Monday, May 2, 2011

Tot School!

Tot School

Owen is 20 months old.

We've been doing Tot School steadily the past four weeks, using Carissa from the blog 1+1+1=1's awesome new Tot School Printables.  I didn't take many pictures of the past few weeks but I wanted to get back into blogging so I'm going to post anyway...

Ok, first things first.  Last week I had an organization fit and I decided to break up a lot of activities into pieces and put them into this awesome hand-me-down rainbw storage unit. 
So most of the drawers have activities in them, and they are in categories, such as numbers, shapes, alphabet, letter D, colors, etc.  Then I have a few other toys that I keep in mind that I want to play with intentionally with Owen during the week.  So to give an idea, in the numbers bin I have a number puzzle, some number printables, number books, and if I had number toys they would be in there too.

Owen loves this more than I expected and he keeps running back to the cart and rifling through it trying to find something to do.  What is surprising is that what he likes most are the printables that I have put in sheet protectors.  He uses a washable dry erase marker to color them.  Either he or I will point to the different elements on the page and say what they are and then he will color them.  This is a picture from today, not last week, just to give you an idea of what I am talking about.  (He likes Carissa's vocab pages the best!)

We tend to spend 30-60 minutes on Tot School, right after Daddy leaves for work.  It depends on Owen's attention span, sometimes he is crazy into it and sometimes he is just all over the place.  Some of Carissa's items are still a bit advanced for him so we try them every once in a while and then go back to the stuff he is comfortable with.

We have a little Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree that Owen puts a letter on each week

and I also check out Jane Moncure's Sound Box books every week so we read about the particular letter we are looking at.  I highly recommend these books, they are awesome and he loves them.

We do lots of coloring, which I love because Owen is adorable and announces what color he is using or wants to use.  Mostly brown and pink.  "Color Brown!"  "Color Pink"

The other big thing we did this week was our "sensory table."  A couple weeks ago we bought this sand/water table from Aldi but its been too cold to put it outside.  We played with it as a train table for a few days then I put cheerios and froot loops in it and he has been having fun doing scooping and playing.

Owen has also started to get more into pretend play this past week, driving cars all over the house and playing with his Little People sets instead of just saying what the animals are.  (I want a play kitchen!!)

Oh the other big hit is .  Owen is constantly asking for it but I only do it once a day. I let him choose what letters he wants to look at and then we click through them.  We also sing the song for the Leapfrog Letter Factory song (we don't have that video but we checked it out from the library once) and I often hear Owen singing "The B says Buh" etc. But I highly recommend! Its awesome.

I kind of feel like this whole post sounds like its very "teachy" over here, but the truth is that Owen pretty much knows the alphabet and numbers, colors and shapes already, so we are just having a bit of fun with it in a way that adds more structure to our day.  When he gets bored or disinterested we stop. 

Oh, in other news, I am pregnant and we found out we are having a boy!  The other day Owen came up to me and started hugging my tummy and saying "Hi baby tummy" and touching it and waving.  awww, so cute ;)

Ok so now that we are kind of caught up, next week I will try to do a more detailed post of what we actually do ;)  Check out the 1+1+1=1 website for more Tot School Posts from mamas across the web

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Owen has been showing an interest in the alphabet since we checked out The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra a couple of weeks ago.
I love this book!  It is so cute.  The parents (uppercase letters) are trying to put their kiddies (lowercase letters) to bed.  The story is short and sweet with an easy cadence "Uh Oh! a is wide awake and b still has a bath to take!".  Best of all, though, are the illustrations.  Neither Owen nor I tire of looking at the pictures.  When we first got this book, we just read through the story several times (always culminating with singing the ABC song.)  Now, he wants to point at all the letters and find out what they are, which is pretty fun.  This is definitely a great alphabet book for the younger ones.  And can I say its also just so cute to hear him try and say "alphabet?"  ;)

So we have been trying to reinforce his interest in the alphabet by doing different activities, singing the alphabet song, etc. I started a felt alphabet book (I ran out of glue, it only goes to D, but I do plan to just slowly add to it anyway).

I put up a couple letters on the wall with double sided tape. So far we have A, B and Y(his favorite). I plan on adding Z today since he seems to like that one. When he walks by, he will point to them or say their name or take them down and play with them. He was surprised and excited to see the letter Y show up yesterday.
I printed out some cute little alphabet cards from Tired, Need Sleep. Check out her blog post here. We use them more like flash cards, though. Flash cards aren't for everyone,but Owen loves them! He plays with them all the time, looking at the pictures and naming them. He shows me the ones he doesn't know and I tell him what it is... He could play with them all day, so these are really fun for him . He gets excited by the animal pictures on them.  (our favorite flash cards are the touch and feel ones, they are so awesome, check them out here)
The other thing we have been doing is looking at There is here a section there for learning your ABCs, and we go on and look at some of the different letters. Owen now wants to get on the computer anytime I am on it. He says A! A! Because he wants to see the letter A. We only go through a couple of them at a time, like we usually do A, B, C and then sometimes ones like Y, Z or O. Its a pretty fun website, you should check it out!

There are so many alphabet resources out there. Most of them have ideas that seem too advanced for Owen, but I look at them constantly anyway. Here are some of the links I can think of right now I know there are a ton of others, I will try to think of them.

No Time for Flash Cards
Totally Tots
Homeschool Creations
Confessions of a Homeschooler
ABC and 123

Monday, December 20, 2010

Homemade Gifts: Busy Book

Ok so I admit it: I am totally overwhelmed by life this holiday season.  Its not just the holidays, but everything.  So posts have been a little sparse this past week, and I have a couple I hope to get out before Christmas, and then will take a week or two off while we are in Chicago.  (just to give you a heads up).

Anyway, even though this might be a little late for you to replicate by Christmas, I am going to show you a quick and easy (sloppy?  don't notice all the glue gun messes, please!) busy book I made for my neice.  My mother in law has the hardest time keeping my niece and nephew quiet during church and there is no nursery.  So I decided to make my niece a busy book, hopefully it will help!  I'm not sure what would occupy her, she is nearly three but a little behind developmentally... And I have zero understanding of kids that are not the same age as Owen.. Not sure if this will be fun or not.

This was pretty much made with felt and hot glue, each page has a pocket to keep all the pieces in.

The cover, I glued on pipe cleaners, which was easier than cutting out letters but made a big ole mess
Sewed on buttons, pipe cleaner stems, you button the flowers on and off
Shadow matching with shapes
This is kind of like a Mr. Potatohead deal where you just put together a monster face
Picking apples from the tree, putting them in the basket, they spell her name
fish, counting up to 6
I tried to make sure most of the pages had fun pieces to play with because she loves little things, likes to hold toys and line them up, so that even if she isn't into the activity on the page she might find the pieces interesting.  We will see how it goes!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Homemade Gifts: Car Playmat

I got this awesome idea for a DIY car playmat from A Girl and a Glue Gun and just went to town making this for Owen's Christmas present. (ha, I just looked back at hers and realize I kind of made mine into Crazy-Town.. as my husband says "um, it sure is busy..") Anyway, I think Owen will love it:

I wanted to just keep filling it in, adding more animals and trees and stuff and my husband just told me "stop."  Probably a good idea :)
I'm a little on the fence about the animals--my son did see this while I was making it and he loved playing with the animals, but in the end I decided to glue them on anyway.  Not sure if I should have done that or not.

so yay! I am so glad its done!  But don't let my impatience deter you from making this...  Mine is kind of big, you could do one the size of a card table that would be awesome, and just add a little bit at night for the next week or so and you would have an awesome pressie for your kid!  A Girl and a Glue Gun also has good ideas for girl themed mats!

sharing with these websites:

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What we are up to

I think I have hit the point where the holidays start to feel stressful.. Just feels like there is too much to do! Anyway, here are some pics of what we have been up to the last few days... They are not the greatest--so hard to catch him on film!

stringing beads onto pipe cleaners

playing with playdough

playing with legos--we have a Little People set and it is perfect for small hands
Eating the sugar cookie dough off of the mixers
putting sprinkles on the cookies... man we make ugly cookies!
figuring out that the curtains are fun to hide behind

Friday, December 10, 2010

Felt Food Friday: No Frills Orange Slice Tutorial

Yay! Its Friday!  I'm so glad I committed to making more felt food, with the holidays coming up I have way too many projects going on and this one is kind of going to the wayside.  But I still figured out how to make an orange slice and I wanted to share it with you.  There are a few very lovely fancy orange slice tutorials out there (see here and here, but when I started this project I was still hand sewing (but my machine is back now!) and I couldn't get those slices to look cute, so I thought I would just do a plain old orange.
You can make this by hand or by machine.  In addition to the needle/thread you will need:
orange felt
paper and pen
something to stuff the orange with

First create your pattern.  I traced around a soup can.  You will need one circle and one pointy oval that is a bit bigger than the can.  To give some perspective, my circle was about 3" across and the oval 4 1/4", however the oval was slightly too long, which I easily remedied by trimming the end during the pinning process.
Cut out your shapes.  Leave about a quarter inch for seam allowance.
Find the middle of each piece and pin them together.
Continue to pin around the orange and sew. I would show this completely pinned but apparently not being able to use your sewing machine for a year causes you to lose all your supplies... all I could find were four pins. I stopped sewing before I got to the 2nd pointy end so I could make sure my fabric was lined up right.
I began at the middle and ended about 1 1/2" from my starting point. 
Turn the slice right-side out and stuff.  I used the batting of an old couch pillow, you can use pretty much anything.  Close it off with a blind stitch.  I am not showing a picture of this because I am bad at it.
Optional:  I prefer a crisper look to my orange so I pinched the sides of the top together and stitched across it.
And you are done!
Also, when I handstitched my orange, I kept my stitches on the outside because I thought it helped make the orange more orange shaped:

If you have any felt food projects please share them with me!
A Little Knick KnackFriend Finding Fridays


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