Teaching the Tots; Vol. 1

Teaching the Tots Vol. 1
In case you missed it, here’s my guest post feature at My Everything Else. Be sure to check out Nicole’s blog. She has everything from mom tips to (dare I say it??) a little bit of slackerness. She is also a regular columnist for KSL and others on motherhood.

First of all, I just want to say I’m so excited to be guest blogging here at My Everything Else! I have actually been excited about this opportunity for awhile, and yet, life just kept getting in the way. My kids want dinner (seriously! every night!), they want clean clothes (every once in awhile!) and they want to be held (every moment of the day!). So while my intents have been pure-hearted, my procrastination has been um…
…typical.

I’m Sarah, from Confessions of a Slacker Mom. I blog about food allergies, LDS Preschool curriculum, Family Home Evening, parenting with ADHD, and all the things I didn’t do this week. Like for instance, laundry.  I’m a Mormon with stepkids (shocker!), and two extremely little busy girls. I am attempting to homeschool my preschooler but let’s take that one day at a time, shall we?

As you can tell, I’ve got my hands pretty full on any given day. With blogging and thinking of creative reasons I shouldn’t clean my house today, homeschooling my preschooler is something that just *barely* gets squeezed in. Lately, my nearly-two year old is screwing up her nap schedule so that if I do school that day, it’s going to have to include her, too.

Blergh.
Entertaining a toddler in a non-destructive fashion?
Not exactly the easiest thing in the world.

While I was supposed to be writing a fabulous guest post on food allergies (uh, maybe next time, Nicole!), I was perusing Pinterest for ways to keep my little tot happy, preferably for three whole minutes at a time. Let’s ditch the food allergy post and talk about tot school, shall we?

Tot school, as the blog world has coined it (and maybe the real world too, I’m not sure?) is a way to keep your toddlers quiet introduce your toddlers to education in a hands-on way. Since I’m looking for a way to distract my toddler, simple is what I’m looking for here.

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My favorite way to accomplish this is called tot trays. It’s a loosely Montessori based concept where you place activities on a tray that are simple and mostly self-directed. These tot trays can range in activity from letter recognition to small motor skills. If you want tot tray ideas, the first place you need to stop is 1+1+1=1. This blog has plenty of ideas to get you started, including planning forms, storage ideas, and more.

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At Playing House, I found a cute twist on the tot tray ideas – busy boxes! She made several boxes that are filled with tons of toddler attractions: Mr. Potato Head, board books, stickers, balls, puzzles, flash cards, and tons more. She says she can get 30 minutes of entertainment out of a box. I love the idea of rotating the boxes out each week; I’m also thinking of putting them up each day after her attention span wears out the first time (15-30 minutes later). This way, they are still exciting on days 4 and 5!

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My toddler is way into high fives, so this idea I found from Toddler Toddler is perfect. Put the felt handprints around the room and tell your toddler to give the “blue hand” a high-five! {We’d need a set for fist bumps or a “pound” too!}

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Sensory tubs! Sensory tubs are full of things for your child to run their fingers through and discover new items through touch. Counting Coconuts is a great resource for sensory tubs; I love this candy themed tub! I also love sensory tubs to go along with holidays and seasons. What a great way to explore the world around them!

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At My Delicious Ambiguity, you can find tons of “busy bag” ideas–simple toddler activities that can be tossed in a bag for on the road fun, as well as home-learning. Money Saving Mom is another blog with fabulous busy bags. Get a group of ladies together and swap bags: each mom makes 10-20 bags (duplicate bags for each mom in the swap), then you trade them around. And poof, you have lots of busy bags with minimal effort.

A few other ideas sure to keep the kiddo quiet:

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 If you need any more ideas, you are probably an over achiever, or looking for the “make toddler activities with no money, no time, and no effort at all” link. I will save you the time and tell you those don’t exist. I know, because I looked myself! :) Toddler activities certainly can and should be at least cheap (often from items you already have), or little effort (another around of 52 card pick up?), or no time (Etsy, anyone?).

Thanks for reading! I’d love to see you by Confessions of a Slacker Mom sometime. This week there’s a giveaway that’s practically guaranteed to make your life easier, so come check it out!

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One Response to Teaching the Tots; Vol. 1

  1. Sarah, Your post on my site last week actually inspired me to STOP slacking and make a toddler learning closet with several of the ideas listed above! :) I’ll have to send you a picture.

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