Sep 23 09
by cara
at 12:39 PM
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Tot School- Favorite Activities

I’m hoping to post a weekly (at the very least) recap of some of the activities I do with The Littlest Apple.  I try my best to take some time each day to ignore other distractions and really focus on The Littlest Apple.  Being the planner that I am, I plan our activities in advance, about a week at a time, but I try to be flexible (have to work more on this!!).  If The Littlest Apple isn’t interested in what I have to offer, then we do something else that he is interested in (or sometimes I do the activity by myself, hoping he’ll join in!).  There are many places I find these activities, and I hope to highlight some of these in various posts as well as on my new Resources page (still under construction).


One of the first amazing resources I found earlier this spring is the blog, 1+1+1=1 and the concept of “Tot School.”  Without even knowing it, The Littlest Apple and I were already doing Tot School!  Tot School isn’t actually school, but just a fun name for the quality time I spend each day with my tot learning by having fun!

What kinds of activities do we do in Tot School?  Lots of reading, art, working on fine motor skills, outside time, pretend play, science, and life skills, to name a few.

The Littlest Apple doesn’t normally stick with an activity for very long, even if he really loves it.  But in the last couple of weeks, I discovered several activities that held his attention for a significant amount of time (for a 2 year old, around 30 minutes).  In addition, he asks to do these activities, so they’ve become some of our current favorites.

The Baking Learning Center:  I filled a box with a cake pan, muffin tin, rolling pin, empty flour box, plastic eggs, an empty sour cream container, cinnamon sticks, empty spice jars, a jar of sprinkles (sealed shut), measuring cups, measuring spoons, cookie cutters, whisk, a muffin cookbook, a cookie cookbook (both with lots of photos) and a few other baking-related items.

I intended for this to be a temporary activity this week while our theme was Cookies, but this was such a hit that I’m looking for a permanent home for this Learning Center.  The Littlest Apple enjoyed rolling out the playdough and using the cookie cutters to cut the dough, then transfer to a pan.  He pretended one of our kitchen cabinets was the oven, and put the cookies in, and took them out when the “timer” beeped.  He pretended to pour the flour and other ingredients into a bowl and stir, then pour into the muffin tins.  I’m starting to think a play kitchen might be a good purchase for us!

“Science Corner” (as it was nicknamed by The Picky Apple): This was an opportunity for The Littlest Apple to explore his sense of touch and to mix things together (always a favorite activity around here).  I set up bowls with flour, cotton balls, corn starch slurry, water with green food coloring, and a bowl of ice.  I also provided him with several measuring cups and spoons to transfer and mix with.  He LOVED this activity!  I was doing a lot of cringing about the mess, but I finally just relaxed, put a few towels on the floor and let him go to town!  As you can see from the photo below, he dumped all of the cotton balls and the ice into the green water and was working on adding the flour too.  The Littlest Apple discovered quickly that he did not like the way the cotton balls felt (dry or wet).

Science Corner

Washing Dishes:  Another activity that really kept The Littlest Apple busy was washing dishes in the sink.  Why haven’t we done this sooner?!  I filled one side of the sink with soapy water and 4 or 5 plastic plates, several bowls, and cups.  I showed him how to wash the dishes in the soapy water with a sponge then rinse them off in the running water.  The last step was to dry the dishes.  I left him doing this activity under the supervision of grandparents while I ran to the library, and he had JUST stopped as I pulled back into the garage 30 minutes later.  This activity definitely requires a little more supervision, but it‘s good to keep in mind for when it is too hot or rainy to go outside.

Button Sorting:  I bought a big container of buttons from Hobby Lobby.  There are different sizes, colors, shapes, and even a few “neat” buttons as we call those with special patterns (since he holds them up and says “Neat!”).  The Littlest Apple enjoys sorting by size, color, and shape.  He also enjoys pouring them from bowl to bowl.  Some (most?) of these buttons are small enough to be a choking hazard, but The Littlest Apple has been great about not putting them in his mouth.

Button Sorting

I have SO many more activities to share, but I just wanted to do a small introduction of favorite activities since this is my first Tot School post.  Future posts will be a recap each week (hopefully) with more pictures and more info on where I get my activity ideas.

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  1. Cara,
    Thanks for visiting my blog today! I hope you’ll stop by again! I’ll be posting about how to make the healthier eating budget friendly in the coming weeks! May your journey to healthier eating be a fun one and a blessing to your family! Your blog is adorable!

  2. GREAT post! I’m going to recreate the baking corner today – thanks for the idea!

    I’m a bit like you when it comes to planning in advance and cringing at messes, but both of those things have a tendency to go out the window when you’re raising a toddler! 🙂

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