Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Practical Life Activities

M has reached the stage where she is always asking to help around the house. So, we have adapted several real-life tasks that she can help with on a regular basis. These are not chores, as she only does them when she chooses to do so, but they are activities that she is capable of doing on her own or with very simple modifications from someone else.

The first is watering plants. M needs someone to turn the hose on for her, but after that she can do this task on her own, usually without getting wet.

Setting the table is another task that can be adapted. This usually falls to J, but if given the silverware from the drawer or the plates individually she knows where they go on the table. M is not ready for pouring or carrying glasses yet, but she can work into that.

Helping with dinner is another favorite. Before I start the recipe, I select which tasks M can help with (pouring, stirring, spreading butter on bread) and make sure that I allow her to help on those portions. She asks to help me most evenings.

Other tasks that can be done at this age include dusting, sweeping with a small broom and dustpan, folding clothes, caring for pets and washing windows or mirrors. The sense of accomplishment M has from doing these tasks is well worth the few extra minutes it takes to get them set up for her to do safely.

Friday, April 23, 2010

St. George and the Dragon

Within the Catholic Church, April 23 is the Feast of St. George, the patron saint of England, military men, and those who fight the spiritual battle for Christ. After seeing some great craft and food ideas posted on Catholic Icing, I decided the kids and I would do something special to celebrate this day.

Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon (wickedness) to rescue a beautiful lady (God's holy truth). St. George was a brave martyr who was victorious over the devil. J and I talked a lot about what it meant to be a martyr, and what "dragon" we each have to conquer, be it anger or pride or laziness.

J then created a dragon out of blue playdough.

I read the kids the book St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges. The illustrations in this book are gorgeous, and both kids loved the story, although it was probably closer to J's level than M's.

Next, we used the directions from Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda to make a dragon cake. M helped me bake the cake, and both helped decorate it. Decorating cakes and cookies is definitely NOT my forte, but the kids had fun making it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tot School: Frogs

Tot School
(M is 32 months old)

M loves frogs, so this week we worked on many frog-related activities for Tot School. She worked on these activities all week, although I only took photos one day. I have found that when she really enjoys an activity, she is happy to do it over and over all week long.

First, we did this upper and lowercase matching game from Kidssoup. She made the uppercase frogs hop to the appropriate lowercase lily pad.

We also worked on a number counting game from Kidssoup. There were cards with the numbers 1-10 on them. I would place the card on the frog, and then M had to count out the appropriate number of green pompoms onto the frog. I was pleased to realize she recognized all of the numerals 1-10. We'll have to start working on higher numerals in our activities from now on.

We are working with M on spelling her name, so I combined that with a gross-motor activity for this week. I cut out construction paper lily pads and taped them to the floor. I wrote the letters of her name (in order) one on each lily pad. She would hop to the letter I called out. We did this over and over, and when M got bored hopping letters she decided to swim them, crawl them, and run them.

We did some non-theme projects this week as well. M worked on folding with some pages from her Kumon folding workbook.

We also worked on our pencil grasp. I gave M colored pencils to use and let her draw. I was really just concerned with getting her the proper grasp, and not what she actually drew with them. We still have some work to do, but she did enjoy using the "big girl" pencils.

We hadn't done any color grading work in a while, so I pulled out the green and yellow sheets. These are made with paint chips and clothespins, but are our version of the third box of Montessori Color Tablets. You can see that this time she didn't get them all correct, but by the end of the week she was matching the colors up properly. We'll continue to work on these and the other colors, as she needs the practice.

M had me set up their doorway puppet theater (it's in our bathroom doorway so ignore the background) and put on a show for us.

For dessert on Friday night, I made the kids frog floats using lime sherbet and sprite. They didn't turn out quite like I had envisioned, but the kids enjoyed them anyway.

That was our frog week in Tot School. To see what others did this week, see Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1. This coming week we will be working on birds with a wonderful list of activities my mother has prepared for M.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tot School: The Yellow Ball

Tot School
(M is 32 months old)

Tot School this week was pretty relaxed at our house. I am on some activity restrictions until the new baby comes and didn’t get much set up and organized for M to work on. That meant we just mainly had free play time all week. Luckily, my mother has stepped in and is working on some theme weeks for M, and we’ll be using those soon. Also, J is a fantastic big brother and took her outside every day to play and get her energy out!

We focused on the book The Yellow Ball by Molly Bang. We worked on the lapbook from Homeschool Share (thanks to Michelle from Delightful Learning for the suggestion) and focused on the letter Y and the color yellow this week.

M played lots of ball games this week. She played soccer and catch with her brother and then on Saturday Daddy took her and J to play basketball at our local park. We also put a bouncy ball on our parachute and made it bounce and jump as we shook the parachute.

M did some free painting this week, and then she did some chalk drawings. We used chalk, since that is what Molly Bang used to draw the illustrations in the book.

One of the things that M has become obsessed with lately is building a fort. Every day she asks for a sheet to turn her small table into a fort and will spend hours playing with her toys in there.

That was our very abbreviated week in Tot School. To see what other's have done this week check out Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1.

Friday, April 9, 2010

stART: The Yellow Ball

This week we did participate in stART (story +art) over at A Mommy's Adventure. We have been reading the book The Yellow Ball by Molly Bang. This book is out of print, but our library had a copy. It tells the story of a little ball that gets left at the shoreline and pulled out to sea, only to eventually wash up on a new shore where it is spotted by a little boy. There are very few words to this story, but plenty of drama within the pictures themselves. We like Molly Bang books for the illustrations especially, and M loves this book so I am planning to do more activities using it.

I had read how the author drew the illustrations using chalk, so that's what we did. I gave M various colors of construction paper and then chalk. She loved how bright the colors appeared on the darker papers, and she discovered that she could smear her chalk for a completely different look. In all, M did 6 pages of chalk drawings, she was having so much fun. This is the one she told me was the storm at sea like in the book:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tot School: Easter Week

Tot School
(M is 32 months old)

I hope everyone has a blessed and happy Easter. I am posting this a day early, since I don't plan to be on the computer tomorrow. We had a very fun but eclectic week in Tot School, with no real theme to our activities.

We did work on our alphabet/phonic eggs every day. M is getting very good at doing the sounds of the letters, and loves to work with the eggs.

She also did some practical life work, using a deviled egg tray and some colored pompoms and Easter erasers. She had to use her tongs to transfer the items into the ovals in the egg tray. At first, I let her put them in any order she wished. Then, after she had done this a few times, I extended it and had her put the items in ABAB pattern order. M loves these types of activities.

We also worked on our scissor skills, using several pages from our Kumon cutting book. M's grasp is getting much better and she loved cutting these so much. I have to remember to make copies of the next pages before I give them to her, so she can do them over again.

For free art time M wanted to paint, so I gave her some red and yellow paint and showed her how to mix them to make orange. She loved the mixing part probably more than the painting itself.

She worked some more on her magnetic pattern blocks this week, as well as her bear family puzzle.

We enjoyed our gorgeous weather by playing at the park every day, where sliding is by far the favorite activity.

Daddy reads to M and J every night, and one night I snapped a picture of them enjoying a book together.

That was our week in Tot School. To see what others have done, check out Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1.