Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tot School - Red

Tot School - Week 7 - Theme: Red
Owen & Eli: 19 months old

This week was a little tough. The boys started the week off with their 7th respiratory infection of the winter - this is way past ridiculous - so they weren't into that many activities and they were much more whiney than normal. It's hard to find motivation for learning when you're just trying to keep them happy! It was also a little tough because I feel like I'm in a rut with my color work. It seems like I'm doing the same activities every week but just swapping out one color for another and even I'm getting bored with it. We don't have our printer set up at home, so most of the activities I do have to be either with toys/items that we already have or I have to draw/create them from hand. It's hard to find the time to do that! I'm really going to try to be more creative this week though for Orange and Yellow. I decided to combine them to hopefully give me more ideas for activities.

We started the week with our color tray, including colored popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, buttons, silicon baking cups, spoons and a juice jug. They always love playing with this, especially shaking all the items out of the jug once they feel it's full enough. I gave them an old spice jar too and showed them how to put pipe cleaners and golf tees into the holes. I thought they might get frustrated with the level of concentration it took, but they really enjoyed filling up the holes. Great fine motor skill practice!

We looked through our book about colors and identified different red items. We reviewed the green and blue pages from the last two weeks too and they remembered most of the objects. I was surprised that when I would point in a general direction to a pile of cars and say 'bring me the red car' that they could actually do it by the end of the week! It doesn't hurt that their favorite vehicles right now are fire engines and ambulences!

We reviewed our shapes and colors with these Sesame Street flash cards from our Dollar Store too. They were more interested in the characters than identifying the shapes, but it kept them entertained for a little while.

Play-doh is always a hit too, especially with cookie cutters. I'm not sure how I can make this activity more advanced or more educational though - any ideas? I'm looking for ways to take everyday household items and use them for Tot School to gain skills without buying new things every week....

... Like this!! This was my favorite project/activity of the week and the boys totally loved it! I had bought a pack of colored foam paper from Target on clearance and had no idea what to do with it. I had some leftover velcro and a cardboard box too, so I went to work with my cookie cutters and made this little game for the boys. I just gave them the red pieces this week, but I made red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple shapes for them to match. There's actually two boards for them to work with, but that's only after we're using all the colors together. I can't believe how good they are at matching up the right piece to the right outline! Eli is my Mr. Meticulous! He lines them up perfectly and makes sure each piece of velcro has a solid stick to the board. Eventually, I'm going to color in the shapes with corresponding colors so they can practice both shape matching AND color matching with the same activity, but for now, I just wanted them to get the hang of the game.

We were supposed to go to a Touch-a-Truck event this weekend but it poured down rain so it was cancelled until further notice. Bummer! The boys would have loved all those red vehicles!

Tomorrow we're starting Orange and Yellow. Even if you haven't done color-specific activities, send me a comment for activities appropriate for 20 month olds... please! Hope you had a great week in Tot School!

To check out what other Tot Schoolers are doing this week, click here.


Laura said...

I like your idea with the cardboard, velcro, and foam - I think my kids would love that. I have 21 month boy/girl twins. As far as ideas go - I am new to the totschool world (haven't even managed to write up my first post yet) - but one thing that has really worked this week is putting objects in a two-liter bottle. I've done this a few times with a bag full of objects - some too big and some just right - and they try to find the ones that will fit. And then they love to shake them all back out and put them back in the bag.
I also did this with those little pompom balls (I bought them intending to make them into pompom magnets, but haven't gotten around to it yet). They love playing with them as is. They spend a LOT of time putting them one by one into the bottle and then shaking them all out - they even took turns! I also did some color sorting with my little boy today with the pompoms.

The Activity Mom said...

great velcro puzzle!
another idea with playdoh is to stick a speg. noodle in it (upright) and then thread cheerios on it. fun!
check out my blog for other color and shape activities (use the labels on the right to search by subject)

The Activity Mom said...

ps check out "Color Hunt" in the colors tab. I think that would be a hit!

Carisa said...

Foam, Cardboard, Velcro---free...GENIUS!!! I love it!

sbswtp said...

Great post! It looks like they had a lot of fun :)

MamaDuck76 said...

I *LOVE* your shape-matching board. I love that it's free, it's fun, it's...well...really cool! Nice job!

Chelsea said...

hi there i just found your blog and love it. i havent searched back to see if you have any other playdough ideas but i wrote a post a few weeks back which may help
Looking forward to following you!

Cookies said...

What an adorable blog! I am so happy I found it. Your ideas are great for the boys, I really like the cardboard and Velcro idea- I think you are more creative than you give yourself credit for! Keep sharing! Thanks!

Patricia said...

I love the shape's board. I going to make it too, very good idea. Thanks for sharing it.

Susan-Chasing Marcus said...

The shape board is great! I will brainstorm some ideas for colors tonight and post if I think of any. My little one enjoys velcroing and magnets. Both are big hits with her.
What about gluing a collage with pictures you cut out of a certain color? Or making tissue paper suncatchers? Or going on a nature walk to find things that are yellow/orange and you take a picture of them?
My little one also liked a playdough mat. You can easily make one for them by drawing circles an encouraging them to pinch off pieces of the playdough into the circles...make sense?
Guess I thought of a few!

Unknown said...

Love all your idea's and cant wait to make the velcro puzzle. I linked your blog on one of my posts since the idea came from your puzzle. said...

You have great activity ideas!! I have a 4 year old, 3 year old and 11 1/2 month old and I can use most all of these for each of them. Thank you so much for sharing! Please stop by my blog if you get a chance if you still need some activities for your boys. :)

Unknown said...

The shapes with the Velcro was such a neat idea! Thank you for sharing it. I made this for my 2 1/2 year old but I glued colored construction paper to the cardboard and I cut the shapes on felt to teach her colors too. I saw you had mentioned using colors too in your post. I found my 4 year old actually really enjoys playing with this too! I love how easy it is to store it :)

Me said...

Fun ideas!

Lots of things can be paired with play dough for free.

I like to give my little kids buttons to push into the play dough. They can line them up in little rows or make little "fences" out of buttons stuck upright. You can do color matching- red buttons in red dough, blue buttons in blue dough, etc. You can use toy animals to make tracks in the dough as well. All kinds of things make fun prints in play dough- corks, forks, spoons, potato mashers, slotted spoons, and if you have a garlic press they can make "noodles".

I also teach my kids to use scissors by having them cut play dough "snakes"- much easier than cutting paper. It's good for knife cutting as well (butter knife or other dull knife)

I like to make seasonal play dough sets. For example for fall I make a cinnamon-scented dough (with cinnamon essential oil) in orange, red, and brown. Then I will give them leaf and pumpkin cookie cutters. At Christmas I do green, red, and white. Peppermint, orange, and cinnamon are all good scents (not all in the same dough) and we cut out Christmas tree shapes and use buttons as ornaments on trees. I have yet to make a Valentines batch this year but I plan on doing it next week. So I'll make red, white, and pink (you can make white by making a regular dough and adding white frosting coloring you can buy at a craft store). Then I will add heart cookie cutters and googly eyes and probably buttons as well. I will make cork heart stamps for them to stamp hearts into the dough. You can make a different play dough kit for each holiday or season. Winter is a fun theme as well- white play dough with some toy penguins and materials to make snowmen (small black buttons, toothpicks, etc).

Mama Coi said...

Cool ideas!! Stumbled upon your blog on pinterest as I was finding toddler activities using cardboard hehe! Will definitely do the shape-matching board! ;)