Tot School Week 1 – A & 0

Pumpkin isn’t old enough to go to preschool but has displayed a lot of interest in letters and really enjoys her Sunday School class. So I did a little looking into the idea of Tot School. I did a lot of reading on the blog 1+1+1=1. I liked the concept but wanted to modify it for the time I had to devote to it. I committed myself to 26 weeks and will focus on the letters A-Z and numbers 0-25. I take about 60-90 minutes on Friday during their nap to Google ideas and then about 45 minutes on Tuesday night to gather up everything for school on Wednesday. It’s very toddler led. I lay it all out and then she gets to choose what we do next and we move on when she’s done. Once we get to the end of the activities I’ve planned, we’re done. (3 weeks in, they’ve each lasted about 90 minutes).

Week 1 – When I first mentioned school, she did NOT want to go. She was hesitant to even try even after seeing everything laid out on the table. So we started with an activity that didn’t seem like school and it was smooth sailing from there. Visuals I set on the table were an airplane, apples, alligator, and an ABC block with an ant on it.

Spray Chalk A-Ants:  (Toddler Approved) I drew 10 ants on the patio and wrote the letter A on each one. She got to help get rid of our “ant problem” by spraying them with a spray bottle filled with water. This lasted about 10 min. I think with her age, I should’ve made them a little smaller so that they would be completely gone in just a few sprays.

A Printables: (1+1+1=1) I printed only pages 1, 2, 7, 13. I put 3 of the pages in photo protector sleeves so she could use dry erase markers. She LOVED this. She had very little experience with dry erase markers and was fascinated! She colored the pages for 25 minutes.With page 13 I cut the apple puzzle into 6 pieces. She’s good with puzzles but I just gave her the pieces without showing her what they looked like together, so she struggled a little bit. (2 minutes of interest)

The second image on page 13 we used an old school hand held paper punch to practice fine motor skills. She helped slide the paper in and then I helped her squeeze the punch together. She liked seeing us make the holes. This took about 8 minutes to go all the way around.

Music, Story, and Snack: I had made a tot school Spotify list for the letter A and 0. I redo the list each week, so unfortunately I don’t have the list anymore. In addition to music, they have stories on Spotify. I found a story of the Ant & Grasshopper that she listened to while she ate her snack of apple and peanut butter. She wasn’t thrilled with the music at first but when the list started repeating and she was recognizing A words and numbers, she enjoyed it. She listened and ate for almost 30 minutes.

A Alligator Craft: (No time for flash cards) During my Tuesday night prep, I drew the letter A, and cut out 2 white circles (we don’t have googly eyes) and 7 white teeth. She used crayons to color the A and then I cut it out for her. She glued the A, eyes, and teeth on. This took about 8 minutes. She always likes crafts and we hung it on her craft wall when we were finished.A River: I wrote capital and lower case A’s on some pieces of scrap paper and she set them on various squares of our square kitchen tile. She then had to jump across the floor landing only on the A tiles. We did this for about 5 minutes. She liked to fly like an airplane back to the beginning by circling around our kitchen table.

Straw Airplane: (found on Toddler Approved linking to Peapod Labs). On my prep night I cut two strips of white construction paper for the airplane and wrote the word airplane on them. She got to help tape the strips into circles and tape them to the straw. It didn’t fly super far, but she had fun using the tape and throwing it for about 5 minutes.

Zero Printable: (Your Printable PDF) I printed two copies of the number zero and put them in her photo sleeve binder. I drew arrows on them to have her draw a zero going clockwise and counterclockwise. Not interested, so we moved on.

Make Zero: I gathered up 4 different types of objects and had her empty them to “Make zero.” This helped visually understand that zero is “nothing” or “empty”. We used a large bowl filled with her shoes, a bag of building blocks, a bowl of cotton balls (a big hit) and a box of musical instruments. She did this for about 12 minutes mostly playing with the cotton balls.

When we were done, we even had a bonus that an ant had crawled into the house and they watched it crawl around for a while before little Buddy “squished it like a bug!”

Tot School A & 0IMG_1362


Mop your floor

The place we live in has a stone kitchen and a laminate hall and living room. We split the rooms and did them on two separate days. Letting your little ones help always lengthens the process by about 3 times, but there is a lot less crying and they aren’t in front of the TV.

We started with the kitchen on day one. First we had to vacuum; we all took turns. Then I filled a bucket of soapy water for myself, a soapy spray bottle for Pumpkin (2 1/2), and gave Buddy (1) his sippy without the plastic stopper so water would pour out. Everyone got a rag and we started scrubbing the stone floor. Eventually Pumpkin abandoned the spray bottle and wanted to dip in the big water bucket. It was a good opportunity to teach her how to wring out a rag. Not the most successful lesson. Buddy soon became fascinated with the soapy water too so I had to find a few toys for him to throw in the ever-growing dirty soapy water. I just had to keep an eye on him to not put those toys in his mouth. And poor Buddy is really into standing and walking at this age so he slipped a few times trying to get near Pumpkin and me. That was the only bout of crying we had.

I waited about a week before we did the living room and hallway. Since I was going to use a mop and I only have one, we waited for Buddy to take a nap. Pumpkin helped lift all the things on the floor up high and then she got to do most of the mopping. I helped lift cords and taught her how to lower the mop handle to get under things like the TV stand. We practiced asking to take a turn and then I could catch the spots she missed. It’s hard being someone who likes to go from point A to point B when cleaning, but letting her help is more important to me. So the whole room got mopped in swirls. Then, I got out two colored towel rags (I let her choose which color she wanted) and we wiped up any excess water so we could put everything back right away, . Then she helped put things back down.

Like I said, a little time consuming, but the cleaning gets done and it was well worth the effort. We celebrated our hard work with snack time!

Build a tent indoors!

Pumpkin and Buddy loved this activity! With the summer heat making it too hot to go outside, we built a tent inside! We’d done this previously using the kitchen table, but we decided to make a bigger one in the living room.

The tent took over the living room composed of the couch, folding chairs, card table, and pack ‘n play (on it’s side). We inserted the tunnel as a door and then used a few smaller towels and sheets to make other doorways. We used the folding chairs to make it wider in the middle. (The book and laundry detergent was just to keep the blankets from falling off.)

We brought flashlights under the tent, a large drawing tablet with colored pencils and markers, pillows, blankets. We read lots of books by flashlight. She took a “nap” on the couch which was like a loft in the tent. If we had a small fan, I would have brought that in for a little air circulation; it got a little stuffy. Buddy (not quite one when we did this) loved crawling in and out of the tunnel.Image