Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tot School (Week 1: Dec. 14th-19th)

Alyssa just turned 24 months old on November 19th
All activities are done under VERY CLOSE supervision due to small items. 
Please do not use photos of my child on any website, etc. Thank you!

This has been a really busy week for us due to the holidays.  I don't have all of the photos for this week's activities to share because my CF cards were full.  But ... I really wanted to start posting on Carissa's Tot School blog (web address at the bottom of this post). Most of these photos and activities were from one day.

Alyssa would roll the die and identify the number of dots (by either recognition or counting them).  Then, she would count out the number of white pom poms (snowman ice cube tray) or jingle bells (Christmas tree ice cube tray).  At the end of each activity, Alyssa would count all of the items up to ten.  The ice cube trays were bought at Dollar Tree.
Roll a Die Counting Snowman Game

Putting in the last five.

Roll A Die Counting Christmas Tree Game

I found some great alphabet tags by Lara's Crafts at Michael's. There are two of each letter in the bag.  First, we did A-Z sequencing as we sang the alphabet song.  We also sang it with letter sounds: A /a/ apple, B /b/ ball, etc.  Then, when we both got tired of singing.  Mommy would play "I spy the letter A" or "I spy the sound /a/" game as we continued sequencing the letters.  She stopped after the letter "L" to count and do 10 sit-ups (counting correctly too). That was her idea not mine ... so glad I had the opportunity to photograph it for daddy.  She did this sequencing activity until she got to the letter R and stopped.  Last of all, I showed her how to string the letters in alphabetical order on a pipe cleaner with the ends bent (for safety reasons).  We were going to play a matching game with the letters, but she lost interest before we could play.  Might do that next week!
Alphabet Tag Sequencing

We played a Christmas wrapping paper matching game.  I cut out 3" by 3" pieces of wrapping paper twice.  I didn't have time to make them look fancy or laminate them. This was too easy for her so next time I will have to make it into a Memory (Concentration) game.
Wrapping Paper Matching Game

We used a 1-5 counting sheet to practice counting bows, bells, and presents earlier in the day.  I forgot to take photos of her doing the activity so I just photographed it.  The counting sheet can be found at  We tried to alternate colors if we had enough of the items.  We also used green bells for odd numbers and red for even numbers.  I know this is way too advanced for her, but I just wanted to expose the words odd and even.
Counting Christmas 

She saw me photographing and decided to count with the little bells.  She would first say the number, count the boxes, and then count out that number of bells.  Yeah - I photographed her doing it!

As I was putting the bells away, Alyssa realized that she still wanted to play with them.  So, I gave them back to her with several spoons (different sizes) and a milk jug.  She identified the smallest and largest spoons and stacked them in order with the smallest on top.  Then, she spooned (transferred) the bells into the small milk jug as she counted them.  Last of all, she poured them all back into the storage container.  She loved twisting the lid on so that she could shake the container while she sang a song and danced around the kitchen.
Spooning & Pouring Bells

Alyssa and I read all of the Christmas books seen on the stairs together in one sitting.  I think she is a bit addicted to books and reading.  This is a picture of her identifying the word "orange" in this book.  Her favorite books read TONIGHT were: Clifford's Christmas Presents by Sonali Fry, A Snowy Night by M. Christina Butler, God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren, and Bear Stays Up by Karma Wilson.  She asked me to read each of them more than once.  We do all sorts of activities as we read books: predicting, describing and finding items on a page, retelling the story, finding words that she knows on a page or two (number, color, shape, sight, names, etc), finding letters in a word, and identifying parts of a book.  These are just a few activities.  It is getting late ... or early ... so my brain is not quite functioning.  I have a new stack of books for next week!
Christmas Books

She loves sorting activities.  Alyssa sorted Christmas items (colorful mini bows, presents, and bells) in a holiday sectional tray. She also counted the number of items in each section of the tray.  I didn't get a picture of her doing it, but she also sorted these items by color in piles on the floor.
Sorting Christmas Items

This was the second time she did this activity.  She wanted Santa to have the presents, the tree to have bells, and frosty to have the bows for his hat.

Alyssa sorted larger bells by color (green and red) using two hands at once.  She reviewed her colors and counted how many of each color she had in the Christmas buckets.  Then, she told me the bowl was empty and insisted that she needed more.  I told her that I didn't have any more bells and asked her what she could do to get more.  Then, she poured them back into the bowl and helped me mix them up.
Sorting Bells

The next activity was a little advanced for her so we only worked with numbers up to 5 items.  First, I placed several Christmas items inside a red velvet stocking from Walmart.  Then, Alyssa would reach in without looking and she tried to count the items she felt.  Afterwards, she would put that many items in the green stocking (telling me the number).  We would compare what I had in my stocking to hers to see if we had the SAME amount.  Bigger stockings would have made this activity easier too, because the stockings were almost too small for her hands.  The picture below shows a sample of the items used for this activity.  The smaller bells worked best for this activity.
Stocking Count Match

She patterned red and white beads on a pipe cleaner into the shape of a candy cane ... I did lay them out in order for her.  But, she recognized the color pattern on her own.  We also read a sheet about candy canes and the color representations.  She started counting the beads.  I understood her words up to ten.  It sounded like she was attempted to count into the teens, but I couldn't understand her words.  We couldn't go to the classroom area to paint or do other art activities, because it was too cold down there and we haven't bought a heater for that room yet.  
Patterned Candy Cane Craft

Other Activities (Some Without Pics):
She also made and drank a GREEN "like the tree" smoothie with mommy.  We searched around the house for other green items before making the smoothie.  She easily identified the vegetables, fruits, and their colors. We also discussed the textures!

She played with her two-piece puzzles by The Learning Journey (transportation, alphabet, and all about me) found at Ross.  These are awesome and she has been able to do them since she was very little.  She matches the word piece to the picture piece.  Each puzzle has about 26-30 puzzle sets.  These puzzle have helped with word recognition, problem solving, vocabulary, and other early learning skills.  

She sang her "Mommy Loves Daddy" song on her guitar.

We also decorated our tree which should have been done a long time ago.
Tree Decorating

She REALLY enjoyed putting the stockings on her feet (at least she told me she had two and what colors they were).  She started dancing and hopping around to Christmas music after I took this picture.  So ... mommy and daddy stopped what they were doing to  join her.
Sock Hop Dance

Alyssa peeled off adhesive gift tags (fine motor skills) and added them to wrapped gifts.  She identified several gift tags with her name on them.  Check out some of the name recognition activities that we do too on my blog.  I will add more later some time.  She would also name the bow colors and stick them onto the gifts too.

She helped me with Christmas cards by signing an "H" on some of them.  This is the only letter she writes on her own right now besides drawing circles (O's).  Here is a picture of her writing "H's" on her Aquadoodle Wall Runner.  This was an awesome birthday gift she received!  She loves to write on it, leave the room, and ask me where her H's are.  I can't wait to buy her the travel one for long car trips.  
Letter Doodling

Alyssa used her fine motor skills to peel Elmo stickers out of a sticker book and onto paper squares.  She would also count how many stickers she had on each piece of paper.  She enjoyed sticking them to my back side while I cooked instead of on the paper!  Her giggles during this activity cracked me up!

Don't forget to visit Carissa at 1+1+1=1 for more Tot School ideas.  There are some great ideas shared on this blog ... Check it out!!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My daughter, Alyssa, just turned two years old in November. We did MANY name recognition activities before her 2nd birthday. Here are a few activities that we tried with success.

These two pictures are of Alyssa using large, colorful foam letters
from Hobby Lobby to spell out her name. This was the first time that she spelled her name without any assistance at all. She found the foam pieces on her own and sang the name song as she spelled it. Please excuse the "junk" in the photos.

Alyssa was playing with her birthday gift (a name puzzle) from

We have also used A-Z pony beads to spell out her name (with supervision of course).

Alyssa spells out her name using magnetic letters from Lakeshore Learning and letter tiles from Walmart (they are not available there anymore but check Office Depot or Office Max). She matches the letters in her name at the top and spells it on her own at the bottom.

Pocket Chart Name
Alyssa spelling her name using a pocket chart and the letters in her name.  I wrote her name on the sentence strip and cut it apart (letter by letter).  I scrambled them up and Alyssa would practice spelling her name. 

Name Train 
(Market Days in New Braunfels, Texas)

Melissa and Doug Beads

Playdoh Stamper Name
Alyssa used Playdoh stampers to spell out her name.

Mitten Name Match Game
The mitten printable came from

We have also used Wikki sticks, alphabet building blocks, Playdoh, sand writing, shaving cream, pudding, gel bags, letter bean bags, tub letters, all types of alphabet puzzle pieces (large, small, foam, wooden, etc), nesting blocks (2 sets), and foam alphabet stickers for name recognition activities. 
I am sure that I will think of more that we have done later.

Result: Alyssa was able to spell her name verbally and/or with letter objects before she turned two.