Letter C Basket for Tot School - TheEngineersKids
# Preschool

Tot School Letter Basket – Letter C

Leto and I really enjoying our mornings free without the other three older kids around, but lately he’s been asking to watch movies way too much. As soon as his siblings walk out the door, it’s, “can I watch a show?”

I think he’s ready for some more learning, so I’m trying out a new system to introduce Leto to letters and letter sounds. The idea of doing a tot school letter basket came from the blog 1+1+1=1.

I just wanted something to guide Leto and I in learning about letters and to make it fun. I chose a canvas bin that I had lying around, and one evening I went through the toys looking for things that started with C. The next few mornings we sat at the kitchen table and played with things in our bin and talked about the sound C makes. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

We had cupcakes from our princess cupcake game, that we used for a tea party.

We used our Melissa & Doug See & Spell pieces to identify the letter C in a pile of letters and learn about a few words that begin with C.

Another day we had another tea party with our fabric, velcro cupcakes (from ikea) we borrowed from Jules (shhh, don’t tell her, she doesn’t like people touching her stuff).

We did counting with My First Numbers: Let’s Get Counting! (mentioned in this post).

Now, when he asks for a movie, I just pull out the letter bin and we start playing! He is just becoming aware of letters around him, and has been finding M’s everywhere. Hopefully, the letter C bin will add C’s to his repertoire.

Letter E for Easter & The Number 12 - TheEngineersKids.com
# Preschool

Preschool Lesson – Letter E for Easter and The Number 12

Over the years we have saved a lot of money by organizing co-op preschools with our friends. With a group of 5-8 kids, you can have a lot of fun and they love learning together. Bigger groups can lead to feeling crowded in a home (and can get loud). Smaller groups don’t seem to generate enough chaos to make it something the kids look forward to.

I want to share some of the lessons I’ve done with co-op preschool groups in the past.  They usually were based on one letter and one number that we studied that day. Note, most of these lessons were taught in my home, which has never been larger than a three-bedroom townhouse, so you need a little space, but not an auditorium for a living room. Without further ado, I give you:

The Letter E for Easter and The Number 12

  • 10 minutes, Welcome in the living room
  • 30 minutes, Easter Egg Hunt
    • hunt for eggs
    • open eggs to find the letter E (capital and lowercase)
    • show picture from Animalia book – talk about eggs and elephants
    • practice writing the letter E (capital and lowercase)
  • 30 minutes, Snack and Story – apples, Horton Hatches the Egg
  • 30 minutes, Craft
    • Craft: talk about a dozen eggs, count to 12, practice saying “dozen”
    • color Paper Mache Eggs with markers, and put stickers on them
    • Color: Horton Hatches the Egg picture
  • 20 minutes, Easter Movie
# Preschool

My Favorite Books for Babies and Toddlers

My First Words, Let's Get Talking - TheEngineersKids

When my oldest was a baby, I was given My First Words – Let’s Get Talking, and it has become my favorite book for babies and young toddlers. It is an especially good baby shower gift.

I start off just sitting with my baby and pointing to the different objects and naming them. When they get a little older, they get how the game works, and then they start pointing and waiting for me to tell them the name. When they are about 18 months, I start saying “point to the shoes” or “where is the ball?” and they do the pointing. When they are 2 or 3 and can talk, I can just ask, “what is this?” Finally, when they are young preschoolers, I can ask them about the colors and numbers on the later pages.

Beside just the My First Words book, we also have copies of My First Farm and My First Numbers, which I like as well. Although, My First Words has more variety of objects, so it keeps their attention longer. I gave the books to the youngest two the other day, and they had fun by themselves just playing.

Baby Books, My First Words, Let's Get Talking - TheEngineersKids

What about you? Do you have any really good baby shower book suggestions?


# 0-3 Years, 4-7 Years, Counting, Math, Toy Reviews by Age, Toy Reviews by Topic

Fish-A-Ree – Toy Review


Fish-A-Ree is sort of Memory meets Let’s Go Fishin’, without the hassle of trying to get the fish to actually bite the little magnet. It has been a really fun game for my 3 year old, and even though it is a simple game, the slightly older kids (mine are 5 and 7) have enjoyed sitting and playing with him.


How we play it:*

Fish-A-Ree is kind of a new game for us. So far the kids have been having a ton of fun with the little measuring tape it comes with. They measure the fish, they measure each other, they measure the baby and she gets mad that they are pinning her down for measurement. That type of thing.

Leto (age 3) has also enjoyed just setting up the game. He likes to put all the fish in the holes, take them out and line them up in order by length, decide on which fish is his favorite, match the fish (there are 2 of each length), and pretend to eat them.


How you’re supposed to play it:

The slightly older kids (age 5 and 7) like to play the right way. You stick a bunch of the fish into their slots, so just the bobber sticks up. Then you draw a card that tells you how many units long of a fish you need, try to draw the fish that is that long, and put it back if you’re wrong or keep it if you’re right.



Malena and Jules playing Fish-A-Ree:

* We love to modify the rules of every game. There’s value in making a game work well for your family, and I love giving a few ideas of alternative play. And sometimes we just dial the competitiveness down a notch to avoid kid fights.

How about you? Does your family play Fish-A-Ree? Do you have any fun rule modifications? Has your baby gotten pinned to the floor so the bigger kids can measure her?

# Family Life

Don’t Plan a Lesson. Just Learn.

Science-Graphic-Chemical-atlas-1855-1 small

I am a planner by nature, and with the advent of pinterest, I once found myself planning a year-long curriculum of preschool. Our lesson on the moon, for example, involved reading a book, talking about the dust and rocks on the moon, and bouncing on the trampoline to simulate moon gravity. We followed that plan for quite a while, but we didn’t really need it.

The kids have strong interests, and while I might like planning out a lesson on the moon minute by minute, the kids don’t like me telling them what to do. In fact they were ornery and uninterested in my lesson, I was frustrated with their lack of participation and enthusiasm (I mean, come on, I just want to educate you about this fascinating object that inhabits the night sky, just sit down and listen!), and we gave up on the whole preschool thing after a couple of months.

I’ve kind of learned my lesson. Now, I try to just ask them, “What are you interested in learning?” Then we go learn about that thing. I give them my time, and I let them fill it with ideas. The other night we played with a candle and talked about why fire needs oxygen, that it is the wax that is burning to create the fire, that you can relight a candle by touching a flame to smoke, and how wax is solid at room temperature, but liquid at higher temperatures. Just a warning: you have to be prepared to hear “why” a lot, but that’s the fun of it!

Planning was stopping me from really learning with my kids…not the lack of planning, but the planning itself.

What about you? What stops you from learning with your kids? What interests your kids?

See this post on the After School Activities Link Party:

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