Monday, February 28, 2011

Grace Recommends: Toys for 3-6 Months

Here are some of the toys Grace has enjoyed playing with in the past few month. Most are rattles/teethers: 

Winkel-- she loves this teething/rattle toy made by the Manhattan Toy Company. The loops are just the right size for her to grasp and the colors attract her attention. You can easily attach it to a stroller or you can chill it and use is as a teether. It also has helped her learn to use both of her hands together to manipulate the toy. It's entertained her well for the past couple months. She'll probably outgrow it in the next couple months, but it's been well worth the investment. 

Sophie the Giraffe- Grace loves any toy with a face on it! It's kind of silly how much this French teether costs, but it is organic and has no chemicals. It is made to engage all five senses. It's another toy that has been easy for Grace to grip onto and move around. If I have Sophie out, Grace looks for her. It's another toy I'm glad we purchased. 

Baby Einstein Bendy Ball- similar to the Winkel, this rattle is colorful and easy for her to manipulate. It attracts her attention and she enjoys shaking it and hearing the sound. I think she'll enjoy throwing it soon enough!

Bright Starts Rattle- she loves this rattle (as well as the more feminine version). Again, easy to grasp, colorful,  with a pleasant rattling sound. Her favorite rattle toy.

Baby Einstein Hanging Octopus- Another toy with a face! We hang this from various places- her jumper, baby gym, etc. and she really loves pulling on the legs and coos and talks to it. 

Garanimals Monkey on the Go- a toy we found at Walmart when we were desperate to find a good travel toy. She loves looking at these monkeys (because they have faces?), grabbing the rings and playing with them while in her car seat. 

Tiny Love Baby Gym- she still loves her baby gym, she'll lay there a while looking at the different toys and grabbing them to make them dance and swing. I love how portable this toy is and how long it's lasted- it's entertained her since she was about 6 weeks old

Bouncy Seat- she likes our Fisher Price Rainforest bouncer. She likes the lights and has figured out how to make the lights turn on by manipulating the various toys. A great bouncy seat, along with all its sequel versions. 

Baby Einstein Jumper- we have the older version of this stationary jumper and she likes being upright, jumping and playing with the toys on the front. We started her in this at about 5 months old, when she had enough head/back control. 

Bumbo- Grace likes being able to sit up and watch Jonathan. This is a great chair for her to be able to sit and look around (since she can't sit without support yet) and it also has a nice tray to make a little table to old her rattles and small toys. It can also double as a portable high chair!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

6 Months Old!

Gracie Belle at 6 Months 
It amazes me how fast the time goes by. Gracie turned 6 months old a couple weeks ago. The past 6 months have seemed to go so much more quickly than they did when Jonathan was little.

She's rolling (front to back and getting oh so close to back to front), babbling, eating baby food, and sleeping through the night. She's so sweet tempered and loves watching her big brother play. I think she'll be eager to follow him around once she figures out she can move!

We've been having fun singing songs, playing peekaboo, and reading lots books. She's such a joy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tot School @ Nana's (25 Months)

Tot School
Jonathan is 25 Months

We had a lighter week this week, since we were out of town visiting family. But we did manage to fit in a few activities.


In anticipation of our focus on the letter b next week we read a couple books on bears:

Jesse Bear What Will you Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom

This is another book that we own and love. It's a book that is part of the Before Five in a Row curriculum so there are a lot of great web resources out there for having fun with this book. I love the close relationship that Jesse Bear has with his family. Jonathan's favorite part of the book is the page where Daddy bear comes home. You can see from the book how excited Jesse is to see his daddy and I think Jonathan can relate to that. It's such a cute read that we've enjoyed very much!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

We've owned this book for a while, but Jonathan wasn't interested in it before this week. It's another version of the traditional children's camp song with some new sounds added to the story. We listened to the Greg & Steve version of the song (see below) and suddenly, this book really came to life for Jonathan. It's a new favorite in our house!


Back during my brief stint as a daycare teacher, the toddlers I taught loved the song "Going on a Bear Hunt" from the CD Kids in Action by Greg & Steve. We checked the CD out of our library and Jonathan loved the song just as much as the kids I taught. He had so much fun pretending to cross fields, rivers, and climb trees and loved running around at the end. Here's a YouTube video featuring the song:


We enjoyed watching a couple Cedarmont Kids DVDs: Bible Action Songs, Bible Songs, and Sunday School Songs. They were part of the Cedarmont Platinum Bible Collection.  Jonathan's great grandparents really enjoyed these music videos too-- and the fact that Jonathan was singing and dancing along!

Gross Motor Skills 

We played with Jonathan's ball pit. Nana and Papa have an inflatable wading pool that Papa was nice enough to blow up. We threw in a set of 100 balls and just let Jonathan have at them. It was a lot of fun for him!

The weather was also nice enough earlier this week that we were able to go for a walk down Nana's drive and we went to the barn to look at the horses and kitty cats. Jonathan loved being able to walk and see the animals! Too bad it's still cold back home. 


Jonathan's great grandfather enjoys wood working and makes lots of different wooden animals. There are a set of wooden bunnies in Jonathan's toy box and Jonathan had fun taking them out, lining them up and counting them. 


We did some more work in our Kumon Let's Color! Workbook. He really enjoys this little book and he's progressed from scribbling to being able to make dots and lines-- its great pre-writing practice! 
We also took his balls (which come in 6 colors) and sorted them by color. 


Jonathan's also been learning how to use my iPhone this week. I purchased the Teach Me Toddler app which reviews letters, numbers, shapes, colors, phonics and counting. I showed it to Jonathan for the first time this week and he loves it. I like that I can customize which skills I want him to work on and see a summary of which questions he gets correct and which ones he struggles on. It's a great app and I think it will be very handy!

This post is linked to Tot School  @ 1+1+1=1 and What My Child is Reading @ Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns

Friday, February 25, 2011

a is for apple

We finished up our week about the letter "a" by looking at apples!

Sign Language 

We reviewed the sign for apple.


Ten Apples Up on Top! by Theo LeSieg (aka Dr. Seuss)

This is a great early reader about three animals who compete to try to have the most apples on top of their heads. We laughed at how silly the animals were and practiced counting from one to ten. Jonathan's enjoyed other Dr. Seuss books and this one was equally enjoyable.

See Making Learning Fun for some web resources and activities based on this book. There's also a great craft over at I Can Teach My Child. I think we'll try that next time around!

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

This is a wonderful book about what to do when you want to make an apple pie, but your market is closed. You simply hop on a boat and travel the world to collect your ingredients! It's a great resource for talking about ingredients and the different countries the girl visits (Italy, France, Sri Lanka, etc.) The concept was still a little over Jonathan's head, but he still seemed to enjoy the story. There's even a simple apple pie recipe that I think we'll try next time. I think this is a book we will definitely revisit.

Since this book is part of a homeschool curriculum called Five In a Row, there are a lot of wonderful web resources for this book. See Homeschool Share for a list.

I am an Apple by Jean Marzollo

This is an nonfiction book that talks about the life cycle of an apple. I picked it up because the text is very simple and thought it would provide a good explanation of where apples come from. The science was a little over Jonathan's head, at this point, but I think it will be a good future resource.

Library Links

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
I am an Apple
Ten Apples Up On Top


We used some printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I printed out the apple floor numbers and gave Jonathan a red and green playfood apple. Then I would call out a color and number such as "Put the green apple on the two!" and he would run over and put the apple on the correct number. It was a good activity for reinforcing number recognition and also for helping him learn to listen and follow directions!


We did yet another Do-a Dot marker page that we printed out from Confessions of a Homeschooler.


I had intended to make an apple pie, using apples we received from our CSA. However, to my surprise, there was only one apple left! So we just ended up eating the apple instead. Jonathan, Grace and I also enjoyed some applesauce.

Whew! What a busy week-- we had lots of fun!

Web Resources 

A is for Apple Craft @ Totally Tots
Apple Activities @ Homeschool Creations
Apple File Folder Game @ FileFolderFun
Apple Pattern Cards @ Spell Outloud
A is for Apple @ Confessions of a Homeschooler
A is for Apple Pie @ Delightful Learning

Thursday, February 24, 2011

a is for alligator

We spent a day talking about alligators. Here are some of the things we did as well as things we plan to do next time around:

Sign Language 

We reviewed the sign for alligator.


The Lady With the Alligator Purse by Nadine Westcott

Jonathan really enjoyed this nonsense rhyme about a sick baby named Tiny Tim and the cure for the baby's illness: pizza! This brought out giggles as we'd sing the rhyme.

There's An Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer

I was a little worried that this book might give Jonathan nightmares-- but my fears were unfounded. This book is about a little boy with an alligator under his bed, but instead of focusing on how scary the alligator is, the book focuses on the boy's plan on how to lure the alligator away from his bed. The story ends up being silly rather than scary!.

Who Stole Alligator's Shoe? by Jacquelyn Reinach

Growing up, I remember loving the Sweet Pickles series of books. There's an animal for each letter of the alphabet with each having a different dominant character trait. Alligator is known as accusing alligator because she won't accept responsibility for her actions. As a parent, I had mixed reviews on this book. For one thing, alligator doesn't learn a lesson. It's up to the parent and child to discuss what alligator should have done. Alligator also consults her horoscope, which is something parents may want to address. We did enjoy the book, and I think it could provide good discussions as Jonathan and Grace grow older.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Green by Keith Baker

This was a really sweet, enjoyable good read. There are four Mr. and Mrs. Green books, each one containing three different short stories about a loving alligator couple and their adventures. The stories are fun and short enough to hold Jonathan's attention. In this book, Mr. and Mrs. Green go camping, eat pancakes, and go to a fair. The alligators have such a loving, supportive relationship that it's hard not to like them. We'll definitely be reading more about the Green family!

Library Links- 

The Lady with the Alligator Purse
Meet Mr. and Mrs. Green
There's an Alligator Under My Bed!
Who Stole Alligator's Shoe?


We did an alligator Do a Dot page from Homeschool Creations. Nothing fancy, but Jonathan loves his do a dot markers!


My mom had made a set of felt Sweet Pickles puppets when she taught preschool. We pulled out the alligator finger puppet and Jonathan played with it a little bit. Puppets just don't hold his attention right now.

Web Resources:

A is for Alligator @ First School
Alligator Craft @ Totally Tots
Alligator Swamp Game @ FamilyFun
Alligator Cake @ FamilyFun

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

a is for astronaut

In addition to vehicles, I like the idea of Jonathan learning about community helpers. So for a, we focused on astronauts. Granted, you don't see astronauts walking around, at least not here in Illinois, but it's something I thought Jonathan might learning more about...  Overall, it was a fun lesson but I was somewhat surprised that astronauts didn't capture his attention more. Maybe outer space was a little too abstract to a two year old. We still had fun, and I think he may be more interested in space as he gets older.


I Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton

In this book, a young girl imagines what it would be like to be an astronaut- from being on a space shuttle and wearing a space suit to walking in zero gravity. The text is very simple and Barton's cartoon illustrations appeal to Jonathan. He liked looking at this book. It was a good introduction to what astronauts do.

On the Moon by Anna Milbourne

This is such a fun book! It's features a little girl wondering what it would be like to be on the moon. It's very simple yet informative. The illustrations combine both NASA pictures of the moon's surface and cartoon drawings. It is engaging, easy to understand-- just perfect for a toddler. This was by far our favorite astronaut book!

We Work in Space by Angela Aylmore

I chose this nonfiction book for its real pictures of astronauts as well as its simple text. It is a great introduction to who astronauts are and what types of research they do. We liked looking at the pictures of the special spacesuits astronauts wear. I'm glad I chose this book- it was very informative without being too over Jonathan's head. I'd definitely check it out again.

Find These Books in Your Local Library:

I Want to Be an Astronaut
On the Moon
We Work in Space


We made an astronaut puppet using Jonathan's picture:

I got the idea from a book my mother gave me: How to Make Puppets with Children. I adapted it a little bit to make it more simple for Jonathan. We folded white construction paper in half and rounded the top to make a helmet. Then we glued the side together to make a mitt. We glued a picture of Jonathan to the front and I cut out a black frame to put around it for a window. Then we took a strip of black construction paper and folded it accordion style to make an air hose. All in all, it was pretty quick and gave him some practice with a glue stick.

He wasn't too interested in the puppet when it was over though and I couldn't get him to pose with it because he had too much fun letting the puppet drop from his hand and saying "Blast off!". Oh well-- maybe puppets will be a bigger hit in the future. :)


Do-a-dot markets continued to be a big hit this week. We printed out the "A is for Astronaut" do a dot page from Making Learning Fun.


We didn't do any games for this one-- but next time I want to try an Astronaut Dominoes game I found at Muck Monsters.

Web Resources 

Astronaut Dominoes @ Muck Monsters
A is for Astronaut @ Totally Tots
Astronaut Preschool Pack @ Homeschool Creations
Man on the Moon Pack @ Musings of Me
A is for Astronaut Pack @ Homeschool Printables
Sesame Street: A Is for Astronaut @ YouTube
A is for Astronaut @ First School
Astronaut Costume @ Family Fun

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a is for ambulance

As a momma of a little boy who is constantly in motion, I can tell you that he loves anything that moves! So, for one of our "a" words we focused on ambulances.

This was a shorter lesson, perfect for a day filled with other activities!

Sign Language 

We learned the sign for ambulance.


We read two books today about ambulances and looked at one book with ambulance pictures:

I Drive an Ambulance by Sarah Bridges

This nonfiction book is part of a series called working wheels. It features two female EMT drivers telling you about the ambulance they drive and what they do during their day. This book was perfect for holding Jonathan's attention- only a few lines on each page with big colorful illustrations. Each page also has a little box which gives more facts about ambulances and EMTs- a little too much information for my two year old, but it would be just perfect for an older child. We will definitely be checking out other books in this series!

Ambulances by Gary Amoroso.

I found this book at our local library and chose it because it offers a basic explanation of what ambulances do. There's a question about ambulances on each double page spread along with a simple answer that even toddlers can understand along with defining vocabulary words. I liked that it provided real life pictures of both inside and outside an ambulance and Jonathan did seem to enjoy looking at the pictures.

He would bring both of the above books over to daddy and me- so he really enjoyed them! I was very surprised because neither were fiction books!

My Big Rescue Book by Roger Priddy

We've enjoyed several Roger Priddy books when Jonathan was younger. This particular book we haven't looked at very much, but I pulled it out this week. It has  a bunch of different pictures of rescue equipment and rescue workers. Some are very obscure (underwater search truck) and others common (firetruck). There was one picture of an ambulance, which we looked at, but the book didn't really catch Jonathan's attention. We haven't enjoyed this as much as other Roger Priddy books.

Library Links: Use Worldcat to see if your local library carries these items:


I Drive An Ambulance

My Big Rescue Book

Pretend Play

I actually found an toy ambulance at the dollar section at Target and presented it to Jonathan when we learned about ambulances. This was a huge hit-- all day long he enjoyed playing with the ambulance and hitting the button that made the siren go "beep beep beep". Jonathan was so excited to show it to daddy when he got home!

Showing me the flashing light. :)


I couldn't find much out there for ambulances, but we printed this coloring page and colored it. I did later find an ambulance craft using the same coloring page, but I think we'll save it for next time.

Mini Field Trip 

We had some errands to run on ambulance day, so for a treat, I drove by our local ER and pointed out the parked ambulances to Jonathan. He seemed to really enjoy the trip- he brought his toy ambulance along and liked hitting the button as we saw the ambulance. Obviously, we didn't bother the EMTs but I think next time I may try to set something up with the fire station if possible...

Other Web Resources 

Ambulance Lesson Plan @ First School
Ambulance Craft @ Muck Monsters

a is for ant

After our aquarium visit, we turned our focus to looking at ants. It was a very busy & full day!


My mom is a retired preschool teacher and is super crafty. I've inherited her love of early childhood education, but not her artistic talent. For Jonathan's second birthday she made him a set of alphabet puppets using Evan-Moor's Alphabet Puppets book. 

This week, we pulled out the first puppet "Andy the ant" as well as the three picture cards that represent the short a sound. I had Andy the ant introduce the lowercase a letter to Jonathan and then gave Jonathan his own mini puppet to play with. He enjoyed the interaction, having the puppet say "hello, Mama". But that was the extent of his puppet playing.

Sign Language

We learned the sign for ant.


One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor Pinczes

This is a math story about one hundred ants headed to a picnic. They keep trying different formations of 100 (4 lines of 25, 5 lines of 20, 10 lines of 10, etc.) It's a cute story with engaging rhyme, but it was a little over Jonathan's head. I think this would be great for a preschool unit though, so we'll remember it for next time!

Ants by Cheryl Coughlan

Ants is part of a series of nonfiction books on insects. I chose it because it is a very simple and informative book. There are only a couple of words on each page describing different facts about ants (color, anatomy, ant colonies) and it has real life pictures of ants.  Jonathan paid attention to the story, but never asked to reread. That was fine with me, because I think ants are kind of gross! 

We did not read this book, but if I were to do this unit again, I would be sure to include this book. We sang the song a lot and Jonathan loved it (see music below), so I would definitely try to have a book to go along with the song. This series by Ann Owen covers classic children's songs-- so this one seems like it would be a great choice for next time. 

Find these books in your local library:


We used a lot of great resources from the site Confessions of a Homeschooler for our study of ants. There are tons of resources on Erica's site and I know we'll use even more whenever we revisit our ant lesson. 

First, we did the Ant Number Match Up from COAH. Jonathan had no problem matching the ants by color and naming the numbers on each one. He didn't quite get the point of counting the dots. He's started to show some interest in counting, but hasn't quite made the connection. The pieces were smaller, and I think if they were a bit larger he may have noticed the dots more. It was still a great activity-- and we'll hold on to it for next time!

We also did the Ant Size Sort, which he did fairly well with, but it didn't hold his attention long. 


I found a lot of great songs for ants. Here are some of our favorites:

Jonathan had so much fun with this song. Not only did in reinforce counting, but it was good exercise as we marched around the house. For added fun, I pulled out some cymbals and had him crash them on the "boom, boom, boom" part (when sissy wasn't sleeping). 

Ants in My Pants from Pizza Pizzazz by Peter and Ellen Allard

We checked this CD out from our local library. This was a fun song to just dance along to and follow along with the movements. 

We really like CDs from Kimbo Educational. We borrowed this one from our library. This was another great action song to dance along with and practice some gross motor skills (marching, hopping, etc.). Perfect for a cold winter day!

There's one song I'd love to add to this list, but we don't own and our library system doesn't have a copy. It's "Go to the Ant" by Judy Rogers, from the CD of the same name. I heard this song years ago when my cousin was raising her girls.  It's a song based on the verse from Proverbs 6. The message of the song is about being responsible and doing your work well. 

There is a coloring book to go along with the song. You can download 2 free sample pages from Judy Rogers' website.

Here's the song in concert (poor audio quality):

Library Links


We watched a Cat in the Hat knows a lot about that episode that features Ants (available in Netflix instant play.) We also noticed that there is an ant on Word World.


We attempted to make ants using red ink to make fingerprints, but that activity wasn't very interesting for Jonathan right now.

But what was a big hit this week was his Do-A-Dot markers. We used the "A is for Ant" printable from Confessions of a Homeschooler and he had fun filling in the dots. We ended up doing lots of do-a-dot pages this week. :) 


We didn't get to do any games this time around, but next time I think I will try to find the kids game Ants in the Pants. We can work on some motor skills and hopefully get some giggles in at the same time. Plus, it fits right in with the song from Pizza Pizzazz!


We ate some raisins for our snack that day. We haven't eaten much raisins since they're a choking hazard, but he seemed to do pretty well with them. Next time I think I'll do ants on a log: a piece of celery, some peanut butter or cream cheese, and then line up some raisins to look like ants. 

Whew! It seems like a lot writing all this out, but it really didn't take up much time. Some of the activities (like the music) carried over throughout the week. It was a great kick off to our "a" week!

Web Resources 

A is for Ant @ Confessions of a Homeschooler  (lots of great printables here!)
A is for Ant @ First School
Ant Craft @ Muck Monsters
Counting Ants Game @ Muck Monsters

Monday, February 21, 2011

a is for aquarium

To kick off our focus on the lowercase letter a, we talked about aquariums.

Field Trip: Shedd Aquarium

We were blessed with the opportunity to have free all access admission to Chicago's Shedd aquarium this month courtesy of my husband's workplace and we took full advantage of this deal! A couple Saturdays ago we met some friends at the aquarium and spent the day looking at the fish. We attended the dolphin show, looked at sharks and the kids had fun dressing up and pretending to be penguins.

Jonathan & Mommy at the Aquarium
Pretending to be a penguin
Playing on a sea turtle
Jonathan sat through the dolphin show pretty well and giggled at the dolphins, whales, and sea lions. But his favorite thing was to see the turtles swimming- "silly turtles!". We found a little plastic turtle toy to take home with us.

Sign Language 

We learned the sign for aquarium.


When we got home, we read Curious George Goes to the Aquarium. There are actually  two different stories about George going to the aquarium. The first, Curious George Goes to the Aquarium, published in the '80s, is about George accidentally becoming part of the seal show. The second, Curious George at the Aquarium, was published more recently, has George making a lot of penguin friends. This story also includes some educational facts about aquariums. Of course, in each story George gets in a lot of trouble!

Find Curious George at the Aquarium in your local library
Find Curious George Goes to the Aquarium in your local library


We watched one of our favorite Signing Time DVDs, The Zoo Train, which has a section devoted to aquarium animals. We then reviewed the signs for the different sea animals we saw.

Find Signing Time: The Zoo Train in your local library


I found some sea animal stickers at Target over by the birthday cards/invitations area. We put the stickers onto blue construction paper and talked about the different animals.

You could also do a similar craft by printing out and coloring some pictures of marine animals here. Then simply cut out and glue the animals on construction paper. We're currently working on placing stickers (using Kumon's Let's Sticker and Paste!) and this was a great supplementary activity. I have to help him get the sticker off of the paper, but then he puts it on himself and pats it into place. I think I may give him a sheet of dot stickers to help him practice peeling stickers from the paper. Maybe we'll try that next week...

Other Web Resources

Cup O Fish- a great aquarium related snack (found this a little to late to use it this time!) We just ate goldfish crackers. :)

Aquarium Lesson Plan @ First School

Tot School- Letter a (25 Months)

Tot School
Jonathan is 25 Months

We had a ton of fun doing tot school this week! To follow up our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom week, we started reviewing our lowercase letters. Jonathan recognizes all the uppercase letters and knows the phonemic sounds they make, so I decided that for the Spring/Summer we'd focus on one lowercase letter each week.

This week we kicked off our study with the letter "a" learning about fun things such as aquariums, ants, ambulances, astronauts, alligators and apples! Each day focused on a particular theme. I've typed up summaries of each day. Here are some highlights:


For each letter, we have a memory verse song to go along with it. And, as we discuss each day's topic, I try to tie it in to a Christian worldview. For example, when we talked about ambulances, we talked about how they help people who are hurt and how we can pray for people when we see an ambulance. For ants, alligators, apples, we talked about how God made each of these things. Its nothing very profound, but I want my children to see that God's a big part of life!

Anyways, for our memory verses, we've been listening a lot to the album Songs for Saplings. I love it! They have a verse for each letter of the alphabet as well as different seasons of the year. I play the CD in the background a lot while we play and it is so awesome to hear Jonathan start to sing along.

This week, we focused on the first song, "Keep me as the apple of your eye-- Psalm 17:8". You can find great printables for this verse over at Totally Tots. I just printed and laminated the verse and hung it on our playroom wall. We sang along with the song.

We also have been listening to Thingamakid's Alphabet Bible Songs. They also have a song for each verse of the alphabet and you can print free coloring pages from their website. The song for A is "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" -- which is another good verse to know!


I love reading with Jonathan, so I want to make sure we incorporate a lot of books into our week . Here are some of our favorites from this week. (Check on each day's summary to see a review of all the books we read, as well as links to find the books in your local library)

Arts & Crafts 

Jonathan loves his do a dot markers lately, so we did a lot of do a dot pages with astronauts, alligators, ants, apples... he had a lot of fun!

Working on A is for Astronaut

We also have been working on stickers and pasting. We've been using the Kumon Let's Sticker and Paste book- which he loves. I did a supplemental craft by simply buying some aquarium stickers from Target and having him stick them onto blue construction paper. He had fun naming the animals and kept going back to look at his artwork during the week. He was very proud!

Field Trips 

We spent a Saturday at our local aquarium with friends where we had fun looking at fish, turtles, and even going to a dolphin show. We also did a mini field trip to look at ambulances at our local ER. 


We played with a few puppets this week- an ant, an alligator, and we made an astronaut puppet. Jonathan would have the puppets say "hi Mommy", but he didn't play with them much beyond that. Maybe next time!

Jonathan's astronaut puppet

We did a few printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler to work on number recognition and counting

- ant number matching

- apple number recognition

- ant size sort

- shapes: 
We also talked about squares this week. Jonathan already recognizes shapes, but I wanted to review seeing shapes in real life. We checked out a 5 piece puzzle from the library that shows different objects that are square shaped (window, cracker, etc.). We also did used some printables from Home Grown Hearts to help us find squares around the house. 


In addition to our Scripture memory songs, we listened to several songs about the letter A or things that begin with the letter A. Here are a couple of our favorites:

The Ants Go Marching by Cedarmont Kids-- the classic kids song. Jonathan loved marching along to this song. We even pulled out our cymbals for the "boom, boom, boom" chorus. 

Aerobic Armadillo from Kimbo Educational's A to Z the Animals and Me-- this one got us moving as well! We did things like jogging & knee bends. It was fun. :) 

Whew! What a busy week-- it's taken me a while to get this post up because there's just so much content! This week we're visiting relatives so no tot school plans-- but the following week we'll be back with the letter b and looking at bears, bats, balls, balloons, buses, bananas... you get the idea! Thanks for visiting-- have a great week!

See each day's summary (posts will be up this week)

a is for aquarium
a is for ant
a is for ambulance
a is for astronaut
a is for alligator
a is for apple

This post is linked up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tot School- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! (25 Months)

Tot School
Jonathan is 25 Months

Another slower week for us, Tot-School wise. I had big plans for the week, but we were waylaid by the stomach flu-- so not a lot of pictures this week, sorry! We did get off to a good start though as we focused on the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. 

Jonathan recognizes all of his uppercase letters and knows the sounds that the letters make, but he doesn't recognize all of the lowercase letters yet. So I thought that this Spring and Summer, we'd review the lowercase alphabet and talk about different words that start with each letter. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is the perfect book to start our lowercase alphabet journey, since in the book the lowercase alphabet is featured climbing up the coconut tree! 

So last week, I made a coconut tree to go up on our playroom wall:

I was actually kind of proud of myself because I am not a crafty person at all. I took an old Target paper bag and cut it up for the trunk and the coconuts and then made the leaves from green construction paper. Pretty easy and all using things we had on hand. We actually have some dried coconuts we mailed ourselves from Hawaii, so I think I may pull those out and put them at the bottom of our tree. 

Jonathan was very curious about the tree- but I told him it would be a special surprise for the next week. :) 

On Monday, I pulled out our copy of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and I also checked out the CD Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Other Coconutty Songs by one of the authors John Archambault. The CD is fun but overall I wanted it for the first song which recites the whole book. 

I made a lowercase "a" out of construction paper and we played the song and read the book- then we reenacted the book, having our "a" climb the tree. 

our "a" climbing the tree
This was a HUGE hit with Jonathan. He wanted to listen to the song over and over again and he kept wanting to have the "a" climb the tree. Since our "a" was made from construction paper, it was unfortunately not very sturdy and did not stand up to the playfulness of a 25 month old boy! So, I've improvised- I found some wonderful lacing card templates over at Home Grown Hearts and simply printed out the cards, cut them out, and laminated them. Jonathan liked having the big letter and baby letter- and it helps him match the letters-- problem solved! 

I also made my first lapbook, which includes numbers, upper and lowercase letters, shapes, colors and Jonathan's name:

The lapbook isn't original to me. I found the lapbook ideas and templates over at Confessions of a Homeschooler and 1+1+1=1. These sites are great resources! 

As you can see, Jonathan really enjoyed finding the lapbook when he woke up from his nap. Although I laminated some of the pieces, it still wasn't quite sturdy enough to be played with by an enthusiastic little boy. 

pardon the after nap hair!

I would love input from other moms of energetic little ones-- is there any way to make lapbooks more sturdy for toddlers? I was so proud of my work (it took all afternoon) and I want him to enjoy it-- but for more than a day! I'm hoping that Grace can reuse his lapbooks. Any ideas?

Finally, I'm so thankful we checked out a storytime DVD with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom from the library. Although the Chicka Chicka story only lasts about five minutes, it's been a lifesaver this week as Brian & I have been battling the flu. Jonathan enjoys the other stories on the DVD as well, but not as much as Chicka Chicka! 

Here are the library links if you are interested-- and want to find these titles in your local library. We're big fans of our library!

Thanks for visiting-- have a great week!

This post is linked up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1.

All Amazon links are affiliate links- if you should choose to purchase a product through Amazon, we will receive a small commission. However, we are big supporters of our local library and try to include library links for you as well! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What We're Reading- Books about Snow

I meant to have this up earlier in the week but the stomach flu hit- UGH! Fortunately it seems like I was the only one knocked down.

Since we were blessed with an abundance of snow last week, we read a lot of snow related books. Here are some of our favorites:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a classic snowy story. This book is about a little boy's adventures in the snow- from making footprints and snowmen to trying to bring home a snowball in his pocket. It's a fun read that Jonathan enjoyed a lot- one we will definitely be pulling out for next winter!

Since this is a classic book and a 1963 Caldecott award winner, there are a lot of great resources for this story online:

* The Snowy Day Lapbook @ Confessions of a Homeschooler
* Snowy Day Activities @ Mama Jenn
* The Snowy Day Unit @ Webbing Into Literacy

Find in your local library

The Biggest Snowball of All by Jane Monclure was part of a 1980s series called the Magic Castle Readers. The series was designed to teach basic school skills such as language arts, science, social science, math, health, and creativity. This book, which we received courtesy of my sister in law's used bookstore, is designed to teach the math concepts of size.

Little bear puts a tiny snowball on her nose, but it falls off and rolls down a hill and becomes the biggest snowball of all! This is a fun story that you can come up with lots of good activities to go along with- making snowballs outside (or inside from construction paper). Jonathan seemed to enjoy the story and it's another one that we'll be sure to revisit next year!

The series is out of print, but you can find more information on the books at Jane Monclure's website.

Find this book in your library

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London is a cute book about a little Frog who doesn't want to hibernate all winter- he wants to play in the snow! First, Froggy has to get dressed to go out in the snow.... but he keeps forgetting important parts of his clothing! Jonathan got a good laugh from this book and kept saying how silly Froggy was.

When we got ready to go outside, we practiced getting dressed like Froggy. It's great for emphasizing different articles of clothing and how important it is to keep warm in the winter. There are some great web resources for this book as well as other Froggy books. We're definitely going to look for more books featuring this silly frog!

* Froggy Activities and Free Printables @ Learning Treasures
* Froggy felt figures @ Fun Felt for Kids
* Froggy Worksheets (for older ages) @ ABCTeach
* Lesson Plan @ Ittybitty Bookworm

Find in your local library

Snowmen at Night by Carolyn & Mark Buehner is a book we discovered through our local library's story hour. It is a delightful, imaginative story about what snowmen do after people go to bed. Adding to the fun are hidden items in each picture. Jonathan enjoyed this book as well, but I think he'll enjoy it even more next year when his imagination is more developed and he can find the hidden pictures. We'll definitely check it out again- along with some other books in the snowmen series.

Find in your local library.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what we're read last week. Thanks for stopping by!

Note: Amazon links are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through Amazon, we will receive a small commission. However, we are big fans of using our local library, and encourage you to visit yours as well!
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