Monday, May 30, 2011

Tot School Week 1: D is for Dinosaur

I have been thinking for a while now that I would like to do some sort of preschool with my 3.5 year old nephew *T* (whom I take care of during the school year or summers months that my sister teaches) and my just-turned-2 year old son *M*. I recently came across the blog 1+1+1=1 and I have now become addicted to that site, and many of the sites the refers to.

I have spent the last few weeks looking at printables and activities for preschoolers out there in the blogosphere. This past week was my first attempt at "tot school" and it was quite a learning experience. I have learned that T is going to need much more challenging activities than what I had available this week, and that I may have to figure out a way to have him have a separate preschool time after M goes down for a nap to help him focus.

I have the month of June off from babysitting T, and will start watching him again in July. I am looking forward to spending this next month planning and preparing for July and for the fall. I would like to prepare for at least all the way through December since we are expecting a new baby in September and I know I won't have time to do a lot of the preparations until we get settled into life with a newborn and a toddler!

I have created a separate blog, where I plan to post all of the tools/activities I have so that I can categorize them and easily find them. I took the idea from 1+1+1=1, you can see her school tool blog HERE. HERE is the link to my tot school tools blog, which I hope to get started on soon.

T is currently 3.5 years old (42 months)
M is currently 2 years old (24 months)

And here is how our week went:
I had an ultrasound appointment Monday morning, so the boys just watched Dinosaur Train and then they put some Dinosaur window clings up on the front door to kick off Dinosaur week. I found them at the Dollar Tree.

This was the first day I attempted some printables and activities. I did not realize how fast they would fly through some of the activities, and was certainly not prepared for that. My nephew would accomplish one thing in just a couple minutes and then ask "what are we gonna do next?"

We started with the dinosaur heads and tails matching printables by 1+1+1=1 found HERE.

T mastered this really quickly.

M just had a fun time playing with the cards.  I can't show many pictures of him, because that morning he refused to wear shorts, so he is just in his T-shirt and undies.

Next they colored their D is for Dinosaur sheets.  This was after M's first meltdown because he wanted the orange color that T had.  I got this sheet from Homeschool Creations Alphabet Coloring Pages.

The we did the dinosaur puzzles printed from 1+1+1=1.  This is about the only thing that T has any trouble with, because doesn't quite get the matching up of the coloring on one piece to another.  So the pieces may be in the right place, but not turned the right way, but after a little bit of help he got his together.  M again, just played with the pieces.

After they were done with that, we attempted sorting pom poms by color, which is a little bit too advanced for M and way below T's skill level.  I made a pattern for T with the pom poms and had him do the same pattern underneath, which as soon as he figured out what I was asking him to do, he was done in just a few seconds.
 M just put the pom poms into a bowl, not worrying about separating colors, and so T ended up doing that too because he always wants to be just like M.  So I gave them each a plastic spoon and let them use the spoon to put the pom poms from one bowl into another.

After that I was already out of ideas, and it had only been about 30 minutes!  So I got out M's new dinosaur zipbin which my awesome cousin gave him for his birthday (she always comes up with the neatest things!) and was going to let them play with that.  In the mean time M found the little foam number puzzles I had got at Dollar Tree and decided that's what he wanted to play with.  So here are the last few pictures of our first official day of tot school!

We started with some dot painting.  I had bought a couple of the Bingo paints from the dollar store hoping that they would hold us until I can get some ordered off Amazon.  Well I certainly hope the dot markers on Amazon are much better, because these things were a mess.  They soaked all through the paper, and M loved them, and was so upset I had to take them away because they leaked way too much paint out.  However they both did a really great job getting the dots in (or close to in M's case) the circles meant for the dots!
After M's meltdown from taking the Bingo marker away, they started some print outs from the How to Train Your Dragon printables from 1+1+1=1.  T did really good at tracing the letter D.  M just LOVES dragons.  How to Train Your Dragon is his favorite movie, and I have seen it about 5 million times in the last few months!  I had printed out a couple more for T than M because I thought M would just be satisfied with the D page with Toothless on it, but I had to run to the printer to print him off the line tracing page too because T had one, of course he had to have one.

Then I tried some line tracing pages I got from Confessions of a Homeschooler and put them inside page protectors and let them use dry erase markers.  M of course had a great time scribbling with the markers, and T did a good job with the tracing until he decided he just wanted to scribble since that's all the M is able to do right now.  Again there was another meltdown from M when I had to take the dry erase markers away.  But I already have coloring all over my house, not because M intentionally colors on the walls or things, but because he loves carrying them around and when he climbs with a color in his hand...well you know what happens.
After that they played with the pom poms again, but I couldn't get anyone to sit down and sort or anything.  So that was the end of Day 2.  Oh and on this day we had the dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets for lunch.

After Day 2 I was certainly realizing that I did not have nearly enough time to prepare.  So on Thursday morning they watched Leap Frog Letter Factory and then they dug for fossils (a gift for  from my awesome cousin) in the sand bin I managed to get put together the night before.  Before we dug for fossils we read Curious George's Dinosaur Discovery.  (I forgot to put what books we read on the previous days, but we did read Dinosaur themed books each day).

On Friday we borrowed the Land Before Time DVD from our neighbors, and a couple of our neighbor friends came over and "watched" the movie.  M has watched the Land Before Time again since then because he was conflicted on Friday morning whether to sit and watch like he wanted to or get up and play with the bigger kids.  He is definitely going to be a big movie fan, especially of anything dinosaurs or dragons.  I think we may have to have a more planned repeat of D week just because he loves dinosaurs and dragons so much.

I am linking up to:
Tot School


  1. What a great start to Tot School! It's so fun planning different activities and little boys love dinosaurs. I'm looking forward to reading more of your Tot School adventures! I'll be your 1st follower!

  2. Welcome to Tot School! It looks like you are off to a great start. It does take some planning but it's worth it. My daughter is the same age as your son and we have been doing tot school since February. If you need some ideas stop by and visit

    BTW: I'm also a new follower!