Tot School // Week One // Colors

Sunday, November 8, 2015

This was our first week of home school preschool/tot school. And I must say it went really well. Kirby and I have been going through a major adjustment phase in our relationship, since adding baby Jack to the mix, we have really just been in survival mode up until now & are just starting to get back into our regular fun filled schedule. We went from having something going on daily, to being trapped at home with a newborn in the middle of summer, to going back to school (which really jacked up everyone's routine) and finally bringing it all back home. Best decision yet. 

Kirby really thrives with one-on-one attention & that has been something that we have lacked between the two of us the past 4 months. Having a set schedule and activities prepped ahead of time (that is the key to all of this) so all we had to do is grab from our daily box of activities & get to playing has made our days so much more enjoyable. Teaching has always been a passion of mine, so setting up & researching activities for her and I to do together has been almost therapeutic for me & in return for my relationship with Kirby. Brian described it best, it's like she is getting her mom back. Not that I had gone anywhere, but my focus had been so heavily on Jack, we just hadn't really gotten back to being "us" again. Four months has definitely been a sweet spot for all of us. 

So here is how our first week went, our theme this week was colors. 

Daily Activities:

Calendar time 
(I didn't grab pictures of these yet, so I will include some in next week's update). We have two posters (Months of the Year & Days of the Week) and a princess calendar that she picked out that we work with during this time. 

- First we sing along to our days of the week song that we like. We found this one on YouTube and it has actions to go along with the song that she really likes and helps her to remember the days. She then moves the clothespin to what today is.
- Next we repeat what month we are in & talk about any special things that are coming up this month (weather changes, holidays, birthdays and any other exciting things we may have planned). And I sing the Months of the Year song to her that I learned a long time ago in music class when I was a kid, she loves it & asks me to repeat it about 3 times each day (I can tell she is really trying to memorize it). 
-To finish off calendar time we talk about what the weather is like today (I an going to make her a weather chart this week to use) and place a sticker on whatever today is and say the date out loud together. 

Tracing  + Letter & Sight word of the week 

Kirby grasps concepts very quickly, but writing and using scissors pose as the most difficult tasks for her at the moment, so we are sure to practice those as frequently as possible. Each day I write in pencil on her little lined strips of paper, (not sure what they are called) that I found at the dollar store, her name and the letter of the week. She traces those and then we go over our sight word of the week. This week I forgot to introduce the sight word, but our letter was A.  

So I initially had a super strict schedule mapped out with specific activities and subjects according to the day of the week, but it turns out that it works better for us if we just try and hit one subject per day (Math, Science, Reading, Writing, Social Studies & Science) & 2-3 play based learning activities additionally throughout the day. Some days we run errands or have play dates/outings so our days get cut short & we may not get to every activity. But she is only three, so we do the best we can & make sure that we are focusing on enjoying our learning experience rather than being forced to follow a strict schedule. Oh, and all of my supplies were purchased from the Dollar Store. 


First thing that morning we made bath paint (we just sprayed some shaving cream into a muffin tin & added food coloring). We talked about which colors mixed together to make which colors & then once we stirred up our paint she went to town in the bath tub. She probably played in the paint for a good 45 minutes and then I put in something of her horses to paint (per her request) and it turned into bath time for another hour or so! Bonus, bath time is done for the day & you now have a clean toddler and bath tub after you wipe everything down. Clean up was super easy by the way, I was a little worried if the food coloring would be hard to get off of skin and a white bathroom. Wiped right off. 

Next we did her most favorite activity of the week, I think, the Wild Berry Pie sensory bin. This one had nothing to do with colors, it was supposed to be for textures week, but I mentioned it to her and she really wanted to do it, so we just went with it. 

- First we measured out 4 cups of oats & poured them into the bin, next we added a few tablespoons of cinnamon so she could "smell the pie". 

- After we stirred that all up we started counting out the different kinds of berries we had (blackberry, blueberry, raspberry & grapes) and added them into the pie. We also tossed in some white pom poms as marshmallows. 

- Next we used this time to make patterns out of the different berries, and talk about the different textures. The oats were rough, the berries were smooth and the marshmallows were soft. 

- From there, we dished out the pie mixture into our pie & cupcake tins. Then we walked over to her play kitchen and placed our pies & cupcakes into the oven and set a timer.

- While they were cooking, we rolled out our pie dough. Once the timer went off we checked our goodies and smelled them, they came out perfect. So we topped the pies with their crust and some marshmallows & added sprinkles and candles to our cupcakes. 

- From there she decided she wanted to feed her babies and I just let her go into free play the rest of the time. 

Next we made a gel trace bag (just filled a gallon zip-lock with clear hair gel, added food coloring and zipped it back up) and practiced tracing our letters. She was over this super quick (she didn't even want to finish the alphabet) so we haven't used it since, but it was a cool concept I thought. 


First we did a lower case sensory bin. I got a foam puzzle with lower case letters from the dollar store & placed them into a small box of black aquarium rocks. I then got three clear cups & put colored construction paper at the bottom of them coordinating with the color of the letters. She first used tongs to sort the letters into the correct colored cup (fine motor skills). 

From there we matched the "baby letters" to their "mommy letters" while repeating what sound that letter made until we found its mommy. Finally, she took the baby letters (repeated their sound again) and placed them into the puzzle their homes, just for one last reinforcement of that concept. 

Next we made ice creams cones & arranged them according their shades of color. I had everything pre-cut & we started with her color of choice (we did purple & red) and then continued to add white "to make the color light" until we filled 5 scoops. We let them dry while we went on a hike with friends for a picnic lunch that afternoon. 

When they were dry, she arranged them from lightest to darkest & glued them onto the ice cream cone (which she painted & tinted light brown as well). I will tell you she strongly grasped the concept that white tints colors lighter and talked about it all week. She really loved this activity as well. 


We had a play date & lunch at our friends house and when we got home we just made play dough together while baby Jack napped. We worked on a little bit of fine motor skills by rolling out the play dough and cutting it into smaller pieces. 

But it mostly just turned into "baking cookies" and free play with cookie cutters and the rolling pin. AKA I rolled out a bunch of play dough and she stamped it with cookie cutters for 30 minutes haha.


I made these colorful math hearts and she counted and matched them together. Kirby has mastered the concept of counting, but a lot of times moves her fingers too fast and gets ahead of herself, so counting these small black dots was great practice on slow and precise counting.  

Then we practiced the order of the colors in the rainbow (I asked her what color was first, she would say red, find the red, dip the cotton ball, then orange, etc.). Next I gave her a blank sheet with only clouds and had her draw the colored arches her self and see if she could remember the colors in order. 


We did a little bit of science while reinforcing the concept we had been working on of mixing colors. I filled two jars with baking soda & dish soap (to make the "explosion" extra bubbly). Then I filled two other containers of vinegar and food coloring & we would pour them into the jars at the same time & the colors would bubble out and mix together. She would then stir the overflow mixture at the bottom of the tub together and see what color it tuned into. This really was a fun way to reinforce the mixing colors concept (which we are very impressed that she fully knows how to make purple, orange and green now). Then on the last one I just let her free play in the colorful foam. 

Next I pre set up this mixing color sheet and just once again reinforced the topic that we were covering this week since it was our last day. 

And finally one more reinforcement activity, I had her mix the colors in the muffin tins & then dip in some dixie cups and stamp patterns out of her choice of colors. 

Overall we had a great week & we were really impressed to see her grasp the concepts so quickly. We covered math, writing & science this week coordinating with our topic of colors, but didn't get to a reading activity or social studies, so we will be sure and hit those next week. 

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