{Oriyah’s Tot School}

Homeschooling at 16 months is mostly just for fun but I have found it helpful to have some resources on hand and activities planned for my inquisitive tot. The past few months have been very hectic for our household and we developed a bad habit of letting Ori watch too much Blues Clues and Dora. Friday, I had the opportunity to sit down and put together a new household schedule including a simple “constructive play/learning” routine to keep Ori entertained and engaged.

Torah

More than any other subject… I want to be sure and focus on Bible related activities with Ori on a daily basis.

We also recently purchased a wonderful resource entitled, Morah, Morah, Teach Me Torah – which contains multi-media lessons (songs, games, crafts, stories, snacks…) based on the weekly Torah portion. My aim is to do at least two of the activities each week with Ori.

My First Parsha Reader is currently in my Amazon wish list but I plan on incorporating that some how as well.

At this age (or any) actions speak louder than words! I can read lots of Bible stories or books on G-dly character to her… but if those things are not displayed at home it won’t matter much. At almost 16 months Ori is a little sponge listening and watching our every move. I’m making it a point to say the Modeh Ani, Blessing Over Meals, and the Bedtime Shema with her daily. She also tags along to my weekly prayer meeting. Although it can be a little distracting for me… I know it’s a great visually lesson for her.

Other resources I plan to use are:

Artscroll Childrens Books

Jewish Kids Music

Bible Character Dolls / Toys

Pre-Reading

Our goal is simply to read as many good books as we can in a day. Ori loves books! She will hold a book and flip through its pages and baby talk like she is reading to herself for long periods of time! We read periodically throughout the entire day but just before naptime is our scheduled reading time.

I follow the book lists for Before Five In A Row, Peak With Books, and Sonlight’s  ¾ curriculum.

Lindsey, of passionatehomemaking.com, also has an excellent list of must read children’s books.

http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2012/04/favorite-classic-childrens-books.html

We are a part of our library’s weekly infant story-time as well. Fun fun!

Aside from immersing Ori with good books we are just beginning to work on letter recognition.

My refrigerator now proudly displays a bunch of cute magnetic letters! (Great for keeping her little hands busy while I work in the Kitchen!)

I’m also loving Dr. Suess’s ABC Book, G is for Goat by Patricia Polacco, Eric Carle’s ABC, My First Bob Books (Alphabet Series) and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin to help introduce letters to her.

We also have alphabet blocks, puzzles, and flash cards handy.

Ori is also present for our family read-a-loud of The Hobbit.

Art

I recently put together a big container full of “baby approved” art supplies for Ori. She loves it! We pull out her coloring books everyday and let her go for it.

On weeks where there is a little more time I look to Pinterest for inspiration on toddler craft/projects… this week we are going to try our hands at finger painting!

Our library also has a toddler art session on the first Thursday of every month which we attend.

We also have several Kumon workbooks for coloring, tracing, and cutting which Ori is still a little too young for.

Music/Movement

Part of our new daily routine is a morning walk! Ori loves feeling the texture of grass beneath her little Stride Rites, racing mommy to the mail box, stopping to smell the roses, picking up fallen leaves, watching birds, digging in dirt, and admiring the pretty waterfall by the pool.

She is also my Zumba partner three days a week!

I plan on taking her to our local playground more often now that she is a big girl and the temperature is lower than the 90’s down hear in Texas…FINALLY!

For music enrichment we listen to kids songs and do motions. Ori’s absolute favorites are The Ant’s Go Marching and The Hokey Pokey.

We also have classical music for kids on CD. Ori likes to play conductor with me. When the music is soft and slow we wave our arms soft, slowly, and make small movements. When the music is loud and fast… we wave our arms wildly. When the music is high we wave our arms high and low when the music is low. She goes crazy with it!

Our latest addition is The Music Box: Songs, Rhymes, and Games for Young Children Compiled by Elizabeth Lund Zahniser. I found this amazing resource on timberdoodle.com.

On my wish list are some more play instruments for our collection. We currently have a Little Tikes Piano, Finger cymbals, maracas, harmonica, and a triangle. I like to pull those out and play rhythm games with her occasionally.

Math

We count everything!

Our current focus is learning shapes and patterns.

Some of our favorite math counting books are –

How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? By Varsha Bajaj

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz

Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm by IKids

My First Number Play by DK

My First Math Book by David & Wendy Clemson

Math Play by Diane McGowan

We get most of our daily dose of math in through playing with puzzles, number blocks, mega-bloks, and her discover toys shape sorter.

On my math manipulative wish list are the following:

Wedgits, Lacing Beads, Bean Bags, Guidecraft 3D Feel and Find Game, Wooden Abacus, and Tactile Sandpaper Numerals.

Fine Motor

We are learning colors and developing fine motor skills using Educo Colorback Seas Turtle Bead Maze.

Ori likes playing with our new Big Oball.

Melissa and Doug puzzles are our favorites!

On my wish list for Ori is a foam saddle scooter… (Chanukah?!?)

General Learning

Many of my daily lessons and activities come from these books:

Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June Oberlander

Active Baby, Healthy Brain by Margaret Sasse

Let’s Learn and Play Together by Roni Cohen Leiderman

What Your Preschooler Needs To Know by Core Knowledge Foundation

Entertaining and Educating Babies and Toddlers by Usborne Books

Flowering Baby Curriculum

Vocabulary

Ori will pretty much {attempt} to say anything you ask her to repeat. It’s so precious.

We have been using these books to help expand her vocabulary:

First Thousand Words in English by Usborne

First Thousand Words in Hebrew by Usborne

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle (Body Parts)

Animals Animal by Eric Carle

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle (Colors)

Winni-the-Pooh’s Opposites by A. A. Milne

Chores

Ori loves to “help” with chores around our apartment.

Together we:

clean out the refrigerator (she enjoys taking everything off the shelves)

unload the dryer

fold towels (a work in progress)

match big and little socks

pick up toys (… still working on increasing her enthusiasm for this chore)

washing dishes (I usually set her up with a big mixing bowl with some water and a few baby spoons or dishes to play with while I work in the kitchen… she has a ton of fun… I just have to remember to put a towel town and strip her down to her Fuzzibunz!)

brush teeth (she does it all by herself!)

We obviously won’t do all these activities done every single day but hopefully our new routine will help us limit our cartoon time to 30 minutes a day and still allow me to get stuff done!

We are still trying to decide if we should enroll her in a Mother Day Out program in January.  I would love the break and I know she would love the social interaction with other babies. My biggest concern is GERMS! If we don’t end up signing up for MDO we plan to join a MOPs group and possibly a play group if time allows.

I hope you find these early learning resources helpful. Please share your favorite toddler/preschool recommendations with me! I’d love to know!

Shalom,

Maayan

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