Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Letter B Week (Day Two)

(29 Months)

I love my itty bitties!  When they saw their table this morning filled with "b" books, I received "wow!" and "thank you very much Momma". They sat down to their table and began to "read" their books.

After that we partially colored the letter "b".  This full-page letter b is from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Thank you Erica.

We carefully placed beans on the b outline.  Do you notice what Wild One is about to do?  That's right, he almost got the bean in his mouth before I stopped him (he's so fast).

Next, we had fun stamping butterflies and bunnies on the "b" paper, on the easel paper, on the tops of Mommy's feet, on our legs, arms, bellies, backs (you get the picture).

Then, we threaded light blue and royal blue pony beads onto blue pipe cleaners.  Wild One threaded seven beads and then got up to start jumping around the room.  Little Miss placed five on her pipe cleaner and then began taking them off one by one to use in her tea pot (maybe it was supposed to be herbal tea?.

Lastly, we used our bottle cap letters to spell out our names.  We tried using clothes pins last week, but they were too challenging to clip onto the paper (we need to develop those pincer muscles).  In all fairness, I had to give a significant squeeze to open the clothes pin as well.

Little Miss wanted to end with counting three bananas, and then asking to eat three bananas.

Our Top Ten App List (Mostly Free)

(29 Months)

I was so surprised when I first got my iPhone to see how many wonderful, and user friendly, educational apps there were for my little ones (the under three group).  I spent hours downloading free apps and then trying them to see which ones we liked, and which ones would be deleted.

As of the past two months, these are our Top 10 (out of the 25 that we kept).  They are all free except for Letter Quiz and Dora's Skywriting Adventure (my incredible cousin Catie, gave us a free app code for this app).
  1. Letter Quiz (we first tried out the free lite version, but then purchased this version)- this app has four games: flash cards, match the upper to the lowercase letter, touch the "A", letter tracing (their absolute favorite- it has bumpers on the letters to help keep the lines on the letters)
  2. Count-a-licious- there are three fun games on this app: number show that tells and shows the number, a counting game and a number tracing game
  3. Bob Magic Lite- from the makers of BOB books, this app has levels of difficulty for placing letters in order (mostly cvc words)
  4. Magic Piano- teaches the child timing and finger coordination along with beautiful music
  5. Teach Me Toddler- quizes and provides a score cards for numbers, letters, shapes, colors, phonics and counting.  Offers sticker rewards after the players gets three answers right in a row
  6. First Words Sampler- shows a picture (of a cat) then has three tile letters for the player to place in order, it has a safety net that will not allow the player to misplace a letter
  7. Tozzle Light- a shape puzzle that reinforces sounds and names of animals
  8. Dora's Skywriting Adventure- similar to the Letter Quiz
  9. Little Writer- another tracing game, this one is for capital and lowercase letters, numbers, shapes and words
  10. MeMe Tales- reads aloud wonderful online stories

Monday, July 30, 2012

Letter B Week (Day One)

(29 Months)

Last week I created a plan for our Letter B Week.  While I scoured the internet looking for ideas that I thought my little ones would enjoy, the majority of the wonderfully engaging activity sheets come from Erica, Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Thank you again Erica for creating so many fun learning activities and for sharing them with all of us.

After the kids were in bed last night, I took out our easel paper and drew two large, block letter B's (to color), several dotted B's (to trace), a couple of balloons (easy to draw) and a book (again easy to draw).  Little Miss woke up first and when she saw what was on her table, she immediately sat down and started tracing the B's.  Then she traced her brother's B's and asked for "more B's Mommy".

She kept asking for more and more B's, so I grabbed the first activity sheet (it has the child first draw lines, then curves and then the letter B).  As soon as she saw it, Little Miss smiled and said "thank you Mommy, thank you very much."  My heart melted (thank you Erica).  When Wild One saw what his sister was working on, he asked for one too.  Woo hoo!  They are working and asking for more!

We had a fun teddy bear breakfast of whole wheat blueberry pancakes with sliced bananas (notice all those b's?).  They loved having their bears sitting at the table with us.  They polished off half the batch of pancakes between the two of them!  These are delicious!  Instead of artificial sweetener, I used two tablespoons of real maple syrup, plus we added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of vanilla.  We needed 1 1/4 cups of milk for the batter (1 cup wasn't nearly enough), and since it's a thick batter we spread the batter out slightly when we ladled it onto the griddle.

My hubby and I created a long list of "b" objects, and I noticed that we have many of these items in the house.  So, I created a really large discovery bin (I used an empty case of copy paper, wrapped both parts in wrapping paper) and then let the kids explore (of course, by the time I grabbed my camera the items were already all over the place):
     letter b sandpaper                    letter b magnets
     bracelet                                   balloons
     butterfly                                  bees/bugs- 10 Little Ladybugs
     bears                                       books
     blue blocks                             blue ball
     basketball                               baseball
     beach ball                               baby blanket
     brush                                      baby
     baby bottle                             bowl
     blue basket                             bandaid
     jar of beans                            box
     bubbles                                  bunny
     banana                                   beads

They both practiced tracing the sandpaper b (rough) and the magnetic b (smooth).

So much fun and it's only day one!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Letter A Week

(29 Months)

This week we played with the letter A.  Our first activity was placing smily face stickers inside the outline of the letter A.  Peeling and placing stickers is an excellent exercise for developing fine motor skills.  To make it easier for the kidabunks to peel the stickers off of the page, I remove the backing sticker first.

I was so impressed that they both stayed inside the lines.  Wild One spaced his stickers sporadically throughout the letter A.  Little Miss was more meticulous about placing her stickers in a line.  After she finished placing her stickers, she decided to color in the letter.  I love how they create their own work!

They love pom poms, especially magnetic pom poms (to make them magnetic, I hot glued magnetic craft dots onto the pom poms while the kids were napping).  We placed these fantastic bubble sheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler onto a cookie sheet and then let the kids go straight to work. Once they finished their letter A worksheet, they asked to work on "another one please Mommy".  I hope they are always this eager to do their work, I know that's naive of me- but, I'm hopeful.  Little Miss then began practicing her counting with the magnetic pom poms (thank you again Ericka for a beautifully artistic and fun activity sheet).

We practiced tracing letters on Letter Quiz.  They love this app!  It allows them to achieve success in tracing letters by providing bumpers alongside the outlines (almost like how bumper bowling allows you always to knock down pins).   It's definitely on their Top Ten List (post to follow shortly).

Grandpa and Little Miss practiced connecting the dots to form capital A's on easel paper.  Little Miss watched as Grandpa used his marker to make little dots in the formation of an A.  She then tried to duplicate the A with dots, and Grandpa had to show her to connect the dots.  I love my Dad!  She's been asking me to draw dots ever since.

We haven't created too many pasting projects.  For some reason we gravitate towards the messier play of markers, paint, stamps and shaving cream to cutting and glue sticks.  Which is a shame, because scissor practice and glue stick practice are excellent for continuing to develop those fine motor skills.  For their letter art project I came up with The Matching Apple Tree.  This activity is so simple and relatively quick to put together.

To my surprise they matched the letters quite effortlessly.  Although, with only three apples left, Wild One got up and started hopping on tile letters instead of finishing his tree.  It took several minutes of coaxing to get him to finally finish his three apples (the winning ticket, once you're all done then you can show it to daddy and hang it on the door).  Meanwhile, Little Miss would pick up a letter as she was scanning the tree to find the corresponding upper or lowercase match.  She completed all of the uppercase letters first and then worked on the lowercase, she's so methodical.

AND...We are also going to practice with our letter A printable, our matching upper to lowercase letter shoe box, and our sun bleached letter puzzle.  
That's all folks!