Tot School 32mo Twins – Y is for Yukon Gold

This is the letter Y week.  Today was the first Y activity that we’ve had time to do.  I told the boys that a long time ago in Yukon Alaska, people found gold.  So we were going to go looking for our own gold.  I wrote out Yukon gold on a piece of paper.  I pointed to the Y and asked what letter it was and what sound it made.  I also had them say Yukon several times to practice the Y sound.  We headed out to the backyard where the boys got to try their hand at panning for gold.

 

 

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I had set up a small bin on the patio with four big shakes of gold glitter.  Then I added the water, that way some of the gold would stay down at the bottom instead of all of it floating at the top of the bin.  I showed the boys how to get the water in the tin pans I gave them and how to slosh the water around and out of the pan so only the gold was left.

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Ha, Ha!  No sluicing happened.  What happened was the boys grabbed the pans and had a grand time scooping and throwing the water out.  When the water was dwindling, I set up a competition to see who could get the most gold in their pan with just one scoop and sloshing the water out.  The winner was James who slowly poured his water out.

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When the interest was almost gone, I let the boys pour the whole bin out on the porch.  Lance exclaimed, “Oh, pretty!”

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It looked even better when the water had dried up and just the glittery gold was left stuck to the pavement.  So I gave the boys a quick talk about heaven and that heaven had streets of gold.  Lance said, “Oh, yeah.”  It went along with what the boys learned in BSF today.  They learned that God is up in heaven.  They played with the glitter a bit and when it was time to go in, I told them that just like the Yukon gold, heaven is going to be oh so pretty and glittery.  While glitter is not one of my favorite craft items because it gets everywhere, I count gold glitter as my mercy for today.

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Mom School – Mothering Like a Farmer

Today in my email I read the best blog post from Inspired To Action.  This site has some very good resources for moms.  This story reminded me to not worry about things outside my immediate zone right now.  In a few short years my boys will be going to school.  That’s when I’ll be able to add a few new things to try.  Until then I’ll be working on being content knowing that God has called me to full time motherhood.  Here’s the link to the actual blog  http://inspiredtoaction.com/2013/04/mother-like-a-farmer/.  If you aren’t connected with this blog, take a look.  Below is the inspiring post from today.  If you like it, please go over to the Inspired blog and leave a comment there because all credit, ideas & writing are from them, not me.

 

“I’m going to tell you about something I’ve never seen, but first let me tell you a little bit about farming.

Yep…farming.

You see, I once lived in a cul de sac neighborhood that backed up to an orange orchard. I was in the 3rd grade. We lived there for 2 years.

I’m pretty much a farming expert. Obviously.

Did you know farmers have seasons? There is the planting season, the growing season (clearly my farming expertise is shining through. Probably not the technical name for it, but it’s the season when they water and weed and watch) and the harvest season.

You know what I’ve never seen?

I’ve never seen a farmer try to harvest during planting season. When I lived behind that orchard, I never saw the farmer in the field picking orange blossoms off the trees in the Spring.

He could have done everything he knew. He could have worked himself to the bone. But there was no way he was going to harvest oranges in Texas in June.

Farmers know that they cannot do anything outside of the due season for their crop.

Have you thought about what season you are in? Are you trying to harvest when it’s really time to sow?

If you have a newborn, perhaps it’s not the best season to try to start an early morning Bible, exercise and planning routine. Instead focus on something simple like listening to an audio Bible while you play with or feed your baby.

If you have all your kids at home and your husband has to work a lot, perhaps it’s not the best season to start a new online business.

If you’re a new blogger still trying to figure out how it all works, maybe it’s not the best season to write an ebook, start a link up and contribute on 12 different blogs.

Everyone is in a different season.

Not too far from my little cul de sac neighborhood and the orange orchard, there was a sugar cane field. Sometimes they harvested as late as March when the orange trees were bare.

If the orange farmer didn’t know HIS crop and HIS season, he could have wasted time and energy either being jealous of the sugar cane farmer or he could have worked in vain to try to make his crops yield fruit out of season.

Friends, it doesn’t matter what season anyone else is in. It doesn’t matter if they are having the harvest of their lives. Good for them.

We need to know our season. There is such freedom in yielding to God’s timing. If we listen to HIS timing, we won’t run ourselves ragged trying to harvest the wrong things in the wrong season, because it will never work anyway.

Action step: I encourage you to identify your season today. Ask God what you should sow. Ask Him when it is time to harvest. Listen to Him. Trust Him.

Rest…in Him.”

Tot School 31.5mo Twins – X Marks the Spot

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While the boys finished up breakfast this morning, I told them a tale about treasure being buried in our house.  That if we followed a map we would surely find the treasure.  I asked the boys what treasure was.  James wouldn’t say but Lance said it was jellybeans.  I told them that treasure is something that’s valuable, like pirate’s gold.  I grabbed a Texas road map from our travel draw and we pretended to follow it until we found the X that marked the spot.  I had made a giant X on the living room floor using blue painters tape.  There in the middle of the X was 6 pieces of cut up, yellow colored, pipe cleaners – our gold.  I declared that we were all official pirates.  I even made the boys learn how to say YoHo & Arrgh.  My pirates walked the lines of the X, hopped on the lines and crawled the lines.  It was an Xcelent time talking about the letter X.

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I divided out the 6 pieces of yellow pipe cleaners to the boys.  I whispered and said I had a secret.  They came close and I said that this was rare and very precious gold that had been lost for a thousand years so they needed to take very good care of it.  As you can see in the pictures, they held up the gold pieces as if to say, “It’s mine, all mine, glorious treasure,”  they got the greedy pirate part down.  I suggested that they keep it stored in a safe place.  So I brought out a special treasure chest, ie: a cleaned out cool whip container with holes punched in the top using an ice pick.  I told them they could put the gold through the holes and it would stay nice and safe.  So they did just that and then took the top off and kept re-adding it back into the treasure box.  It gave my pirates some hand/eye coordination practice.

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We were having a friend come over later for lunch so mommy pretended that the house was our pirate ship.  I gave the orders for all pirates mates on hand to swab out the deck.  I handed out the brooms and then rags as we swept and shined the windows all while listening to some cool Caribbean island tunes.DSC_0594

 

I jokingly said the ship was in a deplorable state so they had to walk the plank.  I pulled out a 4×6 board from the wood shop and laid it in the middle of our living room.  The boys immediately had fun walking and running down the plank.  I gave them a few runs then when they started to fall off, I snapped at them and said there were hungry sharks and alligators in the water waiting to eat them.  After a few more runs, when they got to the end and they jumped off I made splashing sounds and then grabbed them, declaring they had jumped into the dreaded Bermuda Triangle of Tickles.  I then proceeded to tickle them vigorously before letting them go around again.

 

 

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My little pirates had one last adventure before lunch, they got to look for sunken treasure.  I took a small bin, added 4 shape pieces, 4 plastic animals and 4 gold plastic coins to a tub full of soapy water with a hint of blue coloring added to look like the blue waters of the Caribbean.  I laid out a shower curtain and put a piece of paper on each side with the names of the objects they would find.  Then I let the boys dive into the bubbles to find their treasure.  Lance was all about getting the treasure and sorting it while James liked to play in the bubbles.  They had some trouble understanding the sorting so I had to help out a bit.  This was their first true sorting exercise.

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To round off our pirate day that began with the letter X, we settled down to read the Veggie Tales Bible.    Larry and Bob were pirates.  The story was about laying up treasure in heaven.  With all the fun that we had today being greedy, gold seeking pirates, I pray that my boys will learn to share their treasures, be kind and be wise with all that God gives them.

Tot School 31.5mo Twins – X is for the Road To TicTacToe

Oh what a difference a day can make.  Yesterday was just awful.  I had started with a few activities for our x theme.  None of them worked very well because my boys were bound and determined to break mommie’s spirit with their disobedience.  I cried; they cried.  This morning has been so much better.  Not perfect, but way better with lots of tickles, laughter and love.  In this post you will see my kids in two sets of clothes because some pictures were taken yesterday and some were taken today as we tried these activities again. 

Right after breakfast I pulled out the tic tac toe board.  They love this board.  However, they don’t actually play the game.  They just want to throw bean bags at any part of the board.  So that’s just what we did for a while.  Then when the energy level was starting to fall, I turned over each square and had the boys tell me what letter was on it.  Next I let the boys spin each square and tell me what letter landed on the top.  They just loved this because they got to move.  I think yesterday failed because I had them sitting down and I was turning the squares.  We got back up to throw more bean bags.  Each time they were out of bean bags, they had to step farther back from the board.  This gave them some practice with aiming their shots.  Soon, I’ll be showing them how to play the game and knowing the difference between those Xs & Os will be important.

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Yesterday, not today, we had a lesson in sharing.  Lance decided that all the bean bags belonged to him.  It was rather comical to see him try to pick all of them up in his arms and run away with them.  Because Lance took them and ran, the game was put away and I had a talk with both boys about sharing.  Apparently it sunk in because we had no issues with sharing today.

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The other activity only used the letter X in a small part, but the activity was great for learning letters.  I got the idea from No Time For Flashcards.  I printed off some cars from the net, wrote the upper and lower case letters individually on the cars and laminated them.  I made two roads using black cardstock and glueing the white stripes on.  I also added a stripe at the top of each road, one saying Uppercase, the other saying Lowercase.  Yesterday I took all 52 cars and I let them throw the cars in the air to shuffle them.DSC_05710DSC_05780  I think this wound them up. 

Then I asked them to sit down.  I asked each boy to identify the letter of the car that I was holding up.  Then I let them drive it across the appropriate road.  Well after 3 cars were down, the boys took off driving them around the room and ignored me completely.  I got mad and so did they.  They wanted to drive their cars and when I was insistent they come back  Lance started trying to ripe the cards apart.  So just like the other game, the game went away.  Today when I got the alphabet road down, we only worked with four cars.  After they identified them, I let them happily play, drive them over to the X marked on the floor in the kitchen and then drive them all around the house.  We will use this over the summer and each time we will just work on a few letters at a time.  When the fun of driving was dwindling, I let them take all 52 cars again and throw them in the air several times before we cleaned up. 

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I learned a few things from comparing both days.  Sometimes a little action and movement can save an activity.  Sometimes you just need to call a day a wash and save the learning for another day.  Don’t call an activity a failure until you’ve tried it on several different days because everyone’s mood plays a part.  My mercy for today is the renewed attitudes of everyone.  May we give grace on the bad days and rejoice in the good.  If today you are having a bad mommy day, take heart that each day is new.

Tot School 31.5mo Twins – W is For Waterfall

Our last W activity.  Yes, it does use water again because my boys love to play with water.  Well they just love to be messy.  I herded the boys up to their bathroom and had them get undressed while I cut up a poll noodle and taped it to the tub wall.  At first I had the pieces at a slant so the water would pour into each other as it went down and one other tube by itself, but it was too tall for the boys to pour water into it.  While they loved the water coming out, they wanted to pour themselves.

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 I reluctantly gave each boy a cup and firmly told them to keep the water in the tub.  We only had one major accident during play time.  They poured, put their hands under the water at the bottom, tried a little water and then a bunch of water, they tried their hands and even their mouths as water carriers.  They even tried pouring slow and then fast.  All of it was a fun way to learn about gravity.  They had the best time with the water falls.DSC_0555DSC_0556

 

 

 

 

 

We also had a few other items to play with.  We have a small basketball hoop, a blue funnel that’s great for fast pouring that you can see in the pictures and we have a fun water wheel of sorts.  This is where you can really see the difference in how fast you pour the water.  If your kids love water, try making your own waterfalls and enjoy all the wet fun that you’ll have.

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Tot School 31.5mo Twins – W is For Weather

It’s a cold, windy and rainy day in Dallas today.  It’s a perfect day to learn about weather and that God makes the weather.

I stumbled across a great blog for christian themed kid’s crafts.   Here’s where I found our first weather activity.  http://kidsbibledebjackson.blogspot.ca/2012/10/preschool-weather-book.html.   I took a green file folder and glued all the printed paper pieces to it and added the loose pieces to a pocket on the back.

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I  pulled out each picture and said what it was.  I had the boys repeat the word back to me.  Since this is our first look at this activity, I had to tell the boys which season the picture belonged in.  At first I even had to point to which square was the right season but towards the end the boys were starting to remember which square was what season.  This is an introduction into the seasons.  It’s not something overly academic, but it does help the boys learn how to sort, even if mom has to help a lot.  They seemed to enjoy it and they learn more when they are having fun.  Because the title was God Makes the Weather and it was raining this morning, I told them about the story of Noah and all the rain that came down those 40 days.  I asked the boys if they would like for it to rain for 40 days, Lances said no and James grinned while he said yes then he just laughed and laughed.

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Our other rainy day activity focused on correlating the numbers that they say into actual amounts.  This will be a concept that will take a while to get.  It makes me laugh when we are sitting at light near our house where a hospital is under construction.  There are three cranes.  When I ask the boys to count them, they always seem to find five or ten cranes.  What I did was cut out an umbrella on construction paper and then I cut out rain drops on blue construction paper.  I wrote 1-5 on the bottom edge of the umbrella.  I put a small amount of tape on the back of each rain drop.  I taped up the umbrella on the back door and that got the boys’ attention.  We first counted all the written numbers on the umbrella.  Then we started with the number five and the boys got to place five raindrops below that number.   We counted outloud as we placed each drop.   We proceeded the same way down to the number one.  The  lines are not straight, I had to point frequently to which line we were currently on and a few times I had to ask one of the boys to remove a wayward drop and put it where it actually belonged.  So, this is not an activity for a perfectionist to do with a young 2 or 3-year-old.  When all the raindrops were in place, we counted each one again.  Then  the boys started the process of destruction.  I think this was their favorite part.  Nothing is left on the door for me to clean.  Even this destruction gives their fingers a good workout in fine motor skills.

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Today I count the rain outside and the wind as my mercy today.  It gave us a great springboard to good indoor activities.

31.5mo Twins – W is For Water

Who sunk the boat?  That’s the question of the day and the name of the book we read today.

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So with that said, we headed into the backyard for some water play since W is the letter of the week.  We set up our own experiment of finding out who sunk the boat.  I filled up a plastic tote with water and used a plastic bowl for our boat.  I told the boys that the boat floats, which means it stays above the water and we needed to find heavy things to weigh the boat down so it would sink and that we would be trying out different things to see what worked.

First we tried a leaf.  The boat stayed afloat.

 

 

Second we tried a stick and then a few sticks.  The boat stayed afloat.

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Third, we tried some rocks.  Fourth, we tried adding a small tub.   The boat stayed afloat.

 

Lastly we added a tennis ball and the boat sank slowly.

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It took a lot of things to weigh the boat down enough to make it sink.  More than I thought it would.  Naturally after the boat sank, the boys had splash time.  They used the small tub to pour water out in the yard and make patterns on the cement.  James found out how hard he needed to throw the tennis ball in the water to get a high splash.  By the time they were through, they were soaked and very happy.  So while a little mouse sank the boat in our book, it was the pink tennis ball that did our boat in.

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