Monday, March 22, 2010

Tot School Week 14: (March 15th-March 21st)

I usually post my blog on Mondays ... I have tried posting on Sundays, but we are usually gone visiting family and we get home late.
Alyssa is 28 months old this week!!!

This probably goes without saying please do not use the pictures on this blog without prior permission.  Feel free to borrow ideas from this blog, but PLEASE link back to my blog if you found something useful.  The use of small items requires close parent or teacher supervision at ALL times.  Thank you!!!!

Noah's Ark and Rainbow Themes Continued
There are just a few since we got distracted with St. Patrick's day activities this week.  
Here is a picture of the books I posted about last week.  See last week's blog post for the titles and author names.  We have these books in a theme tub for Alyssa to read during the day.  She also gets to choose the books we read before naps and bedtime.  She will often choose books that we are already reading for our thematic units.  
Note: I also have had her roll a die and whatever number it lands on is the number of books I will read before bedtime or nap.      

Animal Spelling Puzzles
Alyssa completes animal word puzzles - this puzzle was at Ross.  She would run over to the table to get the pieces out of the box.  All pieces were mixed together.    

Workbox Cards
Well, I found a new use for FREE calendar pieces.  The ones I found at Christian Preschool Printables worked PERFECT as workbox numbers.  She matches the thematic ones (Noah's Ark) to the ones provided in her starter kit.  They have MANY FREE calendar pieces.  If I change these often, then she'll have a new number matching activity each month or theme.  I use calendar pieces for all sorts of math activities.  
Note: If the calendar pieces are too big for the strips provided with your workbox starter kit, then you can shrink them down a tad.  

Workbox System in Action
Here are a few pictures of Alyssa matching the Noah's Ark number cards to her workboxes.  She carried them to the table, removed the items, and stacked the boxes on the floor in sets of three or four.  

Taste the Rainbow Spinner Game
I created a game for Alyssa and I am REALLY excited about it!!!!  Alyssa LOVED it!!!  The rainbow printable came from Childcareland (it was laminated and had magnets on the back).  I used the magnetic foam numbers 1-8 from Target.  The first picture shows how I set-up this game.  The second shows other ways you could play this game if you didn't have a spinner (using number cards or calendar pieces, die with dots, or a die with numbers).  You could even use a die with fewer numbers.  You could also use number puzzle pieces, tiles in a draw bag, or a numbered egg carton with a shamrock of some sort placed inside.
First, Alyssa placed the mixed-up numbers in numerical order.  Next, I showed her how to spin the spinner (placing two fingers in the top left corner using her left hand to keep it from moving).  Then, she identified the number that the ARROW was pointing to.  She found the number and placed it in the left cloud box.  Last of all, she counted out the skittles in the right cloud box.  She didn't want to stop playing this game.  I think it had a lot to do with the spinner because she never ask to eat a Skittle.  
Notes: Use sticky tack or a magnetic on the back of the spinner to help hold it in place better.    

Counting Sets of Two
I was searching the Prekinders website and saw the Making Sets counting activity under her math section.  I thought that it would be a great math activity for a Noah's Ark theme with a few adaptations.  Alyssa and I were working on the word "pair" again this week.  I used farm animal and bible story figurines as counters.  I placed two green dot stickers on each laminated index card.  I also used only seven pairs!!!  

Rainbow Gem Patterns With a Twist
I had an idea last week after doing the rainbow gem patterns.  I had Alyssa match the rainbow pattern again.  We also did other patterns using the same gems.  But, this time instead of matching it twice.  I had her count the amount of gems for each color and place a number tile underneath it.  I told her that we had a pair of each color in the rainbow.  I know that the colors in the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, but I had to use what I had at home.
I know this is a repeat picture, but as I did the dishes ... Alyssa asked to play with the gem pattern carton.  I listen to her say red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple (twice without ANY assistance).  Then, she counted quickly and placed the tiles in carton.  YAH!  I couldn't believe she remembered the pattern on her own.

Baking, Cooking, Snacks
Muffin Tin Monday
Rainbow Counting Snack or Lunch
Alyssa rolled the die and chose which food item she wanted to eat.  Then, she counted out the amount for that particular roll.  For example, if she rolled a three and chose yogurt, then she was able to eat three spoons of yogurt.  I provided red goldfish crackers, orange carrots, yellow yogurt, green celery, blueberries, and purple grapes for this activity.  Here is another Snack Math Activity at Monkeyin' Around ... she was the one that inspired me to do this activity.  I just used a rainbow theme and a muffin tin.  

Rainbow Sherbet
Daddy and Alyssa made a trip to the store and he bought her rainbow sherbet to go with our theme.  

Rainbow Cookies
The recipe was found at DLTK.  This was more work than I thought it would be and I love baking. I probably should have waited until Alyssa was around three years old before attempting this activity.  But, it did go okay.     

St. Patrick's Day Theme
Green Meal
She was served scrambled green eggs, green milk, green yogurt, and shamrock toast with green butter.  I ended up removing most of the butter since Alyssa hasn't ever had it on her toast before.  

St. Patrick's Day Books
Jack and the Leprechaun written by Ivan Robertson
It's St. Patrick's Day, Dear Dragon written by Margaret Hillert
Fluffy's Lucky Day written by Kate McMullan
St. Patrick's Day in the Morning written by Eve Bunting
St. Patrick's  Day written by Gail Gibbons
Jamie O' Rourke and the Big Potato written by Tomie DePaola
Leprechauns Never Lie written by Lorna and Lecia Balian
Too Many Leprechauns written by Stephen Krensky
Shannon and the World's Tallest Leprechaun written by Sean Callahan
The Story of St. Patrick's Day written by Patricia Pingry   
Rainbow Books
Run to the Rainbow written by Margaret Hillert
Rainbow of My Own written by Don Freeman
The Rainbow and You written by E.L. Krupp

Shamrock Alphabet Matching Cards
Alyssa matched uppercase to lowercase shamrock letters under a rainbow.  The rainbow printable was found at Childcareland (mentioned in last week's post).  Alyssa flipped through the pile of lowercase letters to find a match.  The shamrock alphabet cards were also found at Childcareland.     

Shamrock Reader Pocket Chart
This is also a Math activity!
I wrote the sentences for the reader below on sentences strips for our pocket chart.  I used number words instead of the actual numbers so that we could make it a matching activity after reading it.  First, I read the sentences aloud.  Then, we read them together and finally Alyssa read it on her own using a pointer.  I gave her the number cards in random order for her to match.  She matched the number cards to the number words easily.  Then, I gave her the shamrock cards to count and match to the numbers.  This was also an easy task.  UGG - I forgot to take a picture!!!!  

Shamrock Counting Reader
The reader was found at Hubbard's Cupboard.  Alyssa placed acrylic shamrocks over the sight words: there, were, and was.  Then, she used magnetic letters to build the words on a magnetic board.  I gave her all of the letters needed for all three words instead of just one word at a time.  I posted about her sight word spelling containers here.        

Initial Consonant Bingo
I changed this game up a bit.  I only removed the letters that were on Alyssa's card.  I gave her a container with foam shamrocks.  I would choose a random letter and say, "Can you find and cover the word that begins with or has the beginning sound /j/?"  She did very well with this activity.  She is not ready for me to mix in additional letters we tried two letters and she was confused so I adapted the game to fit her learning needs.  We did this activity twice this week.  

Alphabet Beginning Sound Assessment
The printable was found at Making Learning Fun.  I placed rainbow transparent chips in a pot (since we have also been working on a rainbow theme).  The gold coins I originally bought for this activity were too big.  I do not need to assess her letter recognition anymore so now I use this type of printable a bit differently - for working on letter sounds or beginning sounds.  For example, I would ask Alyssa to "Put a chip on the letter for the sound that you hear at the beginning of the word CAT."  She says, "/c/ letter c"and places a chip on top of the letter.  I already had this activity planned and then I saw that Jill at The Shafer Family blog also did the same activity here, but only for uppercase and lowercase letter recognition.  I noticed that she and I tend to think alike when it comes to tot school activities.  That's pretty neat I think - too bad she didn't live closer to us.   

Sight Word Gold
Alyssa turned over and read a rainbow sight word card found here.  Thank you Louisa for recommending this website!!!  Alyssa found the matching word on her mat and covered it with a rainbow colored transparent chip.  I stored the chips in a black pot from Oriental Trading.  The first pic shows her saying "we."

Shamrock Number Word Tiles
This ended up being a math and spelling activity (we also did a valentine version of this a month ago).  The number tile cards were found at Making Learning Fun.  First, Alyssa sorted the letter tiles from the shamrocks.  The picture below looks like Alyssa is telling me to talk to the hand, but she's actually yelling, "O ... /o/... Where is the letter o."  Next, she spells the number word using letter tiles.  Then, she uses the foam shamrocks to count out the number of shamrocks needed for each card.  We used puzzle pieces for our numbers.      

First, we read page 159 "He Sent His Holy Spirit - Ezekiel 36:27" in our 100 Ways To Know God Loves Me book.  Then, we flipped open the flaps of the little book found here as we sang the song 3 in 1 to the tune of "Are You Sleeping."  Alyssa matched the word cards to the booklet.  Then, I gave her the same word cards later that day as we sang the song again and placed them on the three leaves of a shamrock.  The shamrock was a dog toy found at Target in the dollar area.  The word cards were found at Little Blots.  This website has two shamrock crafts that could work for this activity.  I used the shamrock for a painting activity.  The song was found at Preschool Post.  

Lucky Charm Sorting and Graphing
First, Alyssa sorted the marshmallows from the whole grain cereal pieces.  Then, she graphed the marshmallows using the graph from here.  We counted how many of each type of marshmallow was on the graph. I had the heater on in the garage so the marshmallows kept sticking to her fingers.  She didn't like that part, but she enjoyed the activity otherwise.  She showed me which type of marshmallow we had the most of and was a little confused when I asked her about the one we had the least amount of.  Then, we mixed them up and she ate some of it as a snack.   

Shamrock Reader
We used the reader mentioned above from Hubbard's Cupboard.  Alyssa read the words again but this time she used the acrylic shamrocks to count and identify the number of shamrocks on each page.  I gave her number word cards and the 1-6 number tiles to match to the numbers on each page.    

Shamrock Size Sorting
I bought foam shamrocks from Oriental Trading - you get three sizes in two shades of green.  I printed the shamrock size labels from Making Learning Fun (a website I use quite often).  I showed Alyssa three shamrocks and asked her which one was small, large, and medium.  Then, I asked her to match them to the correct size word in the sorting tray.  She knew what she was going to do next so she just started the activity.  I thought that she would quit after a few, but she kept asking for more.  Unfortunately ... I left the bag of 200 on the table and she saw it.  So, I ended up giving her them all on the table.  She sorted them all (see last pic) by size correctly except for the two I had to throw away because they were ruined.  It's a good thing she didn't know I had another bag downstairs!!! LOL!!!  But, what I was going to have her do was count and compare the number of shamrock in each section.  I was going to have her place a number puzzle piece in front of each section of the tray to indicate how many there were and I was going to ask her which had more and less.  But, THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN - LOL.  I decided to just let her enjoy "playing" sorting them.    

Most and Least Sort and Count
First, Alyssa sorted the gold coins from the green ones.  I forgot to put the tongs in her workbox - she used her fingers instead.  Next, she dumped out and counted the number of coins in each shamrock cup.  The cups were found at Big Lots (one of my four frequently shopped at stores).  She placed the number on top of the coins for each cup.  I asked her which cup I had the most and least amount of coins and she placed the correct labels on top of the numbers.  

Count and Sort
My Montessori Journey did a similar fall "Sort and Count Pumpkins" activity that has inspired me to think of activities that I can make and use for each holiday or theme.  I didn't have a three section tray until recently so I did my version with a two section tray last month.  I found the trays at Big Lots!  Alyssa used the measuring spoon to sort the gold coins, flat rain drop marbles, and shamrocks into three black pots.  Then, she poured them out in the lid and counted them in each tray section.  I could have had her count them back in the pots.  She placed the correct foam number in each tray section based on the number of items. 

Rainbow Number Match
This was found on a Complete Collection CD I bought through Childcareland.  Alyssa matched the number side of the rainbow to the number word side of the rainbow.  I placed the items in a green tray to help with the organization of this activity.  She matched the rainbow pieces in the larger section of the tray.  

Gold Coin Toss
Alyssa didn't really like this activity so we stopped doing it before she got frustrated.  She didn't want to stay behind the line and she wanted to get as close as she could to the pot instead of just tossing in the coins.  We were going to count how many she got in the pot after tossing, but we didn't get that far.  She hated it when she missed the pot.  I will pull it out at a later time.    

Shamrock Cupcake Picks and Playdoh Number Stamps
Alyssa did a similar activity in February.  First, she placed the stamps in numerical order.  Next, she rolled out the Playdoh.  Then, she stamped a number and counted out that number of cupcake picks.  You could also use foam or acrylic shamrocks.  

Shamrock Cupcake Picks and Peg Number Boards
I bought the peg number boards at Lakeshore Learning.  Alyssa placed the first five boards in numerical order (we would have done all ten had there been room on the table - our floor was dirty).  Then, she identified the number and counted out that number of shamrock picks to place in the holes.  I think I was going to originally use the pegs to help hold the picks up, but Alyssa was anxious to get started.  So, we did it her way!  We also used the pegs and placed shamrocks on top of each peg (I'll try to post a pic next week) if I can remember.  

Fine Motor and Math
Pom Pom Patterning
Alyssa made a pattern using plain (light green) and sparkly (dark green) pom poms.  We used a clothespin clip for patterning instead of tongs like Jill did on her blog.  But, she got frustrated with the clothespin clip and used her fingers for the second patterning tray.  I originally saw this idea at The Shafer Family blog ... I was able to quickly glance at her St. Patrick's day blog that day.  I haven't had much FREE time for searching lately.  I am sure I am missing out on some GREAT ideas.  Oh ... Alyssa and I also did a big, little pattern.      

Sensory and Sand Boxes
I went to HEB looking for something green to put in my sensory tub since I didn't have time to dye rice like I wanted.  I found four bags of split peas -  I think they were like 50-75 cents per bag.  First, Alyssa used tongs to sort gold and green coins into pots.  Then, she explored.  I eventually gave her two pots, an ice cream scoop, and a plastic measuring cup with a spout for pouring.  She enjoyed filling it and pouring it into the little pots. She dropped a few pieces on the ground and it was GREAT fine motor work picking them up with her fingers until she found her mini broom and dust pan.  Next week we'll probably put shamrocks or green items in the box.    

Coin Sand Search
I hid 10 green and gold coins in Alyssa's sand box for her to find and place in the black pot.  We would take turns hiding and finding the coins.  
Note: I should have provided two pots and tongs (spoons, mini shovel) so that she could sort the colored coins like she did with her sensory tub above.

Arts and Crafts
Shamrock Glitter Painting
Alyssa painted a shamrock template with glitter paint, green paint, and gold glitter.  

Shamrock Cookie Cutter Painting
Alyssa used a shamrock cookie cutter to paint green shamrocks on paper.  

The shamrock songs were found here and here.  We sang "Ten Little Shamrocks" using a shamrock glove prop I made.  I saw the idea for making a glove prop at Making Learning Fun in the past and Childcareland.  You can find the paper shamrocks at Childcareland or you could use foam shamrocks like I did.  I placed a piece of Velcro on the backs of the shamrocks and on the tips of the glove fingers.  Then, I attached the shamrocks to the gloves.  We sang the song three times before Alyssa was ready to move on to her workboxes. 

Five Little Shamrocks
We used glitter shamrocks at Hobby Lobby.  I bought two bags for future math activities.  I am glad that I did because NOT all of the shamrocks in the bag are glittered.  I found the song at DLTK.  After we sang the song, I gave her mixed-up number tiles so that she could count and number each shamrock in numerical order.    

I'm a Little Leprechaun
Tune: I'm a Little Teapot
We sang this song and did the actions to go with it.  The words and actions for the song was found at DLTK.  I used the leprechaun as a prop in the color activity below.  

Leprechaun Colors
Alyssa rolled a die and found the matching color to place on the shamrock glove.  I wanted to use our pots, but the opening was too small. I am sure you could find or make a pot printable for this activity.  Then, she hid the color inside the glove from the Leprechaun.  I should have enlarged the color dots and made a 2nd die with the rest of the colors.  I am sure that I have large color dots somewhere in this house.  After she found all of the colors on the die ... I called out colors for her to find.  We sang the song above as an introduction to the activity.  The color dots were found at Childcareland.   

Planting Shamrocks
Alyssa planted shamrocks from Target's dollar area.  We'll see if it really works!!  If not ... you can probably find clover or shamrock seeds at a store.  Alyssa placed the soil pellet in the cup and scooped out 3 tablespoons of water.  Next, she watched the soil absorb the water through a magnifying glass.  Then, she spooned the soil into the pot and planted 10-15 shamrock seeds (BEWARE these are TINY seeds).  She covered the seeds with more soil and placed the pot in the sun next to a post in the yard.  Of course ... silly mommy placed a watering can full of water next to it for tomorrow.  Alyssa spotted it while playing outside and over watered the plants.  I tried to remove as much water as I could.  Oh ... and we both forgot to water them for two days.  As of now ... nothing has grown.  That's my luck!      

Searching for Shamrocks
We went outside and searched the yard for clovers (shamrocks).  We counted the number of leaves on the plant.  I talked about how St. Patrick used the shamrock plant to teach others about 3 in 1: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  We haven't found a four-leaf clover YET.  But, we are STILL looking.  I read somewhere on the internet that one of leaves on a four leaf clover is usually slightly different in color or size (CLUE). 

Social Studies
Ireland Flag
Alyssa colored the Ireland flag by matching the mini flag on the page. 

Name Recognition
I showed the chart to Alyssa and explained it to her.  Then, I gave her a popsicle stick and asked her what name was on it.  She responded correctly.  I placed it above the smiling side.  I handed her a bowl of A-Z letters.  We did two letters together.  I held up the chosen letter to each letter in her name and said yes or no (as to whether it matched and was in her name or not).  As soon as we said yes we placed it under the smile (yes - in my name) side.  If we went through all of the letters of her name on the stick and said no each time, then the letter was placed on the frowning side (no - not in my name).  I thought that this activity was going to be too hard for her, but she surprised me again.  I checked her work (all correct) and we discussed how many different letters of the alphabet were in her name (she counted them).  There were four different letters.

Clip on Stick Name
I gave Alyssa a white popsicle stick with the letters of her name written in black.  I also wrote the letters of her name with colorful (rainbow would be best for this week's theme, but I didn't have all of the colors) Sharpies on clothespins.  Alyssa matched the clothespin letters to the letters on the popsicle stick.  
Note: I will probably do this activity with specific sight words too.  

ABC Puzzles
During Alyssa's playtime, she enjoyed playing with several alphabet puzzles.  She found the matching letter for each piece (the first puzzle) and then connected them in alphabetical order.  
Each time she connected a puzzle piece she sang the alphabet song for both puzzles.  As she worked on the ABC wooden puzzle, she slapped the letters with a flyswatter.  Don't worry it was CLEAN.  I have a few down low so that after we use them for activities she can uses them if she wants to at a later time.  I was reorganizing the classroom and setting up new activities while taking photos of the things SHE decided to work on.      

Writing A
Alyssa wrote an "A" this week.  I don't know if it was an accidental "A" ... she always writes the letter "H."  I am thinking that she drew an "H" and realized it looked more like an "A" when she went to show me.  But, this time when she was done she said, "Mommy ... A."

Letter Tracing
Alyssa used an alphabet template to trace the letters on paper.  I think this was her first time doing this type of activity.

Connect Four Patterning
I showed Alyssa an ABABAB pattern (red and black color pattern).  Alyssa matched the patterns using the game pieces.  You can make several different patterns.  Keep it simple for the younger kiddos.  
Note: Our game easily removes the pieces if jiggled too much.  So, I placed a piece of tape on each side of the slider to keep it from moving.  It worked great!  When it was time to remove the pieces I simply removed the tape.  

Construction Play
Stacking Blocks
Stacking and playing with her blocks in between workbox activities (break time).

Gross Motor Play
Kicking the Exercise Ball

Playing on the Slide

Four Wheelin'

Throwing Dora Ball

Texture Puzzle Match

For more tot school ideas visit Carisa's 1+1+1=1 blog or for preschool ideas visit Jolanthe's Preschool Corner blog

Plans for Next Week:
We still have NOT finished all of the Noah's Ark themed activities that I have planned and this week we seemed to focus more on St. Patrick's Day.  We will continue our Noah's Ark, Rainbow, and St. Patrick's Day themes.  I might even FINALLY start the Easter and/or Resurrection activities I have had planned for forever now.  I am overly excited!!!! 

Thank you, TRACEY


  1. I'm blown away by all the activities she can do at her age!

  2. WOW!!! You do more in one week than i do in a month probably! You are wonder mom!!! And we are doing Noah's ark this week, so thank you for all the links!!

  3. I agree, you accomplish so much in one week. My little one wouldn't sit still for more than 20 or 30o minutes of table work in a day! Amazing week as always.

  4. I want to say THANK YOU so much for your posts! You inspire me so, and give me such great ideas!!! My son is still very young for these activities (18months) and we **just** started doing anything at all, so we are working up to it. I know how long it takes to put these posts together and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.

  5. Wow, you guys do so many fun activities! Thanks for all of the great links and ideas!!

  6. I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of my readers. I appreciate your comments. I also can't wait until I have some extra time to explore all of your tot school blogs ... maybe after Easter. I am sure you all are doing amazing things with your children too and I can't wait to see what you are doing. I would also love to see how you used my ideas so please send a message to me so that I can visit your blog.