Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Tools, Tot School - A fine motor and introductory day

Do you have a toddler at home?  I consider toddlers around 15 months and up to 3 years old.  I love doing tot school and have found some great ways to do it.  I think toddlers benefit from some time during the day that provides them with multiple experiences that broaden their horizon.  I like to do theme based days so that the vocabulary I use is consistent from one activity to the next.  I also like to do tot school with a number of toddlers so they can learn to explore with other kids and watch how another child similar in age might do something.  This also encourages them to try something they haven't done before.

Today was the first day of our 10 month school year at Little Adventures Tot School and boy did we have fun!  Our theme for the day was School Tools and you can find all the lesson plans, ideas and printables here.  All activities are geared toward toddler aged children.  Last year I had 15 months and up kiddos and this year I have 24 months and up, so the days are looking different already.  We will be focusing on certain fine motor skills throughout the year and my favorite skill to start with is ripping tissue paper.  Being able to rip paper is a great start to being able to hold a pencil, crayon or a pair of scissors.
 There was quite a bit of free exploration of materials today.  We were building farms and barns (the kids idea) as well as towers with the blocks.
 Around 10 am we were able to head outside and enjoy snack time.  It's great to do snack time outside and give your toddler an open cup.  If they happen to spill the grass gets a little drink.  Thinking through different opportunities like this provides toddlers with the chance to practice harder skills but gives you the piece of mind that you don't have to clean up their mess after.
 Today we colored our names with colored pencils.  I specifically used colored pencils to start showing kids how to hold a pencil.  I put triangle pencil grips on a few different colors and let them at it. The older kids that will be turning 3 soon practiced holding the grip pinched in two fingers with three fingers under.  The younger toddlers were shown that they can hold onto the triangle but there wasn't too much instruction involved.  Mostly just coloring on their name that was printed in bubble letters in their art notebooks.
 We continued our fine motor practice with g/f play dough and scissors.  I love letting kids play with play dough!  When you add scissors to it the fun really gets going as they snip, smoosh, and create new masterpieces.
 Reading is another important thing to do every day with your toddlers (and your younger and older kids as well).  We read oodles of books today about school tools and going to school and how our mommies love us even when we are in different places.  We started pointing out colors in the different books and practiced pointing at the picture on the page and the words on the page.  These are fun games that are essentially the first reading lessons for toddlers.  When you're reading at home start encouraging your child to show you where the picture is, where the word is, or where a certain color appears.

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