WOW this last week of life just flew by for us! We had appointments, parties with friends, and got to celebrate Kyle's (Dada's) birthday throughout the week, so finding time to fit in our tot school activities proved to be a little harder than expected. We still worked hard to get at least one activity in a day, but didn't pressure ourselves too much if we only got one in, or if the activities were on the short side, some only lasting about 5 minutes! We never stress over the length of the activities, and it's so important to remember going into these that your toddler will let you know when they're done with their tot school playtime. Sometimes it'll last an hour, sometimes a couple of minutes, the important thing is that the toddlers are learning and having fun! All we need to do is provide the structure to help them know what to learn and explore. 🙂
TOT SCHOOL WEEK 6: THE COLOR ORANGE
Theme: The Color ORANGE
Snacks (One per day):
Monday - ORANGE create-a-book activity and M&M color sort activity. We started out our week with our classic coloring book activity that we've done every Monday throughout our colors unit! Each week we pair this activity with the Pantone Colors book AND the corresponding mini board book for the color we're focusing on, and it seems to have been a really successful way to introduce the color of the week to Emery in a focused and fun way. That afternoon I had an appointment at the chiropractor that happened to fall at the exact same time as Emery's nap, so in an effort to keep my tired toddler happy I pulled out some of her Easter candy during the appointment to keep her entertained. While in the waiting room at the office, I poured out all the candies onto her stroller tray, then had her help me sort them into different rows based on color (her tray has horizontal grooves in it so it helped to keep them organized). Once they were all organized by color, I'd ask her to find me a specific color of M&M, and if she picked out the right color from her lines, then she got to eat the candy. This was definitely one of those made up on the spot type of activities, but it helped make our experience waiting for the doctor more enjoyable, and helped me feel slightly less guilty about feeding my child M&M's because if it's educational then it's a little more ok. 😆
Tuesday- ORANGE sensory bin and coloring an ORANGE with ORANGE chalk on the chalkboard. A question that I get asked a LOT is how I get Emery to not make a huge mess every time we get out her sensory bin and it's time for me to get real with you all and publicly answer that... I don't. I try to do my best to manage the mess as much as possible, but at the end of the day Em is a toddler and I feel like that usually wins in the mess or no mess battle. Every week when we pull it out I put the bin on a large tablecloth to try and catch as much of the mess as possible, and then start each session by reminding Emery that she can play with the bin as much as she wants as long as she keeps the rice inside of the bin. Sometimes I'll try to give Em specific tasks while playing to keep her entertained with the sensory bin as well (ex: can you find me the ORANGE circle?) but most of the time I let her play freely. If she starts getting crazy, I'll calmly once that her one rule is to keep the rice in the bin, the second time of the rule again and let her know that if she throws/dumps the rice again that playtime with the bin will be over, and then the third time will take the bin away saying that since the rice couldn't stay in the bin that playtime with it is over and it's time to do something else. I've found that at least with Emery this method helps give her the reminder that she needs to try and keep things neat, but also helps me know too when she's done with the activity. By the time we've reached her third warning, I've found that the main reason that Em is throwing the rice is because she's gotten bored playing with the toys in it and is moving on to in her mind what makes sense as the next activity - throwing the rice and making a mess. Switching to a new activity at that point helps save us a little more of a mess, and a little more of my sanity at the end of it.
Wednesday- ORANGE Name Game activity. We had a park playdate Wednesday morning during what would be our regular tot school time so we only did one activity this day but it ended up being more successful than I expected it to! Emery has started recognizing different random letters of the alphabet (E, H, S, & V before this activity, like I said random haha) but I wanted an activity that would help her recognize the letters specifically in her name aside from "E". Making this activity is SUPER easy and free to put together - I just used some old paper scraps in different shades of orange and then wrote down a letter of Emery's name on each one. I laid the letters out on Em's table in order, then went over each letter with her while saying them out loud. Once that was done I gave her an oversized button, then would ask her to put the button on the different letters to see how she did remembering them. We'd cheer like crazy every time she got the correct letter, and I was amazed at how quickly she caught on, and how the information has actually stuck since the activity. She now recognizes the letters "M" and "R" in addition to the others, and we're only working on the "Y" to get her full name in letters covered. Since this was an afternoon activity, Kyle had just walked in the door from school as we were starting, and Emery insisted on him playing it with her, which is why our cute scrub-laden Dada is in the pictures, jumping straight from one type of school to the other like a pro. 😉
Thursday- ORANGE flower walk outside and flower cookie-cutter activity with our homemade ORANGE play-dough. Thursday gave us the first warm day that we'd seen in what felt like a million years, and with how miserably late and sparse the warm weather has been this Spring, we've learned to take advantage of the warm weather whenever we get it! We took a walk outside through our neighborhood and to our local grocer's nursery and pointed out all of the orange flowers that we saw along the way. Once we got home from our walk, we took out our orange play-dough and a flower shaped cookie cutter (I got it in a set of Easter cookie cutters on clearance from our local grocery store) and let Emery cut out her own orange blooms!
Friday- ORANGE lacing beads. This Friday was Kyle's actual birthday and he was lucky enough to have the day off from school, so the majority of this day was spent spending time together as a family and celebrating him! We did get a new educational toy in the mail this same day though, and when Emery saw it she was really excited to try it out, so we took it as an opportunity to have a tot school themed activity to add to our fun Friday! I found these cute Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads on an Amazon lightening deal, and after actually seeing the beads in person and watching Em play with them am SO happy with my purchase and the versatility of the beads (we've already used them in three different activities in less than a week's time!) They include all of the primary and secondary colors, and are just the right size for little toddler hands to hold and maneuver, but are big enough that I don't have to worry about Em putting them into her mouth/any sort of choking hazard. For our activity this week, I put the box with all of the colored beads in front of Em and had her pull out the orange ones one by one, stringing them onto the lace as she went. It was so much fun watching her focus really hard on getting the string through the beads, and the excitement on her face when she'd get one through was priceless! She always seems to grow and retain a lot from activities that also involve some sort of motor skill development, so these were a definite win in our book!
That wraps up our ORANGE themed week at tot school! This next week we'll be finishing up our color wheel and unit with the color PURPLE! Feel free to follow along on Instagram for our daily activities in real time, or check back here next week for the full blog post!
Have a great week!