Friday, March 27, 2020

Farm Theme Tot School

We are now done with color themes and will be moving on to shapes soon. In between, I decided to take a week to do a Farm Theme (mostly because we have so many books and toys that fit it). Archer is 22 months.
The little shelf by his desk had several farm books, including the Farm Babies printable book I made a while back. I also hung a page he colored.
Reading his "tractor book" (Tremendous Tractors).
Here were the week's shelves. On top was My First Orchard and a bucket of Farm Toob animals. The shelves on the left had farm babies vocabulary cards, wooden farm magnets, a musical farm matching toy, farm animal counters, and a hide and seek board. The shelves on the right had animal 3 part puzzles, bottle cap letter farm cards, a magnetic tracing board, wedgits, farm blocks and his basket of vehicles.
I threw some oats in a bin and let him burry his Toob animals in it. Super easy but still occupied him!
I accidentally deleted the video I had of Archer matching these this week (oops). You can print the Farm Babies vocabulary cards here.
Farm magnets
Color matching barn 
Farm counters and number cards.
Farm Animal Bottle Cap Cards (free to print here).

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Parts of Geometric Solids Book

We have officially started shape themes for tot school, so I have been working on materials to use in the coming weeks. I bought Archer a set of three dimensional solids to play with and wanted to use it as an opportunity to expand his vocabulary. I made a Little Reader lesson and this printable book.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Tot School Shapes Curriculum

Now that we are done with Color Themes, we are moving on to shapes. I'll do a shape a week and this is the "curriculum" I will use. I use that word very loosely. Archer will be 2 in May, so most of his day is free play and pretty unstructured.  Activities are not forced on him. On the other hand, he thrives on having new things to do and try. These are the things I hope to do every week. I have no particular day/schedule in mind. Also, I've been teaching Archer to read since he was an infant and he LOVES letters and words, so not all of these activities would work for every toddler. (You can read about how I've taught him to read here)

**I will probably create printable materials more as we go along, so check back.

Shapes Printables
Printables will either go in his activity center, dry erase sleeves or in a binder with page protectors. We will use washable dry erase markers
  • Tracing pages, coloring pages and pocket chart phrases - free to print here, organized by shape

Sight Words and Early Readers
While we will read lots of books, I do plan on rotating through a lot of his sight words and early reading books.  He really enjoys nonfiction and they're a good reading level for him.  Usually I read most of the pages, but have him read a few here and there. Sometimes I just have him read his favorite words from the page (haha, yes, he has some words he prefers, like "of").

Vocabulary Building
Archer loves learning new words and seems to be able to gobble them up faster than I can create lessons for him. I use Little Reader to introduce new lessons. Then I use Montessori style 3 Part Cards for matching games as reinforcement. The best is when I can use Toobs or other small objects to match also. I share the vocabulary cards I create here.

Art Activity
Even if it is only coloring with crayons, I want to try to do some sort of art activity every week. Learning to use those little muscles in his hands is so important. Plus, I think the idea of being able to transfer an idea your head into a physical reality you can see is an amazing concept. Here are some things I hope to use:
Sensory Play
Sensory play is a great way for toddlers to explore various textures and materials. Scooping, pouring, squishing, sorting, etc. can develop motor skills and visual/spacial skills. Even if we only get out some play dough, I want to try to get Archer some sort of sensory play most weeks. 
  • Fondant cutters with play dough
  • Sensory bins - These might be a bit more challenging without a true theme, but maybe I'll do some to whatever vocabulary cards I pull out that week, or something else he might find interesting.
Puzzles are great for fine motor and visual/spacial skills. My goal is to get out one wooden puzzle every week and some 2-3 part puzzles.  I often don't get out ALL of the pieces in a set of 2 part puzzles, because it can be overwhelming and he gets mad if they don't all fit nicely on his table. Instead, I present several sets in a basket.
Against my intentions, Archer insisted on learning numerals and how to count. Since he is interested, I want to try to present some sort of math activity every week. It may be counting, numeral matching, size sorting etc. It might just be watching Little Math (I used to use it when he was much younger, until he lost interest. Now he specifically asks for it, so I'm using it again).

As a family, we play a lot of board games. There are so many great skills that can be learned through playing games, plus the create wonderful bonding opportunities. Archer is still too young for family game night, but I'm determined to teach him to love them as much as the rest of us! We have some beginner games to play with him (sometimes with rules modifications) and hope to expand the collection. My goal is to have one game out and available every week. I still keep it flexible. We may only make it through a few turns each or we may play the game again and again.

Here are some of the games we already play with him or hope to get for him soon.


As I mentioned before, most of Archer's day is free play. He has some toys that always live in the playroom because they are used on an almost daily basis (Magnatiles, Trains, Vehicles), but the rest I rotate.  Toys tend to hold his interest much longer if I don't always keep the same ones out. I won't list out all of our toys, but here are some of the shape related ones.

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