Learning with Ladybug ~ Age 4y, 4.5m


Welcome to our weekly preschool at home blog feature, Learning with Ladybug!  As you probably know, I scrapped our preschool plan and built a new one based around our current needs. 

We have a few main preschool categories, you can read the entire plan here, I will break my weekly posts down by category so you can see what she did each week within a certain area. If we have a letter focus, I will do a separate post to make searching easier.  I will do the same for any themes we do.

See our entire Home Preschool Plan here!

Spielgaben ~ Play Based Learning

Again,  Spielgaben has been so much fun! We used set one, the cotton balls, all week. She was joyful and engaged with every activity we did! our first activity was creating spikey creations, which she LOVED!

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Even Krash came and joined the fun!

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I chose a few of the worksheets that featured the balls and we did them in a hands on way together.  This one worked on counting, and recreating the images…

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Putting the items back is a learning activity in itself!

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She had some free play with the toys as well, this is one of her creations, she said it was a mansion.

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FYI ~ I am not being paid at all to continue to share about Spielgaben, I was given the set to review and write one post {this one}.  What you will see from here on out is just because we are loving it so much!

Messy Fun

We have always had lots of messy fun but I am making it a more intentional part of our plan.  Almost all of my ideas are pinned here on my Sensory play board.  I am trying to have one planned messy creation experience per week, even if it just making a new batch of something we’ve already done. 

This wee we tried something new, Squishy Baff!  I picked this up at Target on major clearance on a whim a few weeks ago, knowing we would never use it in a bath, but thinking it would be a fun sensory experience!  Boy was I right!  She LOVED it!

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We only used about 1/16 of the entire package, so even at full price this is a good investment for a sensory play item you can use several times.

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We played with the batch many times over the week!

All By Myself Preschool Boxes

She spends about an hour in the afternoon playing with her boxes. Usually this hour starts right after lunch, but if she wants to play messy stuff first, I let her.  I am basically requiring her to float between her boxes or the messy play table, or if she wants to be difficult, she can take a nap.  I sneak in to snap photos, but mostly she plays alone.  Sometimes she comes to get me to show me something too.

All By Myself Preschool Boxes Aug 2013

In her 5 small sensory bins this week: bird seed, bow tie pasta, fish rocks, small cardboard tubes, mini foam shapes.

Favorite: bird seed {and also messiest!}

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I didn’t get too many action shots this week, I only count 3 different days, must have been busy with the boys! Here’s what I did catch…

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She LOVED this week’s books, I chose almost all bug books, and she was thrilled! She spent much of her time reading this week!

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Favorite items this week: Animal Train, Cookie Game, dice, lacing beads, books and 24 piece puzzles

See all items that rotate through our boxes here!

All the Rest

B is for Behavior!  Integrity Time was fun and simple again this week!

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We had a small minis lesson about how our behavior is a CHOICE.

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She loved dancing to the songs!

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I have decided she is a bit young to focus on one song per week, and instead we are using  Questions with Answers 1: God & Creation as our background music during much of our quiet and play time.  She calls it her “Bible verse songs” and is slowly learning the words.  Already they have sparked awesome spontaneous discussion, mostly with her asking questions!  I am so glad I decided to use this CD for her this year!

We have been adding to our active play toy selection over the years and she really likes one of our new additions, the balance board.

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See our LETTER L work here, and our Lalaloopsy fun, it was done this same week as what you see above!

Home Preschool Letter L Lalaloopsy Preschool Fun


Visit Preschool Corner to see more home preschool families!

What’s in the Preschool Box? {Week 1}

All By Myself Preschool Boxes

Real all about our All by Myself Preschool boxes here, and find a free download for the box labels.  There’s even a video in the post sharing more!  Links to what tubs we use, and the general plan for these boxes is all in that post!

All By Myself Preschool Quiet Time Boxes

See a master list of toys, printables and items that rotate through our boxes here!


Ladybug is currently 4 years & 4 months old, this was what was in her boxes recently…

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Monday’s Box ~ 2 board books, 1 puzzle, 2 Little People animals, purple fish rocks in the sensory tub, wooden beads and a string already started for her to make a necklace, Moon Balance Game, Opposite Matching Puzzles, Who Lives Where? Game, Color Puzzles.

Favorites ~  fish rocks, bead necklace, Who Lives Where animal pieces.



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Tuesday’s Box ~ 2 board books, 1 puzzle, 3 Little People Animals, Cotton Balls in the sensory tub, Color Cubes, Word Puzzles, Interlox.

Favorites ~ color cubes, cotton balls



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Wednesday’s Box ~ 2 board books, 1 puzzle, mini erasers in the pink bin, an animal, Pom Pom Numbers, make a bead necklace, Shape Tracers, Feel and Find, Ping Pong Colors

Favorites ~ mini erasers, pom pom numbers, bead necklace



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Thursday’s Box ~ 2 board books, 1 puzzle, small animals, counting bears, stacking cups, number puzzles, ABC magnetic fishing set from the Grasshopper Preschool prep Alphabet Kit, How Does Max Feel? book, green rice in the sensory bin.

Favorites ~ How Does Monkey Feel, rice, counting bears.




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Saturday’s Box ~ 2 books, 1 puzzle, animals, Scrabble ABC Soup, Unifix Cubes, number dominoes, number clip cards, rocks in the sensory bin.

Favorites ~ Animals book, rocks, Scrabble ABC Soup


All By Herself…

A few action shots {I am not playing with her, so I usually just sneak in and grab one or two photos while she is playing independently!}  I love to see what she is doing!

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I am not planning on sharing the bin contents each week, mostly action shots, but I thought a few people might like to see an entire week of bins at once.

See more home preschool fun here!

What’s in the Preschool Box ~ Master List

All By Myself Preschool Boxes

I created a separate webpage with a master list of all items I have on hand to choose from for our All By Myself Preschool boxes. Keep in mind, I have tons of stuff, way more than anyone needs.  I have accumulated it through my teaching days, generous donations from friends and grandparents, and blog review items.  I have purchased VERY little on this list!

I hope you find this list helpful as you search your own house for fun items, look for things to print and create, or add to Christmas or Birthday lists for your child!

Many of our ABC toys and puzzles are sorted out by letter for our ABC Collections, so you won’t see those on my list, but can see those here.  They would be great for boxes also, if you don’t do the ABC baskets like we do.

The webpage is sorted into 3 categories…

  • Toys, Games, Puzzles
  • Sensory Items
  • Printables

See our “What’s in the Box?” master list here!

All By Myself Preschool Boxes

All By Myself Preschool Boxes

Part of our new Preschool plan is the use of our new “All By Myself Boxes.”  I have seen the concept of Quiet Time Boxes for many years but not until now did I think the concept was a good fit for us. As I evaluated Ladybug’s list and prayed about following her lead, I kept coming back to this idea.  So, I created them! It seemed to be perfect timing for her, I will share our first week in another post, and in this post I will share the behind the scenes management and set up process! There’s a video at the bottom for those of you who want an even deeper look!

{disclaimer ~ there are affiliate links in this post}

Our Current Plan…

We homeschool 5 days a week, M-Th and Saturday {our family day is Friday}, so I got 5 of the same boxes. I chose these from Walmart because they are big enough {15 Qt} and she can open and close them independently.

I made labels for the bins, you are welcome to use them too, here’s the PDF file.

Daily Box Labels

Credit for the beautiful Chevron goes to Emily Wean Graphics!  I printed ours on cardstock, laminated, cut out, rounded corners, and used plain old tape to stick them on the outside.

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Knowing her love of all things small and sensory related, I also got 5 small boxes which fit inside of the bigger boxes.  I got these, also from Walmart. I have another post in the works that will share how I plan to rotate these items and what is on our long list!

Note ~ she is old enough to have access to tiny items independently, and I am comfortable as a parent with our choices. Use your own discretion as a parent, as many of these items would NOT be a good choice for young tots without supervision!  Do what works for you and your child{ren}.

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I bought 2 big boxes of zipper baggies and began dumping the toys that would be good for these boxes into them. I then took the bagged up learning materials and put them all in bins, like this…All By Myself Preschool Boxes -5681

You can see a master list {with links} of almost everything I rotate through in the boxes here!

My Filling the Box Procedure…

I line up the bins on Sunday evening and add materials, with this loose plan in mind:

  • 1 different sensory item per day in the small pink boxes
  • a few small animals
  • a puzzle
  • 2 small books
  • 3-4 learning toys/tools I have no weekly, bi-weekly set plan, that all depends on life.  I know she would love it if they were new each week, but some weeks won’t allow for that.  My goal is to try to change them up each Sunday evening, we’ll see!
      Her Quiet Time Area…

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I have her in the living room for now, which is right off our school room. It is close enough so I can help if needed and run in to peek at her {which I love}, but far enough away so she doesn’t interrupt us and we don’t bother her.

      I created a little shelf in our living room, where she will be using these boxes, to keep the “

always available

    ” materials, which include…
  • a cookie sheet {for anything magnetic}
  • a bin to help contain the sensory mess
  • a wooden board {mostly for puzzles, or things that need a solid surface}
  • a box of sensory bin tools {spoons, cups, tongs, etc.}
  • various supplies that I think she might enjoy using every day

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How I am Managing our Routine…

She gets a new box each school day at the beginning of her quiet time.   During this hour I am working one on one with Krash and PacMan is doing independent school.  I give her the bin, sit with her as she opens it in case she has any questions or needs help.  Then I leave her to play! I obviously check back periodically, but mostly she plays alone.  Her absolute favorite part is the small pink box of sensory goodness. She plays with that alone each day {so far} for about 75% of the time from what I can tell!

After the time is done, I stack the boxes in the corner like this, so she can go back to them if she wants to. This photo shows the END of the week, each day only one is added after she plays with it.

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At first I wasn’t going to do this {I had planned on hiding the other boxes away after the day was over}, but she got very upset and I decided my way wasn’t that important.  On Saturday evening, I put them all away in my storage room to be filled up on Sunday evening and ready for Monday. But during the week, she is free to go back to any items she really enjoyed {which is mainly those pink bins}.

For those of you who wish you could come over and see it, I made a little video for you.  I always love peeking into other people’s homes, I hope to do this more for you in the future!  This video shows her play area, the basic set up, and inside one of her boxes. The video is just a bit over 2 minutes.


This is just a portion of our new preschool routine, I am ironing out many more details to simplify our plan and make it more joy-filled for my Ladybug!  Stay tuned to see more about how I am following her lead with our home preschool!

See our first week’s box contents and our webpage showing what rotates through our boxes!

All By Myself Preschool Boxes