This weeks tot-school theme was pets. Kealan is 26 months old and Elyse is 10 months old.
I set up the play table with all our dog, cat, horse and rabbit toys and books.
I also prepared a huge amount of printables given the rate Kealan went through them during tot-school weeks 1 & 2.
However, Elyse seems to have found a new favourite thing. Climbing on and trashing the play table. When she fell off I decided it was time to rethink!
I’d been toying with the idea of tot trays for a while but a recent great post by little bear’s home schooling journey and elyse’s new found fun I’ve decided to give them a try. I moved a 6 tray ikea unit into the kitchen and trawled through Pinterest to find inspiration. I’m fairly rubbish at coming up with ideas so most time is spent trying to decide what to do.
Tray 1 – I used a little tray that had stationary in it and glued coloured felt into each section. The rabbits from our sorting set fit in perfectly and I thought Kealan would probably enjoy opening and closing the box more than sorting them!
Tray 2 – these matching cards are from 1plus1plus1equals1. And I added some of our toy animals.
Tray 4 – dog matching from royal baloo I put sticky magnetic dots on the back of each picture and placed the laminated page onto a baking sheet. We’ve done many matching pages before but Kealan get frustrated when the ones he’s already matched move about so hopefully this will help.
Tray 5 – I took this Dalmatian dog from our fisher price train and found one of colouring pages that I’d printed which looked quite like it. I taped the pictures to a baking sheet and then added some magnetic dots so that Kealan could make the dog spotty.
Tray 6 – I was struggling with a 6th tray and then found the leapfrog alphabet set in a charity shop for £1.50, thrilled.
Keep reading to see what Kealan thought of the trays.
After Elyse trashed the play table she became enthralled with our puss in boots toy as it talked to her. And then we looked at some pet board books. She is clearly saying “cat” now and what I think is “dog”.
Kealan started the day by examining the play table and then he decided to be a dog. He panted, crawled about, barked, whined and attempted to eat his breakfast out of a bowl on the ground! Good fun but unfortunately the whining continued for most of the day and many bowls of Cheerios were sampled from the ground.
And this is were tot school turned into a nightmare. Here you can see kealan playing witht the bunny colour sorting…this lasted about 2 minutes. And a picture of the only written work he did..although it is a pretty good C!
Here i have put shapes out in front of him, he told me to put them away. And the spotty dog lasted about a minute.
Tuesday morning i tried the picture and toy animal matching. Again, he was having none of it! He did let me read a number of our pet themed books in the playroom though and usually he only allows stories at bed time.
We spent the morning at Peter Pans soft play area and we all had a good time but unfortunately they both were so excited all my pictures were blurry. When we got home i discovered my do-a-dot markers had finally arrived and decided that this was the answer – Kealan would now want to do his printables with these fantastic new markers. Nope! He likes taking the lids off and putting them back on, thats it.
On Wednesday we had a pet themed play date with Poppy and Oscar. We started off by letting them paint paper plates with brown paint and then stuck on ears, eyes, nose and tongue to make a dog. Well, Poppy and Oscar did. Kealan mixed the paint. After their hard work they chatted and shared bags of popcorn.
Next i gave them a little toy dog each and a shoe box to decorate. They were told they would have to look after the little dogs for me and they had to make them a special doggy bed. They had a selection of stickers and foam shapes to use. Kealan managed a few but just wanted to hold a stick of glue. I just dont know why he’s being so difficult this week, he’s not sick and i couldnt even say he’s being bold, he just doesnt want to do any activities. Am feeling a little deflated but i shall persevere. He did manage to count to six a number of times this week and in front of our guests which is something!
Little Elyse has been enjoying her new found skill – climbing and rocking on big red dog. And her usual of course, emptying the wipes.
Thursday i attempted more printables but he just took the lids off the markers for me to draw and then put them back on. I did some work with him on hard and soft but he just wanted to throw the pebbles. Arghhhh! So we went to mother and toddlers and had a great time.
Elyse and i took some selfies when she woke up from her nap. My poor darling looks happy here but she’s finally cutting her top four teeth and was quite distressed in the evening time.
On Friday we had a lovely playdate at Kate’s house. Kealan was a great boy and unusually chatted away but little Elyse is still quite grumpy with her sore gums.
In the afternoon, while the babies slept I decided that as tot school has been a complete disaster I would try some sensory stuff instead. So I baked up some lemon scented yellow play dough and 3 colours of spaghetti. After their nap they were both plonked on the mat. Both were a little unsure, Kealan was concerned that it was “a bit chilly” and Elyse wasn’t sure what to do. However, they soon got into it and madness followed. Kealan was quickly bored as usual and wanted to mix so I gave him a tub with an inch of water in it and a spoon. So Elyse climbed in it! She loved it. And when Kealan got annoyed he couldn’t mix I got Elyse out and took her wet clothes off but all she wanted to do was get back in, so she did….I got another tub!
At bed time I read Kealan his ‘how to grow a dinosaur book’ which although it is one of his favourites we hadn’t read for a few weeks. At this page he said “thats a dactyl, that ones big but those ones over there are small”. Proud mummy!
Saturday morning was more productive for us than the rest of the week. Kealan and I started by making a practice batch of rose scented play dough for our up coming valentines play date. Of course he was thrilled with the little bottle of rose oil and held it for about an hour. He also only wanted to sit on the kitchen counter which although very difficult to manage when Elyse is awake it makes him happy. And while he was up there he was willing to do some tot trays…briefly.
Next nanny and I took them both to a rhythm and rhyme session at our local library. We used to go every week but due to elyse’s nap schedule we hadn’t been for a while. It was really good and Kealan remained in good form all day full of giggles and smiles.
On sunday evening we had play balls in the bath. I turned Kealan stool upside down so he could practise throwing the balls into it, Elyse had a go to.
So, in conclusion…tot school was not really a success this week. Printables were not done and most of my hard work went unplayed with. But…my boy is not the sort to sit each week and behave consistently and as long as i remember that then tot school will remain good for us all. He learned to count from 1-6 this week, he knows c is for cat and d is for dog. He knows cats purr and have whiskers, their feet are paws and they have claws and for the first time he really delved into imaginative play by pretending to be a dog. And then there’s all the info that little Elyse is absorbing each day. She really looked at books for the first time this week and has been saying cat and dog when shes been playing with them. So maybe it hasnt been so bad!
Ive no tot school theme next week so im gonna try some of our pet stuff again and prepare for our big valentines play date. Im also set on integrating more sensory play for Elyse due to our spaghetti success this week.
Picture of the week:-