Tools For Tots ~ Learning Wheels (colors, shapes)

Color and Shape Wheel Printables

I was inspired to make these from the ideas I saw on Four Little Penguins, I also saw an adorable adaptation of that idea on Cheeky Monkey, where she used little wooden sticks and velcro for her son instead of the clothespins.

I decided to create Learning Wheels, and began with color matching…
and shape matching…For the colors I started K today with different colored bottle tops to just place on the colors, I also plan to let him use colored pom poms, wooden sticks, and of course clothespins. BUT, before you go thinking K always uses his tools in the proper way, this is what he thought of my idea today…the purple bead (I didn’t have a purple top) was used as a hammer to pound on the other tops and he wouldn’t match them up on my lovely learning wheel :). That’s OK though, we still yelled out the colors as he pounded!
He did well with the shapes and seemed to enjoy the challenge of this one. I used little foam shapes I had from this set
What you will need:
  • The Learning Wheels, you can make your own or download mine here as a pdf file (click on the image on the site page)
  • colored objects to match up (wooden sticks, clothespins, pom poms, bottle tops, even pieces of construction paper…be creative!)
  • shapes to match up (I made sure the colors DID not match in order to get him to focus on the shape) Pull shapes from any other tool you have or make your own out of construction paper or cardstock
  • cardstock (to print on)
  • laminator (if you have one, or can get one-it’s SOOO worth the $40, I use it all the time!)

I am working on more Learning Wheels too, I know this tool will grow with him as I add different leveled wheels. It is certainly a tool that can be used for tots and way beyond! I am also making gift sets of these, most likely including the clothespins for them. For older kids I make them for I may make a clothespin set with color/shape words on them too.


Tot School ~ Back Home!

My boys arrived back home after their week down in NC visiting family. We were all very excited to be reunited! Obviously Tot School hasn’t happened but I did decide to show Krash his new *Tool for Tots* and was SHOCKED that he immediately started putting the correct letters into the circles!!! I thought it would take several tries for him to do that! He seemed to really like his picture on it too!I also made him cards for our family members but expected to hold off on bringing these out until he mastered just his own card. Needless to say they came out one by one and he placed the letters on them all! I was thrilled that he actually liked his new tool! I am almost done with his next new tool and should have it up on the blog this week! I hope some of you are making some new tools to share!!!!
  • Want to see more Tot School posts? Click HERE!
  • Visit our Tot School Webpage HERE
  • Visit our Tot School Tools store HERE
  • Find our Tot Books HERE
  • See our Tot School Squidoo Lens HERE
  • Tools for Tots HERE

If you have a tot (approximately ages 1-3) at home, join in the fun and share what you’re doing with your tot! Here’s how to get started if you’re new…

GO HERE 1st for more details, then if you have any ideas you’d like to share, link up your exact post to Mr Linky (if you have questions about how to do that, let me know in a comment or email). Provide a link back somewhere in your post to this post so your readers can see other ideas too!

Family Update

I have gotten many emails and comments wondering about my husband and I can’t thank you all enough for your prayers and comments/emails. I have not been responding to many, I hope you understand.

At this point we do have the pathology back and it is not exactly what we hoped for, but it’s not horrible. The cancer has not visibly spread to lymph nodes and/or organs, but does show a higher percentage that it could be on its way to the nodes. His tumor was a mixed germ cell, for those of you familiar with the cancer terms. it was 80% seminoma and 20% non-seminoma (embryonic carcinoma). The non-seminoma type is not treatable by radiation so we lost that option quickly.

We had decisions to make but we are fairly confident that we have made the decision of how to move forward. Sometime in the next few weeks he will undergo another surgery, to remove and dissect his abdominal lymph nodes. It’s a pretty serious surgery, putting him in the hospital for 5-7 days and then weeks of recovery. You can read more about it here if you’re interested.

We are not certain he can go this route though and won’t know until his blood markers are back next Friday. If they are rising he has to begin chemo immediately. We are praying that does not happen.

He still may have to do chemo after the surgery if they find significant cancer, but normally the surgery is a way to prevent having chemo if the cancer hasn’t already spread.

Although it’s not exactly the answer we wanted, we are peaceful and faithful. I actually have written tons more about this on our personal family blog, which I don’t share publicly. If you are someone who has gotten to *know me* through this blog and would like to keep up with his journey, just email me and I will give you that blog address. I just don’t like to have it linked up because I often share on that blog about our ministry life in Philly too. I would love to have you reading it though if you are interested, just email (address on the sidebar).

The GOOD NEWS is … my precious boys are home!!!! Frank’s parents drove them back up last night and will leave tomorrow. We are thrilled to have the loud chaos back!!!! We needed to get back to normal until we can decide something about this surgery. So until next Friday, I pray we will be a normal family, ignoring the fact that cancer is invading our lives, as much as possible!

Tools for Tots ~ Bottle Top Names

I made 2 versions of this tool, the simple hand made version… and the bit more complex computer version…

SIMPLE VERSION ~What you will need…

  • enough of the same type of bottle top (milk, water, juice, prescription bottles, etc.) to make each letter of the name you are using.
  • sentence strips, cardboard, or some other sturdy rectangle to trace the tops onto.
  • Sharpie marker

I am using my mini laminator to laminate mine also but you don’t have to do that. I just traced the bottle tops onto the sentence strip, trimmed the strip to the size of the name, wrote the letters in the circles, and then onto the actual tops.

COMPUTER VERSION ~ What you will need…

  • computer program (I used Microsoft Publisher, which I use for tons of things I make)
  • bottle tops, Sharpie
  • card stock
  • laminator if you have one

In Publisher, I just used the rectangle tool to make the size I wanted, then inserted a photo from my files, sizing it to fit the opening. I used the circle tool to make the size circles I needed (printing out a paper copy to measure against my actual tops), then typed each letter in. I printed them on cardstock, laminated them, and cut them out! All done!

For an older child you could make their first and last name, or make several strips including names of family members. This isn’t just a tool for tots! It could be altered in so many ways. Back when I used to teach K, we had a center called milk top spelling where I would do the same thing as the simple version shown, but use spelling words. The letters they needed were all written on a collection of milk tops.

Here’s one that I am giving for a gift… (shhh Shannon, don’t tell Daniel!!)

Tools for Tots

In my effort to keep my mind off of all things cancer (which we don’t have the final report on quite yet), I have been brainstorming new ideas for homeschooling, mainly for my tot-Krash. The idea hit me today to start a Mr Linky for all of us to share tools for tots that we make ourselves. There are many wonderful Tot School Tools out there to buy but in an effort to save even more money these days I have been searching for more things I can make with minimal money involved.

I am not a very craft oriented mom, more of a Montessori tools type of thinker. One of the blogs I read and love has really helped inspire this idea as I have noticed her change to many home made Montessori type of materials for her young ones. Here is her most recent blog post, filled with many of these wonderful tools for her tots. The tools she shows are very similar to things I used to do with Krash and Pac-Man when he was younger, I have just gotten away from them lately. So simple, so inexpensive, yet so great!

With Christmas approaching I even plan to make these tools to give as gifts to young tots in our extended family as well as to my friends who have tots. I thought we could join together in sharing ideas to make tools for our own tots and also tools for Christmas gifts! I am working on my first tool right now and will get a Mr Linky up when I post it, in case anyone else would like to join in! If this goes well, I will create a non-Christmas colored graphic for after Christmas! :)