Sunday, February 28, 2010

tot school - letter a

Tot School
Noah is 17 months old.

We began two new long-term themes this week....Letter of the Week, and a weekly Bible lesson! I've been itching to start both of these, but have been waiting for Noah to be interested in letters & to have the attention span for a real Bible lesson. Happily, Noah did super this week with both new themes:)


Letter of the Week - Aa
I made the focus on ants & apples for our Aa learning. Here are Noah's two art projects of the week...
Noah did every bit of the gluing on the apple tree picture by himself! I was quite proud & impressed:) He did go a little crazy with the glue though...

He also really enjoyed making the ants page. I took that idea from the Totally Tots ABC page. He always enjoys finger painting, but this was a good opportunity for listening (only make dots), practicing counting (1-2-3 dots), and learning "A" versus "a."

I made some other counting cards to work more with numbers while still keeping with the apple/ant theme. He did okay with these...I think they bored him:) But I set it up with big pompoms to correspond to the small pompoms.

Noah shocked me with these! I printed these Aa ants from Confessions of a Homeschooler hoping to review colors with Noah. He has consistently been identifying his colors for about a month, but I still thought he would enjoy these. I set out a few at a time, with one as a guide...
But Noah decided that these needed to be sorted into "A" and "a" piles instead of by color! I think he got this from doing the Starfall "Aa" page where you sort the apples at the end, but I was very impressed! He eventually did sort them by color too.

That is all the pictures I have for our letter activities, but some of the other things we did included:
*Reading Alpha-Bite! by Charles Reasoner and Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr.

*Starfall "Aa" many times (Noah points, I move the mouse/click)

*Having an "Aa" snack day! This one was very fun, and I hate I don't have pictures! Noah had apple juice, apple chips, apple sauce, and our own version of ants on a log...pretzels with hummus and raisins. I call them ants on a twig:) I wanted to make this a picnic, but our weather was just too cold.

*Watching the Leapfrog Letter Factory dvd

*Doing our ABC puzzle book (from Melissa & Doug)

I think Noah did super with all of the Aa activities! I am really looking forward to continuing learning his letters:)


Bible Lesson
I began our Bible lessons focusing on (part of) Philippians 2:15 - "shine like stars in the universe."

A little back story...I have a list of several scriptures I pray for Noah, and Philippians 2:14-15 is one of them. This is actually one of the verses Carisa was inspired by for Raising Rock Stars too! Anyway, since I have felt it was time to begin having a Bible lesson with Noah each week, I thought focusing on a verse I already pray for him would be a perfect place to start!

I made a little paper for Noah to use during our lesson, and I explained how Jesus wants us to be his light in the world. I used a flashlight to help illustrate this concept...Noah loved playing with it!

I also explained how when Jesus lives in your heart, his light will shine from inside you for all to see. Then he practiced making his light shine:)

Then we had to sing This Little Light of Mine! We HAD to keep using the flashlight too:)

We talked about letting our lights shine all week! Noah also made a picture of a shiny star (made with foil) to help him remember to shine like a star:) He did all of the gluing on this one too (obviously!), and it was great shape reinforcement!
I cannot encourage everyone enough to do a Bible lesson with your children each week! It has been such a blessing to me this week to see Noah learn about God...I am very excited to continue this each week!


That's all for our week! See what others are doing for tot school and share your own ideas at 1+1+1=1!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

tot school - no theme

Tot School
Noah is 17 months old.

We had another low key week again. I couldn't decide on a theme to follow, so our tot school activities included playing with some of our "learning" toys, lots of books, a playdate, and even some outside fun!

While Noah read a MILLION books this week, he got an awesome Look & Find Mickey Mouse Clubhouse book for Valentine's Day, and has been glued to it all week long:) I am so impressed with how well he does with these already too! He always identifies Mickey and Goofy, usually will find Minnie & Pluto, but Donald & Daisy are still hit or miss. He does pretty well finding the objects too.

Noah also got his first workbook for Valentine's Day:) He got a Kumon sticker & gluing workbook and has had so much fun with the sticker pages! Here are a few of the ones he's completed so far...
Jimmy (daddy) said the fish page was his favorite since it looks like the blue fish is dead. Haha!

I dumped all of our pompoms together to make a new sensory bin....a less messy one finally:) Noah still loves spooning/transferring, and the different sized pompoms was a good challenge for him!

Noah has finally started showing interest in letters! Yay! I'm so excited to begin a letter of the week next week:) He can do this alphabet puzzle book completely on his own now!

He had lots of fun with his other puzzles this week too. I spread them out on the floor, and made it a puzzle race. Noah thought this was hilarious and loved running from puzzle to puzzle:)

These stacking & nesting blocks are still one of Noah's favorite toys. He is getting much better at stacking too, and is up to five blocks now.

We had a fun playdate with one of my best friends this week! Brittney and I went to high school together, and her son Conor is almost 9 months. We had a blast playing with trains, Noah's kitchen, blocks, and even had a little dance party:) This was a change up for Noah, though, as he doesn't play with kids younger than him very often. This definitely proved a good learning experience in self-control and sharing. Noah still has a ways to go though:) And sorry for no camera was MIA for the afternoon (it was in my car!).

We also had a yummy dinner at Applebees! Noah was quite testy, hence the paci:) But the camera was found!

I so wish these guys lived closer then 45 minutes away! I miss Conor's chubby cheeks:)

Sunday was the most gorgeous day! It was warm and sunny...almost spring-like! We took full advantage of the opportunity and spent some time outside after church. Noah played on his castle...

He got in some tricycle practice:) He actually peddled a little on his own too! But mostly there was lost of pushing from daddy..

Noah also had fun with my mom's dog. He absolutely loves to take Patch on walks, so this was the perfect day for it:)

So all in all, a pretty quiet and simple week, but we still had lots of fun! Share your own ideas and see what others are up to in tot school at 1+1+1=1!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

tot school - valentine's part 2

Tot School
Noah is 16 months old.

We didn't have the best of weeks around here...Noah just wasn't into the activities I had planned. Actually, we redid everything from last week, with just a few new things added in, but even his favorites from before seemed to fall flat this time. So I don't have a ton to show, and nothing is super creative or anything. But that's okay...sometimes weeks are like that!


Noah made several new art projects this week to give away as Valentines for our family. I let him have totally free reign with the finger paints (I usually somewhat supervise), and he had a blast! He used several different tools for painting throughout the week, including his hands, pipe cleaners, and various utensils. He did such a great job not slinging the paint everywhere too....he has a tendency to get a little wild when he gets going with some things (paint included).

Here is one of the pictures he made for my mom. I helped him make some good hand prints, but he painted a page on his own to make the base, as well as put the stickers on himself following my directions. Granny loved it by the way:)
He made several other Valentines, including another super cute "flower bouquet" for Mimi (my grandmother), but I forgot to take pictures of those before they were delivered. Everyone really loved their keepsakes though!

This homemade book was an idea from April Showers. I LOVED this idea, and thought it would be a great way to review names and colors. I used the book several different ways:
**lay the pictures out and let Noah find the different people/colors (point to them, put a marker on them, etc)
**ring clip the pages together and have him flip to find the different people/colors
**match colored objects to the colored hearts (this was hard for him, I think because of the other pictures)
This particular page with my parents' dog was his favorite page:)

I tried using smaller pieces of pipe cleaners for Noah to put in a spice container. He did so well with this, and really loved this activity! He also enjoyed trying to take the top off/on of the container (as the picture shows), but he hasn't mastered twisting rather than pulling the tops yet.

I also thought Noah would enjoy spooning some different objects this week. Giant sweetheart candy was not a favorite though. The hearts were hard to scoop up into the shaped spoon, so he preferred to transfer the candy with his fingers. This did prove to be a good opportunity for color review, but Noah had a bit of trouble with the pastel colors.

If you can't see in the last picture, Noah got a MAJOR boo-boo this week. He slipped on the hardwood in his jammies and face-planted into a rocking chair. The bottom part where all the bars and screws and such are. He got a BIG pop knot over his eye plus a scrape.
But he was a trooper! And he proudly displayed his battle scar at church this morning too:)

Crazily enough, we got our THIRD snow hit this weekend. More is predicted over this week too. This is so unusual in NC...talking to my brother in Michigan, we've actually gotten more snow this winter than he has! We're all pretty tired of it honestly. Noah wanted nothing to do with it when we ventured out Saturday morning...
I'm right there with ya buddy! I'm desperate for flowers, green grass, and sunshine!

And one last picture....I'm really trying to allow Noah more autonomy and decision-making opportunities. On days we're home, I'm beginning to let him choose his clothing. This was one particular ensemble he chose this week...
Actually, he just chose the Aerosmith t-shirt and his hat, but I thought long sleeves and pants were in order since it is February:)


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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

noah update (16 months)

I haven't done a general update on Noah in a few months, so I thought that would be fun. Probably not for you, but I love being able to record all of the little things and how he's progressing. Feel free to ignore this is mostly just for me:)


Noah will be 17 months old on February 16. He is about 33 inches tall and weighs about 31 pounds. He comfortably wears 2T clothes and a sizes 6-7 in shoes. His growth has really slowed down compared to how he used to be, but he is still progressing as he should. I think at his last well visit he was in 97 percentile for everything, which is a big fall from the consistently well over 99 percentile for many, many months!

Winter has not been kind to Noah. He has been sick quite a bit this season, which was a new experience! He has always been extremely healthy, but has had 3 ear infections, croup, and a nearly continuous cough/runny nose all winter. Noah has stayed his spunky, silly little self throughout it all. Still, we will all be VERY glad when spring arrives!

Cloth diapering has sadly been put on hold. After the latest round of sickness, in combination with our move, Noah developed a nasty rash that just wouldn't go away. After trying everything I could think of to treat the rash/fix the diapers, I ended up switching to Seventh Generation diapers just to see if it would make a difference. The rash cleared up in a day, which makes me think the cloth diapers were mostly the culprit. So (for the time being hopefully) Noah is in the "healthiest" disposables I can find.
**But just in case any CDing mamas are reading this, do you have any suggestions for getting Noah back into cloth?

Noah is probably the best toddler-age eater I've ever seen! It scares me to think of how he'll be as a teenager...he already about eats us out of house and home! He very rarely doesn't like something, and has many favorite things but I won't list them all because there are so many. Here is a sample of a typical day's meals:
Breakfast: breakfast grains and yogurt
Morning Snack: cheerios
Lunch: pasta wee-one, half a banana or cup of applesauce
Afternoon Snack: pretzel sticks and hummus
Dinner: small portions of whatever we're eating (usually some meat/chicken, two veggies, and a grain)
As you can see, I'm a BIG fan of the website Weelicious! The recipes there are healthy, easy, and great for the whole family. I cook quite a bit from there, and have only found one or two things we all haven't loved. I highly recommend it:)


On to Noah's development...
Noah's language development is great! He is just beginning to really mimic things after we say them ("parrot" talk), but his vocabulary impresses me already! Here is a running list:
Words he says consistently
Bye (with a wave)
No no no! (with a finger wag!)
Oh yeah!
Uh oh
Good (guh)
Milk (mik)
Drink (dink)
Granny (a-nee)
Patch (atch)
Pete (eete)
Train (rain)
Mickey Mouse (me-ee)
I read
Football (foo-ba)

Words he says on occasion
Booger (boooooooooger..SO funny to hear this one!)
Go go go!
Truck (ruck)
Blue (boo)
Green (geen)
Red (reh)

Even though Noah's has a large vocabulary for children his age, the majority of his non-stop talking is grunting and pointing. I'm really working on getting him to say what he wants the first time rather than having to drag the words out of him. I know it will come in time though. But, Noah understands language amazingly well. He is very good at following even complicated directions when using words he is familiar with.

Gross motor skills are progressing nicely for Noah. He is getting much more coordinated in running and climbing, which are two of his favorite things to do. In fine motor skills, he amazes me. He demonstrates so much skill in doing tot school activities that incorporate these.

Noah's "knowledge" (for lack of a better word) is growing by leaps and bounds! He seems to know several colors pretty well (red, green, and blue) and really enjoys color activities. Noah is very interested in numbers, and loves to read number books, but doesn't "know" them yet. He does do number correspondence well on occasion, so I think he at least understands the concept of numbers. He hasn't shown any interest in letters and very little interest in shapes. But I know all of this will come in time:)

In practical life skills Noah is very proficient at using a spoon and fork (and LOVES to use them). He loves to make choices, particularly with his cups and utensils. He is beginning to show interest in making choices in clothing now as well, but he doesn't seem too interested in independently dressing himself. He does help a lot to get himself dressed though.

Tot school continues to go VERY well! I absolutely love doing these activities with Noah each week, and he really seems to love them too. He knows where the activities for the week are kept, and often asks to complete his favorites. Usually, I try to spend at least 15-20 minutes a day on the activities I have planned for the week; we don't tend to do these daily...4 days a week is about the average. Really Noah does tot school type activities all throughout everyday, but I try to spend this focused time on those things I have specifically in mind for that particular week.

Some of Noah's favorite tot school activities include pouring, small spaces activities, spooning/transferring, and art projects/crafts. He usually does very well with matching, and also loves to stack and nest things. He also does well with drawing/scribbling, though these aren't a favorite activity....he far prefers to use paint over markers or crayons.

I have seen so much progress in Noah in doing these things with him consistently, and am so proud of all he has accomplished in such a short amount of time!


On to some of Noah's favorite things...
His favorite shows/videos are Thomas the Train and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. At this point, the two are actually pretty evenly matched. He will occasionally watch other Playhouse Disney shows, and has other learning videos he enjoys, but Thomas and Mickey are really the only two that he will sit and watch all the way through without losing interest.

Noah loves to mess in the kitchen drawers. He has a strange affinity towards kitchen utensils and loves to carry them around for hours on end. It is not unusual at all to find a random spatula in the bathroom at the end of the day!

Noah loves to be affectionate! He gives BIG bear hugs and open-mouth, sloppy, spity kisses...much to our delight:)

Noah still loves his paci. We are beginning to lose the paci during the day as much as possible. I'm okay with it at night for a while longer, but I definitely think it needs to go whenever he is awake! I think this contributes to his tendency to grunt/point first rather than use words to communicate. We'll see how it goes though...I think Noah will rebel on this one!

Noah doesn't really have a "lovie" like a bear or blanket. Noah's lovie is my hair. Though he can and often does go to sleep on his own, he goes to sleep best whenever he is snuggled up to me and can rub my hair.

Noah LOVES to talk on the phone. Anything and everything even remotely resembling a telephone in the house becomes one for him to babble on. He also loves to wear his daddy's phone belt clip....Noah thinks he is very big when daddy lets him borrow it:)

Noah loves to help us clean. He makes a beeline for brooms whenever he sees them and will happily sweep until you direct him otherwise.

Noah (unfortunately!) loves to throw a tantrum. Okay, so he doesn't really throw them that often....but when he does, watch out! He is a screamer. Enough said. He has most definitely inherited his daddy's temper and my lack of patience, so I think we'll be in for a long road with tantrums. . But he is usually easy to calm down. I just hope he'll stay that way!


Noah is such a precious and sweet little boy:) His little personality is absolutely infectious and immediately commands attention whenever he enters a room. He captures hearts wherever he goes, and is going to be a heartbreak someday! And even though he can try my patience at times, I am so proud of his independence, knowledge, and abilities!

I feel so incredibly blessed to have this special little man in my life!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

tot school - valentine's part 1

Tot School
Noah is 16 months old.

I have to admit, I had not been looking forward to Valentine's Day activities very much for some reason. I guess because Noah is a boy, I figured he wouldn't be into all the pink and hearts and such. But I am so glad I decided to do this theme for two weeks because Noah has been having such fun with it all!

Noah has especially enjoyed is Valentine's books so far. While he does always enjoy the books I pull to go along with our themes, he usually goes back to his favorites in the book basket by the end of the week. This week, though, he has been completely content to stay with the Valentine's ones! And Noah doesn't normally wear bibs, but he found his special birthday bib on that day and insisted on wearing it ALL DAY LONG:)
Here is what he has been reading:
Elmo Loves You (no amazon it at Walmart)
Where Is Love, Biscuit? by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Last week, Noah discovered an intense love for spooning/transferring. When I saw these heart ice cube trays and heart measuring spoons in the Target dollar section, I knew they would be perfect for tot school! This has been one of Noah's favorite activities this week...he has even asked to do it several times:)
I tried to reinforce color with this one too. He has got red, blue, and green down pat, but I just grabbed a handful out of our big container, so no real thought went into the particular colors used.

Noah also enjoyed playing with these jumbo pompoms this week too. I intended this to be a sweeping exercise (another Target dollar find), but as you can see, he preferred to scoop them up in a spoon:)

I printed this "Achy Breaky Heart" matching game from File Folder Fun. Noah wasn't too interested though...

He only did the green one, then toddled off. Oh well...I'm going to try it again this week.

Noah had fun with red and pink playdough this week. Notice the heart spoon? Yeah...those have hardly left his hands this week!

He also enjoyed playing with the playdough containers. I used this as another color matching activity too..

I made Noah a rice sensory bin this week too. I put the jumbo pompoms in it, another heart cookie cutter, and the smaller measuring spoons. This has been his other favorite activity of the week....he has spent a lot of time transferring the rice into different containers, hiding/finding the pompoms, and so forth.

Onto our art projects for the week...
Noah kind of came up with this first one! I had paint set out to do something else, and he brought the pink paint and a pipe cleaner to me, asking me to let him paint with it. I happily obliged:)

He had lots of fun with this is the finished picture.

I printed this magnet page from Making Learning Fun and intended on letting Noah use his Tadoodles markers to stamp the circles. He had been itching to use some of the glitter foam hearts I bought though, so I let him decorate the page with those instead.
I did try to help him match up some of the heart pictures to the stickers. He did okay with that, but really preferred to put them where he wanted:)

The last project we did I am so excited about...I think it turned out so cute! I saw something similar to this last week, but I cannot remember where, so I apologize for that. They used a cut out footprint, though. Anyway, we worked on this for a couple of days, and Noah enjoyed every minute of making his very own little love bug!
He is getting much better about letting me make footprints. He also put all of the heart "spots" on and glued the eyes down by himself (I just moved the eyes a little closer together). He also enjoyed playing with its antenna. I definitely think we'll be making another one to give to his Granny as her valentine:)

So that's it for our week! See what others are up to, and share you own ideas for Tot School at 1+1+1=1!