Monday, December 7, 2009

Review of Our First Tot School Materials

We started Tot School with Selena from the time she was about 6 months old. We started out with two of my most favorite books that I ever bought her. I found them at Big Lots, but I have seen them at as well.

makingl[3] This first book was definitely one of Selena’s favorite books.

Making Letters: A very first writing book (Making...) (Board book)~ Jo Moon

Selena spent hours reading this book from front to back with me several times a day. By the time she was 9 months old she was going through this book all by herself, and reading it to me. I truly give all credit to this book for teaching Selena her ABC’s. Due to it being a Board book, she could be as rough as she wanted to be including using it as a teether. By the time Selena was a year old, she moved from this book to pointing out different things in the house and telling me what letter they started with including the phonic sounds. At bath time she would tell me, boat, emphasis what the letter b sounded like, then tell me that “B” is for boat. She did this with words like door, cat, piano, and the list went on and on. After she turned a year old I added some flash cards and shuffled them all up, to just see if she could tell me her alphabet out of order, she identified every letter and its sound no matter what order the letters fell in.



This second book Selena wasn’t as quick to take too.

Making Numbers: A very first counting book (Making...) (Board book)~ Jo Moon

The concept of numbers just wasn’t quite clicking yet with her, but we still continued to read it to her daily and sometimes several times a day. Finally when she was a year old she started counting with us. I reinforced this book by using a deck of UNO cards, and while numbers did not come as easy for Selena she did start counting objects and new her numbers from 1 to 10.

I purchased from My Father’s World the complete Toddler set. A friend of mine Kelly at The Traveling Fenns that homeschools her children told me about this set.

It came with the following items:

51tm2P-gQfL__SS500_ The Shape and Color Sorter. As you might remember we still use this today. Selena started learning her basic shapes and colors using this toy. Again its durability was great and with held the hands of a 1 year old. I then added the Tupperware Shape-O-Ball which Selena mastered by the time she was 18 months old, she could tell me most all the shapes and put them in the proper holes.

p10054276000_detail51bkaHIkp0L__SS400_ The Tall Stacker set still remains to be one of our favorites. Selena wasn’t sure about it at first, but by age 14 months she finally figured out how to put the pegs together, and look out she had hours of fun. We sorted by color, we made long rods to see how many we could put together and hold out in front of us before the weight of them made our rod break, then we would start all over. She is now using this set to help reinforce patterns. She never did care for the foam mat but she does love the pegs.

51CCTSZASSL__SS400_ The Toddler Tote was full of so many different items to reinforce colors, shapes, counting and basic puzzle work. She would spend hours just playing with all the pieces included in this set. She would take them all apart and by the time she was 18 mo old she began to figure out how to put the puzzles back together. We still love to pull this set out and just have fun with it. I also find it handy as stencils to make different paper projects for Selena.

419RTsiz2IL__SL500_AA280_We bought this little  Fisher Price Fun-2-Learn Color Flash Laptop when Selena was 30 months old. It is a great little game, has several levels and games. I especially liked this for her phonics. It is very strong in that area, and has two settings, one that takes the child through levels of actual lessons, or free play. It didn’t take long before Selena had all the levels in the Alphabet, Phonics, and numbers mastered and off to the side it went. The only thing I did not like about this was the mouse and the way it functioned. The only thing your child uses the mouse for is the games, which Selena found difficult, I think she would have done fine with the mazes if it would have had a regular mouse like we use on our computers. This one was even hard for us to figure out how to make work through the mazes.

During this entire time we continued to read tons of books with Selena, some so many times that Selena could actually retell the stories to us from memory.

She also watched two cartoons, Super Why and Word World on PBS. Both of these cartoons helped Selena to learn the concept that letters go together to form words, they also gave her the understanding of spelling and reinforced the use of phonics.

On top of all the above we played various CDs for Selena. Her favorite ones were Toddler Tunes.


This CD has 25 classic children’s songs like The Wheels On the Bus and Deep and Wide. Selena enjoyed this CD inside the house so she could dance with it.

Another CD she likes while we are in the house is:

51lndQqGHOL__SL160_AA115_ Yes, your reading that right it has 150 songs on 3 CDs.

Selena’s most favorite CD of all, which had to travel with us in the van was:

61S3z8uKKpL__SL160_AA160_ This CD reminded me of the Mickey Mouse Club in the way that the kids sang the songs. There is a song for every letter of the alphabet including the Alphabet song, Old MacDonald’s Vowel Farm, and We’ve Been Working on Our Letters.

There you have it these are all the tools we used in our tot school. At age 31 months old, we started Selena on her Pre-K curriculum from Christian Liberty Press and Progressive Phonics.

Then thanks to Natalie at Mouse Grows Mouse Learns, who introduced us to all of you great blogging moms we incorporated more art.

There you have it in a nut shell this is all the products we used with Selena. Now I just want you to know while I contribute much to everything in this post, the real work came from Selena herself. Selena is a bright girl, and she truly has a drive to learn. We never forced her to learn, she wanted to learn, so we just provided tools to help her do so.

Pin It


  1. This is a great review! It's interesting to see how the path to learning and literacy differs for each child. If I were to credit one thing for early literacy, I'd have to say We spent a lot more time on computer when Anna was younger. Now I am trying to get more arts and free play to help her master those all-important fine motor skills :)

  2. Thanks for the reviews. I am always unsure when I buy toys for my daughter. I'm not sure if she will only play with them once or twice and then lose interest. I have been thinking of shape toys because I just realized that she can recognize a few shapes. She even says heart and points to hearts whenever she sees them.

  3. This is an awesome post. One I will be referencing alot for Jack!

    I am amazed at all you have done with Selena from such an early age. Debbie, this is wonderful!