Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tot School: Farm

Month: October
Theme: Farm
Dates: 10/2 to 10/8

The Set-up
I'm always curious to know how families set up their play areas, schools and yards. I think it stems from my home improvement obsession fueled by HGTV. I'm constantly moving furniture around when my family is gone. My grandmother used to do the same thing, so I learned how to move very heavy furniture using one or two people without damaging anything. They should make an episode about that on Trading Spaces!

Since Bobo's play areas have taken up residence in almost every room in our house. I decided to transform the downstairs play room into our school. I put all the toys away when he was out one day and there were very little tears. He did ask, "Where are all my toys?" with a quivering lip, but I reassured him they were fine. Now, that I've filled the school room with other fun and educational items, he is happy.

This is one half of the room. My mama bought him this little desks and all the boys (3 cousins and two brothers) put it together while Bobo supervised. I got the magnet/dry-erase board at Meijer in the after-school sale. I liked it because it had a no-tool mounting method. Yes, it's crooked.

The Tot Trays are set up in the other half of the room in between our music area and reading nook. I think of it as "the invitation" like Play at Home Mom always says. What do you think Bobo chose to do first?

Weekly Board
The weekly boards I've seen have really appealed to me. I started with the board in the school room, but have since moved it to our bedroom so we can see it in the morning and at night.

It is a visual representation of the elements I thought were important for Bobo to learn. We have a Letter, Word, Number and Color of the Week. We also learn a Nursery Rhyme and Bible Verse to go along with the theme of the month. We are keeping track of the weather with some rubber stampers. I'm putting the Letter print-out and weather chart in Bobo's activity book. At the end of the month, we can chart how many sunny days, rainy days or cloudy days happened.

The Lessons
Now, for the fun part and the answer to the question, "What did Bobo choose to do first?" Answer: Play with toys, of course. We borrowed his Piggy Bank from Grandma's house. They have baby and mama pairs printed on them, so he matched those. Then, he sorted colors and counted while he fed the pig. Here he is stacking coins:

He had to get out the tongs he used with his Sensory Bin because he is fascinated with them. If there is a way to use them with an activity, he will not hesitate.

Both grandpas had birthdays in September, which we missed. We used rubber stamps with celebration motifs to make cards. Then, Bobo wanted to know what would happen if he put his hands in the ink. After that, he wanted to stamp his feet. He told me which colors he wanted to use. This is a great activity for fine motor skills, too.

We worked on our farm mural. I drew an outline of a barn. Bobo colored it with a RED (color of the week) marker. Then, we used fingerpaints to color in part of it. This was the only time he used the fingerpaints. He did it once, and said he was done. I don't think he liked the feel of the paint. He wanted cleaned up immediately.

He did like using sponges to paint. He used CIRCLES (the shape of the week) to fill in the rest of the barn. This process took the whole week. We didn't tackle this all in one day.

Bobo matched farm animals from his Tot Book. I kept all the elements seperate from the book and put them out on a tray, instead.

Play-Doh is a favorite activity at our house. I use the store bought because it was a gift from grandma. We received lots of tools from a friend who has carpet at her house. Our favorite activity with Play-Doh this week was making Jack-O'-Lantern faces with black beans. In the future, I would use jelly beans because the black beans dyed the dough black. He also made letters, circles and practiced cutting with dough this week.

The Books
Just because mommy is a librarian does not mean Bobo is always reading books. Setting up the reading nook has helped with quiet reading time so much, though. Bobo's favorite book this week was Old MacDonald's Farm: A Counting Book. I'll have to take a picture of it later as I couldn't find any images online. It is a cloth book and the middle has a fold out scene to play with. I got it used and washed it in the machine. It held up great! We also read My Big Farm Book by Roger Priddy. We used finger puppets to act out Billy Goats Gruff from Cartwheel Books. Then, the goats took turns defeating the ogre. Luckily, the puppets are very sturdy and held up to the fights!

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