Best of R Preschool Academy (Episode 1: January 2016)
Featuring Mother Goose Time – Going on Safari
We’ve started giving out awards for our favorite home school activities of the month! We’ve discovered it is an excellent way to commemorate and remember our many home school adventures. The kids love looking through pictures of themselves crafting, playing games, cooking, conducting science experiments, and learning about new and exciting topics. Viewing the pictures together is not only a fabulous bonding activity, but also encourages the children to review the material we’ve covered, ask additional questions, and get excited about what they’ve learned. One of the best methods to reinforce something new is repeat, repeat, repeat! We hope you enjoy seeing some of the monthly highlights from our home schooling journey. Without further ado, here are our favorite/best moments from January 2016!
Owl’s (2 year old) favorite craft was the lion face craft. I think he liked this the best because he got to use paint, which I typically keep far, far away from his little hands and face. He eats it. He decorates EVERYTHING with it. You understand. There was also a fair amount of hand holding and he loved having all the individual attention. Ironically, I was so focused on saving the dining room from impending paint encrusted doom that I didn’t get a final shot of him enjoying his lion mask. Ladybug is pictured with hers above……LOL
Ladybug’s (3 year old) favorite craft was the foot print based giraffe. She traced and cut her footprint out of yellow paper to make the head. She got to use sticker eyes (stickers are one of her favorite things in life right now) and dot dot markers. Glue and yarn made the hair. Much joy!
My absolute favorite craft of the month is this zebra. It fulfills almost all of my mother/scientist requirements. It teaches something – genetically zebras are black with white stripes, not the other way around. It’s not messy – you use white chalk or white crayon on black paper to make the stripes. It’s time appropriate for toddlers – they can spend tons of time making stripes or five seconds making stripes and still have something to show for it. If the kids are glue crazy like mine are you can glue the zebra silhouette to another sheet of paper and glue on a googly eye. Win! We’ll be doing this type of craft again.
The kids both loved and responded so well to this activity. It kept them busy for almost an hour and they kept wanting to “play again.” We actually had dinner on time on this day! We created horns using elastic and paper cones and then knocked over cups some of which had puzzle pieces inside. To slow the kids from getting too excited and knocking down all the cups at once, they had to take turns and only knock over one cup at a time. They also had to knock it over using their horns. It was hilarious to watch and there was a ton of laughter. The puzzle at the end was of rhinoceroses, Ladybug’s favorite African animal.
There were a ton of dot-dot activities included this month. The kids love these! I am going to have to find more of them if we continue to spend so much time inside during the winter.
In this simple, but fun game lions eat zebras when the numbers of the cards match. It was a fantastically fun way to work on number recognition and run off some energy. To play with two kids I had one child draw a zebra card. The lion hid in wait under a blanket until they drew the same number, then they got to chase the zebra to the grassland, safe zone. They also earned a Friendly Bee Badge for Patience for completing this game! After we played this game, they played lion and zebra on their own for the rest of the week. The repetition and imaginative play also helped them learn and use terminology such as herd, prey, predator, grassland, watering hole, pride, cub, etc.
Best Achievement or Milestone
Ladybug started writing! She made letters both tracing and on her own. She traced and wrote the letter of the month, “S” as well as “E” and “T.” I’m thrilled with this development and haven’t pushed her at all. Simply exposing her to the possibility that she could do this if she wanted to as been all the encouragement she needs. I’m amazed and humbled by this little girl.
Owl finally got to use scissors for the first time. He is thrilled. I’m a little hesitant, but he wants to do everything Ladybug does so badly that I have relented. We are using Faber Castell Scissors, which seem very safe and cut paper well enough, but not other materials like felt. My understanding is that some kids love them (like mine), but others prefer the blunt tip scissors from Crayola. I think my kids will graduate to preferring the blunt tip scissors once their hands are a little bigger and they have more strength and control. I never, ever leave him unattended with them. I’m terrified of what he’ll cut; books, the tablecloth, his sister’s hair, himself. Ah, toddlers, sigh. Ah, boys, sigh.
Best of Toddler Tray Play
This little hippopotamus was pretty simple to create out of paper and marker. The kids counted out marshmallows to serve as teeth for inside his mouth. This was their first time eating marshmallows, which we quickly dumped into hot chocolate. It was cold here this month. The verdict: yes, marshmallows are yummy and make an easy, safe, and inexpensive counting tool.
The kids loved this simple matching activity. African safari animals continue to be a huge hit with both of them. This game was repeated multiple times with the kids each taking multiple turns. I just moved and shuffled the cards each time to make it more of a challenge. We did this activity right before dinner, which was majorly late and it helped quiet my sweet little savages, for a while anyway…..
Best Family Moment
We did some yoga as a means to work on achieving peace as part of our Martin Luther King Jr. day activities. We liked it so much that we have started doing it every night as a family (Dad and Grandma included) before bed time. Stay tuned: there will be more posts featuring family yoga and resources we love coming soon!
We love reading good books to go along with our theme each month. There were several first place winners. So many in fact that I think I’m going to write a whole separate post about our favorite African picture books. Until then, here’s one of the award winners: Hippos Are Huge! It talks all about their natural history, their role as the most dangerous of all the big animals in Africa, and Ladybug’s favorite – it talks about dung and how they use to mark their territory. It must be some sort of universal, if unfortunate truth about toddlers; poop is funny!
Please note that sometimes the categories/awards for each month may differ based on curriculum and what we spend the most time covering. I have committed to only list seven categories each month to keep the blog post under control; however, we have permitted honorable mentions to help alleviate family tension when there is a difference of opinion about a particular category. Some months there are more favorites and repeats than others, but with home schooling preschool there is always fun and learning!
What were the award winners in your house this month?
Our favorite activities this month were courtesy of Mother Goose Time – one of our favorite home school preschool curriculum. This episode features the Mother Goose Time Going on Safari Theme.