Monday, August 12, 2013

Toddler Learning!

There are different schools of thought on teaching young ones.  But I have a toddler (2.5 yo) that will be a part of our homeschool days when we start in September.  She lives here and we do school here.  That means we have to have a way that she is not a continual distraction with her cuteness and antics.  Enter tot trays and busy bags.  I've been a fan of tot trays for years (and actually modify them for use with my older kids too) but I've never really looked at busy bags.  They are essentially the same theory followed thru in different ways.

Tot trays are trays (it's not just a clever name) of things that address a certain skill.  I make up several each week and then the child gets to choose which ones to work on.  She might get to scoop and pour from a conatiner of beans, or match bolts to matching nuts and screw them on, or cut up a bunch of scraps of paper.  The supplies are all "organized" in a closet but I build the trays themselves weekly (or every other week).  Here is a blog that fabulously displays what tot trays can be...the possibilities are ENDLESS!  I got all my starting ideas from her and go back for inspiration from time to time.

In my mind, busy bags are different in that the activity is completely put together...with all required supplies and ready to roll.  They are stored in gallon sized zipper bags and you just pull one and go.  I am currently obsessed with busy bags and my pinterest board is getting filled with ideas...again, possibilities are endless!

Recently, our homeschool group had a busy bag swap.  We signed up and each made enough of the same busy bag to share with everyone there (9 plus one cool mom made two so we'd all have 10 bags to take home including our own).  We gave an example of how our busy bag works and what the targeted skills were (most were pretty cut and dry since they are for 2-4 year olds-HA!).  It was GREAT!  And I can't wait for the next one.

So one of the moms already posted a great run down of the busy bags we each got (and somehow I missed picking one of them up) but we've had a great time with them already.  There were things the Princess did that surprised me too....She correctly sorted colors (did not expect that)....she liked the jingle bells in that one and after she sorted she shook the egg carton and let the jingle bells do their thing.  :)

doing the color sort busy  bag.  She thinks its awesome fun and loves the jingle bells in there.

practicing putting clothes on a clothesline.  She has trouble with the clothespin....I think I need to put stickers where she needs to pinch.  (yes she is wearing shorts and a cape!  She also runs thru the house with her hands in the air yelling "up way")

Funny faces busy bag.  She just takes things off and puts them on this one....
Not a busy bag but she was SO proud of her art on the fridge.
She has changed and grown so much in the last 9 months or so.  
Can't wait to get out the rest of them....make more....and have another swap!

One "bonus" photo/idea.  I was trying to decide how to store these bags so they aren't sliding all over and are easy to get to and I know what I've got.  I have a small home and 4 kids and we do school at the kitchen table.  There is a small closet there that we use for arts/crafts supplies....and it is full.  BUT I had an old tension rod lying around and a facebook friend shared with me her kids sized pants hangers and....
Voila!  Busy bag storage!  YAY!

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