Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tot School – January 17, 2010

imageM is 40 months old. 

Yay!  We’re back!  As nice as it was to not write up the TS posts for the past few weeks, it’s also very nice to be back in our groove. 

So, here’s what we’ve been up to…

Math Skills:

I put together a little *math box* (well, in our case a math coffee can) like the one here that my friend Natalie at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns put together for her daughter.  math can It was full of craft sticks and various bottle lids.  I even threw in some little cards with shapes on them.  He was totally interested in this as it sat on his shelves, yet… he wasn’t sure what to do with it.  So, I showed him how to make shapes with them and suggested a few other things (patterns, letters).   And, I kid you not, the kid said to me, “But can’t I just paint them, Mommy??”   I’m thinking this says a lot about who he is. :) 

We also did some fun number stamping with a grid and a number cube:number stamping 2   I wrote the numbers 1 to 6 randomly on the grid (20 spaces – you can print one here), then using a variety of stamps (the pencil top kind) we rolled the die and then stamped out all of the 2’s or whatever number we got.  We took turns with this to make it more like a game, because M is all about games lately.  He had to help me find the right numbers quite a bit. ;)

We also did some snowflake counting with clothespins and a piece of yarn:snowflake counting I don’t know if you can see clearly in the photo, but we had 5 snowflakes with numerals on them which we clipped in sequence onto the yarn.  Then we had snowflakes with dots on them which we had to match to the correct number and also clip on.  M really, really enjoyed this.  Anything to do with clothespins or paper clips is sure to be a hit around here lately!  The snowflakes were found here.  I colored them with colored pencils to make them pretty. :)

We also practiced counting with some linking monkeys:linking monkeys This was a great introduction to addition!


Shapes and Colors:

M did great with this little activity.  I found this pattern block mat here; it has 4 hexagons in different colors.  In order to do this M had to figure out how to make the red hexagon with his trapezoid blocks, the orange one with triangles, and the blue one with diamonds...  a very interesting activity!pattern block hexagons


M also enjoyed his triangle collage page:triangle collage


I bought these fun color paddles with a little leftover Christmas money.  They were from Oriental Trading.color paddles M had a lot of fun walking around and looking through them at various things.color paddles (1)We also used them in a window to mix colors by placing one in front of another.  There has to be a ton of things we can do with these.  However, I’m really coming up with blanks.  If you have any ideas, share them!!


Literacy Skills:

M worked on his letter matching file folder game from here.  This matches upper and lower case letters.letter cards ffg


We did a letter stamping game similar to the number stamping one mentioned above.  With this one we used a printout from here, and some upper and lower case cards (more on these cards in an upcoming post!) to turn over… we focused on just Tt, Ff, and Aa and stamped them out.letter stamping


M did his Bob the Builder name puzzles with glass beads:btb name puzzles He continues to love these!



Our theme for this month has been winter and snow (hence the snowflake activities), and we sorted our seasonal clip art onto colored paper.  M did great with this, he’s really got his seasons down.season sorting clip art 

Fine Motor Skills:

I have to say, gross and fine motor skill work is what M enjoys most… I have to keep that in mind and incorporate it into other areas, like using fine motor skills to clip numbered snowflakes, etc. 

Another little thing I ordered from Oriental Trading was this awesome Shapes Hammering set.  M loves hammering the little nails into the corkboard and he’s made several pretty neat designs with the shapes.  Most often he pretends he is building a house. :)  hammering shapes (1) He’s played with this every day since I put it out for him.

He laced together two foam mitten shapes:mitten lacing


He received this great fire truck puzzle for Christmas and did it 5 times the first day.  It has 46 pieces and has an emergency scene on the other side.  He LOVES this puzzle!fire truck puzzle


I put together a little push pin activity for him, which he also really loved!  We had some little letter cards left from our toothpick poke activity which has become a little boring for him, so he did those first, then I added in some little shapes and drawings for him to outline with the push pins.push pin He really enjoyed this and it was a great workout for those little fingers!  I think I first saw this at The Shafer Family blog.



We’ve only recently been talking about maps and the world, our country, state, etc.   M is very interested, and enjoyed doing this puzzle (Target Dollar Spot!) of the U.S.usa map Ha – you can see this picture is from some time ago – our Christmas light patterns are in the background! ;)


Gross Motor Activities:

M and Daddy and I all ice skated on wax paper in our living room:ice skating This is so much fun!  We first did it at our Nature Center weekly class, and it never gets old!

We did our movement cards too; they are always fun.  movement cards I’ve found that if M is in a bad mood or whiny or whatever (sigh), if I can think of an activity that has a lot of gross motor movement it helps tremendously.  He turns back into himself.  I’m just not good with all this “boy stuff”, hee hee.  I was a sit quietly and play with my dolls kind of girl.  But, I’m learning!!



M inherited a small keyboard from an older cousin and has been playing it non-stop:piano It plays a couple of demo tunes by itself and has 5 different rhythms to choose from.  M loves to play these rhythms and make them faster or slower.  It comes close to driving me up a wall sometimes, but I’m glad he’s learning about rhythm somewhere, because he sure isn’t going to get it from me or his dad! ;)



We’ve been using some oatmeal (in the cupboard for over a year) in our sensory tub lately.  After seeing oatmeal in a sensory tub at April Flowers, I decided to do it too! M enjoyed playing with his farm animals in it:sensory tub with farm

And because he loves to play with my seashells I hid them in there one day – 20 of them.  I have him a grid with 20 spaces and he spent a long time looking for all of them.sensory tub with seashells


Creative Play:

M also inherited this remote control Scrambler (a Bob the Builder truck) from the same cousin that gave him the “piano”.  Well, he has pretty much played non-stop with Scrambler since we brought it home.  Here he is with all of his puppets and some stuffed animals strung out on the floor… trying to get Scrambler to run over them all. :)  scrambler (1) Yep, that’s my sweet boy running over animals with a 4 wheeler. ;)

For more Tot School posts, go here!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. Wow - Matthew had a great week. It's too funny that his first idea about craft stick was painting them. I chose colored sticks, so Anna was not contemplating crafts - well, she usually doesn't. I really liked this hammering activity - I might have to go and visit our friend OTC myself :)

  2. Wow! So many good ideas in one post! I love the firetruck puzzle, the pushpins and of course the sensory tub! My daughter took her animals into the tub too! Very productive week!

  3. Great week! I always leave your posts with a ton of great ideas :). I love your idea to use glass beads for the name cards. We never drink bottled water and I needed another option, thank you! We will also be trying the matching on a clothes line, that will make matching so much more fun.

  4. I love your blog and gavit it an award at mine, If you've already received this award, please accept the compliment and no need to do anything else. :)

  5. you have some awesome ideas! I am going to sign up to follow your blog! I am going to start teaching my tot shapes this week & you have some great resources - thanks for sharing! What a blessing! :)

  6. WHat a busy little guy! I love the firetruck puzzle. I think I might try the color sorting activity with my fun!

  7. Yippee, you're back! I love that M wanted to paint the math manipulatives! And thanks for the new twist on the grid game. We're doing a lot of math this week, and I think we'll use that!

  8. Alright, can I just tell you what a fun mom you sound like!? :)

    Secondly, I really think those things you ordered from oriental trading look cool. Marcus would LOVE that hammer and nail thing. I found a much more expensive version (I think Haba makes it) through amazon that I wanted. But I just couldn't afford to buy it. I am ordering that one through oriental trading soon!

    Thanks for all of the great ideas!

  9. So glad you told us where you got that hammering toy. I've been wanting one for Bear and J-jo. I love those grid math games - the matching the number to the die and the sifting through the oatmeal to place the objects on the grid. Hoping to find time to do that this week. I'll have to use a grid with pictures but doesn't matter.

  10. What a really great week!! I love your activities! It looks like he has a lot of fun while he is learning :)

  11. What an amazing week. I'm going to have to find that shape hammer thing. That is just way too cool.
    And I love the idea of doing the stamp with the dice. I'm sure that would be popular here.

  12. Phew! I'm tired from writing down so many of your great ideas as I read through this post. Honestly woman, do you ever run out of ideas?! I hope you never will! :)
    Can't wait to try to shell hunting/grid thing with James. And the hammering toy is something I've seen online and have been wanting to get - thanks for the reminder. I had to giggle when you wrote you're just not good with all this boy stuff! I said the same thing to my husband the other day. Now that James is getting older (and more... spirited) I find myself staring at him in awe of his energy. I was SO not like when I was a little girl!

  13. What a fun week, so many great ideas! We will definitely try the grid games, and the hammering toy looks like lots of fun!

  14. No wonder your blog name is "Tired Need Sleep". I can see why! Such great ideas. I really like your dice/number game. Thanks also for telling us where you got all of your great tools.

  15. Looks like y'all had a great week! Thanks for posting this. You have given me some new ideas. I think that we will try the number game this week too!


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