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This week we had a little fun down on the farm for our Tot School theme. This was such a fun theme with lots of engaging activities to explore!
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience* 

Here were our plans for Farm Week:

And here is what we actually did:
Our favorite farm books for the week were:
Farm by Mary Novick
Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley
Who's In the Shed? by Brenda Parkes
The Little Red Hen by Brenda Parkes
Click, Clack, Quackity, Quack by Doreen Cronin
 String a Word Farm:
I found these little wooden farm beads a few back and knew that they would be PERFECT for fine motor practice during our farm theme. I added a few word cards and alphabet beads for Madelynn to practice making words. The best part? They are a great size for our 1 year old to play with too, even if she mostly puts them in her mouth still ;)
 Wishy Washy Play Dough:
I love story inspired play, so we used an old favorite Mrs. Wishy Washy as the inspriation for this play dough tray.  All you need is brown "mud" play dough, blue "water" play dough, a "tin tub" bowl, and a toy cow, pig, and duck. Madelynn also requested a brush so she could give them a good scrub. 
Who's in the Barn:
For more story inspired play, I created this "Who's in the Barn" painting activity inspired by Who's In the Shed?   To prep, I printed a page of barns with animals inside, laminated it, then painted a thin layer of tempera paint over the animals. After the paint was completely dry I gave Madelynn water and a brush so she could uncover the animals. I see lots of possibilities for this fun activity in the future!
Milk the Cow:
I've been wanting to take Madelynn to a really fun kids farm in our area where you get to do a lot of hands on things like milk a real cow, but haven't had the chance yet. So I set up our own little cow milking activity for her to try out.  I mixed a tiny bit of white paint with water and poured it into a clear latex glove and closed it off with a rubber band. I drew on a few spots to make it more realistic, haha, then with it positioned over a cup I poked a tiny hole in the "udders" with the smallest needle I could find. We'll see if she is brave enough to try milking a real cow when we make it to the farm soon!
 Paint & Stamp Farm Art:
This masterpiece was a 3 step project. First Madelynn drew a black line across a sheet paper with a black crayon. Then she used watercolor paints to make the sky blue and the grass green. Next she painted a barn shape cut out with red tempera paint.  She insisted that the barn needed a door first though so she drew that with black crayon.  After both of those pages dried we glued them together and added farm animal stamps.
 Farmer Says:
For this themed Simon says game, I created cards with actions based on different jobs, and called out the action for her to follow (Ex: milk a cow, gallop like a horse, roll in the mud like a pig, etc.) She still not too good about listening for the "Farmer Says" vs no "Farmer Says" but this activity was great for getting some energy out for sure!
 Farmer Says:

This "Round up the Sheep" this game was hysterical to watch as Madelynn chased balloon "sheep" around the yard, and tried to get them all back in the pen. All I did was draw a sheep face on some white balloons and set them free in the yard and we used our outdoor play pen to hold the sheep. Also great for containing rambunctious 3 year olds and their 1 year old sisters ;)

Farm Animal Bowling:

To play farm animal bowling I started by placing our farm animal puppets on top of upside down red solo cups and they were the perfect fit. Then I set them up nd gave Madelynn a small ball to roll. Easy set up and great for getting out some toddler wiggles.

Farm Animal Ring Toss:

Farm animal ring toss (aka another way to get more play out of the same set up above!) I started by placing our farm animal puppets on top of upside down red solo cups again. Then we used paper plate rings and tried to ring each animal.  This was much harder than it looks which means lots of  running around to pick up the rings.

Farm Animal Ring Toss:

Cheesy Horseshoe Bread Sticks - Start with a tube of refrigerated bread stick dough. Form the dough onto the pan in a horseshoe shape.  Brush with butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake according to package directions.

Muddy Animals - Start with a cup of chocolate pudding. Add farm animal crackers.
Horse Cookies - Start with a Nutter Butter cookie. Use a dot of icing to attach candy eyes to the horses face.  Attach peanuts between the cookie layers for ears. Use red and blue icing to add the details on the horses face.
Tractor Cracker - Use to graham cracker pieces to form the tractor shape. Cover with green frosting. Add chocolate donut wheels.Use pretzel rods and Chex cereal for the details.
Duck Footprints - Cut cheese slices into circles, then cut wedges out to form webbed feet.  Add to round crackers.

Farm Match Sensory Bin:

In this sensory bin: Oatmeal, Melissa & Doug Farm Animal Pop Blocs, spoons, cups

Wishy Washy Sensory Play:

In this sensory bin: Mud, water, Fisher Price farm animals, scrub brushes, sponges

Feed the Animals Sensory Bin:

In this sensory bin: Popcorn kernels, paint cups, scoops, animal labels

Little Red Hen Sensory Bin:

In this sensory bin: White beans, Fisher Price hen, rubber duck, cat & dog, pig, toy baking set


That's it for this week, just 2 weeks left until we change things up for summer! Here are our plans for next week:
And if you want to catch up on our past Tot School Plans, you can find them all here:
This week we focused on community helpers in Tot School. We could literally do this theme for a month because there are so many different jobs and places that we could use for inspiration. But this was our first time really talking about the community and jobs, so I kept our learning to a quick one week introduction.
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience* 

Here were our plans for Community Week:

And here is what we actually did:
Our favorite community books for the week were:
Whose Hands are These? by Miranda Paul
Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling & Deborah Hembrook
 Community Sticker Play:
It's no secret I love Melissa and Doug toys, and they are always on our birthday and Christmas wishlists. So while I was planning our community theme I knew it would be the perfect time to pull out our Vehicles and My Town reusable sticker pages. Great fine motor practice and fun pretend play.
  Fire Finger Painting:
This fire finger painting activity was intentionally simple and open ended. After reading about fire fighters, I squirted a few blobs of red, orange and yellow tempera paint onto a piece of white paper. (Find our favorite paint here) Madelynn used her hands to mix the colors, make flames, and write the letter F for fire.
Band Aid Babies:
Is your little one as obsessed with band aids as mine? I'm not sure what it is but seriously we are in a serious "every bump, bruise and mysterious ailment needs a band aid phase." I figured what better way to indulge this interest than with some band aid play with our baby dolls.  Of course this was really a fine motor activity in disguise with lots of peeling and sticking practice.
Envelope Letter Match:
For more sticker fun, because apparently that is the theme of the week ;), I created some envelopes with uppercase letters on them, then wrote lower case letters on dot stickers for Madelynn to match to the correct envelope.
Community Cut Apart Puzzles:
We always need more scissor practice over here and Madelynn is getting much better at cutting straight lines. I created these community helper puzzles for her to cut apart on the dotted lines, then piece back together. This was a really good start to practice cutting on a line which we haven't tried before.
Community Simon Says:
Although Madelynn doesn't quite get the Simon says concept yet, (she does every action whether simon says or not...if only she'd listen to me that well!) we have been trying out several themed Simon says games. For this game I created cards with actions based on different jobs, and called out the action for her to follow (Ex: climb a ladder like a firefighter, open wide for the dentist, swim like a lifeguard, etc.)
Drive the City:
I originally planned on printing out pictures of places in the community and posting them around our yard for Madelynn to drive her bike to.  But then when we were at the park this week we found this AWESOME community map on the playground. So instead I called out a place and and action (Ex. hop to the park, drive to the hospital, run to the school, swim to the lake, etc.) and Madelynn tried to find it. 
Find and Match Doctor Tools:
For this gross motor activity I pulled out our Fisher Price doctor set (kind of a childhood staple right?) and traced outlines of each item on a large sheet of paper. Then I hid each item around our house and Madelynn had to find them and return them to the proper place while I took a nap helped her name each item.
Community Themed Snacks:
School Bus - Start with a Twinkie. Cut out a wedge from the front, slice a small piece of, then reattach to the same spot.  Use white icing to make dots for windows and to attach small red candies for tail lights.  Use a black food coloring marker to draw a line along the side under the windows. Use more white icing to attach Rolo candies for wheels.
Fire Engine - Start with two rectangle fruit strips. Cut one end to make it rounded for the front of the fire engine. Cut the other piece down and lay it on top perpendicular to the first piece.  Add a vanilla wafer cookie for the ladder, 2 chocolate donuts for wheels, red M&Ms and pull & peel candy for lights, and icing for windows and headlights.
Police Car - Stack 2 wafer cookies and a third wafer cookie cut in half to form the car body.  Attach brown M&Ms with icing for wheels, and add red and blue icing to the top for lights.
Dentist Mouth and Toothbrush - Slice a Twinkie in half lengthwise and add marshmallow teeth. Cut a thin slice of fruit strip for the toothbrush, add white and blue icing for the bristles and toothpaste.
Community Sensory Bin:
In this bin: White beans, community helper figures, vehicles, scoops
Fire Theme Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Shredded red, orange, and yellow paper, community helper figuresvehicles, magna tiles
Doctor Tool Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Cotton balls, Fisher Price doctor set, paper with outlines of tools
Mail the Letters Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Cut up straws, colored envelopes, box with slots cut out and labeled for each color
Dentist Play Dough:
In this bin: Dentist play doh kit

That's it for this week, just 3 weeks left until we change things up for summer! Here are our plans for next week:
And if you want to catch up on our past Tot School Plans, you can find them all here:
Tot school this week is all about butterflies. It's been a rainy few days over here, so I am thankful we had a week full of fun exploration to keep us busy indoors. 
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience* 

Here were our plans for Butterfly Week:

And here is what we actually did:
Our favorite butterfly books for the week were:
Caterpillar to Butterfly By Laura Marsh
TenLittle Caterpillars By Bill Martin Jr
ClaraCaterpillar By Pamela Duncan Edwards
From Caterpillar to Butterfly By Deborah Heiligmann
Cut the Fruits:
For a little scissor challenge this week I printed out a whole pile of fruit clip art images for Miss Madelynn to practice with. Most of these shapes are too hard for her to cut out exactly, but since she tends to be a bit of a perfectionist (hmmm, wonder where she got that from...) I thought it would be good for her to work on just "trying her best." After a bit of frustration with not being able to do it perfectly, she settled in to cutting close to the lines and being happy with that. Of course our little hungry caterpillar friend was cheering her on the whole time ;)
 Hungry Caterpillar Retelling:
I was inspired by the cute little hole punches in The Very Hungry Caterpillar and knew they would make for a great lacing activity.  I printed out clip art to match the story, hole punched them and Madelynn laced the pieces together to tell the story in order.
 Dot Marker Butterflies:

Dot stampers are a great go to fine motor activity. I love how easy it is to spice up a plain old coloring page with bright beautiful dots. I printed a few of these butterfly outlines and let Madelynn design her own butterflies. Easy Peasy!

 Beaded Butterfly:

Beads + pipe cleaners = amazing fine motor creations.  To create these butterflies we used 2 pipe cleaners. After Madelynn nearly filled them with beads, we twisted each side into a large oval with a little bit extra left for the antenna/body.  Then we twisted each oval in the center to create the upper and lower wing for each side.  Using the small piece of pipe cleaner in the center we added one bead on each side for a spacer and then twisted them together to connect both sides and create antennas.

 Pom Pom Stamp Caterillars:

To stamp these little cuties, I attached pom poms to clothespins, and gave Madelynn 2 small cups of paint.  We dipped, stamped and repeated all over the page to create crawly little hungry caterpillars.

Butterfly Life Cycle:

For me one of the best ways to remember something new is by acting it out, so we acted out each part of the butterfly life cycle.  We started out curling up in a little ball for the egg. Then we crawled on our tummies like caterpillars. Next, we hid in our chrysalis staying very still.  Last we emerged as  butterfly flapping our wings and flying around the room.

Feed the Hungry Caterpillar:
For some throwing/gross motor practice, I printed a large caterpillar head and attached it to a small crate. Then I gave Madelynn another crate filled with fruits and food from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She tried her best to throw them into the basket carnival game style, which turned out to be quite challenging!
 Catch the Butterflies:
I found this net in the Target dollar spot and knew we had to use it for some butterfly catching.  Well it was rainy and cold all week which means no butterflies to chase outside. I  improvised with some bean bag butterflies and threw them in the air for Madelynn to try to try to catch.
 Butterfly Dancing:
For our butterfly dancing activity, first I tied a few of these scarves together to make colorful flowing wings. Then I put some soft classical music on and Madelynn fluttered around the room flapping her beautiful wings.
 Butterfly Theme Snacks:
PB & J Butterflies: Cut an Uncrustable sandwich in half for the wings, add a cheese stick in the center for the body

Waffle Butterflies: Toast and cut a waffle in half for the base of the wings, then decorate with cut up fruit

Grape Caterpillars: Skewer green grapes for the body, then add a strawberry for the head. Use candy eyes and raisins to make the face.

Butterfly Pretzels: Dip regular shaped and stick pretzels in white candy melt, arrange in the shape of a butterfly on wax paper, add sprinkles and chocolate chips to decorate
Hungry Caterpillar Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Black beans, play food, caterpillar toy, mini cups
 Butterfly Play Dough:
In this bin: Play dough, rollers, butterfly cookie cutter, gems, googly eyes, buttons
 Life Cycle Sensory Bin:
In this bin: spaghetti noodles (cooked and dyed green), butterfly shape pasta (dyed pink and purple), green rotini noodles (taken from pre-dyed rainbow rotini box), cups for sorting
 Butterfly Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Plastic grass, butterfly toys, silk flowers
Feeding Butterflies Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Mini cups, colored water, toy butterflies, flowers, pipettes

That's it for this week! Here are our plans for next week:

And if you want to catch up on our past Tot School Plans, you can find them all here:


January:

February:

September:

October:

November:

December:
Christmas

January:

February:

March:

April:
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