Today is our last day of “How do I Homeschool with a Toddler in the House.” Today I want to talk to you about filling your little persons cup. In my house, Little Miss is in my hair because she needs my time and attention. She’s little. She gets the short end of the stick sometimes because it’s easy for me to think teaching math to the big kids is more important, or cleaning the house is more important. But these little ones are only this little once. Tomorrow they’ll be a tiny bit bigger, and I don’t want to miss a second of this little time, because I know it will be gone too soon. For me, Tot School makes it easy for me to make sure I get a little hands on time with Little Miss each day.
If I fill her cup first, if she has my time and attention, and we have a little fun, she’s more ready to have quiet time, and buddy time, and is more wore out at nap time. I do “Tot school” activities with her because it is more likely to get done if it is a part of my plan (I’m type A LOL).
Tot School doesn’t need to be complicated. (I think that’s the theme of the week)
Planning your Tot School Week
In our house, Tot School doesn’t take much time. I have a simple planner where I brainstorm activities for the week. I have five categories: Language and Literacy, Math and Numbers, Music and Movement, Sensory Activities, and Art and Crafts. 5 Activities, 5 Days.
To plan my week, first I choose a theme, and then I plug in the rest of the activities using a few ideas from Pinterest, and a little brainstorming with my friends.
For example, if we were doing an apple theme:
Language and Literacy: The Letter A
Math and Numbers: Count apple slices together for a snack
Music and Movement: Sing the ABCs
Sensory Play: Apple Sensory Bin
Craft: Stamp with Apples
Book: Apple Life Cycle
Activity: Go Apple Picking on the Farm
What is a Sensory Bin?
I’m glad you asked! In a nutshell, you take a sensory material, like rice, dirt, water beads, or moon dough, and then you add a few manipulative type items to it. For an apple bin, I could put potting soil in the bin, with plastic apples, twigs and leaves from an apple tree, a toy worm, a shovel, and a silk flower. From that bin we can play with the items, and learn about the life cycle of an apple tree.
Embracing Destiny has a wonderful tutorial on how to make a sensory bin you can check out for more information.
I created a printable Tot School Planner for you to use this school year. I print mine off and laminate it, so I can write and wipe our activities each week and not need to re-print the paper. Included is a master list of theme ideas, a list of sensory material ideas so you never run out of sensory bin inspiration, and a weekly planner sheet. A HUGE thank you to my wonderful friend Rachel (who doesn’t blog, but should!) for coming up with most of the ideas on this list. She is such an inspiration to me, and a wonderful friend for helping with this post.
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Sensory Bin Ideas from Across the Web (and Awesome Bloggers You Should Check Out!)
Little Bins for Little Hands has an Ultimate Sensory Party Link Up– you will never run out of ideas if you follow this blog. I LOVE the wonderful bins they make, and they are the first blog to introduce me to sensory bins. I can not recommend them enough!
Chestnut Grove Academy does Weekly Workboxes that are a lot like the format I use with Little Miss. Her posts are not to be missed! She uses a lot of varied activities and keeps school really interesting for her little one.
Munchkin and Bean has many Sensory Play posts that look like SO much fun! She has lots of ideas and free recipes.
Life with Moore Babies also have beautifully photographed sensory bin posts- she makes it so clear and easy to see what she is doing, so you can try it at home!
Mom’s Heart has sensory tubs- some are so creative! You’ll get great ideas from her!