Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tot School – Jan. 24, 2010

image M is 40 months old.

This was a pretty light week for Tot School. I had quite a bit planned and ready to go, but M spent a large amount of time each day in pretend play and was so happily amusing himself, I just let him do his own thing. I expected him to ask to “do school”, but this really only happened on Monday while I was busy (of course!) with housework.

So… perhaps we are entering into a more involved creative play phase? I eavesdropped as much as I could and heard some pretty interesting and exciting things going on. :) It’s always a little stunning to me to realize that my little baby is a real boy and can think on his own and make up stories and well, who knows what else! Am I the only one feeling a bit of bewilderment at this sort of thing??

Anyway, enough rambling. M did his (independent) shelf activities while I cleaned Monday afternoon, and there are almost no action shots of these. Sorry, I know those are always more fun!

Math Skills:

M practiced his size sequencing skills with Scrambler (from Bob the Builder):scrambler size seq.

And with baseballs too:

baseball size seq

Visual Discrimination:

I never know if this sort of thing is a math activity or what… anyway, I’ll just put it in it’s own little category for now. M did these Curious George Shadow Match cards:cg shadow matchThere’s more than just these, but for simplicity’s sake I only photographed a few. I thought these would be fun, but M was not interested. I will bring them back out some time soon because *I* think they are fun! Maybe he’ll change his mind next time around. :)

Literacy Skills:

M did two “cutting pages”, as he calls them, of the letters M and K. I can’t stress how much he LOVES to do these; they are always the very first thing he heads for. M collage page(See the gross brown stuff? That’s what happens when you leave your kid alone with a purple glue stick and he uses the entire thing on one page.)

letter K collage page


We have been singing and playing our instruments a lot and listening to some cds. If anyone has any children’s music recommendations, I’d love to hear them! We learned a fabulous and cute new robot song. Listen to it here!

Fine Motor Skills:

M pulled out all of these puzzles on his own one day and did every single one of them. There were 12 little wooden puzzles in all:puzzle day

On one of his shelves I put out a foam tray (this was originally a mushroom container at the grocery store), and a plastic needle with yarn. He poked the needle through the foam wherever he wanted and then pulled the long length of yarn through. He had so much fun with this and came to show me his “design” several times:sewing foam tray I have to say this was definitely one of the hits of the week!

I also set out a new Dollar Tree 25 piece puzzle for him. He did this completely on his own the first time with no help. :) He’s definitely a puzzle boy. He was so proud of himself and said, “I just kept looking at the picture to see what piece I needed!” new puzzle

His marble track came out and he put it together with only a little mama-direction. He loves this and it’s always fun.marble track

A wonderful friend sent M this fantastic little peg board: blog pictures 002 Can you believe how cute it is?!? I was so excited when I saw it and so was M when he saw it waiting for him the next day. He made designs and rows of patterns, and ran to show me each one. :) This is a sign that he really, really likes something. And, I just realized that marbles sit perfectly on top of these little pegs, so I will be heading to the dollar store very, very soon. ;)

Creative Play / Large Motor Activities:

M was finally able to go outside and PLAY! Yay!

Early in the week we had some beautiful weather – it felt like a little bit of spring. :) In Minnesota that means it hit 32 degrees. ;) It lifted everyone’s spirits a little bit! M bundled up and went out… I wish I could’ve captured more of this on my camera, but I wasn’t able to get many good pictures. Ah well. Here you can see he is trying desperately to ride his bike on the small portion of our patio that has been shoveled:bike in snow It didn’t quite work, but then he found a little ride on toy and “snowplowed” for a while. He then proceeded to lie on his tummy on the deep snow farther back in our yard, and play with his little cars and trucks for close to an hour. I even had our windows open to let in a little fresh air. :)

We made Monkey Bread on Wednesday. Yum, yum!monkey bread

He really loves to bake with me and I need to do more of this kind of thing with him.

Life School:

We have had a challenging couple of weeks lately with M’s behavior. However, things are looking up and he has acquired some new freedoms and been given some new responsibilities. After I-don’t-know-how-many-months of trying to teach him to put one thing away before getting something new out it seems to have really sunk in! He has been so great about this and usually puts toys and activities away on his own without being asked. It’s absolutely heavenly! :) Of course there are always a few exceptions because he will need more than one thing in his play quite often… but I’m telling you, the bedtime clean up has gotten so much easier and quicker. Normally we only have 3 or 4 things to put away! Whoo-hoo! Because it used to be 20!

He’s also started making his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and he’s allowed to use the microwave to cook his own chicken nuggets. :) This is all under very close supervision you understand. But still, he’s doing great and the more we work at making it fun for him to be a big boy, the better his behavior has gotten.

For more Tot School posts, check it out here!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. Don't you just love pretend play?? It is so fun to hear them creating their own fun.
    I'm in awe of him putting those 25 piece puzzles together on his own! Awesome!
    Love the styrofoam container idea. That is so cool.
    The George shadow game looked fun to me too. Did you print those or buy them somewhere? We are big George fans over here.

  2. Love all your awesome ideas! I can't remember how I found your blog...sorry!...but I can't wait to use some of you ideas with my preschoolers (3 year olds).

    Here are some cds my class can't be without:

    Greg and Steve...all of their cds are wonderful! My class especially loves "We All LIve Together Vol. 6", "Kids in Motion" and "Fun and Games"

    Raffi-Singable Songs for the Very Young

    Twin Sisters Productions-ABCs and 123s

    Hope that helps!

  3. My kids pretend play is pretty hilarious to listen to too.
    You might check out the podcast "Spare the Rock Spoil the Child," some of their stuff I really like, some I don't, but it lets you hear a wide variety of children's music and decide what people you like.
    LOVE the mushroom activity. I've been thinking about doing something like that, and my kids would love to do that.

  4. I love the Bob the Builder sequence cards! My 2 yr old would LOVE them. I am going to go print them for next week! Thanks!

  5. I just threw out a mushroom container and as I was putting it in the garbage I was thinking, I should save this it will probably come in handy. Oh well, the next one will now have a use :0)

  6. Only another Minnesotan would get that 32 really does feel warm and spring like. So glad you guys made it outside. My boys are going crazy right now watching the Vikings in OT. Me I am multitasking.

    I can't believe how well M does with puzzles. It is amazing.

    Vikes just lost :( Good thing I don't get into football that much :) Have a great week!

  7. I love the sewing activity! Where did you find the plastic needle?

  8. Nicole -
    As usual you come up with such fun activities! I so love your blog! :) How funny that your son wanted to ride his bike in the snow! :) Too cute!

  9. It is always enlightening (!!!) to listen to children engaged in pretend play.

    Ahhhh, independent shelf activities sound like bliss. Blake is going through a stage at the moment where he wants to do EVERYTHING Savvy is doing which can sometimes make it a real challenge. I am always trying to come up with ways where I can differentiate an activity for them so it is somewhat similar, but still age appropriate for them both.

    We have a CD which both Savvy and Blakie really love, it's called Busta Rhymes - Nursery Rhyme Mega Mixes. Actually I will send you an email about it.

    Your foam tray idea is fantastic.

    M is so good at doing his puzzles. I think it is fantastic that he can put together a 25 piece puzzle.

    We don't have a peg board. I have been seeing them on a few blogs lately and think they would definitely be something that we would get a lot of use out of.

  10. What a really great week!!! I really liked the shadow cards :)

  11. I wish I could see more independent play here. Apparently it does happen... when I am not home. Anna loves shadow matching games on her MiniLuk. I keep thinking of getting a peg game for her - I have a hunch that she will enjoy it, at least for a while.

  12. Great week. I love that you can get that much done without 'doing school'. I think I am going to try a puzzle like that for Charger, he LOVES puzzles and is very good at them. I was suprised. I think its awesome that M is able to pick up all his own stuff, we need to work on that here. Thanks for the link to the shadow matching. They look neat!


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