Tot School Tuesday: VALENTINES

It's Tot School Tuesday...err Friday.  Okay so I know I'm a bit late this week with my weekly summary, but guess what guys?!? Life got real crazy over here.  Poor Madelynn had an ear infection, then after getting over that caught a stomach bug.  We thought she was better, but she was still not sleeping and was acting really strange, so we took her back to the doctor on Wednesday and sure enough,  double ear infection... Ugh not much fun (or sleep) has been happening around here this week. 
We did finish out our Valentines plans for the most part before the stomach virus hit, but this week we have been on a bit of a hiatus.  M is currently taking a great nap which means I get to blog about all of our fun, and hopefully we will pick back up with learning about circles next week.

Here were our plans for the 2 weeks of Valentines:


And here is what we actually did...
Here are the 10 books that we used as our focus each day.  
The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting
In My Heart by Molly Bang
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Colandro
Love, Splat by Rob Scotton
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse by Laura Numeroff
The Night Before Valentines Day by Natasha Wing
Llama Llama I Love You by Anna Dewdney
Kiss Kiss Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
Where is Baby’s Valentine? By Karen Katz

Love Monster by Rachel Bright

Felt Heart Threading:
I found a felt heart banner in the dollar spot at Target and of course had to grab one even though I had no idea how I would use it.  I found these silly straws a while back at the dollar store and thought they would be fun for threading beads but none of the beads I found had a big enough hole.  I decided to cut the heart off of the ribbon and cut a slit in the middle of each one. Madelynn had a great time threading them onto the different shaped straws.  Check out that "ooooh" face. ;)
 Mail the Hearts:
While filling my cart in the dollar spot I also saw this little mailbox that was too cute for words and these erasers.  They fit perfectly in the little slot so I knew this would be an easy activity for M and it kept her occupied for a really long time.
 Tear Paper Heart:
I've seen lots of variations of this activity on pinterest so I created this quick heart printable and cut up some strips of paper for Madelyn to rip apart. Then we used our trusty glue sponge to stick them onto the heart.
 Roll, Count, and Fill Heart:
I found these fun sparkly pom poms in the craft section at Hobby Lobby and figured we'd find something fun to do with them.  Since we worked on numbers and counting last week I wanted to try to incorporate those sills as much as possible.  I grabbed a die and we rolled, and counted out pom poms to fill the heart cookie cutter.  This last about 3 rolls, then M started shoveling handfuls in and out of the bowl, but hey it was worth a shot right?
 Paper Heart Punch:
I thought it would be fun for Madelynn to try out a paper punch this week to really work on fine motor strength.  I thought I had a heart one, but no such luck.  So I cut out a bunch of hearts and had M punch around the outside.  This was really hard for her and I had to help a lot, but she tried her best.  We will definitely try this more and I am sure she will get the hang of it.
 Counting Heart Mats:
I found these adorable counting mats from Life Over Cs while searching Pinterest for ideas and already had a bunch of erasers from my Target Dollar Spot haul. Madelynn was pretty good at lining them up inside the numbers, but counting them out was a bit of a challenge so I helped her with this for a while, then let her go wild scooping handfuls of erasers onto each mat.
Heart Tube Stamping:
This one is really easy to prep. All you need is a toilet paper tube, I know you hoard them *just in case* like I do! bend it in the middle and wrap some tape around it to hold the shape.  And that's it, just stamp in paint on onto the paper for mostly mess free heart painting.
 Pom Pom Painting:
Another fun low mess painting activity we tried this week was painting with pom poms.  I grabbed a few different size pom poms, clipped them in a clothespin and dropped them in cups of paint.  Madelynn knew just what to do! I was worried she would just try to take the clothespins off, but surprisingly they didn't come off once and she painted a few heart valentines for our family.
 Stamps and Stickers:
Stickers and stamps are always a win around here and sometimes its fun for Madelynn just to create and explore without her type A momma having a specific objective for her.  She still has a bit of trouble peeling the backs off foam stickers so while she created I peeled them and stuck them at the top of her tray to use, along with small strips of washi tape.

Musical Hearts {Letters}:
This was a big hit with Madelynn.  I wrote the letters A-Z on paper hearts that I cut out, then laid them out in a circle.  I put on some music and had her dance around the circle.  Then I stopped the music and had her pick up a letter and try to name it.  I'm surprised how many letters she is starting to pick up already just from our little activities (of course with a little help from our friend "Super Why" that she also loves to watch) 
 Foam Heart Movement:
This one couldn't be any simpler. I found these foam hearts at Michaels, scattered them on the floor and had M hop on all the purple hearts, stomp on the white hearts, etc. with different types of movement. 
 Heart Scavenger Hunt {Letters}:
I have to say this one was my favorite.  While Madelynn napped I took the paper hearts from our musical heart game and hid them all over the first floor of our house. Then we hunted for each letter and brought them back to this large paper mat I made to match them. As she gets older I will definitely do this again with upper/lowercase matching or maybe even beginning sound pictures.
 Foam Heart Twister:
Madelynn didn't quite get this one. I called a color and told her to put her hand or foot on that color but she just kept jumping to that color. I tried demonstrating (feel free to laugh at the visual of me at 30 weeks pregnant trying not to fall on my belly) but still not much luck.  Maybe I will try again after she's older and gets the traditional game of twister.
  Heart Scavenger Hunt {Numbers}:
We had so much fun with letters, we also did a number scavenger hunt.  This one was a bit easier to make matches so I tried to work on identifying the numbers she found as well. I'd say she consistently knows about 3 numbers which is a great start!

  Valentines Snack Mix:
For our snack mix, Madelyn loved that she could help pour and mix and it was oh so easy.  In our snack mix we added pretzels, vanilla chex, marshmallow, cupcake flavored goldfish grahams, and valentines M&Ms.
  Sprinkle Wafer Cookies:
For our cookies I melted white candy melts and poured some different sprinkles in bowls.  Madelynn dipped the strawberry wafer cookies in the candy then sprinkled each one.  She actually liked making them more than eating them, which was fine by me.  My pregnancy sweet cravings were very happy about that!
  Valentine Fruit Skewers:
I used a small heart cookie cutter to cut the strawberries into hearts then skewered them with toothpicks and grapes for a nice healthy treat to balance out all of our sweets this week.
  Heart Jello:
Jello jigglers in heart shapes, easy peasy. No tutorial needed here, just follow the directions on your Jello box!
  Heart Rice Krispy Treat:
Because I LOVE Rice Krispy treats! Clearly I am passing this love on to Madelynn.
  Turkey, Cheese and Crackers:
I have a set of heart fondant cutters so I used them to cut out small pieces of turkey and cheese to put on top of these crackers. I had to fit in at least one more healthy snack between the sugar overload :)
  Raspberry Yogurt Pops:
I found the recipe for these here at Eat Good 4 Life. We skipped the maple syrup because that seemed weird to me and they turned out pretty delicious!
 Heart Quesadillas:
We actually had these for lunch one day instead of snack.  Just tortillas, cheese and a heart cookie cutter.
 Valentine Theme Bin #1:
We tried out lots of different bins with this theme and M loved scooping and dumping all the different materials.   Included in this bin: pipe cleaners, pom poms, satin hearts, foam hearts, ribbon, heart slinkies.
 Valentine Theme Bin #2:
This was a simple one because water beads are just so much fun all on their own.   Included in this bin: clear water beads, heart boxes.
 Play Dough Heart Cookies:
We used cookie cutters to make play dough cookies and decorated them with sequins and gems for sprinkles. 
 Valentines Slime:
We tried a different slime recipe this week and it turned out okay, but I am still not a slime making master yet. It was stretchy but not really gooey... We'll have to try some more recipes to see what my problem is.
Shaving Cream Painting:
I spryed a bunch of shaving cream on our tray and added a few drops of red paint. Madelynn played in the shaving cream for a while swirling it around, then we gently placed a paper heart on top and peeled it off to create a swirly pattern.
 Valentine Theme Bin #3:
Madelynn liked hunting for the erasers hiding in this bin. Included in this bin: dyed rice, valentines erasers, scoops and cups.
 Valentine Theme Bin #4:
I braved the water bin, even though I knew the kitchen was going to be a wet mess.  I was pretty proud of myself for not freaking out too much over the mess.   Included in this bin: water, food coloring, sponge hearts (cut out from regular sponges), heart gems, heart boxes.
 Valentine Sensory Bag:
I dumped clear hair gel, sequins and heart gems into a bag and let Madelynn search for them.  I was smart enough to tape the bag shut this time so we didn't end up with any messy disasters this time too.
 Valentine Theme Bin #5:
I wasn't too sure how this one would turn out, but thought I'd give it a shot. It worked out pretty well but not out favorite.  Included in this bin: water beads, pink foam soap.
And that's it! If you want to catch up on the other tot school posts you can check them out here:


And if you take a look at my year long plans, I am switching circles to next week because this week just didn't happen! Here is the revised calendar if you want to see what is coming up in the next few weeks:


Books Teachers Love: Green Shamrocks


I know you may  be knee deep in presidents day learning, 100th day celebrations and pink and red hearts right about now, but it's never too early to start planning ahead for next month! My friends and I are sharing our favorite March Read Alouds to help inspire some great ideas for your lesson plans.

I absolutely love Eve Bunting's books and my book pick this month does not disappoint.
In this book Rabbit grows shamrocks to wear for the St. Patrick's Day Parade when they suddenly go missing! He searches everywhere for them and luckily finds them just in time for the parade.
Green Shamrocks is the perfect story for discussing story elements in Kindergarten because the story line is simple and the problem/solution are easy to identify.
I also like to use the story as inspiration for writing about what they would wear to a St Patrick's Day Parade.  You could even have students make their creations and have a classroom or school parade to show off their ideas!
Some of my other favorite St. Patrick's Day activities include retelling with There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover

KWL charts and non fiction writing about our learning from St. Patrick's Day by Anne Rockwell, 
And my favorite part? Making a few craftivities to accompany our writing projects.


You can find all of these St Patrick's Day activities, along with many more here in my Read & Respond: St Patrick's Day Pack.
If you are feeling lucky then don't miss out on your chance to win Green Shamrocks and 3 other great March picture books! I have activities for 3 out of the 4 books included in my pack above, so you'll be all set for March!
And don't forget to check out the other books and teaching ideas for 11 more perfect March read alouds. Take a peek and check some planning off your to do list!