The other day when I gave our little homeschool classroom tour, I mentioned our fun weather man routine that we do each day before up-dating our weather chart.
I wish I could take credit for this but actually we learned the song about 2 years ago when I first started taking LittleMan to the library for weekly story time. Our wonderful librarian, Ms Leann, would sing this song as well as do a little color search and counting activity each day before the reading started, and each day ended with a craft. If you don’t take your child to the local library for story time, you should check it out. Some libraries really are a wonderful resource for families with young children.
One of the hurdles I wasn’t fully expecting the first week of LittleMan’s school was how SunnyGirl would react. Sure I knew there’d be some struggle and divide of my attention but I had assumed it wouldn’t be much more difficult than it is to do the dishes or shower without interruption. I was horribly unprepared.
She had her toys and her books and I had hoped that would be enough to entertain her just a few short hours of the day. Instead I found myself grasping at straws because she was not content to play with stuffed animals while big brother was working. An activity she would happily do for hours on end suddenly bored her once the pencils and lesson boxes came out. She had decided that she too must have “big kid work.”
A lap desk of her own, some coloring pencils, and a coloring book helped only slightly. So I did what I always do when faced with a parenting dilemma. I brainstormed, came up with ideas, thought long and hard. Then I Googled it. I Googled the crap out of it. And here’s what I came up with both on my own and via internet support:
- When a child seeks to exercise their mind, it is a parent’s duty to support them, regardless of inconvenient timing.
- I might as well get used to having two “students” now because sooner rather than later, she’ll be doing formal preschool lessons, kindergarten, etc.. and LittleMan won’t be graduating before then, lol.
- Some learning activities now might boost her confidence, improve her focus, make her more calm and centered. Well, as calm and centered as an 18 month old can be.
- Her brother was not much older than her when I first started preschool lessons with him at age 2.
- There are a ridiculous amount of resources, articles, and ideas for “Tot school” out there. Seriously, look it up, it is overwhelming. I never realized before but now I know, and if I remember correctly, knowing is half the battle!
One thing I did was look back at pictures I’ve taken these past 6 months to get a fresh perspective on how SunnyGirl likes to spend her time and recall which activities she most enjoyed. Of course I’m planning on trying plenty of new things but what was a hit for another blogger’s child may not be a hit for mine and vise versa so I want to make sure I’ve got some old stand-bys on hand just in case. I also have noticed some of these old activities can be modified to be fresh and fun. (more…)
We play with baking soda and vinegar so much that sometimes its a stretch to find new ways of exploring this early science principle. I put together this activity for LittleMan and our neighbor’s daughter recently and it was just such a hit.
First I started with a tray of clear shot glasses and two pitchers of clear liquid.
I sat in front of the children pouring from one pitcher into half of the cups, then pouring from the other pitcher to fill the rest of the cups.
I then took out three bottles of food coloring: red, blue, and yellow. I randomly added a drop of food coloring to each cup and swished it to mix.
Then I gave the children a bowl of baking soda and spoons.
The first thing the children did was scoop baking soda and dump it into the various cups.
This is a project that I’ve had in mind for quite some time but it has been difficult to find just the right containers to do it in. First I tried cardboard boxes covered in construction paper. Too much work, not durable enough. Then I tried bowls with animal lids which I found in the infant aisle at Dollar Tree, however the lids came off easily and I would have preferred a more uniformed look.
Finally I found these (more…)
(This post discusses a child nicknamed “Tink” as well as her favorite character “Tinker Bell.” Because of the similarities between the two names, it could get confusing.)
After seeing how using Tinker Bell made Tink so eager to learn, I came up with these simple activities to review colors and teach shapes.
For colors I simply printed out 6 of the same Tinker Bell coloring page and told the story of how Tinker Bell needed help to find the perfect dress for her party. We helped Tinker Bell find the perfect dress by helping her “try on” different colored dresses (ie coloring in the pages with different colors). For each dress I’d have Tink find the crayon color herself and talk to her about all the things that were that color while she worked on coloring in the dress. After she finished each dress we’d talk about how beautiful it was and how she did such a great job, but Tinker Bell is kind of a picky fairy and she wanted to try a different color just to make sure she found the perfect dress. In the end Tinker Bell had “tried on” 6 different color dresses and decided she loved blue the best so she would wear the blue dress to the party. Tinker Bell thanked Tink for all her help.
I was concerned that Tink may become discouraged or hurt that her favorite fairy didn’t love the first dress she colored in. After all 6 different costume changes is a lot. But to my relief Tink didn’t feel discouraged or rejected, she was just excited to be playing pretend.
For shapes I created fairies whom we referred to as Tinker Bell’s cousins.
LittleMan has been studying cats this past week and wants to continue to do so this up coming week, meaning I had to come up with something else for Tink to do during lesson time. I’d been looking for some Tinkerbell preschool printables for her to work with but, besides the small world printables I’ve posted about before, there wasn’t much available that I could find. So I set to work making my own and this is what I’ve come up with so far.
We’re capping off rainbow week with a hands-on exploration of color mixing.
I set up outdoor stations, one per paddling pool, dressed the kids in their swimsuits and let them loose.
This serving platter (more…)
I found it really difficult to come up with fun gross motor color learning activities which included all the colors and were appropriate for the 1-4 year age range.
For a long time the best I could come up with was Twister (which we didn’t play) and rolling oranges in orange paint to paint a giant sheet of butcher paper (which we did do).
Then it dawned on me that instead of a small color sensory bin for fine motor practice, why not do a large color sensory pool for gross motor practice? This in turn lead to A life sized color wheel. 3 paddling pools with red, yellow, blue items gathered from around the house. In between each pool is a mixing bowl with balls to fill in for orange, green, and purple. All 3 children LOVED this and kept asking to play in it so I decided to leave it up a few days.
3 year old Tink is joining our family again this week and we decided to take the opportunity to explore colors, a subject she can be a bit shaky in. I made up some simple color themed box lesson activities to mix into our routine, along with some gross motor colors activities which I will post on tomorrow.