18 Months Old
Before jellyfish week, Rocket had no clue what a jellyfish was. Or a starfish. Or a sea shell. Now, he can easily point out any of these things! Our theme-specific units are proving to build his vocabulary by the week and giving us endless new activities to explore!
Vocabulary Development Theme: Sea Life
What’s on the tot trays?
Left to right, top to bottom: 1. Grow-A-Fish Aquarium, 2. Pegboard, 3. Lacing Jellyfish, 4. Cutting With Scissors, 5. Letter Jj Printables, & 6. Sea Shell Sorting
The tray activities and the skills intended to be learned from them are:
- Grow-A-Fish Aquarium (fine motor skills)
- Pegboard (small spaces/fine motor skills/sorting)
- Lacing Jellyfish (stringing)
- Cutting With Scissors (cutting)
- Letter Jj Printables (Jj recognition/vocabulary exposure/using writing utensils)
- Seashell Sorting (sorting)
The Grow-A-Fish Aquarium was a dollar store find. Once the aquarium is filled with water and the fish on the inside get wet, they grow by 400%. I put a syringe pump (no needle, of course) on the tray for dispensing water and Rocket loved the new tool. He concentrated deeply on how to work the pump and transfer the water as I’d shown him.
After he filled it up, we let it soak in the water for a few hours and came back to see how large the fish had grown.
He also spent some time on the seashell tray, transferring each shell from the bowl to the egg carton.
But his favorite thing to do with the seashells was to combine them with his pegboard. He found out that the pointier shells can fit on top of the pegboard pieces and he worked long and hard to fill each one. I was very impressed with his outside-the-box thinking!
Note: Seashells are pointy and breakable, so they are a supervised schoolroom material only and never a free-play toy.
He worked on the lacing jellyfish a bit, but this was the tray that got the least amount of his attention this week.
Printables, on the other hand, were a huge hit! He was in the mood to write, color, draw, and use stickers all week long, giving us lots of time to work on our vocabulary words.
We also have fish stampers that I brought out for the occasion.
“Look what I did, Mom!”
Admiring his work.
What’s in the sensory tub?
- Blue gems & marbles (to represent water)
- Sea shells
- Fish toys & figurines
The tools that went with this tub were:
- A pink plate
- Blue tongs
He loved this tub! I knew he would because it had marbles in it and where there are marbles, I have a happy toddler.
First, he examined the gems, marbles, seashells, and fish toys.
This fish winds up and flaps its tail fin, much to this little man’s amusement!
He knew exactly what motions were needed to wind the fish up and wanted desperately to do it, but his fine motor skills just aren’t there yet.
He also sorted marbles in the clam shells.
I don’t have any pictures of him practicing with scissors because it was a very mom-required kind of task. He has shown great interest in watching me cut, so I got him a pair of child-friendly scissors so he could give it a try. At his age, he is NOT ready to do this by himself yet. The purpose of the tray was more to introduce him to the concept and expose him to the basics than it was to let him go wild with cutting! In fact, he sat in my lap and had his hand over mine as I showed him how it was done. He was amazed and asked to do this often.
What other toys were in the schoolroom?
There was a slight renovation in the schoolroom. Last week, we skipped school because Dad was busy building shelves in the closet as a gift for me for Mother’s Day! With his toy & school supply storage finally in tip top order, I was able to move around several other things in the schoolroom as well.
Adding this table and chair (which were in the living room before) has been wonderful for him. The Turn-A-Tile Alphabet toy and the bead maze above will be regular toys in his schoolroom for now.
On the floor beside the table is one of his most loved toys, the Cloud B Sea Turtle Night Light. When turned on in the dark, the constellations shine onto the ceiling! The sea turtle is usually his wind-down toy for the bedroom as we transition from lights on to lights off. With its endangered sea animals pictured on the sea turtle’s shell, it was perfect for jellyfish week.
The dinosaur piggy bank we had in previous weeks of tot school is no longer! It broke and I replaced it with this alphabet block bank we have instead.
It was refreshing for Rocket to play with his sea turtle in a different room.
The blue whale is one of the endangered sea animals that illuminate on the turtle’s shell.
Rocket also continued to play with his two favorite cars, the white vehicles which remind him of what his father drives!
I also brought the pet puzzle out again, but it wasn’t nearly as popular as his cars and sea turtle.
The Reading List
We did so much reading for jellyfish week! In the schoolroom, we read:
- The Birthday Fish by Yan Yaccarino
- Boats by Byron Barton
- Eyes by Daniel Nunn
- Flashy Fish by Elizabeth Salzmann, Diane Craig, and C. A. Nobens
- I’m A Shark by Bob Shea
- Ocean World by Orme, David, and Helen Bird
- Stanly Goes Fishing by Craig Fraizer
- Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage
- Dr. Seuss’ ABC by Dr. Seuss
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
- Listen To Your Fish by Sarah Albee and Tom Brannon
- How About A Kiss For Me? by Todd Tarpley and Liza Woodruff
Outside of school, he’s been choosing:
- We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury
- We Are In A Book! (An Elephant And Piggie Book) by Mo Williams
- Is It Rough? Is It Smooth? Is It Shiny? by Tana Hoban
Arts & Crafts
I would have to say that this piece is my personal favorite on our art wall. Why? Because I saw how much creative energy Rocket put into it. He was really absorbed and spent a long time on it- painting, coloring, and carefully choosing the placement of his stickers.
I cut out a jellyfish shape from some pink bubble wrap we had lying around and put it with paint and paintbrushes in the schoolroom like this:
He went straight for it and started painting away. When he decided the jellyfish was done, he clearly wasn’t ready to put down the paintbrush. So I brought out the art pad for him to keep on going.
After the paint dried, I let him choose which sea animal stickers he wanted to add. He took the decision very seriously!
Choosing the jellyfish.
He put one of the jellyfish stickers right in the middle of it all!
What else did we do?
1) Pink Hunt & Play.
We didn’t have a whole lot of pink items around the house, but we found just enough things to bring back to the schoolroom with us.
He went straight for the ball and the highlighter!
2) Conch Listenin’.
My mom has a collection of conches and coral in her garden that we borrowed for jellyfish week.
Rocket was drawn to it right away.
I showed him how to hold them up to his ear to “listen to the ocean” and he was pretty fascinated by the sound!
He chose one of the smaller conches, one that’s an ideal size for his tiny hands, and carried it around with him. Sometimes he put it to his ear and pretended it was a phone!
3) Vocabulary Magnet Play.
Last week, Rocket played with his magnet set very little, but this week he was all about it again. He was very eager to show me all the sea animals that he knows and ask me about the ones he didn’t.
He also kept the kitchen musical with the Leapfrog letter song!
4) O Pho’s Water Pond.
My mom’s water pond is in bloom with water lilies! Rocket adored the flowers and the lily pads.
5) Sea Turtle Water Table.
I brought sea shells and sea turtles out to the water table in honor of our theme.
He decided his police car needed a dip in the water too!
Finding a new home for the sea turtle.
6) Wild Fish Watching.
There’s a creek not too far from our house that is so clear and shallow that we can always see wild fish swimming around in the water. It’s always so relaxing to visit the fish and observe them in their natural environment. We walked to the creek a couple of times this week.
Looking back on this picture, I’m grateful Thomas The Train made it back home safely!
7) Field Trip To The HerpAquarium.
We visited the zoo especially for the aquarium this week.
The snakes were pretty awesome too!
After we were done with the HerpAquarium, he walked around the zoo with his wheelbarrow.
And stopped to admire the fountain!
Our song of the week was not actually about sea animals, but the water theme was there!
“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” has always been one of this guy’s favorites and I’ve loved singing it all week just to hear him sing along.
We also have a DVD called “Sea Tunes For Kids” which we watched a little bit, but mostly had playing in the background for the music.
Videos & Technology
I mentioned last week that Sesame Street’s official website has some age-appropriate educational games for toddlers. Rocket has so much fun learning from Elmo.
From the Signing Time series, we are still learning all kinds of new signs on Volume 4- Family, Feelings, & Fun.
And we also watched a lot of Rocket’s favorite Vietnamese artist, Xuân Mai. At the 56:00 mark in this video, there’s a fish-themed song called Cá Vàng Bơi that we listened to several times! He loves to dance around and sing along in his own way as we watch.
Mom’s Favorite Moments
This week was a week of LOTS OF PLAYING…
…and hanging out with friends.
We also had good times at home.
Walking in Dad’s shoes.
And my absolute favorite… my boys jammin’!
Be sure to visit 1+1+1=1 to see what other tots were doing this week. On 1+1+1=1, you will also find the printables that we use for tot school and lots of other inspiration for your little ones!