May 25, 2012

Throwing Paint Balls.

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Red loves throwing things. It feels like I’m always trying to squelch his love for hurling objects, but in this project, I embraced it. I taped some paper to the lid of his sandbox, gave him two textured balls, a plate full of paint, and let him throw to his heart’s content.

He did a little freestyle painting with his hands and a shovel too!

May 20, 2012

Tot School – 5.20.12

-Red is currently 23 months old-

Letter: M

Theme: Mice

Tot Trays & Learning Toys

1. Honeybee Tree Game. Red enjoyed playing with the pieces of this game. We never actually played it, but it’s great for pretending.

2. Rainbow Sound Blocks. He enjoys shaking these to hear the different sounds. He also has fun making towers and putting them in/taking them out of their box.

3. Shape Sequence Sorting Set. He likes to fit the pieces together, but he hasn’t mastered putting them in size order yet.

4. Lacing Beads. We laced these together. He still has trouble doing it on his own, but he does well when he works with me.

Letter Work

Red used the printables from 1+1+1=1 again this week.

He also made a collage of words that start with the letter “M.”

And he played a game with his letter beanbags. The game came from one of Carisa’s posts that I read, but basically, I tell him what letter to find, and if he finds it correctly, then I become the beanbag monster and eat it up. It inspires lots of giggles.

He also helped me make an “M” out of play dough.

He sorted capital and lower case “M’s” into separate cheese containers. He actually made an effort to sort them this week.

I made him a tactile letter “M” out of cardboard.

And he searched for objects that start with the letter “M” in his rice bin.


I helped him make the mouse craft from No Time for Flash Cards. See the link for details.

He also painted rocks. When they were dry we glued eyes on them and drew tails so they would look like abstract mice.  

Pretend Play

I made Red a house for his mice out of a shoebox. His favorite activity was bathing them in the butter tub.


Red LOVED his mouse books this week. I’m afraid we’re going to have a meltdown when we have to return them to the library tomorrow.

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Child's Play Library)

He absolutely loved this one, and I probably read it at least 20 times this week. It’s narrated from the reader’s point of view, as if you are talking to the mouse. After warning the mouse about the big, hungry bear, you convince him to share the strawberry with you in order to save it…sneaky.

The Lion and the Mouse Tuff Book (Tuff Books)

He also loved this classic fable from Aesop about the mouse who begs the lion to spare her life, and in return she will return the favor. The lion thinks this is preposterous, but the mouse is able to rescue him from a net and repay her debt.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff & Felicia Bond

And he loved this fun story about a mouse and all his repeated requests that lead the boy full circle. That’s not a very good description, but I think everyone knows this classic tale.

ABC of America

He liked this one a lot too, and requested it many times. It goes through the alphabet using examples of classic American institutions to represent each letter, i.e. A is for apple pie, B is for baseball…

Animalia (Picture Puffins)

I may have liked this one more than him. It has stunning illustrations and uses an alliterative phrase for each letter of the alphabet. The pictures are chocked full of items starting with the letter. Red’s favorite was the dragon on the D page. He has a thing for dragons.

To see what other tots are learning about this week, visit tot school at 1+1+1=1!

Rock Painting.

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Red is fascinated by rocks. He mostly loves to throw them, despite how many times his parents tell him not to. One of his favorite activities is going down to a creek and throwing rocks in the water. We brought the rocks inside today (no throwing, thankfully!) and gave them a little makeover with some paint.

Once the rocks were sufficiently covered, he finished up on his hands, arms, and the paper placemat. You can’t strand leftover paint…that would just be wasteful :)

May 17, 2012

Mouse Small World.

I have been trying to guide Red into more pretend play, but he hasn’t fully embraced it yet. I figure the more we practice, the more comfortable he’ll be initiating it on his own. With this in mind, I created a small little mouse world inside a shoebox for him to explore.

There was shredded paper for the floor, a furry little mouse bed made from a scrap of fabric, a thread spool table, some small block chairs, a little poker chip plate, some pieces of cheese cut from a Cheez-It box, and a little magazine art for the walls.

There was also a butter tub bathtub with a brush (from a kit for cleaning golf club heads).

He enjoyed giving the mice baths.

And walking them through the mouse hole door. He also had fun sending them down the slide (the red foam block in the corner).

If you are very crafty or have some extra cash laying around, this mouse house at My Sweet Muffin is adorable!

May 13, 2012

Tot School – 5.13.12

-Red is currently 23 months old-

Letter: S

Theme: Stars

Tot Trays & Learning Toys

I haven’t been as good about capturing Red playing with his trays the past couple of weeks. I still rotate 6 new trays/learning toys onto his shelves each week, and we’re still very much focused on play; I just haven’t had my camera handy.

1. Pushing beads through holes in a shoebox.

Letter Work

Red used the tot school printables from 1+1+1=1 again this week.

He also made a collage of things that start with the letter “S”.

We played a game with his beanbag letters.

And made S’s out of play dough.

I set up a game for him to sort capital and lower case S’s into separate parmesan cheese containers, but he is not very fond of sorting yet. He just likes to put the chips into the containers, which is fine.

He hunted for objects that start with the letter “S” in his letter rice bin.

And I made him a tactile letter “S” to trace with his finger. This one is made out of sandpaper.


Red made the "S" craft from No Time for Flash Cards. See the link for instructions.

He also painted a flower pot for my mom for Mother’s Day. After it dried he helped me plant a flower in it.


I made a star sensory bin for Red to explore.


 Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

This was Red’s favorite book of the week. It adds many extra verses to the traditional “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” song that tell the story of a little girl who makes a wish on a star and travels into space to see the planets and look down on Earth. In the end she returns to her bed to gaze up at the magical star.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

This book also follows the song of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and I believe the extra verses are true to the original. The illustrations are beautiful. They depict a squirrel who travels from his nest out across the sea and up into the air.

How to Catch a Star

This is a cute book about a boy who tries everything to capture a star, and in the end he finds a starfish, and takes it home triumphantly. It was perfect for Red’s attention span.

Max's ABC

I didn’t love this one, but Red enjoyed it. It goes through the alphabet while telling the story of Max and his trouble with ants. Max and Ruby try everything to get rid of the ants, and in the end they are returned to their ant farm.

A Gardener's Alphabet

Red wasn’t crazy about this one. It went through the alphabet highlighting words with each letter that relate to gardening. It was great for introducing some new words, like “topiary,” but he only listened to it once.

To see what other tots are learning about this week, visit tot school at 1+1+1=1!