Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Review: A You're Adorable by Martha Alexander

During story hour, I dish out praise and compliments with a smile and applause. It is so wonderful to see a child's face glow with recognition and acceptance. We clap for listening and following directions. I praise for creativity and enthusiasm. How often do you do the same at home?

With a room full of children, it is great to have a list of positive words to praise with listed in your mind or on paper. Give each child a unique compliment. You can do this at home by reading books like A You're Adorable, which gives a characteristic for most of the letters of the alphabet. The bold letters in the illustrations are coupled with soft depictions of children and animals. "'A' – You're Adorable" is a popular song with music by Sidney Lippman and lyrics by Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise. It was published in 1948. In 1969, Sesame Street covered the song. My favorite character makes a cameo!

Books: Superhero

Month: January
Theme: Superheroes

Children have a great interest for superheroes at my library, so it hasn't been difficult to find books on this topic. It has been somewhat harder to find books at the correct age level for Bobo, who is 3. We have been getting more superhero picture books in lately. I attribute this to all the superhero movies that have been released in the past year. Superheroes are everywhere.

Bobo loves the Green Lantern. Yes, I did let him watch the movie with Ryan Reynolds (who is my pretend husband). He fell asleep 10 minutes into it. He must have gotten something out of the movie, though, because he wanted the GL playhouse and figure for Christmas. I couldn't find any easy books about GL, so I checked out a chapter book. It didn't hold his interest. There weren't enough pictures to even take a picture walk with this one. We'll try again in a few years.

We could take a picture walk with The Flash: Ice and Flame by Jane B. Mason. Bobo is fascinated with fire and ice, so that helped hold his attention longer. We often pretend to be Spider-man and His Amazing Friends. I play the part of Firestar, while Bobo is Iceman. These are his two favorite powers.

The Incredibles is another favorite at our house. We like the idea of the super family. I was disappointed with this book because it was the book of the movie. I expected a new story about Dash.

Robin is beginning to overshadow Batman. My little brothers were the same way. It must be that Robin is closer to their age. Maybe it's just his witty jokes. This book was great!

If you're looking for a superhero who isn't from the DC or Marvel world. This new picture book is a wonderful alternative. It is a funny story about a superhero called Awesome Man who is plagued by villains like his annoying sister.

I have to divulge one disclaimer before the long list of books for the month. Daddy reads the graphic novels to Bobo. I haven't read many graphic novels, so I have a hard time deciphering the action and dialogue in a continuous flow. Once you've read lots of these, it will become second-nature and you can share them with your soon-to-be independent readers. Daddy does a wonderful job of narrating these books.

More Superhero Books:
Spider-Man: Spider-Man Versus the Scorpion by Susan Hill
Spider-Man: Spider-Man versus Hydro-Man by Susan Hill
The Batman: Jam Packed Action
The Incredibles: Truth and Consequences
by Landry Q. Walker
Super Friends: Going Bananas by Ben Harper
Batman Classic: Starro and Stripes Forever: With Superman and Wonder Woman by Gina Vivinetto
The Dark Knight: Batman Versus the Joker by N.T. Raymond
The Dark Knight: Batman Saves the Day by Jennifer Frantz
Spider-Man: Dust-Up in Aisle Seven! by Fred Van Lente
Spider-Man: Fashion Victims! by Fred Van Lente
The Invincible Iron Man: An Origin Story by Rich Thomas
First Look and Find: Marvel Spider-Man & Friends

Have a super time sharing some of these books!

Tot School: Superheroes

Tot School

Month: January
Theme: Superheroes

I held off on the Superheroes theme until we got into school and now I'm not sure why that was a good idea. We are having so much fun with the superhero theme. Bobo constantly asks to do school or projects. We've been using preschool packs from Carisa and Michelle (no longer available).

The Lessons

From left to right, top to bottom:
Sorting Batman characters (cut from the back of a coloring book)
Sorting letter "S"
Building firetruck
Tag Ben 10
Lacing foam stars
Playdough letter "S" with stamper

Pre-writing exercise helping the good guys catch the bad guys.
Superman magnet page with homemade pom pom magnets
Stamping with letter "S" and star and smiley face
Counting to 5 with superheroes
Cutting help good guy get to supercar
Color by number Batman symbol

The Activities

Bobo received lots of building blocks and Legos for Christmas. I am very bad at following directions and putting things together. I can do it, but it takes FOREVER. Bobo said he was proud of me for helping him with this firetruck. After we put it together, we played for an hour or so with it and the superheroes.

Bobo loves magnets and rainbows, so these letter magnets I ordered from Oriental Trading are just perfect. We sorted upper and lowercase letters, matched colors and made a rainbow snake on the big magnet board.

More letter "S" fun with stamping. Play dough is one of Bobo's favorite activities. I can't imagine a week without it. He had fun making a mustache with the green dough.

As soon as he got the Batman coloring/activity book, Bobo has been begging to do the activity on the back. He had fun sorting and pretending with all the Batman characters.

You may notice some of our pictures taking place out of the school room. There is a simple reason. Bobo couldn't wait to get to these lessons, so as soon as I was putting something together, he would ask to do it. I said yes.

I did not plan this photo opp, but it did turn out cute! Superbobo magnet dotting superman.

The Projects

Bobo prefers the black suit of Ironman, but the costume he has did not come with gloves or boots. He asked if we could make some and I said yes. I'm still working out the logistics of the boots. I want to use spray paint and rain boots, but have not found any boots yet. We cut out white circles from felt and glued them on black gloves. As a side note, I'm going to have to sew the circles to get them to stay on because the gloves are very large on little hands.

Paint is still new and exciting. He just loves the powder tempera paint. I set out the dropper to put water on the tray. I'm going to have to set up an invitation just with the droppers and some water. He was more interested in that at first.

After mixing blue and yellow, he turned into the Hulk. I guess that shade of green just screamed, "Smash, smash, smash!" This was just the beginning of painting the body activities.

He also became Wolverine. I'm not sure why this was Wolverine, but I went with it. He played like this for about an hour and was so sad to wash it off. I was afraid the paint would irritate his skin. "Aww, mama."

Since Bobo enjoys painting himself so much, I looked up how to make homemade body paints. This led to the WORST PROJECT EVER!!! If a recipe calls for shortening, DON'T USE IT. It is not water soluble and impossible to get off dishes let alone a squirming child. Plus, something in the recipe burned Bobo's face. His cheeks were so red. I don't know whether to buy some paints or try a different recipe.

Sensory Bin

Superhero Sensory Bin: rainbow links, Legos, tiny superhero figures and tweezers

We've had hours of fun with this bin. The links have become ropes, bridges and ladders. The Legos have become houses, hide-outs and evil robots. This is my favorite sensory bin so far and it was the easiest to make. It's just so colorful and inviting.

For the Kids Friday

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tot School: Christmas 2 and The Melting Snowman Experiment

Tot School

Month: December
Theme: Christmas
Dates: 12/11 to 12/17

Bobo's been on a photography kick lately. He isn't convinced that his Fisher-Price camera takes REAL pictures, so I've been loaning him mine. His photos give insight into his life and what he finds important. He takes lots of photos of mama and daddy as well as his environment. My favorites are the extreme close-ups of body parts and clothing.

The Lessons

We took it pretty easy this week as we were trying to get all the Christmas preperations done. He did play his V-tech everyday. He likes it best when someone sits with him while he's playing to engage him even more. This post is coming a few weeks later than the dates, so I've noticed he likes to show off his newfound skills. He'll say, "Watch this!" He's needing less help with the games but still likes the encouragement and praise.

The Activities

We did one science experiment, the melting snowman. We filled three balloons with water the night before. Then, we put them together first thing in the morning because he was so excited. I used salt to get them to stick together. Daddy thought it would take 2 hours to melt, but I thought it would take much longer. We checked it every 1/2 hour and took a picture.

After two hours, he fell over so daddy was partially right. It took about 8 hours for the dish to fill up with water and make a huge mess. I emptied everything out after that. Note to self: Use a tub next time we do a melting experiment.

While we were waiting for ice to melt, we made red corn for a project. We played in the Sensory Bin using funnels this time. Bobo also traced letters, scooped and poured.

He pushed chenille sticks into the shaker. I found this reindeer mask at Joann's for $1. It's wood, so you can decorate it with basically anything. He chose to use his magic markers.

Then, he played with the train puzzle some more.

Field Trip

We attended the Main Library's PJ Story Time. The theme this year was cocoa, so there were lots of stories about cookies and chocolate, yum. We missed Miss Karyn, who was out sick. Bobo was so disappointed, but cheered up when he had the opportunity to have a heart to heart with Santa. He also made an adorable cupcake ornament out of foam. You can never have too many homemade ornaments.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tot School: Christmas

Tot School

Month: December
Theme: Christmas
Dates: 12/4 to 12/10

Oriental Trading finally had a free shipping bonus, so we bought some new school supplies! I've had the penguin nesting dolls in my cart for ages, but didn't want to pay the shipping, which would cost as much as the item. I scored by waiting and got some other fun supplies in the process.

The Lessons

Bobo stamped the letter "S" sounds, like snake and shark. We practiced numbers by rolling our new foam dice and counting the dots to make a chain out of links. After it snowed, we went outside and sprayed red, yellow and blue on the snow in the backyard. He really wanted to eat the snow, but I couldn't do it. We have all kinds of animals running around back there. Maybe when the snow is thicker and we go in the front. Better yet, we'll make snow cones inside with ice from the fridge!

The Activities

The penguin nesting doll is Bobo's favorite activity for the month. He loves to pretend with them. We played hide-and-seek several times. One of us would close or eyes and the other would hide the baby inside one of the four left. This worked on color recognition and size.

We both made gingerbread men using the scented Play Dough we made a couple of weeks ago. We used beads to make eyes, mouth, nose and buttons. He enjoyed this activity and made lots of men.

I tried to introduce the concept of weaving by setting out Christmas ribbon and a cooling wrack. He did it perfectly but wasn't interested in continuing the activity. We haven't used it since the first day.

When I think of Christmas, I think of trains. With that in mind, Bobo assembled and played with his train puzzle. We bought this at Kohl's when he was obsessed with trains last year.


I keep adding more craft supplies as I find good deals. Our craft area has grown and now has taken over a whole wall. Bobo explored his new craft area and said, "I need my scissors." He found lots of new things to cut, like yarn. He has mastered holding scissors correctly.

As you may already know, Bobo loves sidewalk chalk. We played with it everyday in the summer, most of the fall. Instead of putting it away for the winter, I set it out with the craft supplies. He asked if he could use it outside. I suggested using it on paper. He had no idea you could use chalk on paper! He's also been fascinated with drawing on black paper, so we explored what colors would work.

Sensory Bin

I made the winter sensory bin with Epsom Salt as the base. I added snowman cups (yes, they are ceramic and fragile, and YES, he did fine with them), a stretchy reindeer, santa ornament, santa smurfette, plush snowman and scoops. Bobo buried, scooped and poured with glee.

He had to get into the box, of course. No matter what is in the box, Bobo ends up in there as well eventually. He's making his "Don't take a picture," face, which consists of sticking out his tonge. The jokes on him, because I'm still going to use them. Ha-ha!

Field Trip

The boys and Grandma went to Indianapolis for the day. I stayed home and decorated the tree. I know they went to a mall and played in a children's area for a long time. Bobo made several friends and played with lots of children. What happened when he came home and saw the beautiful tree? Was he enchanted and amazed? "You hung up ALL the green ornaments?" said with a protruding bottom lip. Luckily, I had run out of hooks and still had some ornaments left to hang. We decorated the tree even more and hung up our special ornaments for the year. Bobo and Daddy put up the star as is tradition.

We also visited the Santa Train downtown and the Early Learning Center this week as I had a few days off work.


I don't remember what spurred it, but we got the V-tech V-Smile back out. Bobo received this system as a gift last year, but didn't have the skills to use it properly. He ended up throwing it, and we thought it was broken. Fortunately, it just needed new batteries and a new introduction. Now, Bobo is playing with it on a daily basis. He knows how to turn it on, off and reset as well as how to change games. He plays Kung-Fu Panda and Thomas the Train most often. It teaches letters, colors and logical thinking. We love it!