Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weekly Learning Theme: Grandparents

With Grandparents Day on September 13th I thought a learning theme centered around grandparents would be fun for Carter. I enjoyed using pictures of his grandparents in activities and finding ways to incorporate them into our learning.

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I have updated our objectives a second time because I felt like we were ready to focus on something new.  I plan to continue to implement activities to practice and reinforce our previous objectives while putting more emphasis on our new objectives.  Some of them won't necessarily be targeted with specific activities during our weeks, but I wanted to list them to help me remember to practice them continually.  The highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Continue to improve fine motor skills and drawing (specifically I'm looking for him to be able to copy a circle and a square as well as draw a person with 2-4 body parts).
  2. Understand same and different.
  3. Accurately tell stories as well as retell the story from a book. 
  4. Use age appropriate scissors. 
  5. Develop a better understanding of time (for example, be able to describe when things happen using morning, afternoon, night)
  6. Group objects based on a category (sort by defining feature).
  7. Count and understand what the numbers mean.  
  • I had Carter tell me a story about something he did with each grandparent. Then I got out pages to make a book and we broke the story into pages. I'd ask him, "What happened next?" and he'd tell me what to write. The books turned out so adorable. Then he illustrated the story and I added descriptions to explain what he said he had drawn. The books turned out so sweet and I was so excited for the grandparents to read them!
    Oma told Carter he had to buy the shoes to rip the tags off, in case you were wondering about page 3.
  • I printed pictures of each of Carter's grandparents: Oma, Opa, Gma, and Gpa. I also wrote each of their names on a little slip of paper. I asked him what he called each of his grandparents and we talked about their names. Then I showed him the slips of paper and we looked at each name, talking about the letters and the sounds. I had him find the names that started with O for Oma and Opa. He found them and then we looked at the next letter in the word. We did the same with Gma and Gpa. Once we had figured out the names on the slips I had Carter sort the pictures into piles underneath the corresponding name slip. I chose pictures of them with him and with Elise. We talked about what they were doing in each picture and how old he or Elise was in the picture. He really enjoyed seeing them with him and would excitedly tell me, "Gma with Carter!" or whichever grandparent was in the picture. When he was done sorting we counted the pictures to see how many we had of each grandparent.
    Examining the name slips.
    Sorting pictures.
  • Using the same pictures we had sorted I had Carter look at pictures of his grandparents. We talked about how they looked the same or different. He needed some help so we talked about how Gpa and Opa are the same because they are both men, same with Gma and Oma both being women. Then we talked about how Gpa and Opa looked different because Gpa has a beard and Opa doesn't. This is a concept Carter is still working on understanding well enough to come up with ideas on his own.  
  • I asked Carter's grandmas to send me some pictures of them as younger parents. I showed Carter pictures of them without kids and then with kids at varying ages. We talked about who was in the pictures and then we put the pictures in order based on his grandparents' ages. I told him they were about the same age as his daddy and I are now. He thought it was hilarious his Uncle Paul was in a picture with his daddy and laughed saying, "Uncle Paul is daddy's uncle too!" We talked about how Paul and Ty are actually related to help him. 

He put them in order and then crawled around to look at them from the other side.
Cracking up that Uncle Paul was in the picture.

  • When Leina sent pictures of her and Rocky as young parents she also sent a picture of each of them at about the same age Carter is now. I thought that was a great idea so I had my mom send pictures of her and my dad as kids. I showed the pictures to Carter and had him guess who was in each picture. He loved it and laughed that his grandparents had once been his age. My mom sent a picture of her on a horse and a picture of her on a toy horse. I used that as an opportunity to talk about real and pretend. Carter was able to identify which one was the real horse and which one was a pretend horse. He loved the pictures of her on the horses and carried them around. 

  • We got out Play Doh and practiced making people out of Play Doh. I showed Carter how to roll a ball and he was very proud he could do it pretty well. I made a body with a head and arms and Carter did the same. We made Oma and Opa and then Gma and Gpa. We made them interact with each other and he pretended the Play Doh figures were each of them. Working on making balls and rolling out the doh is great practice using his fine motor skills.

  • I modeled for Carter how to draw a simple person by making a circle for the body and adding lines for arms and legs. Then I added dots for eyes and drew a mouth. Carter followed along, making multiple circles for a body, adding lines not attached to the circle for the arms and legs. Then he filled the circle with dots for I guess spider-like eyes. He said he had drawn his Gpa and was done drawing people, moving on to other things.
    Making a person like mine.
    Notice Gpa's legs down at the bottom not attached although his arms were attached. Lots of eyes in the middle of the body!
  • I asked Carter if he loved each of his grandparents one at a time. After he said yes I asked him why. He gave me a different reason on each one and they were so sweet and so simple, exactly right for a child his age. I wrote down what he said and then added it to the inside of a card he made for them writing "I love my Oma/Opa/Gma/Gpa because..." and the putting what he had said.
  • I told Carter we were going to make cards for his grandparents for Grandparents' Day and asked him how he wanted to do that. He said he wanted to use finger paint so that's what we did. I cut down paper so it would fit in an envelope and then let him choose the colors he wanted to use to paint. You can tell we do a lot of handprint crafts because one thing Carter did as he was painting was rub paint on the palm of his hand and then press his hand on the paper to make a handprint.
    Putting paint on his hand.
  • Elise got to make a card for each of her grandparents (greats included) as well. I've seen really cute handprint heart crafts at different times so I decided to do that for her card. We painted each of her hands red and put them together so her thumbs and index fingers were in the shape of a heart. It was fairly difficult to get the right placement of her hands as I had to hold her and support her as well as hold her hand. She also likes to roll her fingers up so it is hard to get them unrolled for placement on the paper. I thought they turned out really cute though!
    The finished product.
Special Snack:
  • Carter helped me make banana bread for our grandparent tea. I saved some bananas all week and let them get overly ripe. I turned to get some ingredients for the bread and when I turned back he had opened and started to eat one of the extremely mushy bananas!
Make Believe:
  • I made some tea to go along with our banana bread. Then I pulled out my grandma's china that was passed down to me for a special tea party. I told Carter that the china was special because it belong to my grandma, his great grandma. I also put a table cloth on the table and set it with tea cups for our pretend guests. We had a grandparent tea and pretended all his grandparents were there. I talked about being a host and had Carter point out who was sitting where and then ask each guest if they would like some banana bread. He was so cute and was actually acting a little bit shy turning away and talking in a silly voice as he asked them if they wanted banana bread. Once we had served everyone bread, he was disappointed I didn't make enough tea for everyone too, we facetimed his grandparents so they could be part of our grandparent tea.
    He was so excited for his special grandparent tea.

  • We sang a song to the tune of You Are My Sunshine. It went like this:
You are my Grandma. 
You are my Grandpa.
You make me happy
when I'm with you.
You give good hugs and
you give good kisses.
Hope you know how much I love you!
  • I sang the songs I've made up and sing to the kids and just sang the choruses with their grandparents in it. The song goes like this:
Who's a big boy, who's a big boy
Who's a big boy, Carter Ty.
Who's a big boy, who's a big boy
Apple of his Oma's eye.
The song is then repeated with Opa, Gma, and Gpa.

Who's a baby, who's a baby
Who's a baby, Elise Kay.
Who's a baby, who's a baby
Always making Oma's day.
The song is then repeated with Opa, Gma, and Gpa.

Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • I didn't want to send the special grandparent books in the mail so we facetimed each set of grandparents so Carter could read them their books. We did Oma and Opa on Grandparents' Day but waited on Gma and Gpa until later because Gma was out of town. Carter enjoyed facetiming his grandparents and seeing their reactions to hearing his book.
  • Oma and Opa sent Carter a special package with the book Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa. He was very excited and wanted to read it over and over. Then he started reading it to me so we facetimed Oma and Opa so he could read the book to them. It was so much fun! It's still one of his favorite books to read.
    Carter and Elise very excited about their special package.
    Carter reading the book to Oma and Opa on facetime.
  • Just Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer
  • The Grandma Book by Todd Parr
  • The Grandpa Book by Todd Parr
  • Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman
  • Grandma and the Pirates by Phoebe Gilman
  • I Already Know I Love You by Billy Crystal
  • Grandmother and I by Helen Elizabeth Buckley
  • Grandfather and I by Helen Elizabeth Buckley
  • More More More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
  • That's What Grandmas Do! by Alarie Tennille (read and recorded by his Gma)
  • The Tub People by Pam Conrad
  • The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
  • Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
  • Bigmama's by Donald Crews
  • Here Comes Grandma! by Janet Lord
  • Grandpa and Bo by Kevin Henkes
  • Your Mommy Was Just Like You by Kelly Bennett
  • Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie DePaola (I wouldn't read this one again, it made me cry)
  • What Grandmas Do Best/What Grandpas Do Best by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • 41 Uses for a Grandma by Harriet Ziefert
  • My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone
  • Hooray for Grandparents' Day by Nancy L. Carlson
  • Granparents' Day by Nikki Tate
  • I Love You, Grandpa by Vivian French
  • When A Grandpa Says "I Love You" by Douglas Wood
  • Let's Dance, Grandma! by Nigel McMullen
  • Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa by Anna Dewdney
  • Our Granny by Margaret Wild
  • My Friend Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert
  • Come Count with Me! by Narika Wilson  


  1. You have the best ideas! You should start your own mini preschool! I'd totally send Liam!

    1. You are so sweet! The best compliment ever is saying you would trust your kids with me!