We are officially back from our longest break from tot school ever. We wound up unexpectedly taking two months off and it feels so good to be back. I'm trying not to beat up on myself too much considering we didn't take a summer break, but we're back in action and Ethan was so, so excited to wake up and see a whole new set of tot trays waiting for him!
I did a holiday theme for our grand return back to tot school. Ethan is so in love with the holidays this year (we do Hanukkah and Christmas in our house) so I knew he would be extra excited to see this as the theme.
SNOW DOUGH SENSORY PLAY
I made up a batch of snow dough and paired it with some Christmas themed erasers from the dollar store and some cookie cutters. This tray kept Ethan occupied for hours every day until the dough finally dried out to the point where no added conditioner could save it. I loved watching him build snowman, make "sugar cookies" and create little winter wonderland scenes with the erasers. He had a blast with this one!
OPPOSITES AND LATKES
For this one, I made some "latkes" out of construction paper and labeled them with different words. On paper plates, I wrote the opposite words. I gave Ethan a spatula and he had a blast practicing balancing and working on opposites as he flipped each latke to it's opposite plate. This was a fun way to incorporate Hanukkah into our tot school lesson and he loved doing it!
I found a tube of small ornaments at the dollar store. We used this activity to practice adding up to 5. Ethan got to place an ornament on each circle and practiced adding. When he counted how many there were total on each card, he found the corresponding number and added it after the equals sign. I think he liked this tray the least out of all of the trays, but he still really enjoyed it the first couple of times!
GIFT WRAPPING PRACTICAL LIFE ACTIVITY
Ethan has been obsessed with helping me wrap all of the holiday gifts this year, so I gave him a little tray to practice on his own. He got to wrap little boxes all by himself and trim the paper with his scissors if it was too long (which he insisted he didn't need to do, because the paper I left was "just right"). He did a great job!
SMALL, MEDIUM AND LARGE
For this tray, Ethan got to decide which gift would be wrapped in a small, medium or large box. I gave him a few sets of little cards each with a small gift, medium gift and large gift but each picture printed the exact size. Ethan got to think critically to figure out how to sort each item in size order. He really liked this tray!
I found some peppermint sticks at the dollar store in two different sizes and thought they would be perfect to make letters with. I turned this into a vowel tray where Ethan got to practice making the vowels out of peppermints. He was a little aggravated that his O looked more like a square, but he still enjoyed doing this tray and learning more about what letters were vowels and why vowels were important. From this tray, Ethan began seeking out and pointing out the vowels whenever he saw signs or words written somewhere. Surprisingly, we made it the whole week without him sampling a peppermint stick.
GUM DROP FINE MOTOR PRACTICE
I stuck some golf tees in a little box and gave Ethan a cup filled with gum drops. He got to use the tongs to pick up each gum drop and balance them on top of the tees. This was a little tricky so halfway through he gave up and decided to use his fingers which was still great practice for balancing.
SPARKLE SNOW SAND LETTER WRITING TRAY
This one is play sand, food coloring and some glitter. I paired it with little cards with the letters and Ethan got to practice writing each one. He is really into writing letters and words right now so he was so excited for this activity. He couldn't wait for my husband to come home so he could show him the way he could write his letters.
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