I figured it was about time to start back at Tot School since it is the middle of September—eek! While I’ve been gathering lots of goodies over the summer via the Dollar Tree–which is the literally the Mecca of all things Tot School I decided to choose a topic that Baby T is still pretty hung up on: Animals. Specifically, Farm Animals.Back in June we picked up some Dollar Tree window clings of Farm Animals that we thought would look cute on Baby T’s windows–needless to say they opened up a whole new world of excitement and conversation for him. Every morning he would wake up and point to the window that held the cat cling and say “CAT”. We practiced different animal noises and up to this point he knows a cow says moo, a dinosaur says roar, a lion says roar, a rabbit says sniff sniff, a cat says meow and a dog says woof woof. So in full disclosure farm animals is a lazy topic on my part because he is already engaged with the topic.
What I am hoping to more specifically work on is him saying the animal names. If we ask him to point to a certain animal he can do it with about an 80% success rate–he gets confused with goat/sheep, chicks/ducks, horses/pigs. Now I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t mention that his animal recognition wasn’t an overnight success–nor was it completely led by myself of my husband. We credit the smartphone app Zoola Animals for a lot it. It has a ton of different animals, says the name when you select the animal, then has four options Daddy, Mommy, Baby, Music–each accompanied by a different picture and sound. Genius and only a few dollars at the app store, but there is a free version, if you’re a try before you buy guy or gal! I will also recommend if you have an iPhone that you use Guided Access–it really makes your life a thousand times easier!
Materials for Tot School: Farm Animals (Fall 2013):
Farm Animal Related Books–I suggest raiding your local Savers or Salvation Army. Baby T is still at a stage where he destroys even board books so I prefer to not to take the library route at this time.
Farm Animal Flash Cards–I bought both sets of mine at Target in their dollar section. I’m sure you can get them elsewhere. I sorted through and pulled out the “Farm Animals”
Farm Play Set–We have the Ikea Cloth Barn Set that was purchased for Baby T last Christmas–it is currently listed at 39.99 (and I am certain we didn’t pay that much in store) and Baby T is obsessed with this! If you don’t want to spend the money (understandable) any set of farm animal type toys will do.
Farm Animal Printables–I printed the animal “posters” in black and white. Baby T isn’t super enthused by coloring but I figured we could give it a try!
Farm Animal Poster–Another Dollar Tree Purchase. Seriously, this place is a Tot School Gold Mine.
Field Trip–A trip to the local Dairy Farm
Zoola App–This won’t be structured into our time, but is likely to be used anyway!
Peek-a-Boo Barn App–Ditto.
The Outcome: Well we’re still sort of stuck in terms of saying animal names but he was engaged with the idea and keeps trying his darndest. We didn’t do a stellar job with the reading since we’ve been so busy (Mom of the Year, I know) but he’s very into using the flashcards (which are haphazardly placed around out house) as conversation starters. He did entertain the idea of coloring the printables. And, per usual he LOVES the Barn Play Set. By far, the most popular thing in this unit study was the Dairy Farm. Baby T was so interested in mooing at the baby cows and other wandering farm life–we even got to see a rather dead looking barn cat–no seriously we thought it was dead until we approached it (eeek)! It was awesome to see his reaction to all the animals–especially the cows!