October 30, 2011

Tot School - 10.30.11

-Red is currently 16.5 months old.-

Theme: Spiders

We've had another festive week of Halloween activities! Here are the shelves.

Top Left shelf contained Magneatos. These are really fun!

Top right was a puzzle.
Middle left had a cup with clothespins to slide onto the rim.

Middle right was the geo sorter and a Melissa & Doug latches board.

Bottom left was the Mr. Pumpkin Head from last week, and bottom right had a basket full of various heuristic play items. I learned about this here on the Pre-School Play blog. Basically, it's just a bunch of items with no specific purpose or relation to one another, and the goal is to let your little one experiment with them in an open-ended, creative way--without any interference. 


We read The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle this week. (Sorry for the horrible photo!)


We sang Spider on the Floor by Raffi and Itsy Bitsy Spider while playing with our spider balloon.

Practical Life

We worked on raking leaves this weekend. I have a feeling we'll be doing this several more times this fall.


We played with our Halloween sensory tub.

And made an ooey gooey gel sensory bag with spiders.


Red and I cooked together again this week. We built rails onto a chair so it would be safer for him to stand on, and he loved being at counter-level to help. We made a yellow cake from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook.


We painted a spider web using painters tape to mark off the web shape. We also painted with spiders (fake ones, of course!).


We got into a festive Halloween mood by drinking our smoothies out of a pumpkin cup.

And decorating with spider webs.

And spidery gel clings.

And, of course, after all that raking, we had to have some fun in the leaves!

All this plus a night of trick-or-treating on Monday! What a fun week!

October 28, 2011

Spider Web Painting.

Red and I painted a spider web today. I started off by marking a crude spider web in painters' tape.

Then Red started painting. I gave him a dish brush to use, but it seemed like it was absorbing all the paint instead of smearing it on the cardboard. It worked okay, but...

Then we tried fingers for a little while. He still just wants to use his pointer fingers only, but he definitely enjoyed it (and even snuck a taste, silly boy).

And we finished up with these brushes.

Here is the finished product. This would be really cool on white poster board with black paint. I didn't dare give my silly boy black paint when he is still working on rules like "Don't throw the paintbrush full of paint right onto Mommy's shirt." He broke that rule today. Also, we have to strictly enforce the "Don't eat paint" rule. He conscientiously objects to all "Don't eat..." type of rules.

Spider Balloon.

We made a really simple spider balloon this week. It was just a black balloon with black crepe paper legs. It would be fun to add some googly eyes to it, but I didn't have any on hand.

We played with the balloon while we listed to Raffi's Spider on the Floor song. "There's a spider on your head, and he's really, really big. There's a spider on your head, on your head."

And we had fun just tossing it back and forth.

I saw some posts this week that would be fun to try with a balloon and an older child. This post from Peaceful Parenting would be an easy way to play. And this post from Moving Smart has a fun 'Catch that Balloon' game.

October 27, 2011

Gel Sensory Bag.

We made a great ooey gooey sensory bag for Halloween this week! I got the idea from this post and this one. I used a tube of clear hair gel and dyed it orange (actually, it's more of a red color, because I got carried away with the red in my color mixing). Then I tossed in a few spiders and sealed up the bag with some extra tape for good measure.

The bag was fun to squeeze and squish as you can see from these pictures!

October 23, 2011

Tot School - 10.23.11

-Red is currently 16.5 months old-

Theme: Pumpkins

We've been getting into the Halloween spirit with pumpkin week. Here are the shelves this week:

Top left was the jumping frogs from last week. By the end of this week, Red was able to make them jump himself!

The top left shelf held his Pop'n Pals and a puzzle. Neither of these were his favorite.

Middle left shelf had a tray with photo block puzzles. He enjoyed looking at these but didn't manipulate them as much as I thought he would. There's a lot you can do with this idea. Here is one example with animals. Here is one with famous landmarks.

The middle right shelf held a basket with balls and blocks in it. I tried a sorting activity with him again this week, but he still isn't ready for it yet. He names the items correctly but doesn't understand the concept of sorting them into two piles. He prefers to throw them all around the room...*sigh*

The bottom left shelf had a tray with Mr. Pumpkin Head. We punched all the holes ahead of time and marked them with black permanent marker, then Red was able to put the pieces in and out on his own (for the most part).

Bottom right shelf contained a tray with Halloween erasers to sort into an empty egg crate. He enjoyed looking at the erasers and naming them. He's also starting to put them into the empty holes more but often still puts several in one space.


We read 5 Little Pumpkins and sang the Raffi version of the same song.

Practical Life

We worked on wiping down the table after meals/snacks this week. Red is still very young, so with these practical life activities, I try to show him how to do it and let him help, but I don't expect him to start doing these skills all the time--it's more of an introduction.


My plan was to let Red explore the pumpkin insides as a sensory experience this week. He still doesn't care for anything too slimy or messy, so poking at it with his index finger was all he was interested in doing.

Luckily the pumpkin patch we visited had a wonderful corn play area for kids. What a great sensory activity!


I attempted to cook with Red for the first time this week. This is one situation when it's actually helpful that he doesn't like to get too messy. The kitchen survived, and we'll be cooking together more in the future. We made this pumpkin bread, and it turned out really well!


We did several art projects this week too. We used a mini pumpkin to make pumpkin prints. We also painted a pumpkin. And we did a little singing and shaking with a homemade pasta-filled maraca. Raffi's Shake Your Sillies Out was perfect for this activity!


For fun, we visited a pumpkin patch this week. There were lots of fun things for Red to do. He got to pet some animals, ride a horse, play beanbag toss, ride a train, and walk through a hay maze. 

It was a fun trip and will make a great memory!

Check out tot school at 1+1+1=1 to see what other toddlers are doing!