After taking the summer off, Ethan and I were both so eager to get back into tot school. This was the fall where most of Ethan's peers -- the ones born before the cut-off, anyway -- began VPK. Because we decided to redshirt him a year due to his summer birthday, he did not start VPK and instead began another year of homeschool preschool at home with me. I'm grateful for this time together and also a little weepy about it being our last official "school year" together but, what can I say, I'm a sap.
Ethan had mentioned (like, four hundred times) before tot school started that he wanted to learn about fish. He had so many big questions about fish, the ocean and other aquatic critters so it seemed like a good place to start. My plan for this year of tot school is to keep each theme lasting two weeks. This will give us ample time to explore everything in detail instead of rushing through. However, I'll be changing up the trays each week, while keeping with the theme, so there are always fresh, new activities. We wrapped up the first week of our ocean theme and so far everything has been going swimmingly (pun totally intended).
1. FISH COUNTING & NUMBER RECOGNITION FINE MOTOR ACTIVITY
For this one, I printed out some cards with different amounts of fish on each one. Ethan's job was to count the fish, determine which number matched up with the number of fish present and then use the clothespin by placing it on top of the correct number. Usually Ethan tends to be less enthused by number and counting activities but he really enjoyed this one and working with the clothespins was an added fine motor bonus.
2. SALTWATER & FRESHWATER SINK/FLOAT EXPERIMENT
For this one, Ethan got to make a hypothesis as to which items would sink or float in the freshwater and saltwater. This one was a fun one and taught us that saltwater is more dense than freshwater. Ethan loved how the egg sunk in the freshwater and floated up in the saltwater.
3. PARTS OF A FISH MAGNET BOARD
Using magnet tape to back everything, I set up this little tray on a round cake pan. We learned about the different parts of a fish and the purposes of each. Ethan also worked to sound out each word and place them on the corresponding parts of the fish.
4. FISH SENTENCE STRUCTURE PRACTICE
Among Ethan's many questions about fish was about their sleep habits. I printed out some sentences about fish (and their sleeping habits!) and Ethan and I worked on identifying the parts of a sentence. For added letter writing practice, some of the words on our sheet were dotted lines so he could do some tracing.
5. JELLYFISH CUTTING PRACTICE
Ethan is really into using his scissors these days, so he had a blast with this jellyfish cutting practice tray. His job was to cut along the dotted lines to get to the jellyfish.
6. NUMBER WRITING PRACTICE - OCEAN STYLE
For this one, we practiced writing the numbers 10-30. Up until this point, we had solely practiced writing the numbers 1-10. I filled up a gallon sized bag with some blue hair gel from the dollar store -- this was our ocean -- and Ethan got to have some fun sensory writing practice by using his finger to write the numbers on the ocean bag.
7. JELLYFISH IN A BOTTLE ACTIVITY
We used this tutorial from PBS to create our jellyfish in a bottle. I set everything up ahead of time so Ethan could independently work on assembling his jellyfish in a bottle activity, which he loved!
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