New Work Drawer Labels ~ Doc, Despicable Me, & Lego

Work Drawer Labels

I added 3 new sets of 1-12 work drawer labels, Doc McStuffins, Lego, and Despicable Me!

You can download these here!

Doc Work Drawer Labels  Lego Mini Work Drawer Labels  Despicable Me Work Drawer Labels


In case you missed them the first time, you’ll also find these themes on the same download page!

Dinosaur-Work-Drawer-Labels4  Farm-Work-Drawer-Labels4  Fairy-Work-Drawer-Labels4Sofia-Work-Drawer-Labels4  Pirate-Work-Drawer-Labels5  Batman-Drawer-Labels5

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Fun Preschool Work Drawer Labels

You probably know we use Preschool Work Trays {boxes, drawers, etc.}.  We started out with trays and then I finally got drawers so we switched.  I surprised Ladybug with some My Little Pony labels.  She was SO excited and now we talk about which pony drawer it is time to do as we work through her school work!  Funny how something so simple can make school more exciting!

Home Preschool letter C -8746

Yes, I do have a My Little Pony Preschool Pack in the works!  Hopefully just a week or 2!

Well, knowing not all of you have pony fans, I threw together a Batman set too, using the photos I had taken for the Batman Preschool Pack I made years ago for Krash.  I can make more sets if the desire for them is there.  They are sets of 9 and sized to fit the Ikea Trofast drawers. Leave a comment if you would use them and would enjoy other themes on them.  I am open to suggestions!

You can download these {& more} here!

My Little Pony Drawer Labels


Batman Drawer Labels

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Preschool Work Trays

Warning~ this is a VERY long post intended to give massive details to the few of you who like it this way!  For those of you who are skimmers, I have tried to bold main points so you can scroll through and see the basics.

Preschool Work Trays

I used a version of Workboxes with Krash when he began preschool and they worked well for him then. I also wrote a post about transitioning from Tot School {child-led} to PreK {more teacher/parent led}.  I am on this journey again and thought I would share how it is working for Ladybug!  Ladybug is currently 3, she will turn 4 in April. She is a bit more academically advanced than Krash was, but mostly it is that her interest in school-type activities is WAY more intense!  I am following the lead of the child and starting her with home preschool now!

The main differences in my mind between Tot School and Preschool are outlined in this post, having to do with student led free choice and parent directed learning.  Both are mostly hands on, led by the child’s interests, fun, playful, and have a focus on exposure vs. mastery.  I absolutely do not believe in pushing kids at this age academically, there is much time for that later in life!

One way I transition from student led free choice {Tot Tray style} into our home preschool format is through the use of Preschool Workboxes, or in our casecurrently Preschool Work Trays.  I meant to get to Ikea to grab Ladybug a set of drawers but never found time, so I set hers up with trays and so far it is working. We may switch to drawers, so the name is not the focus; drawers, trays, boxes…all the same to me.

For our first week with this system, I chose a fun winter theme, focused around the book, The Mitten.  I set up her work shelves for the very first day like this:

Home Preschool Winter Theme -6993

I took MANY photos this week so I could show you in detail what and how I switched things out for her week. I DO change out her trays every day now, which is different from Tot School.  I am doing things a bit different with her than I did with Krash, mostly because each child is different and I am basing my decisions around her.

Instead of Ladybug choosing which activities she wants to do, I have her go in order, which she thrived on!  Krash was a bit more of a fight when we made this transition, so it is different for each child.

Here is a detailed outline of our 4 days of planned home preschool using work trays.

For those of you wondering, this first preschool week occurred the week before we began Raising Rock Stars Preschool.  I chose a theme to ease her into the concept of working in order before bringing in the new RRSP work!  We are using work trays with RRSP now and I will be blogging her home preschool adventure also!



Tray #1 ~ Read the book to her, using a cookie sheet and Story Props {she LOVED this}

Home Preschool Winter Theme -7000


Tray # 2 ~ Clothespin Clip Number Cards from The Mitten  Pack

Home Preschool Winter Theme -6996

Tray # 3 ~ The Mitten Color mini book {the blog I got this from has been removed so the printable is no longer available}

Home Preschool Winter Theme -7003

Tray #4 ~ The Mitten Dot Fun

Home Preschool Winter Theme -7006 Home Preschool Winter Theme -7010

Tray # 5 ~ Winter Stickers and colored paper {no photo, sorry}

Tray # 6 ~ Pattern Block Snowman from PreKindersHome Preschool Winter Theme -7013

Tray # 7 ~ Color to Match Snowman {we did this coloring together so no photo}

Tray # 8 ~ Winter book, read aloud  {Amy Loves the Snow}Amy loves the snow

Tray # 9 ~ Sound Blocks {something fun from our homeschool storage room that she hasn’t played with in awhile.  These are SUPER hard but we still had fun matching them together!Home Preschool Winter Theme -7016

~ Day TWO ~

Tray # 1 ~ read the book, use printables from Jan Brett’s site to follow along with the story. I used these images.Home Preschool Winter Theme -7101

Tray # 2 ~ The Mitten Roll and GraphHome Preschool Winter Theme -7103

Tray # 3 ~ 3 Part Cards from The Mitten  Pack, in mini pocket chartHome Preschool Winter Theme -7107

Tray # 4 ~ Snowman counting {cards from S is for Snowman}Home Preschool Winter Theme -7111

Tray # 5 ~ Where is the Mitten? book from The Mitten PackHome Preschool Winter Theme -7110

Tray # 6 ~ snowman and magnetic pattern blocksHome Preschool Winter Theme -7114

Tray # 7 ~ color the letters on the snowman Home Preschool Winter Theme -7117

Tray # 8 ~ Winter book  {Puppies in the Snow}Puppies in the snow

Tray # 9 ~ match the cookie shapes gameHome Preschool Winter Theme -7122



Tray # 1 ~ Read book, use story props again, this time add in words.Home Preschool Winter Theme -7124

Tray # 2 ~ The Mitten 1-10 PuzzleHome Preschool Winter Theme -7128

Tray # 3 ~ The Mitten Dot Fun with magnetic letters.Home Preschool Winter Theme -7130

Tray # 4 ~ Syllable countingHome Preschool Winter Theme -7134

Tray # 5 ~ ABC The Mitten MazeHome Preschool Winter Theme -7135

Tray # 6 ~ Snowflake Pattern blocksHome Preschool Winter Theme -7140

Tray # 7 ~ Listen and color from Winter Just Color.Home Preschool Winter Theme -7141

Tray # 8 ~ read aloud book {Oh!}Oh

Tray # 9 ~ Measuring Motors, we sorted them all by size togetherHome Preschool Winter Theme -7147

~ Day FOUR ~

Tray # 1 ~ read the book, put the animals in order using ordinal number cardsHome Preschool Winter Theme-7466

Tray # 2 ~ Snowflake in Shapes mini bookHome Preschool Winter Theme-7467

Tray # 3 ~ read aloud {The Snowman}The Snowman

Tray # 4 ~ snowman color by shapeHome Preschool Winter Theme-7470

Tray # 6 ~ 3 part word puzzles Home Preschool Winter Theme-7472

Tray # 7 ~ ABC and 123 Jingo {Krash LOVED this game, she didn’t care for it so much}Home Preschool Winter Theme-7477

A few summarizing notes:

  • I change out trays every day, 4 days per week.
  • Work trays last about an hour or less for us.
  • I have 9 spots, but won’t always have 9 activities per day.  Usually 6 is average, unless we have a heavy theme going on and I have prepped lots of fun stuff for her!
  • I do “require” her to do the work, but it is carefully chosen by what I know her interests are, I purposely do not choose things she won’t enjoy. I WILL help her complete an activity {such as coloring} if she just isn’t in the mood to do it.  At this point I do not let her skip a tray, this is to enforce the new concept of following mommy’s lead with school and transitioning into our future with homeschooling.
  • The trays are from Oriental Trading, they aren’t always in stock, search for “plastic trays”
  • The shelf is Trofast from Ikea
  • Her work trays will consist of her RRSP work and any special theme we have going on.  I don’t mind mixing stuff up, neither does she!
  • I prepare the week’s work prior to the week {printing, cutting, etc} and have a loose plan in mind, but nothing too specific. I keep the week’s worth in a big bin and each night I load up her trays with activities!

On top of her shelves I put her winter sensory bin.

Home Preschool Winter Theme -6994

She is free to play with this any time and played with it a LOT!  So did her brothers!Home Preschool Winter Theme -7023

Another key aspect to our home preschool is books!  I build in read alouds on her work trays, but far more of our reading is done during free time, as she selects books from our theme shelves quite often!

Winter Books-8200

Crayons are in these from Ikea, the white ledge is this from Ikea.

That’s home preschool for us!  It looks like we do a lot from the photos, but her school time only takes an hour or less per day! I am now working with her very first thing in the morning, which she enjoys. The rest of her day is spent learning through free play, and just being with us!

Raising Rock Stars Preschool ~ Getting Organized & Planning Ahead

Krash is currently out of town and will be gone until July 1.  It is strangely quiet around here and I miss the boys a lot.  They are down south staying with their grandparents {who begged to have them}, so I know they are having a blast, but I still miss them.

I am doing a lot of planning while they are gone and hope to have our entire summer school planned out before they return.  Here’s how I am planning for Krash…

I made this chart to plan his weekly workboxes

Preschool Workbox Planning Forma

I decided I needed more of a plan to my plans so I could think less when gathering materials for the week ;-).  I may seem very organized and full of ideas, but I hit very brain-dead moments often and I don’t feel like thinking much. 

I made a list of all of our “Star Box” games and toys {the open ended fun stuff}, and plan to just rotate through those.  I even made my list online so you could see it too! The Star Boxes stay the same for 1 week and then I change them all out at once.

For the Letter Focus section, I plan to do extra activities somehow based around our RRSP letter.  I am pulling and printing ideas mostly from Confessions of a Homeschooler, Home Grown Hearts, Totally Tots Crafty ABCs {I am going to match the letter up now} and Making Learning Fun. 

For the 3rd row {123, Colors, etc.} I plan to use my own Preschool Printables rotating through the various activities I have made.  I will be using other peoples printables too!  I am currently printing off a few and will be organizing them into a rotation cycle, so I don’t forget certain ones!  I made a list of these also, combining all of mine and the ones I have printed {so far} from others, you can see that here.

Row 4 is for a Learning Toy, Puzzle or Activity with a defined ending point {opposite of an open ended toy}.  This is where I will rotate through our toys and puzzles that have more clarity as to what you are “supposed” to do with them!  You can see my list of these items here {I am still working on this list, it is not complete}.

I don’t plan anything for Day 5, as we don’t always do preschool on Day 5.  If we do, I just pull extra toys and puzzles, or we re-do something he enjoyed.  Our day 5 is actually Saturday because of our ministry work schedule {we have Friday off as a family}, so I don’t always feel like doing preschool on Day 5, especially in the summer!

Here’s a sample schedule that is mostly filled in from the week before we left for the beach{I hand write some of it}…

Preschool Workbox Planning Formb

If you want to download a blank version of my planning form, you can find it here.

My goal is to have 5 weeks of Preschool entirely planned before Krash returns!

More Preschool Links…

Be sure to visit Preschool Corner to see all of the other amazing home-preschool moms!

Behind the Scenes ~ Preschool Workboxes

Behind the Scenes Awhile back I wrote a Behind the Scenes post about beginning to transition Krash from Tot School to Preschool.  We are almost entirely done with that transition and I wanted to update you in case our journey might help anyone!  As I always say-our way isn’t necessarily the right way, it’s just a way that has worked for us.  Every child is different and what works for Krash and our homeschool may not work for yours.

At the writing of this post Krash is 46 months old, we began the transition I am writing about now about 6 weeks ago.

I slowly transitioned Krash from Tot Trays on a shelf like this…IMG_1861 copy

to workboxes like this…  IMG_0593I got this awesome set up from Ikea.  I have known I wanted this for years now, but just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money.  Finally my husband encouraged me to just get what I really wanted and honestly I am SO happy I did!  This is the set we have.


We did the transition slowly.  At first I just switched his normal things that would have been on his trays over to the workboxes, and just let him open them all up and pick what he wanted-the same freedom of choice he had with his tray set up.

Slowly I added in more preschool type work and eventually I added the numbers to his boxes.  I set up the 9 boxes with 6 being his workboxes and the 3 on the bottom being his “star” boxes.  These are the boxes filled with open ended toys that he can freely play with after boxes 1-6 are finished each day.  Here’s a photo I took and labeled to show you how it is working now.IMG_1867 You can see he was almost done for the day when I snapped this, as box 1-5 are done and the # cards are off and his finished work is on the tray.  Some days I don’t have all 6 boxes filled and if I don’t I just don’t put the numbers on him.  It only took him a few days to understand that.  Now he can look and see that he only has 4 boxes on a certain day, and then he is free to play in star boxes.

A few random thoughts about how we do things…

  • He does go in order, beginning with box 1 each day.
  • I do work with him the entire time, he is not independent yet!
  • Each box usually is something that doesn’t take a really long time.  I break things down into small chunks for him, we will gradually increase his attention span.
  • He only took a few days of training to get past the “WHAT??? I can’t just do what I WANT for school anymore???”  phase ;-).  Once I decided we were switching to “Mommy chooses first, then you {star boxes},”  I knew I had to make it stick.  I disciplined and made him obey even if he didn’t like me too much.  Within a few days of fighting me, the battle was won.  He now goes in order with very little complaining.  He is a strong willed little man too, so don’t think it was easy-I just had to be firm and let him know I was most certainly the boss-even of school.

So, I know you are wondering 😉 what is in the different boxes?  Here’s an idea of the types of things I would put in each set…

In Workboxes 1-6…activities with a clear ending

  • Kumon Cutting Workbook
  • Theme printables  {from Tot Packs and other sites I use to get things from}
  • Puzzles
  • Learning toys that have a definite ending point {not open ended toys}
  • Coloring, cutting, drawing, or other art activities that have a “goal” {again, not open ended stuff}
  • ABC projects {currently we are doing Crafty ABCs from Totally Tots}


In STAR Boxes… open ended toys {these are just a few of our suggestions}

  • Zoobs
  • Tall Stacker Pegs Building Set
  • Beads
  • Small Wooden Blocks
  • Twister Rings
  • Automoblox
  • Magneatos
  • Egg/Spoon Race Game

Here’s our new Preschool Tools store I set up to help me keep all of our suggestions in one place.  We still use many of our Tot School Tools as you will see, I just wanted to have a new section as we enter into official preschool years!

We are just weeks away from officially beginning our new Raising Rock Stars Preschool program!   I can’t wait to share with all of you, I have been working like crazy behind the scenes to get it ready for Krash and to share with you!  Stay tuned!

Edited to ADD {2013} Preschool Work Trays with LadybugPreschool-Work-Trays.jpg