It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Who doesn’t love Daniel Tiger? It’s just the sweetest, most encouraging kids’ show out there in my opinion- plus they have a jingle for like EVERY issue toddlers and preschoolers face, from getting angry and wanting to hit to trying new things. It’s genius. (and let me tell you, I have like 10 of those jingles memorized and use them with the boys! LoL) My toddler is the one who’s mostly into it right now, but even my preschooler will watch it with him, and since it’s totally appropriate for both ages, I knew I had to do a week of Daniel Tiger themed learning with them! That being said, since Daniel Tiger naturally lends itself to lessons on social graces, we’ll be skipping out on science this week to focus in on social studies lessons pretty much every kid needs- like dealing with angry and sad emotions and being a helper. Don’t forget to hop on the trolley and head to my toddler post “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” to check out even more fun Daniel Tiger activities, like a paper bag puppet and a ride the trolley craft!

Literacy:

-Daniel Tiger character letter practice: The Purposeful Mom has an amazing set of free Daniel Tiger printables, which I used all week for literacy and math! This was part of the set- it was several half pages with the characters and letter practice for each one (think K is for Katerina Kittycat and so on). I just printed them, cut them in half and stapled them into a little book. Then I had my preschooler practice identifying and writing each letter.

-Upper/lowercase letter match: This is another page from the Daniel Tiger printable set available for free from The Purposeful Mom. I just printed it, then had my little circle the lowercase letter that matched the upper case letter for each line. Since it was a shorter practice, I also had him work on writing letter T’s on the back of the page for the letter of the week.

-Daniel Tiger letter hunt: I got this page from- you guessed it- The Purposeful Mom! You just print it out, then have your little use a dot marker to hunt for and find each character’s letter (you can also have them color the dots with a regular marker- ie. all the W’s yellow).

-Author’s Message with Daniel Tiger: The Daniel Tiger stories in the books below are perfect for introducing author’s message because they repeat the same message clearly to the reader, so your little should be able to pick it up quite quickly. First I introduced author’s message to my little as the lesson the author is trying to teach the reader. I gave him an example using a story we had recently read, and flipped back through the story to show him all the times the author mentioned the lesson. Then, as we read Daniel Tiger stories throughout the week, I asked my little what he thought the author was trying to teach him and wrote down his thoughts on a graphic organizer I made. (to make the organizer- place your paper vertically (or portrait oriented). Fold down the top inch. Then fold the paper in half left to right. Then fold it in half top to bottom, and in half top to bottom again. Trace the lines and there ya go!

-Daniel Tiger book list: If you have a little who’s a Daniel Tiger fan they will LOVE these 5 minute story books! They both have a collection of 10 or so Daniel Tiger stories all adapted from the TV show and all teaching sweet little lessons like “try a new food, it might taste good”!

Math:

-Daniel Tiger roll and count graphing: I printed this for free from The Purposeful Mom– it came with a fun little Daniel Tiger paper dice you cut out and tape together, then you have your little roll the dice 15 times and color a box under the coordinating character on the graph. When you’re done rolling you can ask questions like “Who got the most rolls?” “How did you know that?” “Who had the least?” “Did any one have the same amount of rolls?”

-Character count and circle: I printed these two pages from the Daniel Tiger set from The Purposeful Mom too, then had my little count each group of characters and circle the number that matched each group.

-Daniel Tiger number maze: I printed this number maze from The Purposeful Mom then had my little count and trace the path from 1-20 (I helped him on 11-20 since we haven’t started working on the higher numbers yet).

-Daniel Tiger shape craft: I love doing shape crafts- they turn out so cute and are a great hands on way to practice shapes together. I cut out all the shapes to build Daniel Tiger, then used the shape names while I gave oral instructions on what to glue where.

Social Studies:

-It’s ok to get mad sometimes: Let’s face it- little people have feelings just like grown ups, and they don’t yet know how to handle them so it’s our job to teach them how. It’s silly to ask our children not to feel angry or sad, or to admonish them for having these feelings when we experience them as grown ups too (we just tend to not show them in big ways in public!) So anyway, watching Daniel Tiger is a great way to open up a conversation on how to deal with certain feelings. We started off the week by discussing angry feelings since those are so hard to control in the moment and can lead to rude outbursts or sometimes violence (ever seen your little hit or grab a toy away or yell at another child? I know I’m not the only one here…) There are several equally awesome episodes that talk about dealing with mad feelings, but we chose to watch the one “Circle Time Squabble/It’s Not Okay To Hurt Someone” since it was available on the PBS Kids Video app this week. After watching the video and practicing the song together, I had my little think of ways he can appropriately calm himself down when he’s feeling angry and I wrote down his ideas. Other great Daniel Tiger videos that address anger are “Daniel Gets Mad/Katerina Gets Mad“, “Gets Mad at Dad/Gets Mad at His Friends” and “Mad at the Crayon Factory/Mad at School”. You can find them by searching online, on YouTube or at pbskids.org.

-Feeling disappointed: Let’s face it- there have been way too many disappointments to count this past year with a global pandemic raging across the world. Vacations have been canceled, birthday celebrations have looked different, and even day to day things like going to the library or to swimming lessons have gone out the window. Dealing with feeling disappointed is hard for us as grown ups, so it’s definitely something our littles may struggle with too. My preschooler usually takes things in stride, but there have been times where he’s just lost it- like when we decided to spend the morning at the park but there were already 4 moms and like 10 kids running around playing when we got there. We tend to err on the side of caution so we ended up going home and boy was he sad…like tantrum sad. Poor little guy. Even without a pandemic, disappointments are a part of life that we shouldn’t shelter our children from because it’s going to be a rude awakening when they’re out on their own and realize things don’t always go swimmingly or according to plan. I found this activity on the PBS Parents website about how one mom helped her kids handle disappointments throughout the pandemic by making a “You’ll Feel Better” jar (we decided to call ours a “Cheer Up Choices” jar). For the lesson, we watched the Daniel Tiger’s Disappointed Song on YouTube and talked about times when we’ve felt disappointed lately. Then we sat down together and thought of things that make us feel better when we’re disappointed or sad. I wrote the ideas down on popsicle sticks and we placed them in a jar. Whenever someone in the family feels sad or disappointed, they can choose a stick and do the activity to help cheer them up! Handy, right?

-Big enough to help: In the Daniel Tiger story “Big Enough to Help” (found in the book “MORE Daniel Tiger 5 Minute Stories”) Daniel finds out even little tigers are big enough to help do things around the house. We read the story together, then I gave my little a new laminated chore chart with the things he’s big enough to help do (and already is responsible for- I just thought a visual reminder would be good! Plus it’s fun to check off each one as it’s completed throughout the day!) We discussed what each picture on the chart stood for, and hung it on his bedroom wall to check off each day.

-Feelings charades: Since Daniel Tiger talks a lot about feelings, I decided it would be fun to play feelings charades! I printed a set of emojis then cut them out, folded them up and put them in a bowl. My little and I took turns drawing an emoji then acting it out and trying to guess which one the other person picked. (ie. If I picked sad, I’d act sad and my little would try to guess which emotion I was acting out)

Art:

-Daniel Tiger’s watch craft: This idea came from PBS Kids and it ended up being a quick, cute craft! I traced a playdough lid on a piece of red construction paper, then the bottom of the playdough jar (which is slightly smaller) on a piece of white paper and had my little cut them out. Then I drew a watch face on the white paper and showed my little how to make a “tape tube” to stick the two circles together (that’s where you stick two ends of a piece of tape together in a circle with the sticky side facing out). To make the band, I cut a strip of toilet paper tube off, then snipped it so it wasn’t a full circle anymore. My little taped his watch to the band, then tried on his new watch!

-Draw Daniel Tiger: I had my little draw a picture of Daniel Tiger to work on his fine motor and art skills.

Supply/shopping list:

  • jar
  • popscicle sticks
  • do-a-dot markers
  • toilet paper tube

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