Tot School ~ Music Time!

My boys love music, I do too, but honestly sometimes I can’t handle their idea of music (LOUD). But I am a believer in music, I even taught a toddler music class for awhile through my ministry. We have lots of instruments around our house, and often use the kitchen supplies!

For Tot School the other day I brought out one of our boxes of random instruments. K has seen them before but they stay tucked away mostly so when they do come out it is always “new” again. Almost all of the items I use for our Tot School time are things that I keep put away and bring out at special times. That way neither child gets bored with it. Here’s the boys exploring the stuff…

P located the train whistles, and K quickly followed his lead, trying to make his blow!
We sing songs for our music time too and I use these small finger puppets. P took an awesome music class when he was a toddler which is where I got many of my ideas from. Lots of the songs teach basic music concepts (high-low notes, etc.)
And of course, in perfect K style, he finds an alternative use…
And when he’s done, we’re done. He left the music time after about 15 minutes and wandered in to get out the play doh. He seems to be really into Play Doh right now! We got a few cans out and let him play for awhile. It was a great morning.
What are you doing for Tot School lately? Let’s define a “tot” as an 1-3 year old. I would say anything before a formal Pre-K curriculum. You know, the stuff we do with our little ones to provide opportunities to develop their love of learning and maybe teach them a few things. If you have any ideas you’d like to share, link up your exact post to Mr Linky (if you have questions about how to do that, let me know in a comment or email). Provide a link back somewhere in your post to this post so your readers can see other ideas too!

Edited to add… here is a great link explaining how to link to a direct post and not the homepage of your blog, so people can find your tot school post right away. Please remember to add a link back here in your post, so we can hopefully grow our tot school community! Thanks guys for participating, your ideas are wonderful!

In the Works ~ Human Body Lapbook

P has been begging me to do a lapbook about the body and I have put him off for awhile, but we have finally begun. I was putting him off until I could collect the right resources and plan it all out in my mind, this will indeed be our largest lapbook yet, so there will be many “in the works” posts! We had a great time today learning all about what is found inside/outside of your body, here he is working on the minibook I created for him…We also learned about skin and fingerprints. He had a blast using the book, Ed Emberley’s Fingerprint Drawing Book to make fingerprint animals…We also collected fingerprints from each member of our family so we could compare. Here’s Daddy helping P get his fingerprint…I broke down and bought the book, How Your Body Works and I am really glad I did, it has helped me so much with my planning. We also got tons of great books, and I made (and am still making) many of our items for the lapbook. You can see the start of the webpage about this lapbook here. Obviously, this is just the beginning!

The School Room, part 2

I got a few questions from readers, wanting to know more about my schoolroom! So, for those of you who like to know details (I’m one of those too) here they are…

In my 3 drawer carts (from Target) labeled and stored inside you’ll find:
Construction paper
Drawing Paper
Play Doh
Stickers
Foam Stickers and Shapes
Misc. Craft supplies (pipe cleaners, pom poms and such)
Crayola Color Wonder
Coloring Books
Blocks (mini set)
Activity Books (like mazes, dot to dot, write on/wipe off, etc)
Lapbooks (completed ones so he can go back and look at them)
and a few with my daily school stuff inside. Some aren’t “finished” yet as I figure out the rearrangement!

In my blue bins(from Ikea) on my shelves (you can’t see them really well in these photos), I keep most of the supplies that I need to help him with (tempera paint, finger paint, bigger craft, glue guns, etc.)

I also got asked what is above the computer on the green wall, it is a silver board that has plastic cups on it which hold things. I couldn’t find it anywhere online, here’s a close up cropped out of an old photo from when we first set the schoolroom up last year.

If you have an Ikea near you, get one(or 2 or 3)…I love it and it’s pretty cheap!! They are located in the home office section, you have to buy the board, the brackets to mount it, and the plastic holders separately. In the one on the green wall, I have pens, paintbrushes, Sharpies, sentence strips, reward stickers, stampers, and other “teacher” things. In the one that is lower on the other wall, above the drawers(pictured above), I keep things (also labeled) for P to get himself…pencils, markers, colored pencils, ruler, glue sticks, scissors, sharpeners, small notepads, Elmer’s paint pens (which are great if you don’t have them), etc.

On the top of the 3 drawer carts I try to keep new activities for K (and P) to do. They are currently located in the little blue and red cylinder shaped bins you see in the photo). I draw from a Montessori inspiration for this small area (I did a Montessori internship but never went through with the training). Currently we have a water bottle with a small hole on top and tons of straws for K to practice putting into the water bottle. In the other bin we have some wooden sorting shapes/cards. I try to switch these out when they lose interest. I am not as “on top of this” area as I would like to be though!

I am a Kindergarten teacher at heart, which is where the bright colors come from, that’s what I think of when I think of school. Probably always will. My boys will be in high school and I’ll be wanting to put up bulletin boards with cute borders. Bright colors just make me feel school, which is why I love the schoolroom done that way. P actually helped us design it too, he narrowed down the 3 main colors to blue/green/orange when we painted!

Thanks for all of your kind words about our schoolroom..and those of you who said you were inspired, I can’t wait to see your photos when you work on your school rooms/areas!

Too smart for me

The other day P and I were playing with Discovery Toys PLAYFUL PATTERNS® Design Activity and I completely got stumped on the frog card. I honestly felt really stupid, I tried many ways and I couldn’t figure it out. I knew it was probably something obvious but I just couldn’t get it. I handed it to P, and sure enough within a minute he goes, “look Mom…you do it like this.” It figures…and man he’s only in 1st grade. He’s gonna be teaching me in a few years!

Tot School ~ ABC Floor Puzzle

After my post about Tot School last week, we have totally switched our daily schedule around to be sure to give K some focused “Tot School” time each day. I am trying to provide a learning opportunity for him to explore and learn through, each morning. I will be writing more about this on my blog as I know there’s a lot of readers who are homeschooling kids and have toddlers at home too! I LOVE reading ideas from others about what they are doing with their tots, so I thought maybe someone might like to see what we’re doing around here! I read a great post from One Little, Two Little that focused on this and I loved seeing her idea about the seashell experience she offered her daughter.

My oldest is really enjoying this too as he assists me in the “teaching,” and joins in the playing. It is allowing many of his character issues to be addressed as he learns that it isn’t all about him during that time. He’s learning to be kind, loving, gentle, and how to encourage learning…not FORCE it :).

I do have a degree in Early Childhood Ed, I figured I’d better be using all of that knowledge we paid for and provide the best learning environment for my tot! You’ll begin to read more about what I believe about educating young ones too. I just really feel called to offer my best to both of my boys, not just the one with the textbooks!

Here’s what we did yesterday…

I decided I would pull out the big wooden ABC floor puzzle and let K explore it. I believe in letting a tot explore an item fully before trying to teach them anything. He played with the pieces for awhile and then big bro began putting the puzzle together, all the while I’m kinda staying out of it (sitting in my chair taking pictures :) ). Soon I noticed P looking for a certain piece, I found it and gave it to K and told him to give the P to P…he did this with several other letters.Then the puzzle was finished and K led P in a walk around the puzzle. P desperately wanted K to learn his ABC’s, but I guided him to join in and follow K’s lead.K did eventually want to find some pictures and letters and we had a good time with the boys taking turns jumping on different pictures and letters…And then, he lost interest. I believe in stopping whenever that is. Whether it is 5 minutes into it or 15 minutes, when they’re done, they’re done! K went over and grabbed his Larry books (which he LOVES) and puzzle time switched into reading time. Yes big bro had went upstairs to get dressed in the middle of this too :).More to come as I get posts together :) today we had tons of fun! If anyone would ever be interested in joining in let me know and I will put up a Mr. Linky for Tot School, I’d love to see what your Tot School looks like!