Wednesday, September 11, 2013

4 Day Week

Because of Labor Day, our schedule was all thrown off. It's not that I can't do school when Eric is around, it's that we'd rather do other things when he is around. We spent the holiday weekend getting our house completely unpacked, cleaned out the garage and of course heading out for some Colorado Adventures (our new Sunday ritual). But when Tuesday rolled along and kids were still out of school (a bonus day off) we ended up enjoying Summer one more weekend.

Though, we did manage to get a few activities in. I hope some of these you can do at your house!

Chalk Handwriting Practice:
Because Henrik is in pre-school now, and the new teaching methods are to teach lower case first, I decided to go back outside to get in a little handwriting practice. Now, Henrik knows all of his upper case letters, but the lower case ones are harder, so many curves! It's hard for little fingers to concentrate hard enough to make all those loops! But, nonetheless, we sat down with chalk and practiced. First, I wrote Henrik's name, below it, I wrote his name again, but used dots and arrows to show him where to draw the lines to and which direction the lines or curves went. As he wrote/traced each letter, I went over the first name I wrote with another color chalk to show him how to make it (for visual learners).

I let Theo have free play during this time because our neighbors were out and he wanted to play, but sure enough, he was paying attention. Later last week, Theo took some chalk and started writing. After a few minutes he ran over to us with the biggest smile on his face, "ABCs!" he yelled over and over again as he grasped his hands. We didn't get it right away, but sure enough, he pulled us out of our chairs to see what he had done... He made an A! He had several different scribbles on the sidewalk, some actually looked like letters, and as he pointed to each scribble he said a different letter. I guess he's always absorbing what we're doing! This little guy made me proud and also showed me that even though he's not always participating, he's involved in what we are doing. Not bad for a 19 month old! 


Over the holiday I went to JoAnn's Fabrics, HUGE mistake, but I wanted to finish a project I stared for entry way storage. It turned out awesome, see?

But while I was there, and waiting for two hours for some one to cut foam and fabric for me, I came across a Teacher's Board Kit. I figured that this would be a great addition to our play room and would give us a few opportunities for activities! 

Color Matching:

Theo isn't great with his colors yet, in fact, he says that everything is "Geen" and on a rare occasion, he actually says something is the right color, he quickly sees my excitement and shouts out three to six other colors just to throw me off. Or is he just pulling my leg? Either way, this packet incuded some great things! Crayons in the different colors, we put them up according to the rainbow and then matched different objects with the color crayon. The boys had fun matching them up and even Theo was able to participate here with all of his gusto. The kit included site words in the color of the word, but the boys got too wiggly so we will save that for another day. 

Shape Recognition:
The kit I bought also included Shapes. I let the boys play with the shapes for a while, for some reason they liked these more than the colors. After we went over the shapes and their colors, we put them up on the wall in the playroom too. The shape set was neat because they also included different shaped objects that kids would recognize on a daily basis. I had my boys play with those shapes and then match them with the actual shape. 

A friend of mine at Wildflower Ramblings wrote a post about creating a Montessori Bedroom. I liked that idea a lot but I wanted to create a playroom instead. One thing that really stuck out from her post was that you should have things at the child's eye level, so when I was thinking of these projects I made sure we had locations where the boys could place them without using a stool, where they could physically touch them without reaching, and where they would constantly see them. In the picture where Hank is putting up the baseball, he's actually sitting on the floor so that's why he's reaching, but you can see the window wedge at the top of that picture and he can reach it if he were standing. 

Bean Bag Letters:
A while back I bought these letter bean bags from Oriental Trading (they have awesome cheap stuff for teachers/ teach-at-home Moms). My boys LOVE them. I think Henrik likes them because they are a tangible way to see upper and lower case letters and Theo loves them because he can throw them. Anyway, we have an alphabet carpet in our play room and I decided to have the boys match the letters on the bean bags with the letters on the bags. It lasted all of a minute before both boys were having a bean bag snowball fight. So, like they say, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" I did. I made a rule that Theo had to tell me the color of the bag before he could throw them and Henrik had to tell me the letters on the bag before he could throw them. That worked like a charm. 

Shape Sorting and Puzzles:
I love Amazon and there I came across these cool toys for my boys. I think I've mentioned before that Theo is a tactile learner so I found these toys especially for him. Every once in a while we bring out these puzzles for different things, and since we'd spent the morning working on our shapes and colors, these would be perfect. 


These shape puzzles are from Plan Toys and they are simple, but perfect. Each shape is textured and each puzzle piece has a different animal that makes up the shape as their body. Theo could have done this activity for hours as he tested and felt each piece. 

I also bought these flash card puzzles. They are all based on colors and patters, some of them are touch and feel. Perfect for my hands on learner. 


Henrik really did well with this set and enjoyed making the flash cards, Theodor studied each card with such intent and then tried with all his might to make them fit together. He's not quite ready for this kind of puzzle, but he at least could make the matches. Because Theo got frustrated, I moved him over to chunky puzzles where he had much more "fun" making the pieces fit together. 


If you're wondering how our Farm Week science experiments have been going, well, the ones in the bag have done much better than the ones in the dirt. Henrik couldn't believe that plants could grow without dirt and he was pretty proud that he is a "Farmer" and can grow us food to eat. 

Next week we will be back on track, it's Healthy Living Week! Stay Tuned! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I love your storage area -- beautiful!!

    And I have to get some of those letter beanbags! -- perfect :)