Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tot School Autumn Leaves

Tot School
Xander is 21 months old.

This week started off with a visit from Ryan's folks and a trip to the zoo. We really had a fun time at the zoo, this time we didn't bring the stroller and Xander did really well walking everywhere. Took a few spills towards the end when he was getting tired. All that walking wore him out, he was sound asleep before we left the parking lot to drive home!

We were focusing on leaves this week. I had placed some books on hold from the library about leaves and then Ryan surprised us with some chicken books (he's the manager of a library).

Of the books about leaves my favorite was Leaves by David Ezra Stein. The illustrations in Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson are lovely but the story was too long to hold Xander's interest, maybe next year. I also really enjoyed Leaf Man by Lois Elhert but Xander did not get the leaf pictures at all. His favorite book about leaves was Fall Leaves by Don L. Curry, he really liked the actions and I'm thinking about using our leftover tissue paper leaves (from last weeks art project) to recreate some of the actions, the huge mess I can foresee is making me pause though. Actual leaf play in our yard is NOT going to happen, we have dogs and free range chickens and ewww, I'll stick with tissue paper leaves. I'm sure our small flock helped to make the Big Chickens books by Leslie Helakoski such a huge hit with Xander but I think even non-chicken owning kids would love these, they were great fun to read.

Speaking of our chickens, helping to carry their food is one of Xander's chores. It is very hard for him to carry the big container of chicken feed but he is so proud doing it. He also likes to toss them their cracked corn in the yard or dry cereal out our slider door. Next year I am hoping to fence the chickens away from the house, especially the patio and glass door but for now they love to come visit us (if only they were potty trained!). Xander and the chickens sat down for a snack one day, both eating cheerios-- just on opposite sides of the glass door.

Our order from Time for Tots came at the end of last week (very fast!) and one night I pulled out some of the activities to play with Xander. I ordered the Thanksgiving Kit and quite a few of the activities fit our leaf week just perfect.
Xander still can't work tongs but that doesn't stop him from trying.

He was not happy when Mommy suggested he use his fingers to transfer the leaves.

Playing with the leaf letters that spell his name.

They made Xander very excited!

Matching the small objects to the big pictures.

The apple made Xander very happy.

And then very confused, can I eat it?

Little apple!

Goes on BIG apple!

Corn, I picked ears of corn at Grandma and Grandpa's!

Absolutely no number understanding at this point but he thinks the glass beads are neat!

Very unhappy when Mommy said it was quitting time!
While doing the sorting with the big laminated apple Xander started saying apple, well, all he says is aaaa but he's been consistent about aaaa for apple all week now.

We also baked leaf cookies this week. I cheated and bought the refrigerated sugar cookie dough and totally spaced buying colored sugar to sprinkle on top. Xander didn't quite grasp the concept of cutting out the cookies-- he'd just smack the cookie cutter down in the same area over and over so I had to be quick to grab out the cookies once he'd cut them. The cookies turned out yummy even without frosting or sprinkles and I'd include a photo of us eating them but they were gone before I thought of that. (what, don't you bake in just your undies?)

21 months has been a time of talking and eating, he's really improved in both. He's tried to say quite a few new words and his willingness to eat seems to be improving every day! Unfortunately it is also been a time of conquering baby gates--- nothing can hold the Xander Bear back.

That was our fun week, unfortunately it is ending with a sick weekend as we're all coming down with a cold (aaachooo!). To see what other tots are doing visit Tot School.

Monday, October 11, 2010

At The Zoo

We went to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium today with Ryan's parents. It was another wonderful trip there. It was very empty early on a Monday morning (holiday too), we pretty much had the little kids play area to ourselves. Ryan and Xander climbed on the play structures and took many trips down the slide. Ryan even lifted Xander onto the slide partway up so he could go down by himself, his first time.

The aquarium sections are amazing, Xander loved watching the fish swim by. We went into the ocean discovery center where you can touch animals from tide pools and they had a craft to make otter puppets (we didn't do that). Xander was very unsure about touching the sea creatures but he did it with Daddy's help.

We loved seeing all the animals, we got to watch them feed the walruses-- Xander got scared by their sounds. I think my favorite part was when we looked at the owls and Xander kept saying "whoo, whoo", very sweet. Xander's favorite animal to see this time were the crows, he just loved pointing them out. Favorite zoo photos:
Love Bite

Tiny Cub, Big Yawn

Grandma and Grandpa Williams, Ryan and Xander (shouldn't of had them facing the sun!)

Magnetic Jack-O'-Lantern

I mentioned in the last Tot School Post that I made a magnetic Jack-O'-Lantern for Xander and then I didn't include any photos! I followed the directions on Disney Family Fun site. I'm thinking of making a magnetic Christmas tree-- or maybe just a regular paper tree taped onto the fridge and magnetic ornaments. Larger ornaments that he can't put in his mouth. That's been the problem with the Jack-O'-Lantern, so now we just have a decorative pumpkin but it is still very festive and it was an easy project.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tot School Mr. Potato Head

Tot School
Xander is 21 months

This week we played a lot with the Halloween Mr. Potato Head. Xander saw him in the store and we couldn't resist. I am amazed at how much Xander loves playing with him. And taking those parts off and getting them back into the holes really works his small motor skills! We're also reinforcing vocabulary of body parts while playing with it. That was my educational spiel for what really is a fun toy!

On Wednesday my Mom came over and we made apple strudel with apples that Xander and Ryan had picked from our orchard. Xander helped roll out the puff pastry, put the apple mixture on it, and then coat the roll with egg. His help was quite limited but he did try. He however did not try any of the strudel, not even one bite. He would eat the apple by itself.

While my Mom was here we did an art project with Xander. We were making autumn trees by painting our arm and hand to make a print for the trunk and branches, then tearing up tissue paper, and gluing it on to make leaves. At first it seemed like this whole project was going to be a bust but eventually it worked out. First I got the paint ready but when I went to paint Xander's arm he completely freaked out. After I painted Grandma's arm he was okay with it but we weren't able to make to great a print as he wouldn't keep his arm still.

While the paint was drying we got out orange, red, and yellow tissue paper and tore up little pieces to make the leaves. I was sure Xander would love this part as he loves to tear paper but he wouldn't help at all. Then when we went to glue the leaves on I was sure Xander would want to help squeeze the glue but nope, he didn't want anything to do with it. So Mom and I worked on ours while he watched and then we asked him what colors he wanted where on his and he wasn't really participating.
Momma, Xander, and Grandma Housley's handprint trees.
So I was feeling that this project was pretty much a bust. Then later that evening Xander climbed up into a chair and was playing around with the paper leaves and I asked if he wanted  to make a tree. He nodded his head yes (not talking) and thankfully I had made to prints of his arm earlier in the day so we just had to do the glue and leaves. He helped squeeze the glue out and he wasn't interested in scrunching up the tissue paper to make the leaves but he had fun throwing them on the paper and banging it down. Well, he had fun UNTIL he got glue on his hands and the tissue paper stuck to him and then he had a meltdown but we did finish the project.
Xander's Autumn Tree 2010
Another craft I did this week was to make a magnetic pumpkin with magnetic face pieces to make jack-o'-lantern. I got the idea from Disney's Family Fun. So this would be a great project for a slightly older kid, Xander had fun with it but he isn't well behaved with the smaller magnetic pieces so now we just have a pumpkin decoration on our front door (conveniently metal so magnets work on it!). I think I'll make a magnet Christmas tree with decorations too-- maybe as an advent tree. If you do a project like this use thin paper so the magnets work better and for the shapes that are going on the other magnetic sheet make them small, if they are too big they weigh too much and don't stick very well.

We had a great week and can't wait for next week, Grandma and Grandpa Williams are here for a visit and we're off to the zoo! To see what other tots are doing visit 1+1+1=1.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tot School

Tot School

Xander is 20 months 3 weeks old.

Like always there was a lot of reading going on this week. Xander is no longer limited to board books! So far we've only had one tiny little tear when he turned a page to fast but other than that he's been really good with the books. He's really happy to "read" the new books but when someone reads the books to him he loses interest before the end on most books, so I am learning to read partway and stop and then pick it up later and remind him of the story and then start where we left off. While he still isn't a talker he has started talking out loud while reading the stories to himself--- no recognizable words but it's a start!

He loves to look at the Tootle golden book because of the train!

We worked on puzzles this week. Xander really enjoys putting them together and taking them apart! This photo is deceptive cause it makes it look like he's really doing the puzzle-- he's not there yet. This puzzle is too hard for him to do on his own so we worked on it together, I'd show him where the piece went and he'd hook the pieces together. (Target had a whole bunch of puzzles in their Dollar bins!)

Xander is practicing his eating with a spoon. While we were going down the cereal aisle at the store he grabbed onto a box of chocolate Cheerios, can't blame him-- they're pretty yummy!

He also tried some fruit cocktail and really liked that, except for the grapes. Another new thing is that he makes this cute expression and wrinkles his nose (this isn't the best shot but  it's all I've got right now and I want to remember when he started doing it!).

Xander crosses his feet in the high chair, so precious!

We played with his wood blocks this week, he stacked some but mostly he lined them up and shoved them around like trains. He also played with his train, building long curvy tracks.

I'm pretty sure that the best part of the week for Xander was when Daddy taught him how to climb a ladder! First we started out with the ladder low and when he mastered that we raised it up high. It was really hard for him, the rungs are so far apart, but that just made him so proud when he was able to climb it!

After his ladder climbing lesson we had a vaccination appointment, 2 shots and one weigh in later (21 lb. 3 oz.) we picked up my Mom and we all went out to lunch. After lunch Mom and I tried to do a quick trip into Michael's for some crafting supplies, which included some foam letter stickers and meant that we spent the evening with: Xander Man!

Touching the X's together ads to his super powers!
Michael's also had cute Halloween books including a Curious George book that Xander has really enjoyed reading (thank you Grandma!) and pipe cleaners. I wanted to use the pipe cleaners on a lacing card I was making but I cannot find my hole punch! Instead I showed Xander how to put the pipe cleaner through the hole on the handle of his scoop. It took a lot of concentration!

We had a fun week, to see what other tot's are doing visit Tot School.