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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tot School: Shapes & Letter A

For our second week of Tot School, we played with shapes and spied the letter A!


Here are some of the ways we explored shapes. I focused on triangles, circles, squares and rectangles. Calvin was already really familiar with stars and hearts and flowers, but not so much the basic geometric 2-D shapes.

Shape Sorting: 

I cut out one large triangle, circle, square (ish), and rectangle. Then using a few colors, I cut out smaller versions of each shape. 

We played with the shape cutouts for a while and talked about their names... made pictures of houses and ice cream cones and people in funny hats... and then I laid out the big shapes and Calvin went to sorting without any directions needed. He did pretty well! He put all the squares and rectangles together, and I almost corrected him, but then I thought it was actually clever of him and I left it alone. I mean, with no instructions he sorted them by number of sides. It's not what I was expecting, but it's a totally legitimate way to organize the shapes I gave him. 

Last, we glued the small shapes onto the big shapes so we could hang up his masterpieces as collage art.

Shape Hop:

I taped two of each shape on the floor: triangles, squares(ish), and rectangles. I couldn't figure out how to tape a circle ;) He knows circles better than the other shapes anyway!

I put two of each shape so that we could start out with him copying me. I'd say, "Put your feet on a triangle!" and I'd put my feet on one, so he'd copy me and put his feet on the other. The first day we did this activity, we kept going like that. I'd go first, and he'd copy me. Jump on a square, hop on a rectangle, put your hand on a triangle, etc. 

Later in the week, I had him try it without me going first. 

Shape Object Sort:

For this sorting game, I collected items from around our house that were shaped like circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. Man, it was hard to find things shaped like triangles!! Luckily I happened to have a necklace with triangle beads and a patch from the Exploratorium shaped like a triangle :)

This was after naptime. Look at that bed head!!

Shape Hunt:

My original idea was to hunt for things around the apartment that were shaped like triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles. Kind of like the object sort. I was thinking of things like our rectangle-shaped TV, the square shelves on our bookcase, the silver circles on our speakers, etc. But I wasn't sure Calvin was familiar enough with the different shapes to be able to see them in objects he sees everyday. 

So instead, I cut out paper shapes and "hid" them around the living room for him to hunt for like Easter eggs. He had fun with it. And the funny thing was, when he was finished finding the paper shapes, he started noticing shapes around the room! It started with the remote control. He excitedly showed me that there were circle, square, and even triangle-shaped buttons on the TV remote. Then I mentioned a couple of shapes I could see on his train set, and he started finding more shapes around the room :)

Shape Sensory Bin:

We use the same sensory bin that we had used last week to talk about colors! Same exact buttons. I got these buttons in different shapes and colors from a craft store called Beverly's. They're great for sorting and matching, but this time I just let him play with the buttons and rice. 

On his own, he started pulling out pairs of buttons that were the same shape and showing them to me. He would tell me they were "friends" :) He would tell me if he found a big one and a little one, and we talked a little bit about the colors. 


Our letter of the week was A - the second letter in Calvin's name for our second week of Tot School. 

Letter Matching:

We started the week by matching the letters in "Calvin" again to reinforce the concept of letters in his name. Same as last week: I wrote his name on the easel and he used the letter magnets to match each letter in his name, placing each letter magnet over the written letter. 

Words with A:

I collected a few items from around the house that begin with the letter A and I would show him one at a time and let him tell me what it was called - or who was in the picture in the case of Granny Anne, himself, and his friend Autumn :). After he named the object/person, we wrote the word/name on a strip of paper. Then I asked him to help me find the letter A in the word and I underlined the A's where he found them. 

Letter A Stamping:

Calvin was very stamp-happy and it was really hard for him to find the A before delivering the stamp! Next time, we should look for the letter before I even give him the friggin stamp!

Our set of kid stamps happens to have several pictures that have the letter A somewhere in their words: bear, train, star, apple, and leaf. So the idea was to look at the stamp shape, watch Mama write the word, find the letter A, and then put a stamp on the letter A. 

If you don't have a set of picture stamps, you could have pictures of things with the letter A, write the word and just use any stamp to mark the letter A in the word.

A is for Alligator:

Um, I think Mr. Alligator here could use some Invisalign treatments... maybe Calvin's daddy can help him out with that... ;)

This would have been best paired with a book about an alligator like Alligator Baby,  or The Lady with the Alligator Purse. Or even a science book about alligators. As it was, I pulled this activity out in a rush  on Saturday morning to get Calvin to stop whining keep Calvin busy while his breakfast was being cooked :P 

I'm posting these the week after we do them, so at the moment we're starting patterns and the letter L. So far this Tot School thing is only driving me slightly crazy, and it's been a lot of fun so I think it's worth the extra effort to plan ahead and stick to the plan (ish). And bonus: Calvin does seem to be learning some stuff... He is definitely more familiar with colors and shapes than he was two weeks ago!

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