Monday, April 9, 2012

M is for Monkeys, Money and Muffins!

Nixon was turning 1 and his birthday theme was "Sock Monkeys"!  I'm thinking that is where Jackson got the idea for learning about monkeys...cute boy!  So off to the library we went and checked out every Curious George book they had.  I threw in a few non-fiction monkey books too.

Before this thematic unit, I had noticed Jackson had the letter N and letter M mixed up when he was asked to recognize them "out of context".  He knew Nixon's name began with the letter N, but would get confused if I asked him what "N" was by itself.  Boy Howdy, after these lessons we have no problem recognizing N and M!  Something must have clicked!

My first lesson (picture above) with Jax was a literacy/math combo lesson!  And it really helped with his small-motor skills as well.
Literacy Focus: Letter M; Sound
Math Focus: Sorting and patterns revisited - we had been doing sorting and patterns for about 6 months.  This was a mini-assessment to see if he really "got it".
Small Motor Skills - Money pick up, glue and stick in circles

I found this great website ( that has all the "Dot Marker" print outs.  I use these ALL the time!  We've used round stickers, money, fingerprints and yep...our Dot Markers.

After talking about the shape of the letter M and the sound that it makes, we sorted out our pennies from our dimes.  I started sorting them, then gradually handed over that job to Jax.  Before I knew it the whole bowl was sorted into 2 different piles.

He was still interested in the lesson, so I continued with my A(penny), B(dime) pattern assessment!  Once again, I showed him what I wanted him to do, then gradually "released" the responsibility to him.  Here are two, great videos of our lesson!
Jackson got an "A+" on this assignment and he proudly hung his "Money M" up on the fridge.  It only took 15 magnets because it was so heavy, but it was totally worth it!  A few weeks later, we picked off the money and put it into his piggy bank.

For our "Fun with Food" Friday lesson we made Muffins one week and then made Monkey Bread the next!  Friday's are our favorite days of the for fun AND Daddy comes home from work for the weekend!

I actually NEVER played  the game "Barrel of Monkeys" until now!  Jackson, Nixon and I had LOTS of fun with this simple (and cheap Target $4.99) game!  We even used them on our Monkey Vines, later...

Another quick and fun Math lesson, was making Monkey Vines.  We decided to make 5 different vines and hang them shortest to longest.  Later (I didn't get a picture) we hung monkeys on them using the "Barrel of Monkeys" game pieces.  I just used a hole punch in the last green ring, and the monkeys hung from there.  I'd have to say, it turned out pretty, darn cute and Jackson was very proud of his Monkey Vines.

In another post on Making Books, I showed our "Where's JoJo?" book that we made.  Making this book was part of this thematic unit on Monkeys!
And the BEST part of our Monkey Theme was celebrating Nixon's First Birthday!  

Happy Learning with your Little Ones!

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