Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tot School

Luke is now 46 months old
Kimberly is 34 months old
We had a good week at Tot School this week.
The sun was shining for most of the week, which brought us little closer to spring and farther away for the mid-winter doldrums.
Yes, in our neck of the woods, it is still snowing and the temps this weeks are not supposed to get out of the twenties. But at least the snow has melted a little this past week and now the tots can actually walk around outside without getting their boots stuck down in two feet of snow.

We made lovely paper "people" this week.
Big sister Becky cut out the paper dolls and their clothes and Kim and Luke glued on the clothing and drew nice happy faces onto the dolls.
We didn't leave them attached to each other. They seemed to me more fun to play with when they weren't in groups of three.
We have begun a couple weeks of fun involving rainbows, so I have tried to incorporate the colors of the rainbow into a lot of this weeks learning. I found this very cute printable number recognition "umbrella and raindrops" from one of my favorite sites for printables, Childcareland. I think I could do all of my "tot schooling" from this site alone.
The proper use of this activity is too put the numbers in proper order under the umbrella. Luke and Kim also discovered another way to use these. Kimmy held the umbrella as Luke tossed the raindrops into the air. This produced a lot of giggling and running around.
Gracie shows us the proper way to use this-you may notice Luke on his head as he is learning this.
We got out the Do a Dot markers to make a rainbow. I got them started with the proper rainbow color order and then they both did a good job finishing their rainbows.
I drew a line in each arch of the rainbow with the correct color to help them keep their dots in the right place.
Where did Kimmy put the marker?
Luke was quite excited about his accomplishment.
I also started to search the internet for real easy mazes. I want to make a new "Tool for Tots". Luke has been enjoying simple mazes a lot lately, but he finishes one in a few minutes and to me it seems like it is wasting my printer ink to continue printing him new copies. So, I am printing out the mazes and laminating them. After I get about 10 printed and laminated I am going to put rings into the top to make this an activity to be used over and over again. The laminate makes a perfect maze that can be written on with a dry erase marker, erased and used over and over again.
I love how much Luke concentrates while he works on his mazes.
We had a lot of fun with spaghetti this week. You can see our post about this here.
We also made an ocean wave bottle that I posted about here.
Luke has been hard at work with his numbers 1-5 and I can say that he officially has these numbers completely mastered. Way to go, Luke!

We worked on the letter M this week in honor of our Goodnight Moon Lapbook, which is now complete, and being enjoyed every day. Mitten starts with the letter M. I think Kimberly is ready for a nap in this picture.
Here is Luke enjoying the new lapbook.
Make sure you go to 1+1+1=1 and check out all of this weeks great Tot School posts.

Reading Theme Challenge-On Top of Spaghetti

When I first read this book to the kids, I was surprised to realize that they didn't know about this song, but I am now happy to report, that after about 100 readings(and singings) they all now know it by heart.
Of course, we had to have alotta meatballs this week.
Kimmy and Luke were joined in the feast by 8 brothers and sisters, 2 parents and 1 friend.

80 meatballs were NOT enough.

The day after the meatball and spaghetti feast, were had plenty of leftover cooked spaghetti to craft with.

We mixed tempra paint with Elmer's glue and then mixed in some spaghetti until it was totally covered with paint. I had the kids mix the colors and spaghetti on the shiny side of freezer paper.

Next, each child had their own piece of freezer paper to make their pasta creation on.

Above is the first spaghetti that Kimmy touched. She picked it up after about a solid minute of yelling, "I can't touch it! I can't touch it! I can't touch it!" She finally touched it and then I couldn't stop her, although she was always very careful!

Kimmy had a chance to mix our next color.

The idea was to make a spaghetti "abstract art" sculpture. It was also fun to put the spaghetti down on the paper and then lift it up making wonderful "snake trails."

I am not sure what Gracie is thinking about here, but I couldn't resist adding this picture.

Luke mixed the green.

They had great time doing this unusual art.

This is the extent of the messiness of this activity. Not to bad, considering some of the other messes we have gotten into around here in the past.

Our finished masterpieces!

Mark's is a wonderful spiral, the others all seem to be free expression art. I was hoping that these would dry and we would be able to peel them off the paper and hang them up--but after 2 days of drying, and various artists repositioning their artwork, they are still squishy. One of the big kids suggested blow drying them, but we haven't tried that yet.

We had a lot of fun with this week's Reading Theme Challenge and we will never eat spaghetti again without remembering the fun we had. We will always remember Kim and Luke reminding everyone that "we don't eat glue and paint spaghetti!" A warning that I gave them before we started. We are also sure to never have a spaghetti and meatball dinner again without singing On Top of Spaghetti, because that is just the everyday silly things that this family does.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tools for Tots--ocean waves in a bottle

This weeks Unplugged project was -bottles-and this certainly fits into this category.
This is a fun project to put together for the tots in your home. You will also quickly discover that every age group is enthralled with this "ocean in a bottle."
Collect the materials:
empty plastic bottle-we used a 1 liter bottle
vegetable oil
blue food coloring
small funnel-not necessary but useful

An item that is also not required but very helpful is a teenager.:-)
Fill the bottle half full of water.
Check for spills
Add a few drops of blue food coloring.
This part was fun in itself! We all enjoyed watching the color swirl around.
We then added some glitter to the blue water. You don't need to do this, but it adds a little "sparkle" that is appealing to the eye.
Fill the bottle to within 2 inches of the top with vegetable oil. Notice the helpful teenager in this picture.
Put the top on the bottle tightly. Seal it with a hot glue gun or duct tape. Now give the ocean to a child and watch the fun. If you tip it gently you gave make wonderful waves. If you spin it you can make a small tornado, shake it up and watch everything seperate back into its original state.
You can roll it back and forth on the floor or table.
The kids added A LOT of glitter and after the bottle sat the glittered settled on top of the water, but below the oil--a very interesting effect!
You can't deny the look on our tot's face--this is a real fun Tool for Tots!
Next week's Unplugged project theme is -HAPPY

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meatball Update

They are all gone,every last one of them.

That's alotta meatballs.....

90 meatballs-made and simmering on the stove.
NO-it is not a church supper
NO-we do not have guests coming over
These meatballs are just for us,
my family,
just an ordinary dinner.
Hopefully there will be a couple left for my lunch on Saturday
but I am not holding my breath.

Small Successes-6

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1. We have completed everything written in the school-work planners for the past three days. This is a success because this is the first week we have used a planner in years--we are more like the "fly by the seat of your pants schoolers," but I have realized that right now in our lives we need something written down to be accountable for.

2. I have put this computer down (it's a laptop) much more often, to be more easily accessible to my family.

3. I have found a book-for quiet meditation-to enjoy this Lent. This is probably a big success since I haven't read a book beyond "school" books for months. I am sinking my teeth into The Gift of Faith.

Head over to the Faith and Family website and share your Small Successes.