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!”