Tot school-Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs

This morning our tot school theme was Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs.

Since it is a book mostly about opposites, I decided to start off with a big and small sorting.  Mingli and I have talked about big and small a little, mostly at the part.  Some we will find big and small sticks and he likes that, but I have never asked him to figure out if something was big or small, he would just find a stick and I would say “you found a big stick” or something like that.  Since this is the first time we have formally worked with this concept I wanted to have all the items be mostly the same.  I thought about going to the store and buying something to sort, but I was tired, so I decided to pull out my Russian nesting dolls.  I was nervous about this, because I actually got them in Russia and they are special to me, but it was what I thought would work best, and I thought if I was watching him it would be ok.  I had 5 dolls, and I decided to just use the 2 biggest and 2 smallest from each doll so there is more of a difference in size.  I helped Mingli sort the first couple, then he did the rest my himself.  He seemed to get it pretty quickly and actually enjoy it.

He had even more fun when he realized that the dolls could be opened, put back together, and would fit inside each other.  He figured this out all by himself and this activity lasted much longer than the sorting.  He was concentrating so much on it and learning a lot.  He had to get the angle right to get the dolls to fit back together, he tried to put bigger ones inside of smaller ones, and he tried to put pieces together that didn’t fit.  I could see the wheels turning in his brain as he figured out how these dolls worked.  I think I want to get him his own nesting dolls that he can play with whenever he wants without me having to worry about him messing up my special ones.

 

Since we were reading a dinosaur book we of course had to get back out Mingli’s dinosaur play set and play pretend.  We had fun making the dinos drink, eat, go down the slide, and play peek-a-boo.  I know for some thing may not seem like school, but learning to play pretend is an important cognitive skill, so I figured why not take the time to encourage it.

Last we took the dinosaurs and did dino painting.  I made some paint out of flour, water, and food coloring then let Mingli dip the dino feet in the paint and use the dinosaurs to make prints on the paper.  Mingli LOVED this.  His eyes just lit up when I demonstrated how to do it.  This was the first time I have done painting at the table instead of the bathtub, but it actually didn’t get too messy.  I mean, he was covered in paint, and so was the table, but the paint was only on his arms and there was none on the floor, so I thought it was good for painting with a toddler, especially since I didn’t want to restrict him too much.

 

Of course he didn’t want to stick to just putting the dinosaur’s feet in the paint.

And in the end it turned into finger painting.

When he tried to dump out the paint onto the table I decided the activity was done.  I was really happy to have a day where Mingli finally liked all the activities I had planned and prepared.  Sometimes he is not quite ready for the things I think he is, but today the activities were just right for him.

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Up in the mountains

Last week I was really wanting to take a drive up in the mountains, so we got in the car and went to the nearest canyon.  It was beautiful and fun to just spend time together.  Mingli started getting pretty restless just being in the car, so we found a little pull over spot by the river and got out for a few minutes.  It was nice just sitting there and watching it, very relaxing.  Mingli wanted to play in the water, but the river was moving pretty fast with the snow melting in the mountains, so we didn’t think him playing in it was the best idea.  We did let him just barely dip his toes in the edge while Kaanas was holding onto him tight, and he loved that.

Tot school-Bear Feels Scared

We had a tot school lesson with the book Bear Feels Scared as the theme.

We haven’t really done anything with emotions, so I wanted to introduce those to Mingli, and this seemed like a good book to do it with.  Our first activity was singing If You’re Happy and You Know It.  We did a verse with happy, sad, and angry.  I drew little faces for each of the verses, and we also practiced making happy, sad, and angry faces.  Mingli loved pretending to cry.

The next activity was sorting emotions.  I drew happy and sad faces and helped Mingli sort the emotions.  He didn’t really get it and had a hard time knowing which bowl to put each face in.

I still don’t feel like he has much of a concept of emotions, but we will keep working on it.  I also try to talk about emotions during the day by naming the emotion he is feeling and talking about how characters in book feel.  It is something that will probably just take time for him to learn, and I just have to be patient.

I also made rain cups by poking holes in the bottom of plastic cups.  Mingli took them into his bath with him instead of actually using them during tot school.  I thought he would really enjoy them, but he didn’t really seem to.  Oh well, maybe we will try again when he is older.

Yarn winding helper

So a while back I posted about my new yarn winder.  Since then I have been busy getting my entire stash of yarn all nicely wound and put into storage bags so it will not get tangled anymore.  As I was doing that I found out I am not the only one who likes my yarn winder.  Mingli came and started “helping” me wind yarn.  At first he was actually turning the handle to wind the yarn, but then he got tired of that and started doing this.

It was a good thing that ball of yarn was already a tangled mess, he didn’t actually make it any worse.  He loves playing with my yarn, but he doesn’t get to very often.  Since he could strangle himself with the yarn I only let him play with it if I can be sitting right beside him the whole time, especially since, as you can see in the picture, he enjoys wrapping the yarn around his neck.  Since I had many balls of yarn to wind I let him play with this one for a while and did my other one.  He was so happy.

Going out to breakfast

This morning we decided to go out to breakfast at McDonald’s because that sounded really good to me.  On our way out we checked the mail and there was a 25% off coupon to a new diner and we decided to go there instead.  I am really glad we did.  I ordered an orange juice, and when I took a sip of it I was really surprised because it didn’t taste like I expected it to taste, it didn’t taste like orange juice.  I took another sip and I realized that it actually tasted like oranges.  I looked over and I could actually see them squeezing fresh oranges right there.  I had never thought about the fact that orange juice doesn’t actually taste like oranges until I tasted this.  It really tasted like I was sucking the juice straight out of an orange, it was delicious.  I was really happy with the food as well.  I got a country fried steak with a biscuit and hashbrowns.  They gave me extra gravy on the side, so I put gravy on the hashbrowns and biscuit as well.  An entire plate of southern comfort food completely smothered in country gravy with real orange juice to drink.  It was great.  I also realized how funny it is what different people find appealing.  Kaanas has started doing google reviews and will post a picture of his food with his review.  I realized that if I had seen a picture of his food on a review of the diner I may not have wanted to come.  I mean, it looked really pretty, but it did not look good to me at all.  It was an omelette with avocado and salsa on top and potatoes, pepper, and onions on the side.  Like I said, it looked really pretty and was very well arranged, but it did not look like something I wanted to eat.  Kaanas loved it and said that the salsa (they made it themselves fresh) was amazing, but it just wasn’t appealing to me.

Mingli’s baby

Since we have a new baby coming Kaanas and I have been talking about getting Mingli a baby doll.  It has been the subject of a lot of discussion lately because both of us believe more in traditional male and female roles.  We don’t believe that the husband should be able to control the wife, Kaanas and I are a team and make decisions together and we both have an equal say in everything, but we also believe that men and women are different, that those differences are good, and that we shouldn’t try to ignore or suppress those differences (I am not looking for an argument on this, just explaining what we believe relevant to what is going on.  I know people have different opinions about this.  I respect other people’s right to believe and live differently than I do, please do the same for me).  Our difference of opinion was in whether we should get Mingli a doll.  Kaanas didn’t want to because dolls are traditionally girl toys.  I wanted to because I believe that being a dad is a divine role, and that little boys should be encouraged to want to become a dad just as much as little girls should be encouraged to want to become a mom.  I also really want to teach Mingli about being gentle with babies, which is why the topic of a baby doll came up right now, and he loves babies, so I thought he would like a doll.  After many discussions and us each explaining how we felt, we decided to go ahead and get him a doll.  We went to Walmart, and I was a little disappointed because they didn’t have any little boy dolls, but I guess those just aren’t as popular (I saw some online and was hoping to find something similar in the store).  We ended up just getting him a girl doll, and honestly he really doesn’t know the difference.  He really loves it.  It came with a bottle, sippy cup, pacifier, and stuffed animal and he loves taking care of it and giving it hugs.  It was so sweet when I first gave it to him watching him give the baby the bottle, although apparently the sippy cup is for him.

Here he is giving his baby a hug.

Tot school

We have been doing some tot school again.  The book I was wanting to use was in the car with Kaanas at work, and I already had everything prepared, so I just decided to do without it.  We sung a few songs using the new shakers we made recently.  When I get my nausea medication filled they only give me 9 pills at a time, so I am going through 1-2 bottles a week.  I decided that instead of just throwing the bottles away I was going to do something with them and decided to make shakers for Mingli.  I put rice in 2 of them, the cut construction paper to fit around the bottle.  I let Mingli color the paper, then glued it onto the bottle.  I then hot glued yarn onto the lid.  Now it doesn’t even look like a prescription bottle!

After that I taped some contact paper with a picture of a rabbit onto our ottoman.  After I had already taped it there I realize that it was hard to see the picture because of how dark the ottoman was, but I didn’t want the tape to pull paint off the walls.  It didn’t seem to matter to Mingli, though, so we just went with it.  I gave him some cotton balls to stick to the contact paper and he had a lot of fun.  He didn’t really stick many cotton balls to the contact paper, but he enjoyed putting his hand on the contact paper and playing with the cotton balls.  Cotton balls are one of his favorite things, so any time I include them in tot school it is a big hit.

   

After that I brought out some animal touch and feel cards I had.  He wasn’t interested in the touch and feel part, but he loves animal noises at the moment, so we did a lot with that.  We also talked about the animals as we were looking at them.

Our last activity was some gross(large) motor play.  My parents got Mingli a set of tents and tubes that connect together last time they visited and he really enjoys them.  There is not room in our apartment for the whole set, but I got out 2 of the tents and 2 of the tunnels and set them up.  They were up for the rest of the day because Mingli loved them so much.  He brought some of his books into the biggest tent and had fun with that.

 

It was a simple tot school day, but a really fun one.

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