Adventures in Tot Schooling

Beach Week

A few weeks ago we went to the beach and so we’ve worked on some beach and ocean themed trays over the last couple of weeks. Last weekend we ended up at another beach – a shell beach – and collected some shells, so I set up a shell washing and identifying task for Munchkin, which also fit really well into our relaxed two week theme. With the start of the school year looming, it’s another time of flux as we transition from tot trays to pre-school trays. I don’t sense a noticeable shift coming. Munchkin will add one more morning a week at school, so our trays may become more open ended, arty, and sensorial, rather than more academic, but I will also follow Munchkin’s lead. She is so interested in writing at the moment, and her school is play-based, so they should not be working on writing too much until next year.

Sensory Play

When we got back, I brought our sand/water table into the house (am I nuts?) and placed rocks and our sea animals on the water side with a little water. Munchkin was thrilled to see a sea lion in the group, and liked scooping and pouring water. We did really well keeping the water contained. After a couple of days, I drained the water and changed everything to the other side of the table and added kinetic sand. Little Sister got to dip her fingers into both sides a couple of times.

Tot Trays


Munchkin is still very interested in writing, so I’m continuing to include pre-writing activities, like this printable from in her trays. She’s getting more and more accurate at tracing on the lines. I would like her to do many more of these activities before we really focus on letters (though she wants to), because when she does have letters to trace, she doesn’t always want to be coached on forming them correctly. I also included and odd one out sheet, and a sizing sheet.

Mermaid Scenes

This sticker pack showed up in our house from a Grandma, and seemed perfect to go along with a beach themed week.

Beach Rock Painting

One of the beaches we visited on our trip had a lot of sandstone, and little sandstone rocks mixed in with the sand. We found a nice flat rock to bring home and paint.

Salt Sifting

On our trip we saw sea lions and starfish. I found some little sea life identification cards and printed two sets. One set I cut up and hid in a bowl of salt (to represent sand). I thought Munchkin would love this, but she really wasn’t very interested, other than finding the sea lion picture on the control sheet.

Water Pouring

This tray always excited Munchkin. She loved pouring water back and forth. This time she poured with both her right and left hand. She did very well, but did make a couple of spills on purpose so that she could mop up.

Mermaid Painting

New watercolour paints, and a colouring book.

Shell Washing

As mentioned, we collected shells from a shell beach. I set up an assembly line washing station on our kitchen counter, showed Munchkin the progression of washing a shell, and she went to town. She loved this, and washed until all the shells were all clean.


Shell Identification

Once the shells were clean and dry, I did my research and identified as many as I could, and printed out some nomenclature cards. After her nap, Munchkin investigated the shells and we tried to sort as many as we could.

Baby Trays

Little Sister joined us a couple of times over the past two week. Munchkin and I tend to work together during Little Sis’ nap time. When Little Sis was awake, here’s what she had to sit at the table and play with.

Ocean Themed Music Basket

We have a set of Melissa and Doug musical instruments. Little Sis liked banging these around!

Rainbow Fish Book

Little Sis got this book as a present on our trip. She LOVES this book. We read it a lot, but let’s face it, really, she just loves munching on it!



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