Thursday, May 14, 2015

Scripture Study Ideas for Toddlers (& Older Children)

This is our "scripture basket".  It sits on the floor of my bedroom next to a sheepskin rug. Each morning my two younger boys (age 5 and 2) come into our room and pick any book from this basket to "read" for their personal scripture study.  They spend at least 10 minutes doing so.

This is, by far, my favorite scripture book to read to my 2 year old right now.
Here is a picture of the inside.  What I love about this book is that it is big (about 11x14) and it has colorful, bright pictures and very few words on each page.  This makes it so easy to keep my son's attention. When we are able, we spend time in the pictures. For example, in the above photo I would ask him things such as: "What animals do you see?" "Let's count the giraffes, zebras, etc." "Can you find the polar bears?"  He loves this book!
Here's a look at the inside of one of the board books you can see in the front of our scripture basket. I discovered these right after my youngest was born. They are board books and I love the italicized action instruction. Plus, they are short and simple stories. This is still greatly enjoyed by my 2 year old and now he is able to actually do all of the actions himself.
I have this set of Book of Mormon readers. I bought the curriculum that these books belong to a couple of years ago.  I didn't enjoy the curriculum but I love these books.  They are like Bob Books but for the scriptures (see pic of inside below).  They increase in difficulty.  This is the first one.  The beginning books are just right for my 5 year old to read all by himself during personal scripture study time.

Here's a look at a few of the other books in the basket.  I have multiple books from each of these sets.
Here's a look inside the scripture readers.  Again, this is the first in the series.  They increase in difficulty.
Here are the rest of their scripture books on their bookshelf.  These are all books that I read to them.  We have really enjoyed all of these with the exception of the middle 4 (My Book of Mormon Storybook to The Toddlers Bedtime Story Book).  Those are just okay.
Now these are the scriptures I have done with my boys since my oldest was a baby (he will be 8 in June). I don't know if the Church sells these (this way) anymore but they are an expanded form of the spiral gospel art book.  It covers Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Church History. See below for a close up.
The front of each sheet has a beautiful picture on it. I face the picture toward the children and have them focus on it while I read the back (see below).

On the back of each card, there is a scripture reference and then a long summary of what the picture/scripture depicts. Underneath the long summary is a shorter summary.  When my boys are young, when we get home late, or when they are really tired, I read the shorter summary.  Most nights, I read the longer story.  This method of scripture study has withstood the test of time.
I found this book at a used book sale a few months ago and it has been our regular family scripture book since then.  It recounts the Book of Mormon in story form and is very well done.  It has enabled my 5 year old and 7 year old to really picture the stories in the Book of Mormon.  There are no pictures, just words, and both my 5 and 7 year old sit attentive, focused, and engaged through each chapter.
This is my latest discovery. It contains the actual text from the Book of Mormon and each excerpt is accompanied by a Lego depiction.  (I heard that this book was put out by a family in order to help pay for the boys' missions.  I don't know if this is true but either way it is a really good book.)  This has been perfect for my almost 8 year old to read and my 5 year old loves to sit and look at the pictures!
I want each of my boys to read the Book of Mormon in its entirety before they are baptized.  It is important to me that they don't just get baptized because they turn 8 but because they truly believe the things they are covenanting to do.  I gave my oldest the choice of reading The Brick of Mormon or the actual Book of Mormon and he has chosen the actual scripture.

I doodle in my scriptures and he was inspired by this (he LOVES to draw).
Here's a look at one his pages.
I also a keep a scripture study/Sunday bin.  Everything in it I use on occasion to bring the scriptures to life or to make them hands-on.
This is a book I ordered the PDF for on Etsy.  I have volume 1 and 2. 
Here is one of the pages inside.  I use this during Sacrament meeting at church but I also use it when I tell them scripture stories.  We "act out" the story.  It took time to make it (cutting, laminating, getting it spiral bound, and adding Velcro) but it's done now and was well worth it. 

This is a felt story for Jonah and the Whale but I have felt stories for quite a few scripture stories (Noah's Ark, etc.) I either make them or buy them.
I purchased this game for $1 from The Dollar Tree.  It's fun to use to tell the story but also to work on vocabulary development (animal names) and counting/numbers.
I also have magnet stories for quite a few scripture stories.  Noah's Ark, Nephi and the Brass Plates, and The Jaradites to name a few.  I also either buy or make these.
And finally, here's one of my topic binders.  I have two 3" binders where I keep file folder games, felt, magnet board stories, The Friend articles, arts & crafts, etc.  I keep them in sheet protectors by subject.  When we are studying a specific topic, preparing for Family Home Evening, or when I teach in Primary it is easy to find activities for any topic.  I have used this method for years and it is wonderful!
We also work in our Bible Books (I forgot to take an updated photo). But here's the link to an old post.

To summarize, when studying scriptures with children I like to try and make scripture study fun, engaging, and switch things up.  That is why I have so many variations of similar topics.

I have a lot more but this post is already crazy long!

Hope this was helpful!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Moving Beyond the Page - Week 1 (Unit 30)

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking around for ways to organize school day with the boys (thinking workbox system) and I came across a YouTube video where a lady was showing her organization. In the video she talks about the curriculum she has for her youngest and when I saw it I was immediately intrigued.  It was called Moving Beyond the Page! What intrigued me most is that she said that it was all inclusive.  And in her video, she briefly showed what was included in the curriculum. 

Well, after watching, I quickly searched to find more videos and blog posts about Moving Beyond the Page and other than their website I couldn't find anything! But I did really enjoy their website. I liked the overview videos/slideshows they provide showing what the curriculum entails.  I also liked that a lot of the books were ones we already owned or were easy to find at the library (which I had not found with Sonlight - another curriculum that we use which I also enjoy but after finding Moving Beyond the Page don't know if I will order in the future).  So, after seeing that the base price (just for the manuals and manipulatives) was very affordable, I placed an order. How long after seeing the ladies YouTube video did this happen - about 2 hours! And in less than a week, I had the most amazing and gigantic box sitting on my doorstep!

I opened it on a Sunday and my son and I began promptly on Monday.  That is how wonderful this curriculum is - almost no prep needed! We have done it each day this week and have been able to include my older son (he's 7 1/2) and they have both thoroughly enjoyed it.  Today when I told my oldest that as we go through this curriculum, if he enjoys it, we can talk about purchasing his age curriculum for the next school year...he almost jumped out of his skin.  I am just as excited!  It is SO hands-on! Something I have been searching for for so long. And it is so well organized and prepared!

After the week began, I realized that since I couldn't find any information on this amazing curriculum I would start taking pictures so that I could blog about our journey and hopefully provide someone else out there with information about this AMAZING curriculum!  So, here it goes.

We started with Unit 30 - February Celebrations (since this unit covers Valentine's Day and President's Day, in addition to other subjects) and next week we will begin with Unit 1.

The first day we read one of the boys' favorite book series The Biggest Valentine Ever and then I asked my 5 year old comprehension questions.  He did so well!  I really liked this because it made our reading so intentional and it was geared toward his understanding level.  I mention this because usually I ask these questions but they are geared toward my oldest.  He did really well with this and enjoyed reading the book even though we had read this for the last 3 Valentine's Days (he didn't remember it).

The next day we learned about money and made a money book.  I decided to have him use some money stamps I have and after using the magnifying glass to look at each he got to stamp them.  He then stapled it and loved it!  There was also a little information about George Washington (who he kept confusing with George Washington Carver who we have been studying in my oldest son's school) and Abraham Lincoln.  We watching a video that was linked in the manual and I loved it and he loved it!  He liked it so much that he wanted to watch it over again.  It was a wonderful video with a very memorable song about the presidents.

Wednesday was definitely the highlight of the week (maybe until tomorrow)!  We started by listening to the words "I Love You" in different languages (link provided in the manual) and the boys really liked this.  They wanted to listen to quite a few (20+) and then we read The Biggest Valentine Ever again.  I told them to pay close attention to how the main characters designed their valentines during this read.  They enjoyed the second read, of course, and then we headed to the table to get started on the craft.  Every single thing we needed for the craft is provided!!!!!! So it was as easy as taking out the labeled bag and beginning.  

He LOVED discovering that you can make a heart by folding a paper in half and drawing half a heart.
discovering the heart again (I love his face!)

So excited that his valentine is starting to look like the one in the book!
After this, he decided he wanted to do something different than the instructions in the book (so him - although my older son, who was doing this with us, followed the book instructions exactly).

The finished product!
So proud!
He's giving it to his community preschool teacher. He then wanted to make another one for his other teacher.  He worked on this activity for well over 2 hours and then slept with the valentines he made.
We also did a very fun addition activity that was provided in the student workbook.  Even after a long day, he enjoyed and surprised me with how well he did.

Now today, we learned a little about Black History Month.  Read a wonderful book online about Booker T. Washington and watched a very information video about MLK, Jr. (both links were provided in the manual). Then, together, we made this adorable "dream book". 
The cloud cutouts were provided and inside he (dictated to me and I wrote) wrote:
  • I have a dream that the world would never have any bad people.
  • I have a dream that bad guys would be nice.
  • I have a dream to give every person (even if they are not poor) a foodless bag.
  • I have a dream where I loved Mommy and I hugged Mommy!
  • I have a dream to go to heaven without dying.
And then we made this paper chain doll!
He again was very surprised with the outcome.
He decided to add sticks and do a puppet show (which he wanted me to video - the files to big to upload).
Alright, so to sum things up - I am sooooo excited!  Moving Beyond the Page has been SO easy and SO well organized and SO thorough!  I have researched (and purchased/used) a lot of curriculum and so far Moving Beyond the Page has moved to the top of my list!  I will definitely provide an update in time to see if it continues to impress!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tot School {Letter B}

Letter: Bb
Object: Ball
Color: Blue
Vocabulary Development Theme: Outdoor Fun
~Sweet Pea is 24 months old~ 
See Tot School Printables for the printables for this unit.

Sweet Pea is obsessed with playdough. So, of course that is the first thing he chose.
 Then he worked on the the letter page and I showed him how to trace it.

Then, of course, he just wanted to draw...and he is drawing the most adorable stick figures these days.

I love that he loves this pose right now!

I caught my "Little Monkey" swinging from the dining table - everything he does is just so cute!
On to the Dot Marker Page

He is so precise with these.  Dotting just the balls and then - "Done Mom. Next activity."

Such a ham!
always asking me to take a picture of him - and then wanting to look at it on the camera.
On to his Letter B basket

This "Things That Start with B" page had to be one of the highlights of the week.  Sweet Pea traced the letters ALL BY HIMSELF! So sweet!

and then he started to draw...
and then he traced some more...

 And then for the first time, he meticulously colored every bit of the surrounding pictures.

And in between coloring, drew pictures.

When then moved on to our Color Blue Tray.  
I always love the look of excitement on Sweet Pea's face as I announce and then bring out his next activity.


And then - back to playdough.  He cannot get enough of playdough.

He really worked hard at coloring in his "Color Balls" this week.

 Then back onto his "Letter B Basket"
He really enjoyed tracing the letters on these Kumon cards.
We then dug into our B letter sound bag and practiced our pronunciation and vocabulary development.
Looking through the binoculars!

Munchkin joined in on exploring the items
And, of course, the puzzles are always well loved!
 He actually did stamping this week (with assistance from me on the whole stamp pad, paper, stamp pad pattern).

 And then I got the idea to paint with blue paint.

It is very interesting to see this part of his personality coming through - he painted over every bit of this ball.
While we were working on his stamping and painting, Munchkin went upstairs and drew this adorable picture of a Brontasaurus. Sweet Pea loved it and it is still stuck to one of our kitchen cabinets.

He enjoyed the 3-Part Puzzle a little.
He enjoyed the sequencing a teeny bit.
And he enjoyed the sensory bin a LOT!
I found all of my blue sorting and pouring utensils. And then I used Brown Beans for the base. 

His favorite part of the bin was by far this blue jar I put in there.
 He loved filling it a little and listening to the sound as he shook it and then filling it up to the top.
I decided to laminate and use this mat for playdough this week.  He tolerated a little bit but otherwise didn't seem to care.  I don't know if I'll do this next week.
 I got out a Melissa and Doug alphabet puzzle. It's only 12 pieces and as expected he loved it! He couldn't do any of it on his own but nonetheless, he really enjoys just putting the pieces together (which is great for his hand-eye coordination).
 I finally finished this file folder I began making two weeks ago.  It was worth making, he really enjoyed it. He's really into file folder games these days!

 I hid the number cards in the sensory bin again.  He was into it but for a much shorter time than last week.

I used a little psychology with him on this sheet and while his brothers were sitting at the table I said, "Boys, Sweet Pea is going to show you how well he can do his trace page." I got him all excited about it and then...
 All by himself!
 I thought I'd try these linking shapes on the lace card/ball this week. Sweet Pea did about 4 before he was ready to move on to the next activity.

 For shapes this week, I got out our Melissa and Doug shape sorter that we have had for 6 years.  He really enjoyed it and correctly found about half of the shapes all by himself.

 Back to playdough
 And again...

I added buttons to the mix which he really liked!
 Then he painted bubble wrap and we pressed it onto a B outline and I cut it out.

checkin' out the paint on his hands

again...the way he makes sure to cover every little bit! I actually had to stop him because the paint was drying.  In retrospect (and in future weeks), I'll make it a point to just let him keep going.

Then we pressed our B outline paper on.
 He liked this so much he wanted to press on his doodle paper from earlier in the afternoon.

Then he wanted to paint it!
So happy!
 We did a few more activities that I didn't get pictures of like bubbles and we read a few of our B books.  It was another great week!