Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tot School: Days 1-5

I have already changed our plans! We moved into a new room and started a new plan with my preschooler so tot school is taking place there too. We are counting the days of school so I think from now on I will tell you what days we have done instead of what week or month or whatever. So these activities took place over 2 weeks but we did 5 days of school.

Our new "school room" is in our laundry room. Both girls have loved the new set up and everything is running pretty smoothly. I will post pictures of the space as soon as I know it is going to work. My tot tray method has changed a little too. I am trying to leave out as much of the same thing for the whole week as possible. I am only changing out what did not go well (too hard, too easy, etc.) and I leave the trays out where she can get them out and put them up by herself. I have had a few occurences of sneaking in while I am not looking and playing with the trays but so far it is working out well (but it has only been 5 days). I do not leave scissors, markers, glue, paint, etc out.


Do A Dot

She loved this! I love it too because it is not as messy as regular paint.


She is getting so much better at puzzles!

Matching Bears

This came with our Sonlight P3/4 curriculum and both girls like these sturdy bears.

Snipping Paper

Big sister was working on some cutting, so she had to also!

Color Sort

I tried this two different ways. Sorting into the plastic cups was better than sorting on the circles. She really liked the colored popsicle sticks, I got them at the dollar tree.

Dry Erase

This is probably her favorite thing to do. I have several different boards and markers and she loves them all!

Spilt Milk art

This was an impromptu activity for big sister that Lyla got to help with. Both girls absolutely loved doing this. I used a whole container of white craft paint. We would have been making these pictures all day if we would have had enough paint! Basic directions: glob of paint in center of paper, fold in half, open and see what it looks like. We did this after reading the book "It Looked Like Spilt Milk". After all the papers were dry, I stapled them together, and we made our own Spilt Milk book. It turned out great!


I don't have any pictures, but we were able to spend more time outside thanks to a dip in the heat and humidity. We also went to a pool party (again, no pictures) and The Children's Museum of Memphis (where is my camera?).

My preschooler (Abby, 5) has a brain tumor and is a patient at St Jude Children's Research Hospital. She was diagnosed over a year ago and despite all the doctors predictions, she is doing great. We have not had to undergo any treatment (she did have brain surgery and they removed a portion of her brain) and the tumor has remained stable (has not grown). It covers about 30% of her brain but she has no side effects (other than seizures which are controlled by medication). We travel to Memphis to St Jude every 3 months for an MRI which tells us if the tumor is growing or not. Last week we had to go back for an MRI, and thankfully, the tumor is still stable.

Lyla went with us this time and was wonderful! We usually don't take her with us because it is a time of great anxiety and it is hard to listen to all the doctors and nurses with a 5 year old and 2 year old running around. I am so glad that she was able to go. It put her sister at ease and they both had a great time together. St Jude is an incredible place and there is so much for the kids to do while there. The city of Memphis also is great and we get discounts on lots of attractions, including the Children's Museum. It makes our trip so much better!

Lyla worries about her sister and shows so much compassion for her. After the MRI, Abby was very groggy and couldn't hold her cookie, she kept dropping it. Lyla picked it up and fed it to her. She stroked her hair and talked sweet words to her. My heart melted. Lyla had to be left behind a lot during the initial diagnosis and surgery and everything that went along with it. She still seems to get left out because everyone asks about Abby wherever we go. We try not to make that difference at home, but I know that God will use this to make her a strong, compassionate person. She already is! If you want to read more about our journey, go to my other blog, Abby's Army. And please pray for my sweet girls!

That's how we did Tot School! Go check out the other entries at 1+1+1=1!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Catch Up

What a busy month! My last post was about our activity bags and all my planning. Shortly after that life got extremely busy. We had a vacation, birthday party, record heat, trips to Granny's, and a lot more going on! I will try to do a brief catch up. Both tot school and preschool were sporadic. These pictures and activities are from the past month (or longer). I have become more intentional with school lately but still not in a groove. I am beginning to think a groove may never happen for us!

Tot School
Lyla is 28 months old

Lyla has been very cooperative with her activities. Our only conflict is that she wants to do whatever her sister is doing and vice versa. So I try to find similar activities for her that she will be successful at. Here is the run down on her tot trays:

small spaces with a pringles can (mini) and chenille sticks

sorting with pom poms and star ice cube tray


sorting, I got these animal erasers and tray at Dollar Tree, the tray had a busy pattern on the bottom so I taped some pink paper down

color file folder game, I made this when I was in grad school, all children love it

Lyla knows most of her colors, some still trick her up though

sticking toothpicks in a styrofoam circle, found the toothpicks and sytrofoam at Dollar Tree

Abby did this activity too but I tried to encourage her to make patterns or shapes with her toothpicks

matching objects to pictures, these are actually patterning cards that I found in a Scholastic book order ages ago, she likes to use it for matching

Abby is 5 years old

Abby has been more defiant with her activities. She doesn't like to use the materials the way they should be, she wants to make up her own. I like that she is creative but I also want her to learn to follow directions. I usually have to make a deal that if she will do it "right" first, she can play with it any way she wants after. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Here is what Abby has been working on.

Raising Rock Stars Preschool, she loves reciting the memory verses

"cooking" with a recipe book

Lyla was in on the cooking too!

sorting colors and shades with paint chips, found here

counting cards, found here

a puzzle she completed with very little help

pom pom game, huge hit, found here

see and spell she got for her birthday

patterning, found here, she isn't a huge fan of pattern activities but she really liked this one

measuring activity, found here, she did not enjoy this at all

She didn't enjoy it because it was too easy for her. I am going to make her a game where she actually uses a measuring tape. I will save this for Lyla to use soon.

ABC train puzzle, she got this for her birthday, everyone had fun with it

I had Lyla find the pictures I named and Abby had to find the letters I called out. Lots of running and giggling went along with this.

farmers market game, found here, this sparked her imagination and she played farmer's market all day with our play food

popcorn sensory activity, made a huge mess, my blood pressure went through the roof, the girls loved it

Our area has been under heat advisories for weeks. It does not cool off, even at night. It is hard to keep little ones cooped up for so long but I think we dealt with it fairly well. A few things we did to burn off energy included:

ribbon dancing

ballet, I found a ballet video for her birthday and both girls love to do "ballet class". It is called Baby Ballet. I highly recommend it.

Abby turned five this month. She wanted a ballerina birthday. I had so much fun planning and hosting this party. It was in my mom's garage and it couldn't have went any better. She loved it.

We also went on vacation this month. Branson, Missouri is close to home so we took the girls for a long weekend. It was extremely hot but we still had a great time.

That wraps up the last month (plus some) at our house. We have started a new routine in a new room this week. Can't wait to share the details with you next week!

I am linking up to the Preschool Corner at Homeschool Creations and Tot School at 1+1+1=1. Go see what other kiddos are up to!