Alphabet Notebook ~ Tot School

Here are some photos of the ABC notebook we are making for Tot School.

We began with the letter Bb, because K had a great interest in B and was already naming it, it was a natural place to start. I made several pages in Microsoft Publisher (you could use any image program) like this for both my 6yr old and my 2 yr old. They are making the notebook as a joint project, but the purpose is for K. K colors on the page and I will say, “K– color the beetle” and he will scribble on the beetle. P gets a word list form me and then writes the words for all of the items on the page.

I also include an intro page, which is pictured on the right for the letter Kk below, of just random K’s that were in Microsoft’s clip art. I am sure you can get them from their clip art website, as well as their graphics. On the left is a page with the letter in different fonts. I don’t use this page with K much yet but P likes it a lot and as K progresses it will be neat to show him different forms of the letters.

Here’s a photo of our recent Kk pages, K’s on the left and P’s on the right.

And here you can see K pointing to his friend Kingsley, who is pictured on his K sheet! We have tons of fun putting people’s photos (and pets) on the sheets and naming them as well as the items.

I believe in teaching the alphabet naturally. I am not really a letter of the week type of person, although I know it works well for some. Our alphabet teaching is built into our playing and everyday life. Our ABC notebook is just a journal of this basically. That’s why we didn’t start with A, K doesn’t much care for A yet!! :) We moved on to K since it starts his name. He really likes W too so we will do that soon.

Another thing we do in way of teaching letters is use the Leap Frog – Letter Factory dvd. These dvds teach sounds the correct way! I have never seen anything better that teaches letters and sounds to children than these dvds. I am not a big plunk your kid in front of the tv mom either, so we use these dvds as just a minor extension of our teaching. Both of the boys love the entire series of these, and it reinforces skills for P every time he watches with K. If you don’t own these and have any kids 5 or under, get them!!!!

Above all, teaching the alphabet should be fun, just like everything else in the tot school stage. If we are working on the notebook and K suddenly thinks it’s not fun any longer…we stop. Same with the dvds, or books, or any teaching methods. If it’s not fun, it won’t work at this stage!

Tot School ~ Birthday Boy!!!

I didn’t think we did much for Tot School until I looked back through the photos from the week!

Here’s K working on his K page, we only worked on his ABC notebook one day this week, I’m such a slacker :).

He finished before P finished writing the words for his page so K played with one of our great $1 puzzles (from Target)And finally he got to go outside and play with his favorite toy, bricks. Yes, he LOVES to play for long periods of time with these bricks!!And these next photos show our failure of Tot School time, he was not interested in any of our great ideas–like these wonderful BoohBah movement cards I thought he would love (you show a card and the child does the action with you)…And I had the marvelous idea of sorting his favorite fish into colored bowls, he lasted all of 10 seconds or so on this, maybe next week. P enjoyed both activities though!! The next day was much more of a success, involving something the boys adore…water play! This is what water play looked like when I was supervising them…
Then Daddy came home and water play turned into this…He did learn to fill a bucket, that’s good learning!
That same day we did tons of fun indoor tot school too, spending a lot of time on puzzles…Learning to Read! First Words Game by Carson-Dellosa®And then he asked me to get the Doodle Pro Glow down, it is a favorite of his. This day he was especially interested in the drawer the markers go in!
He played with our Noah’s Ark Shape Sorter for a very long time, we all love this toy!!
This weekend we celebrated his 2nd birthday with dinner out at a Japanese restaurant where he used his kiddo chopsticks, we were quite impressed!Happy Birthday Krash!!!!He got many cool toys, which I am sure will be featured in future Tot School reports!!! He had a great time!!!

If you’d like to see more Tot School posts, click here. And, be sure to check out the Tot School webpage for more ideas and links. And if you have a tot at home, join in the fun and share what you’re doing with your tot! Here’s how to get started if you’re new…

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!

Tot School ~ Camera Crazy!!!

Yes, I seemed to have my camera by me at ALL times this week, as you will see from my lengthy post, the grandparents will sure love this one!!! It seems we got out about 90% of our *tot-school* toys this week alone! We had tons of fun!!! K is just having SO much fun exploring these days and he will play for longer stretches now.

We began our week with the LeapFrog Word Whammer™ Fridge Phonics® Set, which both boys love! K is MUCH more into this than P ever was at this age (we had it then too).

Because of K’s natural strong interest in letters we decided to begin our ABC notebook. I will do a separate post about it later, but here he is coloring his B page. He actually had 3 different B pages, we learned the names of tons of things that start with B! We started with B because that is the letter K identifies the most, we are doing K next, for his name! After coloring, he did a few more fun things at the table while P worked on his sheet (P wrote the names of all of the items that begin with B). Here’s K playing with the Doodle Pro Glow
And our Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads
The boys are taking LONG baths these days so we often have tot school in the tub! Here we were working on counting … And colors…Then one night, P and Daddy were gone so K and I had an evening of tot school alone one night, we did lots of stuff! He continues to LOVE our Marble Run (the one linked isn’t exactly ours, that was the closest I could find) I don’t even know where we got ours!I love the look on his face in this shot!!!! He practiced pouring…He got out this A to Z Puzzle on his own and went immediately for the K (which is why we are doing K next!). He likes K!We stacked cups (and of course talked about colors)…We played with Hasbro Playskool Busy Gearsin a few different ways,And he had a blast playing with the new Automoblox, he will be thrilled in a few days when we give him 2 more for his birthday!!! The ones he’s playing with are P’s!One day he got to fill the bird feeder with Daddy, Bird watching is a BIG deal at our house right now since P got a new bird feeder for his bday!

He colored bricks (all P’s idea)…And he played with the flower sorting cards from our Flower Lapbook! We are beginning to read Tumble Bumble, we will read it for several days to work on different aspects of the story, he really enjoyed holding the book after I read it and looking back through it. Here he is coloring another one of his B pages, and REALLY enjoying the markers!!He had a great time putting the tops on and taking them off again!
If you’d like to see more Tot School posts, click here. And, be sure to check out the Tot School webpage for more ideas and links. And if you have a tot at home, join in the fun and share what you’re doing with your tot! Here’s how to get started if you’re new…

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!

As Tot School grows…

It seems a pattern has now formed with Tot School and I wanted to let you in on the scoop in case you like to plan ahead (thank Kysha for inspiring me to do this). When Tot School began I wasn’t even sure anyone would join us, but it is growing weekly and I don’t know about you but I LOVE having all of our ideas pooled together weekly, it really helps in those brain dead moments!!!

So, here’s the definite, I will do my very best…plan.

  • I start “recording” (through photos) on Monday of each week and continue through Saturday. I try to photograph our official tot school times (which occur anywhere from 1-4 times per week). And I also try to capture those playful, unplanned moments that are, in fact, school for tots as they learn naturally. I document both on my weekly report.
  • As for the weekly report, I plan to write it each Sunday night, which has worked well so far.
  • For anyone who would like to join us but isn’t quite sure how to do a tot school report, here’s my advice…start taking pictures, keep your camera around and capture your little one in action. At the end of the week go through and choose the very best photos that show readers what your tot school looks like. For some it is planned activities, for some it is very unplanned…it doesn’t matter! Then write up a post either about ALL of your collected photos, or just one to highlight something your tot did. You certainly don’t have to do the time consuming (but worth it for me personally because I love looking back), lengthy posts that I and a few others do.
  • Add of your Tot School post, ANYTIME from Sunday through Saturday, whatever works for you. Be sure to check back on old posts if you like to see ideas, as some people put their link up later in the week.
  • After you join up with Tot School the first time, I add your blog to the Tot School webpage. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out.
  • For those on the fence about trying to fit Tot School in on top of the hectic schedule already, I and others will say, it is WORTH it. If you agree, add a comment of encouragement to this post and share your experience about *adding more* to your schedule. It really isn’t more, as you realize you were (hopefully) playing with your tot like this all along, it’s just more focused.

Did I cover it all? If not, let me know! Thanks everyone for making Tot School such a fun thing on the web!

Tot School

When I get to the weekly reports I am honestly amazed as I reflect back on the week. I so often feel that I don’t do enough for my tot and I love doing these weekly reports to see all that he has done. I also love that many of the things included in the weekly tot school reports weren’t even planned. Natural learning, just happening. I like that.

Here’s what K did this week, beginning with one of his favorite tot school toys (meaning that it is kept put away), our Melissa and Doug Bead Sequencing Set.We tried to include him on music afternoon with Daddy but he wasn’t into it nearly as much as P was!

He did enjoy practicing his cartwheels though, He found this old game we have, Barnyard Bingo, and began playing with it. I joined in and used his interest as an opportunity to focus in on the colors and animal names. He was VERY interested in this (since he had chosen it in the first place probably), we did this for a long time. He finally named yellow on his own, several times correctly!Then P and I built him little sorting boxes out of the legos, K had fun matching the colors up.Then, I let P get out the marble track for the first time with K around, I watched super closely, as I was so nervous about K eating a marble :). K had SO much fun with this and has asked to get it out several times since.
We even had some extra social time this week with a visit from our great friend Daniel! This just might be my new favorite shot of them, playing Ring Around the Rosy…And, we went to a fabulous park, that has this awesome wooden slide. We have been several times since K was a baby but this is the very first time I let P take K up on the slide alone. I even *tested* him 3 times before I let them do it, going with them and watching how P managed K. Then, I let him go and it figures, he is falling in this shot, and got a big goose egg on his forehead, poor guy. He’s very tough though!The swings (of all sorts) were a big hit with K.They have an indoor playhouse here too, he loved playing with the train…
and all of their super cool blocks…
Since the weather is so nice, we moved the inside toys…outside.
And we close with a bang…one of K’s favorite activities!!! He actually calls our wooden spoons “bang bangs.”

If you’d like to see more Tot School posts, click here. And, be sure to check out the Tot School webpage for more ideas and links. And if you have a tot at home, join in the fun and share what you’re doing with your tot! Here’s how to get started if you’re new…

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!