What is tot school and/or tot trays and where do I start?
Last week I posted about my very first time doing tot school for Smiley Man! I’ve had a few people ask some questions, so I wanted to give you some great websites that explain the basics of tot school and that give you lots of great ideas for tot school.
First off, I got my actual trays from Oriental Trading. I also bought 6 cookie sheets from the dollar store because I anticipate wanting to do some magnetic activities. Once I had 12 trays (6 food trays and 6 cookie sheets), I spray painted them all the same color (this is an affiliate link to the color of spray paint I used). I love the color and I especially love how they look on my black bookshelves. Unfortunately, one can of spray paint did not cover all 12 trays. I used 2 cans of spray paint and now all of my trays are covered. Also, spray painting outside in 5 degree weather does not make for the best drying results. ;) Now, more information and ideas for tot school and tot trays.
*Update 8/16/2014* I have now been doing tot trays with Smiley Man for 1 1/2 years, which means I have tons of tot trays ideas. Check out all of my tot trays/tot school posts. I also now have a complete curriculum which includes tot trays and more. I made it specifically for toddlers, but it can easily be adapted for preschoolers. Smiley Man loves it!
I am pretty sure that Carisa over at 1+1+1=1 was the first person to coin the phrase “tot school” and “tot trays.” She has so many amazing resources on her website to get you started with tot trays. Here is her original Behind the Scenes – Tot Trays post. She has ideas by ages, Tot Books and Tot Packs, and a great Tot School FAQ page. If you want to get started with tot school, I would definitely check this blog first.
The Princess and the Tot has some really creative tot trays that she does for tot school. Her tot is a boy and she has some really fun trays with boyish activities. Her son is much older than Smiley Man so I have to go back pretty far in her blog’s history to find any tot trays that would work for Smiley, but her ideas are great.
This website has some pretty awesome ideas for tot trays. They even have a website that sells learning kits.
Playing House in Maryland is another one of my favorite websites for tot trays. She has so many ideas that I will definitely be using for inspiration.
Train Up a Child has some fantastic tot tray ideas that are much more crafty and artistic than others. I’m not exactly the most artistic person in the world so I need all the help I can get when it comes to artsy tot trays.
This website has SO many tot tray ideas. Her daughter is quite a bit older than Smiley Man so I do have to go back a ways to find ideas that I can use, but there are so many ideas.
Be sure to demonstrate to your child how to use each tray before letting your child use the tray. Demonstrate one tray at a time. Start by showing your child how to pick up the tray and carry it to their work table or a rug. Demonstrate how to use the tray step-by-step. Demonstrate how to clean up the tray and then demonstrate taking the tray back to the bookshelf. Remember to include carrying the tray to and from the bookshelf as part of the instructions because otherwise, you will have chaos. I demonstrate how to complete each tray during the weekend. I only demonstrate a few at a time so that Smiley Man doesn’t get confused. I show Smiley how to complete each tray, but he may not work on the trays except during school time.
Hopefully this information and these websites will help to answer some of your questions about tot school and tot trays. Hopefully they will give you lots of ideas for tot trays. If you have any specific questions, please email me at [email protected] and I will happily answer as best I can. Don’t forget to check out Smiley Man’s winter tot trays. Good luck with tot school!
Love, love this post! Love the spray painted cookie sheets! He is so cute!
Thank you! We’re glad you liked it!
Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Tots last week! I will be featuring your post on In Lieu of Preschool this week: http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/2013/01/resources-for-home-school.html (link will be live 1/22). Please feel free to stop by and grab a featured button! Off to pin your post. Thanks again for sharing on Tuesday Tots. :)
Thank you so much! We really appreciate the feature!
Thanks for the link! I’m glad you like my site. I finally got around to going back and categorizing all of my posts by age. I have a menu bar at the top that lists toddler, preschool, kindergarten and elementary. Here is a link to a list of posts I think would be suitable (or could be adapted) for toddlers. I hope that helps you: http://totschool.shannons.org/category/activitesbyage/toddler/
You are welcome! Also, thank you for the toddler category link. I’ll definitely take a look!
What a wonderful post! Thank you for the feature and the kind words. Your tot is such a cutie! Best of luck as you have fun educating your little one.
Thank you for stopping by! We really appreciated the information on your blog!
That little guy looks pretty engaged. What a cutie
Love the post. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Thank you for including us in this list! Your words are too kind. I am inspired by you and the activities you plan all the time. :)
You are welcome!
I think we were reading each other’s posts at the exact same time! Love this post! I just stumbled across it on pinterest. :)
Thank you for posting “How to Start Tot School – Moms Have Questions Too”.
I reallymight definitely wind up being back for a lot more reading through
and commenting shortly. Thanks a lot, Emory
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