We are SO excited to be back in our daily tot school routine. Now I use that term loosely because our routine is a bit on the fly since adding little miss Aubrey to the mix in April. Instead of having a set time for tot school, we jump right into our fun activities anytime baby girl decides to nap and I have two free hands and lots of attention to devote to Madelynn. That means it has been so important for me to have everything planned out ahead of time and prepped so we can grab and start right away. Some activities get switched around from day to day, but we try to get a mix of fine motor, gross motor, snacks, and sensory bins in each day. If you are just getting started with tot school, be sure to read this post I wrote back in January when we started out on this adventure.
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Here were our plans for Apple Week:
And here is what we actually did:
Here are the books that we used to begin each day:
Ten Apples Up On Top! by Dr. Seuss
Amazing Apples (Science Vocabulary Readers) by Jeff Bauer
Apple Countdown by Joan Holub
Apple Picking Day by Samantha Brooke
Under the Apple Tree by Steve Metzger
Ten Apples Felt Board:
We started the week reading Ten Apples Up On Top! by Dr. Seuss and retelling/counting out the apples with felt board pieces. I still can't find our felt board since the big move, so we just played with the pieces on the floor. I made the pieces myself by cutting out the patterns I found on Making Learning Fun. Madelynn didn't seem to mind at all and had fun moving the pieces around while looking through the book.
Apple Magnet Maze:Do you love Melissa & Doug toys as much as I do? Seriously I want to #buyallthethings. If you haven't visited their website before you really need to go check it out. I have about 700 ideas for Christmas and birthday gifts just from their site. This Melissa & Doug Magnetic Number Maze was one of those things I had been wanting to check out so I finally ordered one for our apple unit. Madelynn struggled a bit to move the apples along the paths, but it was really great for fine motor practice and concentration. As she gets better at moving them, we will focus more on the counting aspect.
Apple Paint Prints:Painting with apples was an easy fine motor activity. I also saw the idea a while back to cut notches in the top of the apple to make a handle for easier stamping. So smart! Madelynn had to be reminded a few times not to eat the apple but otherwise she had fun stamping, mixing colors and exploring.
Apple Tear, Cut and Glue:Madelynn has never really used scissors before, so I fully intended this activity to turn into a tear and glue apple, but I found these ALEX Toys Little Hands Squeeze Scissors that are AMAZING! There is a little spring action that helps open the scissors back up each time. Madelynn did a great job with little snips along the strips I had cut out.
Apple Dot Stamps:Dot stamps are always a favorite around here. We use these Do A Dot Art! Markers for lots of fine motor practice and she is getting really good at placing them in each circle. Although she does enjoy coloring the whole page with them too! I can tell this is really helping her build one to one correspondence for counting as well.
Apple Color Sort Race:Gross motor activities are always the hardest for me to plan because I need to get really creative or Madelynn isn't all that into them. Usually saying anything is a race is a sure fire way to get her engaged as long as I am running along side her. For this activity I used these Learning Resources Attribute Apples, dumped them on a tray and labeled a few baskets. We took turns running back and forth with one apple at a time and dropping it in the right basket. Super easy set up and I got a little exercise in too :)
Apple Size Sort Race:We doubled up on this activity and used the same apples for sorting by size. The differences between small, medium and large apples were pretty small, so I chose to use just big and little. It was still a bit challenging and Madelynn wanted to continue to sort by color, but it was a good concept to introduce to her. We will definitely have to work on sorting by size more.
Apple Toss:See those little apples? Yup we used them again for another game. This time I set out the baskets for Madelynn to throw the apples into. She really just wanted to set them in so I tried to get her to stay behind the tray to throw. Either way it entertained her for a little while but not her favorite.
We're Going on an Apple Hunt:This was by far Madelynn's favorite activity of the week.Why you ask? Because she got to use a clipboard. So funny the things that capture her attention. All I needed to do was write numbers on apples 1-10 and hide them around the house. She hunted for them then named and colored each apple as she found it. I think I may be creating lots of variations on this one in the future!
Apple Pie Chex Mix:You can find this quick delicious recipe here. We made lots and have been munching on it all week, yum!
Apple Chips:If you have a food dehydrator these are pretty easy to make but definitely plan ahead because they took a whole day to really dry out. Here is a little tutorial I found that includes directions for dehydrating in the oven if you don't have a food dehydrator. When they are done they are so sweet and delicious!
Apple Pie Bites:These are pretty much heaven on earth and I will definitely make them again. They were a little hard for Madelynn to help with, but she did get to sprinkle brown sugar and apple pie spice on each one. You can find the recipe here.
Apple Dippers:For this fun interactive snack I used a small sorting tray and filled it with peanut butter and fun toppings. Then I cut up an apple and Madelynn was happy to create her own little snack. We used peanut butter, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles and crushed nuts, but you could use all sorts of dips/toppings. Marshmallow fluff, caramel, almond butter, raisins, nuts, mini marshmallows, etc.
Bobbing for Apples Sensory Bin:We kicked off apple week with a fun water play sensory bin. In the bin I included these fun Helping Hands Fine Motor Tools, apples from Madelynn's kitchen play food, and fruit counters from one of the Lakeshore math centers I have from my classroom. The little cups are empty fruit cup containers that we saved because they are the perfect size for our little bins. Madelynn played for over 30 minutes with this one, definitely a success!
Apple Words Sensory Bin:This bin included popcorn seeds, apple magnets with letters that I wrote on them, and word cards for matching letters and learning vocabulary. Madelynn didn't build every word, but she did have fun digging for letters, naming them and matching them.
Apple Picking Sensory Bin:This was a nice mess free bin. I used all different size pom poms in red and green, a few small cardboard boxes from the dollar store, and paper trees that I made from toilet paper tubes and green cardstock. I stuck velcro on the trees to put pom poms on for Madelynn to "pick" and put back as well.
Apple Pie Play Dough:This play dough smelled so yummy! I planned on making my own play dough, then ran out of time so I used packaged play dough and added a few sprinkles of apple pie spice. It smelled wonderful and was already colored which was a plus. We practiced rolling little balls of play dough and squishing the on these counting trees.
Apple Picking Game:Last a little bonus activity we did this week was this First Orchard Cooperative Game . To play you roll the die and pick that color fruit off the tree to place in the basket. If you roll the crow, he takes one step closer to the gate. Everyone takes turns and the goal is to get all the fruit in the basket before the crow reaches the gate. It was great for practicing taking turns, color id, and funny enough how to roll a die.
Whew! That's it, we've had a busy and fun filled week. You can grab the printables for the activities above for FREE here:
Here is what we have planned for next week:
And the themes that will be coming soon: