It is August 1st & a few days ago I realized that I needed a new Calendar template for my “To Do” board but also a calendar template that my little man could explore with. So, I spent a good chunk of time developing calendar templates that I liked and that also had TRACEABLE month titles and also included the identical set in the printable with regular month titles.
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What can children learn from calendar exploration?
Patterns – The days of the week repeat their same order every week.
Vocabulary – Yesterday, today, tomorrow, weekend, days of the week, month, months of the year, holidays, etc.
Organization – Graphic organizers (like calendars) are so great for kids to be exposed to. They show order and give meaning to our everyday routines.
One-to-One Correspondence – We wrote one number in each square.
Weather Recording – Check out my weather tracking post with the September template attached for free!
Ordinal Numbers – When you say the days of the week in a sentence you would say “Today is August FIRST, tomorrow is August SECOND,” etc.
What did my calendar experience look like with my 3 year old?
I put our calendars on clipboards and we sat down at the playroom table and talked about them while we doodled on our calendars. I sang the days of the week song, the months of the year song, and then we counted how many days were in August. We “x’d” out the days that had already passed. We marked upcoming events with stickers. I prepared him in advance for days that mommy or daddy had something to do so that I can remind him by pointing to the calendar and he can visually see that the event will come and go.
Sean Patrick felt so “official” with his calendar on his clipboard. While I wrote the numbers and upcoming events on my calendar attached to the clipboard, he “wrote” what he wanted to do on his.
He made a lot of markings and said things like “I will go to Maya’s house on Friday, and MeMe will be 70 on Tuesday.” Haha I loved his made-up events. And his MeMe is only in her mid-50’s but one of her sisters told Sean Patrick that she was almost 70 haha.
He even asked me for another “August calendar” yesterday so that was my indicator that he actually had as much fun as I did with this activity.
I have a (semi) love-hate relationship with stickers. My kids peel them off and stick them all over the place and I am unsure what their purpose is at times other than leaving residue on things they stick to. Having said that, I have YOUNG children who don’t exactly keep track of small items or use things practically.
Sean Patrick got some cool toys at his birthday party this year, but I hid several of them because I wanted to use them sparingly. When I pulled out this sticky mosaics activity last week, it turned out to be a real gem.
There were 5 different vehicles made up of different colored shapes, and he picked the helicopter.
We decided early on to make it for his uncle who works for the US Aviation so it was really special to encourage him to finish so we could give it to his Uncle Nathan.
The best part is that we have been working on this a little every day ALL week and have only finished ONE vehicle template. I have been waiting until Mckayla falls asleep because she likes to destroy Sean Patrick’s art projects so it has been super fun one-on-one time working with him on this project.
This is what happens when the 19 month old is around the stickers.
And here are just some of the things he has been practicing with this activity:
Fine motor skills – Strengthening his control and coordination in his hands in order to peel the stickers off their backing and to stick them carefully onto the outline of the shape. Shape and Color identification – Identifying the shapes and colors needed in each part of the project. Spatial Awareness – Turning the sticker until it covers up the whole shape. Matching – Matching the accurate color and sticker to the individual outlines. Visual Discrimination – After selecting a sticker, trying to find that particular colored shape “hidden” in the page. Counting Practice -Counting how many more blue triangles you need to fill a space we were working on at the time. One-to-One Correspondence – Having manipulate one sticker to one outline at a time took lots of discipline as well.
Daddy helped with the very last part of the project to complete the tail of the helicopter. When he finished he was so proud and he asked “Now I get to work on another one?” Well, that was an easy one to answer.
So proud of himself for finishing 🙂
I seriously think I am going to order two more of these (one masculine and one feminine), stick them in the closet where I store my gift bags, and have a go-to present for the next birthday party we go to!
Here are the other ones they have on amazon:
I really love to hear from you…
Do dread having another sticker activity in your house?
Do you think your little one is at an age where he/she would enjoy this?
Do you know of any other sticker activities that are worth checking out?
Following up with Tracing the ABC’s tips about coming up with little sayings to help form the letters, I wanted to share a COUPLE quick tips about differentiating “b” and “d” because they are so easily confused among young learners….
Every time I draw lowercase “b” I say a phrase I picked up from Shannon Hannaman (K Teacher- Baton Rouge) “Baby ‘b’ fits inside of Momma ‘B’s Belly.” This phrase has never let me down. Once kids learn this phrase they seem to automatically know “b” from “d” – You can also say “Baby ‘d’ doesn’t fit in Daddy “D”s belly.” Ooh, and maybe “Papa ‘P’ and Princess ‘p’ wait patiently in line.”
I also wrote the word “bed” on an old little tikes bed and it is a word that will be ingrained in my kid’s minds from seeing it so often.
Please continue commenting with your experiences…. I love to hear this and it gives me some tips for my little one too 🙂 What are your tips to differentiate “p” and “q”?
A Mommy Teacher named Meg shared this comment yesterday on the Tracing The ABC’s Book Post– “Just wanted to say that I purchased this yesterday, printed it off, laminated it at home and my 3 year old did every single letter! I did not expect that at all. I thought she would get bored, but she loved doing it! And we had fun coming up with little sayings about each letter (P was a man and then he put his hat on, etc).”
So maybe if “p” is a man/”Papa P” who puts his hat on then “q” is a queen whose hair flips out ! Share Your Thoughts…. 🙂
Because Sean Patrick is so into tracing right now (and because he is a perfectionist), I decided to make him a book that he could use dry-erase markers and Mr. Clean magic erasers to practice his tracing over and over again without getting frustrated about markings on his paper (courtesy of his little sister).
I printed the pages of my tracing book onto card stock and laminated them with my inexpensive laminator that I bought at WalMart.
We work on it a little each day and I encourage him to do whatever letters he would like to practice making, but I always try to make the formation fun for him. For example, when we were writing “A” I told him to slide down this slide (the left slanted line) then to slide down that slide (the right slanted line), and then to climb across the monkey bars. He said exactly what I said as he traced A the next few times. And for lowercase “a” we rode around the merry-go-round and then climbed down the ladder.
“Slide down, slide down, climb across the monkey bars”
If you don’t have a laminator and you don’t want to get it laminated you can also just print it and let your little one trace the pages individually with crayons 🙂
/c/ /c/ crawl around the /c/ /c/ curve to see the /c/ /c/ cow
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Happy Summer, Mommy Teachers!!! Oh wait, MOMMY teachers don’t get a summer break! For those of us with school-aged kids, we get to spend extra time with our big kids too – which means extra busy bodies in the house.
It is really important to me to maintain some type of schedule during the
summer or the kids and I could easily fall into the routine of staying in our pajamas, never leaving the house and then by 3 o’clock everyone is completely stir crazy. Because of this, I am mapping out a daily schedule that includes play dates or errands, Bible study, school time, free time and more so my children will never have the opportunity to say, “I’m bored” or “Mom, when can we play the Wii?” They will have one opportunity per day to either play the computer or video games. Summer is a time for kids to unplug (for the most part – I mean, let’s get real… even Mommy enjoys her Mario Kart).
It is also important for school aged kids to stay on track for their next school year. Many kids have to play catch up at the beginning of each new grade level because they forgot most of what they learned the year before. As Mommy Teachers, it is our job to bridge the gap between grades on both an academic/cognitive level and a social level.
On an academic and cognitive level, this can be achieved by simply doing activities to reinforce what your child learned the previous year (think back to all of those homework assignments your child’s teacher sent home) or visit the website for the Common Core Standards which is what each child should know by the end of each school year (these have been adopted by the public school systems of most states). And if your child had a super awesome teacher like my kindergartner did, chances are they will have sent home a packet for practice this summer.
Now, I am not particularly a fan of “hand outs” and worksheets, however, the 2 months off of school can break kids of the social behaviors that they learned in the classroom this year. Social behaviors aren’t just interactions we have with other people, the are also what is expected of us when we are in different social situations such as sitting in a classroom, standing in line, and waiting our turn. Just think about how those things prepared us for sitting at our office desk, standing in line at the grocery store, and waiting our turn to use the ATM machine. So, in this case, a handout or worksheet a day, where your child sits correctly in a chair, pulled up to the table (not on the floor) is more than just working on maintaining academic knowledge; it is helping them retain that social behavioral expectation that they will need for the fall when they have to sit quietly at their desks to do work.
I recently made a trip to our local school supply store (it’s like the IKEA for teacher supplies – ah-may-zing!) and purchased a few summer school supplies for my kids. Now, you can absolutely find free templates for a lot of these worksheets online (there are plenty on The Mommy Teacher alone), but my printer is B-R-O-K-E-N and this was cheaper for me than replacing the printer.
I bought 2 Summer Bridge Activities workbooks (on
e for each of my boys) that are specifically designed to align with the common core standards, reward charts, stickers, lined paper, and lined journal paper. For every page they finish in their workbooks (or for when they work extra hard on a particular activity) they each get a gold star sticker (highly coveted). When they fill up the chart we will take a trip to Jump Zone (their choice) as a reward for all of their hard work.
The lined paper is to specifically practice handwriting (one area that my 5 year old struggles in) and the journal lined paper is to practice writing paragraph stories and drawing a picture of what happens in that story (a kindergarten skill). Many kids will write a story of say, going to the store, and they draw a picture of a tree. This summer we will practice creating complex stories and adding detail to our drawings. My ultimate goal is to make this activity FUN for my 5 year old because he absolutely despises writing and drawing (totally my husband’s child). I may have to ::gasp:: resort to bribing for this one!
* This weekend I will be following up with posts about our summer schedule and weekly themed curriculum, so I apologize for the clumped posts, but summer starts today and I’m already off schedule! Eep!