Friday, September 3, 2010

Preschool Corner/Weekly Wrap-Up

I started out this week with ambitious plans, but an open mind.  The Bibliophile REALLY took to the "learning boxes" idea. 

Here are the subjects on our 10 boxes, and what we did with them!

1. Fun with Numbers (Math)
I'll post in more detail about our math learning on Monday.  We used simple homemade activities this week, including a Counting Cars activity (see description and free printable here), a simple penny toss tally chart, and a smarties graph (liked the popular M&M graphing, but food allergy friendly!).  And we also did a "Which Number is Bigger" worksheet I wrote for him quickly, with double and triple digit numbers.

2. Science, Animals and Nature
You can read about our science-related activities on Sunday's post.  We weren't very focused this week, so we did a scattering of activities, about recycling, how oranges grow, and animal sounds.  Next week I am going to try to be a bit more organized, so I let the Bibliophile choose a focus animal.  He chose giraffes.

3. Arts and Crafts
Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing BookWe had fun mixing paint colors in ziploc baggies (see post here).  On Tuesday, we started playing with Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book, and it was such a hit that it ended up staying in his Arts & Crafts drawer (and being taken out each day to be used) all week.

4. Let's Get Moving
For the first couple of days, we played with our Alphabet Movement Cards (we've had these laminated on a keyring for ages, and he LOVES them.  I think I originally got the printable from here).

Little Yoga: A Toddler's First Book of YogaWe also had fun reading and acting out Little Yoga - A Toddlers First Book of Yoga.  (I also got Itsy Bitsy Yoga from the library, but realized it is more about babies than toddlers).  Before the week is out, I'm hoping we get to our Soccer in the Hallway card, with a makeshift laundry basket goal.  I might start incorporating some music in this box sometimes too. 

5. Word Games
I created a little "fill in the missing letter" handout for him, which he enjoyed.  Then the next day I put in a new writing mat and dry erase markers.  We kept that in all week, but it didn't get used much toward the latter half, so I'm going to do more with this box next week. 

6. Game Box

We ended up leaving Rush Hour in our game box all week.  He can now do all of the beginner cards, and tonight did an intermediate card by himself.  This is such a fun game, and he hasn't tired of it all week.  If you want to try an online version, there are a few copy-cat versions here and here.  I think he realizes that I am impressed with his performance, because I took a little video of him solving one, and every time he sees it he says, "that was amazing!"

7. Reading and Storytelling
We introduced a new story journal, which I posted about here, and also had fun with a book review template, which I posted about (and shared a printable for) here.

8. "Play Fun"*
My Busy Book: Ages 4-5: Brain-Building Activities to Give Your Preschooler a Head Start!*This was originally the drawer that the Bibliophile insisted should be labeled "Housework."  On Day 1, he changed his mind, and declared: "I have an idea!  My idea is that we label this drawer 'Play fun,' and mama put fun things to play with in it!"  I'm just treating it like a miscellaneous drawer.  This week I put in:
  • A Winnie the Pooh word search from here.
  • A few Connect the Dots from here.
  • My Busy Book: a book done with a dry-erase marker which he loves (technically ages 4-5 but pretty much all doable now).
  • Some homemade opposites flashcards that he hasn't used in awhile but always enjoys.

9. Spanish
I've been a little unfocused with the Spanish drawer.  I should probably come up with a more consistent/fun plan.  This week, we just did a hodge podge of simple activities, including:
  • A worksheet I made to draw a line from the English word to the Spanish word (reinforcing words he already knows).
  • Reviewing/coloring a colors sheet from this site.
  • Reading Let’s Speak Spanish: A First Book of Words, and a book that he always enjoys at the local art museum -- Mis Colores Mi Mundo.
  • We also kept singing Itsy Bitsy Spider in Spanish, which he mastered a couple of weeks ago and loves to sing. 
  • And we practiced small conversational phrases (mostly saying hello to each other, asking how we are, etc.).

10. Countries / Places (Geography)
We had a great time with geography this week; we focused on Ireland and posted all of our activities here.  I think I'll spend the last day of the week just talking with him about all of the things we have learned about Ireland this week, maybe doing a collage or just drawing together.

Next week: Iceland!

So, overall...
It was a successful first week.  We're still finding our groove.  I think I will try to work a little more with themes, at least within categories, so that I don't have to come up with 50 unique ideas every week (5 days x 10 drawers).  I burnt out on filling the drawers by Thursday.  He's already chosen a couple of themes for next week, and in future weeks I may even try to link across categories more (if he chooses a contry in Africa for geography, then guide him toward an animal found in Africa for his animal drawer, etc.).  After saying I don't really think themes will work for us, I can definitely see the benefit now!  He kept asking for "learning boxes" and peeking in them every day, so I feel like I should really keep up the momentum, if I can.  It is definitely making our days go by with a lot less "bored" time, for both of us.

For all my efforts, I do think he still learns best when I sit next to him with a marker and an empty doodle pad and just teach him, though.  This is how he learned his letter sounds, how to read, where countries are, etc.  We still do this at every meal, and I am going to make an effort to use that time to reinforce what the fancier activities are supposed to be teaching him.

I am linking this post up with Tot School, Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up.

Comment! As always, we love comments!  Link us to your homeschoolish activities for the week, suggest new resources for us, or just say hi!

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Christy said...

I am so impressed. Great week!

Infant Bibliophile said...

Thanks Christy. It seems impressive when written all out, but you know each activity probably lasts 5 minutes, with a toddler! :)

Joyful Learner said...

Great job! I find that it takes more work for me to write these up than actually do the activities. I wonder if there is an easier way. We love the Rush Hour on my phone but will check out the one mentioned!

Susanne said...

sounds like a fun week.

if you want to incorporate reading with math there is a GREAT series of books called 'mathstart' by stuart j murphy that are fantastic for putting the whole math thing in real instead of abstract concepts!

Morgan said...

I was slightly anti-theme until I tried to fill up boxes and trays every night. I ran out of ideas so fast! I leave out some things all week and use loose themes (letter of the week) to help fill. I like the letter of the week because I don't have to stick with just giraffes-I can do anything that starts with G!

wdworkman said...

Great week. The thumbprint book really looks fun!
Janet W

MaryAnne said...

I am very impressed! I think it's hard NOT to burn out filling up workboxes, but themes probably help - and I'm guessing it's also something that you get better at over time...

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Joyful Learner I think I should splurge for Rush Hour on my iphone too! Yes, there is no comparison between the time I spend coming up with activities and the time he actually completes them. :)

@Susanne Thanks so much for the recommendation. I am going to try to hunt those down.

@Morgan I'm excited about using themes more.

@MaryAne Hope so!

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Susanne WOW, I see the books at my library -- there are so many of them, and they look fantastic. Thank you!

Ticia said...

You're going to love math stArt they're great monster musical chairs is our favorite

You might try putting the same thing on a box twice to cut down on things to come up with

Raising a Happy Child said...

OK, I am curious how long will IB keep an interest in his drawers. I tried it for a while (with fewer drawers), but somehow Anna was never really into it after the first couple of weeks. Maybe it's me - I wasn't diligent enough to refill them expecting her to complete some activities that she stubbornly ignored.

Raising a Happy Child said...

PS - great first week, I didn't want to sound negative. You and IB did amazing considering his age.

Debbie said...

Great week! I think we all spend the first few weeks finding our groove. I look forward to following along and see how this system works for you.

Preschool Games said...

Great you certainly did a lot this week.. lots of great ideas to share there too.

Catherine said...

Looks like a fun week! Hope next week is just as good!

Leah C said...

Hi, I am stopping by from Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers! IT sounds like you all had a fun week. Teaching preschoolers is so much fun because they are so excited about learning.

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Leah That's true, plus I feel like he doesn't really NEED to learn anything yet, so anything he picks up is a bonus. :)

@Catherine Thanks! Have ambitious plans, but we'll see. The best laid plans...

@PreschoolGames Idea sharing is pretty much why I blog. Love borrowing ideas from others.

@Debbie and @Raising -- I hope we can keep up with it to some degree, even if we don't keep up this level of momentum. It is a lot less boring for me than just free play all day.

Giggly Girls said...

Well you have been busy. 50 activities? Wow! He officially does more than my fourth grader. My 2 year old only does about 6-10 activities per week. When she's willing, which she often is NOT. LOL She's opinionated to say the least. I don't know how you do it. You might be my new hero. =o) I am clearly a slacker. LOL

If you're having trouble coming up with 50 every week (boy does that number scare me LOL) maybe you can make some of the activities more opened-ended and you can leave them in there for the entire week. I'm thinking things like spooning ("jewels", rocks, pom poms) from container to container, or tweezing objects, play dough, pouring (my tot LOVED pouring rocks between cups this week), small spaces activities (sticking things like spaghetti noodles, straws, etc into a sugar shaker or empty parmesan cheese container). Or leave more open-ended toys in a couple of boxes and change them from week to week. Maybe a peg stacker, lacing beads/cards, nesting blocks, bristle/duplo/building blocks, instruments. Stuff he could just explore.

Then you wouldn't have to think so hard.

Infant Bibliophile said...

@GigglyGirls Well, I didn't really do 50, since I stopped filling them near the end of the week. And a few of them ended up staying in all week, like you suggest (I am going to try to do this with at least a couple of boxes per week). It sounds more impressive than it is! Most activities are short things. The thing is, my son doesn't really like to play independently, so I am ALWAYS doing something with him. I figure that this way I can at least pick some of the things myself.

Britt said...

Boo got a cute book from the school library called Saturdays Y Domingos. It would be a good one for your Spanish box. We liked it, though next time she gets a book that's half in Spanish, DADDY HAS TO READ IT! I don't speak Spanish!!

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