Showing posts with label learning through play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label learning through play. Show all posts

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Toddler School: Football Theme!

Toddler school is back! And in true #momlife fashion this is the week that both of my kiddos get the flu! Go figure. πŸ˜… Needless to say we didn't get everything done that I wanted to but such is life. We are just rolling with it!

 It feels so weird good to be blogging again. And I am so excited to kick it off (see what I did there!?) with a fun football theme! 🏈

If you're new around here, here's the run down on how I toddler school:
- I do weekly themes with my little ones
- All activities are adaptable to meet your kiddos wherever they are
- Each activity is play-based and focuses on the development areas of your little one
- I do one activity a day (usually) that lasts around 20-30 minutes



Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Books:
One of my favorite things about setting up a new theme is getting all the cute books that go along with it! Here are some of our favorite football themed books:


Austin Plays Fair
by Tony Dungy

Dino-Football
by Lisa Wheeler
**Cohen (4) is dinosaur obsessed (like many 4 year olds are amiright?)
so this one was by far his favorite**

Goodnight Football
by Michael Dahl

My First Book of Football
by Beth Bugler

My Football Book
by Gail Gibbons

NFL 1-2-3
**Avery (almost 2) LOVED this one in particular. It was so cute
hearing him read the numbers for me**

T is for Touchdown
by Brad Herzog


Activities:

Football Sensory Table:
This is a super cute and easy to set up sensory table! We just used our green rice, mini footballs, mini helmets, mini trophies and goal posts. Anytime I'm working on a new theme I always take a trip to dollar tree first! You can find all kinds of fun themed things there to toss into any sensory table πŸ‘Œ

Encourage your little one to explore the sensory table! Use helmets and trophies to scoop. Flick footballs through the field goal posts. Just have fun with it!

** In the beginning little ones will need supervision and help learning the boundaries and rules associated with sensory play **




Touchdown Letters:
Using yellow construction paper create goal posts onto butcher paper. Print out the letters included and glue onto butcher paper. Practice calling out letters and having your little one find them!

Don't want to create a giant field goal? You can get a small printable version here! Fo' freesies!



Football Drop:
Prep football drop box by coloring a shoe box green and adding goal posts. Cut slits into the box and label with shapes! Print and cut out football shapes (you can get these in the activity pack below!) Work with your little one to identify the shapes and drop into the right goal post!



Football Cubes:
Print and assemble cube. Let your little one roll the cube and identify the number shown. 

To add in a little gross motor fun: once your little one identifies the number have them do that many jumps, laps, etc.


Football Art:

Football Kicker:
Truthfully we did not get to this activity this week due to all the sickness but it is super easy to set up! Using plain 'ol paper write numbers 1 through 5 (1 number per page) and lay on the floor in a line - think like a football field. Let your little one kick a football and call out the number they get!

Want any of this week's printables?  You can grab them here!







Up next week: 1st Day of Preschool πŸ«

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tiny Toddler Box Launch!

I know I haven't posted in awhile but that's because I've been working on something really exciting: the launch of my Tiny Toddler Box!


Throughout my toddler schooling adventures I have gotten so many questions and comments about the activities we do and how we find the time to do them! It seemed like there was a need out there for activities geared towards toddler development that busy families could easily whip out with no prep work required! That where the #tinytoddlerbox comes in!

Here's the quick and dirty - you can find additional information by clicking subscription box or FAQ above!

Who: 
The Tiny Toddler Box is geared toward toddlers of varying ages and abilities primarily focusing on the 1-5 range. All activities are easily adaptable to your child's level and abilities. You may need to provide more guidance and assistance for the younger toddlers while exploring the activities to help build their language and motor skills whereas the older toddlers can play independently. It's all about what's right for you and your little one(s)! 

What: 
A monthly themed toddler box shipped right to your door! Each box includes 6 activities prepped and ready to go! Each activity corresponds to one of the key developmental areas of toddlers: Movement, Cognitive, Language, Sensory, Social/Emotional and Art Development!

**To see some of our past boxes click on the subscription box link above**

When: 
Boxes ship on the 1st of the month! To sign up for the "current" box you need to sign up by the 25th of the previous month. For example, in order to get "April's box", you must sign up before March 25th. 

April's theme is SPACE!   🌚🌞⭐☄

Where: 
Boxes ship right to your door!

How:
Just follow the link below! Signing up is quick and easy - just choose the right subscription level for you! 


Why:
There are so many reasons that I could list for why you should give it a try - but until you try for yourself you won't know the benefits for sure! 

I can tell you this: I started these toddler activities with my oldest (now 3 1/2) when he was 1. He is now exceeding the benchmarks for 1st grade in reading and math! The activities are made to be fun and engaging but also prepare your littles ones for school in a play based way!


If you have any questions just let me know! I would love to answer them!  

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Confessions from Toddler School: The 5 Senses

This week we focused on our five senses! We started with a little picture of Cohen that we used to label his five senses and we spent the rest of the week exploring them! I really enjoyed this week! He's at the perfect age to really enjoy the activities and start making the connections! It was really exciting to see him so focused on these activities and using his five senses in other ways throughout the week!


Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Books:

Truthfully we didn't have any themed books this week! The list above are some of my favorites from teaching but we didn't have much luck at the library when we went this week.

Activities:


Sight Scavenger Hunt:

This activity was all about our sight! We made these simple DIY binoculars from toilet paper rolls and then went on a scavenger hunt around the house! The binoculars were the perfect fine motor activity for both boys - even Avery loved it! 

Cohen's favorite toys right now are his "Moana babies" (I did't realize that was "weird" until I typed it out 🀣). So I hid them around the house for him to find with his binoculars! 

I also printed off this little checklist for him to check them off as he went! I had a feeling he would really like this activity so I laminated the sheet ahead of time so that we could play over and over again. And let me tell you, I'm glad I did! 


Sound Tubes:

This little sound activity was super easy to throw together! I took some empty playdough containers and wrapped some white paper around them, numbered them and filled each one with small items I had around the house. We used coins, pom poms, q-tips, rice and small lincoln logs! I love the flexibility of being able to switch it up whenever I want as well πŸ‘Œ

I made these little picture cards to help Cohen identify the mystery items inside - you can find these picture cards along with a blank set of # cards in the activity pack below! Both boys loved shaking and listening to the items inside. And Cohen was surprisingly good at identifying what was inside by just the sound!


Smell Bottles:

These smell bottles were a huge hit and I had so much fun making them too! I used these little sauce cups we had just laying around, poked some holes in the top and put in some scents we had around the house. I used:
- vanilla
- lemon
- lavender
- peppermint 
- coffee

but you can totally get creative! The possibilities are really endless with this one - just rummage around your kitchen! πŸ‘Œ


Taste Exploration:

I had so much fun putting this one together! I scoured our fridge and pantry for a nice combination of sweet, salty, spicy and "other" for the boys to taste. Luckily my boys are not picky eaters and will eat anything put in front of them so I knew this would be a hit! If you've got a picky eater on your hands this is a great way to get them to try new things too! 

If you'd like this rating sheet you can get it in our activity pack below! πŸ‘‡


What's in the Box?:

We did not get to this activity this week! But honestly I am okay with that! While Cohen is a super adventurous eater he isn't so adventurous when it comes to tactile stuff (even with all the sensory activities we do). And Avery just makes everything a mess so I'm relieved we got busy this week and didn't have time for this one!

It's pretty explanatory though - put different tactile things in boxes and have your little one reach in. Some ides:
- cooked noodles (nice and slimy)
- cotton balls
- beans
- dirt

Literally whatever you think would be fun to touch! Let your little one explore and guess what might be hiding inside!



Want any of this week's printables?  You can grab them here!






Up next week: Nursery Rhymes 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Confessions from Toddler School: Money!

 This was a quick and easy week. I tried to keep it light so that I could focus on getting my first subscription box out the door. If you haven't checked it out yet, you should definitely try one out! Next months theme is dinosaurs and you can't go wrong there!

Anyways, enough about that, if you want to know more you can check the link above! ☝

This week was all about Money, money, money! MONEY! πŸ’° 
I'm sorry, I had to! And if you didn't sing along, I'm not sure we can be friends. 

Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Books:

I have been searching for some fun and simple money books to introduce coins and money concepts to young toddlers but I haven't really found any that I like! Do you have any you like!? I would love recommendations! 


Activities:


Identifying Coins:

I think it’s really important to teach kids about money young so they learn the importance of it and practice healthy saving and spending habits as they grow up. And this all starts with being able to identify money and understanding that we use money to buy things!

I set up this simple anchor chart and printed out the coins on label paper (so no tape necessaryπŸ‘Œ). We worked on identifying the different names, heads and tails, value and terminology (cents). Cohen then put the stickers in the correct places! Throughout the day I’ll ask him to go point to a coin by name or by value to help him practice and retain the new information πŸ’°





Sorting Coins:

We loved this little activity! I took the same coin stickers from the previous activity and put them in a muffin tin. In retrospect I really should have shrank them down to fit into the muffin tin but I didn't want to have to reprint and recut. But don't worry, they're the right size in the downloadable packet!

As we sorted we talked about heads and tails and identifying the names as well - he's getting really good at sorting out the differences between the silver coins after only a couple of days of practice!


Coin Rubbings and Matching:

This activity did NOT go as planned. I showed Cohen how to do it and he couldn't care less. You win some, you lose some. 🀣All he wanted to do was sort the coins and practice their names which was fine by me!


The rest of this week was more about real life application! We sorted his piggy bank and then took it to be deposited into his savings. He loved talking with the bank teller and asking them to put it into his savings. He looked so proud! We also had him "work" to earn some spending money to get a feel for earning, buying and saving. He loved it! He loves helping so it was just icing on the cake to actually earn something while doing it. His favorites were helping with the dishes and helping dada with his work. He earned a whopping $2 (one dime a time haha) and spent it on a new hotwheel car (shocker!🀣) and a pack of honey teddies! The rest went into his savings. 




Want any of this week's printables?  You can grab them here!





Up next week: The 5 Senses!πŸ‘πŸ‘ƒπŸ‘„πŸ‘‚✋  

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Confessions from Toddler School: Penguins

Penguins were one of Cohen's first loves and they are still definitely a favorite around here! Fun fact: Cohen's love of penguins was what inspired this toddler school journey of mine and it was our very first theme ever! 🐧

Unfortunately we didn't get to do all of our activities this week due to a rousing emergency room visit (everyone is fine but this sick season is no joke!) We've been resting and reading a lot of books instead. πŸ’™πŸ“•πŸ’™

Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Books:
We did a lot of book reading this week due to this lovely illness! There are so many amazing penguin books out there and it is really hard to pick a favorite but these two get the most laughs and repeats!

Penguin Gets the Hiccups - This book is beyond adorable! If you haven't read it, it's about a cute little penguin who gets the hiccups from eating chili. He tries all kinds of tricks to get rid of them but nothing works. The book elicits child participation to help scare the hiccups away too! Super cute.  But make sure you have your fake hiccup sound ready to go because you're going to need it!

Personal Penguin - Who doesn't want a personal penguin!? I mean seriously, how adorable woult hat be? Almost as adorable as this penguin book by Sandra Boynton! It's actually a song! So we sing it all the time. And I mean ALL the time. It's about a little penguin that just wants to be a hippos personal penguin! πŸ’•

Activities:


Penguin Habitats

I always love how this sensory table turns out! The pictures really don't do it justice. We use instant snow and lots of ice! Every night I let the boys collect cups/tupperware/bowls, hollow toys (anything that can hold water) and we will with water to freeze for the morning! Then all we do is throw in these little penguin figurines.



Feed the Penguin

I love how adaptable this activity is from the variety of containers and penguin shapes to the skill on the fish!

First choose any empty container and turn it into a penguin! This time I used an empty cracker box but I've used cereal boxes, shoe boxes, milk jugs and even an empty cottage cheese container! They always turn out super cute. Just use construction paper and voila! Penguin 🐧

**Tip: Don't forget to think through an emptying strategy once the penguin has eaten all the fish...I learned this the hard way the first time I made one. Don't be like me. **

Next print out your fish and choose your skill! You can get these fish in the printable activity pack below or find your own! I like to laminate my fish so I can switch up the targeted skill as much as I want! These bad boys have lasted me 3 years if you can believe it! The activity pack includes the colored fish as well as a blank white set for you to write your own skill on!

**Tip: Bend the fish tails up so they're easier to pick up off the ground. There's nothing worse than watching your little one struggle and then get frustrated and give up before it even starts!**



Penguin Movements Obstacle Course

This was so much fun! We really needed some fun body movement activities after being cooped up for so long. This did not disappoint! Turns out his love of penguins perfectly translated into the love of being a penguin. 

I used black masking tape to mark off the obstacle course and then these cards to label the activities! See my IG highlights to see how we set them up!




Want any of this week's printables?  You can grab them here!





Up next week: Money! πŸ’°  

Monday, January 7, 2019

Confessions from Toddler School: Snow!

πŸŽ†Happy New Year!πŸŽ†

I hope this year is starting off smoothly for you all! We've been sick since before the holidays so it's been a little rocky here and a whole lot of exciting with the launch of our brand new subscription boxes! Check it out in the tab above if you're interested! πŸ‘†

We're kicking off this year with a snow theme - and wishing for some real snow of our own. It has been the mildest winter ever. Mostly dry. No colder than 40 everyday. It's been weird. So hopefully our snow theme will bring some flurries our way! ❆❅❄


Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Books:
We read some really fun snow books this week but the favorites were definitely Puppies in the Snow
and Snowmen at Night

The rhyming and counting in Puppies in the Snow was Cohen's favorite part. 

And I really love the hidden pictures in the Snowmen series! My husband and I even took the book to bed a few nights to try and find all the pictures 🀣 It's harder than you think!

Activities:



Hidden Snowball Words:

Our sensory table this week was super quick and easy to throw together! I threw some cotton balls in along with these snowball words and both boys had a blast! Cohen liked reading the words and Avery liked breaking apart the cotton balls. Win-win!




Build-A-Snowman Words

This one turned out so much cuter than I expected! I made these little hats and snowballs for the boys to build snowmen (and words)! Cohen's reading skills have gotten so strong that I'm starting to introduce word families and increase his vocabulary. For Avery I just talked about the letters as he destroyed everything in his path 🀣


Snowman Bean Bag Toss

This is a really easy movement activity to set up for any theme! Just pick your shape, obviously ours was a snowman for this week, and then write whatever skill you want to practice all over it. Cohen chose letters so that's what we did. 

We all took turns throwing the bean bags and saying the letter and sound for wherever it landed. This one has been a favorite all week! We play it multiple times a day. 



Snowman Emotions

We talked a lot about emotions this week because, well, we're 3 and that is a tough age. We're dealing with some pretty big emotions and are learning how to process not only our own but also how others  are feeling as well!

This activity was perfect for that! I put together this little snowman and a variety of face parts for him to make different faces. After some free exploration and face making we talked bout things that make us feel happy, sad, angry or surprised!

I then would give him examples and he had to make the appropriate face for the snowman. For example: When it's snowing the snowman feels ______. When the snowman loses his scarf he feels _____. I was actually very impressed with how well Cohen did identifying feelings. Now if only we could see that in practice. πŸ™„ 




Want any of this week's printables?  You can grab them here!




Up next week: Penguins 🐧

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Confessions from Toddler School: Spider Activities for Toddlers!

Boy oh boy am I behind on my blogging! Sorry! 

The end of October was just nuts

My youngest turned 1 and it was a whirlwind of birthday parties, photo shoots and cake smashes! But we did squeeze in a few toddler school activities for our spider unit and halloween unit (up next!) The spider unit is one of my all time favorites! Something about the webs make for the best activities! IMO. 




Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Books:

I did not get a picture of our books this week but you can see the list on the planner up above! Our favorites were:

The Very Busy Spider and Itsy Bitsy Spider!


Activities:


Spider Games: 
This is one of my favorites (I know I say that all the time, but seriously, this one has so many possibilities!). We played a few different variations this year:

Walk the web: I placed the spiders around the web and would call out a word for Cohen to walk to while balancing. At first he wasn't so great at understanding what I meant by balance/walk on the line but after a few tries he got really good! I think next year I will make the web MUCH bigger so I can play on it too though.

Spider Toss: We tossed the words onto the web and tried to get them to land on the web! Cohen thought this one was hilarious when he missed the web and I would say "so close!' 🀣

Toss the Spider and Read the Words: An adaptation from the spider toss above. But this time we used a spider toy and tossed it onto the web trying to land on a spider word. If we landed on a word we would read it and collect it. Whoever had the most at the end, got to go first the next time!


If you want these cute little spiders to go with the activity, you can find those here! I've included the blank set and the spider descriptor word set.


Appearing Spider Web Art:
I love that Cohen is finally starting to get into art projects! Up until now he hasn't had much interest or would try for half a second and then give up. But now he's engaging more in the artistic process and I love seeing his creativity come out!

These appearing water color pictures were a huge hit! I don't think I've ever seen him engage in art for that long! 

If you've never done this before it's super simple! All you do is use a white crayon to draw any picture on paper. Give your little ones water color paint to reveal the image!



Spider Web Obstacle Course:
This was another easy one to set up! I set it up during nap time so it was a surprise for the boys when they woke up! I used white streamers and created a web obstacle course! 

Originally I wanted one they had to actually crawl through but given how naughty my oldest had been, I figured that was an accident waiting to happen so I opted for an over head one they just crawled under. I loved seeing the boys play together with this one.

Bonus: We had fun exploring the shadows created by the web!


Spider Writing Plate:
I made this cute spider plate with a black plate and some construction paper. Just fill with sugar and you've got a fun writing plate! One of my big goals with Cohen right now is working on his handwriting (we haven't really done much of that up until this point). So this activity was a perfect pre writing activity. 

To start, I just let him freely explore the sugar by drawing and shaking. I would then model a letter for him and have him trace my letter. Then we would reset the plate (like an etch a sketch - you lightly shake to clear!) and he would try it himself. On the letters he struggled with, I would hold him finger to help direct him. 


**Not pictured** Sticky Web Toss:
I tried to get a decent picture of this but if I'm being honest, they looked hideous! it was set up similarly to the obstacle course but instead of streamers I used black masking tape with the sticky side out. We then used tissue paper balls and threw them at the web to stick!


Outings:

No spider specific outings this week! Although our backyard is overran with spiders and intricate webs if that counts!? 


Up next: Halloween! πŸŽƒ

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Confessions from Toddler School: Pumpkin Activities for Toddlers!


Pumpkins! πŸŽƒ

I am definitely more excited than my kids about this theme! Why else would I drag them to a pumpkin patch not one, not two, but 6 times this month (and that was before the middle of October 🀣)! 


Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Books:


I had a hard time narrowing down books this week because I just love them all (my pumpkin addiction runs deep)! But these were the one's Cohen loved the most! 

Five Little Pumpkins: This has been a favorite since Cohen was a baby and little brother loved it this year too! For some reason the "Oooo went the wind and out went the lights" gets big giggles in this house!

Pumpkin Day (Ransom): This was my favorite because Cohen picked it up and read the whole thing himself! I was so impressed by him! He knew words I didn't even know he knew! And hearing his sweet little voice read it was just the best.


Activities:


Label the Pumpkin
I absolutely love using interactive anchor charts at home! And this one was perfect! Cohen loves learning new things and repeatedly sharing this new information. So we got a lot of use out of this bad boy! 

We worked together to label the parts of a pumpkin and we reviewed it frequently! 


Pumpkin Boats:
We used this activity as a fun little science exploration! We learned all about sinking and floating

Before busting out the mini pumpkins we put some of our toys in the water and talked about how things that are heavier than water sink and things that are lighter than water float. 

I then had him guess if the pumpkins would sink or float to assess if he understood the concept -- he did! He even told me why he thought they would sink (because they were heavy).

He thought it was exciting (and silly) that they floated! We then tried to fill them with stuff to make them heavier so they would sink!


Pumpkin Erasing:
This is one of the easiest activities we've ever done and the possibilities are endless! Using a wet erase marker write whatever skill you want to practice all over the pumpkin. Give child a wipe and call out what you want them to find!

You can do anything:
- letters (name recognition, sound recognition, beginning sounds)
- numbers (can do number recognition, basic addition, subtraction)
- shapes
- sight words
- pictures (counting, beginning sounds, rhyming words)
- play guess the word/sentence (like hangman but I dislike that name so we call it guess the word)

See! Endless! Get creative!


Pumpkin Exploration:
This one was nothing fancy! We cut into a pumpkin and explored! The only thing we did "special" was to bring our anchor chart over to talk about the things we were finding inside the pumpkin.

I was so proud of Cohen for getting his hands dirty with this one! Sometimes he can be a little hesitant with tactile experiences so this was a huge win for us. He loooved squishing the pumpkin guts. 

We also baked the pumpkin seeds after and he was so excited to try them!


Pumpkin Games:
I found these foam pumpkins at dollar tree several years ago and kept forgetting to use them! So I literally put a reminder in my phone to use them this year! Does anyone else have to put weird reminders in their calendars or is that just me!? 🀣 Anyways, we used these to play all kinds of games!

Emotion Hop: 
I placed emotions all around the house. I would call one out and we would race to the right one! 

Letter/Number/Sight Word Hop: 
I put them out all over the floor and we hopped from one to another. We played in order a few times and randomly sometimes! 

Sequencing:
We gathered all the numbers and/or letters and practiced putting them in the proper sequence. Cohen loves to challenge himself and do it backwards too!

CVC Blending:
We used the letters to practice sounding out and spelling CVC words! For an added challenge I would ask him to change one letter at a time to build new words. (For example: With the word top I would say, "Can you change one letter to make the word tap?") I would switch out beginning, middle or ending sound to change so he got practice with all of it!


Pumpkin Tracing:
 I don't know why but I really loved this one! I wish I had given the boys markers to use because it would have showed off their art even better. Oh well! Live and learn right!?

I laid out a large piece of butcher paper, crayons and a handful of mini pumpkins! We traced the pumpkins all over the paper. It's so cute, I may use it as a table cloth for awhile!


Felt Pumpkin Faces:
This is one of our recurring activities! I made these cute little felt faces 2 years ago and they are a huge hit! And pro tip: if you have a fabric couch they stick to it! πŸ‘Œ

Outings:


Pumpkin Patch:
Of course! Cohen talked for weeks about his perfect pumpkin: short, fat and bumpy! And I think he nailed it!


What are your favorite pumpkin activities!?

Up next: Spiders πŸ•ΈπŸ•·πŸ•Έ