Tot School 36mo Twins – Letter D

We got off to a great start today on the letter D.  We didn’t have to go anywhere and the boys were in a cooperative mood.  We began by reading our “D” Soundbox book and the number 4 book by Jane Moncure.  Then I taped a piece of paper, onto the table, that I had drawn a big letter D on.  I had the boys tell me the name and the sound of the letter.  I explained that we were going to put dot stickers all over the letter D.  The boys weren’t excited about it until they saw the sheet of stickers and realized what we were going to do.  Peeling the stickers off gives the boys some good fine motor skill practice.  I didn’t give them any directions on where to put the stickers.  James stayed neatly inside the D for most of the time while Lance outlined his D with the stickers.  When Lance got to the third sheet of stickers, he decided that he was done with the page and started himself as the paper.  For the rest of the morning someone was putting a sticker on their face or toes or on my nose.  When they ran up to put the sticker on me they would say “Here’s a dot!” and run off laughing.

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Last night I cut out a cute little felt dinosaur and made spikes to go with it for some preschool math.  I got the idea from http://www.littlefamilyfun.com/2013/09/stegosaurus-counting-game.html.  This morning I grabbed a die out of a game upstairs.  I put the body of the dinosaur on the felt board and laid the spikes out below.  I showed the boys how to roll the die.  James does a  decent shake but then he likes to pick out his number and show it to everyone.  Lance rubs the die between his palms before he throws it down.  We’ll have to do a bit more practice on the proper dice rolling technique.  Whatever number it lands on, that’s how many spikes you put up on the dinosaur’s back.  The boys both loved it.  Lance wanted the spikes put nice and even on the dino but James was fine with the spikes on the back, on the body itself and sometimes hanging out in the air.  That was a bit of role reversal.

 

 

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We read a few of our books on dinosaurs then I talked about archaeologists and paleontologists and how they dig for dinosaur bones buried deep in the ground.  So I set up their own dinosaur bone dig sensory bin.  I dumped out 3 bags of red beans and threw in a handful of dog bones.  I mixed it all up and the boys were so excited to jump right in.  They quickly found the bones, asked to do it again, asked for a third time then they got crazy.  James started throwing the beans off the table and laughing wildly which got Lance started in on the throwing.  I told them it was ok to throw them but they would have to do all the cleanup before we did anything else.  So throw and laugh they did.  They also picked up every single bean.  They used brooms, dump trucks, bulldozers and their hands to get all the beans.  I have to say it was mighty creative in the cleanup.

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Tot School 32.5mo Twins – Water Bead Sensory Bin

I have seen so many people post about how great water beads are for a sensory bin.  We finally got around to trying it out.  I think my whole family would agree that this was fun.  You do have to plan ahead for this activity because the beads take 6 – 12 hours to fully hydrate.

This is how it all went.  We were grocery shopping at Wal-Mart and everyone knows that you don’t leave that store with just groceries.  Especially if you casually stroll down the crafts aisles.  That’s what I was doing when I spotted a package of water beads on sale for $1.50.  I was so pleased, not only for the price but they were a beautiful purple color.  Having just boys, not much pink or purple comes my way so when it does my heart just rejoices.  We came home and I poured these tiny hard beads into our sensory bin.  They looked so small and I had the boys examine them before I poured the water in.  I even got to put in a Bible lesson too about the mustard seed being very small but faith even as big as a mustard seed can move mountains.

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The boys took turns pouring the water in and I helped with this.  Otherwise the water would have been poured on their brother, on me, on the cabinets, stomped in and thrown around.  I can never be too careful around these two.  After a few hours, we peeked back in and Lance shouted, OH, they’ve grown!  Through out the rest of the day they both asked to watch the beads grow.  The boys had to go to bed and wait until the morning to play with the beads.

 

 

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My husband even took a turn at running his hands through the sensory bin and he also liked it.  After breakfast I sat the bin down on the kitchen floor and the boys didn’t hesitate to jump right in.  The giggled as the squished the beads, raked hands through it and felt the new sensation.  I pulled out a few different water beads and we talked about how each one looked different but they were all the same color called purple.  We even looked at all the different shapes: round, oval, jelly bean, and a defunct crescent shape.

 

 

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I gave them two small measuring scoops and two small cups.  They scooped, they poured, they dumped into and out of in every combination imaginable.  They pretended the purple beads were blueberries and they made blueberry muffins for mom.  They played like this for a long time.

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If you have very active kiddos, then you know what came next, yes, the accidental spilling that lead to the intentional spilling and on to the rolling, hitting and throwing which crescendod into intentional squeezing and popping of the water beads, with jelly everywhere.  When it hit that point, all the fun stopped.

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My kitchen floor looked like we hit the play load of a gem mine.  I didn’t think to get a picture of that, no beads were left in the tub.  It took the better part of 30 min to pick up all those slippery beads from up off the floor and you bet I made those two boys do it themselves too.  Oh what fun they had while even picking up the beads.  Kids can turn anything into fun.  I need to remember that myself.  A note for those who have little ones that figure out how to smash the beads, the next time the water bead bin comes out, they get to the smashing really quick.  So for us, this may be a sensory bin that goes away for quite a while before it comes back out again.  We really enjoyed it though the two times we did it this past week.  Now we get to watch the beads over the next few days to see them evaporate and turn back into tiny hard beads.

Tot School 30mo Twins – S is for Swamp & Sea

The letter S has been really good.  The activities have grabbed the boys’ attention and they have been saying the sound of the letter S this week.  Early this morning we spent a good chunk of time just relaxing in our pjs and reading books about the sea and the swamp.  Picture a comfy two person chair and ottoman with big fluffy  pillows.  Now imagine me sitting indian style in the middle of this chair with a boy on each knee.  Lance has his rabbit and his mattress pad cuddled with him and James is snuggled up against my shoulder.  This was the best hour of reading that I’ve had in a long time and I usually don’t get but 10min of reading in before they are off again.  In fact, after I stopped reading, James took the books,  looked at the pictures and stacked the booked neatly on the table.   He is so into alligators and crocodiles that he leapt in joy and screamed every time we saw a picture of one.  I know, he’s weird.  He was even fascinated by the albino alligator at the aquarium.  He loved when it snapped its jaws.  I can picture him being the next crocodile hunter or something equally as risky.  Anyways, I’ve digressed.  Here are the top four books that we liked this morning.  I substituted sea anytime ocean was used.

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Later this morning I made a big sensory play area.  I put down a shower curtain, put water in one bin then added two drops of blue food coloring to look like the sea, used another bin and put green jello in it to look like a swamp.    I threw in some plastic animals that would live in each habitat and let the boys loose.

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They felt of everything at first and then they got to playing.  They were taking the animals and moving them back and forth between the two bins.  Lance would move the snake and say “He goes in the sea” then James would pull him out and say “He goes in the swamp.”  At some point all the animals went for a swim together in the sea.  DSC_0209DSC_0208

 

 

 

 

 

The boys made plopping, slurping and squishing noises to go along with the swamp theme.  They got a kick out of that.

As expected, since the swamp was made from food, if you call jello food, some eating happened along the way.

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After 30min or so, the boys were up on their feet slinging the animals around and splashing water.  All of this was ok until Lance grabbed the swamp bin and threw it across the kitchen.  It happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to tell him to put the bin back down on the ground.  Here’s my orange rhino toot!  I didn’t yell.  I stood there for a few minutes looking at what seemed to be a pound of green jello on my floor, then I calmly told the boys to go to their room so I could clean up.  It made me laugh to hear them in their room saying spankings were coming, they knew it was wrong.  So after I picked it all up I let the boys come back out.  I grabbed my mop and got the sticky stuff up before it dried.  That left the floor wet and wouldn’t you know, another s word, it was slippery.  So we all laughed as we slipped and slided out of the kitchen and off to our nap.

Tot School 30mo Twins – R is for Rainbow Rice

Tuesday and Wednesday there were no posts because this mommy was alternating between each twin having to put him back in the crib and putting the clothes and diapers back on.  Very frustrating to do for the whole nap time.  Today I gave them a chance to keep their clothes on, but in the first  5 min the clothes came off so I had one size bigger footed pjs waiting.  I put them on backwards and not only have the clothes stayed on but they haven’t climbed out.  One small victory for today!!!!!!!!!

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With all that chaos going on, I didn’t even attempt tot school.  If you or your child can’t handle anything else structured in a day, then don’t do it.  Learning takes place under calm and usually happy tempered times.  Today we tried again with a R activity.  We played with glow in the dark rainbow rice.  I took a bag of rice, divided it into three baggies, poured 1Tbsp rubbing alcohol and 1Tbsp of glow in the dark acrylic paint into each bag using a different color per bag.  I kneaded it until all the rice was coated, poured it out onto cookie sheets, set it outside in the sun to dry, then dumped all the colors into one big bin.  I added a few scoops, a car and a cup.

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The boys had so much fun.  They dumped and moved around and broke up all the rice clumps and now it is more like individual pieces of rice again.  They played for about 10min before the throwing of rice started.  Remember they are two, in the terrible twos.  So I quickly had to put it away.  Tonight though, I’m looking forward to taking it into their bedroom with the lights off and let them see it glow.  They love looking at their glow in the dark pjs each night before bed.  So this should be an extra treat.

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Scripture that says God’s mercies are new every morning is oh so applicable to my life with twin two-year olds.  When one day or even several days go very bad, each morning is a new day with the possibility that my children will act slightly better and to know that my attitude has been given a reset each morning and I just might be able to react to this terrible two stages a bit better today.  I laugh to think my mercy today is backwards pjs.  They really saved the day & my boys are sleeping so I can blog and other household things.   Sometimes life is just funny, uhum, after the height of chaos wears off that is.

Tot School 27.5mo Twins – K is for Kernel

Kernel?  What do you do with kernels and  two year-old twin boys?  I’ll tell you.  Turn them into a cool sensory bin that’s what.  This bin got them giggling like crazy.  I know, it didn’t seem funny to me but they had a ball.  Last night we played with it two different times and this morning we played with it again.  The great thing is it’s very easy to set up and clean up with no messy clothes!  I bought some cheap popcorn kernels at the grocery store and poured them in a plastic tub.  I threw in a measuring cup, 2 measuring spoons and two little people cars.  Nothing needs washing afterwards, just a quick sweep and throw the kernels back in the bin.  Here’s what the boys did with the kernels before I made it more educational.  They buried the measuring cup but left the bottom exposed.  When they dumped kernels onto it they made a clinking sound that raises the roof in laughter over and over and over.  They poured using the spoons, they buried the cars, they poured with their hands, they tasted, the rolled the kernels on the floor, they tried to bounce them and they just made mounds and raked their fingers though the bin.  Nothing complicated, but very entertaining to these two boys.DSC_0173

Since tot school is time that is focused on learning something specific, I asked the boys a few questions about the kernels.  Are they flat or round?  Hot or cold?  Soft or hard?  Bouncy or not?  Light or heavy?  They are 2, so I didn’t put much stock into their answers but it does give them practice in thinking about answers to my questions.  This was also a great time to work on being responsible.  When they got rambunctious and the kernels went flying across the floor, I’d corral the kernels back but the boys had to pick them up and put them back in the bin.  With that said, as I was sitting on the floor this morning I saw a truck load of kernels that are under the refrigerator waiting to be reached.  So be mindful that these things roll everywhere but they are easy to sweep up.  A great thing to remember is that I can simply pour the kernels back into the original container and they will keep for a long time.  Meaning we can do this again and again without buying anything more.  These small little kernels brought to mind the story of the mustard seed and so I’m grateful and have faith that God will lead me in my mothering and He will fill in the missing pieces of my parenting.

Tot School 27mo Twins – J is For Jello & Fine Motor Skills

The second day of the letter J was fun.  I was busy this morning at BSF, so we did tot school this afternoon.  While the twins took a nap, I made one box of orange jello and two boxes of raspberry jello.  When the boys woke up I cut the jello into small squares and dumped it all into a bin for some sensory play with two scoops, two spoons and five marbles that I added toward the end.

DSC_0136  The first thing those boys did was grab the spoons and start eating.  They are just being themselves, food is a priority and they ate and ate and ate a lot of jello today.

DSC_0139DSC_0141   Lance finally decided to pick the jello up with his hands to eat it.  I showed them how to squish it between their fingers and that started the experimenting.  What made my boys laugh?  Squishing it through their fingers, throwing it up on the sides so it sticks, feeding it to their brother, plopping it down, scooping & dumping, making it wiggle and jiggle in the bin, making it wiggle and jiggle in their mouths/in their hands/on their arms (you name it & they used it to jiggle) and of-course searching for the lost marbles in the jello.

DSC_0142  It wasn’t my favorite sensory bin, but the boys sure liked it.  When I threw in five marbles, they used their hands, the scoops and the spoons to fish them out.  They counted each one as they plopped it into my hands.  After the second search and rescue, they started throwing them back in the bin and mixing it all up so it would harder to find the marbles.

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After dinner we did a little fine motor skill work.  It was very easy for me.  I took a piece of small bubble wrap and tore it into two pieces.  I handed it to James and Lance.  They immediately sat down and started popping.  I immediately sat in the comfy chair for the next 15min as they worked hard at popping those bubbles.  It may not seem creative, original or impressive, but those boys got in a workout for those little hand muscles.

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Tot School 27mo Twins – Chilly Snow

Along with starting the weekly stories we have started back with a letter of the week.  This week’s letter is I.  As I was thinking about a good I project the twins came up to me asking for ice in their cups.  They love, love, love ice.  That’s when I remembered that Learn With Play At Home did a great sensory bin awhile back using cloud dough and ice.  I gathered up my supplies and asked the boys to help me make cloud dough.  It’s very simple.  We put 4cups of flour in a bowl, added 1/2 cup vegetable oil then got our hands dirty by mixing.  I also added a few drops of peppermint abstract to make it smell wintry.

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When it crumbled and held small mounds, then it was time to make our “snow” into something chilly.  I popped our bowl into the freezer for 45min.  When I took it out I moved it into a bigger plastic bin so the boys could play with it better.  But right before they dove in, I had them each reach into the freezer and place a few ice cubes in the bin.  That’s what makes this really chilly snow.

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I placed the bin in the middle of our kitchen because it has tile floors.  I let the boys start playing as I went off to quickly find some things to put into the sensory bin.  I came back with 2 cars and some measuring spoons, but o my surprise, the boys had gotten the stacking cups out of the toy bin and threw them in.  So that made a very fun bin to play in.DSC_0111

If you’ve been following my blog, then you would know that along with playing in the snow, a little of the ice had to be eaten because Lance eats everything.

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If I had thought about, I would have put down our shower curtain before playing.  This can get quite messy if they really get to playing.DSC_0115  In fact, this snow ended up everywhere in our kitchen.  The boys played with this bin for almost an hour.  DSC_0122During this time I had to go to the bathroom.  In the short amount of time I was away, they had dumped a truck full of snow onto the dog food box, the window sill and the kitchen chairs.  I know if I had come back and saw them just starting to make the mess that I would have yelled and gotten mad.  Since the huge mess was already made I just joined in the fun and we had a great time.  Cars were zooming around, hand and footprints as well as just toe prints were made and marching through the snow on the floor was a big hit.  Cups were filled and dumped and of course shirts and pants were used as rags to clean off their hands.  Did I also mention the fun of sampling this concoction?  The boys sampled, I just politely declined when the boys offered.  Now, for those of you moms who are clean freaks, think long and hard about whether you could handle this.  This was the mess of two-year old boys.  It took me half an hour to get it all cleaned up.  I swept, I mopped, I washed out the gunk from the broom, stripped each boy down because they were pasted and washed hands/feet/faces.  No amount of wiping with a towel would make them look clean.  It was worth it though.  To see the creativity of how each boy played in the snow and know that this was a sensory experience for sight, touch, taste and smell.  Besides, they are boys.  As the nursery rhyme says, little boys are made of dirt and a big dirty mess fit the bill this morning along with a bunch of laughter and learning.

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 Not a happy boy when momma said time to clean up!