Friday, October 1, 2010

“Doing School” - week one

Matthew has been itching to “do” school for weeks now.  I’ve caught him making up his own flannel board activities, trying to draw letters, and even teaching scissor skills to some stuffed animals. :)  He’s taught himself how to spell “on” and “off”.  As in the remote control jeep is “on” and it should be “off” so the batteries don’t run down. ;)  I bet the people that put the little “off” and “on” on toys don’t realize what a teaching tool they are creating!

I’m planning 3 weeks of work at a time, then one week off to do things we didn’t get to, or to just review what we have done.  Or, you know, so when we get sick on day 2, Mommy knows we’ll have time to catch up and doesn’t stress (much).

M learned to recognize all the upper case “mama” letters before he was one year old, and he knew the sounds many of them made (he was an early talker, and hasn’t stopped since).  I thought I had a genius on my hands, let me tell you.  Turns out it was just the fascination of bath tub letters, and somehow the knowledge didn’t stick (unlike the letters, which do.  Hee hee.).  So we will be going through the alphabet, learning the shape and sound of each letter, and matching mama letters to baby letters.  I expect M will fly through this, but at first we’ll cover one letter per week, starting with A, which was this week!  Of course I have to add (because I am a mama) that my bright boy already does know many of these, so it will be a lot of reviewing too, which is always good!

Shelf Activities (semi-independent work):

Watercolor painting pictures for big A and little A (from Making Learning Fun):a watercolor paintingHe only did the little A page, so the big A page went into his art box for a later time.

Poking push pins into big and little As and pictures of things that begin with A:

blog sept 096

blog sept 010I found the templates for the above activity at Preschool Express in the patterns section.

Our new Autumn Sensory Bin:blog sept 082There’s a lot of goodies in there… pinecones, acorns, a little wooden acorn-shaped bowl, cinnamon sticks, pom poms, silk leaves, paper mache gourds and pumpkins,  sparkly orange flowers, berries (not real), and some autumn-colored lacing beads.  M thoroughly enjoyed this sensory bin.  He especially loved the cinnamon sticks.  Thank you to Mari-Ann at Counting Coconuts for many great ideas in this post!

M explored all the various items:blog sept 009 

Created some pinecone sculptures:blog sept 013 

Made a little “garden”:blog sept 016And we played an I spy game.  I’d say something like, “I’m looking at something very small and round and soft and fuzzy, and it’s orange.”  And he’d look everything over and guess which item I was describing (pom-pom).  We took turns describing and guessing; it was a lot of fun!

Next was a rice-pouring activity which he absolutely loved.  He poured rainbow rice (colored with a bit of rubbing alcohol and food coloring – easy peasy) from a lightweight measuring cup into these silicone cupcake liners.  The addition of candles was his idea.  We even had to light them and sing happy birthday. :)  This will be staying on the shelf till he tires of it.  He’s been doing it every day, and is really perfecting his dry pouring sept 001

blog sept 004

blog sept 005singing happy birthday to no one in particular

blog sept 007 blowing out the candles

This next activity was hands-down the favorite of the week.  The first day he spent almost 2 hours on it and he continued to get it out and work on it a bit every day.  I gave him a piece of styrofoam, some pipecleaners, wooden beads, and pony beads.  He loved the wooden beads and only used the pony beads once the wooden ones were gone.  He pushed a pipe cleaner into the foam, then strung beads onto it and pushed the other end in to make arches.  I could not believe how much he enjoyed this activity – he just loved it.  It was enough of a challenge too, because once all those beads are on, it’s not easy to push the other end of the pipe cleaner in! What a great fine motor activity:blog sept 016

blog sept 020

blog sept 023 

I also put out some fall-themed lacing cards.  He enjoyed these much more this time than in the past.  And he concentrated on “sewing” back to front, front to back, and going to the next hole instead of across the card.  Silly Mommy forgot to take pictures , but here’s the cards: blog sept 090  

My husband had a lot of odd board games when he was a kid, things I have never heard of, which are now ours because his mother didn’t want to keep them.  One of them (don’t know it’s name) had this hourglass-shaped game board with wells in it, perfectly sized for pom-poms or marbles.  I set this out with the pom-poms in the bowl at first, expecting him to use the tweezers to put the pom-poms in the wells.  However, it didn’t appeal to him until I switched it around and had the pom-poms already in the wells.  He tweezed them out one by one and dropped them into the bowl.preschool week oneJill, at The Shafer Family Blog has something similar to this, in her post here, that you might be able to find somewhere.  Hers is a Jello mold for little eggs or jelly-bean shapes.


Now for activities we did together during “school time”…


This is M’s new phonics box.  I found these little wooden shadow boxes at Dollar Tree, and bought 3 of them, painted them white, and wrote the letters on them.  M sorted through the basket of big and small letters and put them into the appropriate square.  Then I gave him a few small objects to put in the “Aa” square – an apple, an acorn, an anchor, and an angel:blog sept 087This will stay on his shelves now and each week I’ll give him new objects to put in.

We also went through this little wipe-off mat and found everything that begins with A:

preschool week one (1)Do you like the little work mat I made for M? :)

And he practiced “drawing” a mama A and a baby a on his whiteboard, which will also be staying out on his shelves indefinitely:preschool week one (7) 



We started working with the bead bars I made (described in this post).  M found the “one bead”, the “two bead”, etc. for me and placed them on his work mat beginning at the top and going down, so when we got to the last one, which is the “nine bead”, he could see it formed a triangle or stairs.  We’ve done similar things before, so this was mainly to get him familiar with the bead bars and their various colors.  preschool week one (2)

Then he looked at his bead triangle and colored in this “short bead stair” worksheet to match it:blog sept 097

preschool week one (3)What do you think of that coloring?  I’m convinced it’s never entered his mind to even try coloring within the lines.  He’s a free-thinking artist. :)

M enjoyed this activity so much, and later I found his finished worksheet hanging on the wall:preschool week one (8)This is evidence of how proud he felt. :)    



We planned to do a plant experiment with a carrot this week, but M was sick the 2nd day and I was sick by the 4th day, so we took it pretty easy most of the week.  We will get to it eventually, but for now we just did these tree nomenclature cards:preschool week one (5)

Although this was all vocabulary that M already knows, he enjoyed this activity, and really enjoyed “reading” the words. :)  In fact, he just looked at the letters and matched them up, but that’s good enough for now!preschool week one (6)



We played “music”, although I use that term loosely, since it’s mostly just making noise with instruments, and sang songs.  This is something I hope to keep up as the year goes on.  Then I showed M how he could make music with water.  He was really intrigued by this… below is a little video.  My voice sounds old and tired, but remember - I had a cold!  Also, sorry about the blurriness!

I’m linking this up to Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up.  Check them out!

Have a beautiful day! :)



  1. oo What a great week!! M looks like he had a blast! Love that he hung his math page on the wall :-)

  2. I should try them with the pipe cleaners and styrofoam. A whole new dimension to try

  3. My son loves putting big beads on pipe cleaners too, but I never thought to stick them into styrofoam -- that's a great idea! I will have to try it the next time I get a delivery with some free foam. :) So cute that he hung his work on his wall when you weren't looking. Oh, and on the subject of old boardgames, both my husband and I are big board game fans, so we have a lot too... one of the ones he discovered and kept playing with daddy is "Mob Wars" - nice lesson there! It's just a card game, but you start a mob war, put out a contract, go on the lam (I think), etc. Great for a 2 year old, lol.

  4. wow Nicole totally awesome!!! My favourites are the Acorn Pin Pushing and the beads on the pipe cleaners. We have done that plenty of times but never with the styrofoam.

    I get my fruit and veg delivered each week in on of those boxes so I am always looking for ways to use it up, thanks so much :-)

  5. Whata fun week! Thansk for all the great ideas!


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