Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tot School: Unit 3- Corduroy

    This week, we read the book Corduroy by Don Freeman, and enjoyed activities inspired by the story. The story of Corduroy has become a classic. It is an endearing tale of a little bear who sets out on an adventure to find his lost button, and in the meanwhile finds a home and a friend in a little girl named Lisa. His search for something insignificant like the button ends with the discovery of far more meaningful entities like a home and a friend. While it can be used to teach deeper life lessons, we'll be keeping things pretty simple. We'll be focusing more on things like exposure to color recognition, sorting, gross motor movements, sensory, and a couple of fine motor activities. And, of course, simply enjoying our time together and having fun! (These last two are the greatest purposes for activities for this age (20 months)!) 

 *Note: This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.com. I am a personal affiliate with Amazon.com, and as such receive a small compensation for each product purchased through the link provided. (Thank you!).
     After reading the story, I brought out the counting bears and cups. I've seen quite a bit about these little guys. I offered Tennyson two cups of bears. He had a good time picking each bear up and placing them into the other cup, pouring bears from one cup to another, and of course dumping them out onto the table to watch them scatter. We played a little game in which he'd put a bear in a cup, then I would, and so on and so forth. Each time, I'd count- "one red bear, two red bears etc." For whatever reason, he got a laugh from it. This activity didn't last terribly long, but he enjoyed it. I foresee these little bears and cups reappearing when it comes time to do more purposeful skill work on colors, counting, sorting etc. 

    Later in the week when I needed a quick activity for him while I cooked dinner, I offered him some jumbo buttons in the cups. The bears are small enough for him to place in his mouth, and so I keep a watchful eye when he's playing with them (and I don't want them lost). The buttons are big enough that I'm not too worried (but use your discretion in regard to your own child and the potential choking hazard!). 
Day 2: Lacing Button
      We began by reading the story once more. In the story, Lisa sews a new button onto Corduroy's overalls. So, we're doing the same with a lacing button! I offered him a lacing button (see next paragraph) and lacing string . At first, I would poke the string through the hole and he would pull it the rest of the way through. Then once he got the hang of it, he would poke the string through by himself. He still doesn't have the concept of continuing to weave the string in and out of the holes, but I'm sure he'll be able to soon with more time with lacing activities. (This was actually his first lacing activity). This activity is small enough that it will easily double as a busy bag activity (yay!).

     To make the button: I found an image of a button online and printed it on colored paper. I then laminated it for durability. (Note: I discovered that I could just run the button back through the laminator to reseal it if the button piece was overly crumpled in little hands).  
Day 3: Find the Button Game
       We read the story again. Afterwards, I hoped to incorporate some movement (gross motor skills) into our "tot schooling." Corduroy went looking for his button, and so I had Tennyson to find some buttons as well. I taped several colored large buttons (same image of the lacing buttons but enlarged) around the room. I then would say, "Button, button! Can you find the ____ (green, red, blue, or yellow) button?" He was semi-successful at the game. It's tough to keep his concentration for an activity when he's not seated at the table! Exploration for a busy little man is never ending! haha
Notice the whisk attachment in his hand! Ah, my funny little guy. haha
Day 4: Coins in a Piggybank
     Lisa "counted the coins [she'd] saved in her piggy bank" in order to buy Corduroy. So, today we talked about saving money to buy the things we want. (I don't believe he really understood this discussion, but we always like to talk to our children in a mature manner. One day he probably will understand all that we're telling him, but for now he at least gains valuable exposure to language!). He enjoyed dropping the coins in the slot and hearing them clink against the sides of the bank and against each other. 
Day 5: Texture Book
      We read the book for a final time this week. Then, we flipped through a diy texture book. This book plays off of the main character and his overalls- Corduroy! Various textures represented by materials are a great sensory activity. Tennyson will flip the pages back and forth feeling the different textures on each page. 
     To make the book- I collected several pieces of scrap material from my sewing friends and family. I then purchased an inexpensive flexible 8x8 scrapbooking album. A 3x3 square hole was cut in alternating pages. The fabric was placed behind the holes, and the two pages glued together. Gluing the pages added a great deal of durability and kept the fabric from being accidentally pulled out during use. 
This book makes a great car ride activity!
Busy Bag: The lacing button card and string doubles as a busy bag.

Extension Activity: We've started a baby book club! We meet once a month with friends and share our book or theme activities. Corduroy was our first book club selection. We're looking forward to doing many more baby book club gatherings! :)

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