Wednesday, March 11, 2009

First day of (tot) school

My GAM this month is to get school type activities started for Jakson. I am in hopes that it will help with his behavior (bored=naughty) and challenge him to continue learning at the rate that he has been the past few months.

I really loved the idea of putting together tray activities, like centers, that he gets to choose from. The trays that I ordered from Oriental Trading Company arrived, so I decided to experiment today.

Tray One: playdough and cookie cutters-I made the playdough. I like it so much better than store bought playdough-I think it is softer and easier for a toddler to manipulate. The recipe calls for Koolaid but I used regular food coloring instead--Jakson is already too tempted to eat it without it smelling good.

Tray Two: Transferring large craft pom poms into ice cube trays with tongs

Tray Three: Foam cubes for flower arranging and pipe cleaners for making sculptures (doesn't make sense? see pictures below)

Tray Four: Stickers and construction paper

Tray Five: Apple prints with paint

Tray Six: A-Alligator coloring page and crayons. Jakson already knows his letters, but I like these sheets for review and he loves to say "A, Alligator!!" so I thought it would be appropriate.
Things Jakson liked:
  • He loved picking up the pom poms with the tongs and putting them into the little holes of the ice cube tray. He actually spent about 15 minutes doing this one activity (that's a long time for him!)
  • The stickers and construction paper were also a big hit
  • Sticking the pipe cleaners into the foam was a little hard for him at first, but he thought this was fun once he got the hang of it. Unfortunately, he also thought it was lots of fun to tear the foam into little tiny pieces leaving a big mess.
Jakson's favorite pipe cleaner activity? Making bracelets. Zak would be so proud.

Things that I will change for next time:
  • Apparently coloring is so last year. I'll have to come up with another way to review the alphabet with him.
  • Apple prints are probably cool with an older kid, but he just wanted to finger paint. So next time I'll leave out the apples.
  • The foam needs to be less destructible. But it has to be pretty easy to stick pipe cleaners in. That may be a tough one.
I need to take some better pictures, but his school/art corner in our kitchen is now complete. I made the table out of stuff we had around the house (like a step ladder and the top of an old coffee table), had Zak put up some leftover pegboard from a garage project (for displaying Jak's favorite art), and slipcovered a few plastic crates because I have to stare at them all the time. The total for the whole project was like $5. I'm excited to get a lot of use out of it!
If you're interested in the crate slipcovers, I modified a pattern found here (though the measurements didn't work for these because they are so much smaller) or I have them for sale in the shop.


~Holly~ said...

Jakson is so lucky to have a mom like you!!! :)

Reese said...

Little guy preschool is so much fun! I have TONS of stuff that I used with Alex, so if you ever want to go thru it, let me know! I'd also make up some fun games, it became a sort of addiction... :)

West Family said...

WOW! You are super mom!

Shenna said...

It looks wonderful! It makes me want to rethink my March goal, for a third time...

bethany said...

People, people, I am not super mom or amazing or anything. I just stole these ideas from actual super moms (the ones who come up with them originally) and threw them on some trays in 10 minutes. It keeps him occupied so I can clean the kitchen or something.... Thought I'd change it up from the TV watching that usually goes on.

Angela said...

That still makes you a pretty great mom! I am so jealous that you get to do these things with your kiddos instead of depending on someone else to do it!

P.S. Thanks for the diaper info! I am loving this money saving with all the coupons!

Beth said...

Amazing! I'm going to steal some of your ideas for my Russell. It's fun to see that you are doing so great! Very cool blog. I'll have to check in a lot more! And in case you don't know who this is, it's "the cool Beth!"

Adam and Melissa said...

I am so impressed with the tot school. Thanks for sharing it. It looks like Jak enjoyed it :) And you are a super Mom!

Jen and Reed said...

Centers rule. The teacher in you is still coming out!

Heidi said...

These are great ideas...I am going to "borrow" some of them to use with my 2 year old! Thanks for sharing!!

i'm kelly said...

looks like you guys are going to be busy!

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