Friday, 25 April 2014

Farm themed Toddler Activities for Tot School

Farm themed toddler activities
Because of this move, I have been having a major case of 'mommy guilt', and have been feeling like I am seriously neglecting the Toddler. We have had so much to do, so much family time spent on packing and moving rather than focusing on the kiddo and enjoying each other's company. And then, I started putting this post together, and realised... we actually did get stuff done! 

Granted, a lot of the themed tot school activities were done within the course of two days, I am still really proud that we worked on them! It's been such a hectic few weeks, and I will be so glad once we are able to get back into the swing of things and having our normal schedule again. While we did get quite a lot done, I still really feeling this nagging guilt for providing less nutritious meals, barely spending any time playing on the floor with the Toddler, and letting him watch several movies while I packed up remaining boxes or helped Hubby load the car for yet another trip to his mom's. 

Enough complaining, right? I mean, an off week is okay! On the positive side of things - I am really looking forward to setting up Montessori friendly spaces for the Toddler at my in laws, and then at our new home! I will have to be really creative during our in-between-houses-construction-time period, but I do have a few ideas, and cannot wait to share our new set up - whatever it will be! The new house, well, I'm just going to go wild there. Hubby knows and I will pretty much have decorating/setup free reign. I only have a million and one ideas for our new home! Alrighty, now that I've given myself a little pep talk, we should really get into today's topic: our Farm Themed Tot School Activities.

Field trip

Our week started off with a field trip. Hubby and I took the Toddler to a local petting zoo last Saturday as part of our Easter-y celebration as we were moving on the day of. We used this trip as a learning opportunity and practiced speech, the names of different animals, and the sounds they make. We also made sure to get in loads of fun running, playing with some other children, and we may have let the Toddler have his first taste of a frozen yogurt.  

The Toddler had so much fun and learned the sounds that cows, goats, and sheep make! 

Math and Matching

A little while ago, I stopped by a lovely little second hand shop and picked up a few tot school materials. I brought out this set of farm animals (which cost all of fifty cents!) and made a matching game out of them. 

I set it up so the larger animals were in the tray, and smaller animals in a wooden box on the side. The goal was for the Toddler to match the smaller ones to the larger ones. 

Psst! Can you tell that a Toddler has access to the tray? See those lovely scribbles? Everything is a canvas apparently. At least, I already had plans to paint this so no big deal. 

We used the same idea to match the wooden lacing animals. 

We also used both sets (wooden and plastic animals) to practice the names of the animals and the sounds they make. 

Sensory play

We set up several farm themed sensory activities that you can read about in my Farm Themed Toddler Activities post. Our favourite was this real grass sensory bin: 

We used some homemade mud play dough and rosemary twigs for trees, oats for chicken feed, and put the pigs in some coffee grounds as dirt. 

Scooping work happened, of course! 

And then it was destroyed! 

Final result: 

I also set up this oats bin: 

 Oops. We cleaned it up, and put down a small rug. 

That's better! 

Practical life

I think this should to be a post of it's own, but I'll try to keep it short. We love practical life activities! I cannot explain to you how excited the Toddler gets when he accomplishes these activities, but it's really, really excited! He just loves to be an independent little guy, and I love seeing the pride he takes in gettings things done on his own! 

The Toddler has been hating brushing his teeth lately. To make it a little bit more fun for him, I thought I would make a tot school activity out of it and presented his teeth brushing 'tools' like this: 

...and we had success! He walked over to the tray, unscrewed the cap to the tooth paste, and very carefully tried to get the toothpaste onto the brush. And even processed to brush his teeth! I sat down on the couch during this process and didn't say a thing. He did it all on his own! Since then, we have been using this set up every morning and evening. 

We do not have a toddler friendly bathroom set up at the moment, but once we are at our in laws, and then afterwards in our new house, I am definitely setting up a space in the bathroom for him to be able to reach all of these items on his own, which I think would be better for his independence/confidence. 

More egg peeling with success!

After peeling the eggs, he likes to squeeze them until they break in half. Then he eats only the egg whites and tries to feed me the yolks. 

Other activities we have been working on - getting dressed on his own. Not only did I have him participate more activity in getting dressed/undressed, but we also worked on a lacing activity, featuring our farm animals theme.


No action shots here - I had to help him. He loves trying though. This toy has actually been out for a while for free play, but sparked little interest. He recently started showing interest in trying to do this on his own during free play, so I set it up for us to practice together. He got the shoelace through the holes successfully on the first try, but can't pull the string through - it falls out! That's what we practiced - pulling the string through the holes. He got it a few times, but we will be continuing to work on lacing. 

One thing that I love is getting the Toddler to help with cooking. While packing our pantry, I found a bag of whole wheat flour and let him have a go at some pretend cooking/sensorial fun. 

The Toddler loved it, and was absolutely exhausted after finishing up this activity. So he kindly headed towards the door to go upstairs... covered in flour, leaving little foot prints all over the dining room. See the evidence of naughty-ness:

And that's all folks! Not too shabby given how busy we were. I actually didn't plan on doing anything for Tot School this week. However, the trip to the farm really inspired us! The Toddler had so much fun that I wanted to continue the learning at home. I packed up most of his toys this week with the exception of the animal related ones that we used in 'school'. Aside from our school activities, we really didn't do much of anything else besides packing. I realised that we read a grand total of zero books this week. I guess making items fit into boxes can also be educational...? What do you think? 

Let's end with some more questions! 

  • Have you ever felt that nagging 'mommy guilt'? 
  • Do you compare yourself to other parents? 
  • What are some ways that you are able to feel better? 

I've been trying to focus on the things that we did get done rather than what we didn't. This week has made me realise that I am a bit on the 'obsessive' side when it comes to my son - I don't really think people can take care of him to my (perhaps unrealistic) expectations, including myself. Does that make any sense? Probably not. I think I need to relax a bit. I spy a Mommy day off in my future, perhaps spent picking out paint samples! 

As always for our Tot School activities, I am linking up at the Tot School Gathering Place, hosted by Carisa at 1plus1plusequals1, and the Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop!

Thank you for stopping by!