Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tot School- The Beginning

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Avery is currently 17 months old 
Tot School

In my last post I mentioned that I started Tot School with Avery.  If you are wondering what Tot School is, here is a brief description from the 1+1+1=1 website.

Tot School isn't really school at all!  Don't let the name confuse you!  Tot School is the time each day I spend with my tot, exposing early learning skills through FUN play.  Tot School is not forced, is always fun, sometimes doesn't happen the way I plan, and is always focused on my tot.

I knew that I wanted to start spending more time on educational play and I wanted it to have more of a goal than the random play I was doing before.  I also wanted to work in some Montessori works and I thought Tot School would provide the perfect structure for it.  So I started by reading a lot of the Tot School info and looking at the other parents' Tot School posts (each Sunday they have a linky where parents share what they did for Tot School that week and tell how old their child is).  

After that I started collecting supplies (lots of trips to the dollar stores/sections and going through all my boxes of old teaching materials) and organizing it in our guest room closet.  It's all kind of overwhelming at first so I've started out kind of slow.  After I introduced a couple of new works to Avery I went through all of the toys we had out and did a major clean out, putting away a ton of stuff and then putting out her new works.  I did not put out nearly as many as I took away but it's nice not to have so much stuff around.  So here are a couple of the works I have introduced to her so far.

This was the first one I introduced.  I started out with a bowl of pompoms, a muffin tin, and a spoon.  We worked on spooning the pompoms into the different compartments of the muffin tin.  After a while she got tired of the spoon and just wanted to use her hand.  Then we decided to get out a bottle and practice putting the pompoms into the the bottle (which is what you see as the work in the picture).  I was amazed at how long we played with this one thing (even though it did kind of change into 3 different works), it ended up being about 40 minutes in all.  She absolutely loved it and was so focused!  It was so fun watching her!

A coule days later we decided to get out her piggy bank and practice putting coins into it.  She had a great time doing this one too!  I ended up finding a new piggy bank at the dollar store just for her work and leaving her real piggy bank her room.  She loves looking for the coins inside the bank and then shaking them out.

We started Tot School a few of weeks ago and here are some other thing she's have been up to that I don't have pictures of...
- helping me unload the dishwasher
- doing puzzles
- helping put away the groceries
- reading lots of books (starting to get into looking them on her own but really loves to read to)
- helping me cook (loves to pour and stir)
- playing with play dough (especially with cookie cutters and a rolling pin)
- playing outside when the weather is nice (loves her sand box)
- playing dress up with my hats, scarves, and gloves
- whisking bubbles
- giving her baby doll a bath
- attempting artwork but not really a fan of it yet : (  We've tried crayons, paint, markers, and stickers but nothing seems to interest her

As you can see a lot of it is stuff that we would do anyway but it's nice to have a plan, even if we end up doing something totally different.

Once I get more pictures of her and her new works I will post them.  Until then here are a couple pictures of her shelves in the basement (we also have some works upstairs that I will take pictures of).


  1. Children love learning - it's so wonderful when parents encourage them!

  2. I would have never thought of the piggy bank or pom pom activities! Totally going to try those tomorrow on my son. I bet he will love it!! He's already bored of the couple of games we play by dropping baby food jar lids into a canister & a box (each with a slot/whole cut out on top).

    Thanks for the link on Tot School, too. It's just what I needed! I've been wanting to do more learning activities with my 16 month old and the link will help a bunch.

  3. Congratulations Liz! I am so happy for you. We haven't made a decision to have another...yet. I'm so happy to read this post. I'll admit since I started working more, I've gotten kind of lazy when it comes to coming up with creative ideas for play with Little Lewie. I love the piggy bank idea...I know he'll enjoy it. Again, congrats. This is such an exciting time. You little girl is going to make an awesome big sister!

  4. I love the money in the piggy bank idea! We have a piggy bank and I never thought to actually let my son use it! Thanks for the great ideas and keep schooling away! : )