Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tot School – December 6, 2009


M is 39 months old


This was a pretty easy and fun week for us.  I filled M’s shelves up with some Christmas-themed file folder games I made last year, a new puzzle, his ABC collage pages, and a couple of fun clothespin math activities.  We also had no less than 3 play dates and a day at our local community center’s creative play area.  And a big dinner at the in-laws to finish the week out.  Whew.  The busy season has begun I guess. :)


ABC Activities:

M can not get enough of cut and paste pages lately.  He is going through 2 letters per week in his ABC book and we’ll soon be done with the whole alphabet at this rate.  He always asks for his “cutting pages” first; I think he loves that he can do it completely on his own and has the routine down.  However, I’m not sure he’s really learning much about letter sounds from this activity, except when we take his book down and “read” it.  I’m thinking of starting up the letter lapbooks again after we finish our ABC book with the collages, because he really seemed to soak in a lot with the lapbook activities.   He’s still not interested in doing any letter crafts, so I’ll wait a while before trying that with him again.  Anyway… here are the collage pages he’s done in the past two weeks:Untitled-Stitched-06

He also spent some time looking at the ABC Book and doing the tracing pages:tracing letters See that tripod grasp?  He’s really come a long way with this lately.  I showed him how “real artists” hold their paintbrushes and told him it’s important to make those muscles really, really strong, and he totally got into it.  He always wants me to help him hold the paintbrush the right way and it’s carried over to activities like this!


We matched the capital letters on a gingerbread file folder game from here.  Next week this will be out again and we’ll match “baby” letters to the “mama” letters.gingerbread ffg ABCs When I made this I put magnets on the back of the letters and we do one half of the alphabet at a time on a cookie sheet.  We also take turns (I made a lot of mistakes that he had to correct ;) ), which makes it more fun and game-like for him.  He tells me a letter to find and then I have to find it and put it on the right spot, then I do the same for him.  If he is having trouble, it’s easy to tell him the color of the circle he needs, as a little help.



We played this fun clothespin counting game with Christmas tags, ribbons, and foam stickers:clothespin counting

And we counted lots of things throughout the week in our everyday normal routine.  He is really doing well with counting and I love seeing him light up when he really “gets” something!



We played another file folder game from here.  In this one M had to match patterns to create mittens:mitten ffg design match The right side piece of each mitten attaches with velcro.  He did great with this, which I knew he would (he was able to do it last year), but I added in a step where he had to describe the design to me - “a green rectangle above a blue circle” – as he found each mitten to match.


We also played a mitten matching game from the November issue of our High Five magazine.  Each mitten has a multi-colored design on it.  We played this Memory-style with the cards face down:matching game


And we made ABAB patterns with some cardstock Christmas lights I made, using clothespins and yarn to string them up:patterns with xmas lights



M did some color mixing with water in jars:color mixing He’s been asking to make colored ice cubes lately, which was something we did quite often over the summer.  He wants to use them in his bath.  Seriously, this kid comes up with some funny (but fun!) ideas sometimes.  So I decided to add a color mixing lesson in.  He loves using pipettes, so this is always fun.   Then he had fun dripping the water onto paper towels:color mixing2


We did another file folder game.  This one was from here (also made last year).  I made the stockings into pockets and M loved fitting the candy canes into the matching stocking.  candy cane ffg COLORS


Fine Motor Skills

Several of the above activities involved the use of fine motor skills (almost all of them, actually), but I also surprised M with a new (Dollar Tree) Mickey Mouse Puzzle.  He’s been putting his 24 piece floor puzzle together with no problem lately, so I wanted to see how he’d do with a 25 piece small puzzle.  He had it done in no time – all by himself!  puzzle He knew to look for pieces that had a little bit of whatever image he was looking for, and didn’t need any help at all.  I’ve asked for some puzzles for him for Christmas from relatives, and I’m interested to see how he does with a 50 piece one.  Needless to say I have bought out all the 25 piece ones at Dollar Tree. :) 



We sang a lot this week and played instruments.  I have a binder of songs that I’ve put together for M and he has a small bin of instruments.  It’s more noise than anything, but it’s a lot of fun and he loves it.  There are no pics; I’ll have to do a separate post about it sometime!

M received a guitar for his 3rd birthday and this is how he likes to play it:guitar Hee hee.   He asked me to get it for him a lot this week, and loves experimenting with the different sounds he can make with it.  We also listened to a lot of Christmas music – grown up and kid kinds. ;)  I have to be diligent about playing cds in our home because since he was born I haven’t listened to much music.  We never listen to the radio and I feel like I am always craving peace and quiet.  It’s been nice to have music back in our day, it can do so much to brighten our moods!

Creative Play

M has been dying to build a maze lately, but wanted help.  So this is what we did Friday morning:maze (1)

He’s helping the Christmas Angel from his nativity set find her way out here. :)

I hope you all had wonderful weeks with your tots!  Go here to see more tot school posts!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. I can't believe he can put that 25 piece puzzle together!! That is awesome!
    B wants to make a maze too after seeing it in High Five Mag but he doesn't want help and his "maze" consists of piles of dumped out stuff in an area. Drives me crazy! =)

  2. I love all your file folder games. He seems to really enjoy doing them. My M is not into them yet, but I am keeping track of ideas for next year! I am so impressed by how well he's doing with the puzzles and the AB pattern lights are adorable. You always get so many things accomplished in a week!

  3. OMG, this maze is amazing :) What a great idea. It's funny how puzzle making is sort of clicks at around this age - Anna has been much better with her puzzles later, but still insists that he needs help (or at least presence from one of us) while assembling it for the first time.

  4. Connor has been hit or miss with his tripod grasp. Good for M! And that block maze is super cool. He probably loved that!

  5. The maze is great! Lauren has been enjoying 25 piece puzzles too but I haven't seen her do one all by herself. That is very impressive!

  6. I love the light patterns!! They are so cute!!
    And I'm impressed that M is able to do puzzles all by himself. My little one is nowhere near able to do one on his own.

  7. What a FUN FILLED week!! Where did you get the tracing letters?

  8. You had a lot of great activities this week!!! I love that he loves the guitar :)

  9. I love the idea of a letter collage. I think I might try that this week with my daughter.

  10. That picture with the guitar is so cute. And I love the maze! What a fun week you two had together.

  11. You guys had such a great week. I agree with everyone that the maze is amazing. Looks so fun. The color mixing looks so fun

  12. What I loved best was how colors were mixed using pipettes. I mean, that must have been so much fun and what an unforgettable lesson too!

  13. Looks like another great week! You have some of the best ideas! Love the file folder games!! I will have to check them out!!!

  14. Great tripod grasp! Can't believe he did that puzzle on his own. And I love the maze. Crumpet would love that. LOL about needing peace and quiet - I daydream about a hotel room, a book, and silence. All alone. But we too, have started playing music in the background over the last few months and we both love it.

  15. What a great week! Wish Bear loved file folder games like M does!


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