Monday, September 27, 2010

Leaf People

M and I celebrated the first week of fall by making some leaf people. Our weather is still summer-like, and we do not have many trees that have turned yet, so first we had to hunt for leaves.

Later we glued them on to paper,

and made faces,

and people (8 of them to be exact),

and chickens.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tot School: Sept 20-25

Tot School
(M is 37 months old)

I did remember to take a few pictures of Tot School this week. We didn't have a set theme.

For math we worked on same and different and naming which item does not belong. M was able to tell me if something matched or not thanks to many games of S'Match, but when I changed the terminology to same or different it was more difficult for her. First we worked with pairs of animals cards.

Then we used the same/different apple cards from Prekinders and she put a green marble on each of the different items on the card. We followed up with a few workbook sheets on the same topic.

Then we played the bug game - which is a version of memory using halves of various insects. M loves this game and we play it daily.

She did some tonging and sorting with green and orange gourds.

We worked on tracing circles on an apple shape (and also cutting skills using apple pieces) with sheets from Kidssoup.

She colored a wooden carriage and unicorn for free art one day. M loves to color these mini wooden pieces so I try to pick them up whenever I am at Michael's (they are only 50 cents).

That was all I took photos of this week. We did do some sorting work using black and orange felt owl stickers and several other fall-themed projects. Our focus right now is mainly on pre-reading, since that is M's preference.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Birthday J!

J celebrated his birthday on Thursday. I can't believe my first-born is already eleven years old. It seems like just yesterday we held this sweet little boy in our arms. J is such a kind young man. He is a great big brother, very compassionate and caring and has a keen sense of humor. We couldn't be prouder of him!

We started his birthday with a tradition - pancakes made by Daddy in the shape of his age.

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Into Reading Challenge 2010

I have a been an avid reader my whole life (the credit goes to my parents who are huge readers and always encouraged us to read and bought us an endless supply of books growing up). For me, reading is not just about learning new things but also is a way to relax. With three kids my free time to read is non-existent these days. While I wouldn't trade away any of the time I have with them, I do want to get back in the habit of reading for myself every day, even if I have to get up a little bit earlier to do that.

My goal is to get up half-an-hour earlier each day and spend that time reading while I ride my exercise bike. So, in order to keep myself on track, I am posting this list of my to read books here, and participing in the Fall Into Reading Challenge over at Callapidder Days. My to read list:

  • Fast-Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
  • Parenting With Grace: Catholic Parent’s Guide to Raising Almost Perfect Children by Gregory Popcak
  • Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
  • Creating A World Without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus
  • The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul by Lisa Hendey
  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett

What's on your reading list?

Waltzing With Daddy

One of M's favorite movies right now is Cinderella. The other day she was watching the movie, and when the ball scene came on she asked her Daddy to dance with her. She stood on his feet and they rotated around (Baby B came along for the dance.) I am so glad I got this shot, this is one of those sweet moments I always want to remember!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Footprint Angels

The kids made footprint angels for a grandparent's day card last weekend. I cropped it, but the feet were labeled with each child's name and age.

I love crafts that use hands or feet, they are great visuals of the stages the kids go through.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wooden Letter Mat

I like when a simple tool can be used for many different uses. A letter mat is one of these. I simply traced around the letters from a wooden alphabet puzzle. We have been using this all week in a number of ways:

  • Matching the puzzle pieces to the proper outline. You can name the letter or name the sound it makes.
  • Matching small objects or pictures to the proper letter by beginning sound.

You could also use it for matching upper and lower case letters and working on alphabetical order. I plan to make a second mat with only a few letters placed (A, H, P, Z) and let M fill in the other letters in the appropriate order.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Zoo Scavenger Hunt

We took a family trip to the zoo this weekend. In order to make it both more educational and more fun for the kids I made them a Zoo Scavenger Hunt list. M had a list of 16 animals she needed to find at the zoo. Some were our usual favorites like giraffes and zebras, and some were new animals like the wallaby. J had a fill-in-the-blank list where he needed to find one animal for every letter of the alphabet (I verified ahead of time on the zoo Web site there was indeed at least one for each letter). The kids really enjoyed this, and I think we will be doing this again in the future.
(Ready to begin our hunt with binoculars and clipboards in hand!)

Some other things I was thinking that could be fun for a scavenger hunt would be:
  • find animals with certain characteristics (claws, stripes, fins, feather, bright colors)
  • find animals that are doing certain actions (eating, sleeping, climbing, running, swimming)
  • find certain facts about each animal (How long is a giraffe's tongue? (18 inches))
  • find animals from certain countries or continents
  • count the number of animals
  • classify animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians)

The highlight of this trip had to be feeding the giraffes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Puzzle Storage

I have a real issue storing board puzzles. If you lay them flat they take up so much space, but if you stand them upright in a bookcase the pieces always fall out. I tried the ziploc baggie method, but I don't like separting the pieces and the boards. The storage bags you can buy on Amazon cost $15 or more per case, which can really add up. When I saw the puzzle storage bags at I Make Stuff I knew I'd found a solution.

Two yards of vinyl, a spool of thread, a package of velcro and 3 broken needles later - I now have custom-fit cases to store our dozen or so puzzles. Not as pretty as Deena's, but functional and only cost me $20 for a dozen cases.

(Thanks to Carisa for posting this idea on her Tumblr blog for me to find.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tot School: Quilt Week

Tot School
(M is 37 months old)

This week we worked on a quilt theme for Tot School. We did all of our activities upstairs on our quilt for a change of pace. We did a lot of activities this week, but due to a computer issue, I only have photos from two days.

M used her dot markers on a "Q is for quilt" worksheet from Making Learning Fun.

She also colored a mini-book called A Quilt For Me. It talked about quilt shapes (stars, stripes, blocks).

We did our Hickory Dickory Dock go-alongs.

We read quilt-related books and quilted a letter Q for our stART project.

We colored an activity page on safety signs and discussed what they mean.

My favorite picture this week: I came inside from getting the mail to find M reading a book to Baby B. What a sweet big sister she is! (No idea why Baby B is only wearing one sock, he tends to kick them off at the first opportunity.)

For science we also used a paper towel tube as a homemade stethoscope to listen to our heartbeats. We also learned the proper names for the parts of our hand using the cards from Montessori for Learning. We will continue to work on the human body in science for the next few weeks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

stART: Quilt Books

We have been reading a lot of quilt-related books this week. M has loved them all, so of course we had to do a quilt project this week. I thought about having her sew, but I don't think she is ready for that yet, so I cut the letter Q out of paper, and gave M squares of many different patterned papers to glue on. She loved this and actually made two quilted q's.

Our stories read include:
  • The Log Cabin Quilt by Ellen Howard
  • Reuben and the Quilt by P. Buckley Moss
  • The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Quilt Alphabet by Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • Quilt Counting by Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • A Name on the Quilt by Jeannine Atkins
  • Shota and the Star Quilt by Christine Fowler
  • A Quilt for Baby by Kim Lewis
I am linking this post to stART (story + art = a great start) over at A Mommy's Adventures and Kid's Get Craft over at Red Ted's Art.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hickory Dickory Dock

We have been working on Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes lately, including Hickory Dickory Dock. M keeps asking about the times on the clock in the rhyme, so I made her a paper plate clock. Then she wanted a mouse to go along with it.

Now, every time we tell the rhyme we make the clock tell the correct time and she can act out with the mouse. I threaded a ribbon the clock so she can wear it and "be" the clock.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Time to Just Play

There won't be any Tot School or Montessori Monday posts for us this week. Between ballet class, playdates, three-year checkups and library story times we spent far more time outside of the house than we normally do. When we were home, we did do our calendar time but beyond that we didn't really do much in the way of "school". What we did do was just play. It might have been a bit educational, we might have learned something here or there, but mainly we just had fun!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fall Sensory Tub

It's a little early for fall, but M has been asking for a new sensory tub (or rice box as she calls it) for a while now, so I decided to go ahead and make her one. I used lentils this time instead of rice since I thought they had more of a fall color. You could use straw or leaves, too, but M loves the pouring and scooping so I wanted to make sure she still could to that.

Into the lentils I put orange and brown beads, leaf-shaped buttons, red and gold pussy willows, wheat stalks, silk flowers and leaves. I also included an acorn and some small straw hats. Finally, I added a star-shaped brown box, a small wooden rake, and some small plastic cups for scooping.

I plan to leave this box out for all of September, and then do a Halloween-themed box in October.