Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Preschool Week of 12/29 (or "Great Toys My Kid Got for Christmas")

Wow! Christmas is over... Time really does go by faster the older you get, and the older your children get... We had a wonderful holiday. We didn't do much school, but we did spend lots of time playing with new toys, many of which were educational.

First, the school stuff we did.

Our Before Five in a Row reading this week was The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. We used this to lead us into a science unit on plants. We did lots of experiments with plants and seeds. First, we talked about the fact that roots are like straws, and Crumpet had a blast pretending to be a plant sucking water up through his roots (straw). We set a celery stalk in blue water and saw that the blue water reached the top of the stalk within a few hours.

We grew some radish seeds on a wet sponge:
We grew bean seeds in soil:
And we grew bean seeds on a wet paper towel:
We also put carrot tops in water, and they are starting to grow itty bitty green shoots. I really didn't think it would work! Next, we'll do some experiments with the beans in soil comparing light/dark and wet/dry environments.

I froze paint and made paint popsicles. I got this idea here. These came out really well, and I enjoyed the way they paint. Unfortunately, Crumpet really had no interest, and wanted to play popsicle salesman instead.

I read through my McRuffy phonics curriculum, and I like it, but I think it's directed at older kids. I decided to try Progressive Phonics for now, which I've read a lot about at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. We started with the very first lesson which includes a little reading about Dod the Dog. The child is supposed to read the words in red which are Dod and Dog. This a pretty amusing process with Crumpet for two reasons. First, he has trouble pronouncing g so both words sound pretty similar coming from him, and it's hard to know if he's saying the right thing! Second, he just guesses what direction the story is going to take, and when I pause for him to read his word, he tells me the whole story. When I steer him back to the word, he does seem to get it right though, and he was really entertained by the first story. We'll practice this one all week, and try another next week.

Now, on to fun toys Crumpet got for Christmas:

I have been waiting to buy this Motor Works set from Discovery Toys for 2 years now. I wanted Crumpet to be old enough to use it. It comes with the parts to make 3 vehicles, plus a battery powered screwdriver, and a manual one. It is a little bit complicated for him still, but with a little help, he can put them all together. The use of screws and tools is great for fine motor development, and he loves the fact that he has his own power tool!
I read some good things about the Beethoven's Wig series of CD's, and Crumpet and I listened to some snippets at Amazon. These are very silly songs set to famous pieces of classical music. The second half of the CD contains the music on its own. The silly words really help make classical music approachable. And, beware, it makes it impossible to get the songs out of your head. Crumpet loves classical music anyway, and he adores this CD. He would not let me stop playing it the day we opened it, and I had dreams about the songs...
I've wanted a geoboard for a while, and I found this one at Amazon. It's a small, sturdy board and it came with a set of cards showing some ideas of easy pictures to make on the geoboard. Crumpet is already getting the hang of copying the designs. And of course, there are tons of open-ended play options with this.
The above things are really my favorite Christmas presents. Here is Crumpet's favorite toy:
He had asked Santa for a garbage truck with bins to lift and dump, and he talked about it all month. Fortunately, Santa found the perfect truck ;) with lots of exciting functions. Crumpet sleeps with this truck...
And here is my boy the night before Christmas. He was completely out of his mind, he was so excited.
Happy New Year!


  1. I love your plant experiments - how very exciting, especially in the middle of the winter. This geoboard book looks so-so tempting. It's terrible, but I find so many ideas for more toys and games after Christmas just by reading blogs. I need another excuse for buying presents pronto.
    Good luck on Progressive Phonics! I hope it will work with Crumpet. Anna loved most of the stories - this was one of the reasons that attracted me to the program in the first place.

  2. The Geoboard book looks fantastic..... running away to find one to order. ;-)

  3. Progressive Phonics, does it have pictures ?

    " When I pause for him to read his word, he tells me the whole story. "

    My son is the same. If there are pictures he will spend more time trying to read them than the words. So we use the white board, chalk board, magnets on the fridge, etc. To practice our new sound, words and sentences. In the evening he reads to me before bed, then I read to him hehe.

    No matter what I tried, two of my children just didn't understand blending until much later.

    Quince has some trouble pronouncing some words too, sometimes it is really cute. ;-)

  4. I haven't seen geoboard pictures as well.
    And you had some cool seed experiments too.