27 Months Old
Our Y theme has been easy to plan, which was exactly what a 36 week pregnant woman needed! Our object for the week was a yo-yo and our theme emphasis was on TOYS… which is precisely why it was so easy to plan. Like just about every family with a 2 year old, we have plenty of toys and we mostly spent our toy week playing with all kinds of fun open-ended goodies that we already own!
In general, I rotate toys to keep them fresh and exciting. For this theme, I had specific types of toys out for Rocket to discover and for us to engage together in open-ended play. As I’m sure you can imagine, a theme centered around toys simply cannot fail, and we had a blast from beginning to end!
Vocabulary Development Theme: Toys
Yo-Yo & Toy Theme Tot Trays
From left to right, top to bottom: 1. Letter Yy Printables, 2. Miscellaneous Toys Tray, 3. Worry Dolls Tonging, 4. Frog Hop, 5. Counting Bears Color Sorting, & 6. Origami & Paper Airplanes
These trays were designed to expose the following skills:
- Letter Yy Printables (Yy recognition/vocabulary exposure/using writing utensils)
- Miscellaneous Toys Tray (open-ended play)
- Worry Dolls Tonging (tonging/fine-motor skills)
- Frog Hop (fine motor skills/open-ended play)
- Counting Bears Color Sorting (sorting)
- Origami & Paper Airplanes (following instructions/open-ended play)
The first tray he pulled out was the most fitting one for this theme- the Miscellaneous Toys tray. In the center of it was a yo-yo and in the surrounding compartments, I included various toys from around the schoolroom. He had so much fun exploring them all together!
Checking out the kaleidoscope he’d gotten at a friend’s birthday party.
This was his first time playing with a yo-yo! Obviously, he is too young to make it work yet, but he sure loved swinging it around nonetheless.
The yo-yo is the only thing I had to buy for this theme. I got it at the dollar store… and it doesn’t work very well at all. Oh well!
Pulling out the string.
Worry dolls are colorful little dolls that are traditional of Guatemala. We gave them out as party favors for our wedding, since we met in a Spanish class taught by a Guatemalan native. I took out our worry dolls and arranged them on a Worry Dolls Tonging tray for Rocket. He always enjoys using tongs on new materials and I believe this was the first time he ever saw the tiny dolls.
Grabbing dolls with the tongs to transfer into the cup.
Closely examining a little worry doll.
Who needs tongs when hands can do the job?
I thought this theme was a great time to put our origami booklets to use. The Origami & Paper Airplanes tray involved a lot of parental participation, but Rocket definitely helped to smash down the creases and identify the objects once they were created!
I asked him what he wanted to make first and after flipping through the pages, he decided on the cat.
He watched intently as I started folding the cat’s face into form.
Helping me smash the folds down.
When I was done with the cat, he took it right to Dad and said, “Look what mama made!” Here he is signing “cat” while holding the origami. Meanwhile, Dad was working on a paper airplane in this shot.
The Counting Bears Color Sorting tray was another big hit. I love this set of counting bears! The ice cube tray was lined with different colored papers in each section so that he could match the bears by color.
Color sorting the bears.
When he ran out of sections, he stacked several like-colored bear in each compartment.
He faced the bears towards each other so they could talk!
We’ve had this Frog Hop game for a while (you may recognize it from previous posts), but we hadn’t brought it out in a while. Our toy theme was the perfect time to whip out this fine motor skill-enhancing game.
Making the frogs hop into the bowl.
I have a lot to say about our Letter Yy Printables tray this week. For some of our previous letters, you may remember me writing that Rocket had lost interest in these 1+1+1=1 printables we’d used throughout this alphabet unit, prefering instead to doodle on blank paper. Well, he has taken a turn back in his interests and was completely immersed in the Yy printables all week long!
I am so glad that we go by a Montessori-inspired and child-led style of educating this toddler. I can see that it has really built a strong love of learning in him and an eagerness to explore his own interests without any apprehensions. After following his cues and putting away the printables, it didn’t take long before he was ready for them again. It’s so important to pay attention to our toddlers and their needs and teach them based on their very unique patterns of learning rather than the schedule that we tend to decide they should follow.
Coloring the yo-yo.
Tracing the letter Y. Putting these printables in sheet protectors and including dry-erase markers with them is my favorite way to teach tots to write the different letters of the alphabet. Rocket recognizes most of the letters and the sounds they make at this point, so this type of tracing is the reasonable next step in learning how to write.
Toy Theme Sensory Tub
Sensory Tub Filler Material:
- Porcupine Balls
Sensory Tub Featured Items:
- Plastic Snakes
- Plastic Frogs
- Plastic Lizards
- Plastic Dinosaurs
- Plastic Fish
Sensory Tub Exploratory Tools:
- Red Tongs
- Dinosaur Scooper
- Treasure Chest
This was a sensory tub full of toys for Rocket to explore at his own leisure, using the tools in the basket.
He began by tonging porcupine balls into the treasure chest.
“Mom, is this a fish?” No, it’s a shark!
Feeding the dinosaur.
It’s pouring porcupine balls out of the dinosaur’s mouth!
The musician in this kid was quite amused to discover that rubbing the porcupine balls together makes a very distinctive sound.
Tot School Toys
This entire theme was filled with toys, but I did also scatter some special toys that had not been in rotation in a while out in the schoolroom for Rocket to discover.
Playing with one of his puzzles.
He made a special request for his foam numbers puzzle. He knows his numbers now and loves to show me!
Lining up the numbers (in no particular order).
I also tucked our foam swords in the corner of the room. We had many a sword fight after he found them!
Toy Books & Current Reading List
We found lots of books relating to toys for our schoolroom shelf this week!
Reading with Dad.
Even the dog was in on this reading session!
- Toy Boat by Randall de Seve & Loren Long
- Letters- Learning Fun For Little Ones by Scholastic, Inc.
- Dog And Bear by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
- Noodle Loves To Cuddle by Marion Billet
- Humphrey’s Bear by Jan Wahl & William Joyce
- I Can Sign! Playtime by Dr. Linda Acredolo & Dr. Susan Goodwyn
- Scuffy The Tugboat And His Adventures Down The River by Gertrude Crampton & Tibor Gergely
- Thomas The Tank Engine: Camera Tour by Artful Doodlers
- First Hundred Words by Heather Amery & Stephen Cartwright
- Thomas And The Great Race by Rev. W. Awdry & Owain Bell
- Numeros by DK Publishing
- Bathtime Peekaboo by DK Publishing
- Corduroy by Don Freeman (not pictured above)
Yo Yo Craft
Yo yo craft: side 1.
Yo yo craft: side 2.
For this theme, we made a double-sided craft. It was a giant yo-yo consisting of 2 paper plates painted by Rocket and bound together with a string coming out of the middle.
The invitation was set up like this:
The craft invitation included 2 plates to paint, various paintbrushes, paint, and a bowl of water for cleaning off the paintbrushes.
The painter in action:
He was ready to go and had actually been requesting to paint all day long!
He began painting with the wine cork.
Cleaning off a paintbrush.
Painting with primary colors.
This was the first time he really got into color mixing. He thought it was so cool that yellow and blue make green.
To tie it all together after the paper plates dried, I tied a shoestring around a styrofoam block and stuck pushpins through each paper plate to hold them onto the block.
Toy Activities & Other Fun Things
1. Wild Animals Open Play.
We brought out the jungle and safari animals for Toy Week!
The giraffes gathered together for a snack.
We sang all kinds of animal songs as we played with these together.
2. Bath Toys Open Play.
Of course, bath toys earned a special place in our toy theme.
Showing me his big boat!
3. Cupcake Baking.
I mentioned in my last post that I just had a cupcake-themed baby shower. Rocket helped with the baking!
Lining up the cupcake tray.
Showing our friend Carole how to add the sprinkles!
4. Farm Open Play.
Rocket loves his farm set! It has been out for several weeks in a row and we continued to play with it for our toy theme too.
This time, we also added a farm Lego set that had not been in rotation in a while.
Farmer Rocket keeping his animals in line.
5. Guest In The Schoolroom.
We had another guest in our schoolroom for this theme- a friend of Rocket’s who loves basketball!
He got Rocket in the mood for shooting hoops.
They took turns shooting various sized balls.
Rocket also let his friend pound on the drums!
6. Choosing A Toy.
In honor of toy week, I did something I’ve never done before- I took Rocket to a party favor store and let him choose a toy for himself. Note, I took him specifically to this particular aisle where just about everything is under a dollar! I wouldn’t make a habit of this practice, but it was fun as a once in a blue moon activity.
Because it is such an unusual thing for us to do, Rocket thought long and hard about what he wanted. He finally settled for this slinky! We took it home and matched it to the right letter on his alphabet floor puzzle.
7. Transportation Toys Open Play.
We also brought out our box of matchstick cars, airplanes, and other transportation toys. Much playtime was had during this theme!
Zooming his airplane through the air while Dad zoomed the helicopter.
Intrigued by the helicopter’s propeller.
Rocket wanted to put people in the toy cars, but realized that we were too big to fit! In came the worry dolls.
We picked out all the convertibles in our car collection so that Rocket could insert the people!
8. X-Track Open Play.
The Kidoozie X-Track that my sister got for Rocket came out of hiding for this week’s theme too. It had been a while since we played with this neat toy!
Rocket turning the switch on and off of the car while Dad built the track.
The X-Track always seems to offer such a rich father-son experience for these two!
Song Of The Week & Music Time
This may be cheating, but for our “yo-yo” theme, we listened to a lot of Yo-Yo Ma! What can I say? This kid loves the cello!
Lately, Rocket is really into the IWriteWords Lite app on my iPhone. I love it because the concept of the game is to trace letters and numbers, which is exactly where Rocket is right now developmentally.
I highly recommend this app for parents of toddlers. Oh, and did I mention- it’s free to download!
Mom’s Favorite Moments
Dad majorly trimmed his beard. Rocket inspected the results closely!
My folks bought Rocket his first real guitar! With supervision from Dad, he loves to play this thing.
He does this thing where he pretends a flat box is a bed, brings in a blanket and a throw pillow, and “goes to sleep.” He never admits he’s tired… but whenever he plays this game, the truth is obvious to us!
Putting the sound machine on my belly so that the baby can hear the heart beat.
More Tot School Resources
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