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Who all is doing "tot school" with their tots this year or next? Hubby and I are starting a more regular routine with Jr. that we hope will be stimulating for him and fun for the 3 of us to do when we are having family time. Would anyone like to share what they are doing or planning for their young children for "Tot School"? With Jr. we are focusing on Character, Language and Physical development this year.

 

Character Development --done daily

Role play with dolls

Lets Talk About... series reading and discussing 1 a week. We have all of them, but focus only on the ones applicable to us.

"Rule Song" + Chart

Consistent and kind reminders throughout each waking hour

 

Language Development --reading circle time + 1-2 activities done daily.

Reading Basket + Booklists for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners from our library + Easy NonFiction Readers

Kumon books for cutting, pasting, mazes and tracing + markers, scissors, and paste.

My First Brain Quest Toddler and Brain Quest Preschool

Letter Magnets and Flesch Cards

Circle Time--talking about calendar, weather, "Color/Coin/Sound/Animal/Shape/Quantity of The Day"

Puzzles

Blocks

Vehicles on the playmat

 

Physical Development --do 2-3 activities daily

Balance Bike

Trampoline

Balls--soccer, basketball and teeball

Obstacle Course in the basement or backyard

Walking with Hubby and I

Working out with Hubby

Swimming

 

Weekend Specials

Cooking as a family

Library story time

Outings to farm, petting zoo, or museum

Visiting relatives and friends

 

That is pretty much it, I guess. Of course we don't aim to do all of those things daily, but we do aim to do 1-2 activities from each category daily. We are really only trying to be more consistent and purposeful about the stuff we do so that we make sure that Jr. gets some engaging time with us daily--it is so easy to come home, feed him and zone out after being at work, running errands, battling traffic and trying to settle a toddler etc. But Jr is definitely at the stage where he wants attention and he will act out to get it. We are hoping that by giving him some targeted, constructive playtime with us that it will help our endeavors to reign in some of his less pleasant behavior.

 

Still, this is a lot of fun and I'd love to hear what others did or are (planning on) doing with their young toddlers and preschooler

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Outdoor time was valuable at that age.  Really letting them explore and talking about what attracted their attention.  We walked around the block and played in the backyard whenever the weather allowed.  I would even have them eat at a little table outside - great place to practice self-feeding skills ;).

 

I set things up so they could get their own dishes, water, etc.  Some of their things were labeled with their first initial, so those were the first letters they learned.  :)  They learned to put on their clothes and eat with utensils.  They would "help" me mix food.  I let them scribble on their high chair trays with washable crayons and markers.  They did all sorts of things with water / stacking cups etc. in the bathtub.  They pushed a wee cart in the grocery store and helped me find stuff.

 

They had the usual educational toys, books, music etc.  They mostly just moved from one thing to the next on their own.  Their nanny did try to do a fixed "circle time" with books and flash cards, but it didn't go over too well, LOL.  They would sit but they wouldn't repeat words etc. for her.  They were more cooperative with hands-on stuff such as foam puzzles.  I'd read to them during potty times.  ;)  Captive audience.

 

We did library story time, which was of questionable value.  (Though playing with the library's cool toys afterwards was always fun.)  We did tot gymnastics, which was valuable.  When they were 2 we did kindermusik, which was not a fit for us.  We went to Barnes'n'Noble to play with the Thomas train.  ;)  Too bad I didn't discover some of the cool things at the local museums until they were older.

 

We did very little screen time.  I had a few learning videos that I had them watch to encourage language development (they didn't hear English until they were 9 & 12mos old), but videos didn't seem very useful until they approached 2yo.

 

Having them around other people was very helpful in developing language.  I'm not sure exactly why, but every time we visited my family, their expressive language would show a marked improvement.

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With DS2's speech therapist and interventionist, we have decided to start a formal preschool program with him this fall (he will be 3 years old late june). He will mostly tagging along with DS5.

I'll be using the Memoria Press Special Needs core Level 1 (for cognitive age 5-6 year olds). DS5 is doing fine academically in reading and math, but has serious stamina and motor skill problems, while DS2 has serious speech problems, but is also very bright (like his older siblings - all appear to be 2E in some capacity).

The Level 1 SN core seems to focus pretty considerably on motor skill development and speech development.

I'm modifying it a bit to suit both the boys, as follows:

 

The phonics portion of this program has them using the entire MP kindergarten phonics program; DS5 is a bit beyond that program, technically, but hates writing, so he'll start over again. He needs serious work with fine motor skills, which this particular phonics program, in conjunction with their special needs handwriting and tactile aids, will aid in developing. However, with DS2, we are only shooting for getting through the FIRST book in this phonics program, not the entire series. He already knows all of his letters - the alphabet song, out of sequence, and knows their sounds; he has been trying to sound out words for some time now, and we believe a formal phonics will aid in his speech development.

 

Both of the boys will use MP's special scissor skills books. Both boys will use the Level 1 Read Aloud program, Story Bible, the catholic additions I've added for religion (saint stories and read alouds, Chats with God's Little Ones, and Leading the Little Ones to Mary), and the Kindergarten crafts I grabbed which dovetails with the Level 1 Read Aloud program. Both will participate in the recitation, with catholic prayers/religion recitation added in, mainly for DS5.

 

We use a different math program than MP uses (we prefer Miquon and CLE); DS5 will continue on with Miquon and CLE; DS2 will be introduced to c-rods and some basic addition/subtraction; he already has reached mastery with basic number skills and math readiness skills - he counts to 20 by 1's, skip counts by 10's and 2's, can count objects and shows a mastery of one-to-one (the concept). His fine motor skills are actually ahead of Big Bro, so we'll go at his pace.

 

I *am* adding grammar and geography for DS5, and while I do those things DS2 will have the entire preschool program from Rod and Staff to work through at his leisure, and some special toys only accessible during "school time".

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I was assuming you are talking about a tot from age 1-2 so that's what I mainly focused on.

Yes, thats the age range I'm talking about. 12-36months or round about.

Jr. is going to attend preschool when he is older, but for now we are keeping him home or with family to develop his language abilities in ASL and English and to save money on child care expenses.

 

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My toddler will be 2 next month. He has speech therapy and was recently evaluated with expressive language at 6-9 months (receptive above average though), so I will be doing some more routine, targeted activities with him. We currently do weekly story time at the library and daily signing time at home with all of us. Once we start summer break, I plan to begin some sort of interactive story time with him at home. My library has little themed kits for books with puppet plays or books with dress up activities, etc, IDK what else to do to help him, but the plan will probably morph frequently into whatever is most needed.

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My toddler will be 2 next month. He has speech therapy and was recently evaluated with expressive language at 6-9 months (receptive above average though), so I will be doing some more routine, targeted activities with him. We currently do weekly story time at the library and daily signing time at home with all of us. Once we start summer break, I plan to begin some sort of interactive story time with him at home. My library has little themed kits for books with puppet plays or books with dress up activities, etc, IDK what else to do to help him, but the plan will probably morph frequently into whatever is most needed.

 

You may be able to check out board books on themes that are correlated with different volumes of Signing Time--so, for example,when watching the Farm Animal DVD get some books on Farm Animals and then you can sign and say the animals as you go through the board books. That way you can easily do some basic interactions with him now and it won't require that much extra from you.

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When mine are 2ish, I start doing intentional activities similar to what you've listed.

 

My categories typically are Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Social, ABCs and 123s (this could be shapes and colors too), and Read a Book.

 

I would try to do at least one activity for each category a day. Yes, I would plan it out. :) BUT there is a lot of simplicity in it. Playing outside would count as gross motor. Or playing in the sandbox as fine motor. Counting toes is good for 123s. Planning would just help me remember to DO it.

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When mine are 2ish, I start doing intentional activities similar to what you've listed.

 

My categories typically are Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Social, ABCs and 123s (this could be shapes and colors too), and Read a Book.

We just threw gross motor in with Physical and fine motor gets taken care of in the overlap between Physical and Language Development activities that have fine motor skills built in. Do you have a source for any specific fine and gross motor skills that you like? I'm notoriously uninmaginative and so can use all the help I can get.

I would try to do at least one activity for each category a day. Yes, I would plan it out. :) BUT there is a lot of simplicity in it. Playing outside would count as gross motor. Or playing in the sandbox as fine motor. Counting toes is good for 123s. Planning would just help me remember to DO it.

Amen for planning. Planning is just an aphrodisiac in and of itself. If its on the plan, then its 5 times more likely to actually get done. Jr is so energetic that forgetting to let him burn some energy is a punishment in and of itself and when he gets bored he gets...toddlerish.

 

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Okay so. Some for these activities are for an older 2 yo. Use appropriate judgement. :)

 

Fine motor skills: color a picture, play doh, play with small pom poms and small containers, sandbox with spoons and small containers, play with felt board letters (I had made this, also overlaps with ABCs)

 

Gross motor skills: park day, kick a ball, t-ball (backyard toy), balance beam (2x4 in the grass), play date

 

Social skills: playdate, library storytime, play Little People (role play going to the store or something with Little People toys), shopping, make a face (ask child to make a happy\sad\mad\etc face)

 

Early learning: felt board letters, counting blocks or pom poms, library storytime, spot the color... (ask child to point to something red, etc), play with shape sorter

 

I got ideas from the Toddler Busy Book, Slow and Steady Get Me Ready, and of course Pinterest.

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We love tot school here.  My littlest is just about to turn 4, so she's growing out of a lot, but we did a lot of fun stuff.  Lots of great memories. It helped fill up the mommy cup so I could work with the 11 year old later.

 

Your plan looks great.  :)

 

We did a combination of tot trays - the focused activity on a tray was a hit here.  Lots of ideas online, just google tot trays. I used a lot from the 1+1+1 (whatever it is) site, too.  Plenty of Montessori-inspired activities (including dishes and kitchenware within reach; clothes accessible; life skills type stuff); Kumon books; puzzles; manipulatives; outdoor play (lots of outdoor time here); water table time; sensory boxes; pretend play.  So many great things to do are easy to make for this age, too!

 

We had a brief period when I was too busy to pull stuff together and so I ordered 6 months of Mother Goose Time boxes.  Those were a HUGE hit.  The excitement when that school bus box came out was palpable.  It's expensive,  but it was worthwhile for us, as I had very limited energy resources - so all of the energy I had went straight to the kids.  We still listen to the music and do some of the activities.  :)  

 

 

 

 

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Those Mother Goose Time boxes look cool! I am a huge crate/subscription junkie. I am looking for something to get my toddler when the new baby comes in the fall, but this looks like it may be a little above a newly 2 yo? Spryte, may I ask what age you used it at?

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Those Mother Goose Time boxes look cool! I am a huge crate/subscription junkie. I am looking for something to get my toddler when the new baby comes in the fall, but this looks like it may be a little above a newly 2 yo? Spryte, may I ask what age you used it at?

 

My little one was a bit older - but not much.   :)  She was about 2 1/2 when we used MGT.  I loved it, it was so, so easy to implement.  We didn't use every activity every day, there were some that were over her skill level, but for the most part - we used enough to make it well worthwhile.  When I ordered it, I ordered an extra set of the craft supplies (I don't remember how much they charge, but it wasn't much)... I thought perhaps my older kid would want to do some of the crafts, but he wasn't interested.  It was still helpful though, as I could do one to demonstrate, and little one followed along.  And some we just saved the extras and will do them later.  I think you could do it at 2, just adjust.  They have some toddler options, too, I think?  It's been a while since I've looked at their site.

 

For a newly turned 2 yo - don't forget the do-a-dot markers.   :)  Oh wow, those were the huge thing for us at that age.  We did tot trays and that type of stuff for the first half of the 2 yr, then switched to MGT because I didn't have time to do the printing and prep work anymore.  

 

ETA:  since you're a subscription junkie, I also tried Carol's Affordable Curriculum.  Similar concept, but less stuff, less bells and whistles.  We preferred MGT.

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I have a small bookcase set up with "school work" for my tot. I do some montessori-inspired stuff and simple hands-on things she can do. I have a few blog posts about what I did when my 6yo was a tot but I haven't kept it up very well. I keep meaning to! Here is my blog though, if you want to see some pics/descriptions. I'm doing similar now with my 2.5yo. We also do a lot of Kumon workbooks because she just loves having "real school" like her big sister. We really like the "Let's cut, Let's sticker & paste, Let's...." series. We do others, too, but those are the favorites. We try to do a circle time in the morning to include her in the start to our school day. We do a nursery rhyme or song, we talk about the days of the week or the weather, we sing and sign our abc's, things like that. She does her shelf work while I work with DD6, then I do the Kumon books with her while DD6 does independent work.

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Here is the simple schedule I made to use with my 19 month old.  Basically, we read a lot, sing songs and do simple activities for about 20-30 minutes each morning.

 

And here is a post of some "keep 'em busy" activities we've done recently.

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I'm doing Mother Goose Time with my 2.5 year old for the next year (until June 2016) and then we are moving on to Before Five in a Row so I can get his baby sister involved without spending a fortune on monthly curriculum. I really love MGT, but it is expensive. OTOH, I get to leave my brain shut off when working with it! lol! It's just really easy to pull out each days stuff with so little effort, so I do put a price on that kind of convenience.

They have a "baby" supplement to help age down the boxes, but its an extra $18. I bought 1 and I keep it as a reference for ideas for future boxes. I think the subject matter is the best way of figuring out if that month's MGT will be a good fit for a young toddler. In our case, we started with March's outer space theme and it only lasted a week. It was just too over his head (har har). This month's theme is "Growing Gardens" and it's much easier because he can go outside and play in the dirt and dig for worms and show me leaves and birds and all the things he's learning about.

 

In addition to the box curriculum we do read aloud chapter books at bed time and whatever picture books the kiddos want read during the day. I have some phonics books we may start working on this fall/winter, but I'm more concerned with getting him to trace a line than read anything at the moment.

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