Tot School 35.5mo Twins – Rainbows

DSC_1197

This week we are learning about the story of Noah.  I love that the boys are picking up on what they hear.  This morning I heard the boys talking to each other about animals that were two by two.  It was a good encouragement since you never know how much those little minds are grasping.  To emphasize the story, I talked about why God gave us rainbows.  If you don’t know, it’s a promise from God that He will never again flood the earth and destroy all people.  I had printed off a rainbow from ABCJesusLovesMe.com.  I taped that down to the kitchen table.  I set two chairs next to each other so the boys could work together on one page.  I started out helping each boy squeeze glue onto an arch of the rainbow.  We started on the inside of the rainbow first.  I gave each boy some fruitloops that corresponded with the arch color and I let them place the fruit loops on the glue.  I helped them learn how to place the loops side by side without much gap.  They each started on the opposite end of the arch and worked towards the middle where they met.  This was a very simple and easy project.  The only thing I had to watch for was them eating the fruitloops.  I had decided to let them do one page together because I didn’t think their attention span would hold doing a full rainbow each.  This worked their hand/eye coordination and their fine motor skills.  No wow factor on this project, but my boys liked it and I like anything that helps them remember the Bible stories that we read.

P.S.  I didn’t even think about what color pattern a real rainbow is, so don’t laugh that it’s out of order.

DSC_1198

 

Tot School 35.5mo Twins – 10 Apples Up On Top

10 Apples

As I mentioned yesterday, I worked on my new felt pieces to go with the book 10 Apples Up On Top.  It’s a good counting book and anything by Dr Seuss is good.  Here’s what I made and the boys just love it.  They really like anything that shows themselves at this stage.

-I took a full length horizontal picture of each boy

-I downloaded onto my computer

-I copied each picture into a powerpoint slide, horizontal page with picture resized to about 4″ person and I added an apple clipart image to the free space remaining then printed the page out in color

-I cut the pictures out, laminated the boys’ pictures and cut them out again

-I cut small strips of felt and used elmer’s glue to attach the felt strips to the back of the pictures

-I drew 20 apples on red felt, using the apple clipart cutout as my template

Whew, now that was done we could have some fun.  I read the book 10 Apples Up On Top and had the boys add the corresponding apples on top of the “felt James” and “felt Lance.”  We did this several times.  This morning we read through the book and then we pulled out the felt pieces.  This is a great way to work on addition and subtraction while just having fun.  Any combination of numbers will work with this.  Lance even decided that when he subtracts it’s fun to pretend to eat the apples.

DSC_1193

Tot School 35.5mo Twins – A is for Apple

It’s the tried and true apple theme today.  I’m sure my great, great, great-grandmother learned the letter A by saying the word apple.  Well, maybe not because I don’t think women were educated back then.  Never-the-less, the apple is the classic picture for the letter A.  Yesterday and today we tried out a few apple things. 

Yesterday we had a friend over to make a new recipe of apple pie play do.  I got all three kids up to the kitchen table with wooden spoons ready.  I let the kids measure out the ingredients and dump into the bowl.  It was a weird recipe because it called for real apple pie filling.  In went all the ingredients and the crazy stirring by three kiddos was fun to watch.  The day before I had envisioned a brownish colored soft play do with the most delicious smelling aroma of apples.  The kids squashing it, rolling,it, tasting it and having a good time.  This would be the ushering in of fall.  How lovely.  That was not what happened.  The mixture turned soupy and no amount of stirring was going to change that.  The color was a grey shade and it did smell great when you had your nose stuck in the bowl of mush.  So I set that aside and later it just went into the trash.  Apple project #1 was a bust.  I pulled out the regular play do and while I was a bit disappointed, the kids didn’t care that we played with regular play do.

DSC_1175

It’s all over pinterest.  It’s apple stamping.  I’ve seen some really cute art done with apples and we gave it a try.  It is fun.  I took three apples.  I left one whole, one sliced in half and one I cut into 1/8ths.  I placed the apples on a big plate and set a saucer of red paint with it.  I just told the boys to have fun without any instructions.  I wanted to see where their own creativity would take them.  They smiled and stamped away.  Stamped the paper, stamped the table, stamped their shirts and stamped each other.  It was so cute, at bible study their teachers stamp their hand and say God loves you, so while they got carried away stamping each other they laughed while saying God loves you.  They were each making some good art.  But as all painting techniques go, they ended with their favorite smearing technique.  Thus making their papers look like one giant smear of red.  Apple project #2 wasn’t a bust but not a good ending piece of art.  By the way, my boys had so much fun doing this that they were covered with red paint so make sure you use a good washable paint like Crayola’s.

DSC_1186

 

Our last apple project was great.  We made adorable apple cores.  We ate our last apple this morning and I showed the boys what the core looked like then we made our own.  I quickly cut the sides off a paper plate.  I cut a stem and leaf out of the discarded plate part.  I helped the boys each hold a sharpie pen in the correct pencil hold as I helped them draw two black seeds in the center.  I poured out some crayola red paint and gave the boys each a small square of sponge for dabbing on the paint to the wavy edges.  It was going well, things were controlled.  I thought we were going to have perfect apple cores.  You know, the ones that look just like the pictures on pinterest?  Ha, Ha.  Those are never made by children but rather the parents that post the one that they themselves made as the example for their kids to follow.  Well, the sponges briefly went from dabbing to you guessed it, smearing , as always.  I quickly stopped it and thus we have cute, definitely made by kids, apple cores.  When the paint dried, I taped the leaf and stem onto the top.  When we walk by the apple cores we count the seeds.  It was our best apple project.

DSC_1187

 DSC_1192

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did read 10 Apples Up On Top today.  It is a book that made Lance just laugh out loud, but I don’t find it that funny.  After I finish this post, I’m cutting out a cute apple counting game to go on the felt board.  If it turns out good I’ll post a picture of it tomorrow.

Tot School 35.5mo Twins – A is for Alligator and Ant

We’ve started our week featuring the letter A!  Yea!!!  I love our alphabet learning. 

We started Monday morning watching the “A” program on Starfall.com.  The boys both like this and it’s free for the alphabet pages.  So we sounded out the letter A and the boys just loved the alligator on the program.  They like to make the chomping sound with hand motions for alligators.  That gave me the idea of making alligator skin.  I printed off an alligator on regular paper.  I poured out some Crayola washable green paint.  I showed the boys how to bunch up some bubble wrap and dip it into the paint then dab it up and down.  It makes a cute bumpy print.  Not exactly real alligator skin, but it works.  I had to remind them to just dab because their favorite technique with paint is a big wide smear.  We talked about smooth verses bumpy and what alligator skin must feel like.  The boys were all excited and described the skin with very vivid words.

DSC_1161DSC_1162

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next animal project of ants comes from ABCJesuslovesme.com.  I printed out the capital and lower case letter A.  I had the boys identify whether they were capital or lowercase.  Lance happens to get this concept easier than James.  I taped down the paper, poured out some red finger paint and I held their fingers one at a time for this project.  We used the first three fingers and held them together, dipped them in paint and put their fingerprints all over the “A”s.  After each child, I took him straight to the bathroom to wash up and it comes off easily.  After the paint had some time to dry, I drew little antennae and legs on the fingerprints to make ants.  This was super easy and cute.  Cute enough that it may be a keeper.

DSC_1181

Ofcourse there are lots of other animals that start with the letter A, but we worked on just these two animal crafts while we practiced saying the A sound.  Later this week we’ll tackle the apple and maybe the acorn too.

Tot School 35mo Twins – Educational Playdate

Today was so much fun.  We had a friend over for an educational playdate.  It’s a day where we take a break from our normal learning, the boys practice sharing and mom gets a glimpse of what it will be like when we add another little one later down the road.  These playdates are right up my alley.  If you want to do an educational playdate instead of the usual let all the kids play with toys, then here’s an idea of how it flows.  For your playdate, have fun with different activities.

The morning started with burning off some energy.  Three active boys, they needed this before they could settle down to do anything that required focusing.  I blew up my jumpalene and let the boys go wild.  I have a rule that only soft balls are allowed in the jumpalene and I told all three boys the rule.  So my boys started throwing the balls in with abandon while our guest was just as passionate about the balls being outside the jumper.  A little ball war ensued, but that was ok as long as no one was getting upset.  A bit of rough jumping and rolling around happened before all three were playing chase around the jumper.  This calmed them down some so we could move on to the educational activities.

I love science.  I do.  I don’t like math, but science is my thing.  So we did some science today.  I pulled out the goggles because every science experiment requires safety goggles, at least that’s what I heard in class, but these just helped make the project fun.  Yes, this is an engineering house, we do have three sets of goggles that don’t even include the ones from my work.

DSC_1135

Before our friend arrived, I had set out a broiler pan, put some baking soda into a small cup and then fashioned a quick volcano.  Yes, it only took 2-3min to make so you can do this.  I took foil, crumpled it up, spread it out, crimped it around the edge of the cup and let it sorta flow down to the pan.  I set that out on the kitchen table.  I told them that volcanoes were big mountains with hot liquid in the middle that sometimes erupted.  I let the boys look down into the volcano and I explained that the white powder was baking soda and it was alkaline.  Then I poured three cups with several drops of red food coloring, several squirts of dish washing liquid and some vinegar.  I gave each boy a glass and said it as an acid.  Not that I expect them to remember this, but I said there’s a big line with acid on one side and alkaline on the other end with neutral in the middle.  I spread my arms out wide to demonstrate a long line and I pointed to the left several times towards the alkaline and had the boys say alkaline and did the same things to the right with the acid.  Oh and I did this all in a cheesy cheerleader fashion which I’m sure helps with the retention.  We let each boy pour in his vinegar and watched the lava flow.  I pointed out the little bubbles that were rising to the top and everyone could see the big bubbles rising and popping.  I quickly said that was gas escaping from the reaction.  We pushed the tray around several times so everyone got to make it erupt more than once.  Like I mentioned, it’s not the remembering of the details that I want the boys to grasp, but rather hearing the words so that they aren’t foreign and making it fun so the boys will cultivate a love of learning science. 

DSC_1139

After each educational activity we try to let the boys just  play with toys because the attention span of sitting and listening isn’t that long at this age.  When we rounded the boys up again, I had scattered laminated alphabet letters all over the floor and I had already tacked up a coconut tree to the closet door.  We started with A and let each boy find the next letter.  I put putty on the back of the letter and the other mom helped the boys stick the letter to the tree.  Occasionally we had the boys give the letter’s sound that they were holding.  After all the letters were up, I read through the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Our last activity, after a bit more free play, was working with playdo.  Each boy got to pick which color he wanted to work with, that way there would be no color mixing.  When the playdo first came out in a ball, I stuck a pipe cleaner in each one.  I showed the boys how to thread cheerios onto the pipecleaner.  This helps those fine motor skills.  Our friend did a few then ran off to play, Lance did about 8 then just played with the playdo and James stuck with it longer before he played with just the playdo.  Obviously this wasn’t a big hit. 

DSC_1141

Sometimes the activities will last a long time and others will fizzle right from the beginning and sometimes just one kid will love it while everyone else moves on, but don’t be discouraged.  It’s not a personal failure on the moms if everything isn’t exciting and fun.  This playdate is about letting the kids learn in a group environment, which includes sharing, taking turns, working around distractions, listening to other adults give directions and still having fun.  If your kids aren’t in official preschool or daycare, these types of experiences will help them gain those socialization skills.  It’s also comforting as a mom to try some of these things with the backup of another mom there to help out.  As I heard in a parenting class, practice is what happens at home so look at this as a time of practice.  If someone yells, grabs toys away, throws a tantrum or is easily distracted, it’s ok because it’s just practice for a latter time when you are out in public.  Believe me when I say that plenty of disobedience and disruptions happened.  This type of playdate takes planning but the learning and fun is worth it.  We our blessed to have really good friends to play and learn with.

Tot School 35mo Twins – Creation

We are back in full swing with tot school and today the boys are taking a nap so I get to blog.  Yea!  I’m getting a lot of my ideas from www.abcjesusloves.com.

We have started our bible learning along with the alphabet.  Yesterday we read through the story of creation in Genesis.  I’m using the spooky nothing story that I mentioned in an earlier post.  The boys are just captivated by it and now they can even say parts of the story too.  I asked a few questions to help the story sink in.  Lance had me laughing when I asked why we needed light during the day, his reply was the stars needed to go to sleep too and they can’t stay out for us to see them when the sun is shining.  Since God made the earth and it’s round, I went with a full circle theme for many of our activities.  We made round earths by taking coffee filters, marking them with green and blue markers and dropping water around the filter.  They come out looking like a view of earth from space.  Pretty cool and really easy.  Earlier I had made a turnable wheel with the days of creation in pictures.  The first time through the wheel, I described what God had made on that day.  The next time around I had the boys tell me what God made on that day.  They can’t tell me what number of day each thing was created on yet, but give it some time and they’ll have that down too.  Lance really likes to spin the top part of the wheel around regardless of what we are doing.  Again, I retold the creation story using Betty Lukin’s creation flannelgraph set.  I can’t say enough good about that set. 

We moved on from the activities that directly related to the bible story.  We talked about how God created the earth to be round.  Round things are usually circles.  So off we went to explore circles.  I printed out a big number 0 and let the boys use markers to color it.  Not only did we talk about the number 0 and that it meant there was nothing, they got some great fine motor skill practice by taking the caps on and snapping them completely back on.  They also got some great color on them, but we used the washable markers and it all came off.

 

 

DSC_1129

 

Next I put down a plain white sheet of paper, scattered out some round lids that I had been collecting.  Anything from sour cream container lids to milk jug lids.  I put a big dab of Crayola washable paint of blue, purple and yellow onto three separate saucers.  All I had to say was make circles and the boys had a ball doing the rest.

 

 

DSC_1130

I made a few days ago some tactile numbers using sandpaper.  It always helps to cover all the styles of learning.  So we covered touch too while we felt of the number 0.  James wasn’t as thrilled about this activity.

We cuddled up on the overstuffed chair and read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  After reading it, we just had to make round, chocolate chip cookies.  I have the best little bakers in Texas!  Now we can also taste a circle!

When dad came in, we stopped the circle theme and did some hands on creating ourselves.  We recently found a set of wedgets.  These are great.  They are square and diamond-shaped hard pieces that stack together.  the sky is the limit with your building.  It helps the boys understand sizing, stacking, coloring, dimensions and balance.  If you haven’t seen these, check them out.

 

 

DSC_1133

 

DSC_1131DSC_1132