Tot School: Goat Week

by Melanie on April 26, 2013

18 Months Old


Our home has been sounding a lot like a farm lately. Rocket really likes to make animal noises… and hey, so do Mom & Dad! If it make him scrunch his little nose up in a cute pig snort, we’re all about it.

Some of our most-read board books of all time are about farm animals. So he went into this week already knowing most of the farm animal names, but he still learned new words like barn and farmer. And he has a big thing for tractors right now! Actually, he has a big thing for cars in general. And trucks. And trains. And airplanes. And boats. …and everything that goes!

Letter: Gg

Object: Goat                                                  

Vocabulary Development Theme: Farm

Color: Brown

 What’s on the tot trays?



Left to right, top to bottom: 1. Fisher-Price Piggy Bank, 2. Letter Gg Printables, 3. Farm Animal Matching, 4. Popsicle Stick Color Matching, 5. Pouch Top Basketball, & 6. Lacing Goat

  1. Fisher Price Piggy Bank (dexterity/fine motor skills)
  2. Letter Gg Printables (Gg recognition/vocabulary exposure/using writing utensils)
  3. Farm Animal Matching (matching/sorting)
  4. Popsicle Stick Color Matching (matching/small spaces)
  5. Pouch Top Basketball (aim)
  6. Lacing Goat (stringing)

The Fisher Price Piggy Bank had to come out for farm week. As always, he loved it! He even brought his pouch of coins (from our brown hunt; read below) to this tray to find out what it’s like putting real coins in the toy piggy bank.



Inspecting the animal picture on the toy coin.

 When he got tired of putting the coins into the piggy bank, he balanced them carefully between his toes instead!




“Look what I did, Mom!”

And when that got old, he balanced them between my toes too!


He also brought the real coins to the pouch cap basketball tray. I’d included pouch caps for him to throw into the miniature basketball cornhole game, but he preferred throwing the coins instead. That was perfectly okay with me!

You can see a car in his hand in the picture below. He’s been inseparable from his cars all week.


The farm animal matching tray was a last-minute idea I’d thrown together on Sunday night. I drew different farm animals on clear, plastic tape and stuck the pictures in the different sections of a paint tray. Rocket learned how to identify the plastic farm animal toys and match them to the pictures. As you can see below, he did it with his new favorite tow truck in hand! I told you he’s been inseparable from his cars all week.



You know the coins I’ve mentioned in every single tray activity so far? Well, he brought them to this tray too!


He didn’t spend too much time on his printables this week. In fact, he barely touched them. I think he only worked on them three times total, and not for very long. That’s perfectly okay with me! We did so much hands-on playing with his other trays that the printables just weren’t necessary. I never push him to do the printables, or any tray for that matter, if he clearly isn’t interested. I believe that tot school should always be fun and led by the child.

The photos below are of one of the few times he asked to do the printables.


Pressing stickers down using a pen!


Trying to decide which utensil to use.

He tried the lacing goat once, but got bored with it quickly and moved on to something else.


I introduced a popsicle stick color matching activity and it was a big hit with Rocket. The lid of the container has 3 holes- 1 with a red border, 1 with a green border, and 1 with a blue border.

By the end of the week, he was matching the popsicle sticks by the color code I’d drawn around the slots.

Here are some action shots. He did not stack the popsicle sticks there; that was definitely me!



Oops, his diaper is falling off! That happens sometimes around here.


What’s in the sensory tub?



  • Green plastic grass (representing grass)
  • Blue plastic grass (representing water)
  • Mulch pieces
  • Plastic farm animals

Let me go ahead and get this out of the way…

This sensory tub was an EPIC FAIL! Seriously, it was his least favorite sensory tub EVER. After Easter, I snagged some plastic grass on sale for something like a dime per bag. I thought it was a great idea for a cheap, easy sensory tub filler material. But Rocket HATED the plastic grass.

He got very annoyed with its stringy texture and frustrated with trying to untangle it. While he did enjoy the plastic animals in the tub, he got upset with the stray plastic grass around them and asked me to take it off. The grass deterred him from visiting the tub as often as he does most weeks.

I was very disappointed, but now I know not to use this as a tub filler for him any time soon!


Trying to decide what he thinks of the plastic grass…

I realized later on that I’d forgotten to include tools for exploring the tub. I thought maybe if I added some tools, he might like it better. So I added:

  • Tongs
  • A bowl

It did increase his activity with the tub, but not by much.



Signing “duck” the backwards way. 🙂


  What other toys were in the schoolroom?



That colorful alphabet block behind Rocket is actually a giant alphabet floor puzzle!

I was so stoked when I found it, complete with all the letters and numbers, at a thrift store for 5 bucks! I was so pleased to add it to our schoolroom and have a jumbo, tangible visual of the different letters as we learn them.

I also set out the two farm puzzles that we own.

The electronic toy pictured above was only in the schoolroom for one day before I moved it out to the living room. I try to keep the room clear of electronic toys because they can be so distracting, but I’d made an exception that day.

Since Rocket’s new thing is transportation, I also had to keep a few cars out for him to drive across the carpet. And across the carpet, they were driven alright!





Some other schoolroom toys.

He also did some more money-saving with his dino-bank. Coins were kind of a big deal this week!


    The Reading List



Many of these books are from our own personal collection. Many others are newly borrowed from the library. We spent a lot of time reading about farm life this week.

His farm animal reading list included:

  1. G is for Goat by Patricia Polloco
  2. Quack Like A Duck by Simms Taback
  3. Piggies by Audrey Wood & Don Wood
  4. Llama Llama, Hoppity Hop by Anna Dewdney
  5. Puppies & Kittens by DK Publishing
  6. Baby Animals by Priddy Books
  7. Farm by Christiane Gunzi
  8. Baby’s First Library: Farm by Yoyo Books
  9. Old MacDonald by Rosemary Wells
  10. What Do Rabbits Do? by Dee Phillips


 Reading the goat book. I told you Rocket couldn’t put his cars down this week!


 Arts & Crafts


We did a neat art project I found on No Time For Flashcards: animal track painting.

It involved dipping different plastic farm animals by the feet into paint and walking them across the canvas. Rocket got very artistic and deep in concentration for this one, making “oink oink” noises as he rolled the pig around on the paper!


Choosing an animal.


Examining his piggy “paintbrush.”






       Rolling the pig around.


Ooh, paint is messy!


 What else did we do?


1) Vocabulary Magnet Play.

Rocket played with his farm magnets while I did my kitchen housework. He can identify and name each one of them and is always very eager to show me what he knows, even if I’m glancing over my shoulder while doing dishes!

As I’m cooking or cleaning, I ask him questions like “Where is the animal that says meow?” He points at it when he finds it and then I ask him something new. This process keeps him occupied and learning while my hands are tied up getting dinner made!


2. Petting Zoo Field Trip.

We paid the goats a special visit at the zoo this week.

Here is Rocket showing the other kiddos how to pet the goat. What a pro!


3) Brown Hunt & Play.

This week, I exposed Rocket to the color brown with a quick hunt around the house. We found several brown blocks, a potato, and a brown coin purse filled with my childhood coin collection. The blocks were old news to him, but the potato and the coin collection received some serious scrutiny. The potato got thrown around the room like a ball and the coin collection is the same one that he’s been incorporating into all his trays this week!


A potato in one hand and a car in the other.


4) Farm Animal Swim.

I brought some farm animals out to the water table to spice up our outdoor sensory play. This table is set up right outside the kitchen door, where I am just a few feet away doing dishes while also supervising. Needless to say, this table has worked wonders for keeping him busy during kitchen cleanup!






Our song of the week shouldn’t be too hard to guess: “Old MacDonald Had A Farm”!

We had so much fun singing this classic tune over and over again. He blurts out the animal noise the moment I reveal which animal Old MacDonald had. So our singing goes something like this:

Mom: Old MacDonald had a cow-”


And he moos through the song until we get to the chorus, during which he sings, “E-I-E-I-E-I-OOO!”

Rocket knows all the common farm animal sounds and like most children, he loves to show off what he knows. That makes this one of his favorite songs! We’ve been singing it at home, in the car, on walks with dad, before bedtime, every chance we get.

We also did some keyboard playing, at Rocket’s request (it is stored in a corner in our living room where he can easily see it).



 Videos & Technology


We are cycling through Baby Signing Time for what seems like the 10th time. We will soon be moving on to the children’s version- Signing Time- so we can learn some new words! And by “we,” I do mean both of us.

Baby Signing Time, Volume 3: A New Day.


 Mom’s Favorite Moments


Rocket & I got to go to the zoo with a very special guest… Dad! I’m so grateful for my supportive and hard-working husband to sacrifice so much so that I can stay at home and do all that I do with our son. It’s not often that he has the time and energy for a trip to the zoo, so this weekend was an incredible treat for us all.


We melted to puddles when Rocket leaned over and gave this baby gorilla a sweet little kiss on the head!


“Ama!” Rocket said when he saw this polar bear rolling in the dirt like our dog does. Her name is Harmony, but we have all adopted Rocket’s version lately and she knows that she is Ama!



“Watch the road, SON!”




And Rocket got to go to the zoo with O Pho, his grandma, too!


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