Friday, September 2, 2011

Tot School- August 20th-September 1st

**Boogie is 22.5 months old**

Well, what with the earthquake and hurricane here on the east coast, things have been a bit crazy around here! Not to mention the daily ins and outs of parenting two under two! But Boogie and I have been tot schooling it up and I wanted to share some of what we have been doing leading up to, hopefully, starting some kind of daily routine next week. The Boog LOVES repetition and routine, so I am looking forward to implementing my grand plan for calendar time. One of the things we started doing yesterday was looking the calendar with pictures of cabins on it that my mom got me for Christmas. While he was eating breakfast, I told him what month and day it was. We counted up to 30. And by we, I mean, I did :) I sang the 7 days of the week song as I learned it from years of babysitting and watching Barney. He was VERY interested and made me sing the song several times. He actually pointed to the calendar this morning so I would do it again, so I know he will love it when I bring out his calendar time board. More on that next week, hopefully, if I can get it all put together this weekend.

Tot School

One of the activities I was most excited to do with Boogie that we started in the past week and a half was creating art with do-a-dot markers. Ever since the first time I saw them on a blog, I have been dying to see how Boogie would like them. Especially since he LOVES circles. I got the printable you see (and other shapes too) here from this site but there is another good one on this site that I found later.  It took him some time to get the point, and he still doesn't really stay in the circles, but he had a good time and we talked about the colors, circles, and matching the right tops to bottoms. Boy, does this kid love putting tops and bottoms together! It is the thing he likes most about so many activities- he is all about in and out, dumping and pouring. He has started saying "dump" actually. He also says blue, green, brown, purple and black pretty clearly, though not usually about the right color! He will say orange from time to time, says the Chinese word for red better than he says red. My husband is bilingual, but, unfortunately, I am not at this time. My efforts have been thwarted when I have tried to take classes and now finding the time is hard. But I am trying to encourage Hubby to teach both Boogie and I the words for the colors whenever we are talking about them.

Going along with his need for order and routine, he also kept lining up the markers because heaven forbid they should be crooked! :)

The rice bin came out every day for awhile, but he stopped asking for it, so I have plans for next week to change it up. He was re-interested for a little while when I added shapes to it. I got some 3D shape counters at the dollar section of target, I cut some shapes out of foam, and I made some shapes out of pipe cleaners. He was so excited when he realized there were shapes "hiding" and we played hide and seek with all the shapes for awhile. As of today, he knows circles, triangles and stars and will point them out to me everywhere. He often gets diamond right too. Sometimes he distinguishes circles from ovals. He calls crescents, "moons". He calls all the "-gons" by his word for "octagon" and has no interest whatsoever in squares or rectangles right now. When we played in the rice bin, he would take out the circles and put them in a pile, but didn't care what happened to the other shapes.

We made circles with a flashlight when we thought we were going to lose power last weekend. He loved finding circles around the room and seeing if they were the same size as the flashlight beam. He also really enjoyed doing shadow puppets with Hubby. 

Boogie hates vegetables, so the only way I can get him to eat them is by making muffins with vegetables hidden in them and giving them to him in cupcake liners and calling them cakes. My mom got a GIANT zucchini from a friend's garden and brought it to me so we spent the better part of one morning getting it ready to make into cakes. I gave Boogie his own zucchini circle and knife to experiment with.

We spent a lot of time last week playing with plastic Easter eggs and pom-poms. While feeding Bun one night, I came across this site, which had SO many wonderful activities using plastic eggs. When my mom realized how much Boogie loved them, she went out after Easter and bought about 10 dozen for a dollar. I am trying to find productive ways to use them because at this point, the halves that have survived are all jumbled in a bucket that Boogie dumps from time to time then walks away from. So, we put pom poms in them and played the good old fashioned in and out, open and close game with eggs and pom pom balls. Balls in balls is always fun for my ball-loving boy. He did not do much with the matching of colors, but he is much more interested in movement and shapes than in naming colors right now and that is fine! I will just keep naming them for him and eventually he will pick up on it.

I also got very fancy and made an all-inclusive colors, counting, shapes, matching, patterns, fine motor skills egg carton activity. When I have time, I would like to post specifically about this. For now, here is a picture to give you an idea of what it includes. There is definitely more involved than he can do right now, but it is something he can grow into. He asked for it a few times, but has been more interested in other things since then. I need to create a space where I can put a few things at his level so he can choose activities when he wants to.

The pom pom balls were a huge hit last week. He asked for them everyday, and did tons of transferring between containers using different tools. We tried the dollar Target ice tongs, and every time I said "tong", this is what he would do...

Who can blame him? Tong and tongue do sound very similar! Cracked me up every time he did it :)

He loves poking, transferring and pouring so much that I wanted to make him a poke container for his balls. So I used a cool whip container and my exacto knife to do that. He had more fun with sticking the tongs in the holes than the balls but as long as he had fun :) We also played with a tube and the balls, pouring them through it and blowing them out of it.

One of the highlights of the week for him was when I finished the felt board I was working on (re-purposed from a small bulletin board we aren't using) and made him the Cars characters to play with.

We downloaded two of the songs from Cars for him so he asked for them when I gave this to him. My hope was that it would be something new and quiet that would keep him happy while I make dinner or clean in the kitchen. When "Life is a Highway" came on, he brought over Mack and McQueen to me and showed me that he was frustrated that Mack couldn't haul McQueen across country during the driving song. So, while the chicken was simmering, I added another layer and velcro so he could hide the McQueen piece under the flap of the Mack piece. The things mamas will do for their little ones! This kept him busy an hour that first day. Partly he was taking them out and putting them back in the (laminated) envelope and enjoying the velcro I put on the envelope so he could open and close that too.

Using a template from 1+1+1=1, I made Boogie a shapes puzzle with velcro. He did it by himself and did it a few more times besides.

I also made him foam shapes with holes for lacing with colored shoelaces or connected pipe cleaners. This did not keep him interested for very long because it is beyond his fine motor skills but we will try it every once in awhile.

I have not done very much practice with sequencing with him, but he seems to naturally gravitate towards math-type activities. He will arrange things from smallest to biggest every once in awhile.

In alphabet news, Boogie recognizes the letter R now because of the R on our car for our university. Because he likes R's, I made him a sheet with the letter R and some red things on it to play with with his pom pom balls. I got the letter from the same site as the shapes, but here is the exact link for the letters.  He was not impressed but liked throwing the balls around when I tried to show him what the goal was. I plan on making him a little laminated book on rings, just for him to look at in the car. It will be lightweight enough so if he drops it on his brother, it won't hurt.

I introduced the idea of keeping an activity that we are working on contained to a tray and as long as I am enforcing it, he does pretty well. He loves dropping the clothespins in and dumping them back out. These are for the color wheel but he would much rather do other things with them.

I tried getting out the 10 different colored laminated circles for him again too, with the idea that we could put the clothespins on the same colored circles. Instead, we dumped them out of the container and onto the tray, and moved the circles back and forth between the tray and the floor. He liked lining them all up in a row on the floor.

Otherwise, we read books, played with cars, threw balls around, played with bubbles outside, had a playdate or two, survived a couple natural know, the usual :P

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