Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  I can't believe it's finally here. It's been greatly anticipated in our house - mostly by Rick and me.  Of course Turbo has been super excited about Jesus' birthday, Santa, all the lights, activities, parties and yummy food that's been surrounding us these past 3 weeks!  He really 'gets' it more than ever - although he won't fully understand until the morning!  We can't wait to see his face, feel his excitement and hear all the funny things he's bound to say.   Our Little Sweetie isn't sure what's going on, but she's been having fun along with us. She enjoys the lights and especially loves to whack at the tree ornaments.  (It reminds me of what our cats used to do!).  Should be fun to see how much she enjoys ripping the wrapping paper open on her gifts! 

I hope you have a safe, warm and happy Christmas!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Trees ~ Week 1

I'm thrilled our first two weeks learning about Apples were successful. We did most of my planned activities and had a great time. Now we're on to our Tree Theme!  I found several great ideas from The Adventures of Bear and her tree unit as well as PreKinders Forest unit.

Here are some of our learning objectives.  Given Turbo's lack of  interest, we might not get in depth on these.
  • There are different kinds of trees
  • Trees grow things
  • Trees have roots, trunk, bark, branches and leaves
  • Trees are plants
  • Trees need water, nutrients and sunlight to grow
  • Trees provide food, shelter, wood, paper and oxygen
  • Trees have different types of leaves
  • Leaves make the food for trees
Field Trip
We kicked off this week with a field trip to our local preserve for a nature walk. Turbo was to take pictures of nature, parts of the tree and anything else that interested him. I thought this would really get him excited about our nature walk.  Nope. He wasn't interested in the nature, the activities or the topic. He just wanted to ride in the stroller next to Little Sweetie.  Our only highlight was throwing sticks off the bridge into the rushing stream.  Let's just say that I've scratched the Redwoods field trip off the schedule for next week!  Still, I forced him to have fun and take some pictures, he happily took some pictures of tree parts.

We watched this great slideshow about trees. It covered all of the learning objectives and Turbo payed careful attention and asked for it most days.  I wish I could find something like this for all our units as it was cute, concise and accurate. 

After collecting leaves (mostly by me) from our neighborhood to supplement our sad, tiny collection from the aforementioned nature walk, we did some leaf activities.  We haven't been doing many arts/crafts, so this was makeup day!

Inspecting and Comparing - we taped leaves to paper and used a magnifing glass to look at their veins and compare the differences.

Leaf Rubbings - with both crayons and chalk

Tree Bark Rubbings - Turbo had the idea "Let's do this on a tree!" so we set off to rub on all trees in our yard.

Paper Plate Wreath

Leaf Collage - Turbo surprised me with this present he made while I was getting the paint for his leaf painting. Awwww. Seriously sweet little boy.

Painting with leaves - it was so funny, he really wasn't sure how to paint with these. Although he enjoyed it! Not really a tree learning activity, but a fun way to paint!

Then we played "Does it grow on/live in a tree?" game. I had him yell Yes or No as loud as he could if it grew on a tree or if it lived in a tree.  We didn't have enough dry leaves to crunch one for each answer, so we yelled instead.

We read Fall Leaves Fall by Zoe Hall. We also read this last year and likely will every year! Such a lovely book.  At the end we got out the silk leaves and pretended to be the wind and trees.

Kumon Books ~ We continue to work our way through the Kumon books. We're starting off very easy and once I start RRSP, then we'll move onto the Capital Letters book.

Weekly Game - This week we're doing puzzles.  He does fairly well, but they don't hold his interest long. After putting it together once, he doesn't want to repeat the same one again.

Pretend Play ~ He asked me to play grocery store this week. He wanted to play with a 'credit card' and really needed the phone since the clerks have them too.

That's it for this week. I'm not sure what we're going to do next week. He's not that into trees.  Maybe I can find some fun science experiments.  If you have any, let me know!

I'm linking up to Preschool Corner over at Homeschool Creations

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tot School ~ Little Sweetie ~ 13 months

Tot School
Little Sweetie is 13 months

While we do a lot, again, I don't have many pictures. I need to get my little camera and sit it next to me while I work with Little Sweetie.  I've been using Rick's SLR camera and while it's wonderful, it's big and a complete baby magnet! 

Here are the hightlighted things I had out for her this week
- Ball and basket ~ HUGE Hit. She really loves ball and is getting good at throwing!
- Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank - This is still one of her favorite toys. She can do all of it herself and plays with it often.
- Bowl, spoon and cup - She's getting good at feeding herself at meal time and enjoyed the pretend practice.
- Blue Bristle Blocks - Wasn't interested in playing with the few in the basket. She likes the big tub.
- Stacking Cups - She loves to play these with Turbo and by herself. She understands the nesting and tries to stack them.
- Baby Touch & feel books - this girl loves her books and will happily sit there while I read book after book.
We played ball a lot this week. Rolling, dunking, and a little bit of keep-a-way by Turbo.

Hanging out with Brother working on food matching. This climbing business is new to me as she is really very daring!

Family Calendar Time.  Little Sweetie really has the cruising down and goes after what she wants!

She is so excited when Turbo builds something for her to knock down.

This girl is into her ACCESSORIES!  She especially loves to use Turbo's (clean) underware as a bracelet.

Or a Hat.

Big smiles for her brother

Going after the chalk

Working together

Working on a drawing
Other Posts This week
~ See what Turbo did doing during Preschool Time
~ Check out our Calendar Time for this year

Head over to 1+1+1=1 to see what others are doing with their Tots!
Tot School

Friday, September 24, 2010

Learning about Apples ~ week 2

In the spirit of my approach for this year, we're taking our time with each theme, repeating activities throughout the week when we find ourselves ahead of schedule.  It's actually working out great right now. Last week was Apples Week 1  We had a great time and are both excited about more preschool days.

After breakfast each day, we do our Calendar Time.

We did a lot of apple learning outside this week.

Apple Toss & Catch: First we played catch with the apples. He's great at throwing and has good aim. He's improving on his catching skills.   Since I was playing, no pictures.

Ready, Aim, Fire ~ He tried to roll the apples into the circles. Very challenging!

Apple Races ~ We raced our apples down the driveway. We learned which ones roll the fastest (more small and round, the faster) and why some wobbled all around (very knobby/less round)

Feed Me ~ The bucket is hungry and we needed to fill it up with as many apples, while tossing from behind  on a line.

Apple Fractions Puzzle: We grabbed a bucket, our apples, some sidewalk chalk and a knife.   I showed him 1 whole apple, cut into half and apple, then into fourth and finally into eighth.  Then gave him the pieces and he got to reassemble the apple into a whole again.  He liked this.

Apple Fractions Hopscotch
He played hopscotch while dropping the apple pieces in the correct 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 section.

He got to stomp on the final apple ~ loved that!

Hide & Seek - Hot and Cold Game:  I hid an apple in the Family Room. Turbo would try to find it and I would say " colder, warmer, or hot" depending on how close he was to the apple. He LOVED this game. It took a couple times for him to really get it and process it all and now he asks for it most days.

Board Game ~ Hi-Ho-Cherry-O ~ Closest thing to the theme I have. It is a big success. Something he can play easily and enjoys.  One afternoon he took it into his room and played it by himself. Did I mention Lil Sweetie was napping? Oh yea, 20 minutes by myself! You bet I love this game.

Patterning: He laced red, green and yellow apples (faceted beads) onto a pipecleaner.  It made a bracelet and he wore it for a nanosecond. 

Counting ~ I used Confessions of a Homeschoolers Apple Counting sheets for Turbo to count the seeds from our apples.  I only asked for two sheets - low numbers and higher numbers, just to see if he has the concept and to work on simple addition. We took the seeds from 6 and slid them down to 7 to realize we needed to add one more.  I still think Math is a boarderline concept for him right now and need to think of more fun, hands on math activities.

Pre-Writing ~ Costco FINALLY has the Kumon books back! I seriously looked most weeks for months and months. Of course I bought all the ages 2-6 books   We're starting with My First Book of Tracing.  I want to assess Turbo and see if I can get him to slow down a bit and really focus on his pencil holding and writing form before moving on....we'll see.

Tons more Playdough/Pie making play ~ he continues to ask for this every day.

His imagination is in overdrive these days. Which says a lot for an already imaginative boy.  He was doing a lot of cooking on his own. He would say the funniest things to himself ~ "just gonna pop this in the oven for a few minutes" 

Cutting and Gluing ~ Confessions of a Homeschooler's cutting practice and cut/glue Apples onto a tree activity.

Books ~ We continue to read "Apple Pie Tree" by Zoe Hall. We talk about the seasons, lifecycle of the trees and apples.

Well, that's the bulk of our Week 2 activities.

I'm linking up to Preschool Corner over at Homeschool Creations

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Calendar Time

Here's our calendar routine for this preschool year.  While we have a large home, we have very limited wall space.  So it had to be compact and easy to put away.

It's simple and has the key pieces. Most importantly it is quick!

 The background is a white foam board. The colored pocket holders came in a pack of 10 from the dollar store. The small one is just a larger one trimmed. 

The calendar frame is printed on 11x17 paper. I created it in MS Word.
The month and number pieces are from Childcareland in their free printables section.
We attach the numbers with tape. At the beginning of the next month, I'll put up another calendar frame.

First thing we do is Pledge of Allegiance. Yep, we say it every time. Turbo has learned to be still and respectful during the pledge - as I take this very seriously.  The great printable came from Homeschool Creations.

Everything else below are printables from Carisa at 1+1+1=1. I printed them out, laminated, cut and attached velcro dots where needed. 
Weather - Turbo LOVES this part.  He runs over to the door to check if there are clouds and picks the right card and puts it on the velcro dot.  (see main board picture). Then we sing the song.

The Date - This is when we put the new calendar number on the calendar. Then we sing all the songs that follow.

Months of the Year -

 Days of the Week

Every Week

That's it! Short, sweet and space saving!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tiny Talk Tuesday

We just studied apples and now we're studying trees. (note, I'm posting a week behind in my preschool posts)  In effort to take our learning outside, we went for a nature walk at one of our city's reserves.  This isn't my thing, so the main reason we went is because I believe my kids need the experience of nature. Often to my chagrin.

On our walk, Turbo sees some large green rocks stacked and decides to climb them.  Already I'm wondering what creature/bug/spider is hiding in there. I start asking him to get down and see he's not looking and is about to put his hand in some god-only-knows what kind of animal poo.
Little. oblong. poos!!!!  maybe rat, squirrel.....EWWWWWW.

No calm Mommy here. I'm squealing: "Ewwww, Stop, Don't touch anything. "  Turbo is looking worried about what went wrong.  I show him that it's animal poo. After a few moments, he says "You know Mommy, it looks like seeds... Apple Seeds, yep, that's what it looks like".  

Honestly, I was so busy washing his hands and emptying my bottle of purell on them, that it didn't register until later.  Then we both got a great laugh.

Head over to Tiny Talk Tuesday for more great laughs!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tot School ~ Little Sweetie!

Tot School
Little Sweetie ~ 13 months

I think this might be my first real Tot School post for Lil' Sweetie.  I'm not structured in my approach with her. We're just playing together and having fun. Alas, since we're playing together, I'm not taking many pictures. 

I'll start with her 'trays'.  They're not really trays, just pieces of felt that designate an area for the highlighted weekly toys.   We have little cars and a paper tube; Leapfrog Magnet letters; a chunky puzzle; pompoms and a tall container; spoon and bowl; nesting/stacking cups.

The things on the bottom shelf were a smash hit!  The things on the top were mostly unloved. The puzzle got some playtime, but not much.  I rotated their placement throughout the week, but it didn't help much.
These are all the pictures I took of her tray play.  Be assured we played with those stacking cups more times than I can count!


The thing she wants the most is Turbo's car. Just to make it interesting around here, Turbo is ultra-possessive of this car. Can you hear the crying from our house every day?  It's worth it to see her very excited face while playing with it.  (we're working on the sharing thing, I hear it can take awhile HA! any tips?)
She played with Playdough for the first time (*blush* didn't even think to give it to her earlier) You can see she really loved it. It is the perfect thing to occupy them both while I'm making dinner. 

We also did a lot of outside playing.  We're outside everyday ~ in our yard and often to a park.

Playing toss with brother.  She LOVES to play ball. 
Intently listening to the directions on how to play toss & catch.

Yep, I know it's not Christmas, but I found this in a box of old things I had for Turbo and had to squish her in it while I still could.  Her legs are bent and the back couldn't zipper all the way  - but doesn't she look cute?  The photo op went quickly down hill. 

Playing with the very old camera. She was able to get the strap on and off as well as crawl with it around her neck. (closely supervised). She really likes to do the things she sees her brother doing! Although it would be nice if she would emulate the walking sometime soon!

Tot School playing really helps ensure I get that focused time with Lil'Sweetie every day ~ Just for her and totally at her level.  I love the joy of just playing with her!!

Head over to 1+1+1=1 to see what others are doing with their Tots!
Tot School