Letter B | Bubblegum (Bubbles) and Birds + Giveaway

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Summer is 38 months.

It's officially Autumn, my favorite time of year!  I'll be sharing our Autumn-themed preschool activities within the coming weeks, but this week was a continuation of our letter of the week focus, Letter B based on Bitty Beginnings Alphabet Letter Learning Packs.

The top view of our set-up...


I received a question about our set-up regarding whether I rotate activities out daily or weekly.  To be honest, that was one of the first questions I had years ago when I stumbled upon Tot School for my oldest daughter.  Besides the sheer excitement of doing something fun with my toddler, I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of information and especially whether there were new activities daily and how I would ever be able to come up with so many ideas for my child in one week.  It's not that difficult, trust me!   

I personally do not change out every activity daily.  I have a general plan of our week written out and most everything printed, prepped and stored in a folder ready to go.  As mentioned in my last preschool post, I've NEVER been this organized before and it's key!  There are certain activities that I do change daily, such as do-a-dot printables, coloring sheets and any other activity that I plan to use just once.  Of course, some sheets could be placed in a sheet protector to be used all week and that's fine.  My rotation also depends on Summer.  I always try to have a back-up activity just in case there's one tray she's not particularly interested in. This is easy with the learning packs we are using this year, which have plenty to choose from.  Same idea applies to the days we get done quicker than planned. I can simply pull out extra printables in my folder for her to do that are either new that week or a previously used activity to review.  Again, it depends on her and what I want her to work on.

For instance, this is a view of our shelf from the first day.  I had two trays that were designated as "daily" trays.  Everything at this point was supposed to either be used at least two days or all week in a variety of ways.


The first tray was a beading activity I'd planned to do once or twice during the week.  My idea was to have Summer make bangle bracelets to wear and play with throughout the week, but after a few minutes she decided she was ready to move on.  She put it back on the shelf, moved on to the next tray and we continued on.  The next day, I replaced the beading activity with an alphabet puzzle and she loved it!  I kept the puzzle out for a day or two with the beading activity close by and eventually she asked if she could try beading again, which we did and it worked better.


Here's the alphabet puzzle we used.  It's bright, fun and there are so many ways to learn through play.  I love it!


The pattern block activity using this printable was something else I thought she would really enjoy and an activity I had planned to use several times throughout the week.  She tried for a bit by herself, then wanted me to help her finish.  From her reaction, I knew this was another activity that would be better to re-visit after a few days.  She ended up working on it with Abby a few days later and enjoyed it much more.


This number puzzle was her favorite!  It was on repeat all week and we played several ways.  We counted forwards and backwards, I had her find numbers randomly and had her choose numbers at random and identify.


She worked through several of our Bitty Beginnings themed printables.  These were sheets rotated out daily.


Another repeated activity was this shape and color recognition tray.  I really like exposing her to shapes, letters, numbers and colors on a weekly basis.  We did just a basic transfer of pom poms by hand to the matching colored shape where she told me both the name and color of the shape.


One day, I threw in tongs for a change.


We worked on tracing...




And, this look and find activity using Summer's favorite bright purple rice.


And, bird matching...


We made a simple bird feeder using a paper towel roll, peanut butter and bird seed.


The girls also made a bird craft using bubblegum scented paint, which was a mixture of shaving cream, pink paint, glitter and bubblegum flavoring using this template to paint.  Once dry, it was time to decorate!  I love how cute they turned out!



And, lots of bubble fun outside!


And, now for the Giveaway!

Jen from Bitty Beginnings is offering two of my readers a chance to win her Letter Bb | Alphabet Letter Learning Pack filled with 12 activities!  The pack includes the option to print certain activities in either pink/purple or green/blue depending on your child and she details how to prep each activity along with fun ways to play.  Keep checking back for more opportunities to win each week as I share each letter!

For a chance to win, simply enter below! 

Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday, September 25, 2015

We are six weeks into second grade with Abby, age 7 and finishing up Summer's second week of preschool.  You can read more about Abby's curriculum here and Summer's preschool plan here.  It's my goal over the year to document some of the activities we do during the week, because I always enjoy looking back.  Summer's first week can be found here featuring Letter A.

With Abby, we work on several subjects daily.  These include her Bible Verse, Science, Math, Reading and Spelling, History, Copywork and Literature.  Throughout the week we cover about 8 different enrichment subjects on certain days such as fine arts, Shakespeare, baking, etc.  This is the first time we've done this and I love being able to expose her to such a wide variety of topics during the week.  I set the timer on my phone for about 15-20 minutes per subject, sometimes less depending on the topic and I can't believe the difference it has made in helping to hold her attention.  Once, the timer goes off we stop and move on. 

Also new this year, we have begun working our way through several classic books.  So far, we've finished Black Beauty which we really enjoyed and currently halfway through Charlotte's Web.  This has been such a fun addition not only for her, but for me as well. 

For science, we've been using Simply Charlotte Mason's Outdoor Secrets.  It's really laid back and includes cute stories.  This week, we learned about trees and took a little walk outside to sketch trees in our yard and do leaf rubbings in her nature notebook.  She really loved this!



History is one subject Summer enjoys to participate in occasionally.  We are alternating between SCM: Ancient Egypt and Story of the World and have been discussing nomads and cave paintings, so each girl made their own cave drawings.



The girls also worked on a few theme related activities that correlated with Summer's Apples and Alligators week.

Q-tip painting...



Sequencing the life cycle of an apple...


And, my favorite picture of the week!  We made apple pie scented playdough and used this printable, then they enjoyed lots of free play. 


TGIF | Weekly Wrap-Up

Letter A | Apples and Alligators + Giveaway

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Summer is 37 1/2 months.

I am so excited to share our preschool week!  We had such a great time and I'm really happy with how relaxed and fun it's been.  This year my goal was to be as organized and completely prepped as possible, which has NEVER happened before. I also went into this year with a completely new approach and outlook, so the combination has made things so much more enjoyable and fun.  This post is flooded with pictures, fair warning, but I have a fun surprise at the end so stay tuned!

If you haven't read our preschool plan you can find that here.  Our themes and the majority of our printables are from Jen at Bitty Beginnings.  They are cute, bright and I love that she offers two color options for both girls and boys.  This week, we focused on Letter A with Apples and Alligators as our theme. 

Here's a look at our setup.


And a close up of the top shelf...


Summer was beyond thrilled when she came into the room and couldn't wait to dive in.  Of course, dot painting was her top priority!


Spotting Letter Aa....


We also worked on matching and pre-writing.


If you follow me on Instagram (@themagnoliabarn), I shared a picture of our sensory bin set-up.  I used a mixture of colored pasta and rice by following this recipe, along with the Bitty Beginnings Look and Find Play Mat. The matching pieces were then hidden in the bin ready for play.  She loved this!


Shadow matching letter puzzle...


This was by far her most favorite activity this week, the letter hunt.  I used painter's tape to hide our letters around the room and she went on a hunt.  We talked about big 'A' and little 'a' as she found each letter. And, we did this many times throughout the day/week, taking turns or Abby would jump in to play. 


Tracing letters on her letter crown...


My girls LOVE playing dress-up and these bracelets are a super cute way to help reinforce the letter during school and also throughout the rest of the day. 


Summer has always enjoyed coloring and we did several coloring sheets.  The apple sheet is from here and the alligator sheet is part of Animal ABC's from 1+1+1=1.


She's been asking to use scissors so we tried that out, she did pretty good.  We used printables from Animal ABC's.


We talked about the life cycle of an apple with these three part cards from Montessori for Everyone.


Worked on transferring, talking about colors, patterns, counting and sorting...


Foam apple painting...


More shape, color, and matching practice, using our simple felt tree...


Q-tip painting...


And, lots of fun with apple pie scented playdough.


I love seeing all her work in one place.


Tot School

Kaitlyn is 18 months old.

I've been looking for an opportunity to add Kaitlyn into our school time.  She's curious as to what the other girls are doing and loves being a part of the group.  My plan is to include her in our themes throughout the week, when possible.  This week we had an afternoon together, just the two of us, so I introduced her to a few activities.  I'm taking it slow and hope to share activities with her each week, as well.

I had planned on getting a picture of her with this 'Tot School' sign.  But, she clearly wasn't interested :-)



Some activities I had ready for Summer, were perfect for Kaitlyn like this transfer activity.  She was very particular to do one color at a time.


And, matching fruit pieces...


It was a brief introduction, but I think she seemed to enjoy it.  We will see how next week goes.

And, now for the Giveaway!

Jen from Bitty Beginnings is offering two of my readers a chance to win her Letter A | Alphabet Learning Pack filled with 12 activities!  The pack includes the option to print certain activities in either pink/purple or green/blue depending on your child and she details how to prep each activity along with fun ways to play.  Keep checking back for more opportunities to win each week as I share each letter!

For a chance to win, simply enter below!