First, this is how I’ve been finding M first thing many mornings:(sorry for the blurry photo… these old hands of mine aren’t very steady before my coffee, heh) – he’s been sitting in front of the tree, all lit up in the dark, playing with toys so sweetly and quietly. I think he is really soaking up the magic of Christmas and those Christmas lights – remember how special they were when we were children? :) I’m loving this stage with him.
We have been singing and making music quite often now that his instruments and song book are out and accessible all the time: (Don’t let the blank look on his face fool you, he really does LOVE doing this!)
Fine Motor Skills:
This was a great post from Allie at No Time for Flashcards. However, I really didn’t feel like making one on my own so I gave M some yarn (instead of wire) and some felt I had cut into squares and cut a slit into the middle of – M strung the felt pieces onto the yarn, then we formed it into a wreath and hung it on the tree:
I made these fun rubbing plates using cardboard from a cereal box:I used a cookie cutter to trace the tree, star, and angel and free-hand drew the snowflake. Then I went over the drawings with hot glue. M used them with newsprint and crayons: This was a little tough for him because the paper slid around quite a bit. Here are the best samples of what he did: I plan to make more of these for other holidays – they were fun and really held his interest. He must’ve done dozens of these in the past two weeks.
I filled a large pan with “pretend snow” (shaving cream) one day and M played in it with his little cars for TWO HOURS. I am not kidding. TWO HOURS. There was a mess to clean up, which took me a good 15 minutes. But it was worth it for TWO HOURS of him being involved and interested in something. :)He asked for it again another day and played with it for 20 minutes, sigh. (ugh, look at that kitchen floor. So old and ugly. If anyone wants to give me a Christmas present, a new kitchen floor would be perfect. :) )
M has really taken off with his understanding of patterns recently. He is really getting it. We did our pattern Christmas lights again, this time in an ABCABC pattern. At first he insisted that it could only be red, green, red, green, etc. Then I talked to him about how we sometimes play games with Daddy and we each take a turn, even though there are three of us. We ended up naming the green lights M, the red lights Daddy, and the blue lights Mommy, then strung them up – he really got it! At the end we were calling them by their colors again and he understood perfectly. We even did some AABB patterning and he picked up on that too! Yay!!
We did a quick counting game with some cardstock Christmas trees and pom poms. I drew little spots for 30 pom poms to go on each tree, then we simply took turn rolling the number cube and putting that many pom pom “ornaments” on our trees to decorate them. The first one to have all the spaces filled won.
I found some Christmas pattern mats here, and printed them in black and white. M was really into this, so I went back and printed a lot of the non-Christmas ones from the same site. The fact that they were black and white instead of colored like the ones we normally use provided just the right amount of challenge to M to make it interesting. He enjoyed “coloring” them with the pattern blocks.
M practiced spelling his name with this ornament stringing activity I made for him. You can read more about that here.
We’ve really been enjoying our Jesse Tree stories every evening. I switched to a green felt Christmas tree to see if M would actually hang the ornaments on the tree. He has put some on the tree, but some are still in the “air” too. Such a silly boy sometimes. :) He has really learned a lot from this project, and is always so excited when it is Jesse Tree time!
Nature Center Time:
We are enjoying our Nature Center classes so much, and they just keep getting better and better. I’ve decided to start adding these into our Tot School posts so we’ll be able to remember how much fun we’ve had!
A couple of weeks ago we talked about what animals do when it snows. Did you know weasels turn white (except for the tips of their tails, which turn black) in winter? Or that frogs dig down deep into the mud and turn into frog ice cubes? :) The kids had a snowball fight inside with cotton balls, made candy cane animals,
(It’s a reindeer!)and went ice-skating on wax paper:M had a ball. We are out of wax paper or we’d be doing this every day. I even tried it and it was fun for me too!
The next week “Nature Santa” visited and read a story about Christmas trees in the forest to the kids:
His glasses were fogged up here because he had just come in from a zero degree day.
M got to make bird feeders with bagels and seeds, and one with fruit loops on a pipecleaner: These are hanging in our yard waiting for the hungry animals to discover them.
We even got to eat a pancake breakfast with Santa! M had the time of his life until….
it came time to actually meet Santa and talk to him: He was suddenly very shy and completely forgot to say all the things he had planned on saying. :) It’s ok though because Mommy has Santa’s phone number and will be giving him a call to let him know what M would like. ;)
For more Tot School posts go here.
Have a beautiful Christmas with your families! :)