The Beginning of Tot School

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Summer recently turned 10 months old.  She loves exploring her surroundings, analyzing toys and trying to keep up with her older sister, Abby.  

happy girl 

For a few months now, I've noticed Summer's increased curiosity towards Abby's preschool activities.  She is drawn to Abby's colorful sensory bins, books and learning toys.  We've always tried to accommodate her fascination by including her in baby friendly activities, making time each day to intentionally play with her from the start.  Of course, it certainly helps that Abby has been so enthusiastic sharing her time, attention and toys with her little sister.  During St. Patrick's Day, I put together a discovery bottle filled with pom poms and confetti for both color and sound.  She loved it!   You can read about her first discovery bottle here.  At that point, I knew that she was ready for something new and exciting, I just wasn't sure what.

summer collage 2

Thinking back to when I first began doing preschool at home with Abby, I remembered Tot School.  She had just turned 3 and I loved the idea.  However, I felt completely overwhelmed with all the information.  I had never heard of the Montessori Method and I just felt lost in translation.  We did Tot School for a few months before moving on to more challenging work.  Here's a complete collection (many of my very first posts) of our Tot School journey with Abby.  I say all this because I am technically brand new to the whole idea and learning as I go.  And while I know Summer is still fairly young, I want to nurture her fascination and help her grow in many areas.

So, here's what our set up looked like.  It was very basic and complimented Abby's theme which was The Five Senses.  You can read about her week here.  I cleared off a few shelves of a bookshelf in the girls' room for her discovery baskets, nothing fancy, then let her explore.

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Here's a closer look at each basket and how she played with each of the items.

She went for her touch and feel board books, first.  Each book has different textures for her to feel and introduces basic colors.  She loves looking through books and also being read to.  I try to give Abby a 15 minute quiet reading time each day and she usually chooses to "read" to Summer.

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Then, she went for the animals.  I gave her a mixture of farm animals, some I got from Target (a few years ago) that had a sound button and others that were a gift.

Lately, she's been interested in taking things out of a container and putting them right back in.  This was no exception.  Abby joined in by naming each animal and making the animal sound, which Summer thought was pretty funny. :-)

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A set of maracas...

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She enjoyed shaking, banging and making lots of LOUD music.

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And, Tobbles for stacking...

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Abby and I made colorful towers for Summer to knock over, but then she decided to try and stack one or two herself.

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My girl loves being outside!  

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And, she also explored Gak!  She wasn't too sure what to make of it, but banging her hand on it and pulling it apart seemed to interest her the most.  Here's a detailed post on how to make it!

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Items We Used This Week


  1. AnonymousJune 02, 2013

    Summer in Tot School, wow, I can't believe she is growing up so fast. She is adorable! It looks like she is enjoying herself. I love the pictures. Very good work, Tara!

    1. Thank you for the kind words. She is growing so fast and seemed to enjoy her time each day. Even more so when Abby joined us. :-)

  2. How fun :) I love it. I have an 8 month old and we have been exploring lot's of baby time too :) I hope you will come by for a visit

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your ideas! The more I get the better. :-)

  3. She is so very, very cute! What a wonderful week of fun learning!

    1. Thank you. I think it was a successful week.

  4. Your girls are adorable, and you are doing a great job on keeping them busy.

    1. Thank you! I love watching them learn through playtime.

  5. I love this post -- such a sweet way to organize little toys -- it's amazing how the display of things can keep children engaged! -Amy

    1. Thank you, Amy! You're right, I think it's very important to present toys in a fun way to draw interest and keep them excited...otherwise it doesn't feel new and special.

  6. Oh I am really gonna have to check out more of the tot school posts. These looked like some great activities for my 2 year old. He is super busy!

    Thanks for visiting me at prelude to home. And your girls are precious :)

    1. Thank you so much, Shana! I hope you can find some wonderful ideas to use with your son.

  7. I love this idea! I can't wait to try it with my baby boy! =)

    1. Thanks, Jaclyn! I'm sure he will have a great time with it.