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.

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Tot School 33.5mo Twins – Big Art

Big Art.  It’s all over Pinterest.  What is it?  It’s big.  It’s anything that involves paint and moving your whole body. It’s really fun.  We had ourselves a whole morning of big art today.  We got our bodies moving, worked those gross motor skills and laughed our way through.

We started with some old fashion sidewalk painting.  We used Crayola washable sidewalk paint.  It washed off easily, but the blue did leave a slight color print behind in a few spots.  I set out a paint tray with blue, yellow and pink paint colors, chalk in white, purple and green colors,  with a bristle brush, sponge brush and a roller brush.  By far, the roller brush gave the best paint coverage and was the easiest for the boys to use.  I painted a basic mountain scene and the boys enhanced my picture.  I wrote their names in chalk and let the boys try to trace my letters. Their favorite things to do were making hand prints and foot prints.  When we were all done, I grabbed the water hose and sprayed it all off.  The boys even had fun with that.

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After the driveway dried out, we tried our hand at pop art.  I put down some cardboard, grabbed a bottle of vinegar, some temper paint, toilet paper and baking soda.  Our neighbors came over to watch this one and joined in the fun.  My first attempt didn’t pop so I won’t tell you what I did.  The second and third tries popped nicely so here’s what I did for those.  I took 2 Tbsp of baking soda and wrapped them in a sheet of toilet paper.  The paper just buys you some time pouring in the vinegar before it reacts.  I put that in one corner of a sandwich bag.  Don’t use high-grade bags like I did in my first try because they won’t pop well.  Then squirt about 1 Tbsp temper paint into the opposite corner of the bag.  Hold the paper back and tilt the bag up so you can pour about 1/3c of vinegar over the paint without getting the baking soda wet.  Seal it up and move back.  Gasses are released during this reaction and it causes the bag to swell and eventually pop, blowing paint on the cardboard.  James just loved this project as you can tell in the picture with his orange splatters all over his neck and face.  It also sprayed on the car, but it washed completely off.  I did wash it off immediately so I can’t say what it would do if you let it dry first.

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It took a bit more water spray to wash off the temper paint, but our driveway is back to looking good.  We all enjoyed doing big art today.  It’s what my toddlers love best, making a big mess.

Tot School 32.5mo Twins – The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I am just like a million other moms.  I have read my kid’s favorite books over and over until everyone in the house can recite them by memory.  Our current overused, I mean, well-loved books are My Big Train Book,  Everything Fire Engine Book, Sounds On the Go Book and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  While browsing on Pinterest, I saw a cute activity to go along with the caterpillar book.  For detail directions and the pattern go over to www.teachingheart.net.

I printed out the pattern and I decided that I would laminate my pieces so it would last longer.  It’s an easy pattern to cut and make.  I think it took a whole 10min to do so I highly recommend this because it takes very little prep.

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The basic idea is that as you read the story, your children will get to identify the items that the caterpillar eats.  I thought it would be a breeze since my boys can point out and say all the items in the book.  When they are in small, mixed up picture form on the floor, it was a bit more challenging for them.  Dad & I had to help them correctly identify all the items.

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For the first time try, I’m so glad that I had my husband’s help.  It was crazy even with his help.  They boys ran back and forth around each other from the book to the pieces to where dad was holding the actual caterpillar.  Plus add to the running, the excitement of something new and the quick grabbing of pieces due to the excitement and it was super crazy but fun.  I didn’t have any problems putting the pieces into the mouth of the caterpillar, but dad found that the boys had some trouble.  I figure that with some practice, the feeding and the identifying will get easier.  You can ask to identify the picture by the number of items in the picture, by what it actually is and by the color of the items.  The boys also had some extra practice with pronouncing the items.

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This one little activity works on color recognition, counting, object recognition, speech development, fine motor hand skills and the way my boys play it, they also got some gross motor skill developement in there too.  It is so easy to make and what a clever but simple activity.  I’m so glad I found this on Pinterest.

Tot School 28mo Twins – M is for Motor Skills

I dropped off the face of the earth last week so I could have the flu.  Now I’m back and since we missed most of the fun M activities, we are doing the M letter again this week.  Today we worked on motor skills.

Gross Motor Skills

This morning I took some string and hung a loofah puff from the ceiling fan chain.  I made it right at the boys’ head height.  Without a word of instruction my twins took off.  Running into it, hitting it, swinging it, pulling it and jumping at it.  Every time the loofah came swinging back and bopped them on the face they just laughed.  It actually got a bit much and mom had to settle the boys down so no one would get hurt.  It’s good to get those hands spread wide and bat at things in the air, to bend those legs and spring upwards, to use hand and eye coordination.  If I had given them a bat, it would have looked like crazy air T-ball but I think a few heads might have been wacked in the process.  Something to try another day or maybe another year.

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Fine Motor Skills

Pompoms.  Soft. Fluffy. Colorful.  Bring them out, add 2yr olds and you have an instant party.  I spiced up that party by adding two neon colored cups and two shiny tongs.  Lance went to town picking up the balls and putting them in his cup.  James took a bit longer to get the hang of using tongs.  After the small tongs were loosing their appeal, I brought out two large cooking tongs and the boys went into a frenzy of fun.  They were picking up toys, pompoms and each other’s shirts off their backs.  After a bit, their hand muscles must have gotten tired because they started dropping or missing the pompoms and they both got whiny.  So we put the tongs away and just used the cups to scoop up all the balls and drop them into a larger container for safe keeping.

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The boys’ were worn out after a busy morning of simple play.  I take for granted all the learning that can happen when we put away the toys and do a simple task or two.  I take for granted how sweet their laughter is when they are playing together.  I take for granted how God delights in watching all of His creation learn, grow and play.

Tot School 22.5mo – Shapes, Balance & Cleaning

James and Lance are so overtired that they just whined and cried over the smallest things.  So tot school gave them something to focus on today.  It went on all this morning, into the afternoon, to keep them busy, so they have learned bunches in just one day.  In fact, it’s been my favorite tot school time in the past few months, even with all the fussing and impatience.

We started out playing with our shape sorter ball.   While I did have to referee taking turns putting the shapes in, Lance repeated the trapezoid name back to me today.  Last week in church nursery, one of the teachers said he was impressed that our boys knew the oval name.  Just think how surprised he’ll be if Lance identifies the trapezoid next week.   I think it wan’t until elementary school that I learned the trapezoid.  Makes me laugh thinking about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next I pulled out our medium size green ball.  The boys just love anything to do with balls.  So it was really easy to get them to practice their gross motor skills by sitting on the ball.  Like everything else, they each completed it at differing ability levels.  James had a harder time staying on the ball because he just couldn’t keep his feet and arms still.  Lance though just jumped on and sat like a hen on an egg.

That’s my little hen!

 

So while I’m at it with the teaching thing, how about getting an early start on combatting personal entitlement.  When I look into the future, I don’t want to see two eighteen year old boys who think that life and everyone in it owes them something.  So I’m trying small things now to help lessen those awful teenage years of entitlement.  So while learning to help mommy clean the house, right now, is totally fun, it’s setting the stage that everyone in the family has responsibilities.  I gave each of them a clean, damp rag and showed them how to wipe off the window sill in the kitchen.  Lance just went nuts over it.  He cleaned the window sill, the window itself, the door, the floor and three other windows/sills before he stopped.  When I praised Lanced in a big way, James ran over to get his rag again and started cleaning the floor too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best part was when I grabbed my long arm duster to get the cobwebs off the ceiling and walls.  By this time the boys had little patience left and they following me around crying for the duster.  It’s moments like that  when I have such a hard time holding my tongue.  When I finished my dusting, it was evident that while they may have been whining and crying, they had been watching me.  They giggled when they each got a long arm duster.  Away they went through the house dusting everything they could.  The floor even got dusted.  This one activity kept them busy for 30min.  Now it will take me 15min to straighten up anything that is hanging on the walls, but that’s not a bad trade-off.

 

 

The cleaning ended when James hit Lance on the head, I think by accident, so Lance went charging, not by accident, at James with the handle looking like a javelin.  So while I might have made an impact on entitlement and responsibility, the concept of kindness might need to be revisited very soon.  The chores that I find hard to fit into my schedule turned out to be my mercies in disguise today.