Welcome to another day with the Teeny Tot ! If you missed it, click here to read last weeks post on keeping your toddler busy during school time. In all honesty, I can’t say I have all the answers for you. Frankly I’ve been amazed at how much interest in school The Teeny Tot has had this year! Last year she was always into things, creating messes and general chaos all through the day, but this year she wants to be included. She wants to do her own school, so I’m just going with it.
Before reading further, I like to make it clear that I’m not a slave driver, and I’m not SO into academic achievement that I REQUIRE my Teeny Tot to do these activities but rather SHE asks for them. And I honestly believe that the main reason for her interest is due to her older siblings school time. When my oldest was 2.5 we hadn’t even started doing any type of school at all, but since we’re all doing school together these days, the Teeny Tot is simply included in our day.
Please, whatever you do, do NOT feel inadequate in your own endeavors with your toddler! Especially if they are your oldest child! I really think the whole trend towards Tot School is a debatable topic, and while I do see progress in my toddler, I in no way feel it is necessary for a 2 year old to be doing these activities. At this age, let your child be your guide, if they’re showing interest then foster that, if not, then let them just play and have fun! Okay, off my soap box and onto a bunch of activities that can help keep your toddler occupied during school time! If they’re so inclined that is… ;o)
If you’ve been following her, you know that The Teeny Tot has her own set of workboxes, just like the big kids. I put random activities in them so she can choose something fun to do on her own.
Here are some of her boxes for the day:
(Tangram Cards, Transferring tray, Styrafoam with Golf Tees and Marbles, Guidecraft Fractions Board, Pattern Blocks, Alphabet Alley Noah’s Ark Puzzle)
This activity was a huge hit. I just grabbed a block of styrafoam from some packing we had laying around and gave her golf tees. I instructed her to push the tees into the styrafoam. I had to help her out to straighten them. Then I had her balance the marbles on the tees. It’s great for hand eye coordination, plus its fun!
One of her favorite boxes is a cutting activity. It is great for fine-motor skills and dexterity. I simply draw some black lines on a piece of colored construction paper then let her have at it.
Colorful Link-N-Learn Links are another favorite. She loves to sit and link up the chains, another great motor-skill activity. If I have time, I’ll guide her a little by saying “put a blue one on next, now add a red one, how about a green one next, let’s add a yellow one…” etc.
I found these Solid Wood Teaser games at Michael’s craft store in their dollar bin. While the games have actual rules, the Teeny Tot just uses them to practice putting tee’s into the little holes. Good for one-to-one correspondence and coordination.
The transferring activities are another favorite. I found some bamboo toast tongs at Bed, Bath and Beyond and knew they would be great for this activity! Below she is using some foam lacing beads and a painters palette from Michael’s. I had all the beads in the center then instructed her to place one bead in each paint hole. Once she did that, I had her put them back into the center.
I wasn’t sure how this would go, but I gave her one of our Tangram activity cards from Lakeshore Learning. This activity was a little too hard for her, but I helped her get the pieces, and I figure with some practice she’ll start to figure it out.
We used these fun Beads & Lacing Cards by Learning Resources. The set came with pattern cards that you can copy, but I don’t think she’s quite ready, maybe I’ll give it a shot and see! She did do a great job lacing several beads before giving up on the activity. And looking at the picture, I guess she was having a good time!
The Teeny Tot does at least one worksheet per day, sometimes more depending on how much she’s scribbling that day. Since she sees the other kids doing worksheets, she insists on having some of her own. I gave her an old preschool activity book to use, and so she pulls it out and typically colors over the pictures until the page is covered.
After a long day of work she usually grabs her favorite blankie and chills in our new AHH Products bean bag chair.
That’s it for the Teeny Tot today, time for her nap…and time for me to come up with something new and exciting to put in her boxes for tomorrow!
I forgot to say that in addition to the bamboo toast tongs, I found a package of 12 plastic tongs at our local dollar store in the party section.
Great post Erica, I think it’s great the way you provide these activities for your little daughter if she so desires. Didn’t we all want to be “like the big kids” when we were little. I also take a GirlGuiding unit in NZ and it amazes me at how many young girls struggle with such simple things like using scissors (had a six year old stick her scissors through the centre of the page to start cutting her item out, along with her finger!) and even threading, etc. You are a great mom and educator!
I so appreciate your disclaimer on tot school! I am “one of those” who can feel like I should be doing more with my tot ~ especially when I get on your site and some of the other preschool sites! – Thou shalt not covet Erica’s creativeness with her tot or her awesome schoolroom! lol!!!!
I started “Home Schooling” my 2 Granddaughters about 8 months ago when they were 2 and at first it was just fun. I had both 4 days a week and now I have just one 4 days and the other on the weekends. Miss B who is here 4 days now walks in gets her morning hot chocolate and asks “where’s my schoolwork?” I bought the LOTW program and use some Preschool books I’ve bought and she loves all of it. I explain something and she does very well following the directions. I have an entire wall in my livingroom full of their work so believe me when I say, if it is offered to them they will do it. Even though Miss P doesn’t sit for as long of periods as Miss B she seems ahead. Neither have older siblings to follow. I am noticing they are like sponges as I’m told babies, toddlers are. so to all the Mom’s who may think it’s too early I say NEVER. Erica has an awesome curriculum and we do several worksheets a day. I am always raising the bar and they reach it. Thanks Erica for your hard work and keeping up your Blog so well.
Debbie (Seattle, Wa)
These are awesome ideas. Can I come and play at your house? 🙂 I wish I had seen these ideas when my girls were little… Thanks for sharing.
Just discovered your blog. Love your ideas. My son is a bit younger than tiny tot but I’m sure i could adapt some of the idea. Really liked your comment about not feeling inadequate if your tot isn’t into this stuff. I need reminding from time to time so thanks for the little shake.
Found this through Pinterest – great ideas! I wrote a post recently on a similar topic as I think ‘how to homeschool with little ones’ is my most commonly asked question.
I’ll add my two cents in to everyone thanking you for the reminder not to beat ourselves up if we haven’t done all of this with our kids! I have a just-turned-four-year-old, and reading through all your wonderful (and super fun!) ideas, I’ve been starting to feel a little bummed that I haven’t been doing all of this already! But I am going to take what still works for her now and set up some workboxes and go for it. I’m excited and I’m sure she will love it! 🙂
I LOVE ALL of your ideas!!! I didn’t do much in the way of structured activities like these with my older two (4 & 5), but with starting homeschool in the fall, I’m sure our teeny tot (then 20 mo.) will be in LOVE with these ideas…and crazy active so it will be good to have a plan! =) Where did you get the BEAUTIFUL jars that your manipulatives are in?