February 26, 2012

Tot School – 2.26.12

-Red is currently 20.5 months old-

Theme: Birds

Tot Trays & Learning Toys

1. Sound Puzzle. This puzzle freaks Red out a little. He’s always a little hesitant when he first starts it because of the sounds. Even though it’s a little intimidating, it’s his favorite puzzle by far, and it holds his attention better than any other.

2. Linking Shapes. Red is working on linking the shapes together, but it’s still a little difficult for him. He likes it when I help him make chains and necklaces.

3. Stacking/Nesting Blocks. I don’t have a picture of this, but we used the nesting blocks for sorting the different linking shapes. He likes to use them as containers and talk about the numbers/letters/pictures on them.

4. Pouring Beans into a Heart Container. Red likes pouring activities. He’s pretty good at them too when he isn’t being silly. He practiced taking the lid on and off the heart box too.

5. Putting Stir Sticks into a Parmesan Cheese Container. This is very easy for Red now, but he still enjoys it.

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6. Wedgits. He also played with his Wedgits this week, but I didn’t get a picture.


He had a lot of bird-themed library books this week.


This was a simple book with striking illustrations. It’s full of random musing about birds from a little girl’s perspective. My favorite line was, “If there are lots of birds in one tree and they all fly away at the same time, it looks like the tree yelled, ‘SURPRISE!’”

The Owl and the Pussycat

This book was a little odd for me. The jacket cover says it is a “beloved nonsense poem,” and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. It’s all about an owl and cat who run away together and get married. It’s probably one of those that you love if you grew up with it.

Owl Babies

I loved, loved, loved the illustrations in this one. The text was cute, and Red enjoyed it a lot. It captivated his attention, which is always key at this age. It’s about three owl babies who are waiting for their mother to return.

Bird Talk

This book was a little difficult for me to read. It’s full of word balloons with the sounds birds make. We only read this one once.

White Owl, Barn Owl

This book has a lot of detailed information about barn owls. It would be great for an older child. Red sat through it, but a lot of the nuanced information was lost on him.

Gossie (Gossie & Friends)

Red LOVED this one. It was his favorite of the week. It’s a cute little story about a gosling who likes to wear red boots. Delightfully simple text and cute illustrations. We read it many times.


In a subtle nod to bird nests, we played with colored spaghetti this week.


We made paper birds and flew them around the house.

Red also painted a miniature bird house.

And he painted using feathers.

See what other tots are learning about this week at 1+1+1=1's Tot School.

Free Painting with Feathers.

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We’ve been reading about birds this week, so it was a perfect time to try painting with feathers.

Red did a little feather painting on his foot as well as the paper.

He enjoyed the feel of the feathers.

And experimented with ‘writing’ with the stiff end.

But like all good free art times, it ended with lots of finger painting!

See these posts at No Time for Flash Cards for many other Free Art Friday activities.

February 21, 2012

Paper Birds.

Red helped me make some colorful paper birds today. I followed the tutorial for the Beautiful Bird Craft at No Time for Flash Cards.

He started off by coloring the bird bodies and wings for me.

Then I cut them out and assembled them, and Red flew them around the house!

Check out the link above for instructions on how to make these. I love that this craft facilitates a lot of pretend play. Our birds have been flying and chirping and making nests all around the house!

February 19, 2012

Tot School – 2.19.12

-Red is currently 20.5 months old-

Theme: Valentine’s Day/Hearts

Tot Trays & Learning Toys

1. Pegboard. Red likes to build towers with the pegs.

2. Geo Shape Sorter. Red is good at fitting the shapes into their holes, but he hasn’t ‘gotten’ the concept of placing them short to tall. It’s a good way to talk about big/small, short/tall, though.

3. Farm Puzzle. Red knows where all the animals go and likes to make the noises they make, but he sometimes struggles to get them turned just the right way.

4. Lacing Beads. Red actually worked to lace these for the first time this week. In the past he hasn’t even tried. He still needs some help, but he made a great effort.

5. Tonging Hearts into a Heart Container. As you can see, Red does not love tonging. It’s still too hard for him. He enjoyed taking the hearts in and out of the container, and taking the lid off and on as well. It was good opening/closing work anyway.

6. Heuristic Play Basket. (Again) I have had this out for weeks, but I feel like it has so many open-ended play possibilities that it never gets old.

7. Inchimals. This is a really neat toy that will grow with Red for a long time. He enjoys pointing out the different animals, and I try to reinforce big/small, short/tall.


We had some more love-themed books from the library this week.

I Love You With All My Heart

This book really hit my sentimental Mom feelings. A polar bear cub asks other animals how much they are loved. At the end he asks his mom how much she loves him, and she explains how she loves him with all different parts of her body, including all her heart. Red wasn’t crazy about this one, though, and only let me read it once.

Mr. Pusskins: A Love Story

Red liked this one more than I did. It’s a story about a cat who takes his owner for granted but learns to love her in the end. We used it to talk a lot about emotions. Mr. Pusskins is mad in the beginning, but then he transitions to sad and, finally, happy. Red is interested in emotions right now, so I think that’s why he liked it. My favorite line was, “The girl’s constant babbling, ‘Blah-de-blah, blah, blah,’ bored his whiskers off.”

Daddy Hugs (Classic Board Book)

Red loved this one. We have several other Karen Katz books, and he loves them all. It counts through all the different types of hugs a dad gives his baby throughout the day. Every time I would read this, Red would say “Gin” (again).

Kissing Hand (Paperback with CD)

Red and I both liked this one. He liked all the beautiful animal pictures. It’s about a little raccoon going off to school for the first time. He doesn’t want to leave his mom, but she gives him a kiss to keep with him whenever he needs it. I loved cuddling my little boy while reading this and enjoying the fact that I get to keep him with me all day.


We ate heart-shaped sandwiches for lunch.


Red played with his Valentine’s sensory bin this week. It has a base of pink dyed rice with glitter hearts, mini erasers, jewels, heart buttons, and confetti.

I also let him draw with his finger in a tray lined with salt. The salt felt really cool running through your fingers.


I made Valentine’s out of Red’s finger painting sheets. I cut out a heart, glued it to cardstock, and wrote a message on the back. His first Valentine’s. Of course, I made one for myself :)

I also cut out some hearts from construction paper for Red to glue and make a heart collage.

And he also painted some artwork using those classic heart-shaped paper doilies.

It’s been a fun, love-filled week here at our house. See what other tot’s are learning about at Carisa's Tot School.

February 17, 2012

Free Drawing in Salt with a Popsicle Stick.

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I was a little unsure how this project would go, but Red was really engaged with it. He spent a good 20 minutes playing and creating.

I took one of his trays and covered it with a thin layer of salt. There are tutorials on how to dye salt, but the white provided a good contrast against the tray, so I left it as is. I gave him a couple popsicle sticks, but he had just as much fun using his hands. The salt has a really nice cool feeling as it runs through your hand.

He often asks me to draw shapes for him, so we talked about different shapes. His other favorite thing for me to draw is a sun, moon, or stars.

At first I had reservations about this project (1) because of the mess and (2) because I would be wasting quite a bit of salt. It turned out that it was pretty messy. I swept, but I still get salt on the bottom of my feet sometimes when walking through the kitchen. But I solved the waste problem by saving it for use in homemade play dough in the future. In the end, I was glad I did it.