Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rainbow Week

Our focus in Tot School this week was RAINBOWS!  We had lots of fun and did several new activities, as well as some of our favorites.  Here are are few of the things we did.
Super Tot still loves most sorting activities.  I had him sort buttons by color into a muffin tin this week.  I cut round circles of construction paper and placed them in the bottoms of the cups for him to match the colors.
 Both kids enjoyed our new Rainbow Sensory Bin.  You can read all about it here.

I made Super Tot a Colors Sticker Book.  There was one page spread for each color of the rainbow, and a "rainbow" page at the end.  He loves stickers and enjoyed finding them for each color page.
I saw this idea for a rainbow collage here, and immediately knew we were going to make our own.  I started by cutting a half circle out of cardboard.  Then, I painted the rainbow stripes and collected miscellaneous craft and scrap supplies for each color.  We did one color at a time and the kids had a blast.  We are thrilled with the finished product and have it on display over our mantel!
Super Tot had fun with his Do-A-Dot painters.  I wanted him to make a rainbow, so I started by doing the red row of dots.  I asked him to do a row of orange under the red, and so on.  He wasn't really interested in doing it my way, so I ended up helping for most of the rainbow.  

We practiced folding wash cloths this week, which was cute.  These washcloths are a super Tot Tool and are available  here.
I demonstrated how to fold (1/2, then 1/2 again), and asked Super Tot to fold his own.  They didn't look pretty, but I think he did a GREAT job, especially for his first time!  
His finished pile of folded wash cloths:

I wanted to do a mosaic rainbow craft, so I had Super Tot help me tear up pieces of construction paper.  I thought he would love tearing the paper, but he actually got frustrated and didn't seem to enjoy it much at all. 

For the mosaic rainbow, I helped Super Tot help make an arch out of glue.  Then I told him what color to make the arch, and he got the correct bowl of torn up paper.  Then he just went to work covering the glue with the papers.  When he was finished with each row, we would move on and do the next.  Once he finished the actual rainbow, he glued white cotton balls at each end for the clouds.  He was VERY excited about his "ray-bow" and wanted me to put it up in our school room.  

Super Tot's rainbow:

I finally made Super Tot a color wheel to use with his colored clothes pins.  First, I cut a circle out of cardboard.  Then, I measured and marked my sections.  All that was left was to paint!  I used the same acrylic paints that I used when I painted the clothes pins, so they are a perfect match.  Super Tot was very excited as he watched me paint the color wheel and ran into the school room after his nap to see if it was dry.  He loved this activity and wanted to do it every day.

Princess and I made homemade crayons this week, which was a lot of fun.  You can read all about them here.  They turned out very pretty, and Super Tot really enjoyed them.

It was another great week!  To see what other moms are doing with their tots, click here or on the button below.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Homemade Crayons

While homemade crayons are nothing new to the blogging world, we had a wonderful time making our first set!  

We purchased this cute silicone mold back in February just for this purpose!  We are doing a rainbow week in Tot School, so I thought this would be a fun time to make the crayons.  We started with old crayons, removed the papers & broke them into small pieces.  I mixed them up and grouped like colors to make a set of 7 (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink).  Then I did two RAINBOW crayons and a few miscellaneous ones.  We put them in the oven on 350*, turned on the light and watched them melt!  It took about 10 minutes.  We took them out and swirled the bottoms with a plastic knife.  Then, we placed them in the freezer for about 10 minutes and popped them out of the molds!  They are beautiful and we couldn't be more thrilled with how they turned out!  

The slowest part was taking the papers off of the crayons.  About halfway through, I decided to use a craft knife, which worked perfectly.  They came right off and took a matter of a few seconds!

We will absolutely be making these for gifts in the future!
Linking up at:

Katie's Nesting Spot
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rainbow Sensory Bin

Sensory Bins have become a staple in our Tot School!  We all love them and enjoy exploring them several times each week.  Our St. Patrick's Day Bin has been out for almost 3 weeks, so it's time to change it out.  We have found that 2 1/2 - 3 weeks is just about the right amount of time for each bin.  

With St. Patrick's Day happening this week, I wanted to kind of keep with the theme, so we are working with RAINBOWS this week in Tot School!  I knew I wanted to do a Rainbow Sensory Bin, so I decided to carry that theme throughout our week.  Be sure to check back on Sunday for my Tot School post showing all of our fun activities!

This was a very easy Sensory Bin to put together, as I already had everything on hand.  It was just a matter of collecting the items from various other places and throwing them all together in the bin!

Some of the Sensory Bin contents sorted by color.
As I mentioned earlier, I already had everything on hand.  What's in the bin?

Various wooden shapes that I have painted for Tot School
Painted popsicle sticks
Painted clothes pins
Lacing beads & a wooden dowel
Colored feathers
Animals from our Animal Train
Foam pencils from a puzzle
Colored clip magnets from The Dollar Store
Colored bean bags
Paint swatches glued to cardboard
Set of rainbow washcloths
Pipe cleaner rainbows
Colored coins from Super Tot's Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank
White pompoms to represent the clouds
2 metal pails from Target's Dollar Spot
Colored sorting bowls

This Sensory Bin is a big hit and I know Super Tot will enjoy it for the next couple weeks!

Here is an "AFTER" picture of the bin.   

Here are a few other Rainbow theme Sensory Bins I found on the web:

To see lots of other fun educational ideas, click below:
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tot School 3/6-3/11

Super Tot is 25 1/2 months old

I decided to try a couple new activities with Super Tot this week.  He loves matching colors, counters, etc., so I thought it would be fun to have him match real life items.  This week, we tried shoes.  I put 6 pair into a basket and asked him to match them up.  
He had a fun time matching them, but kept wanting to put them on!  He was very proud of himself with each match.

We enjoyed our St. Patrick's Day Size Sorting Mat again this week.  I printed it from Musings of Me, along with some other fun activities.  We've done several of them, but I haven't taken pictures of the others.
Another new activity we did this week was a "Does Not Belong" tray.  I started small and had 4 groups of 3 items each.  One of the items in each group did not go with the others.  I had all the items in the blue bowl on the tray, which made it look very colorful and fun!  

When Super Tot was ready to do this tray, I separated them into groups and gave him instructions.  Then, I removed all but one group at a time, so as not to confuse him since this was a new concept.  He LOVED this activity and immediately put the item that didn't belong with each group into the yellow cup.  Next week, I think I will try making it a little more challenging with maybe some bigger groups and less obvious items.
Super Tot really loves clothes pins and is really getting good at opening them.  With this activity, I just had him clip them around the yellow cup.  It was very easy for him, but he still enjoyed it.  
I also tried an activity this week where he used a clothes pin to transfer pompoms from a bowl into a divided palette.  I don't have pictures, but it didn't really work, anyway.  He is great with transferring, and also great with clipping the clothes pins onto something, so I thought this would be a great activity.  However, he did not get the concept of picking up the pompoms with the pin and then releasing them into the palette.  We'll try that one again soon!
We also enjoyed one last week using our St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin.  You can read all about it here.  I changed our bin yesterday to a rainbow theme (still to go along with St. Patrick's Day) and will post about it this week.

We did several activities this week that went along with a book using our various Matryroshka sets.  Matryoshkas are Russian nesting dolls, and are a great Tot Tool!

I printed off this coloring sheet and Super Tot had fun coloring the dolls. 
I had one tray set up for Super Tot to sort the dolls by size graduation.  He did it well, but was much more interested in just playing with the dolls.
He got a lot of fine motor work in by opening and closing the dolls over and over.
He also worked spacial recognition by putting the dolls inside of each other.  They only fit one way.
We did some matching by taking apart one set of Matryoshkas and having him match up each top with the correct bottom.  He not only had to match by size, but he also worked to match up the patterns on each doll once he had the correct top and bottom - not to mention more fine motor work putting them together!

I thought both Princess and Super Tot would enjoy designing their own Matryoshka, so I drew this simple doll on a sheet of paper and photo copied it for them.  Super Tot used stickers and pencils, while Princess drew her design.  They both really enjoyed this activity. 
You can click on the doll below and print out your own Matryoshka to design!
I did a fun activity with Princess using one of our Matryoshka sets, as well.  We estimated how many pompoms would fit inside of each individual doll.  Then, we tested our hypothesis and discovered that we were WAY off!  We couldn't believe how many fit into the largest doll!  This would be an easy activity to do with nesting boxes, too.

Our week was super fun!  To see what other moms are doing with their tots, click the buttons below!  
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