Tot school


Our theme for Monday was colors.  My first two activities came from here.  My first one was rather simple, and went really well.  I got some colored stickers and matching colored note cards and let Mingli put the stickers on the note cards.  He loved this activity, but it was pretty challenging for him (which I thought was a good thing).  He has never really used stickers before, and had some difficulty figuring out how to get them to stick to the note cards instead of to his hand.  I didn’t push him, though, this was something he was really interested in and really wanted to figure out.  He finally did, and was really pleased with himself.  After he had managed to get a few stickers onto the paper he took the sticker sheet away from me and started working on getting the stickers off the sheet by himself.  He was also able to figure this out and seemed really happy about it.  He matched the stickers for several minutes, then I could tell he was getting more frustrated.  He seemed to have reached his limit with the stickers, so I asked him if he was done, and he handed me the stickers.  One funny thing about this activity, Mingli did two sheets of stickers, and both sheets he did not want to use the pink stickers.  He used all of the orange and green, then handed the sheet of stickers back to me with all of the pink stickers still stuck to it (I handed it back and wouldn’t give him another sheet until he had finished with all the stickers).  I have no idea why this would be.  We have used pink in other activities and he has never seemed to be against it, but oh well.


The next activity was dripping colored vinegar onto baking soda and watching it bubble.  I was using a little medicine dropper so we could put just a few drops on at once, but this isn’t how it happened.  I got Mingli to do a few drops with the medicine dropper, then he took the whole thing of vinegar and dumped it on the baking soda.  He loved this, and then got the other cup and did the same.  I let him, because I realized that this activity was a bit too old for him.  We will revisit it in a year or two.


Next was finger painting, of course.  Mingli loved it so much last time that I had to do it again.  Really, it wasn’t what I had planned, I had planned of colored shaving cream, but when I started preparing tot school for the day I realized we were out of shaving cream, so I did finger paint.  We do our finger paint in the bathtub, because I don’t want to worry about the mess.  I figure Mingli needs rules and limits with some things, but he does also need times when he can just make as big of a mess as he wants.  I do this with finger paint in the bathtub.  He dumps the paint out, then paints the tub floor, the walls, and himself.  There are no rules with finger painting, including not eating it, as you can see from the middle picture.  I make my own finger paint by mixing flour and water until it is the right consistency, then adding food coloring.  This means it is completely edible, and as a bonus I have never had it stain clothing.  This time Mingli actually drank the finger paint.  Immediately after he started gagging, because really, how good can water and flour really taste?  But he was able to experiment with it and decide that for himself, which I thought was important sometimes.  In the last picture you can see how messy he is, but you can’t see that his face is also covered (from sticking his face in the bowl and drinking it).  Soon after the last picture was taken we stopped.  When he stood up he started slipping and became scared, so I ended the activity.  Another bonus of doing finger paint in the bathtub, just take off the diaper (I leave the diaper on while finger painting so he doesn’t wet in the tub and ruin the activity) and turn on the water to clean up!  Cleaning up after the finger paint is one of Mingli’s favorite parts because he loves water.




Tuesday we were supposed to have a friend over for tot school.  I realized that the only aspect missing from tot school was social, we decided to invite a friend over once a week to join us.  They ended up canceling last minute, so tot school on Tuesday was just looking at our family picture cards.  I have taken pictures of all of Mingli’s aunts, uncles, grandparents, and his cousin, cropped them to the right size, printed, then put contact paper on them.  We look at them sometimes and go over people’s names.  Mingli loves this, and our family will love that next time we visit he will know their names!



Tot school on Thursday was a little difficult.  Mingli was having a really difficult day and spent most of it crying, which is not like him (he has two molars coming in at the same time).  I was hoping tot school would cheer him but, and it kind of did, but not a lot.  Our theme for the day was music.

Our first activity was making music with instruments.  I got out kitchen stuff for drums, and then I got Mingli’s little piano and his two shaker toys.  The kitchen stuff was the favorite.  He wouldn’t let me turn the pots over, he wanted to hit the spoons on the inside of them.  He did explore the other toys, but didn’t stay long on them.


I didn’t get pictures of our other activities that day.  We did songs and dancing.  I found an idea here about making a song notebook.  For about a week now I have been gathering songs that I like and want to teach Mingli.  I have been making a page for them with clipart from the internet, and making props to go along with some of the songs.  Thursday I got them out and used them with Mingli.  I gave him two choices at a time and let him pick which song we were going to be singing.  He had fun, but the activity only lasted a little while because of his mood.  Our last activity was dancing.  I turned on some of our baby music and we danced in his bedroom.  Again, this is an activity he enjoys, but it didn’t last long because he wasn’t in a good mood.

We did go to the park and kind of extended tot school to there.  We worked on vocabulary as we talked about trees, sticks, grass, and other nature words that we went over in the fall, but haven’t talked much about during the winter.  We talked about big sticks and little sticks.  We counted on the swings, and Mingli counted with me (he only said two and three, but that was still something).  And we even worked on social skills because there was another toddler who was just two months younger than Mingli.  Park tot school went much better than my planned out tot school.



Friday went much better.  I introduced shapes to Mingli, and he loved it.  He again caught on really quickly.

The first thing we did was I took the top of Mingli’s block shape sorter, put it on the floor, and had Mingli use it like I puzzle.  This was challenging for him, but he was able to do it.  He completed the whole thing a few times as we talked about the shapes.

After Mingli was done with the shape puzzle we moved onto a sorting activity I found here.  Mingli really loves sorting activities like this, they are always a hit.  On the website it had stuff to sort 8 different shapes, but because this was Mingli’s first introduction to shapes I just did 4.  I helped him in the beginning, but he quickly got it.  After that I names the shapes as he sorted them, occasionally correcting him by pointing to the shape he had just placed and naming it, then pointing the the large shape and naming it.  After a while he was able to find shapes when I asked for them.  He did this entire activity twice.

Our final activity of the day, and the most fun, was from here.  I put tape on the floor in the shape of a square, triangle, and circle (all I had was white masking tape, which didn’t show up on our floor, so I used marker on top of the tape), then told Mingli to run to certain shapes.  For the first few I held his hand and ran with him, then after he got the idea I just stood back and told him which shape to go to.  He loved this and was really good at it.  He even started saying the shape names.  This activity lasted until the fire trucks we by our apartment, and then that was it.


All in all it was a good week.  For more tot school ideas, visit


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