Adventures in Tot Schooling

The Black Book of Colors

We stumbled across The Black Book of Colors, by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faría during our last trip to the library. It’s fantastic! Coming off of our Mouse Paint unit a couple of weeks ago, this seemed like the perfect follow on, continuing to talk about colours while introducing all the other senses. The pages of the book are entirely black, except for white writing. The story is also printed in braille, and the “pictures” are textural, detailing how a (presumably) blind boy thinks of colours. We had a great week, and Munchkin easily spent about an hour each on two of our activities, reminding me that perhaps I need to only offer one activity sometimes, because it’s great to see where she takes it when she gets really involved and engrossed. I have more ideas of activities to do for this too, but we just ran out of time!

Tot Trays

Relax Bottles

I’ve had this link pinned for ages, and never quite got around to making these relax bottles. We made two this week, and they are awesome! So glittery, pretty, and swirly. Munchkin loved helping to squeeze glue into the bottles and using the funnel to pour glitter. We made a purple bottle on Monday, then quickly made a blue one on Thursday. They’ve been moving around the house all week, and Munchkin has also been showing them to her little sister, and getting her in on the sensory experience. I don’t know that we will use them as time out bottles – we haven’t done any time outs yet – but I do love them as a refocusing tool.

Chalk Rubbing

I used a glue gun to make some shapes on scraps of cardboard. We talked about how they were like the Black Book of Colors – you could feel the shapes and textures. We placed paper over the top of the cardboard and used chalk on it’s side to rub across and make the shape show through. We have done this before, and Munchkin wasn’t able to do it, but this time, with me holding everything still for her, she got it!

Feely Bucket

I cut a slit in a piece of felt and taped it over the top of a plastic bucket we have. Munchkin had to put her hand into the bucket, and guess what she was feeling. We talked about how she wasn’t using her eyes to see what she was holding. I switched the items in the bucket partway through the week for an added trick. The first set of items were as textural as possible: a pom pom, a wooden cube, a metal bolt, a spiky ball, a sock, a glass rock. The second set were things I thought she’d get a kick out of: a mini ballet shoe, a Mickey Mouse antenna topper, a key, a fake frog leg (she did NOT like feeling this one!), and little stuffed bunny. It was fun, and she really tried not to peek as she put her hand in the bucket, but it’s almost impossible for a two-year-old to keep her eyes shut!

Scent Cards

I made a set of scent cards a while ago, and pulled them out. I think the peppermint oil card overwhelmed all the other scents though and permeated through. Munchkin said she really liked the ginger card. I would like to make Montessori style scent bottles so that she can match bottles by smell – next time!

Light Table Play

I’ve been reading about tinker trays and loose parts play, and love the idea. I presented a tray of loose parts to go on top of my light up tracing table: glow in the dark stars, fabric flowers, glass rocks, buttons, and orange opaque tiles. Munchkin liked putting the stars on the table – then I was able to show her what happens when we put them in the dark! We didn’t play with this too much. I would like to find some cellophane to work on colour mixing, or some little clear plastic dishes I can put liquid water colours in and we can stack them to see what happens. Another day I pulled out straw sections and pipe cleaners, and we threaded those on the light table to see the pipe cleaner in the straw.

Texture Dominoes

My husband insisted on getting dominoes for Munchkin for Christmas, and picked these. We haven’t played dominoes yet, but we did use them this week! We matched the textures and made shapes on the table. Munchkin was particularly puzzled by the “hole” – the dominoes that had a wooden texture.

Silly Putty

I found a super simple recipe for homemade silly putty – it didn’t really feel like silly putty to me, but it was lovely and soft! Munchkin got to measure the corn starch, and pump the soap into the measuring cups. We mixed together and played. She used the relax bottle as a rolling pin, and then asked for her knife – she’s been really into learning to cut food lately. I thought using a knife with this dough was a GREAT idea! She cut and cut, just asking me to put the dough back together for her every once in a while. After quite a while, I had to move on and start making dinner. We moved the play in the kitchen, and her little kitchen. She had a wonderful time pretending to make cookies – flouring her rolling pin, commenting that her cookies were “Ouf, too hot!” and using a slice to lift the cookies off of their tray – all “Just like Grandma does.” All totally self directed by her, which was great!

 Kinetic Sand

The only item I pulled out one day was kinetic sand. We played for over an hour with a small spade, a couple of cups, and some tongs. It was pretty awesome stuff. Little Sister woke up and we even got her hand in on the fun. She wasn’t too impressed!

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