Updated: May 26, 2021
A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum
This post contains affiliate links for which I receive a small commission. Proceeds go to support this blog and my mission of inspiring moms of babies and toddlers to raise them reading.
Learning and Fun Go Together
This unit took me back to my childhood, watching Sesame Street and they always played that game "one of these things is not like the other". It seems so obvious to us as adults but this skill requires children to be able to identify attributes and functions of objects and categorize them, and takes lots of practice. I love that Susie starts with recognizing things that are pairs or that compliment each other or that work together to a common purpose. I also enjoyed exploring the idea of friendship and that even though two people are not the same, they can help each other and enjoy what is different about the other person.
Building Background Knowledge
Since the goal of this unit it to help children start to identify patterns and systems, the best way to introduce these ideas is in context of everyday life. For example, talking about things like first we eat breakfast, next we brush our teeth. The toothbrush and toothpaste work together to clean our teeth. First, we put on our socks, then we put on our shoes. What would happen if we did it in the wrong order? Or if one of the pairs was missing? This is a silly way of exploring why patterns and pairs are important. Also, when talking about magnets, introduce the idea that opposites attract (positive and negative poles, in this case) and how friendships sometimes work the same say.
Do You Like Broccoli Ice Cream? - Things that do NOT go together
Do You Like Spaghetti Yogurt? - Things that do NOT go together
Do You Like Lasagna Milkshakes? - Things that do NOT go together
Do You Like Pickle Pudding - Things that do NOT go together
*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this unit
We Belong Together* - Wan, Joyce
We Go Together - Dyrdahl, Link
Friends - Heine, Helme
We Are Best Friends - Priddy, Roger
When Pencil Met Eraser - Kilpatrick, Karen
Peanut Butter and Cupcake - Border, Terry
Additional Book List
Books in bold are also suggested books in another unit.
One of These Is Not Like the Others - Saltzberg, Barney
What's the Difference?: 40+ Pairs of the Seemingly Similar - Strack, Emma
Look Where We Live!: A First Book of Community Building - Ritchie, Scot
Yoga Friends: A Pose-by-Pose Partner Adventure for Kids - Gates, Mariam and Rolf
We Are Better Together - Priddy, Roger --> Different "ingredients" combine to make something new (tomatoes + dough + cheese = pizza) in a cute rhyme
Some Things Go Together - Zolotow, Charlotte
Ketchup on Your Cornflakes - Sharratt, Nick
Fluff and Billy - Killen, Nicola
Hello Hello* - Wenzel, Brendan --> Such a clever book! The author pairs different animals by their unique features. You just have to read it to understand.
Stick and Stone* - Ferry, Beth <-- Opposites attract to form a fast friendship
The Scarecrow* - Ferry, Beth <-- A beautiful story where friendship replaces enmity
Nugget and Fang* - Sauer, Tammi <-- A favorite in our house!
Saturday - Mora, Oge A heartwarming story where mother and daughter are happy to be together. (diverse characters)
We Go Together - Dunn, Todd <-- Different from the book above with same title
We Go Together!: A Curious Selection of Affectionate Verse - Brown, Calif
I Like You - Stoddard, Sandol
Bears in Pairs - Yektai, Niki
Princess and the Peas and Carrots - Ziefert, Harriet
Carrot and Pea: An Unlikely Friendship - Hood, Morag
Mighty, Mighty Construction Site - Rinker, Sherri Duskey (working together)
Duck and Goose - Hills, Tad
Frog and Toad are Friends - Lobel, Arnold (a first chapter book)
A Friend for Bently - Keiser, Paige
Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends - Reiss, Mike
Horse Meets Dog - Kalan, Elliott
Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. What better way to illustrate how things "go together" than actually having to physically match the correct pieces. For scaffolding, use self-correcting puzzles that only have two or three pieces and lay out a few at a time so your child doesn't get overwhelmed. The Learning Journey Match It ones are our favorites: At the Ocean, Things That Go, Head to Tail
Memory matching games like this one with characters from Toy Story 4 or whatever your child is interested in. Also, this game was recommended: Things That Go Together!: A Fun Matching Game For 2-5 Year Olds
Practice matching upper and lower case letters with Fun-to-Know® Puzzles: Uppercase & Lowercase Alphabet Puzzle
I splurged and got the Melissa & Doug Scoop & Stack Ice Cream Cone Magnetic Pretend Play Set for the magnetic aspect as well as the ice cream connection. My toddler still loves to serve me a cone!
Conduct STEM experiments/activities with Learning Resources Magnet Movers
Explore a topic more fully by pairing fiction and non-fiction books. Read this Article from Scholastic for ideas.
Developing Life Skills: practice pairing foods that go well together. Ask your child to create the perfectly paired snack (i.e. cheese and crackers, apples and peanut butter). Talk about balancing sweet and salty or carbs and protein.
Practice Partner Yoga - Invite a friend over for a play date and use the book Yoga Friends to practice partner yoga. (From the authors: We wrote Yoga Friends to help kids share this fun and healthy exercise with friends. In partner yoga poses children naturally develop communication skills along with balance and flexibility. Both partners have to work together, and help one another, or they can’t stay in partner boat or tree. Also when doing yoga poses with someone else, even if there’s a lot of wobbling, there’s always tons of laughter! (Each pose is accessible for two children or a child and adult)
Learning uppercase and lowercase letters takes lots of practice. I found this self-correcting puzzle for my son practice matching letters. I started with the ones that are the same shape (just different sizes), then added in the ones that we've learned so far in the curriculum and it's been really helpful!
What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Facebook Group in Photos/Albums/Year 1 Themes → Things Go Together
Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy!
Up Next: Playing Preschool: Unit 9 - Community Helpers → One of my favorites!
See Also: Introduction to Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler, A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum, Unit 1: Apples, Unit 2: Colors, Unit 3: Nursery Rhymes, Unit 4: Clothing, Unit 5: Food, Unit 6: Five Senses, Unit 7: Teddy Bears