Hello, tot-schoolers! It’s a rainy afternoon here, perfect for a little Tot School planning. We’ve picked our theme and chosen our books—now it is time to find games, crafts, and other awesome learning activities.
Before we open that Google tab, let’s have a place to write all our ideas down. Pinterest is a great long-term storage spot; you can create boards for all the themes on your list and pin when you stumble across a great idea. But for actual planning time, I like to put pencil to paper. (I’m old-fashioned that way.)
Get your FREE downloadable planning sheet from Lone Star Signers here!
Okay, now we’re ready! I like to cast a wide net first–open your favorite search engine and type in “(THEME) tot school.” (Replace (THEME) with your theme.) Lots of families blog about their weekly adventures with Tot School, and I find those posts to be refreshingly “real” about how the activities go over their children.
Beware of “Pinterest-Perfect Syndrome”–your goal is creating a fun learning environment for your children, not making museum-worthy crafts!
I could blog hop for pages and pages (and I usually do, pinning and writing as I explore). Only when I feel like I have found plenty of hands-on, real-world learning activities, do I go on to the next step: PRINTABLES.
I like to visit Carisa at 1+1+1=1 first. She makes amazing (FREE!) Tot School printables in a variety of themes (see SPRING activities here), and she hosts a blog link-up for other Tot School families. Her work is incredible, and I usually print off one or two activities for my students. (Other great sites for themed printables are This Reading Mama and 3 Dinosaurs.)
Are you tired yet? 🙂 By now, you’ve probably filled in most of the blanks on your planning sheet, but if you’re still needing one more thing, you might want to search for printables & activities directly related to your theme-related books! I also browse the #totschool hashtag on Instagram and Google+, which has led me to some VERY creative mamas.
I am fortunate in that I teach the same 20 themes over and over again, so I usually add only one or two new activities each time I get ready for a signing class. Remember, children are simple–they don’t need hours and hours of planned curriculum at this age. Keep it light!
Another helpful tip: laminate what you know you’re going to re-use. Store everything in a gallon-size Ziploc bag in a file cabinet or cardboard box.