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!

Tot School

~Ladybug is currently 18 months old~

Ladybug has started really walking this week, although still mostly chooses to crawl.  Her personality is really shining now as I believe the nasty molars have made it through the tough period.  She is back to her sweet, giggly self mostly.  This is a relief because she had been out of sorts for weeks.  We had a fun week exploring and learning together ;-).

Learning Toys

She still loves our Playskool Gears toy {actually the boys still love it to}…IMG_9996

She continues to love her magnetic dress up dolls, specifically their clothes!  I showed her how the attached to the dry erase board and she loved this!IMG_0358

We haven’t done Play Doh with L a lot, and it has been awhile.  I got it out for Krash and Ladybug one day when Pac Man was sick, and they both loved it!  She played with it a lot more than I thought she would.

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She has never seen our wooden Noah’s Ark Toy, this was her first time!  She loved it and immediately began trying to put the animals in the shape holes-unlike the boys who sued to just dump them all into the top!Noah's Ark Toy

Counting bears are still a favorite…she still loves putting them into and dumping them out of the cups.Counting Bears

tub of fun I updated our fall sensory bin by taking out the fall leaves and replacing them with little foam pumpkin shapes {got at JoAnn Fabric}.   I also added in a little jack-o-lantern coozie {K is holding it}.

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Life SchoolLadybug’s new Guidecraft doll cradle is a BIG hit.  You can read our full review here.  She rocks anything and everything, including our pumpkins ;-)  IMG_0257

She continues to love our easel and draws daily.  I drew the outline of a pumpkin one morning last week and the kids added the details…IMG_0262

Her new favorite is sitting at K’s desk and getting out all of her crayons to scribble…triangular crayons I glanced over and saw her like this, trying to get all of HIS too…IMG_0344Success {I got them for her ;-)} IMG_0348

 

Moms Favorite

She thought her new doll cradle {review here} was for her to sleep in ;-) IMG_0215-2

 

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 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!!!

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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?