Love, Joleen: Tot School: School Bus Theme

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tot School: School Bus Theme

Happy Monday, ya'll! I hope you had a great weekend. This weekend was a much appreciated "reset" for us. Saturday, I had a few hours of alone/mommy time to work and meet with some friends for our first Busy Bag Swap. I can't wait to share more on that later this week. Sunday we visited with my in-laws for "cousin day" at my sister-in-law's -- fellowship and yummy tacos. Three of our families are located in the Atlanta area, so every few months we take turns hosting everyone. Our turn to host was over the summer. Everyone visited our church then had lunch at our favorite pizza spot, before coming over to go swimming. It's always a fun time! 

With all of our sleep issues, I decided to take a break from Tot School last week. I never had a chance to post about the previous week's "school bus" theme, so here we go! I chose this theme because of a playdate we had scheduled to visit the Southeastern Railway Museum for their monthly Toddler Thursday program. It was such a fun theme! Benjamin is really into vehicles right now, probably stemming from last month's Tractor week. Now, we're eagerly pointing out all the fun things on wheels we see during car rides. School buses might very well be his favorite.
I found this basic image of a school bus by Googling "school bus coloring page" -- there are tons! I opened it in Photoshop and put four on a page to create this color matching activity, like the one I saw here on The Kavanaugh Report. I just colored each bus yellow and gave them different color wheels for him to match up with buttons.
Of all the books we checked out from the library, Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus by James Dean, was Benjamin's favorite! It's a fun rendition of the children's song and the illustrations were fantastic. We actually ended up renewing this book to enjoy another couple of weeks.
Benjamin has continued to work in his art journal most days. It's a great "filler" activity when there is a lull in the day and a project is needed. It's also a good intro to our day and specifically to Tot School. We keep Benjamin's journal and crayon caddy available to him so that he can ask me for it whenever he wants. He works in it most days, if even just for a few minutes. I recently purchased a two-pack of "My First Pencils" [by Leap Frog], on the back-to-school clearance at Target, so last week Benjamin had an opportunity to use one for the first time.
Another fantastic book from the library was School Bus by Donald Crews. Bold illustrations and simple text, so although it was not a board book, it was definitely toddler age-appropriate. I used this Shape School Bus Template, intended for paper crafting, to create another felt puzzle.
I had Benjamin pretty hyped up for School Bus day at the museum! We arrived early and made sure we were added to the same group as our friends. I like the system they have set up for Toddler Thursday -- children are separated into color groups and then rotate to the various activities over the course of about an hour. 

Our first activity this month was storytime. It was okay. The volunteer wasn't nearly as toddler-friendly as the man we had last month. I think her expectations were a bit high... Also, she was only equipped with one book.
Next up was a color sorting game. Benjamin wanted nothing to do with it. I don't blame him.. it was pretty hot outside!
The third activity was what we were most looking forward to - the school bus! The man volunteering at this post was the same who was helping the kids experience the tractor, last month, and he's fantastic. A former teacher and school bus driver, he has a lot of facts to share. The kids (and parents) had a chance to climb in and check things out. I only ever rode the bus for field trips growing up, so I remember the excitement.
The last formal activity of the day, was the craft. By this time Benjamin wasn't listening very well. They were "supposed" to color the bus and then glue people to popsicle sticks. Benjamin just wanted to play with the glue stick, and we decided just to glue his people to the bus. Ha!
After the program, the museum offers train rides. Since part of the track is out, all we did was go back and forth a short distance, a couple of times. I will save my $3 next time but it was something fun for Benjamin to do once.
Friday we didn't do any formal activities. That was a morning we had our friends, Huddy and his mama, Jessica, over for a playdate! Jessica writes a great lifestyle + fitness blog called Happily Hughes, so be sure to check that out. I wish I had seen this AWESOME cardboard box school bus before the playdate, because I totally would have made it happen!

Linking up this week at the Tot School Gathering Place on 1+1+1=1. 

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