Tot School 37.5mo Twins – Learning Basic Skills

What do we do all day?  How many times have I heard that question from parents who work.  We do a lot of the same things that kids in daycare do, we just do it at home on a more relaxed schedule during the day.  Lately we’ve been focusing on some basic skills.  I have to confess that using scissors isn’t high on my list of things to do.  Mainly because I have two kids trying to learn how to cut at the same time.  I can’t watch and correct and protect fingers at all times for both kids.  But  my boys still have to learn this skill whether I like to do it or not.  I just chant to myself “safety’s highly over rated!” and I get through it without making my boys paranoid of scissors.  It’s practice that makes cutting easier, not knowledge.  Teaching the boys how to properly hold the scissors takes patience with endless corrections and teaching how to move the paper to cut in a long straight line.  Each time we practice the boys get better at it and I’m not a wreck with scissor being thrust at each other in snapping motions.

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Connecting the dots is another basic skill that we’ve been learning.  Now that they have counting down from 1-10, we can do some fun things with counting.  I used abcjesuslovesme.com for their connect the dots shapes.  I taped down the diamond shape that only have 1-4 dots.  I gave the boys their big pencils and well, we are still working on the correct grasp.  It took a few times of explaining that they were supposed to start at 1 and trace the line down to 2 and so on.  When they got it they were really happy and they each identified the diamond shape.  Of course since they marked on their papers they had to  try out their erasing skills too.

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Next we worked on squeezing glue bottles.  This is a great workout for those fine motor skills.  We are working on the letter I this week so I printed out a bubble letter I worksheet.  Awhile back I took two bottles of Elmer’s glue.  To one bottle I added blue food coloring and to the other I added orange coloring.  Then I stirred and stirred and stirred.  It takes awhile to get it all mixed in.  I’d been waiting to find a use for those pretty glues.  I told the boys that we were going to ice our letter I just like a cookie.  So they squeezed and had a great time doing it.

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Our last basic skill was learning how to put real puzzles together.  Let me tell you, start this on a day when your patience is abounding.  It gets a bit frustrating at first.  We have a floor puzzle that’s great for beginners.  The boys were excited when I dumped all the pieces out of the box.  I showed them the difference between the straight-edged pieces and the inner pieces.  They were to help me sort them into two piles.  The showing & describing the straight edges happened many times during this first step.  Then we started to put the edges together.  Oi!  how many times did I say, does the round hole face outward and does the hole create a straight line?  Lance got bored with it rather fast but James stayed with it.  The first time around that boy didn’t tell the difference in any of the patterns.  I did have to remind myself that he might be color blind and to focus on the pattern shapes instead of the colors incase he really is color blind.  I let my frustration bubble over a few times because there is only so many ways to explain a straight line.  We got the puzzled done, James and Lance loved tearing it up.  Since that first try, James asks to do the floor puzzle every day.  So while I might have gotten frustrated, James clearly loved it.  We have done the puzzle two more times and each time he gets better.  Lance also stays around for a longer time too.  James is very careful not to lean or step on the puzzle while Lance tends to be careless and pulls the pieces near him apart.  So with lots of practice, they will get good at puzzles and some day they will be doing them with mom and dad and all of us will have a good time.

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