A nice surprise for a Tuesday…

Both boys were quick to get dressed this morning and to my surprise each apparently had their own agenda for the day. As I came into the living room Luke asked me to get the map from downstairs. I asked him if he was going to build his track and take a trip through the country and he yells, great idea mom! haha! I was only joking but that’s what he did! I figure if nothing else it’s exposure to the U.S. map and he loves to look at maps anyhow, so he’s having a grand ol’ time! Lots of imagination and taking to himself out loud as he incorporates the airplanes and tractor for the attached farm.

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Meanwhile as I help him set up his tracks I notice Liam’s not around and it’s quiet…..I find him in his room listening to the rest of the book on tape he started yesterday! He loves the story and was thrilled when he realized there are three separate stories within the bundle. I have to admit the stories are pretty funny, lots of humor based on a child who’s solving mysteries around town like his idol Sherlock Holmes.train 003train 006

I had a few things planned and normally I don’t write posts on days where I have to go into work later, but given the circumstances, they’re happy and engaged so what I have planned will wait. I am a firm believer that when you follow the child’s interest and just give a little input they learn and internalize so much more than any activity that is forced under protest 😉

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Once Luke is done, we’ll listen to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We read this book often and found the audio version at the library yesterday. He listened to it before bed last night, then pretty much re-told me the entire story in his own words. (fairly close to the original wording)  Love to see his progress!

Liam’s going to do a few Christmas math worksheets and watch a video he found about the Arctic Penguins at the library yesterday.  He just came out of his room, and was laughing to himself about the story and then narrated the whole ending to me. Sounds like he’s making some personal progress too, his narrations have become very thorough and smooth in comparison to a few months ago when we first started the method of narration!

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I hope this rhythm continues for awhile as my plan is to take it easy with fun and educational activities for the month of December as a special holiday treat.

Brought to you by the letter A- “Aa” Andy Warhol and Arithmetic Patterns

Before Mr. Sun made his appearance today, we were already busy at work! Over the past few weeks Luke, who will be three in January, has been more and more interested in computer games, puzzles, patterns and loves reading books. I’m taking his cues as time to start with some basic introductions of preschool skills; games and activities to enhance early reading/math logic/motor skills. Time to take it to the next step with some more formal one on one time!

I had saved many months back a free download called Exploring Letters in My World by Teacher Book Bag. It is a hands-on approach using a variety of learning techniques.  It isn’t always free, but here is the site I got it from when they were having a special: Currclick.

Starting with the letter A! As I printed out a few pages to start with, I set him up at the computer to play on a terrific site called Starfall. He was giggling and repeating the phonetic sounds and saying “A” as he clicked along.





While he was enjoying himself, I started laminating the letter A, putting together some letter A cards and thinking of some game to play using the giant letter A page.

He came to the table and looked through the My Letter A Book, then I had an idea of coloring some salt and hiding the letter A under it so he could find it. Placed the laminated sheet on a tray and covered it with the salt. Then using the hand over hand method, we’d trace the letter together a few times. He loved finding it under the salt and shouted “A” and said “cool game, Mom!”

He did this repeatedly and had lots of fun doing it! With one more extension to this lesson I grabbed the popsicle sticks I had handy and laid them down on top  of the A for an added visual and a puzzle type of activity.










Andy Warhol study was next for my older son. We watched a short cartoon video via youtube, then I had found a downloadable booklet from an art museum that explained his pop art and contained a few images and excersizes. I have a few more books coming from the library to further study his life and art, so today was just a kick off! Learning about his work explored the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement. I asked Liam to think of TV, Pop Stars or a product he’d like to feature in his Warhol inspired piece that we were going to do today. Using one image or product and repeating it as Warhol did. Well, Beyblades are his favorite things right now, so we took photos of them and then used some editing (he chose the images, features and colors)and came up with this! Now it’s a poster on his bedroom wall.

” 4 Battling Beyblades”














The next “A” thing of our day today was to my amazement, much more than I had expected it to be.  I bought some geometric plastic shape pieces, and put them out on the table.  We all automatically started playing around with them.  Luke placed all the big yellow hexagons together and I said “hey, it looks like a caterpillar” to which he said “ooh, he’s hungry!” Referring to The Very Hungry Caterpillar story.

So, I made him a carrot. Then Luke said “now his stomach hurts.” So, I made him a nice green leaf! We continued doing this over an over for quite awhile, it was so fun and great lesson in size, shapes and colors as well as recalling the story!

Liam grabbed shapes and made a whole village and proceeded to make up an entire story about a village under attack! -” There was a guy with a sword and shield who came to attack the village and castle, he attacked two of the homes. The castle defended it using fire balls!  So, since the castle failed, they paid the two houses to buy them to make new taller and safer homes. ”

As the story was told in sequence the shapes were moved around to match the story being told.

And they all lived happily ever after……

More on learning math through play