I just love the Spring. The weather is getting warmer, flowers are blooming, and veggies are being planted. For Tot School, we took our Spring toddler theme from The Toddler Experience curriculum and separated it into 3 weeks.
The first week was all about Spring and the different things that happen during this season. We talked about the rain, baby animals being born, and different signs of Spring.
The second week was all about Bugs. During this week, we explored butterflies, ladybugs, and beetles. The last week was all about flowers. We took a trip to the flower shop, sorted seeds, and practiced fine motor skills as we put flowers into a colander.
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Our Spring Toddler Theme
Week One: All About Spring
We started the week by talking about the different signs of Spring, exploring flowers blooming, baby animals being born, and lots of rain. We took this discussion outside as we headed to the river for some exploring. She took her bucket so she could collect different signs of Spring. We ended up bringing home lots of rocks, flowers, and a little pinch of an anthill.
Luckily, one day during this week it rained. I took the opportunity to talk about how it rains a lot during the Spring so the new flowers can grow. As she was playing that day, I set up an invitation to create an umbrella. All I did was cut an umbrella shape from construction paper and laid it on the table along with her Minnie umbrella and paint.
Week Two: Bugs
Sicily really enjoyed this week. I started the week with a butterfly invitation. We had been growing butterflies and they finally made their chrysalis. I laid out the chrysalis, a painting project, What is a Butterfly by Field Productions, butterfly life cycle pieces, and a YouTube video of a butterfly time lapse.
After reading the book and watching the video, Sicily was ready to do the art project. She took the bottles of paint and squeezed them onto a butterfly cut out. Once she was finished, she folded it in half and smoothed the paint all over the butterfly. This makes the butterfly symmetrical.
The next day, we continued exploring butterflies as we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I set up this math invitation to explore. Sicily has been very interested in counting lately. She counts everything, so I thought she would enjoy this invitation.
After the story, we used the invitation to count then I left her on her own to explore. She ended up putting everything in one long line then counting. Her version of counting was to count to 3, then start over to count to 3 again. She continued in this way until she got to the end. I made note to offer more explorations like this to work on one to one correspondence. She knows how to count to 12 without quantifying objects.
We always do a sensory bin during our themes. For our Spring toddler theme, we chose a bug exploration bin. I used black beans as the base and added a bunch of plastic bugs. We had beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, a bee, and a fly in our bin. I also added tongs, a magnifying glass, a bug net, collection tubes, Bugs by Usborne, and Micro Facts Bugs by Usborne.
One of the last projects we did during our bug week was a ladybug invitation. Again, I found a time lapse of a ladybug to display, 2 ladybug books, and potato stamping as an art component. For potato stamping, I cut out 5 small holes from the potato to show up as the dots on the ladybug. Sicily loves stamping over things, so you can’t tell their were dots. I like to keep her art projects as process based as possible, so her end result didn’t look like ladybugs. This is a-okay! I don’t want to squish her creativity.
Week Three: Flowers/Gardening
This week we combined flowers with vegetable gardening since we had both to plant. At the end of the week we did a literacy connection with The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. (A post will be coming out on this next week)
We started the week by introducing two tot trays. The first was seed sorting. On a tray I laid out a cupcake pan, tongs, and a bowl of black, brown, and white seeds. I modeled how to sort the seeds by color then let her explore on her own. She started out by sorting the seeds, but the activity soon became a dump/fill activity.
The other tot tray we did this week was a fine motor activity that worked on hand-eye coordination. She had to take the flowers and place them in the holes of the colander. I didn’t model this activity since she did it last year. I wanted to see how she would explore it this year without any guidance. She actually showed no interest in this tray, and it sat on the shelf all week.
For this week, we changed out our sensory bin to a garden theme. I kept the black beans as the base and a few of the bugs. Then I added fake flowers, a shovel, and a rake.
For a bit of art, I created an invitation to create a flower with playdough. I used a flower cookie cutter to cut a few flowers. I added flat, round glass gems, and green pipe cleaners to the invitation as well.
Sicily was having a hard time this day, and in a fit of frustration over something not fitting in her bucket the way she wanted it to, she ended up tearing all the flowers into small pieces. This ended up being a great calm down tool for her, so I discovered that playdough can be a calm down option.
This is just a glimpse into The Toddler Experience Curriculum. The curriculum offers many more options for all the themes that includes activities for all the different domains and learning styles. To see more of the curriculum in action check out our Toddler Activities Page.