Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tot Trays - FINALLY!!

The kids were away for the weekend with Daddy to visit Granny Franny so I finally had a chance to reorganize all our school supplies and set up some trays for Vicki.   Vicki came back a few days earlier than Georgie so I was able give the trays a try without Georgie "helping".

The trays were actually small baskets I bought at the dollar store.  I thought baskets would be easier for her than trays to transport stuff in without spilling.  Plus, the dollar store didn't have trays and I didn't feel like placing an order with Oriental Trading or Rainbow Resource.  I have them set up in a bookcase (from Ikea) with doors on the lower shelves.   The doors will be kept shut and latched except during school time.

I set up five baskets in the cabinet.  The two boxes on the top shelf are puzzle cards - flash cards that are in two pieces and fit together like a puzzle.  We've had these for a couple of years and haven't used them much but I decided they would be a good thing to add to our school day.  They were in the cabinet only because I didn't find another place to put them but these were the first thing Vicki chose (of course).
I couldn't get the picture of the box to orient correctly.  Blogger has decided that is was meant to be sideways so there it stays.  I gave Vicki between 5 and 10 card sets (some were harder than others - simple words and animals were the easiest) and she had a lot of fun putting them together.  When she'd finish, she'd yell "I Won!!"   Evidently that is the cue to mean she's finished with something because she did the same thing after each activity.    I'm going to rotate these into our Tot Tray activities since she enjoyed them so much. 

At first I had to remind her to clean her stuff up and put the basket away but by our second day doing them she had it down pretty good.  The cabinet is at the perfect level for her to be able to look at things, pull them out and put them back by herself.

The next activity she chose was pompoms and colored shot glasses (plastic ones from the dollar store).   She sorted the pompoms by color. 

The second day she played with these she decided she wanted to stack the glasses into a castle and pretend the screw them together using the otoscope from the play doctor kit.  I'm planning to make some magnet pompoms and put them into the Tray rotation with magnet sheets from Making Learning Fun and Confessions of a Homeschooler.   I'll probably also do a sensory bin with pompoms, spoons and scoops.

The next basket had beads, pipe cleaners and an old Parmesan cheese container to hold them steady (I saw this idea on Shannon's Tot School).  She had fun putting the beads on the pipe cleaners and pushing them all the way down into the container. 
The second day I tried to encourage her to make bracelets but she had more fun pushing the pipe cleaners all the way through the beads instead of leaving the beads on them.  She also loved running her fingers through the beads.  These will also be put into rotation with the shot glasses and a spoon for color sorting to give a little variety.

Our next bin had a number dry erase book and marker.  She did very well tracing the numbers (I really expected just scribbling since that's what she does on any worksheets she gets) and even held the marker fairly close to properly.  I have a few other dry-erase boards with numbers, letters, addition, shapes and a blank doodle page that I will rotate with this book.  This was easily the one she played with the longest.

Next she did some cutting practice.  She likes using scissors but pretty much only makes single cuts into the edge of the paper.  I included colored paper and colored foam.  Some of the paper had cutting lines drawn on them but she pretty much ignored it.  Once she gets a little better at cutting I may include pages from the Kumon cutting practice books.

Our last bin was foam stickers and paper.  She didn't show much interest in that one.  I'll probably keep stickers in the rotation just because it's so easy and she usually likes them. I'll alternate foam stickers with paper stickers.

I'm hoping these baskets will keep her occupied when I sit down with Georgie to do Math and Reading in the mornings.  We won't get a chance to see how it works until next week because we're spending the next few days preparing for Steph's Sweet 16 party being held Saturday. 

To see what others are doing check out Preschool Corner & 5K Too at Homeschool Creations.