Tot School 34.5mo Twins – Creation Felt Board

If you listen to the stories of our older generations, you will hear the countless reminiscing of the days when flannel graphs and felt boards were used in Sunday School.  About how versitle and wonderful they were and how it’s a shame that no one uses them anymore.  I used to roll my eyes and say with my younger generation, move one, get with  the technology.  While I love technology, I mean I am blogging, it doesn’t always replace the old things.  Sometimes the old and new work great together.  The felt board is one of those old items that has been working along technology in my house.

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The past three weeks we’ve been focusing on the story of creation in Genesis.  We are using the Jesus Storybook Bible primarily for the reading.  My boys just get a kick out of the wording.  When they ask for the story they call it the nothing story.  They love when mom talks in a spooky voice about in the beginning there was nothing, nothing but nothing and there was only God.  I’m envisioning a lot of scary movies in my future.  Anyways, they enjoy this story when we read it in the morning.  We’ve been doing some crafts that match the creation theme.  What has really captured their attention though was the new felt board set I got.  It’s from the Betty Lukin set.  The colors are so bright and they look good.  So over the past few days when the boys wake up from their nap, I’ve pulled out the felt board set.  The first time through I lay out all the pieces, read the story and hand out the corresponding piece alternately to each boy to put on the board.  I gave up on asking the boys to put them in a nice neat picture.  The attention lasts triple as long if they get to put the pieces wherever.  I truly mean it.  Yesterday Lance had the apple tree growing in the middle of the sea.  Oh well!  The second time through I let them try to pick out what piece I’m reading about.  That cognitive skill still needs some work; maybe it’s the hearing or the deciding or maybe it’s just maturity that needs help.  After that they just get to play around with the set.

I haven’t figured out whether they are auditory, physical or visual learners yet.  But with this bible story system that incorporates all the styles of learning, I’m hoping the stories stick with them.  So if you want to extend the bible stories that you might be reading, consider busting out the dusty ol felt board and see what your little ones do with it.  Always remember though, each kiddo will respond to things differently so don’t get upset if they snub the felt board, but it’s worth a try.

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Mom School – Singing Amazing Grace

I’ve seen pain on little faces.  I’ve known shame that no child of His should know.

God has granted me the privilege of being a mom to twin boys.  With that priviledge comes the responsibilty of showing them who God is.  While I desperately want to say that I’m portraying His image as our loving parent in a worthy manner, the truth is that I’m failing.  The truth is, I’m not the only mom that’s failing and I know other moms who carry this same guilt and shame with them too.

My guilt and shame comes from yelling at my kids, seeing their hurt expressions and having to come before God and ask forgiveness.  I’ve never know anything else that could humble me so much and do it so quickly.  For some moms, yelling doesn’t seem like a big deal when they do it and for others the temptation to yell just isn’t there.  But for those of us who do yell and God has laid a burden on our hearts about it, it’s a tough battle.  I was recently reading the parable of the prodical son.  Then a few days later I heard the song “Still Calls Me Son.”  What a wonderful song.  This song gave me an image that I now hold on to and it’s given me great comfort when I blow it and yell at my kids yet again.

I’ve never wondered if God would forgive me time after time for the same sin, like yelling.  I know He does.  It’s just hard to believe that He isn’t rolling His eyes each time and thinking when will she ever get it.  We get these kinds of wrong ideas about God primarily because of our own experience.  I want to win the Most Patient Mom of the Year award.  I do!  But I won’t, at least not until God finishes sculpting me as a mom.  I frequently sigh and think to myself that I’ve told these kids this same thing numerous times today already.  I know they are learning, but really, can they pick up the pace of learning today!  So it’s no wonder I’m hard on myself and I have to fight against bringing that image into my beliefs about God.  Like the song says, after where I’ve been should he take me back?  I would understand, I’ve disgraced Him.  I’ve shown my boys the oposite of God’s role as our loving and patient parent.   How many moms out there are just like me, tired, weary and wanting to be a better mom than we are?  I think there’s many of us moms just like that.  Praise the Lord that some moms will never experience this!

The truth is that God is watching for His own with forgiving eyes.  Yes, forgiving eyes and not incredulous, rolling eyes like mine.  After hearing the song I mentioned before, I now have a new image that comes to mind when I blow it yet again.  So I yell, immediately feel guilty then I stop myself and imagine a whole host of angels, with the most beautiful voices, singing Amazing Grace.  Anyone can come before God and confess without condemnation because of His amazing grace.  This grace still calls me to a higher standared of parenting my children, like not yelling at them, but it gives the mistakes a place to go when they do happen.  This has been a long process of allowing myself grace in mothering and one I’m still continuing on.  If you are right there with me, fealing guilty about your mothering, then try to remember that God’s angels are sitting in heaven singing Amazing Grace over you if you know Jesus as your savior.  This is an image that has done wonders for me each day.  I love it.  I have to say that those angels get plenty of choir practice with me as a mom.  Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound to this mom’s ears!

 

Tot School 34.5mo Twins – Marble Bowling

I am bowled out!  We went with grandma today to a pizza & game place.  The boys played virtual bowling, mini bowling and skee ball.  It was a lot of fun working on those gross motor skills.  After nap time today the boys asked for more bowling.  So here’s what I came up with so it wouldn’t be the same thing we had done all day.  I made marble bowling.  This bowling worked on the arm, hands and fingers in a narrow area with really small targets.  The bonus was I got to sit at the end of the table instead of standing.

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This is such a simple game to throw together and play.  I took 10 of those small pencil erasers and stood them up in the traditional bowling triangle at one end of the kitchen table.  The boys counted the number of erasures in each row with me and we identified all the colors too.  I sent them down to the other end of the table with a marble each.  At first it was fast, crazy throwing of both marbles.  After I got their attention, they calmed down and took turns rolling the marbles.  I had to pay attention because they really whip those marbles fast.  I would catch the marbles and roll them back.  We didn’t fuss with all the bowling rules.  I simplified it to taking turns rolling to avoid fighting.  We also took more rolls to get all 10 erasures down, sometimes taking up to 10 rolls to do it.

Lance stayed at the game for about 10min before he got bored with it.  James played for 20min and then he started throwing the marble around and kicking further away for fun.  This was a great little new game that worked on fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination and concentration.  I need to remember this one during the rest of this month when we have hot days over 100 degrees when nobody wants to play outside.

Tot School 34.5mo Twins – Putting Out The Fires

Yes, I haven’t been able to post in a few weeks.  It’s not because I didn’t want to.  It’s because my boys are about to turn 3yrs.  Responding to my discipline  has been a chore at times.  Naptime is when I write so while they have been protesting naps, it’s forced a pause in my blog.  But today they are off in dreamland having dreams of who knows what.  From what those two boys say when they are awake, I  know those dreams must be something.

Sometimes you come across an activity that really grabs the kid’s attention.  I’ve been working throught the ABCJesusLovesMe curriculum this summer.  We’ve worked on bible stories, memory verses, shapes, colores, numbers, fine motor skills and this fantistic activity of the week worked on gross motor skills.  I call it, Putting Out the Fires.  I took the boys out early in the morning to our driveway.  Early enough to beat this hot Texas summer temperature.  I took blue sidewalk chalk and made two ladders that were parallel to each other.  I made two ladders because sharing one ladder would probably result in someone getting hurt in all the hurried excitment.  I took orange chalk and drew what roughly looked like a fire at the bottom of the ladder.  I say it’s at the bottom, our driveway slopes and I didn’t want to mess up my ladder so the top is actually at the bottom.  I filled two kitchen bowls of water and threw in a sponge to each bowl.  I had the boys name all the colors that we could see: blue, orange, blue(sponge), silver(bowl) and clear water.  I made up this crazy story about our driveway being on fire.  I asked the boys if they could “climb” up the ladder, squeeze water out of their sponge onto the fire and keep going back and forth until the fire was out.  A bit lazy, oh but smart!  They lined up, soaked their sponge and stood ready at the bottom of the ladders.  I yelled go and off they climbed.  I laughed as they tried to erase the ladder instead of the fire.  James got tired of running back and forth after a bit so he decided to rub his sponge over the fire to put it out faster.  When we were all satisfied that our driveway was completely safe and fire free, Lance looked over at our car and said “OH NO!  The car’s on fire.”  So for the next 15min they basically wiped down every part of the car that they could reach.  I told them that I was so proud of my little firemen.  They were so brave and strong.

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Every day I look for what mercies God has sent my way in mothering.  This day I’m thankful for sidewalk chalk.  It was a great activity that sparked their imagination, moved those little bodies from high to low and everything is better when it’s wet, messy play.