Friday, November 22, 2013

Preschool week 12 (letter Hh, number 6 and Gideon)

For this week we covered a lot for our Bible story. We covered the letter Hh, number 6 and the story of Gideon. After reading through the story of Gideon in the Bible I wasn't sure how to go about teaching it to Oliver. Everywhere I looked for resources the only part covered of the story was the very end when he used torches to march around the city. There is SO much more to the story and it's awesome how God worked through this man, and prepared him to lead. So I decided to break up the story through several days and focus on different parts each day. The first day we covered the part where God spoke to Gideon by causing fire to come out of a rock.
I had Oliver find a rock and we tore up orange tissue paper and glued it down to the rock (with only elmers glue too!)

The next day we read about the fleece Gideon put out on two nights asking God for a sign (one night the fleece stayed dry and the ground was wet, the next night the ground was dry and the fleece was wet). I tried to explain this to Oliver as it's something he doesn't quite understand, seeing how I am not able to create a miracle (ha!). To physically show this, I got two pans. One had water in it and Oliver dropped a napkin in it to watch how it got wet. The next pan was dry and I put a napkin in it and let Oliver put water on it. I explained how they both got wet and how God was able to make a miracle by keeping the parts dry that shouldn't be. Oliver may not have understood this, but he enjoyed doing the physical activity. I know once he's older he'll understand :)

Another day we focused on the next part of the story, when God had Gideon separate out his men that would go into battle with him. Gideon had thousands of men for his army, but God wanted him to take them to the river and watch how they drank the water. If the men were down on the ground, drinking water directly out of the stream they would not be chosen. The men that used their hands to cup water up to their mouths would be part of his army. This dwindled the number of men down to merely 300. I'm amazed at how few God required, but it showed how great He was and that it was not on account of men that they defeated the Midianites.
I had Oliver build a stream out of his legos, then showed him how the men were chosen by how they drank from the stream. He liked practicing this one, but only a couple times, then he was done! It was a good visual I think.

Our final part of the story. We read through the final part when Gideon led his men around the camp of the Midianites, blew their trumpets and broke their pitchers to reveal their lanterns. The Midianites were defeated by simple shouting, but by the mighty work of God. I helped Oliver create a torch and trumpet, using some paint, glue, tissue paper and toilet paper rolls. I have to admit we never finished his torch as we were letting the paint dry, but that's okay. Oliver didn't seem to mind as we became busy with other things!

And for our letter Hh I did something recommended from ABCJLM. I took a mirror out and had Oliver  breathe the "h" sound into it until he saw it fog up on the mirror. It was a great way for him to make the sound correctly and he continually says it correctly whenever I ask him what sound "H" makes. A great way to learn it! And he worked on the number 6, with some play doh, a favorite. I helped roll them out, as he's not that good with fine motor skills yet, but he's getting better at it.

Finally this week we started making thankful leaves in honor of the month of November with Thanksgiving. I cut out some leaf shapes in construction paper and strung up some yarn for us to tape them to. We are daily writing new things we are thankful for on our leaves and it's fun to see the string of leaves get longer and longer. We have so very much to be thankful for. God is so good and I am so grateful for all He has allowed us to have, and all He continues to teach us!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fire Station Tour!

The best toddler trip ever!
Really, we had a great time touring a fire station about a week ago. Oliver is really into cars of any kind at this age and fire trucks are pretty high up on his favorites list.
I had looked up fire stations in our area and called and scheduled a tour. They are free and you can also bring a group. So I invited some other friends to come along.
It was so much fun! The firemen were so polite and friendly and showed us around the fire house. We watched a safety video, and checked out the everyday space the firemen lived in (they actually stay on shifts for 24 hours). I love the unity and family aspect they convey. Living in the same space so long, cooking meals and doing chores together (they actually rotate what chores they do each week, it was window washing day when we were there) can't help but bring these firemen together. It was a really neat experience.
Plus the boys were able to see some big shiny firetrucks, a police car and a police bike. The officers were so kind to my boys (to all of us that were there, really) and I got to sit in a fire truck!
Granted there wasn't a dalmation dog keeping watch, or a fire pole to slide down, but I guess I've read to many books :)
The boys had a great time. And it was free! I am thinking I'd like to bring some baked goods to them in the near future. It will be fun to do something for them to let them know we appreciate them.

Preschool Week 11 (Gg, 5, Bible story of Jericho)

For week 11 we focused on the letters Gg, the number 5 and the story of Jericho in the Bible. 
For a Jericho craft, I used the printout from ABCJLM and had Oliver color it, then cut out some pieces of paper to glue down on the wall pictured in the illustration. I thought it would be a good exercise for his fine motor skills, since we haven't used his scissors in a while. He enjoyed cutting and did pretty good with it. I started the cuts for him so that it wasn't such a large cumbersome piece for him. Then he glued them all down. 

I also used a free printout I found online that had G for goat, and a bunch of other G (and goat) things with it. One was sequencing, where I had Oliver match the largest to smallest goat picture with the correct numbers (1 with the biggest, 2 with the middle etc.). He did pretty well with it. 

While we were reading about the story of Joshua and Jericho, I was trying to think of something we could do that was creative and hands on for Oliver to really remember the story. I finally decided on boxes. Ha!
I pulled a bunch of boxes out of storage (are we the only ones that tend to save perfectly good boxes for   future use?) and stacked them up. Then we talked through the details of the story ( 7 days marching around the walls of Jericho, until the 7th day) and on the 7th day, after marching around 7 times they made a bunch of noise and God pushed those walls down! And at that point Oliver shouted and knocked down the "wall" of Jericho. He loved it so much! This was a fun way for him to be involved in the story, and he LOVES being an active part. He wanted to do it over and over, and started to build it by himself, including some cars, a stuffed animal and anything else that would fit on the "wall". (also take note of his baby brothers fascination with mom taking pictures, ha!) So much fun!

And finally, I used some more goat printouts. This one had about 12 different goats with a new color name printed on each one (in corresponding color). I let Oliver find the matching crayon for each one and color the square that had that color. I remember trying something similar to this with him months ago and he had no interest, and gave up easily. His attention span and observation has grown so much since then, and I can clearly see that while he colored away at these! It's neat to watch him grow in these areas, and also good to remember that there will be things he isn't interested in right now, but may change in another month or two. 

Pumpkin Patch

As I mentioned a few posts back, we took a trip to a pumpkin patch this past month. It was a beautiful, clear, blue sky kind of day and we had a wonderful time. Last year we started this tradition and had such a great time, decided to keep it as our annual fall trip. Because we live in a pretty urban setting, driving out to a farm was a breath of fresh air (literally!). The boys could roam freely in the open country space, and they loved it. It reminded me of my growing up years, as I was raised in the country.
I shared these photos on our website here.
I loved the oranges and blues in these photos (and the sweet faces of my dear family)!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Preschool Week 9 and 10 (letter F, number 6, the ten commandments)

This I am actually a few weeks behind posting.
As we are actually in week 12 as I write, I know that I have become a little more relaxed in our day to day the past couple weeks. And it happens. I've had several things in my life that have taken me away from so much focus on schooling. We still do our schooling, but it was not as planned out as it had been when we first started.
This weekend I finally felt like I was at a place where I could sit and think through our upcoming week and really plan for it. I had to say no to some things so that I could focus on my "lesson plans" (I say that very loosely!). I love teaching Oliver and whenever I sit and think through our week I get so excited about how many things I can include in our everyday. Pinterest is such a great source for me for helping in my planning. When I know we will be working on a specific Bible story I can look up related ideas for crafts for it. Or for our letter of the week, or number. And since it's fall, with Thanksgiving approaching, there are numerous things we can include in our days that relate to that. So much fun!
The biggest thing that I notice about taking time to plan is that I feel better, and prepared mentally for Monday morning. My preparation makes our days smoother and Oliver knows what will come next. Now that he's three he really thrives on a consistent schedule. He has a lot of play time in the day, but he really enjoys our time together having "school time". He gets so excited to work on new projects together.
But for weeks 9 and 10:
Week 9 was review of the previous week so there isn't much in pictures of that. Week 10 was the letters Ff, number 5 and the Bible story, Moses and the 10 commandments.
I had Oliver work on drawing Ff and 6. We also did a few "f" crafts. This one was making the letter f into a frog. He glued down all the parts to a letter f. I showed him where they would go and let him use the glue to make it all happen. He did great, even with the excessive amounts of glue! :)

I also pulled out our chalkboard to let him draw f with chalk. I just love the chalkboard! And it was a new texture for Oliver to use.

We worked on a new game too. I had printed these files from this great site. It has pictures and words that you can match to the corresponding page with the same pictures and words (written in a dashed line). I didn't know how tough this would be for Oliver since he can't read yet. He had to find the matching letters in the words to match them correctly. He surprised me at how well he did. I talked through the letters of the words with him to help him know to look at the first letters in the words to make sure they matched. He is such a smarty pants! He matched them all :)

A little puzzle fun. He still needs help with big puzzles like this, but he really likes puzzles.

This week we were learning about Moses and the ten commandments. To go along with that ABCJLM suggested teaching about rules had this game idea on their site. I found some paper plates in our pantry and we used them as steering wheels for our "cars". We drove around and pretended to come to stop signs while we waited for other cars to pass. I explained to Oliver what would happen if we didn't follow the rules. We would crash and we could get hurt. And we talked about other rules in our lives, both at home and from God. How they keep us safe and protect us. Oliver LOVED driving around and doing this physical activity really grounded what I was trying to teach him. 

We did another F craft that I saw online (failing to remember where now, maybe Pinterest?). I placed a large F and a small f on two separate pieces of paper. I had Oliver find all the small f's on logs and all the large F's on logs and glue them on their matching paper. Then we glued down fire on top of the logs. I helped him with this one since there were so many parts. I had this craft ready to go the day before too since I cut out all the pieces out of construction paper. A cute little f craft!

Finally we ended our week working on a little painting. I had Oliver paint two pieces of paper cut out as rectangles for our ten commandments. When they dried we crinkled them up really good. I had intended to glue them down and write the commandments on them, but we never made it that far. I have them ready to go, so we can pull it out another time :)