Isaiah discovered that there was a package in the mail meant for him. He brought it to me, bouncing and yelling. I helped him cut it open, then decided to pull out a camera because his excitement was so cute. Inside the package was a Starbright Baby giraffe that we’d ordered a while ago. Isaiah loves to chew on fabric, so I’d been looking for something appropriate for a while. This seemed the perfect solution. Isaiah agrees.
Isaiah is never quite sure that finger painting is such a good idea. It takes a lot of coaxing to get him to touch the paint in the first place. Once he’s started, he gets pretty excited, though. Today, he decided to see what would happen if he smeared it on his face, too. He had tons of fun, then got a bath when he was done.
We’re starting our preschool year with the letters of the alphabet. Each letter goes with a theme that we focus on for the week. Each week covers math, science, geography, sensory activities, crafts, letters, calendar, weather, music, ASL, Bible, P.E., and story time. It may seem like a lot, but Isaiah gets through most of it in under two hours each day. Some activities are only once or twice a week. If it takes longer, it’s because he’s having too much fun and wants to keep doing something longer than originally planned. I’m sure not going to argue with that.
A is for Alligator
Click here to see the full lesson plan for the week. Feel free to use all or part of it yourself.
Our days all start out the same. We look at the calendar, discuss the weather and sing the ABCs. This is an opportunity to practice counting (days on the calendar), learn about dates, learn the weather, and do a little quick review.
The “name” section on the lesson plan is pretty simple. Isaiah does not write his name yet. He has learned the first two letters and really struggles with the rest, so we have to work on that every morning. I try to give some variety and do things he enjoys so that he’s more willing to practice.
I chose 5 Little Monkeys to learn this week because I couldn’t find any rhymes specifically about alligators. The rhyme can be found here. Isaiah loved it and picked up on it very quickly. Along with the rhyme, we always sing a couple of songs. I wrote in some songs I knew he’d know well to kick off our year because I wanted to keep things simple. Music is pretty flexible, though. Once we did what was written on the plan, I let him pick a couple of songs he wanted to sing. The purpose of music time is simply to have fun and get a basic introduction to music, though, really, he’s already pretty familiar with music because he’s in a music loving family.
I have chosen to work on American Sign Language with Isaiah as a foreign language. He’s also working on Spanish with my dad, but that’s not on the lesson plan because he’s not around during our school hours. I believe that learning more languages is good for his brain’s development, so I work hard to give him lots of opportunities to learn them. Again, we started really simple. I didn’t want to overwhelm him at the beginning because school needs to be fun at this age. There’s certainly freedom to add more during phases where he’s picking things up quickly. The lesson plan will still just show a few key words that I really want him to know by the end of the week. Just assume he’s likely picking up a bit more than that. These words also go on his word wall. (If you’d like to do ASL with your child, this is a great free resource to get you started.
Our reading plan was a bit all over the place this week because the library had nothing about alligators. Oops. We also make sure to take some time for a Bible lesson. This includes reading Bible stories and working on his AWANA book and memory verse.
Science is Isaiah’s favorite thing in the world, so I wanted to make sure to nourish that. This week’s science included a video because he learns well through that. He’s been watching several science shows for quite a while and regularly amazes me with his understanding. Wild Kratts (and really anything by the Kratt brothers) is really popular with him and has tons of great, kid friendly information. After watching the video, we discussed what he’d learned and what he thought about it. On another day, we took it a step further by coloring a picture of an alligator’s habitat. This was another opportunity to talk about where they live, what they eat and what they look like.
Math varies a lot for Isaiah because he doesn’t count very high, but within the numbers he knows, he’s able to do simple addition and subtraction. This week focused on getting him to count a little higher. I printed off pictures of alligators for him to count. I laid out different numbers for him and asked how many he saw. When the numbers got too high for him, I helped him to keep going.
Geography is another activity that Isaiah has shown a specific interest in. He’s fascinated by maps and wants to be able to read them. He loves to ask where people and animals live, when looking at maps. So, we’re working with maps as much as possible. This week, we charted the American Alligator’s territory on a simple outline map. This was also an opportunity to introduce him to using books for research (he’s used to seeing me Google things, so it’s important to me that he learn that information can be found in books, too). Since, obviously, he’s not reading, I helped him locate the right page in a book about animals so that he could find the map and copy the territory to his map.
Sensory and craft times are lots of fun. This week, Isaiah practiced writing the letter A in shaving cream, made an alligator from the letter A, played with water beads, made a card for his cousin, and played in a bucket of beans.
P.E. for us is just an opportunity to burn some energy. Sometimes it’s pretty organized, other times it’s just Isaiah being wild. This week, I taught Isaiah how to play hopscotch. He was absolutely thrilled and has started using the tiles in the kitchen as a giant game of hopscotch. We also played with a mini trampoline and played games. Sadly, the weather went sour on us, so he didn’t get to ride his bike, but he’s hoping for a dry day to do next week.
This may not really seem like a sensory idea, but I think it is. Isaiah loves bubbles. He loves blowing. The blowing seems to really help him and he blows when he doesn’t have bubbles, so why not use bubbles to help him enjoy the sensation? Here are some pictures of him enjoying the bubbles.
We stopped in Dollar Tree to pick up paper cups for a craft and I promised Isaiah that he could pick one toy to buy. While we were there, I kept an eye out for new sensory activities, as always. Isaiah selected a dolphin that he immediately deemed “Winter“. I was quite happy to have a find of my own. A little plastic barrel of neon colored slime. It was made to look like a toxic waste container. I couldn’t tell through the packaging what it might be like, but I figured for a buck, it was worth a try for Isaiah.
Well, it was a hit! It’s the nastiest substance I’ve encountered in quite a while, but Isaiah loves it. He played in it happily for a long time and I’m sure he’ll be happy to see it again soon!
Isaiah and I spent my birthday hanging out together and having fun. Since the weather was nice, we were able to spend a good bit of it playing outside.
Isaiah wanted to blow bubbles, so we brought those out, then discovered that the wind had picked up and it was almost impossible to do it. He got over it pretty quickly and he brought out a stuffed dog to play with.
I put Isaiah in the tree I used to climb for a picture. He thought it was wonderful, so when I pulled him back out, he promptly climbed back up. He narrated every step along the way, telling himself what he needed to do to get into the tree. Once he got up there, he was pretty proud of himself and waved at me for pictures.
We headed off to look for sticks for his dog and I found a boxelder bug to take a picture of. Isaiah insisted that I needed to take “lots” of pictures, so while I was doing that, he sat down by some sticks with his dog. He gave it a stick to “chew” on, then pulled it away. He told it that he couldn’t believe he’d forgotten to bring the dog’s coat outside and that it felt really hot. He said it needed its temperature taken to see if it was sick, then declared that the problem was that the dog was allergic to the stick it was chewing on. He found it a stick that it wasn’t allergic to and life was good. They went off on a hunt for honey, which kept Isaiah busy until it was time for supper.
After supper, we had some ice cream cake that my mom made. Isaiah helped her decorate it this morning and was excited to get to show it to me. He’s decided that he wants ice cream cake for his birthday, too, from now on.
After supper, we took Max for a walk at the track. My mom and Max made their way around the track several times. Isaiah and I only got about one and a half laps because we got stuck at one end playing in the biggest puddle Isaiah had ever seen. I took a couple of pictures of him standing at the edge with a clear reflection, then let him play in it until he was soaked. He ran through it, jumped and splashed. He had a wonderful time!
I made an I Spy bottle years ago at a 4-H day camp. I kept it for years and really loved it, so I wanted to do one with Isaiah. There was only one small catch… Isaiah can’t read the list of items to find. I went ahead and got supplies to make the bottle, then, as we were making it, I realized that I could easily take a picture of the items to attach to the bottle. It worked great!
In the end, we actually made a few bottles with different things inside. We’ll probably make more later. It’s easy to get things that go together and make bottles with different themes. We can try different fillers, too.
Here’s what you need:
Filler: We used rice for two bottles and birdseed in a third. You can also use sand, colored salt (or colored rice) or beans.
Trinkets: This can be just about anything that will fit into the mouth of your bottle. Ours had shaped erasers, buttons, a crayon, rubber bands, bobbie pins and beads.
Glue: White glue works fine, though hot glue dries much faster and tends to be a bit more secure.
Ribbon: I tied the list onto the bottle with ribbon. I only actually attached a list to one bottle, since Isaiah is more interested in shaking it to make cool sounds and seeing the treasure inside than he is in deliberately searching for an object.
I let Isaiah fill the bottles himself, which was pretty exciting for him. He filled them about halfway, added the trinkets, then put in the rest of the filler. Once everything was inside, I helped him put on the lid and shake the bottle to spread the toys throughout. It’s really important to make sure there’s some extra space left in the bottle when you fill it or nothing will move when you turn or shake it.
Our aquarium has been creating a really vivid rainbow on the floor the last couple days. Isaiah is loving it. He’s found that if he lies on the floor, he can get the rainbow on his face. He was amazed when he saw the pictures I took because he didn’t realize what it looked like when he got under it.
Just for fun, I set up a table with a bunch of sensory toys for Isaiah. He thought it was amazing. I put a water bucket on the floor so he could rinse his hands when he felt a need, too, which made him happier to stay for a while. He switched between activities constantly. I think I’ll set him up with a different set of sensory activities soon. It was certainly worth the effort of setting it up!
Activity 1: Water Beads
I put his water beads in a pan with some plastic hearts that I got around Valentine’s Day. I also put out some cups to scoop and pour the water beads. Of course, he also had the option to try to sort out the hearts, but he was much more interested in pouring the beads.
Activity 2: Beans and Cars
Isaiah adores cars, so I put a set of little plastic cars in a pan with dry beans. Again, I gave him cups and scoops to manipulate the beans. He was more interested in the cars than scooping, though, which was fine with me. He tried to make roads to drive the cars on. After a while, he tried burying the cars, too.
Activity 3: Shaving Cream
The last activity was a pan of shaving cream. I put some red hearts in the bottom of the pan before I added the shaving cream. They were completely covered, so Isaiah didn’t even know they were there until he stuck his hands deep into the shaving cream. He didn’t stay with the shaving cream for very long because he wasn’t in the mood for messy play. He was more interested in having an excuse to stick his hands in the bucket of water.
I came across this recipe about a week ago and decided to give it a try. I didn’t have as much cornstarch as it called for, so I just made a small batch. It’s been a huge hit. The best part is that it can be put in a bag and saved for another day. It’s lasted us a week so far.
2 boxes of cornstarch
1 can of shaving cream
Optional: dye/food coloring (we didn’t add any color)
Mix together until the shaving cream is spread evenly through the mixture
The shaving cream makes the concoction cling to itself just enough to be able to form balls (or rocks, as Isaiah called them). If you pinch them or poke them with a spoon, though, they turn back to powder. Isaiah thought this was great fun. He also loves just burying his hands in the mixture and scooping it.