Snow Themed Tot School Lesson Plan

This post contains affiliate links. Some activities require direct supervision due to small pieces.

This week is Emma’s first week of Tot School! I’m so excited to start this journey with her. I shared about it earlier this week in my Back to Tot School post but, if you missed it, Tot School is just basically the idea of intentionally exposing young children to early learning skills through fun play at home. I’ll be putting together themed lesson plans every week (sometimes every other week) for her and sharing them here on the blog. The first theme we are doing is snow because here in Chicago we’ve had a snowy few days and I can’t wait to get her playing in it (just look at her excitement “playing” in it for the first time last year!)

Below is a list of snow themed activities. I’m going to stick with this theme for a couple of weeks so that’s why I didn’t arrange the activities into daily plans like I typically would. We probably will not get to all of the activities on the list and that’s ok. Having a theme as well as a number of activities to choose from (and that I have materials for) helps me plan my days so they are filled with learning. I will aim to do a few activities a day with her. Some activities/books that are toddler friendly will be setup for play at her table in our tv room (aka her playroom since we live in a small home) and some will only come out when mom/dad/tween brothers are sitting with her to provide direct supervision with the small pieces.



TP roll stacking snowman

-Play in the snow outdoors and go sledding

-Make a snowman sensory bottle

Playdough build a snowman kit (I bought this snowman pieces set and will set it out with white cloud dough and build snowmen with her as we practice rolling the dough into balls.)

-Make a cotton ball snowman

Snowman squish bag

-Put together a child-sized felt snowman

DIY giant snowman blocks

-Wrap some small wooden blocks or toilet paper rolls (cut in half) in white paper and put them in a small bin with people, buildings, animals, vehicles, and cotton balls to encourage snowy town play

-Paint snowballs (white paint on the end of a toilet paper tube “stamped” on or white paint on fingertips dotted on) blue or black paper

-Winter sensory bin for toddlers (I’m doing cotton balls, wooden snowflakes, and mini snowman buttons)

Feed the snowman fine motor activity of filling the snowman with cotton balls

-Throw “snowballs” (rolled clean, white socks) into a container or at a target

Puffy paint snowmen craft

Play with snow in the kitchen sink or bathtub with sand toys (or I love Happy Hooligans’ idea of adding Little People to the snow sensory bin)

-Snowman sticky wall

-Color this ‘God made me unique like a snowflake’ coloring sheet

-Sensory bin with fake “snow” (saw on TikTok- just mix cornstarch and conditioner)

Paperplate snowman craft

-Paint the snow with watercolors

Snowman ball sort

Footprints in Snow movement exploration (we won’t do all of these just the simple snow related ones)



Friendly Little Snowman Finger puppet book

Ten Sparkly Snowflakes

All You Need For A Snowman

The Snowy Day

Baby Loves Winter Lift-the-flaps book


Snowmen at Night

The Biggest Snowman Ever

Winter Touch & Feel board book

Olaf’s 1-2-3

The Itsy Bitsy Snowman

Babies in the Snow Lift-the-flaps book




Fun in the Snow (Emma’s favorite- CoComelon!)

-Frosty the Snowman

-Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Frozen

5 Little Snowmen (there are printable puppets, too!)

Winter songs from Teaching Mama puts snow themed songs to familiar tunes




-Wear snowmen clothing. Put your child in pajamas or other clothing that has snowmen on them if you have some and be sure to point out the snowmen on their clothes

-For breakfast, make snowman pancakes.

-For snack, eat vanilla yogurt and talk about how it looks like snow. You could even use fruit to make “snowmen” in the “snow”.

-Focus on the letter “S”. S for Snow. Anytime you see an “S” in a book put an emphasis on the sound and trace the squiggly letter. You can also draw an “S” in your sensory bin fillers or the snow.

-Focus on the circle shape this week. Point out circles you find and help your child trace circles they see or make their own circles on paper, in dough, in sensory bins, or in the snow.

Have more snowy fun ideas for toddlers? I’d love to hear them! Chat with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram :)

Find more tot school lesson plans here.

The Return Of Tot School Lesson Plans

Over a decade ago, back when my tweens were toddlers, I did “tot school” with them. The idea came from Carisa who coined the term for the idea of intentionally exposing young children to early learning skills through fun play at home. She always had so many great ideas and I also believe that children learn best through play so I loved the concept of tot school.

I took the tot school idea a step further and created weekly themed lesson plans. (Just blame my early childhood, preschool teacher background for my love of everything themed!) I’d pick a theme and then come up with books to read, songs to sing, and other simple activities to do with my young kids. They weren’t elaborate at all but gave me a framework to follow throughout the week to make sure I was being intentional about offering learning activities, some open play activities, and some more parent led ones. I blogged about a lot of it and, to this day, my tot school posts I created back in 2010 and 2011 are some of my top visited posts. You can find them all here.

With my daughter turning two a couple days ago, I decided that I am going to restart tot school in our home. Emma has a bit more television time than I’d like due to us being home 24/7 now and me trying to work while taking care of her and also supervising my other two doing virtual learning so I’d like to cut some of that electronics time out. I don’t have as much time as I did years ago (and especially won’t when we hopefully return to all the activities and sports that kept our family busy pre-pandemic) but in 2021 I want to once again be intentional about creating an environment for learning and offering activities that encourage her to practice skills.

I plan to create more in-depth weekly lesson plans than I did years ago but I am still going to keep things simple. I’ll have a table set up with activities each morning along with an open sensory bin that she can play at as she’d like to (like the one pictured above that I had set up for fall). Then throughout the day I’ll do specific themed activities with her at times that work for my schedule and she’ll also do even more supervised activities and sensory activities in the kitchen (I have two sensory tables in the kitchen with messier sensory ingredients in them but also anything needing more supervision due to small pieces will be done in the kitchen). I hope to do tot school over the next year. I have no plans to formally homeschool but we will see how it goes!

I’m really excited to start this journey again and I hope you’ll join me. You can subscribe to this blog for tot school lesson plans and chat with me on social, too. I’d love to hear from anyone else who also does tot school or similar learning programs with their toddlers :)

Reusing Items For Learning Fun

I talked last month about Unilever and their commitment to donating meals to those in need. I found out that this was just a part of their sustainable living plan. They are also working on improving health and well-being, enhancing livelihoods, and reducing environmental impact. They are working towards a goal of 100% renewable energy. I think that the work this company is doing is amazing and it makes me want to work harder at reducing my own environmental impact. Wondering which of your favorite brands are made by Unilever? Take a look below!

I went shopping and bought some Bertolli meals and some Lipton Iced Tea. I love the Bertolli meals because they are easy to make and taste delicious. Here was last night’s dinner:

Jacob is not a huge potato fan but he loved the potatoes in this meal because of the sauce they were in. After dinner I wanted to find a use for the Lipton Iced Tea bottles. We recycle some items into a recycling bin but lately I’ve been trying to create more with “trash” and save what I can to reuse. My favorite way to do this is by incorporating them into learning for my preschoolers.

When I taught preschool I had some “sensory bottles” in my classroom. They were fun to shake and look at for the children and I wanted to make them with my own kids.

I used the Lipton Tea bottles that were empty and instead of throwing them away I reused them for this fun activity. First, I rinsed them clean and let them dry. Once that was done I called the boys to the kitchen table and we got to work. I had decided we would make two different types of bottles. The first we made was a “find and seek” bottle.

I filled a bottle halfway with rice and put some letter beads out on the table. I then called out letters and the boys would have to find that letter and put it in the bottle. They thought this was a lot of fun and they liked helping mommy.

After all the beads were in we added more rice. We filled up the bottle but left a little empty space at the top so that the rice and letters inside could move around. A little tacky glue in the cap to ensure we wouldn’t have a huge mess on our hands if one of them got it open and we were done with our first bottle. The boys liked shaking it up to find all of the letters in their names.

Next, we made some water filled sensory bottles. You can fill these with anything you’d like but we chose sequins and glitter and then added a few drops of food coloring in the water.

I let the boys put their own sequins in their bottles {warning: little hands putting little pieces into little bottles makes a huge mess}. They worked at this diligently for a while since they could only get a few pieces in at a time. I then helped them sprinkle glitter into their bottles and we filled them with water. I let them pick out the color they wanted to make their water and squeezed the food coloring in. I added a bit too much to Jacob’s and his turned a very dark shade of green. Lucas wanted red so I just added a few drops in his. I also added a little dish soap to put some bubbles in it.

The last one we made I decided to do half oil and half water. I put in some vegetable oil, a little glitter, and some drops of food coloring. The boys watched as the food coloring didn’t spread, like it had in the water, but instead created tiny beads of color. I think a full bottle of vegetable oil would have been a lot of fun. I added water and the colors bled together though it was still fun to watch the water and oil separate.

The boys enjoyed putting these sensory bottles together and then playing with them. I’m looking forward to creating more crafts with them using recycled materials. Someone suggested making a planter out of a Country Crock tub and I think the boys and I might do that as the weather gets warmer.

How do you reuse items for learning fun?

(Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Unilever  #cbias #SocialFabric )

Tot School: Turkeys


Craft- Potato Print Turkey

Song- Did You Ever See A Turkey?

Activity- Turkey Baster Painting


Craft- Hand and Footprint Turkey

Song- Five Little Turkeys

Activity- Pumpkin Turkey


Craft- Fingerprint Turkeys

Song- Six Little Turkeys

Activity- Make Banana Gobble Pancakes


Craft- Coffee Filter Turkeys

Song- Turkey On The Farm

Activity- Gobble like a turkey


Craft- Turkey Windsock

Song- Fat Turkey’s Song

Activity- Make turkey sandwiches together for lunch



Ten Homeschool Room Setups I Love

Lately I’ve been spending hours looking at other people’s setups for their homeschool rooms. Here are ten spaces that I LOVE (click on pictures to go to the corresponding posts):











To find out more about Tot School you can visit 1plus1plus1equals1 and to find a linky of homeschool room setups you can visit Heart of the Matter {Online}.

Tot School: Shapes

MONDAY (circle):

Craft- Caterpillar C

Song- Circle Song

Activity- Play with balls

Snack- Slice fruits and veggies into circles


Craft- Shape button collage

Song- Shape Song

Activity- Glue Tracing (with shapes)

WEDNESDAY (square):

Craft- Square Puzzle

Song- The Square Song

Activity- Build with blocks

Snack- Graham cracker squares


Craft- Shape Sponge Painting (cut shapes out of sponges)

Song- Shapes

Activity- Shaving Cream Play (Drawing Shapes)

FRIDAY (triangle):

Craft- Triangle Fish Craft

Song- This Is A Triangle

Activity- Find triangles around the house

Snack- Pizza Slices



Tot School: Pumpkins


Craft- Family Pumpkin Patch

Song- The Pumpkin Song

Activity- Play with pumpkin playdough


Craft- Paper Bag Pumpkin

Song- Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Activity- Carve a pumpkin


Craft- Paper plate Jack O Lantern

Song- Pumpkin Song

Activity- Family outing to the Pumpkin Patch


Craft- Paint a pumpkin

Song- Five Little Pumpkins

Activity- Make pumpkin pancakes as a family


Craft- Pumpkin Collage

Song- Five Pumpkins Fat and Round

Activity- Roast pumpkin seeds

Tot School: Spiders


Activity: Visit the library for spider themed books

Craft: Spiderweb art

Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Snack: Pretzel Spiders


Activity: Spider Tweezing

Craft: Spider Craft

Song: Spider Song


Activity: Read The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Craft: Eensy Weensy Tracks

Song: Spider on the Floor (Raffi)

Snack: Spider Pizza


Activity: Count spider rings or fake plastic spiders

Craft: Handprint Spiders (Thanks to @SippyCupMom for the suggestion on Twitter)

Song: Little Miss Muffet


Activity: Make and decorate cupcakes together

Craft: Spider Candy Holder

Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Snack: Spider cupcakes


Look at these super cute cupcakes my friend Camisha made for her daughter's birthday party!


Tot School: Farm Animals


Activity: Visit the library for farm themed books

Craft: Peek-A-Boo Barn Craft (Jake will color pieces)

Song: Old MacDonald Had A Farm

Snack: Crackers and Cheese


Activity: Play with Little People farm and animals

Craft: Cotton Ball Sheep

Song: Baa Baa Black Sheep


Activity: Read the Farm Animals e-book

Craft: Touch and Feel Duck

Song: Sesame Street- Have You Ever Been To The Farm?

Snack: Eggs


Activity: Farm Animal Matching Game

Craft: Muddy Pig Craft

Song: Mary Had A Little Lamb


Activity: Farm Puzzle

Craft: Feather Collage

Song: The Farmer In The Dell

Snack: Pigs in a blanket


Activity: Visit a petting zoo, go on a hayride, and talk about the farm animals we see



Tot School: Zoo Animals


Activity: Visit the library for Zoo themed books

Craft: Sponge paint animal shapes

Song:The Elephant Song

Snack: Animal Chips


Activity: Play with Little People animals

Craft: Paper Plate Lion

Song: Five Little Monkeys


Activity: Dress-up in animal costumes

Craft: Foam Animal Sticker art

Song: Barney Alphabet zoo song

Snack: Animal shaped sandwiches (cut w/ cookie cutters)


Activity: Playdough with animal cookie cutters

Craft: Animal print paper bag puppets

Song: The Bear Went Over the Mountain


Activity: Animal movements (act like an animal)

Craft: Paper Plate Snakes

Song: Sally the Camel

Snack: Animal Crackers



Tot School: Apples


Craft- Apple Print Wreath

Song- A Wiggly Worm

Activity- Go to the library to get apple themed books

Snack- Apples with peanut butter


Craft- Pom Pom Apple Tree

Song- Apples and Bananas (Barney song)

Activity- Play with cinnamon scented play dough

Snack- Applesauce


Craft- Color apples- red, green, and yellow

Song- Apples

Activity- Family outing- apple picking

Snack- Apples from the apple tree


Craft- Apple seed collage (glue apple seeds to paper)

Song- 1 little, 2 little, 3 little apples

Activity- Counting apples (numbers 1 to 5)

Snack- Apple chips


Craft- Apple Prints

Song- Apple, Apple

Activity- Make apple muffins

Snack- Apple Juice and graham crackers

Tot School: Celebrating Fall

Here are some of the activities I have planned for the week:


Craft- Falling Leaves

Song- The Leaves on the Tree

Activity- Go to the library for fall themed books


Craft- Faux Stained Glass Leaves

Song- Leaves Are Falling

Activity- Rake up leaves and jump in them


Craft- Leaf Prints

Song- Little Leaves

Activity- Family Nature Walk


Craft- Crunchy Fall Leaf Prints

Song- Five Leaves

Activity- Make a nature collage w/ leaves and items picked up on yesterday’s nature walk


Craft- Fall Fingerprint Tree Craft

Song- The Leaves

Activity- Farmer’s Market visit- buy some gourds

Tot School: All About Me

Jacob is 27 months old. This week (and probably the next month) will be light with activities as we pack and prepare to move.


Activity: Look at family photos and help Jacob point out himself in the pictures.

Craft: Handprints on paper (w/ paint)

Song: I Am Special


Activity: Point out body parts- focus on elbows and knees (body parts Jake is still learning to identify)

Craft: Footprints on Paper (color them and cut them out)

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes Song


Activity: Visit the library to check out books about this week’s theme

Craft: Make a “Jacob” placemat for the table

Song: You Are Special (Barney song)


Activity: Count fingers and toes

Craft: “J” is for Jacob (glue jellybeans to a letter “J” cut out)

Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It


Activity: Hokey Pokey dance

Craft: Lifesize Jacob (trace body on large paper and have child color it)

Song: Jesus Loves Me


-Point out the letter “J” whenever we see it

-Practice self-help skills



Tot School- The 5 Senses

This week in tot school we are talking about the FIVE SENSES. I had so many ideas for this theme that I almost finished the lesson plan in about 20 minutes with just ideas that I had used in the past as a preschool teacher. A lot of these activities can serve multiple categories but I chose the one that made the most sense. I will definitely revisit this theme again in the future. (Please note: this post contains a few affiliate links.)


– Smelly playdough

– Color with scented markers

– Sticker art w/ Scratch n Sniff Stickers stickers

– Smelly tubes (film canisters work great for this… put scents on cotton balls, poke holes in the top of container, and have them smell)

– Bake cookies- smell them baking

– Smell fresh flowers


– Make lemonade- taste lemon, then taste sugar, then make lemonade and taste that

– Make a trail mix w/ different toddler friendly snacks- include sweet, salty, crunchy, soft textured foods

– Have salty pretzels for snack

– Paint with chocolate pudding

– Brush teeth with different flavors of toothpaste


– Mix paint and grains of sand to make a textured paint

– Make a sensory box (I’ve used rice, sand, beans, packing peanuts, etc)

– Touch and feel box (here is one I like: What’s Inside? Soft Feely Box)

– Texture collage- cut up pieces of various textured items and have child glue on to paper

– Water play

– Squishy bags (put paint, hair gel, or something else “gel” like in a ziploc bag…make sure to tape around the edges)


– Read a book about the 5 senses like this one- My Five Senses

– Rainbow art

– Decorate a “S” w/ string

– Take a walk and talk about what you see in nature

– Blow bubbles


– Play a clapping game

– Make a musical instrument (easy idea is put beans into an oatmeal canister)

– Play the drums

– Bubble wrap fun- put a strip of bubble wrap on the ground and let the child jump on it

– Dance to music

– Listen to music while painting



Tot School- Friendship

This week in Tot School the theme is: FRIENDSHIP and the letter F,f.


Activity: Look at pictures of friends and say their names. Talk about what a “friend” is (very basic).

Craft: Fingerpaint the letter F

Song: ‘Make New Friends (but keep the old)’

Book: Winnie the Pooh- Two Friends


Activity: Decorate a card for a friend and send it in the mail

Craft: Friendship Wreath

Song: ‘The More We Get Together’

Book: The Lion King’s Best Friends


Activity: Practice sharing with mommy, daddy, and Lucas

Craft: Make a photo album with friends pictures in it

Song: ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ on CD

Book: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood


Activity: Go fishing (w/ paper fish and a stick w/ a magnet on the end of the string)

Craft: Glue goldfish onto a blue paper for an underwater theme

Song: Friendship Song (Barney)

Book: Alphabet Books- Find the letter F


Activity: Decorate the letter “F” using a fish stamp

Craft: Rainbow Fish Craft

Song: “I Will Make You Fishers Of Men”

Book: The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister


Activity: Playdate

Movie: Barney movie about friendship

Tot School- Family

This week in tot school our theme is family. I will be separating the activities by day instead of type because I think that it will be easier to implement.

*MONDAY- Family

Activity- Family Tree

Craft- Family Handprints

Song- ‘God Made Families’ Action rhyme

Book- My Family and I/Mi Familia y Yo by Gladys Rosa-Mendoza, Prayers For Family Golden Book


Activity- mom Spanish card , dad Spanish card

Craft- Draw a picture of mommy and daddy– adult writes words “mommy” and “daddy”

Song- ‘Hush Little Baby’

Book- Daddy Kisses by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleban, My Dad by Debbie Bailey, Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse, Picture Me as Mom’s Little Helper by Wendy Rasmussen, Back In My Arms by Dorothea DePrisco, If You Were My Bunny by Kate McMullan

*WEDNESDAY- Siblings

Activity- Help feed baby brother Lucas lunch, big brother Spanish card

Craft- Big Brother Crown

Song- ‘I Love You’ (Barney song)- teach Jacob motions and to hug and kiss baby brother

Book- I’m A Big Brother by Joanna Cole, Big Brother Bunny by Pamela Kennedy

*THURSDAY- Grandparents

Activity- Look at pictures of Grandma Jan (who passed away in June)

Craft- Grandparent Awards

Song- ‘Grandma’s House’ , A Song for Grandma and Grandpa

Book- Grandpa and Me by Karen Katz

*FRIDAY- Extended Family

Activity- Bake cupcakes for Aunt Morgan’s Birthday today

Craft- Make and decorate a card for Aunt Morgan

Song- Family Fingerplay

Book- Hugs & Kisses by Roberta Grobel Intrater

*WEEKEND- Family Traditions

Activity-Make breakfast as a family & eat together, Watch Barney movie “Families Are Special”, Play w/ Personalized Peekaboo Book

Craft- Make a photo book of family members

Song- Review songs from the week

Book- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak



Tot School- Love (2/15-2/19)

Since Valentine’s Day is today (the 14th) I decided to focus on the theme of LOVE for the week after the Holiday.


*Color the snow- put some red food coloring in a spray bottle of water and spray the snow to color it

* Heart path- Hearts taped to ground, jump from heart to heart

* Make Valentine’s Cupcakes

* Make Jello Jigglers

* Gather all heart shaped toys and count them into a red valentine’s basket

* Play with red playdough- make a heart shape


*Potato Heart Stamp Project from Elise Blaha (found on Cafe Mom)

*Decorate a construction paper heart with glitter, crayons, and stickers

* Handprint Valentine w/ words “I love you this much” in between hands

* Love Collage- pictures of people Jacob loves glued on paper

* “Things I Love Book” (idea found here at Creative Homemaking)

* Love Bugs (from Just For Fun)

* Popsicle Stick Picture Frame decorated with hearts and will put picture of family in it

* Kissing Hand Necklace (idea from No Time For Flashcards). As a working mom I love the idea of this necklace. The Kissing Hand is a great book. I own it but it is currently in storage with the rest of my preschool books.


* “I Love You” (The Barney Song)

* If You Love Me (to the tune of: If You’re happy and you know it)

* Jesus Loves Me

Board Books:

* I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak

* Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse

* Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

* I Love You Very by Flavia Weedn and Lisa Weedn

* Daddy Kisses by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben

* Max’s Valentine by Rosemary Wells

* Hugs and Kisses by Roberta Grobel Intrater

and a variety of other small books about love


Find my winter themed lesson plan here.



Tot School Review- Winter Wrap Up

Today was the first week of tot school. It didn’t go quite as I would have liked it to because I found that though I had a list of activities for Jacob to do I needed a lot more time to prepare each night. From now on I will have all of the activities and materials ready at the beginning of the week so that I don’t have to worry about the “lesson plan” the night before.

Below are some pictures of this week’s fun:

Snow Fun

Snowflake Art


Jacob's First Art Project w/ Glue

Jacob's First Time Using Scissors

Tot School- Winter

Update 1/2021: A new winter themed lesson plan can be found here with over 40 ideas!

This week’s theme is: Winter

Here are a few of the activities that I have planned:

* Bring the snow indoors- It is supposed to snow tomorrow so we will be bringing snow into the house. We will use a bucket to fill the sink up and sand toys to play in it.

* Coloring a snowman printout from Confessions of A Homeschooler

* Song- “I’m a Little Ice Cube” from A to Z Kids Stuff website

* Chalk winter themed picture- Use white chalk on a blue piece of paper

* Cutting practice sheets from Confessions of A Homeschooler

* Winter themed board books

* Snowman Craft- gluing cottonballs onto a snowman shape

* Play with white playdough

* Footprint snowman from


Looking for Valentine’s Day themed ideas? Find my Valentine’s Day lesson plan here.



Updated winter themed lesson plan:


Toddler Time- Structure

This past weekend I spent a lot of time daydreaming about what I wanted for my toddler, Jacob. I had been thinking lately that I really wanted him to have more structured time and guided play and less free play. I will be creating “lesson plans” each week. There will still be a large amount of free play but I think these additional activities will be wonderful for him.

I have spent hours tonight online looking at different sites (mostly homeschool sites and preschool lesson plan sites) and also have years of experience working with young children so I am very excited about all the fun that Jacob is going to have each week.

I came across something called “tot school” on and I love the idea of it so I will be participating and linking up. The main point of tot school is that it is FUN for the child. I truly believe that children learn through play.