Tot School

~Ladybug is currently 18 months old~

You’ll notice a much more simple Tot School post this week. I didn’t take as many photos! I had to “cut back” in some areas of my life in order to increase in more important ones. A lengthy and detailed Tot School post got the shaft this week!

Learning Toys

My mom made her these adorable minky dot color squares. Ladybug LOVES them!!!!IMG_9393 She likes putting them into bags and bins, IMG_9397and also laying on them like a pillow! IMG_9386There are two of each color so I have been using them for all sorts of color activities. They are also really light—perfect for tossing around indoors! You’ll be seeing a lot of these in posts to come, even the boys love them!IMG_9481

She worked on our pattern block puzzles. I gave her the simple ones and handed her the shape and then pointed to where it went. She then put it in and clapped for herself! IMG_9581

Magneatos continue to come out just about daily.IMG_9586

We have a new Guidecraft toy ~ Rainbow Blocks, floating around as we play with it for my upcoming review. This is another favorite, with all 3 kids! We are so thankful to get these awesome toys each month!!!IMG_9642

Life SchoolLook who is actually walking…FINALLY!!!!!IMG_9979 She still chooses to crawl but has taken about 7-8 steps at a time independently!

Moms Favorite

While outside swinging one day, Pac Man gave her a mini cattail thing, she LOVED it! I loved her sweet smiles!!!

IMG_9857IMG_9863IMG_9861

This Weeks Tools

More Tot School Links…

Please put your tot’s age (in months) after it, like this: 1+1+1=1 (41 mos)

If you are NEW will you please leave a comment letting us all know so we can be sure to visit you?

Tot School

~Ladybug is currently 16 months old~

Tot Trays Ladybug’s Tot Trays were changed up a bit this week.  I cleaned out 3 more shelves and put different toys on the trays.  I am still in decision mode of how to set up her Tot School area in the new schoolroom.  This is what is working for now, but I have some ideas in mind for the new room {some ideas taken from other Tot School Zones that were shared}IMG_4970

Within seconds of opening up the schoolroom… IMG_4972

Just in case you think L-bug is the perfect little tot…I caught this shot of her while I was working with Krash,  She was at my feet begging to be picked up ;-)  Still perfectly cute though, even when screaming at me!!!IMG_4976

Soon she found something to play with… exploring K’s Star Boxes!IMG_4978

What was Krash doing?  Well, exploring her Tot Trays of course! IMG_4980

The stacking cups were probably her favorite this week.  She played with them a lot.  She loved putting the links inside of the cups.IMG_5373She even tried to stack the cups herself… IMG_5385Then asked me for help ;-) IMG_5388

She couldn’t quite figure out how to put the bears in the peg board {these are similar to the peg set, just with bears, I got them for 25 cents at a used book sale!}IMG_5394

 Learning Toys

I didn’t have my camera out much this week, so I don’t have a ton of photos.  But, I did remember to snap a pic of her first time with Dot PaintIMG_4990

 

She played in the water table a few times this last week and loved every minute of it! If you look closely you can see my perfect lil angel K in time-out in the background ;-) IMG_5006

Life SchoolI finally got the pool back out.  This is our lovely $3 find {thanks Nanee} that is loved by all 3 kids!  IMG_5136

Moms Favorite

My little sproutin’ bathing beauty ;-)IMG_5165

 

This Weeks Tools

Preschool Printables and New ABC PowerPoint

When I found these ABCs, I just had to make something with them.   I pulled together a simple ABC show, bringing up the letters one at a time with the click of the arrow or mouse, to allow a child to go at his/her own pace. The Power Point is a neat way to sing the alphabet song even with a younger tot, as each letter can be pulled up as you sing it.

I then made these simple cards to be printed to go along with the show. You could print 2 and use them for a memory game, print one set and cut the word off the bottom and have your child match the word to the correct card.  Or just use them as simple, fun ABC flashcards!ABCs

The cards are available for free here on my Preschool Printables: Alphabet page.  The PowerPoint is located in the Members Only section!

Enjoy!

Behind the Scenes ~ Tot Trays

What Are Tot Trays



I know most of you probably read my Tot School post from this past Sunday, but if you didn’t read it first, then you’ll know what I am talking about ~ Tot Trays :).
Now, I will answer any questions I could think of that readers might ask :) and if I don’t answer yours, put it below in the comments and I will!

First, WHY Trays?

  • Let me begin by saying that I am in NO way saying that my beliefs are right, they are just MY beliefs. I share openly about what I believe when it comes to educating young children, and yes I do have a college degree, but that in no way makes me any smarter than others out there. I just share what I believe!
  • The TRAY itself: I believe the tray itself provides a sense of space for a young child. When all items are contained on a tray (or a mat, or something similar), it is easier for the child to visualize all involved with the activity and also how to CLEAN it up! Cleaning up is a huge part of this method for me.
  • The ACTIVITIES: I believe in providing simple, yet engaging activities that sometimes expose a skill and sometimes are just fun! I love the discussion times these trays provide. I love the concentration required. I love that Krash is developing perseverance, focus, and determination to accomplish tasks. I love the vocabulary alone that stems from the tray activities, it really is endless. I love that I can change up the activities easily without a ton of work each evening. I love that most of the items on the trays aren’t *toys* so they are refreshing for Krash and engaging.
  • The ENVIRONMENT: Trays provide a more neat and orderly environment for a tot, it is easy to see where the activities are, what is involved, how to clean up, and where to put the tray back. These types of activities also (usually) stimulate a quieter environment as many of the activities require much focus from the tot! In a world of LOUD chaos (at least with MY tot), I enjoy the difference in these types of activities.
  • WHEN: Krash only uses these trays during SCHOOL time. They are not toys, they are not free-play items. My idea behind this is to keep them special and engaging. When a child sees them over and over again, anytime, they become just like the rest of his toys. Sometimes this is hard to manage but that is the goal. We have only recently gone back to this method and he will get used to it more and more as we go on.

Tell me about your shopping spree you spoke of in your Tot School post…

Here’s where I went, with items linked up if I could find them online. Many of these items were pictured in my Tot School post (or will be soon :) )

AC Moore:

  • round paint tray
  • pom poms (bought 3 bags, of the colors we didn’t have already)
  • Valentines Day items for our seasonal collection (2-$1 tins, 1-1$ plastic heart jar, heart cookie cutters)
  • pipe cleaners (we just happened to be almost out!)
  • Cookie cutters-with a spring/Easter theme

Dollar Tree:

  • heart sticks
  • heart shaped ice cube tray
  • skinny long colored spoon assortment
  • cookie cutters assortment
  • foam beads in a box
  • pack of 4 colored clips

Ikea: (I am SO sorry for those of you who don’t live near an Ikea, that have the best stuff for trays!)

~edited to add… the trays themselves are from Oriental TradingI wrote a post sharing alternatives here.

I did not spend a ton of money, and many of these items will be used over and over again. These were just some things I wanted to get at this point, to go along with what we already had. And yes, I do have an educational supply shopping addiction (so my husband says).

How do you organize ALL OF THE STUFF?

  • I decided this FIRST, as I knew if I just brought home a bunch of stuff and mixed it in with the rest of our supplies, I would become overwhelmed with the whole idea and give up. So, when I went shopping, that was my very first priority and I knew I was not coming home until I had the solution! Here it is…The drawers are long, which is really nice for things like pipe cleaners, spoons, etc. Below is a photo of our bottle top collection…
  • I got a closet shoe hanging thing, that has drawer/box things to go inside. I didn’t have any floor space to put a new shelf or drawers or anything so when I saw this-the light bulb went off! We hang ours inside of our guest room/office “closet” area.
  • I made labels for all of the drawers and now that I am home, I plan to get one more red thing and set of boxes, just to not run out of storage-it’s worth it to me. I hung the labels on with key ring things I got at an educational supply store.
  • I also added a set of plastic drawers that I already had, knowing I would need larger spaces for some things. The main idea for this is the items I am collecting from the house (plastic bottles-my favorite is our coffee creamer bottles with the label torn off, TP tubes, PT tubes, and other bigger items we are now saving).
  • I am using a couple of the shelves in the *closet* to store some of the bigger items also, I still need to work on this area.
  • I am not entirely done with the space as I write this, but it will continue to be a work in progress, as all things storage and school related are!

How do you organize your IDEAS in your head when it comes to planning for these types of activities?

I think in the way of tray-themes, then change up within those. Here’s my *theme list* so far:

  • Transferring
  • Pouring
  • Beading
  • Spooning
  • Pasta Fun
  • Sorting
  • Counting
  • Matching
  • Small Spaces
  • Cutting
  • Gluing
  • Stickers
  • Simple Art/Crafts
  • Fine Motor-Muscle Skills

By keeping to these themes, I can wrap my brain around it easier and come up with simple ways to make it fun! I can also list out new ideas under a category-or add a new category!

Speaking of NEW IDEAS, I always find tons of ideas while blog-surfing but have a hard time implementing them (or remembering them), how do you manage this?

  • I struggled with this also, and finally made myself a sheet to keep next to my computer. I will give you the link for it at the end of this post. I jot down the name of the idea, and where I found it. THEN I add it to a folder in my Internet bookmarks so I can come back to it when I am ready to see it again.
  • If it is something I plan to make right away, I will just jot down my materials list and put in our current school plans!
  • I plan to come up with an even better way to sort new ideas as we get going, but this is my start!

What ages would you recommend these activities for?

  • I must tell you I am not a big age-range-suggester. WHY? Because I firmly believe that every child is unique and different and you must take the time to truly know your own child. I always post Krash’s age in my Tot School posts to give readers an idea, but kids are different!
  • I recommend starting simple, with the easiest of ideas and just see how your tot does! If an activity is frustrating for your tot (or you), then put it on the “later on” list!
  • Many of the tray activities are even enjoyed by my oldest son (age 6 1/2), that’s the cool thing about trays-they are simple but fun.

WAIT, THERE”S MORE!!!!

I made a new webpage all about Tot Trays! There’s ideas already there and I have tried to go into as much detail as possible to help you out if you’re looking to add this type of learning to your home. I plan to continually update this page, with ideas, photos, etc. so be sure to bookmark it if you are interested! On this page you will find:

  • The link to the New Ideas sheet
  • Items to Collect sheet, and Shopping Ideas (stores, lists, etc.)
  • Each *tray theme* outlined (with photos if I have them already)
  • More info about storage
  • My Labels (either for you to use exactly or to gather ideas to make your own)

As I said above, if you have any other questions about Tot Trays, please leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them there. I will also add more to the webpage itself as I get new photos and ideas!