May 9, 2010

LIttle bit of everything for the tots

We had an unusual week with the little fellas this week. Both boys have been crabbier than usual and very reactive. So, being at my wits end, we went for less academic play and more emotional health play. This went over great with Haven and irritated Hunter to death!

Each morning we did a meditation together using this youtube link. The kids loved it, but Hunter refused to be still an quiet while we did it, so I gave him the choice to be still and quiet so that everyone could focus as they chose to, or to leave the room. Every time, he chose to leave. He was quiet and content with whatever he chose to do in the other room, so I suppose that the objective was achieved, but I was a little disappointed that he chose not to participate. I realize, though, that arguing with a kid to get them to meditate is hilariously inappropriate, and decided that it is what it is.

We also did some yoga each day. Again, Hunter opted out, but hung around to watch and commentate for us. So at least we were together.

Look how hard Haven is trying to keep his eyes closed!

I was really working hard to find some relaxing, quiet and focused activities that would excite Hunter, and I finally came up with one. One morning I bundled up the kids and said that we were going to do an outdoor activity as a family. They brought their blankets and I asked them to lay in the hammock and be very still with their eyes closed. Hunter thought this was very exciting. Then I asked them each what they could hear. Then what they could smell. And finally what they could feel. We talked about how when we are over excited, we don't get a chance to enjoy those quiet parts of nature and they all gave a wide eyed, "Ohhh! You are right!"

Our outside time led to some accidental science as Hunter asked if the wind was alive. We went through a list of what qualities living organisms must have and he took this very seriously. He would say, "That tree doesn't really move, but those things (whirlibirds) make new trees so it's alive!" Soon out senses walk blossomed into a living things hunt with the usually reluctant Hunter as the leader of the action. Awesome!

Since I was really focused in this week on calming our group dynamic and finding some balance, I was content to let the academic oriented stuff slide entirely, but I found the boys requesting math work every day. What a nice surprise!


The boys did some tangram mats every day. They are really getting into them. I always found tangrams to be kind of boring compared to pattern blocks, but these guys whole heartedly disagree with me on this one.


We also did a measuring activity that I printed from Confessions of a Home Schooler. When you see it, you'll immediately understand why they requested to learn measuring 3 days in a row. What a great idea!


I came up with this idea a long time ago when we first bought the house and had a zillion paint swatches all over the house. I feel like I have shared it before, but why not share it again? It's a lot of fun!


I took the Dutch Boy paint swatches that have the little square cut out so that you can pair colors, and I put the short, 2 letter word endings from Engleman's Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons on each one. Then I took blank index cards and put the initial sounds on them. The kids can choose a paint swatch and an index card to pair up and read what word they've come up with. Sometimes it's a real word and sometimes it a nonsense word, but either way they are using their phonics skills, so I'm happy.

Finally, Haven had a music week, for sure and insisted that we start a family band and play the ABC's over and over again. It was so cute and I'm so sad that I didn't catch it on film. He is also hooked one the days of the week song, and requires the whole family to sing along with him every day. I love it. He sings everywhere we go and checkout ladies are always commenting on it. I imagine that is one of the reasons he keeps on belting it out in the check out lines!

That was our tot week! What did you do this week?

Tot School

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