We began the day with free play stations of Cuisinaire Rods, Attribute Blocks, File Folder games, and the car rug and cars. I purposely didn't put the babies out today because I have found that once I put those out, that's all Flossie wants to do, and I wanted to encourage her to do some other things first. She asked me several times to get them out, and I told her we would do it later. Sure enough, when I finally relented, she didn't want to stop playing with them to do any of our other activities. The other kids were even painting, and she reluctantly came over to paint, but would not complete her picture later or be in the picture with her lion mask because she didn't want to stop playing babies. Not sure what to do with this. I don't want her to be unhappy or feel like she' s being punished. Preschool should be fun and play-oriented. She IS only 3 after all. Maybe I'll just make sure there is "Baby Time" every day and she knows when that is, so she gets her time to do that but knows it can't last all day. We'll have to experiment.
Anyway, Cuisinaire Rods are math manipulatives that can be used from preschool through highschool. A good explanation of their use is found here. At their most basic level they can be used simply as blocks. The other day we used the jumbo set. Today we used the regular size set which are about the size of their fingers. I built a stair case on the mat just to see if they would copy it. Flossie ignored it and used the blocks to build a tower and then a corral type structure. Freddie copied the stairs but upside down and backward! Kind of interesting. Jem ignored the stairs and made an interesting design. I think this came from him using the pattern block a lot.
Attribute Blocks are shape blocks that come in different colors , sizes, shapes, and thicknesses so that they can be sorted according to those attributes. This was the first time I had them out so it was just a chance for them to be felt and played with and experimented with. There is a good description here of how they can be used. I am trying to teach the kids too that when they have something on a mat, those materials need to stay on the mat to be used there. It's a Montessori thing. For one, it encourages them to respect the materials. Two, it gives someone like Flossie a chance to work with the materials on her own, in her own time, without having Freddie sort of take over and show her how it's done :)
I made a ton of File Folder games years ago when the kids were little. They are so easy to bring along with you, and when Bella was going to dance class or to co-op, or Girl Scouts or something, I always had little ones tagging along needing to be entertained. I of course saved them (not sure why) and am so glad I did, because I just dug them out of the pit, and put them to good use today :) Most of the preschool ones are just one to one matching games for colors, numbers, and letters. But I also have some that are for the next stage where for instance you match the Upper case letter to the lower case letter or you match the written number to a picture that has the correct number of items. Then I have some for Jem's age that have math problems and answers and phonics games. They are fun to pull out for a change every now an then. This is where I got my original ones. I found lots more just by searching the internet and then by making up my own. The kids had fun with them today.
For "school" today we started with some Math work. We had two worksheets they did with their dry erase markers and erasers. One was working on tracing the numbers 1,2, and 3. The other had me asking them to find a number from 1 to 10 and they could circle it or trace it. Neither of them can yet recognize any numbers besides 1. Freddie has the idea down that he can count from 1 to find out which one I want. Flossie still isn't quite sure about this. She can do it, but needs help. That's all normal for their ages. We'll just keep doing what we're doing and eventually they will learn them :)
In my search for materials, I came across another set of Montessori wooden number tiles, so now I have a set for each of them. They did some more counting. Freddie used sea animal erasers this time and Flossie used the bugs. Freddie got through his faster and mostly without mistakes, but said at the end that he was sweaty! Hard work! Flossie checked with me throughout and so needed help with it. I had hoped they could do it on their own as Jem needed help with a beehive project he was working on. Scout was on the computer working on her snapping turtle report. At one point I had her asking me how to spell "appearance," Flossie asking me if she had enough bugs for number 7, Freddie asking me "what next?", and Jem telling me he needed 6 more yellow cells for his beehive! Somehow, the juggling act worked, but it was a little dicey there for awhile.
After all of this, I finally relented and let Flossie play babies. That was about the last I saw of her :) Freddie and I did some work with consonant cards I found at Homeschool Creations. He did really well with it. We were comparing Letter B sound cards with Letter L words. I made some more cards so maybe I can try to get Flossie to do it tomorrow. We also made a big door sign that says "L is for" and put some pictures up of things we have talked about or activities we have done. So he helped me glue a few things on there like a lollipop, a lion, a ladybug, and lemonade. (I forgot to mention we had lemonade and popcorn for snack). We will add to this as we do more "L" things.
Scout really wanted to help the little kids do their art project today so I left it in her hands. I told her what my plan was, and let her go with it. They made hand-print lions. She did it a little differently than I would have, but overall, I think they turned out pretty cute.