Saturday, September 10, 2016

Lilly Belle Does Preschool | Good Night, Gorilla Unit

We were really excited to start the Simply Learning Kids Good Night, Gorilla unit with Lilly Belle. Living next door to Walt Disney World Resort, we have a lot of learning opportunities and resources for her. We are Disney Annual PassHolders and visit Walt Disney World Resort all the time! When we saw this book on our literature unit list, we knew we wanted to do a lot at Disney's Animal Kingdom to teach her more about Africa and the animals who live there. Our plans were changed a bit with really bad storms and using some of our time to babysit for our friend's kids on Labor Day. But, we still had a lot of fun with the unit and she learned a lot!!

Key Process Art. Lilly Belle was given some old keys and paint and was told she could do whatever she wanted with them to make art. Once she realized she could use the end of the keys to scrap the paint, she really enjoyed this. Before then, it frustrated her a bit.

We had a busy morning with her 3 year old appointment and in the top right picture she told me, "I. Am. Exhausted!" and then lay on the table like this...
I made her some really neat playdough using Jell-O. She has played with it a lot over the past two weeks! We talked a lot about the 7 continents and found a really cute little kids rap on YouTube and she can now tell you all 7 continents and where they are. We keep hearing her singing it to herself at night while laying in bed, it's adorable.

Lilly Belle loved this! I "hid" her alphabet flash cards around the house and then we closed all the blinds and turned off the lights. We got her a flashlight and she had so much fun going around the house to find each of the letters. She wasn't allowed to remove the letter until she told us the letter or asked us what it was and repeated it for us. We played this a couple times this week and I noticed her remembering more and more letters. She can now tell us most of their sounds as well.

We made her a keychain filled with old keys and then we made some animal cages for her TOOB safari animals. She really enjoyed putting them to bed in their cages and locking them up. She has continued to play with the keys since we gave these to her. She loves dramatic play! She is so good at it too. Her imagination is beautiful.

This craft was adorable. She loved making the gorillas and G was a letter she has had a hard time remembering so I was glad to have it as our letter of the week for her.
I have started adding a lot of educational YouTube videos to our daily learning. With my limited activity, we unfortunately watch more TV than we normally do. Usually we try to limit her to 1 hour/day and now sadly sometimes we have the TV on for 2 or 3 hours/day. It's never her jus sitting staring at it, except a bit in the morning, but I love knowing that what is on is educational and that she is engaged and learning. She loved playing her drum along with these African Drummers and Dancers! Before our unit I spend a lot of time searching YouTube for videos that I think she will learn from and enjoy.

Our time together at our preschool CO-OP, Bloom, has been interesting with her. She is always so used to me being the one leading the group for really all of our activities together. I have always been her dance teacher. I was the owner of FIT4MOM here and taught 95% of the Stroller Strides classes she attended. And now, I am the owner,  director and lead teacher at Bloom, her preschool. For her, she wants to lead too. Which is beautiful and amazing in all of it's own ways, but I really would love for her to just be a kid and PLAY and participate. Her favorite thing to do during school is...her own thing. When I am leading circle time, she is off exploring or re-organizing our "classroom" to her own liking before the kids get to begin playing. I am hoping that as time goes on that she will begin to participate more and more. My mom asked her after school, "how was your day at school?" Her reply was, "I was good. I did whatever I wanted to do." Yep...true statement. Not necessarily to my liking. I'm okay with her exploring and playing, of course, but I also want her to learn to listen and follow directions when it is appropriate to do so. She just turned 3...I probably need to cut her some slack ;)

This flashlight glitter craft irritated her. The glue wasn't squeezing from the bottle very well and the glitter was slow to come out of the shaker...I pretty much ended up completing this one for her. She LOVED the silly eyes matching activity though!! She also really likes to do her Stamp It, Poke It, Write It worksheets.

Seeing all of her art and worksheets displayed on her door makes us all so proud and happy. She really loves to just stand in front of her door and look at her work or to show anyone who comes over. A new activity that she has really begun to enjoy is drawing! She draws on her doodle board almost every night while trying to fall asleep. It is her favorite quiet time activity. She will sit in her room just belly laughing and cracking herself up at her drawings! Every now and then, one will just be too funny to not share with Mommy & Daddy so she'll run out to ask us to see. I take pictures of them when I can because they are definitely pretty funny! I love it!

She has loved to practice cutting. She is really good with a scissors and enjoys using them. She rocked this cutting and sorting activity out. Sometimes she will get a bit bored with our worksheets and activities so I have to work at adding some challenges to them for her. Another fun activity we did was taking her little safari animals and making animal tracks with them and then giving them all a bath. She loved the bath part! She sat there giving her animals a bath for a good 30 minutes.
 I was blown away when we did her Letter Sound Clip Cards this week! I did NOT know that she knew her letter sounds. I would ask her "What letter does Key start with?" and she would just put that clip right on and give me a look like..."mom...really?" She did them all in less than 5 minutes and got them all correct without hesitation. We have not pushed reading or her letters really because I feel it is so important that it is something she does in her own time (especially because she JUST turned 3), but she is off to a great start. It's fun to see her enjoy it so much lately.
I made her a little cutting center because she has enjoyed practicing her cutting skills so much. She has construction paper with different lines, some paper straws, and foam with different designs. I will always change these up for her a bit. When she's in the right mood, she really likes having quiet time with this activity.

One of her favorite things is when Matt does school with her. He is now working from home full-time, but is at his computer with his headphones on for most of the day. Of course she will run up to him to show him things or ask him questions and he helps us as much as he can, because that is why he's working from home, but she craves his attention when he's done working for the day. They baked a cake together to practice math. Math is going to be his thing with her because it's not what I am best at, but he is very good at it. She loves math time with Daddy.
Even on the weekends she wants to do school and Matt and I have to get really creative coming up with new activities for her. We are homebound a lot lately because of my current pregnancy limitations so we do a LOT of school time. Which she loves. We made a little science experiment for her by adding vinegar and food coloring to glasses and then putting popsicle sticks and q-tips inside to see if the color would dye them. She loved it!! We kept them there all weekend and she loved going to check on them throughout the day.

We took a family outing to Animal Kingdom for a few hours. We had her play the drums in Africa, and then spent a LOT of time at Rafiki's Planet Watch. While we were there she met Rafiki, Chip & Dale, saw a snake show as well as a parrot show. She was very interested in the parrot and even stayed after the show to ask the trainer some questions that she came up with. Her big one was "who teaches the parrots how to fly?" And then, "How come this parrot's mommy did not teach him how to fly?" We were probably in there for an hour just learning. I love RPW!

Here she is touching one of the parrot's feathers. She talked about the parrot for the rest of the weekend. We also then took her to see Festival of the Lion King. She was incredibly sad because we were sitting in the front (I'm in my wheelchair) but was not chosen to dance around with the kids in the parade. There were lots...and lots of tears!
We've been sneaking in a few apple activities here and there too as we are now in September.

She half loved this project and half didn't care at all. I think it overwhelmed her a bit to think she had to sit there and cover the entire continent with noodles. I helped her a lot to fill it up and then she was cool with it.
The cutting activity turned into a HUGE hit! She was only suppose to cut the animals out of their strips of paper. She then wanted to sort them, so she put them all into piles by match. She then wanted to count them all so we made them into a graph. She then wanted to glue them, so I got her a blank book and we turned it into a counting book! She loved it and we loved watching how excited she was to learn and the hard work she was putting into this project.

Here she is at our 2nd week of Bloom for this unit. In the top left photo she was doing our Group Cooperative activity for this month which is to take pool noodles, find the matching poms, and push them with the noodle to their matching colored mat. She much prefers to pick up as many as she can of  the colors and bring them over to the mat. One of the sensory bins for this month is water beads with some safari animals and scoopers and she could sit her for the entire 30 minutes of center time and be perfectly happy. We really need to buy her some for here at home!
The highlight of school this week were the two police officers who visited us. Lilly Belle was not shy at all and loved telling them as much as she could possibly think to tell them. Which included telling them that when she turns 4 she will be a Jedi, that she had a Cinderella birthday, that her Uncle Clint is a detective, and that she does NOT like to ride her scooter down hills!

Matt thinks of some fun things to do with her. He's good at going into our homeschool drawers, finding something, and making a fun activity for her. They sat there tracing the rug design with the beads for a while and then played some serious living room basketball together after work one day.
Lilly Belle did such a good job at her 3-Part Cards! She did this in about 5 minutes and was a little bored with it so I asked her to tell me what letter the all started with as well and not just have her matching them all.

A couple times this week I failed a bit at prepping our curriculum and having it ready for her, or she did not want to do what was planned so I got out our file folder box that I worked on all summer filling with busy activities for her. She liked both this scarecrow match file folder game as well as this finish the pattern activity. The playdough has continued to be a hit and I've tried to find as many different ways as I can to have her play with it. She sat on the kitchen table playing with playdough as she watched a 45-minute documentary about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

It was another amazing 2 weeks of school with her. We are really loving doing preschool at home with her. She is learning so much! I am so thankful to have this time with her.

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