Updated: Aug 18
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For moms of toddlers teaching at home with Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool curriculum, this companion guide includes resources for building background knowledge, book substitutions, additional activities and educational materials related to the theme of each unit as well as ideas for how to modify or support your child. The curriculum itself is copyrighted material and remains the property of Busy Toddler, LLC, and is available for purchase at BusyToddler.com
If you have already purchased the curriculum and are wondering where to to begin, check out my post Getting Started with Playing Preschool.
Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool curriculum gave me a "plan" for structured, hands-on learning time for my toddler with an emphasis on play. Prior to purchasing, I had just been bouncing from one random Pinterest activity to the next in an attempt to keep my toddler busy. Playing Preschool gave me a framework, a theme to focus on, a list of supplies, and most importantly, confidence. Once we began, it didn't take long to get in a rhythm of using the curriculum and tailoring it to my toddler.
To learn how I adapted the curriculum, read my post: An Introduction to Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler.
Setting up Your Classroom
I would recommend having a designated space for your learning to take place. For me it is my kitchen island; I have a large basket under the counter where I keep all of my supplies and books for the unit. When I take out my materials and tell my toddler "it's learning time" he (usually) hops up in his chair and we get started. If I'm not quite prepared, we will start with the morning calendar routine to buy myself a few minutes before he has a chance to wander off.
In addition to the supplies included in each week's lesson overview, there are a few items that I've found to be helpful. You may already have some of them, and there are plenty of suitable alternatives. I love that Susie has made her curriculum accessible and affordable by keeping the supply list small. These are just suggestions should you choose to enhance your classroom.
This was actually my Christmas present to myself this year. Susie uses it in her morning calendar routine and I had to have it! My son loves to tell me how he's feeling that day with the emoji faces! (Note: these are in high demand right now! Shop around!)
Susie recommends writing the letter you are teaching that week on a dry-erase board but I prefer to put the upper and lowercase letter magnets on my fridge so I can refer back to them later.
Learning 26 letters takes lots of practice and lots of review. Add to that the fact that each uppercase letter has a lowercase pair and it can be quite a challenge. This is a great way to practice matching them. Also, puzzles make letters more interactive than just lines on a page. The more hands-on the learning, they more your child will engage with it and remember it.
Mini Silicone Tongs - Set of 3
These were a game-changer for our sensory bins. A normal pair of tongs were too much for my son's little hands, but once I got these, he was like a little crab with pincers!
Children's Waterproof Artist Apron - Pack of 2
When there are toddlers involved, things can get very messy very quickly. You probably want to invest in a painting smock (or two) to save yourself the trouble of dealing with cleanup, even if the paint is washable. I like this one because it comes with sleeves.
There are other products that I recommend that are specific to each unit but again they are totally optional. You can do without them or purchase them later but these are things I wish I had when I started.
Individual Unit Guides
Below are all the links to each unit of Playing Preschool Year 1 with all the help I can offer: suggested book substitutions, additional activities, video links and teaching tips.
I am so excited for you to begin Playing Preschool with your toddler! It is so rewarding to watch them learn and have fun in the process. Please use the Contact page if you have any questions or connect on social.
I also invite you to join the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Caregiver Group on Facebook, a group created to share ideas and resources and offer support to other members also teaching the curriculum.
As always, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy!