Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tot School

In my effort to find more things (aka "purposeful activities") to do with Ella (my "tot"), I came across something called Tot School (via the blog I mentioned before). There are tons of great ideas on this site, plus a weekly linky where other moms can share what they have been doing with their tots each week. I'm really excited to explore the activities that other moms are doing with their tots. I know it will be a great way to learn more about activities that I can do with Ella, and perhaps even spur my own creativity!

There are a couple key ideas behind tot school. First, the activities should be fun for your toddler. Secondly, allow things to go with the flow - things may not go exactly as planned (really, consider the fact you are working with a toddler!), but that doesn't mean it isn't time well-spent.

Tot school isn't school at all in the traditional sense, but rather it is all about having a purposeful playtime everyday with your toddler - using the playtime to expose your child to different learning opportunities. So, what exactly is purposeful playtime? At first thought you might think it requires specific materials or curriculum to complete - but it doesn't. The idea behind the purposeful playtime to think about how toys or other things you already have around the house can be used to expose your toddler to learning opportunities.

For example, consider this bucket of animals we have for Ella. Purposeful play with the animals could include the following activities:
  • Identifying the animals.
  • Identifying the noises the animals make.
  • Identifying the colors of the animals.
  • Identifying the body parts of the animals.
  • Counting the animals.
  • Practicing standing the animals up on their feet.
  • Lining the animals up.
  • Sorting the animals (by type (e.g., cows) or size or color, etc.).
  • Putting the animals back into the bucket, and dumping them back out (I think Ella's favorite thing to do with the animals!).

It isn't about following a strict "lesson" with the animals, but rather, as Ella plays and interacts with the toys, taking the opportunity to do things like asking her to identify the animal or counting aloud as she drops the animals back into the bucket.

Although I'm not sure when I'll officially start writing the posts (pending baby brother's arrival), I do plan to participate in the weekly linky at the 1+1+1=1 blog, and I look forward to checking out what other moms are doing with their toddlers!

Tot School