Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Letter Matching with Sticky Notes

Little C knows all her capital and lowercase letters - at least for the most part. She still confuses lowercase "d" and "b" and will call little "l" big "I".

I wanted to see how fluent she was with matching capital and lowercase letters so we did this activity today.   

I almost always sit with her to complete activities - especially if it is new to her. I handed her the sticky note and asked her the letter name, and then the sound it makes. She would take it and place it on the paper on the corresponding capital letter.

This girl never fails to shock me. I can't help but laugh sometimes because she is just a little sponge these days. I can't believe how much she can learn and so quickly.

We completed the paper three times because we were both having fun with it. She then always asks to put it on the fridge "to show daddy" when he gets home.

You can make this yourself! It is super easy, this is all you need:

I wrote all capital letters in different colors on the paper. Then I wrote all lowercase letters on sticky notes cut in half. The best part is since it is sticky notes you can play this game a few times. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Tree Counting

Felt has to be one of my absolutely favorite craft items ever. It is super easy to work with and the possibilities are endless.

And its cheap and almost indestructible. Pretty much perfect for my two year old.

So Little C has been super into counting these days. For the longest time, she would say, "1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10!"

I could not break her of this and for a long time I didn't both trying. She would get it right one day, and sure enough she has. Now we count everything.

combined two of her favorite things at the moment - counting and Christmas trees... and I came up with this activity for her.

It has been fun to watch her count, order numbers, match numbers and practice one to one correspondence. It also helps her with her fine motor skills while placing the "ornaments" (poms) on the trees.

You can make this yourself or purchase one from my store.

Feeding Our Animal Buddies

Little C loves animals, and she loves taking care of them.

In fact she will feed and fill our dogs' water bowl all by herself. Over and over again, even if the dog food is overflowing onto the floor and there is a standing puddle of water around the bowls.

She is quite the helpful little one.

So this activity was a given, and she has been having a ball with it. I found little snack cups with animals on them and we turned it into a game of "feeding" them beans.

She loves the little "clink" as she spoons the beans into their mouths. It is very satisfying for her to watch the beans disappear and hear that "clink"!

Head on over to my Etsy store to pick up this activity for your little animal lover!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Oh Christmas Trees (and Pumpkins!)

Like most tots, Little C loves taking objects in and out of containers. One of her favorite activities this fall has been playing with a set of felt pumpkins I made her.

I made them using felt and puffy paint - extravagant I know. Well she absolutely loves them and plays with them throughout the day. She takes each pumpkin out of the basket, one by one saying each letter, "Big A, little a." And then places it on the table, or in another basket. She goes through the entire set of 26 pumpkins and then usually does it again.
Even my husband gets a kick out of watching her play with these pumpkins... over and over.

So now that it is December, I decided to try our luck with Christmas Trees. I don't want to lose the 20 minutes a day that the little pumpkins kept her attention!

Sure enough - Christmas trees with puffy paint letters are a winner too.

I keep them in different baskets on our playroom shelf, and the other morning she got them both out at the same time and started matching the letters.

I ran and grabbed my camera and started yelling, "They match!" right along with her.

She was so proud, and I have to say so was I. It is so amazing how quickly they develop and learn. Two months ago she never would have been able to do this, much less think of it and initiate it on her own.

Love this activity? It is perfect for a busy bag or tot tray. Visit my Etsy store to pick up a set for your little one.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Number Recognition & 1:1 Correspondence

As a kindergarten teacher, I spend a lot of the school year teaching numbers 1-20, more than/less than, ordering numbers smallest to largest and 1:1 correspondence.

I can't tell you how many parents would say, "My kid can already count past 10!"
Counting to ten is very different than being able to recognize numbers that aren't in order and being able to represent a given number using objects (1:1 correspondence).
Thanks to many of our picture books we read, and our favorite Leap Frog, Little C loves to count - everything! Yesterday she even wanted to count the sprinkles she was putting on our sugar cookies. Since nothing else was on our agenda for the day, that is exactly what we did.

I came up with this activity and it is quite the hit. It practices everything I mentioned above, as well as classifying colors and fine motor skills.

Once she got good at placing the color poms on the coordinating colored circles, I gave her tongs and she used them to transfer the color poms onto the felt. I love to hear her singing the LeapFrog Numberland songs as she works... such a fun mommy moment.

I made this set out of felt. Make one yourself or you can purchase a set through my Etsy store.

Turkey Matching

I change out some activities on our playroom shelf weekly, and others monthly based around a theme or upcoming holiday. At the beginning of November, I made a bunch of Turkey activities. Our neighbor has two turkeys that run around their yard so Little C is already all kinds of jazzed about turkeys.

I realize this is a little late for Thanksgiving this year, but print it now and have it on hand for next year.

I found these free printable turkeys and printed them on card stock, laminated and cut them out. I printed two copies of each so we could match them by color.

At this age, Little C just loves having items in small baskets that she can line up and organize (she is 31 months.) She loves to say, "Gobble, gobble!" As she lines them all up. I also would hide them around the living room and we would say, "Turkeys! Where are you?" as we tore apart the room looking for them.

Enjoy some turkey fun with your tots!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Matching Transportation Cards

Matching is one of the very first pre-reading skills to teach young tots. 

Once Little C got the hang of it, she was hooked. She loves scouring pictures to find which ones are the same so she can scream, "They match!"

I put out a new set each week and put them in a basket or storage container. Tots love the simple task of transferring items from one place to another.

I often use our pocket chart just as an added bonus of helping her with fine motor skills. It was very frustrating to her at first, but now that she has learned how to slide the cards into the clear pockets, she absolutely loves using it. To keep her interested, I only get the pocket chart out once or twice a week.
There are tons of free printables out there for matching games. We are using "Transportation" cards in the picture above. It was crop dusting season and she was super excited about airplanes. I noticed though she couldn't tell the difference between an airplane and helicopter though. She also looks forward to the school bus dropping the neighbor kids off each day so these cards were perfect.

For a FREE pack of transportation printables, based on the book Alphabeep, by Debora Pearson, click here and scroll down to where it says, "Ready to Make Your Own?" I love this website and use lots of free materials from her.

Get out the card stock and turn on your laminator. The humming of all the machines for an afternoon of making matching cards puts the baby right to sleep and entertains Little C and I.

Win, win and win.

I try to switch up the matching cards we use. I do seasonal ones, or holiday cards. Little C was really into Mickey Mouse for awhile so I found pictures of those characters to use. Sometimes I glue felt to the back of the pictures and we match them using our felt board.

Matching is a perfect skill to teach so young minds can begin to notice similarities and differences in shapes, colors and pictures. This will help them immensely when they are introduced to letters and begin learning how to read.

Farm Felt Board

Felt boards have to be one of my all time favorite activities for my two and a half year old daughter. The possibilities are endless, and often times she ends up doing something totally different, yet adorably creative, that I didn't even think of.

It is so fun to watch her little mind at work. These days she is absolutely obsessed with tractors, and it has been sad around here lately now that harvest season is over. The little country road we live on was alive with tractors over the past few months. We would sit outside on the porch and watch them go by. Waving at the farmers provided us with lots of easy entertainment.

The tractors outside may be gone for the season, so I decided to make her one for her felt board! She was so excited she could hardly contain herself.