Toddler Tuesday: A Peek Into Tot School

Toddler Tuesday: A Peek Into Tot School

Yes, I’m aware it’s Wednesday (surprisingly 😉 )  However, hubby needed the computer last night to do homework, so that trumped blogging in my book.  Plus, I got to sew, so I’m not complaining at all!

I FINALLY got fresh batteries into my good camera (it’s about time) and took some shots of what we’re up to this week for Tot School.  We’re learning about farms, and Junebug is totally a fan!

Our current Tot Trays include: Cow Lacing Card (Dollar Tree), 4 piece cow puzzle, C is for Cow coloring sheet, Farm Nomenclature Card Matching, Clean and Dirty Animal Sorting and Size Sorting Animals.  We have a sensory bowl set up with dried black eyed peas, a shovel and Little People farm animals.

100_2223edit 100_2229edit 100_2231edit 100_2232edit 100_2233edit 100_2235edit

100_2221edit

Here’s a few photos of Junebug playing with some Tot Trays and her Sensory bowl.  She LOVES doing the Nomenclature card matching.  She’s getting really good at matching things on the first try, which is awesome!  The sensory bowl was also a hit (until she started dumping the dried peas all over the floor) and was “feeding” the animals “num num num”.  So sweet!

100_2230edit 100_2220edit 100_2228edit

Here is what our current set up looks like (minus the artwork, since she hadn’t done any yet at the time that we had taken photos).  We have our new alphabet and weather charts up.  We love the new weather chart!  The printable that we had been using for a couple weeks was just a photo of the weather, was tiny hand was hard for Junebug to participate with.  I’ll store that one away for later on when she’s a bit older.  This one goes really well with our weather song, since she can see the letters as we’re spelling out what the weather for the day is.  I wish it were in lower case letters, but beggars cant be choosers, especially since it came from the dollar section at Target 😛

100_2237edit

We received our Catholic ABC’s curriculum in the mail this morning and Junebug was ALL about it.  We were outside playing and she snatched the book from me, plopped down in the grass and started reading to me about Jesus.  Apparently she’s going to be in charge of the Catholic portion of Tot School 😉  Tentatively, the plan is to cut out themed calendar time and art activities for Mondays and replace it with the Catholic ABC’s curriculum, since Mass will be fresh on her mind from the day before.  I then plan to incorporate parts of the Catholic ABC curriculum into our normal Tot School schedule.

How do you incorporate religion into your tot’s daily schedule?

Xoxo Megan and Junebug!

Toddler Tuesday: Catholic Icing

Toddler Tuesday: Catholic Icing

While setting up Tot School for Junebug, I’ve been trying to incorporate religious materials, activities and prayer into our daily schedule.  One visit home, my sister in law told me about a website called Catholic Icing, that she had heard that some of her Catholic mom friends use to find fun ideas for their kiddos.  (Catholic Icing Website)

Turns out, they have a curriculum book that follows the liturgical year and includes songs, art projects and activities.  I talked to hubby and we decided to take the plunge and make our first official home school purchase.  Today, weeks later, I finally have actually made the purchase and we should receive our new curriculum in 1-2 weeks.

My plan is to continue planning as I have been, picking up on Junebug’s interests or relating our week of study to something that we have recently done (ie- we spent the 4th of July on a beach, so this week is Beach Week).  I then plan to incorporate projects from the Catholic ABC’s curriculum into our weekly lesson plans so that she’s getting religious education in there too.

Right now, we start our calendar time with our Prayer Sticks (Spiritual Sunday: Prayer Sticks and Theology of the Body) and if we’re lucky, one of our printable packs for Tot Trays will have come from a Christian blogger and will have a scripture excerpt that can be printed out with cute little graphics that match the theme for the week.  The blog 1+1+1=1 (1+1+1=1 Website) has been a good place to find these.  Junebug loves them and has been asking me to repeat the scripture multiple times before moving on to a different part of calendar time.  We’ve been putting these into protective sleeves and taping them up on our calendar board.

I’ve been searching for my camera cord and still haven’t found it… so it looks like today is the day I bite the bullet and go out and buy AA batteries to go in my BIG camera so that I can take nice pictures for my posts again, vs making all of you suffer through the dark, shadowy, weird line through the picture, images that my cell phone has been taking lately.  I’ve been trying to document all of the tot trays I put together for each theme we do so that I can share what we’ve been up to during our new adventure with Tot School.  Since we don’t have a full weekend planned out for this weekend, I’m hoping to get a Frugal Friday post up about some of the purchases I’ve made lately for Tot School so you guys can get a feel for the materials we’ve been working with 🙂  Tot School doesn’t have to be expensive!

Back to my cleaning list I go!

xoxo Megan and Junebug

Toddler Tuesday: Tot School

Toddler Tuesday: Tot School

Hi friends,  as I mentioned last week, I’ve been placing my focus on Tot School set up in the past couple weeks, so I’ve been less active here on Life’s Tiny Graces.  I hope you haven’t missed me too much!  If you did, here’s a LONG post to make up for my absence! 😛

When hubby and I first started dating, he mentioned that he wanted to possibly do home school with his children.  When we got engaged, and I joined Pinterest, I started looking further into the concept of home schooling and what that would mean for me and for our family.  I came across a term I’d never heard of before and pinned a few things on it to go back and look at later.  This term came back up recently while I was looking for activities to use with Junebug (24 months old).  The term was Tot School.  Being a former daycare teacher, I liked what I was seeing and decided to give it a shot with Junebug and see how she liked it.  I’ve been following the blog 1+1+1=1 for a lot of my ideas and to learn more about Tot School, since she and her kiddos were the ones to coin the term.  http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net/  She’s got a TON of awesome information and a bunch of great printables that I’ve been using to get our Tot School running.

So far we’ve done a full planned out week (Pond Theme) and she loved it!

Since Junebug has shown a TON of interest lately in babies, I thought a Baby/ Baby Animal Theme would be perfect to study next.  Here are some of the activities that we played with over the weekend!  We hadn’t even officially started the week and she was head over heels for all the new stuff we had out!  We’re pretty relaxed about Tot School, and since it’s not really about teaching, per say, as it’s about learning through purposeful play, I think that’s perfect.  We are pretty intentional about doing calendar time in the morning and talking about the weather, but Junebug finds that fun, so we have incorporated it into our day.

IMG_20150606_100420041[1]editIMG_20150606_100654206[1]edit IMG_20150606_101120844[1]edit

(Yes, she’s in her Elmo jammies for these pictures- she couldn’t wait to jump in and play and I wanted to try to get a photo of the first time she played with each of the Tot Trays)

Junebug had a blast coloring in the tracing sheet.  At nearly 2, she isn’t quite ready to trace letters, so she just free colored the sheet, which is absolutely perfect.  I told her what it said (A is for animals) and which animals were featured on the sheet and that was perfect for her interest level.  She loved matching the baby animal cards to the ones on her Tot Tray.  She got a bit frustrated because the pieces kept sliding around, so I ended up putting some magnets on the back this morning and she was much happier with it the second time around.  I love her focus and curiosity about which animals were on the cards.  The third activity I definitely had to help her with, but she was super excited about it and wanted to do it again.  It’s hard to tell from the photo, since they’re all together, but this is a set of two piece puzzles with an adult and baby animal to match.  I purchased this a few years ago when I was putting together my teaching week for my Early Childhood Education classes.  It’s got several different matches, but I pulled out the pairs I thought she’d be most interested in and can pull out more pairs as the week goes on to keep that Tot Tray interesting.

IMG_20150608_240212760[1]edit IMG_20150608_240259354[1]edit  IMG_20150608_240544374[1]editIMG_20150608_240315725[1]edit

Here are some of the other activities and Tot Trays we have out right now.  As I mentioned yesterday, Junebug’s Gramma B got her a set of baby doll sized baby items which included this little car seat and bounce chair.  Junebug had both her babies in them and enjoyed sharing them with her friend that came over to play yesterday.  It’s so much fun watching her share and take turns.  I’m hopeful that she’ll be a great big sister once Pumpkin comes!  The bottle Tot Tray is by far her favorite Tot Tray yet.  She loves scooping the little bottle toys into the real bottle and then dumping them back into the bowl.  She played with this for quite a while over the weekend and has gone back to play with it several times.  Junebug has enjoyed matching the babies with the adults with the table top game.  She thought they were super fun because they’re on popsicle sticks.  She loved looking through her newborn photos and identifying Momma and Dada and herself 🙂  In my “lesson plan” I have a shape and color for the week. This week is the color red and the heart shape. The last Tot Tray is a one to one correspondence exercise where Junebug scoops one heart shape into each section of the ice cube tray. Junebug has been favoring using her fingers for this type of activity. I think its easier for her to control how many pieces she gets this way.

I have other Tot Tray ideas for this week’s theme and will pull them out if Junebug happens to lose interest in any of the activities that are on her school shelves.

IMG_20150608_240330362[1]edit

This is our current Tot School set up in Junebug’s playroom. I used a shoe rack that I purchased at a rummage sale for the shelf.  I keep our current themed books in the blue basket and have the color and shape of the week taped up behind the shelf.  Any artwork for the week is displayed behind the shelf.

I’ve been working with Junebug on how to use the Tot Trays (picking up the whole tray, keeping the pieces together, cleaning up and putting it back on the shelf when she’s finished playing) and reminding her which books need to stay in the blue basket.  She’s been really good at remembering for the most part, but I sometimes find little bottles and plastic hearts in funny places around her playroom 🙂  We’ve also been working on making sure she remembers that the top shelf of the tall bookshelf next to her school shelves is for Momma’s stuff.  I store art supplies that I don’t necessarily want her to have full access to, theme planning binders and my lesson plan book up on that shelf so it’s handy if I have a free moment in the day to plan.

I picked up some spray paint that is close in color to the basket and plan on spray painting all of the metal trays at some point.  It’s been pretty rainy lately and whenever I happen to think of it when I have time, it happens to be raining.  I’ll get them done eventually.  Right now it makes it easy to clean if Junebug happens to color off of her sheets.

We’re having a ton of fun learning about Tot School and exploring how our own set up is working for our own little school.  I cant wait to see how it continues!

xoxo Megan and Junebug

Toddler Tuesday: Tube Painting

Toddler Tuesday: Tube Painting

Today, Junebug requested to go outside after nap and to paint.  I thought she may like to paint outside so we got to do both!  We were confined to the porch since it was starting to rain, but we have a porch that wraps around the front of our home so we were protected from the rain for the most part!  Awesome!

A couple weeks ago I got an amazing art print for my birthday from my amazing sister in law!!  It came in a cardboard tube and I saved it to do marble painting!

Megan's Cell Phone Photos 5.26.15 744edit

We used some blue and white finger paint and some marbles (although I definitely recommend using round marbles vs the flat ones… I couldn’t find any small round balls that would fit inside the tube).  I thought the blues would make a good rain painting, since it was raining out 🙂  I just dropped a small amount of paint onto the paper inside the tube and then had Junebug drop the marbles in.  I closed it up for her and let her go wild.

Megan's Cell Phone Photos 5.26.15 745edit

Junebug shook, rolled and kicked the tube around on the porch.  I helped her shake it a bit towards the end.

Megan's Cell Phone Photos 5.26.15 747editMegan's Cell Phone Photos 5.26.15 749edit

We opened the tube up and I revealed her painting.  While she liked it, she remained unconvinced that she actually painted and insisted upon finger painting afterwards.  What a kid. 🙂

Megan's Cell Phone Photos 5.26.15 750edit Megan's Cell Phone Photos 5.26.15 753edit

Here’s a sneak peak of a post I’ll be making in a couple weeks, as it takes quite a while to make.  Junebug had a blast helping me gather these dandelions out in the yard in the rain!

Megan's Cell Phone Photos 5.26.15 756edit Megan's Cell Phone Photos 5.26.15 755edit

Toddler Tuesday: America Sensory Beans

Toddler Tuesday: America Sensory Beans

Make It Monday was our awesome new American Flag Vase that is totally rocking it on our entertainment center (/fireplace mantle haha)  and Junebug was SUPER excited about the beans we used to create the stripes of our “flag”.

With the leftover beans I created a sensory activity for her to explore this afternoon after nap time.  I poured the beans into the plastic container in stripes, similar to how we poured the beans into the vase, and added some measuring cups and spoons so she could scoop the beans.  I also added some bowls so she had something to scoop into 🙂

DSCN1357edit

When Junebug woke up I showed her our vase and reminded her about the beans.  She got a huge smile on her face and I told her there was an activity for her on her coloring table.  It ended up being too tall for her to reach into, so I put it on the floor in her play room and let her explore.

DSCN1358edit

Junebug and Lux both were pretty interested!

DSCN1366edit DSCN1372edit

She used the scoops and her fingers to sort the beans.  I was really surprised that for the most part, she kept the beans separated by color in each of the bowls.  She would look very carefully to determine where to put her scoop or a single bean she would pick up with her fingers.

DSCN1377edit

I ended up dumping the beans to one side of the container so they’d be easier for her to scoop.

DSCN1375edit

Junebug LOVED our new sensory bin!  She helped put everything away so we could have snack and then asked to take it back out afterwards.  We have been having fun talking about the colors of the beans and counting how many beans she scoops up in the measuring spoons.  We also talked about how the beans felt smooth on our fingers.  We’re working hard on keeping the beans in the container, using two hands to move the bowls and keeping the beans away from her mouth.  Teething toddlers… What can you do? 🙂

xoxo Megan and Junebug!

Toddler Tuesday: Dress Up Corner

Toddler Tuesday: Dress Up Corner

Junebug got a BUNCH of dress up dresses and fun accessories from her Gramma B last week.  We hadn’t opened up the box until yesterday, since we have been pretty busy, so we sat down and explored all of our goodies!

11217815_10102171429422028_6249625103716725222_n

 

(Sorry for the cell phone photo)

She had so much fun and spent the afternoon putting necklaces, gloves, and purses on and asking me to change her dresses several times.  It was a hoot watching her while I was in the living room reorganizing all the baby clothes.  (They’re now sorted into separate boxes for boy and girl so when we come home from the hospital we can just grab the box we need!)

After Junebug went to bed, I got busy reorganizing her playroom to accommodate a dress up area.  I already had a set of hanging pegs from the Dollar Tree that was set aside for a dress up area, so we put that up and moved all the blocks and puzzles off the shelf that we had in that corner.

I followed her to her play room this morning when she woke up and she immediately noticed that all of her dresses were hung up on the pegs and that her accessories were set out for her.  She was SO excited!

This afternoon after Junebug woke up from her nap, we went shopping and found a couple storage cubes to put all of her accessories in.  We found the cubes at Dollar General for $4 each.  She was so excited to clean all of her accessories up when we got home!

DSCN1327edit

 

She’s over there right now shopping through the dresses, deciding which one to wear!

I have a good feeling that her dress up corner will get a lot of attention 🙂  I’m sure it’ll be a hit when we have her friends over to play, too!

Happy playtime!

xoxo Megan

Toddler Tuesday: Silky & Stretchy Dough In Action

Toddler Tuesday: Silky & Stretchy Dough In Action

Sorry for the belated Toddler Tuesday, but our internet was out for a majority of the day yesterday and we were so busy with our planting that we ended up being outside for the whole morning!  I wish I would have gotten some photos of Junebug helping me plant flowers and overseeing Dada’s building project!  He built me a raised bed garden box as my Mother’s Day gift so that we can plant veggies here at our rental place 🙂  I’ll have to get a picture of it once we find the right spot for it!

Well, this morning we had sprinkles on and off, so after our trip to the post office to mail out a Mother’s Day card for an exchange in my June Momma group, we decided to try out the new dough recipe.

DSCN1305edit

(This smile seriously could kill me!)

Junebug loved the dough.  I’m on the fence.  I think I may try adding more conditioner to it and see if that helps.  I thought it was too sticky, so I added more corn starch, but now it’s not as stretchy as the initial blogger’s post suggests it should be.  I’ll have to play around with the consistency.  It smelled SO GOOD though, with the coconut conditioner in it!  It smelled like summer, which was a nice smell to have on a relatively gloomy morning.  So glad the sun has come out this afternoon.  Junebug was really sad that we couldn’t stay outside when we got home from the post office.

DSCN1308edit

We had fun breaking off chunks of it, poking it, rolling it into balls, and of course, building a snowman.  This girl is OBSESSED with snowmen.  Thanks, Disney, for creating that love 😛  (Every time we color, she insists upon a snowman being drawn on her paper and every time we play with play dough she insists upon making a snowman with rolled up balls.)  Rolling pins and cookie cutters didn’t really work well for this dough either (stuck to the pins), so we stuck to manipulating it with our fingers.

DSCN1317edit

Not only was our morning busy with outside play yesterday, we also had a run-in with a door frame.  Lets just say the introductions were less than polite and Junebug left the meeting feeling quite abused.  Our poor little trooper.  She does so well with injuries.  Thankfully Joseph was off work yesterday so he could go to the ultrasound appointment in the afternoon with us, so we were able to work as a team to cure her little heartbreak.  ❤

DSCN1310edit

This dough really reminded me of that cornstarch and water mixture that got solid when pressure was applied, but was runny otherwise… I think it was called Goop.  We made it for science experiments in school.  This definitely maintained more of a solid state the entire time, but maybe if I added more conditioner it would get to that stretchy state that it’s supposed to have.  I’ll have to try it out and let you guys know.  It also left a really dusty residue on Junebug’s art table and was pretty crumbly and left lots of crumbs on the floor during play.

Fear not, this recipe also has not discouraged me from trying new recipes… however, I think I’ll probably shy away from cornstarch based recipes in the future if I can.  I always get a weird dry feeling on my hands (Joseph mentioned it as well with the first dough recipe) and it just doesn’t seem to roll out nicely with our rolling pins.  I promise I’ll find my traditional recipe and post it soon.  I bought the cream of tartar for it on Monday, so I should have everything I need for when this dough goes in the trash.  🙂

Baby Update!!!

IMG_20150505_202835183[1]

Yep, we got to see Pumpkin yesterday and even got a CD with videos from the ultrasound on it!  Junebug has been requesting to watch baby all morning, so we’ve watched it 5 times already.  She likes to sit on my lap and give my belly hugs and kisses while she watches the screen… too cute how much love she has for her baby brother or sister already.  We did not find out the gender (although I REALLY wanted to tell the OB to just take a quick peek between the legs for us!) but he said from what he could see, baby looks great and everything is developing perfectly.  They did a little extra look to make sure I wasn’t showing any signs of premature labor, since I had some contractions early with Junebug, but the OB said everything was looking good.  They’ll do another check in June at my next appointment… wondering if I’ll get another peek at Pumpkin then, too.  This kid is going to come out with a suntan!  I’ll have to be strong at that one if I do get to see baby again… I had to go to an ultrasound alone later on in my pregnancy with Junebug and all I wanted to do was tell the ultrasound tech to tell me the gender.  Joseph really likes the surprise, and so do I, but the anticipation just kills me.  It’s so worth it in the end though to have your hubby announce the gender after birth.  Oooo I’m feeling warm fuzzies just thinking about it!  I cant wait for October!

xoxo Megan