Thursday, February 20, 2014

Elephants for Tot School

I don't very often separate my posts into things specifically for Tot School because a lot of our things end up sort of merging together based off of our kindergarten curriculum themes and activities.  I usually have separate trays for Zeke, but he also likes to jump in on big brother's activities, and there are definitely weeks when the trays aren't anything super unique to report (puzzles, coloring, playdough, etc.).  
When our theme hit for elephants, I tried to put a little extra effort into some things specifically for Zeke because he says elephants are his favorite animal and, obviously, the letter "E" starts his name!

I used a few of the activities from Animal ABC's from 1+1+1=1.
I haven't really worked at all with Ezekiel on distinguishing capitals and lowercase, and honestly, we haven't even done much work directly on letter recognition with lowercase, but he's absorbed quite a lot from just chatting about it and from big brother's school stuff.  I handed him this elephant paper and told him to use one color to mark the capitals and one color to mark the lowercase.  That is literally as much as I explained it, as it was a moment when I was doing something with Isaiah.  He finished and handed it to me with them all marked correctly.  It's really fun to discover the things little ones know that are tucked away in their little sponge-like minds! 

His favorite activity for the week was washing elephants!  He's been really into washing things lately, so I just set out a bin with a few toy elephants (one fairly large one and a couple small ones), a couple of scoops, a couple of wash cloths, and an old toothbrush.  I ended up adding a towel under him, and added a hand towel to it after day one so that he could also dry the elephants himself. He literally asked at least once every day to do "elephant washing."

Ezekiel has also started to be more intentional with his coloring.  He is trying to color specific objects or even sections rather than just sweeping color all over the page (well, at least sometimes). :)

We happened to have a couple of animal sets, one that is slightly larger and one that is small, so I did something similar to a sensory bin I had tried with him last year to go with the book Hug by Jez Alborough.  I just put the two animal sets scattered in a bin of corn grits.
The book shows various mother and baby animals hugging, so I asked him to help each animal find their hugs.  He didn't want to read the book, which kind of surprised me because it's one he actually likes to "read" himself, but he did have fun matching up the animals and making them hug.

I found a set of animal movement cards (can't find the original link anymore on the blog I got it from) and a set of elephant action cards.  He loved them both and wanted to do them a lot!

Ezekiel loves to cook and be involved in anything with food!  So, I decided we should make "elephant ears" for a special snack.  I used this recipe.  It wasn't quite the nostalgic County Fair food I was hoping for, but they were pretty yummy, and except for the frying, the boys could help with all of the making of them.
Big brother lost interest part way through, but my little kitchen helper stuck with the whole process!

I also did the letter craft from the Animal ABC's pack, and it was the first time that Ezekiel really independently cut things out.  I cut the section off the full paper, but then he cut them all apart, glued them all on by himself, and he was really proud of himself.

Given that he did well on the capital/lowercase identification, I thought he might really enjoy this activity to feed the big elephant capital "E" peanuts and the little elephant lowercase "e" peanuts.  He did not.  I had even made his name in peanuts and thought he might enjoy feeding his name to the elephant.  He did not.  Ha, well, I guess life would get boring if he was too predictable. :)

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