Adventures in Tot Schooling


Last week, we picked up Elmer, by David McKee in our local library. Our totschool activities this week centered around that book. We also read Elmer and the Butterfly by the same author, and Munchkin had a good time making several different crafts. This week we also had a little bit of a breakthrough with some previously frustrating tasks. I was able to explain that if we slowed down and took our time, they would be much easier – and she completed two activities (pattern work and math link work) that she hasn’t been able to do yet.

Tot Trays

Duplo Quilt

Elmer the Elephant is made up of a patchwork of coloured squares. I pulled out a base plate and enough duplo blocks to fill the plate exactly. This was by far Munchkin’s favourite tray of the week. She started out by placing blocks on the plate very methodically – down the columns, then along the row. She also experimented with placing the blocks on around the outside, then filling in the middle. It was all very precise. She made lots and lots of different quilt patterns, eventually preferring to match together blocks of the same colour. We also talked a little bit about colour gradations, since there were three shades of green, and two shades of blue and pink. She also made towers out of the blocks, and used them to line the outside of her tray. I also used the blocks to draw an outline of an elephant, thinking she could place the blocks like pattern pieces. This wasn’t very interesting to her.


Elephant Stamping

A simple art project – an Elmer outline, stamps, and stamp pad.

Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks

We had a bit of a break through with these this week! Munchkin likes to play with this, but gets frustrated because the shapes move each time she puts a new piece down. I showed her that when I do this, I put all the pieces down and then neaten up at the end. We managed to slow down, work together, and get all the pieces down without getting frustrated that they were moving about. Munchkin made the house up all by herself!

Elmer Sponge Painting

I cut a sponge into squares and provided a plate with blobs of paint. Munchkin used the sponges to paint squares all over theĀ  Elmer outline. I provided six colours and six sponge squares. Munchkin used one sponge per colour all by herself.

Elephant Math Links

I found a set of elephant number cards at Confessions of a Homeschooler. I printed, laminated, and provided the correct number of yellow math links to correctly link cards 1-6 (so 21 links). For the first time Munchkin was able to get the links together herself, and then link them on to the correct elephant. At one point I had to step out of the room, and when I came back she had completed the last two cards all by herself! When she was done, we laid all the cards out in a line and talked about which one was longest and shortest. We took the 1 card down the line and saw that it was shorter than all the other chains.

Elmer collage

I precut squares from construction paper, and provided a glue stick. Munchkin had fun with this over a couple of days, and was really very methodical about her square placement.

Elephant Sock Toy

I fond instructions for making an elephant from a sock here. However, aside from placing stuffing in the elephant, I had to do all the elastic banding. It’s cute, but wasn’t really a group project.

We mostly fit our totschool time in when Little Sister is asleep – as much as we can anyway. This week I use Google Images to find some black and white images for Little Sister to look at. I printed enough to rotate every few weeks, and stuck them on the wall by her changing table. The changing table seems to be her favourite spot in the house – it’s opposite a window and she can see a tree making patters across the sky.




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