10 Tot School Ideas for 9-12 months

Tiny Tot School Ideas for Ages 9-12 Months

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Tot School is simply playing with your tot!  The name came from my son many years ago, but don’t let the term “school” fool you, it most certainly is not school in the traditional form.  It is simply exposing early learning skills through focused play with your tot, something parents have been doing for many, many years!  I am a firm believer in developmentally appropriate practice and letting kids grow and develop at their pace, not pushing education too soon.  However, it is usually the MOM who needs an actual plan, idea list, or even a program to follow. For those of you who love to gather ideas for playing with your tot, I am sharing several posts in a series, broken down by ages. Many have asked for this, and finally I am taking the time to do it!

See our other posts in this series…

Tot School Ideas for 12-18 Months

All ideas are presented with the understanding that you are playing WITH your baby, these are not all independent activities as some of the items are choking hazards. Please only use ideas that you feel comfortable with and feel you can ensure your tot’s safety.

1. Homemade Shakers

We made shakers out of breast milk bottles, they were slim and perfect for her little hands. I made about 6 different bottles, each with something different inside. We used: googly eyes, beads, mini erasers, plastic hearts, beans, and rice.  You can use anything, just seal the lid tightly! Ladybug used these from about 9 months until she was over 2, they were a long time favorite! See our Tot School post sharing these here.

Tiny Tot School Homemade Shakers 9-12 months


2. Exploring Ping Pong Balls

This was one of my fondest Tiny Tot School memories!  We gave her ping pong balls to explore when she was 11 months old and she was hooked!  We had more fun with a few ping pong balls, see what else we used with the ping pong balls here in our Tot School post!

Tiny Tot School Ping Pong Balls 9-12 months


3. Exploring Bells

Another fond memory from Tiny Tot School was seeing her explore bells! When she was 10 months old I gave her these large bells and she was fascinated. We did many different things with the bells; adding in paper towel tubes, string, baskets, and more to add to the fun.  See all we did here in our Tot School post.

Tiny Tot School Bells 9-12 months


3. Exploring String

Something as simple as string can provide many learning opportunities for a young tot!  We played with string a lot when Ladybug was this age.  She was fascinated by it. See how we played with it in our Tot School post here.

Tiny Tot School  Exploring String 9-12 months


4. In and Out

Such a fascinating concept for babies ~ IN and OUT!  We used many different objects to let her explore this concept and one of her very favorites was using Zoobs {shown below}. We used all sorts of recycled containers and items to transfer.  This idea was featured in this Tot School post.

Tiny Tot School In and Out 9-12 months


5. Metal Bowls

Adding metal bowls to Ladybug’s play was a big deal, mostly due to the loud noise they make.  She is a very sensitive child at age 4 now and I am constantly exposing her to different sensory experiences to help her.  I remember how she reacted to this bowl the first time and it foreshadowed what was to come with my sensitive girl. Some babies LOVE the loud noise metal makes {Krash}, and others are apprehensive {Ladybug}. Early sensory experiences like this are great for either type of baby.  You can see she was putting her shakers in the bowl this day.

Tiny Tot School Metal Bowls 9-12 months


6. Chunky Puzzles

We only had a few chunky puzzles like this but she loved them and used them for a long time.  They were a great introduction to puzzles and were durable to last!  See our Tot School post featuring this photo!

Tiny Tot School Chunky Puzzles 9-12 months


7. Exploring Cups

We all have cups!  She loved our Ikea cups in particular and played with them a lot! Many of the best early learning toys are already in your house!

Tony Tot School Cups 9-12 months


8. Wedgits

Krash actually got Wedgits for his 4th birthday but it was Ladybug who was just 1 who LOVED them.  The little white pieces were the perfect size for her hands and she loved the challenge of getting them to fit in the green pieces.  Although not a typical young tot toy, this is one you can get early and use for a long time! Here’s the Tot School post this photo is from.

Tiny Tot School Wedgits 9-12 months


9. Plastic Eggs

{& Easter grass if you feel brave}

Oh my did she ever have fun with the Easter grass and plastic eggs!  Yes, it made a mess, but her joy and intensity was well worth it!  Such a great sensory experience for young tots, just make sure they don’t eat it!  She wasn’t a mouth-er so it wasn’t a big deal for us.  See the Tot School post for more photos!

Tiny Tot School Easter Grass 9-12 months Tiny Tot School Plastic Eggs 9-12 months


10. Bean Bags

My mom made our bean bags, but any set will do.  She loved these from the first time we gave them to her.  The weight, the beans to squish, and the way she could grip them well made bean bags a good choice. Another item that lasts a long time, we now use them for letter games! Here’s the Tot School post this photo is from.

Tiny Tot School Bean Bags 9-12 months

During this age period, I kept things VERY simple.  I only brought out one “new” thing per week, it wasn’t a great deal of thought or effort to be honest.

I created a simple PDF file featuring all of the images from this post on one page.  Back when we were Tot Schooling, I loved to have lists I could refer back to.

You can download the Tot School ideas for Ages 9-12 months here!

More ideas for this age group from around the web ~

Looking for more ideas, be sure to grab our Where to Begin with Tot School eBook for free here! In the eBook you will find pages with different ages and ideas for that age group!

Tot School Ideas By Ages

~ Coming Soon ~

Tot School Ideas for 24-30 Months

Tot School Ideas for 30-36 Months

Tot School Ideas for 3-4 Years

In the meantime, you can visit our Tot School Ideas by Ages!