Showing posts with label teacher mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teacher mom. Show all posts

Monday, March 13, 2017

Confessions from Toddler School: Colors!

This week was so much fun that I wish we had gotten to more of our activities! However the activities that we did do were so much fun Cohen just wanted to do them over and over again. So I'll call that a win! AND Cohen really knows his colors now! He's a master sorter!

Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

High Five Colors: 
This was a super simple activity that got a lot of use! My little one loooooves high fives! Seriously, it's his jam. So I traced my hands on different colored paper and posted them around the house. I would say "Cohen can you high five the ____ hand?" and he would high five that color. We've been playing this all week and it's been really fun!

Color Sensory Table:
Our sensory table this week turned out a little different than I had anticipated but was still a big hit! When I was dyeing the beans they turned out a little bit speckled and not as vibrant as I had hoped. They looked really pretty though! And as a bonus they will double nicely for an Easter themed sensory table!

We used the colored toilet paper tubes to sort the beans into! 

What you need:
- White beans
- Food coloring or liquid water colors
 (liquid water colors tend to stain hands less)
- TP rolls
- Colored construction paper to cover TP rolls 
- Tweezers, scoops, anything to pick up the beans

Sticker Color Sorting:
We used the left over stickers from our body unit and the stoplight from our car unit (that is still hanging up in our living room) to practice color sorting stickers! If you follow me on IG you may have seen how efficient Cohen is at this now! Proud mama moment for sure. 😄

Lego Color Sorting:
This was another fun, simple and super easy to set up activity! I pulled out pieces of construction paper and dumped out all of his Legos. I modeled putting the colored Legos on the matching paper saying "This Lego is _____ so it goes here". Then he would grab a Lego and I would say "That Lego is ____. Where does _____ go?"

Rainbow Ooblek:
Oh. My. Lanta. 

This was by far the coolest thing I have ever done! I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it went perfectly with our color unit so I decided to give it a whirl. Just look at how pretty this is! Almost too pretty to mess with right!? This was so much fun to play with that even my teenage sister sat down and played with us! 

Cohen was not sure about the changing from a solid to a liquid but he loved squishing the colors!

What you need:
- Cornstarch
- Water
 ** I never actually measure out ingredients (this is how I cook too and it drives my husband crazy). I've made oobleck so many times that I just add water until it's the right consistency.**
- These amazing color Bath Drops

Outings this week:

Ceramic Shop - We took a little trip to my parents ceramic shop this week to do some painting! One, because we could play with colors and two, because we've had our car mobile "in progress" for months now. So you know, 2 birds. 

📙📘📗 Our favorite books this week 📗📘📙

Cohen wasn't super impressed with any of the books this week. Oh, except for Sneak-a-Peek: Colors because it had a mirror in it and he is pretty full of himself! 

But on the plus side, these rainbow color books will work perfectly with next weeks St. Patrick's Day theme also!

Up next week: St. Patrick's Day ☘

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Confessions from Toddler School: Dr. Seuss Fail

As I'm sure many of you know, this past week was Read Across America week! And despite my best planning efforts and my love of all things Dr. Seuss it just didn't happen for us. I don't even have a good excuse! 

I just lacked all motivation this week. Originally I had planned to have each day focus on a book and an activity to go with that book but I swear every activity I tried this week was a big fat fail. So if you'd like a good laugh, keep on reading! 😂

Here's what we did planned to do this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Noise Makers: 
We read Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? This is one of Cohen's favorite books. He likes it so much that this was our "mysteriously disappearing" book of the week! After reading the book we made our own little noise shakers.

What You Need:
- Toilet paper or paper towel roll 
- Foil (to cover ends)
- Tape 
- Filler
- Something to decorate with!

After I got one end taped up, we used beans and coins to fill up our shaker. Cohen then colored with marker and decorated with Dr. Seuss stickers that we found in the Target Dollar Spot!

Stacking Egg Carton Hats: 
This was probably the most successful activity of the week! Which is a little depressing but, you know, it is what it is. After reading Cat in the Hat I used egg carton cups (that we painted together) as stacking practice to make the cat's hat. Cohen really liked this activity and it kept him busy for quite awhile. 

Color Hop: 
We did not do this activity, mostly because when I set it up, Cohen took that as an invitation to go full on destructo-baby and throw the color spots all over the room. 😒 We did however read Hop on Pop and that was a big hit!

Feed the ABC Monster:
So I bought these cute little foam alphabet pieces awhile back at the Target Dollar Spot (yes, I have a problem) and couldn't wait to use them! They were kind of whimsical and Dr. Seuss-esque so I thought they would be perfect for this weeks activities. 

We read the ABC Book and then we fed the letters to our wipe container monster! Have you seen those cute little wipe container monsters on Pinterest? Well ours did not turn out like that. I'm not even going to post a picture, it is that embarrassing and I'd really rather not end up on pinterestfail.

Feet Painting: 
Nope. Just Nope. 

Given our track record this week, we decided to skip the messy art project. 

Goldfish Color Sorting:
After reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish we attempted to color sort our rainbow goldfish. Well let me tell you...Cohen did not try to eat a single goldfish. He sorted them all perfectly on his own. And then afterwards he cleaned the entire living room and cooked a 4 course meal. 

Or he shoved all the goldfish into his mouth at the same time and then proceeded to scream for more while his mouth was still full.

You know, one of those two.

📙📘📗 Our favorite books this week 📗📘📙



Up next week: Colors 🌈

Monday, January 23, 2017

Confessions from Toddler School: Penguins!

Man, these past couple of weeks have been rough! First, we had a crazy snowpocalypse that left us snowed in for over a week! And let me tell you, being snowed in with a very active toddler is not for the faint of heart! The snow finally melted just in time for Cohen to start getting his 2 year molars (waaaaaay early) and now he has a cold. I haven't slept more than an hour or 2 each night for a week. I feel like I deserve some sort of award here. 😪💤
Never a dull moment. #parenthood #whereami #canisleepyet

Thank goodness I had so many fun penguin activities planned to keep us entertained! And the snow actually added a lot to the fun!

Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here!

Feed the Penguin: This was probably one of Cohen's favorites! He pulls it off the shelf several times a day! I made this little penguin out of an old frosting container and some construction paper (and then covered it with packing tape to protect it)! He did have a 3-D nose but someone got hungry. 😂 The fish are part of my Penguin Toddler Unit! I laminated them for durability and bent the tails up so they were easier to pick up!

We started with just red and slowly added in other colors for
color recognition practice.

Alphabet Flip Game: This game was definitely over Cohen's head (especially the taking turns part) but it was still fun. I chose a handful of letters to start. We would take turns flip over all the cards and say the letter names as we went. You can also get these alphabet cards in my Penguin Toddler Unit.

Real Snow Sensory Table: This is where all that snow came in handy! We brought some indoors to use in our sensory table with our penguins! If you aren't as lucky as we were to get real snow, you can use this fake snow.

Bonus: You don't have to wear clothes to play with snow indoors! win-win! 

Painting Igloos: I actually stumbled upon this activity while on IG one day and it fit perfectly with what we were doing! The idea comes from Mrs. Plemons Kindergarten! You take those little fruit cups (that we had in our sensory bin above) and freeze water in them. Then use water colors to paint them while they melt! Mrs. Plemon's is a genius! You should definitely check out her stuff!

Penguin Launch: Cohen gets all the credit for this game! He got a Hot Wheels Launcher for Christmas and found that he could also use it to launch his penguins. We had so much fun with this! You can't see it but I put colored landing pads at the end for some color practice. But you could also do letters, numbers, spell out child's name... The possibilities are endless!

Torn Paper Penguin Art: This is another activity in my Penguin Toddler Unit but you can easily do it without! Just draw a penguin body on a white paper and you're ready to go! My son helped tear the black paper pieces and glue them on. 

We then traced his hands (I can't believe he cooperated with that) and then I added the face. It turned out super cute!

Excuse the black background, someone had serious
 mom brain and didn't think that one through...

Painting Snow: As you can see we ditched the paint brushes and used our hands. And due to being snowed in (and out of food coloring) our color options were limited but it was still fun and it kept him entertained forever!

Penguin Pom Push: This is one of my favorites! I have done this before with different themes/images and Cohen absolutely loves it! It's such a great quiet time activity and is amazing fine motor practice. He's a pro now! 

You can find this penguin image in my Penguin Toddler Unit. It fits any standard shoe box. I didn't have any shoe boxes (looks like I need to go shoe shopping!😍) so I made one out of a cereal box. I will be posting that DIY soon!

Outings this week:

Children's museum - We were able to get out after the snow finally cleared and boy were we ready! The Children's Museum had a penguin snow globe room which fit our theme perfectly! They had little penguin hats, igloos and white loofahs everywhere! He had so much fun. Just look at that smile! 💓

Sledding - We took advantage of the snow and did some sledding! We happen to live on a really steep hill so we went out and practiced our penguin belly sliding! 

📙📘📗 Our favorite books this week 📗📘📙
If you follow this blog or my IG you know that Cohen is obsessed with books! As a teacher, that makes me so happy! Here are some of our favorites from the week:

Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton
Penguin in Love by Salina yoon
My Life in the Wild: Penguin by Meredith Costain

(although reading them 500 times a day can be a bit much) 

So there you have it! Our first OFFICIAL toddler school unit! I'm so excited to be starting this new adventure and I can't wait to see where it takes me! Leave me some comments! I'd love to get some feedback 🙂

Up next week: Cars! 🚗

Friday, January 20, 2017

My 5 W's of Toddler School

People often ask me how I come up with all the fun activities I do with my son and how I find the time to incorporate these activities into our daily schedule. The answer? It kind of happened on accident!

Don't get me wrong, being able to be home with my son has been such an amazing experience that not everyone gets to have and I feel so lucky. But man can it be tedious! I was bored. One can only read the same book or play the same peek-a-boo game so many times before you start to go a little crazy! I found myself fantasizing about being back in the classroom and getting to plan all the fun activities I used to do when I was teaching and then it hit me:

Why not plan these same kinds of activities for Cohen!?

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that Cohen has a car in his hand in every. single. photo. He is a tad obsessed. So I started out with a little car unit to follow his interests. I swear, nothing else exists when cars do! 

I immediately jumped on Pinterest and I instantly felt my creative teacher juices flowing! I got so much positive feedback from my other mom friends and from Cohen that I knew I needed to start this new adventure! 

So what are the 5 W's of Toddler School?

Who: Well that's obvious! But you can't have the 5 W's without it :)

What: I see some posts out there about toddler school with the perfect weekly plan complete with coordinated themed snacks every day, the picture perfect toddler in every photo cooperating with every activity (and not trying to eat the playdough or take everything out of the sensory table and putting it on the floor..) and I'm not going to lie it can be very intimidating! 

Let me just tell you, that's not how we roll! Some days are a hot mess. Some days all he wants to do is destroy everything in his path. It happens. So I try to focus on 1-2 small activities a day depending on interest. Our themes sometimes last a few days and sometimes they last a few weeks. But that's parenthood. We just roll with it! It's all about having fun and introducing learning opportunities!

When: Finding time can be the most difficult thing for parents. Between jobs, chores, children's schedules and just needing a minute to shower it can be tricky. But I have found that many of these activities take less that 30 minutes because let's be honest, what toddler can focus for longer than that anyways?

We are down to a single nap each day so I try to incorporate 1 activity in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. And it really does help the days go by! 

As for planning, my husband has Fridays off and I like to use some of this time to plan! I use this time to go to a coffee shop, drink some hot chocolate, stalk Pinterest and have some much needed me time! I actually look forward to this every week and it takes less than an hour! You can get my planner below by clicking on the image!

Where: Most activities take place in our home. I created a little area for all of our themed stuff and it is really easy to rotate out. We have a little DIY sensory table (more info on that below), a book display and we put any art projects on the wall as we go!

Here's a little peek with our penguin stuff!

I have also found a lot of resources out of the house for little field trips! I like to try and get out of the house at least once a day just to keep everyone from going stir crazy. Outings aren't always fun and theme related. Errands have to get run sometime! But a few times a week I like to take Cohen somewhere to run around and I try to coordinate it to the theme!

Below are some of the kinds of places we like to visit in our city! But you can easily google toddler friendly attractions and see what your city has to offer!

Some ideas:
children's museums (we have a science specific one here and it is amazing)
nature walks/parks
children's theaters
local festivals/events
toddler playgrounds (we have a lot of indoor ones here)
car shows (from our car theme)

Why: I mentioned before that boredom was a large motivator for us starting toddler school but another big reason is language development. Cohen has always been very smart and alert and he loves to engage and interact with his surroundings. He developed very early in many ways but he has shown zero interest in talking. I mean, he babbles non stop. Literally, NON STOP. But he will say a word for a week (mastering it and it's use) and then never say it again. I really wanted to do something to encourage him to use his words and hopefully spark his desire to talk! 

Fingers crossed!

How: To start out, Fridays we go to the library to pick out new books for our new theme! We usually grab 6-10 books. I like to try and find ones with a repetitive pattern because Cohen seems to like those the best. Cohen loves the library SO much that it can be difficult to choose books with him there. So I usually try to request books to be put on hold a week ahead of time so that they are ready for me when I get there and I can spend the time with Cohen reading books/playing!

There are 2 things that I couldn't do without:

Book Display: We got our amazing book display on Amazon for $12! The price has since gone up but it is still totally worth it! This bad boy is made from a thick cardboard and has withstood my son being in it! So that's a pretty solid endorsement! 

Sensory Table: Awhile back I stumbled upon this DIY PVC sensory table on Pinterest and knew I just had to make it. You can find that post here! It was so easy to make! And if you ask the people at the hardware store they will cut the PVC down for you so that all you have to do is assemble when you get home! We love our sensory table! It has been so much fun for us!

As you can see we reinforced ours with duct tape for durability (and so my son couldn't take it apart). It was cute watching him take it apart and try to put it back together until he decided to do it one day while it was full of water and now we have warped floors...So duct tape.

And that's all folks!

You now have my beginners guide to start doing toddler school yourself! It really is a lot of fun and I promise it's not as much work as you think it is. If you are still feeling hesitant, I would love to share resources and help out in any way I can! Cohen has loved all the fun activities and I look forward to having a plan everyday. It has gotten us out of our boredom rut! 

Happy Toddler Schooling!