Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I've been having a hard time deciding how much detail to share of our alphabet school each week. The alphabet posts have generally taken the most time to put together and get the least comments - most of my "known" readers aren't into all the details. Yet these posts also get the most hits on my blog, so I'm guessing there are a few anonymous readers out there.
So here's what we're gonna do. Only one post each week devoted specifically to "school," as we've been doing in the past. I'll give you an outline of what we're doing, including some photos and a little feedback on how things worked. The idea is simply to pass on ideas, not to provide a "curriculum" or to keep track of all the sources and links. If you want a specific link, let me know via email or comment and I'll try to get it to you.
We're spending two weeks on each letter, so for organizational purposes, I'll go through our activity trays one week, and then the themed activities the second week.
So here are the "A" activity trays that worked for us this week!
Sensory Tub. We filled a small tub with alphabet macaroni, and put in a few measuring cups and spoons for good measure. So we got practice figuring how many 1/8 cups filled a 1/4 cup, etc, as well as practice "hiding" our hands and feet in the tub. I also used the tub to hide various objects for crafts - plaster planes and wood apples for painting, etc. And Esmé also liked picking out the Os, Ws, Vs, and As. (And I found the macaroni in the Mexican section of the grocery store, not the pasta section...)
Shake 'n Sniff. I put a teaspoon of allspice into an apple-shaped shaker and paired it up with a coffee filter for Esmé to sprinkle the allspice onto. I refilled it a couple of times and replaced the coffee filter, too. And the first time I realized I needed to include her little broom and dustpan with this activity, so she could sweep up her mess afterwards!
Counting. I had two activities for counting. The first was a tray of 15 acorns, to be counted out into cups of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Counting didn't actually happen unless I was involved, but she liked carrying the little acorns around.
The second counting activity was 15 crocheted angels in an angel bag. These could also be counted in rows of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to make an angel tree.
Play Doh. Play doh is a very important part of our school! It does take my involvement, as I get to roll it out. I've been collecting cookie cutters from thrift stores - so for A week we had an angel, an apple, an airplane, and the letter A.
Matching. I had two sets of matching games out - one that included "A" pictures from a Memory game, and the other a 3-part card set I printed - though we are only using two parts for now - not matching written words yet! Though I might need to do so soon. Esmé does the matching right the first time, just to show me she can do it, and then she just messes around with me and mismatches everything... (Those Memory card holder boxes work great for this - 12 cards is about the max I'd use for Esmé.)
Color Sorting. I made an apple tree and an orange tree out of felt, and cut 10 of each fruit from felt, also. I mixed them up and let Esmé put the correct fruit on the correct tree. She did perfectly the first time through, and then just like with the matching activity, she starting messing things around. Her favorite part was alternating the fruit to put back on the tray for the next time through.
Magnets. Esmé loves magnets, so I've started collecting these from thrift stores, too. My best investment was a set of five photo frame magnets. We looked through a magazine for "A" pictures, ripped them out, and stuck them in the frames. The magnets are in a bowl on her activity tray shelf, and she has a little magnet board to put them on, or she can carry them to the fridge and use them there.
Rubber Stamps. I've started a collection of rubber stamps from thrift stores, too. I put "A" stamps on a tray with ink pads and strips of paper to make bookmarks.Esmé enjoys this if I am playing along with her, but it does get rather messy.
Stickers. Esmé generally loves stickers, but for some reason just putting them on a tray with paper wasn't very appealing to her. So I colored a few "background" cards, and that went over much better. We did an airport scene, an apple tree with apple stickers, and outer space with astronaut and alien stickers. She also liked putting stickers in her new journal, as well as drawing in the journal several times.
Cutting. I printed out a bunch of small apples for Esmé's lapbook, and had a few strips left over. So I stuck these in a cup with her scissors, and she enjoyed cutting the strips.
A Triangle. I took three craft sticks and put velcro on them so they could be connected in a triangle shape or in an "A" shape. She enjoyed these as long as I was helping her with them.
Inserts. Nothing "A" about this - I lost my creativity here. But it was one of Esmé's favorite activities - inserting toothpicks into the holes on a salt shaker. She pulled this down a number of times to do by herself.
Coloring Tray. I put an apple mug of crayons on a tray - yes - I'm looking for mugs to correspond to all the letters now! Then I had a coloring page for each theme during the week, so I could swap the pages out as they got colored. (I haven't given Esmé crayons much because she eats them, and she stayed true to form, but I tried to ignore it this week, and I think she's slowly getting over her fetish. She at least managed to do some coloring between the bites.)
Pouring. The last activity tray on her shelf was the pouring one - a small glass pitcher and a small glass. Not particularly "A"ish, but I'll be adding a sponge or towel to this in the future, so maybe those can be A themed! She loves this, it is always messy, and it is put on the shelf empty, so when she wants to use it, I take it to the kitchen and fill the pitcher. A little control that way...
We also had a couple of bins of toys. As I mentioned last week, I've cut down a lot on the toys, but she's definitely enjoying the ones she has more now. Not everything is "A" themed - I left out her doll and wagon. But I did include a bin of A stuff - angels, apples, airplanes. And here is the ark with animals...
And I left some other art stuff out for free art time, like her easel and white board. So I can be blessed with spontaneous designs such as this one. Doesn't it just feel like spring?
So there you have it - the A activity trays that worked for this 24-month-old! Next week we'll go through the A-theme adventures we did, too.
If you have a post or link related to "A" Activities for toddlers, link up here!