Sunday, October 18, 2015

Play School with Jack~ Letter Aa

Play School for 1-Year-Old (12M) Jack
Week One
Letter Aa

Letter-of-the-Week Box~ Letter Aa

This week's Letter Aa Box is filled with red streamers, red paper strips, foam and wooden letter As, apples (red and green), a realistic toy alligator, a bag of almonds, pictures of an alligator, an army ant, an acorn, and apples, flashcards with Aa, and Aa words.

Jack's immediate reaction to the new box was to dump it and explore in a haphazard fashion.

But I captured him playing with and comparing apples.

Some of our dialogue sounded like this:

"You're holding two apples."
"You have a green one and a red one."
"What do they sound like when you clap them together?"
"That's an interesting sound!"
"Whoa, you made that red apple roll far away!"

"That alligator has sharp teeth!"
"Look at his looooong tail."
"He has a scaly body."
"These scales help protect him."

Aidyn even became interested in the alligator when I was reading the animal facts card to Jack. Aidyn continued reading it to himself once Jack lost interest.

He loved throwing the streamers and watching them wiggle back down to him. If I provided sound effects, he giggled like crazy!

Jack explored most items by putting it in his mouth, so we only brought out his box if there were immediate adult supervision.

Books~ Animals and Ten Red Apples


 Jack and I read through this book a gazillion times. He loved it! It's a simple board book with high contrast pictures (visual skills!) of animals. Jack helped turned pages (small motor skills) and listened to the animal names and sounds (auditory and language skills!). He often would flip the book over once we were done for a re-read.

Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins is an adorable counting song about farm animals who steal the farmer's red apples. Jack loved the singing and animal sounds, often swaying his little body to the rhythm.

More Language Activities


In the mornings, we listened to Disney's Animal Rock CD, which features funny animal songs like "He's a Lucky, Lucky Snake," and "Never Smile at a Crocodile."


I left out a pad of paper and thick crayons and found him doodling on his own. Later, I wrote down some things we did that day and added the date. He "wrote" at other times, but I never caught it on camera.
Physical and Sensory Activities

Water Play

While playing with the water, he was focused and "in the zone," so I mostly observed him. He watched water fall from the colanders and scoops. He splashed the water, listening the whooshing sounds. Eventually he experimented with dumping water on himself and soaking his pants and even sat in the tub of water, joyfully immersed in playing.

Aidyn also joined in the fun!

Other physical/sensory activities Jack enjoyed this week:
  • rolling a globe
  • playing in his ball pit
  • trampoline with his brother
  • climbing up and down stairs
  • standing and pushing chairs

Exploring the World

A is for Animals

Because Jack's week revolved around letter A, we visited the local zoo and observed some wild animals.

Aidyn read nearly every animal placard, telling us about the geographic locations, diet, and endangered level of each animal. (reading, zoology, geography, and physical activity all in one!)

Jack was fascinated by the birds.

Here's a sweet moment shared by Grandma, Jack, and Aidyn at the zoo.

Grandma and Aidyn at the lemur exhibit.

Jack just had to explore the zoo on his own, so we let him crawl by the fossa.

Other explore-the-world activities:
  •  explored the halloween store
  • attended the MJC Autism Walk 
  • attended a birthday party (where he was uncharacteristically reserved)

Homeschool Environment

Jack is always within earshot of homeschool lessons and activities with his 4th grader brother. 

This week, Aidyn was learning about the skeletal system, and Jack had to get involved!

Healthy Foods

Of course, I didn't photograph everything Jack ate, only a few special goodies.
 Apple-Pumpkin Quinoa Cereal

Homemade Apple-and-Dark-Cherry Sauce
Apple-Pumpkin Yogurt with a Dash of Cinnamon

 When Aidyn turned two, I started "school at home" with him, and if I could yell anything at my former homeschooling self it would sound something like this:
"Chill out! Have fun! Play! Don't make him learn how to hold a pencil or rattle off the ABCs. Provide opportunities for him to explore the world at his pace. Provide open-ended learning opportunities and just follow his lead. He knows what he wants to learn, so let him!"
My former homeschooling self is constantly on my shoulder with Jack, which is why I whisper words like "wait," "play," "be free," "observe him," and "leave him be" to myself. It is a joy to watch him take his time figuring the world out. 
I understand the allure of getting ahead of the game and drilling flashcards, but really, there is so much time for academic learning later. 
Better late than early. 
This was our first week introducing some kind of pre-planned activity and resources, and Jack seemed to enjoy the nuance. The letter A box intrigued him and provided many moments of fun and exploration. He also took to writing very organically (something Aidyn was never interested in doing, but Jack usually tries to grab pens and pencils from my hand and write with them). He enjoys reading time so long as it's at his pace. Next week, I'd like to go on more treks to the playground for outdoor play time.
Do you do some kind of tot school? If so, I'd love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments or leave me a link to your blog so I can read about it.



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