Tot School: Discussion

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So, why a picture of a curly fry? Because we had a great discussion about things it reminded us of. They all decided it was a “nado fry,” which to interpret means it’s a tornado fry. See a few weeks ago we were driving home from Wisconsin and were in the midst of a tornado…… So, we talked about how it looked like a tornado and what a tornado looked like. We talked about how we got to find out how tornados form at the science museum.

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Last week, we made Yankee Doodle. So, this week I’ve had nonstop requests to sing it. And Princess has been learnig the song, along with about 20 million variations on 10 little Indians (you can fill in whatever word you want: 10 Little Batmans, 10 Little Diegos…..). All Princess can remember of it is “all in a row,” so she rpeeats it over and over and shakes her hand using sign language for 10. Since we’re singing it in the car I use sign language to count because I can do that with one hand.

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We made paper. I came to two conclusions: 1. This is really not age appropriate and 2. This kit is really bad, the materials are not well made, however I think I could figure out how to make my own kit.

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Princess started to make a puppet, which I’ll finish for her soon. She’s really too young to do this project, but her brothers were doing it and that wasn’t going to stop her. I’ll post more details, a pattern, and help on making it later.

Outside play

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We went to a great new park this week. The kids loved diggin in the sand, and right next and finding the dinosaur bones. Mainly they made castles. Anyone know a good sand castle kit?

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Right next to that area was a nice little water area, it reminded me of running through a whale with lots of sprinklers. So you play in the sand, and then you get all the dirt off in the sprinklers. Very important rule, you can’t go back in the sand afterwards. I’ll post more info on this great park later.

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At swim lessons one of the skils they want you to learn is to float like a starfish. So, she’s been practicing it on her own in our baby pool. “Mommy I starfish. See Mommy.”

And, here’s the cutest picture of all, or so I think.
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For more great Tot School ideas, go to Carisa at 1+1+1=1

Tot School: no real theme

I had all these big plans, and then life got in the way in the form of strep throaght for me and my husband. Ick.

We went on a walk, the kids had lots of fun running around playing with their new camera. In theory they were taking pictures of plants they thought looked cool. Here’s what they really took pictures of

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That’s their two pictures of plants……

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Princess kept holding the camera backwards. So she took lots of pictures of her mouth.

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They climbed rocks and jumped off.

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We made letters and roads and all sorts of other stuff with our new letter building materials. Read more about that here.

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She learned how to play guitar and got to play the Mommy and Daddy’s anniversary present: Rock Band!

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Building a castle out of spools. I think it’s hilarious that when I had a whole set of blocks they never used them, and then once I gave them away they’re turning everything into blocks. But, the spools are working great!

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We built a snake. It was really amusing to see how each child chose different pieces to build a snake.

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We played Carcassone. We’ve been adapting adult games to be usable by preschoolers and that’s fun to do.

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We made doll beds. Here’s a how to.

So, that’s our rather mundane Tot School. Nothing super exciting. Probably we’ll do more of our snake activities next week as I get us ready to go out of town.

For more Tot School Activities go to Carisa’s blog at 1+1+1.

Tot Schoo: Two weeks worth

It has been a very busy two weeks, which is why I didn’t post a Tot School last week. Just way too crazy.

We colored animals using texture plates.
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We went to the zoo.
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We went to Aunt Tara’s graduation. (There’s a lot of great tips there on how to survive something your child has to sit still and be quiet for, FYI)
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We went to the church baptism and played in the water while everyone got baptized. It was SO AWESOME, 36 people baptized, 23 were children, of which 15 or so I had taught at one point or another in Sunday School. I need to write a post about it at some point.
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We went to a friend’s birthday party and got to play in the water and go “fishing.” We also made her birthday present which was a big hit!
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Then we looked at the NOT ripe pepper we accidentally picked.
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Then we went to Dallas to see our cousin be baptized (and she is growing up WAY too fast, why isn’t she 3 anymore?)
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So, that was the first week…… As you can see it was a very busy week, and the next was only slightly less busy.

We went to the library, it has a great space rug, and they like to have me tell them what part to stand on: “Princess stand on the moon, Superman go stand on the earth.” It’s a great way to learn space vocabulary.
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We had a picnic at Daddy’s work and threw sticks in the reflecting pool. Amazingly no one fell in the water, there was a couple of close scares.
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We went and played at the splash park.
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We made playdough cookies, get the super yummy recipe here.
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And cleaned the kitchen when we were done.
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I’ve got a bunch of snake activities planned for this week, because my kids are all about snakes right now. But, if you want to read more cool Tot School ideas this week go here.

Tot School: Zoo week 2

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Princess and I continued on talking about zoo animals. How they move, where they live what makes them different, oh and counting them.

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We read a book from ReadingA-Z Animals Can Move and did the worksheets with it. She did not like this one, even though she knows how different animals moved she didn’t like having to glue them in certain columns.

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She sorted seeds again, which is still popular, and also played with the zoo animals. I think these have so much appeal because she can only play with these animals when she’s doing school. Otherwise I keep it put away.

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She found animals in the rice. I put animal stickers on cardstock and laminated them. I put the same stickers on an index card, so she would know when she’d found them all. This is very messy because the rice gets out and everywhere. I haven’t figured out how to solve that problem. Other than that it was very popular.

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Here she is matching the stickers to the index card stickers. Everyone loved this activity.

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We counted monkeys. This is from Carisa’s 5 Little Monkeys Tot Book. I’m actually using a couple of different parts from lots of her lap books these next few weeks.

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And we made elephants, for more details click here.

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We played the Brown Bear, Panda Bear game (I highly recommend it, lots of fun).

And for some Tot School in REAL life we went to the grocery store and looked at the lobsters and crabs.
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Tot School: Zoo and Children’s Museum

We had a blast this week, not a lot of sitting down school time, but some of the best school times aren’t…….

We learned about zoo animals. Two out of my three kids love Diego, and my third likes animals, so this is a popular theme.

We sorted plastic zoo animals and played with them. I found a couple of different cheap sets for a dollar or two and combined them into a fairly good sized set.
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I made them tin can stilts. It took all of 30 seconds for them to decide it was a drum, but it was fun to watch.
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We went to the Children’s Museum, which was a blast. See the full post herePhotobucket

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I get to eat more plastic food there. They really love to cook at the “World Cafe.”

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I have no clue what she’s doing, but isn’t that a cute photo?

Going back to the zoo theme we made lions. This was really popular and we’re going to do a lot more animals next week, where I’m theoretically home more. They want to do an animal a day, that probably won’t happen, but it’ll be fun to try and do.
For Princess’ crafts I try to get a little of the cutting done ahead of time.
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We went to the library for what I thought was going to be an ordinary storytime, only to find out they were having a special craft day. SCORE!

So, we made a spider web. We’ll have to do this craft again, at which point I’ll do a how to.
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Made the neccessary coffe filter butterfly. Very popular.
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And tried making a necklace for the first time ever!
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And I started them on forced labor. I made them make lunch. Notice how it’s not plastic food.
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Then afterwards I made them mop the floor after they swept. I am such a mean mom….
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Then they spilled lemonade on their freshly mopped floors and had to mop again. let me tell you how sad they weren’t.

So, we had a blast at Tot School this week. For more great Tot School ideas go to Carissa at 1+1+1=1

Tot School: The Farm week 2

We continued our Farm unit, which I still think there is lots more to do, but I’ll save it for another time. We’re moving on to the Zoo and zoo animals. I think this will be a huge hit with my kids. So, here’s how we finished up our farm unit.

We made barns, this was a huge hit, and a great time sink activity. It took at least an hour to do it with all of its various parts. Find out how here.

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While we were waiting to get our tires changed (which took an hour longer than expected) we sorted animal pictures. I knew it was going to be at least an hour, so I brought our school stuff for the day. We sorted the animals into 4 legs and 2 legs, fur and feathers, adults and babies, and there was a whole slew more, but that’s all they had interest for. I got the pictures from the e-book I bought. Of course you could just collect various farm animal pictures or stickers and do the same thing, but I loved that it was already put together for me (hey, I’m lazy every now and then). I also thought if you had farm animals you could do it that way.

Pretend there’s an amazing picture of my kids sorting animals, the people in the waiting room were already looking at us funny, and I figured it’d get worse if I whipped out my camera.

We also finished off our file folder farms. I really like this format for making lap books. It’s more of an art project and creates a fun play area. We made green confetti for the grass, and cut/tore a big blob of blue for the lake.

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Afterwards we took our animal pictures and sorted them into the different places the animals would live on the farm. Which led to some interesting ideas and fun discussions.
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Then after all of this, the kids got to take a farm sticker sheet I’d found at Target and cover their farms with it. It’s really interesting to watch the different personalities and how they place the stickers.

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Princess, all of them on the barn, maybe a few elsewhere.

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Superman spread out on the floor and carefully chose the silliest positioning, with lots of “look at this Mommy!”

Sadly, there’s no picture of Batman doing this one.

And one extra of the the file folder farm, because I haven’t had one yet of Batman, and I really like this shot.
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We continued to use a lot of the activities we did the week before.

Other non-farm related activities:

Picnic in the family room
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Playing games in the waiting room (sneaky cell phone camera), duck, duck, goose was wildly popular.
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Washing dishes (I love our plastic tea sets, messy as they are)
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falling off the bridge, “ahhh I’m falling, rescue me. I fell.”
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For more great ideas visit Carisa here.

Tot School: the Farm

Truthfully speaking Tot School and Preschool were pretty much the same this week, so I’m going to post about half of the activities here and the other half on my preschool post tomorrow. I usually try to differentiate the activities slightly, have Princess’ materials mostly cut out, or have simpler activities, but it didn’t happen this time. We’re moving rooms around and so all my stuff is everywhere. So, here’s what we did.

We sorted seeds from the activity here. I bought sunfl0wer, corn, pea, and pumpkin seeds and several little pots and let them take turns putting the seeds into the different pots.
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We also played a fine motor skills game: Feed the pig. I posted here, how to make it.
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They also loved making their barn for the beginning steps of their pseudo-lapbook.

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First we colored.

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Then I drew a line for them to cut around the barn. Princess would make a small cut, and then tear. After she did this I taped the barn back together. After they’d cut it out, I cut the barn doors and opened them up.

Next we glued them down on the outside areas so the doors could open. Apparently there are no pictures of this.

More to come tomorrow.

For more GREAT Tot School posts go here