Adventures in Tot Schooling

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

We made it through one week of planned activities! And now a second week! It is much harder to carve out time for these activities with Cheese. With Munchkin in Kindergarten, our afternoons currently consist of Cheese’s nap, picking Munchkin up, and then dinner and all the other getting home and getting the kids to bed activities. Cheese is in preschool two mornings a week, and one other morning usually has an activity or a park visit, so we generally end up with only one or two mornings a week to work together. Since Cheese enjoyed the activities I had put together for Brown Bear, we used them for about a week and a half. These Bear Hunt activities were used for about two weeks.

When Munchkin was doing these types of activities, she used to sit at the dining table, with three or four activities out, and work through them as she wished. Around 2.75 I started leaving the activities out on our shelves all the time, and they mostly got ignored. With Cheese, I set the first set of Brown Bear activities around us on the floor, and she bounced around, just didn’t know what to pick, and couldn’t work on anything for more than a minute. Over the past few weeks, I’ve transitioned to laying the activity options out on our office floor, tucked around the corner from the living room. Cheese loves picking a tray from the office, bringing it to the living room floor, working on it, packing it up, taking it back and picking a new one. Having the other options out of sight really seems to give her the ability to focus without distractions.

Obviously we read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen, many times this week. Cheese seems to really respond to reading the book multiple times, and was reciting much of the book along with me by about half way through the week – she was able to do this (and sign along) with Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? too.

So – in addition to reading the book, here’s what else we got up to:

Cheese is also currently really interested in playing games – picture pairs games, a Frozen game called Surprise Slides, dominoes, Spot It! Jr, Jenga…it’s very sweet to see the two girls sit together after Munchkin is home from school and play together. Over the weekend I noticed Munchkin teaching Cheese how to play Connect 4. It really helped that we just happened to have a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt matching game to work with this week. It has A LOT of cards – 4 of each. I halved the pack, and it was still a long game for us. Since We’re Going on a Bear Hunt talks about a lot of different textures, I thought this would be our jumping off point for the week, so out came our Texture Dominoes. Cheese and I just took it in turns to match textures and make a long ‘train.’ However, when Munchkin was home we did all play together a few times.

Since we are exploring textures…Cheese has never really liked getting her hands dirty, but I do want to encourage her to play with different materials a bit more. I thought shaving foam might be ok – it wipes off easily, and we can use popsicle sticks to mix the colours. Cheese did well, and enjoyed herself. She was a little distressed that, while the shaving foam wiped off, the colour stained her fingers, but we must have played with the foam for a good 20 minutes, taking 5 different prints.

After shaving foam, Cheese asked for water beads – she’s always liked these. So – away we went, with cups to scoop and pour, tongs, a small sieve, droppers, and all the other things that come out for water play.

I put together another sensory item for Cheese – a bag containing four items, and then their pairs out on a tray. I used large pom poms, stones, wood rounds and spiky balls. Cheese picked an object to hold in one hand, then put her other hand in the bag and felt for the match without using her eyes. We talked about the pom-pom being soft, the stone being smooth and cold, the wood being rough, and the spiky ball being…well..spiky. She loved this!

I believe I introduced this activity last week. I made some Montessori-style colour gradient cards for Munchkin. I thought I’d let Cheese take a look at them. She had them out several times over the last couple of weeks, and has just been sorting into colour groups, not into gradients yet. Cheese seems to enjoy this.

I also introduced this activity in the interim between the two books. Cheese was able to pick out the correct colours, but we worked together to get the links to lock. After a little while, she was able to do this by herself.

I also kept out a few bear-related activities from last week – the bear sizing, and another activity where a bear could go over, under, or through a picture of a cave.

It’s certainly different, squeezing in an activity in here and there, but we got a lot done, and Cheese seems to really be enjoying all the activities, so we will keep going!




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