Fave Five: Back to (pre)School!

Fall is in the air! I absolutely love this time of year & I’ve recently started being a little more intentional with N’s activities throughout the week. Each week I try to focus on one letter, color, and animal. I’m hoping it will give a little structure for both of us – so N will know what to expect each day in terms of her playtime, and I will not go crazy before naptime (she doesn’t go down until 3pm these days!!). Each week will look totally different, but I’m hoping that N will come to expect some rhythm and look forward to starting a new letter each week. So far we’ve finished week A & B and here are some of our favorite new books (notice the titles contain A’s & B’s!):

Apple Farmer Annie, by: Wellington Adorable illustrations and the story of a sweet apple farmer and all the tasks she does to get her apples and treats to the farmer’s market. Perfect for this time of year with a warm cup of apple cider!

Wild About Books, by: Sierra This is my most current favorite & tells the story of the local bookmobile stopping at the zoo & introducing the animals to the “wild” world of books! Wonderful Seuss-like poetry & illustrations by Marc Brown (PBS Arthur Series) make this one a treasure and we have read it multiple times already! And with lines like, “…she even found waterproof books for the otter, Who never went swimming without Harry Potter.” it could appeal to a wide age of kids.

Bear Snores On, by: Wilson This is such a cute story about a hibernating bear and his friends who stop by during a winter storm and disturb his nap. The story is cute and the illustrations are fun – N loved identifying the different animals on each page and the snack they were bringing to the party.

Belinda Ballerina, by: Young This is a great story for girls of all ages. Belinda LOVES to dance, but everyone tells her that her feet are too big! She decides to ignore all the haters & do what she loves. Sweet story and spunky characters. N really liked this one.

Alexander’s Pretending Day, by: Crumpacker I loved this one (I don’t know if N would have picked this for our Fave Five) because it is the story of a little boy asking his mom what she would do if he were…….a dinosaur, a choo-choo train, a monster, etc. It’s one of those feel good books for mommy & it has cute illustrations. It was also easy to ask N to pretend along with Alexander which was fun since she has only recently begun to grasp the concept. Not a completely original concept, but still heart-warming.

Our toddler is just about 2 and a half and we’ve already had SO many conversations about schooling. Pre-school or just kindergarten? Public or private? Charter? Technical school? Homeschool? Most of the discussions end with us agreeing that we will know what is right for her as we get to know her – that so many of these questions depend on the personality & experience of each individual kid. But it’s still a little stressful. Since “formal” schooling is quite a ways off still I’ve been trying to focus my energy on providing N with playful opportunities to learn. I figure…if she has the foundation of literacy and a love of learning, the rest (or most of it!) will fall into place.

To start, I made a “Letter Box” which will start the week. I just used a sturdy cardboard box & covered the lid with newspaper (mod podge) and painted the sides bright colors with acrylic paint. Each week we will start with a new letter & I will fill the box with toys/objects that start with that letter. This will be out all week for her to play with and explore. This is the box & the objects for Letter A:

The BASIC plan: 
Monday: ABC Box – start a new letter & intro with box, a song/rhyme, and a coloring page
Tuesday: Animal – pick an animal that starts with letter & read books, sing, cartoon, etc
Wednesday: Color – pick a color and do a craft (connect to letter or animal)
Thursday: watch a Sesame Street with the corresponding “letter of the day”
Friday: Review (practice writing/coloring letter, color, song, etc)

My goal is to go to the library once a week so that will also become a part of our rhythm. I will try to find books with alphabetical titles and/or that have the animal of the week! 🙂 This isn’t a hard & fast plan, but I think it will be a great guide…and it will give me ideas when we’re in need of a new song (right now the songs on loop are Somewhere over the Rainbow & The Farmer in the Dell!!) or as the weather gets colder & winter boredom begins to set in! On those days where we find ourselves getting antsy I will have a grab bag of ideas. …speaking of ideas, you can also check out my ABC pinboard for more! 😉

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