Monday, January 11, 2010

Tot School (Week 4: Jan.3rd-Jan.10th)

Alyssa is currently 25.5 months old.

All activities are done under VERY CLOSE supervision (small items). 
Please do not use photos of my child on any website, blog, etc. Thank you!

Well ... this is our fourth week posting on the Tot School blog and our first week posting on Preschool Corner.  It has been great hearing feedback from others and being able to share ideas with one another.  I am so glad that we joined!  Here is a sample of what we did this week.  I kept thinking we didn't do a lot of tot school, but to my surprise we did MORE than I thought.  

The Gingerbread Man Unit Continues This Week
(I know Christmas is over, but I had gathered too many ideas to just NOT do them)

Gingerbread Men Size Sequencing
Alyssa took these out of her gingerbread unit storage box and started sequencing them by size as I worked on the computer.  I was looking up more tot school ideas at 1+1+1=1.  I think I am a bit addicted to teaching ideas.

Gingerbread Man Aquadoodle Tracing
She decided to take one of the smaller gingerbread men to her Aquadoodle Wall Runner.  She attempted to trace the shape.  I should have given her the smaller pen, but I was too busy trying to get the shot before she changed her mind or got distracted.  She usually only traces her hand, but I guess she realized she could trace other things.  Hmmm ... I wonder what she'll find in the house to trace next.

Gingerbread Man "Bracelet" Pattern
She said the gingerbread men were her bracelets.  I pointed out the AB pattern that she had created without knowing of course.

Gingerbread Man Letter Assessment (Matching)
I found the gingerbread assessment sheets on a CD I bought from  I was using colorful alphabet tiles (they look like flat wooden blocks) that I found at Michaels.  She knows her letters and basic sounds very well so she got bored with this activity and NEVER finished it.  But, she did go back to it several times this week.  She pulled out a letter, told me the letter name and sound, and covered it on the sheet.  I will probably start asking her to name things that start with specific letters drawn.

Muffin Tin Monday Breakfast
I know it is a Christmas muffin tin, but it was the only one I had with a gingerbread man.  She ate apple chunks, Yo Baby yogurt, blueberries, and leftover gingerbread pancakes cut in circles (should have used smallest gingerbread man cookie cutter instead).  She ended up eating it all of the food except for the blueberry juice!

Gingerbread Man Do-A-Dot Sheet
This gingerbread sheet was found at She counted the circles up to ten and then I couldn't understand what she was saying.  I emphasized the beginning sound of the word gingerbread.  I am not exactly sure what she was doing in the bottom picture (probably scaring me - she ALWAYS does that just to see my reaction).  I had her count the dots on the gingerbread man and the letter "G."  I found the apron at the Dollar Tree or Dollar Store.  We use it during any art or messy activity (including easel board drawing).

Gingerbread Man Lacing Card
The gingerbread man lacing card was found on the CD from  I laminated it and gave her the opportunity to hole punch it.  But, it was too hard (the hole punch was old and kept getting stuck).  I need to buy a new one soon. I let her choose what color lacing string she wanted to use and where she wanted to work.

Ten Frame Gingerbread Man Counting Game
The Ten Frame Gingerbread Cookie Counting Game came from the Prekinders website.  We used the original idea a little differently.  I was supposed to place a certain amount of cookies on the sheet and Alyssa was supposed to show me how many were on the sheet with her fingers.  This is what we did instead: Alyssa would roll a die and count out that number of gingerbread cookies to put on the cookie sheet with a spatula.  We counted the leftover spaces after each roll too.

Gingerbread Man Color Sort
She sorted the icing trim on the gingerbread men by colors.  We used styrofoam plates and the color words were written with a black marker.  I wanted to make sure she wasn't just matching colors.  I found the gingerbread men and the original idea from  I used actual plates instead of printing out ones on cardstock.

Gingerbread Man M&M Color Match
Unfortunately, my daughter has had M&Ms.  We both LOVE them.  So, I figured I would allow this one activity as a special treat.  Don't worry ... she did NOT eat them all ... we shared them ... well I probably ate more than her.  She told me the color and matched the candy to the color.  The sheet was found in the gingerbread theme at Then, we counted them all.  We discussed the AB button pattern.  In one of the pictures below, she was asking to eat one before we finished.  I convinced her to wait until we were done with the activity.  She worked even faster (SILLY GIRL).

Gingerbread Man Button Counting
I found the wooden gingerbread men at Hobby Lobby for 47 cents each.  I had her lay them down in a horizontal line and she told me the color of the gingerbread man.  Then, I asked her to place the numbers in order from smallest to largest (starting with one).  I wish the gingerbread men were bigger.  I gave her a container of buttons and she counted out that number of buttons for each man.  Oh ... and she wanted to add eyes and a nose to them with mini pom poms.  I would have done all ten, but they were too small and wouldn't fit on the table.  I also have a paper version of this activity with bigger men that I will use later.  We counted the holes in each button and reviewed colors too.

Gingerbread Man Color Words & Hunt
I  bought uppercase and lowercase 1" letter tiles at Walmart years ago when I first started teaching.  They do not to my knowledge sell them anymore.  But, you can check Office Depot or Office Max.  I have seen them online through Amazon.  We use them for MANY activities.  Here she is using the gingerbread color letter tile sheets from  She looks for the letter in the sorting box.  If she can't find the letter she is looking for, then I remind her that she can sing the alphabet song while pointing to each letter.  She usually responds with an Ohh and finds the correct letter.  I ask her to find the first, second, and third letter and so forth.  I try to use the mathematical terms as often as I can.  I also want her to learn left to right directionality and not just letter matching.  She decided she wanted to use the magnetic letters instead of the plastic ones, so we switched them out.  These letters were not sorted so I pulled out all of the ones she needed to spell all of the color words.  I then gave her the ones she needed to spell the word (mixed up of course).  She spelled each word verbally while pointing to each letter.  After each color word was spelled correctly I had her run around the room looking for that specific color (Color Hunt).  The last picture shows her touching the white door.  

Gingerbread Man Color Word Match
This is the same activity with a twist.  She used mini plastic tongs to pick up the pom pom that matched the color of the gingerbread man on the card.  She placed it on the gingerbread man's belly.  Then, she used the tongs to pick up each letter of the color word.  She would tell me the letter name and sound.  Alyssa would then spell each word verbally.  The magnetic letters were bought at Lakeshore Learning.  

Roll a Gingerbread Man Puzzle
I saw this activity at
so I decided to give it a try.  I used a gingerbread man template from, numbered, laminated, and cut it apart.  Alyssa rolled a die, identified the number of dots, and found the numeral.  This would have been a lot easier had I given her a dotted template to match the shapes.  She had an odd looking gingerbread man until I asked her if it looked like a gingerbread man.  At that point it became a puzzle and she put it together correctly.

Gingerbread Man Stamping Game
The gingerbread stamp game was found at  Alyssa would choose a letter from the can, find and cover it on the sheet, mark it with a gingerbread man stamp, and state the letter name and sound.  She clapped for herself once she completed the sheet.  Daddy helped with this activity.  I laughed so hard when he tried to shake the can and for some reason he was surprised that there was no sound.  Then, he realized that I was using a metal coffee can and magnetic letters.

Gingerbread Man Stamping
This was just for fun!  I gave her a mini gingerbread man stamp (found in a Christmas pack at Hobby Lobby).  She stamped little gingerbread men all over the paper.  Then, we counted them together and discussed the color of the ink.

Gingerbread Man Story Sequencing
I wrote statements on sentence strips about how to make gingerbread men.  I read them aloud and Alyssa would find the matching one.  Then, after reading a page in a gingerbread man story, Alyssa tried to put the cards in sequential order on her own.  The sequencing cards were found at Making Learning Fun.

Gingerbread Men Button Counting Match
I asked Alyssa to put the gingerbread men in numerical order.  We only did 1-5 since she wanted to work on her table instead of the floor.   She would choose a gingerbread man card.  Then, she would use raisins to count (touching the top of each one) and cover the buttons.  Afterwards, she would find the matching numeral card.  The gingerbread men were found on a CD purchased at

Curvy or Straight Path Letter Bean Bag Toss
The paths that the gingerbread man runs on varies in each book we read ... some were curvy and some were straight.  I used painter's tape to create straight and curvy lines on the floor.  First, she would choose a letter bean bag and tell me the letter sound and a word that starts with that letter if she could.  Then, Alyssa would run (like the gingerbread man as fast as she could) down one of the paths with the bean bag in her hand.  Finally, she would make a basket. She wanted me to put up the Sponge Bob basket.  I REALLY NEED to buy a different basket ball set since I am NOT a fan of that show.  

Gingerbread Man Sight Word Spelling
The gingerbread man sight word cards were found at  Alyssa would choose a card, say and spell the word verbally, and spell the word using letter tiles.  Then, I would sing a word cheer to her and she would give me back each letter.  For example, Give me an "a."  Give me a "t."  What does that spell "at."  She would then show me where each letter went in alphabetical order.  I divided the letters into three sections (beginning, middle, and end).  If Alyssa was having a hard time finding a letter or was easily distracted then I would give her clues as to where to look for that letter.  For example, "Look at the middle of the alphabet for the letter o, it comes after "n" and before the letter "p."  I would usually only give her one clue.  She did 12 cards and then stopped.

Gingerbread Man Beginning Letter Sounds
Alyssa was given two pictures at a time and I would ask her to name them if she could.  Then, she had to identify the beginning sound of each one as I said the word verbally for her.  She had a difficult time with river, oven, and woman (fairly new to her).  I also gave her all of them at once.  This activity was found at Pre-K Pages.

Gingerbread Man Sight Word Book Hunt
The sight word cards were the same ones mentioned earlier from  First, Alyssa would roll the die (photo cubes from  She would tell me the word and if she wanted to she would spell it verbally.  Then, she searched on the page of a gingerbread man book for the sight word that she rolled on the die.  Finally, a pom pom was placed over the word in the book.  She seemed intrigued by this activity even though it was SO SO LATE (so focused).  I use the photo cubes for MANY other learning activities including color, shape, number, and letter hunts.  I have also used them for rhyming activities and bible stories.  You get four colorful photo cubes with each purchase.  I LOVE them!  I used them with Alyssa when she was a baby.  I know ... I should have used a book with few words.

Gingerbread House
Alyssa decorated her first gingerbread house with her daddy.  I was the photographer for this activity.  Daddy looks so tired!  She wanted him to taste the icing.  We let her add the water, mix it, spread it, and decorate.  I love seeing her so focused!

Gingerbread Men Size Order Mats
(The orginal idea with pumpkins was found here  Okay ... so I didn't actually get a picture of this activity - I thought that I did.  Sorry.  I bought and traced a set of three gingerbread men (can be found at Ross or Walmart) on one color of construction paper.  I then glued them on another color.  Alyssa used gingerbread playdoh that we made together for this activity.  She rolled it flat and used the same cookie cutters to make the gingerbread men.  I had the labels Large Medium and Small above the cookie cutter mat.  Alyssa matched the gingerbread men to the sizes on the mat.  She LOVED this activity.  She's been really into playdoh lately where as before she didn't like the texture of it.  Right after this activity, we did gingerbread men cookie cutter painting (brown paint on white paper).

Gingerbread Man Missing Letter Game
I thought that this activity would be too hard for Alyssa, but I was wrong.  I placed four lower case gingerbread man letters on the table in front of her horizontally.  I placed three letters vertically on the left side.  Alyssa's job was to look at the letters and figure out which one was missing.  She would turn around or cover her eyes as I took one away.  After watching her do this activity a couple of times, I came up with the idea of using a cardboard cake tray(?).  I used painter's tape to divide the board into four sections.  It was easier for her to understand that something was missing when I did it this way.  There is a paper-based format of this activity at:
Children place a clothes pin on the missing letter.  But, I ran out of printer ink and I REALLY wanted to do this activity with my daughter ... so I recreated the activity a bit.  The raisins were just a snack she wanted.  The alphabet gingerbread men cards were from a file folder game on the Complete Collection CD I bought from

Gingerbread Man More or Less Than Button Counting
Alyssa used raisins to count out the number of buttons on the gingerbread men.  I meant to use number tiles or number puzzle pieces after she counted each one, but I got caught up in the moment and forgot to grab them.  I was going to have her count and place the appropriate number underneath each gingerbread man.  I also forgot the more or less than cards I made.  I just had her point to the card that had the most or least amount of buttons.  The gingerbread men were found on the Complete Collection CD bought at    

Gingerbread Man Uppercase Lowercase Match
I found the gingerbread man and house cards at  I gave her several different types of items to use for identifying the uppercase letter on the house that matched the gingerbread man.  We used the farm animals mentioned in the story (farm animal favors at Oriental Trading), paper clips, clothes pins, pinto beans, pom poms, and floral glass gems to mark the letter (basically whatever I could find at the moment).

Gingerbread Man Readers
The two readers were found at  Alyssa saw them on the couch next to her books.  At first she read them quietly and then she identified numbers or letters on some of the pages.  I was going to make it into a beginning sound matching activity using picture cards.

Gingerbread Man Gingerbread Man ... What Do You See 
The original idea came from the same CD mentioned above at  I used basic skill puzzle pieces instead of using the blank cardstock squares to make it more fun.  On the CD she suggests that you make the gingerbread man into a puppet and attach the squares.  I set the gingerbread man on the table and had Alyssa cover her eyes or turn around while I placed a puzzle piece on the blank square.  Then, we sang the song provided on the CD.  Alyssa also enjoyed putting away each piece.  We used a color fish puzzle, an alphabet puzzle, and a number puzzle.  I couldn't find the shape puzzle at the time.  I could have asked Alyssa to close her eyes and draw a puzzle piece from a bag.  Then, she could have guessed what I was going to put in the square (maybe we'll do that activity later).  As you can see she took over and wanted to do it herself.  She still identified the letter, number, or color after I sang the song.  She would also tell me the letter sounds.  I LOVED THIS ACTIVITY IT - WAS A GREAT REVIEW FOR HER.    

Gingerbread Man Pocket Chart Color Poem PLUS
I found this at  I am not sure if I put it in the correct order, because while we did the activity I noticed capital letters (A) in the wrong place.  But, she didn't even notice.  I read the beginning and then she took over after the word "rack."  She matched the correct color bow on the gingerbread man to each line of the poem.
At the bottom of my pocket chart, you will see the months of the year.  We sing the months of the year song as we point to each month in order a few times a week (that is if I remember).  She knows the months in order from March to August.  Then, I say September and she says October and November.  Give it a try and you might be surprised!  I was just doing it to expose her to the months and she caught on quicker than I EVER imagined.  I have also taught her family member's birthdays for each month.  She can answer me correctly when I asked her what month Papa Kenny's birthday is.  The letters of her name were written on a sentence strip and cut apart so that she also can spell her name.

More Activities (NO THEME)
Uppercase Lowercase Mat Match
This was a spur of the moment activity, but I remembered I had this Sesame Street alphabet mat (I think I bought it at Walmart).  My daughter just got done watching Elmo at the Fire Station, so I pulled the alphabet mat out of storage and grabbed the letter tiles I bought from Michaels.  The tiles were uppercase letters only.  I set them on the table and before I could explain the activity ... she started doing it on her own.  After all the tiles were matched, Alyssa decided to sing the alphabet song.  However, this time she sang it using the pictures shown on the mat.  She said D /d/ dino in the last pic instead of saying d is for daddy or dog.  

Wikki Stix Letters
She found the Wikki Stix in a bag on the floor so she decided to stop and make the letter H.  I asked her to tell me the sound and give me a word that starts with that letter.  She said, "Hat."

Math Linking Cube Structures
Building for her daddy ... she kept telling him the colors.  I tried to get her to extend the ABC pattern (yellow, black, green), but she wasn't interested so I didn't push it.

"P" is for Pom Pom and Pyramid Sensory Tub
An old activity that was stored in the garage -  she found it and wanted to play with it.  My hubby turned the garage into a mini classroom for us, but it has been a bit too cluttered for us since her birthday party in November.  We decluttered part of it this weekend.  This is a wagon full of pom poms all sizes.  I also hid plastic pyramids (bought from Oriental Trading) inside.  We used this back in October when we reviewed the letter P.  I gave her a few containers, spoons, a ladle, and tongs.  She started sorting them by size (larger ones in the big container and smaller ones in the lid).  Then, she used the tongs to pull out the pyramids and placed them in a bowl.  She also used the tongs to drop them in a McDonald's milk jug.  In the last picture she just got done saying, "Mommy, mommy ... eyeball."  I didn't have the heart to tell her that I saw mainly her nose.

Leapfrog Alphabet Puzzle Sort
Alyssa is playing with her Leapfrog Alphabet Puzzle.  First, she sorts the puzzle pieces by size into the boxes.  Then, she chooses a larger piece and searches for the beginning letter sound that matches.  She had to have her puppy watch her complete the puzzle.  We usually put the puzzle in alphabetical order as we sing, but she lost interest before we got that far.  Daddy couldn't resist buying the puppy for her when she screamed, "A puppy" in a cute voice.  I think she remembered me saying it that way when I read aloud a book titled, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Williams.  Oh ... speaking of ... Alyssa read the first 2 1/2 pages of that book pointing to each word.  Yah!!!!!!!

Star Search
We reviewed what a star was and counted the points on it.  We spelled the word star with alphabet beads.  Then, she hunted for star shapes in the room.  She found several examples.

Letter "M" Sort
I found an awesome blog called Confessions of a Homeschooler.
She had this M&M sorting sheet.  I used upper and lower case letter tiles instead of the cardstock ones provided.  Check out her stuff-she is VERY organized and has fabulous ideas.

Boogle Junior Spelling
Here is a picture of Alyssa playing with her Boogle Jr. game.  She was blowing in my face telling me it was wind.  I'll ask her "What is the first letter?"  She'll pick up a cube, look for the letter, and place it in the correct spot.  Then, I asked her for the second and so forth.  If she got frustrated, then I gave her the correct letter cube and told her to look for it on that cube.  She would spell each word when she was done.  There are eight letter cubes.  I am planning on using them for other activities as well.  I might have her roll a letter cube and find that letter in a book, magazine, ad, her morning message, or on environmental print.

Bath Tub Color Mixing Paints
She got the chance to paint in the bath tub.  I put the paints in a Christmas ornament container.  It floated until she accidentally leaned on it.  We mixed a few colors to make green and purple.

Name Puzzle
She is playing with her name puzzle (

Carrot Stick Letters
Alyssa was playing with her food during lunch - she used carrots to make a letter "H" and "T" without mommy asking her to do it.

Alyssa played with many other learning activities and toys, but I couldn't post all of the pics, because then NO ONE would read this blog (too long).  Anyways, that's it for this week.  I have more gingerbread man activities, however I think we both need a different theme.  I think we will focus on a "snow and snowman" theme next.  I have a lot of ideas for that theme!  Visit Carisa's 1+1+1=1 Tot School blog and Jolanthe's Preschool Corner blog for more ideas.  I can't wait to see what has been posted!!



  1. WOW - great job! You are very creative! I love your whole gingerbred theme! :)

  2. Wow, you did a lot of really neat things this week! We're just getting started on officially "tot-schooling" our 24 month old. I was thinking that he is too young for my packed-away teaching manipulatives, but you've got me wondering if I should pull them out.

    You're doing a wonderful job! Thanks for the great ideas!

  3. Love the gingerbread activities! Last month we visited the biggest ginger bread house I have ever seen. Oh, by the way, thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. You all pack so much into your week. How wonderful!

  5. oh my goodness. You just made me tired! You did ALOT this week! Great ideas!

  6. Love all of the gingerbread activities! I love that you compiled so many great resources together!

  7. What a blessing to see such an amazing thematic Tot School. Great ideas! What a blessed daughter you have! You are really investing in your daughter in a quality way!

  8. Oh my goodness you have`so many great ideas! I certainly dont have a favorite, but the photo cube looks really neat. I cant wait to try some of your fantastic fun. BTW, I would have eaten all the M
    &M's :)

  9. Wow - I don't think I did quite so much with my now 3 year old a year ago - it's quite an abundance of learning. Alyssa sounds like an extremely bright girl who is able to absorb so much at such a young age.