Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 3: In the Kitchen

Theme: In the Kitchen

Objective: To practice basic kitchen skills.

Letter of the Week: B

Note: At this stage (2-3 year olds), we will focus simply on capital letters only.It is also important to understand that this introduction of letters is simply to familiarize our children with letters.We are not expecting them to be proficient with these letters.
Special Items Needed:

· This week requires parental supervision the entire time (in fact, all of our lessons are designed for parent involvement; however, this particular week has some “dangerous” elements and requires the parent to be cautious and present every step of the way).

· You will need all ingredients for any recipes you make. I suggest looking at the recipes we are using and either choosing to use those or supplementing with your own favorite recipes.

Monday: Homemade Pizza

We will be talking about how to use various items in the kitchen. Some of these things use recipes and some of them are simply basic foods to make without a recipe. To introduce the concept of a recipe to your child, you may want to watch the first half of Sesame Street: “Rhaki Road”(season 41).

Today we will be making personal pizzas. I will be using sandwich thins as crust. We will put pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and olives on our pizzas and baking them in a 375 degree oven. We will talk about washing our hands for cooking, cookie sheets, and each of the ingredients. For oven safety, we will talk about that being something “only mommy uses” at this stage.

Today is simply an introduction to working in the kitchen, so we will simply be talking and guiding our kids as we go. The most important thing is to have fun working in the kitchen together.

Note: My son was not at all interested in making homemade pizzas (I think to his two year old mind, these were not as exciting as helping me use the mixer!); so, my husband and I ended up making ourselves these homemade pizzas for dinner J!

Tuesday: Peanut Butter Balls

The recipe I will be using can be found by clicking here.









Note: My son loved making these; however he did not like eating them. I was slightly disappointed simply because I was hoping that if he loved these as much as I did when I was a kid then this would be an easy way to get protein in him.
Letter Work

We will focus our attention on an introduction to the letter“B.” To introduce the later “B,” simply draw an outline (or Google a template of the letter “B” to print). We will talk about the letter “B” and will color it.
Wednesday: Boiled Cookies

The recipe I will be using can be found by clicking here.

Note: These were just as amazing as I remember them being when I was a kid! My son and husband loved these!
Letter Work
We will continue our work on the letter “B” by trying to identify the “B” in words that start with the letter “B.” It is important at this stage to choose words that start with the letter “B” and only have that “B” in them. Write the words in all capital letters. Make a game of searching for the “B.”


Thursday: ABC Pasta

Today, we will simply be boiling alphabet pasta and eating it with a little butter and salt added to it. You should be able to find alphabet pasta at almost any grocery store.




Letter Work
We will also practice tracing the letter “B.” This may be a bit difficult for some children, so please pass on this activity if it is too stressful. We will do a “Rainbow B,” by tracing the outline of a capital letter “B” in multiple colors. Try putting a dot at the top starting point of the “B,” then say, “Down, around, around,” as you trace the “B.” Providing directional descriptions can help quite a bit in learning to write letters.

Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe I will be using can be found by clicking here.







Letter Work
For additional letter work, check out this website I just stumbled across: “Totally Tots,” by clicking here.

Week 2: The Mail

Theme: The Mail

Objective: To learn how the mail works.

Letter of the Week: A
Note: At this stage (2-3 year olds), we will focus simply on capital letters only. It is also important to understand that this introduction of letters is simply to familiarize our children with letters. We are not expecting them to be proficient with these letters.

Special Items Needed:

· Stamps

· Envelopes

· Address Labels

· Mailbag (optional)

· Pretend “letters” (optional)

Monday: How It Works

Today, we will just be talking about how the mail works. We will look at our mailbox and talking about the mailman and his mail truck. We will focus our attention on an introduction to the letter “A.” To introduce the later “A,” simply draw an outline (or Google a template of the letter “A” to print). We will talk about the letter “A” and will color it.
You may even want to strike up a pretend game of collecting and delivering pretend letters. It might be helpful to watch the Backyardigans, show “Special Delivery,” to aid in this make believe play of delivering letters. You can see our pretend mailbag with letters below.


Tuesday: Letter to Beeta

This will be our first day to write a letter. You can choose whomever you’d like for your child to write to. For us, we will be writing to each of his grandparents throughout this week. The first letter will be to my mother-in-law, who my son calls “Beeta.” We will take our time walking through the steps of “mail.” These steps will be repeated each day that we write letters this week.

· Write the “letter” (simply a drawing in my son’s case).

· Parent also writes a note explaining that the child is learning about the mail and inviting the recipient to write back to the child.

· Assist the child in folding the letter and inserting it in the envelope.

· Assist the child in putting a stamp and address label on the envelope. Parent addresses the envelope.

· Assist the child in sealing the envelope.

· Put the letter in the mail together.

We will continue our work on the letter “A” by trying to identify the “A” in words that start with the letter “A.” It is important at this stage to choose words that start with the letter “A” and only have that “A” in them. Write the words in all capital letters (see photo below). Make a game of searching for the “A.”



At this point, this game will not be proficient in any way. Looking at the photo below you can see that my son was more interested in coloring the whole page than finding the letter “A.” I ended up circling each “A”as we looked at this page.




Wednesday: Letter to Nina and Papa

Today, I will assist my son in writing a letter (draw a picture) to send to my parents, his “Nina” and “Papa.” To do this, we will repeat the steps in yesterday’s mail process.



We will continue our work with the letter “A” by eating apples.

Thursday: The Post Office

Our first informal field trip will be today. We will go to an actual post office, go to a postal worker and purchase stamps. We will talk about the postal worker (mailman or mail woman). We will talk about stamps and how they help us mail letters. We will walk around the post office and talk about how the mail works.






Friday: Letter to Papa T

Today, we will write our final letter (picture) to my father-in-law, who my son calls “Papa T.” We will repeat the steps in Tuesday’s mail process.

We will also practice tracing the letter “A.” This may be a bit difficult for some children, so please pass on this activity if it is too stressful. We will do a “Rainbow A,” by tracing the outline of a capital letter “A” in multiple colors (see photos below).













Note: By the end of the week, the first grandparent we sent a letter to had already sent a small package back to my son. She sent a letter and animal cookies! It was so fun for my son to get special mail of his own!




Week 1: Review

Theme: Review

Objective: To review the basic content areas we have previously covered.

Special Items Needed:

· Alphabet Book

· Wall Shapes

· Shape Sort

· Weather Pictures

· Family Tree

Since we have been moving/travelling for the last six weeks, we will be getting back into the routine of Toddler Preschool by reviewing the content areas we have previously covered. We will be focusing on the alphabet, shapes, weather, and our family tree. I am including many pictures so that you will be able to visual what we have already covered and how you might introduce these content areas if you have not already introduced them to your toddler.

Monday: Practice

We will using this day just to “practice” our routine again. We will begin with read a few books and drawing. Below is a photo of our learning/play area. Having a routine area where you do Toddler Preschool will be helpful. For us it is our play area (which is actually one wall of our dining room!).


Tuesday: Alphabet Review

We will be reviewing the alphabet. Last spring, I made the book pictured below by stapling and taping 28 pieces of construction paper together. Each day I would introduce a new letter to my son, write it very large to cover the paper, then draw smaller copies of the same letter all over the page while my son colored the letters. We would also spend a little time each day reviewing previously introduced letters.

For our alphabet review, I will go through this book again a few times with my son, hoping to see which letters he has retained and which ones we need to re-introduce. I also plan to read a few “ABC” books with him.

Wednesday: Shape Review

We will be reviewing our shapes by hanging our construction paper shapes on the wall of our learning area (see photo to left). We will also spend some time doing our shape sort (see second and third photo). I made this shape sort out of those foam sheets you can buy at any craft store. I chose the four basic shapes in the three primary colors. I spent considerable time teaching my son how to sort according to shape. My son loves playing this “game,” and can consistently sort according to shape.
















Thursday: Weather Review

We will be reviewing four basic weather types: sunny, cloudy, rainy, and snowy. I had previously introduced and reviewed weather by drawing four identical pictures of our condo, each with a different type of weather. I introduced these to my son, and then also pointed out weather types as various weather occurrences happened in real life. We will be looking at all four pictures and drawing new weather pictures of our new house with the four weather types.


Friday: Family Review

We will be reviewing our family relationships. Because our entire extended family lives far away from us, I created a family tree on a poster-board-sized paper. On this poster, I took random photos I had of each family member (including god-parents and their kids) and made a family tree (you can see it pictured in the photo of our learning area at the beginning of this post). I listed each person’s name, drew lines for how the family members were connected, color-coded sides of the family and kept each generation on its own line. The part that is especially useful for my toddler is being able to see his family members’ faces and know who each of them are. This helps when we visit family to already have a visual in his mind. We will be spending time reviewing each family member, talking about what we did with each of them over the summer.



The Toddler Preschool


What is Toddler Preschool? Toddler Preschool is my attempt to have a focused learning time with my two and a half year old for twenty to thirty minutes a day. When it became apparent last spring that my almost two year old could absorb much more than I realized, I began introducing learning activities to him. He quickly learned [almost] everything that I introduced to him. This fall, in an effort to build on this, I’ve set up a calendar of weekly themes around which to structure learning activities. I intend to plan short“lessons” on a variety of topics with an emphasis on necessary school readiness skills. Each week I plan to share in this blog the theme we are working on and the simple activities we’ll be doing within that theme. My hope is to offer preschool-type activities at home.

My plan is to share these weekly themes and learning activities with you in a simple format. I hope to post every Tuesday (although that may or may not be a realistic goal). I will share our theme, list of items to gather, and daily activities that we will be doing. I am sharing this on my blog as a resource for you. This is not meant to be one more thing for you to add to your “to do list” (and if that’s your motivation,click here). Instead, this is meant to be an easy way for you to have theme-based activities to do with your 2-3 year old. This is not meant to be only for “stay at home moms” nor is it meant to be only for moms who plan to homeschool; rather, this is meant to be a learning tool that is accessible for moms and dads to use with their toddlers. I will try to keep the blog posts simple and the activities simple (and cheap!). I will list only special items needed for each week, with the understanding that you already have basic items (glue sticks, construction paper, stickers, white paper, crayons, markers, etc.).

Prior to now, my son and I have already covered letter recognition, counting to twenty, colors, shapes, weather, and family. We will continue to review these basic skills by incorporating them into our various themes. Feel free to introduce those to your 2-3 year old interspersed with these themed activities (if you haven’t already).

In addition to the learning activities I share here, it is also my goal to read with my kids daily. As a former first grade teacher, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of reading to your kids (even when they are babies and toddlers). To read a few suggestions for fostering earlyearly literacy, click here. At this toddler stage, I am not focusing too much on having the books we read match our learning themes. You are, of course, welcome to do that yourself for your kids if you like; however, the most important piece is simply that you read to your kids.

There are two books that have been excellent resources for me in developing my style for toddler preschool. I highly suggest these books as resources for you, too!




I hope you have as much fun with Toddler Preschool as I do!