Go, Dog, Go!

9.29.2015

This lesson made me so happy. It was so much fun, even for me, and I'm a grown woman. Props to Karli for the great ideas. Her genius strikes again.


When Tate and I walked in, there was a printable from Go, Dog, Go! waiting for him to color. After a couple minutes of coloring we sang our usual songs and then Karli read Go, Dog, Go! to the boys. (Why do I not own this book? I do not know.) After she finished, she had the boys trace their names using little Thomas trains as we talked about each letter that makes up their names.


Then the boys got to play Red Light Green Light, which was a HUGE hit. Karli ran the show for the first couple rounds, but then the boys could no longer resist. They had to have a turn.

This game was so fun, even Karli and Em had to join in.
Once they were ready to move on, the boys made their very own party hats, just like the dog in the book. They had fun picking out stickers, googly eyes, pom-poms and feathers but were more excited once we hot glued the elastic to the back and they became real hats. Tate wore his for pretty much the entire day. 

Cute book. Cute lesson. Cute boys. 




Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

For this lesson, I started off by having the boys color this printable that I found on teacherspayteachers.com. (I cut the monkeys out in advance.) After a minute or two of coloring, we sang a few songs and then I read Five Little Monkeys three times. The first time I read it the boys just sat and listened. The second time I read it the boys acted it out with simple actions (holding up their fingers, rubbing their heads, calling the doctor, etc.). The third time I had the boys act it out with their printable monkeys/beds. (After each monkey fell off we asked the boys to count how many were still left on the bed. Easy way to integrate some subtraction skills!)

I found this YouTube video that I thought would be fun but Karli suggested that we let the boys dance to this Baby Genius version of Five Little Monkeys. The boys are pretty easy to please so I was game for anything! We let the boys dance around and then transitioned to the next activity. I took a 12-cup muffin pan and set up a fine motor, sorting activity with one boy on each side of the pan. (I would've used muffin tins if I had any but we were fresh out.) Five tins had a numbered piece of paper in them, 1-5. The sixth tin had 15 pom-poms in them. The boys used plastic tongs to sort the pom-poms and put the correct number into each tin. My description of this is pretty awful so hopefully a picture will help make sense of what I'm explaining.
Definitely the ugliest sorting activity I've ever seen. Pinterest would be ashamed. 
After the boys sorted their pom-poms, we finished with a monkey handprint craft. Thank you, Google search, for the awesome idea! 




Toddler-Friendly Scripture Study: Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Traveling in the Wilderness
If you haven't read my initial post, read it here. It explains the scripture study plan in a little more detail and gives more information for how to teach it. 

Song: Review a song you have already taught. Keep the Commandments, Nephi’s Courage or Follow the Prophet would work well with this chapter. Follow the links to take you to the lesson plan where the songs were originally introduced for ideas on how to teach it.

Summary: The Liahona (adapted from lds.org)


1. Lehi objeyed God and took his family into the wilderness. One morning, he found a brass ball outside his tent. It was called the Liahona.


2. One day Nephi went to hunt for food and his bow broke. He couldn’t get any food for his family. Everyone complained, even Lehi.


3. Nephi made a new bow out of wood and asked Lehi where to hunt. Lehi prayed and the Liahona showed them where to go.


4. Nephi followed the directions and found food for his family. The Liahona only worked when Lehi and his family were faithful and obedient.



Art/Craft: Poke page, found here. Poke page explanation found here.
Liahona coloring page found here.

UPDATE: Super cute Book of Mormon coloring book available on LDS.org - found HERE. For this lesson, I would use this page:

Scripture Study Outline
Again, if you haven't read my initial post, read it here. My outline is very brief, so this explains the scripture study plan in a little more detail and gives more information for how to teach it. 

1. Preview the chapter with a picture walk. (Explanation found here.)

2. Read through the story in the manual. Ask questions and take time to look at the pictures as you read. Take as many days as needed to read the whole chapter.  End by singing the song.

3.  Choose one of the arts and crafts pages for your child to do while you read sections of the story from the actual scriptures. Take as many days as needed to read through the passages. End each day by singing the song.
4.  Choose one of the following activities: (After you complete the activity, spend a few minutes talking about how the Liahona is like the Holy Ghost. End by singing the song.)
a. Cut out the four squares that go along with the summary. Lay them near your child. Read each         sentence and have them point to the correct picture.
b. Read the summary while your child acts it out. 
c. Pre-School Age: Read the summary as you hold up each picture. Practice the story with your child. Then, mix them up and have your child put them in the right order. (Sequencing)

5. Watch the scripture story video for this chapter. End by reading your favorite verse from the story.

6. Choose another activity from step 4 or repeat the same one you did before. Ask what their favorite part of the story was. Read your favorite verse once and then let them have a turn to read it, repeating after you in small phrases. Bear your testimony about what you have read and end by singing the song. 

Ten Apples Up On Top

9.23.2015


The little lesson that Karli did for this Dr. Suess book was so cute! She read the book to the boys and then they got to stack their own "apples"(blocks) as she read it a second time. After that, the boys did some apple stamping and we got a seriously adorable decoration out of it.


 
Karli bought a random book from the dollar store and cut out triangles for the banner. The boys stamped the apples, we painted a stem and leaf on each one and then hot glued it to twine. (I have yet to do the last couple steps to finish my banner, surprise surprise, but Karli's turned out awesome!)

Such a fun little lesson and a perfect decoration for fall.

Just as a side note, here are a couple things we do to as part of our routine:

1. We try to have an activity for the boys to do right when they come in. It's nothing special, just a coloring page that matches the activity for the day or some puzzles, etc. This provides a smooth transition and keeps them from coming in and going straight to playing with toys, which is what they would normally do for any regular play date.

2. After we get settled, we begin by singing the same songs each time we get together. We sing a welcome song, the ABCs, a number song (just added that one today!) and a couple fun songs, like Wheels on the Bus. This helps signal to the boys that it's learning time and they know we will be doing a lesson right afterward. Routine is HUGE!

Tot School

9.22.2015

Since Tate was about 18 months old I started making plans to do a little educational activity with him every day. I mapped out my week and figured out what time of day would be best to dedicate to “learning time”.  I assigned each day a different subject. I spent hours looking on Pinterest for good ideas and looked up Pre-K standards to make sure I was teaching the right things. After hours and hours of researching and planning and finding ideas, I was ready. I had all that I needed to teach Tate. 

But it never happened. Story of my life.

Does any one else do this? Plan and plan and make an awesome goal but then never follow through? I feel like that’s what my life as a mom has been whether it be a recipe I SWORE I was going to make or a craft I bought supplies for but never found the time to do. I am constantly finding or coming up with ideas but then for one reason or another they just don’t happen. Because I'm cool like that.

Well, I have made a great new friend out here in CT and we found out a couple months or so ago that we both had the same goal to teach our boys a little every day.  When she asked if we wanted to meet up a couple times a week and teach them together I was SO excited. Doing things like this with other people makes it a lot easier to actually follow through.

I hope to post our ideas on here to share with others. Any time it’s my turn to teach, it will basically be something you could find for yourself online. I’ve decided I’m not good at very many things, but I am good at copying people. I know that’s not a real talent but it’s all I’ve got. Copycat Pride! 

Of course when it is Karli’s lessons they will be fabulous and cute and mostly her own ideas because she is actually creative and comes up with things in her own brilliant mind. I do know she loves Pinterest, but I also know she’s got LOADS of talent. I’m excited to see what fun things she comes up with for the boys!

I was in charge of our first “school” play date and since it was kind of an introductory lesson, I decided to do a lesson revolving around Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Karli’s son is just starting to learn the letters and Tate has been working on letter sounds; I figured this was the perfect book to kick things off. After we read the book once, I got out a cookie sheet with a tree taped to it (a very sad imitation of the coconut tree - thankfully the boys didn't care) and some magnetic letters and modeled how to use the items while I read it a second time.


Then I gave the boys their own cookie sheets and they used their magnetic letters to act out the story while I read the book again. They loved the part when they got to bang their cookie sheets against the floor to make the letters fall off.

We cleaned up the magnetic letters and sang the ABCs while I laid ABC flash cards on the ground (I love me some effective transitions!). We used one bag of magnetic letters and the boys took turns picking out a letter and matching it to the correct flash card. It was a very laid back activity and if one boy finished before the other they would just pick another letter and keep going – no need to wait for one to finish before the other could take another turn. It was also very easy to adapt – Karli helped Chase while teaching the name of each letter and I talked to Tate about the letter sounds as he searched for the match.


Finally, we ended by coloring a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom coloring page, which also acted as an informal assessment. While they colored, we would ask the boys to identify the letters and were able to gauge what they already know and what they need to work on. I also printed out a separate paper with lowercase letters for Tate since that’s also something I want to work on with him. He mixed up his b and d, p and q, and didn’t know what the “r” was – now I have a better idea of what to work on!

God Loves Broken Things

9.20.2015

Elder Holland came to our stake this weekend to reorganize the leadership. It was such a blessing to hear his testimony and wise counsel. Prior to this weekend I was feeling pretty down and because of this negativity I was also feeling distant from God. So many answers to questions I've had and so many thoughts that I needed to hear were given this weekend. I am so thankful. Bear with me while I review my notes and try my best to convey the powerful message he shared.

Elder Holland directed his thoughts to those who are having a hard time or who have had a hard time or who know of anyone who is having a hard time. In other words, he was talking to each of us. He said that if the room did not have one person in it who was currently going through a trial that he should stop talking right then and take a picture for the cover of the church magazine - "We found a stake without one person who has a problem!" I love his sense of humor.

He started off by saying on his drive down to New Haven, he wondered about each of us. He wondered how we are doing and what we are going through and whether we are happy. Even though he doesn't know many of us personally, he thought about us and about our spiritual/physical/emotional status. 

Then, he began with a point that he continued to go back to during his talk and that he made VERY clear throughout the rest of the evening:


GOD LOVES BROKEN THINGS.


When he was a grad student at Yale, he and his wife had two children and were dirt poor. At that time, they certainly were broken. Everything they had was literally broken: their cars, the kids' toys, their clothes, etc. His wife held a leadership position and then Elder Holland was called to the stake presidency. He made a joke that "you know when you call a grad student to the stake presidency that you are scraping the bottom of the barrel. You have splinters in your fingers from scraping so hard." How was he supposed to travel around the east coast throughout the stake, that at that time spanned across multiple states, given their situation? One car. Grad school. Two little kids. No money. Elder Holland expressed that he knows what it feels like to be broken. 

He then provided a different perspective to being "broken":
  • It takes broken clouds to nourish the Earth
  • It takes broken earth to grow grain
  • It takes broken grain to make bread
  • It takes broken bread to nourish the body
There are so many cycles of life, and sometimes certain cycles come that "break" us. When you are in that cycle and all you can see is the rain and the dirt, DON'T PANIC

The gospel teaches us that things get fixed. When things break, believe and have faith. Hang on, push through and let the cycle run. Things will be fixed.

For those who have been to the temple, we are under covenant to sacrifice. Perhaps the times in our lives when we are "broken" are a part of that sacrifice. When we sacrifice, we are saying that we trust in Christ and in His Atonement. Don't panic or say, "Why me?" or "Why us?" This is your chance to make an offering. 

When times get hard, God says, "Trust me." He can take a broken heart and make it better than ever before.

Elder Holland then went on to share a funny experience from his days in primary. He said his teacher gave the absolute worst object lesson and he wishes he could forget it because the theology behind it is so wrong. His teacher brought in a piece of wood with nails and a hammer. Each child in the class got to hammer in a nail. Then they were asked to pull the nail out. Her point was that it was hard to pull the nail out and that although it was possible to remove it, the holes will be there forever. 

This is not so. The gospel teaches us that you get a new piece of wood! Not a piece that has been filled with putty, not a piece that has been painted to look new, not a piece that has been turned to the other side. Through the Atonement of Christ, you get a new piece without any holes again and again and again. Every time you offer a broken heart and contrite spirit, you are forgiven. (Elder Holland added that he thinks the thing God loves most about His job is when He is able to be merciful.)

He returned to talking about the different cycles of life and how there are different times for different people. Sometimes you may look around and feel that you are in the darkness while others are in the light. It's 3 AM for you but 7 AM for your neighbor or 10 AM for your good friend. Be patient and know that the sun always comes up

The most foolish thing you can do is to think you're being picked on. If you think God doesn't love you because you're going through hard times, what does that have to say about His relationship with His Only Begotten Son? Christ suffered for each and every one of our sorrows and sins. Christ died of a broken heart. John 19:34 - "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." Where did that blood and water come from? He was not in a car accident. If an autopsy was performed on Christ, this is what they would have found: Cause of death: A broken heart. 

Please don't ever fall victim to think, "Well, I guess God doesn't love me!" When you are in a storm, stay in the boat. That is the number one rule of seamanship. When the waves get rough, you don't do a half-gainer off the bow. That's suicide. When you are going through a trial, strap yourself in and stay in the church. (Elder Holland even said that the "dumbestthing you can do when times get hard is to leave the church.) Stiffen your back and straighten your shoulders. Things will be fixed. You will see light again. Some things may not be resolved for months, years, decades and some may not be resolved until heaven, but they will be fixed. 

In Mark chapter 40 Christ taught the people and then afterward traveled with His disciples. In verse 35 Christ says, "...let us pass over to the other side." During their travels He falls asleep and then a storm comes. The storm is so powerful that the ship fills with water. His disciples wake Him and say, "Carest thou not that we perish?" Jesus calmed the storm and then said, "Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?"

Elder Holland related this to our own lives. How many times could Christ say the same to us? "Why are ye so fearful?" "Where is your faith?" or maybe "Why do you worry so much?" Remember that Christ said BEFORE they began their journey that they would make it to the other side. He knew they would be okay. Do you think He would've gotten on the ship in the first place if it was going to sink? Do you think He would have been able to sleep during the storm if it was going to take the ship down? No matter what you are going through, you will make it to the other side. You will see the light again.

This life is not much of a test if it's not much of a sacrifice. Believe. Have faith. Trust in Christ. 

EVERY BROKEN THING WILL BE MADE WHOLE.

Watercolor wreath

Ombre background






Toddler-Friendly Scripture Study: Chapter 4

9.14.2015

Chapter 4: The Brass Plates
If you haven't read my initial post, read it here. It explains the scripture study plan in a little more detail and gives more information for how to teach it. 

Preparation
Song: Nephi’s Courage, p. 120, chorus

“I will go; I will do (punch air upward with fist for “go” and “do”)
the thing the Lord commands. (ASL for “commands”)
I know (point to head) the Lord provides a way; (hold both hands out, parallel with palms facing each other, then push out in front of you like you are making a path)
He wants me to obey.” (salute)
Repeat, but fold arms for last “obey”

Art/Craft:
1. There are free activity books here that go along with a variety of scripture stories. You just need to create a free account (super easy). For this chapter, I used a few coloring pages from the “Nephi and the Brass Plates” activity book.
UPDATE: Super cute Book of Mormon coloring book available on LDS.org - found HERE. For this lesson, I would use this page:

AND/OR For older toddlers, print and cut out brass plates for size sort.

2. Printable figures for retelling
OR you could read the summary while your child acts it out 
Scripture Study Outline
This chapter is a big one, so plan on it taking at least a week!

1. Preview the chapter with a picture walk. (Explanation found here.)

2. Read through the story. Ask questions and take time to look at the pictures as you read. Take as many days as needed to read the whole chapter.  End by listening to/singing the song. (Teach hand actions before you try to teach words.)

3.  Have child color one of the coloring pages quietly and/or do the brass plates sort while you read sections of the story from the actual scriptures. Find the passages you feel are most important to share and highlight them beforehand for an easier read. Take as many days as needed to read through the passages. End by listening to/singing the song. 
4. (Cut out printable figures in advance. Tape them to straws/popsicle sticks or attach them to magnets and display on the fridge, cookie sheet, etc.) Share the summary as you hold up the printable figures. Repeat but have your child hold the figures as you read. After they have heard the summary a couple times, ask questions about each figure. (i.e. “Who is this?”, “Why do Laman and Lemuel have grumpy faces?”, “Who is holding the plates?”) OR you could have your child act out the summary instead of having printable figures. End by singing the song. 

5. Watch the scripture storyvideo for this chapter. End by reading your favorite verse from the story. (It may be typical, but I love 1 Nephi 3:7) Read it one time and then have your child read part of it or all of it by repeating after you.

6. Have child try to retell the story using the figures, helping them as needed. Ask what their favorite part of the story was. Tell your favorite part and then read another favorite verse from the scripture passages. Share your testimony about having faith and following God, like Nephi. End by singing the song together.


Toddler-Friendly Scripture Study: Chapter 3

9.02.2015

Chapter 3: Lehi Leaves Jerusalem
If you haven't read my initial post, read it here. It explains the scripture study plan in a little more detail and gives more information for how to teach it. 

Song: Keep the Commandments, p. 146

Keep the commandments, keep the commandments!
In this there is safety; in this there is peace.
He will send blessings; He will sending blessings.
Words of a prophet: Keep the commandments.
In this there is safety and peace.

Teaching idea: Move your hands/arms to the music like the waves of the ocean, with palms down, arms rocking back and forth. As the song gets quieter/ louder the waves get smaller/higher. Watch first few seconds of this video.

Dramatization: God spoke to Lehi in a dream (pretend to be asleep). He told him to leave Jerusalem with his family (wake up). Lehi had a wife, Sariah, and four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi (hold up four fingers and point to each as you say names of sons). Lehi’s family packed up food and tents and traveled into the wilderness (pretend to pack up a bag and begin walking). Laman and Lemuel thought their dad was foolish (make grumpy face and fold arms). They did not believe Lehi (shake head, “no”). They did not want to leave their home and money. Nephi wanted to understand what Lehi saw in his dream. He prayed to God (kneel down and fold arms). Jesus came and visited Nephi. He told Nephi that what his dad said was true. Nephi believed (nod head). The Lord said he would bless Nephi because of his faith.

Art/Craft: There are free activity books here that go along with a variety of scripture stories. You just need to create a free account (super easy). For this chapter, I downloaded the “Nephi and the Brass Plates” book and used pages 7, 9 and 10.

1. Preview the chapter with a picture walk. (Explanation found here.)

2. Read through the story. Ask questions and take time to look at the pictures as you read. Take as many days as needed to read the whole chapter.  End by listening to/singing the song. (Teach how to move arms like waves.)

3.  Have child color one of the coloring pages quietly while you read sections of the story from the actual scriptures. Find the passages you feel are most important to share and highlight them beforehand for an easier read. If needed, summarize between passages to make up for any disconnect. Take as many days as needed to read through the passages. End by listening to/singing the song.
           
Passages: 1 Nephi 2
            2 – whole verse
            4 – whole verse
            5 – “…and he did travel…Laman, Lemuel and Sam.”
            6 – whole verse
            7 – whole verse
            8 – “And it came… the river Laman”
            9 – whole verse
            10 – whole verse
            11 – “Now this he spake… against their father”
            12 – “…And they did murmur… had created them.”
            13 – “Neither did they… of the prophets.”
            16 – whole verse
            17 – “And I spake unto Sam”, “And it came to pass that he believed in my words”
            18 – whole verse
            19 – whole verse
            20 – whole verse
            22 – whole verse

4. Dramatization: act out the chapter as outlined. Then, while they color another coloring page, read a few of your favorite verses from the scripture passages. 

5. Watch the scripture story video for this chapter. Then act out the chapter with your child.


6. Have child act out dramatization on his/her own while you read the outline (try having older toddler do it without any help). Ask what their favorite part of the story was. Read 1 Nephi 2:20, first sentence: “And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise.” Share your testimony about how we can be blessed when we obey and keep the commandments, like Lehi and Nephi. End by singing the song.


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