Tot School: A-Z Bundle Curriculum

I have been SO busy creating curriculum over at Teaching Toddler Mama that I have not had time to create posts sharing about all the fun ABC learning we have been doing! I have missed writing on here as much, so my hope is that I will begin to have (a bit) more time to write over in this space! Things are about to get busier with our new baby less than 3 weeks from making his debut, but I really hope to prioritize creating space to write.

But before I delve back into consistently posting on here, I want to share the project I have spent the last 9 months working on! The Alphabet Toddler Curriculum. I have created a 26-week curriculum that is specifically designed for 2-3 year olds. Each week of curriculum includes a weekly calendar for that specific letter. Each day there is a few book suggestions, 1-2 activities, and the early learning standards that day addresses. I created this curriculum for a few reasons. The main reason is that due to Covid, my son was not in any type of classes or learning environments, so I really wanted to ensure that our days together had some structured learning + play. Secondly, I was still dealing with the grief of losing our second baby through miscarriage and my heart really needed a little distraction. It is amazing to think that just a few weeks in to creating this curriculum, I found out that we were pregnant again! And now as I type this, we will get to welcome our baby boy into the world in the matter of a few short weeks! I am really sentimental when it comes to things like this and this is just another reason why the completion of this curriculum feels so special. It started as a way to help me as I struggled in grief and spent most of my time on the couch. It then transformed into a special project that I got the opportunity to work on every week of this past pregnancy. Pregnancy after miscarriage is full of anxiety and uncertainty, so again this weekly rhythm of researching books for each next letter and brainstorming activities that went along with each book theme became a much needed area of focus to help distract my anxious heart.

As I think back on the past months, I have a lot of gratitude for what learning the alphabet with my son gave me. It gave me a sense of purpose in a time where I felt very uncertain on how to fill our days. It gave me a sense of connection as I got to share some of the books and the activities with our close friends. It also gave me a sense of work. I have not truly “worked” on something since I left my job as a high school English teacher. It felt good to have a sense of deadline and to actually make a little money from my efforts. Overall, this Alphabet Curriculum is more than just a curriculum. It is a project that I poured tons of time, effort and love into. It is something I actually used every week with my own 2-year old and it is something I really believe in.

Does my son now know the alphabet by heart? Nope. We are not quite there yet, but the intention of this curriculum goes far beyond teaching the abc’s. It really is about learning about all the wonderful things, places, animals, and people that begin with each letter. Throughout this curriculum we got to learn about so many interesting things like airplanes and dinosaurs; quills and rockets; volcanoes and x-rays. This curriculum is the perfect introduction for your little one to begin to be exposed to things like the alphabet and numbers and shapes, but it really is created in a way that it is not solely about that. It really is about playing, creating, and imagining. My hope is that this curriculum can give you a sense of learning structure, but can really be the catapult for more learning and exploring to come!

Each individual letter week ($5) can be purchased on my store on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can also find the Alphabet Book ($2) which is a fun way to do a letter craft each week and create a book for your little one to flip through after. If you would like to purchase all 26 letters, you can purchase the bundle and save over $30!

To give a better idea of what each of curriculum is like, I am linking my posts on letters A-G:

Thanks for all those that have supported this little shop of mine! It has brought my heart a great deal of joy knowing that other little ones are learning from this curriculum I’ve created!

Favorite Thanksgiving Toddler Books

With Thanksgiving literally less than a week away, I wanted to share a few of the Thanksgiving books we are enjoying in our home!

Alongside these books, if you are looking for some intentional Thanksgiving learning activities to do with your little one, I have a Thanksgiving Curriculum, specifically designed for 2-3 year-olds that you can purchase for just $5! It is a really fun week of learning! Some of my favorite activities include the Feed the Turkey Game (works on alphabet recognition) + the Thanksgiving Plate Activity (works on naming pictures).

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tot School: The Letter F

We have gotten a bit behind in our letters of the week, but we finally wrapped up the Letter F Week, so I wanted to give a brief summary that will hopefully inspire you as you work on the letter F with your toddler!

You can purchase this full week of Letter F 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 6: The Letter F

Letter F Books

Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni

Firefighter Frank by Monica Wellington

The Little Fire Truck by Margery Cuyler

Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson

On the Farm by David Elliot

My Mom is a Firefighter by Lois Grambling

Letter F Curriculum

You can purchase a full week of letter F 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! 

Firefighter Activities

This week of curriculum has so many fun firefighter-themed activities. We definitely spent most of our week focused on all things firefighter-related!

For the letter of the week decorating, we kept it really simple and decorated it with fire colors. We used red, orange, and yellow do-a-dots.

In the middle of the week, I set up an activity mat that was firefighter-themed. These are super simple to setup and make for a great activity that offers variety and options. Tracing is still tough for H, but he has been enjoying using cars/trucks to follow the dotted line. This is a great way to work on beginning tracing skills! These activity mats are also perfect for displaying a few themed book options. We checked out SO many awesome firefighter books from the library. The favorites were definitely My Mom is a Firefighter and Curious George and the Firefighters.

This week of curriculum also included some name recognition practice! This is a skill I have not focused on much with H, but is something I want to work on and get him to recognize by the end of the school year! For this activity, I wrote his name on the fire truck template. I then wrote each individual letter on the fire templates. I laminated these and cut them out. I hid them around the house and had H look for them and bring them to the truck. It was fun! While he was not super into ordering them to match his name on the truck, this is a great start to getting him to recognize the letters in his name. Not to mention, name recognition is a great way to get your little one to learn the alphabet.

Fall-Themed Activities

The perfect time of year to do fall-related activities for the letter F. The curriculum includes some leaf size sorting and a fall leaf do-a-dot. For do-a-dot letters, I have been enjoying using other objects besides dots. This is a fun way to mix up the ordinary do-a-dot and makes it more tied to a specific theme.

Farm Activities

This week, we visited Underwood Family Farms. We got to see all the pumpkins, ride on a wagon, and see lots of farm animals! H loved seeing all the animals, especially the pigs and chickens. To pair with this field trip, we read the book On the Farm (which is pretty simple, but H really loved it). In the curriculum, there are farm animal puppets that match with all the animals in the book. I laminated them and attached a popsicle stick. I spread them out and as we read the book, I had H pick up the correlating animal. It turned out to be a fun and engaging way to read the story. Also, great for imaginative play.

You can purchase this week of curriculum for just $5 at my TpT store! This week of curriculum is jam-packed with tons of great learning activities. This blog just scratches the surface! There are so many activities we did not even get a chance to complete. Hope you enjoy!

Tot School: The Letter E

This week we learned about the letter E! It was a week full of elephants, excavators, and eggs! We started off our week with a trip to the San Diego Zoo to say hi to the elephants! My Letter E Curriculum is jam packed with SO many fun book suggestions and activities that we simply did not have time to squeeze everything in this week. Therefore, I am going to keep this post short and sweet, but I would love for you to check out the curriculum so you can learn and play with your little one at home!

You can purchase this full week of Letter E 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 5: The Letter E

Letter E Books

Elmer by David McKee

What to Do if an Elephant Stands on Your Foot by Michelle Robinson

Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney

The Empty Pot by Demi

An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Elhert

Letter E Curriculum

You can purchase a full week of letter E 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: Elephant Activities

As I mentioned above, we went to see elephants at the San Diego Zoo! Along with this fun trip to the zoo, we did a few elephant-themed activities. In terms of books, H was not interested in reading Elmer, but he really enjoyed What to Do if an Elephants Stands on Your Foot. Along with these books, we made our letter E looks like an elephant + did some Elmer coloring pages. All the Elmer-related activities can be found in the Letter E Curriculum on my shop. I also included some colorful elephants cards that are perfect for color or sorting or to use as a collage! H really enjoyed gluing the elephants on paper for an additional activity.

Tuesday: Excavator Activities

Excavators are one of H’s favorite construction vehicles! We did a fun size sorting excavator activity. H enjoyed these excavator cards and he liked sorting them on his own using the chart provided. Later in the afternoon, I made an excavator letter dig sensory bin for him. I shoveled in some dirt and threw in a set of his plastic letters. I encouraged him to find all the letters by using the excavator to dig them out.

Wednesday: The Empty Pot Counting

If you are looking for a good story that teaches about honesty and hard work, I recommend the book, The Empty Pot. This is a Chinese story about a little boy that plants a seed from an emperor and his pot stays empty the entire year. He tends to the seed with great care and consistency but nothing grows. Instead of being dishonest, he shows up to the emperor with an empty pot and explains to him that he tried his very best. I don’t want to ruin the ending, but this is a great story especially for older kids too! We did a simple counting activity to pair with this story. I gave H coffee beans to act as seeds to place and count in each pot!

Thursday:  Egg Activities

We read the book, The Extraordinary Egg. We then did the line tracing activity that pairs perfectly with this book. Again, line tracing is still pretty advanced for H, but this is great exposure for him. This week he was eager to attempt this skill, which was big progress!

Friday: Eating the Alphabet

We ended the week with Eating the Alphabet by Lois Elhert. I created a do-a-dot activity that goes along with the fruits and veggies in abc order! This is the perfect do-a-dot to pair with Elhert’s book. In the Letter E Curriculum, I also included some veggie and fruit letter matching cards that would make another great activity to pair this book with.

Letter E Sensory Bin

It was one of those weeks, so I don’t have a picture of our bin, but it looked very similar to previous weeks. 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 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!

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!

Week of Play: The Color Purple

This week was all about the color purple!  It was fun to get back into our color unit after taking a couple weeks off from color-themed activities.  

Purple has always been my very favorite color, but for some reason, I found it to be a bit challenging to think of good purple crafts and activities that Hudson would enjoy.  

We kept things pretty simple this week, but it still was a fun week exploring this beautiful color.

Week 6: The Color Purple

This is what our week of purple looked like:

Purple Book of the Week:

The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart

This is the perfect book for purple week and also the perfect book for our world right now.  

This book is fun, colorful, and bright! And it is also packed with content that speaks really well to young children about what it looks like to be a kind advocate in our current world.  The book explains how “purple people” ask great questions, laugh a lot, use their voice, work hard, and are true to themselves.  

I love this book for not only teaching about the color purple, but also for teaching about being curious, kind, inclusive, and standing up for what is right.  This is a beautiful book and I am thankful we have it on our bookshelf (thanks mom!) 

Monday: Purple Sensory Bin 

This week’s bin consisted of: purple pom poms, popsicle sticks, big lego blocks, wooden letters, an elephant, plastic shapes, foam shapes, pipe cleaners, and feathers! 

Like most weeks, we spent most of our time building tall towers with the items in the bin! 

I have noticed that creating these color sensory bins have been a great way to have his eyes concentrated on a specific color.  While he quite honestly does not spent a ton of time playing with the bin, it sits out in our playroom all week and I can’t help but believe that it’s mere presence is helping his mind form ideas around each respective color.

Tuesday: Mix Red + Blue Paint in a Bag

This activity is perfect if you are looking for a quick, no-mess paint experience with your baby or toddler.  

All you need is:

  • Red paint
  • Blue paint
  • Paper
  • Ziplock bag 

I simply put a piece of paper and wrote “purple” on it.  I let Hudson squeeze some red and blue paint into the ziplock bag.  He enjoyed incorporating the colors into the bag! While his interest in it did not last long, he was still amazed to see how the red and blue mixed together to create purple!  

Wednesday: Toilet Paper Octopus Craft + Ocean Wave Sensory Play

We love using toilet paper rolls for crafts!  This purple octopus turned out so cute and it was super simple to construct.

All you need is:

  • Toilet paper roll craft
  • Purple paint 
  • Purple construction paper cut into a small circle 
  • 2 big googley eyes 
  • Scissors 

First, paint the toilet paper roll purple.  I let H do this and helped fill in the spaces when he was done.  Add eyes and smile to to construction paper circle and attach to the top of roll.  Let dry.  Once fully dry, make 8 cuts of equal distance to right below the octopus head. This will create the 8 tentacles. To make more octopus-like, I curled tentacles upward. 

To keep the play going, I used the octopus craft as inspiration for another sensory bin.

All you need is: 

  • Blue tissue paper (a few sheets) 
  • Bin 
  • Octopus craft

This bin turned out to be a big hit for Hudson! I simply took the tissue paper and twisted and curled it to make it look wave-like.  I threw the “waves” and the octopus in a bin and let Hudson play freely. It was a bit different than I expected, but Hudson was occupied for over 15-minutes and really enjoyed playing with the tissue paper. 

Thursday: Purple Lavender Rice + Epsom Salt Sensory Play 

There is nothing quite like the smell of lavender.  Adults love it and kids do too!  This sensory bin is the perfect set-up right before naptime or bedtime.  Hudson really enjoyed it and definiely seemed more relaxed afterwards. 

All you need is:

  • Rice 
  • Water
  • Purple Dye (or red and blue dye) 
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Ziplock bags
  • Epsom Salt (ours was already lavender-scented) 
  • Bin
  • Purple flowers
  • Spoons, cups, funnel, bowl 

Most colored rice recipes call for vinegar, but I found that adding just water worked! Add rice, water, dye, and essential oil to ziplock bag.  Fully incorporate colors into rice and set out to dry. I found that it seemed to be dry pretty quickly and after a few minutes, I poured purple rice into the bin.

For epsom salt, I did the same process, except NO water. Just add salt and dye to ziplock bag and incorporate the color fully. Let dry and then also pour into bin. You can have the rice and salt separated so your little one can mix together. I pre-mixed it because our salt looked more blue-like than purple.

I then added purple flowers, a funnel, a bowl, and a wooden spoon and Hudson immediately began to play. Sensory bins are not always a hit for H, but this particular one was very successful! He played with it multiple times throughout the week.

Friday: Grape Pom Pom Counting Activity 

This is the perfect counting activity to pair with learning about the color purple!  

To be sent the printables I created for this activity, subscribe below and I will email the PDF version! 

Send Me The FREE Worksheets! 

All you need is: 

  • Printable worksheets
  • Purple pom poms
  • Grapes for snacking (optional, but always a good idea!)

We worked with one number at a time and I had Hudson count out the correct number of pom poms.  I intentionally made the circles on the worksheets extra large to make it extra clear for our little learners! 

Hudson is not quite at the stage where he sits down and is super focused in a counting activity like this. And that is totally okay! I still believe me sitting down to intentionally model what it looks like to count out the pom poms and practice numbers 1-5 is important for him. He will eventually get to the point where he will sit down with me and be more focused.

Saturday: Purple Collage 

Like the end of every color week, we end with a collage activity. 

For this collage, we used the following purple materials: paint, construction paper cut up into shapes, pipe-cleaner, popsicle sticks, feathers, and  pom poms. 

After a bit of running around in the sprinklers, Hudson was all about sitting down and working on the collage outside!

This was the first week, that Hudson was actually interested in really sitting down and gluing items on paper! This was exciting to me because it shows the value in staying consistent with activities, even when at first your child might not seem as interested. We made this collage a bit more special by adding purple paint + glitter. Instead of taking out and dirtying a paint brush, I picked a purple flower from our yard and had H use it as a paintbrush! This is a fun way to mix up the painting experience.

Bonus Activity Idea

H really enjoys going on “nature hunts.” This week, we went on a purple flower hunt!  He immediately grabbed his binoculars and basket and was eager to find some purple flowers in our front yard.  This is a great activity to get outside and one that requires no set-up.  Hudson is instantly happy and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he was able to identify the different colors we saw in nature! 

Week of Play: The Color Blue

This week we learned all about the color BLUE!  It was a week full of the ocean, Cookie Monster, and denim.  Blue is just one of those colors that bring a sense of peace.  For me, blue always brings me to the ocean, the sky, and the lovely outdoors.  While H is still a bit stuck on the color green, he slowly warmed up this new color as I introduced some fun, hands-on blue activities!  

Week 5: The Color Blue

This is what our week of blue looked like: 

Blue Books of the Week

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle 

This is an Eric Carle book that I was not familiar with at first, but I love this story for teaching not only about the color blue, but also about creativity.  The story is about an artist who paints animals different colors.  All the colors he paints the animals are not typically how that animal is portrayed. 

The horses are blue and the lions are green.  This is an excellent story to teach little ones about the importance of creativity and thinking outside of the box.  It is also the perfect book to pair with a painting activity: “Paint the Horse Blue” (activity description can be found below). Read-aloud can be found here.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle 

This is a classic and another perfect book for blue week.  There are lots of books in this series, but I am linking to the original one.  This story is perfect for teaching animal sounds!  Hudson especially loves how little blue truck goes “beep!” 

Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton 

Boynton is one of my favorite children’s authors.  Her stories are perfect for baby and toddlers. They typically are not super wordy and have super fun and engaging illustrations.  Even though it is perfect for little ones, I always find her books to be deeply entertaining.  This particular book is excellent not just for the color blue, but also for teaching all colors and clothes!  Throughout the simple story, it follows a confused turkey that has trouble figuring out how to properly put clothes on.  This is a good one.

Thomas & Friends

If you have a train-obsessed toddler, like me, reading some Thomas the Train books is a must during blue week.  I am linking to an electronic reader book set we have that is intended for slightly older children; however, we don’t use the electronic part.  I just read some of the different stories to Hudson, and he really enjoys them!  This set will eventually be helpful when he is beginning to learn to read on his own.  

Blue Sensory Bin

There were a lot of fun things in our blue bin this week that made playing even more fun.

This week’s bin consisted of: blue trash bins, big legos, foam shapes, blocks, train tracks, Thomas trains (lots of them), letters, balls, envelopes, wooden blocks, daddy shark puzzle piece, popsicle sticks, pom poms, and a few other random things.

We had so many Thomas trains that we played a lot with trains in the morning time.  We built tracks using only the blue pieces and had the Thomas trains race down! 

Monday: Paint Cookie Monster Blue + Cookie Counting Activity

To start off blue week, we did a couple activities around our favorite blue, cookie-loving monster…Cookie Monster!

For this paint setup, all you need is:

  • Coloring sheet of Cookie Monster (we used this one)
  • Blue paint
  • Paint brush
  • An easel setup (optional) 

Once H painted Cookie Monster as much as he wanted, I helped him fill in the white spaces.  Once it dried, I cut it out so he could hold and play with it. 

In the afternoon, we continued with the Cookie Monster theme and did a really simple counting activity.  

For this cookie counting activity, all you need is: 

  • Blue cupcake liner
  • 2 big googley eyes 
  • Black construction paper cut out like a smile 
  • White card stock
  • 4 small cookies (I use the ones from the tub at Trader Joe’s) 
  • Blue marker 

To construct this simple Cookie Monster craft, glue a blue cupcake liner on left side of card stock.  Glue eyes and mouth on top.  With the marker, write out numbers 1-4 (or whatever amount you would like to work on with your little one). 

Before I brought out the cookies, I explained to H that we were going to spend a couple minutes practicing counting.  I clearly told him he had to first practice with me and then he could eat the cookies.  This definitely grabbed his attention and made him much more invested and excited to get the counting done, so he could gobble up the cookies. 

At this age, it is important to keep learning super fun and light.  We ran through the numbers 1-4 a few times as we counted the 4 cookies on the paper.  I then let him eat them! Fun and simple and a great way to introduce counting.  

Tuesday: Ocean in A Bottle 

The ocean is definitely one of our favorite blue things.  After a morning visit to the beach, I set up a ocean in a bottle activity for H in the afternoon.  It is really simple and results in a fun sensory play for little ones to shake and play with after.

All you need is:

  • Empty water bottle
  • Water dyed blue (I used a blue bath tab
  • Sand and shells we had lying around (optional)
  • Blue pom-poms (we pretended these were fish) 
  • Glitter (optional) 
  • Funnel
  • Tape for sealing 

This is a good activity to have setup before your little one is up!  It is also a great activity to practice pouring skills.  With a little help, H used the funnel to pour the blue water into the water bottle.  He then threw in the different items he wanted in his bottle.  Once he was finished, I put the cap back on and sealed it with tape.  Then, your little one can shake and play with the bottle! It turned out really pretty and it was fun to watch the sand flow throughout the blue water.  

Wednesday: Blue Sand Art 

With some of the extra sand I had lying around, I decided to dye it blue.  This made for a really fun sand art activity.  

For this activity, all you need is: 

  • Sand 
  • Blue Dye 
  • White card stock 
  • Glue 
  • Spoon

To make the sand blue, simply place sand in sealed zip lock bag, add a few drops of blue dye, and incorporate dye into the sand.  Keep adding dye until the sand is the color blue you prefer.  

H really enjoyed playing with the blue sand.  I let him play with it a bit and then, using the glue I made a wave design on the paper.  H really enjoyed using the spoon to scoop the sand onto the paper.  This is a great activity to practice transferring skills.  

The end result of our blue sand waves turned out really fun!  

Thursday: Paint The Horse Blue Activity (based off of an Eric Carle book) 

For this activity, we used the Eric Carle book I mentioned in the book section, The Artist Who Painted A Horse Blue.

This was an Eric Carle book I was unfamiliar with, but we both really enjoyed it.  The blue horse is the familiar horse from the beloved Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  

For this blue horse activity, all you need is: 

  • The book (we were not able to get a copy in time, so we listened to the read-aloud version on Youtube). 
  • Printer paper
  • A copy of the book or Brown Bear, Brown Bear (use the book to trace the horse)
  • Blue paint
  • Paint brush 

Friday: Blue Chia Sensory Play with Boats 

Chia seeds make for really fun sensory play!  The texture is slick and slimy, without all of the mess and stickiness of regular slime.  

For this sensory bin, all you need is:

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 4 cups water + a little extra to top it off
  • 12 drops of blue food coloring
  • Toy boats
  • Bowl of water

Simply, combine water, chia seeds, and food coloring in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (ideally overnight). Take out of the refrigerator and fill the mixture into a tray for your little one to play with.  Place a bowl of water and the boats out for little ones to use for play.  I added a bit of extra water to make the chia mixture more ocean-like. 

H really enjoyed moving the boats through the chia!  He especially enjoyed the bowl of water and spent most of his time sitting in it!  The chia can stick on hands, so the bowl of water was helpful for this.  

This can get messy, so be be careful with clothes! This is a good activity to do in diapers or bathing suites.  

Saturday: Blue Collage Activity 

To finish off our color week, we always make a collage of that particular color.  

For this collage we used the following blue materials: letter and number stickers, popsicle sticks, foam shapes, envelope, construction paper cut into squares, pom-poms

Earlier in the week, H painted blue on blue construction paper. To reuse this piece of art, I cut it into squares and put it out as a collage material option.  This is a great way to use excess art you do not have a place for!  

I was making a sign for H’s birthday and had blue letter and number stickers out.  H got a hold of these and decorated most of his collage with these stickers.  So, this collage has its own unique look!

Blue week was a lot of fun. This a great color to explore during summer…it is perfect for water play and the ocean! Next week, we will be reviewing colors and doing some birthday-themed activities! My baby turns 2 this week!

Happy Playing! 

Week of Play: The Color Yellow

This week we learned all about the color YELLOW!  It was a week full of sunshine, lemonade, and buzzing bumble bees! There is something about the color yellow that just makes you happy.  Our week of play seemed to feel happier and lighter as we explored this bright and summery color.  

Week 3: The Color Yellow

This is what our week of yellow looked like: 

Yellow Books of the Week 

Super Submarines by Tony Mitton & Ant Parker  

This is a great story if you have a little one that loves vehicles!  We listened to “Yellow Submarines” by the Beatles a lot this week, so out of curiosity I wanted to see if there was a book about a yellow submarine.  And there is!  This is not only a perfect yellow-themed book to read, it is also very informative.  The authors go into great detail describing the purpose of a submarine and the different parts!  If you do not have access to get a copy of this book, there is a great read-aloud version on Youtube.

Yellow Copter by Kersten Hamilton 

This one is another great yellow-vehicle story!  There even is a mention of a crane, which is one of H’s current obsessions.  It is a perfect book for babies and little ones with shorter attention spans! There are very few words and the images are bright and engaging.  It is a simple storyline with a happy ending of the yellow copter saving the teacher that is stuck in a ferris wheel.  This would be another perfect book for yellow week. If you do not have a copy easily accessible, there is a read-aloud version for this story as well. 

We also read a couple books this week that had yellow characters and objects in them.  Spot’s Birthday Party by Eric Hill or any of the Spot books are fun ones to read and point out how Spot and Sally are yellow doggies. 

Any of the Curious George books would also be great to read during this week with the bright yellow book covers + the man with the yellow hat!

Monday Morning: Yellow Sensory Bin

For this week’s bin, it was not difficult to find an abundance of yellow things!  

This week’s bin consisted of: Yellow blocks, balls, pegs, train tracks, big lego blocks, plastic coins, stars, shapes, giraffe, toy pan, plastic cheese, finger puppet chick, pom poms, popsicle sticks, feathers, foam shapes, textured material, tractors, a Lego Duplo submarine, and a few other random yellow things. 

I have noticed that H has not been very interested in playing with the bin throughout the week, but I still think creating the bin with him is a great way to teach a specific color.  This week I included him in the process of helping mama find all the yellow things in our playroom.  He seemed to really enjoy this!

Monday Afternoon: Yellow Bubble Foam + Vehicle Play

In the afternoon, I made some yellow bubble foam.  There are tons of recipes and play ideas out there for bubble foam.  I was inspired by Bored Toddler’s recipe and setup.  Bubble foam is super simple to whip up, literally! 

All you need is:

  • ½ cup bubble bath (tear-free)
  • ¼ cup water
  • A few drops of food dye for color

I added some yellow food coloring drops to make it go along with our color week and then simply whipped it up with a hand-blender.  I put the setting on high and it quickly became a thicker consistency.  I would recommend whipping it in a bowl and then pouring it into the bin you plan to have your children play with.  

Hudson got super excited when he saw the yellow foam.  He started clapping his hands and jumping up and down.  I threw in some small yellow tractors, which got him even more excited.  After playing with the bubble foam and tractors for a bit, he quickly became uninterested. 

To make the activity last a bit longer, I created a “Yellow Truck Wash.”  I set up a bucket with soapy water, handed him a sponge, and he loved it.  Just make sure the trucks you let your little ones wash are okay with getting water on them!

Tuesday: Apple Star Stamps + Lemon Moon Stamps 

This craft did not turn out exactly how I imagined, but it still fun to show H how when you cut an apple in half, a star shape is revealed. 

To create this star stamp: Simply cut apple in half to create two parts, the top and the bottom.  I then cut away the edges to make a smaller square shape.  This proved to help make the star more visible when stamped.  

To create this moon stamp: Simply cut a lemon in half. Then, cut a way a small chunk to give it a more moon-like appearance.

Other materials you will need: 

  • Black construction paper
  • Yellow paint (if you are doing this project with a baby that still puts things to their mouth, try a safe-taste paint recipe).
  • White chalk to create a title or to let you little one draw on finished product 
  • Glue and glitter to add a final touch!

Quite honestly, H was not super into the stamping process.  It was mostly me showing him how to do it.  However, he did really enjoy dripping glue everywhere and shaking on the glitter.  Especially when you do crafts with little ones under 2, it is definitely not guaranteed they will be into it.  I still believe a craft is a success if there is a small part they find interest in! For this one, it was the glue + the glitter. 

Wednesday: Lemonade and Lemon Bar Picnic + Lemon Scoop Activity 

Naturally, when you are learning about the color, lemonade and lemon bars must be on the list!  

Grammy brought over an entire bag of lemons and we ended up using the entire bag for both the lemonade and lemon bars.  

We used this lemonade recipe.  We used an electric juice squeezer that made it easy for H to help squeeze the lemons.  H and his auntie squeezed all the lemons together!  After we made the lemonade, we enjoyed some sunshine and sipped our lemonade in the backyard!

Before we squeezed more lemons for the lemon bars, we made a fun game out of the remaining lemons.  This Lemon Scoop Game is SO simple and H literally had the best time.  I simply but a bowl of lemons on one side and an empty bowl on the other side.  I gave him a big serving spoon and had him scoop the lemons and race them over to the empty bowl.  I made it feel like a race and said on your mark, get set, go!  Everytime he got all the lemons into the bowl, I cheered and he got super excited and asked for more.  

Thursday: Toilet Paper Roll Bee Craft 

For this craft, you will need:

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Yellow and black paint
  • Card stock paper (we used yellow)
  • Googly eyes (we used extra big ones)
  • Pipe cleaners (again, we used yellow)

This bee craft turned out SUPER cute.  The process, however, was a bit more tedious.  I realized mid-craft this was a bit more challenging for H to get involved.  I was planning on having him paint the yellow stripes on the bee, but that proved to be too challenging for him.  He was more interested in wildly painting on the yellow construction paper.  I let him to do this with the yellow and black paint.  I then took this artwork and cut out two oval shapes for the wings.  It made the wings look super unique and it was a great way to showcase H’s artwork.  

After the stripes were painted, I cut out a cicle for the head, and glued all the parts together!  We glued big googly eyes on the head and I drew a nose and smile.  For the antennas I cut pieces of yellow pipe cleaner and used scotch tape to attach to the back of its head.  

Even though H was not super into this craft, he loved the final product!  This craft created even more play and imagination as I ran around the house chasing him with the bee. The toilet paper roll makes it the perfect finger puppet too!

A fun book to pair with this bee craft that we love: Orville: The Bumble Bee Who Didn’t Belive He Could Fly.  This book has beautiful illustrations!  It is a sweet story of a bumble bee that through the encouragement of his friends eventually comes to believe that he can fly, even with small wings.

Friday: Turn the Baseballs into Softballs Painting Activity 

Our Friday was super full, so I did a super simple paint set up on the easle board.  I simply drew three baseballs on white card stock.  I then gave H a paint brush and some yellow paint and told him to paint the baseballs yellow.  I also had a white baseball and yellow softball displayed for him to show him the difference!  

Once your little one is finished painting the baseballs yellow, you could cut the circles out and let them play with the dried product!

Saturday: Yellow Collage Activity

Our week was pretty full, so this collage activity fit into our week better as a Saturday morning project.  This would be another great setup for really any early morning activity.  H is usually more fresh and willing to go along with my different crafts and activities earlier in the day! 

For this collage we used the following yellow materials: feathers, popsicle sticks, pom poms, origami paper cut into squares, pipe cleaners, foam shapes.  

At this stage with H, projects like this are definitely still a team effort.  Similarly to the bee project, even when he doesn’t in the moment seem super into it, he loves the final product.  In his playroom, I have been displaying each collage with the appropriate color flashcard.  He loves seeing his artwork displayed at eye-level! 

Ideas We Did Not Get To: 

  • Sun Craft 
  • Lion Craft (using picked yellow flowers as mane) 
  • Griaffe Craft
  • Yellow Fire Hydrant Scavenger Hunt 
  • Paint the M yellow on Waste Management Trash Truck 
  • Drop off sunflowers to neighbors with a sweet note