Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tot School - Circles

Sophie is 20 months old.

I feel like it's been forever since I posted!  We took a couple weeks off of formal Tot School for a Disney trip with my family as well as a week to recover from that "vacation"!  That doesn't mean we stopped learning though!  Be sure to check out my post here to see some of the great learning that took place without even trying while we were traveling.

"Formal" Tot School started up again this past week and we started learning our shapes.  This week was all about circles!  Sophie could identify a circle before we started this week, but it seemed like the most natural place to start anyway.

Sensory Bin

Her sensory bin was full of all kinds of round "trinkets" from around the house.  It included ping pong balls, wooden balls, pom balls, round glass stones, colored spike balls as well as a few other random circular items I could find around the house.  We used lots of bowls and pots and pans to play with this as well.  Sophie got a kitchen for Christmas and so we "cook" everything now!  She made some delicious circle soup to sample. :)

Tot Trays

Her first Tot Tray was her Melissa and Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set she got for Christmas.  It didn't get much play time, simply because she had been playing it frequently in her kitchen the previous week.  And probably because she knew you couldn't make cookies without an apron and an oven.  Because it is just too cute, here is a picture of her using it with Grandma on vacation.  Please notice the adorable apron and pot holder my awesome mother made to go with it!

Her next tray was PlayDoh with circle cookie cutters and circle "stamps" (foam shapes).  This was by far the favorite of all of her trays this week.  I'm pretty sure we played with it everyday.  The girl is currently obsessed with PlayDoh.

The third tray was her Ladybug Color Sorting Game that we've played with in previous weeks.  She is completely capable of matching the colors, but doesn't seem to have much interest in doing so.  She pulled this tray out a couple times, put one ladybug on the leaf, and wanted to move on to something else.

Her fourth tray was a magnetic build a snowman activity.  I cut out some circles of different sizes as well as a hat (what would a snowman be without a hat?!) and put magnets on the back of them.  I used an old pharmacy magnet and just cut it into small pieces - free!  I also made a sample snowman (because we haven't seen very many of these in our area!) as a model.  I'll be honest, I'm a little disappointed she didn't even want to explore this one.  I thought if nothing else she would like the magnets, but I guess it just didn't catch her attention.  (Honestly, I think she just wanted to play PlayDoh!).

The next tray was putting spools of ribbon onto a dowel rod.  She liked this one and played it several times.

Her last tray was her velcro cube we used previously during one of our color weeks.  She really liked taking all the pieces off of the cube, but didn't really care so much to attempt putting them back on.

Other Activities

Music: My original degree was in Music Education, and my husband is a very talented musician, so music is an integral part of our daily lives around here.  Sophie loves music and sings and dances pretty much all day long.  However, since it is so important to our family (and life in general!) I want to make sure I include some intentional music activities for us to share.  This may include songs, instruments, movement to music, or rhythm and rhymes.  This week we learned a song that we will be doing throughout our shape unit that I found here.

(To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Hold your circles high,
Circles touch the ground.
Put your circle on your head, 
Then let's turn around!

I cut out and laminated circles for us to move to this song.  She LOVED it!  We did it multiple times a day, and she wanted to show Daddy.  I'm glad I made three circles because she wanted Daddy to do it with us. Precious.

We also played "circle instruments" (the tambourine and cymbals) from our Melissa and Doug Band in a Box.  She loved playing the tambourine while Daddy played the drum! (Please forgive the unfolded laundry in the background - at least it's clean!)

Arts and Crafts: Sophie loved these activities! We did a Do-a-Dot circle, another where she stamped using a foam circle, and glued circles to make a Caterpillar similar to one I saw at Intentional by Grace. I was super impressed with how carefully she started out with the do-a-dot circle.  She quickly realized it was much more fun to paint on her own, but even then she did all of her painting inside the circle.  I had no idea what to expect giving her a more structured paint project, but she really did a good job and seemed to enjoy it!  Gluing the circles for the caterpillar was by far her favorite, though.  We will definitely be including more gluing in the coming weeks!  

Tot School Notebook: I added another new element to our shelf, because Sophie has really taken an interest in drawing and "writing."  She asks to "draw" every time she see a pen and paper.  So I decided to start her a notebook/busy book so she can have an opportunity to draw with the theme of Tot School if she chooses.  This week it only included two pages, the circle page from Moms Have Questions Too's Shape Book and a traceable Shape Book printable from Itsy Bitsy Learners.  She really enjoyed getting to use the dry erase marker.  

Next week we'll look at squares!  

For tons more ideas be sure to visit these sites I'm linking to this week!
Teaching Tuesdays at Intentional Homeschool
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum
Link and Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Show and Share Saturday Link Up at I Can Teach My Child
Tender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers at The Chaos and the Clutter 
Sunday Showcase at Learn Play Imagine
TGIF at 123Homeschool4Me
For the Kids Fridays at Sun Scholars


  1. Love the ribbon rolls on the dowel. Cute and easy idea!

    1. Thanks, Lisa! It was one of those last minute additions as I was having a nesting purge of my craft supplies! ;)

  2. What great circle activities! I have been wanting to tot school my toddler- this looks like a wonderful place to start :)

    1. Thanks, Clarissa! You should go for it! It has been so good for both Sophie and I to have some intentional time together, and she loves having something "new" to explore. Best of luck to you!