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  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.








Our next animal project of ants comes from  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.


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 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.


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.









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 33.5mo Twins – Spin Art

This is such an easy and fun art project to do with kids of all sizes.  Grab a salad spinner from the kitchen.  Cut a sheet of paper the size of the bottom of your spinner.  That’s all the setup that’s required.

I let the boys take turns pouring small amounts of Crayola washable paint onto the paper.  I put the top securely on and set the spinner down on the kitchen table.  Our spinner is a pull string type so it gave my boys a good arm workout.  They enjoyed seeing how hard and fast they could pull the string.








Because the bowl was sitting right at eye level with the boys, they got a good look as the color quickly spun out to the bottom edge of the bowl.  They thought it looked neat.  We opened up the top and there sat our artwork.  Beautiful colors everywhere.  It was an easy project, but the boys liked doing it and we have a fun piece to hang on the fridge that doesn’t take up much room either.


Tot School 33.5mo Twins – Live Construction

Today’s tot school was done on the road, literally. 

I’m just flat worn out with the newly developed temper tantrums and getting them down for a nap.  This morning the boys woke me up at 6:30AM and I just stared at them wondering how I was going to get through the day.  After my husband graciously let me go back upstairs and get a shower, I was able to get my brain in gear.  I was thinking after the shower but I still needed to figure out what we were going to do besides sit at home and me watch fit after fit from the boys.  We have many books that go over different construction machines that my boys really like to read and every time we drive down 635 with all the construction, the boys just point and talk and have a good time looking at the machines.  So I quickly told the boys to eat, I got them dressed and out the door with a snack and their water.  When we got going I told the boys that we were going to watch big construction machines today.  They cheered then forgot about it as they were singing and looking out the windows.  When we got to the construction area on 635 they turned their attention to the work going on out their windows.  There was so much stop & go traffic at 9:45 in the morning, so we inched along for about 20min before I found just the right spot to pull in to to watch the action.  I parked in this parking lot for office buildings  right off the service road.  The boys were asking what we were doing and I said to be patient while I unbuckled both of them because I had a surprise waiting.  When I let them both out of the car and pointed them towards the orange construction fence, they just grinned and took off running.  We found a nice little grassy curb to make our viewing area. 

Oh the machines that we saw!  Side by side excavator/bulldozers, steam roller, fork lift, cement truck, big jack hammers, plain excavators and the list goes on.  The most exciting machine was a drill.  I’m talking big!  It was stationed and running right across from where we were standing.  It just captivated my boys.  They stood so still with their eyes glued to the action.  What could be better than that?  Let me tell you.  I pulled out their water cups and a full container of banana puffs, which are a treat around here.  They stood at the chest high fence with their cups pulled tightly to their chests or they sat them down next to them while I handed palm fulls of puffs to them.  Some people can sit and eat popcorn with their eyes glued to a movie, well this was their movie like watching experience.


We named all the machines, talked about the movements that each machine did, what the workers were wearing, the sounds and the smell of dirt everywhere.  This was a language packed tot school that didn’t have to relate back to reality or experience, it was real-time learning.


The best part of an hour of watching this morning was the cheering for the drill.  It was so loud and obnoxious that even the workers looked up and started laughing.  The huge drill would spin down into the ground, pull back up, move the bit over and spin it fast so that the dirt clogging the bit would fly off everywhere in a big cloud of dust.  My boys raised their arms and screamed yea!! woohoo!! and (my personal favorite) good job drill!  No wonder those construction workers were laughing.  They don’t have a cheering audience every day.


The traffic and the waiting on 635 is normally annoying, but today it was my mercy from God.  This activity was unplanned, free and very fun.

Tot School 33.5mo Twins – Lemonade

Twodaloo had the cutest post on a pretend lemonade day so I stole her ideas and we had ourselves a lemonade day this morning.  It was really fun and kept the boys’ attention for about an hour.  Yesterday I added some rice to a ziplock gallon bag.  To this I poured a big dash of rubbing alcohol, one packet of lemonade Koolaid, two big squirts of yellow food coloring and kneaded it until the color was evenly distributed.  I poured it out on a big cookie sheet and let it dry out.  It  dries crunchy so you have to work it with your hands to separate the grains before play.  It smelled so great, just like being in a lemon grove with all that citrus smell.  I poured the rice into a plastic pitcher with a lid for play the next day.

This morning we made lemonade and I let the boys have a taste.  If you are going to have a pretend play session, then you need to have experienced the real thing to make any connections. 


I spread out a blanket in the front lawn.  I set two trays out, each containing: DSC_0963

        1 condiment cup with 3 marbles to be used as ice

        1 condiment cup with gold glitter to be used as sugar, use white or silver glitter for a more realistic effect (we only had gold in the house)

        1 real lemon

        1 small cup

        1 measuring cup

        1 wooden spoon

        1 teaspoon

        1     1/4tsp measuring spoon

        1 tongs

The boys were so excited when they saw it.  At first they just looked at everything and said ohhhhh! Look!


Then we got down to some playing.  They poured from the big pitcher into all the little cups,  dumped the little cups out,  scooped the marbles, stirred in the sugar, grabbed up the marbles which was a challenge in those little cups and we poured the rice back into the pitcher over and over.




Besides all the great manipulation skills that they practiced, we got in some good word practice too.  We talked about what everything that they were using was called, what each motion was and we talked about the texture, hardness, color and smell of the real lemon.  We are building a wealth of vocabulary words that our boys can use.

If you want to make this non-messy play, just leave out the glitter.  The glitter stuck to everything.  We had to go in the backyard and hose off because we had so much glitter on us.  It looked like Lance had been dipped in a vat of gold.  I didn’t take any pictures of the blanket near the end.  Depending on your child, they may pour carefully and neatly, however, my boys aren’t too neat.  I started with a full pitcher of rice but I ended up with only 1/2 left to store away for later play. 


This was definitely one of my favorite tot schools and I think the boys might say the same thing too.  So I’m counting a$1.00 bag of rice as my mercy for the day.  Have fun, go out to make your own sensory pretend lemonade and enjoy summer!

Tot School 33.5mo Twins – Hidden In My Heart

I love it when I have great crafts to go along side a scripture or bible story for my boys.  Just the other day I was telling my boys that if they learn what the bible says it would help them learn to obey me and God.  Every time I talk about what the bible says, I use it gently and try to make it something fun to learn.  I used for my printables on this craft.  I let the boys try to cut out the hearts and bibles that I printed out on white paper.   Two hearts and one bible per kid.   What I got was many tiny cuts along the edges of the papers, so I followed behind them and cut along the outline.   I asked the boys to color the hearts and the bible.  Interesting that Lance chose mainly dark colors instead of bright colors.  I didn’t suggest or comment on the colors because it’s their creations.  However if I was coloring it, I’d make it bright yellows and blues like James did, but slightly neater looking. 


  As we were saying the verse out loud together, I wrote a short version of it on the front of two hearts: “I will hide your Word in my heart, so I will not sin against you.”  I punched big holes with a hole punch around the edges of all the hearts.  I gave each boy a long shoe lace and helped them lace it through the holes.  Shoelaces work great because of the stiff plastic end helps guide the lace through holes easier.  I held the two pieces of hearts together for them at the start then I let go and let them do it on their own.  Look at Lance’s mouth and you will see evidence that while this looks so sweet and calm, chaos usually creeps in the activities so have no fear if your little one or little ones don’t always look this organized and obedient.  Lance tends to ignore my corrections and tries to sneak in a little snack of colored wax when mom is helping James out. 

DSC_0921 You can see in the picture that each boy had a different way of lacing and that’s all part of the learning.  Lance likes to play with the lace and twist it while James is about making his neat and in order.

DSC_0922  They both giggled when they tore the holes and laughed when they knotted the lace too.  When that was done, they each got to slide their colored bible down in the pouch of the hearts.  We hung them up on the fridge and said the verse each day for the next few days.  So on this day, I counted my mercy as a little shoelace that helped to make a big impression on their hearts.


Tot School 33mo Twins – 4th of July Art

We are ready to celebrate our country’s birthday and we are excited.  We have the little “pop its” for our boys to pop on the ground, a few sparklers, lots of ice cream, some neighbors coming over to watch the fireworks from our front lawn, we’ve been practicing the pledge of allegiance and we have two fun pieces of patriotic artwork hanging in the house.  I’d say we are ready.  Let the fun begin!

Our first project I call the Freedom Bomb.  I haven’t had the pleasure of trying to fill water balloons with watered down paint, until the other day.  Not the easiest thing, at least not the cleanest thing I’ve ever done.  Let’s just say I had paint on most of my kitchen surfaces.  Thankfully I was using Crayola Washable Fingerpaint.   I tried to put the balloon tip over the paint tube and squeeze some paint in and then tried to stretch the balloon tip over the kitchen sink faucet.   I had visions of a dozen water balloons for my boys to throw and I quit after only four due to my rising frustration over these little play things.  Those four were great though, they were in the shape of grenades.


  We took them outside and I put a large white poster board piece on the sidewalk.  I gave the boys permission to throw them down on the poster board.  I didn’t realize how hard the balloons would be to break.  After the boys tried seven or eight times without success, I picked one up and it didn’t break either.  So in my most ridiculous, over exaggerated way, I pushed up my sleeves, flexed my muscles and let the boys feel them, told them to stand back, I planted my feet apart and threw the balloons with all my might.  They broke, to the delight of my boys who oohed and yelled “smack!”  We all had a good laugh at our water balloons.  I gently moved the board out into the grass so I could wash off the paint from the sidewalk.  Sadly, while this paint washes effortlessly off everything else, it didn’t come off the cement so we will be seeing red and blue starbursts until it wears off.




When the paint had dried, we brought it back inside and I wrote Happy 4th of July, America on it.  Then I gave a pack of glitter stars to the boys and let them stick them all over the board.  I don’t get it, the boys were fascinated with putting the stars right on top of my lettering.  Well, they enjoyed it and peeling the paper off the back of the stickers gave their fingers a work out.




This morning I poured a small amount of red and blue Crayola Washable Paint onto two saucers.  I taped two pieces of white paper onto the table.  I took two drinking straws and with scissors I cut the ends right on the lines and splayed the end out.  I handed the cut straws to the boys and told them to make fireworks on their pages.  They really enjoyed this.  James carefully stamped his straw while Lance did a twirling action mostly with his.  They each produced very different pieces of art.













While I just love all the decor, the food and friends that gather for this holiday, I’m very thankful for our freedom in America.  Thankful that I can freely tell my boys about a merciful God who loves them even more than I could ever love them.  Happy 4th everyone!