tot school - 16 months

I think this was Ethan's favorite week of Tot School yet. I've been feeling a bit frazzled and overwhelmed lately so Ethan and I took the week off from classes and plans and doing much of anything. It was a good week to choose to take off from life because he was so excited about this week's Tot School activities. We spent so much time in Tot School this week that we even ate lunch at his table a few times so he didn't have to break away from his precious Tot Trays. Of course, by Friday he was starting to get bored with the trays and finding new ways to use them, like hiding them underneath stuffed animals or trying to flush them down the toilet. Good times.


From Top:
1. Bean Bag Toss Activity - I gave Ethan a few bean bags and he got to toss them into the bin. He was excited about this from the beginning but had a hard time making all of his shots into the bin. Some went next to, some went behind, some fell a little short. By the second day, he was getting them all in the bin and was super excited about this. By the third day, he was over the thrill of getting them all into the bin and proceeded to walk around the house tossing the bean bags in whatever else he could find.
2. Pouch Top Push-In - Nicole had done this activity with her little boy and he loved it. I couldn't wait to do this one with Ethan. A friend gave me a bunch of pouch tops and we cut a hole into the lid of an old deli soup container. Ethan was obsessed with this activity. This has been his favorite activity so far. Pushing the tops into the container entertained him for a ridiculous period of time and he laughed each time he popped one of the tops in.
3. Parmesan Cheese Straw Sorter - I cut a couple of straws into smaller pieces and put them on a tray with some thin craft sticks for variety. I found an old Parmesan cheese container in our refrigerator that expired, uh, close to the time Ethan was born which, for once, made it pretty exciting that I'm probably a semi-hoarder. Ethan's job was to put the straws and craft sticks into the holes in the Parmesan cheese container. He had a little bit of difficulty at first in the sense that when the container sat on the table, it was too high for him to see the top of. I held the container for him to sort the straws and sticks into and then he realized if he sat on the floor, this activity was way easier. He loved this one. By Friday, he got bored and was trying to find other things to stick into the holes.
4. Stringing Activity - This was Ethan's least favorite activity this week. I think he found it a bit difficult and would get frustrated with it and he also loved the other three so much that his lack of enthusiasm with this one was even more apparent. I'm going to save it for a couple of weeks down the road. I cut up some old toilet paper rolls into rings and put them on a tray with a few different stringing options: a strand of plastic beads I cut, a shoelace, a ribbon. The shoelace was too long for him to deal with and drove him nuts. He wasn't interested in the ribbon once he discovered the shiny, fun beads. He mostly tried stringing with the beads and got it a couple of times, but then the rolls would fall off the other end. This frustrated him. Eventually he found out if he slapped the bead strand against the table, it made music he could dance to. This was about the only thing he liked with this activity.

This week he was really into looking out the window and putting the weather up on the weather wall. I think these were two different revelations, though -- he discovered he loved looking out the window on a day where it was particularly windy and the trees were blowing outside and he discovered velcro. He had some fun mixing up the t-shirts and the weather wall, but I was glad he was more into it this week than the others.


We had a lot of fun with arts and crafts this week. We used markers and paints this week. It took Ethan a while to warm up to paint because he really hates having a mess on his hands but he did great and really seemed to enjoy it this week!

We still have Ethan's fall tree from last week up on the art wall, but I wanted to keep it because our theme for our artwork this week was fall leaves.

We made a fall tree using Ethan's handprints by dipping his hand into "fall colored" paint and then we used leaves as stamps to make a painting of fall leaves, too. This was Ethan's favorite activity. Here in South Florida, we don't get "fall leaves," but we did notice a pile of dried leaves while at the park the other morning so we collected some and brought them home to dip into paint.

I also found this mask for $0.50 at a dollar store so we brought it home to decorate. Ethan used markers to decorate it. What an artist. ;)


This week we read (...and re-read, and re-read, and re-read...) the following books, all selected by Ethan:

1. Chip Wants A Dog by William Wegman
2. Llama Llama Wakey Wake by Anna Dewdney
3. Chamelia by Ethan Long
4. Corduroy by Don Freeman
5. The Story Of Thanksgiving by Nancy J. Skarmeas
6. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
7. Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
8. Muddypaws by Moira Butterfield
9. Elmo Says by Sarah Albee
10. Look Look by Peter Linenthal
11. Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
12. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
13. Little Spider by Chronicle Books

Tot School Montessori Monday


  1. I really can't handle how cute he is.... the face, that smile. He's got some killer genes!

    Also, I'm with Ethan - velcro is pretty awesome. ;)

    1. Haha! He's lucky he's cute...that smile gets him out of trouble. Like, how we have no more spoons in our entire house except for two. I've found one underneath a couch cushion and the rest? Mystery. Lucky he's cute, that one.

  2. linds this is so neat!! i guess i didnt realize you did tot school with ethan, i love the things you do! Ive been having the hardest time thinking of activites to do with zoee during the day, i usually cant think of anything lol. Im definitely going to do the pouch lids game and try the bean bags! what great ideas. the weather/shirt board is cool, where did you get all of it? your a great mom!

    1. We just started a couple of weeks ago! There's a "Tot School" tab on the right side of my blog under the about me if you wanted to see the last couple of weeks, too! It's been really fun so far! Ethan thinks Zoee will LOVE the pouch lid game -- it was his favorite! Haha. The bean bags came from the dollar store -- $1 for the whole pack! I just found random images of weather from Google and printed them and used velcro to attach them to a board! The shirt was the same, but I just changed the color to make different color ones as I went! I'll try to find the images on my computer and send them to you if you'd like!

  3. Lk is a little young yet for tot school but I can't wait to get started! I've been saving my pouch tops ever since I saw Nicole's post!

  4. Where did you get the shirt and weather printables? I'm wanting to start this routine.


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