Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tot School- Christmas (The letter G and some gingerbread)

** Boogie is 26 months old**

I had so much fun planning this week! We played with our tot trays, we did some worksheets, we have been doing advent activities, and we have been doing a ton of other fun Christmas stuff around the house (like decorating our Christmas tree and baking cookies). This was supposed to be a "G is for Gingerbread" themed week but Boogie was not very interested, except for decorating play dough gingerbread people.

The big, non-Christmas news is that as of November 29th, BOOGIE HAS STARTED POTTY TRAINING!!! He is not staying dry, but he will tell me when he has to go and since December 14th, he is also pooping on the potty! He gets one M&M each time he pees, and two if he poops. We had consciously NOT let him taste M&Ms before this because I knew I wanted something small and special for potty training and it is working like a charm :) He is not allowed to have M&Ms at any other time so he asks to use the potty fairly often. We are making progress in becoming a one-baby-in-diapers family :)

Before we get to the tot school summary, two things. We did our Christmas theme starting the 5th so I am a bit behind with my posts. Second, is that I want to let everyone know that these pictures are thanks to my wonderful husband who saved them from the depths of my camera when I accidentally deleted them all. I woke him up sobbing because I thought they had transferred onto my computer, and so I deleted them from the camera. That is what happens when I am tired and don't double-check. He did some research and used a website to recover the SD card and was able to get them all back! He is my hero <3

On to tot school!

Boogie loves playing with his Nativities! The musical Fisher Price Little People Nativity is a huge hit and he loves it more each time he pulls it out as he learns more about the Christmas story. He calls Baby Jesus, "Baby So" because he loves to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and his favorite line is "The Bible tells me so"- such a cute connection! 


Bet you didn't know that Mack and Red welcomed Jesus in Bethlehem, did you?!
Boogie also enjoys his magnetic Nativity.

Ever since we went to the Please Touch Museum where there was a almost full size bus to walk through, Boogie has mixed up buses and fire trucks, since they have the same kind of huge windshields in front. Here he is playing with his Melissa and Doug Pattern Block "bus truck."

Boogie likes reading a new Christmas book each night for our Christmas Book Advent. This was his reaction to A Cars Christmas book.

Decorating his mini-tree.

Playing with his Christmas sensory bin.

Smelling the empty, but still potent, peppermint extract bottle.
Stringing red ornaments on the red pipe cleaner then pretending it's a train.
Trying to blow out the electric candle. So cute!

"This is the life. Relaxing with my sensory bin. Oh yeah!"
Enjoying his peppermint play dough. He is loving using the jewels for decorating and I am loving the fact that the play dough doesn't really stick to the jewels at all. This has been great for his fine motor skills, as well as talking about shapes and colors.

Using his Christmas tot trays.

"Writing" in the salt box. The idea is for him to make letters, shapes, or numbers eventually. Right now he just kind of explores it.

We tried watercolors for the first time with one of our The Truth in the Tinsel ornaments and Boogie loved it! So we water-colored our Bible word coloring page from Totally Tots. The verse during our G week was "Every good gift is from above." (James 1:17) Boogie is "memorizing" his verses now by filling in the blanks when I pause over words. For this verse he would say "gift" and "above" when I sang the verse for him.

Practicing cutting and pasting with another page from the same link at Totally Tots.



We bought Boogie a $5 floor lap desk at Michaels and he has loved doing his "work" there.

Do-a-dot page from COAH.

In that last picture, Boogie is working with dry erase markers in his Christmas notebook. I got the idea from here at 1+1+1=1. We used printables from 1+1+1=1, Musings of Me, and 2 Teaching Mommies

Painting with homemade glue paint. I added some acrylic paint and water to mostly used glue bottles. This was an idea from Pinterest that we used on one of our advent crafts and then let boogie go to town on some wax paper.

Building with a billion yogurt cups.

I actually have tons more pictures from that week, but think I am going to post separately about all our Christmas activities outside of the shelves and printables. 

Linking up to Tot School @ 1+1+1=1.
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Tot Trays (Part 2)

Boy, am I behind in posting! I have 2 weeks worth of Tot School pictures that I want to post, but just haven't had time to organize them and pick out the best ones.

In the meantime, here is what is on Boogie's trays this week.

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This idea was inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Playing with Words 365. I changed it up a little bit based on what I had. I used 10 different colors because I already had a color wheel. I used pony beads for the noses (and used permanent marker to make the black and brown ones). I used matching colored pipe cleaners for the antlers because I didn't have enough brown. I like the finished effect though. The idea of this tray is to  use fine motor skills to pinch the reindeer onto the color section that matches the nose and antlers. So there is not only the fine motor mastering, but also the color matching. And, of course, we can count to 10.

Aren't they cute?!

This tray is another fine motor and coordination tray, inspired by Joyfully Weary. I used the second styrofoam cone from the set I bought to make Boogie's cornucopia and quickly painted it green, which is why it looks so terrible. I have to use what I have, though, and not be picky! The lights are from Michaels and are so cute. Boogie will poke the lights into the tree, which takes 2 hands so you don't knock the tree over or ruin the styrofoam. Boogie can make patterns with the lights. He can follow directions if I tell him to pick out certain lights. We can count how many lights there are total or we can count by color. Largely, this is fine motor and color recognition.

This tray works Boogie's fine motor skills too but is definitely easier than the clothespins. Boogie will pick up the jingle bells from the box and put them into the paint tray. This teaches one to one correspondence. We can make patterns out of the different colored bells. Again, color recognition plays a part in this tray. We can count the bells by total or color as well. We also have a sensory dynamic with the ringing of the bells, which I think he will love. I have seen this idea on almost every blog with tot trays!

We are only doing 4 new trays this week, keeping out our play dough, and having an empty tray! Gasp! Something has to give this close to Christmas, and if Boogie only has 4 new trays, I think he will survive. This idea came from My Delicious Ambiguity. I also added three different colored pieces of construction paper. So, this tray has a fine motor and coordination aspect with using the tongs to move the bows around. Boogie will sort the bows by size. Using the red, green and yellow construction paper I provide, he can also sort them by color. We can count how many bows there are total, by color, or by size. We can also make patterns out of the bows.

As I mentioned last week, Boogie still has his mini-Christmas tree (see with the Christmas Tot Trays), and his Christmas sensory bin out all the time.

Linking up to these great parties!
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Hanukkah Tot Trays

So, this post requires a little background information since obviously from all the other things we do with Boogie, we are a Christian family.

My Dad was Jewish. He died in a car accident when I was pregnant with Boogie. Even though my brothers and I were raised Baptist, and my husband and kids and I currently attend a non-denominational church, we decided we want to honor my dad's memory by making sure our boys understand the Jewish holidays. Since Jesus celebrated the Jewish holidays, it makes a lot of sense to us in that respect as well.

I know Hanukkah is next week but as that happens to by the week before Christmas as well, we will be doing J is for Jesus next week. So we are learning about Hanukkah early. And with an H because we are doing the letter H this week.

So, what's on the tray?

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 This tray works Boogie's fine motor skills and coordination. He will be stringing pony beads and tri-beads onto pipe cleaner halves. We can work on color matching (ie- putting white beads on white pipe cleaners) or patterns (blue bead, white bead or pony bead, tri-bead). There is also the open and close function of the plastic dreidel (Target dollar spot). We can count the pipe cleaners by color or total. We can count beads by total, type of bead, color, or colors within types of beads.

This is another fine motor skills and coordination tray. Boogie will put the candles into the menorah. So, there is some in and out work here too. The candles came with the menorah and are not great quality. They are basically flimsy birthday candles. The good thing about this is that they are easy to replace and cheap! So he can break as many of them as he wants. I might switch out the colors so we can work on color recognition and patterns. We can also count the candles as we put them in. The menorah is from Party City and is 4 inches tall. It is a perfect size for him! If you want to make your own mini-menorah, there is a great, easy tutorial over at Doll Diaries.

This is another attempt at an arts and crafts tray. The last one (Thanksgiving) didn't go over very well.The dreidel crayons are from Party City, but I saw them in the Target dollar spot too. The stamps are from Party City. We can talk about colors with the crayons and ink.

This is a simple drop and dump tray.  There is the sensory aspect of hearing the "gelt" (Hanukkah money) clank on the bottom of the can (this is our color clank can getting use again). The coins were in 8 packs at Party City for .25 and will be re-used for our Pirate sensory bin in the summer for sure. I think I can come up with other uses for them as well :) We did not go with the traditional milk chocolate gold-wrapped gelt because I think it would take Boogie about 5 seconds to realize there was chocolate in there!

This is a color sort tray, but we can also do fine motor work and count. There are five of each color driedel. The goal is for Boogie to scoop them using the spoon into the four different compartments. We can also use our fine motor skills to spin them around. These were .29 each at Party City and there were 2 or 3 more colors.

We are not putting our Christmas celebrating on hold though by any means! Boogie still has his mini-Christmas tree (see with the Christmas Tot Trays), his peppermint play dough and his Christmas sensory bin out all the time. We are playing with his many Nativities and doing The Truth in the Tinsel each night (as seen in my Celebrating Advent post) and reading from our Christmas book advent nightly as well.

Hope you are having fun getting ready for whatever holiday your family celebrates this winter!

Linking up to these great parties!
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Tot Trays

This week I planned on working on the letter G and doing some G is for gingerbread activities but I haven't gotten any printables organized yet so mostly we are playing with our tot trays and other fun Christmas and advent activities.

So, what's on the tray?

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This idea (and most of the others) came from Little Hands, Big Work. This is a transferring tray to develop fine motor skills. The idea is for Boogie to move the pom poms, using the tongs, from one side of the tray to the other. We can also count the pom poms either by color, size, or total (HA!). We can sort the pom poms by color or size. We can do sequencing pom poms by size as well. I got the tray at the Dollar Tree and love it. Santa is on the side you can't see.

 Another Dollar Tree find, that I knew to look for thanks to Little Hands, Big Work. I got the peg activities for Halloween and Boogie really enjoyed them. This works fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. We can also sort the pegs by gingerbread men or snowmen. We can count the total pegs and holes. We can count just the snowmen or just the gingerbread men.

Another idea I saw on Little Hands, Big Work, as well as other places. This is another transferring activity, this time using a spoon. The idea is for Boogie to use the spoon to scoop out ornaments and put them into the paint tray. This works on his motor skills, his coordination, and balance too. He can organize the ornaments by color in rows. I think he is a bit young for patterns but we might try it. The ornaments have 3 different finishes, for lack of a better description. There are shiny ones, glittery ones, and then just kind of plain ones. So that is another way we can organize them onto the trays. We can count the ornaments by total, color, or finish. I kind of think he will just drop the first ornaments he scoops up into the first paint tray opening they land on, but we will try to have some method to the madness. The ornaments are from the Target dollar spot, the paint tray is from Michaels. Not sure where the box is from.

This idea was on Little Hands, Big Work and The Adventures of Bear, another blog that features Montessori trays from time to time. Boogie will sort erasers by type using the chopsticks. So, again, this works fine motor skills and coordination. He does use real chopsticks at dinner with us, but these will practice the pinching motion that he struggles with. There are technically 5 different erasers, but they are 2 different reindeer erasers. I am interested to see if he notices the difference. We can also count the total erasers or how many of each kind there are. The erasers are a Dollar Tree find.

Again, this is adapted from Little Hands, Big Work. I re-used the sprinkles container from our frog trays and made it Christmas-y. Boogie can drop and dump red, white, and green pipe cleaners (cut in half to fit). So he is working fine motor skills and using coordination, as is the case with most of these trays. We can also count the pipe cleaners total, or by color. We can sort by color as well. There are 3 different shades of green so maybe we can talk about shades a little bit. I am interested to see if he names all three shades as green when asked.

The last tray is our green, glittery, peppermint play dough with cookie cutters, a rolling pin, and jewels to decorate any creations.

As a bonus activity, which is in the playroom next to his Little People Nativity set, Boogie also has a mini tree to decorate with mini ornaments. The tree ($5!), ornaments, and pail ($1) are all from Target. This is more fine motor work, and we can talk about colors or the finish of the ornaments while we are putting them on.

Do you want to know what else Boogie is up to this week?

Christmas Sensory Bin
Christmas Book Advent (and advent linky party!)

Linking up to these great parties!
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