Sunday, January 31, 2010

tot school - noah's ark & animal sounds

Tot School
Noah is 16 months old.

We have had SUCH a fun week! Noah has been quite partial to his animal sounds books lately, so I made that one focus this week. Our other focus was Noah's Ark. Obviously this went well with the animal sounds, and my Noah loves his Noah's Ark things because they share names:) Finally, in hopes of doing more with numbers, we worked a lot with the number two since it also went well with the Noah's Ark theme.


Growing up, my mom was very in to Noah's Ark and kind of made that her theme in her living room. Her tastes have very much changed since then, so she let Noah have this old wooden Noah's Ark set she used to have as decoration. I remember playing with this as a kid too, so it was fun to see Noah enjoying it as well:)

Noah made several Noah's Ark art projects this week. First, he made a handprint rainbow. I was so proud of Noah too...he chose the order and glued all the prints down by himself! He doesn't tend to do well with gluing paper to paper, so this was an accomplishment:)

He had fun playing with his rainbow all week, especially when we read..

Noah also made a handprint dove. My hubby was very skeptical of this art project, but I think it turned out pretty cute! Noah did especially well gluing the wiggly eyes..

He also enjoyed helping me "pat down" the beak and olive leaves since they were too small for him to glue on his own.

The last artsy thing we did was made a pipe cleaner rainbow. I will definitely admit this looked better in my head! I painted an old pepper container blue, hoping that would represent the sky, then Noah was to put the different colored pipe cleaners into the holes.
He liked putting them in and out of the holes, but no one got that it was supposed to be a rainbow. Plus, the paint kept chipping off the metal container. So this was a bust...but oh well, that happens!

We played ALL of Noah's many toy animals this week, going over their sounds and unique characteristics. Here he is waving an elephant nose:) These are some of his favorite animals to play with...they're from Playmobil 123.

This activity evolved out of another. I had initially meant to make a sound wheel like on Chasing Marcus (found here), but I didn't have a brad to connect the two pieces. So I made the animal page into an animal sounds bingo kind of game.

Here is a close up....I used the egg pieces as markers because I had them out already.
The animals covered up are a sheep, a horse, and a chicken. Unfortunately, Noah was more interested in fitting the egg pieces back together. At least that was good for matching and find motor skills:)

Noah had lots of favorite books this week. Many of them I've shared before, but they fit for our themes. His favorite animal sounds books included:
Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boyton
Biscuit Visits the Petting Zoo by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Bill Martin, Jr. & Eric Carle
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton (not totally animal sounds, but it has some)

His favorite Noah's Ark books included:
The Day the Rain Came by Allia Zobel-Nolan
Noah's Ark by Lucy Cousins
Inside Noah's Ark by Charles Reasoner

I made two number pages this week focusing on the number two. Nothing special...Noah was just supposed to find matching objects and count them into the circles.

Same concept here, just with small objects...

Noah did really well with the small set! Not so much with the big set...he just wanted to play with those pieces. But, he had a blast using this shovel to transfer the pieces.

Actually, spooning ended up being a BIG thing this week. Noah has done fairly well in feeding himself with a spoon for a while now, but he hasn't shown interest in spooning objects for tot school. That definitely changed this week! Though I only have pictures of him using the shovel, he has used lots of different utensils, spooned lots of different objects, and used lots of different containers for the transferring.
This has most certainly been a favorite of the week!

Noah's other favorite activity has been all the SNOW! We've basically been snowed in all weekend; it started Friday around 5PM, snowed all night, and continued off and on all day Saturday. All total we have nearly a foot of snow on the ground, which is a LOT for our area of NC!

Noah has been a little sickly this week with a cold, so I haven't let him go out in it, but I did bring two big bowls full inside at my mom's.

Noah literally played with these for TWO HOURS STRAIGHT! That is unheard of for him!

We did a ton of stuff in those two hours though: transferred, scooped, made different shapes and snowmen, tasted it, talked about how it was cold & wet, watched it was a GREAT two hours of fun playing and learning!
I just wished we would have been doing our snow activities this week!


That wraps up our week! See what others are doing for Tot School and share your own ideas at 1+1+1=1!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

tot school - beloved thomas:)

Tot School
Noah is 16 months old.

Our theme of the week was trains...specifically of the Thomas variety. If you read here at all, you are surely well aware of Noah's dear love for all things Thomas. So most of these activities are much less "planned" than usual. I opted instead to take things he loves to do already and make them a little more learning-focused. And for once, nearly every activity was thoroughly enjoyed....go figure:)


What would a week be in this house without some Thomas videos? Noah knows exactly where the Thomas video stash is kept (in the drawer under the TV) and often takes it upon himself to rummage through the drawer, excitedly wave the chosen video in our face, then take us to the TV because HE WANTS SOME THOMAS RIGHT NOW! so he can dance a little:) Probably his favorite video right now is Hero of the Rails. He also really enjoys listening to his Train Yard Tracks cd. Seriously, Noah is a little dancing maching:)
Want to know a secret? That's not even Thomas on the tv haha! It's some Playhouse Disney show Noah watched for exactly 5 seconds (long enough for me to catch this mid-dance shot) before he lost interest. I'm quite happy to say that Noah rarely sits still long enough for a full TV show or video. The only exceptions are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Thomas. And he still is usually up dancing around or playing with something while watching. I'm so thankful he doesn't sit and watch like a zombie like some kids do! Still, I try to limit his tv time to one Thomas video and one Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode a day.

On to the activities...I saw an activity similar to this last week, but I forget where. Honestly, I had planned it before I saw the post though....great minds like alike, though, whoever it was:) Noah had to match the train to its corresponding color "station."

He did it pretty well, and really seemed to enjoy it. I also added in a little gross motor work by moving the trains to the other side of the room...he had to run and match the trains up. He liked that, as he likes anything that involves running:)

Another color matching activity...I set out several trains that have coal tenders and Noah had to match them up. Again he did pretty well...much better than I anticipated!

The coal tender matching prompted an easy lesson in magnets. Though he's seen this a million times, the fact that the trains stick together still amazes Noah:)

We talked about lining up the trains, discussing long and short. I also tried to reinforce colors a bit more. Noah really loved this activity because battery-powered Thomas was in the front and he was able to chase around the long line. He is still working on getting the concept of lining them up end-to-end.

We also discussed big and little...but I wish they made more trains in the big size besides just Thomas because Noah really enjoys the two sizes.

Noah had fun making a sticker collage...

He also enjoyed doing a pompom picture...

I helped him match the correct colors, but he did most of the gluing on his own. I just moved them all a bit closer together after he was finished. He also had fun making little dots and swirls in the black spaces....I just really need to get some dot markers!

Otherwise, Noah worked on the train color book from the 1+1+1=1 Thomas tot book, but I didn't get a picture of it, and Noah didn't finish it. Honestly, Noah doesn't like to color. Crayons seem to frustrate him for some reason.

I also made my own version of the Thomas mini book from 1+1+1=1, and Noah enjoyed looking at that. I decided to make my own version so that I could put some of his other favorite trains in it (like Hiro, Stanley, and Victor). I also hoped that I could do some matching/name identification, but Noah wasn't interested, so I don't have pictures of it either. It looks very similar to the one of 1+1+1=1, but if you'd like to use any of the other pages I created, I'd be happy to send you the file!

Noah did a lot of free play with his train toys this week. Besides his Thomas trains, he loves his Little People zoo train and spent a lot of time with it. You can also see his other Little People train/blocks/shape sorter toy in the picture, which he enjoyed as well. He has gotten quite good at shape sorters now:)

Of course, Noah enjoyed many books this week. Though he literally went through every. single. book. in his book basket at least six times this week, I did try to set apart his Thomas books. They include:
All in a Day's Work (couldn't find a is a sound board book)
and a set of four I found in our antique mall...Thomas the Tank Engine Shapes and Sizes, Colors, Counts to Ten, & Coming and Going (no link again...I think they're out of print)

So, that about wraps up our week! I had planned on doing some other art projects with Noah, so I may do them next week. Otherwise, I think we'll be focusing on animals and animal sounds...Noah has been SUPER interested in that lately.


See what others are doing for Tot School and share your own ideas at1+1+1=1!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

tot school - more with snow

Tot School
Noah is 16 months old.

This has been one CRAZY week! Between finishing moving, beginning my spring semester of nursing classes, and Jimmy being transferred to a new store (he is a grocery store manager), we've had FULL schedules! Still, we managed to get in a few Tot School activities along the way.

Basically, I continued with the snow/snowmen/winter theme from last week. There were several activities we did not get to last week, and some that Noah really I figured I didn't need to add more to my plate in trying to plan anything new:)

One major activity we did was a sensory experience with ice. Noah had a TON of fun playing with some ice cubes.

He stirred them a bit (with his little clapper instrument?!)..

He also enjoyed transferring them in and out of the bowl, into my hand, etc...

After a good bit of play, I pulled out some construction paper for Noah to make "ice art." I have seen people make "water art" before (meaning they paint construction paper with water, let it dry, then do it again), but I thought it would be fun to try with ice cubes.
Noah had trouble holding the slippery, half-melted ice cubes, but still seemed to enjoy it:)

The other art project Noah did was make a snowy scene. First, he made a tree with his hand/arm print. Then, he made falling snow with his fingers. Last, he glued on some of the snow (cotton balls) on the bottom....I made a guideline first, and he did great staying below it with the few he actually glued himself.

Noah had more fun playing with the extra *snow* this week too. He loves to "fill and spill" things, so he really enjoyed himself with the cotton balls and plastic cups.
He also LOVES to stir....and his utensil of choice on this particular day was a hairbrush:) This was fun, though, as the cotton balls stuck to the bristles. Noah had fun picking the cotton pieces out later.

Some other activities we did that I did not get pictures of included...
Snowflake matching from My Montessori Journey
Collecting Snowballs game from Making Learning Fun (amended to be a easy number activity)
A homemade mitten lacing card...which was a TOTAL flop:(
and more of the same activities we did last week.

Overall, the week ended up being a fun one for tot school, even if everything else in our lives was totally stressful! Thankfully, everything seems to be calming back down, and we're all looking forward to getting into our new routines.

See what others are doing for Tot School and share your own ideas at 1+1+1=1!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

tot school - snow...better late than never!

Tot School
Noah is 15 months old.

I am SO sorry that this is coming out so late! We've actually been moving (into a much bigger space for MUCH less!) so after this week, you'll be seeing different background scenery. Just in case you notice things like that, you know:) Anyway, I've been tied up with that, plus I started my spring semester back to school today, so I've had a full plate!

We're mostly moved in, and should be finished completely by tomorrow, so we should still be able to get in some good tot school for the rest of this week. Now, on to what we did last week...


Theme: Snow/Snowmen/Winter
I have had an absolute blast planning this theme! I was hoping we would see some more snow to go along with our activities, but no luck. Noah still managed to do lots of fun activities, with several more we didn't get to (but plan to for the rest of this week).

First, Noah enjoyed playing with white playdough..

I helped him make little balls and build a mini snowman...

This was his version....he stacked them all on his own, then proceeded to smoosh it and try to put his little twig arms in his head:)

We did lots of activities with "snowballs" (aka cotton balls) he worked on transferring and pouring. Noah also did some one-to-one with an ice cube tray, but I don't have a picture of that.

Noah LOVED his sensory box for this theme! I filled the box with "snowballs" and other supplies you use to build a snowman (scarf, hat, twigs, "carrot" nose, and "coal")
The twigs are from the yard, I cut the hat and scarf out of felt, I made the carrot out of pipe cleaners, and the coal are several black pompoms.

Noah spent lots of time exploring the different materials, stirring them up, transferring them in and out, and so forth. His favorite piece, though, was definitely the carrot:)

I made a homemade matching board with some pictures from our recent snowfall. Please don't judge the sad quality haha! I just used what I had on hand (some construction paper, glue, and my computer printer).

Here is a close up....I was WAY more excited about this one than Noah unfortunately. Hopefully he'll enjoy it more this week.

I cut out a felt snowman for Noah to work on putting it together correctly. The only parts glued down are the parts of the face..

Noah did okay with this. He definitely understood that certain parts went in certain places, but I made the middle and bottom pieces too close in size for him to really recognize the big-medium-little concept. He still had fun with it though!

I printed out this picture from Making Learning Fun, but used pompoms instead of buttons because that's what I had on hand. It was meant to be a color recognition/fine motor activity (find the yellow pompoms and put them on the circles). Noah was totally uninterested though:(

In other fine motor work, Noah really enjoyed using these penguin stickers! They were fuzzy stickers too, so that was another fun aspect of them.

To tie into the stickers, Noah also played with his "winter" Little People animals. I talked to him about how they live in the snow and cold. I don't know if he understood that, but he had fun playing with the animals anyway!

Noah also had fun reading Biscuit's Snowy Day. Believe it or not, that is the only non-Christmas winter book Noah had! But he loves the Biscuit books, so he didn't mind reading it over and over:)


Noah will continue with the snow/snowman/winter theme again for the rest of this week with some of the same activities and some new ones. I'll be sure to share the new activities we try...on time of course:)

See what others are up to at Tot School...hosted by Carisa at 1+1+1=1!