Monday, March 5, 2012

Tot School--Valentine's Day Theme

**Natalie is 18 months old**

I'm so excited to finally be starting "official" Tot School with Natalie.  After diligently searching 1+1+1=1Confessions of a HomeschoolerHomeschool Creations and Totally Tots I finally felt ready to start.  I can't even begin to explain how much information is on these sites!  These ladies are gracious enough to share all the wonderful ideas and printables they create with everyone -- for free!  Let's just say my teacher side has been on overdrive for the last month or so.  I really miss this part of being in the classroom!

This is my first Tot School post, so please bear with me as I figure out how I want these to go. I'll start with the first two weeks we did.

Here is the link to my Valentine's Day theme plans.  

I changed the format for the plans for the following weeks because this format just really didn't work well for me.  Regardless, Natalie LOVED the activities, and I loved having a bit more structure to our day.  Granted we only did about an hour TOTAL each day, but it was still nice at the end of the day to really feel like I did something for Natalie.  Here are some pics of our first Tot School experience...

Playing with plastic hearts and erasers from the dollar store.  I had drawn the hearts earlier while she was coloring.  When I gave her the erasers she put them in the hearts I had drawn.  

She also decided to put them inside the heart cookie cutters.  So many great finds for Valentine's Day at the dollar store!


We wound up playing a game where I took the red heart containers and put away the rest.  Then I put a teddy bear eraser in one of them and she had to find it.  Eventually she caught on when she picked it up and it was heavier than the others, so I put some of the other erasers in the other red hearts and the game was to find the teddy bear.  She LOVED this game!

This shot was one of her trying to hold all the erasers.  Not an easy feat! 

I let her play freely with the erasers, containers and cookie cutters and when I looked up she was putting them in pairs.  She has been pairing objects for awhile now...our little collector.

We played with stickers which she really enjoyed.  In these pictures she was putting heart stickers inside the heart shape.  I think she enjoys hanging it up on the refrigerator as much as doing the activity.

Recently Natalie has been enthralled with Toy Story, so when my in-laws saw Toy Story 3 window clings at the dollar store, naturally they HAD to get them.  While not part of the Valentine theme, she did this activity for about 20 minutes.  No lie.  We started with the clings on her easel, then she moved them one by one to the glass on the entertainment center.  And of course, afterwards, she moved them back to the easel.
So there it is...our first official Tot School unit.  It has been so much fun to plan these activities, and even more fun to see Natalie enjoy them.  I want to reiterate what many of the other sites have stated:  This should be a fun thing for your child and you.  There were times Nat wasn't interested in the activity I tried to do with her, so we changed it up and did what she was wanting to do.  There were still learning opportunities in the things she wanted to do.  I admit it was a little tough for my type-A personality to let go of the previous activity I had planned, but once I realized she was still learning and having fun I moved on.

I know Valentine's Day has passed, but if you try any of these activities with your little one, leave a comment and let me know how it went!

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