Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tot School: Animal Babies and Eggs

 Egg Day continues!
We just had so much fun studying animals that hatch from eggs using our Mother Goose Time materials.  I prepared a game for Sweet Pea based on "Waiting for the Hatch" game supplied in the Teacher Guide by MGT .  It consisted of cards that had an image of the animal egg and on the other side of the card was a picture of the animal that hatches from that egg.  I love that they used actual pictures of each!  We have quite a few of the Safari Ltd sets and I pulled a few animals that matched our cards along with plastic eggs, a basket, and grass filler that I have saved since's January.  You never know  when you need grass filler with toddlers. 

I placed one animal in each egg and then hid the eggs among the grass filler in the basket.  I placed the cards of the eggs next to the basket.

Egg Day followed Pregnancy day and I told Sweet Pea that some animals have babies in the belly and some have babies in eggs. I then gave her the egg cards and told her we would find out which animals come from eggs.

After looking at the cards, she told me each animal and made it's sound if she knew it.  Then it was time to play match up, which is currently her favorite game!  She searched for an egg, opened it and then matched it to the picture.  

She loved this game! You could hide the eggs outside if the weather was nice, or you could hide them around the house.  There's so much you can do with those plastic eggs! 
But egg day didn't even end there!
Ready for more pictures?  
I know you are...

Egg Day finished with a beautiful Invitation to Create decorative eggs.
Mother Goose Time supplied us with this stunning image to get the mind racing, a giant egg cut out, and a sponge! All I had to do was provide white crayons and watercolors, which happen to be water with food coloring.  Easy peasy! 

I'll briefly explain the process, but let the pictures do most of the talking.  The decorative image that MGT sent has some very eye catching designs due to the white line designs on each egg.  So here's what we did to make our artwork.
First, Sweet Pea used white crayon to color all over the white egg.  She then filled her sponge with a water color and used her sponge to paint the egg. The wax of the crayon resisted the water leaving a white line design similar to the egg image provided...but ya know it's created by a 2 year old :) 

I had to include the above picture!  I couldn't believe I was able to capture that drop of red water!
It didn't take Sweet Pea long to start working on her fine motor skill of squeezing the sponge... which can lead to a super fun but soaking wet masterpiece.

Just grab a paper towel and dab at it and let it dry flat.  Look at those beautiful colors and you can still make out the line design created with the white crayon.  I love it... and it'll be perfect framed in my house for Easter this year.

Want to know more about our Egg Day?  Be sure to check out how we incorporated some math into our egg day with this post!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Egg-cellent Counting!

Disclaimer:  I taught public school for 8 years before becoming a mom. I taught a new grade or subject EVERY year.  Never the same thing twice (Jack of All Trades is the perfect name *wink)
I have hoarded  collected re-purposed many of the things that I used when I taught.
Hence the stash of about 100 plastic Easter eggs I have tied up in my garage.
Do you have some too?  I bet you do... no shame here my friend!

This month we are studying Baby Animals with Mother Goose Time, and our first week is all about Waiting on Baby.  That could mean pregnancy, eggs, or adoption. Today happened to be EGG Day, so naturally I pulled out my stash of plastic Easter eggs! You don't have to wait until Easter to bust out those things... we even make maracas out of ours! (cheap and super fun music makers)  

Mother Goose Time sent some Tangram shape manipulatives with this months theme! 
I gasped when I saw them! I made mandalas all over my elementary classroom floors with these things on rainy recess days. Oh how I love patterns... it's the art teacher in me.

Since hexagon is a new shape for us this month and a completely new shape to Sweet Pea, I put out her cloud shapes from our Circle Time board on her table and let her match up some shapes.  The hexagon and square shapes fit perfectly on the shape on the cloud!  
She is so into matching things up lately.

"TWO!!!"  It's her favorite number. Sweet Pea was so excited about these shapes!  But it was at this point that it hit me..."Leslie, there is no circle or star in this bag of tangram shapes. You need to take off those clouds.  Hmmm.... how can I make it more engaging if I take away some shapes?"
Duh, it's Egg day!  Bust out those hoarded plastic eggs and put those shapes in there! It's a surprise with every egg!  So I did.  We only used the squares, triangles, and hexagons, but we used about 18 eggs to hide them in.  She had so much fun opening each one.

She did a great job working on her fine motor skills while stacking the shapes into tall towers.  She talked about how BIG the towers were.  She accidentally knocked over her tower of orange squares.  But then she picked them up one by one and counted..."one, two, three, four, five!" 
I couldn't believe it!  This was her first time, without me prompting, for her to count completely on her own in order and up to five!  She's not even 2 and a half yet!  I was so impressed!  

Egg Day was so much fun!  This was just the beginning for us, so be sure to come back and see what else we did with those plastic Easter eggs! 

Can I just say that I am so excited to watch her learn and play.  It is such a blessing to be able to see moments like these.  Counting... in order... I'm just so happy I was able to be there when she did it.  I realize that not every mom gets too... and I am just so humbled and grateful that I am able to.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pregnancy and Pigs

I'm not going to lie... when I first saw our Baby Animals Unit Theme Web in our Mother Goose Time curriculum my heart sank a little.

Our first week is Waiting on Baby.
Waiting on Baby.  This.  This is what made my heart sink.
The thoughts and emotions that come back full force.  
It's hard for me to talk about "Pregnant Moms" when I had a molar pregnancy that led to a DNC a few months ago.  However, just because things are tough doesn't mean that they cant be faced.  I thought about skipping this lesson, but when we are talking about babies, how do you skip the lesson about pregnancy?  I knew I wanted to do this with Sweet Pea. I wanted her to know even if she is little.  I got a little teary eyed here and there, but I am so glad it's just me and my girl.  

We had a lot of fun and I took tons of pictures (surprise surprise), but I think the most fun we had was when we played with the little pigs manipulatives that were sent with our Mother Goose Time kit this month.

Don't you just love these socks!  Tell me you have some like it in your drawer too! It was perfect to hide some of the pigs and we talked about how babies are hidden in momma's belly. 

I brought out our Fisher-Price Little People Animal Friends Farm, pig, and Farmer Eddie to come and join the fun!  I told Sweet Pea that there were lots of little piglets hidden in a momma pig's belly and the farmer helps take care of the pigs and piglets.  I left all the other farm animals in another room.

I hid 5 piglets in the sock and Sweet Pea was so excited when she put her hand in and felt a little pig!  She tried to pull one out at a time, but sometimes she grabbed two.  After she pulled one out, I had her place it on a pig on her number card which I placed on the tray.  These number cards are great for one-to-one correspondence

After Sweet Pea removed all the little pigs from the momma sock belly, we worked on our counting, sorting, and talking about how the momma pig feeds her young with her milk.  I was really impressed that she could sort these by size!  She sorted about 7-8 of them between the larger pigs and smaller ones (it's really hard to tell but an excellent challenge), and after sorting them by size we did it by color.

I love the picture below. Pink momma pig with her pink piglets and Farmer Eddie in his red shirt gets the red piglets. Sweet Pea and her color sorting... :) 

This picture below cracks me up!  She found out that the little pigs fit perfectly into the bottoms of our Fisher Price people.  Farmer Eddie, Grandmother and Granddaddy all had piglets going up their bottoms!  I literally laughed out loud! 

Last but not least, they headed down the silo!  Now we have little pigs all over our house.  She is really enjoying playing with these pigs, and I enjoy watching her play.  Pregnant mom day turned out to be a great day! 

I am so blessed to be her momma.  I don't deserve her.  The Lord is so good... He gave me something so beautiful, so undeserving, something so special and my heart is full each time I look at my girl.  I know that we may never have any more biological children and she might be the only child we have.
And that's okay.  I choose joy.  I choose to have fun with her everyday even if some days my heart breaks.  She is my gift that I never want to take for granted.  
I am completely humbled that God gave me her.  
God is good all the time.
His grace is enough.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tot School: Pinecones, Pine Trees, and Lumberjacks: OH MY!

The Pineywoods of East Texas.
That's what we call home.
Monday was the day after Christmas and it was a beautiful warm morning.  Time to get out and go exploring! We have some gorgeous trails and gardens not far from home called the
Mize Azalea Gardens which we have yet to explore!  It was the perfect place to talk about the the tall pines that tower over all the rest of the trees, pick up and inspect pine cones, and talk about lumberjacks who cut down the dead pines and other trees. Here's a quick clip of our morning:

Lately it's been so warm here! Our Winter in the Woods unit has been tons of fun but our weather has proved to be challenging in going along with all the wintery activities!  Last week we studied the Woodland. I combined Snowflake, Icicles, and Snowman to have a Snow Day in Texas even though we will most likely not see snow. I was planning on skipping the lessons over the Pine Tree and Pinecones since they are everywhere around here.
However, when I looked at the Winter Gear week (nothing we wear really here besides a coat sometimes) and the Winter Living week (nothing really around here except for Lumberjack *perfect* and quilts), I realized I should combine a few days to make a week long investigation!
Combining Pine Trees, Pinecones, and Lumberjacks would be our week!

After our excursion outdoors, we came home for some more investigation.  Pinecones are perfect bird feeders and our Mother Goose Time curriculum came with all the things to make one!  All we had to supply was the peanut butter, which we used to make lunch as well.

After making our pinecone bird feeder, we placed it outside on a hook where we could watch it from our dining room window as we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.  A blue jay has been visiting the area, and I am hoping we can get a closer view of him with our luring bird feeder.  We shall see...

Update:  Check out what came to our bird feeder all week long! 
Make these with your kids! It's so worth it!  I guess the squirrel caught wind of what was going on and he even came by the window trying to get some bird seed! Lots of animal watching :) 

I usually read to Sweet Pea after lunch and then put her down for a nap, so we sat down to read our monthly book that was supplied by Mother Goose Time, called Timber! 
Mother Goose Time also sends a puzzle with one of the daily bags that goes with the monthly book and we worked on ours after reading the story.

Our monthly CD has a song on it that sings this story!  When I started reading it to Sweet Pea, she remembered the song and went and hit the play button on our CD player.  She doesn't forget a thing...unlike her momma!

We counted trees and looked for the matching animals in the story on our puzzle.  We talked about how the lumberjack was cutting down the animal's homes, and Sweet Pea looked really concerned.
I really love how the story shows the Lumberjack realizing what he has done and planting more trees to replace those he cut.

"Who's house did he chop down here in our story?  Can you find that animal in our puzzle?  What animal is that?  Can you make it's sound?" 

After reading the story, Sweet Pea took apart the puzzle and we did it together.  
We get one each month and they always reflect an image from the monthly book we receive.
In fact, this month's puzzle is my favorite of all the ones we have received so far.  I love how it goes with the story so well and can be used along with the book. 
The best part is the outside frame. 
When we work on these, I point to a little clue on the outside frame and ask Sweet Pea if can find something that matches.

"Look! What's this?  What color do you see?  Can you find a puzzle piece with a little red bird?"

"Oh look! An owl, but he is missing his belly! Can you find the owl's tummy?"
She studied hard looking for his tummy as you can see below.

Found it!

Pushing that last piece in and the look of achievement is so worth it!

Whew! Busy morning! 
And I forgot to mention... just a few days ago my neighbor had some lumberjacks come out and cut down a dead Pine tree in his yard.  Sweet Pea and I got to see some real live lumberjacks in action!
They took down this tall Pine and ground down the stump in less than 4 hours!


How perfect is that?! 
To have Lumberjacks as one of our days and to see real life lumberjacks taking down a tree?!
Yep.... pretty perfect.

Now to wind down and get ready for January's unit on Baby Animals!


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