Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tot School - Week 2

Tot School

D is 19 months old

After composing last week's post about Tot School, I was really looking forward to Tot School with Dylan this week. As odd as it sounds, I was happy to have a name for what I want to do with D. We have been doing projects and constructive play since D was able, but for some reason over the past 2 weeks my thought process on all of this has changed. I've decided to take a more active roll in what we do. In the past, I would plan an activity on occasion, but normally let D completely determine what we would be doing for the day. Now, I'm not saying that I believe at 19 month old should have be in a structured environment. I just think that by taking a more active interest and roll in D's activities, we can create a nurturing, loving environment for D to learn in.

Anyway... back to Tot School for this week. This week's theme was Purim. This was great theme to start with because there are so many activities that we can do for this holiday. The holiday's celebration is about being a kid at heart, no matter your age. We started the week reading from Celebrate: A Book of Jewish Holidays. This introduced D to the basic idea of the story, and how we celebrate today. We then made a crown for Queen Esther.

To make the crown we used dot markers to decorate a foam crown we found at Michael's. This was not the first time D used this kind of tool, but it was interesting to watch. I think she last used them a year or so ago in her Mommy & Me class. She got the hang of them real quick, and as I expected really enjoyed putting the top on and taking it off.

At first I gave D one or two markers to use at a time.  Letting her choose which marker we should open. As time went on, I took off all the tops and placed all the markers and their tops on the tray in front of D.  I was really impressed when she placed all of the tops back on the markers.  Matching the top the the correct bottle.  The only time she had a problem was when one of the tops fell on the ground.  The only cap she had left was for the marker in her hand, so she capped the extra marker with that one.  She fixed it after I got the marker top off the floor for her.
When D was done I closed the crown for her, and she enjoyed wearing and playing with it.  This lasted for about half an hour, when I changed her diaper she thought the should use it on her legs and it ripped. I taped it back together, but it's not the same.  After doing a couple projects with D, I have learned that she enjoys taking them apart as much as she does putting them together, so I know what's coming.  I am trying to teach her to respect what she makes, but it is her work, so I can't press to hard.  

Our next project for the week was to make a grogger, a noise maker.  This was fun.  We painted a toilet paper roll.  This was the first time D has used a paintbrush.  In the past, we stuck with fingers.  I was curious to see how well she could control the paintbrush.  She did a really great job!  I think we will do more with this.  If I'm brave, we'll even use the easel we have for her.

After letting the paint dry, I used packing tape to close one end of the tube.  D and I then poured some unpopped popcorn kernels into the tube.  Well, we tried.  I knew that I needed to find a container to catch our misses, but I didn't pick the right one.  This led to D practicing her fine motor skills as we picked up the kernels that we all over the floor.  (Thankfully, "Hoover" otherwise known as our dog was upstairs.)
Here is D with her final product!

Our final project for the week was our stART project.  This project went along with the book When It's Purim.  D made a craft hamantaschen.  To know more about this project please follow the link.

We then make real hamantaschen.  And have been enjoying making them disappear!

We had a really great week!

Now as I said I am really looking forward to next week.  For a few reasons, one is our theme for next week is Dr. Seuss as it is his "birthday."  The next is that I received an email with a link for Grow Up Learning.  This website is filled with ideas to use to "teach" your child through play.  This is one of the better sites I have seen for this.  It will track your child's milestones, and allow you to save activities, make comments and keep a journal.  Be sure to check this out because for a limited amount of time they are letting you join without a fee.  I am not sure what the fee will be if you have to pay one, but for a free resource this rocks!

The last reason I'm excited for next week is that I made my first Tot Book.  Carissa of 1+1+1=1 and Tot School has a great selection of Tot Books that she created and we can use.  I created two of my own for D to use in the coming weeks.  I will talk more about the Dr. Seuss one next week as I see how well it works with D.  I will upload my files in case there is anyone who would be interested in a Dr. Seuss Tot Pack for this coming week.

To see what other people did this week go to Tot School.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Creating a Chiclet

What's a chiclet, you ask.  It's the button that people put on their websites so that you can link people back to your site with ease.  I was curious about these buttons and started looking into what they are and how you make one.  I have a strong technology background and like playing around with this kind of stuff, so I thought I would give it a try to make one.  I am thankful to this link on Squidoo for helping me out.

Now the first thing I did was to design my button using Adobe Photoshop.  Though I wish I took the picture in the background, the credit goes to

Next I uploaded the image to my blog.  You can upload it anywhere in the web.  Just make sure you can find it.

Then I added a new feature to my layout to share my button with you.

To do this use the structure from the link above replacing the current web address with yours.  And the image location with yours as well.  To get that information right click (or control click for mac users) on the picture and choose properties (or I chose "copy image address" on my mac) and use that.

Now that I've added the button to my blog, I need to add the HTML code you to use on your website.  Now I have to thank Jennishell's Design Challenge for helping me with this.   She includes the HTML code you will need to share your button with those who visit your site.


So after reading our book for our stART project this week, D made a craft hamantaschen and then we made the dough for real ones.  We finished up our real ones yesterday afternoon.  D was not so into it at first, and had more fun playing with Jolly Green Dad.  Which I can't be upset about because normally when I'm cooking dinner, this is favorable to having a munchkin underfoot in the kitchen.

When we first put her into her high chair to play with the dough, she really wasn't interested.  We have played with playdough a few times, but it's not always her favorite thing to do (though I definitely like the benefits for manual dexterity).  Then again, maybe getting her hair out of her face would have been good too!
I showed her how to use the cookie cutters on her dough like JGM was on the counter, which definitely helped.

I will say that even if she wasn't into rolling out the dough and cutting out the circles, she was more than happy to eat the final product.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

stART When It's Purim!

This week's stART project went along with our Purim week!  We read When It's Purim, by Edie Stoltz Zolkower.  

This book is very cute for a youngin' like D.  It is about a family that is getting ready for Purim by making Hamantaschen, a very yummy treat! 

After reading When It's Purim, we made our own craft hamantaschen.  I was looking for a craft project to go along with this book, and decided to make one up.  We used a paper plate.  D colored the bottom of the plate with a brown crayon.

Then we glued Pom Poms on the "top" of the plate.  D especially liked this part of the project.  We have found that she really likes glue.  In fact, when she saw me bring out the supplies for the craft, she went straight to her high chair and was ready to get going!

When she was done I folded up the sides like I do when I make real hamantaschen, and made the circle into a triangle.  I then stapled the ends together (making sure that the staple closed entirely).  Here is D checking out her new hamantaschen.

Now that we finished our craft, we made the dough for our hamantaschen .  It has to sit in the fridge overnight, so we made it this morning, and will do the cutouts, filling and baking tomorrow.  Mmmmm... can't wait. 

Here is D inspecting the measuring spoons!

Go to A Mommy's Adventures to see what other people read this week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What is Purim?

D and I are learning about Purim this week.  This is one of my favorite Jewish holidays, and always has been.  In all likelihood, it started with the fact that I love good Hamantaschen (pronounced humentashin).  This is a cookie traditionally filled with apricot, prune, poppy seeds.  The bakery in the town I grew up in had an apple filled one, then added lemon and cherry.  These are my favorites.  They may not be classic tradition, but they sure are yummy.  D and I will be making some hamantaschen later this week.  I normally make the traditional apricot, and then get creative with the rest, as we are not big fans of poppyseed (sorry Mom) or prune.  In the past I have made cherry, apple, chocolate, and bananas foster.  We'll have to see what I can come up with this year!

Anyway, though all Jewish holidays do revolve around food that's not the whole of the holiday.  The other reason I loved this holiday as a child was that it is similar to the American holiday or Halloween, where you can dress up in costumes and make quite a ruckus.  (In fact for adults, you are supposed to get drunk to the point that you cannot distinguish the hero's name from the villain's.)

The story is a typical one for Jewish history.  Here is the abridged version:  Haman, the Persian King's advisor did not like the Jews and wanted them all to bow down to him.  When they wouldn't all follow his directions, he decided that they should all be killed.  The King was looking for a new wife (after banishing his first wife), and found and fell in love with Esther (during the ancient version of speed dating).  Esther was not only Jewish, but the niece of Haman's nemesis Mordecai.  Esther kept this a secret from the king, until she learned that all the Jews were to be killed.  She then had a party for the king (where was to drink quite a bit) where she told the king that she was Jewish.  At which point the King decided that the Jews would be saved, and Haman would be killed.

Today we celebrate Purim by reading the story of the holiday and making noise and using groggers (noisemakers) whenever we hear the name Haman.  Children (and many adults) dress up as characters from the story (and whoever else they would like to be).  And a good time is had by all.  

Chag Purim, Everyone!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tot School - Week 1

Tot School
D is 19 months old

I came across Tot School as I was looking for activities for D last week and have decided to join in the fun. Last week's theme was winter. We focused on snow and penguins, though D still doesn't really understand that snow is cold. Darn South Florida winters! Actually I would love to be able to play in the snow with her, but for D "snow" was packing peanuts.
She enjoyed finding things in the snow, some snowflake matching cards and her Little Einsteins friends. And enjoyed putting them back in, until show found a better game to play.  She thought it was far more fun to get in with the snow than just use her hands to search through it.

D made her snow picture.  (See my previous post.)

D then made a penguin puppet.  She liked coloring the bag and gluing the penguin parts to the bag. 
D has started making me crazy by tilting her head and saying "cheese" every time she sees me trying to take a picture.  

And of course we finished this project by pulling the pieces off again.  I think the only part left today is the head (which I helped her glue on).

We wrapped up our "learning" about snow with our Muffin Tin Meal.

Real World

I am one of those moms who believes that kids are meant to get messy. When I taught Early Childhood, the parents knew that their kids would get messy in my class because I knew that they were being productive and having a good time too. For some reason with D, I am okay with finger-painting, and even when she spills all of the "snow" out of the bucket. But, I have been hesitant to give her yogurt since she started insisting on using a spoon by herself. Now I do give her a spoon for ice cream or macaroni and cheese and other things that won't make a big mess if they fall off. This week she had some yogurt on her own. I think it was a learning experience for both of us!

Check out 1+1+1=1 to see what other people were doing this week.

Muffin Tin Monday - Winter

It's Muffin Tin Monday again!

This week's theme on the MTM site is orange.  I decided to stray from their theme this week for 2 reasons. The first, we have been learning about winter and cold for the past week, and I thought a MTM would be a good way to end it.  Second, I couldn't think of anything orange in the house, besides one or 2 oranges I have sitting in the fruit bowl.  As you will see, even our carrots are yellow!

This was a tough meal to actually fit in the muffin tin.

D had an edible snowflake with cinnamon and sugar.

Cream cheese penguins.  I found this recipe on quite some time ago, and have been looking for a reason (and the time to make them).

D also had two edible snowmen.  The first is just cream cheese on bread that I used a snowman cookie cutter on.  The second was a snowman on a stick.  I know D will love to make this when she gets bigger, but for right now, I made and she loved eating it!  I made it using a dried cherry that I cut up, instead of chocolate chips.

The lower left has some "snowballs" (Gorilla Munch cereal).

D really enjoyed this lunch.  The snowman on a stick was hard to resist and D grabbed that right away.

She loved bananas and apples and the penguins.  The rest she played with more than she ate.  That is until she broke enough of the snowflake off to find the star from the middle.  This is the one shape that she will recognize and say!  And was thrilled to have a star to eat.


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