Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tiny Tot Time

Tot School

Isaiah is currently 22.5 months


We use the Ikea Trofast system for both Olivia and Isaiah. It works so great because for Tot School we can just use the shelves, and then going into Kid School, we substitute the drawers and have a perfect set of workboxes.

*Disclaimer: The following pictures represent moments in a little bit of a rough week. Both kids were sick, Isaiah being the sicker of the two. Don’t let these pictures lead you to believe what isn’t true…I should have gotten pictures of grumpy Isaiah too, but when he was grumpy I was holding him in my lap with one hand and working with Olivia with the other…


Isaiah gets to choose what he wants to play with off of these shelves. Some of the shelves got played with multiple times (the stacking blocks and shape sorter), while some of the shelves were not even touched (the “N” shelf and cutting fruit).

On top of the shelf:

  • LeapFrog Tag Reader Junior with Sesame Street Alphabet book
  • LeapFrog scribble and write. In the past weeks he has chosen this a lot, but he didn’t very much this week so I’ll be rotating it out of his options.
  • Manhattan Toys See and Put Birdhouse
  • Melissa & Doug Pet Sounds Puzzle

First shelf:

  • Melissa & Doug See and Spell
  • Various “N” items

Bottom shelf:

  • Melissa & Doug Shape Sorter
  • Various Cutting Fruits including Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit and Kidoozi Garden Fresh Fruits & Veggies
  • Melissa & Doug Stacking Blocks

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While JP is deployed, we are living with my parents, so we do school in Olivia’s room. Which actually works out just fine. It’s a nice big room that has her queen bed, an upright piano, the school table, and both kids’ shelves. And the bed provides a comfy & snuggly place for reading too!


“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle has been a favorite of Isaiah’s for over 6 months now.


Table Work

Isaiah didn’t really want to spend much time sitting at the table with us (probably because I kept wiping his running nose). But the little time he did he produced these two Dot Paint Masterpieces. I downloaded them from 1+1+1=1 Blog here.


Isaiah’s Picks

These are toys and activities Isaiah found to play with on his own.


Shape sorting wooden blocks by Imaginarium.


He’s been pushing this stroller and a shopping cart around a lot lately.


     Running on the bed (if he wasn’t so cute, I definitely wouldn’t post pictures of our unmade beds). I don’t normally let him run on the bed…but, this was a result of some sick/grumpy moments when I needed to focus on Olivia, and he was only happy doing this.


His beloved Montessori Cylinder Block was right by his side most of the week.


Counting the cylinders with his feet. This silly boy cracks me up every day!

Tech Time

Isaiah loves the iPad!!! We all love the iPad!


Getting in a little exercise while playing his Eric Carl Very Hungry Caterpillar Ap.


This week Isaiah got more iPad time in than usual because he wasn’t feeling well. It’s one of the things he likes to do even when he’s sick.



Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sensory Bin: Nest

This week’s sensory bin was all about birds and nests to go along with our MFW Kindergarten science unit about nests and Animal Homes. I actually reinvented a flop of a sensory bin from a few weeks ago that was supposed to go with our Leaf science unit – both kids took one look at it and walked away. This time around it went over much better.


In our bin we had:

  • a variety of silk leaves I bought at Michaels
  • leaf felt stickers I bought at Michaels
  • trees from the Tree Toob (these didn’t get played with at all)
  • insects from the Insect Toob (these get played with all the time, whether they are in a sensory bin or not…Olivia’s a bug loving princess!)
  • a birdhouse I picked up from Michaels
  • gold pom poms
  • nests, birds, and miniature eggs also from Michaels
  • tongs
  • small white paint tray

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Here’s Olivia first feeding the birds a caterpillar, and then next she was hiding the birds in the birdhouse from the attack insects. I’m not sure how she got into the attack bugs, but I guess it did go along with one of our themes of God providing different homes for different animals for protection.


Even though I try to encourage group play with the sensory bin, they just aren’t always interested at the same time. I could not pull Isaiah away from his Montessori Cylinder Block (I purchased this at Montessori Outlet a while back and is one of his all time favorite toys. This is Part 1, and I’m getting ready to buy another part to give him more challenge as he has mastered this one).


Isaiah was most interested in transferring miniature eggs from the nest into the small paint tray and counting as he went. He did this over and over again. It was a great activity for him, and I was really surprised at how well he did the one-to-one correspondence counting. It was the first time he has done this skill.


I’ve tried having him use large tweezers to work on transferring objects and fine motor skills, but he couldn’t get it at all; so, I bought these miniature tongs, which are much easier to grasp and squeeze. He gave it a try, but after the first try he put them down and didn’t try again (notice his cylinder block right by him…this was a constant companion for him this week).

IMG_4153 I thought maybe the eggs were too small for using the tongs, so I switched out the eggs for these gold pom poms. Again, he tried, but then he opted to use his fingers.


Sensory bins are fun and great, but have taken me a lot of time, energy, and money to put together…so, this one is going to stay out for the rest of the month and into November. I have some pumpkins to add into it next week, and then maybe I’ll pick up a few Thanksgiving items to add to it, but for the most part we are going to try to get some more use out of this one and maybe pull back out the apple bin.

For more great ideas on sensory bins visit:


Totally Tots – What’s in the Tub

Counting Coconuts 

SpartanGirl Sensory Activities for Kids

Friday, October 14, 2011

Denmark Lapbook

This week we worked on a special project – a lapbook all about Denmark. Why Denmark? Olivia’s daddy is currently deployed, and in his job he gets to work with lots of international people. One of his good friends over yonder is from Denmark. The project started as a special request from JP to show Olivia on the world map where all his co-workers are from and evolved into this lapbook.

I have to admit that this was a huge labor of love on my part. I wanted it to look really good…so I did all of the cutting and most of the gluing. Also, Olivia isn’t ready to write whole sentences on her own yet, so any writing was done by me. We plan to do a few more of these, however, I may change it up a bit so more of the work is done by her…I keep reminding myself it’s about the process!

Work in Progress…


We started out by learning what the Denmark flag looks like. We also included the Polish and German flag because we’ll be learning about those countries next. I printed off the European Flag nomenclature cards and Europe Geography Folder from Montessori Printshop. Then we had a flag Montessori lesson and I showed her pictures of Denmark.


Next we worked on identifying where Denmark is located. First, she found Europe, and then she found Denmark. We used our Leap Frog Tag Reader World Map at first. This works great because as she points to different countries she can instantly hear from her Tag Reader if she has found the correct one…very helpful since I couldn’t see what she was pointing at since she was on top of the map.

After finding it on the big world map, she then had to find it and color it on her miniature map for the lapbook. At first she insisted she couldn’t do it, but after a second look at the big map and some encouraging words she did it all by herself.

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Gluing down her Flag Facts I got from Homeschool Share. I already had all the facts written down inside, so we just talked about the different facts before she glued it down.


We also happened to be talking about Hans Christian Andersen from Denmark for our Literature Fairy Tales unit, so we included 2 Famous People pockets (also from the Homeschool Share website). The first famous person was Hans Christian Andersen, and the second was JP’s co-worker. On the inside of the pockets are facts of the famous person and a picture. JP sent a picture of him with his Danish friend. This part actually brought tears to Olivia’s eyes as she kissed the picture of JP. She said, “Every time I open this I’ll think of daddy.” It was a good moment to stop and pray for JP and all those fighting in this war.


Danish numbers 1 – 10. This pocket was also from the Home School Share website. On one side of the flap I had the numeral written. Then I gave her slips of paper with the written Denmark number and she had to glue them on the back of the correct flap.


Here she is gluing down the Denmark alphabet. The pocket is also from Homeschool Share. I printed out a copy of their alphabet and had her identity the 3 additional letters and color them. She then glued the alphabet inside and glued the pocket down in the lapbook.


Did You Know? Also, from Homeschool Share. She glued down pictures of Vikings, Legos, and the first Amusement Park.


What’s Cooking? Again…the blank template is from Homeschool Share, and then in Word I created a Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner menu. I laminated the cards and we played a guessing game. I read what was on the menu and she had to guess which meal I was describing.

Finished Product…


Front Cover with picture of flag and country.


Inside flaps. I ended up adding the flap in the middle that opens upward so we would have enough room for everything. It’s just another file folder cut in half and then taped on.


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Inside flap open.


Menus inside “What’s Cookin”




Olivia’s Favorites…


…the picture of JP with his Danish friend inside the “Famous Person” pocket!!!!


…and “What’s Cookin?” She loved the fact that bread is a big part of their meals!

Note from Olivia: I don’t like these pictures!