Homeschooling Tots

    Homeschooling Tots is something I write about a lot.  Early childhood education is a passion of mine and empowering parents to feel confident to explore early learning at home is where the depth of my passion lies during this season of life. This is why I chose to write a chapter for The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas entitled, Homeschooling Tots.

    {disclosure ~ affiliate links are used in this post}

    My tots were very different, as you can see from the photo collages below.  Krash was my mover and we rarely had any sort of a plan. Ladybug was my sitter and I couldn’t keep up with her requests demands for more school work. Thus, my need for a plan with her during the Tot School years.
    Tot School with Krash

Ladybug's Tot School


The cool thing about the early years is that you can be totally flexible and follow the lead of your child. It is exploring through play and having fun with your tot during these fleeting years!

One of my favorite memories with my daughter was going through our Animal ABCs together.  I developed this program for her based on her love of all things school and all things animals.  We used it as a launching board into much hands on fun together when she was 2-3. I am giving away a copy of our Animal ABC Bundle to one winner! 

Animal ABCs

Use Rafflecopter to enter to win below.  Giveaway is open worldwide and ends 10/31/14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read my chapter and over 100 more in The Big Book of Homeschooling Ideas. Right now you can grab it for only $8.99 {this is a $2 discount} using the code: homeschool

Big Book of Homeschooling Ideas

Want even more?  There’s a special bundle including 23 MP3s AND the eBook for just $15. 

Studio and Big Book Bundle

This post is a part of The Big Book of Homeschooling Ideas Blog Tour.

Yesterday, LaToya Edwards from Learning to Let Him Lead shared. LaToya is the author of the chapters Homeschooling Elementary Aged Boys, and Single Parent Homeschooling.

Tomorrow, Shannen Espelien from Middle Way Mom will be sharing.  She is the author of the chapters Getting Started with Credit-by-exam, Where to Buy and Sell Used Curriculum, and Transitioning to a Virtual School from Public School.

ihn Oct 2014

Tot Tray Ideas ~ Transferring

Welcome to our collection of Tot Tray™ ideas featuring TRANSFERRING ideas.

Transfer Tot Tray Ideas Collection

What is transferring?

It’s  moving one object or a group of objects from one place to another. This can be done using a variety of materials and can be changed up to engage interest quite easily!

You can set up many different transfer Tot Trays, they are one of the easiest to set up and can be as basic or elaborate as you want!

Transferring helps with real practical life skills, teaching young children hand to eye coordination. It is also great for fine motor skill development.


What You Need for Transfer Tot Trays ~

  • a transfer material {pom poms are a very easy one}
  • something to transfer with {tongs, tweezers, spoon, etc.}
  • a container to transfer from and into {we use ice cube trays, paint trays, bowls, etc.}

    Here’s some ideas to get your brain spinning!

    Transfer Tot Tray Tools

Some Transferring Tot Tray Ideas

Note ~  All ideas are presented with the understanding that you are playing WITH your tot, 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.

Here my daughter was transferring little spikey balls {which were sea urchins for our ocean theme} from one bowl to other bowls.  She was also sorting by color. She is using a melon baller spoon to do this transfer.

Tot Tray Transfer Spikey Balls with Melon Baller Spoon


Below you see my daughter transferring ping pong balls from the metal container to the paint tray using a pair of mini tongs.

Tot Tray Transfer Ping Pong Balls with Tongs


Below Ladybug is using tweezers to transfer pom poms into and ice cube tray.  She LOVED these little plastic tweezers!

Tot Tray Transferring Pom Poms using  Tweezers


You can see Krash using tongs with smaller paint trays and pom poms below, the tongs shown below are from a bug collection set we had years ago.

Tot Tray Transfer Pom Poms with Tongs


Large tongs  and large pom poms are certainly an option too and provide a unique challenge for different arm muscles!

Tot Tray Transfer Pom Poms with Tongs


Below she was transferring marbles using tongs, into an recycled frozen baby food tray

Tot Tray Transfer Marbles with Tongs


Krash is using the mini tongs to transfer mini erasers into two cups {he was sorting the fish and turtles}.Tot Tray Transferring Mini Erasers with Tongs


Below he was using the same tongs to transfer bigger erasers into small glass cups {tealight holders form Ikea}, working on one to one correspondence {counting one item at a time}Tot Tray Transferring Mini Erasers with Tongs

See more transferring ideas here on our Tot Tray Ideas ~ Transferring Pinterest Board

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board Tot Tray Ideas ~ Transferring on Pinterest.

The Linky Details

To make these linkys simple for bloggers I am not requiring a link back, that way you don’t have to go back and add it to old posts but can feel free to link up easily.

I do ask that you pin this post, or share the post on Facebook.  If you want to provide a link back to the idea collection, that’s GREAT and will only help your readers!

Irrelevant links will be deleted. This linky will remain open indefinitely.

Link up your TRANSFER Tot Tray ideas below!

See our Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection landing page here!

The Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection

Tot Tray Ideas ~ The Ultimate Collection

The Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection

I am so excited to launch a brand new series featuring Tot Tray™ ideas from me and from YOU!  Tot Trays are a simple twist on a very old Montessori idea involving a contained work area for young children. The trays are my version of this, making it simple to implement at home. I developed the term Tot Trays years ago to describe the variation I was using at home with my son, and went on to use with my daughter

Tot Tray ~ Droping Chips into a Container


What are Tot Trays?

  • a tray your child can work on, providing a clearly defined work space
  • an activity presented visually on the tray so children can choose from a variety of options, promoting a child-led early childhood environment
  • easy to clean up for a young child due to the contained space of the tray, promoting independence

It’s really simple, but can get as complex as you choose.  It’s just an idea for creating a child-led environment which promotes early learning skills through play.  That’s the entire goal of Tot School, and Tot Trays are just an extension of Tot School.  You can read much more about Tot Trays here in my original post from years ago!

What Are Tot Trays


The concept of Tot Trays has spread far and wide across the Internet and that excites me!  There are many blogs who feature their own Tot Tray ideas and I would love to pull these ideas together here! I am developing a series of posts which will feature a linky for you to link up your specific idea{s} for the Tot Tray category.

Transferring Ping Pong Balls Tot Tray

We will all work together to create a massive collection in one place, so you can find ideas quickly and be inspired by all of those who are using Tot Trays with their tots and sharing ideas.

Tot Tray Set Up

The Linky Details

To make these linkys simple for bloggers I am not requiring a link back, that way you don’t have to go back and add it to old posts but can feel free to link up quickly and easily.  I do ask that you pin whatever post you link up to, or share the post on Facebook.  If you want to provide a link back to the idea collection, that’s GREAT and will only help your readers!

As new categories are added, the graphic will be added here so you can come back and jump around to the new ideas!  This will be our landing page and all of the upcoming posts will be linked here.

Some trays will obviously fit into more than one category, and as we go you can link up the same tray idea again if it fits.  A transfer activity might also involve color work so it could be linked in transfer ideas, color ideas and even fine motor ideas!

Below you can see the categories I have ready to go and will post over the coming months, some may also be added.  These graphics should give you a start in thinking about what you may want to come back and link up when the linky for each category goes live!

The Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection


See available idea collections below!  Click on the graphic to see the post!

Transfer-Tot-Tray-Ideas-Collection.jpg  Alphabet-Tot-Tray-Ideas-Collection.jpg

Be sure to follow my blog via email so you don’t miss a linky when it goes live. Right now I don’t have a set schedule, but hope to launch a new category every 2-3 weeks.

If you feature Tot Trays on your blog, feel free to leave a link to your blog in the comments section of this post.  If you have your Tot Trays sorted by a tag/category, use that specific link so others can find your ideas!

Tot School Letter Gg

~Ladybug is currently 34.5 months old~


Here is her desk set up for letter G…


The items in the pocket chart are all available here on the Animal ABCs webpage.  I added gorillas on her desk, and her Gorilla Be Good book, which she loved! {files are released for free when they are posted on the Totally Tots blog for the ABC feature, letter G is not free yet, but it will be once it is posted on Totally Tots!}.

We also had a few gorilla books off to the side in her pink basket. On her shelves, nothing really gorilla related…IMG_1888

Here are some Letter G and Gorilla ideas for you…

She did very little tracing this week in her dry erase notebook. Totally fine by me, it’s her choice each week.  She did pull the shapes sheet out and trace the entire thing with regular markers.

Coloring gorillas…IMG_1949

Here she is working on Letter G Dot Fun, we used play doh this time!  This set is included in the Animal ABC Bundle, or you can purchase the set as a stand alone set for $1.25 on Teacher’s Notebook.


She then pressed jewels into the balls…IMG_2028


She worked with me to make the letter craft, which is basically an open ended project that you can do whatever you want with!  This week she asked to paint her letter red!  She was excited to cut her gorillas by herself.

IMG_1908 IMG_1944

Not only did she want to cut herself, she wanted to use the white glue by herself too!  I showed her how and she did a great job!

IMG_1960 IMG_1968

She is VERY into play doh letters.  I am working on a new set of A-Z play doh mats that feature the animals from Animal ABCs!  The set will be done soon, I hope.IMG_2019

Special Note: Please read my post about Following the Child’s Lead if you have a tot and need info about this.  All tots are different and what Ladybug is doing may not be appropriate for your child, even if s/he is the same age!

We are taking our All About Reading Pre Level 1 lessons slowly.  I am not expecting mastery from Ladybug, just using this program as a way to expose her to the Big Five Skills.

This week we did lesson 7, continuing our work with rhyming words.  No photos of that part this week!

She loved the letter page this week!  She colored orange first {her choice}, then I let her use glittery gold paint, and we added seaweed to the tank!IMG_2311


She loved the pom pom transfer.  I gave her an assortment of different tweezers we have so she could choose.  The little ice cube tray is from Target about 2 months ago.

IMG_2074 IMG_1895

She still enjoys putting stirring sticks in the holes of a cheese container…IMG_1903

We played our version of Scrabble ABC Soup many times!  We take turns scooping letters and naming them one by one.  She loves this!IMG_1897



Foam BlocksIMG_2057

Another favorite from the week, the balancing toy.  Her favorite thing to do is spin it around until it all crashes! {I noticed the review on Amazon is bad, just so you know-our toy is perfect and VERY well made!}IMG_1975


Building with one of our favorite block setsIMG_2429

She still loves to poke the sticks into the holes of this toyIMG_2437

Matching fabric squares…IMG_2448


We are still studying Brazil thanks to our Little Passports.  Here we were finding hidden animals.  IMG_2161

She continues to LOVE the puzzle and can now do the entire thing by herself!  IMG_2104

Moms-Favorite_thumb2This is one of her very favorite things to do.  Dump out all of our bean bags and get covered up in them..



Or, covering one of us in them…IMG_2450


More Tot School Links…

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Please put your tot’s age (in months) after it, like this: 1+1+1=1 (41 mos)

Are You Connected to 1+1+1=1?

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