Toddler Tuesday: Letter of the Week Update

Good afternoon fabulous people!

I wanted to update you all on Baby Miss’ progress for our “Letter of the Week”. We have been at it for a month now, and we are currently on the letter D.

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Our Alphabet/Number wall

As most of you know from a previous post, I have been working on not only teaching Baby Miss a letter each week, but we also have a color, number, and shape of the week. It’s been going beautifully. I try to do some sort of letter activity each day, and as many number, color, and shape activities as I can (since those cycle through more then the letters on our educational calendar).

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stamp, print, collage, rinse, repeat

She has been having a blast decorating our new letter and number each week. A had apple prints on it. B had beans. C had leftover foam “candy” stickers from Halloween, and D has dog stickers all over it. Each number has a certain type of something on it. For example, the number 2 has 2 cookie monster stickers on it, 4 has 4 star stickers on it, and so forth.

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Green collage

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What do you get when you mix paint with cars? Car tracks!

We have also been doing lots of stamping, collaging, printing, and painting. I try to change it up each day. We also do some color mixing when learning about a secondary color (ie. blue + yellow = green). I am basically trying to “surround” her with the new material and talk about it as much as possible (point out a RED stop sign or a SQUARE box) to help her absorb it.

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B is for Butterfly! Take paper, add paint, fold, dry, cut into butterfly

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letter matching

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touch numbers, number matching

One of my favorite activities that I have come up with is a number matching and a letter matching game. Obviously we couldn’t do it the first week with only one letter, but I like it because it helps to review the old letters and numbers each week while helping her practice the new one. My matching game isn’t fancy, just index cards that I wrote the alphabet on (4x). I could have done the number cards the same way, but I found these printable “touch” numbers that I just attached to cardstock. (I can’t for the life of me find the specific touch numbers that I printed out, but here are ones just like it.) Baby Miss is LOVING it. She’s getting pretty good at it too. We play it two different ways; one where she chooses a card and then finds the match, the other where I choose the card and she finds the match. Both work equally well.

The family also already owned a alphabet/number puzzle that we have been using each week. I only bring out the letters and numbers that she has learned. The puzzle seems pretty old (hand-me down?), but here is one similar.

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sight word dominoes

As for Little Miss, she and I have been hard at work on her sight words. She does get some “homework” from school, so we work on that each day, but I try to add an activity of our own to the mix too. Today we did sight word dominoes. It was a huge success. It got her reading and working with a ton of the words she has learned so far. And she was super proud of the end result (she made me take a picture of it to send to her Mom and Dad). 🙂 I was super proud of her too. She worked really hard, but had fun while doing it.

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sight word dominoes (I, my, we, like, love, you, a, at, it, if, in, is, the….)

I made the dominoes set with index cards as well. Two words per card and I made sure to repeat the words on several cards so the game goes smoothly. I even threw some family names in there (Mom, Dad, her name, her sister’s name, and my own) which she got extremely excited about when she noticed them.

You could also make a memory game (just like I did with Baby Miss’ letter set) using sight words.

Phew, that made me tired just thinking about everything we have done in the past few weeks. 🙂

Are you doing “letter of the week” this year? How’s it going? What activities have you done with your little ones that have been deemed successful? I would love to hear about it.

Love!

Toddler Tuesday: 2013 Education Calendar

I’ve been working on building a calendar that charts the themes and lessons I teach Baby Miss (2 years old) throughout the year, and I’m ready to share it with all of you. Now you will notice there are a few changes from my previous “themes” post back in November. This is due to the fact that I found out Baby Miss’ parents decided to start her in preschool this June rather than September. I want Baby Miss to already be on track, knowing her letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc. So, you will notice that for each month, I have a theme. And each week has a letter, number, color, and shape. By the end of June, we will have gone through one cycle of the alphabet. That’s when Baby Miss will start preschool. I have finished the calendar for you though (meaning through December) and will be posting the activities I do throughout the year. And in fact, I think I like this calendar much better then my last one. Always striving to improve. 🙂

2013 Education Calendar

I have also created a list of songs, felt board games, books, crafts, and activities for each month’s theme. I currently have January and February up, and will finish it soon. I’m also working on creating videos of each song on my list so you can hear how it goes and see the motions… I’ll let you know when I figure that out. 🙂

Theme Activities

For Christmas, I bought Little Miss and Baby Miss a felt/magnetic dry erase board. I started this week using it for “circle times” with Baby Miss. On days when we have no place to be (gymnastics, music class, etc.) circle time can consist of many parts: songs, books, art, felt board activities. On busy days, it may only include going over that week’s letter, number, color, and shape; and one song and book. I’m not very strict about it, but I am working on making it a habit to sit down and do some type of structured material with her everyday around the same time.
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Yesterday, we created our first letter and number signs. For each new letter and number, we will be making a sign and posting it on the wall. Soon, Baby Miss will be able to see numbers 1-10 and the entire alphabet each and every day.

Our number signs consist of a large number cut out from construction paper. Then she puts a corresponding number of objects on that number. This week, for the number 1, she decided on one dog sticker. We will also be using buttons, dry pasta, beans, yarn, etc. for the different numbers.
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Our letter sign consists of a large letter cut out of construction paper, which I first let her color on; then we will add something that starts with that letter. For A, we did apple prints. Just cut an apple in half, stick in paint, and use them to stamp the paper. Both girls really liked this activity.

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Each week I will be sharing with you the various activities that I do with each girl. You can join me by following along on the 2013 Education Calendar and using my themed activities.

I would love to hear any feedback you may have: different activities, challenges you faced, anecdotes, or just “hello” all work for me. 🙂

Love!

Themes

With Baby Miss almost 2 now, she’s starting to make a lot more connections, and seems to be learning new words, signs (we do sign language with her), and understands more every day.

Because of this I started a few months ago to work on “themes” with her. This basically means that for one month we do crafts, read books, and explore a specific topic. With this young age, you want to make sure the theme is simplistic (ie dogs, instead of pets); then as they grow older you can expand the topics.

Themes are a great way for young children to explore in depth, a topic. It has helped to teach Baby Miss new vocabulary, such as “apple” and “pumpkin”.

The use of themes in no way means that every activity you do has to be part of that theme. I like to offer at least one new craft, book, or activity that has to do with the theme each day. We also repeat a lot of activities (depending on interest). The rest of our day is spent following your little one’s interests (which is important in itself).

I like to vary the activities for Baby Miss; this means that some activities are art related, some music, some language, some sensory, some practical life, and some gross or fine motor related. This way the theme is seen from all angles, as well as offering your little one a chance to explore the topic in their own way. Every child learns differently. Some prefer to learn by moving their bodies, other by reading, some listening, etc. By varying the activities, you offer your child some experience in each of these. It will also help you to discover your child’s strengths and the areas they may need some more help on.

Here is the list of themes that I came up with Baby Miss (2 yrs). The Bolded item is how I will “update” the theme for next year when Baby Miss is 3.

Sept: Apples                      On the Farm

Oct: Pumpkins                  Fall

Nov: Leaves                      Family and Friends

Dec: Christmas                 Christmas

Jan: Rain                            Winter

Feb: Colors                       5 Senses

March: Bunny                  Spring

April: Numbers               Numbers

May: Fish                           Ocean

June: Flowers                  Garden

July: Water                       Summer

August: Alphabet          Alphabet

I will try to make sure to post more of the activities that I do with Baby Miss, based on these themes; so you can get some ideas for your own little ones.

Oh, and by the way. Baby Miss and I went on a “leaf hunt” today. We walked around the neighborhood collecting leaves that interested us. We talked about their colors, shapes, big and little. After her nap we are going to doing some gluing with them. 🙂

Love!