tac toe
And we went through little pictures of things that begin with H.  I’ve found this is a one of the best activities to help him learn the sound a letter makes.  I always include this with our ABC book pages.  We say /h/ /h/ /h/ hammer, /h/ /h/ /h/ house, etc, stressing the initial sound as we look at each picture.  It’s fun and kind of turns into a chant of sorts.things that begin with H
We worked on the Heart pattern strips… he is just not getting the concept of repeating patterns.   Ah well, I need to remain patient and remember at 3 the important thing is lots of exposure to a concept and it will finally *click*. :)  Here’s the pattern strips after I re-did them the right way, ha:Heart pattern strips
Finally, he colored the shapes for the shape House.  He is so not into crayons.  If I had let him use markers I would’ve gotten a better response, I think.  He colored for a while, like this:coloring shapes 2 then he wanted me to finish it.  I had him tell me which color to use for each part, then did it.  He enjoyed being the teacher. :)  Here is the shapes house all finished and put together:shapes house finished

After that we did a few more tot school activities – we used our counting mats to count with M&Ms. :)  We are still only going up to number 4 because he still is working on one to one correspondence and the idea that the last number you say is the number of items.counting with m&ms

I created a little measuring activity for him.  I got the idea here, and altered it slightly.  M is really, really into tools lately and of course that includes what he calls his “measurers”, which is a tape measure and a square with a ruler on the side.  So I made this:measuring activity (ignore the close up of my dirty carpet, please)
He loved this and I think it would’ve gone over even better if I had used something other than ribbon to measure.  But, that was all I could think of at the time.measuring

Then we practiced scissor skills by cutting out large shapes drawn on construction paper:cutting shapes1He did so well with this, we saved the shapes to show to Daddy later.  I wish I would’ve taken a picture of them all cut out.  cutting shapes 2 
He loves this little paperclip color match game.  He just recently became very good at doing this and is enjoying his new found skill.  paper clip color match He wanted to do this again another day but lost interest pretty quickly.  So I grabbed the bag of paper clips and gave him a new challenge – paper clip chains:paper clip chain I’m noticing this kid does not smile much for pictures.  Please believe me, though, when I tell you he enjoyed an activity. :)

He practiced spooning the pretty, pretty glass pebbles from a glass dish into an ice cube tray:spooning glass pebbles

We did our fantastic movement cards again and got a little exercise in.  I am thinking of making this a daily activity.movement cards

Another day he was itching to do some hammering, so I gave him a large piece of styrofoam that came in a package we received and a baggie full of golf tees.  hammering golf tees into styrofoamThis kept him busy on and off for most of the day.  The next day he took the golf tees (“nails”) out with his pliers – I was impressed he thought of this – I sure hadn’t.pulling golf tees (nails) out with pliers then as I was doing laundry he decided to saw it.  The boy is all about tools these days.  This is what awaited me after the laundry:styrofoam after saw It was a mess.  But I was not too bent out of shape about it – he had thoroughly enjoyed himself, and the amount of time it kept him occupied was definitely worth the 10 minutes or so of cleaning and vacuuming I had to do. 
I’ve been trying to have a small activity set up for him to do independently around 4:00 pm when Daddy is not yet home but dinner needs to be cooked.  This week we tried stenciling with our do-a-dot painters:stencillingI really need to pull together some more activities for this purpose – any ideas?  Nothing too complicated to set up and something he can do by himself.  You know how it is when that time of day rolls around…
Here’s my favorite picture of the week.  M’s cousin S came over and she is a crafty kind of girl.  They crafted all day.  She has been dying to make a sunshine guy like M made a long time ago.  They both made new ones and then posed with them for me:sunshine guy Aren’t they sweet? And the kids are nice too.  ;)  Hee hee.
For more great tot school ideas, go here!  Sorry for so much rambling this week! :)
Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. What a great week! They are busy at this age aren't they? =) Thanks for the link on the counting mats. I'm going to print those out. Also, I've been trying to think of a measuring activity too. B is so into the mesuring tapes and his tools. I'm going to give this one a try! Thanks!

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  3. Hammering golf tees is such a great idea! There's something about boys and hammers :)
    I know how the 'Dad isn't home and dinner needs to be made' time goes. I find that messy things that tend to irritate me are the best for keeping Lucas (the same age as M) busy. Lucas is a child that it's better to know where he is than where he isn't when he starts getting antsy. :) I often let him play in the kitchen sink with various cups/funnels and things like that. It keeps him busy for ages. He also loves helping wash produce for dinner. I give him things like potatoes, cucumbers, anything not too squashy and ask him to help me wash them. Sometimes I bring his sensory tray in and let him play with it on the kitchen floor. (it's usually outside) Playing with play-dough is always a big hit. And ripping up magazines. And these are all things that he can do sitting in the kitchen with me keeping an eye on him - a huge plus! Hope that helps!

  4. i know that you say you don't do much but seriously in my opinion that is a lot! what a great week you guys had at tot school.. i love the helicopter page and i love the hammering idea.. my son loves to watch his dad hammer and i wasn't sure how to help him explore with that without getting hurt.... hammering onto styrofoam is a great idea!! thank you so much for the inspiration!

  5. So many great activities! Thanks for the links to the counting mats and the exercise cards.

  6. This is a great week. I loved the idea with golf tees and styrofoam - I can see that M enjoyed it a lot. Interestingly, Anna is quite able to entertain herself when she sees that I am "legitimately busy" (i.e. not on the computer). She will either watch me cook and talk/help or will just play in our eat-in kitchen making a birthday party for her kitty. It's funny that regardless of how we raise our kids, gender differences do show themselves in their preferred games. By the way, we have the same set of vehicle foam stickers from a Dollar Tree, and Anna loves them. Her favorite is a train though :)

  7. So many fun activities and ideas I see here! I love your tic tac toe with tools, measuring activity and sunshine guy.

    I haven't forgotten to email you either:-)--promise!!

  8. There are so many great things here that I am going to bookmark for when M gets to the letter H. I love the measuring ribbon, the tic tac toe game, and paper clip chains and do a dot stencils. It looks like so much fun at your house!

  9. I like your tic-tac-toe. And I know how it is with the messes - the fun they have (and the amount of time they spend having that fun) make the clean-up worth it!

  10. Love love love the hammering with golf tees and styrofoam. Slow and Steady says they should be ready to hammer nails into wood, but I've been really timid about giving it a try. Your idea, I will absolutely try! Love the measuring too. And, Crumpet totally doesn't understand patterns yet either. It will come. I have a ridiculously long e-mail about homeschooling that I'm preparing for you, just have to find time to type it! Love your posts.

  11. What a great week!! You do so many great activities, I like the measuring one a lot.


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