"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tot School: Letter R

Tot School: Letter R
Age: 30 months
This week we didn't do a whole lot with the letter R.  Several reasons--Monday, we had visitors.  Tuesday we did some activities, but I realized I stopped at R when I printed all my supplies ahead of time.  We have reached letter R now and have no ink in the computer. oops.  Wednesday, we had plans and were out all morning.  Thursday Daddy was home and we went to Peter Piper Pizza. Friday we did some things again, but not much focus was on the letter R.
So a busy week, no ink, and Raelynn already being familiar with the letter R (for her name, of course!) made 'school time' pretty loose this week.
R is for Rabbit
First we stuck the R stickers on the paper, then pasted the big white R in the center.  This took a lot for mommy to help with because I hate cotton.  It's like nails on a chalkboard to me.  Ripping cotton. Ug, I'm cringing now just thinking about it.

Raelynn really liked this a lot.  She loved gluing and playing with the cotton balls.  I told her we were going to make it into a rabbit and put a face on it--so I drew the nose and mouth and had her paste the ears on.  Then she put the eyes on too:)  I love seeing her create in her own unique way.
Pipe Cleaner and Strainer:
I had actually got this out for Declan and gave Raelynn pipe cleaner with buttons, but she wanted to play with the strainer instead.
And Declan wanted to eat the pipe cleaner:)  I love that it's the safety kind that isn't super pokey at the ends.  Target Dollar Bins!
Stringing large buttons on the pipe cleaner
Pool Noodle and Plastic Tube
Now that Declan is over one year old, I'm trying to have more focus intentional play with him.  I knew this was something both kids could play with at the same time.  I've had this since last summer.  Raelynn likes it, but usually doesn't last very long playing with it.
We started out on the floor. I showed Declan how to take them off.  He loves putting things in buckets, so he filled this little bucket with the noodles.
Then he started to crawl away....So it dawned on me it would work better to have him in a high chair. 
Dump, fill, repeat.  I also got Raelynn a bowl and she did the same.  I worked on counting them with her.  She can count to 20, but when she has objects to count, she struggles.  I think it's because it forces her to slow down to touch each one.  It was an interesting discovery for me.  So I know she hasn't quite developed that skill and can keep working on it with her.
We stacked them.  They both liked that.
Got this leather string out and we strung them on.  Declan couldn't do it on his own, but once they were on he liked playing with them.  He knew were the string should go, just couldn't quite feed it through.
By this point Raelynn had enough and was done.  So Declan pushed them back on the plastic tube to clean up.
Then he was more interested in chewing on it. :)  Poor guy had a rough week with teething this week.
Thursday I had a doctor appointment.  (I'm 26 weeks today!!) And while I was gone, Brent was working from home but had the kids.  It was the nap time for the littles, but Raelynn was up.  I suggested play dough for her if he needed a 'quiet busy activity' while he was working.
Play dough isn't usually a huge hit with her.  In fact, probably only a couple months ago did I discover she would play with it better if I gave her marbles.  Cookie cutters aren't the best because she can't roll it out yet.  We like to make snakes with it, but again, she can't quite get it independently.  So, when I leave her alone to play with it she usually doesn't last more than a few minutes.
But Brent had a great idea!  He told her to sit at the table with the play dough until the timer went off.  I had thought of this, but never tried it because I figured her concept of time is limited and if she didn't know how long she was going to sit there then she wouldn't do it very well.
Thirty minutes!  He said she sat there and played with play dough for thirty minutes.  I couldn't even believe it!  He gave her popsicle sticks with it, which I never have.  She was making suckers and popsicles. 
So, even though she didn't know how much time was going to be on the timer, it helped because it made it a concrete time in her mind---"until the timer beeps"--and until then she could just relax and play.
So, I tried it!  I only set it for 7 minutes though.  One thing I struggle with is knowing how to follow her lead, but also how to have her follow an instruction.  We parent to teach our children that we are their authority.  But, I also don't want to force something on her and cause her to hate learning.  But often times, what should be a fun activity she will only do for two minutes and then be done.  So I wonder if it's too easy? too hard? is it just her toddler attention span?  I know all kids are different, so I don't think there is a real answer.  But just something that we are learning as we go and I try to follow her lead as much as possible.  If I can tell she isn't interested, I will try to find an open window of time that I can say 'let's do something else' instead of her refusing.  Not that she does refuse, but she will do it wrong or do it without a full effort.
Here is a great activity that helps with counting, colors, shapes, fine motor skills, etc. that she doesn't always do well and is a perfect example of what I just stated above.
I know she knows all her colors.  I know she can sort.  But sometimes she will do them all wrong or just push them around on the tray and not do it.  So I quit getting this out for her.  I thought she needed a break from it.
Today she saw it in the cupboard and asked to get it out.  She started doing it, then was side tracked and just started pushing all the fruit around.  So, I set the timer.  We 'raced' the timer.  She won! :)

Usually we do this on the first day of letter learning, but this week it was the last!
Sorting capital and lowercase R:
For some reason this week she really wanted to glue the letters on the line down the center.  I let her go with it.  She did a great job of lining them up right on the line! :)
R is for Rainforest:
These are 'vocabulary cards' from 1plus1plus1equals1.net to go with the rainforest theme this week. She liked how they fit perfectly on the squares in the tray.
She played with this for a while! I was even able to leave the room and she continued playing.  Again, I had set the timer.
This is a game called MATCH4 that I have had since I was like 8.  No kidding!  They are just little beads and I give her a bobbin holder to put them on.  It comes with a little board game and pegs, but those are hard for her to stick in at this age. 

And isn't the tray just wonderful? Keeping it all contained:)  I give her no instructions with this--she can stack and play as she pleases.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the timer and on how much to force an activity.  I think there has to be a balance between following an instruction but also the mom respecting that a child may not like an activity.  And the way I think of it is that she will have school forced upon her for many years once she hits that age where it isn't so much 'fun' and just crafts! But I'm not even talking about just 'school and learning' things--it even applies to coloring, play dough, stickers, etc.  I know toddlers don't like to do much of anything for too long, but I also want to try to teach her how to have an attention span and focus on something. 

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