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Thanksgiving Activities for Tots

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Please forgive my absence in the blogging world this past week, and for my absence in the tot world this past month.  It's amazing how little time I have some weeks, compared to others.  This past week, we traveled to specialist appointments for Dinomite, Bulldozer, and Princess.  Another day Sunshine celebrated her 2nd birthday.  Then there's been the change in Daddy's schedule that has us all turned around backwards in our routines.  Life's adventures can be so much fun sometimes.

We'res still moving forward though. Days where we're unable to actually sit down in our classroom, we do other things like visit historical sites (I forgot to bring the camera) and spend significant amounts of time outside discovering the world around us.

Over the past week, just as Sunshine turned 2, she's decided she no longer needs naps.  I'd started feeling like I needed to prepare for this to come in the near future, but I was definitely not prepared for it this week.  Dinomite took naps until he went to preschool at 4 years old.  Bulldozer never took naps.  Princess took naps until she was almost 3.  Every kiddo is so different.

The stopping of naps couldn't have occurred at a more inconvenient time, as Daddy's work schedule switched from evenings to days.  I'm home with all four kiddos by myself three out of five weekdays.  This hasn't and wouldn't be a problem, as we usually do learning time activities while Sunshine takes her nap, but now that she's going to be awake and with us... I panicked.  I cried.  I sulked.  And finally, I decided to figure out how to make this all work.  Once again, it's not that I can't handle taking care of my four kiddos.  I've taken them all on vacation for a week by myself with no problems.  However, when it comes to their instruction and learning...  Their special needs can be A LOT of work.  Dinomite and Princess are at the point where they can select their trays from the shelves and work independently.  Bulldozer however, needs a one-to-one with him 95% of the time.  When only one parent is home, they're with Bulldozer.  Add Sunshine to the mix...  Sunshine is the sweetest little girl in the world, but when it come to special needs, I fear she may be worse than any of my other kiddos, especially behaviorally.  She most resembles Bulldozer, except that she screams A LOT and has the worst temper of any of my other kiddos individually and combined.  Then there's the fact that she's only two years old.  At this point in time, Dinomite and Bulldozer are my main educational focuses, as they are in first grade and kindergarten.  Princess is so far ahead of where she's supposed to be at, I have no worries with her.

I've contemplated and prayed a lot about how to make learning time work effectively with Sunshine participating.  Finally, after pleading for inspiration for quite some time, I finally feel like I've gotten somewhere.  I feel like we need to move ALL of our learning time activities to the morning, rather than some in the afternoon. Perhaps Bulldozer will be more focused and can tend to activities on his own.  Perhaps Sunshine will be more calm and self directed, as she rarely ever plays on her own.  I'm not quite sure, but that's what I keep feeling, so I'm trying to go with it.  However, that means a complete change in routine, wake up time, etc.

I'm trying to also figure out how to make our learning time room work for Sunshine. She's usually not allowed in there because she just makes a mess of everything on the shelves.  I'm tempted to get another set of shelves, just for her, as the other three kiddos share their work and shelves.  Dinomite and Bulldozer are only 17 months apart.  Bulldozer and Princess are only 11 months apart.  Sadly, Sunshine didn't come to us until much later, there being almost 2 1/2 years between Princess and her.  For now I've dedicated a corner of the room to Sunshine, with all activities on the floor.  I've also thought about getting a throw rug to fit in her corner.  We'll see.

Here are Sunshine's activities for the week:

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin with Emphasis on the Letter P
I had fun with this sensory bin. I thought about adding a few more items, like pigs that the Pilgrim's brought over etc., but I worried it would be too overwhelming for Sunshine.  She's not the biggest fan of sensory bins. She won't put her hand in them, unless there's an object she'd like to pull out.  In this bin there are three letter Ps, and then three sets of match up cards and objects.  I like to try to create some type of educational activity within the sensory bin for her, to keep her interest and increase vocabulary, as she still struggles with her speech.

This sensory bin includes, rice, popcorn kernels, Indian Corn, black beans, wheat berries, pasta, letters, cards, and objects.  I made sure that if Sunshine decided to eat any or all of the objects, they were either too big to fit in her mouth or they were edible.  She craves oral stimulation, which usually leads to putting everything in her mouth.

Source: The cards used in this sensory bin can be found as part of a free Thanksgiving Packet at Homeschool Creations.

Pilgrim Coloring Page
Sunshine loves to color, except for when she decides she doesn't.  Usually she screams and cries, begging to color, as she sees her siblings doing. Then, the minute I give her paper and crayons, she decides she wants nothing to do with it.  Her older siblings have a similar coloring page on their shelve this week. I'm hoping eventually she'd decide to go for it and actually color.

Source: I found this free coloring page, along with one of a Pilgrim Boy at Activity Village.

Pumpkin Dot Tweezing Activity
I went back and forth with this activity, trying to decide if I wanted to use an orange dot marker, beads, play dough balls, or pom poms.  In the end I decided on pom poms.  Sunshine has tasted these before and decided she wasn't a fan.  I worried that if I had to tend to Bulldozer or any of the other kiddos for a minute, I'd end up with orange dot marker all over the carpet, walls, and her clothes. Either that or she'd decide to suck the ink out of the of the marker.  Bulldozer was notorious for that at this age.  And beads...  There's always the choking hazard.  Play dough ended up being used for other activities.

I'm guessing Sunshine won't choose to use the tweezers, but I'm sure she'll enjoy putting the pom poms on the pumpkin.  And maybe, just maybe, she'll attempt using the tweezers by the end of the week.

Source: This free pumpkin printable can be found at Crystal & Co., along with many other Thanksgiving themed pages.

Pumpkin Spice Play Dough Activity
If you haven't noticed, our color of the week is orange.  Sunshine really struggles with fine motor skills, especially when it comes to using her fingers properly.  I just happened to have orange popsicle sticks on hand along with very large noodles that could easily fit over the sticks.  This is sure to be a hit!  It smells so good too.

Spooning Indian Corn Kernels
The kiddos had a blast tweezing corn kernels last week. They've been fabulous to have around and use for other activities such as this.  I love all the rich fall colors.  They're so beautiful.

Sunshine struggles with feeding herself.  Every meal, she ends up using her hands to eat, as she becomes extremely frustrated with utensils.  Sunshine and frustration don't mix.  I thought this might be a fun skill to practice when we're not eating.  I selected a spoon that most resembles the size of her spoon.  The corn kernels are small enough for practice, but large enough for when she dumps then all over the floor and needs to pick them up.  (It's actually a fabulous fine motor activity in itself.)  I provided her with two bowls, just for fun and to increase the possibility of her deciding to practice pouring.

Gourd Fill & Spill
Sunshine is obsessed with putting items in and out of containers, especially when there's a lid involved.  I can just see her now putting all of the gourds in the pitcher, putting the top on, taking the top off, pouring them back into the bin, and starting all over again.  I love the simplicity of entertainment when kiddos are this age.

Throwing Practice with the Color Orange
It's always fun to incorporate some type of gross motor activity on the shelves.  Here I have a small waste basket, and three objects of varying textures, shapes, and weight.  There are no set instructions for this activity, as Sunshine will most likely have her own agenda.  I'm sure she'll amaze me with all of the many functions she'll come up with for these four objects.

Play Dough Fork Practice
Once again I'm using my favorite pumpkin spice play dough for this activity.  Sunshine struggles just as much using a fork, as she does a spoon.  I'm hoping this activity might help her understand the whole "stick" process.  Sunshine will be asked to "stick" the play dough in the bowl, using the fork and transfer it to the plate. She'll need to use her fingers to take the play dough off the fork, but that's okay for this activity.

And there's our week!  I'm really hoping it goes well.  I won't hide it, I'm super nervous about how all this is going to go.  Wish me luck, and if you're the praying type, I could use as many as you're willing to offer.  My plan is to be back next week with my second installment of Thanksgiving Tot School Activities.

1 comment:

  1. What fun activities for Tot School! I also have fallen in love with pumpkin spice play dough! Good luck on all the transitions you shared!