Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekly Learnings

I gotta say that I am loving doing preschool with the boys. They love love love their "school work" and are so smart and fun and curious. It's my favorite part of our day and they beg for it. These pictures are random and do not necessarily follow any theme that we are working on. I've been doing a lot more fine motor practice with both boys lately. Since they are beginning to write and trace and color more I want to help make sure their hands and fingers are strong enough to do the things in which I am asking them to do. James loves to write, but no amount of writing practice will start helping his hand writing if I don't strengthen his hand muscles at the same time. He does do tracing and coloring practice, but we also do alot of playdoh (squeezing and molding the doh helps build muscle), a lot of cutting, a lot of gripping: tongs, colors, utensils, etc., and a lot of small parts manipulation toys.

Don't underestimate the power of a toy with small parts. So many parents want toys that aren't messy or that don't have small parts. Well your child needs those types of toys to help them with their fine motor skills. If you are working with your child at home there are going to be messes. Just teach your child how to clean up after themselves and you'll be fine. (there's my soap box now back to the pictures)
 Of course we are still doing our spelling words each week. Spelling now takes maybe 3-5 minutes for each boy. They read me their words, make them with magnetic letters (or stickers, beads, etc) and that's it. I can not tell you how excited they get when they read their words to me. I also have them read them to Jeremy or anyone who comes over because they feel so smart when they share their work. They also make their name each day and will begin this next week making their last name, too.

 I've been having my little helper help me more with cooking and following recipes. He loves to measure out the water/milk for me. It's opening up lots of new language for us and plus helps him feel included while I'm busy cooking.
 James got this awesome Playdoh set from my Aunt Dawn for his birthday. One part has a little head that you can squeeze hair out of and then James loves to give him a haircut. Such natural learning going on with Playdoh. I absolutely love love love Playdoh and all the pretend play that comes out of it.
 This was a cute game that I saw off Pintrist. You fill a bag with letters and numbers and then have the kids draw an item out of the bag and sort it into two other bags labeled "letter" and "number". Great way to classify all the digits and letters they are learning. When they get stuck and don't know which bag it goes in I just say, "Let's count and see if we say the M. 1, 2, 3, 4, ... No I never heard M. Let's say our alphabet and see if we say M. A, B, C, D . . . Yes, I heard M. It must be a letter."
 The boys love using scissors and practicing on rolled Playdoh is easy, doesn't waste paper and it's fun. Remi's not quite able to cut on paper yet so the Playdoh scissors are perfect for him right now. After just 3 days of practicing he is now able to open and close the scissors with one hand, hold the Playdoh while cutting with the other hand, and hold his scissors the right way. He's such a fast learner!!!
 He's so proud of his work that he's flashing the crooked grin! Ha!
 My friend, Kristin, got James a scissor skill book (from Mardel) for his birthday and so I just copy a couple of pages out of it each week and that's what he does for scissor practice. Right now it just gives him straight lines to follow, but the book gradually gets harder and harder.
 We've been playing a lot of number games lately. Jeremy taught the boys how to play Go Fish and I've been doing lots of  "ordering numbers" games. This time I put out 20 cards in rows of 5 and then picked up a couple of cards from each row. James had to put the cards back where they belong.
 On this game he had to tell me which number was missing.
 And on this game he had to tell me which number was bigger. This was hard for him and so we ended up getting out our unifix cubes and making each set of numbers. Then he could see the pile of cubes and know which number was bigger. Being able to visually see all 18 cubes vs. the 1 cube was a huge help.
 Don't think that our Ladybug hasn't been doing her own bit of learning. She is as curious and busy as they get. This picture shows you how she already travels all over the house rolling and carrying toys. All her toys start out on the blanket and she takes them all over the room. It's hilarious to watch her "work". Does she crawl yet? NO. Can she get herself into every room of the house? Yes!

She also just turned 6 months old so we got to celebrate her 1/2 birthday with her. Yay!!!
These kids are so much fun. I can't imagine a better way to spend my days. Hope you're having fun at your house. We'll be starting a plant unit soon! I can't wait.

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