Tot School: Bugs and letter A

Sam is the 3rd child, and as the 3rd he wants to be included in things we do.  However, we are often needing to focus on things, with big brother or sister, that he can't grasp yet.  So I have decided to set out things in hopes to keep him busy.

This week big brother and sister are learning about insects and nature in general.  So Sam got a sensory bin of bugs and "dirt", going along with b4FIAR, ABC Bunny.   (he doesn't really put things in his mouth, so we're comfortable with this).  I just kept it super simple - a bag of black beans and big brother's plastic bugs and broken bug box (the lid is missing).  Later I added a "Gator Grabber Tweezer" and a magnifying glass.

He adores the book, ABC Bunny, and was often going thru it on his own.

I also printed off some things just for him, using the completely awesome "Zoomin Movin Alphabet".  I mean, he's a boy.  He loves anything with wheels.

This week we began with letter A, for Ambulance.

At this age (he's only 23 months), I'm not concerned with him learning sounds or letters.  It's more about him feeling included and having fun with us.  He knows what crayons, paints, and markers do and if he sees big brother or sister with any of the sort, he wants it too.  If he does learn his letters, bonus.  If not, there's always next year.

I gave him a stamper and said once, "ah" as I stamped, to show him.  He then continued saying "ah" periodically.  :)     (here's my instagram share that shows the video .... I can't figure out how to turn just the video to share only that.)

He also joined big brother during science.  He was pestering and grabbing at Connor's pencil, so I put him in a chair and gave him another paper from the Ambulance printable pack.  This boy loves to color.  He was there in that chair for quite some time, just scribbling.  (he's using sisters "twistables" crayon, which is perfect since it's good and sturdy.

Sam was still in that same chair when it was art time with Connor and Emma.  They were making bugs with playdough and he thought that was just great fun too!

On the day Emma was learning about The Starry Night, Sam wanted to be paint too.  So we got out the Crayola finger paints and he painted too.  Plus he painted big brother's science paper.  So helpful.  ;)
Sam is a big fan of Kinetic Sand.  This is big brother's sand, but every once in while Sam will win the lottery and Connor leaves it out.  Since he loves it so much I decided to let him have it this time.  (Again, I don't worry with him putting things in his mouth and he was supervised at all times).  He loves the feel of it running through his fingers.
Sam is my lover of music and art.  This boy wants to color all day, every day.  And if he isn't coloring he requests music.  (he absolutely loves Music for Mozarts).  So it was no surprise when we went outside that Sam decided to help Emma with her porch artwork.
Linking up with:

ABC Bunny {b4FIAR}

This post contains affiliate links, which means I might receive 4% if you make a purchase using these links. Affiliate links will be shown with an asterisk (*) beforehand, to clarify.

The ABC Bunny is a cute, simple yet energetic (and musical!) alphabet book.  We "rowed" this, using b4FIAR, with a 23 month old, a 4 year old, and a 7 year old.  I really wanted to focus on the 4 yr old this year, so here we are with b4FIAR!  Also, click here to read how I brought this up to a 2nd grade level for Connor.

We focused on orderliness this week.  Lots of various readings of Creation.  My favorite was the Jesus Storybook Bible reading.  Also, starting our *Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions worked out perfect this week.  I just love these devotionals.  We have the kindle version, but I wish we had ordered the hard copy - it is such a treasure!

We listened to *Songs for Saplings: 123, number 14, In the Beginning.

We used the verse printables from Homeschool Creations; Genesis 1:1

The site Christian Preschool Printables is also so helpful to us.  We used part of their Creation set, the "Days of Creation File Folder Game".

 For extra reading we read:

*The Berenstain Bears Discover God's Creation - reinforcing the need for nature, not electronics.  My kids got a kick out of Papa Bear at the end of this much needed tale.
*Jillian Jiggs - a humorous tale of a very creative girl who just can't take a break to clean up.  "Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs, it looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!"  (this was Emma's favorite read this week).
Language Arts:

I always find a fair amount of books, from our own library and the public one, to put in a basket on the floor.  This is why:

I found great go-along books:
*Discovering Nature's Alphabet by Krystina Castella.  The kids adored this book and when we went on a nature walk they were so enthusiastic (no prompting) to find letters in nature.
*Step Gently Out - poetry and photography, I was in love.  The kids?  Not so much.  lol.

finding letters in nature
Back at home, we played with an alphabet puzzle (I think I found it at the $ store).  We also tried out the read/build/write from Homeschool Creations.  Emma is really into cats right now so I encouraged her to do the "kitten" card.  She insisted we needed "pink kitty" instead.  Then that was that for spelling practice.  She's only 4, so there's no rush.  I offered, she wasn't interested, and that is perfectly okay.

She did do, and enjoy, the "a book" from 100 Sight Word Mini-Book.

For science I had chosen for the kids to learn about insects, so the nursery rhyme this week was "itsy bitsy spider".  Over at KizClub there are tons of adorable props and learning tools you can find, like this one, shown below, for the Itsy Bitsy Spider.  Emma thought it was so funny to add in all the rhymes while reciting the nursery rhyme.

Math/Science:  (I found they sort of overlap each other)
*1 Is One by Tasha Tudor - I felt this was a perfect match for The ABC Bunny (especially if you're camping while rowing this book!).   It's a beautifully illustrated "living math" book, set in nature. 

One day we played with *Busy Bugs Learning Set (patterning) and we also did a cat pattern from PreKinders.  Emma preferred to color the cat, adding a dress and legs to the bottom.  The end result was quite amusing. 

We did several worksheets from, based on insects.  Also we did sing-a-long science "what would we do without bugs", listening to the song, doing the accompanying sheet, then we placed ABC stickers in order.

With Emma we're starting to do a weather notebook.  She loves this.


One day we made playdough insects

Another day we made fingerprint bugs (and animals) with *Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book.  This was Emma's absolute favorite this week.  When it was time to return this book to the library, she was so upset.

And yet another day, we used The Usborne Art Treasury to look at van Gogh's Starry Night.  (suggested in the manual).  Emma says hers was "a very huge Emma with pink trees!"

Go Along:

*Rabbits & Raindrops - this would be the perfect go along book!

We read books on fireflies (because of the bug theme we were doing, and because we would be camping and how fun would it be to end the week with a firefly hunt!?)

There is just so much you could trail off to do with the ABC Bunny.  We could have easily spent a month just on this one book, if we wanted.  We only trailed off to learn about bugs (because we would soon be camping), but there's so much more to do! 

Looking for more ideas? (as if that wasn't plenty, ha!)

Linking up with:

FIAR Link-Up @ Delightful Learning

Weekly Wrap-Up

Next up:  Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey


Storm in the Night {FIAR}

We rowed Storm in the Night as our last row of the year.  To be honest, this was not our favorite book.  We  read it once, and that was that.   I'm not saying you shouldn't read it.  It is worth a read, and has a good lesson, however for us, at the kids' ages and personalities now, it just wasn't a good fit because of the long dialog between Grandfather and Thomas.  It was just long and hard to follow, and my kids lost interest fast.  We did have lots of related fun though, sticking to the theme of storm.  (maybe it'd be better suited for 2nd grade and up?)

We rowed this for 1st grade and a preschool tag-a-long.

It could be that we were just coming off our crazy week of sickness and ER visits, that we just couldn't get focused this week.  That, and end of the year burnout.  We stuck mainly to the manual, keeping things simple and easy.  (We usually do much more, by choice).

with FIAR, volume 1


We focused on the verse, "In God I trust; I will not be afraid", Psalm 56:11.  We used the completely adorable bible verse printables at Homeschool Creations for this.  (I just love the shaking turtle!)

We also listened to Seeds of Courage, song 12 "Do Not Fear", using these printable visuals to go-along.


We read The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola.  Again, this one seemed better suited for an older grade (my oldest was 1st grade/7 yrs).  We kept it brief, just basically learning that different clouds mean different things and have different names.  I printed out a cool poster to hang on our cork board to try to get Connor to look at it during the week and maybe pick up some tidbits.  He was having none of it.  Poor kid was just as burnt out as I was!  So, again, we kept things simple and I didn't push anything.

I did capture his attention with a homemade barometer.  He would call to anyone walking by, "I HAVE A NEW BAROMETER!"  Bless his little heart.

We used the Usborne 100 Science Experiments , page 67.  I was looking for something (anything!) to do, weather related, that we had all supplies for and this hit the mark perfectly.

The notes I read said it may take up to a day to show movement, but ours was an overachiever and showed in less than 10 minutes! 

We checked again the next day and it had moved to the low mark.  I asked Connor if he thought it was accurate.  "yep!"


We kept it simple with water coloring for the younger crowd.  This was Sam's second time water coloring and he loved it just as much as the first time.

We also enjoyed the little rhyme, It's Raining It's Pouring, from This Reading Mama


We are avid readers here.  I've mentioned that before right!?  lol

I just love our new "system" for the weeks' books.  I'll just place them in the basket and the sponges (kids) come soak them up at random throughout the week.

In our basket this week:

The Scariest Thing of All , by Debi Gliori.  This was the favorite library find.  It's about a little rabbit, Yip, who's just afraid of everything (or most things) - until he gets lost.  It is just such a cute3 book to address fears and perceptions (of scary things that aren't truly scary( and overcoming those fears.

Storm Song, by Nancy Viau, was also well received by the kids.  It has 3 kids (which my kids quickly named for themselves) who wait out a storm together.  Great for the onomatopoeia.

Franklin and the Thunderstorm by Paulette Bourgeois.  This is a favorite of ours to read during a thunderstorm.

Last, we had our own various non-fiction storm books of thunder and lightening.  And we can't forget Scardey Squirrel!

And that's a wrap!

Looking for more?
A really cute umbrella craft with weather sounds
Rainy Day preK pack at This Reading Mama
Rainy Day preK/K pack at Money Saving Mom
It's always a treat to check out the happenings over at Delightful Learning
40 page weather unit (ages 3-9) at 123 Homeschool For Me

Linking up with:

FIAR Link-Up @ Delightful Learning
Weekly Wrap-Up

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