Monday, February 28, 2011

Tot School
Tot School
JJ is 14.5  months

This will be my first tot school post. For more information about what tot school is please read all about it here.

JJ and I have been playing tot school for about a month now. I have been trying to implement a series of little activities for him to do during a dedicated one on one mummy and JJ, learning rich time period. We only spend about 30-45 minutes a day doing these activities, often split into a morning and early evening session. I have kept all tot school sessions brief and fun. I always stop before he gets bored or too frustrated with an activity. I believe a little frustration goes a long way, sometimes he gets a bit frustrated at difficult tasks like beading. I refuse to push him and I give him many opportunities to be "all done".   

One of his favourite activities is what I call pom pom play. JJ calls them pa-pa. We were at Pat Catans and he saw a whole section of bags of pom poms and he yelled out "pa pas" in excitement. We spend time transferring pom poms to ice trays and baby bottles. You can read about our first session here

Here are some of the tot school activities that we did this week.

I purchased some cheap poker chips from Pat Catans and then cut a slit in the top of a cottage cheese container. This $3 toy keeps him highly entertained. It took him a little while initially to get the 'coins' in the container, but after a little patience and persistence he figured it out. He will sit until he gets all one hundred 'coins' into the container. 

This is JJs rice pit. It our version of a sensory bin mixed in with some montessori-esque tasks. This much loved and played with toy is just 10lbs of rice, which we purchased for about $3 at walmart, and a 35L under the bed plastic bin that I already had. Over time we just added things to it that we had around the house. 

Humble beginnings with just rice and a few hidden toys. 

Right now JJ predominately just free plays in the pit. I hide his farm animals in there and he digs them out and we practice their sounds. 
I also try and model several tasks for him, even though he is too little to do them, once he sees me do them he often tries and very seldom succeeds. But that is what learning is all about! 

Things we can do with the rice pit.
  • Transferring pom poms or pasta into a cups via fingers and tweezers
  • Spooning pom poms or rice into cups
  • Pouring rice, pom poms and pasta
  • Montessori color cards activity with pieces of bow tie pasta
  • Sorting pasta by shape and color
  • Sound shakers. Right now I just have rice but I will be adding beans and bells. 
  • The pit is currently stocked with farm animals for learning vocabulary, I will change out these toys periodically. 

Beading often starts with JJ intensely concentrating on getting the piece of rigatoni onto a pipe cleaner then within about 1-2 minutes he is done. This is what I call a challenge task. It is difficult for him to do but when he achieves it his accomplishment is evident as his face lights up in triumph! 

Less than 1 minute after starting beading