Sunday, February 4, 2018

Confessions from Toddler School: Nursery Rhymes

This may have been one of my favorite units so far! The activities were so simple and proved to be a big hit with my toddler. He loved all the singing and interactive activities!

Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep:

To prepare the activity: 
Sing Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. Gather materials for the art project. Get a bowl of water and add the black dye. Set out all the materials for exploration first.

The activity: 
Allow your child to dip the cotton balls into the black water mixture. This free exploration was Cohen's favorite part! Model placing the wet cotton balls into the brown paper bags. Close and shake to decorate the inside. Cut open bags and lay flat. I let Cohen use this as his activity mat while he continued to play with the wet cotton balls! Plus it got more color on the bag! 

💡 If you are concerned about mess, you can use a clothespin to hold and dip cotton balls
     💡  If the weather permits you can take this activity outside and have child throw the wet \cotton balls at a blank canvas, poster board or even a fence!

Little Bo Peep:

To prepare the activity: 
Sing Little Bo Peep to familiarize your child with the nursery rhyme. Print out sheep and hide around the house.

      💡 Set up during naptime or at bedtime for a little extra surprise!

The activity: 
This activity is just like hide and go seek! Let your child explore to find all of the lost sheep. This activity is also a great way to practice prepositions with your little ones!

Do you see a sheep by the chair?
Do you see a sheep under the table?
Do you see a sheep on the car?

You get the idea! 

Old MacDonald:
Like many little ones, mine loves animals and making animal sounds. So this was a fun activity for us! We played for hours. days. I wish I were kidding. 

To prepare the activity: 
 Print out the barn, animals and peek-a-boo windows and assemble! Laminate ahead of time for durability. 

💡 Don't want to print and assemble? You can use these figurines and a box/scarf/your shirt anything.

The activity: 
While you sing Old McDonald Had a Farm have your child open peek-a-boo windows to choose an animal! Encourage them to make the sounds as you sing together.

Hickory Dickory Dock:
For Cohen's birthday last year his papa got him this amazing learning activity table. And he took to it very quickly! Seriously, if you have a little one who is hungry for knowledge, this thing is AMAZING! For Christmas we even bought the additional activity packs. 

One of the activity packs is nursery rhymes and has been a great addition to our nursery rhyme unit. His hands down favorite is hickory dickory dock. He loves all the animals and has really shown an interest in telling time!

To prepare the activity: Print out the toddler sized clock and animals. Color the clock (3 pieces) and assemble. Use Velcro on the animals and the top of the clock to help with easy acting out!

💡 Allow child to color the clock!

The activity: While you sing Hickory Dickory Dock allow child to act it out with Velcro animals. 

Itsy Bitsy Spider:

To prepare the activity: Find an empty paper towel roll and tape onto a wall. Print out the spiders and laminate for durability.

The activity: While you sing Itsy Bitsy Spider, have child drop spiders down the “spout”.

Humpty Dumpty:

To prepare the activity: Trace an egg shape (or use printable) and draw on the cracks. Cut along the lines to create the egg puzzle. Laminate for multi-use.

💡Make more than one egg puzzle at varying levels of difficulty for extra practice!

The activity: Act out Humpty Dumpty with the egg puzzle. Help your child put Humpty back together again!

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here!

UP NEXT: Emotions! 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Confessions from Toddler School: Penguins

Here we are on year 2 *holy moly* of toddler school! Cohen is now 2 1/2 and has a new baby brother, Avery, who is 3 months old!

In the past year of implementing toddler school I have seen Cohen's language and skills take off! I have never been so proud! Mom brag for a second, bare with me here, he can count to 20 forwards and backwards, knows all his letters and their sounds and is starting to spell and trace letters. He's also learned a few sight words! Like seriously, how smart is this kid!?

This is one of my all time favorite toddler units because Cohen is obsessed with penguins and I love seeing his face light up with all the penguin activities. 

Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Identifying Penguins: 
My little one is obsessed with penguins. I mean obsessed. Like meltdown when we have to leave the penguin exhibit at the zoo, obsessed. So it is no shock that this was a very easy task for him! I swear he has penguin sensors or something. He has this uncanny ability to find a penguin everywhere we go. It's a gift! 😂

To prepare the activity: 
We read National Geographic Readers: Penguins! by Anne Schreiber and talked about what penguins look like (colors, feathers, etc). I really wanted to build his vocabulary with this read aloud. If your child isn’t familiar with penguins work on identifying penguins in the book as you read. Gather a handful of animals for your child to sort. These can be figurines like the ones we use (you can find those here)  OR you can print out images, find images from magazines, etc. and use those to sort! Using a piece of paper, split into penguins vs. not penguins. 

The activity: 
Model grabbing an animal and asking “Is this a penguin?” If yes, place on the penguin side, if no, place on the not a penguin side. Hold up an animal for your child and ask the question while allowing child to sort. Help as needed. It's that easy and a great way to introduce the penguin unit! 

      💡 If your child isn’t verbal yet, model nodding and shaking head to sort penguins.

Penguin Habitat: 
For our sensory activity this week we kept it pretty simple! This year we were not so lucky to have real snow during our penguin unit. So we used fake snow and frozen ice in different shapes to create our penguin wonderland! 

To prepare the activity: 
To prepare this sensory table find a variety of different sized/shaped containers and freeze water in them. Collect penguins and allow child to explore this cold environment. Bonus: Add fake snow (or real snow if you get lucky!) to add to the penguin fun!

The activity:  
Let your child explore!

💡 A fun extension of this is watching a penguin cam! There are several out there, but our favorite is this one at the California Academy of Sciences.

Label the Penguin:
Here is our little penguin from last year! He is made out of construction paper and covered with contact paper to make him more durable. All I had to do this year was add some velcro and print out body part labels! We worked on using the vocabulary and comparing our body parts to the penguins. Cohen thought it was pretty silly when I asked him if he had "flippers" or a "bill".

To prepare the activity: 
Find a penguin to use for labeling. You can make your own or use an image in a book! Read That’s Not My Penguin by Fiona Watt. Discuss what makes up a penguin and start identifying body parts and penguin characteristics as you go. 

💡I added velcro to my penguin and the labels to increase durability and make it reusable!

The activity: 
Ask child to find body parts as you call them out. “Where is the penguins _____?” Can extend further by asking them to find the corresponding body part on their own body!

Feed the Penguin:
You may remember this activity from last year! It was one of Cohen's favorites so I decided to bring it back! It is a great way to incorporate fine motor practice and content all in one simple and fun activity. 

To prepare the activity: 
Empty out a container. It can be any container! Last year I used a small frosting can, this year a cereal box. It can be any shape/size! Cut a slit for the fish to go through. Use colored construction paper to create a penguin. Make or print some fish and decide which skill you’d like to focus on (colors, shapers, letters)!

💡Laminate the fish and they become dry erase! This makes it easy to swap out the skill you want to focus on! 

The activity: 
Before starting this activity read Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups, by Tadgh Bentley and Penguin and the Cupcake, by Ashley Spires. Discuss what penguins really eat and practice feeding the penguin.

“Can you feed the penguin a (blue) fish?”
“Can you feed the penguin the letter (a)?”
“Can you feed the penguin a (square)?”

 We focused on some of the tricky lowercase letters (b,d,p,q)!

Penguin Movements:
I do not have a photo for this as it is a movement activity and every photo I attempted to take was blurry! One of these days I will get better at taking action shots but we had a lot of fun with this activity!

To prepare the activity: 
Read 5 Little Penguins Slipping on the Ice by Steve Metzger. Talk about the different movements penguins make.

The activity: 
Using the song Have you Ever Seen a Penguin? (sung to the tune Did You Ever See a Lassie?) Call out a penguin movement and have your child act it out while you sing!

Have you ever seen a penguin, a penguin, a penguin
Have you ever seen a penguin flap his wings just like that?
Flap this way and that way, flap this way and that,
Have you ever seen a penguin flap his wings just like that?

Other movements:
twirl around
sit on an egg
waddle around
stretch tall 
...You get the idea!

Writing with Penguins:
My little one has been showing a lot of interest in writing and tracing his letters lately! So what better way than to get his love of penguins involved!

To prepare the activity: 
Read Penguins ABC by Kevin Schafer and practice identifying letters/singing the alphabet. Setting up the writing activity is simple: find a tray (we used a cookie tray) and pour in some sugar or salt!

The activity: 
Pick one letter at a time. Model sliding the penguin through the “snow” to make the letters. Hold child’s hand and help them make the letters, identifying them as you go.

💡 There are many ways to adapt this to fit your childs' needs. Hold their hand, provide a letter card for them to reference, or even find a see through tray to place letters under so they can trace!

 Winter can be rough with toddlers (I don't have to tell you that) so finding opportunities to get out is key! We took this weeks theme as an opportunity to go visit the penguins at our local zoo! We were able to see the penguins, observe their habitat and see them during feeding time! It was the perfect activity to get out of the house and it tied right in with our learning for the week. Win-win!

💡 Call ahead of time to find out when feeding time is! It really added to our unit!

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here!

UP NEXT: Nursery Rhymes!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fresh start and an exciting announcement!

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you know that this past year I had another beautiful baby boy! However, due to the nature of my pregnancies, I was awful at posting on my blog. I was able to keep up with content through social media but I am ready to get back down to blogging and sharing the exciting new themes and activities I have planned for the year!

Psst! Want to know a secret!? 

Confessions of a Tiny Teacher️ is working on a book! ✍🏽️ And I need your help along the way! How can you help?

1. Know anyone with kids between the ages of 0-3? Share this page with them! 

2. Make sure you follow me so you can see my posts!

3. Comment below with what you'd like to see in a book! Specific themes? Type of content? Printable resources? I'd love your input!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Confessions from Toddler School: Colors!

This week was so much fun that I wish we had gotten to more of our activities! However the activities that we did do were so much fun Cohen just wanted to do them over and over again. So I'll call that a win! AND Cohen really knows his colors now! He's a master sorter!

Here's what we did this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

High Five Colors: 
This was a super simple activity that got a lot of use! My little one loooooves high fives! Seriously, it's his jam. So I traced my hands on different colored paper and posted them around the house. I would say "Cohen can you high five the ____ hand?" and he would high five that color. We've been playing this all week and it's been really fun!

Color Sensory Table:
Our sensory table this week turned out a little different than I had anticipated but was still a big hit! When I was dyeing the beans they turned out a little bit speckled and not as vibrant as I had hoped. They looked really pretty though! And as a bonus they will double nicely for an Easter themed sensory table!

We used the colored toilet paper tubes to sort the beans into! 

What you need:
- White beans
- Food coloring or liquid water colors
 (liquid water colors tend to stain hands less)
- TP rolls
- Colored construction paper to cover TP rolls 
- Tweezers, scoops, anything to pick up the beans

Sticker Color Sorting:
We used the left over stickers from our body unit and the stoplight from our car unit (that is still hanging up in our living room) to practice color sorting stickers! If you follow me on IG you may have seen how efficient Cohen is at this now! Proud mama moment for sure. 😄

Lego Color Sorting:
This was another fun, simple and super easy to set up activity! I pulled out pieces of construction paper and dumped out all of his Legos. I modeled putting the colored Legos on the matching paper saying "This Lego is _____ so it goes here". Then he would grab a Lego and I would say "That Lego is ____. Where does _____ go?"

Rainbow Ooblek:
Oh. My. Lanta. 

This was by far the coolest thing I have ever done! I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it went perfectly with our color unit so I decided to give it a whirl. Just look at how pretty this is! Almost too pretty to mess with right!? This was so much fun to play with that even my teenage sister sat down and played with us! 

Cohen was not sure about the changing from a solid to a liquid but he loved squishing the colors!

What you need:
- Cornstarch
- Water
 ** I never actually measure out ingredients (this is how I cook too and it drives my husband crazy). I've made oobleck so many times that I just add water until it's the right consistency.**
- These amazing color Bath Drops

Outings this week:

Ceramic Shop - We took a little trip to my parents ceramic shop this week to do some painting! One, because we could play with colors and two, because we've had our car mobile "in progress" for months now. So you know, 2 birds. 

📙📘📗 Our favorite books this week 📗📘📙

Cohen wasn't super impressed with any of the books this week. Oh, except for Sneak-a-Peek: Colors because it had a mirror in it and he is pretty full of himself! 

But on the plus side, these rainbow color books will work perfectly with next weeks St. Patrick's Day theme also!

Up next week: St. Patrick's Day ☘

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Confessions from Toddler School: Dr. Seuss Fail

As I'm sure many of you know, this past week was Read Across America week! And despite my best planning efforts and my love of all things Dr. Seuss it just didn't happen for us. I don't even have a good excuse! 

I just lacked all motivation this week. Originally I had planned to have each day focus on a book and an activity to go with that book but I swear every activity I tried this week was a big fat fail. So if you'd like a good laugh, keep on reading! 😂

Here's what we did planned to do this week:

You can get my blank thematic planner here.

Noise Makers: 
We read Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? This is one of Cohen's favorite books. He likes it so much that this was our "mysteriously disappearing" book of the week! After reading the book we made our own little noise shakers.

What You Need:
- Toilet paper or paper towel roll 
- Foil (to cover ends)
- Tape 
- Filler
- Something to decorate with!

After I got one end taped up, we used beans and coins to fill up our shaker. Cohen then colored with marker and decorated with Dr. Seuss stickers that we found in the Target Dollar Spot!

Stacking Egg Carton Hats: 
This was probably the most successful activity of the week! Which is a little depressing but, you know, it is what it is. After reading Cat in the Hat I used egg carton cups (that we painted together) as stacking practice to make the cat's hat. Cohen really liked this activity and it kept him busy for quite awhile. 

Color Hop: 
We did not do this activity, mostly because when I set it up, Cohen took that as an invitation to go full on destructo-baby and throw the color spots all over the room. 😒 We did however read Hop on Pop and that was a big hit!

Feed the ABC Monster:
So I bought these cute little foam alphabet pieces awhile back at the Target Dollar Spot (yes, I have a problem) and couldn't wait to use them! They were kind of whimsical and Dr. Seuss-esque so I thought they would be perfect for this weeks activities. 

We read the ABC Book and then we fed the letters to our wipe container monster! Have you seen those cute little wipe container monsters on Pinterest? Well ours did not turn out like that. I'm not even going to post a picture, it is that embarrassing and I'd really rather not end up on pinterestfail.

Feet Painting: 
Nope. Just Nope. 

Given our track record this week, we decided to skip the messy art project. 

Goldfish Color Sorting:
After reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish we attempted to color sort our rainbow goldfish. Well let me tell you...Cohen did not try to eat a single goldfish. He sorted them all perfectly on his own. And then afterwards he cleaned the entire living room and cooked a 4 course meal. 

Or he shoved all the goldfish into his mouth at the same time and then proceeded to scream for more while his mouth was still full.

You know, one of those two.

📙📘📗 Our favorite books this week 📗📘📙



Up next week: Colors 🌈