Tot School: The Letter D

This week we learned about the letter D! We did a bunch of fun activities full of dragons, donuts, and dump trucks. You can purchase this full week of Letter D Curriculum on my TpT shop for just $5. If you want to buy the whole ABC bundle + save money, you can buy the growing bundle here!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links! All that means, is that if you make any purchases through the links, I earn a small commission. I put a lot of work and love into these posts and curriculum and I really appreciate your support!

If you would like to download the alphabet book I created, you can purchase it for just $2 on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!  The book is bright and colorful and image based.  I intentionally made the letters extra big and it is perfect for your little learner.

Week 4: The Letter D

Letter D Books

Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach


The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff

Letter D Curriculum

You can purchase a full week of letter D curriculum for just $5 on my TpT shop!  Within this curriculum, you will be given the calendar pictured above + all the activities I made for the week. The early learning standards are also included. The main intention behind this weekly curriculum is to give you some inspiration and structure! It is easy to get lost in the rabbit hole that is Pinterest, so I do the hard work of planning and brainstorming for you! All you need to do is print and have fun with your little one!  

Monday: Dumper to Digger Tracing Line Practice

This boy loves dump trucks and really any type of truck. I knew we had to have some type of dump truck-themed activity. We started by reading Digger, Dozer, Dumper. This is another hit for H and even though it is a longer book it is perfect for flipping through and finding the trucks that they are most interested in.

For the activity, we did the dumper to digger tracing line practice I created. This is one of the activities included in the Letter D Curriculum. H is 27-months and tracing lines is a bit advanced, but it is still great early exposure. I model what it looks like to trace the lines. And we did a few lines together. I let him try on his own after a fair amount of modeling and he did a lot of scribbling, but did a pretty good straight line. This is all just for fun, but I do think this early practice will help him in the next year when we focus on this skill more!

Tuesday: Dino Activities

There are so many good dinosaur books out there, but for this activity, we read When Dinosaurs Came With Everything. This is a great story, super fun, and amazing illustrations. We both enjoyed it. After reading through a couple times, we did a couple themed dinosaur activities. We did the “Color and Count Dino” activity from my curriculum. These are similar to my previous counting mats, but I added a coloring element. This is great for early counting exposure and for continuing to review colors. H is still very much a scribbler, but having smaller dinosaurs to color gave him a bit more focus and target while coloring. Every week he seems to be a little more invested in these counting activities, which makes his mama happy.

For the letter D in the alphabet book we are working on, I setup some paint and small dinosaurs for him to make dino tracks on the letter. This is usually an activity H would love, but this afternoon he was not as interested. So he did a few marks and then quickly moved on to playing in the dirt with his dump trucks!

Wednesday: The Dot + Do-A-Dot the D

This was our first time reading The Dot and I really loved it! I really loved the way the teacher hangs Vashti’s single dot in a special gold frame. This framing was the very thing that encouraged Vashti to more seriously pursue being an artist. It is a wonderful reminder of the important role we as parents and teachers have to encourage and motivate our children to dream big.

There so many fun dot-related activities to pair with this book. We did a do-a-dot for the letter Dd and I gave him a printable to create his own masterpiece. I put out watercolors, crayons, and do-a-dots and let him be creative with this open-ended activity.

Thursday:  Make a Dragon a Taco

We read Dragons Love Tacos, which was the favorite of the week. We definitely read this book the most out of all of them! The activity I designed to pair with this book, really works on fine motor skills (folding, cutting, tearing). Using the printables included in “Make a Dragon a Taco” activity, simply cut out the tortilla, tomato, lettuce, cheese, beef, and hot sauce. To make this activity even more interactive, I also cut out the instructions for each one and put it in a separate envelope. This allowed for H to get the chance to open 6 different envelopes, which increased his overall excitement and engagement towards the activity. We worked on folding skills (tortilla), cutting skills (tomato and beef), and tearing paper skills (lettuce and cheese). Some of these skills are still tough for H, but he really enjoyed the concept of pretending to make food and even enjoyed pretending to feed it to the dragon! This is a fun, hands-on activity, that really encourages imagination and creativity!

Friday: Donut Activities

We started our donut-themed day, with a late morning snack of “healthy donuts.” Instead of fried dough, think apple slices, and instead of sugary frosting, thinking pink cream cheese with sprinkles on top! These turned out yummy and H was totally obsessed with them. I felt so much better with him snacking on these donuts over real ones. To H, as long as there are real sprinkles, these treats are just as good as the real thing.

As we munched on these, I read If You Give a Dog a Donut. We loved this book and especially love that there is a part about baseball!

Later in the afternoon, I made H an activity mat using butcher paper that had more fun donut-themed activities! I had a section for him to build-a-donut with a paper plate, paint, and colorful pipe cleaners. There was another section with the donut printable from Letter D Curriculum. I gave him crayons and encouraged him to color “sprinkles” on the big letter D’s and to color the small letter d’s brown to be the “dough”. He mostly just colored it the way he wanted, but this printable is still great for letter recognition as the donut is covered in the letter Dd!

Also, I want to note that for some reason, this week H was not interested in sitting down and participating in any of the paint-related activities. He had no interest in creating a donut. He was also just not interested in a lot of the things I presented to him this week. That is ok! It can be frustrating, but just like adults, toddlers have tough weeks and they are not always going to feel like doing things they normally enjoy. I am slowly learning to be okay with this. My hope is to always keep learning at this age light, fun, and flexible!

Letter D Sensory Bin

This is what our letter D sensory bin looked like this week! Again, these sensory bins are perfect to throw together at the beginning of the week and leave out all week for your little one to look at and interact with.

You can purchase this week of curriculum for just $5 at my TpT store!

Summer 2020 Reflections: Finding a Place of Peace, Purpose, and Play

We are holding onto these final days of summer for as long as we can.  The summer of 2020 has been strange to say the least. It was not the summer we expected or even the summer we hoped for, yet still, somehow, it was the one we needed.  It was simple.  It was full of sunshine and salty air.  It was the summer we learned to let go.  The one in which we shared the joy of our pregnancy and also shared the grief as we lost our sweet babe.

Summer 2020, you were beautiful and hard, you were joyful and sad, and you were long and short.  

I want to write this down here because I do not want to forget how this summer made me feel.  It has been filled with some of the most painful days, but somehow, through the grace of God, I have laughed and enjoyed these summer days more than I have in a long, long time.  

Here is a list of what this summer meant to me:

  • A Positive pregnancy test
  • Joy, joy, joy
  • Bike rides
  • Fireworks that lasted all night long
  • Yosemite with good friends
  • Hikes and waterfalls and skipping rocks
  • Trash trucks
  • 4 mile runs 
  • New friendships 
  • Loss and waiting rooms and ultrasounds that make your heart drop
  • Grief, grief and more grief
  • The couch
  • Family and friends showing up and loving us in such tangible ways
  • Malibu
  • Pickleball 
  • Kayaking in the bay 
  • Margaritas that make you sad that you can drink them 
  • The beach almost everyday
  • Spontaneity 
  • Ocean swims 
  • Letting go
  • Loosening up on bedtime 
  • Drives to San Clemente and San Diego
  • Golf cart rides after the beach 
  • Boat ride with dear friends
  • Outdoor Church gatherings 
  • Scooter-Walks as a family 
  • Afternoon reading on the couch 
  • Riding in the back of a pickup truck of newlyweds (true story, and something I will never forget)
  • Adjusting expectations 
  • Leaning in
  • Staying present 
  • Long hair and very tanned legs

This was our summer.  It was weird.  It was hard.  It was beautiful.  It drew me closer to the Lord, it brought me to my knees, and brought us to the ocean again and again and again.

As a former English teacher, I always love pulling out a theme.  And after reading over this list a few times and thinking of the big moments of our summer, I found a pretty strong and important theme.  It is one that I think I needed to learn and figure out this summer.  It is something especially helpful to have when walking through painful seasons, but important to have in your back pocket regardless.  Ready for it?  

This summer I learned the importance of finding a place of peace, purpose, and play.

Before we walked through our miscarriage, I do not think I had strongly identified what these three places in my life were.  I had peace, but not a specific place.  I had purpose, but I never named it.  I had play, but never for myself.  

This summer changed that for me. And I feel like I actually figured out my place of peace, purpose and play. Do you know yours? Think about it. Name it. Figure it out.  For me personally, it has been so essential in my healing process.  We all are walking through stuff.  Maybe this summer for you was about the joy, and that’s great, but can you name your place of peace, purpose, and play?  And if this summer has just been plain hard, do you know what these places are for you? And if so, I hope you can go to them again and again.

In case you were curious, here are mine.

My Place of Peace

The ocean.  No questions asked.   The beach has been our place of healing.  It has been one of the few places that make sense.  It is our peace place.  Our morning spot. Our late afternoon spot. Our Sunday evening post-dinner spot.  It is where we come to exhale the anxiety and inhale God’s peace.  

My Place of Purpose

Purpose has always been something really important to me.  In high school and college, my purpose was mostly running/performance-based.  Post-college, it was teaching-based as I started a new career as a high school English teacher.  Postpartum, my purpose seemed to get fuzzy.  Of course, it was within motherhood, but I did not even know who I was as a mom, let alone my purpose in being that mom. 

Two years and one miscarriage later, I finally feel at home in my purpose. It is pouring into my son.  It is teaching and guiding and showing.   Right now my purpose is in being my son’s teacher.  This is my full-time job.  And I am proud of it.  I might not get paid for it, but this is where my heart is and I know it matters deeply.  This all clicked for me one summer evening, when I walked into Lance asking Hudson who his teacher was.  Hudson without even thinking, instantly said, “mommy”.  And my heart melted. We never talked about how I was teaching him different things, but just based on our days together, he instinctively knew I was the teacher in his life.  This has changed a lot for me.  I have a newfound purpose. Yes, motherhood, but it really is much more specific than that.

My Place of Play 

This summer we carved out more play into our days and it made all the difference. It was a week or so after my D & C procedure that we picked up my mom’s pickleball set. We brought it with us to rally together after dinner. We went down by the ocean and rallied back and forth. We laughed. We were competitive. And we were focused on something outside of our sadness. Playing pickleball brought back laughter into our days. It drew us closer in a season that easily could have caused drifting. It was a simple source of joy. When you are going through hard things, picking up pickleball might not always make the most sense, but for us, it was one of the best decisions we made in our grief. Pickleball brought healing. It brought back play into our lives.

If you too had a hard summer, one full of unmet expectations and disappointments, know that I am right there with you. Even in the hard, my hope is that you too can find some silver linings and that this time of heartbreak can allow you to fully lean into what is right before you.

Tot School: The Letter C

This week we learned about the letter C! We did a bunch of fun activities full of cars, cows, and cupcakes. You can purchase this full week of Letter C Curriculum on my TpT shop! And if you are eager to jump ahead to the Letter D Curriculum, you can purchase that now as well!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links! All that means, is that if you make any purchases through the links, I earn a small commission. I put a lot of work and love into these posts and curriculum and I really appreciate your support!

If you would like to download the alphabet book I created, you can purchase it for just $2 on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!  The book is bright and colorful and image based.  I intentionally made the letters extra big and it is perfect for your little learner.

Week 3: The Letter C

Letter C Books

Little Cloud by Eric Carle

My Car by Byron Barton

Corduroy by Don Freeman

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff

Letter C Curriculum

You can purchase a full week of letter C curriculum for just $5 on my TpT shop!  Within this curriculum, you will be given the calendar pictured above + all the activities I made for the week. The early learning standards are also included. The main intention behind this weekly curriculum is to give you some inspiration and structure! It is easy to get lost in the rabbit hole that is Pinterest, so I do the hard work of planning and brainstorming for you! All you need to do is print and have fun with your little one!  

Monday: Cloud in the Jar + Fill the Cloud Activity

After reading Little Cloud by Eric Carle, we did a hands-on science experiment by making our own “clouds.” For this activity, simply take a jar, fill with water, and spray a small amount of shaving cream to make the cloud.  In a separate dish, prepare some blue water.  Using eye droppers, H dropped the blue water on top of the “cloud”.  We then watched as the blue water began to “rain” in the jar. This was a really cool visual and hands-on activity.  

Using the “Fill the Cloud” printable, I let H dip cotton balls into Elmer’s glue and fill the cloud.  We did this in a park, so after placing a few cotton balls, he was off to running around.  Hey, at least he was engaged for a minute! 

Tuesday: Car Activities

In our preschool pod this week, we read My Car by Byron Barton.  This was definitely H’s favorite book of the week. The language is super simple and the illustrations are bright and engaging. 

For the letter C alphabet book activity, we used cars to make paint tracks over the letter C.  You can get the alphabet book for just $2 here.  Painting with cars was a hit by all the boys! We even did a “car race.”  I simply set up butcher paper with a start and finish line and the boys “raced” their cars.  

The “Park the Car” activity is another fun one and great for both reviewing colors and beginning to work on word recognition.  For this activity, I printed, laminated, and cut the cars out.  I put the colored parking lot in a plastic sleeve.  I simply handed H a car and asked him to match it to the right parking spot.  I even brought this activity with us to a restaurant and it was a great way to distract him for a few minutes.  

Wednesday: Corduroy Do-A-Dot + Button Stringing

We started off the day with the beloved classic, Corduroy by Don Freeman.  After we read this book together, Hudson did a letter C do-a-dot themed off of Corduroy.  These cute little printables are included in my Letter C Curriculum.

To work on fine motor skills, I printed out the colored buttons, laminated them, and put 2 hole punches in each of them.  I got a piece of yarn and put tape on one end to help with threading.  This was a new skill I was introducing to H, so I modeled how to thread the string and then let him take a try. He was able to get it through one hole, but that was about it.  I will continue placing this activity out to give him some more fine-motor practice.  This is another great activity to review colors! 

Thursday:  Visit a Cow + Cookie Counting

We went to Zoomar’s in San Juan Capistrano and got the chance to say hi to a cow named Jersey. It was not exactly the cow H was picturing, but he still really enjoyed seeing an actual cow. He talked about it all day.  

Later that afternoon, we read Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson and did some chocolate chip counting.  These are very similar counting mats to the other mats in the previous weeks of curriculum.  Using similar counting mats each week is a great way to get your little one more comfortable with the skill presented. 

Friday: Build-A-Cupcake Play-Dough Tray + Place the Sprinkles on the C’s

I setup a really fun play-dough tray to go along with the book, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.  For the play-dough, I made a frosting one. I used Mothercould’s recipe that calls for 1 cup frosting + 3/4 cups cornstarch.  I ended up having to add a ton of flour and it was still was pretty sticky and made a mess! But hey, H loved it…my husband not so much!

This is a great outdoor play-dough tray since it can get a bit messy.  Despite the stickiness, H loved using the ice cream scooper to scoop the dough into the cupcake tray.  He also loved sticking in the candles.  Again, this is great fine motor practice + open ended creativity!

We wrapped up the week by continuing to work on our fine motor skills and moving the sprinkles to cover the C’s on the cupcake.  This activity is also in the Letter C Curriculum.  I printed and laminated this printable. I cut out all the sprinkles and cut each cupcake into its own card.  I realized that the sprinkles were a bit difficult to move with our fingers, so we used a Q-tip to move the sprinkle to cover the C.

Letter C Sensory Bin

This is what our letter C sensory bin looked like this week! Again, these sensory bins are perfect to throw together at the beginning of the week and leave out all week for your little one to look at and interact with.

You can purchase this week of curriculum for just $5 at my TpT store!

Tot School: The Letter B

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links! All that means, is that if you make any purchases through the links, I earn a small commission. I put a lot of work and love into these posts and curriculum and I really appreciate your support!

This week we learned all about the letter B! It was a week full of blueberries, bumble bees, and baseballs! There are SO many fun things that begin with the letter B and so many amazing books out there. This was a really fun week of learning and I hope it can inspire you! As always, you can purchase this full week of Letter B Curriculum on my TpT shop! And if you are eager to jump ahead to the Letter C Curriculum, you can purchase that now as well!

If you would like to download the alphabet book I created, you can purchase it for just $2 on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!  The book is bright and colorful and image based.  I intentionally made the letters extra big and it is perfect for your little learner.

Week 2: The Letter B

Letter B Books

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Orville the Bumble Bee Who Didn’t Believe He Could Fly by Don Haselrig

Let’s Play Baseball by Charles R. Smith, Jr.

Three Bears on a Boat by David Soman

Watch Me Grow Butterfly by DK Publishing 

Letter B Curriculum

You can purchase a full week of letter B curriculum for just $5 on my TpT shop!  Within this curriculum, you will be given the calendar pictured above + all the activities I made for the week. I also list the early learning standards. The main intention behind this weekly curriculum I am making, is to give you some inspiration and structure! It is easy to get lost in the rabbit hole that is Pinterest, so I do the hard work of planning and brainstorming for you! All you need to do is print and have fun with your little one!  

Monday: Blueberry Activities

After listening to the read-aloud version of Blueberries for Sal on Youtube, we did a couple blueberry-themed learning activities. I brought out the Do-A-Dot markers for the first time in awhile and H was very into it. These are one of my favorite art supplies. It is active and Hudson gets really into stamping the paper, but it never creates much of a mess, which I love! I created a B and b for him to dot to work on letter recognition. This printable is included in the B week curriculum!

We then did the “Put the Blueberries Back on the Bush” activity. H worked on his fine motor skills to place blueberries on the blue circles I scattered throughout the bush printable. This activity could also be done with blue pom poms! We capped off our learning day by making some yummy blueberry muffins.

Tuesday: Build-A-Bee B Activity + Happy Bee Coloring

In this week’s preschool pod, we read Orville the Bumble Bee Who Didn’t Believe He Could Fly. We then did the activity, “Pin the Stripes on the Bee.” All the parts of the bee and the yellow B is within the Letter B curriculum. We cut out all these parts and created the bee in the letter B page of our alphabet book. You can get the alphabet book for just $2. All you need for this activity is the printable pages in the curriculum, glue, googly eyes, and pipe cleaner for antennas. We also used the “Bee is Happy!” coloring pages and talked about emotion. This is a light way to get little ones comfortable talking about their feelings.

Wednesday: Baseball Activities

If you know H, you know one of his very favorite things is playing baseball. We had to incorporate some baseball-themed learning this week! We read Let’s Play Baseball, which quickly became a favorite of his. I used the baseball pattern building cards from this week’s curriculum. I made a few extra copies to put in plastic sleeves to show him the pattern. The other copies, I printed, laminated and cut out. This is a fun way to work on matching skills, sorting skills, and pattern building. This felt a bit too advanced for H, but I will definitely bring these out again in a few weeks!

H was antsy to stay moving, so to keep the lesson going a bit longer, I brought out his baseball tee and we played a color review game! I simply called out a color, and he would find that color ball from the bin and hit it from his tee. He was super into this. He really has his colors down now, so this was an easy and fun game. Early on in quarantine, we did color-themed weeks, which I really think helped him get his colors down quickly. You can find all those color-themed ideas here: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Thursday:  Beach Trip + Blue Seashell Scavenger Hunt

Learning at the beach is always a good idea. The beach really is the perfect setting for creativity, play and exploration. If you do not live near a beach, you could always setup an indoor beach at home! At the beach with friends, we read Three Bears on a Boat. While this story is on the longer side, it was hands down one of my son’s favorite books all week. It is a really well-told story about 3 sibling bears that break their mother’s blue seashell. They set sail on a boat in an effort to find a new blue seashell to replace it. I don’t want to give too much away, but this is a really excellent book and is filled with letter B words: bears, boat, blue!

The blue seashell scavenger hunt is the perfect pairing for this story. Again, this activity can be found in the Letter B Curriculum. For this activity, I simply printed out the shells, laminated them, and stuck a few around us in the sand. H and his friend gathered all the shells and we worked on sorting the shells based on A or B. This is an easy way to review the letter A from last week.

I also set up a little boat sensory bin. I brought an aluminum tray, filled it with ocean water, and put in a few boats. This was a great invitation-to-play.

Friday: B Wings Watercoloring + Butterfly Counting Mats

We ended the week, focused on butterflies! In an effort to get some more non-fiction reading into our week, I included, Watch Me Grow Butterflies. This book is really interesting and we both found it fascinating to look at the real pictures of the life cycle of a butterfly. It truly is amazing.

The “Catch and Count Butterfly” mats were much more of a hit than the alligator counting mats from last week. We counted butterflies and I helped him trace the numbers. He seemed to really enjoy the bright blue color of the butterflies.

After some counting, Hudson enjoyed some watercoloring! Mom and dad painted our own butterflies, while Hudson used the B-winged butterfly that is included in the curriculum! This final lesson of the week was the perfect one to do as a family. While it can be difficult to get the whole family together for learning time, I noticed that H was much more involved and interested in the lesson with dad being involved!

Letter B Sensory Bin

This is what our letter B sensory bin looked like this week! Again, these sensory bins are perfect to throw together at the beginning of the week and leave out all week for your little one to look at and interact with.

You can purchase this week of curriculum for just $5 at my TpT store!