Thursday, September 22, 2011

Milk, honey, and bubble balls...

Pertaining to Parashah Ki Tavo: Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

We are progressing in our weekly preschool, and I am getting more and more organized (hopefully), and definitely more inspired! It has always been my desire to teach my children at home, especially while they are so young, and after spending so much time teaching other people's children before college, it only deepened my desire to do so.  

Along with the weekly trips to the library we try to make for storytime, my daughter is also now signed up for a weekly Music Together class. The week of this parashah was our first class, so we spent a little less time "in school," which is fine. She loves music and this was a great opportunity to have her around a smaller group of children (most of them younger than she is), making music and interacting with one another. It was also a good prenatal workout for me! The large group at the library tend to be more rambunctious and sometimes intimidating to my sweet little girl, so she was more outgoing in the music class, and being around babies is important for a soon-to-be big sister!

Our theme this week was the alphabet, so we sang the ABCs and read "Dr. Suess' ABCs" and "Naughty Little Monkeys." Specifically, we spent time on letter B, which was great because some of my daughter's favorite things begin with B (bubbles, balls, books, etc.) 
She practiced tracing the letter B on these awesome dry-erase cards that Crayola makes, and I was, of course, very impressed with her! (because she's mine!)  :) She has caught on very quickly with "tracing" worksheets, so she also traced circles from a Winnie the Pooh workbook. 

Regarding Parashah Ki Tavo, we talked about G-d giving the Land of Israel to the people, and that it was a good land  "flowing with milk and honey".  We even ate some honey and drank milk. To further illustrate the bounty of the Land, I used a two-page drawing of Israel (copied from FFOZ's children's activity book entitled "We Thank You for the Food!") and had her glue on the species of fruits and grains that grow in Israel ( we used the parashah coloring pages of the Seven Species found here:

 The Torah verse that we read was Deuteronomy 26:15. I also tried to explain the concept of giving G-d a tenth of everything. We used a plastic basket from her play kitchen and gave G-d our "firstfruits" by filling the basket. From a group of ten pieces of play fruit, she picked one for G-d, one (or two) balls out of ten, etc. She ended up giving G-d more than 10 percent, so Baruch Ha Shem! She enjoyed it, and had to show Abba the basket she had for G-d. We also talked about giving a tenth of our money, and how people used to take their crops to the priests in a basket to give them to G-d. As I did last year, I will give her the opportunity to give 10% of the money she receives for her birthday away, either by giving it to someone in need, putting it in our tzedakah box, or buying gifts for her friends with it. The choice is hers. She does this joyously (as should we).
By far, the most fun we had this week was with the "blue bubble balls" that were in the sensory tub. I heard about these "water beads" here and purchased some at Michael's because they looked like fun! They are actually intended for floral arrangements and not for playing with (so don't use them with children who will try to eat them!) Using them as a water substitute, I put plastic boats in the tub and let my daughter play with them. She thought they were amazing, too, and mostly enjoyed running her fingers through them. They do feel really neat! I would recommend them for sensory play (but I made the mistake of leaving a (washed) yogurt container in there overnight that my daughter had been digging in them with, and the next day, she opened and said "I smell something" and lost interest after that. So don't make that mistake, or they will smell a little like spoiled milk! I let them air out, though, and they don't stink anymore.)

Our other lessons included learning the number 2 and the first Hebrew letter, aleph. I found this great video here that we have been watching to learn the aleph-bet song by Debbie Friedman that shows the Hebrew letters. This video: "Aleph Bet Rock" is also good because it includes the final forms of the letters for older children and adults to learn.

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