Saturday, October 20, 2012

My "Academic" Preschooler

Those that know me well know that I really push that sensory-open ended art during the toddler/preschool years. T. is 3 years old and has had what I describe as "sensory issues".  :-)  He never liked to get his hands dirty...actually, still doesn't for the most part.  Forget any type of messy art...or sensory.  And really, the sensory tubs/pool does not keep his interest for long...even with "clean" materials. Do you know what he really likes?  Academics.  Huh?!  Yes, that's what he likes and thrives on.  So that is throwing me for a little loop this year as most "academic" type tasks usually requires some assistance when you are talking about a 3 year old.  But, we'll get it figured out!  Here are some of the activities we did this past week...
Matching numbers to pumpkin seeds.  Ha!  This was on a whim.  I didn't think he really could count sets past 3 so I put only 5 pumpkins down because then the shape would help him "self-correct" but no, I put down the 5 and he tells me, "all of them".  So I went ahead and so that meant there were 2 or 3 of the same shapes.  Oh my goodness!  I was impressed!  He did them all.  He couldn't really count the 9 and 10 correctly but the shapes then helped him but the rest he did on his own.  So, now I'm curious, was it just guessing or now we'll explore that this next week.  :-)  And by the way, this was right up his alley of "fun". Ha!
He's really into pumpkins since we went to the neighbors and picked pumpkins.  We have such kind neighbors!  Matching has always come easy for him but again, this is right up his alley as "fun".
Measuring scarecrows.  :-)  The time he somewhat shocked me here was that he was getting to the 4th scarecrow and noticed the pattern 1 crow tall, 2 crows tall, 3 crows tall and he looked at me and pointed to the 4th scarecrow and said, "This 4 birds."! 
1:1 correspondence.  We'll do this again with different types of tweezers and the pumpkin erasers in a bowl vs. a bag.  I just hadn't planned for him to do this right at the moment but he saw it and wanted too and I didn't have the few moments it took to really prepare it how I would have liked to.  But he was happy!
Another favorite of his.  I do not put this under "sensory".  This is fine motor and he loves all sorts of tasks like this.  Very orderly...definitely appeals to his personality. 
Matching numbers..again "fun" for him.  He actually recognized them all but the 4 (which I don't use that font for 4 typically and 6, 9...understandably. 
Shapes are one area that he really hasn't grasped the names of.  He knows circle but more often than not calls is an "O".  Everything else usually ends up as a "triangle" as his first guess.  So we'll do more of that as time goes on.
Definitely another "academic" type activity.  Matching letters to spell words, these were fall theme words.
Oh boy, I think I have my work cut out for me.  The nice thing is that our schooling at home routine is starting to settle into a very nice routine...not as overwhelming.  We are figuring out when we need to do usually I have the time to at least slide over to him and review what he did so we can get some growth out of the activities.  :-)  Have I mentioned that he loves "school" and when I don't set trays out for him...we all go a bit crazy...I learned my lesson! 

Monday, October 15, 2012


This post is really more for me...blogging is a way for me to keep track of developmental milestones.

T.  is changing quite a bit again.  Vocabulary has become very large, starting to compare things by size, definitely interested in "school", pointing out letters and saying a few letter names, noticing numbers, counting orally, adding words when I pause in reading or singing, starting to yell words at his brothers instead of just plain yelling when he was mad (LOL), etc.  I only made the mistake once in not planning on him being with us for a morning group lesson.  :-)  He is always wanting to join us in whatever we do.  I'm not a big coloring sheet fan, but having something to do while they listen to a history lesson is always a plus and what we normally do afterwards is write/draw a narration on the back of the page.  We've only done a couple coloring sheets that were provided along with the lesson but it was definitely something the children enjoyed and so I'll allow it since the kiddos are older.  With preschoolers, I pretty much stayed away of such things.  So, I printed an extra sheet for T. for this lesson and I was suitably impressed...first because he was so serious in talking about his work and then proud...I definitely enjoyed his colorful page.  It is one of the first where he just didn't scribble with one color across the whole page.  Definitely a sign of cognitive developmental changes taking place.  :-) 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Scissors and 3 year olds

Please please please.....
Let your older toddlers and preschoolers explore with scissors.  :-)  Of course,'s when they aren't supervised when problems happen.  I've seen many kindergarten scenarios where a child hasn't really ever picked up a pair of scissors because they "might hurt themselves, or cut their hair, or...".  Why I say to "please let them explore" goes beyond they needing to practice so they don't get behind their classmates in kindergarten.  Scissors are a great tools for building dexterity, control, etc of the fingers.  And you know what...I haven't met one young child who has not enjoyed the repetition and cause-effect of snipping paper.  This activity buys a busy mommy quite a bit of time!
So how do you "teach" your child to cut. 
Number 1) let them explore. 
I find that most children do not need an actual cutting program to learn how to cut.   :-)
If you are concerned about them hurting themselves, start with a pair of plastic scissor and playdough snakes. 
To help young children be successful use construction paper or cardstock, not much lighter-not much heavier then either of those.
T.'s activity today...
This was actually a glitter glue exploration.  (He told me "it's hard to cut where the sugar is." !!! Love it!) Lately I've gotten in a habit of letting him explore with "art" on paper and then we turn it into a cutting exploration and then we turn the little pieces into a pasting exploration.   Making use of all that lovely work!  3 different trays-3 different days.  Typically I cut the same size strips, pretty thin, one snip and it's cut.  Today I arranged strips from thinnest to thickest on the tray and encouraged him to go from the thinnest strips to the thickest strips.  By the time he got to the thick ones he had to use two snips to get it cut apart. 
Our next step is to start to include thick marker lines and see if he'll start snipping on the lines.  :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Water Transfer

Blogging has been put to the bottom of the priority list time and time again.  :-)  Guess that's the way it goes.  Very busy...but a happy busy.  Did want to slip in this picture because it was a favorite with T., 3 years old. 
Since T. has been having such success with the 12 piece jigsaw alphabet puzzles, I also try to incorporate those letters in his other work.  (Neat to hear him talk about letters now!)  Here he is actually using the letter A and B sponges.  :-)  Adding color to the water a) keeps interest b) helps them to see where they drip--correct error c) helps YOU to see where they dripped...I do NOT like wet socks!  LOL
Simple, not to messy, kid loved, teacher/parent loved (great fine motor-gave him two sponges to encourage him to use both hands.  He started with his dominant hand but did do a bit with his right hand).  If you haven't already...give this activity a try!