Monday, November 29, 2010

Tot School

Well, we 'sort of' had school this week - we did our circle time several days, focusing on the letter I. I forgot to take a picture of it, but we'll be doing I again this week, since we're moving into our new house and finishing up the little things up there, so I'll post about that next week. :) This week was crazy, with Thanksgiving, and a couple of days where we worked really hard and had lots of volunteer help on the house, we didn't actually get in very many 'formal' school activities! But I did take pictures of what we did. :)

On Tuesday, we had to go to Buffalo to pick up some flooring for our house, and so I decided that while we were there, we should do something fun as well! It was too windy for the zoo, so we went to the Buffalo Museum of Science for the rest of the day. It was a blast!! They had lots of interactive exhibits, and Zachary loved everything, but there were even a couple of places for Natalie to play, and she loved exploring, too! :)

In the first room, which was mostly geared towards preschoolers, there was this big water table! The water flowed from a whirlpool at the top to the big basin at the bottom, and then went back up in a tube to start over. Z loved playing in this!

Here he is putting some toys in the whirlpool at the top to see if they will float down:

And here he is pumping the old-fashioned water pump which was at the bottom:

We saw some dinosaur bones! He loved this part!

And here's how Natalie spent most of the day...lounging in her stroller... :)

They both LOVED this interactive exhibit about 'simple machines'. Z spent at least 20 minutes putting the balls in the bucket, using the crank to pull the bucket up, and then dumping it out. We arrived at the museum at about 11:00 or so, and after we went through the big 'preschool' room downstairs, we stopped for quick lunch, then went upstairs to this exhibit, and we were the ONLY people in the entire room - it was wonderful. Z ran around and tried everything, spending as long as he wanted to on each thing - it was so great. So, next time you plan a trip like this - maybe arrive later in the day - that way you miss the big rowdy school groups, since they usually arrive first thing in the morning! :) Anyhow, all that to say, we were the only ones in the exhibit, so the kids played for a long time uninterrupted & it was really fun. :) This ball part was Natalie's favorite - she just LOVED it, and crawled around squealing - it was too cute! :)

This is one of those air-powered tubes that sucks a ball in, like they have at the bank - we spent a lot of time here, too! :)

using a magnifying glass...except not really...this part was neat, but more geared for older kids, so we sped through & went back to the simpler parts. :)

Here is Zachary making his shadow in the 'space' part of the museum:

And drawing with window crayons:

And here they are enjoying the 'toddler' section of the museum - Z loved the toys in here, and Natalie had a good time here, too. :)

So, we did do just a few 'school' activities at home this week! We played with our Pilgrim Counting Game again from Musings of Me, and we sorted our Pilgrim Hats by size, so those things were fun.

We colored a fall headband - both kids had a lot of fun with this one - found this at Making Learning Fun! Notice how nicely he is almost staying in the lines with his blue person! I haven't seen him color this well before! :)

The finished product: could he be any cuter? :)

Then we did our letter I collage. I is for ink this week! My idea was for him to draw with different colors of ink pens on the I, but he pointed out that dot markers (which he loves) have ink in them, too, so could he please dot his ink on? So of course, following that logic, I had to let him. :) So we dotted our I with ink. :)

My Tiny Tot

Natalie colored for the first time this week - a headband! :) Mostly she alternated between trying to eat the crayons and trying to eat the paper or crinkle it up to hear the crunchy sounds it makes, but she did get a little bit of crayon on the paper, so I considered it a success. :)

Her finished product: (the yellow to the left of the girl is her coloring, the rest is mine). :)

Natalie wearing it! Please try not to keel over from ALL THE CUTE in this post! :)

Finally, Natalie is getting to be such a BIG girl - here she is demonstrating how to drink whole milk from a sippy cup! She still nurses, but we're introducing whole milk as well, and she is doing GREAT - much better than her brother did at this age for sure! She also eats a lot of different 'real foods', which makes mealtime much easier! We are still supplementing with baby food, but she especially loves bananas, chicken nuggets, toast, any cereal, and yogurt!

To see what everybody else did for Tot School this week, check out 1+1+1=1!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tot School - Letter H

Another busy week, but we attempted to fit in a week of school! :)

We focused on the letter H this week - I forgot to take a picture of our morning board, but our verse was Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:7. And our song was that 'old' chorus 'I Cast All My Cares Upon You...". I need to update sometime soon on Z's sight words, too - he knows quite a few - I feel like his sight words should be boring because they're just flashcards, but honestly if I forget to do them, he asks me to, so I won't refuse that! :) He is regularly recognizing them in books, too, so that's really fun! :)

So, I did a terrible job of actually taking pictures of our school activities this week! It was like pulling teeth to get Z to do much school this week, though, honestly - all he wanted to do was write with wipe-off markers and play Starfall!!! So we did a lot of those things!

We did make an H collage with little hearts - some are stickers and some are confetti that we glued on:

We also used the stickers & confetti to make a card for a friend who had a birthday this week.

We played this adorable Pilgrim Counting Game that I found on Musings of Me last week:

You pick a number, put it on the Mayflower, and then count out the corresponding number of pilgrims to ride on the Mayflower! Z really loved this, and we'll be playing it again this week!

One pilgrim!
After we played it, I glued the page into a file folder with a plastic bag 'pocket' for the pieces, to keep it all organized. :)

We also used one of the Pilgrim pre-writing sheets (found on the same page at Musings of Me) - with a page protector and wipe-off marker, of course!!! :)

We used our triangle shape viewer this week:

Of course, you have to put it in front of your face.

Apparently it works better this way:

The bottom of the lace thing is kind of a triangle... :)

There is a triangle on top of the school house.

Also, just a mom-to-mom warning - if your triangle is laminated, the edges are probably quite sharp! If your child loves his triangle shape viewer, and begs to take it to Walmart with him, and you let him, and then he pokes himself in the eye with it, it could really hurt, and a lot of crying could ensue in the middle of Walmart while everyone stares at you and wonders what you did to your child. Just a heads-up for anyone who may be using the shape viewers!!! :) (I think his eye feels fine now!)

Zachary used Daddy's iPad to play this tracing game quite a bit this week - he loves playing the iPad, and I love a bunch of the educational games that Carisa from 1+1+1=1 lists here as her favorites! This one is the iWrite Words, but not the Lite version, I bought the whole version for $2, because he likes it so much!

Z played some pretend play this week - he likes to use this egg tray to pretend to make eggs. :) Notice the oven mitt! :)

He is such a helper! Natalie was fussing for some more food while I was getting Z's lunch ready & I turned around and found this!

Of course, then there was the day I found this....

(notice how she's shoveling them into her mouth as fast as she can...) :)

Even though it was cold & rainy, we managed to get outside several days this week, if only for a few minutes at a time! When we play outside, Z likes to run away across this little field across from our house, and then run back as fast as he can. It is so cute. :) Here he is on his way back...

When I'm frustrated with him, I like to watch him run far away like this because it reminds me how little he still really is! :) (and cute too!)

He jumped on the trampoline that is currently in front of our new house:

And here's Natalie out on a walk in the hiking backpack!

My Tiny Tot

Wow, Natalie will be 11 months tomorrow - it doesn't seem possible!!! She is growing so fast, standing on her own for a few seconds at a time, eating everything in sight (literally, food or not), and she talks! She says, "da-da" and "bah-bah"! "Da-da" means Daddy, Mommy, or I like that! "Bah-bah" means Bye, Hi, and Let's go!

She decided to take up reading this week! :)

Seriously, I highly recommend anything from Priddy books, but this touch & feel book that Natalie's reading in the picture has been a favorite of each my toddlers from the time they were 9 months old!

Natalie was actually using the mallet to play the xylophone this week, so that was adorable! Of course, she stopped while I was getting my camera...

And...this pretty much summarizes the stage she's in:

Oh, yes, everything we own is scattered on the floor, and she is already climbing!!! Crazy!

Here she is, communicating to me that she is ready for breakfast: (this action is usually accompanied by shrieking)

Well, that's been our week! We're within a couple weeks of moving into our new house (we think), so once we get that taken care of & get through two birthdays and Christmas, and January starts, we might have a normal week sometime in the future! :) We are hoping to go ahead with letter I this week, at least as much as we can. I may set aside some of our 'weekly, regular' activities, because of Thanksgiving, and because of Z's reluctance to do some things this week, I'm afraid some of the weekly stuff may be getting boring. And he keeps asking me to 'just play toys' with him, so we may do some less structured things this week. :)

To see what everyone else is doing for Tot School this week, head over to 1+1+1=1!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tot School - Letter G

We're back! :) After a 2-week break due to my parents visiting to help us work on our new house, which we're planning to move into sometime in December, and then a week at a camp conference at Skyview Ranch in Ohio, it was nice to get back into some kind of routine! Of course, we're still working on the house remodel, so that took a chunk of each day, but we did manage to fit in several school activities and some time outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather!

Here is our morning board for the letter G:

This week's verse was really short, and Z learned it right away. He said he liked the song, but never wanted to sing it, so I wasn't really sure. Then later I heard him singing it to himself, so I guess he did pick it up. :)

We did our letter G collage this week - we started by tracing the G with a green marker (I told him to try to stay inside the lines with the green, and he did a great job).

Then we colored some with gray, and he said, "I don't want to stay inside the lines", so I said that was okay. :)

Then we used some glue...

and stuck on some goldfish crackers, eating some along the way, of course! :)

Here is the finished product: These are actually whales, because that's what I buy. Also, after a couple of days of the goldfish crackers being stuck on the page, they made the whole page orange & greasy! I kind of want to put all of our letter collages up on the school-room wall when we move to our new house, so I may re-do a different G instead of this now-greasy one...though I guess greasy also starts with G...! :)
We dot-painted an Elmo page...

We used our G playdough mat for tracing with a wipe-off marker.

We made a garbage truck out of shapes: (click on the link for instructions)

I didn't take a lot of pictures this week, but we also used our consonant cards, which are a favorite, and our clothespin cards, which Z also loves. He also played with his Aqua Doodle mat, and did some more wipe-off writing and coloring throughout the week.

As I mentioned, we played outside quite a bit - one morning he decided to bring Daddy's tape measure outside, and 'measure' the dirt! :) He had a LOT of fun with this, actually!

When we went on vacation, I bought this little Magna Doodle type toy for him to play with in the car, and he LOVED it! He and Daddy practiced drawing people, and the next day in the car, this is what he came up with! (It's me! I'm so proud!) :)

When my parents were here, I think Zachary read more books that week than we normally do in a month! My mom especially spent a lot of time reading books to Zachary! Here is my dad reading to both Zachary and Natalie:

When we were at the camp conference, Z took his very first 'pony' ride - I think this was more of just a small horse, but he LOVED it! He can be easily intimidated by stuff like this, so I didn't know if he would ride the horse, but he did, and then he didn't want to get off! :)

My Tiny Tot

Miss Natalie is SO big! She is ten months old, has 11 teeth (working on #12, #13, AND #14 all at the same time!), stands up on everything and walks down the couch, crawls everywhere, gets into everything, smiles and giggles a lot, says 'da-da' constantly and 'ma-ma' if she is mad, growls adorable, waves, nods and shakes her head no, and tonight she said 'ba' while waving bye-bye to our friends at church! :) She is just growing up so fast!!!

Here is a picture of her with her two current favorite toys (she loves pushing buttons, and she loves music, so these toys combine these favorite activities) - her Elmo cell phone (actually a gift to Z for his first birthday), and an Elmo music player (also a gift for Z from this spring). She will push the button on the music player, and when it starts playing music, she looks up, her face lights up completely with a huge smile, and she starts dancing! :)

Here she is showing off her 'alfalfa' hairdo - a typical morning thing! :)

Other than reading books, Natalie and I didn't do any tot school stuff this week, but she's definitely catching onto things faster than her brother did - she already runs cars along the floor, and today she held a play phone up to her ear. A few minutes later she held a toy truck up to her ear, too, though, so who knows, really. :) But she's just so funny and cute, we adore her! ;)

To see what other people are doing for Tot School this week, head on over to 1+1+1=1! :)