Friday, January 10, 2014

Tot School

Meet Mr. T

I've been watching this little man for about the last year. He's super adorable and such a good little kid. He's now closing in on 18 months and very curious about his world. I decided, impulsively, yesterday to start "tot school" with him. 

I've done "tot school" with five kiddos up to this point - my two youngest boys plus three little ones I watched in the past. Since I homeschool my own boys, I need a way to integrate the little ones in my care into our day. I can't always count on naptime giving us enough time to get our school work done. Thus "tot school" was born.

It's been over two years since I've had a little one to watch and I didn't think I'd once again be babysitting so I ended up getting rid of all of my supplies. I am now remaking my stash and trying them out on this little cutie.

Today's offerings - 
quickly put together 10 minutes before we started our school day

I'm in the process of changing Mr. T's nap schedule. Previously I would give him a snack around 8:30am and put him down for his morning nap around 9am so we could start our school day. He is getting to the point though were one nap seems to be working a bit better. 

For the past week I've been having him join us at the table while we begin our day. We spend the first hour doing various read alouds and reading together. It's a great time for the little guy to join us. He's been doing wonderfully. He goes down for his nap now around 10-10:30 and sleeps until 12:30-1pm. This gives us plenty of time to finish school as well as gives me time to help my youngest son with his school work. So far, I think this schedule is working.

However, now I need to figure out something other than food to keep him occupied! I did much better at this with my youngest son. I used to have a basket full of activities he could use throughout our school day to keep him occupied. I'm aiming to do that with this little one as well.

The first activity I offered him were two Ziplock baggies full of colored shaving cream. He wasn't all that sure of it. He only played with it for about five minutes, but I think this is something he'll get in to once he's tried it a few times. 

I did catch my boys playing with the baggies during our read aloud so I may have to make enough for them as well. ::grin::

Using food is always a fun activity - especially when they are small. No worries about them eating the manipulative. I gave him a full bowl of Cheerios and an empty one. I also gave him a small measuring cup and a tablespoon. Then I showed him how to transfer the Cheerios. 

 Such concentration on his face!
He tried my way a couple of times and then opted to just use his fingers and, of course, taste test as needed. 

For the next activity, I grabbed an ice cube tray I had on hand. Then I discovered that the cotton balls I have fit in each round spot perfectly. I only filled half the tray. I threw in a pair of training chopsticks just to see what he would do with them. 

I showed him how to move the cotton balls with his fingers. He seemed to like this activity and I'll be sure to continue it for a bit to see if he'll transfer more of the cotton balls.

He's not really ready for the chopsticks, but he did like trying them out and just playing with them. He was getting tired at this point I think.

Lastly, I gave him some blank paper and crayons. I found a couple packages of large triangle Faber-Castell beeswax crayons while doing some deep cleaning recently. They are perfect for little hands. At this point he was getting very ready for his nap so he only colored for a few minutes.

Doesn't this face just scream...
"Put me down for my nap already!!!"

I also gave him some stickers. Stickers and little kids are just fun!

I'll be adding some more activities soon. I will start raiding my recycling bin as that is always a great place to find things (milk jug caps, empty plastic containers). Then next time I have some free computer time, I'm sure I'll also head to Pinterest - always a great place to find more ideas.

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