Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tot School

November 22, 2009

untitled M is 38 Months old

My camera battery died in the middle of tot school one day so some photos of just the activities were taken later in the week... like 5 minutes before I wrote this post. :)

ABCs and Pre-writing:

M is going through some anti-craft phase right now, and this includes the craft pages for our ABC book.  He loves cutting and pasting for the collage pages though:letter O collage page So, apparently we will now have an ABC collage book.  I’m hoping the craft pages will make an appearance again sometime soon, but I’m leaving this kind of thing totally up to M.  Here are his Ll and Oo pages:blog pics 085 (This was when the no-crafts discovery was made.  M cut the letters out, but refused to do the rest, so yours truly did it in a futile attempt to get him interested.)blog pics 086 blog pics 087

On a more positive note, he was totally into the tracing pages.  We “read” his book together and then he practiced holding the dry-erase marker correctly and traced the letters:blog pics 083

We also did our cardstock letters and glass pebbles activity (both from Dollar Tree!):blog pics 090 He loves this.  It’s simply setting a letter out and then tracing it with the pebbles in the same way you would draw the letter (start at the top, go down, etc.).

For the very first time we had a sand tray to trace letters.  I was hesitant to do this because I thought at some point M would just want to play in the sand, most likely getting his little cars involved.  We had a little talk about how this is only for drawing letters, shapes, or numbers in, and he actually did pretty well.  He did experiment with just doodling in it too, which was fine with me.  We used this with our sand letter cards:tot school (2) He really did a great job.

We also matched up our Mama and Baby letters with these fun cards (Dollar Tree!):ABC and pre-writing


He’s been playing quite often with a fishing game I made 2 years ago (he loved it then and still plays with it frequently) :ABC and pre-writing (7) The fish have letters on them and metal grommets for eyes.  The fishing pole has a magnet on the end of the string to catch them.  The chair, in case you were wondering, is M’s “fishing bridge” and the floor there?  “Floaty Pond”.  :)  As opposed to other side of the room, which is “Sinky Pond”.   Yep!

Pre-literacy Skills:

I have a subscription to an email full of free samples from Dover Publications.  The email comes weekly and I always save a ton of things.  One was these Opposites cards:literacy M was very interested in this – of course he knew about opposites, but didn’t know the term for it.  He enjoyed matching these up and I plan to print more for him soon.  He would say “If it isn’t hot” (and grab the hot card), “then it’s cold!” (and match it to the cold one). 

Fine Motor Skills:

He played with another I Spy Sensory Bin – I found some great new things to put in it for him – a little hammer, screwdriver, pliers, and saw – such cute and tiny things!  We also used a variety of other things found around the house.  I didn’t have a theme at all… but he loved it! tot school (4)

And a Curious George puzzle:fine motor (1)


Large Motor Skills:

After reading about how important a workout of large muscles can be in a boy’s learning, we did our movement cards before a lot of the other work.  M always enjoys this!large motor

Leaping :)…

large motor (1)


Math Skills:

I thought this would be a super-fun activity – connecting dots to make shapes:math skills (3) M was interested at first, but quickly moved on to something else.  The idea for this was here.

I found some wooden tan grams at Michael’s  ($1.00 – you should go now!)  and printed a couple of puzzles for him:math skills (2) math skills (4)


Size sorting with Bob the Builder trucks (loved this activity and the next one, of course):math skills (5)


And size sequencing with Scrambler, also from Bob the Builder:math skills



We have been reading some great Thanksgiving books and I told him the basics of the first Thanksgiving with this flannelboard set:thanksgiving He listened very well and then told Daddy the story later!


Life Skills:

This week we took the drawer locks off of M’s dresser drawers and he was given two new jobs – put his own clothes away after they are folded, and pick out his own clothes to wear each morning.  He is loving this new-found freedom, such a big boy!  And while the clothing choices are not ones I would’ve made, I’m very, very proud of him!  And now I know that the red shirt is way too small and needs to be packed away. :)

Nature and Science:

We also had a class at our local nature center all about apples this week.  M had so much fun taste testing and graphing his favorite apple, cutting an apple to see the star inside, and even squishing an apple to make cider!  The children were all given their own apple seed and we went to a beautiful sunny field where they planted them. So much fun!  I need to start including our nature center experiences in my tot school posts – we always learn so much there!

For more Tot School, go here!

Have a beautiful week! :)


  1. What a great week! I'm going to have to try the i spy box instead of the i spy bottle. I love the picture of him jumping. =)

    Also if anyone wants to print fish like the ones you made, I have a template on this post:

  2. What a busy week! I like your glass pebble activity. And yay to M on his mad tracing skillz! ;)

    James went through an anti-crafting stage, too. It was short-lived, so you may find M interested in artsy stuff before you know it!

  3. We are in a huge "anti-everything" stage here. Anna just wants to play-play-play and rejects everything remotely reminding her of school. I am impressed that you found ways to accommodate Matthew's interests without fighting with him.

  4. I definitly need to hit the dollar tree. You got some cool stuff there. Never thought of using the glass pebbles to outline the letters.

  5. Another great Tot School, you guys really have lots of fun.

  6. Oh Nicole, you always do SUCH awesome things that it's hard to comment on only a few!! Love the pebbles and letters; I think Maddie would really enjoy that. Also, I just adore the picture of him leaping. Too cute!!!

    And, I JUST realized that I never put out her art box that I lovingly put together... Rats! Next week. :)

  7. I love the idea of putting pebbles on the letters! I am definately going to try that with Jordan. I have also been meaning to do a sand box with Jordan for tracing letters but have been afraid of the same things as you that he will want to put all his cars and little dump trucks in it. But I think I am going to give it try. Thanks for sharing your great week!

  8. Great ideas! Love the fishing activity. The sand tracing is great, too. I have used salt for this activity and my boys love it.

  9. I love that fishing activity! too cool!

  10. Oh, I am in such awe of all of your great activities... :) I also appreciate that you talk about what was a hit and what was a miss. You seem like a really great teacher - what a lucky son you have, to have a mom that is also a good teacher!

  11. Crumpet got tired of the letter crafts too. We got stuck at L.. He likes to read through the book but doesn't want to finish it! We play that fishing game too. It's a great one. I'd forgotten about your movement board - I'll have to try that soon!

  12. Selena is in such a school funk here, not really wanting to do anything but read, and crafts. She asks for Grandma's crafts everyday, but doesn't care about her workbooks right now. I guess we will just go with the flow and I will work the rest in as we can. I think this is just a sign of more growth realizing she can make things, and working on those finer motor skills, and the math skills that we haven't really pushed much on, since math usually comes later after the reading.

    You had a Great week though and a lot of activities going on!

  13. What a great week!!! He looks like he had a lot of fun. I love the picture of him jumping :)

  14. Oooh, I love the idea of the movement cards--I think that will be just the ticket for my little guy that is never still for two seconds! Thanks for the great, detailed Tot School posts!

  15. I saw those little dot boards at the Dollar Tree and was wondering how I could use them! {smile} Looks like another great week!


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