Tot School 44mo – Insects & Quail

This past week, I was tired and only did about 1/4 of the activities for the letter I and Q from God’s Little Explorers. We began each day reading the story of Moses asking Pharaoh to release the Israelites. We tried to watch a few cartoon videos of the story, but both boys said the Egyptian slavery was too scary. We reviewed the 10 plagues that God sent to change Pharaoh’s heart. For the 1st plague of water turned into blood, I let the boys make a batch of red Koolaid. My boys got some strange looks that week when they told people that they drank blood. The 2nd was frogs so we hopped around like frogs and then I made a paperclip hop. Remember making those in elementary school? Third, we swatted in the air at gnats. Fourth, for the flies, I sprinkled pepper on their hands. Then they shook it off as we singed Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me. Fifth, for the diseased livestock, we got on all hands and knees, mooed like a cow and tipped each other over and acted like we died. Sixth was boils and we taped bubble wrap around our arms then popped the bubbles. Seven was the best. We took the small size marshmallows and had a hailstorm fight.DSC_0462
For the eighth, when the locusts came we made chomping noises and pretended to eat everything. Nine was darkness so the boys covered their eyes and tried walking around. Lastly the tenth was when the death angel came to kill every first-born child unless the blood of a lamb was on your door step. So we taped a strip of red construction paper over our front door.

We spent a lot of time that week singing “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, O,O, Let My People Go!..No, No, No, NOOOO!”

Sad to say, for the quail, we read the story of God providing for the Israelites while they wandered through the desert and watched the corresponding What’s In the Bible DVD. I don’t expect them to remember much of that story.


Tot School 44mo – Tents & Colors

This week, using inspiration from God’s Little Explorers, we started with the story of Abraham. We focused on the fact that Abraham lived in a tent since he and his wife was following wherever God led them. That meant that he lived in a tent that was portable. My husband and I took the boys out camping to get a small taste of what tent life is like. I briefly mentioned a few times that setting up and taking down a tent was time-consuming and boring, just like they had to wait for mom and dad to set up and teardown on their trip. We had talked about God’s promise that Abraham would have as many descendants as the stars in the sky. Unfortunately, we fell asleep before the stars came out so I made a quick and easy telescope for the boys to pretend see the star constellations. For this directions go to Kids Activity Blog at Lance really liked looking at all the constellations and saying their funny names.

Next we read the story of Joseph. We focused on two aspects, his colorful coat and grain. I spent all day making a rainbow ribbon jello salad. It made a lot so we are still eating it but it showed the kids what many colors look like together. We also did a fun color mixing lab. I got this idea from No Time for Flash Cards at I popped out a red, blue and green tab from a watercolor set and dissolved them in separate bowls of water. I gave the boys each an eye dropper. I put out a jar of water, a jar of vinegar and a jar of oil. I had the boys smell, taste and then guess at what the color would do in each jar. The eye dropper gave them plenty of pincher grasp practice. They were fascinated that the color water formed beads in the oil. After dropping color into the jars one at a time, they went wild and started mixing colors to form new colors. Ok, generally they made purple and if they had kept going it would have ending up brown. But they laughed and had lots of fun with the colored water. To remember that Joseph’s brothers got mad because Joseph’s dream had his brother’s grain bowing down to him and then he saved Egypt from a famine by gathering grain, I set up a rice sensory bin. We named all the different grains that we could think of, including rice. They love sensory bins and they love making a mess with them. We stopped playing when the rice went flying through the air across my kitchen. We ended the week by adding a few more pieces to our treasure map that represent each week. We are on our way to reaching “X marks the spot.”

Tot School 44mo -Apples & Zoo

We began the last week with reading the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. We talked a lot about sin and that both Satan and Adam & Eve told lies about eating the apple. We did some easy apple themed projects. We cut open an apple and used our magnifying glass to look at the core and the seeds. We did an apple tasting using one unpeeled apple slice, one pealed apple slice and applesauce. I showed the boys how to graph our findings and we counted on the graph different outcomes if other people gave their opinions too. We read The Apple Tree by Zoe Hall and 10 Apples Up On Top by Dr. Sues. Last year I made a small laminated set of apples and a small picture of each boy to go on our felt board. We spent some time adding the apples on the picture’s heads just like in the book. For additional counting fun we played Hi Ho Cherrio but called the fruit apples. Next we made a cherry pie. I don’t really like apple pie so we talked briefly about apples and cherries both being a red fruit. This time we took the short route. We used store-bought pie crust and canned filling but the boys had fun while working on fine motor skills during unrolling the dough and crimping the edges. Because the main point of Adam & Eve was that they lied to God, we read Eli”s Lie-O-Meter by Sandra Levine. Lastly we followed up with a visual about how God always knows when you lie. Nothing is invisible to God. We named several ways that we sin. I took a Q-tip, dipped in lemon juice, to write out a few of our sins on regular white paper. When it completely dried you couldn’t see the writing. When I held the paper over a candle, the acid in the lemon juice turns the writing a light yellow/brown color that reveals what was already there but invisible to us. I have to say, that experiment was challenging because at first Lance didn’t care about what we were doing, all he wanted was to keep blowing out the candle. So remember patience and safety with that project.
We spent the second half of the week working on Noah and the ark. The boys are very curious as to why Noah was the only person that was doing good at that time so we’ve really had bunches of discussions about sin this week. We did a zoo and rainbow theme for this story. We made sounds and movements to match every animal we could think of, we took the kid’s doctor’s kit and became veterinarians to all the teddy bears in the house then did some exploring on our brother too. I cut out a small letter Z and taped it to the bottom of a box. I put a few drops of black paint in the bottom with a marble. The boys shook their box to make the stripes for a zebra. Make sure the bottom of the box is completely flat or the marble will not roll very well, do this even if you want to be lazy that day. Then I wrote their names out in a yellow highlighter. I gave them some crayons and asked them to trace their names in different colors so that it looked like a rainbow. We finished out the week by sorting colored goldfish before we ate them. For more ideas on either of these stories go to for her God’s Little Explorers program.
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Little Summer Explorers

I’m a mom that likes structure. While many families take the summer off to enjoy random playing, I still like to have some structure to my day. I started a few weeks ago looking for something that would be fun for the summer. I easily found it when I came across God’s Little Explorers by Stacie Nelson. Due to my restricted time, I won’t be doing daily posts, I’ll be giving the weekly highlights. If you want to check out the program for yourself please take a look at http://www.motherhoodonadime and you can also get detail instructions on most of the crafts that we do for this program. We’ll be taking two units per week so we can cover the whole alphabet during the summer months.  Also, for your reference, my boys are 3.5 yrs old.

This first week was a lot of fun. We began by decorating a cardboard box to be our explorer’s kit. The boys mainly put stickers on the box and I wrote Explorer’s Kit on two of the sides. With that done, I explained that explorers used equipment to find valuable treasure. I hid each treasure item and marked it with an X made out of tape. The treasure equipment was 1 adult Bible, 1 kid’s Bible, 2 pencils, 1 pack of crayons, 2 magnifying glasses and 2 flashlights. Now our kit was getting full so we made the last item. We made binoculars out of tape, ribbon and toilet paper tubes. They were a hit.

Next we looked at the Bible they found. I told them that God’s word is our treasure. We looked at the table of contents, looked at how it’s divided into books, chapters and verses. I printed out “God’s word is a treasure,” with each word in its own circle, cut those out, buried them in a plastic bin with popcorn kernels and gave them some cups and measuring spoons to play with. Sensory activities are always a hit and usually require some cleanup. Then I read the story of creation from Genesis chapter 1.   I try to read the bible story for that unit from the adult version one day and the kid’s version the other times. We followed that up watching the first half of What’s In the Bible vol I dvd. After that I cut out a big piece of brown paper, made a squiggly line across it, labeled the beginning with the Bible and the end with a big X. Our theme for two days was X marks the spot. We practiced writing little X all over a big X, making X out of our body parts, making cheese pieces into the shape of an X and practicing the sound of X.


The next section focused on the garden of Eden during the creation.   We sounded out the letter G.  We looked at seeds under the magnifying glass, soaked the seeds overnight and cut them in half before looking at them again and placed a few in a baggie wrapped in a wet paper towel. The seeds were supposed to sprout but ours molded instead. We talked about seeds making plants and that they need water and sunlight to help them grow. We watched the second half of the Vol I What’s In the bible. I had plans to do a whole lot more with the gardening theme, but I got tired and we didn’t do them and give yourself some grace if that happens to you too. We went to see a really big garden at the end of the week. We went over to visit the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. The boys enjoyed it. They ran, they got to be loud, we had a picnic, they got to smell herbs and they even learned about some of the birds that might live in a garden. We wrapped up this week by adding a garden picture next to the Bible on our treasure map.


Tot School 338.5mo Twins – Peppermint Playdo

December is a busy month.  If I don’t watch how much I schedule, we’d be running and doing every second of the day.  Just a few days ago, Dallas had an ice storm.  We were cooped up inside for 3 days straight.  I just didn’t have the energy to keep up with twin boys one of those days.  So I decided to make homemade peppermint Playdo.  It was such a huge success.  The playdo came out like it was supposed to and the boys played for an hour with it.

Peppermint Playdo:

-Mix 5 cups water, 2 1/2 cups salt, 3 tablespoons cream of tartar and red food coloring if desired

-Cook on medium low heat until hot

-Add 10 tablespoons vegetable oil

-Stir in 5 cups flour, adding a little at a time

-Add 1 tablespoon peppermint extract and also adding any glitter if desired

-Mix over heat until no longer sticky

-Let cook and then knead slightly


In the past the boys would play for about 15 min before getting bored.  This time I gave them several pieces of plastic play wood, a plastic screwdriver, plastic pliers, measuring cups, plastic drinking cups and a broken end off the measuring cup for a knife.  Wow did that make all the difference.  I happen to have boys that love the show Mighty Machines.  The pliers became grapplers, the screwdriver became a metal grinder and well you get the picture.


Then we worked on making snowmen, complete with hat, arms and nose.  Lastly we made pretend ice cream using the cone from the play kitchen.  Lance sure knows how to name each of his ice cream flavors.


I have pulled out the two different colors of peppermint playdo three more times this past week.  Each time it was fun and long-lasting.  I am so glad I branched out and let them use some of their play things with the playdo.  I think that has made a big difference.  So whatever your child really loves to play with, try to incorporate that into playdo time and I bet your little one will enjoy playdo even more.


Tot School 37.5 mo Twins – Ice Science

It’s science time again.  This time we are experimenting with ice.  I began by pouring maple syrup, water, Dr Pepper, V8 Splash and milk into small glasses.  I let the boys look, smell and taste all of the liquids.   I set out a small ice-cube tray and gave a turkey baster to the boys to move the liquids over to the tray.  The turkey baster was a bit big and cumbersome for their small hands.


So after each boy attempted the baster, I gave them a small eye dropper to transfer all the different liquids.  When each of the 5 wells were full, minding that they were all filling to the same level, I asked each boy which liquid would freeze hard the first and which one would be last.  Lance predicted the Dr Pepper would freeze first and the milk would be last while James thought the maple syrup would freeze hard first and the water would be last.


I popped it into the freezer.  One hour later we checked on the ice tray by  poking our fingers on top of the ice.  The water was freezing the fastest and the V8 Splash was last.  Back into the freezer it went and one more hour later we pulled the tray back out.  The results from our very scientific scratching and eating method revealed that the water froze the hardest, then milk, then V8 Splash, then Dr Pepper and finally the maple syrup.  We didn’t talk about why or how things freeze.  We just applauded the winner and then ate all the remaining icy mixtures.  As Lance proclaimed, “Science is yummy!” so I’m glad they are forming great attitudes about science.


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.










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 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.



















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.



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.