Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tot School Week 15: (March March 22-March 27th)

Alyssa is 28 months old
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!!!!
St. Patrick's Day Theme Continued  

Which Letter Doesn't Belong?
This was a brand new activity ... I thought of it at the last minute.  I wanted to start with pictures or real objects at first.  But, this is what we found on hand at the moment.  I placed four uppercase and lowercase letters on a board (both magnetic and paper).  Three of the letters were the same and one was different.  When I showed Alyssa the first group of letters she didn't understand the activity, but I explained it to her and modeled my thinking through the activity.  I asked her what letter each one was and after she told me I said which was is NOT the letter ___.  She did it correctly with the second group of letters.  You can see in the picture ... she's asking me with her eyes if she's correct ... and she was.  We did four more groups of letters and did a different workbox.  

 Leprechaun Sight Word Spelling
I gave Alyssa a box of pre-sorted letter tiles.  She would find the letters needed to spell sight words (my box is not labeled but probably should be).  The sight word activity was found at Making Learning Fun.  I usually cut them apart, but this time I didn't have time to do that. 

Shamrock Sight Word game
This was supposed to be a file folder game, but I never got around to putting it together.  She actually did this activity a year ago and matched the words no problem back then. This year we focused on saying each word.  Alyssa would read a card and match it to the correct word.  She had trouble pronouncing four correctly, but she could still match all of them and read most of them correctly.  The file folder game was found at Childcareland.  After she matched them all, we pointed to each word and read them together.   

Sight Word Spelling
We worked on spelling the four words above that she was having trouble pronouncing correctly.  She used letter tiles or magnetic foam letters to spell each of the four sight words.  We practiced pronouncing them correctly and sang songs using them.    

Sorting Letters
Alyssa sorted the shamrock letters from Childcareland into two bowls (uppercase and lowercase).  All 52 letters were mixed-up in a container.
Alphabetical Order
We took the uppercase letters from the activity above (Childcareland) to the other room where our pocket chart was hanging.  Alyssa placed them in alphabetical order.  I taught her how to sing the alphabet song to help figure out which letter came next.  But, in most cases she already knew - she just LOVES singing that song.  I sing to my daughter after we read before bed ... I ask her which songs she wants to hear me sing and she almost always wants to hear the alphabet song.  LOL!  Then, she used a pointer to sing the entire alphabet song. 

Pocket Chart Alphabet Matching
This time I gave Alyssa the lowercase letters from Childcareland to put in alphabetical order.  Then, she matched the uppercase letters to the lowercase letters.  This activity was too easy for her, but she enjoys it and I like to review concepts.  She did use a shamrock pointer this time.  Oh ... and do you see the alphabet chart next to the pocket chart she decided that she would sing the alphabet song A /a/ apple and then also point to the letter on the other chart too.  I forgot to take it down from a previous activity we had done.  It did distract her from the activity a little bit, but she was learning either way.  We made the pointer from holiday car accessories at Big Lots.     

Gross Motor Math
Shamrock Number Search
This activity was a HUGE hit with Alyssa!!!  Well, we BOTH loved this one.  Any shamrock printable will do, but we used the one found at Childcareland and printed it on green paper.  She rolled a die with number dots and identified the number without counting the dots.  She searched the yard for the shamrock with that particular number written on it.  She flipped it over and attempted to read the commands on the back.  She would have to do an action a certain amount of times depending on which shamrock she flipped over.  I wrote the numbers on the front of the shamrock and used number words on the back.  For example, Alyssa ran to a shamrock with the number three on it, said, "three," and went down the slide three times.  She worked on number recognition, number word recognition, dot recognition, counting, gross motor skills, and of course reading.  
Notes: If you try this activity ... please let me know how it went.  
If your child cannot read yet, then read the commands to them.  If your child cannot recognize the numbers yet, then help them count the dots.      
I will do this activity for Easter too!  I will hide plastic or paper eggs outside in the yard.  I will write a number on the outside of the egg or use number stickers.  The slip of paper inside the egg will have number actions written on them.  If you try this activity, please let me know - I would love to see the action pics.  I would also appreciate it if you provided a link to my blog if you decide to do this activity with your child.  

Gold Coin Addition
I taped the addition sign in between the two sections of the tray. I placed a number tile on each side.  Alyssa worked left to right. First, she counted out the shamrocks and then she counted out the gold coins.  I asked her to move them from the top to the bottom area while counting them.  If she forgot to count as she moved them ... I asked her to count them to find the total amount.  I asked her how many shamrocks and coins she had "altogether," "in all," or "total."  I also had an equal sign at the bottom of the tray.  Alyssa placed the answer (number tile) next to the equal sign.      

Shamrock Number Fun
The game was found at Making Learning Fun - I enlarged it a little more.  I gave Alyssa green bingo chips as counters in a shamrock shot glass cup.  She would flip over a card, identify the number, and count out that number of chips to cover any spot on the shamrocks.  

Counting Pots
This is my seasonal version of the Counting Cups activity found at Childcareland.  I used the numbers from the website (scarecrow activity) and taped them onto popsicle sticks.  Then, I placed one stick in each pot - taping them to the pots was not working that well for us.  Alyssa put the pots in numerical order.  I gave her a bowl of gold coins.  She counted out the correct number of coins for each pot.  I asked her which pot had the most and least amount.  I also asked her which one a leprechaun might want the most.  The last two pics are of her helping me clean up the activity.  She also put everything back in the workbox and closed the lid.  The next time we do this activity I would like to use the dots and number words.    

Shamrock Sticker Counting Book
This activity also worked fine motor skills (peeling stickers off).  Alyssa was given one page at a time from her shamrock number (counting) book.  Each page had a statement written on it ... Alyssa has ___ (number word) shamrocks.  She read the page, counted out the number of shamrock stickers, and stuck them in her book.  Then, she put the pages in numerical order so that we could staple them together.

Shamrock Counting Cards (A Montessori Type Activity)
First, Alyssa was given animal flash cards - animal side up.  I wanted to see if she could recognize the amount without counting.  She did pretty good until we got to the larger numbers.  Then, I flipped them over to the actual numbers.  She put the cards in numerical order.  Then, I had her count out the correct number of shamrocks to place under the number card.  She never did finish the activity - she went to play with her bikes.  I rearranged and took photos of what we were trying to do.  I also posted a picture of other items you could use for this activity.
1.) Let your child count it out any way they want in the beginning 
     and later work on the way you want them to be placed.
2.) I used two color shamrocks (odd - dark and even - light) because 
     I want to start talking about odd and even numbers with her  
3.) Place the number card down first, then count out the correct
     amount of shamrocks.  
4.) Have your child sort the shamrocks by color earlier in the day.

Pot of Gold Grid Game
Alyssa was given the grid game from here, a pot of gold, and a die.  She rolled the die, identified the number, and counted out that number of gold pieces for her grid.  I will have to start printing two copies soon so that we can take turns and play this together to see who can cover their board first.

Leprechaun Grid Game
Same thing as above except with gold coins.  I may have to find some way to change this activity up a bit.  She's losing interest in them, but I think it is because we have been doing them for a LONG time.  I did give her the option of using shamrocks or gold coins.  She wanted to use the coins again.  The grid game was found at one of my favorite websites called Prekinders.        

Shamrock File Folder Game
The file folder game was found at Prekinders - scroll down to find it.  We used gold and green coins as markers.  We placed our markers anywhere on the board.  We each rolled a die to see who would go first - the highest (largest) number went first.  Then, Alyssa rolled a different die that had the numbers 1-4 on it.  The die number templates were also found at Prekinders.  She would count as she moved the appropriate number of spots.  If she landed on a shamrock, then she would get to pull a shamrock pick out of her shamrock garden (see activity below under fine motor skills) and place it in her pot.  Prekinders provides a shamrock printable for this game - I added the shamrock garden and pots to make it more interesting for Alyssa.  You could also use foam or acrylic shamrocks.      

Count by Twos
This activity was too hard, but we tried it anyways since she was still interested.  First, Alyssa placed acrylic shamrocks on top of each shamrock (she counted by 1's).  Then, I showed her how to place her pointer and middle finger on two at a time and we counted by two's together.  We removed the acrylic shamrocks.  She counted the first two and placed the number two card on top.  She asked me where one was?  I told her that we were counting by twos this time and there wasn't a one.  Then, we counted up starting with two so that she could get the next number (that card says two ... count the other shamrocks 3, 4).  I hope that makes sense.  The printable was found at Making Learning Fun.

Color Mixing
This is also a fine motor activity.  Alyssa used a medicine dropper (dispenser) to transfer yellow and blue water to make green water.  I placed the empty cup in the middle to make it easier for her.  I also had shamrock stickers on the cups to match the theme.  She ended up not wanting to use the dropper (it was kind of hard for me to use too), so I gave her a small coffee scoop to use instead of the dropper.  She liked it better.  I saw similar water transferring activities that included color mixing for St. Patrick's Day on several different blogs.  I am trying to find the one that inspired me.  I'll have to post it later.       
Tending To Her Shamrocks
She watered her shamrocks which have NOT grown any YET.  I am thinking that they won't.  

Rainbow Crayons
I asked Alyssa to place the crayons in each muffin cup but in a rainbow pattern.  Unfortunately ... because of how I presented it to her, she wanted to copy what I had done.  I had them sorted in liners next to the muffin tin.  So, after she sorted them by color (basically just moved them from one container to the other) ... I modeled what I wanted her to do.  We put them in the oven at 300 degrees for 13 minutes.  I first saw this activity here and here.   
Notes: This was my first time ever doing this activity.  Do not leave them in as long as I did.  I wasn't sure if they were supposed to be completely melted or partially melted.  I used a toothpick to swirl a few, but I think it made them too dark. Oh ... and use multiple muffin liners or thick foil ones.  I only used one and it leaked through and I am still scrubbing the pan.  I used Rose Art crayons.  

Songs and Music
Leprechaun Stew
I found the song and actions at DLTK.  The leprechaun was found at Childcareland. First, I sang the song for Alyssa using the props.  The props needed for this song are a shoe, leprechaun, pot of gold, and a small stew pot.  We are missing the shoe and stew pot in the picture because after Alyssa played with them ... I couldn't find them for the pic.  Then, we sang the song using the actions from the website.     

Ten Little Shamrocks (a different version)
This is also a math activity.
This is was neat activity!  I set out all of the shamrocks on a felt board my godmother helped me make years ago when I was student teaching.  The shamrocks are from Hobby Lobby ... I had to buy two packages to get enough glitter ones.  But, you could just buy one package if you don't need or want them to be the same (like me).  I modeled how we were going to do the activity first.  Then, as I sang the song Alyssa removed the correct amount of shamrocks from the board.  She counted the number of shamrocks left on the board and told me how many were there.  We did this for each verse.  The words for the song are provided here - it is a Felt Board Math Game by Jean Warren.

Snacks and Beverages
Making Lucky Pudding
I told Alyssa that we were going to make pudding and that if the pudding turned dark green ... then she was LUCKY.  Of course she enjoyed seeing the light powder color turn dark green when she added the milk.  She used a plastic measuring cup to pour milk in the bag.  We also used a gallon Ziplock bag for mixing and shaking the pudding mixture.   

Making Lemon Lime Kool-Aid
Alyssa has never tried Kool-Aid until the day we did this activity.  I placed a cup of sugar in a bowl with a measuring cup.  I opened the package and Alyssa poured the contents in a pitcher.  She used a 1/2 measuring cup to add sugar in smaller increments.  We ened up adding less than a whole cup of sugar.  Alyssa tasted it and asked for her milk.  YAH!!!!  But, it was fun making it with her.  She liked the "Pretty" color green.  She was trying so hard not to spill any when she was stirring.  

Lucky Pudding
I did this activity with my students several years ago in pie pans, but since it was second grade we practiced writing our spelling words.  Alyssa used pistachio pudding in a bag to practice writing letters, numbers, two letter sight words, and her name.  A couple spoonfuls were added to a quart size bag.  
Note: I think this might have worked better if I put it all on a cookie sheet and just let her get messy.  Sorry no pic - camera was downstairs at the time.     

Foam Shamrocks
First, I showed Alyssa how to make a shamrock using green foam hearts. Then, she looked at mine and made one on the paper.  I gave her a Q-tip and glue so that she could glue them down.  She also counted the number of leaves.  We sang the 3 in 1 song again to the tune of "Are You Sleeping."  I saw the art activity here and I added the song from here.      

Name Recognition
Bottle Stamp Name
I placed the letter beads for Alyssa's name in a bottle of spilt peas.  I asked her to find the letters of her name in the correct order.  She would find a letter, find the stamp, and stamp that letter on her name sheet (6 boxes) using rainbow colored ink.  I covered up her name at the top because she already knows how to spell her name.  

Fine Motor and Practical Life
Pouring Split Peas
Alyssa used a plastic measuring cup to pour split peas into a pot.  When she used both hands and sat on her bottom she made a huge mess, but she worked on her fine motor skills when she picked up the mess (using her fingers).  She did get a little upset when a mess was made.  But, she ended up doing better sitting on her knees and pouring with one hand.

Shamrock Garden
I gave Alyssa a block of green styrofoam to place in a container.  Then, she covered it with Spanish Moss (found at Dollar Tree years ago).  Alyssa then counted shamrock picks from (Oriental Trading Company) and pushed them into the styrofoam.  We used this later for a Math activity (see above).     

More Noah's Ark and Rainbows
Story Sticks
Here is another version of story sticks.  I wrote the important words from the Noah's Ark story on smaller popsicle sticks.  I wrote them in rainbow colors.  I tried to think of and write  synonyms on the back of each stick.  I poured them out on the table all mixed-up.  I started to retell the story for Alyssa and she searched for the stick when I emphasized the word.  She placed the stick in a green cup after reading both sides.  My hope is that she will be able to use the sticks eventually by herself to retell the story to me.  You could use fewer sticks to retell the story too.  She actually liked this activity again.  Here is a link to another set of story sticks we did and the title of the book with the original idea for making the sticks.   
Note: I should have used colorful sticks instead of plain ones.  

Fine Motor
Pony Bead Rainbow
I gave Alyssa a container full of pony beads to build a rainbow.  I covered the bottom half of the container and placed one bead for each color to get her started.  She asked me for the tweezers so that she could remove the beads.    
Note: I should have only given her a container with the right amount of pony beads for the activity.  I accidentally gave her a container full of beads (MANY other colors included).  This was overwhelming for her so I eventually removed the ones she needed and placed them in a separate container.  This helped her because she didn't have to find the correct colors in a huge mixture!

Letter R Push Pin Poking
I finally found the large push pins at a store ... forgot that I could just use toothpicks.  I guess I went with the cuter idea.  I found this idea at Confessions of a Homeschooler (she found it at Activity Mom).  I gave Alyssa the letter R printable from Confessions of a Homeschooler (see above).  I added on a few more activities.  First, she identified the letter, sound, and told me a word that begins with the letter.  Alyssa decided she wanted to also SIGN the letter.  Next, she traced the letter with her finger while saying its sound.  Then, I asked her to point to the capital - uppercase letter and the lowercase letter.  Finally, I took the sheet to a carpet and showed Alyssa what I wanted her to do.  I also talked to her about how sharp the point was and that it could hurt her.  This was the first time we did this type of activity and she enjoyed it.  She followed the letter formation lines (for the most part) and then we held it up to a window to let the sun shine through the holes.  She got upset with herself each time she missed the line.  I told her it was okay.  

Build a Rainbow
I was shopping at Hobby Lobby (in search for Easter photography props) when I came across a craft activity that involved rainbows.  I was so excited because we were still working on St. Patrick's Day and Noah's Ark activities.  I also saw two different blogs that had their children building rainbows: The Shafer Family and Confessions of a Homeschooler (she used a number or dot die).  So, instead of using this as a craft activity.  I gave Alyssa a color die and since she has already learned the colors of the rainbow in order.  I told her she had to roll the colors in the correct order so that she could build her rainbow.  Of course after two rolls ... she  thought it would be easier and faster just to find the color on the die, say the color, and then find the rainbow shape color.  She built her rainbow and signed the word rainbow.  The last picture shows her signing it, but it is NOT a good picture of it ... I just loved seeing her excitement.  Oh and if you look closely you'll see I brought out the bible verse tiles again except this time I removed the purple one (with the scripture reference) since I have NOT yet written the correct reference on the tile.  The craft came with a cloud pattern with the words "God Keeps His Promises."  Alyssa and I also talked about the different sizes ... I asked which color was the biggest or largest and which was the smallest.      

Raindrop Counting
The idea was found at Prekinders under her weather theme. I gave Alyssa blue felt and clear, flat marbles to represent the raindrops.  Alyssa tried to count the number of claps and place that number of raindrops on the felt.  I also tried this with her drum sticks since she loves it so much (rhythm sticks would work too).  The above activity was a little too hard for her so we also tried the activity this way: I placed a number puzzle piece, number card, or number tile on the felt and Alyssa counted out the correct number of rain drops on the blue felt.

The Flood
I placed plastic people, animal figurines, grass, rocks, dirt, a tree, etc.  in  a plastic tub.  I filled a pitcher full of water and let Alyssa pour it all over everything.  We talked about how the water flooded the Earth and that the mean, wicked people that didn't obey God died along with the plants and animals.  We talked about how TOO MUCH water can kill plants and how animals and people can drown.  We also made a little boat craft that would float and represent the ark in the story.  When I taught 2nd grade I used this activity with our students  (a little differently obviously) so that they would understand the vocabulary word FLOOD during one of our Science lessons.  Sorry no picture for this activity ... I was in the moment with my daughter and of course the camera was left inside too.       

Name Recognition
Alyssa used the rainbow crayons we made to trace over her name.
Just For Fun - No Theme
Bible Character Match
Alyssa matched bible characters.  She attempted to read their names too.  I set a pile on each side of the box.  She would choose a bible character on one side and look through the other pile to find the matching one.  

Balloon Punching
I did give her a green balloon in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  She always has fun playing with these.

Camping and Animal Puzzles
Alyssa insisted on doing two puzzles at a time (each had nine pieces).  I mixed-up the pieces on the couch.  She picked a puzzle piece up and placed it in the correct position in the correct puzzle.  I guess I need to buy her more challenging puzzles soon.  
Unfortunately it is time for us to move on.  We enjoyed the St. Patrick's Day, Rainbow, and Noah's Ark activities we had planned.  Here are a few things we did NOT get to do.
1.) Prism Exploration - I couldn't find my prism. 
2.) Rainbow in a Jar - I kept forgetting to gather the materials.  
     Daddy did show Alyssa the rainbows that formed on the walls.
3.) Twizzlers Rainbow

4.) Noah's Ark Counting Board Games
     You can find a colorful board game here or here.  You can also 
     find gameboards here and use colored dots or stickers to 
     brighten it up a bit.  Cut out or cover up the school house and 
     bell clip art.  Then, place animal stickers throughout the game 
     board.  Use animal counters or figurines for game markers.  
     You can make game cards or action cards so that when a child
     lands on an animal, then they draw a card and must do the action 
     on the back (animal sounds and movements).  Other game cards 
     could be weather actions, animal pairs, or bible story retellings, 
     etc.  I may still do this with Alyssa when things slow down since 
     I have already prepared the activity.  
     Other Ideas for Board Games
     1.) Ark Pairs - roll pairs of animal dice to make a pair of animals 
          then toss that pair in ark.
     2.) Count by Twos - land on an animal sticker on the board and 
          toss two animals in the ark.

5.) Ark Positions
     This idea was found at Prekinders.  Alyssa would have placed 
     two of the same animals in different positions: on the ark, in the 
     ark, behind the ark, above the ark, in front of the ark, under the 
     ark, out of the ark, etc.  I am sure you get the point now.

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

Our Plans For At Least The Next Two Weeks (Most Likely):
We will finally start Easter and Resurrection themed activities.  I bought seasonal items at Big Lots, Dollar Tree, and Hobby Lobby back in February.  I can't wait to finally use them!!!!!


  1. Wow, she's doing kindergarten level work! We did the crayons, but I used paper Dixie cups because I didn't want to mess up my pan. It's on my blog the 5th post down. I love the idea for finding Easter eggs, I might have to try it. I need to pull out my old pocket chart from teaching days. How much prep time goes into your week? Do you pull things together little by little or do you have a big planning time?

  2. Preschool Mom - (I need to go look up your name) Let me know how the Easter egg activity goes. Alyssa had so much fun and she also went to bed early that night. I love using our pocket chart - it changes things up a bit. As for my prep time ... I tend to do a little here and there. I also am a night owl that cannot always sleep so I get a lot done while my daughter and hubby are sleeping. I am trying not to do that as much though ... so I wouldn't be surprised if we get less done in a week soon. The workbox system also helps me organize and prepare activities. My husband works 24 hour shifts and my daughter LOVES learning activities so I think that is another reason why we get so much done in a week.

  3. Wow! I'm so impressed. My daughter just turned 2 and I love the ideas from your blog. I have a couple of questions, if you don't mind:
    1. How do you go about planning and prepping your activities? How much time does it require?
    2. How do you store all your materials?
    If you don't have time to answer, I completely understand.
    3. How do you schedule your learning time? You cover so much in a week!
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. more question...Do you plan on homeschooling as your daughter gets older?

  5. kclark - Please send me your e-mail address. You can e-mail me on my profile page. My response was a bit too long to place in a comment. Thanks!

  6. WOW...what a power packed post!!! (: I found your blog through Homeschool creations! FAB!!!

    I'm going to 'follow' you! Stop in and see us too when you get the chance! (: Happy Almost Easter!