Monday, August 22, 2011

Zoo - E is for Elephant

Munchky is 38 months
T-Rex is 21 months

E is for Elephant
Zoo Unit

The boys were ready for us to get into the tot school swing again.  We've been mostly playing outside a!nd have not done much else the past couple of months.  T-Rex and Munchky have been asking to go downstairs (the school room is in our basement). I knew we hadn't been using it much b/c the spiders have taken over downstairs!  Now that I got our room cleaned up and our plans made, we were all set.

So here's what we've done this week:


(Thanks to all the moms out there who put out such a great ideas on their blogs.  I got a virus on my computer and could not access the file with my links to tot tray I have no idea where I got what idea from where)

Munchky really loved this tray.  I made a box w/ holes for him to stick dowels in and then gave him our M&D    lacing beads to thread on them.  When he saw this tray he immediately went to work.

He was a bit upset that no more beads would fit on the dowel.  I told him he had to put them on a different dowel.  Well he showed me, he picked up a dowel and put it in the hole of the top bead and started stacking on that dowel.

T-Rex also loved this tray.  He got the dowels no problem, he had a bit more trouble putting the beads on.  But he didn't mind help from Mom.

Munchky was proud of himself after he finished this 24 pc. zoo puzzle from Michaels' Creatology brand.  He needed a bit of help from Mom,  but he did not get frustrated with it.  A big +

Both boys liked the tray with animals from around the house and cards (from Target $ spot) to match them to.  T-Rex didn't quite understand that he was supposed to line up the animal with the picture, but he had fun telling me the ones he knew along with animal sounds, including a made up sound for a giraffe.

I put out this tray mostly for Munchky but he was not interested.  I put the black and white poms poms in a pattern in the ice cube tray hoping that he would match the pattern on the opposite side.  He didn't even look at it.  However, T-Rex dumped the pom poms on the floor and then had fun putting them in the tray.  (And of course tossing them back out again).

We made play-doh elephants (with a long trunk).

This Week we used E is for Elephant from COAH

Munchky really enjoyed working on his pre-writing pages this week.  We haven't done this much lately and he was eager to get back at it.  His level of care in this has really increased.  He didn't even want to do cutting on the cutting practice sheet - just wanted to trace.

T-Rex liked working on the E do-a-dot sheet - and trying to screw on caps; but Munchky was completely uninterested in doing a do-a-dot sheet. 

Muncky was also not interested in the elephant color puzzles, even though the second time I brought them out, I put them in our brand new pocket chart.  He was happy to tell me where to put the yellow match.  "On the top, Mommy - in the middle", but wouldn't even point to it.  (I'll chalk this up to his developing skills on giving directions and location ).  T-Rex was interested in taking them out of the pocket and sliding the cards behind the pocket chart and watch them slide out at the bottom.  I tried to help with his color recognition by naming the color on each card he did.  He would repeat the color after me but I don't think he noticed what it was on the card.  He was to intent in getting it slide behind the chart.  (Fine Motor Skills- check)

Muchky also did not want to do Upper and Lower Case Sort - as the mat got jammed while laminating and  had a bubble.  He handed it back to me saying it was broken.

We used real peanuts as counters with the number cards and also for a pouring activity.  Munchky even became a pro at shelling (and eating) them.  Again Munchky didn't stay with this too long, he did three and moved on to shelling.  T-Rex and I went through the cards working on number recognition and he even managed to put peanuts on one (3) by himself and was right.  I'm thinking that was just coincidence.

Both boys enjoyed scribbling coloring on their color by number sheets.   Munchky is not ready yet to be told what colors he should use and to limit them to certain areas.  I was able to point out to T-Rex colors and numbers while he colored.

Munchky did his first "Poke" page.  He really liked it and did a great job poking on just the black lines.  I see how this is great for developing a good pencil grip.

Munchky had fun playing hopscotch with the elephant floor numbers.  At first I had the numbers scattered around the room, so he had to find them.  But he didn't like that, so we had to put them in order.  We were also able to practice skip counting by 2's while doing this by lining them odds and evens up in columns.  (I had      to jump too, so no pics of that.)

This year we are going to be learning about a different music composer/composition each month.  No memorization or anything like that - just simple music concepts.

This month we are focusing on Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens.  I got this great illustrated book with the music CD from Amazon.  Munchky has really enjoyed it.  The book is written to tell about the different themes (animals) happening in each piece and has a couple pages introducing the instruments.  

This week as we listened to it, we focused on the rhythm and style of the music.  Fast/Slow,  Graceful/Rambunctious, Light/airy versus heavy, etc.  The boys had a great time conducting!

Munchky insisted that they needed their doctor "tools" to do this.  I'm wondering if he thinks a conductor is also a doctor.
We were going to make elephant ears this week, but didn't get around to it.  Munchky and I have been going to a local VBS at night this past week.  I think we still will have to make them  this week.

This year we are also focusing on a Caldecott Winning Book each month.  Our first one is the Lion and The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney.  (Which is a gorgeous book by the way). After reading the book, we made these "water-color" lions.  We talked about how Pinkney used paints and colored pencils to swirl the colors all around to make the animals.

We made the manes from large coffee pot filters, colored them with washable markers and sprayed with water.  Then we glued googly eyes, ears, nose and a tongue on (Cut out by me ahead of time). After our manes dried we glued the faces on, and colored with color pencils.

We started this Zoo Tot Pack from 2 Teaching Mommies this week.  We will be working on it throughout the month as well as other activities from 2 Teaching Mommies.

Here's a matching activity from the pack.  T-Rex didn't match too much...he just wanted to name the animals and make sounds!

Munchky fingerprinting a herd of elephants.

The VBS Munchky was going to had a racing theme, so they worked on making a pine box derby cars during Arts and Crafts.  Friday night was race night.  We had lots of fun watching the cars race and eating goodies.  Munchky's came in 1st in his division!.  He was so excited to get a trophy!  Unfortunately, Mom forgot the camera.  


Things are not always rosy in tot school.  In fact there were many times this week I wanted to throw in the towel.  Fights, disinterest, messes, rebellion.  The key is to remember that skills and learning do not happen in one sitting, a week, or even a month...but over time and are ingrained over a greater length of time.  In addition a lot of what happens in tot school is not learning the alphabet or the correct pencil grip...but life lessons such as self-control, respect, following instructions, sharing and such.  Those can be hard lessons (on Mom and kids) while you are trying to have FUN at tot school.  So in reality, especially for us Moms of the 3 and younger set,  Tot School's real importance is trying to develop these lessons and spending real time engaging and playing with your children.

To see what other moms are doing this week, go to 1+1+1=1.


  1. Looks like a fantastic week. You definitely put in so much effort and I can understand when the kids are not so into it how it can make you a little dissapointed but looks as if they were into more than half of the things you prepared so I think that is considered a great week!

    Your last paragraph definitely resonated with me- some weeks i feel the same but like you I remind myself that skills are learnt over time . I also need to remind myself that learning at this age should definitely be child led so I need to focus on what he is interested in as well.

  2. Amen-- some days are great "Tot School" days and others are way more challenging. If I can get in our Bible lesson-- I consider that a success! I want my two littles to have godly character more than I want everything else. But it's easy to get discouraged there too-- thanks for sharing that encouraging reminder.

    Love how you are including music and picture study. I've been reading some Charlotte Mason books and hope to include those things myself. Looking forward to see what else you come up with! I'm a new follower. :)

  3. What a great week. I really, really like how you incorporate music and art into your schedule.

    And you are so can be frustrating to realize what you are trying to teach them is taking longer than you think it should. But just like you said on the flip-side they are learning life long skills that go deeper than just the educational basics. Not to mention that they deepen mom's character attributes as well (like patience). lol

    AND we made elephant ears a couple weeks ago. I totally agree that you should make still. ;)