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Friday, January 16, 2015

Tot School: Colors & Letter C

I started off the year with a new plan for Tot School for Calvin (and Henry, as much as I can include him). My goal is to be more intentional and organized with introducing concepts and skills through playful activities. Just a couple of activities per day, and lots of time for therapy and outings and free play and even being bored in between :) If you're curious about why and how I started this whole Tot School thing, please check out my first post about it here: Tot School.

Here's how our first week went!

It was the week of Jan. 5-9, 2015. Our theme was colors, and our Letter of the Week was C.

In addition to these activities, we read lots of books about colors and we did a little bit of hunting for the letter C in books and in "environmental print" - which just means print that you see in your home or the places you go. Things like labels and signs. From time to time, I would also talk about colors that we could see around us... on our clothes, around the room, outside, etc. Calvin generally shrugged off  my attempts to get him to talk about colors. 

On the Sunday before, I sat down and put together this plan of activities for our theme and letter with the hopes of doing one Tot School activity in the AM and one in the PM each day. 


Colors - dinosaur color sort

I used Calvin's dinosaur obsession to engage him in a sorting game. We gave each color dinosaur their own "island." At first Calvin's instinct was to sort them by species. All the spinosauruses together, all the triceratops together, etc. We talked a lot about the colors and which ones were the same color, and we got them all organized onto their islands.

Monday afternoon I totally forgot about our Letter of the Week activity. Oops!


On Tuesday, we ended up doing all our Tot School activities in the afternoon. It worked out fine. Calvin was really into it.

Colors - mixing paint in bags (sensory play)

I poured red and blue paint into one bag, red and yellow paint into a second bag, and blue and yellow paint into a third bag. I poured the colors side by side, so that the resulting mixed color would appear in the middle and I sealed the bags. To be extra safe, I could have put them into slightly larger bags and sealed them again, or taped them. It was fine. No paint spills :) The boys had fun smushing the paint around and looking at how the colors changed. 

Letter C - match magnet letters to Calvin's written name (motor skills)

Calvin and I have done this activity a few times before. He knows that these letters make his name, and we sing a song to spell it to the tune of Bingo. I write his name in all caps on the board and I give him the magnet letters. It's his job to match the magnets to the written letters. He doesn't always get the orientation right, but sometimes he does and we talk about it. He often mixes up A and V (totally understandable), so we also talk about the little differences between those letters. He always says the letter I looks like a dog bone! 

Letter C - choo choo stamping (motor skills)

I wrote the letter C a few times around the paper and I had him put a train stamp on each letter C. Ok, I admit that "choo choo" is a stretch for a word that starts with C, but I had limited stamps to work with! When I looked back at this activity, I thought of a better way to do it, which I tired out the next week with the letter A. 


Wednesday we were super busy and we didn't get around to Tot School, so our activities got pushed a day late, and we ended up not doing the Friday activities at all. 


Colors: buttons in rice (sensory play)

This is also an activity that I've done with Calvin a few times before. I bury colored objects (this time, buttons) in the rice bin and he digs them out and then together we sort them by color on the little color coded paint tray (I used Sharpies to color the paint tray and I got the tray from Michael's).

Calvin did pretty well with it this time! He would almost always take two tries to match the color. For some reason, he would often guess randomly and quickly at first, then think about it and get it on his second try without me saying anything about it. He self-corrected, as we reading teachers would say :)

Henry played with some rice and buttons on his tray, but I had to take the buttons away pretty quickly when I realized that yes, they did fit in his mouth after all! He also ate some uncooked rice... but I don't think it hurt him...

Letter C: make the letter using play dough (sensory play & motor skills)

This was reeeeeaaaalllyyy hard for Calvin in terms of his motor skills and patience. I was thinking it would have been better if I'd had some cookie cutters with words that start with C... car, cat, cow... Or we could have made cookies out of the play dough! I am learning too as we go along with these activities, so I'll use those ideas in future weeks. 


Letter C - Caterpillar C (sensory play, motor skills)

Calvin loved this project. He thought the caterpillar was cute, and he really likes using pom poms. I got the idea for this from the website No Time for Flashcards.

I put glue dots on the paper letter and he stuck the pieces on. 

Colors: paper rainbow

This is one of the color books we'd been reading. I cut out construction paper pieces to glue together into a rainbow and the idea was that for each page of the book, we'd add that color to the paper rainbow. 

We made it to orange.

Then Henry woke up and I brought him into the kitchen and put him in his high chair. The pom poms were still on the table from the caterpillar project, so Calvin decided it would be more fun to give his brother pom poms to play with than to finish the rainbow we were making.

Fair enough. He was right. It was more fun :)

I posted a little video on our Instagram & Facebook pages of them playing with the pom poms. Super cute!

So we didn't get to every activity, and not all the activities were a hit with Calvin. But, some of them were and I'm getting some better ideas for upcoming weeks. At the moment, we're in the middle of shapes and the letter A, so I'll post next week about how it went!

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