Tot School - Ocean / Creation Day 2

 Last week we had a successful Tot School with an ocean theme. The books that we read this week are Commotion in the Ocean and Water Sings Blue.  Sissy is loving her Tot Trays and special activities. She got to use a glue stick for the first time and really enjoyed making her first collage.

 She's never lined up the animals from her puzzle like this before.


 Learning to pick up after herself.

 She actually learned to bead using these small beads, she was really able to see what was happening instead of the with the large wooden beads. She was very determined with this activity.

 Baby Guy got in on the action of course with his farm toys.

Besides the ocean books that we read this week, this is the only other ocean theme activity we did. This is the Ocean Animals Tot Book from 1+1+1=1. She was able to name all of the animals, numbers and letter. She even counted the animals in the number book. Here she is drawing a red crab on the front of the book.

For the creation day 2 activity Sissy glued some cotton balls onto a blue piece of paper for the clouds and sky. No picture sorry. Again we listened to Songs for Saplings: 123. We also did many other activities through out the week. As I share more Tot School weeks I want to share more of what we do through out the days.

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Tot School - For Real This Time

Last week we started our first week back at Tot School, unfortunately I didn't get any pictures because it was over before I knew it and just didn't think about it. But the main change to our Tot School plan from the last one is Tot Trays. I've known about these for a long time now and have resisted as long as I can, I didn't want to invest in the trays, set up the space and collect the items for her to use on the trays. But anything worth doing takes work. Once I was finally on board with the trays everything started to fall into place. I had a space in the house to set them up and already had some items for her to start her first week. I still resisted purchasing the adorable craft trays online, I just can't spend $17+ (including shipping) on 6 plastic trays, so the first week I set up the Montessori like activities on the plastic lids that came with the storage boxes I use for Sissy's Quiet Time boxes. I just wanted to get started right away and didn't worry about details. It worked out great; her favorite activity was transferring pom poms around an egg tray with tongs, even though she isn't using her pointer finger and thumb yet. Once I knew this set up was what she needed I headed to the Dollar Store and purchased the little metal cookie sheets with a lip, they are the exact size we needed.

The first week went great, I wasn't strict about when we did Tot School, I just made sure that I made time for it everyday. Hopefully someday in the future things can be even more structured but at least we are doing something now. I'm finding afternoons work better for us.

I made a lesson plan for each week to get us through August 30. Then we'll take a week long break and then dive into pre-preschool as I like to call it, pretty much still Tot School. For the weekly theme I found this summer learning program over at 3 Dinosaurs. It was something simple that I could use to have some sort of plan for the week. I only print off three of the five days worth of paperwork, Sissy still isn't that keen on paperwork. But I give it to her to try anyways and she does but moves quickly through it. She's more interested in the Tot Trays right now.

The theme this week was Space. I keep the theme very loose, it's pretty much just the printables and the books I get from the library. As time goes on I would like to have more themed items and a craft to go along with the theme but we're just starting out and I'm not going to let that stop us. (I'm working on if it isn't perfect I will still do it) The books I chose for last week were, Roaring Rockets  and There's No Place Like Space!. I had another one requested but it never came and I can't remember what it was now. I just use these to sit on the floor with Sissy and Baby Guy and have story time. They love that. Along with that I set up 6 Tot Trays with different activities on them. I try to use at least 3 of the recommended learning skills and then the other three can be puzzles, the themed printable notebook or whatever fun activity we have. I keep the same trays out all week right now, she usually likes one activity the most and wants to do it every day, so I let her and then encourage her to try another one daily. If she likes it great, if not oh well.

This weeks three skills that I picked were pouring, transferring and beading. For pouring I took a plastic pitcher that we had, put some dry beans in it from our bean box and set an empty cup next to the pitcher. She loved pouring the beans out and them putting them back in the small hole. The pom pom activity mentioned earlier was for transferring, she still needs alot of practice with the tongs. I'm on the hunt for some large plastic tweezers. And for the beading she used the newly purchased Melissa and Doug Primary Lacing Beads that I found at Marshall's. She kind of likes the set but isn't too fond of beading, another skill that will take time, but they are fun for stacking.

On top of all of that which seems like a lot but really isn't when you are doing it, we are doing Bible time and activity. I try and do this at least three days a week to hope it sinks in more. This week we started with Creation day 1, we read our little Beginners Bible and we sing the verse:

In the beginning (2x)
God created (2x)
The heavens and earth (2x)
Genesis 1:1 (2x)

to the tune of "Are you sleeping?", this is from the curriculum from ABC Jesus Loves Me. Then we do a little craft or activity. The craft for last week was day and night. We took a black piece of construction paper and a white piece. We cut the white paper to make it look like a blast of light and then pasted it on top of the black paper. Very simple and just thrown together but it worked. For the next two days of bible we just go over the story, verse and craft again to reinforce the lesson. I was also lucky enough to find a copy of Songs for Saplings: 123 from the library, I couldn't believe they had this and then felt even more blessed to find it had a song for every day of creation. So we listen to those at some point in the day as well.

So I know that is a super long post and taking pictures should help shorten what I have to say because you will just be able to see what's going on. Sissy definitely feels special during her Tot School time and I feel like I'm being an intentional parent. Win-Win!

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A Problem with Consistency

Well it's been another long break between posts. This blog is a fun hobby but just like the title says I'm learning to better serve God, my husband and children and I can say that keeps me super busy.

Since I last posted life just got crazy and busy and I can't even tell you why, I just didn't have time to sit down and write, I completely let any organization and routine that I had set up go, it was something about the new house, I wasn't adjusted yet. I also didn't continue a structured tot school as I had planned. I didn't really have a good set up going and it became difficult most days. Sissy just wasn't interested in what I was offering her. So I just let our schedule go and planned on picking things back up this fall with a more serious preschool approach. But after trying that for a while I realized without a schedule or at least a routine life was just chaos. So over the last couple of weeks I've put together a new tot school plan to get us through the rest of the summer. Sissy needs structured play and time, without it she destroys the house and tends to lean towards the naughty side throughout the day, simply out of boredom. As things were spiraling out of control with her, I had to take a step back and figure out what was going on. One day it hit me, thank God, that our random schedule was creating the chaos inside of her. She's a smart girl and needs to release her creative energy as well as have time focused on her and not mama doing housework all day. I know now that it is working because my husband asked me if I had noticed that she is mellowing out lately. It didn't dawn on me until tonight that it's because of her Tot School time, thank you Carisa.

I will leave it at that for now, I just wanted this to be a quick update as to where we are at and I already have another post started with my new plan, what we did last week, sans pictures, sorry. But I plan on taking pictures this week. Until next time, God Bless!

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