Thursday, January 24, 2013

Week 16 Out and About


Theme: Out and About

Objective: To experience various indoor activities around town during the winter months.
Letter of the Week: K
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:
·         The ability to get out and about (car/bus pass/etc.)

·         A selection of books for “reading time”

New Developments:
In our toddler preschool, I’ve made a few changes to help me be more routine in my time with my boys.  I am including my one year old in most of the activities I plan for my two and a half year old.  My one year old often needs our activities modified; however, he’s happy to toddle along with us as we learn.  Below are two new developments in our toddler preschool.
Schedule:
 I found these charts pictured here for only $0.30!  I snatched these and some other school supplies up right away.  While the weather chart and daily schedule are not my ideal for a preschool setting, the price and the fact that they were already laminated were ideal!  Each morning, we check the weather and talk about our plan for the day (highlighting our morning main activity or outing).  We have also started talking about the days of the week and singing a little song (more on that in a future post). 

Reading Time:
We have recently introduced “reading time” in the mornings.  I was finding that I had a good twenty minutes free after morning chores and before my one year old’s nap.  I had also realized that one of the things I had let slip over the last few months was a consistent reading time with my boys.  So, starting in December, I began to use my twenty minute block as a reading time.  I have each of us pick out one book for reading time.  Then I read each book at least once, but often twice.  The boys then have the option of looking at the three books (and often do) independently. 
 
Out and About
Library Story Time
My experience is that most libraries have a story time geared towards young children.  We are fortunate enough to have a library system that has two separate story times: one for birth – two year olds, the other for two to four year olds.  Not only does this time get my kids familiar with the library, it also gives them a chance to hear someone else read stories and sing songs to them.   For my two year old, it is also helping him learn how to follow someone else’s directions in a group setting (which is a skill I want to work with him on this year). 

Mall Play Areas
I discovered mall play areas around the time my oldest son was nine months old.  And ever since then, they have become a staple in our weekly schedule.  We live in a city that is cold in the winter and blisteringly hot in the summer.  So, while outdoor playgrounds are fun when the weather is right, it is extremely helpful to have an indoor option for the rest of the year! 

Aquarium, Children’s Museum, Zoo, Etc.
With small children, I highly recommend picking one place and purchasing a family membership.  For us, this year, I opted to purchase an aquarium membership.  Our city has a phenomenal aquarium!  The cost of our membership was easily covered by us going twice to the aquarium.  My boys are young enough to find the aquarium fascinating even if we go every single week.  Because we have the membership, I do not feel pressure to see everything or stay for large amounts of time on any one visit (yet another reason a membership is helpful with small children). 
I suggest checking out what your city has to offer in the category of zoos, children’s museums, and/or aquariums.  It might very well be worth purchasing a family membership so that you’ll have a place to see and learn and explore together.
Play Dates
Our other weekly staple activity is having at least one to three scheduled play dates.  Because my boys do not go to preschool (nor do they stay in any group childcare settings), it is important to me that they learn how to interact with their peers in other play settings.  So, I schedule lots of play dates with friends their ages.  I am extremely blessed to have many friends with young children.  It is wonderful to take turns going to each other’s homes, giving our kids other toys and spaces to play in. 
If you are really brave, you could attempt to plan and do an activity during a play date.  I honestly haven’t braved that one yet, but it is one of my goals this year!
Letter Work
I continued our regular letter work with the Letter “K” by following the activities we’ve done with previous letters (see below for an explanation of each activity). 
Coloring the Letter “K”
To introduce the later “K,” simply draw an outline (or Google a template of the letter “K” to print).  We will talk about the letter “K” and will color it. 
Letter Search
We will continue our work on the letter “K” by trying to identify the “K” in words that start with the letter “K.”  It is important at this stage to choose words that start with the letter “K” and only have that “K” in them.  Write the words in all capital letters.  Make a game of searching for the “K.” 
Rainbow “K”
We will also practice tracing the letter “J.”  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 K,” by tracing the outline of a capital letter “K” in multiple colors.  Start by tracing the letter yourself, speaking out the movements you are making.  Then speak those same movements as your child traces the letter.
For additional Letter “K” activities, click here. 

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Back Up and Running



Because of some of the decisions I have recently made (to read more, click here), I will be starting the Toddler Preschool Blog back up.  Not only is it fun for me to write lesson plans for toddler learning, it also holds me accountable to continually make plans for my boys’ learning. 

Be looking each week for theme-based learning activities, letter work, and general learning ideas and goals. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Paused


Coming home from vacation, I realzed that I must trim back how I spend my energy and time so that I can do the things that are most important.  While I love blogging and “lesson planning,” keeping up this blog is one more thing than I can maintain at the moment.  My main focuses this year are: spiritual life, motherhood, marriage, classes (to keep up my teaching license), and my book (which is in the editing/publishing stage).  To maintain this Toddler Preschool blog would be to distract my attention from where I need to focus. So, for the moment, this blog will be on pause.  I will keep it online for the time being, though, as I am not sure when/if I will pick it up again.