E Week!

E week (24).JPG

We’re back where we left off a few weeks ago, and closing in on the end (er, beginning) of the alphabet on our Letter of the Week journey! Read on for what filled our E week…


Envelope/Email: This is the perfect week to play games involving both the old-fashioned and new-fangled ways of sending and receiving letters. Travis loves his toy mailbox, and I pulled out old business envelopes for him to play with and decorate as well.


But kids also need to know how to use keyboards in this era, so why not make it a game? Travis loves typing “emails” in big font and colors on my computer, and then we printed them out! Whether you have toy keyboards or old real ones for your child to type away at, doing so encourages imagination and early computer skills.


Elephant: I pulled out all the random elephant toys around the house (Duplo, a few stuffed ellies, etc.), but better yet, get some exercise and pretend you’re an elephant. Need the perfect song to dance to? Check out this classic, and get some exercise!


Exercise: Speaking of exercise, we happened to have the perfect action game in an issue of High Five magazine, pictured above, but do any motions that get your toddler exercising this week – jumping, running, waving, hopping, you name it.


Don’t forget stomping like an elephant! In sum, the perfect way to release some energy here in the winter.


Empty/Everything: In a quick little game, I illustrated the concepts of empty versus everything, using toy cars and little toy garages. One was empty, and one had every car, and then it was up to Travis to make the latter empty and the former full. Use whatever toy will most engage your child’s interest to play with these concepts.


Ear: Play name that tune, using only your ears to guess a song after a few bars. This is a great game for car rides, incidentally. You can also emphasize the other things you hear with your ear this week. Some prominent sounds in our week included a piano metronome and a loud dump truck!


Easy: Parenting can be hard… so this week, do something easy. An easy project that is! Travis made a collage with no glue required when I laid out a sheet of sticky contact paper for him. He was very deliberate with his placement of the materials I left out.


When he declared it finished, I folded the contact paper over itself and he could carry it around – no waiting for glue to dry!


Engine: Toy trains came out of the toy bin this week of course. Cap off any engine play with a reading of the beloved classic The Little Engine That Could.


East: I gave a tiny lesson on north/south/east/west, since Travis has a compass he loves. So take a field trip to the east side of your town, whatever that means where you live… This was the perfect excuse for us to drive to a rather appropriately named museum:


And onto our weekly e-e-extras:

Fine art: Travis was not at all into the project I laid out, a recycled egg carton to be made into an egg carton caterpillar. Your kid may love it though! Cut an egg carton in half and discard the flat top. Decorate with pompoms to make a fuzzy little caterpillar. We added two pipe cleaner antennae, and I thought it would be fun to color it in with crayons as well, but this proved tricky on the bumpy surface; next time I would use paint before gluing on the pom poms.


Food: Save some of the elbow macaroni from your estimating game (see Math, below) for dinner one night. I also made breaded eggplant sticks. And of course, you can emphasize the word EAT every time you do so all week.


Books: Travis laughed so hard for Egg Drop, by Mini Grey, that I thought we might never return it to the library. Other cute picks included Toes, Ears, Nose by Marion Dane Bauer, A Bald Eagle’s World by Caroline Arnold, The Eye Book by Dr. Seuss, and Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow


Songs: Travis got the giggles listening to The Elephant Song, and also loves Everything Grows by Raffi, a heartwarming classic.

Math: It was a little advanced, but I introduced Travis to estimating. Don’t estimate just any old item though – use elbow macaroni. Rather than estimate exact numbers, Travis was able to estimate if there was closer to 1 or closer to 10 in a cup, or to estimate if the cup had a little or a lot.


Preschoolers can practice estimating exact numbers! Either way, you’re sure to have fun with a dish or cup full of elbows for a while afterwards, because #toddler.


We’ll see you next week for the letter D!


Earth Exploration


Since Travis loved volcano play so much recently, this week I took him deeper inside the Earth, to discover all the layers that sit under and produce that molten lava.

In perfect timing, we just received Usborne Books & More’s Children’s Encyclopedia, which not only had a section featuring the Earth’s layers, but is also QR linked. That meant we could further explore neat (and quirky) videos describing Earth’s layers: from inner core to outer core to mantle to crust to oceans/land.


Now it was time to model that out for Travis! I used play dough, starting with a tiny red ball for the inner core, wrapping that in orange for the outer core, yellow for the mantle/crust, and then blue ocean and green continents.


Travis was busy playing with play dough on his own while I worked, but then got very excited when I asked if he wanted to slice into the Earth.


We used floss to neatly slice it open, so Travis could point to all the different layers.


I will confess that it wasn’t long before our planet Earth looked like this:


He then wanted to make many mini planets of his own though, and sliced them open with a plastic knife. Although the topic was a bit advanced for a 2.5 year old, it’s never too early to introduce the idea that the Earth isn’t flat, right?


Continue your exploration with other kids’ books, including Magic School Bus Inside the Earth, or Usborne’s Shine-a-Light Secrets of Our Earth and See Inside Planet Earth.