Monday, February 20, 2012

And It Begins!

So here we go, my first attempt at a blog.  This is mostly for me to use as a way to keep track of my daily activities with my two toddler sons, but I also hope it can help anyone else who is looking ideas or guidance on day to day things to do with their toddler(s).  I have no formal education in child education.  I do have three years experience as a stay at home mother. 

My goal is each month to offer a months worth of themed books, art/craft ideas, pre-math concepts, music and movement ideas, sensory table/tub fillers, open-ended questions, and other reading/language activities.  Most times I'll list more books and art/crafts than fit in the "plan" to offer variety.  I'll also try to list the fine motor and gross motor skills practiced, science aspects, and dramatic play tie-ins.

Nothing is set in stone.  We do "lessons" based on what my kids are telling me.  Some days the oldest, who's three, is all about school and doing lots of projects.  Other days we do hardly anything at all.  They set the pace.  If it's not fun for them it's not going to be fun for anyone.  So lets get started:

    Color: Green    Letter: G,g   Number:3
Week One: Feb.26th-Mar.3rd  Theme - Weather
Book List:
I Am Water by Jean Marzollo
Down Comes the Rain by Franklin Mansfield Branley
Walter Was Worried by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell
Rain by Manya Stojic
Splish! Splash!: A Book About Rain by Josepha Sherman, Jeff Yesh
Ohio Thunder by Denise Dowling Mortensen
Thunder Cake by Patrica Polacco
The Umbrella by Jan Brett

Wake Up, Sun! by David L. Harrison
Sun Song by Jean Marzollo
Why the Sun and the Moon Live In the Sky by Elphinstone Dayrell
Sun Dance, Water Dance by Jonathan London, Greg Couch
The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Franklin Mansfield Branley
The Sun by Seymour Simon

It's Snowing, It's Snowing: Winter Poems by Jack Prelutsky
Curious George In the Snow by Margret and H.A. Rey
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

Blue's Windy Day by Emily K. Hutta
Where Does the Wind Blow? by Cynthia A. Rink
Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison, Slade Morrison, Sean Qualls
Little Cloud by Eric Carle
Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind by Cynthia Rylant

Topic: Rain.  What is rain?  How does rain feel?  Can you describe rain? Can you smell rain?  Where does rain come from?  How is rain used?  Where does it rain?
  • Story book:  The Umbrella by Jan Brett
  • Special book (my oldest reads along): I Am Water by Jean Marzollo
  • Song of the Day: Rain, Rain, Go Away
Pre-Math: Matching game - write the numbers 1-5 on five separate pieces of paper (one number per paper), cut out 15 umbrellas from colored paper (find a template online or draw your own), have child place the correct number of umbrellas on each numbered paper.  Have child say the number, trace it with their finger, then count the umbrellas for that number.

Music and Movement:
  •  Play with rain sticks (you can make your own ahead of time if you don't own any using a paper towel roll, toothpicks, dry uncooked rice, duct tape - push toothpicks through towel roll breaking them so they are flush on outside edges of roll.  Cover one end and entire body of roll with duct tape.  Pour about a cups worth of rice into open end. Cover end with duct tape.)
  • Listen to the rain if it's raining outside
  • Listen to a recording of the rain
  • Pretend to be dancing in the rain, jumping in puddles
Sensory Table/Tub: Rice, measuring cups, Dixie cups, bowls - practice scooping and pouring

Art/Craft Project:
  • Color construction paper using chalk or markers.  Use a spray bottle and mist water onto drawing to create "rain"
  • Use Markers to color a coffee filter, then use spray bottle to mist the filter and watch the colors run.  You could also let child drip water from fingertips onto the filter creating raindrop spots.
Dramatic Play: dress up in rainy weather gear, play weatherman/weatherwoman

Fine motor skills practiced - coloring, tracing
Gross motor skills practiced - dancing, running, jumping
Sensory - scooping, pouring
Science - learn about where water comes from, why it rains

Topic: Thunder and Lightning.  What is lightning and thunder?  How do you feel when see lightning?  What does thunder sound like to you?  How do you feel during a thunderstorm?  Where do thunder and lightning come from?
  • Story book: Walter Was Worried by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • Special book: Thunder Cake by Patrica Polacco
  • Song of the Day:  It's Lightning, It's Lightning (sung to It's Raining, It's Pouring)
It's Lightning, It's Lightning
 The flashes are so big and bright
 It's Thundering It's Thundering
 It last all through the day and night

Pre-Math: Count how many times you see it lightning or hear thunder (if storming).  You can listen to a recording of thunder and count how many times you hear the thunder.

Music and Movement:
  • Listen to a storm
  • Stomp like thunder, clap like thunder
  • Spin in circles like tornadoes, hurricanes
Sensory Table/Tub: Continue Rice, measuring cups, bowls

Art/Craft Project:
  • Paint a picture of a storm - use gray, black, and blue
  • Color on black construction paper depicting a stormy night
  • Cut out a cloud from paper, have child glue torn gray, black, dark blue or purple paper onto the cloud making a storm cloud.
  • Cut out a lightning bolt shape out of cardboard (empty diaper box anyone?), have child use a sheet of  aluminum foil to cover cardboard lightning bolt.
Dramatic Play:  dress up in rain gear, practice what to do when it storms, play weatherman/woman

Fine motor skills practiced - painting, coloring, tearing,
Gross motor skills practiced - Stomping, clapping, balance while spinning
Science - learn about how storms are formed, where thunder and lightning come from

Topic: The Sun.  Where can we find the sun?  What does it feel like when we stand in sunlight?  Is the sun hot or cold?  What shape is the sun? What do to protect ourselves from the sun?
  • Storybook: The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Franklin Mansfield Barnley
  • Special book: Sun Song by Jean Marzollo
  • Song of the Day: You Are My Sunshine
Pre-Math:  cut out five suns from yellow paper, number them 1-5, have child place them in numerical order.  Have child say each number as they put them in order.  Have child trace the number using their finger after they say it.

Music and Movement:
  • spin in circles like the earth around the sun
  • Listen to kid songs about the sun
  • Dance in the sun making shadows
Sensory Table/Tub: Continue with rice, measuring cups, bowls

Art/Craft Project:
  • Make a sun catcher - Color a sheet of wax paper. Make a frame/boarder out of construction paper. Glue onto wax paper.  Punch a hole in the top center using a hole punch.  thread string or yarn through the hole and tie ends together forming a knot.  Hang in the window.
  • Take a piece of construction paper and a few little objects to place on paper (ex: key, plastic knife, block, comb) outside. Place paper in direct sunlight, lay items on paper where they are not touching one another. Put a rock or something heavy on paper to keep it from moving.  Leave for four hours.  When you bring it inside there should be "shadows" from the objects you had on the paper.  Have Child match the objects with their shadows.
  • Draw a picture of what child likes to do in the sunshine
Dramatic Play:  Dress up in things you wear in the sun. Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, bathing suits, sandals

Fine motor skills practiced - coloring, tracing
Gross motor skills practiced - Dancing, spinning
Science - learn that the sun is actually a star, learn about temperature,

Topic: Snow.  When does it snow?  What is snow?  Where does snow come from? What does snow feel like?
  • Story book: Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
  • Special book: Curious George and the Snow by Margret and H.A. Rey
  • Song of the Day: I'm A Little Snowman (sing to the tune of I'm A Little Teapot)
I'm a little snowman,
short and fat.
Here is my broom (pretend to hold a broom beside you)
here is my hat. (pat head)
When it's cold and icy, (hug self and shiver)
here I stay.
But when it gets all hot, (wipe brow)
I melt away! (shrink down to the floor)

Pre-Math: Have child group cotton balls by 3's.  Count the cotton balls by 3's, then count them individually.

Music and Movement:
  • Sing and act out Song of the Day.
  • pretend to be throwing snowballs
  • do somersaults pretending to be a snowball rolling on the ground
Sensory Table/Tub: mini marshmallows or cotton balls, Dixie cups, spoons

Art/Craft Project:
  • Glue mini marshmallows to blue construction paper representing a snow storm
  • Make snowflakes out of folded paper and scissors.
  • Glue cotton balls to paper making a snowman
Dramatic Play:  Dress up in winter clothing, pretend or play in the snow

Fine motor skills practiced - gluing, cutting
Gross motor skills practiced - running, jumping, rolling
Science - learn what snow is made of, what temperature it is, where snow comes from

Topic: Wind.  Can you see the wind?  Can you feel the wind?  What do we wear to protect us from the wind?  What does the wind do?
  • Story book: Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind by Cynthia Rylant
  • Special book: Little Cloud by Eric Carle
  • Song of the Day: I Like the Weather (sing to the tune of The Farmer's in the Dell)
I like the rain,
I like the rain,
I like the rain!

I like the storm,
I like the storm,
I like the storm!

I like the sun,
I like the sun,
I like the sun!

I like the wind,
I like the wind,
I like the wind!

Pre-Math: Practice tracing the number of the month - 3

Music and Movement:
  • Pretend to be clouds floating in the windy sky
  • Pretend to be a tree with branches blowing in the wind
  • play outside run really fast to make wind
Sensory Table/Tub: Continue mini marshmallows or cotton balls, cups, spoons

Art/Craft Project:
  •  Let child color with crayons or markers on a small paper plate. Glue craft stick to back side of plate. Let it dry. Then use fans to make a breeze.
  • Make a windsock - paint glue onto a paper towel tube. Have child glue torn tissue paper to tube or roll in glitter or colored sand.  Help child glue or tape strips of crepe paper, yarn, construction paper, or even newspaper to the inside bottom of the towel tube so that they hang down and dangle. Punch holes in the other end of the tube.  Thread string or yarn through holes and tie a knot.  hang outside and watch the wind (or hang inside and use a fan to make wind)

Dramatic Play:

fine motor skills practiced - coloring, gluing, tearing
Gross motor skills practiced - running, spinning
Science - learn how to detect wind, learn that wind causes evaporation