It’s official! My baby turned 18 months in July.
Oh how the time flies. It was a sad day, but an exciting one too!
We began our Tot School journey again, but this time with Little Man.
I was so excited to open up The Toddler Experience Curriculum again and start giving Kade more “structured” type activities. Although our approach is completely child-led and not structured at all.
Click here to download a sample theme from the curriculum.
The first 5 months of the curriculum is all about colors, shapes, art mediums, and fine motor skills. It’s laid out in a one month format, so you can ease your way into Tot School and really get to understand how your little toddler learns.
Every toddler is unique in the way he learns and what he wants to learn about, so the curriculum is laid out in a way that you can follow their unique lead.
We started our Tot School with a simple discovery basket to explore red. I walked around the house and anything that was red went in the basket.
I had placed the red tongs in the basket to explore the color, but Kade figured out how to use them pretty quickly. He began trying to take the objects out of the basket with the tongs. Fine motor skill win!
(PS: Don’t mind the dirty shirts and diaper fashion style of this kid. He is a drool monster.)
The next week I took red applesauce pouch lids and placed them in a bucket. Kade spent all morning doing dump…pick up…repeat.
When I do activities like this that are not exactly related to the color red, I make sure I’m adding in the color words as we talk about what’s happening. So I might say “You dumped all the red lids.” Just this simple reference goes a long way in learning the colors.
To get a little sensory exploration in, we explored red Jell-o which eventually turned into playing with the hose.
Kade started off stirring the Jell-o then realized he could eat it. Then of course, his feet went in and he had to see if it still tasted as good on his feet. Apparently it did because he kept doing it.
Each theme in the first 5 months of The Toddler Experience Curriculum explores 2 different art mediums. The purpose is to give your kiddo plenty of exploration time in a variety of ways, so they can learn how to use the material.
It also gives them a chance to explore the rules with the materials, so you can start leaving them out within their reach.
This month we explored playdough, which of course we made red. Every day for the first week, I set up a different invitation with the playdough.
We also explored crayons this month. We colored on regular paper and sandpaper to explore different textures. Although Kade was more interested in dumping the crayons and putting them back in the container.
The Toddler Experience Curriculum also focuses on one shape a month for the first 5 months. This month was all about the circle. One of Kade’s favorite circle activities, which was also great for fine motor skills, was circle stickers. We did this activity over a month ago and he still asks to do it over and over again.
Of course, we also had a circle discovery basket. Kade spent a lot of time mouthing the circles. He’s a very oral boy and still teething, so a lot of things go in his mouth.
Eventually, he noticed sister’s bracelets and decided to make his circles into bracelets.
Exploring Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are the basics for essential life skills like getting dressed, eating, and writing.
Did you know when your child has had lots of fine motor practice they will begin to hold the pencil correctly and write letters on their own?
These fine motor skills are the basics in The Toddler Experience Curriculum.
One of the first activities we did was an open/close discovery basket. I put objects in a variety of containers that opened different ways and placed them in a basket.
We shook each container as we talked about the sound and took guesses of what might be inside. Then I handed it over to Kade to try and figure out how to open it.
Here we are using the applesauce pouch lids again. We save all of them to use as loose parts. They’re great for activities like this and the dumping one above. You can use them in art projects or just sit them out on the shelf (if your little doesn’t mouth things) to see what they come up with.
In this activity, Kade is using the tongs to grab the lids out of the ice cube tray. This is super hard, but great practice at being patient and persistent. Kade eventually gave up and grabbed the lids with his hands, which was still great fine motor practice. Sicily (3.5) really liked this activity.
Exploring Our World
Of course the toddler years is all about exploring their world. This month we added an everyday items discovery basket to our shelf. Kade really liked the comb and pink fuzzy socks. He spent over 20 minutes asking me to put the socks on so he could pull them off.
The best thing about The Toddler Experience Curriculum is that it’s completely child-led. The activities above don’t even represent half the activities available in the 18 month theme.
Every child is unique in the way they learn and what they are interested in. The curriculum gives you a wide variety of activities to choose from, so you can always be meeting your unique toddlers needs. Click the image below to grab a sample of The Toddler Experience Curriculum.