Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Creation, Day 7

As I was researching and preparing for Day 7 of creation, I noticed that so many combine days 6 & 7. Now I understand why. Day 7: God Rested, is not an easy concept for young kids. Many of you suggested pretending to take a nap, putting stuffed toys and dolls to bed/rest, cutting out magazine pictures of resting/sleeping people, etc. These are all great ideas! However, I did not want to confuse Evan by saying God sleeps when we really mean rested. See the dilemma for a 2 year old? Instead of creating confusion, I decided to wait to emphasize "rested" until Evan's older and I explain it to him in more detail. Today, I focused more on the completed work of creation and that it was "very good".

Scripture: Genesis 2:1-3
Memory: "In the beginning, God created" & "God made the World"
Prayer: "Thank you God for making ___________" we inserted many things here from each day of creation
Song: see "activity" below
Craft: coloring page
Activity: Watched YouTube videos about creation
Number: 7

We counted the days on our fingers as we reviewed what God made on each day. Then I read aloud today's passage (can you believe that our young children have already "read" and studied an entire chapter of the Bible?!) I was so stumped about what to do for a craft or activity for Day 7, so Evan and I watched a few music videos on YouTube- thanks to my new [to me] tablet. Our favorite was the Go Fish one below:

I was intentional with YouTube and the songs we selected. They had to be a song praising God for His work in creation, describe His work in creation, or show pictures of His creation ("God of Wonders" is another excellent one). Evan was enthralled, and as the pictures of mountains, fields, oceans, animals, etc. went by I asked him to identify them. And this mama loved cuddling with my too-active-and-too-old-to-cuddle toddler while we watched the music videos.

Supplies: We've been given a few color books throughout the year and one of them had a picture of Adam and Eve in the garden and the words "On the seventh day, God rested". Perfect. I tore it out and gave Evan markers (he loves markers).

You could easily do a Google search for other coloring pages free to print if you do not already have one on hand. I did a quick search just now and the first one I clicked to is here, as an example.

And Evan colored away.

Tomorrow, we will begin our new theme! Can you guess what it might be?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Creation, Day 6

Day 6 of Creation has to be the easiest day to teach. There are too many good options and ideas for crafts, activities, songs, and creative play. But, as is my style, I chose a fairly simple route.

Scripture: Genesis 1:24-31
Memory: "In the beginning, God created"
Prayer: "Thank you God, for making man and animals. And thank you for your word".
Song: "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"
Craft: Lion's Head
Activity: Animal Names & Sounds
Number: 6 (Day 6 of creation)

Yesterday, I was surprised and delighted when on his own, Evan burst out with "God made the stars". He is retaining what we are learning! Fueled with this encouragement, I spent time reviewing Days 1-5 before we plunged into today's passage of scripture. 

We prayed for a moment, with Evan repeating phrases after me. This is a great way to improve your child's speech. Begin with a prayer that is as long as the normal words/phrases your child speaks. Slowly add more words each day to stretch their memory and ability to repeat more after you. I am seeing this carry over into Evan's regular speech. He now uses longer sentences when talking to us. When we first started Day 1, I had to say the verse to Evan in two sections (as separated by the comma). Now, with prompting, Evan can say all five words together! 

Have you seen either of these lists: 31 Ways To Pray For Your Children & Husband? I have a printed copy of both of these lists folded in my Bible to pray each morning. I decided to add these requests to Evan's daily prayer. Each day, according to the date, I pray that number's request (i.e. today is the 30th so I prayed #30 on both lists).

I was able to sing another song today thanks to God making man; we did "Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes" with the motions. Reese even participated today (since she refused her nap). Then we did animal names and sounds for a few minutes. Some of Evan's favorites are: kitty, bear, bird, and ... lion.

Supplies: I've seen this craft done with a paper plate (how do I not have paper plates in the house?) but I used construction paper instead. I traced a large orange circle,  medium yellow circle, two small white circles, and two black dots which are for the mane, face, eyes, and pupils. Oh, and a little black triangle for the nose. 

Step 1: Glue the yellow face and stick it to the mane:

Step 2: Glue eyes

Step 3: Add nose

Step 4: Use scissors to make the mane look like hair (make sure you do this by holding your toddlers hands over the scissors so there are no accidents)

We just snipped all the way around the made and lastly I bent the ends up a little to made it look better.

And there is the finished product! Complete with drawn on mouth and whiskers. As I mentioned at the beginning, there are so many crafts and activities to make for this day- I recommend choosing one featuring your child's favorite animal as I did. 

Tomorrow we finish the days of Creation and I unveil our next theme study. But first, any ideas for a craft or activity related to Day 7 of creation?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Creation, Day 5

I was looking forward to today's part of the creation story because Evan loves fish! Can you tell who he gets this from?

This picture is from a few weeks ago- I think the fish was longer than Evan is tall.

Scripture: Genesis 1:20-23
Memory: "In the beginning, God created"
Prayer: "Thank you God for making the birds and fish"
Song: "The B-I-B-L-E" 
Craft: drawing fish and birds
Activity: Fishing Pole Puzzle
Number: 5

Before I read today's passage, I reviewed what was created on the previous 4 days. Evan practiced counting and holding up the correct number of fingers while we reviewed. Then, I read through today's three verses and emphasized the words "birds" and "fish". I think I asked him what sound birds and fish make while reading the Bible as well (we do fish lips for the "sound" fish make). This is a great opportunity to teach animal sounds if your child is not already familiar with them- on Day 6 too.

I still have not settled on our next main song, so we stuck with "The B-I-B-L-E". I only went through it once today, because we spent a few minutes pretending to be birds and fish. To pretend to be a bird, we flapped our arms like wings, and flew around the house saying "chirp, chirp". Then we put our hands together to be the fish, and wiggled them in an "S" shape like a fish swimming and ran around the house. I love it when homeschool = workout for the day. Really, get that heart rate up!

One of Evan's Sunday School teachers drew a fish for him (like 6 months ago) and since then, any time we draw, color, or craft Evan always asks for me to draw a fish. So I knew that all I needed to do for a craft today was draw a fish and my little guy would be thrilled!

Supplies: I used a light blue piece of construction paper because water and sky are both blue already. Then I grabbed his favorite coloring tools: markers. I drew a brown line (land) across the middle of the page to separate the water and sky, and added a couple trees. What Evan means when he asks for a "fish" is the ichthus symbol. And who remembers that a "V" is perfectly acceptable as a drawing of a bird? I do.

You can see how I drew a few birds and fish and then let Evan "draw". I held his hand for a few so he could feel how they were made. I also tried to have him trace over my drawings, but he wasn't grasping what I meant. This is a skill I need to work on with him for future: tracing.

This past summer, one of our neighbors gave us several puzzles and books that her only grandson outgrew. One of the puzzles is a Fishing Pole Puzzle.

I cannot rave about this puzzle enough, both my 2 year old and 10 month old play with this (you can buy a similar version here). The puzzle has fish as the pieces and they have small magnets in the center of their bodies. The pole has a magnet on the end for your kid to "hook" a fish and move it on or off the puzzle board. Reese will play with one fish and the pole and can connect the ends sometimes (she also just likes to suck on it, but that's another matter). Evan is coordinated enough now that he can fish all of the pieces off the puzzle and then put them back on the puzzle. Granted, you have to use your hand to fit them in sometimes because they spin around too much. Here's a list of why I love this puzzle for my kids:

-teaches colors (have them name the color fish they hook, or tell them which fish to hook next)
-teaches counting (keep a running total of the fish caught)
-teaches critical thinking (finding the right place for each puzzle piece)
-teaches hand-eye coordination (they have to get the magnet on just the right spot on the fish)
-educational entertainment (my kids fight over this toy)
-is a game for kids too young for other board games (most board games are for 3 or 4 and up)

*Amazon did not pay me to link to them. I just wanted to help you get a resource my kids have really loved. After all, Christmas is coming up. 

Have you found success with other educational toys or games for the 2 and younger crowd?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Creation, Day 4

Despite my husband being on vacation this week, I really wanted to have a couple school days with Evan. Today we continued with our creation series.

Scripture: Review of themes of Days 1-3 and Genesis 1: 14-19
Memory: "In the beginning, God created"
Song: "The B-I-B-L-E"
Prayer: "Open our eyes, that we may see the truth in your word"

Craft: Sun, Moon, and Star Mobile. Stamped sun, moon, and stars.
Activity: Special Time with Dad
Number: 4 (creation day 4)

Oh the joys of "Plan B". I'm beginning to think I should skip "Plan A" and always just go to "Plan B" since it seems to end up that way. I was hunting around for toddler friendly crafts for Day 4 of Creation when I got sucked into Pinterest (again) and I saw this star mobile:

*I want to give credit to the original link:

Of course I had a toddler-friendly version planned: I was going to use yarn, a hanger, and cut-out stars with bits of foil glued on. That plan had to go when I realized that without a proper stencil, there was no way I could make a star. See what I mean:

This was not my first attempt at a star, but it was the "best" I had. Goodbye mobile plan. While standing in the toy heap in the play room with my 10 month old, an idea came to me. I saw the above star and moon shapes (they come with those cubes where you find the correct shaped hole and insert the block) and I thought they would make the perfect stamps.

Supplies: I grabbed an old t-shirt for a cover to protect Evan from the paint. I had the moon and star blocks and grabbed that blue cup to use for the sun (you can do this with any project, grab anything paint-proof to use as a stamp). I figure the yellow paint would show up best on black paper, so I used that and had an old magazine to dip the paint from.

Evan had a lot of fun stamping! Know that your toddler will not perfectly press down and pull up on a stamp. So be prepared for the finished work to look like their crayon drawings (confusing). This is a good motor skill regardless of how it looks, and they love to dip and press.

Evan enjoyed stamping so much, that when the first page was full, I got another piece of paper and let him stamp that one as well.

Just before we read the Bible and stamped, Justin and Evan had some guy time at the beach (yes I know it is October). They traipsed around and had a grand ole time! I realize this has nothing to do with the theme of Day 4 specifically, but I was out of ideas. Keeping my 2 year old up late enough to see the stars may not be the best option? 

As usual, Evan and I read the verses about Day 4 straight from the Bible. I summarized the first three days as a review, since it has been a week since we did Day 1. On the second rendition of "The B-I-B-L-E", I realized I'm a little tired of this song and I should choose a new one (repetition might be good for a child to learn, but it is not good for a mama's sanity).

I would love to hear your suggestions! Please comment with the name (and artist, if applicable) of your kid's favorite Bible songs.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Story Time

Last week Evan and I did three days of homeschooling in a row. We had a great time, and I am hooked!

Creation, Day 1
Creation, Day 2
Creation, Day 3

My husband is a pastor, and Justin chooses Friday as his day off instead of Saturday; so we had no homeschool plans last Friday. Since Justin does work on Saturday I was going to get into Day 4 of creation then (I know, it kinda makes for a weird work week compared to most people). But unexpectedly, one of the grandparents wanted to have Evan for a day and overnight. That is a perk of homeschooling, we can often be flexible with plans where others may not get to be so flexible.

On Mondays, our public library offers Toddler Story Time at 11 AM. We have been going for the past two months and I find it hilarious! 2's and 3's don't sit still very well, are easily distracted, and are willful. Mix 8-10 of them, plus their moms, and any younger siblings into one small area, and you have a recipe for the wiggles! Actually, the librarian that lead it is great; she knows that young kids like to move and all the songs, books, and crafts are age appropriate.

Anyway, by the time we get home from the library and eat a quick lunch, it is nap time. So I have been considering Story Time our school day on Mondays.

Today's theme was "Fall". This was the page the kids colored and glued leaves onto. I have to tell you that Evan loves glue sticks! I recommend finding out if your library has regular activities for your kids.

What kinds of activities do your kids love?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Creation, Day 3

When teaching about creation, Day 3, it is customary to spend time out of doors exploring the land, plants, and flowers that God created. Unless, you live in a city where it has been raining non-stop for several days. The land is not only wet, but very wet! I just did not feel like dealing with muddy floors today.

Scripture: Genesis 1: 9-13
Memory: "In the beginning, God created"
Song: "The B-I-B-L-E" and made up song "God Made the World"
Prayer: "Open our eyes, that we may see Your truth" and "Thank you God, for making the land, plants, and trees"
Craft: Thumbprint Fall Tree
Activity: Get the wiggles out any way possible
Number: 3 (Day 3)

I kept the scripture passage shorter today (not reading from verse 1 all the way through verse 13) because we spent more time in prayer. There is no joy like hearing your child repeat prayers after you! That goes for singing too; when they start singing along, it is one of the most darling things!

Today we are struggling with short tempers from too much pent-up energy, so while singing "God Made the World" we danced around the room. Maybe it's a boy thing, but Evan doesn't dance like I've seen little girls do at this age? If it's that way with your child, take them by the hands and prance around with them, or take turns being the line-leader and march, skip, hop, and wiggle. Don't worry, no one can see you, and your toddler will think you are the coolest mom ever!

My original intention was to take the kids for a wagon ride through the neighborhood today. We could look at trees, collect leaves, study acorns, and enjoy the land God created on Day 3. But, thanks to the rain, it is not prime outdoor weather. Solution: houseplants!

Rather pitiful, isn't it? These are the only two houseplants that have survived my black thumb (you can ask my mom about that one time I was in charge of watering her plants while she was gone for two weeks. I don't think there were any survivors). At least I was able to point to one and say "plant" and the other and say "flower" to show two examples of plant life. I didn't linger on the lame object lesson, I moved on to the craft.

Supplies: Markers or colored stamp pads. I had a piece of paper with a tree and branches drawn on it ready ahead of time. Your child's thumbs or leaf stamps.

I held the markers and colored Evan's thumb in between each stamp. This is a good opportunity to identify and practice colors. You could throw in a little science too; I started with green and said "leaves are green when they are fresh. As the trees prepare for winter they turn different colors and fall off". For a toddler that is as deep as it need be. Plus I couldn't remember much else from science class. I'll have to brush up for next year!

The nature walk was supposed to be our activity today. Fail. Since I am out of clever ideas, the remainder of the day is devoted to keeping the wiggles out of a toddler boy. I created a running game for him earlier that includes a leap off the bottom step of the staircase and a run down the hall. Anything, to spend some energy!

Another great indoor solution is a box! This box was the one I snagged at Aldis to carry my cans home. I gave it to the boy two days ago and it has provided many hours of entertainment! You can see it in the background of this picture from Creation: Day 2.

What are your favorite go-to activities to ward of the wiggles on a rainy day?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Creation, Day 2

Today, Reese was down for her morning nap when Evan and I did Bible Time.

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-8
Memory: "In the beginning, God created"

Song: "The B-I-B-L-E" and a made up song "God Made the World"
Prayer: "Thank you God for creating the world"
Craft: Cotton ball cloud
Activity: Bathtub or sink water play
Number: 2 (Day 2 of creation)

I had to read quickly to make it through eight verses with a toddler. Clearly, increasing Evan's attention span is a project for the upcoming days. When he started to get antsy, I used his finger to follow along with the words. Singing has not "clicked" with Evan yet, so mostly I sing and he shouts "Bible!" at the end.

Yesterday, Evan reminded me to pray. Today I forgot completely! So I will be intentionally adding it to my list from now on (as I should have been doing anyway).

For craft time, we made clouds (I know, original).

I had previously cut out the cloud shape (to represent the heavens) so it was all ready to go. Supplies: cloud shape, glue stick, and cotton balls. Very simple to put together.

I intended to let Evan play in the sink for a while; toddlers love water play. But baby sister woke up around then so we had to pause things. My plan B- since a 10 months old baby can't play in the sink very well- was to put both kids in the tub instead. I was about to get them ready for tub play when I saw this...

Do you remember the old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? When children are entertaining themselves and playing nicely, save the activity for a less peaceful time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Creation, Day 1

I am finally beginning to home school my 2 year old, Evan. Well... home school might sound too structured or intense for a toddler. What I am really doing is giving both of us a taste of what is to come, while not neglecting my job to:

     "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it,"  
     Proverbs 22:6

The heart of my husband and I is that we are the primary teachers in our childrens' lives. We realize that we are the greatest mentors, teachers, and caregivers given by God to our kids. And so we begin...

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5
Memory verse: "In the beginning, God created"
Song: The B-I-B-L-E
Craft: Day/Night paper scraps
Activity: Flashlight to teach Light vs. Dark
Number: 1 (Day 1 of creation)

I figured the best place to begin is the beginning. So we read the passage directly from the NASB bible. I pointed to the words as I went along to keep Evan's attention better. Next, I told him that this is the word of God, and we sang "The B-I-B-L-E". Well, I sang and he hit the final "Bible!" with a strong fist pump (it's a boy thing).

Our craft was quick and easy:

Supplies: Glue Stick.  Previously, I prepared a cream colored paper with "In the beginning, God created" written at the top, with the Bible reference. Next I scribbled half with black marker and labeled it "Night/Dark" (you can just see the lines of my scribble between the black construction paper). The blank half is marked "Day/Light" at the top left. I also had half a page of plain white paper, and half a page of black construction paper ready.

I read the verse aloud from the top of the page, pointing at each word. Evan had a great time tearing the white and black papers into bits. We then glued them onto the appropriate sides of the paper. Toddlers love glue sticks!

Lastly, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce the concepts of "light" and "dark" to my 2 year old. So we, and the 10 month old, traipsed into the bathroom (the darkest room of the house at the moment) and played with a flashlight.

We clicked it on and said "light". Then clicked it off and said "dark". And repeated, and repeated, and repeated. He never really understood the concept! But at least I laid the foundation. Plus, if your toddler is like mine, then they could be entertained for hours with a flashlight.

Throughout the day (and days to come) I will have him repeat the memory verse to me. I kept throwing in the number one as we did both projects and read the story. Every time "Day 1" came up we said "one" and held up one finger.

We had a lot of fun! The whole lesson took around 20 minutes, a perfectly acceptable time for a busy toddler boy.

I'd love to hear if you have studied Creation with your children? Please include a link to your website or activity details in a comment.