Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tot School - First Week of School

Tot School
~14.5 months old~

This week was the first week of school for the other kids, so we had to change our Tot School routine a little bit.  We did a little rearranging and put out a shelf for Baby B dedicated to his Tot School trays. We put six items on his shelves - two sensorial, two fine motor and two gross motor - and he played with them on his own all week, and with me or his Daddy one-on-one each day.

Probably the biggest hit were the stacking and nesting blocks. These are old Curious George blocks I bought at a consignment store when Miss M was this age, and while he can't stack them yet, he LOVED to nest them inside each other.  We worked  a lot on the vocabulary for in and out with this one.


This week Baby B discovered our puppet stash. Thanks to my parents, the kids have quite a few puppets of different animals that they love to play with. Baby B spent several days walking around the house with the chicken puppet and making clucking noises. It was too cute!


For an art project this week, I gave Baby B some colored ice cubes (just food coloring in water) with which to paint.  At first he wasn't sure about the cold feel on his hands, but then he got into it and had a paper covered with color when he was done.


My favorite picture of the week was Baby B rolling and throwing the ball with his siblings.  They just dote on him and his face just lights up when they are playing with him.


That was our week in Tot School.  Don't forget to visit 1+1+1=1 to see what others did this week.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Moon

In addition to our regular curriculum, we have been focusing on studying our solar system this month and this week we spent some time focused on our moon.

After discussing characteristics of the moon and how the craters on the moon were formed, we did an experiment to recreate the moon's craters.  J actually did this experiment in 5th Grade science class, and we recreated it at home.  We filled a pie plate with flour, and had our marble asteroid bump into the moon and create craters.




Miss M loved doing this activity!

Next, we worked on the phases of the moon.  Given Miss M's age, I was only concerned that she understand that the shape of the moon appears to change over the course of 28 days, but not worried about her learning the correct terminology for each phase.  To illustrate this, we did this experiment using oreo cookies cut to represent each moon phase, an idea I found on Science Bob.


This was by far her favorite of the activities! 

Finally, we used the salt painting technique we have used before to make a salt moon.  First, Miss M drew her moon shape (she chose a full moon) onto her paper.


Next she added glue stick to her drawing,


and finally she sprinkled on salt I had dyed yellow with food coloring.


She shook off the excess and had me write the moon phase for her.


Overall, it was a fun week learning about our moon.  We will finish our study of the solar system next week with stars and constellations. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

stART: A Bad Case of Stripes

Miss M has been loving a book she picked at the library: Bad Case Of Stripes by David Shannon. When Camilla Cream is not true to who she is (she is embarrassed to admit she likes lima beans) she breaks out in stripes and horrible other things until finally she is true to herself.

For our project, I printed a photograph of Miss M onto watercolor paper.  I made sure to pick a picture where she had a bow in her hair, since Camilla Cream always has a pink bow in her hair no matter what else she looks like.  Then Miss M painted on stripes with watercolors.


I was impressed how careful she was to match the color order she painted with the order on the book.


We cut it out and mounted it onto a black background to make it pop!

I am linking this project to stART over at A Mommy's Adventures and to Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art. Both these blogs have great ideas for fun book-related art projects.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rootbeer Float Cupcakes

Last year we celebrated the start of school with these apple shaped cupcakes.  This year, it is still well over 100 degrees outside, so we went with a more summer-related cupcake:  rootbeer floats. 


We used this recipe from over at How Sweet It Is and Miss M helped me bake them. 


We left off the chocolate syrup and added twizzler straws.  And the best part is, that they really do taste like a rootbeer float!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day of School

Yesterday was the official first day of school in our house, which meant our usual backpack shots!  For J, that means sixth grade:


For Miss M, that meant K4:


We actually began her program in May, but took it light over the summer.  She loaded her backpack with a trumpet, just like J was carrying.

For Baby B, that means Tot School!


Today was also the first day of ballet and tap classes for the year. 


I can't believe how much our little ballerina has grown since last year!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Busy Week in Tot School

Tot School
~14.5 months old~

Baby B had a busy week in Tot School this week. I put three trays with items out for him every day, and either J or I worked with him for about 15 minutes with those items.

He has gotten very good at opening the doors on his Melissa & Doug Magnetic Hide and Seek Board and being able to pull the magnetic item behind them out. He loves doing this puzzle over and over again.



This week I had a few of the Infantino Matching Colors and Textures Puzzles out for sensory play, and the Wee Wedgits as well. Baby B really enjoyed both of these, especially when J built towers for him with the Wedgits.


Baby B and Miss M both LOVE to do play dough,


and J was playing a game where he spun Baby B in the laundry basket, much to both of their delights.


We went to the late night at the art museum on Friday, and the theme was mystery night. While the other kids made disguises, Baby B enjoyed exploring the feathers and other art materials they had out.


Finally, I gave him crayons to draw with for the first time. He couldn't decide which hand he wanted to use, so he used both! I taped the paper to his high chair tray, and this worked well for him. He did end up with quite a few marks on his paper when he was done.


We have also been using our Education Cubes to work on vocabulary. I printed photographs of animals (cat, dog, fish, bird, cow, horse) and trimmed them to fit into the block. We roll the block and then I say the animal it lands on. So far he is repeating cat and dog, and we will keep working with these.


Baby B is really starting to use his imagination when he is playing. Miss M loves to pretend she is the puppy dog Lady from the movie Lady and the Tramp, and Baby B goes crawling around behind her panting like a puppy, too! He also loves to play with my kitchen utensils, and this day I caught him pretending the tongs were a telephone and saying "Hi" over and over again.


J goes back to school this coming week, so we will be adjusting our Tot School time to coincide with Miss M's kindergarten time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Whisk Away

The other day I was making pancakes using a whisk, and Baby B was VERY interested in what I was doing, so I filled a bowl with water and dish soap and gave him his own whisk.


He was happy whisking bubbles for over twenty minutes.


J was holding the bowl for him to ensure we didn't have any spills. If I hadn't been cooking I would have just set him down on the floor to do this, and we'll probably try that next time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Orbiting the Sun

We did a very simple experiment to illustrate how the planets orbit the sun. All you need is a foil pie plate and a blue marble.


We taped a circle to the center of the pie-plate to represent the sun. We pretended the blue marble was the Earth and then gently tipped the pie plate to start the marble rotating the perimeter.


Miss M figured out that you had to be very careful to make sure the marble stayed on path. She loved this simple experiment and has redone it several times herself since.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Solar System: Planets Distance

As we continue to study our solar system, I wanted to do a project to illustrate the planets' distances from the sun. We found the dimensions here to illustrate the distances in a scaled model using either inches, feet or toilet paper squares. We decided to use the toilet paper method because 1) Miss M could count the squares easier 2) the long blank sheets of toilet paper better illustrated the space between the planets better and 3) it was just more fun!

First we drew a chalk sun on the sidewalk as our starting point, and then we started rolling out toilet paper and counting squares.


We placed balls and labels on the line to represent our planets as we went.


When we were done, we had placed Neptune over 50 feet away from our starting point.

(We are being scientifically accurate and not counting Pluto as a planet even though I learned it differently.)

For some reason I failed to photograph the complete distance down the line (it was HOT outside so we were in a hurry) but it was a fantastic illustration.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Solar System Scaled Model

We are continuing our study of the solar system, and today we did a scaled model art project. I wanted to illustrate the differences in sizes between the planets accurately, and I found this chart here that gave the dimensions in a workable size (the largest is just over 7.6 inches).

I have seen a number of versions of this project, but we liked the tissue paper sun over at Ohdeedoh, so that is the what we did.

First we taped our black paper together and glued our tissue paper onto the sun.


Then we drew the orbits for our planets (these are NOT to scale)


Then we cut our planets out to the correct diameter and glued our planets on, including 3D rings for Saturn.


We needed to use larger sheets of paper than we did, because Jupiter and Saturn didn't really fit too well. Finally, we added crumpled up coffee filters to make the asteroid belt.


I LOVE how it turned out!


Tomorrow we have a project outside (it takes over 50 feet) to do a scale version of the planets' distances from the sun.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Perfectly Pinkalicious Tea Party

We celebrated Miss M's fourth birthday this past weekend with a pinkalicious-themed dress-up tea party.


Miss M actually turned four at the end of July, but we were traveling from our vacation on her actual birthday, so we held her party a week later. This is the first time she has had a birthday party where friends were invited, usually we just have a family party. She picked the theme months ago and was sooooo excited!


Miss M insisted Daddy wear his tuxedo and both he and J served as waiters for all the little girls.


We had pink velvet cupcakes for everyone except Miss M who wanted chocolate.



She loved her party and is still talking about how it was the best day ever!