“Mommy, what’s our letter this week?” Little Bear asked as we sat down to tackle Monday’s work.
We had abandoned our letter of the week activities over the summer, and I hadn’t really planned to resume them. After all, I reasoned, Little Bear knows her letters and Baby Bear has no real interest in letters at this stage. But Little Bear really wanted to do a letter, so I told her we’d stopped on Ss. “What comes next?” I asked.
“Tt — turtles!” she replied. “And teeth and toothbrush and toothpaste and …”
She came up with an impressive list of Tt words on her own, but we both agreed that such things as toothpaste and toenails weren’t all that fascinating. So we sat down together and brainstormed a list of animals and favorite things that started with the letter Tt — toads, turtles, tigers, toys, trucks, trains, tractors, teddy bears, and T-Rexes. Then, we turned to the shelves and pulled a stack of related books:
Over the course of the week, we’ve enjoyed the books above and a small mountain of others. Little Bear has especially been enjoying the Frog and Toad books, and her interest in the characters led us to compare and contrast frogs and toads. We did the same with toads, tortoises, and terrapins, squeezing a second science lesson out of our unplanned letter of the week activities.
On the math front, Little Bear spent yesterday morning collecting twigs, comparing their lengths, and arranging them from shortest to tallest. When she grew tired of playing alone, she asked me to help her. We raced to see how many twigs we could collect in one minute. We counted our finds, and we compared numbers to see who found the most and who found the least. On a more traditional note, Little Bear sorted Teddy Bear Counters by size and color, then used them to make patterns.
She traced the letter Tt in her salt box, outlined Tt using tacks in foam board, used a twig to write T’s and t’s in the dirt, and practiced writing Tt on her MagnaDoodle. She had handwriting worksheets in her workbins yesterday, but informed me that she’d rather just write in the dirt.
On Wednesday, we spent part of our pool time hunting for things that started with Tt. Yesterday, we played a riddle game, where she had to solve a riddle, then tell me whether the answer started or ended with a /t/ sound. We also practiced spelling -at, -et, and -ot words. Today, we had a /t/ word families spelling bee while splashing around. (Hey, swimming pool spelling bees may give new meaning to “active learning,” but she’s most focused when both her body and her brain are engaged!)
Gross motor activities have included tossing a ball, throwing a frisbee, twirling around, and running to touch whatever Mommy named. For fine motor work, Little Bear has practiced her tracing skills, practiced drawing and cutting triangles, and practiced squeezing toothpaste onto a toothbrush.
In the social studies realm, we’ve reviewed different types of transportation, giving extra attention to forms of transportation that start with Tt. The girls have spent hours playing outside with their dump trucks and have pushed their wooden train all around the living room and dining room. Last but not least, the girls used their red Duplo tractor to move bales of “hay” around their Duplo farm. Did you catch that, Papa? Their red tractor. They may be young, but they’re never too young to learn that real tractors are Farmall and International Harvester red, not icky ol’ John Deere green!