Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tot School - Pond Edition

As our real pond comes to life this spring, we've been doing a little indoor pond study ourselves. Mostly with Sam, but the other kids join in, too. It always amazes me how the big kids love listening to the little stories, too. Basically, we started by painting a piece of tag board blue. Then cut out the shape of a pond. Gradually, we read stories and then added animals to our pond. We've painted a lot, which isn't that messy if there's a real purpose behind the painting. With the tag board we used two shades of blue and one paintbrush. I squeezed a dollop of each color right onto the tag board and instructed Sam to spread it around all the way to the edges. Easy peasy and virtually no mess. I've also taught him how to really rinse out a paintbrush. The old way: turn on faucet full blast, stick paint covered paintbrush directly in water stream about 2 inches below faucet head, watch and laugh as colored water sprays all over kitchen window, counters, sink, faucet, self. The cleanup can be messier than the actual painting. I just got a little smarter and decided to teach them how to rinse out the brushes. First, place the paint covered paintbrush in the kitchen sink with the bristles touching the bottom of the sink well, turn on water half way, dab and swirl the brush in the water at the bottom of the sink until the water runs clear. Dab the paintbrush on a paper towel or even the closest washcloth to see if any color is still left. Repeat entire process if needed. Whew! That was a lot of words for a simple procedure.

Back to tot school. Really my tot is not a tot, he's 4 3/4. We read Life in a Pond while the paint dried. Then every couple of days read another pond book and added the appropriate animal.

In the Small Small Pond - 16 colored (with crayons) fish

Scoot! - egg carton turtle

Frog Counts to Ten - paper plate frog

The Noisy Egg - footprint duckling

At the Totally Tots site you will find downloads for the fish and turtle templates and directions for the other animals as well. I used the Totally Tots site as a guide, but did not follow it to a tee. Check out the whole site; they have great ideas for learning the ABCs, bible study, books and online games for tots. Very useful indeed!