Playful Learning with Spielgaben

Playful Learning with Spielgaben

First, I want to share my heart on this new series on my blog.  If you’ve followed me for awhile, you may remember I was given the Spielgaben set to review here. We absolutely fell in love and have been using it for our home preschool ever since {in our Learning with Ladybug series}.  I was never paid for any of that, only received the set for free {which was a tremendous gift}.

Many months have passed and I have continued to share with no affiliate or financial compensation, just simply because I love the set.  I was contacted recently by Jim from Spielgaben, wanting to be a blog sponsor.  I said yes, and will be writing a once a month post featuring all of our Playful Learning with Spielgaben.  There is also now an ad on my sidebar. Yes, I am getting compensation for this, but I was doing it for free already, now my family is just being blessed by this!  This new monthly series will take more of my time, and it is such a blessing to be hired to write about something I already love.  Each month I will be doing a Playful Learning with Spielgaben wrap up post, featuring everything we did {that I have photos of} using our Spielgaben set!

It is my prayer that this new series will help many of you decide if Spielgaben is the right investment for your family.  You will see many ways we are learning with the set, and I will be sharing more about the value in my opinion, as there are many questions about this since the upfront cost is a factor for most. We will also have a giveaway soon!

I have a new Pinterest board called “Spielgaben Fun” where I am pinning from our blog and other blogs so you can easily see even more!  If you already have the Spielgaben set, this will inspire your creativity.  For those of you on the fence, this can help you see all that can happen while learning with this set.

Spielgaben Fun Pinterest Board

Spielgaben is offering an exclusive discount to 1+1+1=1 blog readers –

AUD 370 | USD 337 | GBP 200

including shipping to AU | USA | UK, which is over 15% off of the already discounted online price. Prices are approximate depending on conversion rates.  All you need to do to claim your discount is send an email to [email protected]mentioning 1+1+1=1 and you will be provided with a discount coupon!

Please check directly with Spielgaben for current discount available, prices change with version updates and conversion rates.

See our available Playful Learning with Spielgaben posts below…

Playful Learning with Spielgaben March 2014  Playful Learning with Spielgaben April 2014 from  Spielgaben ~ Is it Worth it

Learning with Ladybug ~ Age 4y, 10m

Preschool at Home Feb 2014

Welcome to our weekly preschool at home blog feature, Learning with Ladybug!  As you probably know, I scrapped our preschool plan and built a new one based around our current needs.

We have a few main preschool categories, you can read the entire plan here, I will break my weekly posts down by category so you can see what she did each week within a certain area. If we have a letter focus, I will do a separate post to make searching easier.  I will do the same for any themes we do.

See our entire Home Preschool Plan here!

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used in this post}

Spielgaben ~ Play Based Learning

We continued our work with box 5 in Spielgaben, which contains cubes and triangular prisms.  We only did one official lesson, creating and copying trees.

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Once the trees were done, she created a house between them!

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She played almost every day freely, creating mostly cats!

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Here she was making Lilo and Stitch {see it on Instagram here}

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Messy Fun

We have always had lots of messy fun but I am making it a more intentional part of our plan.  Almost all of my ideas are pinned here on my Sensory play board.  I am trying to have one planned messy creation experience per week, even if it’s just making a new batch of something we’ve already done.

We made a new batch of homemade play dough! She helped me make it from start to finish, and loved every moment!

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I let her choose 4 colors {she chose white, pink, teal, purple} and she picked the scent for each one {Christmas Spirit Essential Oil, Vanilla, Peppermint Essential Oil, and Stress Away Essential Oil}.

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She played with the play dough alongside of the Love Sensory Bin almost every day!

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All By Myself Preschool Boxes

She spends about an hour in the afternoon playing with her boxes. Usually this hour starts right after lunch, but if she wants to play messy stuff first, I let her.  I am basically requiring her to float between her boxes or the messy play table, or if she wants to be difficult, she can take a nap.  I sneak in to snap photos, but mostly she plays alone.  Sometimes she comes to get me to show me something too.


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In her mini sensory bins ~ gems, popcorn, cotton balls, and abc pasta.

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She played a LOT this week, and was very engaged during her “box time.”  This is probably because I got slack with changing her boxes and she was thrilled to have a new set!

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She LOVES these mini ABC puzzles, we got them years ago at Walmart for a couple of bucks!

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Making a necklace…

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Turtles {an old school toy} and popcorn fun…

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Family Counters {a favorite} and ABC pasta…

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Dollar Store pony puzzle…

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Another Dollar Tree puzzle, this was the first time she completed a 48 piece on her own entirely!

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Lots of Wedgit play all week!

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Matching shapes

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Yup, it normally looks like this {or worse} before we clean up.  She still struggles with clean up sometimes, but she does it.

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Happy shape face!

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I tried to remember to snap a few photos of boxes before I gave them to her {I always forget} Here’s the only one I remembered, this was Tuesday’s box! Let me know if these photos are helpful to you and I can try to be more intentional about taking them and including them in my post!

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See all items that rotate through our boxes here! 

See our Simplifying Sensory Play post here!

All-By-Myself-Preschool-Boxes6  Simple Sensory Bin Collection

All the Rest

We are currently reviewing the Bible based version of Integrity Time and started back at Letter A is for Attitude!  I am absolutely in love with the Bible version {full review coming in April}! 

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She colored our verse and really enjoyed the Jesus puppet.  After she colored her verse, she told me, she drew herself "calling to God." Then she told me she drew herself again next to God because "He told me to come to Him, so I went." The entire lesson was wonderful and both Krash and Lbug were engaged. I shared this on my Facebook page recently here!

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She got two sets of Duplo blocks for Christmas and loves them!  She asks for her new bin a lot.  This day she was putting the ABC set in alphabetical order!

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A massive dot painting session was enjoyed one morning!

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See our LETTER V work here, and Despicable Me here, which was done during the same time as what you see above!

Home Preschool Letter V  Despicable Me Preschool Fun

Visit Preschool Corner to see more home preschool families!

Tot School Gathering Place ~ Week 61

Gather together here, gather ideas from other blogs, share your own ideas on your own blog. Browse around at the other posts linked up, leave a few comments if you have time, and be sure to check back to see if your blog was featured!

Tot School Gathering Place

Time….we all want more! This weekend we lost an hour (for those of us in Daylight Savings time zones!), but that means more daylight hours in the evening! Make the most of those daylight hours and enjoy them with your Tot! After this L-O-N-G, cold, dreary winter,

I’m ready for some fun, WARM, outside activities! What outside activities do you enjoy with your Tot? If you have any to share, please do so in your blogs linked up to Tot School Gathering Place – I’d like to do a TSGP post on fun outside activities with your Tot.  Feel free to link up an old post featuring outside activities you have done with your tot in the past!

Mama Lindsay over at You Are the Roots shares with us her activities for Tot Ethan to investigate the letter Y. Be sure to check out all the enjoyable activities and to see which one was Tot Ethan’s favorite!

You Are the Roots


It seems many of us are wrapping up the alphabet with our Tot’s! Mama Kristina from School Time Snippets shows us her activities for helping Little Sis explore the letter Y. Take a look at the different activities for this study of the letter Y and see if any will appeal to your Tot!School Time Snippets (1)


Over at Memorizing the Moments, letter M took center stage in Tot Xander’s schooling this week. Head on over to see all the stimulating ideas that Mama Kaysha put together!Memorizing the Moments



Remember to visit our Pinterest board hosting our featured blogs each week! Be sure to follow the board and re-pin ideas you like, it’s a great way to support each other!!

I also created a Tot School Printables Pinterest Board. If you are using Tot School Printables and blogging about it, will you email me with a link to one of your posts and your Pintrest link? I am opening up the board to allow other bloggers to pin their Tot School posts that feature Tot School Printables in action.

Tot-School-Gathering-Place-Pinterest   Tot-School-Printables-Pinterest-Boar[1]

Were you featured?

You are welcome to a button but you certainly don’t have to use it! Totally optional!

Tot School Feature

<center><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="I was featured for Tot School!" src=""/ ></a></center>

Please read this carefully before linking up! This may no longer be the linky for you, so please glance through this list to be sure you want to stick around and link up with us!
By linking up you agree to the following:
  1. A photo and a link to your post may appear in a future Tot School post. You give me permission to choose a photo from the post you link up, and give me permission to use your ideas in my post. I will link back to you, mention your blog, and give you full credit for any ideas choose to share form your post. If you don’t want me sharing photos, your blog, or ideas, please don’t link up.
  2. Your post is a post written specifically for Tot School and not just an idea for tots. It features your own child{ren} in action. This is a community for moms to come together and share their journey with Tot School virtually.
  3. Provide a link back to Tot School within your blog post {you can use this link: or a direct link to the weekly post you link up to} if you link up. If you do not link back to Tot School, your link will be deleted. Link backs on the sidebar, or in a massive “I link up here” page don’t count ~ they are too difficult for me to find and the first thing I look for when verifying links is the link back.
  4. Link up your exact Tot School post {not your blog homepage} if you are unsure how to do that read this!
    Each week I will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Sometimes it may be one simple idea, sometimes it may be a collection based around a concept .

Do you have your FREE

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?


See the Tot School webpage here!

New to linking up here? Read this first! Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

Welcome Spring! Coloring Printables

The idea behind Just Color! is simple ~ theme packs all focused around coloring. There are mostly coloring pages, and a few coloring activities. The coloring pages are all in one download to make it easier to download and print all at once, in case you have coloring monsters like I do!

I just added a new Spring Fun Coloring set! This set features all of the things I am desperately longing for here in the northeast!  Sunshine, rainbows, flowers, kites, and warmth.Spring Fun Coloring Printables

Download the Welcome Spring coloring printables and more here!

Remember, if you want to make a mini coloring book, you can always scale down PDF files! If you have any problems downloading or printing these or other PDF files, see troubleshooting tips here

Looking for more Spring time fun?

Spring Theme Pinterest Board

Rainbow Pinterest Board

Easter Theme Pinterset Board

Tot School Ideas for 12-18 Months

Tot School Ideas Ages 12-18 Months

Tot School is simply playing with your tot!  The name came from my son many years ago, but don’t let the term “school” fool you, it most certainly is not school in the traditional form.  It is simply exposing early learning skills through focused play with your tot, something parents have been doing for many, many years!  I am a firm believer in developmentally appropriate practice and letting kids grow and develop at their pace, not pushing education too soon.  However, it is usually the MOM who needs an actual plan, idea list, or even a program to follow. For those of you who love to gather ideas for playing with your tot, I am sharing several posts in a series, broken down by ages. Many have asked for this, and finally I am taking the time to do it!

See our first post in this series…

Tot School Ideas for 9-12 Months

Tiny Tot School Ideas for Ages 9-12 Months

All ideas are presented with the understanding that you are playing WITH your baby, these are not all independent activities as some of the items are choking hazards. Please only use ideas that you feel comfortable with and feel you can ensure your tot’s safety.

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used}

1. Board Books on a Low Shelf

The shelf you see in this photo is actually a photo ledge from Ikea.  When she was this age, I rotated her board books on this shelf in her room.  She spent many hours reading in this spot and other in the house like this. See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, she was 14 months.

Tot School Board Books on a Low Shelf 12-18 Months


2. Exploring Bubble Wrap

One of the best free sensory experiences for kids is bubble wrap!  I gave it to Ladybug for the first time when she was about 13 months old and every time it came in a package I let her explore {always with me close by}.  See our Tot School post that featured this photo!

Tot School Bubble Wrap 12-18 Months


3. Stirring Sticks

A package of simple colored stirring sticks {we got ours at Target} is a great and inexpensive addition to your Tot School supply list.  Here you can see her trying to get them into an empty food container. We used these sticks all the time, for many fun and simple activities. Ladybug was 13 months in this photo, see the rest of the Tot School post here.

Tot School Stirring Sticks 12-18 Months


4. Spoons and Bowls

Ladybug played with all sorts of metal and plastic bowls from the kitchen.  She loved our kitchen spoons too.  One of her favorites at this age was to pretend to cook and stir our wooden food pieces.  See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, she was 14 months.

Tot School Spoons and Bowls 12-18 Months


5. Instruments

Our instrument collection was a big favorite when Ladybug was this age.  She would dig and play in this box a lot.  Her favorite was when we all explored together with our instruments.  See this Tot School post here, she was 13 months.

Tot School Instruments 12-18 Months


6. Stacking

This was about the time she got really into the stacking toys we had.  The one shown below was from Target, and is similar to this one. She loved all of our stacking toys. See this Tot School post here, she was 15 months.

Tot School Stacking 12-18 Months


7. Straws

Such a simple addition to your Tot School collection, straws!  We did all sorts of things with straws, but this was her favorite.  An empty container to put them in!  She was 17 months in this photo. See this post here.

Tot School Straws 12-18 Months


8. Recycled Containers & Trays

The tray below was an empty frozen baby food tray, she was putting large bumpy beads from this set into the openings.  We used all sorts of ice cube trays, egg cartons, and similar containers to allow her to move objects like this. She was 15 months in this photo, see the post here.

Tot School Recycled Containers 12-18 Months

9. Counting Bears

When she was younger all we had was the bears.  We now have various counters {family, ocean, and more}.  They are still a VERY favorite at age 4, and I even use them to teach certain math skills beyond this! She was 17 months in this photo, the Tot School post is here.

Tot School Counting Bears 12-18 Months

10. Magneatos

Magneatos have been a favorite toy of all of my children for years.  Ladybug began really enjoying them when she was this age.  She is sitting on top of a magnetic dry erase board which they stuck to also, she loved this! She was 17 months in this photo, the Tot School post is here.

Tot School Magneatos 12-18 Months


11. Stacking Cups

Stacking cups are a wonderful toy for tots.  So much you can do with a colorful set like this.  All of my kids loved their stacking cups and they still play with them! She was 17 months in this photo, the Tot School post is here.

Tot School Stacking Cups 12-18 Months

12. Easel

Coloring on an easel is a great activity for tots.  It requires them to stand and develop their fine motor skills vertically. This particular easel is from Ikea. She was 17 months in this photo. See this post here.

Tot School Easel 12-18 Months

13. Magnets

When Ladybug was this age I rotated different magnet sets {the one shown is our Leapfrog set} on our dishwasher often for her.  Since she was a slow stander/walker so this gave her motivation to try and stand and play.  You can see her holding a metal bowl also, she loved using this with our magnets also. She was 14 months in this photo, see the post here.

Tot School Magnets 12-18 Months

14. Push Through Activities

Shown below is an empty baby food container with a hole cut in the plastic lid.  She is pushing Zoobs through the opening.  She also used pom poms a lot for this.  Push through activities are great for tots this age! She was 15 months in this photo, see the post here.

Tot School Push Through 12-18 Months

15. Tubes

Doesn’t get much cheaper than empty paper towel and toilet paper tubes!  In this photo she is shoving spools into them but you can offer your tot all sorts of things to enjoy along with tubes.  Pom Poms, bouncy balls, ping pong balls, bells, straws, and so much more! See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, she was 14 months.

Tot School Tubes 12-18 Months

I created a simple PDF file featuring all of the images from this post on one page.  Back when we were Tot Schooling, I loved to have lists I could refer back to.

You can download the Tot School ideas for Ages 12-18 months here!


More ideas for this age group from around the web ~

Looking for more ideas, be sure to grab our Where to Begin with Tot School eBook for free here! In the eBook you will find pages with different ages and ideas for that age group!

Tot School Ideas By Ages_thumb[11]

~ Coming Soon ~

Tot School Ideas for 18-24 Months

Tot School Ideas for 24-30 Months

Tot School Ideas for 30-36 Months

Tot School Ideas for 3-4 Years

In the meantime, you can visit our Tot School Ideas by Ages!