Monday, August 25, 2014

New Lacing Cards and a lot of activity

DJ received these new-to-us Lacing Cards this week. I bought them secondhand for $10 and they're great. They are 9x12 heavy cardboard with adorable pictures of various tools. Perfect for a little guy.

He's selected them several times already. In addition to being fun, it is great for fine motor dexterity of his hands. Pulling the thread through the hole requires the same 3-finger grasp of a proper pencil grip for writing. It also helps to teach order and sequence as he learns to thread the string from one hole to the next around the outside of the picture. That is one skill he doesn't have yet, as he pokes the thread randomly into holes regardless of where they are or which side they're on. He'll learn though.

For some Practical Life work this week, DJ helped me take apart his bookshelf. We're about to paint his room and the vibrant, primary colors of his bookshelf won't match anymore so I'm planning to replace the cloth "shelves" with a matching color. This task takes a lot of patience to get the Allen Wrench lined up and keep it in place while turning the screw. DJ did quite a bit of a couple screws before losing interest.

For more Practical Life, DJ helped put the groceries away including these heavy 2-liter soda bottles. Gross motor skills combined with sorting & classification to identify where in the kitchen these items belong with the added bonus that I don't have to put them away myself.  Sounds like a worthy task to me, and DJ certainly agreed.  It was actually his idea.

DJ selected this activity that I put together from our new-to-us Lakeshore Learning See & Solve Math Manipulatives. I discovered recently that DJ thought the word "pattern" meant "place items at random however you like." Heh. So I made up one set of base & dowels with a simple pattern, left a second set empty and put only enough of the right colored discs in the box for DJ to duplicate my pattern.

You can see in the picture that he started off wrong with all of the colors mixed on the first dowel, all while saying, "I'm copying the pattern!" So I explained what made my design a pattern and he seemed to get it. He left the first dowel in place and began to arrange the rest of the colors properly. Unfortunately he lost interest before finishing his set but he definitely understood so I was happy to see that. I'm planning to change my pattern each day with the hopes to reinforce the lesson.

DJ selected the knobbed cylinders again. We've been struggling with him taking too many and not being able to finish. So I decided to tell him that I'd help him finish if he needed it and then do my best to leave him alone while he worked on them. I tried really hard to stick to that today, biting my tongue while he took out all four blocks and removing all 40 cylinders. It was at that point I took the above picture. I held my breath as he replaced the first of the 40 cylinders into its slot. And then he walked away to play with cars... *sigh* I ended up putting them all away myself, although I waited a long time to see if he'd circle back to them.

After I had put the cylinder blocks away, DJ decided to do some drawing on his easel. This is a momentous photo as you can see we have reached the end of the first roll of paper for the easel. That's quite an accomplishment because it was 75' of paper!  Today as DJ was drawing his usually scribbles, I heard him saying letter names, as if pretending to that he was writing letters.  His imagination is certainly blossoming.

In an effort to encourage DJ to begin the letter sound games that he's been resistant to, I put together this tray. It includes the "D" sound objects box, the "D" sandpaper letter, a "D" flash card and the "C-D" book of this I Spy Phonics Box Set.  I chose D for this tray because it's the first letter of his name and also stands for daddy and dog (our dog, Lucy, is a Dalmatian) so this letter has special meaning to him.

I'm not actually starting the sandpaper letters with him yet but he's been so interested in identifying letter names that I thought he might be willing to play sound games if he knew they were related to the letters he's curious about. He also loves for me to read to him and enjoys other I Spy books. This method was something of a success because not only did he not refuse to play, he actually repeated "d-d-dog," "d-d-dinosaur," etc as I named the objects for him. Something he usually doesn't do. He also enjoyed the book and looked for the D items it asked for. Until he saw a bead necklace in one of the pictures and was excited that it was similar to his stringing beads.

So the D-tray was abandoned for this activity. Still an ongoing favorite. To help continue reinforcing the concept of patterns, I made a blue and white pattern while he worked with his beads. When he saw what I was doing, he insisted on taking over, which is why you see green, white and orange at the end of my pattern. Hah.

While DJ was having some quiet time upstairs, I put together this scissors activity for him. Well, that is to say, I printed these templates from She had hers printed on pretty colored paper but it's best to do early cutting activities on cardstock and I only have white. The patterns are in order of difficulty from straight lines (easiest) down to v-shape (hardest). I left the spiral shapes out because I knew those would be much too difficult for him.

DJ loved this and worked on it for quite awhile. I started him with the easiest straight lines, which he was mostly able to do and kept saying, "I'm cutting along the line!" After cutting a couple straight strips, he wanted to do the "big" one, meaning the wavy line. I explained it was harder and he might try the diagonal line first but he insisted. Of course he wasn't able to follow the line, but he enjoyed cutting anyway. He finished up trying to cut the v-shape, again not able to follow the line but having fun and getting good cutting practice anyway.

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