Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting Started!

My baby is turning one in a week!  I cannot believe how fast the time has flown.  I love the time I get to spend with her every day and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be home with her.  I've been meaning to become a little bit more deliberate in our play time and start planning some activities for Sophie for a while now.  My plan is to use this blog to keep track of and organize all my learning ideas for future reference and to (maybe one day!) share with others.

In looking for fun play learning activities to share with her, I came across the idea of "Tot School" at 1+1+1=1.  I started exploring the ideas there and I really think this will be a good thing for both of us!  Sophie loves one on one time, and she knows so much more than I give her credit for.  I'm surprised everyday by the things she's capable of, and I know there's more that I just haven't given her opportunity to experience yet.  I love that Tot School is all about creating opportunities for her to be exposed to new concepts, objects, and experiences.  Basically, my job is to set up and prepare these opportunities and then step back, let her take the lead, and encourage her to explore new things.  If at any point something isn't fun, then we stop and try something else! 

It will be good for me as well, because anyone who knows me knows that I love a good opportunity to organize and plan.  I adore being home with my sweet baby, but I also love being a teacher.  This gives me a better chance to do both!  I don't have any real experience with early childhood education, so this will make me do some research and grow in my abilities.  Also, sometimes I struggle with playing.  I have a hard time moving beyond the same few things when we play together, and this will keep me on my toes working to come up with new ways to play with her toys.

Our Plan

After reading a few fabulous Tot School blogs (a few which I'll link to when I post the activities we're doing) I think I have a loose plan for how we will get started with things. I really like the way Mrs. Mommy set up her Tot School and will follow her lead to get started.  For now, I will have a sensory bin of some sort each week, ideally relating to the theme or concept I'm focusing on. Sophie puts EVERYTHING in her mouth still, even with direct supervision, so the sensory bins will really just be collections of items related to our themes as opposed to some of the more unique sensory activities.  We will also have a puzzle each week.  This is something we really haven't done much of, so I think it will be good to introduce these to Sophie one at a time.  I will also set up three Tot Trays.  Tot Trays are really just prepared activities that Sophie can explore and play with to expose her to different concepts.  It may be a toy such as a shape sorter or stacking cups, or an activity to work on fine motor skills, or eventually sorting and matching activities.  They will be set out and Sophie will get to play and explore as she chooses - if she never touches a tray that's okay!  I also want to try to do some crafts and art with her.  I've been too scared to try anything like finger painting, but I think she would really like it.

I'm setting up a little corner of our living room to house her Tot School activities.  I will keep it covered by a fabric curtain when we aren't doing Tot School.  Some activities will include items that are unsafe for her to play with unsupervised (pom poms, small blocks, etc.), but are fine to use with me sitting right there playing with her.  I still need to get the shelf and get it all set up, but I am excited about getting started.

We'll start with colors as our themes unless something special comes up that would make a good theme - holidays, water fun, beach, etc.  Eventually when she's older we'll do letters and numbers, but that's WAY down the road.

Our First Unofficial Week

I decided that if I waited until I had everything perfectly prepared I would never start.  So I tried to just do several deliberate activities with her this week.  Here's what we did:

She played in the paper from our shredder.  I was surprised that she started touching one tiny piece at a time, but it didn't take long for her to dive in with both hands!  I placed an empty bowl next to her and she immediately began transferring the paper on her own.
 Later, I buried her cell phone in the container and she dug to find it.

I brought out her stacking cups this week.  She's had them for a while, but they have been stored packed up like a ball, so she hadn't really seen them as toys to stack.  She liked stacking them like bowls.

I set out a muffin tin with a cotton ball in each compartment for her to explore as well.  She thought the cotton balls were funny and liked taking them out and handing them to me.  Later she did try really hard to eat them, but Momma won out. :)  When I got them out again the next day, she enjoyed pulling them apart into smaller pieces and putting those small pieces into one of her stacking cups.

We also played with a wrapping paper tube and plastic balls.  First she made it into an instrument by banging the balls on the tube.  But once I showed her how to place the ball into the tube and let it roll, she caught on quickly.  She liked watching the balls roll away!

We also took our first trip to the library this week!  (I know, shame on me for not taking her before now!) She liked the toys they had and the swings at the park just next outside!

I don't know that next week will be anymore "official" than this one was.  I need to gather a few more things, but honestly, the main difference will be that I have these activities prepared in advance instead of just finding something fun to do and prepping it during nap time! 


  1. Just found your blog while looking around at 1+1+1=1. I have a 10 month old daughter and we actually just gave Tot School a try this week. I discovered it several years ago with my oldest daughter, but she was nearing the preschool age so it didn't really last long. I'm looking forward to following along with you and seeing your ideas.

    1. Thanks, Tara! It looks like you have great preschool ideas for your older daughter. I will follow you to see your journey with your 10 month old! :)