Tot School – Starting Again

Over the last week, tot school activities have picked up again. Thank goodness. At one point Thomas and I decided a reason the children weren’t behaving as well was because their minds weren’t as active. And we are finally getting back on track.

In the past two weeks we have done lots of activities that are EASY on mom, since I didn’t have a lot of planning time. It is sad in a way because I have so many activities and themed ideas that I have purchased, and really just not enough time to do it. So now I have a pile of unused activities and I was starting to get overwhelmed. I need to get it organized and get it started. I used to only have unfinished quilting projects, now I have unfinished tot school activities stacking up!! Arrgh!

Here are some of the simple things we have done this week.

Big Sis (this is what I’ve decided to call our older daughter since I’m not allowed to use her name) has math homework most nights, so Petra wanted some math homework also. The simplest thing I could come up with on the spot was to draw some shapes and have her count the shapes and match it to the appropriate number. She did great on this! This is something she could do with little to no help very easily if she just did it more often. My plan is to have her do this about twice a week and see how far she comes. I’d like to see some perfection on this soon. It takes very little time to set up this activity and complete so I have no excuses.

Kumon workbooks make for more simple activities. This week I took 10 minutes to cut out the first 10-15 pages of the My Book of Easy Mazes and inserted them into sheet protectors. I have them stored in a large 3-ring binder that provides a lot more room for more mazes when this book is finished. I like the idea of just adding in the next level behind it when this one is completed. But even better is how well this works for the children. Using a dry-erase marker they can try the same maze over and over again until it’s perfect. This is SO much better than just doing it once. I love that they can practice until its right. Petra is learning the “rules” for using this book. She has to get a maze perfect before moving on to the next maze – which means no touching the walls. She has to do both the front and back of the page before moving to the next page. And she can’t color on the page until she has completed and perfected the maze. And of course she is learning to wipe the page clean before moving on to the next. And these pages are so easy to wipe that it isn’t a problem. We have spent almost every day on one or two mazes, and some days Petra has completed 3-4 pages. Jasper is also enjoying them a little – but he isn’t quite ready for them. He has attempted the first one or two mazes, but it is obvious we probably need to wait a month or more before doing much more with him on this.

Letter Identification was another quick and easy activity. I had about 5-10 minutes in the morning before the nanny arrived, the kitchen was clean, and I wanted to do an activity with the children before heading to work. This poster is easy to access as it is right beside the children’s little table. So I moved the table out of the way and we read through the big and little letters. Then I had the children find the letters I called out. I called out both little letters and big letters and they had to find them. They both do equally well at this; sometimes I actually think Jasper does better because he is more patient to look for the letters.

We also spent some time on puzzles this week. Some mornings I get one-on-one time with the little ones. Jasper will wake up early and Petra will sleep in, or reverse. One morning Jasper and I had an hour together alone. During that time we worked on this fire truck floor puzzle. I am OVERWHELMED when I try to do these floor puzzles with both of them so I try to save them for when I can spend time with just one of them. This puzzle is too advanced for him, but he did help. He found all the pieces with the wheels on them. And found pieces with the ladder and rope, and so forth. And then I had him put some of it together, with help. The finished puzzle was great and we left it for Petra to see.
I also took out some new puzzles for Petra to work on. The animal puzzle you see below in the picture is also too advanced for her. So I took off just the heads of the animals and had her add them back. She did this twice this week and really enjoyed it. Next I’ll probably take off the bodies. And before long I hope she can do it all on her own. The puzzle says for ages three and up – and she will be three in 18 days – so I hope it’s not long before she can tackle this on her own.

The children have both been screaming more than I care for. But Jasper’s screams are and have always been ear peircing. This week I decided why to encourage it in a better place – maybe if I take them some place and let them get it all out of their system then it will solve the problem. The best acoustics in our house is in the bathroom. So I toted them both up to the bathroom and told them to scream as loud as they could, over and over.  Jasper decided that since I was telling him to scream, that he would spit instead. =) of course he is not going to do what I ask. Did I mention that he just turned 2 and you can tell! But here is a photo of them screaming, for the 3 seconds that they did.

We try not to let the children watch many movies or videos. Usually, if they watch them while I’m home it’s because I want about 20 minutes to cook in the kitchen. But I’ve noticed that they aren’t helping me in the kitchen as much, which I’m not happy about. So I think I’ll be stopping this. But I wanted to mention this because I thought it was interesting..even though its not tot school related. I let them watch Pooh’s Heffalump movie this week. The end result was pretty tramautic. Petra spent quite a bit of the movie worried about the baby Heffalump losing his mommy and then burst into tears at the end of the movie when she saw me – completely freaked out about it. I learned my lesson…I’ll have to be more careful.

So you can see, not much going on here. But we are gearing things back up. Hopefully more activities will equal less screaming.

And don’t forget to head on over to 1+1+1=1 and check-in on the rest of the mommies that are tot school blogging.


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