It’s a new year and a new start for our at-home preschool. I have so many ideas for our learning together thanks to Pinterest and all the great blogs out there! I could spend an entire weekend pinning and scanning new blogs. My children have other ideas about how I should spend my time. I plan to start introducing some theme weeks this year. I already have some in the works: time, maps, land forms, outer space, dinosaurs, city life, winter and Valentine’s Day would be fun themes over the next few months..
Puzzles and Building:
Puzzles are such wonderful teaching tools for little ones. They develop visual perceptual, fine motor, critical thinking, memory, reasoning, sequencing, planning and logic skills. Timmy has done really well with puzzles from a young age (he was putting together 24-30 piece floor puzzles by himself at 26 months) and so I’m always looking for new types of puzzles and building toys for my little boy. This magnetic vehicle set was a birthday gift for Timmy from his Aunt.
I can’t say enough about this toy. It’s really a wonderful, well-made toy for any child who loves things that go, magnets or putting stuff together. My son happens to love all three of these things and plays with these magnets often. It’s also a great alternative to Timmy putting together his floor puzzles. By the time I had come over to him to help him put some vehicles together, he had already correctly pieced together a race car, a fire truck and an airplane on his magnetic board. He was so proud of himself!
You can find this toy on Amazon here.
Tim started playing with actual Legos recently- no more little baby blocks for him. He’s been very interested in building houses lately. He had a lot of help from his daddy building his latest creation. I’m not sure which one of them had more fun. Legos are such wonderful toys, aren’t they? And it makes me so happy that he has started playing with them!
We continued working on Timmy’s cvc word families. He’s mastered all of the -AT, -ET and -IT words and we’ve begun to work on the -OT words. I made Timmy this word index card flip book last week. On the left side cards I printed each letter of the alphabet. On the right side cards I wrote the word families we’ve been working on.
He loves it. We took a recent road trip and he spent most of our time in the car flipping through his book. I plan to start introducing a couple of sight words each week this year in addition to working our way through more cvc word families.
I’ve also started introducing rhyming words to Timmy. He was given a beautiful Mother Goose (or as my littlest calls it, “Mama Goose”) Nursery Rhymes book for Christmas by his nana and grandpa.
He practically begs me to read it each day before “nap time” and bedtime. The truth is that he doesn’t need to beg, I love reading this book with both of my little ones! Timmy already knows most of the rhymes- we take turns reciting the lines of the rhymes and he always has the sweetest little smile on his face as we read together. Because he loves nursery rhymes so much, I’m going to check out some books of children’s poetry for him at the local library and add poetry to our weekly learning this year.
Timmy also loves to have me read Green Eggs and Ham to him. I point out the rhyming words as we read the book together. Combining his love of puzzles with rhyming words, I made this simple activity for him. I cut green egg-shaped puzzles out of cardstock and added some magnetic tape to the back of the pieces. He had a good time piecing the puzzles together and saying “fox rhymes with box, house rhymes with mouse, here rhymes with there, and rain rhymes with train”. I’ll have to make some more rhyming word puzzles for Timmy to piece together.
There’s always plenty of counting around the house these days. Timmy loves to count. I came up with another way to reinforce the concept of counting on using a deck of playing cards. We take turns drawing cards and count on from whatever number we draw- sometimes to 10 and sometimes to 20. I plan on playing this game with him a lot over the next few weeks.
For the last couple of months, Timmy’s been counting backwards while eating his veggies at dinner. “I’m going to eat 30 peas, mommy! 30, 29, 28, 27, etc.”, he says as he shoves the veggies in his mouth. I love this. Not only do I think it’s pretty cool that he learned to count backwards on his own but it’s a fun way for him to eat his veggies.
Games and Other Fun Activities:
Another thing I’ve started doing with Timmy lately is playing board games with him. Playing board games with children is an excellent way for them to learn to share and take turns, cooperate with each other, to increase logical thinking skills, and to learn basic math concepts. It also teaches kids how to lose gracefully. I don’t just let him win and he seems to handle not winning just fine. Candy Land has been a wonderful introduction to board games for Timmy. It’s a great game to play with 3 year olds because the instructions are simple and the game doesn’t depend on reading. (It’s also a helpful game for those toddlers and preschoolers who need more practice with their counting and colors, too). The games are sometimes long (we don’t remove the cards that can send the game pieces backwards) but he’s usually able to focus until the game is over- this kid has a great attention span.
Cooking and Arts and Crafts:
We spent some time cooking this past week. Timmy made chocolate pudding all by himself. I poured the milk in the measuring cup for him, though. I’m not that brave! He also helped his daddy make a special Filipino cake (my husband is part Filipino).
And that was our latest week of learning together. I was thinking the other day about how much my little boy has grown and learned in the past year and I’m excited to see what changes this year will bring.
Happy New Year, everyone!