Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flour vs Play Dough


Pretty much since the beginning of our Color Themes, I have been filling balloons with flour for Xander to play with.  He has always loved squishing them and using them like balls.  However, I kept seeing balloons filled with play dough on Pinterest.  I finally decided to give it a shot to see what we though.

First of all, let me say that filling a balloon with flour and a funnel is much easier than trying to stuff one with play dough.  I finally ended up succeeding by taking small bits of play dough and rolling them into little tubes.  I then fed the tubes into the balloon.  It took a while and I got a ton of play dough under my fingers, but it was eventually stuffed.  

I was hoping for a clear winner, but didn't really get one. I would say the play dough filled balloon is a little bit more enjoyable.  Both are fun to squish and squeeze.  The play dough filled balloon holds the shape you make it a little bit better.  The flour filled one looks marginally nicer.  Regardless, Xander enjoys playing with them both so I will probably continue to make some of each in the future.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Color Themes - Brown Week

Xander is 15.5 Months

After our nice two week break to do some Valentine's Day themed activities, we are back to our Color Themes!  This past week we did brown.  At first, I wasn't too excited about the color, but it ended up being a great week.

We started with a bin of brown objects.  It included the brown animals from his Little People Learning Zoo, some brown play food, a set of horses from the dollar store, and some wooden balls and spools I painted brown.


His bin also had some brown ramps from a marble run I found at a garage sale last summer.  I didn't include the marbles because he still puts everything in his mouth.  However, we discovered that the painted wooden balls still kind of fit in the track, even though they don't fit through any of the holes.  Almost every day he had me set up the ramps to put the balls down.

I also showed him how to put the wooden balls down a toilet paper tube.  He enjoyed it so much, that he tried putting all of the other objects from the bin down it as well.  He quickly figured out what did and did not fit.

This week we ended up doing a ton of coloring.  I think it has finally clicked for him.  Here he is coloring a Pete the Cat page from Making Learning Fun.

I also left the pages from our English and Spanish brown color books together to let him color.  

You can click the picture below to download the color books.

By far the best brown activity was playing with chocolate cookie dough (I washed the eggs).  It made a huge mess, but was totally worth it.


Of course we also did our regular color theme activities.  We read our color related books, played with our Leap Frog maracas, and played with the crayon color puzzle.


One of the cute color books I picked up from the library was The Deep Blue Sea.  It is similar to that kids song about the hole in the ground.  We also found the book I Am a Rainbow by Dolly Parton.  And, of course, we read Brown Bear Brown Bear.


I was so happy with our Tot Trays this week!  They all go pretty much constant use.  The one that surprised me the most was the puzzle.  I have had a puzzle for him every week since we started doing trays.  Usually he only really does one if I get it out and start doing it myself.  This week, however, he kept bringing me the puzzle.  He wanted to sit in my lap and have me help him put the pieces in, sometimes three or four times in a row.  The puzzle wasn't even new or particularly special.


This is what the stinker was doing with the big box of puzzles while I was setting up his trays.



The tray that probably got the most use was the bread from his Melissa and Doug Cutting Food.  I was worried the first day I showed him the tray, because he really didn't get it.  He was so frustrated at not being able to do it himself.  He quickly caught on and was constantly having me put the bread back together for him to cut again.







The third tray was just an old beat up cookie sheet and a bunch of magnets.  To go with the brown theme, I put the magnets in an old cocoa container.  What he really liked was to put them all on the cookie sheet and have me point to each one and way what color it was.  In fact, he got mad at me any time I stopped naming the colors.






It wasn't actually on a tray this week, but I did get out our nesting blocks.  This week was the best I have ever seen him stack.

Tot School







Saturday, February 25, 2012

Best Books - Week 8




Here are our favorite finds from week eight of our book challenge!

Xander's Favorite:
That's Not My Polar Bear by Fiona Watt

Xander loves this whole series, so I try to pick one up from the library every few weeks.  He loves to touch the textures and wants to read them again and again.

Mommy's Favorite:
Slop Goes the Soup by Pamela Duncan Edwards
A cute book with lots of sounds and rhyming.  Xander thought it was amusing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Return of Little Reader



As anyone who has been following the blog for a while knows, I used to use Little Reader with Xander.  Little Reader is a fantastic program that teacher infants and toddlers reading in a style very similar to that recommended by Glenn Doman.  Last fall, Xandere completely lost interest in the program, so we completely stopped using it.  A couple of weeks ago he was wanting to use the computer, so I decided to try getting it back out.  Oh my goodness, what a hit!  He absolutely LOVES it now.  In fact, first thing he does in the morning is run to the computer and start pounding on the seat (his signal that he wants to sit in the chair).  The other day the computer was doing something so it was being SO slow in opening the program, the poor kid cried like he was hurt.  He wanted to do his reading program!  I am absolutely thrilled.  It is one more tool to help him learn to read.

In fact, he has been so hooked on Little Reader, that we have switched to doing his color flash cards on it half the time.  I think for future themes I will try to create a Little Reader lesson to reinforce what we are learning.  I will include the link for any Little Reader users who want to download them.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pete the Cat Dance

My little boy happens to be obsessed with the book Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes.  I caught him dancing to the YouTube Video of the live reading.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tot School - Valentine's Day

Xander is 15 Months

We decided to take a little break from our color themes to do some Valentine's Day themed activities.

We started with our red play dough and some heart shaped cookie cutters.



We also did some painting with pink paint and a heart shaped sponge. He LOVES to paint, but can't always refrain from tasting the paint.


We also made some Valentine's cookies.  I let him help me cut some of them out, although I did the majority of them.  I also chose to go with red and pink sprinkles instead of frosting.  Gosh did the kid love putting on the sprinkles!  He got them on half the kitchen.








This week we did a Valentine's bin.  Nothing too exciting.  Just some heart containers, heart erasers, red and clear jewels, a pink fork and spoon, and a plush lady bug.  I also included the wooden spools and balls that I painted red, white, and pink.  Xander added the cell phone himself.



He really enjoyed spooning the smaller objects.


And, of course, dumping the bin out over his head.  (Which is why we don't use colored rice or other really small fillers in our bins yet).

One tray had a stiff peice of felt with hearts made out of regular felt.  Xander was not all that interested.  He arranged the hearts on the stiff felt once.  The rest of the week he just kind of threw the hearts around the room.

Since we didn't have a Valentine's Day themed puzzle, I used this flower pot puzzle from our Melissa and Doug Puzzle set.  He seems to really like these puzzles, so we may be using them more often.

Our last tray was a mini mail box and little felt envelopes I made.  


We also read a bunch of Valentine's Themed Books.  Where is Love, Biscuit? Was Xander's favorite by far!


As nice as our Valentine's weeks were, I will still be happy to get back to the routine of colors!

Tot School







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