Adventures in Tot Schooling

Thomas and His Friends

Last week, Munchkin went out to dinner with her grandparents, and came home with a new Thomas the Tank Engine book. This book has a short song listed on each page, and has buttons to press for the song melodies. It’s a new favourite in the house. Munchkin really, really likes Thomas, and so this seemed a great jumping off point for a train and Thomas themed week. Her other grandmother got her a subscription to the Thomas magazine for her last birthday, plus we had a set of books from Costco and a couple of Thomas library books..and then the trains too – plenty of material to jump off from!

Tot Trays

Thomas Floor Puzzle

This was a Christmas present. It’s just the right number of pieces that Munchkin can do it herself, but the size of the pieces means that she needs a little help. We did this puzzle on the table and on the floor. We probably worked through it about 6 times through the course of the week. This is a good reminder for me to remember to rotate and highlight toys. I knew she’d love it, but since it sits on a shelf in her room (and we don’t spend much time in our rooms, except for sleeping) it really hasn’t had the play time it should. Note the sling – her dog likes to be carried around the house, just like Little Sister.

Train Letter Assessment

It’s been a while since we’ve had any dot markers out (though Munchkin now calls them bingo markers, like the do at school. When she saw this tray, she informed me, “A bingo marker, like at school. I didn’t do the bingo markers today, Mummy.” This was a great task for her – she was happy to wait until she’d named a letter to dot it, though she did need to take a break part way through to dot the train driver and colour him in. The assessment is from Make Learning Fun. I printed both the upper and lower case assessments. I’m pretty confident that she knows all her lower case letters, but there were a few upper case ones she wasn’t sure of.

Train Puzzle

Munchkin has a little Melissa & Doug set of four transportation puzzles that I got when she was first mastering puzzles. This puzzle has been done over and over and over, but hasn’t seen much play lately. I thought pulling out the train puzzle might be fun – and she was very excited to see it again. This puzzle got done several times throughout the week.

Train Lacing

I picked up a set of really sturdy lacing cards in the Target dollar aisle for Munchkin’s stocking at Christmas. They were all transportation themed too. Munchkin really hadn’t been into them. I think selecting just one lacing card helped, and perhaps she’s also a bit more ready to work on lacing. It took until the end of the week for her to select this tray, but when she finally did she had a really good time pushing the lace through the holes, having me untangle her weaving, and then doing it again a few times.

Thomas Collage

Signing up for the Thomas magazine must also mean that you get signed up for the catalogue mailers. Munchkin has enjoyed looking through these, and luckily doesn’t understand that these are toys that can be ordered yet. I thought letting her cut them up would add something different to her scissor work, and gluing the pieces down would let her make her own picture. She loved this. By the end of the week she was trying to cut around trains instead of straight through the middle of them. She wasn’t very successful, but I could see the effort.

 Thomas Magazines

In addition to stories, the Thomas magazines have “workbooks” and with each issue, the amount of “work” Munchkin can do increases. I pulled out some of the older issues so that we could do pages that just weren’t appropriate for her before. We worked on counting, spot-the-difference, and colouring. It was good to see the change from when she first read through these.

Train Magnet Sheets

While finding the letter assessments, I also printed a train magnet sheet from Make Learning Fun. Since we just had some magnet sheets last week, this wasn’t a hugely popular tray, but we did work on it a couple of times.

Train Mosaic Stickers

Munchkin got a set of these for Christmas, and we are sloooooowly working through the train and boat (I’m saving the other pictures). They really just require much too much time and attention span from her right now. We added a few stickers, but still haven’t completed the train!

Stamping and Painting

Last weekend, we attended a TET Festival, and Munchkin won a couple of little prizes – a dinosaur stamp, and a spiky ring. I added a couple of trays for her to use these, just a stamping tray and a painting tray. The dinosaur stamp launched us in to lots of conversation about dinosaur books at school, and led to looking for those books at the library…and a request for next week!

Lots of good things happened this week, but not too much on the art wall:



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