Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tot School (Week 8: Feb.1st-Feb.7th)

Alyssa is 26 1/2 months old

All activities are done under VERY CLOSE supervision (small items). 
Please do not use photos of my child on any website, blog, etc.  Enjoy your visit and please come back again soon!

Problem This Week
I am late posting this due to computer issues with the most recent version of Adobe Reader.  I installed the newer version and it had a bad bug.  Thank goodness Rich at Best Buy in NB knew how to fix it!  I am so glad that it was NOT a virus on my MAC.  Every time I opened a PDF document ... it would immediately try to open all of the PDF's on my computer and then freeze at PDF #1556 before opening all of them.  I had to force quit the program and I wasn't able to print or view documents.  I was without a computer so please forgive any errors or docs not linked up.  I wanted to post this as soon as possible.     
WE HAD A VERY FULL WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Mitten Continued ....
Mitten Memory Name Recognition with a Twist
I printed out the colored mittens from Childcareland and wrote family member names (including her own) on them with a fine point Sharpie.  I was going to do the original matching activity, but decided to try a memory or concentration game again instead.  Alyssa didn't understand at first.  But, once she understood ... she LOVED this game!  Please remember that not all children will enjoy the same things.  I placed all mittens face down.  I went first so that Alyssa could see how to play the game.  I flipped two cards over and modeled my thinking aloud for Alyssa.  I verbally stated "Do these two cards match - Are they the SAME?  Yes - they are the same or no - they are different.  Then, it was Alyssa turn ... and she wanted to flip all the cards over so that she could see them.  I told her only two.  I asked her the same questions and she answered.  I changed this activity up in another way too.  I had Alyssa use clothespins to connect the matching set of mittens (fine motor activity).  I wish I had colored clothespins so that she could also match the colored clothespins to the same colored mittens.  But, I used what I had on hand ... this was a spur of the moment change to the activity.  Alyssa hasn't had much success with pinching open the clothespins UNTIL today.  She almost got frustrated and stopped the game, but I showed her again how to do it and helped her a few times.  Then, she finally did it!! She was also learning how to take turns, because we played the game together (mommy would just purposely try NOT to find matches).  If I did find a match ... then I asked Alyssa to help me clip them.  Anyways, after the first round ... she stood up and yelled, "MORE!" I want to also use the mittens as a face and name match activity, but we probably won't get to it this week.  I learned that Alyssa has a GREAT memory (better than mommy)!  

We read the book The Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone.  It was also found in our book of nursery rhymes.  We read and discussed this nursery rhyme several times this week.  We also talked about how the words mitten and kitten rhymed.  I took out several rhyming puzzle pieces including mitten and kitten and Alyssa attempted to match the puzzle pieces.  This puzzle was very difficult for her.  So, I will introduce it to her like I did with her other puzzles when she was a lot younger (mentioned in a previous post).    

Fine Motor
Mitten Lacing
I used the mitten patterns from Kizclub again this week.  I accidentally glued the two patterns together, so I had to print them off again for another activity I was going to do.  She practiced lacing the string up and down through the holes.  I definitely punched too many holes for her to lace.  Alyssa didn't finish lacing the mitten, but we got through most of it.  I started it and talked her through the rest.

Mitten Playdoh Mat 1:1
I printed the mitten pattern from Childcareland.  I showed Alyssa how to roll Playdoh pieces into balls and place them on the circles of the sheet.  She did this activity twice.  I pulled pieces off for her to roll, however ... I didn't put out enough Playdoh for her to roll (more than 1 container is needed).  The last thing we did was count the Playdoh pieces on the mat.     

Story Sequencing Retell (Mitten/Animal Props) 
I gave Alyssa the mitten and animal print outs from Kizclub.  We glued and stapled the sides together to form a pocket at the cuff.  We reread the story and placed each animal in the mitten as we heard about it in the story.  We then dumped them out at the end when bear sneezed.  She also matched the animal print outs to the pages in the book.   

Groundhog Theme
Groundhog Books
I will post a variety of books that we read together.  I asked Alyssa if she could read any of the words in the title of the book called Gregory's Shadow by Don Freeman.  She recognized the word shadow.  I asked her to look at the picture and predict what the story might be about.  She said an animal and pointed to the shadow and said, "shadow."  We did a picture walk through the book stopping at each page to discuss what she saw.  Our vocabulary word for the day was groundhog.  I told her what a groundhog was, where he lived, what he ate, and what he looked like.  I definitely don't expect her to remember everything or anything I said ... I was just sharing or exposing her to the information.  I wrote the words "ground" and "hog" on two separate pieces of paper and taped them to two cars.  I CRASHED them into each other to form the new compound word "groundhog."

Arts and Crafts (Reading)
Groundhog Reader, Song, and Pop Up Puppet
I gave Alyssa a green crayon and asked her to color a cup.  I sliced a hole at the bottom of it.  We glued the groundhog on the popsicle stick after she colored it brown.  The groundhog printable and idea was found here.  I sang a groundhog song and then she played with the groundhog puppet (attempting to sing the same song).  I saw this puppet activity on several different websites.  Here is another cute groundhog template.  
I also found a groundhog reader titled, Here's a Little Groundhog" here.  The reader had the same words as the song that we sang earlier.  I showed it to Alyssa, she ran and got the groundhog pop up puppet.  Then, we read the reader together.  I let her read whatever words she knew and helped her with the ones she didn't know. 

Groundhog Sound Clicking
She found the word groundhog on the color sheet.  I modeled how to break the word up into syllables.  She used a frog mouth click toy to snap the number of syllables heard in the word.

Roll and Color/Color By Number Groundhogs 
I found both sheets at Making Learning Fun.  Alyssa matched the crayons to the color coded numbers (I wrote them at the bottom of one sheet).  She would then roll the die and color the appropriate number.  If she rolled it twice, it didn't matter because she always had a bit more she could color.  

Matching (Same or Different)
Shadow Matching Cards
I found and used these cards over a year ago with Alyssa.  So, I don't have the link to them, but I believe I found them as a FREE printable while downloading AVERY mailing labels (something like that).
Sidewalk Shadows
Let's see ... it rained hard on Groundhog's Day and throughout this week.  So we actually didn't do the original planned activity.  We did a different activity on a different day ... I traced her shadow and she attempted to trace mine.  Daddy tried to get Alyssa to trace his hand.  Of course we had to play with the sidewalk chalk that day too.  We also made shadows on the wall.  Sorry no pic - this activity occurred at Nanny Lynn's house.  

Valentine's Day Themed
Most of the activities I planned for this month are heart and love themed.  
Heart - What Letter is Missing?
I showed Alyssa three letters in heart containers and asked her to find the letter missing (alphabetical order four at a time).  I give her three letter choices on the side.  I made this board for an activity in a previous post.

Valentine Number Word Count
This is actually a Math and Reading (Spelling) activity.  I printed of the number word sheets at Making Learning Fun.  I placed each number card and the corresponding spelling tiles in a baby wipe container.  I had a heart container full of number puzzle pieces and another full of red glass hearts.  Alyssa tried to open the wipe container and asked for help if needed.  Then, she placed the number puzzle on the container, spelled the number word, and counted out the correct number of hearts indicated for each number card.  We tried several different ways to set this activity up.  I allowed her to do it whatever way she wanted.    

Valentine Letter Sound Cards
I used the beginning letter sound cards from Prekinders and glitter hearts from Hobby Lobby as markers.  I asked Alyssa what the letter name and sound was for each letter.  Then, I pointed to the picture and asked her "What's this?"  If she couldn't tell me then I told her what each picture was and asked her which picture had the same sound as the letter.  She placed a glitter heart on the correct picture.  The ornament strings distracted her so after she played with them for awhile ... I cut them off.  I also ended up cutting each sheet apart as she worked (4 cards per page).  She did this activity twice.    
I saw an activity back on October 4th called Sort and Count Pumpkins (scroll down once you get there) at My Montessori Journey.  I was inspired to do a similar activity for Valentine's Day.  Well, since I didn't have a tray with three sections at the bottom ... I used a different tray and changed the activity just a little bit for my daughter.  I had Alyssa spoon and sort heart and round glass gems into two heart candle votives.  I thought it would be cute to use the heart measuring spoon I found at Target for transferring the gems.  After she was done sorting, she counted, and identified how many gems were in each heart votive.  She identified the numeral that matched each set and placed it on top of the gems.  Well, this was the perfect opportunity for Alyssa and I to discuss the concept of "more and less."  I asked her which heart had the most and least amount of gems.  She answered correctly that time.  I wrote the words on mini cards and she placed them on top of the appropriate section.  She only wanted to do this activity once that day.  So, I decided we would do it several times throughout the week, but only once per day.

M&M Math
M&M Heart Counting Tray
First, I placed a heart ice cube tray in front of Alyssa.  She put the number tiles in numerical order 0-9 (one in each heart). Then, I gave her a plate or heart container full of M&Ms.  Of course she wanted to eat them, but I told her she could have a few after we used them to count.  She waited until after all the M&M activities were done.  I asked her what the number was in the first heart.  She responded correctly.  I said "Yes, this is one.  Can you put one M&M on top of the number one heart?"  I did this once for each number.  After modeling the activity, Alyssa completed it twice.  She counted aloud as she placed one candy in each numbered cavity.  We also needed to empty the tray, so ... I asked Alyssa to sort the M&Ms from the number tiles.  A very similar activity can be found at Childcareland (this is where I saw the original idea).  I changed the activity by using a heart shaped ice cube tray, number tiles instead of stickers or writing the numbers, and I started with zero instead of one.  I also had fewer numbers to count out candy pieces since Alyssa is only 26 1/2 months old.        

M&M Patterns
I pulled out the white ice cube tray I use for patterning activities.  I asked Alyssa to watch me put M&Ms into it.  I asked her to tell me the color of each M&M as I put them into the top row.  We stated the pattern aloud one more time before Alyssa started to copy the pattern in the next row.  Then, it was Alyssa's turn to match the pattern.  I gave her the M&Ms needed (on a plate) to correctly copy the pattern in the bottom row.  She did this activity twice (two different AB color patterns).  

M&M Sorting
I gave Alyssa a Valentine sorting sheet created by Shari Sloane and asked her what the words in each circle said.  I helped her with the lt (light) and dk (dark) words.  Then, I gave her a container full of M&M to sort by color.
M&M Graphing
I showed Alyssa a color word on a graph created by Shari Sloane. I asked her to find an M&M of that color to place in the box above the word.  We did that once for each color.  Then, she sorted the ones from her sorting sheet until she ran out of room.  She did at times want to fit more than on M&M in each box.  I just told her that we put one candy in each box going up (this was her first graph so  knew it would be a little confusing).  Finally, I pulled just a few out for her to graph on her own.  We discussed which color had the most and least amount of M&Ms.    

Valentine Number Counting Cards
I used large number cards I had from my teaching days.  First, Alyssa placed the number cards in numerical order.  Then, in her workbox I had ten small heart containers filled with red glass hearts.  Alyssa would take one heart container out at a time.  Then, she would count the amount of glass hearts in the lid (moving each heart one at a time into the lid as she counted aloud).  She would then scream the number and match it to the correct number mat.  She started at the number one and jumped in front of each number yelling the number.  I asked her which heart had the most and least amount of hearts in the containers.  I also asked her to place the lids on each heart and put them in the box after completing this activity.

I printed February calendar numbers from a CD that I bought from Childcareland.  Alyssa and I have been putting a (heart) number up for each day.  We discuss what month it is and we sing the months of the year song.  We also count the number of days and sing a Days of the Week song to the Adams Family tune.  The days of the week cards were also found at Childcareland.  You can use them for a file folder game too.  Alyssa used a pointer to identify the days of the week or the months of the year in pocket charts.  I found the days of the week pocket chart at Target for a dollar.  

We listen to the song and sang "Jesus Loves Me."  I gave Alyssa a song sheet ( I can't remember where I found it so I'll do some research - SORRY).  She used a heart popsicle pointer to point to each word as she sang the song.  I sang it with her twice and then she said, "Mommy, Alyssa's turn."  That meant she didn't want me to sing.  So, I grabbed my camera while she did her thing.  I was so happy that she liked the song.  She was singing it in the tub later that night.  LOVE IT!  She was also given a mini book with the song in it here.  I actually found a CD with this song on it so we will listen to it a lot this week and try to memorize parts of it.

Fine Motor
Heart Lacing
Alyssa laced twelve hearts onto a string.  Then, I had her count and remove them in order to put them back in the storage container.

Heart Transferring
Alyssa used plastic party tongs to transfer glass hearts into a heart ice cube tray and into a candy heart container.  

Clothespin Heart
She pinched open the wooden clothespins and attached them to the wooden, painted heart found at Hobby Lobby (47 cents).

February Sensory Bin
Red and White Shredded Paper
I placed Melissa and Doug magnetic lowercase and uppercase letters in the shredded paper tub.  I gave Alyssa her fishing pole to fish out the letters, but for some reason she was disinterested in the fishing aspect of it.  So, I told her she could use her hands to dig if she wanted.  She liked that idea!  Then, she dug out the letters and placed them on the ABC chart provided.  She either lost interest or got distracted and did NOT finish this activity.  She left this activity to play basketball.  I will change the items in this bin weekly during this month.    

Painting Heart Doilies
I taped three heart-shaped doilies onto a piece of pink construction paper.  I gave Alyssa some red paint and told her to paint over the top of each heart.  I said paint it so that we can't see any white at all ("no white").  We then let it dry.  We removed the painted heart doiles and revealed the heart shapes underneath.  I am not sure why, but removing them was a little difficult.  However, it did keep her busy.  I saw this idea at Making Learning Fun, but she had a printout that said H is for (heart doily).  

Model Magic Tile Mosaic Heart
First, Alyssa rolled out the Model Magic.  Then, she took a heart cookie cutter to make the shape.  Afterwards, she placed glass mosaic tiles in the heart.  I have seen this type of activity on tot school before using beans instead of tile at Shannon's blog.  Thank you Shannon!  Alyssa made this heart as a Valentine's gift for her daddy.  We found the mosaic tiles in the clearance section of Hobby Lobby.

Sign Language/Spanish
Sign: I Love you (two ways)
Spanish: Amor (love)

Ten Little Hearts
Jesus Loves Me

Other Activities
Name Recognition
Name Train
Alyssa spelled her name using the train letters.

Playdoh Name Stampers
I gave Alyssa the Playdoh Alphabet Stamps to spell her name.  Unfortunately I only have the uppercase letters.  First, she rolled the Playdoh out flat (I rolled it a little flatter).  I modeled how to spell her name letter by letter.  Then, we did it a second time together.  She did it on her own the third time.  She played with the Playdoh afterwards.  

Crayon Drawing  
Alyssa drew her Nana Terri a picture of a snowman, the letter H, and the lowercase letters "i" and "t" on her own along with some colorful scribbles!  She also spent some time drawing a picture for me.  I try to take a sample of her writing every 1-2 months and I place it in a scrapbook album.  Mine was also full of colorful scribbles, but she brought it to me saying "w" and "m." I said "show me" and sure enough she did attempt to write them.  Most of the time she only writes the letters H and O.  I guess she is branching out!

I made another beginning sound sheet.  I wrote the letter "Hh" and the word "heart" at the bottom of the sheet.  I found the coloring printable at www.BibleColoringPages.org.  I enlarged it and was supposed to color the bear, but I forgot to do that part.  I traced four heart shapes and wrote them on four hearts.  I added the /s/ is for snow words (on circles) from a previous activity.  Alyssa identified the words that began with the /h/ sound and matched them to the sheet.

Reading to Grandpa
We visited grandpa and grandma and Alyssa read the mitten reader from last week's blog to them.  She has also been reading the titles of her 12 Clifford Phonics books.  She pointed to each word in the reader! Yah!!!

Alyssa is ACTUALLY reading from books (ones I haven't even read to her before).  Miss Alyssa shocked me this week.  She asked for the Bob books on the shelf.  I always give them to her to look through, but she actually starting trying to read the sentences on her own.  She had trouble with the names in the books.  I think that this might be her new thing.  Other books that we have read to her before that she tried reading parts on her own this week are A Splendid Friend Indeed, Knuffle Bunny, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, and her Clifford Phonics Readers.

Wall Runner Tracing
Alyssa traced alphabet cookie cutters on her Aquadoodle Wall Runner.  She reviewed the letter name and letter sound (short vowels for now).  I modeled the letter G for her. 

Foam Number Puzzle
I brought home a foam number puzzle from Ross and left it out for Alyssa to find.  I took my camera and went upstairs to get a few books for us to read.  I found Alyssa unzipping and putting the puzzle together in numerical order.  I snapped a couple shots.  I asked her to go to the beginning and count to figure out what number was next when she got distracted or stuck.  She stomped on each number (wished I asked her to take off her boots).  She finished the puzzle and went to the beginning to check her work again.  

Water Painting
Alyssa enjoyed her water painting (no instructions).  I did tell her to wet her brush, pick a color, paint, and rinse.  I did hear her saying rinse.

Bubble Wrap Hopping
Well, I needed something that would keep Alyssa busy while we cleaned up the house (it is on the market right now and someone was coming to see it in the morning).  So, I took a long piece of bubble wrap and unrolled it down the hall and in the living room.  My daughter thinks bubble wrap is so cool.  I asked Alyssa to count as she hopped on it.  This kept her busy for quite some time!! LOL!  As always ... she started singing her alphabet too.

Toddler, Preschool, Classical, and Bible CDs
Repeated Songs per Alyssa's request:

The Alphabet Song
Jesus Loves Me
Five Little Monkeys-Dancing and singing

For more tot and preschool ideas visit Carisa or Jolanthe's blogs.  I am sure that you will find something that will inspire you. 
I hope to see ya next week!!!!  I am sure that I will be searching tot school for new ideas after next week.  We still have more Valentine's Day (heart themed) activities planned for next week.  


  1. Fantastic blog and fantastic ideas! I am simply short of words...I think I will "steal" your activities and do them with with daughter, Maya. Unbelievable! I will be here week after week for inspiration!
    I am simply in awe...
    My best,

  2. Thank you Ramona! You are very sweet. Enjoy the activities! How old is Maya?

  3. wow! You had a VERY busy week! How do you do it all! :) I love your ideas! Thank you for sharing them! I am enjoying reading your blog - I am going to sign up to follow you! Please stop by & visit me at my blog too! :) <><

  4. SO many great ideas! Thank you for taking the time to share!

  5. Wow, you did a lot this week. I'm going to add you to my blogroll so that I can come back and check out more later. Great job.

  6. I enjoy reading your blog - I have an award for you - you can grab it here: http://mamato3blessings.blogspot.com/2010/02/beautiful-blogger-award.html
    :) Nicole

  7. Thank you Nicole! I REALLY appreciate it!!! This means a lot to me. I am happy to share ideas and glad that someone is able to use the ideas posted. I'll make sure I pass the award on, but it might take me some time since things have been a little CRAZY around here.

  8. I dont know how you do it all! What a busy week! I enjoying reading your blog!

  9. What a long post packed full of great ideas!

    I appreciate the tip about using fewer holes on the lacing mittens. I am getting ready to make some lacing cards and I'll be sure not to punch too many holes now.

    I like the idea of using an ice cube tray to have Sweet Pea pattern match. I don't think I've seen that before.

    Also, I really love those Playdoh Alphabet stamps. What fun. Where did you find those?

    Oh, and I think you might have seen my post about making a Model Magic Bean Mosaic here:

  10. Another great week! I love reading your ideas. How fun that you were able to find hearts to bead. You had so many very cool ideas, but I have to comment on the bubble wrap. Love that stuff!! Good luck on selling your house.

  11. Shannon - thank you for letting me know that the bean mosaic was your idea. I like to give credit where credit is due. I went to your blog and that was exactly where I found the original idea. I edited my post.

  12. The Playdoh Alphabet Stamps were found at the Lakeshore Learning store. I love that place!