Tot School Gathering Place Week 193

Welcome to Tot School™ Gathering Place! 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!

Each week we will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Remember, provide a link back to Tot School Gathering Place within your post that you link up, so you can be considered for the feature!



Fall returns this week! It makes its grand entrance this Tuesday, September 22nd at 10:21 a.m.! Though it’s still warm in these parts, I am thankful for the anticipation of cooler weather! What is it like in your neck of the woods? Have cooler temperatures made their arrival? Do you have any special fall activities that you do as a family? Apple picking? Hay rides? Corn maze? We’d love to see what you are up to! Don’t forget to post to the Gathering Place all the fun things that you and your Tot enjoy this fall!

Are you ever surprised at what your Tot can do? Head on over to Waterview Homeschool and see what Mama Sam was surprised to learn about her Tot Joshua!

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With fall starting this Tuesday it’s time to get our fall activities under way! Check out the sensory bin that Mama Kristin from SmartE PartE created for her Tot and see if your Tot might enjoy it, too!

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Did you just begin your Tot School journey? How did the first week go? Take a look at and see how Mama Katelynne and Tots M and J faired during their first week of Tot School!


Do you have your FREE

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?

Fall Tot School Fun!

Fabulous Fall Books for Kids  Fall Leaf Colors Qtip Painting Free Printables  Fall Leaves Songs

Fall Preschool Fun  Fall Q-Tip Painting Printables  Fall Sensory Bin

Fall Tree Craft  Fun Fall Art ~ Fall leaves Many Ways  Fall Coloring Printables 

Free Fall Leaves and Trees Coloring Pages  ScarecrowCollage

See the Tot School webpage here!

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board Tot School Ideas on Pinterest.

Are you NEW or have never been featured? Read this! 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).

Over in the Ocean In a Coral Reef Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits

Over in the Ocean Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits 

{disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

Our love for Ivy Kids Kits continues! These continue to be the best monthly subscription kits I have seen.

Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

We were sent  “Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef ” for this review.  Here’s ALL that was included in this kit:

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  • The award winning book Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef by Marianne Berkes
    • Read along Bookmark: Use to assist with reading comprehension.
    • Create Your Own Coral Reef: Use the clay, sea creatures, and sea life provided to create your own coral reef. Let the beautiful artwork from the book inspire your clay creations.
    • Coral Reef Sticker Scene: Use repositionable stickers to create different coral reef scenes
    • 3 Dimensional Fish and Seahorse Ornament: Use puffy paint to create a 3D fish and seahorse decoration.
    • Sea Creature Bingo: Players take turns picking a card from the pile and calling out a sea creature. The player with the sea creature on his or her board collects the card. The first player to cover three sea creature spaces in a row gets bingo. 
    • Painting with Stencils: Use the stencil with watercolor paints to create a beautiful underwater scene with coral, seashells, and sea creatures.
    • Sea Life Exploration: Use your senses to explore the starfish, coral, and seashells included in this kit.
    • Starfish Observation: Use your eyes and hands to explore the top and bottom of the knobby starfish. Record your observations on the sheet provided. Read the starfish fact board to learn more.
    • Starfish Painting: After exploring the starfish, use watercolors to paint the starfish.
    • Coral Observation: Use your eyes and hands to explore the coral. Record your observations on the sheet provided. Read the coral fact board to learn more. (Size, type, and shape of coral may vary.)
    • Coral Painting: After exploring the coral, use watercolors to paint the coral.
    • Clay Imprints: Use the starfish, sea creatures, and seashells to make beautiful, detailed imprints in the clay. You can choose to create a keepsake with the clay by painting the imprint and letting the clay air dry.
    • All Around the Octopus Game: Select a sea creature pawn and travel around the octopus, collecting seashells along the way. The first player to reach the finish first wins!
    • Sea Creature Dominoes: Players take turns matching the sea creature dominoes end to end. Be the first to match all your dominoes and win the game.
    • Songs – Three Little Clownfish and Five Little Seashells: Use finger puppets and seashells to sings some fun songs about clownfish and seashells. These songs are a perfect accompaniment to the book.
    • Sea Creature Memory Game: Players take turns flipping over one number card and one sea creature card to find a match. The player with the most matches wins the game.

    Here’s a picture of it all out of the box!

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I organize the printables in a binder and keep the other stuff in the box as we work through the unit.

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Activities From Our Box…

My mom {Nanee} comes over once a week to hang out with us and Ivy Kids boxes have become a bit of a weekly tradition.  Nanee happened to come over the day after this one arrived and they dug through it together and chose some crafts to do right away, after reading the book!

Puffy paint sea creatures kicked off their fun together!

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She LOVED making coral out of the clay, painting real coral, and creating a coral reef – all with Nanee! During one of their activity days, my mom asked me if I had told my blog readers how much she loved these boxes!  She highly recommends them for grandparents who love to do things like this with their grandkids!

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I tend to do more of the school-y stuff with her.  We played BINGO together! You can see her using the ducking from the Make Way for Ducklings kit! We pretended the stuffed owl and the duck were playing too.

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She loved the coral reef creature memory game! Since she is beyond learning numbers and number words, she focused on learning the names of the different sea creatures while we played.  I love how the activities can be adapted across many age/ability levels.

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The octopus game was a big hit also, she loved the real shells that were included!

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Stenciling sea creatures was another favorite activity!

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We continue to just LOVE Ivy Kids and are thankful to have these boxes!

We also loved our A House for Hermit Crab kit, Penguin & Pinecone kit and Gotta Go! Gotta Go! kit

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20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

Use code: IVY20

Over in the Ocean Ivy Kids Kit

A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!

Deals for Homeschoolers


{affiliate links are used}


The Crafty Classroom has a new U.S.A. product and the bundle is on sale this week! New USA mazes to go along with the USA State by State pages we used last year! Get 20% off of the bundle option or the mazes alone! This week only!

See our USA Geography curriculum from last year here to see the state-by-state pages in action!



Use code 1plus1 for 10% off at Educents!

Be sure to search for our favorites: Life of Fred, Magformers, Youth Digital, USA Wall Map, Evan-Moor Times Tales and Maestro Classics!

One time use code, no minimum, cannot be combined with other promotions, expires 10/9/16.

Educents Favorites from 1 1 1=1


Use code SAVE7NOW for an extra $7 off of the already low early registration price for Teach Them Diligently!  I will be in TN, AR, and GA! This discount expires Friday night, 9/16/16.



In the shopping mood?  Check out our favorites…

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Why I Love Teach Them Diligently

As you may know, I have been a speaker with Teach Them Diligently for the past 3 years and will be joining them again in 2017! I absolutely love this homeschool convention and am so blessed to be able to attend several locations each year. This coming season I will be in Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia.

This past year was exceptionally awesome for me since I was making final decisions about homeschooling high school. Our oldest son is currently in 9th grade and TTD really helped us iron out all of my concerns and questions last convention season. I attended TTD in Nashville and Sandusky by myself and went to tons of high school focused sessions and spoke with many vendors.

Here’s proof! This is a photo I took during one of my sessions that I jokingly texted to my son to let him know I was getting ready!

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My husband attended with me in Atlanta where we made final decisions and learned together. I can’t explain the peace we felt driving home from Atlanta. It was a peace I never thought I would have about homeschooling high school. I am honestly not sure I would have felt this way without TTD.

This is not speaker-Carisa talking to you, this is homeschool mom-Carisa talking. Forget for a moment that I am a blogger or speaker and remember that I am really just a homeschooling mom like you. I get nervous about making educational decisions for my children, have anxiety over my inabilities in certain subject areas, and need support just like you do! Teach Them Diligently is food for my homeschool-momma soul.

I am meeting more and more moms who are considering homeschooling for the first time and I always recommend attending a homeschool convention if possible. If they can get to a Teach Them Diligently convention, that’s my #1 recommendation.

I would love to meet you at an upcoming Teach Them Diligently convention. There are 4 different locations in 2017, I will be attending all except Ohio since my son has his regional gymnastics competition that same weekend! Below you can see dates for each location I will be at and also the topics I will be speaking on!  Read more about the topics here in a post I shared last year!

TTD 2017 Dates for Carisa from 1 1 1=1

Will you be at Teach Them Diligently in 2017?

Drawing Tutorial Printables Y and Z

Let's Draw Printables - Y, Z


We have the final free set of Let’s Draw A-Z Printables for you! Letters Y and Z  are free to download here. If you want them all as one simple download, you can grab the full set here in my Teacher’s Notebook Shop.

Each page features a heading which can be colored, the drawing tutorial, and a space for drawing. The space is at the bottom of the page so you can easily trim it off to just keep your child’s drawing. Let’s Draw a yak and zebra!

Yak Drawing Tutorial Zebra Drawing Tutorial

Download Y and Z  for free here!

Grab the entire set here in my Teacher’s Notebook Shop 

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Teachers-Notebook-Animal-Alphabet-Co[6][2][2][2] Teacher's Notebook ASL Alphabet[5]_thumb_thumb_thumb Letter Mazes[5][2][2][2]

Looking for more ABC ideas, check out our ABC Pinterest board here!

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board ABC Ideas on Pinterest.

10 Free Dot Fun Alphabet Printable Sets  Choose-Your-Own-Alphabet-Chart-Print[1][2][2][2][2]  Perler-Bead-ABCs8222[2][2][2][2]

Q-Tip-Painting-Alphabet-Printables72[2][2][2][2]  Hands-on-the-Alphabet7222[2][2][2][2]


Home-Preschool-A-to-Z-from-www.1plus[2][2][2][2]   Tot-School-Printables-A-Z14222[2][2][2][2]